Read an Excerpt
The ingredients used for the magickal recipes in this book use many lotion and soap bases to which fresh or dried herbs, or essential or cold-pressed oils, have been added. Essential or aromatic oils are the volatile distilled plant extracts often sold as perfumes. Cold-pressed oils are fatty oils, such as olive or nut oils, that are usually used as a base for essential oil blends.
If you grow or purchase fresh herbs, you can preserve them by drying them. This is best accomplished by hanging them on a drying rack in a warm, dry place for six to eight weeks. You can create the perfect drying rack from the sweater-drying racks found in discount department stores.
Avoid using synthetic ingredients in magickal preparations, especially your essential oils. Perfumed or scented oils are created without natural ingredients. Natural ingredients work best in magick because their energies are in harmony with the magickal goals we seek and they contain the correct energies to act as catalysts to help us make our magick work. They resonate with the power of the Mother Earth in which they were grown and their energy patterns and precise scent"both of which are needed for your best spellwork"cannot be duplicated.
The herbs and oils selected for the recipes in this book are a combination of those known to have cosmetic effects on the skin or hair or that act as catalysts to help you achieve specific magickal goals. This chapter will explain some of those ingredients so that you will better be able to see how these recipes were created, and so you can begin to craft your own magickal bath and beauty spells for any need.
Herbs, oils, and other natural substances have a long history of use in magick. Their natural energies have been experimented with for so many centuries that those who practice magickal arts know almost intuitively what plants correspond best to energies of what magickal need. Always remember that the magick is not in the herb, but in you. The herb acts as a catalyst to help you focus your energy and, because it contains sympathetic energy, it helps you channel that energy toward its goal.
In some cases, the scent of the herb alone is all it will take to trigger the magick. This is known in popular culture as aromatherapy. Aromatherapy is gaining acceptance within the most mainstream circles since it has been "discovered" that lavender is calming, lemon is invigorating, jasmine is seductive, and so on. Magickal people have known these scent tricks for eons. Aroma magick is created each time you use a particular scent or scent blend for a particular spell. Over time, just a whiff of the scent is enough to trigger your magickal mind to action. This is the basis for some very strong magick. I know that just the slightest whiff of sandalwood oil mentally transports me back to one of my earliest and happiest times in magick, and it puts me in the right frame of mind for crafting successful spells.
All the recipes contained in this book are meant strictly for external, cosmetic, and magickal use and should never be ingested or placed in any body cavity. Most of the ingredients used are considered to be safe for general use in limited quantities. Be aware that some herbal concentrations are able to penetrate the skin and be absorbed into the body. Therefore, most of the recipes in the book are not suitable for women who are pregnant or nursing. They should also not be used on young children or on the elderly.
Many people choose herball health and skin care products under the mistaken assumption that "natural" means "100 percent free of side effects." Wise herbalists never forget that plants were our first medicines and that many of today"s miracle drugs were derived from plants. All living things have a chemical makeup that, when mixed with our own chemistry, may not peacefully coexist. Herbal side effects can be just as severe and just as deadly as those of any prescription drug. Use all herbal preparations with caution, even those not taken internally.
Having a regulating authority declare an herb generally safe, such as is done by the United States Food and Drug Administration, does not mean that substance will not cause an allergic reaction in certain sensitive individuals. You should do an allergy test prior to using any herb as a cosmetic. Do this by crushing some of the herb and placing it under a bandage against the skin on the inside of your arm, just below the elbow fold. The same should be done for oils and other substances. Leave this in place for twenty-four hours, or until an adverse reaction occurs. If twenty-four hours pass with no itching, swelling, or redness, you probably will not have any problems using that substance. Treat any reaction as you normally would, with topical or oral antihistamines or, if the situation merits, seek emergency medical help. Also remember that allergies can develop at any time during your life and can even cause a substance you"ve used for years to suddenly become potentially dangerous to you.
