THE FLYING OINTMENT: A MODERN EXAMINATION

Frater E.S. – A.A.O. In Class X

For Public Use & Discourse

DCCCLXXXVIII

This document is presented for historical and educational purposes only, alongside the potential for the reduction of physical or mental harm. Neither the author nor the A.A.O. condone or partake in the use of any psychoactive plants, legal or illegal, which may or may not produce the historical effects mentioned here. Tropane alkaloids are known to be extremely toxic and may result in dizziness, headache, dry eyes and mouth, loss of vision, sedation and stupor, uncoordinated movement, fear, anxiety, panic, confusion, intense delirium, amnesia, blockade of sweat glands, difficulty breathing, inability to distinguish hallucinations from reality, numbness and cardiac failure at larger doses. The techniques presented here should not be attempted by anyone or under any circumstances.

“The lady of moth and moon unfurls her shy and deadly petals. These navigators of the midnight sea – occultists and poets and devotees seeking after that which seduces them – are familiar with the dream of intoxication that follows her scent. She is the woman in the song, the night-blooming narcotic, gorgeous and strange. She is the horned blossom, the guardian of the threshold, the keeper of madness.”

from Macbeth
In the poison'd entrails throw.— Toad, that under cold stone, Days and nights has thirty-one; Swelter'd venom sleeping got, Boil thou first i' the charmed pot! Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and caldron bubble. Fillet of a fenny snake, In the caldron boil and bake; Eye of newt, and toe of frog, Wool of bat, and tongue of dog, Adder's fork, and blind-worm's sting, Lizard's leg, and owlet's wing,— For a charm of powerful trouble, Like a hell-broth boil and bubble. Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and caldron bubble. Scale of dragon; tooth of wolf; Witches' mummy; maw and gulf Of the ravin'd salt-sea shark; Root of hemlock digg'd i the dark; Liver of blaspheming Jew; Gall of goat, and slips of yew Sliver'd in the moon's eclipse; Nose of Turk, and Tartar's lips; Finger of birth-strangled babe Ditch-deliver'd by a drab,— Make the gruel thick and slab: Add thereto a tiger's chaudron, For the ingredients of our caldron. Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and caldron bubble. Cool it with a baboon's blood, Then the charm is firm and good.

PRELIMINARY NOTES
We encourage that this document be freely shared at the practitioner’s leisure so as to both educate and safeguard those interested in a working preparation of the so-called flying ointment. Indeed, there exist many hazardous recipes claiming authenticity which include such additives as foxglove, hemlock and others which result in naught more than outright poisoning and at times, even death. On the other side of the spectrum are some neo-pagan derivations which are so far from the original plant components as to be called mere perfumes. This document aims to distill and discard the many superstitions, falsities and potential health risks inherent within such pursuits. That said, a proper product is not without its dangers, as nightshade-derived tropane alkaloids continue to serve as the primary inebriant. We urge that the practitioner proceed with great caution when attempting any such preparation as the possibility of overdose is a very real one. It is true that by the technique of topical absorption the risk may be somewhat dulled, though this is by no means a guarantee. It should be clearly stated and understood that the ointment and the ingestion of tropane-rich nightshades in general should not be utilized as a recreational outlet of any sort and under any circumstances. Those seeking hallucinations and other such psychedelic states shall quickly find this avenue to be a poor one. Indeed, hallucinations of any sort when using the ointment are a sure sign that the practitioner has found himself on the thin threshold of a potentially adverse effect. It is our wish that these warnings be gravely heeded before proceeding, and that this document serve as a continued source of information for any occultist daring enough to allow such plants into his or her regular practice. One practitioner’s ally may quickly become another’s painful downfall if caution and respect are nowhere given.

CHAPTER ONE : THE LORE

Wherever there was found the Solanaceae, there was also found their utilization in various forms of sorcery, shamanism and witchcraft. Perhaps more so than any other family of plants, the Solanaceae (Nightshades) have found themselves, for better or worse, entangled within such traditions so firmly as to create the thick air of superstition which maintains in trace amounts even to this day, though particularly in Europe, where they are still thought to attract cross spirits such as troublesome fairies, gnomes and the like. Obviously, such ideas are dying out, and most superstition has turned to the very real danger which the ingestion of various forms of flowering nightshade (such as the Datura) presents. For the time being, however, let us briefly review the strange status which some of these plants have held. For the purposes of our research, these would include Datura, Brugmansia and Mandrake, though related domesticated plants such as tobacco, tomato, potato and eggplant have maintained a near-equal air of historical superstitious approach likely due to their mere categorization as nightshades in relation to the “witch’s allies”. Unrefined or “sacred” tobacco, for one, was and remains the most often used shamanic drug the world over, particularly in Native American communities, although its status and natural form (and potency) have been greatly altered due to selective breeding along with cultural changes brought upon by the conquest of the new world.

Indeed, although Datura was known to have toxic properties early on, the stigma seemed to be unfairly carried over onto the tomato and potato, both of which were thought to be poisonous for many years until the superstition was debunked. They are now found as trusted additives to a stupefying amount of recipes the world over. Fear of the nightshade poison which was said to cause madness and death was however, as we well know, only half of the story. The other side of the nightshade stigma is found within their long-time connection to various forms of sorcery. Although the flying ointment was first described by Johannes Hartlieb in 1456, the use of Datura and other alkaloid-rich flowering nightshades predates the fabled salve by many uncountable years, even going back to before written record, as the use of Datura is explicitly mentioned in the Hindu Rig Veda; one of the oldest written texts that we know of (between 1700–1100 BC). It is still used by some sects in India today as a supposed gateway to Nirvana, though in some historic Caribbean and other Vodoun-laden traditions it was used at least in part to create “zombies” in an admixture of puffer-fish venom and other ingredients. This practice of zombification has likely ceased, though it would not surprise the author if some variations were still utilized today. These opposing uses serve to illustrate the role of Datura as either angel or devil depending on its intended preparation, which oddly enough is likewise mirrored within two of its more prominent labels – devil’s weed and angel’s trumpet. It would appear that one man’s nirvana is another man’s zombie, as far as Datura is considered.

