Archive for the ‘hoodoo / witchcraft’ Category

Doc Solomon’s Occult Curios – Open For Business!   3 comments

Greetings Solomonic Conjurors!

I am thrilled to announce the Grand Opening of our new online store:


Doc Solomon’s Occult Curios

We specialize in the creation of obscure and unique ritual tools and ingredients for traditional Solomonic and grimoire workings.  We carry holy water, maiden-spun thread, hazel and oak wands, aspergillums, ritual knives, herbal-infused blood substitutes, talismans, parchment, beeswax and beeswax candles, holy oil, incense, and much more.

Everything we sell is made according to the exacting instructions required by the grimoires (Key of Solomon the King, the Book of Abramelin, etc) – all materials, timing, consecrations, ritual protocols and proscriptions are meticulously observed in the creation of our ritual items.

AaronAspergillum-2Hand-Crafted Ritual Tools and Items

The grimoires are infamous for requiring rare, obscure and hard to obtain items:  such as thread hand-spun by a young maiden, ritual tools blessed by a priest, rare herbs and incenses, objects made from specific metals and other materials, rare virgin woods etc.  They also require meticulous rituals and consecrations during the time of their making – extending from exactly how and when the materials are gathered to exactly how and when the tools are constructed.  Some tools can only be made at certain times of the year, and others require rituals extending over several days or even weeks.  We follow all of these requirements to the letter, and we provide a certificate of authenticity with every ritual tool.

Please Note:  Some grimoiric tools require specific timing, rare materials, or lengthy rituals in their creation.  In these cases, we do not carry a large stock of pre-made items.  Instead, we make your ritual tool upon order.  And, depending on your requirements and our resources, we will consider special orders upon request.  Please be aware that there may be a waiting period while we do our work, though we will stay in touch with you throughout the process.  Also, some especially rare items may result in limited availability of some tools.

All of our items are made, blessed and/or consecrated by Fr. Aaron Leitch, an ordained Gnostic priest of the Ecclesia Beatae Mariae Angelorum.  Most of the fine art-work is done by Carrie Leitch, a Deacon of the same Church.  Wood and metal-working done by Jon Zuilkowski

Father Aaron Leitch and Deacon Carrie Leitch

Father Aaron Leitch and Deacon Carrie Leitch

What is a Grimoire?

Grimoire is a French word meaning “grammar” or “basic instruction book.”  It refers especially to a genre of occult texts and spellbooks from medieval and renaissance Europe that combined Church liturgy and ritual with exorcism, witchcraft and folk magick.  A great number of them focus specifically upon the evocation of spiritual entities through whom spells can be cast and from whom magickal secrets can be learned.  These books represent the culmination of the Western Occult Tradition up to that time, preserving the last remnants of the Old Magick before the rise of the quasi-Masonic Magickal Lodges of the nineteenth century.

What is Solomonic Magick?

Most of the old grimoires are attributed to Biblical heroes such as Moses, Noah, Enoch and King Solomon.  (Though this is merely legend, as the grimoires were written thousands of years after these Biblical figures lived.)  Without question, it is the Solomonic grimoires that have had the greatest impact on the Western Tradition. Today, even grimoires attributed to other figures are considered part of the overall “Solomonic” tradition.  Books like the Key of Solomon the King, The Lemegeton (including The Goetia, Pauline Arts, The Almadel of Solomon and more), The Heptameron, Agrippa’s Three Books of Occult Philosophy, The Fourth Book of Occult Philosophy, Liber Juratis, John Dee’s Enochian Diaries, The Magus, The Grand Grimoire and Grimoirum Verum (to name only a few of hundreds of such texts) are all considered sub-sets of the Solomonic tradition.

Click here to learn more about grimoires and Solomonic mysticism.

Click here to read any of the grimoires for yourself.

Doc Solomon’s Occult Curios

Aaron and Carrie performing Solomonic Invocation

Carrie At Work

A.J. Spinning Thread

A.J. Spinning Thread

Doc Solomon’s Occult Curios


New Workshop – Working With Your Ancestors (October 3rd)   2 comments

Greetings my Witchy friends!

In just a couple of weeks (October 3, 2015), my wife and I will be hosting a workshop near Tampa, FL – on the subject of building and working an Ancestor Altar (also called a Boveda).  This is a one-time class, lasting about two hours (1-3pm) at Mystikal ScentsYou have to register by Oct 1st!  See below for more info:




Mystikal Scents Presents

Working with Your Ancestors

Aaron & Carrie Leitch

Saturday, October 3rd

1:00 – 3:00 PM

The ancestor altar is one of the first magickal tools created by a new witch, and one of her primary methods of working with the spirit world. It was from her ancestors that she drew her power, her spiritual insight and through whom she could perform nearly any form of domestic magick – healing, protection, divination, prosperity (crops, livestock, and children), bringing money, etc., etc.

In this class, adept sorcerers Aaron and Carrie Leitch will relate the history and philosophy behind ancestor work, explain how to construct your own ancestor altar (Boveda) and teach you how to put it to use.

You will also learn all of the important protocols for working with your ancestors safely and successfully.

This will be a one day class held on Saturday, October 3rd from 1 – 3 PM. Cost is $20. Deadline to schedule is Oct 1st. Preregistration is required.

Call Mystikal Scents @ 813-986-3212 to register today!

Mystikal Scents

9545 E. Fowler Ave.

Thonotosassa, FL 33592


Llewellyn Magick Blog: Part 1 – Why is Satan in the Grimoires?   Leave a comment

Greetings Readers!



