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Learning Witchcraft: Magical Potions, Brews, and Other Concoctions

Sage has been a witch for 25 years. She enjoys writing informative articles to teach others the craft of the wise.

Witchcraft Spells

If you're trying to learn witchcraft—or anything really—a base of knowledge can usually be found in the jargon. This is why I keep dictionaries stashed all over the house—vocabulary matters.

Potion, brew, philter, bath, infusion, sachet, charm or mojo bag, witch’s bottles and jars—there are so many different kinds of things witches seem to make, aren't there? Well, they don’t call it "the craft" for nothing.

Witchcraft and spells often involve actually crafting and enchanting different types of items. Here’s a little guide to help you learn what many of these things are, what the difference is, and how you generally go about making them.

Practicing witchcraft

Practicing witchcraft


An infusion is essentially a tea—it’s when you steep something (usually herbs and plants) in liquids. You can use water as the base of your infusion, or you can use other liquids—wine, juice, or even oil.

Some people will tell you to never make an infusion in a metal pot, as it disrupts the energy of the herbs. I have to say, I disagree. I have a lot of great results making all kinds of infusions in my cast iron pots (cauldrons). It seems to me that the iron practically vibrates and reverberates the energies within and lends the grounding of the element of earth.

I find stainless steel fairly neutral when it comes to brews, and copper seems to infuse any infusion with a boost of energy, which I guess it gets from the element of fire (the element associated with copper).

You just have to keep in mind that certain acidic ingredients will react with metal—so if I’m including anything acidic, such as citrus slices, I will use glass, enamel or ceramic.

I do avoid nonstick-coated pots, aluminum, and pewter—I won’t use pots or vessels made of these materials at all. This is particularly true of pewter because toxins can be leached from it.

Infusions are used for drinking, bathing, or washing things.


A potion is an enchanted infusion that can be drank or used topically in a variety of ways.

It’s usually (but not always) made of herbs. Usually, it’s made in a base of liquids like wine or juice.

Sometimes non-edible elements are added to potions to lend them power, then removed before drinking. For example, you might put a crystal in the potion while making it, then remove the crystal before drinking (please make sure your crystal won’t leach toxins into the liquid).


A potion—usually a love potion specifically.


Pronounced draft, it’s synonymous with potion. This version of the word is more often found in video games and fiction, however.


Potion and brew are often used interchangeably because potions are brewed. Brews can be enchanted infusions or mixtures meant to be consumed. Usually, when you’re talking about something very thick, or something fermented, you would use the term brew rather than potion. So a brew can essentially be a drink or food. For example, your coffee is a brew, beer is a brew, and stews are brews.

Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble

Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble


Elixirs refer to drinks meant to give health and vitality, only they are not infused. Rather, powders and extracts are dissolved in a water and/or alcohol base, and it’s usually sweetened with honey, syrup, mashed fruits or other sweeteners.

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Elixirs can be enchanted—and of course, if you’re practicing witchcraft, why not, right? But a lot of non-magical health-conscious people make elixirs.


A suspension is like an elixir in which the particles can’t fully dissolve. They should be shaken to disperse the ingredients before drinking.


An oil extraction is when you extract the natural oils from a plant. Essential oils are pure extracted oils with no other additives, hence they are more expensive. Fragrance oils or cosmetic oils contain additives or can be outright artificial chemical creations.

An oil infusion is when you steep herbs in oils. An oil blend is when you blend essential oils and usually dilute them in a base oil (olive oil, vegetable, jojoba or grapeseed, for example).


A powder is a blend of ground herbs, woods, spices, and perhaps even ground crystals or minerals. They are enchanted, and their power is released by sprinkling them around. Always be careful not to inhale powders or let them blow into your eyes. Powders are generally kept in a jar, or you might put them in a pouch to carry them with you.