Don"t be tempted to pick your own wild herbs unless you are an expert botanist. Many plants are easily confused, even by the pros, and Mother Nature has protected her babies by having the most poisonous plants masquerade as some of the most benign. There are so many reputable dealers who sell inexpensive dried herbs and plants that taking risks is pointless. Look to your local occult bookstore for assistance or check out Appendix A in the back of this book for a list of mail-order resources.
The Major Ingredients
A low-scent oil often used as a base for essential oil blends, almond oil is very hydrating and often found in high-quality moisturizers. Almonds are used in spells for fertility, grounding, beauty, love, and prosperity. Do not be tempted to substitute peanut oil for almond oil. Peanut oil is a common cooking oil and, like most cooking oils, is a fatty oil derived from a cold-pressed process. It is not an essence and is not hydrating. Peanuts are also common allergens that produce dangerous reactions in many people, especially children.
This is a popular ingredient in skin lotions. The gel that comes from a broken aloe leaf can be used to help soothe and heal burns. In magick, aloe vera is used for spells of protection, wealth, and beauty. Keep refrigerated.
Apples are used in love magick, in rites to honor ancestors and call spirits, and in spells to honor the Goddess. Apples can be puréed in a blender and added to magickal formulas that produce a mild astringent effect. Apple blossom is a sweet scent sometimes used in love or beauty spells.
Used as a hair rinse for darker hair, anise is also popular in spells to create lust and passion and to enhance psychic energy. Don"t confuse anise with licorice, though; they are not the same thing.
This is an olive oil soap first produced in the Castile region of Spain in the thirteenth century. It is easily grated and meelted to make other solid soaps and provides a low-scent base for magickal soap products using essential oils. Castile soap is very mild and nonastringent. It also comes in a liquid form that makes the perfect base for shampoos and gel soaps, though it may be too hydrating for oily hair. A note to vegetarians or those who eschew animal products: Some castiles include animal fat, which originally gave the olive oil soap the fatty acids it needed to give it its cleaning power. Today some of these still contain lard, but most use vegetable oils, so check your ingredients list carefully when purchasing castile soaps at drug stores or by mail order.
This is used in spells for relaxation and is often found in herbal hair preparations, especially for blondes. Avoid using chamomile if you are allergic to ragweed. They come from the same plant family, so people sensitive to ragweed may have an unpleasant reaction to chamomile.
This spicy herb is used frequently in spells for lust and protection. The oil is very irritating to the skin.
Our grandmothers tried to tell us about this one. Clay is a great skin softener and makes an excellent facial mask for extracting dirt and oil. Don"t use clay straight from your backyard, which has too much dirt and trace minerals. Pure clay is cheap and worth the purchase.
Clove oil is a rich scent, but is toxic and can irritate the skin, so use it with caution. Clove is often added to spells for protection and warding and makes a great catalyst to halt gossip.
This oil is reputed to have natural antibiotic and antiviral properties. Not surprisingly, it is used primarily in spells for healing and health.
The hydrating and moisture-retaining substance we know as glycerin is actually a byproduct of soap processing. This complex process is not covered in this book, but the byproduct is recommended in several of the skin lotion recipes. Bottles of glycerin can be purchased inexpensively in most drug stores.
Honey and the bees who create it are sacred to many of the world"s Gods and Goddesses. Honey appears in spells ancient and modern as a catalyst for love, beauty, and health. It is also used in medicinal preparations and in skin care products.
Jasmine is actually the general name for over two hundred species of tropical shrubs. The one we use for perfume is from a vine with waxy white foliage that has an exotic and sensual quality. It makes a fine oil or incense, or can be used dried. It is used in magick for prophetic dreams, psychic powers, and love and romance.
Used to add shine and moisture to the hair and scalp, jojoba oil has properties similar to collagen, the elastic in your skin, that can help strengthen the skin and may have some beneficial effect on hair follicles.
The soft, feminine scent of lavender releases chemicals in the brain that produce a feeling of relaxation. In magick it is used widely in spells for love, sleep, romance, and peace. Classicists tell us lavender oil was added to the waters of the famous Roman baths to cleanse both the body and the spirit. It was also used as a perfume in ancient Egypt.