From the Llewellyn Magick Blog, September 15, 2014:

Part 1: Why is Satan in the Grimoires?

Recently, a member of my ‘Solomonic’ Facebook group posed the question (and I paraphrase): Why would anyone want to work with spiritual beings who have, according to their own mythos, fallen out of favor with God? Is this done in protest of the divine judgement against such spirits, or in ignorance of it?

That’s a fair question, and not far from similar questions I have asked about occultism in general. For instance, why in the world would anyone, knowing the Lovecraft mythos, actually desire to make contact with a destructive chaotic force like Cthulhu? Why do some people choose to focus their studies and practices on infernal demons, fallen angels, the Qliphothic realms and even the dead? Frankly, there are plenty of very powerful spirits out there who actually like humans—or at least tolerate us for some reason—so why should you purposefully invoke the meanest, nastiest human-haters our mythologies have to offer?

All of this plays perfectly into a question I’ve long pondered about the Solomonic grimoires themselves: Why the hell do they even include Satan or demons at all? The texts arose from Christian tradition; in many cases written by clergy, or at least by very devout educated Christians (who received their education from clergy). What would possess these people to include spells for summoning Satan, Lucifer, Leviathan, Oriens, Paimon, Amaymon, Ariton, the 72 demons of the Goetia, etc, etc? Why should there exist a text called The Harrowing of Hell? Not only does this appear to run counter to the faith of the authors, but they were dong this in a time and place where they could be killed for far lesser religious infractions. Were these people secretly Satanists?

Read the Rest at:

Posted April 28, 2015 by kheph777 in hoodoo / witchcraft, llewellyn blog

Tagged with

Llewellyn Magick Blog: Knocking on Wood – Superstition and the Spirit Model of Magick   Leave a comment

Greetings Readers!



From the Llewellyn Magick Blog, June 16, 2014:

Knocking on Wood:

Superstition and the Spirit Model of Magick

As many of my readers know, I am a practitioner of the Old Magick. That means I have abandoned the “psychological model” of magick (the belief that magick is strictly an art of the mind, and that spiritual entities are simply parts of our own psyches) in favor of the “spirit model” of magick (the belief that spiritual entities are very real and objective beings).

What that means is that my magick includes protocols for approaching the angels and spirits, methods of making offerings and caring for them, building relationships with them and convincing them (via mutual respect) to work with and for me here in the physical. It is, primarily, a form of shamanism—drawing techniques from ancient cultures and indigenous folks magicks. If you want some good examples of how I work (including photographs of the offering altars), check out these links:

Western Resistance to the Old Magick

Not every occultist wishes to toss aside the psychological model and adopt the old ways. Even now, I hear from those who are uncomfortable with concepts like establishing altars and making food offerings to spiritual beings. For them, the very idea of a spirit model just sounds silly and primitive. It depends on a worldview they feel was rightfully overthrown by science and reason. Above all, they seek to distance themselves from anything they understand as “superstition.”

That word—superstition—appears a lot in Western occult literature. Even Agrippa discusses it in his Three Books of Occult Philosophy, so we know the argument has been going on since the Renaissance. Agrippa suggested that superstition can be helpful in magick, while other occultists of his time insisted superstition was the bane of magick and must be abandoned. What these people were actually talking about was indigenous folk magick—witchcraft, shamanism, etc. During their time, such practices were still illegal—punishable by arrest, forfeiture of assets, torture and/or execution. Therefore they had a vested interest in distancing themselves from the ancient pagan methods of magick—or “superstition.”

Because of this environment, the mysteries and philosophies of the Old Magick were lost in the West. The Renaissance gave way to the Age of Enlightenment (aka the Age of Reason) in the 17th century. Over the next several centuries, the study of psychology would rise to prominence in our culture, and most of our modern systems of occultism are based on the psychological model.

For occultists in such an environment, the protocols and actions that are vital to the Old Magick seem like barbarous nonsense.

Read the Rest at:

Posted April 28, 2015 by kheph777 in hoodoo / witchcraft, llewellyn blog

Tagged with

Invocation of Archangel Samael   20 comments

Greetings again, fellow Angel-workers!

Mars is certainly in the air.  We just passed through a prime period for Martial magick – when Mars passed through Scorpio.  (Apparently it is only in the first degree of Sagittarius as I write, which is hardly out of Scorpio at all, so it is still flush with Scorpio’s energy.)  Plus we are fast approaching the period when Sol will go into Scorpio – which can be a major pain (ever notice how things tend to start to suck right before Halloween?), but is also a good time for Martial magick.

And so, with all of this in mind, this is a great time to make our yearly offerings to Samael, to both thank him for the protection he offers our house, and to empower him to protect it for another year.  As house gods go, Samael is unique in my home.  My relationship with him is fairly new (compared to Iophiel and Michael), and I approach him with quite a bit more caution.  (I strongly urge you to do the same, if you have cause to work with him at all.)



Archangel Samael – the Adversary

Samael is the Archangel of Mars – prince of the fifth heaven, lord of war and pestilence, and angel of death and destruction.  He is the Sathan (Adversary) who visited wrath upon Job, slew the firstborn in Egypt, and (as the Guardian Angel of Easu) wrestled with Jacob.  As the Sathan he accuses men of their wrongdoings in the Divine Court.  Samael should not be confused with the modern Christian concept of Lucifer or the Devil.  Samael is not the source of all evil, nor did he ever wage war upon the Throne of God.

