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HomeBeginning Wicca, Classes, Witch Lesson 10: Herbalism

Lesson 10: Herbalism


Herbalism, part 1

This section will study the BASICS of herbalism. This is not meant to be an in-depth study of this subject, because it is extremely complex and learning intensive. The course of study with herbalism will make one equivalent to a Doctor of Medicine, if one goes about it correctly.

This is why, for the Druids, herbalists were given their own sub-set and specialization, the Deagbaire. Oriental (especially Chinese) herbalists are considered to be doctors in their own countries, with all the rights and responsibilities thereof.

There are literally thousands of herbs known to exist today. Each has properties unique to the herb, as well as having properties in common with many different herbs. Each has a specific way to get those properties out and make them into a useful form for us. An herbalist needs to know this in order to make the best use of the herbs.

This is not to say that this kind of activity is not it’s own reward. If you enjoy green, growing things, if you enjoy smelling a crushed herb, if you like hiking in the woods and a pastoral existence, if you enjoy chemistry, then by all means, go into a course with Broom Naifer to learn everything you can about herbs and herbology.

However, this will give you a brief introduction to herbs and their uses.

Disclaimer: In no way is the information that I present here or anyplace else to be substituted for a physician’s care. In many cases, with the advances in technology and knowledge, a doctor has more effective treatments than herbs. Herbalism is a resort for supplementing a doctor’s care, not a replacement of that care.

To begin studying herbs, one must first look at what herbs are used for.

The most memorable usage of herbs (although not the most common) is in medicines. Using herbs to take care of colds or a hacking cough is probably the single most memorable herbal usage there is, especially with the current popularity of herbal supplements and vitamins.

This is understandable since most medications can trace their roots (pun intended) back to herbs. One of the more famous examples of this is asprin. Asprin comes from salicylic acid. Salicylic acid is an ingredient in Willow Bark Tea. Willow Bark Tea was used for centuries (literally) as a fever-reducer and a headache cure. Some scientist someplace decided to find out why Willow Bark Tea worked so well, and isolated Salicylic acid from the tea. He concentrated that and reduced it to a pill, put an additive to make the acid milder and created acetyl salicylic acid, or the fore runner of modern Asprin.

http://www.curious.org.uk/asprin.htm for more information on Asprin and it’s origins.

This is only one mild example how a modern drug came from herbs. The truth is about 10,000 times more strange. There are documented examples of unknown plants having components in them that kill things like HIV and Herpes. The incurable diseases completely eradicated by an herb. However, with our modern technological age, no one thinks about these things any longer. The HIV killer that I mentioned, is documented on Discovery with a man doing some research in the Amazon Rainforest for the drug companies, finding a plant and sending a sample back to his home base. They tested it and it destroyed the HIV and AIDS samples in the test tubes they had. They ordered him to go and get more samples of this plant for further testing, but that section of the forest had been clear cut (using the slash and burn lumbering) that has become so common of late. Sad really.

Examples like this are common. Any disease created by nature has a cure for it out in nature someplace. Any modern drug can trace it’s origins back to an herb or plant. Even if it was created off another drug, like Acetaminophen, they probably would not have found that drug were it not for plants that the original drug was synthesized from.

The second most common use herbs is put to, and in some cases more common than medicinally, is Culinary use. You know, flavoring your spaghetti so that it tastes Italian instead of Chinese.

Herbs have been being used in cooking since man decided to cook. Probably better than 6000 years all totaled. Let’s face it, herbs taste good. The flavor of peppermint is like nothing else out there. Italian cooking would not be the same if you took out Oregano and Garlic.

In some cases, a food is defined by the herbs that go into it. For example, if you have pork, ground until it’s almost a paste, what do you have? Ground pork, usually. But if you add Sage, Cumin, Coriander and other peppers? Sausage, of course. Without those herbs, you have a well ground up pork, useful for putting in multiple things, but you don’t have sausage. (The sausage that I refer to is breakfast patties of sausage, not anything like Kielbasa or Bratwurst. Although this argument does hold for them as well.)

