Flying with the Witches:
The Witches’ Flying Ointment and Astral Travel
Unknown by most, the witch flying on her broomstick was a symbolic representation of the flying ointment, using the nightshade plants for the purpose of astral travel. The astral realm is sometimes considered the dream world. The world of spirits. The other side. We visit the astral realm every night when we enter the dreamscape. The witch would use plants such as belladonna, henbane, and mandrake turned into a paste that would be applied to the skin. These alkaloids, absorbed through the skin, would begin to take hold and break down the barriers between the physical and spirit realms. This would become an important tool and technology for accessing the astral landscape of the Underworld. So let the work begin…
Many different combinations and ingredients have been used in the recipes of flying ointment throughout history. Much of what we know of the this practice seems to be out of European shamanism and traditional witchcraft. And although we find most of the history of the ointment based in Europe, it has also surfaced in Latin American shamanism and Mexican Brujeria. I tend to think this may have been universal in shamanic practice. So much of ancient shamanism and traditional medicine recognize the immense value of these plants. They cover a vast landscape of application.
If you want a historical look through the study of rare manuscripts and historical fact on the flying ointment, The Witches’ Ointment: The Secret History of Psychedelic Magic, by Thomas Hatsis, has detailed some of the history. This is purely an academic look at what survives of manuscripts, documents, and things of that nature. You will not get a look into how it is made or used. You will not get any insight on astral travel or the philosophy of the poison path. It is rather dull in my opinion. But nonetheless it is still a piece of understanding its history, from a time when it was demonized as a tool of evil and black magic. You may not get much from it but you will get something. Many times I have read long and boringly bland books that gave me maybe one good piece of information, but knowledge still worth knowing, so you have the idea. It all adds to the bigger picture
The recipes of the flying ointment are many but for the most part we work with the tropane-based nightshade family. We find various combinations of nightshade plants like Mandrake, Henbane, Belladonna, and Datura. And sometimes, we find other psychoactive and poisonous additions like Hemlock, Opium, Ergot, and toad poisons. Other areas of my research have also shown combinations using foxglove, and the highly toxic Aconitum napellus, or Monkshood. This is the land of Veneficium, the branch we call the Poison Path.
Speaking of which, If you want something more insightful and satisfying from an occult perspective of the Poison Path, Veneficium by Daniel A. Schulke, is a worthy study of work. This is much more in tune with learning the philosophy and alchemy of the Poison Path. I could read this over and over and I go back to read it quite frequently, because sometimes the mind needs to keep telling itself the same thing over and over. Because that’s when the brain really starts to absorb, not simply by reading, but by study. Repetition. This is a theme that will continue to resonate if you want to consider stepping into any occult school of thought. This is a life work. An elevation of consciousness. A conscious effort to change. And repetition is the method to changing. Rewiring and forming a pact with your base desires to get in line and heed to the call of higher order.
to the Latin and South American shaman, The flying ointment is known by many different names but the procedure is pretty much the same. Although many of them have used it by ingesting tea along with other ingredients. Brugmansia and Datura are more the staple in these areas whereas belladonna, henbane, and mandrake are more common in the European traditions.
Two books I absolutely recommend on Mexican and Latin American traditions of brujeria and shamanism using the ointments are works by James Endredy, one called The Flying Witches of Veracruz and another called Lightning in My Blood. These books were very interesting. If you like Carlos Castaneda you will enjoy these. Apparently he had studied under a powerful curendero and curenderas (healers) that taught him to use the paste of Datura stramonium and Datura ceratocaula to achieve astral flight. Now I cannot say for certain whether this is an entirely real account. The same speculation was abound towards Castaneda. But like I said there is still a treasure trove of insight and I am sure he is telling of real traditions in that area. So at the very least, you can learn that this practice of applying the flying ointment is much more widespread among the path of shamanism. Every book has something to tell. Something to show and add to your knowledge base. And in this study you need all you can get.
As far as the experience itself and using flying ointment. What can we expect and just how far can we take this? What price would be the end result? In terms of the flying ointment used for astral travel, the point is not necessarily to bring on a hallucinogenic experience. This is more subtle. This is about removing the barriers between us and the spirit world. I still experiment with higher and higher doses of alkaloids. I have no choice but to play the role of guinea pig to acquire the lessons of how to get the dosage correct. She seems to bind well with me at this pace.
The only time I reach considerable doses where delirium starts to manifest is by consuming the seeds of Datura or the berries of belladonna. But know that this is highly not recommended and you do so at your own risk. And I have always gone up by degrees and not big leaps. The risk there is self evident.
And there are quite a few physical drawbacks when it comes to ingesting plant material. For one, it will shut down your digestive system and it will take time to return to its normal state. What I mean is you can eat or drink something and it will sit in your stomach and you will feel full. So fasting goes a long way in that respect. the other drawback is the stiffness and restlessness you get from some of the alkaloids, and I believe that is largely the effect of atropine, although I may not be correct on that. There is a feeling like you could punch through ten steel walls. Maybe a good idea before a fight, but not before bed. It severely affects your ability to sleep. This comes on even before hallucinogenic doses.
I have concluded that the best way to work with her directly on that front is transdermal. But getting the correct dosage is a process. At this time I am experimenting with a few different methods of extraction. It takes time. And repetition. You are building a relationship with her spirit. You cannot know her secrets all at once or in a short time period. She has to trust you and you have to be patient. Otherwise you will feel her wrath. And hard lessons don’t come cheap with the Nightshade Spirit.
I currently have my original Flying Ointment “Flying Oil #5” that was made with Atropa belladonna, Datura stramonium var. tatula, and Brugmansia X a hybrid that appears to be part Brugmansia suaveolens and part Brugmansia insignis. I cannot say for sure as it was sold to me as Brugmansia versicolor but clearly it is not a B. versicolor. In any event, it is a beautiful Brugmansia and an excellent addition to the traditional recipe. It can be purchased here : Flying Oil #5.
I use the flying oil in many sessions of meditation, automatic writing, and pretty much anything that has to do with tapping into the creative side or the spirit world. And the two are very much related. I find that my ability to concentrate, whether I am writing music or making visual art, is magnified and I am extremely focused. I have gotten a lot of productive work done while using it. I would however say that you should not rely on it to get into this state, but only somewhat frequently when the mind needs that extra push.
If we are to enter the void, the land of infinite ether, the Great Unknown. There is only one enemy: Your Fears. And a large part of the initiation process of higher learning in the occultism of self development requires the practitioner to battle his or her fears. This is the Atropos that cuts the cord of life. The cold hands of antithesis that fills your heart with black ice. So just remember. The only one who is preventing you from flying free is yourself…