WEREWOLF: ERGOT VS. THE NIGHTSHADES Another interesting account is that of its use in traditional Native American and Brujo (Mexican shamanism) practices, which marks a likely original candidate for our modern conceptions of the so-called werewolf, which we shall revisit later. Indeed, the author is well aware of the popular theory which attempts to link our conceptions of the werewolf to some sparse accounts of rye fields being infected with the fungus ergot (known in German as “the tooth of the wolf”) – a precursor to LSD. In sufficient amounts, the infected rye and the bread which was made of it may indeed have caused the intoxication known as Ergotism, perhaps coupled by hallucinations of the sort which would have caused a man to think he was transforming into a wolf or other such animal alongside the documented effects of maddened, irrational behavior, much like rabies, which is usually, if it might provide a further connection, contracted through the bite of an already infected animal (much like the myths of lycanthropy). Even though ergot, in German, translates to “tooth of the wolf”, a most humble form of nightshade trumps the connection by leaps and bounds in its lore and scientific naming still used today: Lycopersicon esculentum, sometimes Solanum lycopersicum, or in other words, the common tomato. This naming stems from German folklore, which states that members of the nightshade family, of which the tomato is included, were used by witches to create werewolves. Linnaeus, the man who coined the current scientific naming system of binomial nomenclature, supposedly recalled this legend and gave

the tomato the name Lycopersicon esculentum, which translates to “edible wolf-peach”. Unlike the sloppy appropriation of ergot as the root of the werewolf myth, this much more ancient lore regarding the use of nightshades as agents of shape-shifting seems much more apt, as it may be directly found and mirrored within many European, Native American and Brujo traditions which had utilized Datura and related plants as purposeful agents for animist transformation, otherwise known as Skinwalking. By comparison, there is nowhere found except by mere speculation the purposeful cultivation and use of ergot by any indigenous society for the use of shamanic flight, shapeshifting, totemic journey or otherwise. This is perhaps because ergot arrives rather spontaneously and via fluctuating spore distribution, as it is a fungus, and any reliable means of cultivation would pale in comparison to the accessibility of atropine-rich nightshades, such as Datura. Since many of these shamanic societies were animistic and totemic in nature, it lends even further credence to the importance of assuming a sacred or spiritual animal form, and Datura holds ancient usage as such. With this considered, it is the author’s opinion that the werewolf myth as we know it had arrived via the handed down accounts and early anthropological attempts of “civilized folk” to record and take note of the bizarre shape-shifting attempts of shamanic peoples who had utilized Datura as a transformative agent. The legend was by result carried onto other members of the nightshade family, of which the tomato is a member. Like so many nightshade accounts, the superstitions attributed to one member were unfairly planted upon all related members.

THE FLYING OINTMENT: A HALLOWEEN ICON Aside the werewolf, there is one particular modern icon which is seen every year upon the plastic candy-carrying pumpkins and festive decorations of all shapes and variety which links much more fluidly to the antiquated use of tropane-rich nightshades, and in particular, the fabled flying ointment. This would be the iconic and whimsical “witch on a broomstick” which small children seem to be so fond of. The historical root of the image, however, tells quite a different story. While sparing the reader from the various other accounts of nightshade superstition, we then cut to the desired chase, which is the flying ointment itself. As was mentioned, and as far as we know, the preparation itself was first mentioned by Johannes Hartlieb in 1456, although with any such accounts, we may quite easily assume that it had been in use and practice for years uncounted. Indeed, the ointment itself shares remarkable similarities to Native American and Brujo preparations which involve the addition of Datura or related nightshades into a base of animal fat which is then topically smeared upon the skin so that the fat-soluble alkaloids are slowly but steadily absorbed into the skin of the shaman or practitioner. This salve was traditionally rubbed upon an area with high blood flow, and to expedite the process, likely during activities of stimulation or arousal. By this, we mean the male or female genitalia. The increased blood flow and soft tissue of such bodily regions were and remain the ideal location for any such topical ointment. For men, the penis and testicular region in whole is

thus smeared, which consecutively serves as a lubricant for masturbatory aid which in turns allows the salve to be absorbed even faster. For women, the salve works best when rubbed both upon the breasts as well as being inserted into the vagina via the prior smearing onto a carved and suitable instrument, such as a smoothened stick, or in other words, a phallic-like object of which a broom handle would prove the perfect candidate. It was said that the witches were able to fly to the Sabbath on their brooms with the help of the inebriating ointment.

Figure 1: Happy Halloween, Kids
Although no suitable historical account exists (to our knowledge), we posit that acts of sorcerous sex or even orgies may have accompanied the ritual of old, as this would no doubt serve as both a vehicle of intake for women, and an act of stimulation for both parties, thus allowing for increased heart rate, heightened blood flow, quicker alkaloid absorption and, let’s just say it, with the added benefit of sex, to boot.