What about foods and drinks that are ONLY herbs? First thing I think of is Earl Grey Tea, or how about Root Beer? Tea is, of course, an herb imported from China and India, but you COULD NOT have tea without the herb. The herb is what makes the drink. What about Root Beer? Well, if you get the root of the Sassafras and Sarsaparilla, add some other ingredients, ferment it and let it sit, you have a potable drink. Same for Sarsaparilla, but instead of using the Sassafras root, you only use the Sarsaparilla and a few other ingredients.

I can’t think of any dishes that use only herbs, but I am sure there are some out there.

So, the culinary use of herbs is the second way to use herbs.

The third way to use these pesky weeds? How about their scent? There are many, many herbs that have very pungent scents, like the lavender plant. Lavender has been used for what is now being called “Aromatherapy” for many centuries. It’s soothing and calming, either in a pomander or in your bath water. It’s a relaxant, even though there is nothing to be said for it’s taste or it’s medicinal properties. In fact, some modern books on the medical uses of herbs are recognizing the aroma as a means of using these herbs to their fullest extent, and listing herbs that only give their benefit as a vapor vector (i.e. smell).

Ever wonder where the perfume you smell comes from? Originally it came from the scents of herbs. Peppermint, flowers (like roses), lemon, and many others were combined and distilled to their essential oils and used to make the smelly world smell better. There are classes on Aromatherapy, scented candles in stores, vials of essential oils in stores, sachets of dried flowers, and many other types of examples that prove my point.

Is there anything other than culinary, medicinal and scent uses for herbs? Of course there are. Like dying cloth and homes. For centuries, the only dyes for cloth came from herbs. Even today, some of the best and longest lasting dyes come from those same herbs, although there were some dyes that came from other sources, such as shellfish and clay. The cheapest of dyes (and the most commonly used, as a result) came from herbs and plants. There were even laws that were enacted that stated unless you were of a specific station in the culture, you were forbidden from wearing certain colors, such as Royal Purple (which comes from the abalone shell). I even have a recipe of woad, which uses an herbal dye for the skin. Oddly enough, the local name that is woad is called Indigo in many other places.

Another use of herbs? How about in creating altered states of consciousness. Make no mistake about it, the same herb that you use to fix problem A today can be used to create hallucinations tomorrow, and to kill someone the day after. Perfect example, Foxglove. Foxglove, called Henbane and many other names is a form of treatment for heart failure. However, taken in a dose large enough to fix the heart, but not enough to kill you, it can be a hallucinogen, and if taken in larger doses, it is fatal. Foxglove is the source of Digitalis.

See why the study of herbs is a lifelong pursuit? Not only do you need to know the properties of most (common) plants off the top of your head, but you should also know what the plant looks like. Without knowing what the appearance is, you could easily mistake Common Ivy, sacred to the Druids, as Poison Ivy. So forth and so on, ad nauseam.

However, as some of us know, Cannabis can and is an herb for creating an altered state of mind. One in which you are hungry, but it’s still a different state. Now, cannabis has been used for centuries as a source of rope, in the making of hemp, which is made into rope. Same thing with “shrooms” (and don’t ask me which mushroom they are talking about, I don’t know.) Same thing with peyote. In some cases, hallucinogenic herbs were used as the entire religious ceremony. There is a tribe in Peru who use a combination of some hallucinogenic herb with some kind of accelerant, probably alcohol, and snort the resulting mixture. From this they get visions and find answers to the questions they have. This is their entire religious ritual, along with some chanting and standing in a lake. But their holy men are as good at giving advice as any ancient Druid or modern Witch.

The next use for herbs is as sacrifices to the Gods. This is a valid use, in that you helped the herbs grow and took care of them, so the Gods will be pleased by your offering. In this, I don’t think wildcrafted herbs (herbs picked growing in the wild) would be that appropriate. Plants and flowers and other herbs that you have in a private garden, the ones that you took care of in the winter, and weeded in the summer may be more appropriate. Even then, the decorations you use on the altar in your ceremonies can be sacrificed to the Gods. Don’t burn them up, but a compost heap may not be out of order in the yard someplace.

Last, but not least, you can use herbs for magickal purposes. Some of this was covered in previous areas, but certainly not all. For example, Eyebright is an herb, a flower, that is very pretty to look at. Generally, there is not a whole lot that it is used for, but it has some good results in helping eye problems. Using it in a magickal ritual, to heal someone of an eye problem, however, can be monstrously effective.