He was, however, cast down to Earth when he refused to bow to Adam as the Image of God.  (He had previously sworn to never bow to anything less than God Himself.)  Once here, he took Lilith as his wife and has acted as the Divine Accuser, Enforcer and Angel of Death ever since.  While he is still very much in the employ of God, he persecutes and seduces mankind when he is ordered to do so.

(Some sources equate Samael with Shemyaza, the leader of the fallen Watchers from the Book of Enoch.  This is likely due to both Samael and Shemyaza being punished for disobedience, yet each retaining their positions as celestial angels.  However the angels share no other characteristics, and this similarity does not prove the two angels are one and the same.)

The ancient Gnostics elevated him to the position of Demiurgos (the Creator) and interpreted his name to mean “Blind God.”  They also called him Ialdabaoth and Saklas.  His form was described as a lion-headed serpent.  He and his angels (called archons) had created the world as a prison where they could feed upon mankind’s suffering.  Later forms of Gnosticism, however, did not equate Ialdabaoth with Samael.

Samael was at one point regarded as the Patron Angel of Rome – and it is likely in this aspect that we see him (as the Dragon with Seven Heads) engaging in single combat against Michael (the Patron Angel of Israel) in the Revelation of St. John.

More recent tradition has given him the name Khamael (Camael, Camuel, etc) – the result of mistranslating a Hebrew Samekh (S) as a Kaph (Kh).  In this form he is regarded primarily as the Angel of War and Divine Severity.


Offering Ritual for Archangel Samael

It is best to choose a Tuesday when Mars is well aspected in the heavens, and he should be above the horizon at the time of working.  Dawn is best.  The most powerful times of year to do this ritual are when Mars resides in either the sign of Aries or Scorpio.  The Moon should be in increase.

On Monday evening, cover a table or altar with a red or white cloth. Place a talisman and/or image of Archangel Samael upon the altar. (If it is a talisman, place it in the center. If an image, set it toward the east facing westward.) You will need a censor and an incense of Mars:

I use three ingredients:  1 part Pipe Tobacco, 1/2 part Cinnamon, 1/8 part Crushed Red Pepper.

WARNING!: Martian incense is one of the most dangerous substances I’ve worked with!  It is, quite simply, tear gas.  If you make this, do not add too much red pepper.  And when you burn it, do it in small quantities. Never, for any reason, lean over the censor and inhale or draw in breath!  Too much pepper or direct inhalation can burn your throat and lungs.

Also prepare all elements of the offering to Mars: Five red candles, five glasses of water, a bottle of whiskey, five pieces of bread covered with honey.  Five hot red peppers.  Five steel nails.  Red meat (cooked well done, no blood!) – this latter is being offered only because this is a once-a-year offering.  Animal flesh (especially red meat) is very very powerful, and shouldn’t be used for usual day-to-day needs.

The meat should be grilled over cherry- or bay tree-wood.  Otherwise grill it over natural wood or wood charcoal, and add cinnamon, tobacco and red pepper to the fire.  You can also season the meat with the cinnamon and the red pepper.

On Tuesday just before sunrise, wash yourself and don a white or red robe. At sunrise, set the offering to Mars upon the table.  Place four of the red candles on the four corners, and one in the center – directly upon the talisman if there is one.  Set a glass of water beside each candle.  Around this arrange the food offerings. You may also add any gift offerings for Samael, or items you wish for him to touch – such as steel jewelery or trinkets, talismans, stones, oils, weapons, written prayers or petitions, etc.

Light the censor and candles with their proper exorcisms, and add fresh incense to the coal. Then exorcise and consecrate the offerings with holy water and the censor.

Then move to the eastern side of the working space, facing outward.  If you have a consecrated bell or trumpet, sound it and recite the following call (or one similar to it):

In whatsoever place ye may be, ye spirit(s), who are invited to this feast, [NNN] come ye and be ready to receive our offerings, presents, and sacrifices!

Move to the south and repeat – first sounding the bell or trumpet, then the call.  Do this again in the west and the north.

Finally, return to standing west of the altar facing eastward, and recite the following invocations:


Prayer to Elohim Gibor

Elohim Gibor, God of Severity and Might, who ruleth the heavens with a rod of iron, who shatters the enemy.  Thou Lord who keepeth the city with the watchman.  You shelter us beneath your mighty wings, and punish severely those who would harm your prophets!  You visited the plagues upon Egypt, drown Pharaoh’s armies in the Sea, blasted the foundations of Sodom and Gommorah, cast down the Kings of Edom and protected Daniel in the lions’ den.  You cast down those who would oppose you.  Your name causes the spirits to quake with terror and give obedience.  Thou art Gevurah, thou art Pachad.  I ask that you bless and sanctify this offering, that it may be pleasing unto You and Your Angels.

I ask, also, that you send to me the holy Archangel Samael: who walkest to and fro upon the Earth.  The Adversary, Angel of War and of Death, the bringer of your Wrath.  May he look with favor upon me and my household.  And, to that end, may he also enjoy these offerings, and be pleased with them, and bear our prayers of thanksgiving unto Thy Celestial Throne.  Amen + Amen + Amen + Amen + Amen +


Five Martial Psalms

Psalm 3 (“Lord, how are they increased that trouble me! many are they that rise up against me.“)

Psalm 2 (“Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?“)

Psalm 110 (“The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.“)

Psalm 91 (“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.“)

Psalm 35 (“Contend, Lord, with those who contend with me, fight against those who fight against me.“)


Invitation to Samael

 I invoke thee, Samael!  Holy Archangel of the Martial sphere!  I call upon thee within thy realm of Severity and Fear!

