Julia (ldygry) wrote,

Magical Recipes Using Common Household Ingredients

And Questions relating to Herb Substitutions

I get emails from time to time from various people who are on a budget inquiring about spell ingredients and spiritual supplies. Some of these questions include the following: Can I substitute this ingredient that I don't have or can't afford? Will the spell work if I leave out the herbs? Can I make this herb blend using just the three herbs I have instead of the five herbs in the spell? I only have enough money to buy a condition oil; can I just skip the herbs or the bath crystals?

These are all really good questions, and I completely sympathize with not having enough money to spend on sometimes-expensive spiritual supplies. So for all of you folks on a budget, I offer several recipes utilizing common household ingredients. Now you can blend your own spell herbs, magical powders, herbal baths, and anointing oils if you so choose. Before I give you the recipes, though, here are some quick answers to those questions I mentioned above.


Can I substitute an ingredient? If you must. Personally, when I create spells or recipes, every herb and/or natural curio has a purpose and is included intentionally. They are like little pieces of a puzzle: "This root brings inner strength; this root soothes emotions; this herb is a sacred healer; this herb promotes clear thinking; this root acts as a Guardian Angel; all together these five plants promote truly holistic healing." This is the process in creating a formula - if you remove one of those botanicals, you're really missing a lot. But if you only have three out of the five herbs, then use the ones you have. If you only have one out of the five herbs, then find another recipe!

Importantly, though, magic must be tempered with practicality. Most casual users don't have a fully stocked curio cabinet. Also, sometimes you need to do the work NOW, no time to order supplies online or make a trip into the city. In these instances you're better off making conscientious substitutions or choosing a recipe that includes ingredients you have on-hand. This is far, far better than the alternative: leaving out botanicals completely (which leads us to the next question).

It can't really hurt to leave the spell herbs/condition oil/sachet powder/bath product out of the spell; right? I mean it's our intention and mental focus that's really doing the work; right? Aren't these things just props? I know these misperceptions are widely perpetuated by certain magical communities, so I don't blame people for repeating and defending the fallacies they're taught - but darn, if this isn't the one family of questions that really annoys me - and, quite frankly, offends me.

This topic truly deserves its own post - maybe later - but for now: YES, it will affect your spell negatively if you leave out the botanical ingredients (the herbs and roots themselves as well as the supplies made with herbs and roots). This is because, put simply, these natural curios: the herbs, flowers, roots, sticks, stones, minerals, and such, have their own spirits. Any person who works with plants spiritually will agree to this - it's not a New Age indulgence. Folks have been working with the spirits of plants for thousands of years; the practice exists in every culture - just Google it!

There are types of magical workings that don't directly utilize the spiritual powers of nature, where the focus is on willpower and mental energy, and those are fine, respectable paths, but it's not hoodoo, it's not folk magic. In those instances then yes, it is then only your intention and mental focus that's doing the work (that has always seemed a little lonely and intimidating to me; I would rather join with and be assisted by Spirit than go it alone, praise God!). Check out creative visualization and psionics if mental-magic is more your cup of tea (and of course, most magical systems are really a blend of techniques as i mention in the next parapgraph).

In sum, the energy or spirit of these botanicals join forces with your energy, your spirit, to help work towards your goal. This is basically how magic is fueled: Divine energy, Spirit energy, natural energy (which is also Spirit energy), and your personal energy - your will, your intent, your positive thinking, and your physical actions. If you pass on including the spell herbs or the herbally-infused spiritual products, you're really short-changing yourself. Plants want to help you - I know I sound like a crazy herb-lady hippie, but I am not making this stuff up. The next time you work with botanical ingredients, hold them in your hand, talk to them, ask for their help, and see what results you get - maybe the topic of an upcoming article, but enough for now.