Here’s what I came up with when I thought about using eyebright in a healing ritual.

Casting the Circle occurs. Once that is done, and the Gods invoked, move on to the actual healing ritual.

Take a pre-prepared poppet of the person in question in the left hand. Take the sprig of Eyebright in the right hand. Hold them both over the Altar, in the middle of the working area.

Say: Here I hold in my hand _____NAME______, who is suffering from failing vision. I hereby dedicate this poppet as him (or her).

Wave the poppet over the incense and consecrate it with the water/salt.

Say: I have in my hand, the cure for this condition. This herb represents all that is good in the universe, the health and healing of this person is in my hand. All the energy in the cosmos is focused in this plant. The Lord and Lady have blessed this plant to the healing of the eye, to make the eyes bright with sight and health. Let this happen now.

Push the eyebright on the poppet’s eyes, and feel the energy flowing through you into the eyebright, and into the poppet. Channel that energy into this and see his (or her) vision becoming clearer and more sharp. See the problems gone, and see them without glasses. Hold the eyebright there until you feel the energy run out of you. Use your thumb that holds the poppet to keep the eyebright in place, pick up a green ribbon.

Say: I bind this energy to ____NAME____ with this ribbon, sealing it to them, to make them healthy and whole. Never again shall their vision be threatened, nor shall they loose their sight. So long as this plant is here, so too shall this power stay sealed in them. So be it!

Tie the eyebright to the poppet with the ribbon, and place the whole thing back on the Altar. Meditate a while on the outcomes of this spell, and envision them as cured. See the green health energy flowing into their eyes, making them stronger and whole again. See the outcome of this ritual in your head, complete and whole.

Do the Cakes and Ale celebration and thank the Lord and Lady for coming and helping. Dismiss any and all beings brought to the Circle during this ritual, after thanking them. Any other rituals you feel should be performed should be done now.

Once that is done, Clear the Temple and place the Poppet in a safe place, where it will be undisturbed for a long time. It may be advisable to sew the eyebright on the poppet.

This is just a sample, but you can see how the properties of the herb were used in the rite to help it along. If you think of the healing abilities of the Eyebright as being turbo-charged by the energy you were pouring through the herb, and then being leached out of the plant into the person, that is a good visualization to have.

Now, there are many references that I can give you on herbs, but since I am no expert, I will give you what I use, and let you find your own. The study of herbs is by no means a small undertaking, but it is also not something that Druids or witches can afford to be ignorant of.

Until next time!

Recommended References:

The Herb Book by John B. Lust is an excellent resource, and one that is fairly inexpensive. I bought my copy at a grocery store. It does not tell you how to grow the herbs, but it does tell you just about everything else about them. The only thing it does not cover is the lore and the magickal uses, but that can be covered by many other books.

Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs by Scott Cunningham gives a somewhat brief treatment of the magickal uses of herbs. (Hey, it’s from Llewellyn, what do you want?) By and far the best place to start with the magickal study of herbs and plants, this gives a really good overview of the subject and has multiple references in it to keep you going. Some lore and folklore on the herbs, but not as much as necessary.

The Complete Book of Incense, Oils & Brews by Scott Cunningham (Preface) is a good place to start in studying the aromas of different plants and herbs. It’s complied from several sources, and little of this work is original to the author, but that does not detract from it in any way. It has one thing that no other book on Aromatherapy has, a recipe for making incense. Other than that, this book does not even attempt to be in depth, but only covers about 20-40 herbs and their scents, but it’s a good starting point.

Online Reference:


Herbs, Part 2

Okay, last time we looked at some of the uses of herbs and plant material, now we will look at the different tools you may need for herbs.

Mortar and Pestle This is the “normal” thing associated with herbology. Basically it is a bowl and a stick that crushes the herb between them. For this purpose, usually the bowl and stick (or Mortar and Pestle) are made of stone and not polished. This is so that you get a good grinding surface between them. This acts like a millstone. The pestle grinds the herb as it is moved, even if not a lot of pressure is used. The herb is pulverized into a powder or shredded into strips (depending on how dry the plant material is when you start). Once this powder is made, usually you are ready for the next step in your preparation process.

