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compiled from usenet, 1995 - present, by cat yronwode

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Tools and Materials Used in Spell-Casting
Practical Tips and Techniques for Spell-Casting
Errata to Herman Slater's Magickal Formulary by John M. Hansen
"The Ancient Book of Formulas," a public domain magical formulary
Recipes are in alphabetical order. ============================================ INTRODUCTION Most of the formulas given here were published in usenet during the late 1990s. A prominent poster of these recipes was a woman variously known as Witchwoman, Chandralyn, Elizabeth Mack, and Lyz who did not source the recipes but merely signed her own name to them. Others were posted by a woman called "Cat" who had a account ("") and whose other names i do not know. [She and i share the same first name, but one look at the formulas she posted, and their sources, should demonstrate to any knowledgeable person that we are quite different people.] A third set of formulas was posted by an anonymous source called Jellyface ( A fourth set was posted by an anonymous person called "....." (, whom i shall refer to as "inept1." Some were sourced by author, some were not and thus appeared to be original contributions. In some cases, my opinion of these formulas was asked. In other cases it was not. I decided to compile and compare the formulas posted by Chandralyn, "," Jellyface, and "inept1" with the formulas that i use myself -- even though that meant revealing some of my own forumlas (usually closely held by perfumers and occult shop owners) because i felt that doing so might help students of this branch of magic. My formulas derive from a combination of four sources: o recipes given to me by friends, customers, clients, and occult shop owners from the 1960s to the present; o recipes that had been printed in folklore collections, some of whose authors are cited below; o recipes from 19th and early 20th century formularies, some of whose authors are cited below; and o first-hand perfume analysis augmented with a thorough knowledge of the occult symbolism of flowers and herbs. What interested me about the posted formulas was that they were a strange mixed bag, some "authentic" and some really "phony" by traditional standards. One, for instance, was said to be a 19th century recipe for Cologne, but it was not a true Cologne recipe at all. Others claimed to be traditional hoodoo formulas but contained none of the ingredients usually associated with spells or recipes bearing those names in the African-American community. Still others were well-researched and nearly the same as the ones i myself had collected. I have made my comparisons -- and in some cases lengthy analyses -- because people often ask me about formulas and i want to steer them toward authentic hoodoo sources by giving them an understanding of the holistic magical system from which such formulas derive. I am not trying to poke holes in the work of any author, but i docall the shots as i see them. It is difficult to explain a formula's good and bad points without a close look at each ingredient, and i used the posted formulas to demonstrate how some formulas did -- and some formulas did not -- derive from an identifiable cultural tradition. In other words, some of the posted formulas were traditional in terms of hoodoo, some were traditional in terms of European magick, and others were just concoctions of sweet-smelling synthetics which had little or no symbolic relationship to the magical conditions for which the oils were prescribed, either in African-American or European magic. This web page has been online since 1997 and has been updated many times. It took me a while to realize that virtually all of the otherwise unsourced formulas posted to usenet were not original to those who posted them. I eventually identified some unsourced recipes from Ray Malbrough's book "Charms, Spells, and Formulas" because i sold it in my shop, and i annotated those recipes with his credit. The recipes from the Herman Slater Magickal Childe formulary didn't jump out at me as being from that source immediately because i had lost my copy of the Slater formulary in 1986 during a flood of the Russian River that carried off almost all the books and papers i owned. (The entire town flooded, not just my house, and it took me a few years to regroup -- and i am still re-collecting books i lost in that flood all those years ago.) During the late 1990s i was sent an entire electronic file of the Slater formulary, which bore within its MS Word coding a notation that the file had been edited by Aidan Kelly, a well-known Neo-Pagan author. I used this file to identify which recipes on this formula-analysis page had been published by Slater, and i added notations to that effect. The Slater book is currently in print and i have given the URL for the publishers after each Magickal Childe recipe cited. ============================================ ATTRACTION OIL #1 -- Malbrough Mix equal parts of Lovage Herb, Grated Lemon Peel or Lemon Flowers. A small piece of lodestone is added to each bottle. Add 2 Tbls. of this mix to 2 oz. of oil. You can add tincture of benzoin to keep to any oils listed to keep them from going rancid. from "Charms, Spells, and Formulas" by Ray Malbrough © 1999 Ray Malbrough posted by Jellyface ( ----- Compare this with a traditional Attraction Oil recipe that i collected: ATTRACTION OIL #2 -- Traditional Lovage Root Chips (for love) Cinnamon Chips (for money) Lemon Peel, grated Essential Oil of Sweet Orange Essential Oil of Lemon Piece of Lodestone Piece of Pyrite Top with carrier oil (e.g. almond oil which has been dosed with Vitamin E to prevent rancidity. I use a "glurp" of same to each gallon of almond oil and mix well. cat yronwode, Ms. Oily Fingers of 1999 ( © 1999 catherine yronwode ----- And here is a third Attraction oil, very good to the nose, but with less tradition behind it, since it only symbolizes love-attraction and not money-attraction, whereas the typical Attraction oil of hoodoo usage draws both money and love. ATTRACTION OIL #3 -- Arthurs Blend equal parts Rose oil Lavender oil Vanilla oil Sandalwood oil Touch to pulse points when in the presence of the one you want to attract. Suzanne Arthurs ( © 1999 Suzanne Arthurs ============================================ BAT'S BLOOD INK #1 -- Skater dragon's blood resin myrrh resin cinnamon oil indigo color alcohol gum arabic No instructions are given, although I suppose you steep the ground resins in the alcohol till dissolved, then add the cinnamon oil, indigo, and ground gum arabic. Filter and bottle. from "The Magickal Formulary" by Herman Slater Copyright © 1999 Herman Slater posted by "Cat" ( For "indigo color" i presume Herman Slater intended to use synthetic dye; true indigo requires a complex process of repeated oxygenation and steeping to produce a blue tint, which would darken the orange and rusty reds of the other ingredients listed. Exact quantities for making this formula are available in "The Magickal Formulary" by Herman Slater for sale at -- cat yronwode ( ----- BAT'S BLOOD INK #2 -- Traditional Slater's formula is useful, but of course, real, authentic Bat's Blood Ink is made by slitting the throat of a bat and using its blood to write with. But most people don't like that idea, so they use a convenient substitute. Any high quality red ink with Cinnamon and Myrrh essential oils or scent added is appropriate to use as Bat's Blood Ink, in my experience. © 1999 catherine yronwode ( ============================================ BEND-OVER OIL See ESSENCE OF BEND-OVER ============================================ BLACK ARTS OIL #1 -- yronwode variation There are many recipes for Black Arts Oil. Here's a quick one: half a dropper essential oil of patchouli half a dropper essential oil of black pepper a pinch of valerian root a pinch of black poodle dog hair a pinch of black mustard seeds a pinch of spanish moss a pinch of mullein a pinch of powdered sulphur nine whole black peppercorns Blend into one half-ounce carrier oil such as almond. Colour dark brown. catherine yronwode ( Lucky Mojo Curio Co: The Lucky W Amulet Archive: © 1999 catherine yronwode ============================================ BLESSING OIL #1 -- Malbrough 2 parts Frankincense 1 part Benzoin gum. Add 2 tablespoons of this mix to 2 ounces of oil. from "Charms, Spells, and Formulas" by Ray Malbrough Copyright © 1999 Ray Malbrough contributed by Jellyface ( ----- Ray Malbrough's recipes tend to be traditional but rather stripped down in terms of ingredients. Here is a more complex formula for Blessing Oil that i collected. BLESSING OIL #2 -- yronwode variation Frankincense Tears Benzoin Gum, crushed Essential Oil of Frankincense Essential Oil of Benzoin Rose scent, which can be one or more of these: Essential Oil of Roses (Rose Otto) Essential Oil of Rose Geranium