The scent of lemon is invigorating and stimulates the intellect. Lemon is used in spells for protection, courage, and strength. It is a mild astringent with bleaching properties that is often found in hair washes for fair-haired people.
Lime protects and is used in spells for exoorcism.
Lilac oil is soothing to the spirit and is used to induce visions of past lives.
Lotus is a sensual floral scent with Asian overtones. The oil is most often used in spells for sleep, peace, and love.
Sacred to Goddesses of beauty, this is used in spells for drawing love and enhancing appearance.
Myrtle is a mild astringent and popular herb in love spells in England and the American South.
Oatmeal makes an excellent skin softener and facial mask.
This cold-pressed oil is a favorite as a base for making other oil blends. Alone, it is used in magick for purification, love, and peace.
The scent of orange is invigorating and helps settle a distracted mind. It is related to the sun, friendships, personal attraction, and used in spells for money, protection, and attracting friends. Orange oil has found a new incarnation in commercial products to clean and to keep parasites off pets.
A simple breath freshener and diuretic, parsley is used in spells to aid in astral projection or create the illusion of invisibility.
The sweet scent of rose has so long been associated with romance that our minds are immediately triggered in that direction when we catch a whiff. Its primary use in magick is in love spells, but it can also be used in spells for beauty and healing.
Rosemary smells clean and clear. It is so versatile that it is the one herb no magickal practitioner"or good cook"should be without. Rosemary is used in spells for lust, love, memory, healing, mental prowess, vigor, exorcism, and purification.
This is another low-scent oil that makes a good base for creating oil blends.
Salts include Epsom salts, table salts, sea salt, and baking soda. They are used in preparations to soften and exfoliate the skin. Magickally, they are used for grounding, protection, and to banish negativity.
Sandalwood smells woodsy and exotic. It is used in magick for purification, peace, healing, and love, and is often included in spells connected with moon or mirror magick.
Vervain is a popular herb in love spells.
The high acid content of vinegars helps remove dead skin cells from the surface layer of the skin, a process known as exfoliation. It makes a nice astringent and adds shine to hair. Use apple cider vinegar for best results. Vinegar is also used in spells for protection, banishing, and turning back negative magick.
It almost goes without saying that water will be a component of most any bath and beauty preparation you make. While tap water is fine for bath magick, use spring water if possible to add to your magickal preparations. Avoid distilled water that has had the magickal essence of its elements distorted through processing.
Used heavily in love spells and spells for courage and banishment of negativity.
Magick: The Cohesive Ingredient
Mixing up some exotic herbs and oils and uttering a few lines from a book will not make magick work. It"s just not that simple. If it were, everyone would be beautiful, rich, famous, and have everything they ever want within arm"s reach. Those who practice magick or who follow magickal religions will tell you that spellcrafting is work. Hard work. It requires physical, emotional, and mental effort, not once, but over and over.
This chapter cannot hope to replace an entire text on natural magickal practices. If you are a newcomer to the maagickal arts, it is recommended that you seek out at least one of these books and learn and practice the exercises presented to you. Among the books available right now are Amber K"s True Magick (Llewellyn, 1992), Doreen Valiente"s Natural Magick (Phoenix, 1988), Marion Weinstein"s Positive Magic (Phoenix, 1983), Raven Grimassi"s Wiccan Magick (Llewellyn, 1998), and my own Making Magick (Llewellyn, 1997).
There are some universally recognized steps used to create successful spells. Most long-time practitioners add some steps of their own but, for all practical purposes, they remain the same from magician to magician, tradition to tradition, and from past to present.
Desire and need
Strong emotional involvement
Knowledge and realistic expectations
Conviction and faith
The ability to keep silent
Pursuing the goal in the physical world
These six steps have several variations, but they lie at the heart of successful magick and feed naturally off one another. Think about how one is linked to another like threads on a web. Without a desire born of need there can be no emotional involvement. Without emotional involvement there can be no desire to drive the spell. Desire without the knowledge to do the spell is useless, and knowledge without faith in the outcome will negate any effort. Keeping silent to prevent losing the power you"re putting into the spell is essential for helping you to pursue your goal in the physical world and not just relying on magick to do everything for you.