Jars Some people don’t think of these as a “tool” but you will use more jars in your time of working with herbs than anything else. What else are you going to keep the dried/ready/pulped/fresh herbs in before/during/after you need them? Jars of course.

My advice is to become friends with someone who has a child who is just starting on solid food. They will have many jars that you can have, and they are only waste to the parents. You will be able to cart them all off, and have someone thank you for that. Wash each jar carefully with scalding water (a dishwasher will do) and remove the labels. Now you have a supply of good, watertight jars to keep your herbs in for quite some time.

One type of jar you will need that you won’t be able to get from baby food jars is what is called “amber” jars. Some herbs are photo-sensitive (meaning they loose potency in the light). Amber jars are called that because they are dark brown. Yep, beer bottles are “amber”. But so too are most creamer jars.

Why use glass rather than plastic? Because plastic retains some of the previous contents on a very small level. In other words, you can’t be sure it’s clean unless you melt it down and remake it. Jars you can always boil.

Measuring supplies Goes without saying. However, you may have to invest in an apothecary’s set. In this set should be things like spoons in “drams” and weights and scales. If you are working with older recipes, then you will need these. Modern herbal recipes tend to give measurements in “tablespoons” and so forth. However, it’s good to know where you can either get these or whom you can borrow them from in an emergency.

Along with this you may want to invest in some different eyedroppers. Some recipes that I have seen demand that you put in “one drop of…” whatever into a recipe. Most often this is something like essential oils for potpourri.

And speaking of oil…

Oils and other liquids A great many recipes call for oils of various types. The best oil for these, by far, is virgin olive oil. You can get this from any grocery store at this point. It will be expensive, but that is how it is. If you can’t get olive oil for some reason, then a good alternate oil is safflower oil. The type of oil should be light and clear for it to be appropriate for use in the herbal recipes.

Sometimes tallow or lard will be called for. However, I have found that Crisco will fulfill this need quite handily, leaving you with something that smells somewhat reasonable. Tallow is rendered lard, and lard is the fat from slaughtered animals. However, Crisco is mostly rendered lard that has been purified enough that it is MUCH lighter in texture.

Alcohol is something else that is often called for. There are two types of this, the alcohol you drink and the alcohol you rub. Rubbing alcohol should be 91% pure alcohol so that it takes up the properties of the herb more easily. You will have to look for this strength however, it’s somewhat hard to come by. Drinking alcohol should be as close to 200 proof as you can get it. Golden Grain or Everclear are as pure an alcohol as you get, and these should be used in only small doses. Bacardi Rum 151 proof will do if you have nothing else.

Cooking pots One of the great things about herbology is the making of potions and herbal cures. To do this, usually you have to brew something. The traditional black cauldron of mythology in regards to witches is what was used in the past. However, living in the modern age as we do, and having aluminum pots and gas stoves, you should think about getting a set of pots and kettles used only for your herbal work.

You will need a saucepan, a double boiler, a strainer, a kettle (and possibly teapot), wooden spoons and spatulas, and probably a few each of the pots. Once again, use these only for doing the herbal work, not your day to day cooking. If you can, you may want to get one cast-iron sauce pot. The reason for this is that the iron from the pot will cook into the herbs and help some of them, but not others. So check before you use it.

Other items You will also want to have such things like wax paper, cheesecloth, small baggies, infusion baskets or tea bags, and possibly a candy thermometer. Some of these recipes call for certain temperatures to be maintained over time, so an egg timer, one of the hour long ones, would be a wise investment.

Remember whatever you use for the herbs and potions will only be used for them. Plastic and some wood tends to pick up the flavors and liquid of what it is used for, no matter how hard you scrub it. So if you only have those to use, only use them for the herbs.

This is why most herbalists suggest that you use either glass or metal as what you use for your tools. They can be scalded and boiled to clean them completely. Additionally, I have heard that wood (such as in cutting boards) can retain bacteria and microbes that will destroy the efficacy of what you are making. Wooden spoons are recommended simply because they can be disposed of in case of really messy compounds.

