Back in the late 90’s I ran an online shop I called Demonolatry Blends. I made incenses and oils for customers using mostly herbs from nurseries and companies whose business it was to produce dried herbs. But even then I always grew some of my own ingredients. I’ve always been one to grow at least some of what I use in my magickal mixtures because I feel including a live element boosts the energy of whatever you’re making. I also continually got compliments on my mixtures (never complaints that the oleums felt “dead”). Unlike some producers I know who are purely off-the-shelf herbalists- my “blends” were never “dead” and very rarely did they contain synthetics.
One summer I made a Sitri incense my customers couldn’t get enough of made with real Jasmine flowers (picked fresh from my own Jasmine plants). It was heavenly. The oil was just beautiful (and proved to be a great perfume). Needless to say I stopped selling my homemade mixtures because I no longer wanted to do it commercially. It was a lot of work, took a lot of time I didn’t have (not with having a job), not to mention I didn’t have the ability to grow the live magickal plants necessary for commercial production (Demonolatry Blends got really busy and popular between 1999 and 2000).
I’ve always admired herbalists who cultivated some of their own magical plants. I have even more admiration for the real magical herbalists who grow almost everything they use (or who can find it growing wild and can cultivate it that way). I am fortunate to know a few of these people. I am blessed that they are sharing their knowledge with me when it comes to growing magical plants I haven’t grown before. Brid and Val have also given me much better methods for producing synergetic mixtures than what my own teacher taught me (sorry Selin, but Brid and Val kick the asses of everyone I know (or have known) – even Moon Magick! – when it comes to producing magical herbal blends). It’s too bad they don’t do it commercially because I’m pretty sure their mixtures would become quite popular.
I’m pretty sure that it’s not only method by which their blends have more energy. It’s the fact that they primarily use plant material from the LIVING plants that they grow (except for special circumstances). When you put magickal intent into something you’re growing, when you harvest and dry the plants you can ensure they’re both properly infused with the right magickal energy AND fresh. The only synthetics Val and Brid use are oils that are impossible to obtain and the only dried herbs they use from outside suppliers are things they cannot grow themselves.
Having been fortunate enough to be gifted some incenses and oleums from these ladies I can definitely say that these particular mixtures blow most magickal blends out of the water. As a result I have tossed out my entire oleum collection (including five bottles given me by an ex-friend) and replaced them with the better, living versions gifted me. Blends which I’m now learning to make myself.
Now while growing magical plants may not be practical for everyone, being that I’m a working magician I’m beginning to think growing your own magical plants is the only way to control the quality of your own magical blends (not to mention fine tune intent). In my conscience also – it’s also the only way to do it if you’re selling your magical blends to others and claiming to be some sort of master herbalist. Real magical herbalists are also, themselves, gardeners. IMHO – real herbalists really know the plants they’re working with intimately (in nature!), not just their dead, dried form off a store shelf.
I am enjoying learning about this. Please note I make no claims of being a master herbalist myself. I am not. I’m, at best, merely a magician who enjoys gardening, who makes her own magickal blends, grows a lot of her own stuff these days, and has had the privilege of experiencing the difference between incenses and oils made from off the shelf herbs by off-the-shelf herbalists vs. those blends made by people who are actual magical herbalists in the truest sense of the title.
On that note – I do sometimes make magical blends for Demonolaters that I’m willing to share. Once again this year I am doing a batch of Tezrian Plague oleum (made via spagyric alchemical process using Lavendar and Sage from my own garden – traditional recipe) because it was so popular last year. Those wanting a bottle should contact me via FB or swordarkeereon at gmail dot com if you want a half oz from the new batch ($20 per 1/2 oz + $3 shipping in the U.S.). The new batch won’t be ready until after September 18. Don’t forget that certain formulas may actually take months to produce depending on the method by which they’re made. (I’m training in classical alchemy and wortcunning.)
I am also experimenting with some classical recipe Flying Ointment in 2012 (using freshly harvested home grown cinquefoil, calamus, sage, chamomile, hemlock and belladonna, + real pork fat) and some Abramelin Oil (made with homegrown Calamus root). I’ll keep you all posted on the outcome of these and whether or not I have excess to share. (Of course I will be charging by the size of the container and for shipping just because a lot of work goes into producing these magical mixtures by the mere fact that I’m growing many of the plants I’m using).