I'm broke! Help! I can totally sympathize. I also totally get the catch-22 situation some people find themselves in of needing money, needing a job, needing a lot of things, and then having to shell out thirty dollars or more for a spell kit or other spiritual supplies. My one suggestion is to make as few budget cuts as possible regarding natural curio-based supplies: condition oils, herb blends, powders, etc. Try to make your cuts elsewhere: plainer candles, smaller portions, etc. As I stated earlier, your spiritual work will be greatly complemented and strengthened by those botanical helpers. In my opinion it's almost a requirement. Here's some money-saving tips:

Use the simple recipes provided below which incorporate common household ingredients. You probably have many of the components in your pantry right now. Use these recipes to craft your own simple spiritual supplies. Now, your supplies will be a bit rustic - no flashy colors and strong scents - but they'll still be super special and charming. More is not always better when it comes to ingredients, and a nice looking and nice-smelling condition oil does not always mean it's super-powered. Even if you have your doubts about crafting your own simple supplies, it's far, far, far better than the alternative: leaving them out entirely.

Some basic crafting instructions:

Click here for an article detailing how to make an herbal oil infusion - also known as a condition oil.

For a sachet powder substitution: Take the herbs specified in the recipe and grind them in an electric coffee bean grinder. If you want to be all quaint, you can try giving it a go in a mortar and pestle, but many of us herbalists have given up on that years ago. There are certain hard roots and sticks that won't powder up in a coffee bean grinder. You'll need a fancy grist mill for that, but since we're working under the assumption that you don't have the money for a five dollar packet of sachet powder, I'm pretty sure a fancy grist mill is out of the question. Just give those hard, woody bits a good thirty seconds in the coffee bean grinder. It'll still be in big hunks, but certainly some of it got chipped off and its essence added to the powder.  Please do not try to grind stones in a coffee bean grinder.

Also, your grinder will never really be the same afterwards and you may not want to use it for coffee any more. You can try cleaning it with isopropyl alcohol and also running it through with dried orange peel or rice. You can also attempt to powder stones, roots, and woody plant bits by banging on them with a hammer inside a doubled-up plastic bag. I have heard that the plasticy-fabric envelope-bags that Fed-Ex uses are primo for herb hammering. Remember, though, your herb powder does not have to be as fine as sand; some chunks are fine, in my opinion.

Use the ground up herbs as-is in place of sachet powder in your spell - dust candles with it, sprinkle papers, lay out patterns, sprinkle on the floor, etc. It's also nice to mix a few drops of condition oil with your ground herbs to really juice them up. I will take an empty plastic container, like a clean margarine tub, add my herb powder and a few drops of condition oil, work the oil into the herbs with my fingers, then put the lid on and shake, shake, shake. I will then leave the top cracked slightly so the oil and the herbs have a chance to "marry" but not collect too much moisture. You can use the doctored-up herb powder immediately, though, as needed.

If you just have to have talcum powdery sachet powder (which I understand because that's what I like), then the easiest thing to do is to just add the powdered and oiled herbs to some baby powder. Now, you won't be able to add condition oils directly to the talcum powder - it won't mix - so add your oil to the powdered herbs before mixing with the baby powder. Just add three parts baby powder to one part ground herbs, more or less to your preference (as a note, baby powder is not pure talcum powder, but for our tightwad purposes, it will do just fine). This makes a nice body powder. You can use other powders instead of talc such as flour, cornstarch, and arrowroot powder, but they will go rancid and I don't think flour would be so nice on the skin - fine for sprinkling papers, though.

To make a bath, you have two basic options: make an herbal tea bath or whip up a batch of homemade bath salts. Herbal tea bath is easy: Boil a quantity of water; pour the water into a pitcher or a bowl; add your herbs, roots, etc.; cover with a plate or a lid of some sort; and let it steep for 15 minutes. Strain out the plant material, and then use as desired. You can also purchase these neat little muslin drawstring bags which are brilliant for making herb tea baths. They're like little mojo bags - you stuff them with your ingredients and then either float them in a hot bath tub or use them like a big tea bag.