Okay, having gone over this, it’s time for you to hear about some common terms for preparing herbs.

DECOCTION: Place one ounce of herb in one pint of water. Make certain that roots are put in to boil before leaves. Once the water has come to a boil, simmer for about 30 minutes covered, then leave to cool completely. Strain and use as directed.

INFUSION: The original form of a potion, an infusion is not unlike a tea in quality. Pour boiling water over the herb in the proportions of one ounce herb to one pint water (although you may need much less for herbs that infuse quickly in water). Steep for fifteen to thirty minutes until a tea is formed. Use as directed.

MACERATE: To steep an herb in fat, such as done with salve and ointments. Best oils to use are almond and sesame. Warm one cup of oil over a low flame and place one-half ounce herbs wrapped in cheesecloth to soak. Continue until the herbs have lost their color and the oil is rich with their scent.

OINTMENT: A fatty substance such as lard to which herbs are added. Choose herbs according to the effect you desire, or enchant them, or both. For healing ointments, choose according to physical ailment. Three teaspoon of herb to one cup of fat, steeped and heated several times should prove very nice. Vegetable shortening will work very well, especially almond and saffron. All ointments should be kept cool and in air tight containers for best results. For magic, ointments work best when applied to pulse points or chakras.

POULTICE: A portion of herbs placed in an equal amount of boiling water to steep. Once herbs have been fully dampened, strain the water and place the herbs in gauze or cheesecloth applied directly to the affected area. This can be a little messy, so have a towel handy. It works fairly well, especially for rashes and other mild skin disorders.

TINCTURE: For ounces of herb steeped in eight ounces of alcohol for about two weeks gives a reasonable tincture. The bottle should be sealed and left in a dark area, and the liquid strained when the tincture is ready.

WASH: A tea or infusion meant only for external use. A mild form of a wash would be 1/4 ounce of herb to one pint of boiling water, steeped until lukewarm, then applied.

INHALATIONS: Herbal remedy by placing the herbs in boiling water, and inhaling the vapors. Primarily used for respiratory problems.

The above was taken from an herbal document in my possession, by an unknown author. However, it is the only document that I have seen that lays out these kinds of terms in a way you can understand.

See, one of the major problems of dealing in herbs is that the authors assume that you know more than you may. They are writing for doctors and those with multiple years of experience in this field. Thus, they will tell you to make a decoction of vervain to help someone suffering from whatever, but never tell you how to make a decoction in the first place. This is probably the MOST irritating thing out there.

In the next lesson, I will give you some sample recipes for herb soap and candles, as well as my own recipe for cough tea. However, this is the only set of recipes that I will give out. I am not as experienced in this area as I would like to be, and I know that these recipes are harmless. The cough tea even helped one child with chronic asthma to stop coughing. What’s incredible is that the recipe originally came from a fantasy book. It was Raistlin’s Cough tea. Those of you who read Wies and Hickman will instantly know where this came from. LOL

Till next time.


The Herbal Recipes…

As I promised, here is a list of different information on Herbs, their uses and their properties. There are recipes here and some good info. I don’t know how useful this info will be to you since I have never had the occasion to test any of them, although the first recipe for the Cough Tea is extremely good and I use it all the time.

I will also give you some more information on the Apothecary’s Weights, and I have also credited the appropriate authors, if I know who they were who wrote these pieces of information.

So, Apothecary’s Weights:

20 grains = 1 scruple
3 scruples = 1 dram
8 drams = 1 ounce
12 ounces = 1 pound

Apothecary Fluid Measure

60 minims = 1 fluidram
8 fluidram = 1 fluid ounce
16 fluid ounce = 1 pint
2 pints = 1 quart
4 quarts = 1 gallon

I found this information on http://www.rxtrek.net/weights.htm which seems to have a complete listing of the current pharmaceutical weights and measures. So, good luck.

If you have any doubts about any of these compounds or recipes, don’t use them. Wait and test it first and see. Note that, once again, this is not supposed to supplant a Doctor’s care for anything. This is a supplement to his care. And the Food and Drug Administration in the States do not regulate Herbs and herbal remedies, and I would think this would be true among any Western Civilization. So, let the buyer beware.

