Housewarming Potpourri Recipe Blend – Ingredients Mixed Made by My Mother
~By Witch Daughter of Aradia (c)2008
It is the season where it’s sunny, yet cold and rainy sometimes, and a nip of sharpness is in the air as were are heading towards the last of the harvest seasons and into the beginning of (I won’t say it, because I don’t want to think about that white stuff quite yet!) For me, I’m always in the kitchen, it seems, whipping up hot dinners at night–and boy does it feel good to warm up the apartment from the cold, with the aroma of food and spices in the air.
But even throughout the day when you want to bring a little Autumn in the house, make a little pot of potpouri to heat on the stove. Have a small pot especially for this–do not use this pot again for edible foods! We’ll call it…
The Witches Magickal Cauldron (Not very original, but what can I say? Call it what you will.)
~Dry thin slices of oranges, apples, pomegranates-put them in your magickal cauldron. Oranges give it a citrusy scent, apples are a goddess symbol, and pomegranate for the descent of the goddess to the underworld…
~Add to the dried slices some freshly broken up cinnamon sticks; cinnamon will bring love into the house…
~Add a dash of nutmeg, pumpkin spice, some clove. These are some of the scents for the season…
~With a wooden spoon, stir your concoction slowly deosil (clockwise) while blending all the ingredients together. Think about all the magickal items you’ve added to your cauldron and what you want it to draw in your home for the upcoming cold season…
~To top it off, shave some orange peals, grate some cinnamon stick, and add about three drops of patchouli essential oil to the batch…
~Slowly fill the cauldron with distilled water until it reaches 3/4 above the ingredients, and put it on the back burner. Turn the burner on MEDIUM, and carefully stir until the water almost comes to a boil…
~Keep careful watch on it until you begin to smell the Magickal essence of the season. Turn the heat on WARM/SIMMER, and leave the cauldron burning throughout the day so it imbues your house. It’s a lovely autumn aroma to smell when your family or guests come in from the chilliness outside…
~Be sure to turn off the stove if you have to leave it unattended, and cover it with a lid after it cools. Don’t forget to add more ingredients of what it may need for more aroma, and make sure to keep the water in there so it doesn’t burn! If it starts getting yucky and begins to mold or smell, make a new batch…
*My mom used to do this (she was a stay-at-home mom while I grew up), and I loved the smell of oranges and cinnamon mixed together. Enjoy yourselves!
NOTE: This “Kitchen Witchery Recipe” is obviously NOT EDIBLE!!!
Blessings of the Mabon/Samhain Season!
Written and Composed by: Witch Daughter of Aradia
Inspired by: My mom who loved being in our home and hearth during the cold seasons sharing through her love of aroma in our family when she was alive.
This book contains 40 herbs and their medicinal and magickal effects – including categories for taste, acidity, etc. Its a great book if you like to blend your own teas – just pick and choose the herbs you want and start experimenting! The best part is – all of the herbs in this book are safe!
Rosemary is ruled by the Sun and by the element of fire. This is obvious if you take Rosemary leaves in your fingers and grind them to release the scent.
Most commonly it is used for cleasing, exorcism, love, healing, protection and purification. It is an excellent replacement for Frankincense, if you happen to run out – or if you want to create an herbal bath or infusion but can’t use a Resin.
* Incense – burned Rosemary is used for cleansing and purifying. It is great to consecrate spaces and cleanse a new home before moving in – it is one of the oldest incenses. Also a great incense to cleanse bedrooms of people who are sick, or depressed. Excellent when used in the home after the death of a loved one, to help with the alleviate grieving.
* Infusion – an infusion of Rosemary was often used to wash healer’s hands before doing healing work and they were used in sick rooms to promote healing. Rosemary infusion is also excellent for those with arthritis as it encourages circulation – add an infusion of rosemary to your bath water and feel better! Also a Rosemary bath will help with muscle cramps after a long workout!
