Well, it’s that time of the year when we start receiving enquiries regarding flying ointments, asking when we will be starting to make some more, as the ones we had done in the past. The bitter truth is that we have never stopped making flying ointments at Occvlta, but we keep them to ourselves and the closest members of our Craft practice. And this is for a reason.
In this article we would like to speak about this polemic and widely debated topic, and say a few things about ointments that you may not like at all, mainly about their misuse, their composition, their availability, and their underlying concepts. Perhaps this helps understanding our approach and why we stopped selling them in the first place.
How should be a flying ointment considered?
There are several approaches to a flying ointment: there is the purely historical approach, that contemplates flying ointments either as a construct of the prosceutors of witches during the late middle ages and early modern period, or as a development of old psychoactive recipes. But, if regarding ointments as a construct by witch hunters an inquisitors, we are neglecting, first and foremost, the existence of a series of personae who had known of the art of veneficium for centuries, i.e. ‘the making of poisons and antidotes’, and so we are ignoring an ancient legacy of herbal knowledge in relationship with magic. This is a deeply flawed and incomplete vision of veneficium, magical herbalism, and witchcraft in general, for the ointment was considered a proof that invalidated contact with spirits (which is actually the key of all witchcraft).
Secondly, we could look at the flying/witch ointment as the descendant of ancient medical drugs that caused narcotic effects on the body, a kind of medicinal/psychoactive tools for spiritual and physical healing. Those recipes were demonized during the 15th century and still used by physicians as an explanation of the physical effects of spirit flight to the Witches Sabbat, again, detaching it from any spiritual depth. In summary, these two conceptions considers the ointment from the view of the researcher, but, how should it be regarded by the practitioner or the wanderer of the Crooked Path?
Perhaps the most adequate approach for those who want to master this Craft would be taking into account an animistic view of the constituents and the crafting process, considering the ointment as a trascendental boon received by the Witch Master from its very inception, a metaphysical pharmakon employed in a magical/sabbatic context. This, of course, is not saying anything about the real existence and tangibility of the ointment.
So should we regard an ointment as a psychoactive actual object or as a manifestation of a witch mystery of Sabbatic congressus? This, of course, depends on each one of us. In our case, we consider the ointment to be a mystery that acquires the mask of the actual balm or the oil to work, yet this conception may offer some misunderstandings that should be clarified.
Misunderstanding and misusing a flying ointment
When we say that the ointment is a real existing green stenchy balm that is meant to unfold the Mysteries of the Sabbat, we mean exactly that. However, nowadays we find all sorts of people in search of “magical/flying ointments” for inadequate/dangerous reasons, practitioners that fill the experience of using a flying ointment with expectations that may endanger a sacred practice.
There are those who look for medicinal/herbal mild salves with subtle relaxing effects, in the manner of the ancient sedative drugs we have previously mentioned, so that may aid them in a meditative trance without being in danger of intoxication. Even though regarding the ointment as a means to bodily relaxation or a trascendental task is totally licit and correct, one should take into account that the ointment is to be conceived primarily as a potentially dangerous or ‘taboo‘, and looking for low herbal dosages is not the point of this brew.
There are also those who get hold of an ointment while looking for a psychoactive ‘a-legal high‘, something that provides them with mild hallucinations, or perceivable effects on the psyche without the socially compromising view of drugs. Mind you, these effects could appear when interacting with spirits such as Crow’s bread, ergot, bufotenine, etc. but they are not to be expected in the mixtures suggested by researchers mainly ruled by atropine, scopolamine, etc. Again, this need to detach from boredom, to use a sacred substance as a recreational drug has no room in the Witch rite. The practitioner should not expect to escape from his daily life but to BEND reality in order to transcend.
An ointment encapsulates the powers of Poisons (i.e. the baneful herbs that no normal human being can take, or for which there is no beneficial abuse) and the sacred process of its making, culminating in the deep transformation of the seeker. When making use of an ointment, all expectations, fears, and prejudices should be cast aside, and to do so, only a deeply trascendental setting for its making and its usage is to be expected. In the end, its ingredients are a consequence of Illumination, and there is no point trying to imitate recipes of old if they are not regarded as mysteric, and so, if they are not regarded as the staring point of a much deeper process.
Our history with flying ointments
Let us get a bit personal here. We started crafting flying ointments some years ago, always following the recipes gathered in books and grimoires, trying to mimick the recipes by researchers like Andrés Laguna, Giambattista della Porta, Pius Font i Quer, etc. Of course, we made several attempts, the first just being mildly effective in the toxicological/psychoactive sense, but they always worked well in the adequate context. As we continued experimenting, we discovered that the mindframe that accompanies the crafting process of an ointment is crucial in its effectiveness. No other task should be carried out while crafting an ointment (that means, 5-8 hours of doing nothing but that), which is something quite difficult in the times we’re living, as it demands full attention, deep worship, intuitive understanding, and a huge amount of patience. All this made the crafting of an ointment a costly process in all senses. However, we managed to create a couple of batches (with no more than 6 ointments per batch), which we sold publicly at the store, the last one in 2015.
Afterwards, we started tweaking proportions and ingredients until we started achieving what would be considered plain and simple poisonous effects on the body and the spirit. These resulting ointments were too dangerous to be sold publicly, both because we could not possibly know what usage would be made of it, and how committed and respectful would the practitioner be towards the herbs or the Masters of the Craft.
We focused on particular herbs and their effects, we experimented with different fats and oils as bases, and we got to a point where we discovered an ointment that helped us achieving what we were looking for: the mystery encapsulated under the shape of the Unguentum Sabati. However, there is a strong possibility that part of its strong effect on us was also caused by our implication in the process from the very beginning.
These days, we have witnessed how myriads of “flying ointments” have started sprouting everywhere. Well, this a double-edged sword. We rejoice in the fact that lots of people have decided to embrace magical herbalism and the Poison Path, but it feels like these artifacts are sold light-heartedly (the same happens with incenses, anyway). We just want to share a piece of advice with those who decide to craft a flying ointment: be careful with all the stages of its process. Be sure that it allows one to fly, give yourself time to test it. Do not rush it. A flying ointment, the Unguentum Sabbati, is the highest sacrament of the Poison Path, and it is to be honored with all our heart and spirit.
So, where does this leave us?
Occvlta makes and will keep making all sorts of balms and oils, but we will not offer any other Unguentum Sabbati exemplars publicly at the shop, as we feel this should not be the way to deal with such a delicate matter. However, we will offer herbal salves in a mildly poisonous/psychoactive/toxic dosage (no to be mistaken with flying ointments, it will be clearly specified).
We have agreed to offer the chance of making custom Unguentum Sabbati batches under demand or will sell the remains of those we consider safe enough to use. Those of you who desire to know more about them, or ask for a commission batch are kindly invited to send us an email at email@example.com
Yet Another Article on Flying Ointments by Júlia Carreras – Semproniana Tort is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at https://occvlta.wordpress.com/2017/04/25/yet-another-article-on-flying-ointments/.