Recommended Essential Oil Brands

(One of the most infuriating things about having the blog down was that I’d just finished this huge post and couldn’t publish it. Here it is, at last.)

Google Analytics tells me what search terms bring people to my website. Far and away, the biggest term that leads people here is “essential oil scam.” Apparently, that blog entry I wrote on MLM scams involving essential oils is popular. Hint: the two companies I was talking about still exist, and are still roping people in with outlandish claims and even more outlandish prices.

But where to get essential oils if you don’t get them through the MLM market? As I’ve mentioned before, essential oils aren’t graded or tested, so if you lack your very own gas spectrometer, it can be hard to figure out what brands are of generally good quality.

First, the widely available oil companies. These are the companies that sell at the major natural food chain stores, at vitamin and natural health stores, new age shops, apothecaries, and the like. This is by no means an exhaustive list, just the companies I see a lot here in Chicago, whose oils I’ve used and found perfectly adequate for my (magical) needs. I do not participate in any affiliate marketing programs, nor have any of these companies ever sent me products for review or as a promotion.

Locally Available – most of these will contain an orifice reducer, which you’ll need to pop out if you’re using an eyedropper or pipette for oil measurement.

  • Aura Cacia – easy to find at Walgreens and Target, at least in the Midwest. Itsy bitsy 15ml bottles, but if you’re just starting out, very handy. Kind of pricey for 15ml, but you’re paying for the convenience of buying an essential oil at Target. As far as I can tell, perfectly acceptable oils.
  • Everyone Essential Oils – the basic oils (lavender, peppermint, etc.) in a .45oz bottle. 100% essential oils. Again, you’re going to pay for convenience, but not all that much. They sell blends of oils, but stick to the single-oil type for better control over your mixtures.
  • Nature’s Alchemy – I’ve only seen this one at the Vitamin Shoppe, but I’ve bought a few and found them to be decent quality. Not my first choice, but widely available.
  • Nature’s Truth – New to Walgreens, also available at Target. I don’t have much experience with this one. As far as I can tell, 100% pure essentials, not synthetic. Can’t speak to the quality, but easy to find. They sell blends like “Energy” and “Calming,” as well as roll-on bottles with a mix of sunflower seed oil and essential oil. Avoid those.
  • NOW Essential Oils – 1oz bottles, available pretty much everywhere, mostly in health food stores. Good quality, medium price point, easy to find. HOWEVER, their Jasmine oil is cut with fragrance oil. They say so in the ingredients, but not the brand to use for Jasmine.

Online Vendors – smaller bottles will have orifice reducers, which you’ll want to remove.

  • Camden-Grey – if you need more than 1oz and you prefer a very slick, professional experience, these are your people. Good product, but an extra step if you’re ordering more than 6oz or so. Camden-Grey ships in plastic bottles, because it’s cheaper. You’ll need to decant the oils after you get them, into glass containers. About 30% of my oils are from here, and all my carrier oils.
  • Edens Garden – easy to navigate page, reasonable prices, I’ve always found their oils to be good quality. They sell up to 100ml (just under 3.5oz) in some oils, 250ml (just under 8.5oz) in others.
  • Essential7 – they do use the “pure therapeutic grade” marketing twaddle, but they’re not an MLM and they deliver products of good quality at an excellent price, and they’re very pleasant to work with. Probably about 50% of my oils are from this company.
  • Mountain Rose Herbs – small company, relationships with their distillers, great quality. If I’m looking for a particularly delicate scent, this is where I go. Price reflects the care they take with the oils. If you’re buying in smaller amounts, a good choice. They also sell herbs.
  • Plant Therapy – available on Amazon, often with Prime Shipping. Very nice selection, solid quality assurance, and they’ve worked with essential oil guru Dr. Robert Tisserand to create a line of oils that are safe for use with kids (not that you’re slathering your offspring – or anyone else’s – with magical oils, but for diffusing and topical use of you buy into that). Good quality, decent value for the money, this is a good choice if you’re starting out and you have Amazon Prime and no local health food stores.

Of Note For Magicians
There will be oils that you’ll need that won’t be widely available, and best purchased from a magical oilmaker. When I need Galangal, for example, I can’t get that from bigger companies. I buy those oils from Harold Roth at Alchemy Works. He has a book coming out called “The Witching Herbs,” which I’ve already pre-ordered on Amazon. These oils are not cheap, but they’re worth it. He also sells herbs, seeds, resins and incense. Even the website is worth a thorough perusal, there’s lots of good information about oils and oil use there.

Suggestions? Comments? I’m happy to add to the list. Anyone touting the benefits of Young Living or DoTerra will be laughed right into the spam filter.

