A spell or working usually has one to three main components: the ceremony, the concoction, and the talisman. The ceremony should always be part of it, but with the ceremony, one can choose to use neither, one, or both a concoction and talisman. In this lesson, we’re going to focus on concoctions.
There are many concoctions used in witchcraft. The most commonly seen are potions, oils, incense, and powders. Soaps, lotions and creams, ointments, gels, waxes, solvents, dissolving pellets, foods/consumables, steam, and sometimes even ice is used in witchcraft. It is a good idea to know when to use what.
The first thing to bear in mind when deciding what sort of concoction would compliment your spell is the spell itself. What is the goal or objective? A concoction is a way to carry the energy of the spell or promote and bridge some aspect of the objective of the spell to the physical realm.
Second, consider the practical issues, such as what a certain delivery method is likely to do, as the method itself has its own energy. Let’s look at what some concoctions do.
Oil is fat. It is the stored energy and carrier of oil soluble vitamins and other important chemicals, of the plant or animal it came from. These cells came from living beings. Every molecule in every oil that you use once walked, crawled, slithered, crept, ate, and drank on this Earth. Until it is burned or dried out, it is, in its way, alive.
Bonus, when you mix oils for a purpose, and imbue them with energy towards a particular direction or objective, you make it not just alive, but you give it a life. This is one reason why, in some traditions, it is considered a small sacrifice to dress a candle with oil and burn it. The wax in the candle and the oil it is dressed with are the fat of the living or leftover life of the once animated, being burnt and entering the realm of the dead.
Magickal oils and waxes are the fat of spells. Oil is fuel. Wax is solid fuel. Like putting the right gas in your car or eating the right food for your body, you want to give the right fuel to your spell. When you mix an oil, you are making a fuel to keep the spell moving and alive. The spell lives where its fat is.
For this reason, they are fitting for a situation wherein the life in them needs to expire relatively slowly or to stick until it is burnt, dried out completely, scraped, or washed off.
In the case of a healing spell, oils help the medicinal properties stay alive on the body longer than something water or alcohol based.
Waxes are good when a liquid oil would be too messy or too thin. Many ointments are made with a mixture of oils and wax. They can also serve as medium for talismans that you don’t wish to be permanent, or that can be burned as offerings when their purpose is served.
Incense is a part of most ceremonies. It is the burning/metabolizing of substances to take their energy with our hopes to the unseen realms. Some deities prefer steam over smoke, by the way.
For the same reason you would use it in a ceremony, you may want to prepare some specifically for a spell. This way, it can be burned occasionally as an offering to reinforce the energy that was raised at the initial ceremony. It feeds the forces that are currently on the case, letting them know that you are still invested in it.
It also fills a place when energy specific to its purpose. It is something turning from solid or liquid to gas or vapor, which is an energy of change and transformation. So it is more pervasive and “deeper” than simply putting an oil in one spot and letting it evaporate slowly.
It also gets into the lungs, so even the words spoken and breaths taken take on the energy of the spell. Good stuff.
Potions come in a couple of types. Some are to be drunk, some are the necessarily liquid media for spells, and some, like oils, are used to anoint. So I like to call the ones for imbibing potions, and the ones for anointing or other purposes solutions or perfumes.
A potion is to pass through or fuse with the body of the receiver of a spell. They are usually medicines, some with a more or less conventional objective.
For both ethical and legal reasons, it is not a good idea to administer a potion or any other medicine, without the receiver’s consent unless they have committed a violent crime and taken away another’s right of consent. Often, people treat love potions like emotional “rufies”. This is not how those work, and if they did, the receiver could be very angry when they discover that they’ve been basically drugged. So don’t go there.
A potion is useful in the case the situation calls for one to carry the spell in their body, at least for a time. You can make potions or teas that will help a person reach their desired objective, and embody the energy of a spell.
It is important that you know what you’re doing with potions, just as it is important to know what the food you’re serving someone will do. The art of potion making is like cooking for witches. It fell out of favor for a few decades probably for the same reason many people stopped learning to cook, but it is important, so it’s coming back for the same reasons.
Much like a potion, magickal foods and consumables are made to carry a spell through the body. A spell can be baked into a cake. A spice mixture can be made for healing, protection, or purification. There are many possibilities with this.
Food is medicine. So again, know what you’re doing, and be ethical about this.
Solutions, Sprays, and Perfumes
These are water and alcohol based delivery methods. The evaporate relatively quickly, and are good for situations where the objective is to get something done and then stop.
Alternatively, they are used to spread and distribute the properties of an oil or herbs over a wide area.