I find powders great for outdoor use. Grab a handful, infuse it with your intent, then toss it into the wind. Sprinkle an area to purify it and cleanse it of negativity. Make a protective circle by sprinkling powder around. It’s very useful.


A piece of porous fabric or netting that’s been filled with herbs and other aromatic ingredients so that it emits a scent.


A sachet that’s a bit more tightly woven but still emits scent. Place it over the head during meditation or for healing.

Sachets Are Great For . . .

Putting in drawers to scent clothes – great aromatherapy

Hang in rooms or closets to draw your desire

Keep with your magical tools to protect them

Create magical bahts (hang them to dangle below a running faucet)


A bath into which an infusion or sachet has been added. Usually, these would be enchanted for a magical bath, it can be done for the aromatherapy benefits, or just because it’s refreshing.


Infusions using pure ethyl alcohol, which captures the scent of herbs. These can be added to other concoctions, such as baths and washes, or it’s used to anoint—this can be particularly great for people who have skin reactions to oils.

It’s not recommended that you drink tinctures. Don’t use rubbing alcohol, which is made from petroleum products; it should be 140 proof pure ethyl.

Charm Bag or Mojo Bag

Enchanted herbs and other items placed into a small pouch or bag and tied tight. It’s worn or carried as an amulet.


A salve, or fatty-based lotion, that’s been made with enchanted herbs and other ingredients. It’s rubbed on for magical effect, usually used for healing purposes these days.

One of the most famous types of witch ointments is the flying ointment. There are many ancient sources found for these kinds of recipes, and folklore said that witches used it to fly on their brooms to their Sabbath celebrations.

Flying ointments are now believed to have been hallucinogenic ointments made with powerful (often toxic) herbs to induce trance and astral projection.

Please do not make flying ointments, if you find recipes on the internet. They can be quite dangerous.

A witch's bottle from 1605

A witch's bottle from 1605

Witches Bottle

Sometimes called a witches jar, a witches bottle is a magical tool used for protection or curse breaking. It was filled with things like old rusty nails, razor blades, pins, glass shards and urine. It would be buried or hidden on the property, and if anyone sent evil forces your way the bottle would absorb them. If you were afraid you were cursed already, you might cast it into a fire, and when the bottle exploded it meant the curse was broken.

The earliest mention of a witches bottle is found in Evidence Concerning Witches and Apparitions by Joseph Glanvill, and an intact bottle has been uncovered in England that is believed to be from the 17th century.

Modern witches have taken to using bottles for spells that involve more than just curse protection. Many people will put specific ingredients matched to their intent into a bottle. For example, if you wanted to draw love, you may fill a bottle with things like red wine, lavender buds, apple slices and rose quartz, then after enchanting it one would leave it uncorked in the bedroom to attract a lover. Likewise, a bottle may be placed in the room of someone ill to absorb the illness, then the contents dumped and buried to disperse it. If you wish to attract wealth, happiness, friendship, etc., a spell bottle is a great method.

As usual, this is probably not an exhaustive list. But it gives you an understanding of a lot of common terms about items witches make and use for magical workings. If you know of something else you’d like to add, please tell us about it in the comments.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2014 Mackenzie Sage Wright


Ginnyweasley on March 01, 2020:

I need a potion to repel someone. Any ideas?

witchie on December 30, 2019:

i neid a rel spel!

Morgana on December 09, 2019:

Sweetie, you don't need a wand to be a witch, you need yourself and your beliefs. A little practice also goes a long way.

Menuha on November 23, 2019:

I am 9 years old.Should I wait to do witchcraft at the age of 12?and can I make a wand using a wooden long toothpick?

CherryBlossomMonster666 on November 07, 2019:

This was very helpfull for me to learn new things.

Niño Navarro Sanoy on May 22, 2019:

Google Earth...

maven on May 05, 2019:

what ingredients could i pput in a witches jar to mek someone kinder/more open minded?