The Blog Is Back

If you were clicking on the blog link wondering WTF happened…..so was I, to be totally honest. There was something that happened with another domain I own, database users were changed as a precaution, a PHP thing had to be done and I had to wait until my web hosting service understood that I could not do this change for myself without breaking the whole site.
But! The blog is back, phew.
While it was dark, I did the Intro to Oils class on Facebook Live. Which has it’s limitations, but A) free and B) unlimited viewers. I am sorry if you don’t Facebook. Further classes will be on another platform.
In case you missed it, the class was in three parts, which all live on my Facebook Video Page. If you cannot access this, I’m working on getting the videos downloaded and putting them on the site, but Facebook does not make that easy. If it’s possible, I’ll do it an let you know.

Happy Thanksgiving, Americans. We are entering the holiday season, and I’m curating a list of vendors and products to post. As a wholesaler, I can’t offer sales, but a direct giveaway of some new-beginnings kinds of oils will be coming.

Registration Closed

Registration for the class is closed – a few people snuck in under the wire, so we’re at 34 people
I will be contacting those who registered closer to the date of the class to give some info and ask some more questions. If, at that point, someone tells me they’re no longer interested or can’t attend because of an impending apocalypse or something, registration will open up again and it’ll be announced here, on Facebook, and on Twitter.

Now all I have to do is figure out how not to break my – or anyone else’s – computer while running the class. Easy, right?

Class Updates

apothecaryjars2Last week, I opened registration for a free, online class in ritual oils.  Attendees would put up with technological errors for a free class.  It seemed like a pretty good idea – everybody gets something they want.  A few people might sign up so I could learn the tech.

21 people signed up in the first 48 hours and registrations are still arriving.  Apparently I should have been doing this before now.

I’ve taught short seminars and longer workshops at events.  I’ve rattled on for over an hour on multiple podcasts, radio shows, and even YouTube shows.  Yet I’m still convinced no one really wants to attend a class I’m teaching. There’s people that are better trained! Smarter! More magical!! More scientific! Taller!

But apparently people want to see if I can wedge Emmanuel Swedenborg, Philip K. Dick, Aleister Crowley, The Book of Exodus, The Golden Bough, twelve other esoteric references I haven’t thought of yet, a fire safety lecture and a guide to oil extraction and creation into an hour.

(I can’t, obviously.)

Anyway, almost all of those signed up have been kind enough to tell me what you want to know about oils, and while there were a few “….everything?” answers, most split right down the middle between looking for practical oil-making info, and looking for help doing magical work with oils.  Everyone who signed up for the class will get an email about this (that’s why I wanted an email addresses), but it’s being posted here as well:

The oil class will be in 2 parts.

7pm-7:45pm – The Practical: how oils are made, when they’re used, not used, mixed, not mixed, the difference between distilled, heat expressed and cold pressed oil, and how to ensure you’re making a magical oil and not  just a nice basil-infused olive oil for cooking. Batches vs. bottles, time, temperature, oxidation, expiration dates.  Probably a reminder on ways not to set yourself, ritual items, or house ablaze.

7:45-8:30 – Theory and Ritual: Why we use oils, when we use them, what we do when we use oils in magical and ritual practices. The various choices when making an oil, how to make your choice. Tables of correspondence (my faaaaaavorite oil topic, believe it or not) and the art of picking the correct scent/s.

This is just a general idea of what will be discussed.  Some of it might not fit in, some of it might be discussed in depth, but there’s a limit of 45 min per section.  While I’ll cover as much as I can without talking reallyreallyfast, YOUR topic might get skipped – if you don’t remember what’s important and ask via whatever means you’ll have for real-time questions.  Even then, I’m sorry to say, it might still get missed if we run out of time or it doesn’t fit within the planned topics – swerving from topic to topic for 90 minutes based only on questions might be possible, but it wouldn’t be coherent.

Due to the fact that people will be participating, and there’s only so many questions I can answer, we will be capping the class at 30 registrants. At the moment, you can still register here, but the form will stop accepting new registrations after we get to 30.

If what I’m talking about here doesn’t grab you and you’ve already registered, I am not going to be at all offended if you let me know this isn’t what you were looking for and un-register yourself.  This is ESPECIALLY aimed at the few of you who are advanced oil users in theory and practice, because I’ll be honest, you could probably teach this every bit as well as me.  I’ll add on a chat for the “this is how I do things, how do you do it?” crowd later in the month that will be restricted to a few people with a lot of experience.

It’s really exciting to see so many people interested in learning about oils, and thank you all for sharing what it is you want to learn about.

Free Ritual Oil Class

potion bottles No posts for several months, now two posts in a week.  It’s almost like it suddenly occurred to me that blogging exists.

After much back and forth and dithering, Quadrivium Oils is finally testing out an online class.

Our first class is free to anyone who registers. 