Although we cannot be sure, this supposition may prove true within the mythical accounts of witches partaking in sex rites alongside the ingestion of strange plants, the primary of which may indeed have been Datura or a close relative thereof. Much like the werewolf, we may then trace back another common and apparently innocent cultural icon which had at first appeared commercial and benign only to find its historical origin within the very real accounts of sex, sorcery and drug use. Indeed, such images have become so ingrained and taken for granted that we may easily forget their long-held and peculiar origins. As they say, truth is often stranger than fiction! We do however recommend that one not go travelling around on Halloween night revealing the true nature of such an icon to unsuspecting strangers, friends, family or their underage children. As interesting as the morphology of icons may prove to be, even if it may offer unto us some semblance of weight and deserved respect to such practices, it does us little good when considering the root variable of such curiosities, which is the flying ointment itself. With the resurgence of Wicca and Paganism also came the so-called New Age movement; a veritable collection of wannabes and ignorant explorers attempting to chase whatever sparse leads towards a more interesting existence that they possibly could. If such a description tends to insult the reader, then we don’t care. Although the resurgence may in fact lend to some good, if only by forcing such subjects into the popular gaze once more, it seems to have done much more harm than good when considering any such accounts of trusted, traditional formula.

This is primarily due to the many frauds and con-artists whom always tend to show up whenever an audience so gullible and naive presents itself. The so-called New Age market has thereby become saturated with con after con, even towards the point that members of the movement itself have become either confused or convinced that some of the cons have always been authentic, trusted hallmarks of the tradition. It is an ugly, savage scene of disinformation and gimmickry; the bells and whistles somehow replacing any semblance of knowledge which had previously existed, and to the detriment of the whole. Since the flying ointment of lore is somehow considered the historical property of modern Wicca (although more accurately, being the historical property of indigenous shamanic peoples) it has since been replicated countless times over, each recipe with a different twist or spin. Most of the time, these twists have proven to be so far off-base that one could only either call it a recipe for poisonous disaster or naught but a mere pleasant-smelling perfume. Indeed, one is able to locate a multitude of so-called flying ointments within any trendy Wiccan shop. These are for the most part created in a base of bees wax and usually include any number of sweetly fragrant herbs, none of which contain the utmost required nightshade. On the other end of the New Age spectrum are the countless so-called “authentic” flying ointment recipes, many of which include plant additives which serve no purpose other than to make one sick, gravely ill or worse. We shall review some of these so-called authentic recipes in the following chapter, along with a factual treatise on the chemical makeup of each.

CHAPTER TWO : THE MYTH

As for any untainted and original recipe of the Lamiarum Unguenta (Witches Unguent), quite a wide variety surely exist dependent upon region and indigenous resource, and these only mark the ones which had managed to survive by some means in written form. We may also adequately assume, as has been proven the case that quite a few superstitious additives are also found within such recipes which may be called more or less authentic, though lacking any real basis for their addition aside from animist paradigm. Such additives may include the blood of a bat (symbolic of flight), a specific type of animal fat as the base of the salve and any other number of plant or animal additions which have nothing to do with the desired effect on a purely chemical level. Giovan Battista Della Porta writes on the ointment in his De Miraculis Rerum Naturalium:
"Although they mix in a great deal of superstition, it is apparent nonetheless to the observer that these things can result from a natural force. I shall repeat what I have been told by them. By boiling (a certain fat) in a copper vessel, they get rid of its water, thickening what is left after boiling and remains last. Then they store it, and afterwards boil it again before use: with this, they mix celery, aconite, poplar leaves and soot. Or, in alternative: sium, acorus, cinquefoil, the blood of a bat, nightshade (Solanum) and oil; and if they mix in other substances they don’t differ from these very much. Then they smear all the parts of the body, first rubbing them to make them ruddy and warm and to rarify whatever had been condensed because of cold. When

the flesh is relaxed and the pores opened up, they add the fat (or the oil that is substituted for it) - so that the power of the juices can penetrate further and become stronger and more active, no doubt. And so they think that they are borne through the air on a moonlit night to banquets, music, dances and the embrace of handsome young men of their choice."

This written anecdote from around 1558 AD offers unto us an interesting number of clues. Firstly, we may begin with keeping what obviously works, which in this case is the method of rendering said plant material within a base of animal fat so as to extract any fat-soluble essential oils (alkaloids). Although it is not explicitly mentioned, this fat would most likely be that of a hog, pig or boar, as hog fat is most similar to the human sort and thereby is capable of absorbing much easier and faster. Other sorts of base-fats no doubt exist within differing recipes, and this we may place upon mere symbolism and animist belief. The boiling of said fat would indeed reduce excess water and moisture; this is merely a form of rendering. For our purposes, jarred hog’s fat may be attained easily enough in many Mexican and Spanish groceries, or otherwise ordered online. We recommend against using vegetable shortening or any such replacement. Remember, the reason as to why it works the way it does is due to the biological and chemical makeup. If one were to skimp on this, then he might as well not attempt it. The use of hog’s fat also coincides with the more prominent use of fat-based Datura salves within South West Native American and Mexican Brujo traditions, where wild boars are more easily found. Carlos Castaneda writes:

"My benefactor (i.e., Don Juan's teacher) told me it was permissible to mix the plant with lard. And that is what you are going to do. My benefactor mixed it with lard for me, but, as I have already said, I never was very fond of the plant and never really tried to become one with her. My benefactor told me that for best results, for those who really want to master the power, the proper thing is to mix the plant with the lard of a wild boar."

