As a general rule, you can use the following method for creating magickal anointing oils from scratch. In a mortar and pestle, pour two ounces of your base oil (olive, almond, grapeseed, etc.) and then add the herbs and other ingredients. Gently crush the ingredients and transfer the mixture to an airtight container and store in a dark place. After four days, check the oil to see if the fragrance is to the desired strength. If it is, then you can either strain the oil with cheesecloth into your final container, or simply leave everything together. Store in a dark place. If you do not have the right aromatic strength, then strain the oil in cheesecloth back into your mortar, add enough of your base oil to bring it back to 2 ounces, and repeat the process of adding your ingredients, crushing them into the oil, and storing away for three days at a time. Repeat this as many times as necessary to achieve the desired strength.
Some herbs and resins are more readily absorbed than others. If you have an essential oil of an herb used in a recipe, you can add some to the recipe to enhance the aroma, as well. Be sure to add a few drops of tincture of Benzoin or vitamin E oil to your formulas or they will go rancid (unless you are using jojoba oil as a base).
Working with essential oils requires knowing the properties of the oils and being aware of the safety issues about the oils you use. For your convenience, I have compiled a list of essential oils based on information is from Julia Lawless book The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils: The Complete Guide to the Use of Oils in Aromatherapy and Herbalism (Illustrated Encyclopedia). You are encouraged to purchase the book and study it to gain the in depth knowledge required to master the art of apothecary.
Hazardous Oils: Bitter Almond, Arnica, Boldo, Broom, Buchu, Calamus, Camphor, Cassia, Chervil, Cinnamon (bark), Costus, Elecampane, Fennel (bitter), Horseradish, Mugwort, Mustard, Oregano, Pennyroyal, Pine (dwarf), Rue, Sage (common), Santolina, Sassafras, Savine, Savory, Tansy, Thuja, Thyme (red), Tonka, Wintergreen, Wormseed and Wormwood.
Toxicity: Essential oils which should be used in moderation (only in dilution and for a maximum of two weeks at a time) because of toxicity levels are: Ajowan, Anise Star, Basil (exotic), Bay Laurel, Bay (West Indian), Camphor (white), Cassie, Cedarwood (Virginian), Cinnamon (leaf), Clove (bud), Coriander, Eucalyptus, Fennel (sweet), Hops, Hyssop, Juniper, Nutmeg, Parsley, Pepper (black), Sage (Spanish), Tagests, Tarragon, Thyme (white), Tuberose, Turmeric, Valerian.
Dermal/Skin Irritation: Oils which may irritate the skin, especially if used in a high concentration: Ajowan, Allspice, Aniseed, Basil (sweet), Black Pepper, Boreol, Cajeput, Caraway, Cedarwood (Virginian), Cinnamon (leaf), Clove (bud), Corn mint, Eucalyptus, Garlic, Ginger, Lemon, Parsley, Peppermint, Thyme (white) and Turmeric.
Sensitization: Some oils may cause skin irritation only in those people with very sensitive skins or can cause an allergic reaction in some individuals. Always do a patch test before using a new oil to check for individual sensitization. Oils which may cause sensitization include: Basil (French), Bay Laurel, Benzoin, Cade, Canagaa, Cedarwood (Virginian), Chamomile (Roman and German), Citronella, Garlic, Geranium, Ginger, Hops, Jasmine, Lemon, Lemongrass, Lemon Balm (melissa), Litsea Cubeba, Lovage, Mastic, Mint, Orange, Peru Balsam, Pine (Scotch and long-leaf), Styrax, Tea Tree, Thyme (white), Tolu Balsam, Turmeric, Turpentine, Valerian, Vanilla, Verbena, Violet, Yarrow and Ylang Ylang.
Phototoxicity: Some oils are phototoxic, meaning they can cause skin pigmentation if exposed to direct sunlight. Do not use the following oils either neat or in dilution on the skin, if the area will be exposed to the sun: Angelica Root, Bergamot (except bergapten-free type), Cumin, Ginger, Lemon (expressed), Lime (expressed), Lovage, Mandarin, Orange and Verbena.
High Blood Pressure: Avoid the following oils in cases of high-hypertension: Hyssop, Rosemary, Sage (Spanish and common) and Thyme.
Epilepsy: Fennel (sweet).
Diabetes: Hyssop, Rosemary, Angelica, and Sage (all types).
Homeopathy: Homeopathic treatment is not compatible with the following: Black Pepper, Camphor, Eucalyptus and Peppermint.
Essential oils should be stored in dark glass bottles or vials. However, essential oils can be packaged in clear glass bottles or vials if they are stored in a box or dark carrying case. All essential oils should be kept at a moderate to cool temperature and away from children and pets.
Some formulas require precise blending requirements, while others do not. The way I make my oils is similar to the way I cook –with a little bit o’ dis and little bit o’ dat. Sometimes I want the strength of a particular herb or scent to be more or less depending on the work or purpose I have in mind and so I will adjust it accordingly. You can do this too, once you get comfortable with both the process of blending oils, as well as their properties.
In the meantime, here are some basic guidelines to go by when the precise measurements are not provided for a particular formula.
- Anointing Oil – Anointing Oils can be made using different concentrations of essential oils. Add 60-75 drops of essential oil or essential oil blend to approximately 1 oz. of carrier oil.
- Perfume– Add up to 20 drops of essential oil to 1/3 ounce of carrier oil. There are two types of carrier oils that work well for perfumes, jojoba oil and fractionated coconut oil. These carrier oils have a long shelf life and are nearly odorless.
- Spray– Add 30-50 drops of an essential oil or essential oil blend to an 8 oz. spray bottle. Fill the remainder of the bottle with distilled water. Most spray bottles of this size will be plastic; however, remember the oils will erode the plastic bottle in time.
- BathOil– Add 5-7 drops of essential oils or essential oil blend to one ounce of carrier oil. Pour a small amount of the blend into a tub of running water. Stir the water and oil together before getting in the tub.
Stay tuned for part 3 of this series where I will start sharing some genuine traditional New Orleans magickal formulas.
Alvarado, D. (2009). The Voodoo Hoodoo Spellbook.
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