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).
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.