Abramelin Oil

Turns out we have enough Abramelin Oil left over to offer some to the general public. There are VERY limited quantities of this oil, which was made at the start of a full moon, in the Hour of the Sun, on the Day of the Sun, and matured for a full lunar month.

If you didn’t snag any during the pre-order and would like to pick some up, you can visit the website’s Limited Production page.

One difference you’ll notice on the page is that while we give a really boring (to anyone not an oilmaker or who’s not really interested in magical history or mistranslations) rundown on the various Abramelin recipes is that we aren’t providing suggestions for use.

Our belief: if you know enough about Abramelin Oil to want to buy some, you know what to do with it all ready.

Where Do I Buy….

I get asked about where to get the ingredients for the oils I make. While I would much prefer you buy your oils from ME (obviously), I know there’s a lot of do-it-yourself types out there. This is the first in an installment of “Where Do I Buy….?” entries.

Where Do I Buy Essential Oils?

Probably better subtitled “If I’m a beginner with oils and don’t have any clue of where to go or who to ask or what to look for.”

These days, essential oils are a lot easier to get than they used to be. Most natural food stores carry them – but they carry different lines, different brands, and it’s hard to tell which are the reliable national brands and which aren’t as reliable. And then there’s stores that carry a whole rack of oils next to their incense displays, which lead people to believe that these are essential oils – but they’re not. They’re “fragrance oils,” or “essential fragrance oils,” or “essential oil blends,” – none of which are actually essential oils.

Something to remember:
The area of essential oils is rife with fraudulent marketing ploys, as I’ve said before. The only essential oil is the one that says it’s a 100% essential oil. Not a fragrance oil, not an essential oil blend, not a ritual oil, not a magical oil, or an anointing oil – none of those terms mean anything other than “this is not an essential oil.”  It might be tempting, when you see the price difference between the “fragrance oil” and the “100% essential oil,” but you’re not making potpourri.  You’re making magic.

It’s hard to know what to look for, so here’s three national brands that I’ve found to be of uniformly pretty good quality.  These are oils priced for retail sale, so the price may be a bit higher than if you buy in bulk, or on eBay. However, they are national companies with quality control standards and a uniform means of making oils, which counts for quite a lot when you’re just learning about essentials.

  • Aura Cacia – this is a company that makes a variety of products with essential oils, as well as providing the essential oils themselves. They also make essential oil blends and other products, so you have to be careful to ensure that what you’re buying is from their essential oil line. Everything is documented on their labels – if there’s any additives, if the oil has synthetic ingredients, if it’s diluted – and on their website.
  • Nature’s Alchemy – owned by Lotus Brands, is sold in many retail outlets. They sell in .5oz and 2oz sizes. This is probably the brand I have the least experience with, but I’ve used three or four of their oils and found them to be about the same as the other nationally available brands. This is the brand usually available at the Vitamin Shoppe, but you can also buy via their online shop.
  • NOW Essential Oils – some are organic, some are not. Their citrus oils are cold pressed, everything else is steam distilled, and it’s a US company that distributes all over the country. The oils are available on Amazon, and through other online outlets, as well as through the NOW Foods website. These oils are sold in many health food shops, Whole Foods, and other places.

Some of the more expensive and scarce oils, like sandalwood, are sold as blends – in some cases, 10% sandalwood essential oil and 90% grapeseed oil. As long as all the ingredients and the ratio of essential oil to carrier oil, are on the label, it’s a perfectly legitimate way to make a very expensive essential more affordable.  Always read the labels.  If the price seems too good to be true, check the labeling.  You might have run into a sale (score!) or you might have run into a company or store hoping that the consumers aren’t well-educated about oils and the marketing practices used.

So that’s how you buy essential oils locally if you’re just starting out.  Thoughts? Questions?  Criticisms?  Let me know.

 

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.

Preserving Magical Oils

In previous posts, I think I’ve addressed the fact that natural oils eventually go rancid. It happens to all of them – probably everyone has had the experience of opening a bottle of olive oil and making a face at the smell.