To make bath salts (bath crystals), you first need to make a herb powder as explained above. I will use a plastic container (always save your empty margarine tubs!), add a tablespoon or so of ground herbs, pour in a few drops of condition oil, work the oil into the herb powder, and then I add about one-forth to a half cup of salt. Nowadays I use a mix of somewhat "fancy" salts to make my "professional" Bath Crystals - I have my preference and have experimented enough to know what blend works best, at least for me. To make bath salts in a pinch, though, use what you have on-hand. Kosher salt is great because it is already blessed. Big coarse grains of sea salt is a fantastic choice too because, well, sea salt is nice. Epsom salt has a long history of healing usage and is perfect for a soaking bath. But if all you have is a container of Morton's Iodized Salt, then use that. The smaller the grains of salt, the less you'll need for your bath salts - a half a cup of table salt is an awful lot. Add the salt to your herb and oil blend and shake, shake, shake.

One last note: Please pray over your herbs. Hold them in your hands, run your fingers through them, speak to them, give them love. You may feel strange, but I urge you to do so. If you just can't bring yourself to talking to a root, then pray to God asking for God's blessings over the herbs. Better yet, do both. This is how you "program" your botanicals, and it NEEDS to be done with ALL your natural ingredients as you use them: Each palm-full of condition oil, each pinch of sachet powder, every whole root curio, each tea bag of herb bath, each stone or chunk of resin, each bowl of spell herbs. If I'm making a bath using nine different plants, I will speak to each one individually and then pray over them as a group. It's not fast but it's thorough. The same goes for salt. Someone somewhere said it simply and perfectly: Salt does what you tell it. As I mentioned earlier, this topic will make for a good article. Until then, just remember to speak to your herbs.

And now, without further ado, the recipes:

CO = appropriate for making condition oils,

SP = appropriate for making into a sachet powder

BC = appropriate for making into a bath crystal/salt

HB = appropriate for making into a herb bath

SB = appropriate as spell blend

*For all herbs and peels, please use them dried. The only exception is you may use fresh herbs in a herb bath, but not for any other application - fresh herbs grow mold and moldy spiritual supplies are generally bad!

A Simple Spiritual Cleansing Bath (HB)

a half cup of baking soda

a half a cup of salt

Basil, about 1 tablespoon dried and powdered

Spiritual Cleansing (CO, SP, BC, HB, SB)

Pine needles, dried (save branches from your Christmas trees)

Lemon peel, dried (it's okay to use fresh peel + juice only for a one-time use herb bath)


Uncrossing/ Jinx-Removal (CO, SP, BC, HB, SB)


Mint, dried

Lemon peel, dried (it's okay to use fresh peel + juice only for a one-time use herb bath)

Success (CO, SP, BC, HB, SB)

Bay leaves


Orange peel, dried (it's okay to use fresh peel + juice only for a one-time use herb bath)

Protection for Women (CO, SP, BC, HB, SB)




Spiritual Protection (CO, SP, BC, HB, SB)

Flax seed or ground meal (don't use ground Flax seed meal in a condition oil)



Banishment (CO, SP, SB)

Black Pepper

Red Pepper


Passion (CO, SP, BC, HB, SB)



Catnip (for women)

and/or Saffron (only need a few threads)

and/or Cardamom

Love-Drawing (CO, SP, BC, HB, SB)


Dried Rose petals


Fidelity (CO, SP, BC, HB, SB)



Orange peel, dried (it's okay to use fresh peel + juice only for a one-time use herb bath)

Money-Drawing (CO, SP, BC, HB, SB)



Chamomile (check your tea stash)

and/or Thyme

and/or Pine needles, dried

Money-Luck, Gambling (CO, SP, BC, HB, SB)




Healing (CO, SP, BC, HB, SB)


Flax seeds or flax meal (don't use ground Flax seed meal in condition oils)


Keep Troublesome People Away (CO, SP, BC, HB, SB)


Fennel Seeds


Any questions?  Just ask.


Tags: bath crystals, condition oils, floor wash, herbs, how-to, magic, questions, recipes, sachet powders, spiritual cleansing

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