A floor wash is a good example of a magickal solution. You don’t want to paint your entire floor with a full strength purification oil. So you put a bit into some ammonia and water, and spread it around the floor when you clean your floor.
Sprays are also good wide distribution methods. One of the most popular in the U.S. is Money House Blessing. One would spritz this around the home to attract wealth and prosperity to it.
With perfumes, the time you would use a perfume instead of an oil, is when you want it to have a limited effect. For instance, if a guy wants to be more attractive to women, but lives with women he doesn’t want to have sex with, you would give him an alcohol based perfume/cologne if you’re not sure if he can remember to wipe off an oil. This way he could wear it when he goes out, or when he has a female visitor, but by the time he was around his room mates or family, its effects would have lessened already.
Soaps are for cleansing and can also distribute oils well or clean them off/neutralize them. They are not so good for sticking the properties of solid herbs to someone unless they are very oily herbs.
You should know how to make soap and do it at least once in your life. However, there is an easier way, which is to use the melt and pour method if you need a bar of soap, or mix oils and infusions with soft soap or “soapless soap”. Just be aware of the ingredients in the soap itself.
To do melt-and pour for magick, it is best to do this in your cauldron.
You will also need, a bar of soap, shredded or chopped somewhat finely, oils you’d like to add to it, a tongue depressor or other stick for stirring (some use a specific wand or a “palo”), a cooking spatula, and a lightly greased bowl or some silicone molds.
Fill the cauldron about a third of the way with water or a compatible infusion, and bring this to a boil.
Put a glass or compatible metal bowl over this, or a coffee mug if you’re using a really small cauldron.
The water should boil, but the soap should not. Keep that in mind. It should only get just hot enough to melt.
Add some soap flakes, a reasonable amount of essential or infusion oils, and just enough water or to soften it a bit, and keep stirring until it’s well melted. This is the time to add any powdered herbs if you’d like. Stir them in thoroughly.
Then pour it into your greased bowl or molds. If you want, you can add some dried herbs to make it look “rustic” or that help the spell but just need to be rubbed on the hands and not stay long.
Let this cool and dry. It usually takes a few days to dry, but it’s a good idea to wrap it in lightly in cooking parchment and let it cure outside of the mold for a few weeks.
Gels are kind of a step between an oil and a solution. You want the materials to stick and do their work, but you don’t want the energy to stay “slippery” and animated.
To make a gel, you just make an infusion and add enough gelatine, agar-agar, tapioca, corn starch, potato starch, or whatever will work and be compatible with the spell. For storage purposes, make sure to add enough grapefruit seed oil or alcohol to keep it from spoiling.
Some gels are made with essential oils and aloe vera.
Gelling a potion can also be a good way to get kids to take their herbs when they’re sick or to keep them well during flu season. Instead of making them suffer through syrups and teas, make “jello” out of it.
These are good when the spell is to handle a long term situation. You basically make a pill or pellet of some sort that goes into a bath or a drink.
If you’ve never made sugar cubes, do this now. Instead of using water, use an herb infusion.
Powders are used when one wants to get the stuff into all the cracks and corners in a situation where there isn’t or shouldn’t be much moisture.
Some powders are used like carpet freshener or floor sweep. They are sprinkled around, and then vacuumed or swept up so that the area is dusted, but not over dusty. The powder in these cases also “catches” things that should be swept away, like the skin flakes and energy of a negative or depressed person that may have been there.
Some powders, such as protection salts, are used to distribute the magick in a way that the soil mixes with it, and/or make sure that anyone who enters has stepped on it. The magic sticks to their feet or shoes.
Like soaps, solvents are usually used for cleaning or cleansing. Some solutions are solvents, but not all solvents are solutions. The time you would use a solvent is when you want to get something clean but CLEAN and perhaps leave behind some herbal backup. They are also used to distribute a spell evenly on the clothes.
Washing powders and detergents are sometimes used in spells when one needs to enhance their status. One would wash the clothes with a charmed detergent that would make them look more “expensive” despite their not being fancy. For instance, a construction worker hoping to get promoted would wash their clothes with something that would make them stand out despite being sweaty and dirty most of the time.
One may also clean their home with things that would stop people from judging their modest surroundings.
Special solvents are also used sometimes when cleaning or consecrating magickal tools or talismans.
These are just some of the options for concoctions in spell work. Use your wisdom and the recommendations of wise elders to choose which ones would suit the situation. There’s sometimes a reason that an oil is preferred for some things, and a powder for others.
Feel free to post photos and notes about your creations in your activity stream. We’d love to see them. 🙂