Natural oil products go “bad” because of oxidation, which occurs when light and air hit the oil. This is why Quadrivium recommends keeping your oils in dark glass bottles and storing them in a dark, cool place. Vitamin E, which is a powerful antioxidant, is used in all of our oils to slow down the process. Nothing will stop an all-natural oil from eventually getting rancid, but using an anti-oxidant additive will make the oil last much longer.
The trick is to find out which kind of Vitamin E oil you have before you add it to an oil. There are two kinds of Vitamin E oil available, one natural and one synthetic. The synthetic oil (dl-tocopherol) has no anti-oxidant properties. Check the label before you buy Vitamin E oil to ensure that it says d-tocopherol, as this means it’s the natural form of the oil and has the anti-oxidant qualities needed.
It only takes a few drops of natural Vitamin E for the antioxidant qualities to work – usually the final product is about 0.04- 0.5% Vitamin E.

mason jar full of oil

Another option that some oilmakers use is benzoin, though Quadrivium does not use benzoin for some reasons that I’ll outline below. Benzoin (styrax benzoin) is a resin, which means it’s sticky and thick. It can’t be added to an oil in it’s natural form. There’s no real essential oil of benzoin, though there’s often products that claim to be essential oil of benzoin. Remember that there are no real rules in place in this regard, and that companies can claim that liquid benzoin is an essential oil when it’s not. In order for the benzoin to be liquid, it has to go through a chemical process often referred to as “solvent extraction.” This means the resin has been chemically processed, and will contain solvents to make it pourable and liquid. Odds are the people using the liquid benzoin have no idea what solvents or chemicals are in their liquid benzoin, which leads to the possibility of carcinogens, allergens, and other issues. In fact, benzoin itself can be an allergen, and there have been cases of people developing a sensitivity to benzoin after using so many products that have used it to prolong shelf life.

This is why Quadrivium does not use liquid benzoin as an anti-oxidant.

Benzoin resin can also be dried and made into a powder, which can be added to an oil, but that presents another set of problems. There is no way of knowing what is in the powder. The label may say it’s 100% benzoin resin, but unless the user has made the powder themselves, there’s no way of knowing which variety of benzoin is being used (there are several), if the powder is pure resin, if there are added chemicals, or how the powder was processed.
Since Quadrivium isn’t a chemical processing company, and we don’t have the means to test powders for purity, we’re not taking the risk with benzoin powder, either.

Grapefruit Seed Extract is another antioxidant that’s often mentioned when talking about natural preservatives, and it is indeed an antioxidant. However, it’s extracted with synthetic compounds, including methylparaben. It’s also something of a newcomer to the “natural preservative” family and while some people have found it effective, it doesn’t have the track records that benzoin and Vitamin E do.

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) extract, also known as Rosemary Oleoresin Extract, is another powerful anti-oxidant that can be used in oils, though it’s much more common in soapmaking. Per the Camden-Grey essential oil site, which sells this product, an oleoresin is an extraction of a natural food or flavoring raw material using selected solvents to remove the vital components; the oleoresin will contain the essential oil and other important non-volatile components which enhance the flavor, act as fixative or contain other desirable properties. ROE is very strong and some people find it irritating to the skin; it’s also a very thick liquid. Most people disperse it in vegetable oil before adding it to their product. As with Vitamin E oil, it doesn’t take much ROE to work as an anti-oxidant – .1% to 1% in a finished product. ROE has a distinct herbal odor, but so little of it is used in the product that it’s not particularly noticeable.
While this is an excellent product, Quadrivium Supplies believes that every plant ingredient in an oil should have a meaning – and since ROE is extracted from rosemary, it retains the magical properties of rosemary, which aren’t appropriate for many of our oils.

If you want to keep your oils from going rancid, you have many options. We use all natural low d-alpha mixed tocopherols, also known as T-50 Vitamin E.

Caveat Emptor

Look, more Latin! Caveat Emptor is a Latin phrase meaning “let the buyer beware.” This is an important thing to keep in mind when dealing with essential oils.

Here’s the thing about essential oils, at least in the USA: they’re unregulated. There’s no governing body with minimum standards, there’s no organization or government entity checking essential oils purity, content, additives, or anything else. There’s no group that certifies essential oils or tests them, either. A company can claim pretty much anything about their essential oils – that they’re graded, pure, rarefied, certified, etc.