Rose Fragrance (synthetic) Rose Petals Top with carrier oil (e.g. almond oil which has been dosed with Vitamin E) You can also add Vitamin E oil for the same purpose. I use a "glurp" of same to each gallon of almond oil and mix well. cat yronwode ( © 1999 catherine yronwode ============================================ CHINESE WASH #1 Find a whole page on the history of and uses for Chinese wash at Start with whatever combination of essential oils of Oriental Grasses you normally use for compounding Van Van oil concentrate (e.g. citronella grass, lemongrass, gingergrass, palmarosa grass, khus khus grass, and vetivert grass, singly or together). Cut a bunch of broomcorn straws (from a natural broom, or from broomcorn plants, if you happen to grow them) and place the straws in a bottle. Add a goodly squirt of Van Van oil concentrate and a small lump of frankincense gum, then top with your own (or any commercial) preparation of liquid oil soap. Dilute in water before use, of course. cat yronwode ( © 1999 catherine yronwode ============================================ COME TO ME OIL #1 -- Hansen Try pure essential oil of sweet pea. It draws people to you. Diluted with perfume diluant and used on the clothing it will help you pick up girls in bars. It is very nice, but it draws all kinds of people, and you have to pick which ones you want to stick around. John M Hansen ( © 1999 John M Hansen ----- COME TO ME OIL #2 -- Slater rose jasmine gardenia lemon oil color: red from "The Magickal Formulary" by Herman Slater © 1999 Herman Slater posted by "Cat" ( Exact quantities for making this formula are available in "The Magickal Formulary" by Herman Slater for sale at -- cat yronwode ( ----- COME TO ME OIL #3 -- yronwode theories Recipes vary from person to person. They are generally floral in tone and usually red in colour. Scents used in such an oil may include sweet pea and narcissus (usually only available as synthetic fragrances, not as essential oils), rose (available as a real essential oil -- called otto or attar of roses -- but so expensive as to be prohibitively costly for most people, who therefore use a synthetic fragrance instead), rose geranium (a real essential floral oil that has a very good rose scent), and other floral synthetics, such as wistaria, honeysuckle, violet, and the like. Herbs mixed into in the finished, fragranced oil may include catnip leaf (to entice a lover), saffron stamens (for love-drawing), rose petals, (for love-drawing), damiana leaf (to increase passion) and/or patchouli leaf (ditto). Queen Elizabeth Root (used to attract men) may be added to the mixture if the person using it is a female or a gay male. One difficulty many folk-magicians have with floral scents as a basis for magical perfume oils is that so many of our favourite flowers do not produce a great deal of essential oil. When this is the case, the oil is very expensive. But that is not the greatest hurdle we must overcome. Some flowers, no matter how lovely they smell, do not produce stable essential oils at all. Whenever that is the case, essential oils from these flowers are unavailable at any cost and synthetics are the only recourse one has. The question then becomes one of deciding whether to go with an artificial fragrance that mimics a given floral scent to a greater or lesser degree -- or to forgo that scent in favour of one that is available in actual flower-derived form. Is the magic in the herb itself -- or in the aroma? How do we decide? We all agree that attar of roses is beyond the financial reach of most working people. We all agree that rose geranium oil comes from a geranium -- not a rose. But it SMELLS as much or more like certain types of roses than synthetic rose oils do. So... is a good, natural rose geranium essential oil magically more effective than an artificial rose scent? Or is substitution of any kind an automatic obviation of the magical working? Shall only wealthy people have access to the magic of rose oil? I tend to choose natural essential oils over synthetics or, if i must, mix them half-and-half. But that's just me ... your mileage may vary. catherine yronwode ( © 1999 catherine yronwode ============================================ CONFUSION OIL #1 -- Malbrough 2 parts of Rue Herb 1 part of Guinea Pepper Add 2 Tbls. of this to 2 ounces of oil from "Charms, Spells, and Formulas" by Ray Malbrough © 1999 Ray Malbrough posted by Jellyface ( ----- CONFUSION OIL #2 -- Slater Vetivert Lavender Galangal Burnt knotted shoelace color: black Confuses those who are trying to cast a spell on you. Breaks all forms of hexes. Acts almost instantaneously. Works better when hex is new, but it is a good idea to keep some on hand for emergencies. from "The Magickal Formulary" by Herman Slater © 1999 Herman Slater contributed by "....." ( Exact quantities for making this formula are available in "The Magickal Formulary" by Herman Slater for sale at -- cat yronwode ( ----- Next, here are two formulae that i personally think are good for sowing confusion and dissent. CONFUSION OIL #3 -- yronwode variations usage: Causes enemies and opponents to lose their way essential oils for stock formula: 1 part Vertiver 1 part Marjoram 2 parts Patchouli herbs for all products: Guinea Pepper Grains Poppy Seed Black Mustard Seed Top with carrier oil (e.g. almond oil which has been dosed with Vitamin E) ----- INFLAMMATORY CONFUSION OIL #4 -- yronwode variations usage: Enemies and opponents fight each other instead of you essential oils for stock formula: 1 part Patchouli 1 part Essential Oil of Capsicum (dilute! dilute!) herbs for all products: Guinea Pepper Grains Red Pepper Black Pepper Poppy Seeds Black Mustard Seeds Top with carrier oil (e.g. almond oil which has been dosed with Vitamin E) ----- CONFUSION and INFLAMMATORY CONFUSION -- yronwode commentary A comparison of the above four formulae shows that Ray Malbrough and i work closer to the old-style hoodoo tradition than Herman Slater did, for i know Galangal as Little John to Chew and consider it primarily a court case root, and lavender is something i use for love, not to cause confusion. Ray and i both include Guinea Grains in our confusion formulae, the latter coming out of the African tradition. cat yronwode ( © 1999 catherine yronwode ============================================ DAMNATION POWDER # 1 -- Slater Burnt ashes from palm leaves Holy water Beer Myrrh Lavender color: Black Another very powerful powder used for hexing an individual you dislike. Sprinkle on burning incense while repeating his name nine times. Use with extreme caution. from "The Magickal Formulary" by Herman Slater © 1999 Herman Slater posted by "....." ( ----- DAMNATION POWDER #1 -- yronwode commentary This is one of the more bizarre formulae in Herman Slater's book. It carries obvious religious implications, but they are BACKWARDS from common practice. In Catholic families, it is common to carry home palm leaves from the church services for Palm Sunday (the Sunday before Easter). These are kept in the home all year. The next year they are burned to ash. Just as the ash from burned Pal Sunday Palm leaves is used by the priests to mark the foreheads of parishioners for Ash Wednesday, so are the burned ashes of the home-kept Palm leaves used for protection of the home and the person. Mixing them with Holy Water from a church, would provide a carrier medium -- but not a POWDER, as any child should understand. Adding beer, another water-based fluid, will not create a POWDER either. The addition of Myrrh hearkens back to Biblical formulae, but the Lavender is simply Slater's "gay love" trademark. (Many of the recipes he and his close associates devised contain Lavender -- see Errata to Herman Slater's Magickal Formulary by John M. Hansen for more on that topic). Whether the Myrrh and Lavender are used in the form of essential oils or dried plant matter is probably not important, because no matter which form you use, they cannot be added to beer and Holy Water to make a "Powder" -- and in any case, the idea of using Holy Water and the ashes of Palm Sunday leaves as ingredients for "Damnation" is simply ridiculous, and probably offensive to Catholics as well. Exact quantities for making this formula are available in "The Magickal Formulary" by Herman Slater for sale at -- cat yronwode (] ============================================ DOVE'S BLOOD INK #1 -- Slater dragon's blood resin cinnamon oil bay oil alcohol gum arabic rose oil from "The Magickal Formulary" by Herman Slater © 1999 Herman Slater posted by "Cat" ( Exact quantities for making this formula are available in "The Magickal Formulary" by Herman Slater for sale at -- cat yronwode ( --- DOVE'S BLOOD INK #2 -- Traditional Slater's formula is interesting, but of course, real, authentic Dove's Blood Ink is made by slitting the throat of a white dove and using its blood to write with. But most people don't like that idea, so they use a