Levitation Spell

Levitation Spell

 

The following is a modern Witch’s flying ointment recipe. It is safer to use and much easier to concoct:

1/4 cup lard

1/2 tsp. clove oil

1 tsp. chimney soot

1/4 tsp. dried cinquefoil

1/4 tsp dried mug wort

1/4 tsp. dried thistle

1/4 dried Vervain

1/2 tsp. benzoin tincture

Using a mortar and pestle, crush the dried herbs until almost powdered. In a small cauldron or saucepan, heat the lard over a low flame until it is melted completely. Add the herbs, the clove oil and chimney soot to the lard base and mix well.

Add the benzoin as a natural preservative, stir together clockwise and then simmer for ten to fifteen minutes.

Strain it through cheesecloth into a small heat resistant container and then allow it to cool. Store it in your refrigerator or in a cool dark place until it is ready to be used.

On a night of the Full Moon, anoint your temples and Third Eye with a small amount of the flying ointment prior to astral projection or dream magick.

 

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Spell for Beautiful Hair

Spell for Beautiful Hair

Tools needed:

a brush

a pink candle

goddess oil

Venus incense

a mortar and pestle

a dash of lemon juice

three tablespoons of flaxseed oil

one brown egg

three tablespoons of maidenhair

a pinch of ground ginseng

plastic wrap

shampoo

conditioner

three gallons of rain water

Instructions: Bend over at the waist and brush your hair upside down for one hundred strokes ,making sure the scalp is stimulated and all residues of styling aids are gone.

Anoint the candle with the oil. Light the candle and the incense. Place the lemon juice, flaxseed oil, egg, maidenhair and ginseng in the mortar, and grind with the pestle until the potion is gooey.

When Venus hour approaches, recite the incantation over the potion. Incantation:

Potion of witches with beautiful hair,
Adorn my head beyond compare.
Rich and thick the potion goes,
Absorb the sunshine and the glow.
Maidens weave the gorgeous threads,
That creates the hair upon my head.
Combine the egg, magick, and grain,
And rise me beautiful with iris rain.
So mote it be
 
Work the potion into your hair until it is saturated. Place the plastic wrap over your hair and let it sit. Go outside and soak up the sun. Feel the potion tingling and revitalizing your hair. After a hour in the sun, shampoo and condition your hair, but before your final rinse of the conditioner thoroughly rinse your head in the rain water. Allow your hair to air dry naturally. You will see a improvement in your hair instantly.

Spell for Protection

SPELL FOR PROTECTION

Make a sachet to wear around your neck. The color should be blue or purple but make it a color you can live with. On the night of a full moon, blend these herbs together:

amber
juniper
dill
vervain
St. John’s Wort
lavender

Crushing them together with a mortar and pestle. Leaving them in the vessel, hold them up to catch the light of the full moon and say: “Moon of night in fullness shine bless this rite protection be mine” Then without touching it fill your pouch and wear it whenever you feel threatened. It also works if you keep it in your pocket.

Let’s Talk Witch – Making Magick Potions

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.

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The Witches Magick for Nov. 12th – To Rid Yourself of a Threat

goth114

To Rid Yourself of a Threat

Ingredients:

4 tablespoons Frankincense or myrrh

4 tablespoons Black powdered iron

4 tablespoons Sea salt

4 tablespoons Orris Root powder

1 White candle

1 Bottle with cork or lid

1 Mortar and pestle

Parchment paper

Black pen

Black thread

Mix sea salt, Orris Root and iron in a bowl. Then cut a piece of parchment to fit inside the bottle. Write on it:

“I neutralize the power of (Name) to do me any harm. So Mote It Be.”

Roll up the parchment tie it with black thread and place in the bottle. Fill the bottle with dry ingredients. Take the white candle, turning the bottle counter clockwise, and drip wax over the cork to seal. Secretly bury the bottle where no person or animal will dig it up.

