The Enchanted Grocery List
Some of the strongest powers masquerade as mundane food items in the supermarket: honey, milk, salt, spices and water. All are potentially alive and filled with power, however, in order to best retain and preserve that power, always try to obtain the purest, most unadulterated items possible, preferably with no additives and minimal human adjustment. You'll find the following ingredients to be among the most common components of magic.
Sweetness is not always associated with power but honey is truly potent. Internal consumption is not recommended for children under one year or for those with suppressed immune systems as honey contains spores that can be potentially fatal for them, although it is among the safest foods for others.
An ancient culinary, medicinal and magical ingredient, honey is a gift from the bees, ancient allies and sacred creatures of many divine female entities. Bees and their products are among the most primeval reflections of divine feminine power. One legend says that bees are the returning souls of Aphrodite's priestesses. Honey shares something of the essence of the most beautiful female spirits, those who provide humans with love, beauty, prosperity and good health. Honey is used for healing and for love spells.
Honey is a living, protective substance. One type of honey is not identical to another. It will taste slightly different and radiate slightly different powers, based upon which flowers were used to create it. The nature of the flowers, whatever powers they themselves contain, permeates the resulting honey and exponentially increases its power.
· Lavender honey is a favorite of occult practitioners, as it's believed to contain a particularly strong reservoir of power. If you were to have but one jar of honey in your cupboard on standby for enchantment, this would be it.
· Manuka honey is favored for physical healing and as an aphrodisiac.
· Orange blossom honey is favored for love spells.
· Rosemary or thyme honey is favored for protection spells.
The very first food of all, milk is the only substance that exists purely to nourish. Milk comes from mothers. All mothers of mammal species produce milk that is the perfect first food for their babies. No two species have chemically identical milk. Fat and sugar content, among other components, varies by species. Milk isn't even always pure white: human milk sometimes has a faint blue tinge, while kangaroo milk is pinkish. No two women produce identical milk either. Again, this is a living substance. Milk changes in subtle ways daily. Milk reflects the mother's diet but as if by magic, mother's milk also adjusts to her baby's needs. The milk from a mother whose nursing baby is ill can transmit healing and immunity-boosting substances. Milk is used for physical healing and for protection. Milk is used in many spells that involve bathing; it benefits your skin as well as your aura. The powers inherent in the producing species are transmitted through milk. Ancient spells specified different types of milk, from the fantastical (lion's milk was reputed to have miraculous life-giving powers) to the more mundane (ancient Egyptian magic prized milk from women who'd borne sons). The selection of milk available in your supermarket may be limited, however, you probably have at least a few choices: goat or sheep's milk tends to be tampered with less than cow's milk and may thus contain more power.
· If you add milk to the bath, organic whole fat milk is most beneficial for your skin.
· Powdered milk may be used as well. It's convenient and stores easily, but its power is lessened.
A universal protective agent, salt not only possesses antiseptic properties to cleanse and protect the body, but also provides spiritual protection and cleansing. A handful of sea salt added to a tub full of water will quickly cleanse you of the day's ill vibrations. The very simplest protective spell is a circle made from salt; sit in the center until you feel it's safe to come out.
Salt comes from all over Earth and isn't necessarily white. A legendary purple salt comes from Libya. There is a salt available now from Hawaii that has a reddish tint, reflecting the color of Hawaiian earth. Like water, honey, milk and earth, salts from different areas are unique. If the spiritual properties are similar, the physical gifts differ:
· Dead Sea salts soothe skin disorders.
· Epsom salts relieve muscular aches and pains.
The less that salt is tampered with, the more power it retains. For magical purposes, sea salt is considered to have the most power, as it carries the power and essence of the sea. The exception is if you're concocting a salt scrub. Although in theory, sea salt is available both finely and coarsely ground, coarse ground may be the only one readily available. In that case, table salt's smoother grain may be gentler and less likely to irritate sensitive skin. You can also grind salt yourself using a salt mill or mortar and pestle.