convenient substitute. Any high quality red ink with rose scent added is appropriate to use as Dove's Blood, because most of the time this magical ink is called for, it is used to write love-talismans and pacts, and rose is one of the primary love-essences. © 1999 catherine yronwode ( ============================================ DRAGON'S BLOOD INK #1 -- Slater dragon's blood resin alcohol gum arabic from "The Magickal Formulary" by Herman Slater © 1999 Herman Slater posted by "Cat" ( Exact quantities for making this formula are available in "The Magickal Formulary" by Herman Slater for sale at -- cat yronwode ( ----- DRAGON'S BLOOD INK #2 -- yronwode commentary People often ask me. "If Dove's Blood Ink used to be made with the blood of Doves and Bat's Blood Ink used to be made with the blood of Bats, what did Dragon's Blood Ink used to me made with?" The answer is that "Dragon's Blood" does not refer to the life-fluid of mythical beasts -- it is the name of the dark red sap or dried resin from a species of palm tree, the Dragon Palm. Herman Slater's formula, given above is quite good, if you want to make your Dragon's Blood Ink from scratch. However, if ink-making is too much trouble for you, any high quality red ink with chunks of Dragon's Blood resin added to it is appropriate. Most of the time this magical ink is used to write luck- or protection-talismans and pacts, and the resin itself is also carried on the person or burned as incense for the same purpose. © 1999 catherine yronwode ( ============================================ DRIVE-AWAY SALT #1 -- yronwode Drive-Away salt, also known as Get Away Salt, is essentially Hot Foot Powder made with ordinary table salt replacing the talcum powder. For more information about the African roots of this family of magical compounds (plus the lyrics to Blind WIllie McTell's "Drive Away Blues") check out these pages Hot Foot: Salt: Drive Away Blues: © 1996 catherine yronwode (, Ludwig Prin ============================================ EASY LIFE POWDER #1 -- Slater Gum Mastic Cloves Ginger Lemon Orange peel Cassia color: Brown A special blend which allows you to relax while others do your work. Sprinkle on any person you wish to gain control over. Lets you dominate their thoughts. from "The Magickal Formulary" by Herman Slater © 1999 Herman Slater posted by "....." ( ----- EASY LIFE POWDER #1 -- yronwode commentary In some ways, this is a "hotter" version of a famous old Attraction Powder formula. (See above.) You could substitute cinnamon for cassia if needed. Exact quantities for making this formula are available in "The Magickal Formulary" by Herman Slater for sale at -- cat yronwode ( ============================================ EASY WRATH POWDER #1 -- Slater Ashes Red Pepper Rose Jasmine Sandalwood color: Blue Toss on any person who is angry over something you have done. Eliminates all feelings of animosity. Also good for overcoming hatred. from "The Magickal Formulary" by Herman Slater © 1999 Herman Slater posted by "....." ( ----- EASY WRATH POWDER #1 -- yronwode commentary One thing about Herman Slater's formulae is that he always liked things to smell nice -- and this one surely does! The ashes seem to symbolize an end to flames -- but i am unsure why he called for red pepper in an anger-calming powder, which "eliminates all feelings of animosity." Generally, red pepper is used to heat things up and to create discord. And think about it -- if you go around throwing red pepper powder on angry folks and it gets up their nose or in their eyes, they'll be mad as hell! Well, Herman is gone, and i can't ask him why he added that odd ingredient, but i would recommend something sweeter, like powdered sugar, in place of the red pepper in this recipe. Exact quantities for making this formula are available in "The Magickal Formulary" by Herman Slater for sale at -- cat yronwode ( ============================================ EAU DE COLOGNE #1 and #2 This comparison began in usenet when i posted formulas for some traditional colognes from some standard mid-20th century manuals of perfumery in my collection. Those recipes are now archived at ----- EAU DE COLOGNE #3 -- Booth Kirsten Rowe then wrote in response: > > From "Perfumes, Splashes and Colognes" by Nancy Booth > > Claims to be an American version of the original Eau de Cologne > introduced in this country in 1808: > > 2 c. distilled water > 1/4 c. vodka or grain alcohol > 6 drops essential oil of lavender > 2 drops essential oil of clove bud > 8 drops essential oil of bergamot > > Mix all ingredients in a sterilized glass container. Seal the bottle > and store in the refrigerator for two weeks for the scents to blend. > Use within two months if refrigerated, two weeks if not. > > Kirsten > > No offense to the author of the first recipe. ----- EAU DE COLOGNE #3 -- yronwode commentary None taken, for sure! -- i was not the author of those recipes -- i was simply passing along commercial (not new-age or home-made) formulas for Florida Water and Kananga Water. And no offense to you, Kirsten, but i would like to point out that the Nancy Booth recipe given above is too weak even for toilet water -- 2 cups of water to 1/4 cup vodka results in a mixture that must be refrigerated for preservation and then will only keep for two months. That is not the way perfumes are handled in real life -- we all know that a good perfume will keep its scent for decades, unrefrigerated. Some ancient Egyptian perfumes sealed in tombs were found to be still fragrant after millennia! Also, i think that the use of Vodka is not a good idea. I've tried it, myself -- it's so darned easy to get -- but, as i quoted from Hiscox and Sloane's formulary when giving their recipes, spirits of wine supply subtle fragrances of their own which Vodka lacks -- and Vodka supplies a rather icky (to me) "eau de potato" fragrance that can contrast unfavourably with the subtle delicacy of floral oils. Booth's recipe is obviously NOT "the original Eau de Cologne" introduced in 1808. I have three commercial formulas for Colognes, including one also said to be "the original," and i'll gladly post them if anyone wishes to pursue this further. For now, suffice it to say that Eau de Cologne is similar to the Florida Water version #1 i gave in my post -- that is, it is a complex blend of a variety of floral and spicy scents (not just 3 scents as above) and it is alcohol-based, not water-based. Thanks for taking the time to post this recipe, and, as i said, no offense was intended. I find this discussion very interesting because the use of perfumes and perfumed incense is important in several branches of magic and religion, yet few people stop to ask what is included in the scents they use. Cordially, cat yronwode ( © 2000 Kirsten Rowe © 2000 Nancy Booth © 2000 catherine yronwode ============================================ (ESSENCE OF) BEND-OVER OIL There are three recipes here -- or are there? ----- BEND-OVER OIL #1 O'Hara rose frankincense honeysuckle vetivert (No specific quantities given) This oil is intended to bend another to the will of the magickal practitioner, this oil is well suited for anointing candles or fith faths (voodoo dolls) from "The Magick of Aromatherapy" by Gwydion O'Hara © 1999 Gwydion O'Hara posted by "Cat" ( ----- BEND-OVER OIL #2 -- Slater rose frankincense honeysuckle vetivert (No specific quantities given) Makes other people do your bidding. Use to break any hexes; used to order evil spirits to return to their sender. Said to be extremely potent. from "The Magickal Formulary" by Herman Slater © 1999 Herman Slater posted by "....." ( ----- BEND-OVER OIL # 1 and #2 yronwode commentary Interesting how the Gwydion O'Hara recipe exactly mimics the Herman Slater recipe. :-) Slater's formulary, although not without its own flaws, has been used as a source-book by many people working in the Neo-pagan tradition. Exact quantities for making this formula are available in "The Magickal Formulary" by Herman Slater for sale at -- cat yronwode ( ----- ESSENCE OF BEND-OVER #3 -- yronwode variations I wish to take exception to the above recipe as given by both Slater and O'Hara. I also find Herman Slater's explanation of its use in regard to breaking hexes and affecting evil spirits to be typical of his "fingerpainting" and fakery in matters of hoodoo. First, for more information on one way Bend-Over is used in actual hoodoo practice, see my web page on Spells of Female Domination at That will give you some idea of its value in love and sex magic; but there is more to the formula than this. For examples of how it is used to rule and control a boss, see my web page on Essence of Bend-Over at Next, let's look at the ingredients given by Slater and O'Hara, shall we, and see how (or rather IF) they relate to the work at hand, namely to bend someone to your will. The ingredients they list are rose frankincense honeysuckle vetivert These scents may be okay for