Calendar of the Sun for December 3rd

Calendar of the Sun

3 Yulmonath

Mengloth’s Day

Color: White
Element: Earth
Altar: Upon cloth of white place a figure of Mengloth, cut from cloth and filled with herbs, a cup of herb-fortified wine, a pot of herbal tea with cups, a mortar and pestle, and bunches and jars of all the medicinal herbs in the House.
Offerings: Give natural medicine to someone.
Daily Meal: Anything healthy and well-balanced.

Invocation to Mengloth

Hail, Lady of Lyfjaberg,
Mistress of Gastropnir,
High on the highest peak
In the pure air of the north country
Atop snowy cliffs you dwell.
Lady whose roads are long and winding,
Lady whose roads are treacherous and fell,
Lady whose hidden fortress is sought
By the weak, the ill, the desperate,
Those whom all medicine has failed.
Lady of the Last Resort,
Healer of the wounds that cannot be healed,
This offering we make to you
And all the maidens that cluster around you;
Hlif and Hlifthrasa, Thjofvara, Aurboda,
Bjort and Bleik, Blith and Frith,
Colleague of Eir the Healer of Asgard.
We pray your healing hands, Jeweled One,
We pray your healing mind, Mountain-High,
We pray your healing magic shall shape us whole.
Svipdag’s beloved, Keeper of the Wand of Light,
May your favor shine upon us
As we ascend to the trials of your high road.

(The wine is poured out as a libation. Each comes forward then and pours a cup of the herbal tea, asking for healing for themselves or others, and drinks it.)

 

[Pagan Book of Hours]

Magickal Herb Use: Lesson 1 – Storage and Tools

Lesson One: Storage and Tools

by Leillan

I am starting very basic here. Some may want to breeze through this. But I have been asked to start at the beginning, so here goes. You don’t have to store your herbs in any special way unless you want to. I just use blue canning jars and interesting bottles. I like a tight lid to keep moisture away from the herb, and to keep the herb in the bottle. Nothing is worse that herbs spilling out into the cabinet and all over the floor when the jar is tipped over!

Always label your herbs. Even the most adept herbalist can get confused once in awhile. The labeling method is another matter of choice. As I use my herbs for many purposes, I generally just label by herb name. However, you could also add a few lines stating elemental properties, basic uses, etc. As you learn more you may want to store herbal blends. Label these with the types of herbs used and the purpose it was intended for when you blended it. Maybe you found a certain natural incense you made that you really like. Blend a bunch of it, label it, and jot down the purpose for which you like to use it, e.g., power, relaxation, etc. You’ll find this simple step very useful in the future; don’t always rely on memory.

You more than likely will want a few tools. A mortar and pestle, and a good knife should be among your first tools. I use my athame to cut herbs. You may choose to use the traditional sickle-shaped “Boleen.”  If you intend to use your herbs for both magick and cooking/healing, get two mortar and pestles (especially if you choose something porous like wood). This way, a mortar used to crush mistletoe and holly won’t be used for crushing pepper and garlic. Remember, some of the herbs you use for magickal work are toxic if taken internally. With the exception of the knife, I prefer to use wood, stone, or clay for my tools, and tend to stay away from metals. Certain oils and herbs have a reaction with some alloys.

Other tools you may want are pretty basic to the Craft in general, and you may already have most of them. These include a censor and incense, candles of various colors, and a bowl for mixing. You’ll need something to hold water (if needed), like a shell or a bowl, and you may want to collect various sizes of shells or containers for measuring your herbs. You may want a colored cloth for a bag, string,or rubber bands for sachets, and of course you will eventually want to make amulets and such. But these things can be acquired as the need arises.

Other than what I have mentioned above, the purpose will tell what supplies are needed.

Start Making Scents

How to Make Incense for Magickal and Spiritual Intents

by Miriam Harline

Smell is the sense most hot-wired  into our animal past. According to  Diane Ackerman’s A Natural History  of the Senses,we smell by means of  olfactory bulbs at our nostrils’ upper  tips that, when triggered directly, signal  the limbic system — a brain region  inherited from our mammalian  ancestors, a player in lust and creativity.  Smell is also our most permanent  sense. Research says scents go  straight into long-term memory, later  to be retriggered with all the emotion  of the time that laid the memories  down. As Ackerman writes, “A smell  can be overwhelmingly nostalgic be-cause  it triggers powerful images and  emotions before we have time to edit  them.”

