Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Elemental Salt Blend

Lately I've been putting together some travel altar kits for my Etsy store.  And candles, incense, and even water are not always possible or accessible when doing magic on the go. Therefore, I've come up with this excellent salt and herb blend that incorporates all four elements, and can be used as a substitute for traditional elemental symbols and tools. (Note:  herbal correspondences have been taken from Scott Cunningham's "Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs." Llewellyn Publications; St. Paul, MN - Twenty-sixth Printing, 1999.) Because of the various correspondences, this is almost an all-purpose blend, and the concoction also has some nice (not necessarily magical) practical applications, too!

"Elemental Salt Blend," by Autumn Damiana

1 teaspoon dried lavender buds (air)
1 and 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary (fire)
1 and 1/2 teaspoon dried lemon zest (water)* (see below)
4 teaspoons salt or salt crystals

This recipe makes 8 teaspoons, which weighs roughly 1 ounce.

A mortar and pestle is required to make this blend (although I suppose it could also be made in an herb grinder.)

Start with the lavender buds, grinding them down in the mortar and pestle.  Next, add the rosemary (if working with whole dried rosemary leaves, crush them into smaller pieces in a plastic bag first.)  When both are sufficiently ground, add the lemon zest and grind this into the other two herbs.  Lastly, add the salt, and simply mix.  (If using salt crystals, grind them down to granular sized pieces separately, and hold in a separate container until needed.  If you want chunky salt crystals in your blend, then add them as-is or mash them into the herb blend until they are the desired size.)

How to use your Elemental Salt Blend:

- Smell or taste the blend while meditating to connect with the elements.
- Sprinkle pinches around to cast the circle or dedicate sacred space.
- Use as an offering on an altar or at sacred sites (CAUTION:  concentrated amounts of salt can kill plants, insects, and small animals.  Dilute heavily with water or scatter sparingly.)
- Salt + all three herbs have strong purifying powers.  Infuse the mixture in water and spritz, sprinkle it, or use as a wash on items, surfaces, or around areas to banish negativity.
- Put in cheesecloth or a cloth tea bag and add to bathwater for energy-cleansing.
- Mix 25% to 50% blend with baking soda, and sprinkle on carpets.  Leave to sit for at least a few hours, and vacuum up.  This not only magically cleanses the house, but helps remove odors.
- The herbs are all associated with love, and salt has an extremely grounding, earthy effect.  Use the blend in love spells or potions where you want to use your head as well as follow your heart.
- Grind the blend into fine dust and combine with oil to make an elemental anointing oil.
- Use the blend in an oil diffuser (the kind with a bowl of oil + candle) to release the scent.

These are just a few of my ideas, but I'm sure there are many more uses for this awesome blend.  I will post more in the future as I discover them.  If you think of any yourself, leave me a comment!

*** How to make lemon zest ***
Lemon "zest" is nothing more than dried lemon peel.  The peel on most citrus fruits contains the concentrated oils of the fruit itself, and therefore tastes and smells like a stronger version of the actual fruit.  In many places, you can buy lemon zest in a jar, because it is often used in pastries.  However, because citrus loses its flavor rather quickly, it is WAY better to make the zest yourself.  This is easy to do as long as you can get a hold of 4-6 medium to large sized lemons.

When looking for lemons to zest, it is better to find lemons that have a thick peel.  Scrub the lemons with a vegetable brush to get rid of dirt and any wax that may be added to commercially available lemons.  Then, grate the lemon peel on a zester or Microplane® if you have one.  If not, use the side on your cheese grater with the finest blades.  Make sure to ONLY grate the yellow part of the peel; the white "pith" underneath is very bitter, so try not to gouge it as you are grating.

When you have finished grating your zest, leave it out to dry on a plate where it will not be disturbed.  Cover it LOOSELY with a paper towel, paper plate, or a piece of crumpled foil if necessary.  It must be exposed to the air to dry properly!  Stir it at least once a day to ensure that it dries evenly.  It should take 2-4 days, depending on humidity.  Alternatively, you can dry the zest in a low-temp oven for a few hours.  When it looks orange-ish in color and feels crunchy, it is done!

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