Samael, Powerful, Bloody, Sword-bearer, Bold, Untamed, Terrestrial Fire, against whom none can defend himself, thou who destroys the strong and powerful, Lord of fiery heat – and of the planet of blood!

Samael, who art the Adversary, accusing men of their wrongdoing.  Fearsome warrior and divine enforcer!  You who inflicted Job with sorrow, who slew the firstborn of Egypt, and wrestled with Jacob.  It is you who bears the wrath of God unto the Earth!  You who overthrow nations and cast kings down from their thrones!

O Samael, we have called upon you [here list the reasons you have called him in the past, if any, and the positive results that came from those workings]. For all of this we thank you!

Come thou forth and partake of these offerings, which we have prepared in thy honour and to the glory of Elohim Gibor. May you find them pleasing and empowering. I ask that you offer your blessings to my home and family, and bear our offerings and prayers of thanksgiving to the Divine Court. We petition thee for strength and protection in all of our undertakings, for defense of our home, and that the light of thy wisdom should guide and keep us at all times. In the name of Elohim Gibor.  Amen.

Repeat the Invitation five times.  Then, share in the feast you have offered to the Angel – taking bites of each food item, sips of the liquids including a sip (or shot) of the whiskey.  Leave the offerings in place until the red candles burn completely away (and no less than five days). Place the remains in a natural place, into running water or at a crossroads.

– End –


Ritual of Samael Journal Entry

Samael-Offering1I wanted to perform this invocation a week earlier, while Mars was still firmly in Scorpio and the Moon was waxing, but it just wasn’t practical.  And it is not possible to wait until the Sun goes into Scorpio either; it had to be done now (Tuesday, September 16, 2014).  Perhaps next year we’ll time it better to take place when Mars is in Scorpio (or Aries might be even better) and the Moon is waxing.

I began by fasting from about 7pm on Monday evening (approximately 12 hours before dawn on Tuesday).  We went out on that same evening and gathered all of the offerings for Samael (see the list above).  Myself and a friend then started the grill with natural wood charcoal; adding cinnamon, tobacco and crushed red peppers to the fire.  I seasoned the meat with salt, black pepper and garlic – then added more of the cinnamon and red pepper.  We cooked the meat until it was entirely well done (no pink in the center), then covered it and set it aside for the next morning.

After taking a simple ritual bath, I cleaned and prepared our temple – re-consecrating it and everything in it with holy water and the recitation of King Solomon’s prayer of dedication of the Holy Temple.  I then erected the Samael altar.  I used a new red altar cloth, placed three of my favorite classical images of Samael, his name and Heptameron sigil in the center, along with the candles, censor and dishes that would be used the next morning.

At dawn on Tuesday morning, I washed up, entered the temple and put on my white robe.  I first approached my Guardian Angel’s altar (in the east) to pray for her help and guidance in the coming work.  (I would never approach Samael without her at my side!)  Then I laid out the food offerings on the Samael altar:  the steak (freshly warmed and sizzling) cut into five pieces, five hot red peppers, bread, honey, five glasses of water and a small bottle of Jack Daniels whiskey.  To these I also added seven steel nails.  (Note that five nails would be standard – but since this ritual is being done to empower the seven protective talismans buried around my property, I decided to include seven nails as I had done before.)

Samael-Offering2I followed the ritual mostly as I have it written above.  I opened the blinds to let the morning sunlight into the room.  I lit the censor with the proper Solomonic exorcism and used it and the holy water to consecrate everything on the altar.  I then made the calls in the four quarters, then returned to the altar to light the candles with their proper exorcism.  Then I performed the invocations, burning even more incense.  (Maybe too much, in fact, as it became hard to continue the invocations.  I slightly maced myself.  But it is vital to never show weakness to the spirits – especially spirits of Mars!  So I completed them without stopping.)

Due to Samael’s heavy chthonic associations, I considered not sharing in his feast.  However, he is an archangel (a celestial being) and I felt during the ritual that he did want me to share.  So, I decided to follow his lead and partook – wanting to avoid offending him in any case.  I took a bite or sip of everything offered, making sure to bite off enough of the red pepper to burn my mouth, and to take a healthy swig of the whiskey (not something I normally drink!).  I lit one of the cigars and blew five puffs onto the altar, then turned it around and “shotgunned” a large amount of smoke.

Samael-Offering4Samael indicated to me that he wants the offering left on the altar for five days, and/or until the candles burn out.  Then the remains are to be taken outside and left where the last offering was left – on the ground directly over where the easternmost talisman is buried.   There is no need to carry the leftovers to a river.

UPDATE:  The candles lasted almost exactly five days.  On Sunday we gathered the remains and took them out to our eastern property line.  We prayed thanks to Samael and his Seraphim for protecting the boundaries, then arranged the items on the ground directly over the eastern talisman.  The water and alcohol was poured out as a libation and the food items were arranged in a pentagram pattern on top of that.  One of the cigars was re-lit and smoke was blown onto the offerings.  Then the remaining cigars were also left in a pentagram pattern.

I was given special instructions for the seven nails.  Taking a hammer, I was to drive each nail into the ground over one of the existing buried talismans, while reciting the phrase inscribed on the talisman:  “The ungodly have pleasure from doing harm, but the seed of the righteous shall bear fruit.”  I’m sure I didn’t get every nail exactly over its talisman, but they are close and are arranged in the same heptagonal pattern around the property line.

