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PaganCrafts Oils & Waters Page

Running a close second to incense in my house, are oils. For me, that usually means infused, but occasionally, a really great e.o. Fragrance oils, for my household, are simply out of the question, which I don't think is all that bad an ideal for magickal work - since f.o.'s are mainly chemicals.

Oils by themselves, blended into magickal formulae, used in the making of incense, soaps, bath salts or any number of other applications are a very important part of our magickal works.

[pagancrafts] Conversion Chart
Date: Mon, 02 Nov 1998 15:37:12 -0800
From: Frances Baclaski
Organization: Earthly Splendors

A real nice person on another list posted this conversion site. Thought we could also use it.

Oil Conversion Chart

[pagancrafts] Making Oils
Date: Wed, 28 Oct 1998 17:53:15 -0800
From: Crone
Organization: Mama Yasmini's Place

Here's the way I make my oils. These can be used in candles, potpourri, soaps, lotions, creams, and all manner of other toiletries and crafts. It's really quite easy and once you start making your own oils, you won't want to go back to purchased ones. :) If you have any questions, please ask.


The easiest method is known as "infusion". I use this all the time, usually making fairly small quantities - depending on my needs and wants.

Take a small jar (I like the Bick's Relish jars - nice and short and plump - easy to fill and empty) and fill it with the leaves and/or petals of the herb you wish to make the oil from. Fresh herbs are preferred, but dried are fine. I live in a motorhome in a park and growing some herbs is possible inside, but for the most part, I used dried herbs.

Pour olive oil (the purer the better) over the herbs to cover. Do not pack the herbs down as you want the oil to touch all of the herbs possible.

Tightly cap or cork the jar and keep it in a warm, dark (out of sunlight) place for 3 days. You should shake the bottle every day to thoroughly wet all the herb.

Strain the oil on the third day, refill the bottle with more leaves/petals, and pour the same oil back into the jar. This should be repeated several times until the oil is heavily saturated with fragrance - or at least until the fragrance you want is achieved.

Strain the oil through a piece of fine mislin or filter paper and store in a bottle that closes tightly and is preferably opaque (tinted to keep light out).

To preserve any oil, add a few drops of Tincture of Benzoin as a "natural" preservative.


Soak 1 tablespoon of powdered benzoin in 1/4 cup of good quality vodka or apple cider vinegar for 3 weeks. Strain and keep in a dark bottle - tightly capped.

This is the way I've made my oils for years. :) I do use the cooking method occasionally, especially when dealing with resins - frankincense, myrrh, copal, etc. Now, granted, these oils are in no way comparable to true eo's, but they work very well for magical purposes, especially since you are infusing them with your own power, too. I was just curious about other ways of making oils, waters, etc. Always like to learn new things and new ways of doing the things I already do. :)

[pagancrafts] Essential oil question
Date: Fri, 13 Nov 1998 23:21:52 PST
From: Nina Twitchell

Hope someone can help me. I am going to be making some essential oil and I am not sure of the ratio that is needed for oil to herb:-) I am a novice so please forgive the silly question. I can't decide whether to make jasmine or pathcouly oil. Can someone give me some guidance:-)

Date: Fri, 13 Nov 1998 23:23:48 -0800
From: Crone
Organization: Mama Yasmini's Place

Nina, what you are making will be "infused" oils - as Mary is always quick to remind me. (grin) Mary is our resident oil expert and I rely on her for most all oil info.

As to making the infused oils, I usually make fairly small quantities and prefer to use a Bick's Relish jar - you know, the small, round ones. (smile) I put the herbs in, but don't pack them down since you want the oil to hit all parts of the herbs. Then I just pour in oil (I use olive oil) to cover the herbs. Hope this helps.

Oops, forgot, if any of you want to use oils in your products you make but prefer the eo's or fo's to making your own infused, check out Mary's Page for an unbelievable selection. She also has a lot of other products, besides the oils available.

[pagancrafts] Essential oil question
Date: Fri, 20 Nov 1998 15:03:33 PST
From: Nina/Gentle Spirit

Mary or anyone that can help:-)

I am making the herbal infused oil at home. I am using patchouli to make it. How can I tell if the oil has gone bad. It smells normal with just a scent of patchouli to it. The question is that some of the herb that has newly been put in today is floating on top of the oil. Is that normal, or should I start over again??? Please don't laugh to hard if this is a silly question. :-) Help yet again for the novice:-)

Date: Thu, 26 Nov 1998 12:09:06 PST
From: Nina/Gentle Spirit

Got another question about essential oil making. I am doing great so far with the ones that I have. My question is, I would like to make another type to put in a friends basket. The question I have is that can I make the oil in a small plastic bottle that I have, or does it have to be glass. It is peppermint oil that I want to make. Any suggestions?

