Experiments in Infused Oils


I have three lengths of seasoned oak wood, which I am planning to join together to make into a stang.  A couple of months ago I realised that the wood, which should be oiled every year needed oiling urgently.  Seasoned wood needs to be oiled otherwise it will start to become brittle and snap.  Some people varnish the wood to seal the natural oils in, but at the time I was not sure what I wanted to do with the wood, so I plumped for oiling it.

I used olive oil, because it was what I had to hand.  The wood really drank the oil and I used a lot of olive oil, but what surprised me was the kinship I felt with the wood after oiling it.

I know some people say that you don’t need to oil the wood, but I think that by feeding it with olive oil and taking the time to care for it, you make a stronger bond with the spirit that resides in your wood.

A few weeks ago on a foraging (wildcrafting) expedition I picked some oak leaves to try to make an infused oil.  I used olive oil as my base.  If your infused oil is going to be used for healing purposes I advise you not to use olive oil as the olive oil that is bought for cooking has little medicinal value.

But in this case, the oil was not going to be used for medicinal purposes, and since I had used so much a couple of months ago, I erroneously thought that I was going to need a jam jar full of oil.  Other base oils such as almond and grapeseed are much more expensive and with the quantity I was making would have cost me around £10 for the base oil.

Infused oils are easy to make.  You pick some dry vegetable matter, chop it up and put it in a container and pour the base oil over it, making sure it covers the vegetable matter.  With normal base oils, such as almond and grapeseed you wait for three to four days, when the base oil will have taken on the smell and the spirit of the vegetable matter and then you remove the vegetable matter and you have an infused oil.  This oil took ten days to infuse, because until then it still smelt like olive oil.

Other witches do things like leave the oil and infusing matter in the sun or the moon for a various number of days.  I’m just starting to do infused oils, so I’m going slowly and keeping what works and discarding what doesn’t.  I will keep you updated with my experiments.

I made an oak infused oil for my wood because the wood itself is oak, and I wanted to remind the wood of what it is.  This is another reason why I used olive oil as a base for my infused oil, as I wanted an oil that has come from trees as it will remind the wood of what it is far better than a base oil from plant matter.

The oak infused oil worked much better than olive oil and the wood now feels much more of the characteristics of oak when I hold it : I can feel the strength and stamina oak has to stand up to almost anything, instead of it just being a piece of wood.

I have a lot of infused oil left over.  On reflection, I didn’t need as much to oil the wood as last time because the wood had already been oiled a month or so ago.  I have kept the infused oil, and will see if what they say about infused oil having degraded after six months is true.

Next time I plan to use sacred numbers in the making of the infused oil.  For example, I could gather nine, twenty seven or fifty oak leaves to make the oil.  All three are sacred numbers to the Irish.

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9 Comments

  1. sarasuperid said,

    October 20, 2010 at 9:51 pm

    I have experienced that olive oil goes rancid and makes things I made with it smell bad. Sometimes you can add something to the infusion that prevents spoilage.

    • October 21, 2010 at 4:31 pm

      I took a sniff of it now and it does have a rancid note in it. Oh well, I’ll just have to use a proper carrier oil next time.

      • sarasuperid said,

        October 22, 2010 at 11:45 pm

        The only wood oil that I saw for treating wood, was teak oil. However I couldn’t find any to buy.

      • October 23, 2010 at 9:55 pm

        Actually, I took a sniff of it now and it smelt fine, which shows what suggestion can do.

        Sara, I used Bertolli’s virgin olive oil – maybe it’s the type of olive oil you use? I know you can get some very high grades which are expensive. I was given some as a present by mate who lives in France.

      • sarasuperid said,

        October 26, 2010 at 5:33 pm

        It didn’t exactly go rancid right away. I use bertellis too. But it could be another ingredient you put in that helped preserve it. Luckily the smell of rancid olive oil isn’t so bad. And I will still use some things I mistakenly made it with in an pinch.

  2. October 23, 2010 at 10:34 am

    I have seen linseed oil sold in a store where I live. It’s what cricketers oil their bats with here, so I suggest you do a net search specifying Britain and you should get quite a few hits.

    • sarasuperid said,

      October 26, 2010 at 5:34 pm

      Yeah linseed oil is what I primarily use. But I was thinking you wanted oils from trees, right? Is linseed off a tree?

  3. sunny said,

    August 25, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    Hi, I know this is an old post but I wanted to leave some info I found online. I’m making a stang also, acually I’m making 3. One is oak, about 15in so I can leave it on my altar. One is pine, its about 10in, this one I planned on using for my healing altar. The third is a little over 3 ft tall, I found it on the beach after a thunderstorm. It more or less jumped out at me. I don’t know what type of wood it is,as it had no bark. But it had floated in the ocen and had been dried in the sun.
    I oiled it with bees wax, sice it was all I had at the time. Then I sealed it with a solution of 1 tablespoon white glue and 6 table spoons water. I finally bought some nice wood oil (forgot what its called) and plan on oiling it when the moon is new. It just seemed right to oil it during different moon phases.
    Sorry that was wordy. OK so Linseed oil, also known as flax seed oil, is a clear to yellowish oil obtained from the dried ripe seeds of the flax plant. But linseed oil doesn’t protect from moisture – something to keep in mind if using your stang outside. (Linseed oil has also been known to catch fire on its own, so be very careful with the rags when done).

    To keep your oil infusion from going rancid, just squeeze in a vitamin e capsule. This helps it stay fresher longer.


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