Or, the Witch is visited by the Professor and the Poisoner.
The Poisoner gives me a single blood-red rose and a bouquet of flowering monkshood he’d grown. We talk of midnight guerilla rituals, goblin markets, and secret entheogenic gardens. Smoke from the long-stem ritual pipe curls around us. The Professor rings and shows up at my door white-bearded with a straw hat and mischief-filled eyes. As I make us all tea, he unpacks gifts to me of poisons from his garden.
On my workbench appeared three quarts of fresh belladonna berries from his freezer, a very large bag of dried belladonna stalks, and a paper bag of datura leaves, seed pods and flowers –freshly harvested that morning.
A mutual academic friend told the Professor the work I’ve been up to recreating old flying ointment recipes and he’d been eager to meet me since –the labour day long weekend finally working for the both of us. We talked of method, dosage, reactions, safety, and history of flying ointments. He and I, along with the Poisoner, shared our tales and knowledge of growing and working with poisons: “henbane grows like a weed, but you need to plant it every year …belladonna will over-winter here, but mandrake won’t; you need to plant it in containers and bring them inside in autumn”.
The Professor’s passions, aside from archaeology and anthropology, include witchcraft and the poisonous plants associated with it. He brought me manuscripts he’d typed up in the 1960s: one with notes and recipes of witches’ ointments, ancient and modern, and one of his translation of The Sworn Book of Honorius for its hallucinogenic incense recipes.
It was nice to find out where some of the recipes floating around the internet (since the old bbs system days) originated from. Don’t forget to sleep naked in front of your statue of Baphomet after applying your flying ointment folks! I love the title “Satanic Electuary” and may have to use it for something…
The three of us spoke of magic, our local community, metalwork, our own woodcarvings, and those of Bel Bucca, until the Professor had to leave for another appointment. I sent him off into the world with the jar of Aves Ointment he’d requested and three small samples of my other ointments he was curious about. Thanks to him I can now experiment with a simple belladonna ointment made with a grapeseed oil base and a simple datura ointment with a rendered pork fat base.
After he left, the books came out. The Poisoner showed me two of his chapbooks, one on legal highs and the other on growing hallucinogens. I brought out Dale Pendell‘s three Pharmako volumes and the beautifully illustrated Toads and Toadstools by Adrian Morgan. Then it was off into the forest to scout spots for rituals. We found a perfect one – a large triangular island in the forest created by three paths forming three crossroads at each point. To get to it you must pass the giant toadstone, cross the wooden bridge over an ivy-strangled stream, and climb the hill.
On the night of the full blue moon me and a group of friends met at the Poisoner’s place in the woods and we feasted very well. We drank home brewed mead and lemon drop shots –another witch and I coming up with a lemon drop chant (lemons are sacred to the Moon so it’s a completely legit sabbat wine…er rum …yes). We drummed around a small bonfire outside late into the night, some of us with bell rattles, and chanted and sang. We stared at the moon as it rose through the trees. I dipped my fingers in the natural spring forming beneath the road and anointed my forehead, mimicking the ritual I usually do at home for the full moon.
We smoked a cigar in offering and celebration, continuing the poisonous plant theme. A handful of us spoke of entheogens, traditional witchcraft, and talismanic grimoires. It is curious that the more insular I become, the more I find local magicians of like-mind when at first I thought there were none. Overall, it was a very good veneficium-themed weekend of magic and mischief.