Sunday, April 1, 2012
Magical oils are used to concentrate the powers of an herb, flower, tree or root. The greatest value of oils is that they retain the full scent of the plant. And scents have powerful reactions upon the human intellect and the body itself.
In the Craft , oil is a symbol of the element of Fire. The oils capture, draw out, and store the essential nature of the herbs and flowers the basic energies that the Wise Women called the fiery being.
There are good quality oils on the market today. I have purchased many myself. But there have been times when I needed a certain oil and it was not readily available.
I did some research and found this simple recipe from Scott Cunningham's book Magical Herbalism, for creating your own oils.
He writes the simplest method is known as enfleurage. Fill a small clean bottle or jar with fresh flowers, petals and leaves of the herb you wish to make an oil from. Dried herbs will work if the fresh are not available. Next pour your base oil, such as olive oil, over the herbs with enough to cover them. Tightly cork or cap the jar and keep in a warm place ( Out of the sunlight) for three days. Shake the bottle thoroughly each day. On the third day strain the oil, fill the jar again with ,fresh leaves and flowers and pour the same oil back into the jar.. Repeat this procedure several times until the oil is saturated with the fragrance.
Finally strain the oil through filter paper or a piece of fine muslin. Store in a tightly stoppered bottle, opaque being best.
He also states that some herbalists add a few drops of benzoin tincture to the oils as a preservative.
Some of the sources I found recommend lightly heating the oil before adding it to your herbs and to stir the mix with a clean wooden stick such as a chop stick so that all the trapped air bubbles in the herbs are released. I found recommendations that your jar should only be as large as the amount of herb you are working with due to the fact that you want the least amount of air in the jar to discourage any contamination. There were suggestions that your herb should be partially wilted or dried so there is less moisture in your oil and thereby making it less likely to go bad.
I found various instructions that recommended you should place your oil enfleurage in the sun for as long as three days to six weeks. I believe the differences are due to what kind of oil you're creating, whether it is going to be used as a food, beauty, magickal or ritual oil.
I personally think that when you create your own, more of your inner magic is bound up in the oil and therefore it is more powerful for you.
As with everything read, research and in the long run do what works best for you.