use in AROMATHERAPY-style domination, but magically speaking, the herbs in that list have long been assigned other meanings in MAGICAL herbology. Rose is used for love magic. Real essential oil of roses (rose otto or attar of roses) is so expensive that most people use either essential oil of rose geranium or artificial rose oil as a substitute. Rose has nothing at all to do with raw power or domination. Frankincense is a spiritual scent and is also used for power. It could be used in Essence of Bend-Over, but it is a little on the "nice" side for it to carry the entire weight of true domination work in this formula. Honeysuckle is primarily used as a fragrance, and, being floral, it is a frequent ingredient in love potions. The plant itself is a vine that has no strong magical connotations that i know, and what's stranger, real essential oil of honeysuckle is unstable, so most makers use the artificial, synthetic aroma. Looking at honeysuckle from the perspective of the "doctrine of signatures," one could say that it grows upon trees and somehow dominates them, but it certainly does not make them bend to its will -- and other vines of similar twining habit, such as periwinkle, are always used in love-and-marriage formulas, because of their clinging natures. In short, honeysuckle might be good for love-domination (as an ingredient in Follow me Boy Oil, for instance, but it would hardly be expected to work on your boss! Vetivert is one of the five "Asian Grasses" that is used (in a very small proportion) in Van Van Oil and, as such, it is a spiritual cleanser and luck-changer. It is not particularly associated with efforts of will or domination. So this recipe for Bend-Over, although very commonly encountered in the Anglo-Saxon world of aromatherapy and playful spell-cookery -- and despite its wonderful fragrance -- is not exactly what i'd call a powerful aid to domination or willful control of another's mind or activities through the doctrine of sympathetic magic as developed by root-workers. A look through any good magical herbal will reveal that there are three herbs often recommended for control and domination. They are calamus root licorice root bergamot leaf or essential oil of bergamot Calamus root produces an essential oil and it is also available as chips or powder, which can be steeped in a carrier oil. Licorice root is available as chips or powder, to steep in carrier oil Bergamot is a citrus-relative. Its essential oil must be diluted in a carrier oil because some folks are skin-sensitive or allergic to it in strong concentrations. Calamus root is white and licorice root is a deep yellow-brown. When the two are placed with essential oils of bergamot and calamus root and a few grains of frankincense in a carrier such as almond oil that has been tinted a rich yellow-orange, the result is impressive both visually and in terms of fragrance. What is more to the point, magically, it will also fulfill the requirements sought in such an oil. You can add all the artificial honeysuckle and rose fragrance you want then, and you'll be on the right track. Contrarianly, cat yronwode ( © 1999 catherine yronwode ============================================ FAST LUCK INCENSE / OIL / FLOORWASH / POWDER / BATH #1A -- Slater Patchouli Rose Juniper color: green from "The Magickal Formulary" by Herman Slater Copyright © 1999 Herman Slater posted by "Cat" ( DOUBLE FAST LUCK INCENSE #1B -- Slater Same as Fast Luck with powdered dollar bill added color: green from "The Magickal Formulary" by Herman Slater © 1999 Herman Slater contributed by "....." ( Exact quantities for making these formulae are available in "The Magickal Formulary" by Herman Slater for sale at -- cat yronwode ( ----- FAST LUCK OIL #1A and #1B -- yronwode commentary Thanks very much for posting thiese formulae by Herman Slater, Cat and inept1! Here we have (if we needed it!) clear evidence that Herman Slater was "fingerpainting" his formulas, like a kid with a bunch of colours and not a lick of direct knowledge. Authentic hoodoo recipes for Fast Luck Oil are very, very well known. They do not contain what Slater says they do. The evidence i'd like to present is from Zora Neale Hurston's "Mules and Men." Ms. Hurston, world famous as a novelist, was also a folklorist, and, because she was African-American, she did her best folklore work among black folks in Florida (her home state) and New Orleans (a hotbed then and now of professional rootworkers). In material she collected in the mid 1930s and published first in 1935, you can find two recipes for Fast Luck. One is the standard (even commercial) recipe and the other is probably a personal formula or a mistake, as explained below. I am going to start with the more well-known of the two formulas Hurston gives, which she calls "Red Fast Luck." This is the formula one would get if buying Fast Luck Oil today from a manufacturer such as myself. -------------- RED FAST LUCK OIL #2 -- Hurston Oil of Cinnamon and Oil of Vanilla, with Wintergreen. Used as above to bring luck. -- Zora Neale Hurston -------------- RED FAST LUCK OIL #2 -- yronwode commentary Cinnamon (in powder and chip form) is widely used in African-American folk-magic to draw business and bring money-luck, hence its use as an essential oil makes good sense in this formula. Vanilla appears in numerous formulas for love-luck, so again, one is not surprised to find it in Fast Luck. Wintergreen is an oddity, though -- it has very few magical ascriptions, and it seems to function, in my experience, primarily as a fragrance that mediates and blends the rather contradictory aromas of Cinnamon and Vanilla. In any case, without it, one does not get the characteristic "Fast Luck" smell. Hurston does not tell what makes her informant's Red Fast Luck Oil red, but i was taught to colour it with Alkanet root, a few flakes per 1/2 oz. bottle. If you use too little, it stays pink; too much makes it bloody-brown. The colour does not develop instantly, as it would from a synthetic dye, so work carefully and add more root flakes only if your first batch doesn't colour up red in a day, after a thorough shaking. Alkanet root has magical properties of its own, namely it draws luck and protects your money, and the red colour indicates increased love-luck, so it is a better colourant for Fast Luck than any synthetic dye could ever be. I also add crushed pyrite to my Fast Luck Oil, for money-drawing purposes. To make Fast Luck Oil, simply add the formula above to a carrier oil such as Almond Oil. Essential oil of Cinnamon can be irritating to sensitive skin, so wear protective gloves as you work, don't rub your eyes or nose, and dilute the product to a useable strength before applying it to anything you might touch. For an entire web page on (Red) Fast Luck, please see the Lucky W Amulet Archive at Next we come to Hurston's other Fast Luck recipe. Frankly, although someone may have genuinely given her this formula, i personally have never bought any Fast Luck products made according to this recipe. For reasons explained below, i think there may have been some confusion in the mind of Hurston's informant, or perhaps Hurston herself got the formula attached to the wrong name. -------------- FAST LUCK #3 -- Hurston Aqueous solution of Citronella. It is put in scrub water to scrub the house. It brings luck in business by pulling custmers into a store. -- Zora Neale Hurston -------------- FAST LUCK #3 -- yronwode commentary Hurston's Citronella-based Fast Luck formula is actually in the family of recipes usually given for Chinese Wash and Van Van Oil. These products, more than any other, are to be used as house and doorway scrubs. I have never seen this citronella recipe sold as Fast Luck, but i am not surprised that someone used it as such. I give a good Van Van Oil recipe below (under the letter V (which contains the five closely-related Asian grasses Citronella, Lemongrass, Vetivert, Palmarosa, and Gingergrass), and, for comparison, i here append Hurston's very simple Van Van Essence formula: -------------- ESSENCE OF VAN VAN (VAN VAN #1) -- Hurston 10 per cent Oil of Lemon Grass in alcohol. (Different doctors specify either grain, mentholated, or wood alcohol), used for luck and power of all kinds. It is the most popular conjure drug in New Orleans. -- Zora Neale Hurston -------------- ESSENCE OF VAN VAN (VAN VAN #1) -- yronwode commentary Those who work with these essential oils know how similar Citronella and Lemongrass smell. Folks with botanical knowledge will also realize the close relationship between Citronella, Lemongrass, Vetivert, Palmarosa, and Gingergrass (in fact, Gingergrass is simply the lesser quality second pressing of Palmarosa grass!). As my Van Van recipe indicated, the addition of Vetivert (Khus Khus), Palmarosa, and Gingergrass was to be in very small quantities compared to the Lemongrass and Citronella, which means that both Chinese Wash and Van