* Scent – Rosemary has a strong scent has been used for centuries to help dispel depression and clear negative feelings. Fresh Rosemary is best for this, but high quality dried rosemary can be used for this as well. Rosemary essential oil is rather inexpensive and is an excellent mood lifter. Take some dried rosemary and grind it in your fingers! Or – add Rosemary to a sachet and pull it out whenever you need a little natural pick-me-up!
* Beauty – Rosemary improves circulation – it is excellent as a facial steam to cleanse the pores. It can also be used as an herbal rinse for dark hair.
* Household – Boil a handful of Rosemary in 2 cups of water for 10 minutes to yield an antiseptic solution for washing bathroom fixtures. Also, you can add about 30 drops of Rosemary essential oil to 4oz of water (I prefer destilled water) and use as a natural air freshner!
* Food – Rosemary is an excellent spice for cooking -extensively used in italian cooking in particular it adds a unique flavor to any dish! (Rosemary potatos…. yum!)
* Herbal Medicine – in herbal medicine, Rosemary has been used to treat arthritis, headaches, pains, upset stomach, sprains, cuts and bruises. There are studies being done with Alzheimer’s disease – phytochemicals in Rosemary may prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine, a chemical that allows neurons within the brain to communicate with each other. Several studies have indicated the Rosemary contains compounds that prevent carcinogenic chemicals from binding to and inducing mutations in DNA – thus helping to prevent cancer. Those with IBS have found that Rosemary relieves intestinal cramps and spasms by stimulating the release of bile that helps digest fat. It also relieves bloating and gas. And last but not least, the antioxidants in Rosemary help prevent uterine spasms associated with menstrual cramps!
One thing to remember: Rosemary stimulates bloodflow – so women with heavy periods should avoid excess rosemary. Also, Rosemary essential oil is very strong and should never be taken internally.
Rosemary is one the most inexpensive herbs and essential oils on the market today – so anyone can use it! So go ahead – add a little Rosemary to your life! You will be glad you did
I am by no means rich, so the thought of spending over $1K at the emergency vet make me cry almost – so I decided to take the natural herbal route first and see if I could treat these wounds myself before I resorted to my usual running to the doggie ER (I swear I keep that place in business). Well this time it worked out great! Everyone is all healed up! So I decided to write this little article on Animal First Aid!
For any kind of animal the thing to remember is that animals injured will behave differently. Some will let you come near – and touch them – if they do – great you are in business. If they do not – then your best bet is to suck it up and go to the vet where your pet can be properly restrained or sedated to be treated. One of my dogs is a maniac minpin and the last time he got into it with a much larger dog, he got bit in the ear. Although I could tell the wound wasn’t bad, he wouldn’t let me touch it – not even to clean it! So I had to take him to vet to have them look it.
First think to do – is make sure the pet is out of harm’s way. Once they are in a safe environment – here are a few simple steps that can help
1) STOP THE BLEEDING! If its a big gash and you can see where the blood is coming from, your best bet it to head to the emergency room (and get your wallet ready!). Most of the time, in these little “friendly” scrapes, I see blood everywhere and there is no way for me to tell where the blood is coming from. There are no gaping wounds and no gashes and blood is everywhere. So – one by one off they go into the tub, and I gently clean them off with clean running water until I see where the bleeding is coming from – then I can tell how bad the wound is. I have at times, rushed to the doggie ER with a sopping wet dog who had a much larger wound that originally appeared.
2) CLEAN THE WOUND! There are so many fancy medicines on the market, but good old fashioned water works best. Once the wound is clean and you have an idea of what is happening, you need to kind of gage the severity of it. Animals have fur which can disguise the wound – so clean it first so you can tell how bad it is before you decide you want to treat it yourself.
Cuts and scrapes – should heal within a few days – use the herbal infusion below 3X a day and keep the wound clean.
Puncture wounds – these are dangerous – as depending on how deep they are, they can get infected and swollen. Deep punctures will need a drain – you will need to see your vet for this. This is especially dangerous for cats as skin wounds for them heal much slower than in dogs. Keep the wound clean!