Samael's Offerings After 5 Days

Samael’s Offerings After 5 Days

Interestingly, while standing up from driving in one nail, I slipped (just briefly!) and managed to bash my own lip with the handle of the hammer.  It swelled up and bled, and seriously pissed me off.  <SIGH> Martial spirits…

For those of you who would like to know what food items look like after they are left sitting on an altar, in the open air next to the heat of candles, in Florida, for five days – here is a pic taken the night we took the offerings outside.  You’ll note that, as usual, the food looks pristine enough to eat.  No rot, no bugs, no mold.  The bread had hardened, and that was all.  😉

Posted September 18, 2014 by kheph777 in hoodoo / witchcraft, magick, solomonic

Tagged with , , , ,

A Warning about Limpias (Egg Cleansings)   53 comments

Greetings, seekers!

Without a doubt, the single most popular post on this blog has been my instructions for performing a Limpia (aka, “Egg Cleansing”).  Not only does that post have the most views, but keywords like “egg cleansing” and “limpia” are the most-used search terms that lead people to my blog.

The post also has the most comments.  Most of them are from folks who have performed the cleansing upon themselves, and want me to interpret the results.  At first I was happy to olidge.  However, I soon became overrun with requests for readings, and had to stem the flow by requiring a small fee for the service.  (It’s only $10, but it has stopped most of the unsolicited requests.)

The rest of the comments on that post come from those who have paid others to do a Limpia upon them, only to find some kind of horrific object inside the egg.  They are told this indicates a curse has been placed upon them, and that it can be removed – at an exorbitant cost to the client.

The ones who post in my comments are the lucky ones.  They bring the results of the reading to me because they have begun to suspect they are being defrauded.  Thy want to know if, for instance, iron shavings can really turn up inside a chicken egg.  (No, they cannot.)  These people come to me after losing only a few, or a few hundred, dollars.  But this seems to go on a lot out in the world – and some folks will hand over thousands of dollars to such a charlatan before they wake up (or merely run our of money) with nothing at all to show for their sacrifice.

Folks, if you ever pay someone to do a Limpia on you, and they find some kind of foreign object inside the shell, it is a scam.  The worst you should ever find in there is some blood spots, maybe some black material if the egg has begun to rot, or even an embryonic chicken. There can bubbles, discoloration, streaks of white, or a bad smell.  All of these things can be found quite naturally in the egg – and THAT is what you are trying to read.

But anything else:  iron shavings, dirt, hair, stones, other animals, bones, glass, copious amounts of blood or black liquid, feathers, etc, etc, etc, – all of these things are stage-tricks meant to convince you to cough up cash.

Charlatans that work this way can either use sleight-of-hand to make it appear the object came from the egg, or they simply poked a small hole in the egg-shell, inserted the object, and sealed the shell with white wax.  (These are old tricks – and I know them because I was once a close-up stage magician.)

If you see anything like that, the person doing it is a fraud.  Simply walk away and don’t look back.

Posted May 14, 2014 by kheph777 in hoodoo / witchcraft, magick

Tagged with , , , ,

Making Abramelin Holy Oil   25 comments

According Unto the Art of the Apothecary:

Making the Oil of Abramelin

Moreover the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Take thou also unto thee principal spices, of pure myrrh five hundred shekels, and of sweet cinnamon half so much, even two hundred and fifty shekels, and of sweet calamus two hundred and fifty shekels, and of cassia five hundred shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary, and of oil olive an hin:  And thou shalt make it an oil of holy ointment, an ointment compound after the art of the apothecary: it shall be an holy anointing oil.  [Exodus 30: 22-25]

In the Book of Abramelin, a recipe is given for the creation of a powerful holy oil.  This oil is used to consecrate the altar, the vestments, the wand and even the aspirant himself before any attempt is made to invoke the Guardian Angel or command the spirits.  It is based, nearly exactly, upon the recipe given to Moses by Yahweh for the holy oil used in the Tabernacle (and later, in Solomon’s time, the Temple).  It, too, was used to anoint the tools and furnishings, the altars and the priests who would work in the sacred sanctuary.

The original recipe for the holy oil is quoted from Exodus above.  The Book of Abramelin, meanwhile, comes in two versions.  The most popular has been the French version, translated into English by MacGregor Mathers in 1893.   This is actually a recension of a German original, but it was the only version available in English for over one hundred years.  Finally, in 2006, the German manuscripts were translated by Steven Guth and used to create a new English edition of the grimoire by Georg Dehn.  Both the French and the German manuscripts have different recipes, with the German version providing the closest approximation of the Exodus recipe:

German Version:

1 pt Myrrh
1 pt Calamus*
1 pt Cassia
1/2 pt Cinnamon

1/4 total weight of the above in Olive Oil

French Version:

2 pt Cinnamon
1 pt Myrrh
1/2 pt Calamus*

1/2 total weight of the above in Olive Oil

(* – Note: in both Mathers and Dehn’s translations, Calamus is given as Galangal.  However, academic opinion seems to be that the original German indicates Calamus.  This would make sense, as Calamus is listed in Exodus.)

The primary difference between these recipes is that the French author excluded the cassia and doubled-up on the cinnamon.  This is understandable once you know that cassia is a cinnamon substitute.  The less expensive “cinnamon” you buy in the store is usually cassia.  If you want real cinnamon, you have to pay extra for it.  Apparently the French author felt the two spices were similar enough to simply drop the cheaper substitute and use more cinnamon in its place.

I also note the French author halved the amount of calamus – perhaps attempting to mimic the Exodus recipe.  He also doubled the amount of olive oil, which does make sense for practical purposes – you get more oil in the final result.

