Reading Incense Smoke Patterns and meanings

incense smoke pattern meaning

Last Updated on January 17, 2024 by IncenseJunction

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People have burnt incense for centuries for different reasons. Yogis, Healers, Religions, and many more use incense for various purposes. These include concentration, energy and space purification, rituals, and many more. Nevertheless, not many people know that incense smoke has a lot to tell.

Do you know about incense reading? Every time you burn incense, it burns in different ways for different reasons. This post features information on reading incense smoke patterns. Let’s get started.

Burning Incense

When you burn incense, it acts as a conductor that connects the subtle world and the material world. The incense will produce some smoke, which then acts as a symbol of a conversation going on between the subtle world and our material one. Even so, the language is not easy to understand, which is why you need to find the incense smoke meaning to understand the hidden messages.

Libanomancy meanings help you in different ways. You can tell if a room’s energy is clean or not, you can identify the good and bad omens, you can get straight answers to certain questions, and you can figure out if your life will be successful.

But reading incense smoke patterns requires that you light an incense stick first and see how the smoke and ash behave.


This is a sort of divination found in the observation and interpretation of incense smoke and its ash. Just as it is with most methods, you have to pose a certain question during the process. With the incense smoke pattern meaning, you will find the answer to your question.

In the years around 1800 BC, this was a very popular form of divination. It started dying away at that time, even though that knowledge remained preserved. Libanomancy has spread over the years to different continents. Currently, the reading of incense smoke meaning is coming back to life.

Different Interpretations of Incense Smoke

What does incense smoke represent? Meditation and spirituality spaces are becoming very popular, which is why it is better to learn to read incense smoke patterns.

Before you can read smoke patterns, you should start by settling down, clearing your thoughts, then getting to a good meditation state, stating your name, asking a question, and then lighting up incense. After that, you should observe the patterns of the smoke.

Note: You should know that the environment can hugely influence the behavior of smoke. The wind might blow the smoke towards you or something similar. Therefore, the preferred thing to do is burn it indoors or in a space with a still wind.

In a range of cultures over the years, incense smoke has been perceived to have certain meanings and symbols. It does not matter if you are using the smoke for spiritual awakening, the fragrance, or even purification. It will hold a certain meaning for you – the user.

But before you are ready to read or understand its meaning, you should know the simple aspects of the smoke. It is an ancient practice and it would be important that you understand the different features of smoke for you to understand the meaning.

Check out these different aspects of Incense Smoke

Sage smoke pattern meaning

Smoke Color

Incense smoke will either be white, black, or gray. White smoke, as you would suspect, represents purity. Black smoke – the opposite of white – is a representation of evil or negativity. Gray smoke, in most cases, shows an absence of direction or a neutral state.

Smoke Size and Thickness

You can either notice small or large smoke. The smaller smoke shows that you will only have a minor event. The larger smoke, on the other hand, shows that a major event will happen.

It can also be thick, which is a representation of a very strong emotion or feeling, or thin to represent a mild or subtle feeling.

Smoke Source

Normally, the smoke will come from the stick’s glowing end, which is a representation of your prayers or intentions rising to the heavens. It could be blowing in your direction, which would symbolize a prayer being answered for you.

Smoke Speed

Smoke will move at different speeds. In most cases, the smoke will flow slowly from the incense, moving to fill the room.

When the incense burns and the smoke flows slowly, it is a representation of a calm and peaceful atmosphere. The slow smoke is mainly associated with the gain of a deeper understanding of the heavens and the spiritual realm. If you are expecting an event to happen, this is a sign that it will happen later on in the future.

It can, in some cases, move faster, which would mean that it is energizing. The fast-moving smoke is associated with the matters of this realm and having things completed. It also means that the event you are waiting for is going to happen sooner than later.

Smoke Pattern

This is among the most important aspects of incense smoke. It has more meaning than the other aspects. The way the smoke moves and the shapes it forms while doing so will show different things related to the situation you are in, the future, as well as what the gods have in store.

