Spiced Dust and Cream Baths

"All flesh and bone of men, when burnt, makes and provokes benevolence."

-The Picatrix

The idea behind magic powders is that they can be used as a base or a charm in and of themselves.  As a base they can be used to base incense, to prepare dried baths, sachets or teas.  As charms, they can be used to draw sigils, cross doorways and entries, or they can be imbibed, sprinkled into drinks or cooked into food, or otherwise interact with our sense of smell, touch, taste which may bewitch these senses.  Snorted, they can effect the mind.  Slipped into food, they are said to ensnare lovers and poison enemies.

"Witches do harm by means of certain very fine powders which they mix in food or drink, or rub on naked body, or scatter over clothes.  The powders which kill are black; those which simply cause illness are ash colored (or sometimes reddish brown) whereas the powder which removes a spell and acts as a medicine is exceptionally white." Martin Del Rio the Inquisitor

Dusts are common magic; in hoodoo and southern american folkloric magic, red brick dust and bone ash is employed in protective charms and sigil writing.  In the old grimoires, like Le Petit Albert, powdered herbs like marjoram, thyme, vervain, myrtle, walnut and fennel are employed in the use of a summer seduction powder that is said to cause girls to dance naked- while recipes from The Picatrix call for pig rennet, pork fat and mouse blood and an ounce of arrahama brains mixed with cinquefoil and St. Johnswort which is to be powdered and used as suffumigation to (unsurprisingly) cause enmity.

Agrippa in the Books of Occult Philosophy spoke of the magic inherent in the powder from the tracks of snakes and hawks in gaining protection or power. An old french manuscript from the 18th century, Secrets pour Se Faire Aimer, recommends grinding periwinkle with ground worms and dusting a savory dish with the concoction to make oneself desirable to a man.

The Dust of sunflower pollen, golden fern powder, slippery elm, crushed rose thorn and solanum dulcamara pollen will hex and torment an enemy when blown deliberately into their clothes or their hair. In my household, the ash left over in the abalone shell of my mother's, my sister's, my auntie's and my altars which contain the remnants of sweetgrass, tobacco and sage offerings to our familial tutelary spirits often contains the ashes of our volts as well, and is disposed of accordingly.  Medicine, magic and hoodoo all have taboos and methods involving the use of powders.

Bottom left to right: powdered rose, powdered cedar, red heartwood/cedar/rose/saffron/cinnamon/clove powder, bee summoning powder, orris powder, ghost sigil powder, crushed bones of familiars.
Some types of magic powder are edible and can be used in confection magic and the creation of honey jar spells.  Other types should be used externally only as baths or ensnarement tools, or for glamour and cosmetic spells. Others should only be used in dire conditions because they would cause terrible skin irritation or allergic fits. Powders can be blended into all manner of your practice and practical life, and you'd probably have a lot of fun with the mess of it all.

Common Ingredients of Dust, Pulvis, Powders:

cascarilla and cornstarach
  • powdered milk
  • powdered honey
  • powdered oils
  • orris powder
  • powdered volts 
  • ground minerals and clays
  • red brick dust
  • pollen
  • ash
  • powdered bone
  • pulvarized seeds
  • talc
  • sand
  • bonetree ash
  • resins
  • powdered herbs, barks, leaves and berries
  • cascarilla
  • cornstarch
  • alum
  • salt
  • camphor
  • baking soda
  • Blood (which has been absorbed by a starchy base powder)

essential oils are a much needed component to the sacred bath
Most of my creations are meant to be used as either bases for incense (my rose and orris based powders tend to be) or for sigil writing (using the cascarilla, cornstarch, powdered bones and herbs), though I enjoy grinding my own hexing and crossing dusts hoodoo style or making ritual baths for friends when they need to feel beautiful.  I like to care for myself plenty, but I like sharing my tricks with others too.

With all the holidays, I've been having a lot of fun customizing baths for friends and family, but when it comes to me, I'm all about the good stuff so all my baths are created on the day and in the hour of Venus when the moon is near full, my cycle is over and I've feasted on only the food of Venus from sunrise to sunset- this means I chow-down on figs, oats, sweet fruits, honeyed drinks and seafood for the day.  All of this isn't necessary but it puts me in the mood, it reflects the love i have for myself, and for the glittering epitome of love, passion.  Creating an aesthetically pleasing, sexually positive, fair environment around me is key to taking care of myself and expressing affection to others.

Self care is important.  Take the time to take good care of yourself spiritually, emotionally, socially and physically.  Being the lovelorn libra that I am, I'm particularly fond of physical beauty and I use cosmetic magic often in terms of stress relief and caring for my very Venusian spirit.  It can be as simple as facials, pore strips, shaving, plucking, moisturizing and other typical techniques of bewitchment, or it can be a tad more geared towards comfort, like baths.  To each their own; I like grooming and soothing the self, I like to care for my caramel skin like the tool of power it is.

The bath is more than soothing; when done right, it's sacred.  When prayers are spoken to the sweet honey goddess as the honey is stirred with the oat and milk; all sacred foods of Aphrodite and Venus, and the salts and oils are blended with aromatic herbs and oils, it creates something intoxicating and lulling; it's slick over the breast and thick in the water.  The froth of the bath is cloudy and smells like baked bread and jasmine, rose water and warm oats.  It's feminine deliciousness and makes me feel like something to eat.

Left: powdered oat, epsom salt, center; powdered honey, powdered whole milk, right; powdered coconut oil
These days, it's more prudent to create dry baths rather than liquid ones, and of course, on the day of Venus, in the hour of Venus, on a waxing moon.  It's said that Cleopatra worked with pharmaka over her two lovers and used baths of milk and honey to give herself allure and a beautiful complexion.  In Southern hoodoo, milk and honey baths are a common remedy for skin ailments and beauty-drawing spells, as well as used commonly in confectionery charms which are fed to lovers and suitors.  Self care baths to remove insecurity and invigorate personal desire typically contain:

  • Epsom salt
  • raw cane sugar
  • pink salt
  • baking soda
  • powdered honey
  • powdered oat
  • powdered coconut oil
  • powdered whole milk
  • crushed roses (or fresh and sprinkled into the bath water), fresh violet, fresh jasmine flower, fresh mock orange flower, fresh hyacinth, fresh lavender or dried red clover
    • In Southwest magic, eucaplytus and cedar are commonly employed in curranderismo and brujeria to cleanse and heal and remove the effects of susto or avert the evil eye, and sprigs are added to bath water, though in santeria, omieros are made involving eucalyptus which are added to bathwater.  
  • essential oils from rose, jasmine, lavender, orange, orris, violet, opium or periwinkle

    *added to the bath can be a liquid blend of rose water, orange blossom water and eucalyptus tincture if necessary. 
Further Reading:
Agrippa's Three Books of Occult Philosophy
The Picatrix
Le Petit Albert
The Great Work of the Flesh: Sexual Magic East and Wes
t by Sarane Alexandrian
Los Remedios by Michael Moor
Ancient Greek Love Magic by Christopher A. Faraone
Hoodoo Honey and Sugar Spells by Deacon Millet

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