Van Oil smell predominantly of citrusy fragrances, with smoky undertones. It is possible that someone Hurston talked to had mistaken this ubiquitous New Orleans formula-family for Fast Luck ... or, as i said, Hurston herself might have made the error. In any case, the Fast Luck i know is the Cinnamon, Vanilla, Wintergreen one. For an entire web page on Van Van Oil, please see the Lucky W Amulet Archive at For an entire web page on Chinese Wash, please see the Lucky W Amulet Archive at For more on the intertwined history of Chinese Wash and Van Van Oil, please see the Lucky W Amulet Archive page on ritual baths and floor washes at ----- DOUBLE FAST LUCK INCENSE #1B -- yronwode commentary Now, as to "Double Fast Luck" -- here Slater has given a strange twist to things. He adds a powdered dollar bill (why not? although filings from a silver dime would be more likely in hoodoo, and crushed pyrite even more apropos), and then he colours the oil green. He has, i believe, confused DOUBLE POWER (add more ingredients) with DOUBLE LUCK (make the item work two ways). The two concepts are quite different in hoodoo conjuration, and Slater's formula is only a doubling in POWER of his already highly inaccurate formula, it is not two-way or DOUBLE LUCK True Double Luck formulas work for both money and love. Thus, Double Fast Luck should work for money and love -- in a hurry. During the 1990s, i interviewed a man named LaRue Marx who had been an employee of the Lucky Heart Company in Memphis, Tennessee from the 1930s - 1960s, and he gave me the company's formula for Double Fast Luck. It is simplicity itself: -------------- DOUBLE FAST LUCK #4 -- Marx Use a tall, thin bottle. Fill it halfway up with a basic red Luck oil. Top it off with an alcohol-based Luck perfume that has been coloured bright green. The red oil (symbolizing love and passion) will separate from the green perfume (symbolizing monetary wealth). To use, shake the bottle until a temporary purple emulsion is created and sprinkle it out. It will separate between uses. -- LaRue Marx, Lucky Heart Co. -------------- DOUBLE FAST LUCK #4 -- yronwode commentary The above, i believe, will give complete satisfaction to those in search of Double Fast Luck. cat yronwode ( Lucky Mojo Curio Co. Spells Archive ----------------- Lucky W Amulet Archive --------- © 1999 catherine yronwode ============================================ FIVE HOLY WATERS See PEACE WATER ============================================ FLORIDA WATER For an entire web page on Florida Water, please see the Lucky W Amulet Archive at catherine yronwode ( © 2000 catherine yronwode ============================================ FOUR THIEVES WINE -- FOUR THIEVES VINEGAR #1 -- Hansen This formula dates from the fifteenth century, when it was developed as a healing formula. As an inoculation against epidemic diseases it actually works. Its use in magic came about much later, as with many other substances it became useful in the magical arts. While the Bubonic plague raged through southern France in the 1450s the number of bodies so overwhelmed the grave diggers that they called upon the municipal authorities for assistance. Four thieves who had been jailed together were released on the condition that they assist in burying the dead. They agreed, and served so well at their gruesome task that they were later pardoned on the condition that they left town. One of the magistrates asked them how they had managed to appear to remain so healthy, even though they have been burying those who had did of the plague. They told him the secret of the four thieves vinegar, which was made from bottles of cheep wine, which begins to turn to vinegar in a few days if left opened. They filled the wine bottles with garlic, and allowed it to stand for a while, and then drank a wineglass (2 Oz) with every meal. They continued this for a bit over the three or four months that they had been engaged in burying the dead. Four Thieves Vinegar is made in the following way: Burgundy (red) wine is divided between two bottles, and both bottles are filled with peeled, and occasionally crushed, garlic cloves. The bottles are placed in the refrigerator or spring house for a week. Then two ounces of the wine (possibly on the way to becoming vinegar) are taken twice or three times a day. During the 1917 flu epidemic my grandfather used it on all his family, beginning as soon as he heard of the epidemic. None of the family became ill, although the neighbors on both sides of them had deaths in their families. My father gave it to me every summer, when the Polio epidemic was raging around us. I was never ill from that or any of the other epidemic diseases of the time. In fact, our house was never quarantined, but four thieves vinegar was on our menu from the time we were children. In magic it is used for getting rid of people. It works there as well. I have also used it for protection, when I thought malochia was in the offing. I put about two ounces in a bath, soaking for about five minutes in the tub. I use it when I suspect that I am about to see a particularly evil minded client. It has a variety of other uses, in both magic and healing, as well. John M Hansen ( © 1999 John M. Hansen ----- FOUR THIEVES VINEGAR OZARKS VARIANT -- yronwode commentary Thanks, John. The major difference between our recipes for Four Thieves Vinegar is that i have been told that it must have four spices in it, one for each thief -- the four additives being garlic (crushed or whole), red pepper (crushed), black peppercorns (whole), and black mustard seed (whole). Also, in the Ozarks, i was taught to make it with apple cider vinegar, not red wine vinegar. This is probably a regional variant based on the fact that wine vinegar is uncommon in the Ozarks. In California, we have plenty of red wine vinegar and i like that much better as a base; however, either way, it tastes great! In addition to providing personal protection from disease and magical attack, Four Thieves Vinegar is used to send away unwanted people or to make a family quarrel and fall out among themselves. It can be sprinkled or dashed against an enemy's doorsteps, but it can also be served to an enemy family as a condiment, which to me justifies the "thieves" part of the name -- it is a sneaky way to protect yourself while you get them out of your life. For an entire page on Four Thieves Vinegar, go to catherine yronwode ( © 1999 catherine yronwode ============================================ GODDESS BATH #1 -- Grey Erzulie Freda is the Vodou lwa (something like a "goddess") of love, luxury, and wealth. I'd like to give you all a "recipe" for a bath made to please Erzulie Freda and attract love and wealth into your life. And no, you don't have to "believe in Vodou" and this won't make anything scary happen to you - but it might make that new boyfriend or girlfriend warm up to you, or make your spouse much more affectionate in a hurry! Obtain as many as you can of the following ingredients. If you can't find each and every one of the ingredients don't worry, do what you can. Florida Water [floral cologne] Fresh basil Champagne Rose petals One small can of evaporated (NOT condensed) milk Vanilla extract Coconut milk Orange leaves Fresh lettuce Fresh aloe The fresh herbs and the lettuce should be thoroughly crushed in a basin of water which is then strained as it is poured into the bath. The Florida water, champagne, a few drops of vanilla extract and coconut milk can be poured dirctly into the bath water. Scatter the rose petals on the water's surface. Light a white or pink candle and bless the water before you bathe. Keep the water pleasantly cool, or at least not too hot. Frolic in it, splash and play. Ask Erzulie Freda, the Spirit of Love, to refesh you and cleanse you, and to give you happiness and abundance. When you get out of the tub, dry with a clean, newly washed and dried white towel, one you haven't used since it was last washed, you know? Put on a little cologne or perfume, and dress yourself in spotless white. Tie your head with white or pink. © 2002 Mambo Racine Sans Bout / Kathey Grey ( GODDESS BATH #1 -- Rock commentary The use of Florida Water Cologne for this purpose seems idiosyncratic to the above source. In my house, for that type of bath you would want something very sweet, and Florida is too spicy/musky due to the bergamot, clove, cinnamon, and lemon in it. We would use Pompeiia Perfume, Rose Cologne, Rose Water, or other sweet scented perfume instead of the Florida Water. © 2006 Mike Rock ( ============================================ HARVEY'S NECROMANTIC FLOORWASH #1 -- Filan This preparation is used to clean and prepare areas and tools used in Necromancy. Hyssop [herb] Florida Water [floral cologne] Kolonia 1800 Sandelo (Sandalwood cologne) 5 hot peppers [herb] Thyme [herb] Vervain [herb] Lemon Juice Sugar, a pinch Kananga Water[floral cologne] Mullein [herb] Mistletoe [herb] Black