When an incense stick is lit, the smoke goes in different ways and presents different patterns. You can read these patterns to understand any messages being sent to you. We will check out different incense smoke patterns and their meanings in the next section.

Incense Smoke Pattern Meanings

Sage and incense smoke meaning

Incense and sage smoke can behave in different ways. In this section, we will discuss different patterns and the different incense stick smoke meanings.

Smoke with Broken Corners

It can be a bit challenging to identify the incense smoke meaning when the shape is not specific, like in this case. Broken corners do not form a certain shape, which means that the meaning is not direct. Regardless, you can be able to tell the meaning by checking out how the smoke is moving and the different shapes formed in between as it moves. With that, you will have a rough idea of the smoke meaning.

Smoke forming the shape of a Ladder

Ladder shape incense meaning

In certain cases, you will notice the smoke rising – in any direction – but in the form of a ladder. The interpretation is quite simple. Different rungs formed in the shape of the ladder are a representation of different energy levels. This is energy produced as the incense continues to burn.

At the top, you will find the highest energy level and the lowest energy level at the bottom. For a better understanding of the meaning, check the direction in which the smoke flows and use that interpretation.

Thick and Dense Smoke

We know that smoke tends to go away from areas with negative energy. You will find that sometimes the smoke tends to stay together, in turn becoming thicker and denser. It shows that negative energy is all around.

How are you supposed to react? When you notice such behavior, you should perform a cleansing ritual. That will eradicate the negative energy and replace it with positive energy.

But that is not the only meaning of dense and thick incense smoke. It could also be a sign that you are clinging to a certain aspect of your past, which is, in turn, bringing you down.

Infinity Symbol in the Smoke

Infinity Symbol

Different symbols might appear in the smoke. One of the most common is the infinity symbol. For the most part, this is a representation of good fortune or luck. But other symbols easily reflect the same thing. For instance, you can notice a moon, stars, or even heart shapes.

On the other hand, some only represent bad luck. For instance, you can notice crosses or skulls.

Smoke Rising or Going Downwards

When you notice the smoke rising without any form of interruption, it shows you should expect something positive in your life. It is also a sign that you are focused and strong spiritually.

When the smoke goes downwards instead of rising, something negative may happen. It also shows that you are losing your spiritual focus and strength.

Smoke Forming a Circle

The smoke can form a circle. In most cases, this circle is tight and compact. In such a case, it proves that you have focused intentions that will manifest themselves within no time. However, it is also possible for the smoke to be thinner. It will also dissipate faster. In that case, it would mean that you do not have strong intentions. They are broken down easily and lost.

Forming a Spiral Shape

Spiral Shape incense smoke

What is the incense smoke swirling meaning? This is one of the most common forms of smoke that you will notice. When you notice it, it means that your spiritual growth and new beginnings are coming your way.

It is also possible for the smoke to swirl while heading in a certain direction. That is an indication that a person or entity is close to you. But that’s not all. The smoke could change the direction abruptly or even stop movement. That means something important will happen shortly.

Right And Left

Right And Left incense smoke

If the smoke goes to the right, it means that you will be able to defeat all your challenges and problems without help from others. However, if that smoke goes to the left, it shows that your enemies and obstacles, within or around you, will prevail. It will not matter if you have help at your disposal.

Smoke Moves Away

Incense smoke might also move away from you. The incense smoke means that your future holds a success that will seem miraculous or divine. The smoke might also flow towards your crouch, which would mean that you can win if you get some help.

Abruptly lighting and lighting a lot of smoke

When burning your incense, you might note the flame on the incense abruptly lighting and lighting a lot of smoke. That shows that you will be able to push your way through any obstacles and still come out with a victory on the other side. It is also possible for the flame to appear to die down, after which it lights abruptly, producing intense smoke. The meaning is that you will not escape your problems. There are chances that they might crash you too.