Smell thus proves one of our bodies’  best gifts to the magician, ritualist  and spiritual seeker. To speak to  the emotions, to the animal spirit, to  the part of us that believes in and  works magick, use scent. Burn incense.

If ease is a priority, you can buy  your magickal incenses. I’d recommend  Wortcunning and Nu Essence brands.  You can find Wortcunning incenses, by  local incense master Leon Reed, at  Travelers (501 E. Pine in Seattle) or directly  through Wortcunning (P. O. Box  9785, Seattle, WA 98109). Wortcunning  incense is one of the reasons I moved  to Seattle. On a visit here, I picked up  some Pan incense, which when I ran  out of self-igniting charcoal in mid-Missouri  I burned on the stove: great before  going out dancing. I figured any  place with incense so magickal had to  be worth returning to.

However, if you want incense imbued  with your specific magickal or  spiritual purpose and your energy,  make it from scratch. Once you have  supplies, it needn’t take a long time,  maybe an hour per scent. It’s fun. And  there’s something special about burning  a mixture that smells heavenly (or  noxious, as the intention may be) and saying, “Hey, I made that.”

Following I’ve set down wisdom  from my teachers and my forays into  the craft and recommended books to  take you further. But, as with cooking,  you learn incense making by doing.  Find a recipe you like, study it till you  understand how it works, then improvise  based on your tastes and ingredients.  As with any practice, trust your  instincts. If you want to reproduce the  exact incense in a seventeenth century  grimoire or Egyptian papyrus, you’ll  follow that recipe to the letter (if you  can find the ingredients). Otherwise,  experiment. Play.

I describe here how to make loose  incense, to be burned on self-igniting  charcoal briquettes. You can buy such  charcoal most any place that sells incense  herbs. You can also make stick  and cone incenses, which the books I  recommend describe. Stick and cone  incenses look more impressive for  presents and are easier to burn. But  they’re more complicated to make,  and the different forms don’t make  your intentions’ results more sure.

Getting Started

To make incense, you’ll first gather  some ingredients and tools:

  • Herbs and oils
  • Eyedropper (preferably several)
  • Base oil
  • Mortar and pestle (preferably two)
  • Coffee grinder (optional)
  • Ziplock baggies, in gallon and sandwich size
  • Small bottles or tins (optional)
  • Small spoon or spoons (optional)
  • Astrological calendar
  • Book or books of recipes

If you want to make just one incense,  get just the herbs and oils you  need. However, if you plan to make  incense as an ongoing hobby, round  up some basic incense makings. Some  elementary herbs and resins, arranged  by how often I use them:

  • Sandalwood
  • Myrrh
  • Frankincense
  • Benzoin
  • Pine resin
  • Orris root
  • Lavender
  • Rose petals
  • Cedar
  • Cinnamon
  • Copal
  • Rosemary
  • Mace
  • Nutmeg
  • Bay
  • Lemongrass  Some of the above list will look  pretty familiar. Rosemary? Nutmeg?  Got it, in the spice cabinet. If you want  to start cheap, you can make many  incenses from common kitchen spices.Of the nonspices listed above,  orris root (iris root) deserves special  mention. It’s a good idea to add one  part orris root as a preservative and  fixative to most incense recipes, especially  those that don’t include resins.  (Resins are gums formed by solidifying  plant juices, for example frankincense,  myrrh and amber.) Get your  orris root preground if you don’t feel  like spending an afternoon worrying a  tuber.

    In general, you’ll want to get woods  and tough roots in powdered form.  For anything grindable, however, get  leaves or chunks, and grind the ingredient  when you need it. That way, it  will stay fresher.