You might think it would be easy to gather the above ingredients and whip up some holy oil.  However, once you get started you’ll quickly discover it isn’t so easy. When I made my very first batch, I simply mixed together the powdered plant materials, weighed them, then weighed out half that much olive oil.  When I poured the oil into the powder, I found there wasn’t enough to even wet all the dry ingredients!  I mixed and mixed and mixed, and finally got a gritty blood-colored mud that smelled heavily of cinnamon and olive oil.  It was usable, but definitely not a proper oil.

Apparently, this is an issue that has long been debated.  How does one create an herbally-infused oil with more plant material than carrier oil?  The answer lies in this cryptic instruction (found in Exodus and both versions of Abramelin):

The which aromatics you shall mix together according unto the art of the apothecary, and shall make thereof a balsam… [Book of the Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage, French Recension]

The phrase “art of the apothecary” makes it clear that some kind of process must be run on the plant material before adding it to the olive oil carrier.  This would be a fundamentally alchemical process by which the essential oils of the plants are extracted, then finally mixed with the olive oil.  The debate has been over exactly which process should be used.

Essential Oil of Abramelin

Let me start with the most common type of Abramelin oil.  This is the version you will likely get if you buy it from a store.  It was invented by Aleister Crowley, and has therefore been used ever since by Thelemites.  From there it spread into Golden Dawn practices, Neopaganism and even Hoodoo folk magick.  It has become a well-established tradition by this point in time, though keep in mind it is not proper Abramelin oil.

Crowley used the French recipe, but decided to begin with essential oils rather than using plant material to extract his own.  This would not have been a bad idea, actually – except Crowley made two errors:

First, he didn’t increase the measurement of the olive oil.  Raw plant materials weigh much more than their extracted oils, and thus half the weight of the plants is heavier than half the weight of the oils.  Crowley added the mixed essential oils to half the amount of olive oil, meaning the olive oil became a minor ingredient rather than the carrier.

Second, Crowley appears to have measured the oils (essential and olive) by volume rather than by weight.  This, once again, results in much less olive oil in the mix than there should have been.  Both of these errors combined produce an oil that is primarily cinnamon extract, and very dangerous to use on the skin!  I have heard horror stories about people anointing their foreheads in a ritual, only to have sweat wash it into their eyes as the ritual progresses.  Some others find that the oil burns and even blisters their skin upon contact.

Thelemites consider this a spiritual ordeal, and it has become an integral part of their overall system.  Meanwhile, the Book of Exodus describes this oil being poured over the heads of Aaron and the other priests until it dripped from their beards.  That was obviously not the Crowley version of the oil, or else Yahweh would have been served by a blind and disfigured priesthood.

Following is a recipe that will work with purchased essential oils, and will not be as dangerous as Crowley’s version.  Make sure to measure by weight rather than volume!

Essential Oil of Abramelin (non-Thelemic version):

1 pt Myrrh Oil
1 pt Calamus Oil or Galangal Oil
1 pt Cassia Oil
1/2 pt Cinnamon Oil

7 times the total weight of the above in Olive Oil

Cone-Extracted Oil of Abramelin

Of course, the best thing to do is gather the plant material and extract the oils yourself.  Some Biblical scholars have suggested that a curious form of decanting was the method used by Moses and the priesthood.  It is not my preferred method, though I see no reason why it shouldn’t work.  Here it is:

– Gather a large amount of plant material.  You can either get them in powder form, or reduce raw plant material to a powder with a mortar and pestle.  Combine them and weigh them.

– Form a cone from a material that can withstand contact with oil, such as leather or cellophane.  Prop the cone upright so its smaller point is downward, then fill it with the plant material.  Make sure it doesn’t pour out from the point of the cone.

– Place a jar beneath the cone.  Then pour a small amount of olive oil into the cone on top of the packed plant material.  Don’t drown it, just cover the top.

– Wait a while, and you’ll find the powders have absorbed the oil.  So now add the same amount again.  You might be able to do this two or three times within a day.  Continue this every day until:

– Eventually, olive oil infused with the plants’ essence will begin to drip from the point of the cone.  Continue adding a little more oil into the cone each day, until enough infused oil collects in the jar.  The amount you want should weigh exactly one-half the weight of the original plant material.  Once that is achieved, dispose of the cone and its remaining contents.

To be honest, this sounds a bit like cheating, because it uses much more than the required amount of olive oil – not to mention wasting a large amount at the end of the process.  Still, the resulting holy oil would be proper for all intents and purposes.

(A great article on this subject is called The Anal-Retentive’s Guide to Oil of Abramelin by Frater RIKB.)

Steam-Extracted Oil of Abramelin

Today, professional oil extraction is done via steam distillation.  You need specialized equipment for this process, and it is unlikely to have been the method used by Moses.  It is less clear if the author of Abramelin might have intended it when he said “art of the apothecary.”  I will outline the process in a simple fashion here:

– In a steam distiller, the plant material (not reduced to powder!) is placed on a grate over heated water.  The water is transformed to steam and forced through the grate and over the plants, where the heat vaporizes the plants’ essential oils.

– The still condenses and cools the steam and essential oils and collects them in a separator.  The separator then separates the oil from the water.

– The essential oil is placed in a jar and sealed.  The water, now called hydrosol, can also be saved.  This is where we obtain waters infused with plant essences – such as rose water or lavender water.

– Once you have extracted the necessary oils, gently stir them into olive oil weighing 1/2 of what the original plant material weighed.

