11 March 2012

Making "Magickal" Herbal Infusions...

One thing that I am so passionate about is making all of my own herbal infusions for the base of my magickal oils, salves and brews. Sure you could simply use Olive, Jojoba, or Sunflower oils as a carrier and be done with it, but where is the magick and wisdom in that? For me, the curing and brewing of any herbal creations is so important to creating a truly powerful blend with the herbs, flowers, roots, berries and resins at the heart of crafting. It is at the center of what I practice, the art of Wortcunning and Hedge Folk Magic. The knowledge of the Herbal Arts was once known to us on a very deep and spiritual level, past down orally from generation to generation. Throughout our history there have been many here upon this Earth acting as guardians to a truth that cannot be lost to us. Those who heed this calling feel that kindred connection to our beautiful Plant Kingdom and instinctively know how to use the healing and energetic properties of plants safely and for the benefit of themselves and others. These guardians, I believe, are the Pagan Paths we have today; those that follow the Green Path with Nature as their teacher and guide; they are the Druids, Wiccans, Hedgewitches, White Witches, Witches of the Wildwoods...to name just a few as there are so many beautiful names for the many paths that one chooses as their own. (If I did not mention your path above, please do not take offense as they are all, to me, equally sacred and so needed in this world).

In saying that, today I thought I would share with you my own version of how to create an herbal infusion oil for magickal purposes or for your own magickal workings. There are many ways to create these so please don't feel that I am saying my way is the only way, there are many ways to create them and they are all wonderful. One of the best things about the Herbal Arts is that there is no "one way" to do things. I encourage you to explore, create, try new ways, allow the plants and flowers to teach you instead. What I provide below is simply a guideline of how I create them, the real magick lies in the intention of the individual and the purpose for which they are being created. Most of all, have fun when working with herbs and plants, if you mess up, you just chalk it up to practice, make new notes and try again...speaking of notes, my best advice, always write down the ingredients and amounts you used in any blend so that you can recreate it if you want to later! That tip comes from experience! =)


Some items you will need to start:
  • Clean, sterile and dry glass Mason Jars with lids
  • Your chosen organic dried or fresh herbs, flowers, roots, barks and berries
  • Organic carrier oils (Jojoba or Olive are good choices for their stability and shelf life)
  • Cheesecloth
  • Glass Bowls
  • Double boiler
  • Measuring Cups
  • Labels or Hang Tags
  • Your Notebook of Herbal Journal
  • Clean jars, bottles or vials for storing
  • Essential Oils if you will be creating a blend from the oils
Herbal infused oils are made by simply steeping herbs, flowers, roots or barks within a carrier oil such as Olive or Jojoba. By warming the oil and storing it for a specific length of time, the properties, plant oils and energies are released and contained within the infusion. These infusions are what is then used as a base within a magickal oil, salve or brew. I love creating my own herbal infusions using many different combinations of herbs, roots, flowers etc, to bring forth a desired effect, energy or property. For example you may choose to use Hawthorn, Eyebright, Elecampane, Yarrow Flowers and St. Johns Wort together in an infusion oil as when combined together, can be used to help one to see the Faeries yet also adds an energetic property of protection. This is where your own research on the properties of plants and flowers comes in and frankly is the biggest part...but also the most fun! I also use my own gifted Faery Sigils with my blends. These sigils were given to me during my meditations and journeys over the years with the Faeries and I use them as an additional way to bring energetic qualities such as protection, healing or banishing to each infusion. I will either hand paint the sigil on the lid of the jar or paint it upon a cloth or paper that is adorns the lids. (see images above). As it is so important to me to honor the rhythms and cycles of the Earth, I also always consider phases of the Moon, the season and planetary alignment before creating any herbal blend so feel free to honor the Cycles of Nature in your own way as well. As I said, these are my techniques I have learned over the last seventeen years with much trial and error, which is the best way to learn though...

 So lets get started...