    For oils, I tend to buy those specific  to the recipe I’m doing. After  making a few incenses, you’ll have a  large library. These are the ones I use  most:

    • Patchouli
    • Jasmine
    • Cypress
    • Eucalyptus
    • Peppermint
    • Rose

    Use essential oils, rather than perfume  oils. An essential oil will generally  announce itself on the bottle. And  watch out for patchouli oil. It’s intense;  a few drops will do.

    You can locate herbs and oils at  pagan and herbal supply shops. To buy  herbs, I tend to go to Travelers or  Tenzing Momo (93 Pike Street in Seattle).  You can order from Tenzing  Momo by phone, at (206) 623-9837. I  wouldn’t recommend a phone order  for a novice incense maker, though;  you’ll want to see what you’re buying.  Many herbs and resins are very light,  ounces not pounds. Some are very  expensive, though most are not. The  fresher you get something the better —  beware a very dusty herb bottle.

    Herbs originate in gardens and the  wild, of course, and if you have access,  jump at the chance to harvest  when the herb’s ready. Don’t wildcraft  too much; take no more than a quarter  of what you find, and never take  more than you can use. Pagans will  want to ask the plant’s permission  before clipping; a gift in exchange, such  as water, returns energy to the herb.

    There is such a thing as too fresh,  though. If you just cut your herb, you  can’t use it today. I’ve tried quick-drying  herbs at 200 degrees in the oven,  and it doesn’t work. Ideally, you should  harvest herbs on a dry day at the peak  of their maturity, when active ingredients  have reached the highest concentration —  an herbal will tell you when.  Hang the plants upside down in a dry,  airy place between 70 and 90 degrees  Fahrenheit; they should take about a  week to dry. Don’t store them still  damp; they’ll mold. Store herbs in air-tight  containers, ideally glass or pottery.  This process should occur beforeyou try making incense.

    When working with oils, an eye-dropper  proves useful. If you don’t  employ one, at some point I guarantee  you’ll screw up an incense recipe  by, say, pouring in a half-ounce of  patchouli. Get several to avoid cleaning  droppers between oils. Look for  eyedroppers at your local drugstore.  In addition to scent oils, you’ll add  a base oil to incense to activate some  of the esters (scent chemicals) in dried  herbs, to make the incense mixture  hang together better and to help preserve  it. I tend to use safflower oil  because it has a very light scent, but  I’ve been told it goes rancid more  quickly than others. People I trust have  recommended jojoba oil and sesame  oil. The strong scent of sesame oil  disappears as the mixture dries.

    To grind your herbs and resins,  you’ll want at least one mortar and  pestle. It’s a good idea to get two and  powder herbs in one, resins in another —  this because resins tend to  stick and stain and may never come  out of a coarse mortar and pestle.  Mortars and pestles can be found at  kitchen supply stores. If you do a lot  of grinding, you’ll want a coffee grinder.  Buy one secondhand, and devote it to  incense only — you don’t want  mugwort-flavored coffee.

    Ziplock baggies are good for incense  mixing and for temporary and  less pretty incense storage. More  pretty incense storage is the domain  of cute, colored, cork-topped glass  bottles and cunning little tins. The  Soap Box used to carry such bottles,  and I’ve seen them at kitchen supply  stores. You can also store incense in  film canisters or pill containers, anything  airtight. Small spoons prove helpful  when doling out incense samples  to burn, something you’ll do a lot while  concocting scents.

    An astrological calendar aids in  making incense just as it does in any  magickal or ritual activity, to align with  the energies of the universe. The subject  of associations is endless and  personal, and I’ll only touch on it here.  In general, create incenses under a  waxing or full moon for intentions involving  growth and waxing energy, under  a waning moon for intentions involving  shrinking or ending. If you’re  making an incense for Aphrodite or  to draw love, Venus should probably  be favorably aspected; to get a job,  Jupiter should probably be favorably  aspected. You get the idea.