Noobie Witch on April 06, 2019:

this was so helpful i created a note book bc i am really new to witchcraft thank you so much

The Weirdest Witch on January 05, 2019:

Fantastic article! I noticed a lot of people in comments asking for spells or recipes. My advice is study, study, study. A great free resource is the Pagan and Witches Amino app. Community sourced and there's a search function for almost anything you have questions about. It's a very welcoming community as well. I've been a practicing witch for 19 years and I've still learned a ton of new, good stuff there. Best of luck!

Rosely on December 30, 2018:

Rosely buy magic potion

Christy Brown on September 01, 2018:

I want to do real magic powers how can i do that.

Deaths row on September 01, 2018:

excuse me can you give me some instructions on how to make a speed potion?? :3 and btw i believe in what you do its awesome i wish to make some potions for the day that we all have to fight a great war between gods or something I'm not a little kid if you think that

C. J. Wood on August 27, 2018:

Thank you, I still have so much to learn. What kinds of potions would you recommend a beginner try first?

young wiccan on July 11, 2018:

thank you.

No name on June 24, 2018:

I’ve been learning as much as possible. I’m still young so I have a looong way to go but this article defiantly helped me in my journey! Thank you so much!!

Cora on June 15, 2018:

What potion would you recommend for fertility. My husband and i are having problems conceiving. He has no kids and i have one from a previous relationship. So not sure who it is that has problems but i need something that can be used for the both of us.

Persephone on May 09, 2018:

Hi :) what potions would you recommend for protection?

Kim Ackerman on December 31, 2017:

There is a book called The herbalist by Joseph Meyer. It is combination of herbs to make to heal the physical body. From what my understand we have different shells astral,mental. When I 14 I was mix extract, oils combinations together. And dressing candles. Make herbal pillows for sleep

Estelle on November 29, 2017:

What are some chants to say

Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on November 25, 2017:

Nope, sorry. That is not, in my experience, what magic does in reality. That would be fictional magic.

Good luck!

Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on November 25, 2017:

Thanks so much CL! ;o)

Sirena on November 22, 2017:

Hello I left a comment before but I just wanted to fix my spelling error. psions is posions

Sirena on November 21, 2017:

Hello i was hoping you had any psions for becoming a mermaid and for the bottles if i make them my self will they still work?

Sofia on November 18, 2017:

Couuld u teach me more? Give a few potion recipes?


CL on November 15, 2017:

Awesome article! Keep doing what you’re doing!

Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on October 12, 2017:

Hi Meep; depends on the potion's ingredients. I use a valerian and mugwort potion sometimes that tastes terrible and smells like feet lol. But I also use one sometimes with cinnamon, apple, ginger and honey, I love that one, it's a treat to drink.

And of course there are some I don't even drink, I just use them topically.

meep 84321 on August 30, 2017:

do potions taste bad (real question)

Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on August 12, 2017:

Sorry Leigh; I'm not getting your meaning.

Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on June 01, 2014:

Hi, It's not real. Thanks for you comment. I must say I find it odd you're searching for topics you don't believe in or understand, but whatever floats your boat. Thanks for stopping by!

It not real on May 31, 2014:

its garbage..... utter garbage.....


Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on April 15, 2014:

I've made them for protection, too. I wonder if people dig our jars up in a couple of centuries or so, what they'll be saying about them, lol.

Nell Rose from England on April 15, 2014:

Yes I bet they would, I actually made one years ago, when I was getting a lot of hassle living in my house, I made one, buried it over 12 ins deep and I bet its still there!

Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on April 15, 2014:

Wouldn't that be awesome? Considering my building was put up in the 1970s I have no hope. But do let me know if you get lucky! That would be such an exciting find. I'm willing to bet if they dug up the edges of old properties they might find a few more.

Nell Rose from England on April 15, 2014:

Great read wiccan, I would love to find an old Witches bottle, I may just have to start knocking down old houses to see if I can find one hidden away in the walls or chimney! LOL! how amazing would that be?

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