No signing up for a newsletter or sharing a post or retweeting anything. It’s just free.  The registration is required only so we know how many people are interested, their level of experience with ritual oils and ritual in general, and what they want to learn.  Not everyone is going to find the class useful, since it’s likely to be aimed at people looking to learn more about oils – why they’re used, how they’re made, and some of the ways they can be used in magical work.

The free part is due to the fact that people who spend a lot of time tinkering with oils may not necessarily be an expert in the technology used to do an online class.  There may be technical errors.  There may be a technological meltdown.  Anyone attending the class is most likely going to be forced to listen to me swear at the computer at least once.

The class is scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 13, at 7pm Central Standard Time.  The platform we’ll be using is likely to be Google Hangouts.  Register using this form, which will ask you for a little information about yourself and your practice, as well as your email, which will only be used if something about the class changes.

Electional Oils

If you’ve ever purchased any oils from Quadrivium Supplies, you know that we have two categories of oils: regular and electional.  Electional oils are more expensive, because they’re ritually made at certain times determined by an astrologer.  That’s the definition we give on our site, but since there’s this blog here, how about a more extensive explanation?

Electional astrology is the branch of astrology which identifies the most astrologically auspicious moments, the best astral configuration, for something to be done.  It’s distinct from horary astrology, where an astrologer will try to determine the answer to a question based on when the question was asked.  Electional astrology looks to find the most favorable astrological configuration possible for an event being planned.  It’s traditionally been used to plan battles, but also to determine the best date for weddings and other important life events. For example, when I was given a choice of three dates for my youngest child to be delivered, her birthdate was selected using electional astrology – the Quadrivium Supplies astrologer looked at the astrological configurations for each day and time, and I chose the most optimal one.

The ritual part of our electional oils comes in with the use of the Picatrix, which is a 12th century Arabic manual of ritual and astrological magic.  It has been suggested that the Picatrix is a handbook of “talismanic magic.”  Jean Seznac, a historian and mythographer, said of the book “[the] Picatrix prescribes propitious times and places and the attitude and gestures of the suppliant; he also indicates what terms must be used in petitioning the stars.”  There are four books to the Picatrix, and it uses what is known as “Chaldean” astrology to determine the position of planets and stars for the creation of talismans for particular purposes.

The Quadrivium Supplies astrologer, who is trained in Renaissance astrology and has studied and used the Picatrix extensively, created charts showing a number of “Picatrix elections,” or times when the planets and stars were in a particular alignment that, according to the Picatrix, was favorable to the creation of a certain kind of talisman.  Instead of creating talismans at this time, I modified the ritual talisman creation and created oils.  For example, during an election involving the star Antares that was favorable to the creation of talismans that would separate things or pull them apart, I created our Banishing oil.  The oil contains yew bark, which is considered an Antares-related substance, and the ritual was performed at the moment ordained by the Picatrix, using the ritual appeal from the text.  During a conjunction that involved the planet Venus, our Reconciliation oil was created, using ingredients that correspond to that planet, along with oils that are traditional for use in love and peace.

Electional oils are magical in their ingredients, like all magical oils, but also in their method and time of creation.  There is a huge amount of preparation that takes place in the creation of an electional oil, and one can only be created during the predetermined alignments – some of these alignments only happen every ten years or more.

So…..why bother?  Why get up at 3am and perform a ritual from the 12th century to create an oil?

For the same reason that the non-electional Quadrivium Oils are made on certain days at certain times, using planetary days and hours from Chaldean astrology.  It results in a more powerful oil.

Quadrivium Oils for Sale

You already knew they were for sale. But now some of them are for sale on Dr. J. Lee Lehman’s site – Dr. Lehman is a classical astrologer, who offers electional advice regarding use of the oils as well as the oils themselves.
You can view Dr. Lehman’s offerings here.

Ending Retail Sales

You may have noticed that you can’t buy oils via the website anymore.  That’s because Quadrivium Supplies has switched to wholesale-only sales, meaning that you will be able to buy the oils from the stores that carry them (and all the stores have online ordering capabilities), but not directly from the company.  The amount of time it takes to process a single order was a factor in this, as was the insistence by the state of Illinois that we charge Illinois sales tax to everyone who bought a retail oil from us.

We’re still HERE, available by phone and email to answer questions, and the switch is going to provide more time for Catherine to devote to education.  In the works are some videos on candle anointing, classes on oil magic and oil use, and Skype/phone consultations will be more available.

At the moment, three stores carry Quadrivium Oils.  We’d love for that number to increase, especially on the East and West Coasts – specifically, in Brooklyn and in the Bay Area, as we have pretty big customer bases there.  If you have a local occult or New Age shop, ask them to look into carrying our oils.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Essential Oils and Animals

This has nothing to do with ritual, magic, or anything esoteric, just one of my frequent freakouts over people using essential oils in dangerous ways.

