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Making Potions, Part 1

Merry meet! Welcome to The Burning Cauldron. I’ll be writing about how to make potions, elixirs, condensers, ritual incense and oils. From time to time I may post information about other items you can create for use in your practice and worship. For today I thought I’d start with how to make potions.

“That’s great,” you say, “but what is a potion? What does it do?” Glad you asked.

A potion is a brew of herbs, roots, flowers, and/or resins with brandy (for sweetness) or vodka (for the herbal taste) combined in a specific manner with ritual intent, infusing the planetary energies into it as well as your intended result. Doing so infuses the result with magickally charged, “awakened” herbs extracts which is used to brig about a desired result. A magickal brew acts as a carrier of a specific type of energy to trigger a change. Potions can be used to bless and consecrate magickal items or can be consumed in order to bring about a desired change. They can be imbibed daily, in small amounts, as a way to prepare for a major ritual.

Different types of herbal preparations have their own names. An infusion is brewed using hot water, just like a cup of tea. A decoction is an infusion of herbs in cold water for 2-24 hours, like with sun tea. An elixir is made with herbs and spring water; when

finished, a small spoonful of vodka or brandy is added as a preservative. A dry elixir is

in powder form when finished. The condenser is made by simmering the herbs in spring

water, removing the herbs, then simmering the liquid to reduce it, which intensifies the

result. A philtre is a charged infusion made specifically to gain what your desire. So-called love potions are actually love philtres.

I’ll assume you have never made a potion before so here is what you will need:

  • A mortar and pestle, preferably of stone or ceramic

  • The required herb(s) and other materials according to the recipe

  • Brandy or vodka (or use spring water if you can’t use alcohol)

  • A clean glass jar or ceramic crock with a tight-fitting lid or cork

  • Clean cheesecloth

  • A small cup with a pouring spout (a cream pitcher or a measuring cup)

  • A good almanac

  • The table of magickal hours

  • A small bottle with lid—or bottles—in which to put your finished potion.

So let’s say you want to make a simple, a potion that uses one herb, and you are making it for yourself as a boost for your psychic ability. You check your almanac to see when the waxing Moon is on a Monday and in the sign of Cancer. Using your Table of Magickal hours you calculate the correct hour for the work. On a Monday it would be the third hour after sunset. You gather your supplies: anise seed, brandy or vodka, a small pearl, mortar and pestle, jar, cheesecloth, bottle, and measuring cup or pitcher. These all go before your altar. After invoking your deity, create the simple by meditating on your intent, then taking up a small handful of anise and grinding it in the mortar, charging the seeds. Then place the material in the jar, add one cup of alcohol and the pearl. Seal the jar and shake it gently. Ask your deity to bless your potion and leave it on the altar after you dismiss Him/Her. Shake the mix once a day until the Full Moon. On that night invoke your deity and uncap the jar. Strain it through the cheesecloth into its bottle and bless your new potion. Clean the pearl and put it away for use another time.

To use the simple, take a half-teaspoon each day during the waxing moon, beginning on the New Moon and finishing on the Full.

If you cannot use alcohol for whatever reason, you can use purified or spring water instead, and add a few grains of powdered gum benzoin as a preservative.

If you don’t like anise, you can use almond or cucumber seeds instead; all are Moon-ruled.

More potions coming up in Part II. Merry part!


Last modified on
Lady Eva Michenet has been a practicing Witch for more than thirty years. She has authored articles for various publications including SageWoman's newsletter, the eZine Rending the Veil, two Pagan Writers Community Sabbat anthologies, and Witches' Voice.


  • Neal Lawson
    Neal Lawson Monday, 15 June 2015

    I really like this article but I'd like to point out that a decoction involves boiling the herbs, usually the roots or bark, the essences of which are not easily extracted by infusion. Soaking the herb in cold water, which you defined as decoction, is technically infusion. Otherwise, I think this article has a lot of valuable information and I'd like to see more. Thanks!

  • Lady Eva Michenet
    Lady Eva Michenet Sunday, 21 June 2015

    I checked other sources and you are correct, a decoction is boiled for about 10 minutes and is usually used for roots and/or bark, but can be used with herbs in order to extract certain aspects of the plant. Thank you for catching the error! :)

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