Magical Oils are a key part of my witchy tool kit. I use them for all sorts of purposes – dressing candles for spell work, anointing myself (and others) before ritual, adding a little oomph! to a charm bag, or in a magical bath. In fact the only limit is my imagination.
Whilst I am not averse to using a few drops of essential oil in a carrier oil, for my best magical work I make my own. The magic begins with the very first step of making the oil. With candle magic for example 90% of the magic is done before I even get out a candle.
In Part One of this ‘how to… make magical oils’ series I showed you how to make cold infused oils. These are so simple to make, but they do take a little time. No good if you need that magical candle oil this evening!
When you need a little extra speed, heat infused oils is what you need.
Hot Infusion is also good for harder plant materials – such as roots, or woody parts – or for spicy ingredients – chilli and ginger oil anyone? The heat makes extraction of key components a little bit easier and quicker, as well as adding a bit of extra fire – literally.
However, hot oils are not always suitable. They are not good for delicate plant parts such as fresh leaves, or flowers with delicate scents for instance.
There are a couple of extra steps with heat infused oils than cold….. but the great news is they are still so very simple! Below I share the practical steps of making the oils – the magic is then yours to add!
Personally the whole process is part of the magical act for me – I prepare my space and myself, I take each step with intention, I focus the magic into the oil throughout, I might pray or chant over it. It depends on the working, but it should go without saying I don’t just slap it all in the pan and leave it be!
3 Simple Methods
All of the methods I share below are a variation on a theme – herb+oil+non-direct heat = infused oil. Have a read through each and use whichever one works best for you and the situation at hand.
Method 1 – individual jars in a pan of water (I use this method when I am preparing several different oils at once to avoid contamination and keep mess to a minimum!)
Method 2 – Slow cooker method (I use this method when I need to get out doing something else and wont be able to keep an eye on everything).
Method 3 – Double boiler method (I use this when I am making a large quantity or multiple herbs in the same mix).
The photos below show Method 1 and 3 – but please remember I am a witch not a photographer!
- Pack your herbs into an airtight jar – leave about 3cm space at the top. Cover with an appropriate carrier oil such as almond oil, jojoba or for a simple and cheap alternative then sunflower oil works well.
- Place all the jars into an EMPTY pan, then pour cold water around the jars until the water is about 2/3 of the way up the jars. (Pro-tip. If you put the water in first you end up with too much water and a MESS!)
- Place the pan on the stove top, on a low heat, and allow to simmer for between 5 and 8 hours. (The longer the better to extract all the constituent parts).
- Keep an eye on the pan to ensure it doesn’t boil dry.
- Turn off the heat and allow to cool.
- Strain the oil (a great way to do this is using a nut milk bag or through cheese cloth as you can squeeze every last bit of oil from the plant material).
- Decant into sterilised bottles, label and keep until needed.
- Place your herbs into the bottom of your slow cooker and cover with oil.
- Set to low and leave to infuse. Anywhere from 12-24 hours works great.
- Turn off and allow to cool.
- Sometimes I find this method leaves a little water on the surface from condensation, if you are using the oils straight away this is not a problem. If you want to store them for anything more than a week or so try and skim off the water.
- Strain and decant as method 1.
- If you have a big slow cooker this is great for making HUGE quantities at once. Although even I have never had the call for the 16 pints of infused oil my big cooker can hold!
- Place a glass or ceramic bowl over a pan of water on the stove top.
- Place your herbs in the bowl and cover with your oil
- Place a plate on bowl as a lid if wished. It can stop some of the volatile oils escaping, but causes condensation. For magical purposes the small amount of escape is not something I worry about.
- Heat for several hours – as with the first method around 5-8 hours works well, but increase the time if you have large quantities. Keep an eye on the water level.
- Leave to cool, strain and bottle as in previous methods.
Thats it! See, not that much more complicated than cold oils is it? For ideas on which oils to make for different magical or healing purposes then there are some really good herbals. (Herbcraft by Anna Franklin has some good recipies, The Magic of Herbs by David Conway is an oldie but goodie, and The Master Book of Herbalism by Paul Beyerl is a favourite of mine. Batrams will always be my go-to medicinal source.)
One question I get a lot about magical oil recipes is: When do you mix the herbs?
This is such a good question….. but there is no clear cut answer. Sorry. Its something you need to think about.
If you were using the oils for healing purposes I would recommend making each oil individually, and then mixing in the appropriate ratios. But for magical purposes there can be benefits to making separate oils – or putting all the ingredients in together and making a single oil for that spell. Allowing the oils to blend and sit together, to be heated and agitated together, can increase the magical benefits of the MIX. Of the certain something that it more than the sum of the parts.
Personally thats the method I use most. It allows me to add a specific intention into the oil for the overall spell from the very first step. And its easier to make just the amount I need. I like my oils as fresh as possible and making 3 separate oils would inevitably lead to a little extra oil left over which I may not need again for some time.
But its up to you! Think on it as you design your magical working. See what feels right for the purpose!