Learning The Basics

Writing about ritual oil basics has reminded me that things I find “instinctive” about magical practice aren’t instinct at all. I had to learn it, at some point, but enough time has passed for me to forget that someone had to teach me.

On Twitter, I asked people about what very basic information they wish someone would have taught them about when they begin practicing. Thorn Mooney made a short YouTube video in response to the question, talking about the blind spots we have regarding information we’ve forgotten that we learned.

Viridis Genii Symposium

There aren’t many things that make me sad I live in Chicago (the weather is kind of a given; I’m used to it), but not attending the first Viridis Genii Symposium is making me glare at the Sears Tower.

You can read about it on their website here but basically, it’s an entire weekend-long symposium on plant magick and the esoteric side of herbalism.  Swoon.  A whole weekend symposium JUST ON PLANT MAGICK.

A) why didn’t anyone do this before and B) why is it in Oregon when my kids are out of school?  It runs from July 31-August 2nd, if you need to check your calendar.

They still have room for attendees, and a terrific roster of speakers and presenters .

I’ve known from the start that I couldn’t go, but maybe some of my blog readers have the time and interest and can attend.  If so, take lots of notes and scan them in and email them to me.


Abramelin Oil

One of the first magical oils I ever encountered was Abramelin Oil – probably because I hung out with Thelemites. It was a sort of spicy-scented oil that was used for anointing things, and that was all I knew about it.
Eventually, of course, I learned a lot more about magical oils, and one of the choices I encountered when starting Quadrivium Supplies was whether or not to make Abramelin Oil.

My decision was no.

Mostly, the people who use Abramelin Oil make it themselves – as I explained to someone, if you’re in a situation where you need Abramelin Oil, you’ve probably got enough experience to make it yourself. Plus, traditional Abramelin Oil is made with an olive oil base, and no matter how much Vitamin E or Rosemary Oleorosin I put in olive oil, it starts to turn in about six months. It was just too different from the other oils I make, basically, so I elected not to carry that one.

A few weeks ago, a customer contacted me to ask that I make him two vials of Abramelin Oil, using the ingredients and proportions from the original manuscript of The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage. If you’re not familiar with Abramelin Oil, there are several recipes for it. The one from the original manuscript, the Crowley variant, and the Mathers variant are the most popular ones. There’s also different ways of making the oil. Some people (like me) mix essential oils in an olive oil base, others macerate and steep herbs in the olive oil base, then decant the oil after a month for use.

Since I was already making a batch of Abramelin Oil, I told a few people that if they wanted some, they should let me know. The response was surprisingly positive. Positive enough that I started to worry that I was going to miss an order or two, or send someone the wrong thing (Hi, Christopher in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne! Sorry!). Mostly, Quadrivium Supplies is intended to be a wholesaler working with stores – the fact that you can order the product off the website is mostly due to my understanding that there’s places with either no stores, or stores I haven’t convinced to carry my line. Yet.
Happily, one of the stores I work with got really really really excited about the prospect of Abramelin Oil made by the obsessively detail-oriented.

I did not write their copy on the oil, by the way. They did that. You can pre-order Quadrivium Supplies Abramelin Oil via Good Luck! Conjure Shopw in Kansas City, through this link: http://kcconjure.com/shop/special-oil-of-abremelin-by-quadrivium-supplies-preorder/

The oil should ship by March 1. I will be accepting orders until February 21. After that, you’ll be out of luck.

New Oil – Pay Up!

It’s taken a long time to develop this oil – probably the most-tested oil in our entire line. I’d make a version of it, have it tested, be not-quite-satisfied, and go through the whole process again. I’m lucky that customers of The Occult Bookstore, here in Chicago, were happy to be my guinea pigs and that store manager was so good about keeping track of who’d used the oil and asking them about their results.
This is the result – Pay Up! oil is designed to get what is owed to you. In most circumstances, it’s money. Court awards, back pay, child support, security deposits, alimony, student loans, any situation where a check/cash/deposit is supposed to arrive, but hasn’t. In other circumstances, something more intangible might be owed to you – credit for something you did, a recommendation, a promised introduction – and Pay Up! works for that, too.