If you wish to speak to someone with FAR more expertise in herbs and herbal remedies, please contact Broom Naifer. She is one of the most knowledgeable people in this area that I have ever known. I’m sure if you asked her nicely she would consent to take you in as an apprentice in this field.

Herbal Cough Tea

Courtesy of Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman

Equal parts of:

Orange Peel
Lemon Peel

Two ounces of each herb makes a large jar that should last a while. Place all herbs in an amber jar or a light-tight container. Shake well to mix the herbs before use.

Steep 2 TBLSP in hot water for 10 minutes. Sweeten with honey to taste.

Expectorant, Cough Suppressant, Warming Tea.

Herbal and Natural Alternatives

Chloroseptic – three parts horehound to one part white willow bark, infuse with boiling water, sweeten with honey or sugar to taste. Drink as needed. If sore throat persists, consult your doctor.

Neosporin – boil chickweed *, place in blender, cool. Spread mixture over cut and cover with wet cotton cloth. Remove poultice when it feels warm to the touch, dispose.

to prevent urinary tract infection – Douche after sex (if you are prone to UTI’s becuase of this) 3 to 6 times (throughout the course of the day) with a strong infusion of white oak bark. If mild burning upon urination persists or has not lessened by the end of the day consult your doctor.

Midol – tea of 2-3 parts chamomile to 4 parts white willow bark and 1 part red clover (optional, red clover adds iron to combat fatigue.) Sweeten with honey or sugar to taste. Drink as needed.

Asprin – tea of 2 – 3 tablespoons white willow bark to 2 cups water. Sweeten with honey or sugar to taste. Drink as needed.

WARNING: Consult your doctor before using this in place of asprin if you are on asprin therapy due to a heart condition.

Antacids- Chamomile tea, as needed. Taking calcium supplements or powdered oyster shell may also help relieve acid stomach.

sleep aids – strong jasmine or chamomile tea before bed. Calcium supplements may help more severe cases of sleeplessness.

anemia – strong red clover tea for milder cases. If you are anemic and vegetarian make sure to eat whole red clover and/or kale as an iron alternative for meat.

Vapo Rub – boil equal parts horehound and mint*, put in blender and blend until smooth. apply to chest area and rinse when the mixture cools.

astringent – soak lavender blooms in vodka or everclear for 3 to 7days in a tightly sealed jar. Pour mixture through coffee filter to strain, keep in airtight bottle or jar and apply to face as needed.

* – Please do a patch test on inside of elbow in case of allergic reaction

NOTE : Results may vary, this is not a substitute for medical attention. I am not responisible for any pain, injury, or death from the use of these items, although I seriously doubt anything of that nature will happen. They all worked on me… Please don’t sue me for any reason, I don’t have any money, anyway.

Other Recipes


Grind all the herbs to a fine powder

5 parts Orris Root

35 parts Frankincense

I part Bay

50 parts Cinnamon

3 parts Patchouli Leaves

Add all these ingredients together they should be a very fine dust if not you sib through a strainer. I find a blender works fine then take one cup of boiling water, s add 3 teaspoons potassium nitrate stir potassium nitrate till completely dissolved. With this mixture you add it to the powder till is like clay. This shaped into balls, let this dry first, and throw on your fire. And watch the surprise.


Combine these ingredients:

1 Part Frankincense
2 Part Sandalwood
2 Tablespoons Vanilla Extract

Mix well. Burn as Incense over hot piece of charcoal by sprinkling some of the powdered mix on it. It is ideal for spiritual workings, meditation or when the spirit is in turmoil, it helps banish the negative vibrations around it and calms it down. This incense also attracts only beneficial spirits.



Boil the water. Dissolve the saltpeter into boiling water, pour a little of this at a time into powdered charcoal until drenched with the saltpeter solution. Then let powdered charcoal dry. Then take up tragacanth and water that has 2 percent saltpeter solution, add mix till smooth and creamy, then strain through cheese cloth. It will have no lumps this way Add wintergreen oil and phenol. Mix well, then add to powdered charcoal a little at a time till you have a clay-like mass which can be shaped into cones.


