A herbal blessing oil is a simple magical tool that you can make that directly comes from the living earth. The herbal blessing oil can be used to bless tools, seed balls, trees, yourself, other people, or anything else you like. You can include it as part of your Druid’s Crane Bag. Your own unique blend of herbs and wildcrafted ingredients will make it an amazing and potent tool for your practice. While druidry doesn’t use oils extensively, other traditions, like the American folk magic and Hoodoo, use oils a lot to dress candles and do other kinds of energetic work.
Choosing Plant Material
You can harvest material from one plant or from a variety of plants and combine them. Here are some possibilities for you:
- Lavender, Sage, Rosemary, Thyme, Lemon Balm, Majoram, – Garden herbs that offer healing and protection. Add one or more of these as a blend.
- Mugwort, Yarrow, St. Johns Wort, Goldenrod, Aster – Field herbs that offer protection, vision, and inspiration. Mugwort is particularly good for dreaming.
- Needles from White pine, eastern hemlock, and/or blue spruce – Tree herbs that offer strength, consistency, and vitality
You might also look at my series on sacred trees ( Elder, Walnut, Eastern White Cedar, Hemlock, Sugar Maple, Hawthorn, Hickory, Beech, Ash, White Pine, Oak, and Birch) to create a specific tree oil that will be useful to you and the work you are currently doing. You can also refer to my long list on smudge stick making for details about many plants and their uses. You can also refer to any good magical herbal, like John Michael Greer’s Encyclopedia of Natural Magic or Beryl’s Master Book of Herbalism.
The oil in my photos is a journeying oil for dreaming and deep journeying work. It contains mostly plants I grew and dried myself, but also some wildcrafted ingredients. The recipe is: mugwort, bay leaves, rosemary, tobacco, lavender, borage, and heather. Given that it’s winter here, these materials have been preserved from earlier in the year.
You want to gather fresh or dried plant material. Fresh material can be obviously gathered in season; you can purchase or dry your own plant material otherwise.
Gathering Material. At a time of power (full moon, one of the eight holidays, another day of significance) go out and gather aromatic plant material. Aromatic plant material is that which has a high concentration of volatile oils (which is what essential oil is made from). When you crush the leaves of a plant or needles of a conifer and you can smell that wonderful smell, this is an aromatic plant. Even if it’s winter, you can gather conifers to make a potent oil.
You can gather your plant material from a variety of places a cultivated garden, an abandoned lot, an edge space, a field, or a forest. Before you gather your material, ask for permission from the plant and use inner listening skills to see if you can gather–I do not advocate taking any plant material without permission and an offering (see this herbal blend as a potential offering). If you are given permission, make an offering and then harvest a small bit of the plant.
Purchased material. If you purchase your material, make sure it is organic and ethically sourced. You don’t want any chemicals in your blend, and certainly, no suffering of the land. Even though you purchased it, I suggest still making an offering to the land in thanks for the herbs before proceeding.
Dried material. You can also use home-grown and dried materials from your garden or wildcrafted.
Making Your Oil
Fresh plant material. Once you’ve gathered your plant material or have obtained dried material, chop up the plant material into small pieces (1” or so in length). Spread the plant material out on a baking tray or similar surface. Allow the plant material to wilt on the counter indoors for a day so that some of the water is removed from it (wilting it in the sun will strip it of the aromatic oils). Wait till it dries out at least partially to reduce and/or eliminate the water in your sacred oil-water makes the oil go rancid. It shows up like small bubbles at the bottom of the oil.
Open Up a Sacred Grove. Open up a sacred grove for magical crafting; as I described in my hawthorn post. You don’t have to do this, but I think if you are making oil for magical purposes, its good to do so with intention and the right energy.
Making your Oil. Get a pint jar or other glass jar. Using a pair of scissors or a mortar and pestle, break up the large plant material/grind up the plant material. You can do this while changing, and loosely pack the plant material into the jar. Now, take a good quality olive oil or other shelf-stable oil (fractionated coconut oil or almond oil are other good choices) and pour the oil over the plant matter until it is completely covered.
Infusing your oil. Let the plant matter infuse in view of the sun and moon (like in a windowsill) for at least seven days. If the plant matter is wet, you want to infuse it no longer than 7 days. For dried matter, you can infuse it longer, up to a single lunar cycle.
On the seventh day, get a fine strainer and strain the plant matter out. If you don’t have a strainer, 1 ply of a paper towel can work, but it takes a while to drip through. Sometimes, a cheesecloth or thin paper towel (one layer) can be used to get the final bits of plant matter out. Getting out as much plant matter is critical because plant matter will make the oil go rancid much faster.
Finishing Your oil: At this point, if you want, you can add a few drops of your favorite essential oil. You can get a small portable bottle and take the oil with you. Store your oil in a cool, dark place. It will stay good 1-2 years. Make sure you label it carefully and write your recipe down so if you want to make more, you will remember how to do so!
Using Your Oil
Here are just some of the many uses for this kind of oil:
- Put it in your crane bag or in a bottle necklace and take it with you to bless trees, rocks, or any other aspects of nature on your journeys.
- Consider using it to support meditations and dreams; you can dab a bit on your temples before meditation, dreaming, ritual work, journey work, and more
- Dress candles with it, using traditional folk methods. Dressing a candle means putting oil on your finger and holding the candle in front of you. If you bring your finger from the bottom of the candle and up, toward you, you are “bringing in”. If you do the opposite, and move your finger away from you and down the candle, you are “removing”. You can do this and then burn the candle (I like the little 4″ chime candles for this purpose). Use this for healing, meditation, and more.
I hope this is helpful to you as yet another druid tool for your crane bag! Readers, can you share any additional tips for how you’ve used magical and sacred oils in your practice?