Though I would love to have access to all of this wonderful equipment, my means are more humble.  Therefore, I decided to go with an alchemical process with which I have previously experimented:

Alcohol-Extracted Oil of Abramelin

My preferred method begins with the creation of a tincture.  It is a relatively simple process, and you likely already have most of the tools you need in your kitchen.  To begin with, let’s take a look at the recipe I use:

Leitch Version:

1 pt Myrrh
1 pt Calamus
1 pt Cassia
1/2 pt Cinnamon

1/2 total weight of the above in Olive Oil*

(* – You’ll need a little more than this at the end of the process, too.  So keep some more on hand.)

This is a synthesis of the German recipe for the plant material and the larger amount of olive oil called for in the French version.  You can also choose to replace the calamus with galangal if that is the Abramelin tradition you wish to follow.

Ingredients for Alcohol Extraction

In the above picture you can see the materials needed for the initial extraction.  There is 1/4 oz of calamus, so I will also use 1/4 oz of myrrh and 1/4 oz of cassia.  That leaves just 1/8 oz of cinnamon.  Also pictured are the grain alcohol (you want the highest proof you can get – Everclear is always a good choice) and the sealable glass jar that will hold everything.  (A mason jar would work just as well or better.)

Myrrh in the Mortar and Pestle

The ingredients are reduced to a powder in a mortar and pestle.

Abramelin Oil Raw Ingredients in Jar

I then combine all four ingredients – which alchemy calls the prima materia – together in the jar.  In total, there is about .88 oz of material here.  Some have suggested running an extraction on each ingredient separately, but I choose to do them all at once.  There may be chemical reactions taking place between the plants that are necessary in the final result.  (However, this doesn’t mean you can’t choose to experiment with individual extractions on each plant.)

Cover Ingredients with Alcohol

Pour in enough of the grain alcohol to completely cover the prima materia.  The alcohol will immediately take on a red tinge.

Macreate in Warm Dark Place

Mix the concoction well and set in a warm dark place to macerate.  I chose to start this process on the day of the first crescent Moon, and continue for one complete lunar cycle.  This phase marks the beginning of the first two weeks.

The Plant Material Forms Sediment in Bottom of Jar

As you can see above, the prima materia will soon collect in the bottom of the jar as a sediment.  This is why you want to agitate the mixture two or three times every day, so every particle is bathed repeatedly in the grain alcohol.

Material needed to complete the oil

Pictured above is what you’ll need to complete the oil of Abramelin.  There is the macerated prima matera, cheese cloth for straining, extra grain alcohol and the necessary amount of olive oil.  (Because I began with .88 oz of plant material, I have measured .44 oz – or half the weight – of pure olive oil.)  You’ll also notice the old fashioned stove-top tea kettle and glass bowl – also pictured below:

A simple Bath of Mary – or Double Boiler

This is my Bath of Mary – which is an alchemical term for a double boiler.  I simply removed the handle and lid from the tea kettle and placed a bowl on top.  Fill the kettle with water and bring to boil, and it will gently heat whatever you place in the bowl.  The spout on the side is quite useful – it not only channels steam out and away from the bowl, but also allows you to easily add water as needed.

The Remains of the Prima Materia – or Dead Head

After allowing the plant material to macerate in alcohol for two weeks, I strained it through cheese cloth.  Above, you can see what is left over in the cloth – the plant matter from which all of the life has been taken.  What remains is called the Dead Head in alchemy, and it contains nothing but the essential Salt of the compound.

I was performing a rather “quick and dirty” process in this case, because I wanted to keep the entire process within a lunar month.  However, it would not be a bad idea to replace the Dead Head into the sealable jar, cover it with fresh alcohol and repeat the maceration process.  Continue to macerate, strain and repeat until the alcohol ceases to take on any color from the plant material – thus ensuring you have extracted every drop of the essential oils.  If you do this, you only need to macerate for a week at a time, quite likely for about a month.

Whichever way you decide to go, you will finally end up with a quantity of darkly colored liquid that smells heavily of alcohol and the plant materials (especially the cinnamon):

Squeeze every drop of tincture from the plant material

Above, you can see the resulting liquid – I am squeezing every last drop I can get from the plant material through the cheesecloth.  (Notice my bare hands – I never had any burning sensation or negative skin reaction to this substance.)  The dark liquid is called a tincture in alchemy.  A tincture is a pure alchemical extract held in an alcohol carrier.  If these plants were medicinal, this tincture would be a medicine.  If you use aromatic plants, you get a perfume.  In fact, you could pour this tincture of Abramelin into a bottle and use it “as is” for magickal purposes.  Rub it onto an object or your skin and the alcohol will quickly evaporate, leaving a pleasant cinnamon scent behind.

Meanwhile, in order to turn this into actual oil of Abramelin, we will need to employ the Bath of Mary to get rid of the alcohol:

Reduce the Tincture of Abramelin in the Bath of Mary

Here is the Bath of Mary up and running – you can make out the steam rising from the spout on the side.  The tincture is gently warming in the glass bowl so that the alcohol will evaporate.  This is called a reduction.

Tincture Reduction 1

Tincture Reduction 2

In the two above pictures, you can see the level of the tincture is lowering as the process continues.  You have to babysit this process!  Keep adding water to the Bath of Mary, and don’t let the heat get too high – it only needs to be just high enough to keep the water in the kettle gently boiling.  You’ll also want to do something about the oils that collect on the sides of the bowl:

Clean sides with q-tips

I just keep a handful of q-tips on hand.  Soak the tip in fresh grain alcohol, then use it to clean off the sides of the bowl.  The fresh alcohol will dissolve the oil and carry it back down into the warming tincture.

