I'm currently putting together a short "playshop" for some of my students to learn how to make a flying ointment – a salve that assists in leaving the physical body to journey otherworld. As much as I'm looking forward to working with the plant spirits, I'm really going to enjoy puttering around in the kitchen with my friends for the afternoon. That said, it occurs to me that I need to start reacquainting myself with the necessary spirits so that I am ready to do the work. In the past, I've found to my chagrin that spirits are much like people in that they don't appreciate it if you only come calling when you want something.
Once I get back in touch with the spirits of the plants, I will need to begin exploring the specifics of the recipe, which tend to vary from one batch to the next. The quantity of each herb in the mix depends on the strength of that plant when it is harvested, relative to the other ingredients. This is further complicated by the fact that the main active ingredient is being cultivated by one of my apprentices rather than in my own garden. So I think she will have an opportunity to get to know that one a bit better before our kitchen encounter.
I have a somewhat strange sense of anticipation about this – possibly because I've never mixed up an ointment with a group. This has always been a very internal and solitary part of my practice, and in a very real way, the person I was when I last did this no longer exists. So this will be new in more ways than one.