Date: Fri, 27 Nov 1998 13:50:08 +1100 From: Johanne Lang-Davis

Essestial oils should be stored in glass, preferably dark, bottles. Some essential oils will affect plastic and eat through so class is a better bet. The reason for the dark bottles is to keep out light which also shortens the life of the oil.

This is my fist time on this list. My name is Johanne and I'm from Australia.

Welcome and Merry Meet.

Date: Sat, 14 Nov 1998 17:29:33 -0600
From: Emily Scott Banks

Hi Nina! I believe that what you are asking is how to make an oil infusion of the herb, which is lovely, but actually making an essential oil at home, while possible, is *really* costly and labor intensive. For example - both jasmine and patchouli are well over $1,000/# right now, and that's cheaper than you could ever produce it yourself, if you can believe it, LOL! But with the patchouli you can easily make an herb in oil infusion by taking clean, dried herbs (you can use fresh, but the shelf life is much shorter due to the water content in the fresh herb) in about the ratio of 1 cup herbs to 3 cups oil. Use a light oil, like regular olive oil (not the fruity extra virgin, but the cheaper unscented kind), or sweet almond oil or safflower oil. This can be done one of two ways - either by putting them together in a jar and placing them on a sunny window for a few weeks, shaking every day, or by *very gently* heating the two over a double boiler or in a crock pot for several hours. Then strain for several hours using a jelly bag or several layers of cheescloth but don't press on the herbs, or the infusion will be cloudy, then bottle in dry sterile bottles, label and use in everything from cooking (for culinary safe herbs) to making hand salves or bath and massage oils. This process can be done with any dried herb, and rose, calendula, comfrey and chamomile are especially good for healing. But don't use comfrey for over a week or so - it's not good for too long.

The jasmine, however, requires a more delicate approach called enfleurage, which involves taking a thin layer of clean white fat (coconut oil or Crisco) and spreading it thin on a clean glass pane, then placing the freshly picked jasmine flowers on the fat. Remove spent flowers and repeat as many times as is needed to get a fragrant fat, which you can then use as is, or dissolve in pure vodka to let the actual essential oil float to the top - it's the two-three tiny drops of yellow oil on top of the regular fat. Just pull it off with an eyedropper. Personally, I'd use the fat as it is as a solid perfume!

These are a few of the centuries old ways of using your herbs and flowers in your stillroom, but make sure they are pesticide free, okay? I'd hate for you to get sick, :)!

Date: Fri, 20 Nov 1998 16:45:15 -0800
From: mary robinson

Hi Nina,

I guess I am an infused oil expert, and I'm not laughing (well, grinning maybe) I wrote an article for The Saponifier, on all the different ways to infuse herbs. (A tincture is a herb infused in alcohol)

When you say you used patchouli, can you tell me what part of the plant you used? I carry patchouli leaves, dried, but have never seen any other kind.

What kind of oil, how long has the herb been soaking? How well did you pack the plant into the container, and how much oil did you add? When you say you added herb today and its floating, tell me the process you are following ?

Patchouli smells like dirt, no matter what you do to it -

Date: Fri, 20 Nov 1998 17:46:11 PST
From: Nina Twitchell

Mary, Silly me, I used 8 ounces of regular olive oil. I know I made too much, but had done it before I read the site...oops:-) I used a quarter of a cup of patchouli dried leaf in the oil and soaked in a warm place for 3 days and then strained and added more of the dried herb same amount. I am on the 9th day and just strained it for the 3rd time. When I first did it the herb would swirl and sink to the bottom and now the partial amount of the herb floats on the top. It does not smell other than a slight amount of patchouli to it. I alos mixed up a tincture of benzoin, but it has another week and half for it to steep according to the recipe. I used good vodka to make the tincture. I just want to do it the right way, I don't mean to be a pain. I am sorry.I just don't want to have to waste what I have done if it can at all be helped:)

Is there a way to low heat infuse oils like this on the stove, just curious. I appreciate your help more than you could ever know:-)

Date: Fri, 20 Nov 1998 19:02:14 -0800
From: Crone
Organization: Mama Yasmini's Place

Did you shake the bottle with the herbs, Nina? I shake mine every day when I do this. Occasionally some of the herbs don't absorb the oils as well as others and the shaking helps that. You could also add a little more than a 1/4 cup and leave it a couple of extra days - shaking it every day. (smile) And, Mary's right. Patchouli smells like dirt. (grin) So, it's probably not the oil going bad, but rather the oil absorbing the scent. Great oil, though. Really powerful - especially in the love department - or should I say "lust". It's also a good money oil, too and some people use it in fertility rituals (hmmm, wonder if that's because it's supposed to be a "lust" herb). VBG

And, it's not silly to ask these questions, especially if you have never tried something before. It takes a time or two before you start to sense how things are supposed to turn out.

