Let’s Talk Witch – Making Magick Potions
The art of making potions goes back to the earliest civilizations and in terms of history, as one of the oldest crafts known to humankind. Brewing beer, making wine, and infusing potions are traditions that have been perfected through time. Many of the techniques making a great beer, wine or potion are the same. The mixture is often called a wort. The wort is then put through a process, which in the case of potions, gives it magickal properties.
The different ways of making potions stem from ancient medicinal and alchemical recipes, formulas that you can put together from basic ingredients in the privacy of your own kitchen. Historically magick love potions also called
philters, were often made of unappealing ingredients. You had to be extremely thristy or unaware of the contents to sip one. Today, this isn’t the case as most potion ingredients are tasty and appealing.
Potion brews can be anything from an herb tea to a fruit smoothie. One of the main things to remember when making any potion is to make it taste good if a person is going to drink it. If you are using a potion primarily for its scent, for example in a powder form, then make sure it smells good. Try to avoid unfortunate situations like the infamous wizard Aleister Crowley found himself in when he developed a perfume potion for sex magick called “It.” Great idea Aleister, but nothing came of “It,” because the stuff reputedly had a horrid smell!
Before you make your potion, be sure that you have all the ingredients and tools you will need at your fingertips. Following is a list of potion-making tools you will need:
*A ceramic, earthenware, glass, or wood bowl
*A pot, preferably one that is NOT made of metal, for brewing the potion
*A wooden spoon for stirring the potion
*Cheesecloth for straining the potion
*A mortar and pestle for grinding potion ingredients
*A container for the potion
Clean, preferably sterilize, all of your tools, especially the potion container. You can clean containers by carefully pouring boiling water into them, or you can put the container in the dishwasher, running it through the entire cycle and turning on the heat/dry cycle. This also does a good job of sterilizing contatiners. If you don’t have time to properly clean the chalice, cup, glass or other containers the potion is going in, then just make sure that it is as clean as possible. Any residue may taint the potion.
The kind of water you use is important when preparing a magick potion. Spring, well, rain, and distilled waters are better than tap water, which often contains chemicals such as chlorine and fluoride. Well water with no harmful contaminants can be used; rain water can be used as long as there aren’t any pollutants in it; and distilled water can be used for potions, but it is inert. Unless the recipe calls for it, I seldom use sea water or mineral water due to their mineral content.
Witches and wizards make potions by mixing one, two, a few or many ingredients together into one. Sometimes the ingredients are used just as they are. Other times they are ground up, shredded, pureed or crushed with your fingers or with the mortar and pestle. The herbs that go into your potion can be either fresh or dried. If you use fresh herbs, it take three times more of them than dried herbs. For example, if a potion recipe calls for one teaspoon of dried sage leaves and you want to use fresh sage, it would take three teaspoons of fresh sage to make the potion.
Processes call infusions and decoctions are also employed. An infusion, the most common method of internal herbal preparation, is usually in the form of a tea. It can also take the form of magick water. The infusion method works best when the potion you are making requires soft plant parts, such as leaves, flowers or green steams.
When using the infusion method of preparing potions, there are a couple of things you can do to make your potion more effective. One thing is to brew aromatic ingredients such as garlic and clove, in a pot with a lid that fits
on tight. The reason for this is to keep from losing the natural oils of the aromatic ingredients to evaporation. These natural oils are important for the effectiveness of the potion.
Some ingredients are sensitive to heat, so you can make a cold infusion by soaking the herbs in water for anywhere from 6 to 12 hours. A sealed earthenware pot is best for cold infusions. When preparing potions using the infusion method, only make enough for immediate use as infusions rapidly lose their potency.
The method for making a decoction potion is similar to the infusion. You begin by grinding your ingredients into a powder that you can then make your potions. Ingredients that are hard, such as bark and stems, require more heat to release their magickal properties. The use of more heat to release the natural oils of an ingredient is primary difference between the infusion and decoction methods of potion making.
The decoction method would be the one most associated with the traditional use of magick cauldrons. In this way, dried herbal ingredients are ground into powder and are cut into small piedes, and then added to the potion. The potion is made in a pot, and the ingredients are simmered and boiled in order to release their magickal properties. Again in the case of aromatic ingredients, you should use a lid on the pot to slow the evaporation process. The amount of time that you heat the mixture depends on the potion recipe. Usually decoction are strained to eliminate the hard bark and stems before using them.
At times, potions use both methods in their recipe. In this case prepare the two separately as a decoction and infusion, and then mix the ingredients together after the decoction has cooled. By doing so, the infusion ingredients are not ruined by the heat that the decoction process requires. Always stir clockwise.