Typically, when I work with building incenses, I try to figure out first which planet is going to govern the working. I work my magic primarily with the planets. For me, they are the set of Divine Entities which pretty much take care of everything in their specific field. As we call Earth, "Mother," I think it quite fair that we can call the Moon, the Sun, and the planets from here to there our, "Aunts," and "Uncles," and can likewise teach us. In my particular approach, I look at them as professors at a university, ready to challenge and teach me, and ready to open doors for me if I am a good student and work hard at the challenges, tests and homework they lay before me. (In other words, life's lessons can be understood not just as things to learn, but as challenges given to you by the great planetary professors, the most ancient teachers we have within our line of sight.) We have a few decades of understanding; they have millions upon millions of years.
For a more in-depth explanation, I wrote a blog entry entitled, "Cosmos University's Planetary Hours."
Searching for charts on planet and herb correspondences will help you get aimed in the right direction. Also, reading about the individual planets. When I say "planets," I mean the classical planets of the ancient world plus the sun and moon. In the modern times, the newly discovered planets of Uranus, Neptune, Eris and maybe Pluto (Oh, Pluto got demoted, and they put his office in the basement. Actually, I think that's where it belongs.) are often figured in, too. Some people use them, but many do not. I think it is important to use them, though, because our knowledge should never be stagnant and stuck in the past. We must always be ready to assimilate new knowledge and work it into our understanding of reality.
Most things that you will encounter in life can be attributed as a lesson to one of these planets. I have been working with Jupiter a lot lately. In other words, I am learning everything that I can to become more successful at my business. Jupiter is the head of the business school at the Universe University. He is the one who teaches about wealth and abundance, prosperity and resourcefulness. He's an excellent professor, and he's been teaching me a lot, and I've been working hard to learn his lessons. I've read a lot more about marketing myself, entrepreneurship, and networking. Is it no surprise, then, that as a result, I have had a lot more opportunities fall into my lap, and have been quite busy with a lot of web projects?
If it were my focus right now to work on my painting and artistic skills, I'd be working with Venus more. And if I planned to get into better physical shape, I'd be working with the Sun. And if I needed to build my courage and confidence, I'd start paying more attention to Mars' classes. Your focus determines your reality. All of these correspondences that we use in our spellwork are but tools to help increase our focus, so that we may bring about that desired reality all the more fully.
What is your goal? In whose domain is your goal? Which professor would you talk with so that you may learn how to best achieve that goal?
If you search around for things like "planetary correspondences," you'll find lots of tables and charts that will give you a basic, quickie outline of which planet handles which general field of goals. Some goals can easily be ruled by two planets - Venus and Mars both rule dance, but Venus rules bellydance and ballet, Mars rules Bhangra, tribal, and hip-hop dancing.
Many, many books on herbs will describe to you which planets rule which herbs. This will help you go a long way to building a list of potential ingredients for your incense blend.
Typically, what I do is I'll compile a long list of potential ingredients, and then I'll cross off the ones I don't want to use (I never burn things like mace, for example, unless having a coughing fit happens to be my goal at hand!). Then, I'll light up an incense charcoal, gather my jars of herbs, and start experimenting to see what blends and ratios evoke the imagery and feelings that are appropriate to my goal.
Try storing your incense in a pouch of the appropriate color for the planet you have chosen (you can make one very easily with cloth and no sewing skills at all, or you can buy them from many occult supply sites and stores.). Then, maybe at some point, add a sigil to the pouch to represent your goal. Fabric paints work well for this task. Perhaps you can sew some beads of a stone that is appropriate to the planet to the outside of your pouch.
Now, keep that in a place where you will be working toward your goal (my Jupiter charm is on my desk at my main workstation), and while you're working, from time to time, pick it up and breathe deeply of the scent, even if it is not an appropriate time to burn it. As you breathe deeply, see yourself in the first person in that place where you have achieved your desired outcome.
For me, I see my clients sending me lots of emails and my inbox has a constant, steady stream (not too much, because I don't want to burn out either!) referrals and payment notifications. I hear my clients talking to me on the phone while I expertly and brilliantly help them to get the best web site or design they want. I feel the warmth of their hand as I shake hands after we sign the contract. And finally, I see them smile when I deliver the final product and they just love it. I call that up to mind every time you take in the scent of my incense blend.
If your goal is a complex one, then figuring out the full scope of this can take some time. Often it is wise to do a divination on the goal beforehand, to make certain it is something you truly want, or just a passing fancy. It is always smart to gather information before jumping into something. After all, if I weren't meant to be running my own business but instead was my true passion to be a doctor, I would be fighting myself at every turn. Working in accordance with your true will is always going to yield the best results.
If you don't quite have anything so lofty in mind, but rather need a more utilitarian charm, that's great too - we have to always be working toward our greater goals, but lets make sure also to take care of our bodies, minds and hearts in the day-to-day as well. How about a "de-stress blend" that you can burn while taking a hot bath after a tough day at work? Or maybe a "red-hot lover" blend to give your lucky lover a night to remember? A "block-buster" type incense is helpful to all of us creative types - smash down those nasty creative blocks and get to creating!
Again, while creating these incenses, carry some on you for a while, and inhale deeply of the scent from time to time, all the while seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling, tasting, and being there in that scene, role, or mindset.