Teas 101: Tea Magic and Potion Crafting

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scaravich
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Teas 101: Tea Magic and Potion Crafting

Post by scaravich »

Hey friends :) I am a tea connoisseur and study tea magic and am trying to create a 'school' of tea magic (as in, a way of thought, not a place to study).

First, I want to clarify some terms as how I will use them, and how you can use them when talking in detail about tea to avoid being ambiguous or confusing:

tea - This is reference to the actual tea plant (Camelia sinensis... not sure if I spelled that right, but it's close lol). This can reference the plant itself, the processed plant/herb (what is brewed to make a drink), or a drink made from brewing it. All of this is 'tea.' True 'tea' as you will.

infusion - The act of using hot water to pull oils &c from ingredients into the water. Creates broths, teas, etc. This word can also refer to the actual broth/tea/drink/potion.

herbal tea - Anything brewed in the same method as you would brew the tea plant to make tea, but not actually made with the tea plant. Because of this discrepency, I like to refer to these drinks as 'infusions' and not 'teas' or 'herbal teas' because they are, by definition, not exactly 'tea.' (It's a lot like calling a spider a 'bug' -- and since I'm trying to talk specifically about tea, I'd rather not use confusing or ambiguous language).

flavored tea - Mixing tea leaves with other ingredients. For example, putting some dried strawberries into your tea leaves then brewing it to make a strawberry tea. This is a flavored tea.

scented tea - Tea leaves that have absorbed the oils of other plants, usually by a process of 'bathing' the leaves in them. For example, to create most jasmine tea, jasmine leaves are placed over the tea leaves, and left to sit. The leaves absorb the jasmine oils and then the tea leaves contain both the jasmine and tea oils, releasing both when infused.

processing - When referring to tea, processing does not mean injecting with chemicals and trudged through a factory. Processing refers to the actions done to tea before it is brewed. For example, what makes black tea is the process of fermentation -- the leaves sit and then are fired/fried/etc. to stop the fermentation. Whereas a tea like white tea is steamed as soon as it is picked so it does not ferment. The exact process (hence the word!) that is used is referenced by the tea's processing, or how it is 'processed.' So when someone says black tea is more processed than green tea, it doesn't mean modified by chemicals or something like that.

And that's it for definitions :)

Now, onto the classification of tea, their physical properties, and their magical correspondences.

CLASSIFICATIONS

Tea can be classified into 'classes,' 'groups,' or 'grades' depending on when it is picked, how it is processed, etc. It is all the exact same plant, just grown, raised, picked, processed, etc. in different ways :) In general, the tea plant is said to have a fire affinity. However, in its time, before drinking, tea is greatly exposed to and empowered by all four elements... and with your help, you can imbue your own spirit and direct other energies into it as well.

In general, there are four, though many of these four classes can be broken down. Tea processing has also become more advanced so even more kinds of teas are made, and groups have been broken down even further. For drinking, selling, etc., you may want to use all of these extended definitions, but for magical purposes and potion-crafting, you don't need to worry about why there are 23502938598 names for classes of tea. Of course, where a tea is grown and exactly how it is processed is important, but you only need to 'lump' them into four main groups for basic correspondences.

The four main classes of tea can be viewed as relating to the cycles of the moon and the wheel of the year. I will explain with each of the four types, starting with white tea:

White Tea - White tea is the least processed of teas. It is picked when the leaves are very young buds. Because it can only be picked during this 'baby' stage, it is quite rare. Because it is picked during the 'early' phase and is still growing, we can see its relation to the spring season. It is a masculine tea with an air affinity, and the strongest connection to the moon. White teas are very pure, so they are great for purification and protection. They also relate with clarity, realization, meditation, cleansing, and connection to the Goddess or spirits. You can easily see this in their look (the tea will be very clear and lightly-colored). They are also a tea of new beginnings. Associated colors are white, silver, and yellow.

