Caution: All herbal potions will have an effect on you in the mundane. A catnip potion for love will make you sleepy. A mugwort potion for astral travel will stimulate menstrual flow and calm nerves. A St. John's Wort potion for protection will also lift your mood. You should be aware of the medicinal properties of every herb you ingest. And if you have a medical condition, proceed with caution. When in doubt about the effects of an herb, ask your health practitioner. Also remember more is not necessarily better. People think that just because herbs are sold over the counter that there is no limit to what they can consume. Not so. Herbalists kick around a lot of terms, so let's define a few of them:
A potion is an herbal tea prepared during the appropriate lunar phase and made with herbal ingredients possessing the correct magickal properties. Potions concocted for love Magick are called philters.
An Infusion is a strong tea. Many recipes will call for a full ounce of herb to one pint of water. Some think that's too much. Just throw in the amount that feels right. This is simply the process of soaking the herb in water. Heat water until just boiling, pour it over the herb, cover the cup, let sit undisturbed for 15-30 minutes. Drink it. Wash with it. Pour it in your bath or anoint yourself with it.
Solar infusions put fresh or dried herbs in a jar with cool water. Place in the sun for 1-2 days. Solar infusions seem to have more plant spirit. It's good to work with the astrological signs here if possible -- an appropriate sun sign or other aspect.
Lunar infusions are the same as solar infusions, but placed under the moonlight. Choose the best moon signs and phases here.
A decoction is made like an infusion, but here it is OK to boil the herb. Usually decoctions are made from roots or other herbs with constituents that are not easily extracted. Roots, seeds, and stems make good decoctions. Begin with cold water, and add the toughest roots, etc., first. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 30 minutes covered. Then let cool completely. If adding leaves or dried herbs to a decoction, you can take the decoction off the stove and steep your less hardy herbs as you would an infusion. Be sure to cover throughout the process so your volatile oils don't boil away. Strain. Some recommend one oz. of herb to one pint water. Others use one part herb to 20 parts water.
if long term storage is required, you will probably want to make a tincture. A tincture contains alcohol. Into a mason jar with lid, place 4 oz. of herb and 8 oz. of alcohol. Seal the jar and keep it out of sunlight for two weeks. Begin this process on the new moon and finish on the full moon. Be sure to swish the herbs around in the jar daily. Strain and store in dark bottles.
A wash is a a weak tea or infusion that is used externally. A mild wash -- 1/4 oz. herb to one pint boiling water -- can be used to cleanse magickal tools, crystals, or other magickal uses.
An Aspurger is a weak tea (wash) put in a watering can or spray bottle used for spraying an area or thing. Many witches like to use the more natural tree limb with leaves still attached. Dip it in the wash and shake it through the area. Especially good for cleansing spells or exorcism when working with rooms, houses, or large areas.
Ointments And Balms
Balms and included in these definitions because the oils used in balms are heated to a liquid state during preparation. Simply melt lard,vegetable shortening or any fatty substance to a liquid form over low heat. Pour in herbs and let them simmer for about nine minutes. Strain out the herbs and store in an airtight jar. One cup fatty substance to three tablespoons powdered herb. For external use.
Perfumes are made by blending essential oils together to create a fragrance. Choose oils to match your magickal intention, then add them to 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol, 1/4 cup witch hazel tincture, and 1/2 cup water. Shake well, then dab on pulse points. Aromatic herbs work best here.
Many of the essential oils you find in herbal shops have been distilled with steam. You can make oils at home by crushing herbs and placing them in a jar. Cover them with warmed oil (virgin olive, safflower, and almond are all good). Steep for 48 hours in sunlight. Strain and repeat, adding fresh herbs. You might do this several times until the oil smells good and strong like the herb. Store in dark bottles.
These work on energetic and psychic levels. Pick the flower and place them in fresh spring water -- just let them float on the top of the water. Place flowers and/or gems in your crystal bowl full of water in full sunlight for several hours. This process will extract the life essence and energy matrix from the materials. This is known as your Mother Essence. Add brandy as a preservative. From this essence will come your stock bottles. The recipe: Two drops of the Mother Essence in one ounce pure water with a teaspoon of brandy. This is your stock bottle. From these stock bottles will come your dosage bottles. Simply combine 2 drops from your stock bottles into one ounce pure water and a teaspoon brandy in a dropper bottle. You can take your dose directly from the dosage bottle or drop the elixir into a glass of water. Works like homeopathic medicines.
Gem Elixirs are made like flower essences, but using crystals and gems instead of flowers.
