Several months ago, I got the idea (from somewhere) of teaching some of my shamanic students how to make Flying Ointment for use in shamanic journeying. This is an herbal salve that helps in journeying by gently dissociating the awareness with the physical body. It turns out that there were quite a few folks interested in learning how to do this, so I put together a "playshop" on Sunday afternoon.
We began by going over the fundamentals of preparing an ointment: What to use as a base, how to determine the necessary quantity and balance of the active ingredients, how to preserve the mixture, and what dosage to use. Then we went up to our Temple room and journeyed to the Underworld, where we hung out with the plant spirits that we would be working with and I spoke with Grandfather about how much of each plant to use.
Each participant got to choose and pick one leaf from the datura plant. When we went back downstairs to the kitchen, while the lard was softening in the double boiler, we placed our intentions into those leaves and then added them, one at a time, to the liquid mixture on the stove.
The seeds of the plant were crushed in a mortar that I had last used for grinding woad, so we left the residue of the woad in which made a lovely blue color (and led to several smurf jokes).
The damiana was added as well and everyone took turns stirring their intention into the mass as it slowly cooked. When it was done, the whole mass was poured through cheese cloth and the liquid carefully squeezed out. This was then replaced in the double boiler and a small amount of beeswax added to add a bit of stiffness to the texture of the ointment, and a few drops of tincture of benzoin to preserve it.
Finally the preparation was carefully poured into the waiting jars and left to cool. This took significantly longer than expected, which may have had something to do with the weather, so we stuck them in the freezer until they firmed up.
Everyone seemed to have a good time and came away with a little jar of flying ointment, so I may even be talked into doing something like this again sometime.