Open wounds – anything that is under about half an inch should not need stitches unless its combined with a puncture of sorts. You can generally tell by the amount of blood you have and by how your dog reacts. Animals in pain look dazed – if that happens – go to the vet – don’t dally – you know your pet well and you can tell if they are “not themselves”. This means the wound is deep enough that they are in serious pain or that there could even be muscle or neve damage. If they are just limping about, but seem ok otherwise, you have to keep an eye on it. Open wounds can go either way – keeping them clean is an absolute MUST!
3) Apply Medicine! I love infusions for first aid because they are easy to make and the results are astonishing. If you have more than one animal at home, I higly recommend investing in a holistic veterinary herbal which will tell you which herbs are safe for animals and the correct dosages. I have about 8 of them – but the best one by far is the one below:
Natural Health Bible for Dogs & Cats : Your A-Z Guide to Over 200 Conditions, Herbs, Vitamins, and Supplements by Shawn Messonnier (available on Amazon.com and WELL WORTH the cost if you have multiple pets or older pets who may be starting to have health problems and you want to find alternate ways of helping them).
Now – mainly I will use an infusion on the wound to clean it and as a first line of medicine and then alternate it with an application of a healing Salve I made that replaced Neosporin (recipe below). Infusions can also be used as cleaning solutions. I tried to use a poultice on a dog once – it was a disaster – I had poultice on the ceiling by the time it was over – so I highly recommend sticking with infusions!
Can you say lifesavers? These little babies are your best battle in pet first aid – and Human first aid! Because Comfrey is an excellent healing herb on all levels, all of my infusions are generally paired up with Comfrey. But here are some other safe options you can add:
St. Jons Wort – Antibacterial – keeps wounds from geting infected
Yarrow – Stops bleeding
Chamomile – gentle pain reliever and mild antibacterial
Slippery Elm Bark – itcy inflamed skin
Calendula (Marigold) – Disinfects and cleans wounds
Rosemary – increases blood flow (DO NOT use on bleeding wounds – this is good for bruises)
Below is the most recent infusion I used for the my dog fight – mainly I was afraid about infection breaking out so I choose St. John’s Wort:
* 1/2 oz of dried Comfrey Leaf
* 1/2 oz of dried St. John’s Wort
Mortar and Pestle
- Bruise the herbs in your M&P – you ALWAYS want to do that before you create any medicinal herbal combinations to “open up” the herb. Also – you should NEVER use a M&P that has been used to grind non-medicinal herbs (Such as resins etc) as the residue of these herbs (no matter how clean your MP is) will mix with your medicine with possible adverse effects. I have a separate MP I use for medicinal herbalism as opposed to magickal herbalism.
- Once nice and bruised – add the herbs to a mustlin bag or old sock. Boil about 2 cups of water, add the herbal bag to a bowl and create a strong infusion with the boiling water. Normally I let it steep about 30 minutes – you want the solution to be a DARK color – where you cannot see through it – most of the time it will be dark brown. Let it cool.
- I generally add this to a Mason Jar and close it tightly – it will keep in the fridge (do not leave it out of the fridge or it will mold) for about a week. After that, discard it and create a new infusion.
- Add the infusion to a cotton ball and apply it to the wound – I generally do several applications per cleasing. If the wound is really bad, I sprinkle some of the infusion on it and wait about 2-3 minutes for it to be absorbed by the skin – clean off excess. Do what you can to keep your pets from licking right after you clean the wound. It is unreasonable to expect that they won’t lick it at all – but I generally cleanse the wound and follow it with a 10-15 minute energy healing session (which makes them sleepy) or massage or petting – anything to keep them focused on me instead of the wound.
I have been making this salve now for about 2 years (maybe 3?). Orignally I created it for bruising – as I bruise easily – but I noticed lately that it goes far beyond just bruising. This takes a while to make – but it keeps for up to THREE YEARS – so its well worth the effort.