Green Tea - Green tea is more processed than white tea, and is picked later as well. However, it's not as aged as other teas, making it still a very 'youthful' tea. There are many varieties. Green tea inspires many cultures, and has led to much passion. Naturally, this is because green tea is a masculine tea with a fire affinity, and a tea of summer. It is also a tea of physical healing. Green tea is also great for the conscious mind, passions, sexual health and magic, energy, and love. It's a tea of progress and moving forward. Associated colors are red, blue, and green. (I know, weird.)

Oolong Tea - Oolong is when tea is no longer youthful, but processed enough that it is starting to ferment. We can see this in the autumn season as well (when oolong tea happens to taste the best, too!) Oolong is a feminine tea of the water affinity, and is a tea of reflection. It is a tea of meditation, wisdom, and deep concentration. It is a tea of romance and beauty, feelings and friendship. It is a very calming and soothing tea, and has a very interesting taste. It also is good for digestion and breaking down foods -- it is a mealtime tea. Associated colors are blue, brown, and purple.

Black Tea - Black tea is the most fermented ad processed of all teas. At this point, the tea gets shriveled and black in color, sometimes with "golden" tips (called 'tippy' teas). It no longer looks like the tea plant at all. This relates to the winter season. Black tea is a feminine tea with the earth affinity. Perhaps this is why it has such a rich, earthy taste. It is a tea of nature, a tea of strength and stability. It is also a tea of endings, a tea of death, a tea of closing. Because of this, it's good for expelling and removing unwanted or negative energies. Associated colors are black, green, and orange.

There is also a tea called "Puerh" tea that is a post-fermented black tea. You can think of it as a mead of teas, or a wine of teas! Though it is not alcoholic. Because of this, I tend to consider it the most divine of teas, and a tea of the aether/spirit element. I think the cumulation of all the energies of the other teas comes together in this type of tea :) Quality varies greatly and a true and good puerh tea is very rare and valuable.

I was going to post about brewing methods and stuff, but I have to go now. So perhaps I will post about that later :) Hopefully this gives you a little insight into the very basic magical properties of tea, and how you can use different types of tea to enhance your potions and teas properly. Most of this I have found simply from being a lifelong tea-drinker, connoisseur, and meditating on tea and using it in my own ritual. It pretty much lines up with the elements and wheel of the year, so it's not hard to find the inferences. But you'd be surprised how much their physical properties line up as well... tea was definitely a creation of the divine :) There is a reason it is the oldest drink on the Earth besides water, and why it sprung up in every culture across the world across history!

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Re: Teas 101: Tea Basics & Correspondences

Post by -Dark-Moon- »

Great post, look forward to reading more....
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EbonySunset
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Re: Teas 101: Tea Basics & Correspondences

Post by EbonySunset »

Very interesting! Thanks for that post!

scaravich
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Re: Teas 101: Tea Basics & Correspondences

Post by scaravich »

Thanks, both of you :) I have finished cooking and eating dinner so I'm back now. I have to leave again in about an hour, though.

So I'll talk a little about brewing tea now.

BREWING METHODS & CRAFTING A TEA SPELL

There is not much to brewing tea other than putting hot water on it. Tea will become bitter and 'burned' if you brew it too long or too hot. However, some people thing this astrengency is the true essence of tea. If you don't mind the bitterness, you can overbrew tea by brewing it longer to release more energy from it. But just be warned it can be very bitter, and a true connoisseur does not drink it like this except to test for quality :)

Anyway, some basics... oolong and black teas can be brewed at a higher temperature and white and green teas need a lower temperature. Oolongs can brew for longer than blacks. Greens are usually the most sensitive and some even brew for as little as thrity seconds.

Lastly, make sure you use full-leaf, fresh tea. Teabags very rarely have whole leaves in them (they are usually the scraps of dust swept up off the floors of sifters after the actual tea has been sorted for use) plus they carry all kinds of other things -- they often have preservatives, artificial flavors and ingredients, and weird chemicals in the bag and string that are going to be in your water infusing along with the tea itself. Fresh tea is actually very easy to get, easy to work with, and is cheaper than buying teabags if used properly (your can brew the same serving of tea leaves several times... I usually use my tea leaves up to 6-8 times before they lose their flavor... this also means they store energy as well. That's why you can overbrew them to get all the energy out, and ruin the future flavor, but you'll have a very strong tea or potion. You can't do this with teabags because the tea is just powder/dust and chemicals, which do not retain oils like a leaf... and probably won't retain energy as well either).

