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Thread: Help Making Wet Potions

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    The Gaze of the Abyss B. de Corbin's Avatar
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    Making an Elixir the right way

    The word "elixir," I'm told, translates, as "from the ashes," so you should expect an elixir to actually be made from ashes. If you find a recipe for an elixir that doesn't involve ashes, be wary - the person is trying to make their herbal preparation sound cool by using a word he/she does not understand. The preparation may be fine, but, ya know, it makes me wonder...

    Theory -

    An elixir is a preparation based on Alchemical theory. It involves breaking down plant material into its three components - spirit, soul, and body, purifying each, then recombining them. The Alchemist then lends some of his/her life force to the preparation, bringing the plant back to life as a purified, living medicine.

    The “spirit” of a plant is alcohol (which is why we still call alcohol spirits today), the “soul” of a plant is the oils, and the “body” is the actual woody material of the plant.

    You can try making an elixir even if you choose to write off parts of the theory as purely symbolic.

    I’ll give you two different methods – the easy one and the hard one. The easy one is easy, and the hard one is pretty hard – but, for an Alchemist, the making of an elixir would also be an extended act of meditation. If you choose to try it, do the work with that in mind and see what happens.

    The Easy Method –

    You’ll need:

    * a bottle of drinkable alcohol (cheap, high proof vodka or Everclear are usually used, but you can change the flavor of your elixir by using other alcohols). Don’t use rubbing alcohol!
    * a few handfuls of your herb of choice
    * a mason jar and lid
    * a source of steady, low heat (a heating pad, the top of your furnace, a place near a wood burning stove, something like that)
    * a bowl or pot large enough to hold your mason jar
    * a fireproof surface, like an old steel cookie sheet
    * A source of high heat, like a blazing inferno, or a fireplace, or a propane torch
    * Optional – a bit of sugar or honey to improve the taste of your elixir.

    1. Pour about two cups of alcohol into the mason jar.
    2. Add about one handful of dried herb, or about one and a half handfuls of fresh herb (adjust up or down for herbs of different potency. Feel free to experiment). The herb should be chopped or ground up as fine as possible.
    3. Screw the lid on tight and shake it up good.
    4. Put the sealed mason jar in the bowl, add water to the bowl up to about the level of the alcohol/herb mixture, and put on your heat source or in a warm place. The key here is warm, not hot. If the jar gets hot, it could burst. We want something of about body temperature. In fact, you could carry this around under your armpit if you are really committed. The purpose of the bowl with water (water bath) is to help maintain a steady temperature (incubation temperature). If the temperature drops a bit, the heat retained by the water will keep the jar warm. If the temperature goes up, the water will slow down the heating of the jar and prevent it from bursting. (Symbolically, think of the jar as an egg that is being incubated).

    In Alchemical literature and illustrations, this particular part of the process is often depicted or described in terms of a burial. A poisonous serpent or dragon is put into a tomb with a woman, and the tomb door is sealed. The serpent’s poison tears the woman’s body apart, filling the tomb with blood – and kills both the serpent and the woman. The poison and the blood mix, creating a new component.

    The serpent represents the alcohol (spirit - male); the woman is the plant from which the “blood” (soul – female) will be extracted. The tomb is the container (mason jar) where the action takes place – and an egg. Out of death comes life.

    5. Leave the jar to incubate for a time period – always in multiples of three, which is the magic number in Alchemy. Three days, if you’re not really serious, although if you are carrying the jar around in your armpit, three days will seem like forever… Thirty days, for a minor work (approximately the incubation time for a chicken egg), for a major work, 3 x’s 3 – three sets of three months or 270 days (the incubation time for a human. We still break up pregnancies into trimesters…). Shake the jar up good every single day. Meditate on the serpent and that lady tearing each other apart in that tomb while you do it.
    6. Draw off the blood – strain the plant matter out of the liquid. Set the liquid aside in the mason jar, with the lid on it. Don’t throw out the plant material! The plant material is the corpse, body, or “dead head”, and it has to go back into the process, after being purified. Squeeze out as much of the liquid as you can though. (By the way, if you stop at this point and toss out the dead head, you will have a tincture).
    7. Take the corpse outside along with the fireproof surface or cookie sheet and a propane torch. Set the cookie sheet on a safe surface, like bricks or a driveway. Put the plant material on the cookie sheet, and flame it with the torch. You are now purifying the body with fire. Heat it over and over and over again until there is nothing left but white (or light grey) ashes.

    For obvious reasons, this part of the process is often depicted/described in the literature as a cremation. The smoke that rises from the burning are (theoretically) the impurities left in the body after the spirit and soul have been removed. You will often see the smoke depicted as a poisonous animal, like a snake, rising in the smoke.

