The famous martial arts practitioner Bruce Lee once said "I fear not the man who has practiced ten thousand kicks once. But I fear the man who has practiced one kick ten thousand times.". The same is true of spells, it’s all very well to know dozens of different incantations and spellcrafting techniques. But, if you have to rely on checking grimoirs or modern books for the right combination of ingredients and incantations every time you perform a spell or ritual, your magickal progress will be very slow. As with cooking understanding the basic science behind the art, and mastering a few straightforward recipes you can make out of simple ingredients, means you have a good base to build on to advance your skills.
Four Thieves Vinegar is one of these good basic recipes. As we saw in the previous article every ingredient has its magickal correspondence, from the vinegar itself to the different herbs infused in it. Cider vinegar and it’s correspondences has been covered in the previous article, vinegar from grapes is connected to Dionysus, Bacchus, and Hathor. Like the apple from which cider is made grapes are connected to the Water element but their ruling planet is the Moon, not Venus, which influences cider. This means that wine based Four Thieves vinegar tends to work best for attraction or banishing spells, while cider vinegar excels at love and strife spells, this means you have to be particularly careful if working with Deities associated with love and war such as the Goddess Astarte.
Having looked at the vinegar, let us now consider the herbs to be infused in it. In the formula given in the previous article there were 3 herbs correspond to the Fire Element, 3 correspond to the air element, plus the water element inherent in the vinegar. Looking at the planets that ‘rule’ each of the plant elements; Two of the Fire Elements are connected with Mars, one with the Sun, two of the Air Elements are connected to Mercury, and one to Jupiter, with a Venus matrix. The main thing to notice is that there are no Earth ruled plants. This suggests that the mixture is meant to stimulate (Mars + Sun), then enhanced by Jupiter, and communicated by the Air Elements. Because of the Martian influence this is unlikely to be a ‘love potion’ so the ‘war’ aspect of the cider vinegar is being called on to influence the spell’s target to do something active. This magnifies the rest of the spell, using the connecting objects such as the witness items, plus the intent, to have the maximum effect on the person on whom the spell is being cast.
In the case of the candle spell the burning of the paper soaked in Four Thieves Vinegar and turning it into a paste with castor oil adds protective Saturnine energy to the Elements already mentioned and stimulated by the use of actual fire in addition to the preponderance of the Element of Fire already in the vinegar. Castor beans are protective but dangerous (they can be used to make Ricin), but the oil has the protective power without any of the danger. ‘Magnetising’ the candle by smoothing the paste from the base to the top with intent is to add dispersive fire to the spell. As the candle reduces so the person or situation lessens and wanes too. Using both spells as part of one ritual can multiply their power exponentially.
Other traditional herbs that can be used in Four Thieves Vinegar are garlic , black pepper, chilli pepper whole or ground, coriander, mint, rosemary, rue*, sage, thyme, and wormwood*. With the exception of thyme and mint these herbs are ruled by the Element of Fire in one of its’ aspects, which is consistent with this vinegar usually being used for protection or removal of negativity and malevolence. However, by understanding the nature of the ingredients it is possible replace them with others to make a vinegar that encourages luck, money, or health.
To use the Four Thieves vinegar formula as a money attractor use the wine base vinegar and add orange peel, cloves, basil, and whole ginger root ‘bruised’ by gentle tapping with a meat tenderiser or the flat of a cleaver or large knife. The amounts vary in proportion to the size of the vessel containing the vinegar, usually an ounce of each is enough. It can be sprinkled on the path, or doorstep, of your home to attract wealth, or added to spell bottles to which you have added your own hair (with roots), and nail clippings to bring personal wealth. It can also be used as a floor wash in shops to attract wealth, or sprayed around tables at car boot and yard sales to attract customers. An added advantage in this last case is that it also deters insects such as ants and flies from the immediate area – spray it on the table legs if you are selling cakes or sweets (candy). Just not on the food!
A ‘Love Vinegar’ using the Four Thieves principle would be based on cider vinegar and contain herbs such as cinnamon, anise*, basil, and cardamom, if needed you can always substitute another Juperterian herb, such as cloves, for the anise. This could be used as a room or clothing scent, or soak a piece of paper with the positive attributes of the person you want to meet, allow it to dry, burn it to ashes in a fireproof dish, and mix it with olive oil to form a paste. Olive oil is sacred to the Classical Greek Goddess Irine/Eirene, the Goddess of peace, and is also a solar herb which enhances the other ingredients. This paste rubbed on a red or pink candle from the wick to the base to draw potential partners with the desired characteristics to the spellcaster.
Having ‘broken down’ the Four Thieves formula into its component parts and seen how you can make new spells using other ingredients with the appropriate energies and correspondences, I hope this article has helped deepen your understanding of spellcrafting. With these new skills you can experiment with the spells you already know, and create your own to make your art an even more personal way of expression and connecting yourself to the Divine.
*Both of these herbs are considered abortifacient so, if you are pregnant, or even if you think you might be, stay well away from these herbs on their own or combined with anything else. Including vinegar, potions, brew, or incense form!