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Posts Tagged ‘potions’

The Alruan is a type of plant familiar. In this case a dried root that is kept, fed and cared for to work with the witch on various jobs to bless the home.

Mandrake

Mandrake root in coffin by Sara Star

An alruan is made form a root that looks like a man, woman or child either grown that way or carved to such a shape, dried, and kept in a box-coffin or on a plaque. Alruans were traditionally made form the rare and poisionous mandrake or more often from a briony root. But at its root (see what I did there) the Alruan can be chosen from any witches plant best if it has forked in the ground to form legs and/or arms. My first one was carved from a parsnip and my friend just gifted me one from blackberry roots.

Digging up rituals are all masked with rumors of danger to protect the trade secrets of the Alruan peddlars. Despite what you may have read, you needent have a dog pull it up for you to avoid its deadly scream, ear muffs will do 😉

Mandrake Lego

A witch and her mandrake alruan

Loosen the soil around you Alruan with your working knife in a circle three times or until the soil is nice and loose.  Then very carefully pull up your root as to not break it much.  Any broken off parts can be reburied and maybe given some root hormone so they will start new plants. (Depending on the root it could start a new plant right away or take as long as a year to put out new sprouts, as long as the root is still clearly alive, firm and moist in the dirt, it could still sprout.

If you do plan to carve yours, please practice on a plentiful tuber like carrot or parsnip before taking your knife to a rare root like mandrake. If you are going to carve your root do so very carefully as to not kill the plant or damage its foilage. You should then rebury your root so it will form a skin over where you carved and look more natural.  You might bury your Alruan at an especially potent spot like a crossroads or a graveyard. Traditionally the Alruan will be the opposite gender as you. Female Alruans usually have not forked at the legs and male ones have.

To dry your root in hot dry weather, a covered box with some air circulation works fine.  You should turn your Alruan over daily to prevent it molding or worse rotting! In wet or cold weather dry your Alruan in the oven at 200-250*f with aromatic herbs such as lemon verbana.  Your root will lose half its mass when drying so choose a big one!

There are a variety of ways of keeping an Alruan. Some live on the hearth, others are made beds, and still others have mini coffins. I encourage you to look at the Alruans and Mandrakes at theonline Bocastle Musem of Witchcraft.

Mandrake Bocastle

A Mandrake Alruan in his coffin from Bocastle Musuem of Witchcraft, Richel Collection

Make your Alruan’s life nice and he will repay you in kind or so the lore says. Alruans like to be bathed, clothed, bedded, fed and given gifts. Give him gold coins for money magic and he will bring wealth into your life, bathe him in wine for love, feed him milk for fertility and dress him in white silk for happiness.

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Sara water 1 by aprilskiver
Sara water 1, a photo by aprilskiver on Flickr.

Picture of nature (water element)

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Pentagram Blackberry Pie

Pentagram Blackberry Pie

I inscribe my pies with magical symbols. The pies are spells, in of themselves. I choose the spices, the fruits, and the symbols carefully.

My guest asks, is this pie bewitched? I say , yes. My guest asks, what will it do, is it good or bad? I answer, you’ll have to eat it to find out.

My pies are good enough that he takes the risk.

Ginger Peach Triskale Pie

Ginger Peach Triskale Pie

There are many aspects of a perfect pie. Number one is picking the fruit from the tree or vine. Number two is not following the recipe, there should be more fruit and less sugar.  And most of the time tapioca is a better thickener than cornstarch or flour (except in cherry).  Pick the spice or herb for your pie that will infuse it with its purpose as a potion and seal it with the perfect symbol in the crust. I brush my crusts with egg so they really shine.

The typical pie is over spiced, over sugared and made from premade pie filling. The magical witches pie is made as much as possible with hand picked fruits, garden grown herbs, spices chosen for their mystical properties, and not too much sugar, we witches aren’t so sweet unless we are tricking you 😉

Triple Moon Blackberry Pie

Triple Moon Blackberry Pie

The right pie is a perfect Sabbat feast treat and offering for cakes and ale. Blackberry is great for the upcoming fall festivities, as is apple. Pumpkins are going to be ready soon.

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Mandrake Grimoire Page

Mandrake Grimoire Page

I am obsessively raising buckets full of mandrakes. I bring them outside every morning to get sunlight and inside every cold night to save them from frost. A few are struggling to grow big leaves. So I mixed up some bone powder and coffee grounds in water to feed them. I am also collecting gold coins for them. I have three so far, but as there are five pots, I am waiting to start until I have two more.

I have drawn a page for Mandrakes in my newest grimoire–I always am starting new ones, I want to get it just right ya know. It looks really cool, the paper is good at absorbing the dragons blood ink without smearing or running overmuch. But I am stuck at what to put on that first page. I have been searching for the perfect spell or poem to put there. I have a few ideas–I want something that is pretty old and creepy sounding. I think I am going to try composing my own poem or spell for it. I want to include a section about cultivating and feeding the mandrakes first, maybe I should wait to see what works for sure before I write it in.

dragons blood ink

dragons blood ink

Someone contacted me in my shop about my dragon’s blood ink, they wanted to know if I make doves blood and bats blood too. I could very well. But I am too broke to buy the vodka and red wine right now–though I have all the other ingredients. I was thinking of perhaps making a super super small batch. And I am kicking myself for having made the dragons blood ink all at once. You don’t have to add the final colors until you bottle it and sell it. Next time I will make the base and not add the colors until I am selling the inks. Perhaps I should scent the other two differently as well? I am not exactly sure how I would do that.

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