The Burning Cauldron: Potions, Elixirs, Oils, and More
Being a compendium of recipes and advice for ritual and mundane use to please and make prosperous the Practitioner.
Last time we focused on making a potion. Today it’s about the condenser.
A condenser starts of with a certain volume of fluid which is boiled until that volume is half the original amount—it is condensed, hence its name.
Potpourri simmer pots work very well for small amounts of condenser material. They are still obtainable at a good price; I see them in second-hand stores a lot. I prefer the type that uses a tea light candle because it brings natural fire into the process. It is not, however, a hard and fast rule. You can do this on the stove. A small steel or enameled saucepan is best. Aluminum or Teflon-coated pans will leach unwanted metal or chemicals into your brew. You can make larger amounts on a stovetop; if you happen to have a gas stove you can have a bit of fun by using an iron cauldron with legs. It’d have to be large enough to straddle the burner. Such a size is appropriate if you are making enough condenser for others to use, such as your coven.
Spring water is always the best choice for potions and condensers. Since I don’t live near a natural spring I buy mine—I like Evian water the best but any artesian water works fine. Rainwater is another excellent source. You can collect your own by placing a large bowl out in the rain. Store it in a clean, tight-lidded jar.
Decide on your purpose for your condenser and choose the appropriate Moon phase/day/magickal hour in which to do your work. Gather your working tools and the herbs you will use. One at a time take up each herb in your hand, hold it and charge it with its purpose. Add it to the pot. Then measure out the amount of water you plan to use; pour it into the pan. Light the candle or turn on the burner; mix the herbs and water with a wooden spoon or a wooden chopstick (please do not use your Wand! Such a Tool is for ritual.) Bring the brew to a boil and, if using your stove, turn the heat down enough so it is on a low rolling boil. Allow it to cook for up to five minutes. Smaller amounts of condenser don’t need as much time; two to three minutes is plenty. If you are using dried root material you will need to increase cooking time by five minutes in order to extract the root’s properties.
Remove the pot from the heat, strain the liquid through clean cheesecloth into a clean glass or ceramic bowl (again, no metal!) and discard the herbs. Put the liquid back into the pot and allow it to continue boiling until the volume is reduced to half.
Strain again through clean cheesecloth. If you want to add a small semiprecious
gemstone to the liquid to include appropriate gemstone energy, do so now. Stir the condenser, focusing on its purpose. Leave it to cool.
When you can handle the liquid comfortably remove the gemstone. Add a teaspoon of brandy or vodka to the condenser (Large amounts of condenser will need a half-tablespoon of alcohol.) If you prefer, a small pinch of powdered gum benzoin may be substituted. Alcohol or benzoin both work as a preservative. Stir well and leave it to cool. When it’s ready pour the condenser into your glass measuring cup and, using a small funnel if necessary, pour the brew into its bottle(s). Cap it, make sure it’s properly labeled, and you are done!
Below you will find a brief list of herbs and their Planetary associations if you don’t yet have access to such information. Lately my favorite go-to source is Scott Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magickal Herbs; his information is reliable. I am including a Table of Magickal Hours as well in case you need one.
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