How To Start Using Potions In Your Magic
Potions are used heavily in witchcraft, yet many witches (including myself) tend to steer clear of this kind of magic because it seems quite complicated in comparison to other spells.
After doing some research and lots of personal experimentation, I’ve since realized that creating magical potions is actually very simple, and when used properly it can be an effective method for any kind of magic.
So if you’ve been wanting to add potion-making to your magical practice, but didn't know where to begin, read on. Here’s everything you need to know to get started with potions.
What Is A Potion?
A potion is a liquid created with a magical intention in mind. Potions are sometimes revered to as elixirs, balms, teas, brews, or infusions. Though a traditional potion is usually intended for drinking or topical use, there are many other applications for a potion such as anointing magical tools, divination, and other forms of spellwork.
How To Make A Potion
Potions get their power from the rituals you do as you make the potion, the symbolism behind the ingredients you choose, and the power of your own mind. Like other practices in witchcraft, there is quite a bit of room for experimentation and personalizing your recipes to fit your specific intention.
Potions & The Elements
You’ll use all the elements (earth, fire, air, and water) as you make your potion. Take notice of each element and thank it as you prepare your potion. The fire element is used for heating your potion. The water element is found in the base liquid you use such as water, wine, or juice. The air element can be represented in the smoke from the heat source you use, the incense you use to cleanse and charge your ingredients, or the steam from the potion itself. The earth element comes into play with the herbs, oils, and crystals you choose to use in your potion.
Step One: Gather Your Tools and Ingredients
A cauldron is the most traditional tool for potion-making. You’ll want a cauldron made of cast-iron that holds at least six ounces of liquid. If you don’t have a cauldron, feel free to use a saucepan, pot, mason jar, or even a French press. As long as you energetically cleanse your cooking container before you begin, it doesn’t matter what you use. If you will be heating your potion make sure that the container you use is heat safe.
An athame is a small knife used for magical purposes only. Typically these are double-edged daggers with decorative handles, but any knife that you put aside for magical use only can serve as your athame. Check out resale shops, garage sales, or specialty shops to find an athame for your potion-making. If you don’t have one, an energetically cleansed spoon can work in a pinch.
A heat source such as a candle, tea light, bonfire, hot plate, or kitchen stove is usually needed for potion-making. Choose whatever heat source makes sense for the cooking container you’re using and the amount of potion you’re making. Make sure you stay safe when working with fire. Don’t ever use a heat source you don’t feel conformable (or safe) using. You can also leave your potion out in the sun, or forgo a heat source altogether by using a refrigerator or leaving the potion out at room temperature while the ingredients mingle.
You'll need a strainer that is fine enough to separate out whatever ingredients you’ve added to your potion. A cheesecloth can also be used.
A glass jar is needed to store your potion. Mason jars are excellent for this because they’re inexpensive, they come in a variety of different sizes, and they are made to withstand high or low temperatures.
Use incense for cleansing your space, your tools, and your ingredients while making your potion. Sage, sandalwood, peppermint, lavender, or sweetgrass herbs are great for purification purposes.
Adding a pinch or two of sea salt is beneficial for potions because of its purifying qualities and its ability to preserve. This is especially helpful if you aren’t planning on using all of your potion in one day.
A base liquid is the liquid you’ll be starting with as you make your potion. All your other ingredients will be added to this liquid.
Examples of Base Liquids:
Distilled or natural spring water, rainwater, ocean water, river water, or crystal-infused water. Make sure you are using clean, filtered water if you are making a potion for drinking.
Fruit or vegetable juice—You can pick a juice based on color magic or by the magical qualities associated with the fruit or vegetable it came from.
Red or white wine
Other drinkable liquids like kombucha, almond milk, coffee, brewed tea, honey, or cider. It’s best to use a liquid that is as unprocessed as possible.
A neutral natural oil like almond oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, or other vegetable oil.
Choosing Herbs & Oils For Potion-Making
There are two questions to ask yourself when choosing what herbs and oils to use in your potion:
How do I plan on using this potion?
If you’re using it topically, make sure you only add ingredients that will not harm your skin. If you’re drinking your potion, use only clean, edible ingredients. Do your research on every herb or oil you add to your potion. Some herbs are toxic. If you are foraging for your herbs, make sure you are 100% sure you know what they are. Growing your own herbs in a garden or purchasing some from a farmers market are surefire ways to make sure you know exactly what herb you’re using. Be aware of allergies you have. Also, do not drink any essential oils. Only use essential oils topically if they are strongly diluted with a base oil.
What magical intention will this potion have?
Use ingredients that support your intention according to their magical associations. If you’re making a potion to increase your psychic abilities, you can use water that has been infused with the energy of the full moon, dried jasmine, lavender, and cinnamon sticks.
Crystals For Potion-Making
Many potions use the powerful earth energy of crystals to strengthen their intention. Witches will submerge a crystal in the potion to infuse the liquid with the magical properties associated with that crystal.