GLYCERINE (by weight) 2 1/2 Ounces
MENTHOL 5 Grains

Soak the gelatin in the water for 2 hours, heat on a water bath until dissolved, and add 1 1/2 ounces of the glycerine. Dissolve the menthol in the spirit, mix with the remainder of glycerine, add to the glycol-gelatin mass, and pour into an oiled tin tray (such as the lid of a biscuit box). When the mass is cold, divide into 10 dozen pastilles.

Menthol pastimes are said to be an excellent remedy for tickling cough as well as laryngitis. They should be freshly prepared, and cut oblong, so that the patient may take half of one, or less as may be necessary.


Lampblack (finest) is ground to a paste with very weak liquor of Potassa, and this paste is then diffused through water slightly alkalized with potassa, after which is collected, washed with clean water, and dried; the dry powder is next levigated to a smooth paste, with a strong filtered decoction of Carregeen or Irish Moss, or Quince Seed. (Decoction means a liquid preparation made by boiling vegetable substances within water.) And after adding this plant decoction add a few drops of essence of Musk, and then about half as much essence of Ambergris being added by way of perfume, toward the end of the process. The mass is, lastly, molded into cakes, which is unfitted in this form for pens but applies well with a brush.

To make this ink more suited for writing pens, you must take this hard mass and make it into a solution that will be a Squid that win flow easily. If one has to work with the ink for some time, a small piece should be dissolved in 112 cup warm water and a tenth part of glycerin added, which mixes intimately with the in} after shaking for a short time. India Ink thus prep red will keep very wed in a corked bottle, and if a black jelly should form in the cold, heating quickly dissolves it. The ink flows well from the pen and does not wipe. Also, the blackness of the ink can be controlled by adding more or less of the hard, dry ink you have made at the beginning.


Mix the rice flour with cold cold water, and boil it over a gentle tire until it thickens. Then strain through cheesecloth. This paste is quite white and becomes transparent on drying. It is very adherent ant of great for many purposes.



Grind herbs to a powder before mixing together. Then add green dye till light green not to dark.



Slice the lemons into a large earthen- ware vessd, removing the seed. Add the ginger, sugar, and water. When the nature has cooled to lukewarmness, add the yeast, make sure the yeast is first diffused in a little water before adding to the mixture cover the vessel with a piece of cheese cloth, and let the beer stand 24 hours. At the end of that time strain and bottle it. Cork securely, but not so tightly that the bottles would break before the corks would fly out if too much pressure builds up inside from the natural gases that are created, store in a cool place.

Recipe and Formulae

Baedun and GldnRoses @AOL.COM

Making Rose Oil

Making rose oil yourself is a relatively simple process. If you don’t know what rose oil is for then, you probably don’t need to make it. It won’t hurt if you do though. This is the recipe or formula for the process. Any necessary ritual, you will have to provide since this dissertation is not meant to supplant your path but to add to your scientific knowledge.

As like attracts like; soaking leaves and petals in oil will extract the oil of those leaves and petals.

  • In a clean glass crock, pour in one half cup extra virgin olive oil.
  • Add to the oil enough freshly picked rose petals to cover the oil.
  • Let stand 24 hours.
  • Strain oil through cheese cloth pressing all oil from rose petals.
  • Discard rose pressed petals.
  • Add fresh rose petals to this oil and repeat.
  • Repeat the process until desired strength of scent (various with fragrance of roses used).

Another option, particularly suited for human consumption, is solvent distillation. In this method an alcohol is used to extract the essential oils from the plant. Leaves and petals (and sometimes thorns) are use for Magikal purposes. DO NOT USE RUBBING ALCOHOL!!!

In one cup of un-flavored Vodka (or other denatured alcohol) place enough plant matter (petals, leaves, or thorns) to cover the liquid.

  • Let stand covered tightly for two weeks.
  • Press the oil from the plant matter through cheesecloth.
  • The oil and alcohol product you now have is natural rose perfume.
  • Freeze the liquid you now have for 24 hours.
  • The oil will freeze, the alcohol will not. Remove the frozen rose oil from your freezer and store in tightly sealed container.
  • Reserve the remaining alcohol for use again.

This is not the easier of the two methods put does deliver a nearly pure essential oil. Remember, one ounce of Rose Oil is a lot of Rose Oil.

