Thursday, September 8, 2011


Nemesis has been talking a lot about his latest batch of Kyphi and it has inspired not only tonight's post, but my own kyphi efforts as well.

What is Kyphi? It is, as Nemesis puts it, "The chai of incense!" Kyphi might be the phonetic translation of the Egyptian word for incense.  Plutarch, our favorite historian and Priest of Apollo, makes mention of a 36 ingredient Sun Kyphi, and a Moon kyphi. It was used as offerings, as aromatherapy, as a salve, or as a drink depending on the ailment.

Here is an article from Sevants of the Light school on the history of kyphi

"Kyphi is a mixture composed of sixteen ingredients; of honey and wine, raisins and galingale, (pine) resin and myrrh, aspalathos and seseli; moreover, of mastic and bitumen, bulrush and sorrel, together with the two kinds of juniper berries (of which one is called major and the other minor), cardamom and sweet flag. And these ingredients are not mixed by chance, but according to instructions cited in holy books, that are read to the incense makers while they mix them."
Plutarch, "De Iside et Osiride" ("On Isis and Osiris"), ch. 80.

This is a page of recipes with information about where each recipe comes from. It includes the ingredients etched into the walls of the temple of Edfu, but not the quantities. I'm a google-queen, but I doubt I'll be able to copy and paste the translated liturgy of Edfu here so we can all chant as the ancients did. The temple of Edfu has the recipes as well as sacred texts preserved on its walls. I've found talk on the internet about translation projects, but have not yet tracked down what sounds like academic papers. But you know I will!!!

I use the Edfu recipe. It takes days to make and longer to set. There are herbs and raisins to grind, wine to ferment, and honey to boil. Honey??? Actually, I don't use honey. I use agave. It's that vegan thing again. Agave is golden about the same consistency, and just as sweet. Sacred bee, sacred tequila... either way, it's all good! Oh, and then you have to form it into small balls and let em set for a few months. The longer, the better.

You can find recipes and instructions in the book Sacred Luxuries by Lise Manniche.

Years ago I used to love buying Tazo teas. It wasn't just for the taste, but because the ingredients always listed, along with whatever herbs were in the bag, "The mumbled chantings of a certified tea shaman." I loved the idea of someone chanting or infusing the herbs with energy.
They no longer list this as an ingredient :(


  1. Love your writing, and your excitement always makes me happy. ^_^ I'm usually a lurker, but I have shared your blog with several people. Love your devotional work and attention to historical detail!! Rock on, and I am sharing this with my Streghan/Kemetic friends. :)