    8. Save the ashes, and add them back into the liquid. Cap up the mason jar, and incubate it again for the required time period, shaking every day.
    9. At the end of the time period, let any floaties in the liquid settle out, and carefully pour off as much of the liquid as possible into another jar. Let it settle again, then pour off the clean liquid. Do this at least three times, but nine times (3 x’s 3) is better.
    10. At this point, you have now disassembled, purified, and recombined the three parts of the herb (spirit, soul, body). However, after all that cutting, burning, and reassembling, it’s as dead as Frankenstein’s monster. Now, also like Dr. Frankenstein, you’ll need to bring it to life – hopefully with better results.
    11. Pour you elixir into a bowl. A copper bowl is preferred because copper is the metal sacred to Venus and the bowl represents the… uhm… reproductive parts of a lady… If you don’t happen to have a copper bowl, you can use something else. Pick something pretty though. A rusty tin can would be disrespectful.
    12. Here’s where you’ll have to do a bit of mental work. Hold the bowl in your two hands in front of you, and at about neck level, close to your body. As you do this, mentally visualize and try to feel the warmth of your body moving through your hands into the liquid. It’s useful to do this outside at night under a full moon.
    13. Gently blow on the liquid in the bowl, making little ripples. As you do this, imagine that you are breathing some of your life force into the liquid, bringing it to life (And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. Gen. 1:2 – you get to be God, for once.).
    14. Pour the liquid (now an official elixir) into a bottle and cap it. If you like, you can add some sugar or honey into it to modify the taste. Drink only small amounts at a time – theoretically, this should be very powerful medicine. At worst, it won’t be any more harmful than the herb you originally used.

    That’s the simple method. The main flaw in the simple method is that you start with a spirit that came from an alien source – it isn’t the actual spirit of the herb you are working with. In the hard method, you have to make your own alcohol from the herb you are using…

    I'll follow up with the hard way later ;D

    Have fun!
    Those who have suffered understand suffering and therefore extend their hand.

    I can't do everything, but I can do something.

  2. #2
    The Gaze of the Abyss B. de Corbin's Avatar
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    Re: Making an Elixir the right way

    I just realized that i should probably add this -

    I wrote that: " At worst, it won't be any more harmful than the herb you originally used."

    This is true, but not exactly. If the herb you are using has even mildly toxic properties, there will be no more in the elixir than there was in the original herb materisl. However, since you have removed the plants chemistry from it's original physical matrix (the plant), you have changed the rate at which the body will absorb it. This means that a mild dose of a toxin which could be easily dealt with by the body because it is released from the plant by digestion over a longer period of time is now entering into the body much faster, and could cause problems.

    The same problem occurs with any process which involves extracting material from a plant.

    Use your head. Don't eat poisons. I usually go through this process with common garden mint, which seems to be pretty safe.
    Those who have suffered understand suffering and therefore extend their hand.

    I can't do everything, but I can do something.

  3. #3

    Re: Making an Elixir the right way

    Nice, very nice.
    Still I have a question - I guess every herb is used for different elixirs, like love one probably needs something specific, a beauty one needs different. In different traditions different herbs are used for different purposes like cinnamon in Wicca, Witchcraft and some others is used in prosperity and money rituals, still in some eastern traditions, cinnamon is used in love and lust rituals.
    So anyway, how do Alchemists use the herbs?
    When everybody is thinking the same, nobody is thinking enough!

  4. #4
    The Gaze of the Abyss B. de Corbin's Avatar
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    Re: Making an Elixir the right way

    Well, first off, Alchemy is an experimental art, so there was a lot of experimentation going on, based on several different theories. However, I want to point out that Alchemists did not use double blind studies, so a lot of their theories about plant medicine were wrong, or dangerous, or both. However, when they were using herbs that had long traditions of being used for some purpose, they were dealing with something that was more likely to be at least somewhat effective, so they probably did better.

    This one, along with the "doctrine of signatures" (the idea that plants are "marked" by their appearance to indicate their medical purpose - a kidney bean looks like a kidney, so it's good for the kidney) is probably the most common:

    When you look at an old fashioned herbal, or one which lists the "magical" properties of herbs, you will find that plants are given correspondences to dieties, planets, days, and hours. Here's an example of one I found on the internet (I don't necessarily endorse this site - I don't do much herb work): http://www.alchemy-works.com/planeta...esp.html?58,37

    A deity would tell you what kind of... uhm... life situation a herb would help, for instance, love - Venus, courage - Mars.

    The planets ruled over certain parts of the body, so a herb which corresponded to planet which corresponded to an afflicted body part would be used to treat that body part.

    The days and hours tell you what day, and time of day that planet has the most influence over the plant - that would be the time when the plant is "strongest," so that's when the Alchemist would pick it.