In general, one teaspoon of tea (I don't measure at all, just scoop with a little wooden spoon) to one cup of water (again, no need to measure exactly, as long as you can tell about what 8oz of water is) is a good proportion for brewing.

So here are the steps to brewing tea to make magic tea or potions with them. This is just an outline! When creating a tea spell or ritual, of course, make it your own. This is just a general of idea of what all needs to go into it, so you don't craft a spell or ritual and start to perform it and realize you weren't prepared, or have under-energized tea or potion in the end.

1. Prepare your materials. Generally for the tea you will need water, a way to heat the water (tea kettle), a vessel to brew the tea (tea pot), the tea and herbs you wish to brew, something to contain the tea after it has brewed (tea cup or chalice), and something to store the tea or potion in if you're not going to be drinking it immediately.

2. Do anything you would normally do before preparing for spellwork or ritual. This is highly individualized, so I won't go into detail. Since you are working with ingredients and making something to be consumed by the body, I recommend purifying and cleansing yourself before starting with ritual bathing. But yeah, take your normal routine and put it here. Cast your circle, call your deities, etc. and get ready for some spellwork. I think potions work best when a lot of energy is raised and they are created during ritual. It's not just the mixing of ingredients that makes a potion!

3. Recharge and consecrate your tea tools. If this is your first time, you may want to perform some kind of initial consecration, as you should devote tea tools to spellwork the same way you do any of your other magical tools. You will want a magical teapot, teaspoon, teakettle, teacup, etc.! Anyway, recharge them at this point.

4. Once you have done everything you have done to begin your spell/ritual, it is now time to bless your tea and imbue it with energy. Consecrate your tea and put any energy into it that you want. Only do this for the portion of tea you will be brewing. If you are using a basket or something, it's okay to put the portion of tea into the basket and consecrate and imbue the basket as well :)

5. Bless and purify your water now. I like to use water that has been exposed to the moon's light, especially a full moon. Of course, the entire batch doesn't have to be this. I keep a little around to add to the water to bless and purify it.

6. Heat your water. While your water is heating, raise energy. Depending on the spell and type of tea you are making, you can do this in various ways. Again, this is personalized. But since heating water takes a while, and it is the water and heat that will pull the energy from the tea, it is the best time to raise energy. Also, you can continue to raise energy after the water is hot, just as long as you don't let it all turn into steam and float away :)

7. Once you have raised energy and feel ready to start brewing, put your tea in your teapot (if it wasn't already in there) and pour the water over it. For proper tea brewing, you want your "countdown" to start as soon as the first drop of water touches a leaf of tea. As any longer, it would overbrew. Of course, if you're overbrewing to really pull out ALL the energy in the tea, feel free to ignore the timing aspect :) But if you're timing it, start your timer just as you start pouring. You can also forego the timer and use chanting or meditation to count the time, just make sure you're good at accurate timing.

8. While the water is in the tea, use all the energy you raised and focus it on your infusion. Your energy will go into the water and pull the energies out of the tea, creating the potion or tea that you will drink later (or give to someone to drink). This part is important, so really concentrate and use a lot of visualization. After all the energy was raised, you now will be calm and focused. While focusing all the energy into the water, releasing the energy from the leaves, visualize your focus (like, if this is a potion to help you sleep well, imagine yourself resting peacfully and seeing sweet dreams. Imagine the energy of that vision being pulled from the leaves.)

9. When the tea has been infused both physically and magically, remove the tea from the teapot if you're using a basket or satchel. Then pour into your teacup. If you were using something like yixing, just pour. If you are using yixing and are planning to drink now, don't worry about pouring or removing tea and skip this step.

