Crafting New Witches’ Salves
There’s more magic cooking in the witch’s kitchen. I’m making more of my Toadman’s Salve for shapeshifting, hedgecrossing, and communing with a toad familiar. I’ve started another batch of my Genius Loci salve for materializing and communicating with nature spirits – mainly those of forests and wild places. I’m also working on a crafting a 17th century fairy ointment recipe. I just need to find one more ingredient before I can complete it. I found the instructions in the classic work Fairy Tradition in Britain by Lewis Spence. The making of the fairy ointment is quite ritualistic, but not nearly as elaborate as crafting Medea’s Salve.
Supposedly Prometheus taught Medea how to make this salve from Mandrake root. Mandrake sprung up from the ichor, god blood, of Prometheus from his time in punishment for bringing us fire. Gods’ blood is poisonous to mortals like the Mandrake, but in small doses the root is very useful medicinally and ritually. It would be good for channeling gods as Prometheus is the Gods’ telephone pole – this salve is like a phone you can use to dial a deity’s number with an invocation. Even being tortured and bound, Prometheus as trickster still covertly gifted we mortals.
A simple blend of precisely measured genuine Mandragora root, rich extra virgin olive oil from Greece, and high quality filtered beeswax. However, this salve is not so simple to make. Following the ancient recipe with the help of my lovely apprentice, we left a sacrifice of an apple and a healthy dose of my home brewed pomegranate-apple mead in a pit at a crossroads to Persephone. Then we lit the altar candles and created sacred space to work within. Next we cleansed ourselves in the waters of seven springs (as many local ones as we could find) before invoking Hecate with an offering of my Hecate incense and more mead. Then we were able to work with the Mandragora and craft the salve of Medea which can be used in honour of Prometheus, Persephone, Hecate, or Aphrodite depending on your intent. This salve will allow you to take on the powers of a god, is what Medea says to Jason. Use for channeling and for rites needing abilities beyond your ken such as shapeshifting, travelling between worlds, or communing with spirits. My apprentice and I tested it out when we were done and I made sure to take notes. We rub a small amount of the salve on the back of our necks, behind our ears, and inside the elbows. Then wait around twenty minutes…
Heat, waves of heat like a hot flash, but not a flash – waves. It is pleasant. My hands and my neck are warm, but the rest of my body feels cool to the touch even though I feel hot from the inside. I feel this same heat when I sing charms, invocations, and when performing certain rituals. We went outside on the deck to sit with my poisonous plants and the cooling night air made the heat balance and I felt comfortable even though I should have been cold. Definitely mind altering. Time goes by quickly. No fuzzy mind or clouded thoughts. Sight is very focused and sharp with clearer detail. Young crows fly by in mass numbers to roost for the night. The tiny purple bittersweet flowers with their tiny tufts of pollen. It makes one silly and giggle a bit like pot. Saliva builds up in the mouth and words become confused to speak. I touch the datura. I’m thirsty it says with no words. I feel this strongly. I touch the earth and it’s quite dry. Suddenly, it starts to rain.
Around the same time my apprentice and I also made the traditional Nine Sacred Herbs Salve. The recipe for this salve is taken from an 11th century manuscript which also contains the charm sung along with its use to empower the herbs. The nine sacred herbs were discovered and shared with us mortals by the god Odin and are traditional to Germanic and Anglo-Saxon lore. They are chamomile, chervil, crab apple, fennel, mugwort, nettle, English plantain, viper’s bugloss, and watercress. This is a magical healing salve used for healing both physical and metaphysical illness. Out of the nine herbs, the ones still used medicinally in salves today are chamomile, mugwort, and plantain – not bad for thousand-year old herbal knowledge.
To enhance its healing powers, the charm is sung three times while applying the salve to heal ills beyond the herbs’ medicinal abilities such as painful arthritis, rheumatism, sprains, carpal tunnel, infections, diseases, or even to cure someone of the evil eye or other curses. It is a long charm, but it is traditionally to say or sing it all three times: Nine Herbs Charm with Translation.