Yellow Incense or Red Incense

In Taoism, incense holds a revered place as it symbolizes the offering of time to the deities. It is akin to setting a timer, indicating that you are dedicating your time and attention to the gods. This article delves into the profound significance of incense in Taoism and the wisdom it embodies.

The Essence of Incense

A Taoist incense blessing spell elucidates the essence of incense:

“Tao learns from your heart; heart is passed by the incense. The incense burns in the jade pot, and your intention is then revealed in front of the lords.”

This spell signifies that the gods discern your intentions, faith, and emotions through the incense burnt in a special pot. Here, “jade” metaphorically represents a vessel carrying thoughts. Essentially, lighting incense signifies the commencement of a session with the gods, during which your mind is connected to them. This connection allows for a heart-to-heart communication, transcending the need for spoken words.

The Color Code: Red or Yellow Incense

While incense is integral to Taoist rituals, the colors red and yellow bear specific purposes. However, it's important to note that the absence of incense doesn't hinder communication with the gods if the faith is strong. In certain situations, even a timer or an hourglass can serve the purpose, provided there is an agreement with the deities.

Yellow incense is typically used for communication, while red incense signifies urgency and is used when seeking immediate assistance or granting of wishes. Although red incense is associated with urgency, it does not imply that yellow incense is weaker. The efficacy lies in the relationship with the gods rather than the incense itself. Using the specific colors of incense adds a layer of formality and enhances the session.

Cautionary Note

It is imperative to understand that burning incense is akin to entering into an agreement with the gods to spend time with them. Lighting incense and then walking away is highly disrespectful, much like initiating a video call and then leaving the person on the other end hanging. When incense is lit, it is a commitment to engage with the deities for the duration of the incense burn. If you are unable to dedicate a long duration, it is advisable to use shorter incense sticks or cut them to a suitable length. This is not considered impolite but is rather a conscious acknowledgment of the time you can commit.


Incense in Taoism is not just a ritualistic offering; it is a bridge that connects the human heart to the divine. It is a sacred flame that carries intentions, emotions, and prayers to the gods. Engaging respectfully and understanding the symbolism of incense strengthens the bond with the divine.

To deepen your understanding of Taoism and engage with its rich traditions, consider ordaining and embarking on a journey of learning and spiritual fulfillment.