My sister-in-law is a veterinarian in northern California, where a lot of people are really concerned with keeping things as natural as possible.  A few weeks ago, a dog died in her arms.  A perfectly healthy dog, whose owners had decided against a flea treatment like Frontline because of their concerns over pesticides.  They’d done some online research and discovered that certain essential oils can repel fleas, so they bought a bottle of pennyroyal essential oil and rubbed a small amount into the dog’s skin.

24 hours later, the dog died of liver failure brought on by pennyroyal poisoning.

This is not unusual, sadly.  Pennyroyal, which is extremely toxic to dogs, is touted in a ton of places online as a very effective flea deterrent.  Search “natural flea treatment” or “essential oils for fleas” on Google or Pinterest or almost anywhere you CAN search and someone will have helpful directions about using essential oils to treat a flea infestation.  Among the most popular – Pennyroyal.

“A 1992 study (Sudekum M et al, Pennyroyal oil toxicosis in a dog, JAVMA.1992) reported that .07 oz of pennyroyal essential oil was applied to a dog’s skin to help control fleas. “Within 1 hour of application, the dog became listless and within 2 hours began vomiting. At 30 hours after exposure, the dog exhibited diarrhea, hemoptysis (coughing up blood) and epistaxis (bleeding from the nose). Soon thereafter, the dog developed seizures and died. Histopathiologic (tissue) examination of the liver showed massive hepatocellular necrosis”. In other words, the dog died of liver failure.” [source]

.07 oz is less than half a teaspoon.

On the face of it, using essential oils to repel bugs is really sensible.  We use citronella candles with essential oil of citronella, after all, to keep mosquitos away.  People even use citronella sprays.  No big deal.  Plant based, natural, no dangerous pesticides.

Except one of those natural bug repellents is virulently poisonous, and less than half avteaspoon applied to the skin (not consumed, just rubbed on the skin) will kill a dog.  That part didn’t make it into the webpage or pinned recipe for flea repellent.

I have another post in the works on the many, many Pinterest recipes floating around, for human and animal use.  Put it on your skin, take several drops by mouth, diffuse it into the air so you/your kids/your pets/your guests can breathe it into their lungs.  Get the essential oil into your body, they say, because it’s natural and nontoxic and healthy and safe.

Essential oils are the most concentrated form of a plant that exists.  They can make humans and animals sick or dead.  MLM companies want to sell oils; the more you consume in more ways (skin, ingestion, diffuser, etc.), the more you’ll buy from them.  They are salespeople.  Not herbalists, aromatherapists, doctors, nurses, homeopaths, naturopaths, or anyone else who has been through training regarding the safety of essential oils.  Some of them are knowledgeable, I’m sure, but the are first and foremost salespeople trying to sell you something.

Be careful.  Please.  Essential oils are strong, and they can make people and animals very ill, or even kill them.  Never base your use of oils on a salesperson’s pitch, an essential oil company’s instructions, or something you found on Google or Pinterest.  If you’re interested in essential oil use, learn from a qualified program before you use them on yourself, your dog, your kid, or your clients. These pet deaths (the dog my sister-in-law saw was just one of many households pets sickened or killed every year when people try to treat a problem with herbs or oils) are completely avoidable.  Not one of those animals had to die.  They were victims of a “natural medicine” craze that turns salespeople into instructors, advising their customers on the use of oils to maximize their own profits.

 

Essential Oils STILL Not Medicine

The most popular entry on this blog remains the one I wrote on multi-level marketing of essential oils and the outlandish claims and insane price markups that these companies were peddling.
Anyway, if you’re interested in the topic, you know that the FDA formally reprimanded a number of MLM essential oil companies for making claims that their oils were medical treatments. Which, of course, they’re not. A lot of these MLM companies make (or have made in the past) claims about FDA certification, lab testing, purity standards, national certifications, oil grades, and other marketing inventions. I went poking around today to see if there was anything new that I hadn’t run across on the topic, and found a blog called “The Fraud Files” that’s run by a forensic accountant. She did an entry earlier this year on the essential-oils-as-medicine claims and does a fairly good takedown of the MLM company claims and insinuations.
You can read it here.
(as an aside, I really don’t want to hear from any more DoTerra or Young Living reps accusing me of being a shill for the FDA, or hating essential oils, or claiming that I hate holistic medicine, need Jesus in my heart, or that I’m basically a terrible person for thinking MLM essential oil companies are deeply offensive to anyone who’s in the essential oil/ritual oil business – I’ve got plenty of correspondence on the topic, I’ve even published some of the comments, but I’m tired of reading the crazy and you’re not changing my mind by ranting at me.)