You need two handfuls of herb, cold water to cover them, a cauldron or cooking pot, and gin or vodka. Place herbs and water in a pot with a tight fitting lid. Boil for 20 minutes. Cool for 13 minutes, then strain out herbs. Bring to a boil again and evaporate one-half of the liquid. Take from the heat and cover. When cool, add an equal amount of gin or vodka. Three drops of your own blood from your thumb will personalize the condenser and add energy. To use the condenser, put it in a cauldron or pot and simmer to release the herbal Magick. Actually, those aromatherapy candle/ simmering potpourri holders work very well here. Place the liquid in the top bowl and light a tea light beneath it. Let it evaporate and release its magickal properties into the air. This liquid can be used as holy water -- sprinkle on parchment in petition spells, pour into the earth as a libation, sprinkle tools or working area, etc. You can also make one for each of the four elements and simmer them on your altar during workings. These are a few methods for making magickal potions. The thing that lifts these potions from the mundane, medicinal level to a magickal level is your enchantment of them and magickal timing. Enchant your herbs at the appropriate moon phases and signs (or other planetary aspects) before preparation by running your fingers through the herb while visualizing your need. You may want to simply enchant the finished potion. Flower essences (which are easily bought in health food stores) assist with inner work. The potions that use brandy, gin, or vodka are for long term storage.
Herbs: Calendula (Calendula officinalis) and Plantain (Plantago major)
This sweet-smelling balm soothes and protects cuts and scrapes. And it's so gentle you can even use it on diaper rash. Calendula and plantain are known for their ability to speed skin healing. Both soften skin, relieve pain, and are antibacterial.
How to make the Balm
This is a two-step process. First, you'll make an herb-infused oil: In a large glass jar, combine 2 tablespoon each of crushed Calendula flowers and dried plantain leaves with 1/3 c of extra-virgin olive oil. Leave uncovered, and place in a pan filled with enough water to cover the lower half of the jar. Set the burner on very low heat and simmer gently for about 4 hours. Check the oil periodically to be sure it's not scorching; don't let it boil. (You can also make the infused oil in a Crock-Pot set on very low without a lid.) After the allotted time, remove the oil from the heat and allow it to cool completely. Strain away the herbs through several layers of cheesecloth and discard. To make the balm, combine the infused oil with 1 or 2 tablespoon of grated beeswax and put it into a small stainless steel bowl; set the bowl into a pot of water and heat just until the beeswax melts, stirring gently to help the melting. To test the consistency, insert a cool metal spoon into the balm and check the balm that sticks to the spoon; it should be spreadable but firm. If it's too oily, add another few shavings of beeswax. At this point, you can add a natural preservative to your balm to prevent spoilage. Vitamin E, squeezed from capsules, works very well. Rosemary extracts or oil might improve the aroma and antiseptic properties as well. You'll need about 1/4 tsp. (two capsules) to preserve this much balm. After you've blended in the vitamin E, transfer your final product to a sterile glass jar. Use a clean spoon or small spatula to transfer the balm to avoid introducing bacteria to the jar. How to use it: Apply the balm to rashes, scrapes, and other small or superficial abrasions (don't use it on deep cuts). You can also apply it regularly to help heal chronically chapped skin. Stored in a cool, dark place, the balm should keep for up to a year. Discard if it smells rancid.
Anise- Calling Spirits
Burdock Root- Purity, Protection
Elder Flower- Divination
Eyebright- Mental and Psychic Power
Lemon (Leaves)- Lust
Lemon Balm- Health, Success
Rose Hips- Psychic Power and Divination
There are two major genii and several varieties of each genus of Sage that are used for smudging. Salvia, or the herb sage used for cooking, comes in two major varieties: S. Officinalis, commonly known as Garden Sage, and S. Apiana, commonly known as White Sage. Salvia varieties have long been acknowledged as healing herbs, reflected in the fact that its genus name comes from the Latin root word *salvare*, which is the verb "to heal" or "to save." Artemisia is the genus commonly considered "Sagebrush", and is more common in the wilds out here in California. There are two major varieties to the Artemisia genus: A. Californica, or common Sagebrush, and A. Vulgaris, or Mugwort. There are many other varieties of both Salvia and Artemisia, and all are effective in smudging. Sage is burned in smudging ceremonies to drive out evil spirits, negative thoughts and feelings, and to keep Gan'n (negative entities) away from areas where ceremonials take place. In the Plains Sweatlodge, the floor of the structure is strewn with sage leaves for the participants to rub on their bodies during the sweat. Sage is also used in keeping sacred objects like pipes or Peyote wands safe from negative influence. In the Sioux nation, the Sacred Pipe is kept in a bundle with sage boughs.