This quote only serves to reinforce such a preference. Next within the aforementioned snippet, Giovan mentions the addition of a collection of herbs, those being “celery, aconite, poplar leaves and soot.” We may begin dispelling this at once, and not without a certain brand of caution. The caution lies in this: that it is quite probable and even expected that certain groups and their traditions would mask the true recipes when confronted by untrusted outsiders. Indeed, the shamans and druids of old knew quite well the properties of various local plants, both medicinal and deadly toxic, and herein we find one such likely candidate as a slipped-in safeguard on the part of the archaic masters – aconite, or Aconitum; wolf’s bane, also known as monkshood, leopard’s bane or devil’s helmet. Not a member of the nightshades, it contains a large amount of the alkaloid Pseudaconitine, which is a deadly poison. Although it holds some usage in the East as a traditional medicine in small doses, equating to the Yang energy, or hotness, it has more often been used as a poison when hunting bears or other large game. It holds no spiritually intoxicating merit and should thus be disregarded as an additive to the flying ointment. Death usually occurs within 2 to 6 hours in accounts of fatal poisoning.

Likewise, both celery and poplar leaves contain no stark detriment nor benefit to the ointment, aside from being antiquated additives and holding the purpose of mere symbolism and superstition instead of chemical merit. Indeed, they are likely either this, or were purposely put in place of the actual and more sacred additives which were not permitted to strangers outside of the traditions. Since we cannot know for sure, they should likewise be thrown out, as they serve no purpose other than symbolic. Soot is also mentioned as an additive at this time. Soot may indeed act as a mere thickening agent, though aside from this, since we don’t know of what tree or plant it was created from, it may also be discarded. Giovan then recalls, “Or, in alternative: sium, acorus,
cinquefoil, the blood of a bat, nightshade (Solanum) and oil; and if they mix in other substances they don’t differ from these very much.”

This following recipe seems to have been mentioned as a mere alternative which might be used in place of the original poisonous Aconite variety. Here, sium may relate to any number of several flowering plants in the Apiaceae family, such as Sium suave and others, none of which are seen to hold any chemical merit. It may be another purposeful veil thrown in to conceal a true ingredient, or merely a symbolic additive, and may be easily discarded. Acorus is of a more interesting nature, as the flowering plant is allegedly said to contain the mysterious Beta-Asarone, of which there is little written material aside from intoxication reports detailing intense vomiting at high doses. Although we cannot be entirely sure as to the chemical status of this additive, it may be prudent to disregard it for the

time being. As an added note, products derived from Acorus calamus were banned in 1968 as food additives by the United States Food and Drug Administration. Cinquefoil or potentilla is a genus containing about 500 species of annual, biennial and perennial herbaceous flowing plants in the rose family Rosaceae. We cannot be sure as to which exact plant was used in Giovan’s description. Aside from some uses in traditional European and Chinese medicine as a gastrointestinal treatment, it appears to offer no added benefit to the flying ointment except for perhaps easing an upset stomach, which is hardly required since the salve is not ingested. Giovan then mentions the all-too-fabled blood of a bat as the next additive. Although appealing, animal additives such as these aside from the required fat base serve little purpose but for the animist symbolism they represent. We shall disregard this additive for not only the aforementioned reason, but that the blood of any wild animal, if allowed to quickly absorb through the skin or soft tissues may carry along with it any number of disease or internal parasite which the practitioner may not desire to house as an unexpected guest. This too should be discarded, though it and similar components are the likely source of such dramatized depictions as the witch scene in Macbeth, featured at the beginning of this document which illustrates a stupendous number of animal additives. The Macbeth quote also mentions the addition of hemlock, a fabled though deadly toxic component of the flying ointment which leads us to believe that it may be naught more than an aggrandized and theatrical version of the ointments creation.

Which leads us to Giovan’s final mentioning, that of “nightshade (Solanum)” then with the simple addition of oil afterwards. Again, we are not privy to what specific type of nightshade this is, though it is likely to be one of the tropanecontaining flowers, roots or foliage such as Datura, Henbane, Mandrake or Brugmansia, all of which are classified as poisonous, though unlike the aforementioned additives, have proven to result in noticeable altered states of consciousness and with little to no risk if the proper dosage is accounted for, which is, however, quite difficult at times to accurately measure. When considering Giovan’s written account, we may therefor equate that 90% of the traditional additives are no more than animist, druidic or shamanic symbolism with the foremost base of the salve being a mixture of rendered fat and tropane-rich nightshade which is then smeared upon the soft tissue and stimulated, open pores of the body. Before proceeding, we shall again stress to mention the prior accounted addition of Aconitum, or wolf’s bane. There exists only one of two reasons for this; either that it was thrown in as a means to keep intruding explorers off the scent of another more workable additive, thereby rendering the ointment un-usable to outsiders lest they suffer a painful demise, or in any case, were seen to become poisoned when attempting to utilize the sacred method (an attempt by druids and shamans to keep the recipe secret and to ward off unwanted, non-initiated folk) or that Aconitum was a true and authentic additive utilized by indigenous peoples who simply didn’t know any better, and very often came close to death’s doors in an

attempt to make a journey into the spirit world. Either might be true, though as far as we are concerned, the addition of outright poisons such as wolf’s bane, hemlock, foxglove and others are best discarded – Datura is quite enough in and of itself. Although not mentioned within Giovan’s recording, another popular, and some say, authentic additive to the ointment alongside the nightshade is that of opium poppy. When considering some of the historical reports of flying ointment intoxication, it certainly seems obvious that Datura or related nightshades were not the only primary agents. For one, Datura and related types in and of themselves nowhere produce the sort of effects accounted for, and having experienced Datura intoxication for myself, I may give a firsthand account as to the utter lack of exaltation or euphoria reported by some of the historical accounts of flying ointment inebriation. In The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage, Abramelin writes:
"At Lintz I worked with a young woman, who one evening invited me to go with her, assuring me that without any risk she would conduct me to a place where I greatly desired to find myself. I allowed myself to be persuaded by her promises. She then gave unto me an unguent, with which I rubbed the principal pulses of my feet and hands; the which she did also; and at first it appeared to me that I was flying in the air in the place which I wished, and which I had in no way mentioned to her. I pass over in silence and out of respect, that which I saw, which was admirable, and appearing to myself to have remained there a long while, I felt as if I were just awakening from a profound sleep, and I had great pain in my head and deep melancholy. I turned round and saw that she

was seated at my side. She began to recount to me what she had seen, but that which I had seen was entirely different. I was, however, much astonished, because it appeared to me as if I had been really and corporeally in the place, and there in reality to have seen that which had happened."