Remember that successful spellcrafting requires your input on all levels of your being. If you are trying to take an unformed idea and manifest it in the physical world, then also working for it in both the unformed and physical worlds makes sense. This daily pursuit of your goal helps reinforce your desire, and so the cycle starts all over again, one step feeding into the next.
Almost any spell will require you to have basic magickal skills. Don"t panic if you don"t have them yet. The ability to make magick lies within all of us, though you may have to work to fully develop your personal power to a place where magick comes more easily. When doing the spells in this book, or any other, you will need to use the following skills:
This is the art of "seeing" the spell"s goal in your mind in vivid detail. Doing this helps empower the image by linking its unseen-world form to you in the physical world. This allows it to gain in density and, eventually, manifest. Visualization is the conscious mind"s way of letting the subconscious and superconscious minds know exactly what you expect from them by pulling them into alignment.
Visualization is arguably the most important step in the magickal process and should not be skimped on. Plan this step as carefully as you would your catalysts, words, or gestures to make sure you are asking for precisely what you want.
Centering and Balancing
This is the art of pulling deep into your center all your energies and any surrounding energies so you can mold them to your will and send them out to do your will. You must feel calm, at your center point, and in harmony with the inner and outer worlds to best connect your magick to all these realms. This is the "magickal mindset" mentioned earlier that is necessary to trigger a magickal response on all levels of your being.
Raising and Sending Magickal Energy
This is the ability to build on those collected energies and, when they reach their peak, to mentally aand physically will them to travel where they need to go to work best for you. This is done by chanting, drumming, dancing, and building or drawing in the earth"s energy, then mentally releasing it toward its goal when ready. Visualization is important to making this step successful.
Empowering, Charging, or Enchanting
These three terms are used interchangeably to refer to the same process. Objects or magickal tools contain no power in and of themselves. They may share affinities and share a long history of being used for specific types of magick, but the power that drives them comes from the one who enacts the spell. Energy pertaining to the goal must be channeled into those catalysts to help them work for you.
Objects must first be clear of previous programming, which can occur without magickal intent. Do you remember when you believed you could catch someone"s "cooties" merely by touching an object that had been touched by them? This is the result of their previous programming, the energy transfer that occurs when an object is handled and mentally interacted with. Objects absorb the energy of their owners. The more they are touched and thought about, the more energy they absorb. Place the object on the ground or hold it under running water while using visualization to clear it of its past programming.
The word "empowering" will be used a lot throughout this book for the sake of clarity. It refers to programming an object or catalyst with your magickal will rather than allowing random energies to accumulate. To give a catalyst your cooties, hold it, fondle it, and breathe on it, all the while mentally projecting into it your magickal desire. Visualization is, again, the key to making this skill work for you. Empowering is what makes any object a good conduit for helping channel the energy of your spell.
This used to be a catchword in the 1970s before it fell from fashion. No matter what you choose to call it now, it is still very much a part of successful magick. Synonymous terms are going down, counting down, meditative state of mind, magickal mindset, magickal state of consciousness, receptive state, hypnogogic state, daydream state, alpha level, and slowed consciousness.
Altering consciousness is the art of being able to change the focus of your mind, to slow its pattern of energy so that it connects you to all other worlds and beings. You do this naturally when you read, sleep, or concentrate. Begin to experiment with meditation"simply holding single thoughts or mental pictures"for longer and longer periods of time to increase your ability to alter your consciousness at will.
This is the essential last step in magick that helps us to take excess energy at the end of a spell and channel it safely away where it cannot be scattered or cause us to feel frazzled. Grounding also allows you to regain your normal waking consciousness and fully reenter the everyday world once more.
You can mentally channel unused magickal energy into Mother Earth or you may place your hands or feet under running water. Many practitioners choose to place their palms down flat on the ground after magick to ground themselves. Advanced magicians can ground themselves through visualization alone, a wonderful skill to cultivate for making magick in full view of the whole world while making sure no one knows but you.