Things you will need:
Rosemary Essential Oil
Lavender Essential Oil
Liquid Vitamin E (or you can buy the liquid caps at the health food store and squeeze em – if you don’t mind the mess)
Aloe Vera Gel
1 oz dried Yarrow
1 oz dried Comfrey
Several Layers of cheesecloth
4 Clean Mason Jars
3-7 storage jars (depending on size – I use 7-8 2oz jars)
Oven safe glass bowl or Double boiler
Step 1: Create your infused Oils
Bruise your herbs in your MP and add add them each to a clean mason jar. Comfrey on one Jar and yarrow in the other. Add Jojoba oil to the jars until it covers the herbs and doubles the volume of herbs. So if you jar is half-filled with the herb, you want to fill it with the oil. If your jar is only 1/4 filled with the herbs then you want to 1/2 fill it with oil.
Add water to your slow cooker and put the 2 Mason jars in there. Set it for low (or keep warm if your slow cooker has that setting) and toss in the thermometer. Loosely put the lids over the jars just to keep debris from falling in it – but don’t seal it – it needs to be able to evaporate. Put it somewhere it won’t be disturbed – this will need to cook for 7 days at a temperature between 120 and 150 degrees. I generally put the slow cooker lid over it to keep the water evaporation down to a mininum – you will need to replace the water in the slow cooker once it goes down.
After a week, you will need to strain the oil over the cheesecloth. This is always messy. I generally strain it from of the mason jars to another clean mason jar and put a bown under it to keep it from spilling around too much. Make sure you strain each oil as best as possible. Now it needs to decant.
Once strained, seal the new mason jars and put them overnight in a dark place. The next night (generally 24 hours), you will pour each oil into a clean Mason jar again careful to leave all the “gook” that has settled at the bottom of the jar out of you oil. I generally do this for 2 days. So decant it twice. At this point, you have 100% pure infused oils that have a shelf life of about 2-3 months. They can be used alone or used to prepare salves as I am going to describe below.
Step 2: Create the Salve
Ok now we are ready to create the salve. Temperature is VERY important – so everything you add to your Salve mixture, will need to be at approximately the same temperature.
1) Warm up your infused oils – in a large pan, add water and your infused oils jars so that the jars will heat up without cracking.
2) Melt the beeswax – you will need a double boiler or in my case – I use a regular pan filled with water and a glass oven-safe bowl. If you use my method make sure the bowl opening is larger than the pan – so that it won’t fit completely inside the pan but rest over it comfortably. Add water to the pan (or your double boiler) and bring to a boil. The boiling water in the pan will warm up the bowl – add about 4 oz of beeswax to the bowl – melt slowly.
3) Once the beeswax is melted and your oils are warmed up – SLOWLY add each oil to the beeswax – stirring the whole time. If you add the oil too fast it won’t mix well. Once this is done, add the second oil – the same way.
4) Once the oils are fully blended with the melted beexwax, add about 2-3 oz of coconut oil. Generally coconut oil is solid at room temperature – this is ok to add directly to the mix. Stir the salve mixture until the coconut oil is completely mixed and you have a liquid once again.
5) Add the Aloe Vera Gel – about 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons of Aloe Vera gel. Stir untl well blended.
6) Add the Olive oil – about 2-3 tablespoons until well blended.
7) Add the vitamin E – about 20 drops until well blended
What you should have left is a greenish liquid that will smell kind of yukky. Once everything is fully blended, remove from heat and let it cool for about 5-10 minutes. Once its cooler, add about 20 drops of Rosemary essential oil and about 20 drops of lavender essential oil. If you add this while the mixture is still too hot it will burn up the oils. This should remove most of the strong smell of the mixture.
8) Pour and save – gently pour this mixture into your clean storage jars. Seal tightly. Let each jar cool overnight. Voila your salve is done! This salve will last for about 3 years – the beeswax is a natural preservative. Now this is assuming you keep the jar sealed and out of sunlight. If you toss the jar about in direct sun and keep it open, it will cut down on the shelf life of the product.
