The utterly central role of these incenses in shamanic and tantric practices is discussed at length by Shahi and colleagues (2002).
The incense cults of Israel have been the subject of a wide variety of theological and academic treatments.
The ingredients in the sacred incense (ktoret) are the matter of much debate and endless speculation as with the mentioned theoretical linking of cannabis (Benet 1976) to various "aromatics.
A close reading of Leviticus 10 reveals that Nadab and Abihu, sons of Aaron, had their own "personal" hand-censers from which they attempted to offer incense but "fire went out from the Lord and devoured them, and they died before the Lord.
The Altar of Incense is a major source of contention in a power struggle in the Old Testament between the Levite priest class and the community to the "alien" cults infiltrating and perverting the pious patriarchs in the form of foreign wives.
This entire scene of the incense, in contrast to the burnt offerings that follow (and the two are distinct but blurred in certain portions evolving from the time of Moses to the era of Solomon, could be understood as Solomon reintroducing the incense as ktoret ha-samim or incense of drugs.
The extensive ancient cult of Mithras, which may have been one of the main cults that retained and preserved these mysteries for later generations of mystics, had strange incense rites as well.
The Incense Road, like the Silk Road, was a conduit of exchange in the ancient world blending languages, religions, cultures and ideas with its spices and herbs.
Flattery and Schwartz (1989) discuss haoma candidates in their quite convincing case for Peganum harmala with evidence that the mysterious plant was "simultaneously both incense and intoxicant.
The residue of the haoma is burnt (Vedic soma plant itself is burned), as mentioned in the Yasna, and the use of incense is described as a dominant motif in Iranian religion (Flattery & Schwartz 1989).
The dismissal of hemp, as being purely used for fiber or "binding" and not burning, would seem to contradict the meticulous research of Flattery in the same volume of the simultaneous use of "Peganum harmala as incense and intoxicant.
7 Schwartz's etymology of the Iranian drug term svanta as the foremost name for Peganum harmala returns to incense with a tangle of words that might include sandalwood.
I believe that the Chinese mystics will shed much light on this situation, a light cast from the coals in their immense incense burners and glowing alchemical furnaces.
The most ancient Taoist oratories (Ching Shi or Pure Chamber or Calm Room) are described as empty except for the incense burner (Needham 1972).
Schipper, at the Bellagio Conference on Taoist studies, discussed some of the ingredients of the hallucinogenic incense as consisting of hemp and the alchemically significant metal lead burned in Mao-Shan rites (Welch 1970).