    You’ll want recipe books. I list  some recipes at the end of the article;  chances are none of them will suit your  exact magickal or spiritual purpose.  The books I rely on are Scott  Cunningham’s The Complete Book of  Incense, Oils and Brews and Wylundt’s  Book of Incense. The latter includes  many recipes based on kitchen spices,  if you can’t afford much in the way of  supplies. Both also explain how to  make stick and cone incenses.

    Substitutions

    Suppose you have a recipe you  like, for an intention you’re interested  in. It calls for peppermint, bay, frankincense  and gum bdellium. The first  three the herb shop has. On the last  one, the cashier shakes her head.  “Never heard of it.” You try pronouncing  it again — same effect. Even if an  herb, gum or oil is theoretically obtainable,  you may run into a situation  when you want the incense now and  can’t find the odd ingredient.

    Don’t give up. Substitute.

    You can substitute in several ways.  First, if the recipe calls for the herb or  resin and you can only find the oil, use  the oil, or vice versa. For example, oak  moss itself is hard to find, but you  can locate oak moss oil fairly easily.

    If you can’t track something down  in solid or liquid form, The Complete  Book of Incense, Oils and Brews has a  lovely table suggesting one-for-one  substitutions for many ingredients.  You can also substitute according to  intention or elemental or planetary  rulership. Both The Complete Book and  Wylundt’s list ingredients aligned to  different intentions, elements and  planets. For example, “love” has a list  of suggested ingredients, as do “water” and “Venus.” Many Wicca and Magick  101 books offer similar tables of  correspondence. If you poke through  the tables, you’ll find a substitute for  your herb or oil, often a whole list to  choose from. In a pinch, as  Cunningham writes, rosemary can  safely be substituted for any other  herb, rose for any flower and frankincense  or copal for any gum resin.

    Substitutions are essential for  many obscure and poisonous ingredients  recommended by old magickal  tomes. In case you need to be told,  do not use aconite (wolfsbane), belladonna,  hemlock, henbane, mistletoe,  nightshade or other poisonous substances  in your incense! It’s not worth  the hassle. Some substances are sufficiently  toxic that merely handling  them is dangerous. You can replace  any poisonous herb in incense with  tobacco, as Cunningham suggests.

    Likewise, be careful with ingredients  that cause smoke that’s very foul-smelling  or liable to produce an allergic  reaction, such as asafoetida, mace,  pepper and rue. Some incenses are  best burned outdoors.

    Making Incense

    Ingredients, tools, moon phase  and aspects all lined up, it’s time to  start. I generally lay out everything on  a clean, smooth surface, then put up  a circle and call the elements, deities  and fey to witness. You can be as formal  or informal as you like about your  working, but stating and concentrat-ing  on your intention as you assemble  ingredients will help imbue the incense  with that intention.

    Now dig out your gallon Ziplock  baggie. This will be your mixing bowl.

    Reread your recipe. Incense recipes  are often listed in terms of “parts.”  What constitutes a part is your decision.  I often use for a part as much as  I can hold in the palm of my hand. You  can also use a teaspoon or a half-cup  or any other measure as a part, as  long as you keep the part measure  consistent through the recipe. If your  incense recipe is listed in terms of  weight (ounces, grams), however, use  weight measurements throughout —  don’t mix parts, which are measure-ments  by volume, with measurements  by weight, or the result will make no  sense. Whatever the form of measurement,  measure any ingredient that requires  grinding in its final, powdered  state.

    I often find I have a limited quantity  of one ingredient. In this case, I  usually grind that first and let the resulting  measurement dictate how  much incense to make. For example,  if the recipe calls for two parts lavender,  and I only have two teaspoons of  it, my part will be one teaspoon.

    Another factor in pulverization  order is your tools. If you have two  mortars, you can grind herbs and  gums separately. If not, start with  herbs as they’ll stick up the mortar  less.

