My son and I spent an entertaining hour yesterday afternoon looking at websites for magic potion recipes, and guffawing like idiots.
I always find it interesting to trace back how we end up talking about a particular topic. In this case, the subject of magic spells came up because Nathan developed quite an interest in edible and medicinal herbs a while back, and started a nice little herb garden. We've had an unusually mild winter, and a few days ago he went out and did a bit of light weeding, and found that he still had a lot of green and growing plants -- lemon balm, mint, lavender, and selfheal, amongst many others, despite its being midwinter, a time when normally upstate New York would be blanketed with snow. Then, yesterday at lunch, I commented that a piece of pottery he'd made looked like a vessel for cooking magic potions, and he responded, "I bet some of my garden herbs have magical uses!"
So we got on the computer and did a quick Google search, using the keywords "magic potion recipes." I figured we might find a site or two, maintained by some poor deluded soul who really thinks that (s)he can do magic.
Well. "A site or two" turned out to be a vast underestimate. We stopped looking at about page seven of lists of sites which claim to present Real Magical Potion Recipes. We found recipes for everything from love potions to something called "Black Arts Oil" (the latter, it's said, is extremely potent and should be used with extreme caution [italics theirs]; since it contains black pepper oil, I'd guess that's prudent enough).
There was a lot of the usual stuff, potions for making money, for good luck, for getting someone to have sex with you, for driving away evil. A few, however, made for wonderful reading. One of the better ones we found was "Separation Powder," which you make from chili powder, black pepper, iron filings, cinnamon, and a couple of other things. If you're tired of your lover, you're supposed to toss the powder on him/her, and it will assure a separation. Me, I think the chili powder and iron filings alone would suffice; I'd certainly be pissed if anyone threw that on me, all magic aside. One recipe for a love potion -- to be shared with your prospective love -- takes some ice cubes, a banana, some strawberries, a peach, and some orange juice, with a bit of vanilla extract. Carol and I must still be in love because we share this potion sometimes -- only we call it a "smoothie." A potion called "Yula Death Oil" is made from the combination of rose oil, wisteria oil, lavender oil, and melon extract, with black dye added; one practitioner said, "Do not use this unless the death of the target individual is desired!" but the owner of the website commented, "Even with the black dye, this mixture doesn't smell like death to me, so I have my doubts that it would work."
So do I, lady. So do I.
One of the more interesting sites we came across was written by someone who calls herself "Silver RavenWolf" (actual name: Betty Sue Ludnowski), which had potions and incantations. The best find here was a magickal (in real magic, it's always spelled with a "k," to differentiate it from fake magic) procedure for conferring invisibility. Silver/Betty Sue described the procedure, along with a caution that "it doesn't always work;" the whole thing seemed to center around focusing on a white light and concentrating until the image of yourself in your mind becomes blurry around the edges. My personal opinion is that anyone who believes this would work is a little blurry around the edges already, and it immediately reminded me of the wonderful movie Mystery Men (the best sendup ever of comic-book superhero movies), in which there's a character called "Invisible Boy" who, as advertised, can become invisible. The problem is, it only works when no one is looking.
Another one this site confers to you the "strength of an oak tree." It begins with directing you to take a twig from an oak tree, but "only if the dryad agrees," and tells you to obtain oak bark from a herbal medicine store if she doesn't. Honestly, if you think the spirit in your oak tree is talking to you, your best option may be to come indoors where it's safe and have a nice cup of tea, and leave aside the magic for a spell. (ba-dump-bump-kssssh)
So, anyway, Nathan is going to collect various plants the next chance he gets and give the whole thing a try. I have volunteered to test whatever he concocts, as long as it doesn't contain anything disgusting or outright poisonous. I'm all about the scientific method. I will definitely report back here if I grow antlers, or suddenly find I can fly, or start receiving divine prophecies from the water spirits in the creek in our back yard. Trust me, you'll be the first to know.