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.