    If your ingredients and tools are  sufficient to the task, grind herbs and  resins in order of smell. Incense, like  perfume, is considered to have top,  middle and base notes. Top notes are  the lightest and generally what you  smell first. Floral scents are often top  notes, for example neroli (orange flowers).  Base notes are the bottom of the  spectrum, the strongest, darkest  scents. Animal odors, such as musk,  and heavy woods, such as patchouli,  usually form base notes. Some strong  herbs, such as lavender, are also  bases. Vanilla and rose are examples  of middle notes — strong, but not as  overpowering as patchouli. Use less  of the base and middle notes when  creating an incense, more of the top  notes, to create a balance. In the absence  of other concerns, start creating  your incense with the base note.  This rule especially applies if you’re  creating or revising a recipe.

    To get to know each ingredient,  burn a small ground sample. Your own  associations and emotions for each  scent are important. For me, benzoin  smells fey; eucalyptus is cool and sensual.  Everyone senses subtly different  affinities. If you find your nose burning  out, sniff coffee beans to clear your  sense of smell.

    Grinding takes a while. Have faith.  Some herbs are surprisingly tough to  work with — lemongrass, for example,  grinds away to nothing, so you’ll be  working a long time. Bay doesn’t pulverize  well; use scissors to cut it as  fine as possible. Your final powder  grains need not be infinitesimally small;  however, the smaller you grind, the  more thoroughly your ingredients can  mix to create the unique smell of the  final incense.

    As you finish each ingredient, add  it to the gallon Ziplock baggie, close it  and shake thoroughly.

    Once you have all the dry ingredients  in, add scent oils. If you’re adding  an oil where the recipe calls for an  herb, or vice versa, keep in mind that  an oil comes across much more  strongly than the matching herb. A few  drops of most oils will suffice, unless  you’re making mountains of incense.  Again, with your oils, start with the  base note and use little, then move  on to the middle and top. Mix your  oils with the dry ingredients thoroughly,  rubbing out dark spots and balls.

    Herbs, resins and scent oils mixed,  burn the result. What do you think?

    You’re wrinkling your nose. That’s  okay — you can fix it.

    Suppose your incense smells like  just one of your ingredients — cinnamon  and nothing else. There’s a couple  of ways of dealing with this. You can  add a little more of everything else.  Or you can decide which of the other  ingredients would help balance the  strong scent. Cinnamon’s a middle to  base note — another middle to base  note would balance it, for example lavender,  assuming your recipe includes  lavender. Oil is the easiest way to add  balance because it’s so strong.

    Sometimes incense will come out  smelling like next to nothing. Too much  balance! Here, you’ll want to emphasize  one or two ingredients, whichever  seem most appropriate. For example,  if I were creating a moon incense with  oil of jasmine that came out smelling  bland, I might tap in a few more drops  of oil, as jasmine is an ingredient that  I like and that feels very moon to me.

    Once you’ve got your incense  smelling as you want it, it’s time to add  the base oil. Add it in small amounts —  you don’t want the incense wet. Add  till you get a sticky or tacky feel, till  the powder sticks a little to your hand.

    The base oil gives your incense a  longer life, but it makes the mixture  produce a heavy, burnt-smelling  smoke in the short term. If you must  burn the incense right away, leave out  the base oil. After you add the oil, incense takes a week to ten days to set,  and it’s not till after that period that  you’ll be rid of excess smokiness.  Check your incense while it’s setting —  if the smoke continues heavy, you can  leave the container open to let the in-cense  breathe a bit.

    When I’m done adding base oil to  an incense, I raise energy and consecrate  the incense to the purpose for  which I devised it. This step is essential  if yours is to be a magickal incense.

    Now, sit back! You’ve made incense.  Be proud of yourself. You have  a new ritual tool that will heighten your  every working. And you’ve brought  some scents into the world.

    Special thanks to Sylvana  SilverWitch and her incense classes, from  which I learned much of the preceding.

    Sample Recipes

    Full Moon incense

    2 parts frankincense 2 parts myrrh 2 parts sandalwood 1/ 2 part rose petals Jasmine oil

    The smell is powdery and sweet,  very moony and watery.

    Hecate incense

    4 parts sandalwood 2 parts peppermint 2 parts myrrh Cypress oil

    As you might guess, the sandalwood  is very forward in this recipe.  Wortcunning also makes a stellar Hecate  incense based on information in ancient  magickal texts. However, that incense  strikes me as better burned outdoors.  Use the preceding to gently honor Her in  your hermetically sealed ritual room.