Gather your supplies...I like to use a date stamp upon some masking tape so that I can record the date the infusion was started. I stick it to the side of the jar so that it can easily be removed once the oil is done brewing.
Gather your chosen herbs, flowers, barks, roots etc and add them to your clean glass mason jar. If you would like, try the following recipe to start with. This can be used, as I said above, as an oil to be used in salves or ritual oils that help one to see the Faeries, used in Meditation or Pathworking. (Note: These herbs and flowers are dried)
1/2 cup Hawthorn Leaves or Bark
1/3 cup Eyebright
3 tbs Elecampane Root
3 tbs Yarrow Flowers
2 tbs St. Johns Wort
Heat about one pint of your chosen carrier oil on low heat within a double boiler until the oil is warm NOT hot! Gently pour the warm oil over the herbs and flowers leaving about a 1/3 room from the top. Stir gently and allow to cool before placing the lid on. I like to store my oils on sunny window sills but you can also place them in a dry place or cupboard for up to 3 weeks. I recommend a brewing time of at least one week. Ensure that you gently stir your oil once a day to ensure that all of the plant material is covered by the oil. If not, mold can start to grow and it will completely ruin your infusion and you will have to start again! At this time I say an empowering chant over the herbs and oil before sealing the jar. Dont forget to use a hang tag or some way to identify your brew.
The picture of the brew above is of my herbal infusion base for my Fairy Ointment based on an old 17th century recipe for allowing one to see the Faeries. If using the ingredients I provided above, yours will look different.
Place a piece of cheescloth wirhin a glass bowl and gently pour the herbs and oils on the cheescloth.
So gorgeous...now with clean hands bring up the ends of the cheesecloth and strain all the oil out of the herbs. You will really need to squeeze the bundle of herbs to get every last drop of precious oil out. The oil that remains will have small bits and particles of the herbs left over and to me that is great, this is how you can tell a salve or oil that you purchase is not simply made with pored in Olive Oil. It is a shame to just throw out the beautiful herbs and flowers so normally I either bury them, returning them to the Earth Mother or I sprinkle around the garden.
Next, you would pour that oil into glass jars or bottles to use for your own magickal brews in the future. I wanted to show you some additional info on some more of the process of making my Fairy Ointment. I then gather 100% pure beeswax, I like the pellets because they will melt much easier when creating a salve or ointment. I have also gathered 100% pure wild-harvested or organic when possible, therapeutic grade essential oils for the fragrance. Place the infused oil and some beeswax back within your double boiler until the wax is completely melted. Do not let the oil and wax boil! Allow to cool for a few minutes and add any essential oils while stirring gently. At this time I sometimes also add an empowering chant while stirring in the essential oils.
The oil/salve is then poured within clean glass jars and allowed to cool. When the salve starts to turn a slightly opaque color, I add a bit of dried flowers and herbs to the top as well. Seal and store in a cool place!
I hope that you enjoyed this little how-to and I hope it helps inspire you within your own magickal workings. Have a beautiful rest of the weekend and enjoy the extra hour of sunlight we now get!
In Faery Light,
Joanna

7 comments:

  1. How very lovely and magical dear Joanna xxx Thank you for sharing this recipe! I love the add bits of flowers and herbs on top:)

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  2. I felt like I was sitting right next to you as you explained how to make herbal infusions. Wonderful post, Joanna

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  3. Thank you so much to both of you for your comments! I am so glad you enjoyed the post!!
    In Faery Light,
    Joanna

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  4. Equal parts beautiful and fascinating - what a lovely path you have chosen.
    Lisa

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  5. Thank you so much Dear Lisa! Wishing you a lovely day,
    Joanna

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  6. this is such a beautiful post! expertly explained, gorgeous photos, and shared with such love.

    thank you for sharing, wise woman.

    blessings.
    -teresa

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    1. Thank you so much Teresa! I am so glad you found my blog and I am so happy that you enjoyed the post too! Have a beautiful day!
      In faery Light,
      Joanna

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