Date: Sun, 22 Nov 1998 00:34:48 -0800
From: Crone
Organization: Mama Yasmini's Place

Nina, another little hint. Since you used 8 oz of patchouli, could you use more herb in the oil? I usually fill a jar with the herb - not packed down - and then just cover it with the oil. Since you only used 1/4 cup of the herb, and 8 ounces of oil, adding more herb to it and letting it soap a little longer may get you the intensity of scent that you are looking for a little faster.

Date: Sat, 21 Nov 1998 00:02:54 -0600
From: Emily Scott Banks

I have had excellent luck with my crockpot on low, and also a stove top set on low - but only if you watch it every second, as it can toast the herbs, which you don't really want.

Date: Sat, 21 Nov 1998 10:30:12 -0600
From: Emily Scott Banks

Nina - I almost forgot! It's even easier to put it in a oven-proof suace pan in a low oven (about 170-200) for an hour or so - mush easier and less temperamental thn the stove top! But on the stovetop low is good, or you can heat it up a bit and then reduce to low, but still watch it. I usually infuse a round of dried herbs for about 30 minutes-1 hour on active heat, then remove it from the heat, cover it and let it stand for a few more hours. That's all I do if I am making a salve base, but if I need something stronger, for whatever reason, strain the first round of herbs, and repeat the whole thing a couple more times, until it's to your satisfaction. That's it! HTH!

Date: Sun, 22 Nov 1998 00:24:57 -0800
From: Crone
Organization: Mama Yasmini's Place

Emily, if I were using the infused oils just for crafting, I wouldn't hesitate to make it using the stove or the oven (and a glass casserole should work just as well as an oven-proof pan). But, when I make "magickal" oils, I want my intent in them, and that's why I use the other method that's on the web pages. It's the daily shaking the bottle and straining and all that kind of good stuff that gives you the time and makes you really think about what you are doing and that's what puts the magick into the oil. (smile) Nina, do you have any pyrex casseroles or anything like that? They would work in the oven.

[pagancrafts] Rose Water from Selene
Date: Sun, 25 Oct 1998 09:31:33 -0800
From: Crone
Organization: Mama Yasmini's Place

You can find rosewater recipes at the Natural FAQ under this URL:

She Who Watches and Waits

Date: Sun, 25 Oct 1998 13:49:46 -0800
From: Mary Robinson, Well, Naturally Products

True Rosewater is the distillate water produced when rose essential oil is distilled. It does have wonderful healing powers, as some of the rose constituents do not pass into the oil, but rather into the water. Historically, it is thought that the stillroom maintained by many housewives referred to a "still" or distilling equipment.

To infuse roses in water will give a rose scented water, but I have tried this, and ended up with a fine scummy mess, except when I used alcohol as a preserving agent, and then I was concerned about the alcohol directly on skin. The recipes in the URL had what seemed to me to be a very high ratio of alcohol.

I've also seen, in the fine print, in far eastern markets, rosewater fragrance oil. I dont know about you all, but I'd rather use the real thing, it is not especially expensive. I use rosewater distillate in my eyes as an eyewash, and its very effective,

Date: Sun, 25 Oct 1998 16:44:47 -0800
From: Crone
Organization: Mama Yasmini's Place

Thanks, Mary. Good info. BTW, thanks for the phone call that got me all enthused about distilling - when I can't aford the ding-blasted equipment. :) Ah, well, one of these days. :)

[pagancrafts] Distilling was Re: Rose Water
Date: Sun, 25 Oct 1998 20:43:15 -0600
From: Cat

The equipment doesn't have to be can accomplish distillation with an old enamel or glass tea pot and some plastic aquarium tubing. Get a length (about 3 feet) of tubing and stuff one end into the spout of the kettle (make sure the fit is as tight as possible). Now, wrap the tubing gently around a tumbler filled with ice water (spiraling downward), and have the other end in a bowl or some other container that will hold most of the liquid in the kettle.