10. Now that the tea is in the teacup, you should be able to feel great energies coming from within! Now that your infusion is complete, now you can do things like consecrate it as a completed product, or ask your deities to bless it, thank your deities, etc. Take some time to rest and relax, feeling the heat of the tea, looking at the color of it, smelling the aroma, etc. If you like to listen to or play music in ritual, now is a good time to do this. Use relaxing music! Essentially, after a vigorous exercise of energy, you're now cooling off and resting. Now is a good time to meditate on what you've learned or felt during your spell or ritual, and what you're aiming to accomplish with your tea.

11. Now is time to either drink or store your tea! You should have done step 10 until the cup is now at least cooled enough to touch. Even if it is still very hot, as long as you can pick it up without feeling pain, it is good. If it is still too hot, the tea is still not ready, and the energies are still jumping around and looking for a place to settle. Continue to rest and settle with them :) If you're storing your tea, pour it into your bottle or whatever you're using. If you're drinking it now, you can create your own ritual around drinking. You can finish up your rite now, closing your circle and everything. You don't have to drink the tea in the circle. I like to take my tea outside and sit in the grass and drink it if I am drinking immediately. It's always great to enjoy your tea or potion in nature. Of course, if you're using it for a specific purpose, find a time and location that is best for that.

And that's how to create a spell or ritual for making tea :) Of course, you'll want to use your own methods of doing everything I described -- this is just a framework. Because you're imbuing energies into tea, I find it's always more helpful to brew and create tea during a waxing or full moon. If it's a tea to dispel energies (like a tea that gets rid of nervousness or nightmares or something), still create it during the waxing or full moon, imbuing it with positive energies, then drink it during a waning moon :) If you want to do it all at once, it's still fine to do it any time of the lunar cycle. I just thin it's more effective this way. Also, I've found that sex magic/sex ritual is the best way to raise energy for a lot of teas, because you raise energy during the heating phase, and tea is at its base a fire element herb. Plus the way water heats and eventually boils and becomes steam is symbolic of the way that sexual stimulation starts cool and heats up to a climax. However, not everyone is comfortable with sex magic/ritual, so like I said, this is just a framework and you should make it your own.

And now I have to go again, but next time I post, I will post about the magical tools you will need for tea ritual. There is more than what is listed here, and the type of tea pot, cup, etc. you use is very important IMO. There are certain types of pots that can actually store energy with great capacity, and you should use those for strong potions and teas.

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Re: Teas 101: Tea Magic and Potion Crafting

Post by -Dark-Moon- »

I went to a tea ceremony in Japan once. It was so beautiful and so precise.

Do you draw on Eastern ideas at all?
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scaravich
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Re: Teas 101: Tea Magic and Potion Crafting

Post by scaravich »

Yes! I have been to tea ceremony too. It is an amazing experience. I have degrees in both Japanese and Korean language and culture, and I ran a tea shop for a while that specialized in Asian teas and tea culture. One of the things that drew me to Wicca actually was a fascination with Shintoism, along with my mixed Irish and Native American heritage.

On my altar, I use a Japanese tea cup as my chalice a cherrywood container of gyokuro as a representation of the fire element.

A lot of the symbolism and healing properties I find in tea are inspired by a mix of western nutrition science and eastern medicine tradition.

I would type more but I am actually at a brass band rehearsal on my phone haha.

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Re: Teas 101: Tea Magic and Potion Crafting

Post by -Dark-Moon- »

I love Japanese culture, I lived there for a couple of years ... The temples are especially amazing, loved Kyoto and the cherry blossoms in omotesando dori in Tokyo ... Used to ride my bike through the graveyard there with the blossoms flying through the air.... Such a rich culture and magical place.

Irish Cherokee huh? I can see why you are a spiritual creature...
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scaravich
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Re: Teas 101: Tea Magic and Potion Crafting

Post by scaravich »

That is wonderful :) I think cherry blossoms are such a beautiful sight, they can feel very magical. Japan does indeed have a great culture and as a whole they are sensitive to and celebrate the seasonal changes a lot I think :)

Now that I am back from my rehearsal, I'm going to talk about brewing tools. Mostly about teapots, but other things as well.