Pepper [herb] Ammonia, a few drops Olive Oil, a few drops ("Not too much ... we ain't making salad here") Fey Kapab [twigs] (aka Florida Boxwood: used a lot in Haitian magic) Nutmeg [powdered spice] Cinnamon [powdered spice] Allspice [powdered spice] 3-4 cups spring water © 2001 Harvey, c/o Kevin Filan ( ============================================ HAITIAN LOVER OIL (FOR MEN ONLY) #1 -- Slater Cinnamon Anise Orris Clove Sassafras color: Red An excellent formula for men only. Very effective when used on a red female figure candle. from "The Magickal Formulary" by Herman Slater © 1999 Herman Slater posted by "....." ( HAITIAN LOVER OIL (FOR MEN ONLY) #1 -- yronwode commentary This is one of Slater's more unusual concoctions. The aroma is great. In African-American hoodoo tradition, however, cinnamon and sassafras are used for money-drawing, so one might consider this to be a gigolo's formula as well as a man's love-drawing oil. Remember that cinnamon oil needs to be cut with a carrier oil before it can be applied to the skin -- and even then, i think it should be used only as a candle-dressing oil and not as a genital-dressing oil. Exact quantities for making this formula are available in "The Magickal Formulary" by Herman Slater for sale at -- cat yronwode ( ============================================ HENRY'S GRASS OIL See VAN VAN OIL ============================================ INFLAMMATORY CONFUSION OIL See CONFUSION OIL ============================================ JOHN THE CONQUEROR OIL #1 -- yronwode John the Conqueror Oil traditionally consists of broken pieces of John the Conqueror root (Ipomoea jalapa or I. purga) steeped in Almond or another vegetable carrier oil that has been tinted purple (or yellow); it is customary to add essential oils as fragrance to suit. The oil can also be made with powdered I. jalapa root. Some folks strain it afterward; i don't. To enhance the actual weird scent of John the Conqueror root, from which no essential oil can be extracted, i compound a "woodsy blend" scent, which smells quite a lot like the John the Conqueror root itself. This fragrance is NOT part of the "magic" in the oil, but it does serve as a re-enforcer of what the real root smells like. Let the root fragments and/or powder sit in the oil blend at least a week before use -- a month is better. The root is traditionally left in the bottle as it is used. If you are making up small bottles (e.g. a dram vial or 1/2 oz. bottle), you should put two or three pieces of root in each bottle. If you work out of a large stock bottle (e.g. 4 oz. or 16 oz.) be sure to refresh the root with new pieces each time you top up the bottle. BEWARE commercial John the Conqueror and High Conquering oils! They rarely have the root in them. I will not name my competitors whose products are made thus -- but all you have to do is LOOK IN THE BOTTLE: If there is no root in it, and it was made in a factory, it's very likely a fake. For a picture and more information on Ipomoea jalapa, its lore, and its role in the making of mojo bags as well as oils, please see the Lucky W Amulet Archive page on John the Conqueror root at Cordially, catherine yronwode ( Lucky Mojo Curio Co. © 1999 catherine yronwode ============================================ KANANGA WATER For an entire web page on Kananga Water, please see the Lucky W Amulet Archive at catherine yronwode ( © 2000 catherine yronwode ============================================ LOVE BATH #1 Courtesan's Pleasure -- Unknown author Mix together a handful each of the fresh or dried herbs: lavender flowers rosemary mint crushed comfrey root thyme celandine Put the mixture in an earthenware crock and pour 1 quart of boiling water over it. Let stand covered for 20 minutes, and then pour the clear portion into the tub. Get in and just relax for 15 minutes. Take the phone off the hook, light some candles, and dim the lights...Mmmmmmm. author uncited, © 2000 unknown author posted by Witchwoman / Lyz / Chandralyn / Elizabeth Mack ----- LOVE BATH #2 Waterfall for Two -- Unknown author Take one ounce each of the following: rose buds acacia flowers orange buds jasmine flowers bay leaf rosemary myrtle thyme Add 1/2 teaspoonful of musk Bring 1 quart of water to a boil and add 1 ounce of the mixed herbs (save the rest in an airtight jar for your next liaison). Lower the heat and let simmer for about 10 minutes. Then turn off the heat and half fill your tub with warm water. Strain the mixture and pour the clear liquid into the tub. Add 25 drops of ambergris tincture and get into the tub. Then, invite your True Love to come and soak with you. If this doesn't get him in the mood...check his pulse. author uncited, © 2000 unknown author posted by Witchwoman / Lyz / Chandralyn / Elizabeth Mack ----- LOVE BATH #1 and #2 -- yronwode commentary Note: Witchwoman failed to credit the original author, but i suspect these recipes came from a book published in the 1970s or 1980s. The names of these baths, the chatty patter about sex, and the unusual use of ingredients (e.g. using Comfrey root in a love bath!) imply a post-modern, hippie, or New Age author. Comfrey root had a great vogue in popularity as a health and beauty aid beginning in the late 1960s. Prior to that time -- and since the 1990s -- its major use in folk-magic was and is as a safe travel amulet ensuring the helpfulness of those among whom one sojourns. This is based on the doctrine of signatures, because Comfrey can strike roots anywhere. -- cat ============================================ MAGIC MASSAGE OIL -- Unknown author Mix: 6 drops of rose essential oil 4 drops of jasmine essential oil 4 drops of bergamot essential oil 8 drops of sandalwood essential oil blended in 50cc of a massage oil base (I would use sweet almond oil). Begin by massaging yourself until the aroma, warmed by your body, gets to him. Then start to massage him. Let him massage you. Soon the magic mixture will have the two of you singing love's old sweet song. author uncited, © 2000 unknown author posted by Witchwoman / Lyz / Chandralyn / Elizabeth Mack ----- MAGIC MASSAGE OIL #1 -- yronwode commenatry As far as i can tell, this is another of ELizabeth Mack's voluminous uncited plagiarisms from New Age and Neo-Pagan books of the 1970s - 1990s. --cat ============================================ MARIE LAVEAU'S PEACE WATER See PEACE WATER ============================================ MONEY DRAWING OIL #1 -- Malbrough Mix equal parts of Frankincense, Myrrh Sandalwood. Add a piece of bayberry to each bottle Add 2 Tbls. of this to 2 ounces of oil from "Charms, Spells, and Formulas" by Ray Malbrough © 1999 Ray Malbrough posted by Jellyface ( ----- MONEY DRAWING OIL #1 -- yronwode commentary It is unclear in the above recipe for Money Drawing Oil if what is added is bayberry leaf or bayberry root, or if the frankincense, myrrh, and sandalwood are the essential oils or the actual plant parts (gums and wood chips). -- cat ----- MONEY DRAWING OIL #2 -- hoodoo shop formula Bayberry Root Bayberry Oil (usually only available as a synthetic) Pyrite Chips Top with carrier oil (e.g. almond oil which has been dosed with Vitamin E) cat yronwode ( Lucky Mojo Curio Co. © 1999 catherine yronwode ----- MONEY DRAWING OIL #2 -- yronwode commentary Here is an easy-to-make recipe, from my own collection. I got this formula from a hoodoo shop owner in the 1970s. It is simpler than the oil of the same name i make in my own shop, but it was being sold under the same name for a number of years. ============================================ PEACE WATER MARIE LAVEAU'S PEACE WATER FIVE HOLY WATERS SEVEN HOLY WATERS You can read an entire page about Peace Water at And you can order Peace Water from the Lucky Mojo page of Baths and Washes at If you want to make your own quick subsitute for Peace Water, mix a little Olive Oil with Florida Water and Spring Water and shake it up before use. Not much oil, just a little. The idea is to spread oil upon troubled waters, you see. Also, there is another item that some folks call Peace Water -- but more properly is called MARIE LAVEAU'S PEACE WATER or FIVE HOLY WATERS or SEVEN HOLY WATERS, depending on how they prepare it. MARIE LAVEAU'S PEACE WATER or FIVE HOLY WATERS consists of equal parts Holy Water from a church Spring Water River Water Rain Water Ocean Water -- five waters altogether, with no fragrance and no oil. SEVEN HOLY WATERS is an elaboration of FIVE HOLY WATERS, containing equal parts Holy Water from a church Spring Water River Water Rain Water Ocean Water Cologne (Florida Water or Hoyt's Cologne) Whiskey -- seven waters altogether, with some fragrance. Marie Laveau's Five Holy Waters is used for the same purposes as alcohol-water-and-oil blend recipes called Peace Water, and i think that's how the name got transferred to it. I have no idea if Marie Laveau used it or invented it -- or if "Marie Laveau" is just a name that got put on the combination of five