Traditionally, you should seek for a mandrake (to give it its English name) of the opposite sex to your own. This isn't entirely necessary, however, the main concern being that when you find one, you carve it to represent the sex opposite to your own.
There are two genera of plants which traditionally go by the name of mandragore: The Mandragora officinalis which belongs to the class of Solanaceae, and the English mandrake, white bryony, or Bryonia dioica, belonging to the class Cucurbitaceae. Solanaceae is the family which includes such plants as the tomato and potato, while the Cucurbitaceae include the cucumber and the gourd. Also among the Solanaceae are included such old-time favourite witch poisons as dwale (deadly nightshade), enchanters' nightshade, and the devil's-apple, or Datura stramonium. The latter is better known in the United States as Jimson weed. Mandragores may be made from the roots of all these, but great care should be taken as they all can be extremely poisonous. The English mandrake (white bryony) is preferable for this reason, and just as traditional.
Here is the method of preparation:
On a day when the moon is waxing, preferably just after the new moon, sometime between the winter solstice and the vernal equinox, look for your mandrake in a hedgerow or piece of wasteland. That night, making sure you are not observed, draw a deosil circle with your Athame around the plant and, using the knife as a digging implement, loosen the earth around the root. Without injuring the main section of the root, gently draw the plant from the soil. You will probably have to tug quite hard, and you may even hear the traditional "groaning" of the root as it leaves the earth.
You must now trim the foliage of the plant off the main stem, leaving a small piece of root adhering to it. This you should replant where you took the original mandrake from.
The major portion of the root you must take home and, with your Athame blade, carve on it the features of a doll the opposite sex to your own. While you carve, repeat over and over some such phrase as: "Guard this home in Hertha's name."
The carving should take the form of an accenting of salient features of the root. You must then replant the root in either a churchyard or a place where two paths meet or cross. This ensures maximum potency. Failing either of these two locations, any patch of soil convenient to you will do. Prior to replanting, you should again draw a deosil circle in the soil. Now for the next lunar month, twenty-eight days from when you initially uprooted it, you must water the plant regularly. Some witches use a mixture of distilled water and blood, others that of distilled water and milk. In either case the distilled water should predominate over the other liquid in a proportion of about twelve parts to one, making thirteen in all.
When the lunar month has elapsed and midnight is approaching, draw your circle around the spot where the root is buried and dig it up again with your Athame. You will find, if you are lucky, that most of the carving scars will have healed over with new bark, and your mandrake will appear to have actually grown in the shape of a mannikin.
To complete your operation, you should clean the root and either dry it thoroughly in a heated oven containing the smoke of vervain leaves or pass it daily through an incense smoke of vervain burned in your thurible. The latter method takes about three months to complete since the root dries very slowly. If you can't obtain vervain (Verbena officinalis), the lemon-scented variety of garden verbena works just as well.
When all is accomplished, keep the magistellus in a place as close to your hearth as possible or in the room you use most.
The other type of magistellus I propose to discuss is the alraun.
To make one of these, the purpose of which is identical to that of the mandragore, you must first find a witch tree or quickbeam. In Europe this is known as a rowan or mountain ash. Witch lore holds its wood to be most powerful in matters of countermagic, and it is traditionally the wood from which the stake for dispatching vampires was made.
The world tree of Teutonic legend, Yggdrasil, is considered by some authorities to have been the rowan, which ties in with the Cabalistic notion of its being the original tree of life.
Traditionally, the alraun was a device used by warlocks rather than witches. The time of year for its composition differs in no way from the mandragore. You must first seek out your rowan tree, and on the night of the waxing moon, draw a circle around it deosil with your Athame, declaring your intention to compose an alraun in Hertha's name. Having done this, water the tree for a full lunar month with the same mixture as used for the mandragore, mentally selecting a reasonably thick branch for carving and declaring your intent each time you do it. At the end of the month, you must sever the selected branch with your Athame, and carve it into a small female image, anything between five to twelve inches long, using a similar spoken charm as the mandragore one while you work away at it. When you are finished, cure the image in vervain smoke. Now to complete the operation, you must sleep with the alraun in your bed at the full moon, looking to it for that night, as the old books put it delicately, "as your wife." Enough said.
Like the mandragore, the alraun should be enshrined near the hearth to complete the spell and initiate its protective activity.
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