Making A Ritual Oil – Part II: Selecting Your Essential Oils

This is the second in a series, which starts with Making A Ritual Oil, Part I.

Since you’ve decided on both your purpose and your table of correspondence already, considered your emotional reactions to certain scents, and determined if you want a solid component to your oil, you’ll be able to select the oil ingredients without too much trouble.
I’m still going to talk about selecting and buying oils, though.

oil bottle

Find pure essential oils. At first, this will probably mean buying from the major essential oil companies that sell in health stores and organic food markets. The brands that these places carry, in my experience, are perfectly serviceable for magical oil-making. You’re restricted to commonly available oils, but when you’re starting to make ritual oils, you probably don’t really need to be tinkering with things that cost $30 for 5ml. There’s a retail mark-up, of course, and you do pay for the convenience, but there’s something to be said for ease of access and uniform oil quality. These are the commercial oils least likely to have synthetics added to boost the scent, or solvents added to “stretch” the oil. Look at the back of the label to check the ingredients. Much as it pains me to say it, your local metaphysical shop is not the best place to shop for pure essential oils. Most of them carry the major metaphysical oil “blends,” which are largely synthetic.

What you’re looking for is 100% essential oil – with a few exceptions. Some very reputable sellers sell a Sandalwood blend, since true Sandalwood (Santalum album, or sandalwood mysore) is endangered and thus extremely expensive. Expensive as in roughly $85 for 5ml, or 1/6 oz. Most people, even those of us who own oil companies, can’t afford true Sandalwood oil. Several major essential oil makers sell a Sandalwood blend that consists of a different strain of Sandalwood (normally Australian, Santalum spicatum) in a base oil. It’s a way of stretching the oil, and as long as the consumer is informed up front that they are purchasing an essential oil in a base, it’s an ethical practice. Some companies also sell Rose essential oil blends, for the same reason. Check the ingredient list on the back of the bottle, if it says it’s a blend – it should have the Latin name of the plant, and the name of the carrier oil. If there’s anything else, it’s probably synthetic additives and that’s not an oil you want.

A lot of people buy their essential oils online, but for people just starting out making oils, I recommend choosing your oils in person. If you can, that is, as I’m aware that some people live in areas that don’t have much in the way of shopping options. Try to avoid eBay and similar sites. They may have perfectly good essential oils available but at this stage, you’re not going to know the good sellers from the ones marketing synthetic scents as essential oils. If you really feel the need to use eBay or another site, ask the seller specifically if this a pure essential oil with no additives, even if the listing seems to indicate that it is. I once got what I thought was an excellent deal on bayberry essential oil, only to discover upon receiving it that it was entirely synthetic. The seller had gone to great lengths to avoid claiming in the listing that it was a pure essential oil, using catchphrases like “pure anoining oil” and “pure ritual oil.” It was my own fault – I didn’t ask enough questions.

Try to avoid the MLM brands. They tend to be massively overpriced.

Now you’ve chosen your oils, based on your table of correspondence and your own instincts. For a simple mix for beginners, I tend to recommend no more than three separate oils. If you feel the oil needs additional attributes, consider adding solid herbal ingredients rather than more essential oils. The scents of the oils can interact with one another in unexpected ways.

In the next part of this series, I’ll actually get around to talking about mixing a ritual oil.

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