This presents a problem for the consumer – since there’s no one certifying or grading oils, the buyer has to be aware that they’re at risk for being swindled. Unless the consumer is very secure in the company they get their oils from, or makes the oils themselves, the “essential oil” that they buy at a store or online could actually be an essential oil…or it could be a fragrance blend oil, a synthetic fragrance oil without one whiff of plant material, some mix of all of these, or something entirely different. To be blunt, if you don’t know your vendor, you don’t know what you’re getting.

There are no regulations on the essential oil industry, and no standardizations. There are no requirements that an oil must meet to call itself an essential oil. It is up to the buyer/user to be aware of this.

So why do companies tell you that their oils are “therapeutic grade” and “aromatherapy grade” and “top grade?” Marketing. Companies can charge more money if they can convince the consumer that what they’re selling is somehow better, or more pure, than the other people selling the same thing.

Most buyers don’t know that there’s no regulation or licensing or quality standards for essential oils, that essential oil sellers can toss terms about grading oils and purity standards around with impunity because they don’t actually MEAN anything. One especially misleading multi-level marketing company claims that their oils are certified as pure by a regulatory entity in France….an entity that does not test or certify essential oils. Likewise, companies claiming that their oils are pure and they can prove it with gas chromatography or a mass spectrometer (a few companies do this) are misleading the consumer – neither gas chromatography or a mass spectrometer can tell you if an oil is a true essential plant oil, or a lab-created facsimile.

So how do you know what companies to buy from? The same way you learn about quality vendors of other items – you ask around. You order teeny-tiny samples and see how they work. You do your own research and your own tests and you educate yourself.

(As to why it’s important to use actual essential oils in magick and not, say a synthetic fragrance oil that you got for $5 on eBay, you can read my entry on Why Oil Ingredients Matter.)

Why Oil Ingredients Matter

There’s a lot of cheap “ritual” oils being sold these days. I can go down to a new age shop and pick them up for, at most, $6 per 1/2oz. There’s no list of ingredients, no information about what the oil is other than what’s on the label. “X oil to be used for Y purpose.” People buy them, take them home, use them in candle magic or for other purposes, and generally seem pretty underwhelmed.

I know this because I did it myself. I used cheap, mass-produced “ritual oils” and I got no results whatsoever, if you don’t count an asthma attack every time I did candle magic with an oil. The reason, I concluded, was that magical oils don’t work.

Wrong.

Cheap, mass-produced oils don’t work. Why? Because the supernatural properties of magical oils are tied in to the plant ingredients – essential oils and solid herbs. When you buy a cheap oil, you’re getting chemical solvents, mineral oil, food dye, and synthetic fragrances.

The ingredients matter. The plants matter.

Magical oils should contain essential oils, a carrier oil, and possibly curios and herbs added as a focus. There shouldn’t be chemical solvents to stretch the oil further, or synthetic scents to make it “smell right.” Adding chemicals to magical oils is an excellent way to not get any results from your spellwork.

Know what you’re getting. There’s no governing body over oils, or requirements for labeling, so unless you have a list of ingredients on the bottle, you don’t know what’s in the oil.
The term “anointing oil” is meaningless – it’s oil meant for anointing, and could contain anything. “Ritual oil” and “magical oil” are similarly without any guarantee that you’re getting something other than a bottle full of chemicals. And those “essential oil blend” oils listed in catalogs? That just means that there’s an essential oil in it – the rest of it might be synthetic and solvents.

Know who you’re buying from. Buy from practitioners, if you can. It’s more expensive, because we use the real thing. Someone selling “sandalwood anointing oil” for $5.00 is selling a synthetic – sandalwood essential oil runs about $400 for 1/2 oz. Creative practitioners will find ways to keep the cost down, though, like using powdered sandalwood instead of essential oil, which is much more reasonably priced.

Natural oils do not smell like synthetics. They don’t feel like synthetics. And they certainly don’t have the shelf life of synthetics. They’re more expensive, they can be harder to use, and they have to be stored in a particular way.

Why would anyone go to all that trouble?

Because they work.