waters -- but she did live in New Orleans, where there is a river and an ocean, so she could have made it. I could make it too, come to think of it, because i live near an ocean, but i have never offered it for sale and no one has ever asked me for it. It's very old-fashioned, and Catholic, to boot. Don't buy so-called Peace Water that comes in a plastic bottle and is thick and off-white, like hand lotion. That's all it is -- hand lotion. Labelling hand lotion "Peace Water" is something that dates back to the 1980s or so; i first encountered it in L.A. in cheap botanicas back then. It is gross. © 2002 catherine yronwode ============================================ Q PERFUME OIL # 1 -- Slater Myrrh Peppermint Carnation color: Red A highly stimulating oil used to entice anyone you deeply desire. Impossible to resist. from "The Magickal Formulary" by Herman Slater © 1999 Herman Slater posted by "....." ( ----- Q PERFUME OIL # 1 -- yrownode commentary The carnation oil in this would be, perforce, a synthetic fragrance, because carnations, while delightfully aromatic, yield no essential oil. The use of peppermint in (primarily male) sex-drawing formulae is not unique to Herman Slater -- a popular recipe for "erection cream" also uses this scent. Exact quantities for making this formula are available in "The Magickal Formulary" by Herman Slater for sale at -- cat yronwode ( ============================================ SEPARATION POWDER #1 -- Slater Chili Powder Cinnamon Galangal Black Pepper Iron Filings Vetivert Bitter Aloes Use when you desire to break any relationship. Creates animosity between lovers and business associates. Forces an eventual separation. from "The Magickal Formulary" by Herman Slater © 1999 Herman Slater posted by "....." ( ----- SEPARATION POWDER #1 -- yronwode commentary This is probably the most traditional hoodoo-style formula in Herman Slater's Neo-Pagan collection. I would substitute ground-up lemon peels for the cinnamon (the latter is more commonly found in money-drawing formulae, while the former is one of the "cut and clear" scents) but other than that small quibble, i think this is a good one, and heavily symbolic, too, because Galangal, a.k.a. Little John Chew or Court Case Root might land the couple in divorce court! Exact quantities for making this formula are available in "The Magickal Formulary" by Herman Slater for sale at -- cat yronwode ( ============================================ SEVEN HOLY WATERS See PEACE WATER ============================================ VAN VAN OIL -- yronwode commentary Van Van is essentially a lemongrass - citronella - palmarosa - gingergrass - vetivert blend. The five species are closely related Asian grasses, long cultivated for their fragrant roots. SIDE NOTE ON THE ERROR OF USING POPULAR NAMES TO DESCRIBE PLANTS: Some people think that because it is named Van Van, this oil must contain vanilla, but such is NOT the case. Not only does Van Van never contain vanilla, the "rosa" in palmarosa does NOT refer to roses, the "ginger" in gingergrass does NOT refer to ginger roots, the "lemon" in lemongrass does NOT refer to lemons, and the "citron" in citronella does NOT refer to citrons!!! These are all simply common names for species of ASIAN GRASSES. To further complicate matters, vetivert, the last-named of the above Asian grasses, is also known commercially as khus-khus but it is not related in any way to the Moroccan food product called cous-cous, made of wheat and chickpea flour ... and chickpea flour is not in any way derived from chickens. :-) It's a common trap. Don't fall into it. END OF ADMONITORY SIDE NOTE These days, palmarosa oil and gingergrass are difficult to obtain, but they can be found if yoiu are persistent. The ingredients for Van Van Oil have always varied from maker to maker, but the absence of any one or two of the Asian Grass oils will not hurt the results much, for usually the blend will focus on citrusy lemongrass and citronella, with only a hint of musky vetivert, floral palmarosa, and spicy gingergrass. Here is Zora Neale Hurston's very basic Van Van Essence formula: -------------- ESSENCE OF VAN VAN #1 -- Hurston 10 per cent Oil of Lemon Grass in alcohol. (Different doctors specify either grain, mentholated, or wood alcohol), used for luck and power of all kinds. It is the most popular conjure drug in New Orleans. -- Zora Neale Hurston -------------- Here's a better variation, made up as an oil: -------------- VAN VAN OIL$ $2 -- variation 16 parts lemongrass oil 8 parts citronella oil 1 part vetivert oil 1 part palmarosa oil 1 part gingergrass oil if you can get it Mix together and let sit for at least week. This is your stock oil. Do not apply it directly, for like all uncut essential oils, it can be a skin irritant to some people. Therefore: In each 1/2 oz. bottle of VAN VAN OIL to be made up, place a pinch of dried lemongrass leaves a pinch of crushed pyrite crystals one full standard dropper-full of the above stock blend Fill the bottle with undyed almond oil as a carrier This is an old, authentic formula for VAN VAN OIL and i vouch for it in every way. -------------- A highly simplified, cheap version of Van Van Oil is sometimes found under the name Henry's Grass Oil. -------------- HENRY'S GRASS OIL #1 -- hoodoo shop, 1980s lemongrass oil a pinch of dried lemongrass leaves Put a dropper-full of the essential oil and a pinch of the dried leaves in a 1/2 oz. bottle and fill the bottle with undyed cooking oil as a carrier. -------------- For an entire web page on Van Van Oil, please see the Lucky W Amulet Archive at For more on the intertwined history of Chinese Wash and Van Van Oil, please see the Lucky W Amulet Archive page on ritual baths and floor washes at catherine yronwode ( Lucky Mojo Curio Co. © 1999 catherine yronwode ============================================ YULA PERFUME OIL / YULA DEATH OIL -- Slater HooDooBear ( wrote: > Papa Jim sold a formula called "Yula". Its caption read > "Never use unless the death of an enemy is desired." I don't > know what might be in it, but I also saw it listed in a file I > downloaded called "Magical Formulary." This is what it gave - > > ------------------------------------------ > > YULA PERFUME OIL #! > > Black > > Melon > Rose > Lavender > Wisteria > > Never use except when the death of an enemy is desired. > Will reverse its mighty power if used for any other reason. > > ------------------------------------------ > > Looks more like a love potion to me. Has anyone ever > heard of it? ----- YULA PERFUME OIL / YULA DEATH OIL -- yronwode commentary "The Magickal Formulary" was written by the late Herman Slater, the proprietor of a now-defunct occult shop in New York City called The Magickal Childe. Since the author's death, it has been circulating widely on the web without his name attached. There is a also web site run by two brothers, one of whom was Herman Slater's store manager for a while. They claim exclusive rights to the book and are publishing it in print form, keeping Herman's name on the book. Their site is at I believe that Herman had no heirs, so this may be a case of their grabbing at something left unattended and trying to make a buck -- or perhaps Herman did make them his literary executors ... who knows? I asked them and they refused to tell me, and that's all i know about that. [Disclaimer: My only connection to Herman Slater is that i used to sell him self-interpreting astrological chart blanks of my own devising and design, which he sold in his shop.] The Slater "Magickal Formulary" itself, regardless of its disputed copyright status, is a completely mixed bag. For one thing, very little, if any of it, was written by Herman Slater (who also ripped off other works by other authors and placed his name and copyright notice on them). I have been in contact with several of his ex-employees who claimed to have "made up" certain formulas in the book or who named other people and the formulas they created. T he book contains some genuine old-time hoodoo formulas similar to ones i use, some very good (and expensive-to-make) resin-and-sandalwood-based incense recipes Herman must have obtained from an old-timer with a background in Indian-style incense compounding, some comeplety faked-together attempts to recreate Medieval perfumes for which better and more accurate formulas can be found in other books, and some truly stupid weirdness which looks like his attempt to satisfy customers who asked for oils by names for which he or his store personnel had no formulas. These latter bear no resemblance to the way those oils were prepared in other shops or by other manufacturers during Herman's lifetime, and they contain no link to the attributions or symbolisms bfound in European-American or African-American plant-lore or natural magic. Take Slater's supposed recipe for the "death" oil, Yula Perfume Oil. The ingredients are: > Melon > Rose > Lavender > Wisteria