Things to Note When Working With Crystals:
Some crystals dissolve or become toxic when placed in water. Some crystals are damaged by certain ingredients such as salt. Make sure you research the crystal you plan on using before making your potion to avoid harming yourself or your crystal.
Clear and colored quartz crystals are safe for potion-making. Use clear quartz to amplify the intention of your potion. Use amethyst (a form of quartz) for enhanced psychic abilities. Citrine (yellow-colored quartz) is perfect for success and abundance potions. Rose quartz is ideal for a love potion.
When you’re adding a crystal to your potion be aware of the temperature of the liquid. Many crystals—even the most resilient ones—can crack if they are submerged in liquid that is very hot or cold. Wait until the liquid has cooled to room temperature before adding your crystal or gradually warm (or cool) the liquid after you’ve added the crystal.
Make sure your crystal has been sanitized before using it in a potion you plan on drinking.
Step Two: Prepare Your Sacred Space
Once you’ve chosen your ingredients, light some incense to cleanse your workspace. Pass all your ingredients through the smoke of your incense for cleansing them. Thank the element of air for lending its power to your spellwork.
Keep the incense burning the entire time you are making your potion. Make sure your space is properly ventilated, and that there aren’t any children or animals around.
Step Three: Prepare Your Base Liquid
Pour your base liquid into your cauldron (or whatever cooking container you are using). As you do this, state your intention. Typically the most powerful intentions are in the first-person and present tense, but any positive statement will work if it resonates with you. For example: “This potion opens my heart, mind, and soul to the spirit world.” After you say your intention (aloud or in your head), place a tea light or other heat source under the cauldron to warm your liquid.
Step Four: Charge, Combine, & Mix Your Ingredients
Hold each ingredient in your hand and visualize a scene from your life after your potion has worked its magic. For example, you can imagine yourself performing an elaborate tarot spread or another divination method after drinking your psychic abilities potion. Feel the positive emotions associated with your intention. Visualize that energy moving from your hands into the ingredients.
After you’ve added your ingredients, stir the potion with your athame. Stir in a clockwise direction if you are making a potion with “projective” energy such as manifesting, increasing, or wishing. Stir in a counterclockwise direction if you are making a potion with “receptive” energy like releasing, banishing, or calling in. If your intention doesn’t fall into either category, stir intuitively in whatever direction feels right.
You can also choose the number of times you stir your potion if it’s not specified in the potion recipe you’re using. Thirteen is a powerful witchy number to use, but any number that holds meaning to you can be used. If you associate the number eleven with psychic or spiritual messages, stir your potion eleven times.
Step Five: Strain Your Potion
Using a fine strainer or cheesecloth, strain the herbs out of your potion. You can discard the herbs, or let them dry and use them for incense or other spellwork.
Allow the potion to return to room temperature.
Step Six: Infuse Your Potion With Crystal Power
Set a crystal in the liquid and allow it to infuse its energy into the potion. Do this for at least ten minutes, but the longer the better. The amount of time you keep the crystal in the liquid depends on the kind of liquid. If it’s wine or kombucha, you might not want to leave the liquid out for a prolonged amount of time. Use your best judgment here.
Step Seven: Use Your Potion
You can drink the potion as you visualize your intention, or serve it to your witchy friends in a ceremony.
You can also use the potion to anoint yourself, your magical tools, candles, crystals, or your home.
Pour your potion into a spray bottle—diluting it as necessary—and spray it anywhere that makes sense for your intention.
Add it to your bath water for a ritual soak.
Use your potion for scrying by gazing into it.
Sprinkle it on your hands before doing divination or other witchcraft.
Step Eight: Storing Your Potion
Depending on what ingredients you use in your potion, you’ll probably want to use it within a day or two. You can extend the life of your potion by adding salt to it or keeping it in the refrigerator. If you plan on keeping your potion for more than a week, freeze it until you plan on using it.
Create Your Own Potions
If you use these guidelines, you can create potions for any kind of magic you wish to perform. If you’re just starting out with potion-making try something simple. Make a potion using one or two ingredients, or make a crystal potion by soaking a single quartz crystal in filtered water. Once you get familiar with different ingredients, experiment with more advanced concoctions. Stay safe, and pay close attention to what you’re using. Journal about your results, and adjust your potion recipes accordingly. Cheers, Witches!
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by Julie Hopkins
Julie Hopkins is a writer, yoga teacher, and founder of Power Within, a whimsical online space created to help others improve their lives with magic. She’s from Chicago, but spends most of her time traveling to cool places.
Julie discovered the world of magic after she got tired of reading personal development books and hearing the same ideas over and over. Looking for a new way to grow, Julie started experimenting with tarot cards and felt an immediate connection to her intuition in a way she’d never experienced before. After that, she began studying magic in all its forms, never looking back. When she’s not writing about witchy things, you can find Julie making candles, daydreaming, and playing with other people’s dogs and babies.