Here are some of the things that I have used this salve for in the past:
* healing cuts and bruises – just rub it on the bruise or cut – it works wonders
* IV bruises – those of you that have been in the hospital know that those IV’s are nasty and they leave large bruises and hematomas – this salve works great for that.
* Open wounds – I used it on my poor dog who got bit on the top of her head and had a gaping wound. The beeswax acts as a natural barrier and keeps the wound clean. So clean, apply the salve, and clean again and apply again.
* Rashes and muscle pain – this has worked well for muscle pain – especially after a workout or when you twist an ankle or something. I have also used it on skin allergies with great success.
I make this salve once a year and its a very popular in my website – my customers generally buy it every year. Between infusions, a healing salve and good old fashioned water – you have everything you need for your pet’s (and yours as well) first aid!
Now with all that said – I keep a simple first aid kit with the following:
* Healing Salves
* Cotton swabs
* Cotton squares
* Muslin bags
* Healing stones – I love Citrine for healing – because I generally see the injury as a block in energy and cirtrine helps to remove that.
* Mortar and Pestle
* Comfrey & Yarrow dried herb mix – for bleeding cuts and normal first aid – these make great poultices for humans
* Comfrey & St. Johns wort herb mix – for wounds that may become infected
* Comfrey & Dried Calendula (Marigold) – for cleansing of all kinds
* Peppermint essential oil – for upset stomach – one of my dogs has a big problem with a sensitive stomach and 1 drop of peppermint essential oil on her muzzle generally settles her stomach.
* Clean bottles or mason jars (I use 2oz lotion type bottles) to hold your infusions.
* Clean towel – for clean up after poultices
This kit will help you with almost any type of first aid – its great to keep around both for kids, curious humans and animals. Enjoy!
Try this soothing and nourishing oil for your next massage or after a shower or bath.
2 ounces Apricot Kernel Oil
2 ounces Sweet Almond Oil
4 drops rose geranium essential oil
8 drops bergamot essential oil
10 drops sandalwood essential oil
Combine all ingredients in a small (4-6 ounce) plastic squirt bottle or other appropriate container and shake gently. If using after a shower or bath, apply lightly while skin is still damp.
You will need:
* 1 Star anise pod (preferably one that has all of its little arms – but a broke one will work too)
* 1 Purple spell candle (you can use white in a pinch)
* 1 Anointing Oil for your candle – you can use any of the following: Moon oil, Water Oil, Sandalwood, Lemongrass, Anise, Myrrth or Orange – any of those will work – if you don’t have any of that, plain old olive oil will work too.
* Do not use incense of any type. It will interfere with the spell!
Casting the Spell
1) Cast your Circle as normal
2) Sit in the center of your circle and look at your anise pod. Its little arms stretching out like an open flower (if you don’t have a whole pod, you will have to use extra imagination to picture what that pod would like if it were whole). Take the image of your pod firmly in your mind and close your eyes. Hold the pod tight in your hand and imagine it spinning beautifully.
3) With that image of the spinning pod in your mind, anoint the candle. Feel the energy of the spinning pod moving from your visualization into the candle.
4) Light the candle, close your eyes and imagine the flame of the candle growing brighter and brighter and its gentle glow grows all around you, until you are surrounded by its comforting and protective light.
5) Now bring the image of the spinning pod back into your mind. With your eyes closed, bring the pod up close in the palm of your hand to where you can smell the scent of the Anise. It should be a strong smell. As you take the scent of the Anise in, imagine that your third eye chakra starts to open into a beautiful flower, like the pod did. It starts to spin in sync with the pod. The gentle energy of the candle that surrounds you helps to remove any blockages you have until you can feel the chakra spinning freely and completely open. Do this for as long as you wish.
6) Once you are done, snuff out the candle and save it for the next time you want to do this same spell. This candle can be used multiple times so long as its for the same purpose. Be sure to properly close your circle.
7) You can hold on to the Anise pod and use it as a meditation piece, anytime you need to bring the image of your open and healthy third eye chakra bring it out and let the scent of it guide you. You can also have it close to you anytime you attempt any type of divination. I like to carry it with me in a little plastic bag (so it doesn’t lose its scent) and any time I feel bogged down, I pull it out, take a good sniff of that Anise and I feel my third eye opening right up!
