Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Wednesday What Herb Is This - Ointments

When the subject of Witches' ointments is mentioned, the infamous "flying ointments"
immediately come to mind, at least to those with some interest in the history of  Witchcraft and magic. These salves, consisting of psychoactive plants steeped in a fatty
base, were rubbed onto the skin to aid in what is known today as astral projection.  These are not the only types of ointments known to Witches and magicians, however. Many others have more earthly uses that correlate to those of oils. In fact, any of the oils  mentioned in the Oil section can be converted to ointments simply by adding them to melted beeswax, lard or (in today's world) vegetable shortening. However made, ointments should ideally be kept in crystal or porcelain containers.  Realistically, any jars with tight-fitting lids will do fine. Keep ointments away from heat and light. Be warned - though most of the ointments discussed in this section are fairly innocuous, some of them are poisonous and may be lethal. By including them in this work, there is in no way advocating use of such hazardous mixtures. These ointments form a part of herb magic of long-gone days, and so are included here solely for their historical interest.

Making Ointments
Ointments are easily made. They consist simply of herbs or oils and a base. In the past, hog's lard was the preferred base because it was readily available, but vegetable shortening or beeswax produces the best results. The base must be a greasy substance that melts over heat but is solid at room temperature. Some herbalists actually use dinosaur fat (I.e., Vaseline, which is prepared from petroleum)! There are two basic ways to create magical ointments.

The Shortening Method
Gently heat four parts shortening over low heat until liquefied. Watch that it doesn't burn.
Add one part dried herbal mixture, blend with a wooden spoon until thoroughly mixed, and
continue heating until the shortening has extracted the scent. You should be able to smell it in the air. Strain through cheesecloth into a heat-proof container, such as a canning jar.
Add one-half teaspoon tincture of benzoin to each pint of ointment as a natural preservative. Store in a cool, dark place, such as the refrigerator. Ointments should last for weeks or months. Discard any that turn moldy, and lay in a fresh batch.

The Beeswax Method
This process creates a more cosmetic ointment without a heavy, greasy feeling. It is best to prepare it with oils rather than herbs, as it is difficult to strain. If possible, use unbleached beeswax. If not, use what you can find. Chip it with a large, sharp knife so that you can pack it into a measuring cup. Place one-fourth cup or so of beeswax in the top of a double boiler (something such as a coffee can set into a larger pot of water). Add about one-fourth cup olive, hazelnut, sesame or some other vegetable oil. Stir with a wooden spoon until the wax has melted into the oil. Remove from the heat and let cool very slightly, until it has just begun to thicken. (This step is taken so that the hot wax won't evaporate the oils.) Now add the mixed oils to the wax. Stir thoroughly with a wooden spoon and pour into a heat-proof container. Label and store in the usual way. In the recipes that follow, the recommended method of preparation will be mentioned.

Empowering Ointments ~ Once the ointment is made and has cooled in its jar, empower it with its particular magical need.  This vital step, remember, directs the energy within the ointment, readying it for your ritual use.

Using Ointments ~ Ointments are usually rubbed onto the body to effect various magical changes. As with oils, this is done with visualization and with the knowledge that the ointment will do its work.

Healing Ointment

  • 4 drops Cedarwood
  • 2 drops Sandalwood
  • 1 drop Eucalyptus
  • 1 drop Cinnamon
    Add to the melted beeswax/oil base, cool, and anoint the body to speed healing as needed. Do not apply to wounds, burns or broken skin!

Hex-Breaker Ointment

  • 3 parts Galangal
  • 2 parts Ginger root, dried
  • 2 parts Vetivert
  • 1 part Thistle
    Steep the herbs in shortening, strain, cool, and anoint the body at night.

Love Ointment

  • 4 drops Ylang-Ylang
  • 2 drops Lavender
  • 1 drop Cardamom
  • 1 drop Vanilla extract
    Add the oils to the beeswax/oil base. Make in the usual way and anoint the body when looking for love.

Lust Ointment

  • 3 parts Galangal
  • 2 parts Dill
  • 1 part Ginger
  • 1 part Peppermint
  • 1 whole Vanilla bean
    Prepare with shortening in the usual way. Anoint the body (but not to tender areas)

Moon Goddess Ointment

  • 5 drops Sandalwood
  • 3 drops Lemon
  • 1 drop Rose
    Prepare with the beeswax/oil base. Anoint yourself to attune with the Goddess of the Moon and during Full Moon rituals.

Protection Ointment

  • 2 parts Mallow
  • 2 parts Rosemary
  • 1 part Vervain
    Make in the usual way with shortening. Rub onto the body to drive out negative influences and to keep them far from you.

Psychic Powers Ointment

  • 3 parts Bay
  • 3 parts Star Anise
  • 2 parts Mugwort
  • 1 part Yerba Santa
    Make in the usual way with shortening. Anoint the temples, middle of the forehead and back of the neck to improve psychic powers.

Psychic Powers Ointment #2

  • 3 drops Lemongrass
  • 2 drops Bay
  • 1 Yarrow
    Mix with the beeswax/oil base and anoint as with the above formula.

Riches Ointment

  • 4 drops Patchouli
  • 3 drops Oakmoss Bouquet
  • 1 drop Clove oil
  • 1 drop Basil oil
    Make according to the beeswax/oil method and anoint the body and hands daily to attract riches.

Sun God Ointment

  • 4 drops Frankincense
  • 3 drops Orange
  • 1 drop Cinnamon
    Make according to the beeswax/oil method. Anoint the body to attune with the Solar God, especially on Wiccan Sabbats.

Witches' Ointment, Non-Toxic

  • 3 parts Vervain
  • 3 parts Sandalwood
  • 2 parts Cinnamon
  • 1 part Carnation petals
    Make in the usual way with shortening. Store in a container marked with a pentagram (five-pointed star, one point facing up). Anoint the body prior to Wiccan rituals to become one with the Goddess and God and that which lies beyond them.

Witches' Ointment, Non-Toxic

  • 3 drops Frankincense
  • 2 drops Myrrh
  • 1 drop Sandalwood
  • 1 drop Orange
  • 1 drop Lemon
    Make according to the beeswax/oil method. Use as with the above ointment.

Youth Ointment

  • 4 parts Rosemary
  • 2 parts Rose petals
  • 1 part Anise
  • 1 part Fern
  • 1 part Myrtle
    Make with shortening. For preserving or re-attaining youth, stand nude before a full-length mirror at sunrise and lightly anoint your body, visualizing yourself as you would like to be.

These recipes call for preparations that require oils. While it is perfectly acceptable (and sometimes necessary…) to use purchased oil, keep in mind that the more of your ingredient YOU make, the more they contain of your energy & intent. For general oils directions, you can go here


Disclaimer: No one involved in this blog or its contents may be held responsible for any adverse reactions arising from following any of the instructions/recipes on this list. It is the reader's personal responsibility to exercise all precautions and use his or her own discretion if following any instructions or advice from this blog.

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