This account, if true, both depicts an incredibly fast-acting and potent ointment which is rubbed onto the body, thus producing the sensation of flying or “astral travel” by result. This substance is also described by Abramelin as an unguent, which follows suit of the fabled “Witches Unguent”, also known as the flying ointment. What strikes as most odd, however, is the account itself. For one, in order to be quickly absorbed through the hands and feet it would have been quite a powerful and saturated salve, and the account itself does not accurately describe the effects of tropane intoxication aside from the blatant unreality and, as Abramelin mentions, resulting headache. It may be that tropane alkaloids behave in a different manner when absorbed through the skin instead of being directly ingested. It may also be that another, perhaps secret additive had composed the fabled salve alongside Datura. After going through the data, the most likely candidate for this might surely be the opium poppy, and for numerous reasons. Firstly, sensations of elation, euphoria or flight itself (which is classically coupled by blissful stimulation) are certainly not inherent within Datura, Henbane, Mandrake or Brugmansia intoxication. Such inebriation certainly lends to a sense of unreality and delirium, though tends to stop there, with no higher feelings of elation or euphoria being accounted for.

Likewise, none of the other so-called authentic additives found within Giovan’s account and countless others would make up the difference in and of themselves. No, surely, something as equally potent as the tropane alkaloids would be in action, something which would be capable of interacting with the tropanes in order to produce an effect which was unlike either, if taken alone. Again, opium poppy shines forth as the primary candidate for filling these desired experiential gaps. Indeed, one possible key to how individuals dealt with the toxicity of the nightshades usually said to be part of flying ointments is through the antidotal reaction some of the Solanaceous alkaloids have with the alkaloids of Papaver somniferum, or opium poppy. For instance, King’s American Dispensatory, a book first published in 1854 that covers the uses of herbs used in American medical practice, states in the entry on belladonna: "Belladonna and opium appear to exert antagonistic influences, especially as regards their action on the brain, the spinal cord, and heart; they have consequently been recommended and employed as antidotes to each other in cases of poisoning; this matter is now positively and satisfactorily settled; hence in all cases of poisoning by belladonna the great remedy is morphine, and its use may be guided by the degree of pupillary contraction it occasions." And with further support, "The interaction between belladonna and poppy was made use of in the so-called "twilight sleep" that was provided for women during childbirth beginning in the Edwardian era. Twilight sleep was a mixture of scopolamine, a belladonna alkaloid, and morphine, a Papaver alkaloid, that was injected and which

furnished a combination of painkilling and amnesia for a woman in labor. A version is still manufactured for use as the injectable compound Omnopon." That said, most historical recipes for flying ointment do not include poppy, although its natural distribution would have indeed coincided with most, if it not all areas where Datura might be found (throughout Europe, North America, South America, and Asia). Could this be the potential secret ingredient which was either hid or supplanted with poisonous additives by pagan, druidic and shamanic societies when distrusted foreigners came to investigate and ask questions? Unfortunately, this may be a detail which can never be known, although the action of the opium poppy as a natural antidote and perhaps synchronous inebriant alongside Datura smacks of the same sort of “too good to be true” plant combinations as an MAOI-containing leaf when coupled with the DMT-containing Vine of Souls, via the ayahuasca traditions of Peru and the Amazon, of which Datura itself is sometimes an additive. We may then say, at least, that the flying ointment of legend is, at the very least, an extraction of Solanaceous alkaloids within a base of rendered animal (hog) fat, topically smeared and applied over sensitive tissue so as to allow for a controlled absorption into the bloodstream. We may also say that it should, and classically amounts to the sensation of flight or flying, or in any case, a sensation of astral travel or leaving the body and material world for a moment and into the domains of the spirit world, or aether. We may also say that many of the so-called authentic recipes contain additions which serve no

other purpose than animist symbolism, religious pageantry and subtle placebo given the aggrandizement of animal forms. Finally, we may conclude that many of the so-called authentic plant additives serve no real chemical purpose when relating to the intoxication itself, and that some may indeed prove no more than harmful poisons, such as Wolf’s Bane, Foxglove, Hemlock (not to be confused with Henbane) and others, which may or may not be purposeful booby traps on the part of those traditions who wished to keep any accounts of an authentic recipe a secret and far removed from the prying eyes of outsiders. Our distillation thus concludes itself: 1) The flying ointment is foremost a concentrated salve of tropane alkaloids rendered in hog’s fat. 2) The method of ingestion, being gradual absorption through soft, often sexual tissue, may contribute to its effect. 3) There may or may not exist a second primary agent. 4) If a second primary agent exists, then it is likely opium. As some final notes, there are some who have posited that the missing ingredient might be the mushroom amanita muscaria (fly agaric), though this supposition is dubious at best. For one, there is no evidence which supports that either of the primary chemical compounds found in A. Muscaria (ibotenic acid & muscimol) are fat-soluble, and so would render them both useless within a topical salve. Furthermore, both ibotenic acid and the decarboxylated form of it, being muscimol, are nowhere found to be immediately active except by the means of direct gastrointestinal ingestion. It could be that muscimol might indeed be fat-soluble and capable of passing the blood-brain

