Do you use equal parts of it?
I use what is available, being the practical and adaptable sort.
The best incense mix I’ve ever made was the 2006 blend. It was (sorry for the odd measurments here) made in two parts, the first part was half mugwort and half white sage. The second half was an even split of yew, larch and juniper. For fires, I like to use lots of yew and larch wood and bundles of sage and mugwort with a few token branches of juniper.
What parts do you use?
For the evergreens, I will cut the leaves (needles), twigs and smaller woody parts to about pea sized. Smaller cones and fruits (juniper’s don’t actualy have berries, they are berry-like cones or fruits) are just tossed right in the mix, large cones will be broken into pea-ish sized pieces.
The leaves (needles), twigs and smaller woody parts are best for bundles.
With the mugwort and sage, the leaves and flowers are best. The thicker woody parts can be a tad harsh on the lungs, so I only reconmend them for the belfire.
Do you dry it first?
Dry wood for the fire, of course! It’s also easier to cut.
Typically when I am making incense, its because I was making bundles, wreathes, trimming trees etc .. so I making good use of those small left over bits. So often they have laid in a shoebox or on a screen for a day or two in a closet before I get to them.
Sometimes I will grind the dries leaves and flowers first, to work energy into the mixture. But not to fine or you are working with dust *cough cough*, then I add the other parts. If your mix burns to fast, add a few drops of oil into the mix.
One thing I have found with using ritual smoke, if you are not a smoker, is often you will wind up interrupting your ritual/meditation coughing off and on for the next little while, as your lungs aren’t used to the irritation of hot smoke. The smell also clings to you. Both are annoying but liveable.
Lots of folks complain about feeling it hard for a few minutes and then being left with a headache. Not sure why, everyone reacts to plants differently.
An alternate is to make loose incense or smudge stick out of the chosen herb(s) and waft the smoke towards you, breathing it in. This usually counteracts the rush and subsequent headache.
Saining (as in to sain) bundles are nice and Celtic, make a large bundle of the herbs (include woody parts, of course) and build a small fire (follow fire safety!) then you can waft smoke, dance around the fire, meditate near the fire etc.
My typical disclaimer:
Sometimes you turn out to be allergic to the most surprising things.
If you are on any pharmaceutical medications or have a serious medical condition, are pregnant or nursing, consult your health care provider before ingesting anything that you do not normally ingest, including herbs and over the counter medications.
Do not give to Children. (duh)
One should make the creation of such things as a ritual or magical work. We should be thanking the herbs, blessing the oil, being clear on intent and so forth. (also duh)
I do recommend not using large amounts or very strong recipes with out a partner to watch over you.
People who do this as a magickal or spiritual shortcut often learn the hard way.
Using such substances will often have unexpected effects, and if you should have a lot of emotional baggage and such, expect for such things to be brought up, and to be forced to face it.