Words of Power
The concept of using words of power has received so much attention over the past twentyy years that it almost requires its own chapter to fully explain how it works. This is where a good text or two on basic magickal practice is invaluable. To be successful in magick you need that foundation and innate understanding, just as a concert pianist needs to practice scales over and over before being able to play a Beethoven sonata.
Like herbs, oils, candles, and other catalysts, the true magick of your spell is not in your words. They act as a conduit, a catalyst, for channeling your visualization and connecting your energies to the unseen or astral world where all magick begins the process of manifestation. Merely reciting a set of words over a spell will not make this happen.
Yet no one would deny that words are powerful when used with intent. Individually and in combination they evoke specific imagery in our minds. Once uttered where they can be heard by any other being, they can never be taken back completely. They reverberate forever, imprinting your will on the unseen. Once spoken, they have already set ideas and energies in motion that will eventually work their way back to you for good or bad.
Some of the images that words conjure up for us are archetypal or universal, and others are perceived by us in unique ways based on our own personal histories. Because of this they can help clarify both your intent and the visualization process, which is so vital to successful spellcrafting. When recited over and over with the full thrust of magickal will behind them, they reverberate over the universe and create energy patterns that"for better or worse"will eventually return to you as a completed action. This is why misspoken words have been regarded by folklore as dangerous. During the infamous Witch trials of Salem, Massachusetts, in 1692, words once spoken in innocence were used against the accused. For example, if someone said, "Better wear a hat or you"ll get sick," and the person addressed fell ill, the colonists believed that proved the speaker had worked magick.
There are very few traditional words of power, also known as chants or charms. The traditional ones are usually identifiable by their archaic language, such as the use of "so mote it be" for "so it must be." However, obsolete language does not make one spell better than another. In fact, if you"re really not clear on what those old words mean, your mind will not be able to latch onto them and use them to help produce the mental images necessary to make your spell work.
When chanted over and over, your words of power work like a mantra, a phrase designed to change the consciousness and its perception of reality. This is the essence of the magickal process and, in this respect, words are invaluable. Such words are usually created as couplets or quatrains, or sometimes even a series of quatrains that rhyme. This is partly because rhymes are easier to remember than standard prose and because reciting rhyming words provokes us to speak in rhythm, which further affects our consciousness and helps take it where we want it to go.
This is why repetitive words are so important in ritual. Ritual is nothing more than using standard patterns to change the direction of all levels of our consciousness. All spiritual practices employ this technique for helping adherents connect with the Godforce.
If you are interested in pursuing a study of magickal words, there are many sources where you can turn. The Judeo-Gnostic spiritual study known as Kaballah has a substudy of magiickal words known as gematria. Gematria combines ancient alphabets, numerology, and word etymology to come up with some fascinating associations that can make each word you speak in any setting work most effectively. The Kaballistic text known as the Zohar has many legends about alphabet order and how the universe was created by no more magick than the uttering of words of power.
When creating the wording for any spell, or when altering the words in a spell you find in this book or any other, think carefully about your intent. Keep in mind that words are not necessary for all spells, and many spells in this book do not have any. However, words of power can always be added to any spell. Use the chants in this or any other books of spells as a model if you"re unsure of how they should sound. Consider every single word and its impact on your mind. Make each word clear and precise but don"t be afraid of them. We all have to learn our lessons by making magickal boo-boos before we can be fully successful. Almost any magickal practitioner can tell you tales of trying to manifest a car and ending up with a toy model or asking for someone to love them and receiving a pet dog.
My best words of power boo-boo came many years after I thought I"d learned all my lessons about what I said in spells. I created a glamoury spell (see chapter 8) to enhance my appearance and, among the sentences, there was one that began with the benign-sounding words "youthful face." I spent nearly two months battling teenage-style acne before it dawned on me what the problem was. I changed the youthful face line and the acne went away.