barrier via a topical solvent, though research here is lacking, as well. Even if this were to be the case, then the author highly doubts that it would result in the classical anecdotes and experiences described by the literature, as A. Muscaria intoxication carries with it little to no euphoria, though sensations of flight seem to be not so uncommon. With all that considered, our vote still goes towards opium poppy as the most likely candidate for a second primary ingredient, if indeed there ever was one to begin with. Like so many legendary or mythical brews, the exact components of the original flying ointment may forever be lost to the unwritten pages of antiquity, leaving only a sparse trail of contradictory breadcrumbs in wake. If it were the case that the old druids, shamans, sorcerers and witches had purposely thrown inquiring eyes off the trail of their sacred unguent, even going so far as to supplant traditional ingredients for outright poisonous ones, then they seemed to have done a fairly good job of it. If this proves true, then good for them – some things aren’t meant for civilization to treat as trivialities and toys. Perhaps it is a shame, then, that ayahuasca had become so wellknown and heralded over the recent years, even giving way to celebrity reality shows wherein rich white people travel to the amazon in search of a spiritual awakening via the Vine of Souls, only to march back to their cellphones and day jobs. As for the A.A.O., would you believe us if we claimed to have a working, original and authentic flying ointment recipe? We may, and we may not – a poor decision here could mean either ecstatic elation, or a painful, prolonged and dreary death.

CHAPTER THREE : THE FAKES

We shall then cover some of the obvious faux recipes which claim authenticity and originality. Some of these are so outlandish as to warrant immediate discrediting at a glance, although we are sure that many a poor sod and sap had fallen for them in the past. Many of these poor sods and saps may have even paid the ultimate price for doing so. As a general rule of thumb, one should never ingest any such recipe which includes the likes of Hemlock, Foxglove, Wolf’s Bane or any other such poisonous plant which is not directly found within the Nightshade family. Believe us when we say that Datura is already dangerous enough without the addition of obligatory death-agents such as foxglove and others. Other frauds may be spotted either by the discontinuity of plant distribution (for example, if claiming to be an authentic European or Native American recipe then plant additions only existent in India are a dead give-away) or by the sometimes preposterous and disproportionate amounts of plant material called for. For example, one such “authentic English flying ointment” calls for 250 grams of Cannabis Indica, which is not only nearly half a pound of weed, but fails to mention that THC is inactive if not isomerized via prior heating with sufficient temperature. We often tend to wonder what’s worse here, nearly dying, or wasting half a pound of weed. Hmm…

We have attempted to locate some of the more prominent “con recipes” and shall list them here perchance it might save a life or two, or otherwise serve to illustrate just how ridiculous and outright deadly some of them may be seen to be. CON #1: Traditional English Flying Ointment from Erica Jong's Witches 1. 3 grams annamthol 2. 30 grams betel 3. 50 grams extract of opium 4. 6 grams cinquefoil 5. 15 grams henbane 6. 15 grams belladonna 7. 15 grams hemlock 8. 250 grams cannabis Indica 9. 5 grams canthreidin Blend with oil of your choice, baby fat, vaseline, safflower oil, or butter. A.A.O. Notes: This may prove an interesting experiment if not for the outright poisonous additions of hemlock (which we have mentioned) and cantharidin (misspelled in the recipe, but a poisonous chemical compound secreted by many species of blister beetle). The betel nut is an interesting touch, though since betel nut is native to India, it hardly seems logical that it would be a component of any traditional English flying ointment. We also find two instances of a tropane-containing nightshade here; henbane and belladonna. This is quite unnecessary, as all varieties contain the alkaloids desired, although in differing amounts, and there is no sure means to test

this as it depends on the season and growth conditions of said plant. There is no mention of animal or hog’s fat as the primary base, although “baby fat” is mentioned, which lends more to the mythic and aggrandized versions of the ointment wherein witches were accused of stealing and murdering infants for their own sorcerous purposes. If it need be said, then nowhere is there found a historical account of this happening, and it finds itself more at home with the Shakespearian methods of theatrical dramatization. Opium is mentioned here, which causes us to think that this may have been based upon a recipe which the author was attempting to reverse-engineer, although who can say for sure. Cinquefoil is also included, which is explicitly mentioned in older accounts, although there seems to be no rhyme or reason for its ultimate inclusion. CON #2: Modern American Flying Ointment 1. 1 jar hand cream 2. 1 tsp. vegetable fat 3. 1/2 tsp. belladonna 4. 3 drops liquid detergent 5. 1/2 tsp. wolfbane juice Mix well with perfume of your choosing. A.A.O. Notes: Aside from the inclusion of belladonna, we won’t even bother with dissecting this one. If you don’t see the multiple problems here, then you don’t deserve our analysis. However, for those seeking a near-death experience, be our guests. (Astral projection is easier, for the record, we promise.)