True cedar is of the Thuja and Libocedrus genii. Some Junipers (Juniperus genus) are also called "cedar", thus complicating things some. Some Juniper varieties ARE cleansing herbs, especially J. Monosperma, or Desert White Cedar. But for smudging, the best is Western Red Cedar (Thuja occidentalis) and California Incense Cedar (Libocedrus descurrens). Cedar is burnt while praying to the Great Spirit in meditation, and also to bless a house before moving in as is the tradition in the Northwest and Western Canada. It works both as a purifier and as a way to attract good energy in your direction. It is usually available in herb stores in chipped form, which must be sprinkled over a charcoal in a brazier. A piece of charcoaled mesquite works well for this purpose, rather than the commercial charcoal cake.
Very important to the Sioux and Cherokee nations, its botanical name is Hierochloe Oderata. In these tribes, the sweetgrass is braided like hair braids. It could be burnt by lighting the end of it, or (more economically) by shaving little bits of it onto charcoal in a brazier. Again, use charcoaled Mesquite (I believe it comes packaged for barbecue use under the brand name "Red Arrow") to burn it, not pressed charcoal tablets. Sweetgrass is burnt after smudging with sage, to welcome in good influences after the bad had been driven out. Sweetgrass is very rare today, and traditional Plains people have been attempting to protect the last of it. Cedar, which is not endangered, can safely be used this way. Also Pinon pine needles (used more frequently by the Southwest Teneh, like the Navajo and Apache as well as the Pueblo people and the Zuni) and Copal (used by the Yaqui and in ancient times by the Azteca and the Maya) have similar effect. The three mentioned here are readily available either through gathering yourself or, in the case of copal resin, from any good herb shop.
Possessing high spiritual vibrations, this oil is worn to aid meditation and to develop psychic powers. Some also use it to anoint their altars, censers, and candles.
Very vitalizing. Gives added determination and energy, excellent for convalescents. Anoint daily.
Almond oil, the symbol of wakefulness to the Egyptians, is used in prosperity rituals (anointing candles, money, etc.) and also added to money incenses.
A boon to clairvoyance, it is often added to a ritual bath preceding any attempt at divination. It is also worn during divinatory rituals.
Wear to promote happiness and success. Anoint candles during love rituals. Add to bath to aid relaxation.
The scent of basil causes sympathy between two people so wear to avoid major clashes. It creates harmony of all kinds. Prostitutes used to wear it in Spain to attract business.
Anoint green candles for prosperity in the home. Brings "luck to your home and gold to your pocket." A magnetic oil to be worn by men.
This oil brings peace of mind. It is used in purification ceremonies. A drop or two smoldering on a charcoal block will effectively clear the area with billowing clouds of smoke.
Used in protective rituals and also in drawing prosperity. Wear on the palm of each hand.
Wear to strengthen psychic powers. Also anoint yourself when you have decided to break off with a lover, or when they have done so with you and you find it hard to let go.
This is an oil of power. It is used as an energy restorer after exertion, as an aid to healing, and in consecration ceremonies. Should be worn when extra energy for a ritual is desired.
A high-vibration oil, used for personal protection. It is also a sexual stimulant in the female. Added to any incense, it increases its powers. Mixed with powdered sandalwood, it makes an incense suitable for all religious or spiritual magic. God for meditation, illumination, and so on.
Protective, strengthens the five senses. Also "five lucks"- love, money, health, power and wisdom, so is often used to anoint amulet and charm bags.
An aphrodisiac, worn to attract lovers. Inhaled, the oil helps memory and eyesight.
A love oil used to anoint candles.
Brings peace and harmony to the home. Anoint all doorways once a week just before sunrise when the household is asleep ad all is quiet.
Worn to ease childbirth by the expectant mother. Also used in love and marriage spells.
An oil of blessing, consecration and protection. It is a symbol of the Earth-element, as well as of death. When attending a funeral of a friend or loved one, wear this oil so that you will be uplifted by the meaning of death as the doorway to but another life. It also effectively screens out the negative vibrations of the mourners. Wear on Samhain to become aware and remember those who have passed on.
A healing oil, very useful in recuperation after long illnesses. Cures colds with daily application to the throat, forehead and wrists, and by adding it to healing baths. Also used for purifications.
One of the most sacred of all oils, used to anoint magical tools, the altar, etc. A strong purifier used in exorcisms, purification rituals, and blessings.
Wear to attract love. A powerful feminine magnetic oil. Protective.
A tropical aphrodisiac. Induces passion. HELIOTROPE High spiritual vibrations, drenched with the energies of the Sun. Aids in clairvoyance.
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