Online Archive  
Issue 5 - May 1972
Herbs & Magick

Herbs have now re-established themselves as being essential to good cooking, but they have also been used extensively in magical recipes and a bit of cultural conservation in this direction wouldn't come amiss. So...

First gather your herbs - preferably when the moon is waning, in spring or early summer, just after the morning sun has dried off the dew. Make sure they're quite dry, fresh and healthy plants. (Copy of Culpepers Herbal will be useful for identification).

To dry the herbs (so you can use them all year round), hang them, bunched, in an airy room or lay them on a sunny windowsill (or in a warm oven for the less romantic patient).

When the herbs are ready for use, you can prepare them using variations of these four basic recipes:-

Add one handful of chopped herbs to two cups of water in a pan. Boil, and then simmer for about five minutes, before removing from heat. Stand, to cool, overnight and then it's ready. Kept in a cool place, it'll be OK for about four days (longer if only intended for external use).

Two ounces of powdered dried herb to one quart of alcohol/surgical spirit/pure vinegar. Store in an airtight bottle for two weeks, shaking vigorously several times a day. By then it should be ready for use.

Handful of herbs crushed to a powder and placed in a half pint bottle three quarters filled with fine oil and one top pur vinegar. The tightly corked bottle should be placed in the sunlight and shaken daily (or place the bottle in a pan of water and gently warm it for about one hour a day). Continue this process for about three weeks and by then it should be OK (to fortify oil, strain liquid off and add new herbs every four days or so).

Newly ground herbs pounded into a fatty base eg. cold cream. Usually about one tablespoon of herbs to three ounces of cream. You could add herbs to liquified lard and heat for about fifteen minutes befor strainingoff into a suitable container (this way you could get none of the chemicals and perfumes you might get in the cold cream mixture).

Specific Recipes

Universal Medicine
Super cure all. A mixture of Mint, Lily of the Valley, Honeysuckle, Groundsel, Heather. Prepare a stadard brew using a wine base. Take as a tonic.

An Aphrodisiac (Potio Priapi)
Combine Vervain and Fennel in an infusion (i.e. boil and strain) or use Fennel water to make an infusion of Vervain. Gather the herbs on a Friday, preferably when the moon is passing through the first ten degrees of Taurus or Virgo, and it helps if the moon is well aspected with Saturn and Venus. And to help the Aphrodisiac along a bit, a cosmetic.

Witches Eye Bright
One dessertspoon Celandine, one dessertsoon Elderflowers. Boil together in a pint of water and when required for use, mix a little of the mixture with milk and apply to eyes.