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.
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.