    Hermes incense

    1 part cinnamon 1 part frankincense 1 part lavender

    This is not my own recipe; I’m afraid  I forget where I got it. But it’s great! Use  it also for spells of communication,  travel protection and the like — anything  ruled by Hermes.

    Lammas incense

    2 parts frankincense 2 parts sandalwood 1 part pine resin 1/ 2 part bay 1/ 2 part cinnamon 1/ 2 part coriander 1/ 2 part meadowsweet 1/ 2 part oregano 1/ 2 part rosemary A few drops rose oil Slightly less oak moss oil Very little patchouli oil (start with one drop)

    Meditation and divination incense

    2 parts benzoin 2 parts lavender 2 parts myrrh 2 parts sandalwood 1 part orange peel 1/ 2 part mugwort

    Equal amounts eucalyptus, patchouli oils  This mixture is very floaty and psychically  oriented. If you have trouble  grounding, ground before you burn. The  sandalwood and eucalyptus come to the  fore.

Basil: The Green Leaves of Summer

by Catherine Harper

I celebrate the beginnings of several different, overlapping, summers. When April blooms into May, and the days become long, that is the beginning of summer, the voluptuous green and flowering summer that turns into warm gold autumn in August. In mid-July, when the rains dry up, and we have our stretch of dry, hot days, that is the beginning of another summer that continues through September, usually, or perhaps later. But the summer of the palate, for me, begins when the local basil begins to appear in the farmer’s markets, beginning the cycle that will bring in turn corn, tomatoes, peppers and eggplants to the table.

Basil is the most delicate of herbs. While many tough, resinous herbs of the Mediterranean thrive in poor, rocky soil, developing their best flavor where water is not overplentiful, basil is a tender, soft-leaved plant. It requires as much care as all the other herbs in my garden put together, and indeed is happiest if given the rich loamy soil and regular waterings I think of as more the provenance of vegetables. I start the plants indoors, on a warm surface, and then hold off on planting them out until June. From that point on, they must be watered and tended, given plenty of sun and protected from slugs (planting basil in large pots — large so that they do not dry out too quickly — and fixing a three inch strip of copper to the rim to deter slugs is perhaps the simplest solution). And deer. And even your neighbors. Basil needs to be gathered in fall before the night temperatures fall much below 50 degrees.

I have an aesthetic preference for working closely with my local climate, and growing mostly the things that thrive here with little intervention. These plants seem, to me, to belong here. With all the culinary splendors of the world open before us, it is a comforting discipline to me to work sometimes with a more limited palate of local food. Basil, is at the best, borderline. There is a reason we have no native basil. Basil self-seeds only reluctantly here and is outcompeted by any number of plants better suited to this clime. But every year, I plant or buy my starts, and fuss over them throughout the summer months. Basil I cannot resist.

Basil is the name given to any of about 150 plants in the Ocimum family (Ocimum basilicum is perhaps the best known culinary basil, varieties of which are usually sold fresh, though Ocimum minimum, or bush basil, is also common, and often sold dried). These are native to Africa, the Mediterranean and southern Asia. Even inside the O. basilicum species, flavor can vary incredibly, tasting now like cinnamon, now like cloves, and here again like lemon.

Ocimum sanctum, holy basil, is a plant sacred in India to Krishna and Vishnu, and found to this day planted around their temples. To my mind, basil is an herb well-suited to temples beyond just these. Many European cultures, especially those of Latin origin, consider this herb to be associated with love. In Italy, a pot of basil displayed in a window of a family’s compound indicated that a daughter had reached marriageable age. In Mexico, there is a custom of carrying basil in one’s pocket to attract love.