We all have an area of magick in which we excel, and some practitioners find they have an affinity for magickal words. If you are one of these people, you might want to make words your primary catalyst and create story spells or write lyrics for song spells that you use to weave your spells into being.
Magickal Ethics . . . Again
Please feel free to skip over this section if you"ve been practicing positive magick for awhile or have already learned the harsh lessons of using negative magick. So much has been written about magickal ethics that it almost seems redundant to have yet another discussion. But because this book does not take the paternal attitude that people must be sheltered from the negative aspects of magick, the discussion cannot be avoided. The laws of responsibility dictate that this material be presented just in case someone reading this is considering crossing that murky gray line for the first time.
In spite of the fact that magical practitioners are well aware of the serious repercussions of using harmful or manipulative magick, those types of spells are part of our magickal heritage, and so they appear in this book. The choice to use them or not is always that of the one who enacts the spell. A negative spell can be reworked to have no harmful side effects, and vice versa. The path of magick is, above all, one for the fully self-responsible. You can never blame the spell itself for any harm done.
The fast-growing religion of Witchcraft, which is based on the earliest religions of western Europe, is a magickal religion and, as such, teaches ethics to its initiates. They provide an excellent example of magickal laws because they are expoused frequently. The Craft has few laws but does adhere to its Rede, "As it harms none, do what you will." The real power of this law is that it is echoed in virtually all spiritualsystems and religions throughout place and time. Obviously someone knows something here. What you do will come back to you. Period. Our ancestors found this out and created these ethics to help keep us from learning the hard way, like they did. Use caution in all you think, say, and do.
Think of the universe as a huge wheel that perpetually rotates around you. Energy you put onto the wheel goes out to the wheel"s apex, then begins to circle back around to you. It brings with it not only your input onto it, but everyone else"s as well. This is why it is so important to make completely sure you are not harming, manipulating, or in any way disregarding the free will and innate rights to any being"s person, space, thoughts, or property. This is especially true in magick, where the thought process is concentrated and deliberate and, therefore, magnified.
This is also why it is best to keep silent as much as possible about your magickal goals. Even someone who does not practice magick or who steadfastly does not believe in it can produce energy that could counter the efforts of your spell, should they have an interest in preventing your goal from taking place. Sometimes simple jealousy is the culprit, even from the most well-meaning of friends.
Lastly, there are two arguments for negative magick that never hold up and always backfire. Don"t be taken in by them. First of all, don"t delude yourself that magick you"re doing for some else"s "own good" will bring you back positive results simply because you have good intentions. You are manipulating, and that is causing harm. It will only bring back to you a threefold smack of interference in your own free will. Secondly, don"t think that firing off random magick with the claim that you do not believe in or accept a spiritual system to govern you will absolve you from responsibility. To say you do not believe in the mechanism that brings back to you that energy you send out is to say you do not believe in the very mechanism that makes magick work in the first place. Either the wheel turns or it doesn"t. If it does, you cannot pick and choose which energy gets on board. You can"t have it both ways. It may sound like a Catch-22 but it"s one of the great mysteries magicians are always clamoring to know. This one is not hard to grasp. As Nin-Si-Ana, a priestess friend of mine, is fond of saying, "Well, just whack me upside the head with the frying pan of enlightenment!"
The world of magick is the heritage of humanity and belongs to no one individual or magickal tradition. It is there to assist all of us. Like any natural resource we must use it wisely and well and it will reward us ten times over for our efforts.
There are two methods often employed in spellcraft to attempt to overcome any unanticipated negative effects of a spell. One is to do some form of divination beforehand, such as reading the tarot cards or runes, to search for any unexpected magickal side effects. The other is to add words of power to your spell such as "as it harms none" or "as all will it to be" or "with goodwill toward all." This is then backed up with visualization that seeks contentment for all beings of all worlds who may be touched in any way by the energies of the spell you wish to do.
Bringing the Ingredients Together
There are several ways to process the herbal concoctions that will be used in this book, depending on how they are to be used. All should be created using the magickal principles just discussed i