Introduction and description
How to classify witches ointments? Difficult. But they are recipes made of chemicals most of which are today classified as drugs or pharmaceuticals and sometimes both.
Witches ointments could be extremely effective – full out-of-body experiences could be achieved using some of the ointments used by so called ‘witches’ in the past. However, I think it is most unwise to use old witch’s recipes as the basis for any new experiment in spiritual experience.
A witch had her or his profession to protect and I suspect that a lot of rubbish was described in order to protect their ‘trade secrets’ and to frighten people off trying to find out what they did use.
And there is no way I am going to even speculate what was in them, but they clearly worked.
How it works
Ultimately via a form of poisoning. The following is helpful in being more specific.
In the past, it was believed that witches used a mixture of belladonna, opium poppy, and other plants, typically poisonous (such as monkshood and poison hemlock) in flying ointment they applied to help them fly to gatherings with other witches. Carlo Ginzburg and others have argued that flying ointments were preparations meant to encourage hallucinatory dreaming.
A possible explanation for the inclusion of belladonna and opium poppy in flying ointments concerns the known antagonism between tropane alkaloids of belladonna (specifically scopolamine) and opiate alkaloids in the opium poppy, Papaver somniferum (specifically morphine), which produces a dream-like waking state.
This antagonism was known in folk medicine, discussed in eclectic (botanical) medicine formularies, and posited as the explanation of how flying ointments might have actually worked in contemporary writing on witchcraft.
The antagonism between opiates and tropanes is the original basis of the Twilight Sleep that was provided to Queen Victoria to deaden pain as well as consciousness during childbirth, and which was later modified so that isolated alkaloids were used instead of plant materials. The belladonna herb was also notable for its unpredictable effects from toxicity.
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- Abraham the Jew - The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abra-Melin the Mage – Flying ointment 024409
- Bruja ointment 005239
- Castaneda on flying ointments 005262
- Fell about in a catatonic state 007119
- Flying ointment 004289
- Flying [and dying] after wolf's bane tea 020531
- Guzzling and gorging via green ointment 005260
- Harttliepp 007093
- Kahuna - The witches of Normanby island 007092
- Puharich, Andrija - The Sacred Mushroom – Witches ointment 020126
- Ursula Kollarin flies 007094
- Witch's ointment 004272
- Witch's ointment and bruises 004287
- Witch's salve 005261