Once among Earth's most precious, expensive substances, most spices grow only within a narrow belt between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn. Although their price has dropped, their power remains. Spices are generally associated with the sun and with the fire element. Many spices are available in the supermarket; purchase them whole and grind as needed. Once ground, their fragrance and power dissipates quickly. Essential oils extracted from spices are also available but use with caution. Many can irritate even the least sensitive skin, so dilute them extremely well, whether in oil or in water, if ever they are to be in contact with your flesh. (They may be added to candle wax undiluted.) Because their fragrance is so heavenly, it's a temptation to wear them as perfume: perhaps the safest method is via a spice necklace. Different spices serve as magnets for different desires (love, money, easy childbirth, etc.); a spice necklace also serves as an amulet. Later on in the Spell section, we'll look at spice necklaces to further each goal.
Many creation traditions begin with Earth emerging from primordial waters. There is rarely an explanation for how the water arrived. Water just is. The tradition of healing, rejuvenating waters is as old as Earth. Every spring, every river or lake, every body of water has one or more presiding, inhabiting spirits; the water contains and transmits their aura, essence and power alongside its own. Immersion in water cleanses human souls and auras and initiates spiritual rebirth. For as many people as associate magic with fire and candles, there are an equal number who cannot imagine magic without water. Magical herbal and perfumed baths are integral features of many spiritual traditions.
Unfortunately most of the water you are likely to come into effortless contact with has been so processed and tampered with that its spiritual energy is lacking. The most powerful water is water from a living source: ocean water, water from a lake, stream or river. Each type of water possesses a slightly different energy. For magical uses, carry containers to collect water—remember to take only what you need. Easier yet, collect rainwater. Bottled, pure spring or mineral water possesses more energy than tap water. A lot of magic is accomplished in the bathtub. Unfortunately, both ease and expense precludes most of us from using anything other than tap water. Add as much rainwater as you can collect. In addition, adding just one glass of pure springwater to your tub creates a powerful gesture. The addition of that one glass of springwater will positively empower the water in which you bathe.
Among the popular ingredients of spells are specific types of water, especially “holy water” and flower waters. These different types of water provide different powers and energies.
· Holy water technically refers to water from the Jordan River, sacred in many traditions. Basically what the spell is calling for is spiritually charged water. Any water can potentially be holy water. Where a formula calls for holy water, use Jordan River Water if that suits you (available from occult suppliers, Israeli and Jordanian exporters as well as some local parishes). If not, consider what would be your holy water—water from a stream near your home perhaps? Water from the tap of the restaurant where you spent your happiest moments? If in doubt, just double the proportion of springwater in the spell.
· Ideally, flower waters combine botanicals and water to create a power greater than the sum of its parts. There are three possible sources for these waters:
1. The supermarket, where they are usually displayed among the spices and baking supplies. However, be aware that many of these products are diluted and weak; they may be little more than flower-scented water. Stores that cater to Middle Eastern cooks may carry stronger flower waters as it's a popular component in their cuisine.
2. Hydrosols are the other product created by extracting essential oils: the water left over from the distillation process. True hydrosols are infused with actual plant molecules: there's really some plant in there. Hydrosols are magically powerful although therapeutically very gentle. Once rare, hydrosols have become quite popular and may be obtained where aromatherapy and herbal products are sold. Refer to the Appendix at the back of the book for sources.
3. Your kitchen. Simple flower waters are quickly and easily made. If the flowers are from your garden, it's an inexpensive process and you can be confident about the lack of pesticides. In addition, although you may find a wide variety of hydrosols, flower water from the supermarket tends to be limited to rose or orange blossom. At home you'll have access to any blossoms that you choose: make jasmine blossom water or primrose water, for instance. Use any flowers you like, provided that the flowers are not poisonous.
Use this formula to create orange blossom or other flower waters, too.
1. Take the petals from 2 or 3 roses, place them in a small pot and cover them with a quarter inch of springwater.
2. Let simmer gently.
3. After a few minutes, you will observe a change in the blossoms: the color will become pallid, the textures of the petals may become limp. It's a visual change: you will know it when you see it. If in doubt, let the petals simmer a minute longer.
4. Strain and allow the liquid to cool.
· If you do not use it up at once, refrigerate the rose water.
· Do not use flowers that have been sprayed with pesticides.