Symbolically, fragrant melons such as cantelope and musk melons are traditional offerings to the Orisha Oshun, an African goddess or nature spirit whose home is in fresh-water rivers, and whose aid is sought in matters of love. However, these fruits do not yield up an essential oil, and thus "Melon" is an artifical scent. Melon fragrance appears in some modern fruit-scented shampoos, like Finesse. Its use in this oil marks the Slater formula as fairly recent. To roughly date it, i looked through my library. Melon fragrance is not mentioned at all in the 1907 Henley edition of the 1897 English translation of "Perfumes and Their Preparation" by Furst, Askinson, and Rice. (And this book, by the way, does contain formulae for magical perfumes like Kiss Me Quick and such!) The earliest recipe for synthetic Melon fragrance i found in my own library appears in the 2-volume 1932 4th edition of "Perfumes, Cosmetics, and Soaps With Especial Reference to Synthetics" by William A. Poucher; the numbers to the left of the ingredients are weights in grammes: ---------------------------- Melon Base No. 1349 150 Ethyl acetate, 100 Ethyl formate 150 Ethyl butyrate 400 Ethyl valarianate 50 Ethyl pelargonate 4 Benzyl acetone 5 Eugenol 1 Gamma undecalactone 100 Ethyl sebacate 30 Lemon oil 10 Vanillin ------ 1000 ---------------------------- I don't know about you, but i wouldn't offer that mess of chemicals to a river goddess and i wouldn't associate it with "death," either. Rose is a traditional love herb. It produces a natural essential oil called Rose Otto or Attar of Roses. Rose Otto is very expensive, so many modern compounders use a synthetic in its place. Some folks, like me, who are traditionalists-within-a-budget, mix genuine Rose Otto into a larger batch of synthetic rose scent to produce a synthetic-natural fragrance blend that is affordable yet still retains the herbal essence that should be there. Lavender is used in magic for love and friendship, and also has medical uses, for instance, as a revivifier for those suffering from headaches. It produces a natural essential oil that is relatively inexpensive and easy to acquire. Wisteria (more properly spelled Wistaria because it was named after a botanist named Wistar) is a large flowering vine in the pea family. The flowers are fragrant but they cannot be used to distill an essential oil, therefore chemists have created an artifical compound to smell like Wistaria flowers. This artificial Wistaria became popular in the 1920s, as i mentioned here recently, and was especially noted as the scent in a then-extremely-popular brand called Vantine's Wisteria Incense, which was burned to draw luck. To get a tentative date on the intrioduction of synthetic Wistaria fragrance, i again consulted my perfumery books: Wistaria fragrance does not appear in the 1907 Henley edition of the 1897 English translation of "Perfumes and Their Preparation" by Furst, Askinson, and Rice, but, decades later, it can be found in the 2-volume 1932 4th edition of "Perfumes, Cosmetics, and Soaps With Especial Reference to Synthetics" by William A. Poucher. So my dating Wistaria to the 1920s seems accurate, within the limited research i was able to conduct. In Poucher's book you will find this recipe for creating Wistaria fragrance; the numbers to the left are weights in grammes: ---------------------------- Glycine No. 1127 (Wistaria) 180 Hawthorn No. 1937 [itself a synthetic compound containing such yummy things as Phenylacetic aldehyde -- cat] 50 Eugenol 100 Methyl Ionone 120 Hydroxy-citronellal 70 Ylang oil -- Bourbon 80 Rose centifolia No. 1091 [a synthetic blend, not Rose Otto -- cat] 190 Jasmin No. 1055 [another synthetic blend -- cat] 100 Terpinol 40 Coumarin 60 Heliotropin 30 Musk ketone ----- 1000 ---------------------------- Well, that's "Wistaria" -- which Herman Slater did not make up from scratch, of course, but bought from some fragrance supplier. So this supposed "death" oil consists of two love-herb-based essential oils (for one of which the maker probably substituted a cheaper synthetic scent), a synthetic floral scent, and a synthetic fruit scent, plus black dye. I dunno, but even with the black dye, this list of ingredients doesn't smell like "death" to me. I mean, if Herman Slater or Papa Jim were going for a death smell and death ingredients with their Yula Oil, where's the Asafoetida, the Sulphur, the Patchouli, the Vandal Root, the Hot Chilis, the Snake sheds, the Spiders, and the Graveyard Dirt? Were they out to kill someone with this mess or just mix up a batch of sweet-and-fruity shampoo? © 2002 catherine yronwode Hoodoo Herb & Root Magic ---------------------------- YULA DEATH OIL and HERMAN SLATER IN MEMORIUM #1 -- Wilson commentary The Magickal Formulary" was plagiarized and assembled by Herman Slater. He was first and foremost a thief and a con-man. I had dealings with him back in the very early 70s, when he was often referred to in the emerging neo-pagan community as "Slurman Hater" because of the viciousness with which he attacked anybody who questioned him. He took whatever he could find and offered it as his own creation, his primary purpose to sell through his shop. He could care less where it came from or how accurate it was. An example is "The Book of Pagan Rituals" which was actually written as a collaborative effort by Ed Fitch, myself, and two others. We circulated the entire thing for the price of postage. Slater took it, claimed it as his own, and got Weiser to publish it. There are also other things that we created that he appropriated for himself. He was a contemptible piece of shit and I hope he rots in hell. © 2002 Joseph B. Wilson ( ---------------------------- YULA DEATH OIL and HERMAN SLATER IN MEMORIUM #2 -- Hansen comentary Herman Slater opened his original store in Brooklyn New York, calling it the Warlock Shop, in or around 1969. He was associated with a guy named Edward Buszinski (sp) at the time, and the association continued for quite some time. Herman Slater moved his business to Manhattan, and later changed the name to the Magickal Child. His goal was to become more accepted, as the idea of the 'Warlock Shop' put too many people off. By 1975 he was established in Manhattan. He hired any number of people who came through his shop, learned what he could from them, and ditched them as soon as he could. He also sponsored a number of different groups, covens and so forth. He sponsored the only nude mixed sex Pagan Way grove I have ever heard of, about 1972. I have no idea how long it lasted. He stole anyone's material that he could. He sold material whenever he could to others to publish for him, and he published the Necronomicon, first a transcription of a Babylonian religious text, in cunic Babylonian, and later a written edition which he claimed was 'authentic' that he and some friends had written while high one night. (Or one weekend, I disremember which) He sold the rights to the Pagan Way material to Donald Weiser for $500.00, because he needed the money. Don Weiser had no idea where the material came from. Slater often identified himself as the publisher and originator of the "Crystal Well," a witchcraft magazine of the '70s. In fact, he had nothing at all to do with it. He was diagnosed with AIDS in 1979, and this was the eventual cause of his death. By the time of his death he had sold the Magickal Child to a British guy, who seems to have lost it or failed in the business. Joseph Wilson has described Herman's personal character better than I could. Professionally, I will say that he was a cheat, liar, fraud, and a fake. He is not missed in the community of those who practice the arcane arts as he was never a member of it. Best Wishes, John M Hansen © 2002 John M Hansen ( ---------------------------- YULA DEATH OIL and HERMAN SLATER IN MEMORIUM #3 -- Wilcom commentary Well, actually I hesitated to say he was a contemptible piece of shit because I didn't want anybody to think I thought he had any redeeming qualties. Joseph © 2002 Joseph B. Wilson ( ---------------------------- YULA DEATH OIL and HERMAN SLATER IN MEMORIUM #4 -- yronwode commentary I try to be very circumspect with my wording in any posts commenting on the magical formulae of Herman Slater -- i received childhood training to not speak ill of the dead -- but Joseph B. Wilson and John M. Hansen just came right out and said what they think. I have included their comments as a fitting tribute to the work of Herman Slater, because people often ask me if his recipes are any good -- and where he got them. Henceforth i shall refer querents about Slater to the YULA DEATH OIL section of the archive, than which no better memorial can be found. © 2002 cat yronwode ( ---------------------------- YULA DEATH OIL and HERMAN SLATER IN MEMORIUM #5 -- Hansen commentary See also Errata to Herman Slater's Magickal Formulary by John M. Hansen


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