Now you are ready to begin...put the desired botanical (in this case, fresh scented rose petals) into the kettle, and fill with water, just enough to cover the petals, but enough to keep them from scorching.(be sure to measure how much you put in the kettle, by measuring the distillate, you will know when the kettle is nearly'll want to stop distillation long before that happens!)

Put the kettle on the burner and have the heat on medium or med. high, just until it comes to a boil. Immediately turn the heat down as low as possible, and yet still have the water simmering.

The water as it boils produces steam...this steam goes through the tubing and condenses back into water as it is cooled by the ice in the tumbler, and then drips down into the bowl.

The process is very slow...don't turn up the heat to get the liquid to drop any faster, you could wind up burning the roses.

Let the liquid stand a day or so before bottling, this will allow the essential oils to rise to the surface and they can be skimmed off and bottled separately. Roses are notoriously frugal with their takes thousands of pounds of flowers to produce a mere ounce of the stuff!

Date: Sun, 25 Oct 1998 21:08:57 -0800
From: Crone
Organization: Mama Yasmini's Place

Thanks so much for the great descriptions, Cat. Mary was describing a similar process to me over the phone, but my thick head just sorta didn't want to absorb it. The distiller she saw was for kid's experiments and was about $129. However, on a non-existant budget...

Anyway, this process can be used for more than roses, can't it? Distilling the oil, I mean.

Date: Mon, 26 Oct 1998 00:56:25 -0600
From: Cat

Oh yes, you can use it to distil other flowers and herbs and retreive the essential oil (lavender is more generous). Of course, it's none of my business what *else* you distil in it....(hic)! ;-)

Date: Mon, 26 Oct 1998 01:25:33 -0800
From: Endora Aphrattos

Cold distilling works well with mainly fruit skins and flower petals, but only to a degree and not with all. Most will work fine though. Here's a few that I know won't:

Avocado - there is a transference of some of the essence but I've never been impressed with the results.

Coconut - Doesn't work.

Lotus - Poor to no transference.

Magnolia - Poor to no transference. Though acceptable to some.

These are the only ones I can think of off of the top of my head...Oh, yes, jasmine. I did not like using jasmine, the fragrance is altered severely.

Date: Sun, 25 Oct 1998 22:19:39 -0800
From: Crone
Organization: Mama Yasmini's Place

Thanks, Endora. I hope to have a large - well, I live in an RV park so space is limited inside and out so it will have to be large for ME - herb garden and would love to try some different things. I infuse a lot of my own oils, but use the dried. Now, with distilling, would that work with dried, fresh, either? Boy, maybe I should just stick to buying Mary's oils as I can afford them. :) Also, does it work with seeds - or roots or ... I must sound like a total idjit. :)

Date: Mon, 26 Oct 1998 03:36:52 -0800
From: Endora Aphrattos

Dear Mama;

No, I don't think distilling seeds, roots or dried herbs would work so well, though you could surely try them, I have not. Now, as an alternative, you can use warm oil (like corn or vegetable) to extract the essences from woods, and dried herbs. Heat the oil only to warm on the stove and sprinnkle the powdered or cut herbs into it. You want to use about a cup of oul to a cup of herb, give or take. Keep this warm for several minutes, but if you are not extremely careful here it will spoil. You don't want it to get a "cooking" smell. Pour this into a mason jar and let it set for a few weeks, then strain. You may have to repeat the process a few times to get a good oil. Cinnamon especially works well with this. But, again special caution is required. The second heating requires even more care than before as it can begin to cook even quicker.

Date: Mon, 26 Oct 1998 06:23:50 EST
From: Hazel

Would it be easier to use a double boiler for the heating of the oil? You can remove from heat and the hot water will keep the oil warm for as long as you want.

Just an idea.

Date: Mon, 26 Oct 1998 19:24:26 -0800
From: Endora Aphrattos

A very good idea Hazel, but I can't say how well it would or wouldn't work, I've never tried it. But it certainly couldn't be any harder. LOL The main trouble is keeping it from getting too hot and it is a bit tricky. It might proove more difficult to judge in a double boiler and I don't know what effect (if any) the steam might have on the product. If anyone tries it out let me know! I'd love to hear how it went.

Oh yes, and one more thing. These oils do not keep as long as commercial ones. To help preserve them you can add benzoin tincture. It adds a slightly vanilla-like smell that isn't altogether disagreeable in most workings.!

Date: Mon, 26 Oct 1998 08:36:23 -0800
From: Mary Robinson, Well, Naturally Products

The easiest thing to use is a crockpot, on low, overnight. I regularly infuse herbal oils in one, and you can find them very cheap at Goodwill or Salvation Army stores. Does anyone use them for cooking?

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