This is a look at Pay Up!:

bottle of pay up

Like all Quadrivium Supplies products, Pay Up! comes in a plastic bag with a postcard-sized insert describing what the oil is, what it’s intended to be used for, and points out possible allergens in the oil. It also contains the URL of the website, where we go into a LOT more detail on how to use the oil.

full package of pay up

One of the important things about Quadrivium Oils is that we craft our oils with herbs, which remain in each bottle. Pay Up! is fairly unique among our oils, in that we were able to find tiny lodestones that fit into the 2-dram bottles. Can you find the lodestone in the picture?

image of the back of pay up bottle

It shouldn’t be too hard to spot, really. It’s not microscopic – it’s real lodestone, to pull things to you, to get what’s owed to you.

I hope Pay Up! works as well for you as it has for our testers.

That Hoodoo I Don’t Do

I’ve had a number of people look at some of the names of my oils (Crown of Success, Kiss Me Quick, Money Drawing, etc.) and immediately assume that I practice hoodoo. For an excellent explanation of hoodoo, please visit Cat Yronwode’s Hoodoo In Theory and Practice – she’s the doyenne of hoodoo, at least online, and has published an extremely useful book on hoodoo plant correspondences. Which I have. And use, regularly. Still, Quadrivium Supplies does not produce hoodoo oils. I’m not trained in hoodoo practices and I’ve never formally studied it. That alone, I think, would disqualify the oils from being hoodoo oils.

That said, I’ve found hoodoo plant correspondences to be immensely useful, since they’re the only correspondences I’ve found that deal strictly with North American plants. I do put herbs and curios in my oil, because I’ve discovered that it adds a magical focus that a “plain” oil lacks. It’s also a way to include useful ingredients when an essential oil isn’t available, or would make the oil completely unaffordable.

I have used hoodoo oils in my magical work, and found them very effective. When I started making my own oils, I did my best to reproduce – in my own way – some of the oils I liked best. I could have called an oil Jinx Breaking, or Cleansing, but any practitioner who’s ever worked with hoodoo oils would take one sniff and say “hey, Van Van!” because of the distinctive scent. So Quadrivium Oils has Van Van, despite the fact that we aren’t technically hoodoo oil makers, because the owner likes the scent and uses it almost every day. Most of the other oil names – Money Drawing, Love Drawing, Drive Away, etc. – are named after what they do.

I’ve chosen to use these names because they’re pretty much instantly recognizable to anyone who’s investigated the use of oils in candle magic. They’re familiar, and they give a pretty good idea of what the oil is intended to do, just from the name alone. For a while, I named oils after what election they were created during, which seemed logical at the time. Let me tell you, Antares Banishing and Achalaich Reconciliation didn’t sell one bottle. No one knew what they were intended to do, or how to use them. When the names were changed to reflect what the oil did, rather than how/when it was made, people felt more comfortable using them.

Quadrivium Oils are made according to the lunar calendar, planetary days of the week, planetary hours of the day, and our Electional Oils are made according to Picatrix elections. The Picatrix is a…well, actually, just go over to the Wikipedia entry and read about it, because otherwise this blog post is going to be 5,000 words. Believe it or not, Quadrivium has a consulting astrologer who casts charts to determine the correct times to make these oils. The Electional oils are made when nine planets, the Sun, and the Moon are in certain pre-determined positions, and the time and date of the election depends upon the latitude and longitude of the practitioner. Those oils are ritually made at that time.

You can’t call the above anything but hermetic. Really. Oils made after consulting 12th century Arabic grimoires and using Chaldean astrology can’t be called anything else, as far as I’m concerned. Regardless of what’s in the oils themselves.

The recipes of Quadrivium Oils owe a great deal to hoodoo plant correspondences, but also to hermetic and Pagan tables of correspondence. A lot of experimentation went into the creation of these oils. Combine the various correspondences with the significant astrological component and you have ritual oils for magical practitioners, not hoodoo oils.