You can do this spell once a month if you wish – I wouldn’t do it any more often than that. You can use the same Anise pod, so long as it still has its scent – the scent of the Anise is very important for this spell so if it has lost the scent, use a new one.
And its that easy! Enjoy!
Creating an Herbal Bath
Herbal baths can be created out of as few or as many herbs that you want. Be sure to check a reliable herbal first to make sure the herbs you are using will not cause an irritation. A good magical Herbal will also give you some information on what herbs can be used for what intent.
Here is an example:
If you are not feeling well, feel drained of energy, stressed and need to relax you may want to choose the following herbs for your bath:
Lavender (Mercury and Air) – for purification and peace
Rosemary (Sun and Fire) – Mental powers and healing
Peppermint (Mercury and Fire) – Purification and healing
Bladderwrack (Moon and Water) – psychic powers, protection
In terms of proportions – think about what you want to add more. Let’s start with a base recipe of 1 part of each herb.
You can change this base recipe to meet whatever needs you have. If you are feeling mentally drained as of late, you may want to modify it as follows:
You can use the same recipe and modify it if you are feeling physically drained or tired:
And you can even modify this bath to prepare you for a stressfull time to come (relatives coming to visit, business trip, large project starting, holidays, etc)
The combinations are endless and once you start combining you will soon see what works best. Make sure you write down each recipe and how well it worked for you. You will find that some combinations work better than others. Just because one grimoire says a particular recipe is powerful it doesn’t mean it will work for you. Try different things and see what you like!
Once you feel confident working with herbs, you can try to tweak your recipes as follows:
* Try to balance out the elements (air, earth, water, fire) – or add more of one element you want to bring into your life
* Try to balance out the planetary correspondences
* Once you feel proficient with it, try to create recipes that will blend the herbs planetary rulers, elemental rules and the natural herbal lore together – so you can make the best use of each herb!
Using an Herbal Bath
There are several ways to use an herbal bath. I would NOT recommend adding the loose herbs to the bath as it can clog your drains.
* Infusion – add about 2 tablespoons of your herbal bath mix to a muslin bag. Pour 2 cups of boiling water and let it steep for 15 minutes. Add the infusion to the bath.
* Bath Sachet – add 2 tablespoons of your herbal bath mix to a muslin bag and drop it straight into the water. I highly recommend adding essential oils to boost your blends if you plan to use them this way
Adding to an Herbal Bath
Here is where herbal baths get fun and effective! Try some of these tips with your herbal bath to create mood and maximize your experience:
* Add candles – add 1 or 2 candles to the bathroom and turn down the lights. This will set the mood the relax you.
* Add music – I personally enjoy the sound of the ocean splashing on a beach shore with my herbal baths
* Add gemstones – cleanse and charge gemstones and either add them to the bathwater or keep them close to you during your bath
* Meditate – try to meditate during your bath – its a wonderful experience!
* Write a spell – create an herbal bath spell – this is specially effective for spells where the water element can add a boost – such as healing, love, relaxation, meditation, removing obstacles, etc
Herbal baths are very versatile – once you start working with them, you will love them even more! Try one of our pre-made herbal bath blends with ogranic herbs and essential oils or create one yourself! Either way you are in for a treat!
You can make infused Oils with basic stuff you get at the grocery store. Here is a very easy formula! You will need:
2 Clean Glass Jars (at least 8 oz big) with a lid
1 Bottle of Oil – Jojoba oil or Olive Oil
1 oz of whatever herb you plan to use.
Bruise the herbs a little bit and place the them in the jar. Now place the Oil in the jar to cover measure up to double the amount of herbs you have. So for example – if in your jar, you have about 1 inch of herbs, you want to pour the oil until it measures 2 inches up (1 inch to cover the herbs and another inch after that).