CON #3: Modern Wicca Flying Ointment Beeswax Base Recipe 1. 4c. Standard Beeswax Base 2. 1/4c. skullcap 3. 1/2c. jasmine flowers 4. 1/2c. lavender flowers 5. 1/4c. hawthorn berries 6. 1/3c. elderberries 7. 1/4c. elderflowers 8. 1/2c. mistletoe 9. 1/3c. mugwort 10. 1/4c. rue 11. 20 drops of the pure essential oil of myrtle 12. 20 drops of the pure essential oil of hops 13. 10 drops of the pure essential oil of linden (careful! often adulterated!) 14. 10 drops of the pure essential oil of clary sage 15. 10mL of a 5% dilution of narcissus in grapeseed oil A.A.O. Notes: Herein is one of the many variations of “user friendly” flying ointments created by neo-paganism and modern Wicca, which equates to nothing more than an expensive perfume. Instead of analyzing each and every additive, we shall instead merely present this one quotation:
any experience with the plants, they warn about the poisonous additives. It is considered trendy to brew ‘modern flying ointments, guaranteed to not be poisonous.’ The recipes are nothing more than ineffective rubbish.” – Christian Rätsch, Witchcraft Medicine
“…despite the fact that none of the ‘modern witches’ themselves have

CHAPTER FOUR : THE BASE

Given the repugnant status of modern attempts at a true-toform flying ointment, this document wouldn’t be complete without giving our own take on it, including our own recipe. The practitioner should however be forewarned once again that when attempting any variation thereof, the strength and potency of various tropane-rich nightshades may greatly vary depending on climate, growth season and soil. No two plants or varieties will ever be the same. We will not be held accountable for any complications which may arise from the use of this recipe or others, and we do not encourage anyone trying it. 1) Hog’s Fat The foremost ingredient required is thus a base of quality hog’s fat. This may be found pre-rendered and unseasoned (unsalted) in jars within many Mexican and Spanish markets, or in any case, may be found online. Hog’s fat is the prime choice in this regard where quick absorption is required, as this fat is most similar to that of a human beings, and therefor absorbs much quicker, especially when smeared and rubbed upon sensitive tissues such as the male or female genitalia. 2) Sufficient Nightshade This entails the acquiring of a sufficient amount of tropane-rich nightshade flowers, seeds, foliage and/or root material.

Indeed, all portions of the plants contain the alkaloids desired, although this may change ever so slightly depending on the type of nightshade acquired. We recommend using flowers and foliage from Datura Stramonium as a reliable start. The practitioner should utilize half to all of the hog’s fat depending on size, placing it in a large to medium pot over a low flame so as to gently melt it down into a salve. When it has all been melted, he should then add the nightshade. Excess moisture will quickly begin to evaporate from this point on, though more water may be added if needed as the alkaloids will be absorbed by the fat in any case. Since there is no reliable way to tell whether or not the nightshade is particularly rich or lacking in the desired alkaloids, we posit that it is best to use as much as possible for any single batch. The reasoning behind that is that the amount of ointment which is topically applied may always be adjusted, and likewise, in order to gauge the potency, should at first be used in incredibly small amounts, then waiting two hours or more in the anticipation of an effect. It is better to saturate the fat at the very start than to continually tweak and modify it with further additions later down the line. Once the fat reaches a gentle bubble, the nightshade should be added in whole. There exist no exact measurements for this, although the practitioner should attempt to use as much as possible. Again, it is better to saturate the fat than to be left with a weak and ineffective product at the end, and it does not mean that it should be used in a hurry simply because it may be potent. Indeed, quite the opposite, as a careful testing is most required on the part of the occultist. Take caution here.

The nightshade should be left to gently bubble on the lowest heat possible for about an hour, stirring occasionally. After an hour or more has passed and the plant material is seen to become darker in color, the heat should be turned off and the brew should be allowed to rest for a further hour with the lid off, so that any remaining steam may evaporate. It is at this time, during the cooling stage, that any additives should be thrown into the mix; such as fresh opium poppy or otherwise. Some additives may do better with being added during the heating process, though this base-line recipe shall merely focus upon what appears to be the common core of most, if not all variations on the flying ointment. After an hour cooling, and while still warm, the fat should be strained through a mesh or kitchen-strainer so as to remove the now wilted and mushy nightshade constituents. Afterwards, this remaining plant material should be squeezed or pressed over the pot where is now found the fat while taking care to avoid contact with the hands or skin. All excess moisture should be squeezed from the plant material and into the pot. The fat may then be stirred a final time and stored within a glass bottle or jar and kept in the refrigerator (be sure to label it accordingly). Depending on the strength of the tropane-rich nightshade used, along with the amount, the ointment may greatly range in strength from being utterly ineffective to stupendously potent. Because of this, it should never be directly ingested, but rather lightly heated and smeared upon the chest or sexual organs, and always in small amounts. If so adventurous, the practitioner may attempt the classical approach, if male, and engage in

masturbatory practice thus using the ointment as lubricant. If the base used is pure, unseasoned and unsalted pork fat, then there is no danger of burning or irritation. The same goes for female practitioners, although in this case, the ointment should be smeared upon a dildo or similar object and then utilized as a masturbatory aid. Both examples shall allow for a quicker absorption through the resulting stimulated tissues. We shall say this only one more time: Be sure to use a minimal amount of ointment (a teaspoon or less) when attempting these traditional techniques for the first time. Although this recipe merely serves as a historical base, other potential and perhaps beneficial, though likely inauthentic fat-soluble additives may include: Damiana Mugwort or Wormwood Opium Poppy (As was mentioned) THC from Cannabis (Isomerized, low-heat, strained, although this would entail a very large amount perhaps better left to be smoked, the old fashioned way)

The practitioner should at all times put forth the effort to research any plant or chemical which he or she plans on ingesting, and down to the letter, lest a dire mistake is made. Indeed, the method of topical skin absorption may alter the effect some, though we do not think it accounts for the anecdotes of euphoria or weightlessness which are so common when describing the ointment. Here is what one may expect.