Please send Email to Baedun@AOL.COM and let me know if this helps. Isn’t it amazing that what we now call science would once be called witchcraft – or – that which we now call science has been known by witches for centuries???

SACRED SOAP – by popular request

To give credit where credit is due, research for these instructions came fromThe Complete Book of Incense, Oils, and Brews by Scott Cunningham, Back to Basics by Reader’s Digest, and the good old trial-and-error testing technique.


CASTILE SOAP – I use Kirk’s brand, but any bar of Castile should work EXCEPT one already scented or those green ones made with olive oil (unless you’re using a scent that goes well with olive)

SCENT – I used 1 dram of 100% lavender essential oil per 4oz bar of soap last time. This makes for a powerful nasal wallop. If your oil is “cut” you may need to use more. Also, I’ve heard of using herbs, other smelly things, etc. but have not done so myself. If you try it, let me know how it works.

KNIFE – to cut up the soap


DOUBLE BOILER – sounds intimidating, doesn’t it? I half-filled a frying pan with water, put the soap in a heatproof ceramic bowl, and put the bowl in the frying pan. If you’ve made candles, you know how to do this. The idea is to heat the soap SLOWLY and to NOT ALLOW ANYTHING TO BOIL. Got it?

CHEESECLOTH – You can probably find this in your grocery store – even the hole-in-the-wall mom-and-pop-shop in my neighborhood has it. It’s usually by the dish soap, gloves, mops, scrubbies, etc. Also available at hardware stores and auto supply outlets.

OPTIONAL SOAP MOLDS – These are small molds, often wooden, in which you pour or press molten soap to make bars. You can find them in antique stores or craft shops. Or make your own. You don’t strictly need them (I don’t use them, for instance), but some people like them.

CONSECRATION: Now, I’m not going to tell anyone how to “charge” or “bless” or otherwise consecrate this stuff – use something from your own tradition. You can either bless tools and ingredients prior to starting or bless the finished soap. Either way seems to work fine.

STEP ONE: Get everything laid out in your kitchen. Get the double-boiler read on the stove, have your soap and scent on hand, your knife ready, etc. Cut the cheesecloths into pieces about 6 inches square. This is real approximate. You can just make one huge bar out of this, or many little ones. I usually make four, 1oz balls of soap.

STEP TWO: Chop up the soap. I recommend you start with just one bar for your first time, and in any case working with small batches seems to work better (at least for me). Chop the soap very fine. Mince it. Crumble it. Don’t worry about mess – the dust will wipe up later with water AND clean your kitchen table at the same time.

STEP THREE: Put the soap in the bowl part of your double boiler. Turn on the heat. Now watch carefully. You don’t want the water to boil, just get hot, and you CERTAINLY don’t want the soap to boil. The soap crumbs will slowly melt into a clear liquid with bubbles in it. You don’t have to melt the soap completely, either, although it doesn’t hurt. You can stir the soap to make sure it heats evenly.

STEP FOUR: Remove bowl from double boiler when soap is molten. Be careful, it’s hot! At this point add your scent(s) and stir thoroughly. As the mixture cools the soap will start to become stiff and more opaque. When stiff enough to not ooze back into the trail your spoon makes when stirring it is ready to be molded.

STEP FIVE: You can either do as I do, pick up a lump of soft soap and roll it into a bar, then wrap it tightly in cheesecloth, or use a soap mold. In any case, you need to let it cool off, dry out a little, and harden in a dry place (I use my pantry).

Although you CAN use this immediately, after a few days of drying it has a more solid feel and won’t leave ooze marks on whatever you set it down.

This sort of soap dissolves easily – don’t let it sit in a puddle in your soap dish or you’ll get a pleasantly scented puddle of ooze.

You should ALSO be able to scent liquid castile soap by adding scents and stirring VERY thoroughly.

ABOUT ESSENTIAL OILS: Please use a little caution. Some oils are irritating to the skin (cinnamon oil), some toxic, and some people are allergic to even the most natural and pure of substances. If you or someone who is using this soap has sensitive skin please do a “test wash” on a small area to be sure there will be no bad reactions.

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