The resulting oil: Sulfur and Mercury

For this amount of tincture, you can expect the reduction to take a couple of hours.  The result is pictured above – a thick, sticky, tar-like substance.  (Actually, with practice and patience, I have been able to reduce this material even further.)  Alchemy would refer to this as the Sulfur (or oils), which happens to contain the Mercury (or pure spiritual essence) of the plant.  (Remember that the Salt is contained in the Dead Head, and is not used in this process.)

Add the Oils to Olive Oil Carrier

At long last, we have reduced .88 oz of plant material to a volume that will fit into .44 oz of olive oil carrier.  There will still be some alcohol content, so:

Gently Remove the Remaining Alochol

Use a very low heat for this – the alcohol will begin to evaporate before the water in the bowl will.  This final reduction will also serve to help the olive oil absorb the essences of the plant material.  Once the alcohol is gone, it is fine to leave the oil on the low heat for a couple of hours, so it will continue to absorb the essences.

UPDATE 2-2018:

After several years of experience with this process, I have learned that it is best to end it right here.  Previously, I vigorously shook the remaining oil so the plant “sludge” and olive oil would mix – and that was a mistake.  Instead:

After removing the jar from the gentle heat,  just seal it and put it on your Altar.  The olive oil carrier will continue to absorb the essences of the plant material for the entire life of the oil – meaning it just gets better and better with age.  When you use it, just dip your finger in the olive oil that collects on the top.

(You do have the option of draining the olive oil out of the bottle, leaving the sludge behind for disposal.  However, if you do this, you will need to add extra olive oil to make up the amount left behind in the “sludge.”  This leaves you with a nice pretty rose-colored oil to put in a fancy glass container – but has the downside of not continuing to draw essence out of the “sludge.”)

Abramelin Oil

Finished Abramelin Oil on the left, pure Olive Oil on the right.

After vigorously shaking the oils together, I placed the small jar into the Bath of Mary.  Notice that I put some warm water into the bowl, so the warming would be even gentler than before.  This will allow most of the remaining alcohol to evaporate.

After you are comfortable that you have removed as much of the alcohol as possible, seal the jar, agitate vigorously and put it in the same warm dark place where you macerated the tincture:

Unmixed Oils = good!

Mixed Oils = No!

You can see in the above two pictures, the plant oils (Sulfur/Mercury) do not immediately like to mix with the olive oil.  However, after a day or two of agitation (two or three times a day), it permanently took on the appearance of the second picture.  After about a week, I stopped agitating and allowed the mixture to brew for the final week mostly undisturbed.

Finished Holy Oil

When you finally open the jar to see the completed product, you will find the thick tar-like Sulfur is still there, but a small quantity of saturated olive oil has collected on the surface.  In the above picture, I put some of both substances onto a spoon for illustration.  The thick balsam is obvious, and next to it you can see the true oil of Abramelin.  (It looks rather brown in the picture, but actually has a somewhat redder tinge.)

To use, dip your finger lightly into the surface of the oil and gently rub off the sticky substance.  What remains on your finger is the oil you want.  It should not burn your skin at all – however, still use caution when first handling either the oil or the tincture.  You may be allergic to one of the ingredients where I am not.  You should not, in any case, be burned by the cinnamon content of this oil.

Plans for the Future  (See 11-2012 Update below!)

Like any alchemist, I certainly feel I can improve the above process over time.  While it is certainly a viable process for producing proper Abramelin oil, it is not yet the substance described in the Torah.  The thick tarry plant oils macerating in the olive oil would have made it quite unpleasant if poured into the hair and beards of priests!

Without a doubt, I will explore methods of separating the Sulfur and Mercury of the plant material.  This would do away with the tar-like substance (the Sulfur) and leave only the Mercury – that is, pure essential oil like I could buy in the store.  This would then be stirred into the olive oil carrier, resulting in much more of the pure reddish holy oil without all the goop beneath it.

Of course, you don’t use this holy oil very fast – so you’ll have to stay tuned for future updates on similar alchemical experiments.  I hope this has been informative, or at least entertaining, for all of you.



UPDATE 11-2012

As many of you know, I was given the honor of attending Florida Pagan Gathering Samhain 2012 this year as a headliner.  While there, and between lectures, I had the opportunity to speak with an herbalist with a lot of experience making oils.  I described my process to her – and she recognized every bit of it, so I asked if she might be able to help me figure out that missing last step to remove the “sludge” from the final product.  She could, and she shared with me an extremely easy method!

In the above post, you’ll note that after I boiled down the tincture I simply poured the resulting sludge into the olive oil carrier and let that sit for a few days.  (And, in fact, it remains in that state to this day.)  However, to do it properly I only lacked one item:  a cloth tea bag.   Like these:

I was told to look for one with a fairly loose weave.  It should be enough to allow the oil itself through, but should keep the sludge from passing through.

After boiling down the tincture, you just pour the sludge into the tea bag, tie it up and submerge the bag into the olive oil carrier.  Seal up the jar and let it sit in a warm dark place for a long while, agitating it frequently.  You can even open the jar every now and then and gently press down on the bag to squeeze more of the extract into the olive oil – just be careful not to force out any of the sludge when you do so.

In time, the olive oil will absorb the essential oils of your extract.  When you are satisfied with the result, just take out the tea bag and throw it away.  You will be left with pure – sludge free – Abramelin Oil.  I’ll try this process (likely on a non-Abramelin oil of some type) and update this post with my results.

Also keep an eye on this blog for a future post where I will describe a method of using a simple refluxer to make your oil.  It is not as ‘simple’ as the method described here, but it is much faster and efficient.

Posted August 18, 2011 by kheph777 in alchemy, grimoires, hoodoo / witchcraft, magick

Tagged with , ,