Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Mercredi: The Art of Giving

I've talked a lot about oils at HQ over the last year.  There are myriad magickal oils used in all disciplines but hoodoo is especially fond of oils for dressing things like mojo bags, talismans and so on.  Oils are a lot easier to make than most people might think but the process is time consuming.  Making magickal oil as a gift for the upcoming season would most likely be right out, but planning ahead for occasions in the coming year is certainly possible.  Then too, at least for me, the cold, dark months are the most conducive to the kind of concentration required for an ongoing magickal working.

First, you need to decide on what herb or herbs you’d like to use.  Dried herbs are really the only choice for making magickal oils and, although purists will tell you that any herb used in magick should be grown, plucked and dried with your own hand, I use the stuff right off the grocery store shelf.  For me, it is not just a matter of convenience but the reality of where I live.  Many herbs grow nicely here in the sub-Arctic but many more will not even sprout without greenhouse conditions.  My black thumb makes that impossible so it’s off to the market I go.  If I can find fresh herbs, I will dry them myself but I won’t stress over it.  Intention counts for a whole lot more than what time of day and with what silver athame you plucked those stalks or leaves.

Next, it’s time to pick an oil.  The very best medium for magickal oils, to my mind, is almond oil.  If you are making oils for food preparation, corn oil works best.  Olive oil is also nice but it is really not good for use in magickal oils as it can go rancid within a year or so. 

You’ll also need some good apple cider vinegar, glass jars with tight lids to hold your oil and herbs, a fine strainer or cheesecloth for removing the herbs from your oil, and a warm, dry place for your oil to steep.

Place about two ounces of dried herbs in a mortal and pestle and really grind them down, as close to a powder as you can.  A cup or bowl and the back of a spoon will serve the same purpose.  Put the crushed herbs in a glass jar and then pour about eight ounces of oil and a very generous tablespoon of vinegar over them.  Seal the lid of your jar and shake gently before putting the whole thing up in a pantry or other warm, dark spot to set up.  Some people set their jar in sunlight but I find that this tends to degrade the oil too quickly.

Two weeks later, strain the oil into a new jar to which another two ounces of herbs have been added.  You can top this off with a bit more oil if you like and then start the whole process again.  Continue in this endeavor every two weeks until the smell of the herbs you are using is pleasingly clear to your nose.  The longer the oil sits, the more the herbal mixture will develop and the more intention and concentration you will be able to infuse it with.

After the oil is strained for the last time (three to four rounds of the process is usually enough), decant it into a nice bottle with a tight sealing lid.  You can mark it for use with a tag or sticker if you like, after which it is ready to give as a gift or go into your magickal cabinet for your own use.  A votre sant√© ~

Header: Madonna del Vittoria by Andrea Montegna c 1496

2 comments:

Timmy! said...

That is time consuming, but it does seem to be worthwhile, Pauline.

Pauline said...

It is; it's a little messy too - although your hands will be nice and soft when you're done. But as you point out, it's worth it to know what's really sitting in your cupboard.