But basil lore has a darker side. Culpepper, the noted English herbalist, mentions that while many Arabic physicians defend the curative properties of basil, he has found it useful only for such things as poultices for drawing out poisons, for, he remarks rather snarkily, like calls to like. The English used it to ward against insects and evil spirits. Early English sources also refer often to its unpleasant odor, a reference which quite bemused me until I recalled that garlic, too, had been referred to as foul-smelling by many. (Asafoetida, on the other hand, is a well-loved spice in many Near Eastern cuisines but is disliked intensely by most people of European descent, who see it only as a banishing herb. Tastes vary.)

Though the common name “basil” derives from the Greek word “basileum,” meaning king, the Greeks saw basil as a plant of ill-omen. The Romans, perhaps similarly, thought that basil would only grow well if abused when planted or on ground that had been cursed — a custom that seems to survive to this day. But not with me.

To me basil, with its strong clear flavor, its affinity with light foods and its splendor when served fresh, epitomizes summer cooking. Though I used fresh basil first in cooked tomato sauces, and then more heavily in Thai dishes where basil was treated almost as a green vegetable rather than as a mere flavoring, I find myself most pleased with the basil leaves uncooked. Vietnamese cooking seems to have a particularly fine grasp on the use of fresh herbs. One of my favorite of such dishes is the cool noodle salad bun, where rice vermicelli is served on a bed of shredded greens including copious amounts of basil and mint (not to mention Vietnamese coriander and perilla) topped with grilled meat and drizzled with a fish-sauce based dressing.

But one does not need to be so complicated.

Pesto

Pesto is a paste, such as might be made by grinding moist ingredients with a pestle. The proportion and ingredients vary greatly — what I include here is the recipe in its simplest and most common form. But increasingly pestos are based on other herbs than basil, or sunflower seeds and walnuts are incorporated to spare the expensive pine nuts, or spinach is added to supplement the basil. These too, can be fine (if you like sunflower seeds, or walnuts, and remember to use twice the quantity of pesto, which spinach dilutes in flavor — this is a fine way to eat spinach, but it does not save on basil). All measurements are approximate; adjust to taste.

  • 5 parts basil leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 1 part grated Parmesan
  • 1 part pine nuts
  • 1 part olive oil
  • Fresh garlic and salt to taste

Combine ingredients in a mortar and pestle. Or a blender, or a food processor (though the texture of pesto worked by hand is superior). Blend ingredients until they reach the desired consistency (which can be completely smooth, or rather lumpy and grainy, as desired, but should be more or less pastelike). If you are using a blender, you might need to add more olive oil so as to have a liquid enough consistency for adequate blending. Serve tossed with pasta. Or on bread, or pizza, or crackers. Pesto can also be frozen in ice cube trays or muffin tins (and later transferred into freezer bags) yielding a number of single serving portions for less bounteous times of the year.

Fresh Tomato Sauce

By fresh, here I mean “uncooked.” This is a dish that should wait for the arrival of decent tomatoes. If the tomatoes have no scent, pass them by.

Combine the following:

  • 2 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 generous fistful of basil, sliced widthwise into ribbons (slicing basil widthwise, across the veins, best releases its flavor)

Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar (or a good red wine vinegar), then add salt and pepper to taste. One can also add a bit of pressed garlic, or a finely minced shallot, but in a dish so fully flavored there is no need to allow the alliums to dominate. Allow the sauce to sit for at least 10 minutes to better mingle the flavors before eating.

Serve, again, over pasta. Or as a topping for bread. For that matter, tossed with greens this sauce makes a nice salad.

Protection Powder (Earth Magick)

Protection Powder

(Earth Magick)

  

Basil

Salt

Garlic

1 piece of white chalk

Grind like amounts of all the ingredients together with a mortar and pestle in clockwise pattern. Continue until the mixture is a fine powder. Open your third eye, and see the powder turn a glowing light purple. Bless it and empower it by saying, “Mother blesses my home with protection and safety. All here stay healthy, happy and whole. As I speak it, so mote it be!”

You may go a step further and charge the powder under a full moon, if you’d like but it is fine to use it right away. Walk around your house clockwise three times while sprinkling it onto the ground. Now your home is protected.