Here is where the recipe changes – you can create your oil in one of 2 ways:
* Natural Infusion – Shake the jar well and place in a sunny window. Open the jar to let vapors esacpe every day and then close it. Shake the jar everyday to make sure the herbs are well mixed. You will need to leave the herbs in your window for about 3-4 weeks so that the oil gets very well infused.
* Slow Cooker infusion – loosely close the jar and place it in water and in a slow cooker. Fill the cooker with water so that the water completely surrounds the jar. Put it on the lowerst heat setting – its also good to keep a candle thermometer nearby so that you can check the temperature of the water. You want it stay between 120 to 150 degrees. I bought a small slow cooker just for this – it was $4.99 at target – its smaller than my big on and easier to handle. You must keep the herbs in constant heat for 7 days – make sure the lid is loose on top of the jar so that vapors can escape it. If you keep the jar sealed it may burst.
Regardless of which method you used, your infusion should be done. Just strain the mixture through the cheesecloth into your second clean jar – wash and clean the first jar again – you will need it the next day. Take it away from the sun now and place it on your counter. Let it sit undisturbed for 24 hours. This is called decanting – you basically letting the more solid matter sink to the bottom of the jar.
After 24 hours, open the jar and carefully pour the oil into the first jar again (should be clean). Be careful that if there is any plant material at the bottom of the jar, you do not pour it in. Normally there is a little ring of herb residue on the bottom – you want to make sure that does not get poured. Wash the old jar again, and let the new jar with the oil decant again another 24 hours. Technically, you should be done – I generally like to decant my tinctures and oils 3 times. The more you decant, the less plant matter you will have in your oil and the longer the shelf life will be.
What is very important is that you use whole or partially whole herbs for this – DO NOT use ground herbs! If decanted properly, your oil will last about 10 months if you used olive oil as your base and 2-3 years if you used Jojoba oil!
Here are some easy ones you can make from herbs from the supermarket:
* Rosemary – for healing, purification and love
* Rose petals – for love, family, and protection
* Peppermint – for dream magick and healing
* Bay Leaves – for purification, empowerment, money and protection (some people may be sensitive to this when used directly on the skin – test before you use!)
* Cinnamon – success and spirituality (Do not use cinnamon bark on the skin – it will cause irritation!)
* Ginger – Power, love, success (Be careful when using ginger on the skin – it can cause irritation)
* Parsely – protection and purification
* Basil – Love, health, protection, money
I highly recommend that you infuse each oil with only 1 herb. If you want to create blended oils, then infuse several oils and then blend together after they are already infused.
Happy Infusing! =)
First, there is a difference between medicinal herbalism and Magickal herbalism. Medicinal herbalism deals with the biological properties of herbs primarily and their energies as a secondary. Magickal herbalism is the opposite – we are mainly concerned with the Metaphysical properties of each herb primarily and their biological properties as a secondary.
Many people ask me – why are the biological properties even important if I am just using it in Magick? Well because many herbs are toxic if inhaled in incense or drank in a tea, can cause rashes if used in an herbal mix or herbal bath. You should always at least be aware of the biological side effects of any herb before you use it. Words like natural, organic, herbal do not equal safe. Remember that Cyanide is all natural and can kill you! Safety first!
Now with all that said – here are a few terms widely used when you purchase herbs – and here is what they actually mean:
· Wild harvested – This generally applies to harvesting plants in their natural habitat. There are rules for wild harvesting in different states, but mainly it means taking 25% or less of the plant so that it can continue to grow and thrive to be harvested again. Wild harvested herbs are generally pesticide-free but location is important. It is possible to wild harvest herbs growing by the side of the road, but it doesn’t mean you would really want to use those herbs.
· Organic – this means herbs were grown without pesticides and artificial enhancers. This also means that sustainability precautions were taken when growing the herbs to make sure that their environment remains healthy (i.e. – no soil stripping etc). The requirements for this will vary from state to state but mainly the USDA will govern almost all of organic certifications that are valid.