Split into two forming a Y

In certain cases, smoke might rise, then split into two forming a Y. When you notice that, the meaning is that your decisions do not have specific or obvious benefits. Each choice you have has pros and cons that balance out. As you would guess, there is a different side to this. The smoke might rise smoothly, then cluster together at the top and that would reflect adversity. It is a bad omen.

smoke moving in every direction

incense smoke

You can notice the smoke moving in every direction meaning that you will be faced with a situation that moves neither forward nor backward. It is a sort of deadlock or draw that is coming soon. Alternatively, the smoke might appear to come together in a cluster. The incense smoke pattern means that there is a future success in your life. If it dissipates and scatters, it shows failure, downfall, and disaster.

Finally, the smoke could have no shape at all, which would mean that there is chaos or confusion.

Notes to Take When Reading Incense Smoke

When you study the behavior of smoke keenly, you will get some good information about what you are going through or even what is going to happen. When you have that knowledge, it is a great tool for self-reflection and divination.

For starters, you should look at the smoke’s overall shape and check out the hidden patterns in it. Regardless, there are several things that you should remember before you read incense smoke.

First, you will need to make sure that there is no wind in the room. That prevents the smoke from being affected by environmental factors.

Secondly, you have to ensure that your mind is calm and that you are open to anything. We would recommend that you use a meditation space for reading smoke.

You will require a clear question before you start. Clear questions are easier to answer. If possible, try to write it on a piece of paper.

You also need to be patient. You will need to look out for some key details so that you have a clear message interpretation.

If you have not done this before, you do not have to worry. We know that it can be challenging to find the specific shapes that the smoke forms. However, you simply have to take a deep breath and trust your intuition.

Finally, make sure that the incense you are using is of high quality. Do not use moldy or low-quality incense since it will have a different smoke quality.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • What does it mean when incense burns straight up?

There are different ways in which incense smoke might go when the incense burns. One you might notice is the smoke going straight up, mostly in a narrow flow. This is a sign that the space you are in does not have pure energy. This is a sign that you should start your cleansing ritual to eradicate any negative energies. After that cleansing ritual, the smoke will start filling the entire room, which means that the energy is becoming pure.

  • Can anyone learn to read incense smoke patterns?

Absolutely! While it requires observation and practice, anyone can develop the skill to interpret incense smoke patterns.

  • Can incense reading be done outdoors?

Yes, it can. However, factors like wind and weather conditions may affect the interpretation of smoke patterns.

  • Is incense reading a religious practice?

While it has roots in various religious traditions, incense reading can be a personal practice without specific religious connotations.

Also, read:

Some Final Words

Before any form of divination, there are things you should do to make sure it works like magic. First, you will require a very clear question, followed by an open mind. When you are reading incense smoke patterns or the ashes, you will normally see shapes as you do in clouds. These are symbols and signs that are not as clear as written words.

However, when you have the willingness and practice to use incense and read the ashes and smoke, then you can easily get any answer you would like.

2 thoughts on “Reading Incense Smoke Patterns and meanings

  1. Cheryl Davis says:

    What does it mean when the smoke goes around the corner into a room? Even when nothing is on, no fan or anything…..I made sure there was no different air flow. I thought maybe because my ceiling fan was on it was affecting the way the incense was flowing into my room, but my fan was off and the incense was flowing around the corner into my bedroom.

    • Incensejunction says:

      When you burn incense in a room that does not have much air movement, you should expect the smoke to spread evenly in the entire room. However, this is not always the case. There are several factors that will easily affect how the smoke moves or behaves in a room. The first one, which you had already checked, is a fan, open windows, and such aspects that would affect how it behaves.
      However, when it moves to a single corner without influence by aspects that I have mentioned, there are chances that it is responding to a certain energy that is in the corner of that room. Smoke will normally go to the area with the most positive energy. You might need to start a cleansing ritual in the room.

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