    You can mix this up with the idea of the four humors, and/or the idea that certain plants exhibit qualities which are referred to as hot (fire), cold (water), dry (earth), moist (water), with ideas of creating "balance," and you'll have the general idea.
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    Help Making Wet Potions

    I have always been pretty bad at these. I don't know where to start! Is there a trick to it? I have ingredients (herbs and stones and such) but do they require something more? What kind of oils should I use? How should I prepare them? What viscosity is appropriate?

    Has anyone successfully made a potion that was safe to drink? I really like to partake of my potions, but I'm a potion fool so I stick to the dry ones I know I can smoke.

    Help a girl out!
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    Sr. Member Amber's Avatar
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    Re: Help Making Wet Potions

    If you plan on ingesting then use vodka. Read up on how to make a tincture and it should give you a good base to start out on

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    The Gaze of the Abyss B. de Corbin's Avatar
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    Re: Help Making Wet Potions

    [quote author=Amber link=topic=1210.msg22920#msg22920 date=1292528103]
    If you plan on ingesting then use vodka...[/quote]

    Or Everclear, but be sure to dilute the final potion down before you drink it or you'll burn your throat.

    A lot of people will add honey to make it more palatable to swallow, particularly when the herbs are bitter. Essentially, when you do this, you're making a liqueur, like you might by in the liquor store. It's surprising how many drinks - from absinthe to benedictine - started out their life as medicine.

    Essentially, add the herbs to the alcohol and keep it in a sealed jar - a mason jar works well. Let them soak for a time period - a week, or a month... generally, the more dense the plant material you are working with, the longer you want it to soak. Leaves can go for a month, but woody material or roots might take 6 months or a year.

    You'll want to try to remember to shake it up at least once a week, every day is better. Also, keeping it in a warm place (around body temperature) will speed up the process of extracting the good stuff from the herbs.

    If you do add honey or sugar, add it after all the soaking is done, then let it sit with the honey or sugar in it for a week or so before using it. This tends to smooth out the flavor.

    Needless to say, be very careful about the herbs you use if you intend to ingest it - an extract is stronger than the original herb used plain because it's concentrated, and also because more of the herb's chemistry hits your system all at once than it would if you were digesting the raw herbs. This means that chemicals which might be easily metabolized by your body over a longer time period from the use of raw herbs won't be metabolized at the same rate, and fairly benign herbs can become somewhat more dangerous.

    If you want to try something more complex, (there are)* some instructions on making an elixir (in this thread)*

    *I merged the threads
    ~thal

  8. #8
    Sr. Member KashakuTatsu's Avatar
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    Re: Help Making Wet Potions

    Really need to post the alchemy notes lol... perhaps I'll do that within the next day off if nothing else comes up.

    The blend of how many parts of what herb to use is planetary based. Those that are moon associated can't be mixed with sun or mars, but others mix well (fire and water can't be mixed). I try to keep it under 7, 4 preferred. Figure the aspects you want, determine the planet associated with it, find herbs/stones/bones/oils/resins under that planet that have the aspects you want, work the parts so it's in the balance you want, grind and mix.

    This method can be applied to cooking as well as teas, incenses, perfumes, elixirs, oils, etc.

    Those made with oils, bone and stones can be applied to the skin at pulse points instead of ingested to have the same magickal effects.
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  9. #9

    Re: Help Making Wet Potions

    [quote author=Amber link=topic=1210.msg22920#msg22920 date=1292528103]
    If you plan on ingesting then use vodka. Read up on how to make a tincture and it should give you a good base to start out on
    [/quote]

    i have this great wet potion to celebrate bracchus. take a bottle of vodka. drink

    in regards to making wet potions vodka was my best friend (actually even in non-regards to potion making, vodka is still a good friend) soaking edible herbs in vodka and making lots of quick tinctures and then storing and mixing appropriately to get desired magical effect
    But mummy the other religions dont have to 'an it harm none'

  10. #10
    sea witch thalassa's Avatar
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    Re: Help Making Wet Potions

    [quote author=Amber link=topic=1210.msg22920#msg22920 date=1292528103]
    If you plan on ingesting then use vodka. Read up on how to make a tincture and it should give you a good base to start out on
    [/quote]

    I totally second this.

    If I was at home, I'd post better info out of my herbal, or at least some links from my bookmarks...but I'm not, and my connection is too slow to do a good google of my fave sites.

    Also, wine makes a good infusion for certain herbal mixes. Not that they are always incredibly tasty, but if you do it right, they can be incredibly effective. Muscato+lavender+chamomile=excellent relaxation; Pomegrante licquor+damiana+cardamom+hibiscus=get it on :-*, etc



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