· Fair Trade – this is a worldwide program and it’s mainly a social program but it has ramification, I believe, in the final products we receive. This program will pay a fair price for good from third world producers so that they can sustain their families with their work. This eliminates the mass bidding and price undercutting that takes place sometimes in larger operations in favor of smaller family-run type farming.
· Green for Green – this is a practice unique to the metaphysical community that became more widespread in the middle of the last century when most local pharmacies started to make the move from Herbal Medicines to Pharmaceuticals. With less and less local availability of herbs, many pagans started to turn to online and mail ordering companies. Most herbs were being sold cut and sifted instead of whole like they used to be, and many of the lesser reputable stores started engaging in this green for green policy. This means that they would substitute a lower cost herb that “looked” the same as a higher cost herb and sell it at the higher price. Since herbs were cut and sifted, many customers would not be able to tell the difference. This practice is no longer as widespread as it used to be – but it is still out there today – and it is dangerous! This is why its important to learn what herbs (even sifted herbs) should smell and look like!
So now, with all of this said, if you plan to become a Magickal herbalist, what should you choose? Well consider this – when you work with an herb magically, you are working with the energies within those herbs. This means that everything that has happened to that herb before it got to your hands, will affect the energy of that herb. If it was bombarded with pesticides, if it was harvested in a careless manner, cultivated by people who are upset at being under-cut in pricing and can no longer feed their families – all of this affects it. So with that said, when possible, I always recommend going with Fair Trade, Organic or wild harvested herbs. However this is not always possible – but I still contend that your spell is better off with no herbs instead of using low quality herbs. I equate it to cooking steak – if all you can have if the $1.99 special – wouldn’t you go with the chicken instead? I would =)
So – here are a few tips on buying, caring for and storing herbs:
· Color – very few herbs are naturally brown. If you receive peppermint that has a brownish tint – throw it out – it means its old. Once herbs are harvested, cut and sifted, they will lose some of their color and scent but they should not lose all of their color – ever.
· Scent – most herbs have a distinct scent (although woods generally do not). Although not always pleasant, you should still be able to smell it. A perfect example is Rue – strong scent, pungent and bright green. If you receive rue that is brownish clump that has a moldy smell throw it out – it’s too old.
· Shelf life – most herbs if properly cared for – will have a shelf life of about one year. Some are longer than that – I have had high quality lavender remain viable for 3 years – but this is rare. After one year – give your herbs the good-old sniff test. If they lost their scent or smell moldy – throw them out. If their once yellow or green color has turned brownish – throw them out. It really is not worth it to use old moldy herbs in your spell. If you are taking the time to use herbs in your smell you might as well make sure they are good.
· Storage – herbs will last longer if they are stored in a cool (under 75 degrees), dry and dark place – a dresser drawer is a good place – a sunny window is not! Personally I like Ziploc baggies for them – they are cheap and easy to stack (just make sure every time you close ‘em you squeeze out as much of the air as possible) – but jars work too. If you decide to use jars, make sure they form a TIGHT seal or your herbs will not last as long.
· Sellers – most pagan shops will sell herbs of one kind or another. The problem is that for pagan shops where herbs are not a big part of their business, these herbs will sit on shelves for 1 year or more – and that’s even before they get to you! The same thing can happen to local organic shops. I drove down to our local organic market looking for eucalyptus and found a brownish unscented herbal “thing” that was labeled eucalyptus. I can only imagine how long it had been sitting on the shelf. Be picky – if you order herbs from an online place – do the color and scent test. I have received Eucalyptus from suppliers that looked ok but when opened it – there was no scent – Eucalyptus ALWAYS has a scent.
If your herbs don’t pass the freshness or quality test – don’t be afraid to send them back! I generally found that I get better herbs if I purchase from an herbal store directly or from pagan stores that focus on herbs as their primary products. Even then, even if buying from the most reputable place there is – always do the sniff and color test when you get ‘em – anyone can make mistakes but ultimately its YOUR Magick and you have to make sure your materials are good =)
So there ya go – I hope some of this is useful to you =)