Figure 2: Datura Stramonium

CHAPTER FIVE : THE EFFECT

Unless the practitioner has had some prior experience with the plants, being the general effects of Datura, Mandrake, Brugmansia, Henbane or in any case a state of tropane intoxication, the encounter may prove not to be what one was originally expecting. Within the first hour of a moderate dose, a sort of drunkenness becomes glaringly pronounced, and then quickly followed by a general warm fuzziness both felt within the body and thought process and then observed within the external environment. The eyes become incapable of focusing themselves onto any fine detail, and so render the attempted reading of print nearly impossible in this regard. The stupor persists with increasing strength until motor skills become that of a stumbling drunkard. At around the end of the first hour is when a profound and unrelenting dryness sets in which effects the entirety of the skin, then drying out the eyes and mouth, lending to an incredible though unquenchable thirst alongside an even more pronounced blurring of vision. Subtle sparks, twitches and anomalies are then seen to creep into the immediate environment and atop any observed object, so that the world itself appears to take on a nervous twitch which manifests around the corners and outlines of objects of all form. It is when reality begins to subtly jump about in this way that the practitioner finds himself within the belly of delirium.

At around the beginning of the second hour, although this may vary depending on the last meal eaten, hallucinations of a kind most indistinguishable from his sense of reality may begin to sprout up, and never with any prior warning or causation. He may find himself with a relatively firm grasp on what he believes is real, only to find himself the next minute conversing with a person as if he or she were actually there. The twilight conversation may be upheld for any length of time before the delusion vanishes without warning, leaving him to become starkly aware that he is no longer capable of distinguishing the delusion from his own sense of reality. He may find himself smoking a cigarette which he had never picked up or lit, as these as well are common phantom occurrences within the unreality. He may in fact even grow wise to their appearance and delusional nature, and even if he is to smudge them out of existence between his fingers, they shall later reappear as a persisting illusion. This seems to happen to those who are not smokers, just the same. Indeed, he may encounter any number of ghostly acquaintances during this time, all the while being upon the mercy of the experiential flow. Great care should be taken, therefor, with the presence of a knowledgeable friend or sitter being a must, lest his phantom encounters persuade him to engage within actions most detrimental to health and wellbeing. Quick-moving shadows of a diminutive stature are often seen which appear within the shapes of dwarves, gnomes and fairies, rapidly running through both room and wall, and with no distinguishable features but for their darkened forms. Apparitions of women are also common, who appear inviting and of a trustworthy and comfortable nature until their

immediate disappearance. The so-called spirit of Datura, itself, is said to take on the form of a beautiful older woman in a white dress. Many have recalled that her demeanor is that of a temptress, and that she foreshadows an impending death or loss, which the practitioner may become convinced is his own. During such encounters, the possibility of sheer panic becomes a very real one. In such cases, the practitioner should then will himself to take up residence within his bed, being sure to have placed more than a few glasses or bottle of water next to it beforehand. He may ride the experience out here, though shall continue to be subject to the multiple quickly shadows, phantom encounters and scattered hallucinations of all form and variety. If he manages to fall asleep, then it shall be a deep one, and without much dream, for his own external reality now occupies that location of the dreaming world in constant flux. If managing to sleep he shall most likely awake with a headache, and not without a persisting dryness of the eyes, skin and mouth. His fuzzy and unfocused vision may also persist for the remainder of the day, and all such symptoms shall likely persist in fading quality for at least 24 hours after the fact. For further trip reports, dosage recommendations and a detailed list of effects, we recommend that the practitioner visit erowid.com and search for Datura, or whichever sort of nightshade he may be thinking of using. We shall take care to warn once more that the effective dose from any plant may greatly depend on its growing conditions, and is therefore impossible to know whether a plant is particularly strong or not. Datura is by no means a recreational experience.

With that being the case, we dread to imagine what the inclusion of ever more toxic components such as Foxglove, Hemlock or Wolf’s Bane would produce, though it may surely result in a needless and potentially violent mental and physiological response. Indeed, such outright poisons do not even contain the merit of any noticeable or beneficial altered state outside of those fevers and quakes which the body may produce in an attempt to fight off their various poisons. The inclusion of any of the aforementioned plants within any brew or ointment meant to enter the body is highly irresponsible, and may easily result in painful demise. Tropane intoxication is on its own dangerous enough, and the further addition of such poisons result in a product which holds nary a value, even for the bravest witch, sorcerer or occultist. If it is that such preparations are attempted for the reasons of astral travel or out of body experience, then we thereby urge the reader to research the induction techniques of Robert Monroe, Robert Bruce and others, as out of body experience may be performed easily enough without the use of plant toxins and poisons. If however the practitioner merely wishes to dance with death and the devil but for a night and live to tell the tale, then perhaps there is nothing we could say to dissuade him. The only catch therein is that the devil may, indeed, roll an unpredicted six whereas the practitioner comes up with nothing but a pair of cold and hollow snake eyes.

Hisssss...
From all of us at the A.A.O.: Happy Halloween.

"On a day Fotis came running to me in great fear, and said that her mistress, to work her sorceries on such as she loved, intended the night following to transform herself into a bird, and to fly whither she pleased. Wherefore she willed me privily to prepare myself to see the same. And when midnight came she led me softly into a high chamber, and bid me look through the chink of a door: where first I saw how she put off all her garments, and took out of a certain coffer sundry kinds of boxes, of the which she opened one, and tempered the ointment therein with her fingers, and then rubbed her body therewith from the sole of the foot to the crown of the head, and when she had spoken privily with herself, having the candle in her hand, she shaked parts of her body, and behold, I perceived a plume of feathers did burgen out, her nose waxed crooked and hard, her nails turned into claws, and so she became an owl. Then she cried and screeched like a bird of that kind, and willing to prove her force, moved herself from the ground by little and little, til at last she flew quite away." - Lucius Apuleius

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