These are the tools you will use in tea preparation. I recommend having special tea tools that you use specifically for magic and tea crafting. It's not completely necessary, but I would treat them how you treat any other magical tool.

Anyway, here are the things you will need to brew tea:

TEA TOOLS

Tea Kettle - This is for heating water. A lot of people don't realize, but there is a difference between a tea kettle and a tea pot. A tea kettle is a vessel that gets hot and heats water. A tea pot is a vessel that is for brewing tea. Often, tea pots cannot withstand the heat of a fire or stove. Kettles are made to get very hot, but pots are not. Tea is not meant to be brewed in boiling water or hotter. I feel like the best tea kettles for magic are ones with loud whistles :) There are a variety of ketles, though, some don't have whistles, and you can even get electric kettles and water heaters that can do this job, too. I have a water heater that keeps about 4 liters of water hot all day, right at the temperature perfect for making oolong tea. Because I drink tea all day long :) But it's not the kettle I use during tea magic.

Choose a kettle that speaks to you. The kettle will represent the fire element in your ritual, so choose one that is firey if that suits you. You can also choose to make all your magic tea tools match each other. For practical reasons, choose a kettle that has a guard on the handle so it does not get hot, and one that allows you to lift the cover on the spout without touching the metal. This prevents burns. Also one where the guard on the handle is near the back is good so steam does not rise up and burn your fingers.

Tea Pot - Like explained, a tea pot is different from a tea kettle. There are many types of pots, and I will go into which you can use later. You can also use your cauldron or even just make single servings of tea in your tea cup (you will need to use satchets or baskets for this). I think it's important to have many of these, as they can serve different purposes. The material they are made out of is very important. Tea pots are often made of clays, sometimes ores and metals. They also are a symbol of stability. Thus the tea pot is going to be your representation of the earth element in your ritual.

Tea Service (optiona) - If you are serving tea to a group to perform groupwork magic, you may want a service. In a lot of western culture, tea is not served from the tea pot, but from a serving pot. You do not brew tea and serve it from the same vessel. In many eastern cultures, however, you can use the same pot. I use the same pot, unless I am brewing from yixing (which I would not normally use for groups/serving anyway). I don't use or own a tea service, but many people like having this. A service usually includes 4 to 6 cups (eastern tradition usually is 5, western tradition is often even numbers 4 or greater), saucers for all of the cups, a serving pot, a tray (sometimes two trays -- one to carry between rooms/tables and one to place on the table), and possibly even a serving pot of milk or cream and a serving bowl with sugars. I don't use any of these things. When I serve tea, I do so informally. I do have a small service set with two cups for serving a single guest, but I have yet to use it.

Tea Cup - Tea cups are also a very important part of your tea tools! Tea is not made to be had in large cups, but rather kept hot in a tea pot or serving pot and constantly refilled as needed. Of course, you can use what feels right to you anyway. In eastern tradition, tea cups have no handles and are made to be lifted with both hands. It is said that if a tea cup is too hot to handle, it is not ready to drink. In western tradition, tea cups have handles and are placed on saucers. The focus is on service and style. I strongly prefer the eastern tradition, but a lot of Wicca is western-influenced, so choose what seems right to you. You can even use your favorite coffee mug. Think about the material it is made out of. Try not to use plastics or the like. Ceramic cups are very common and traditional. Glass makes an interesting choice and allows you to see the color of the tea. Metal cups exist, including cast iron cups. These can help keep tea hot but in my experience it just makes it take longer before you can drink it. Use this if you really like metals or would like to spend a lot of time meditating. Tea is ok to drink even as it cools. You do not have to drink it all up while it is piping hot. Though it's good to start while it's still hot. Anyway, think of the tea cup like your chalice of tea tools. It represents the water element. I actually use a specially decorated glass tea cup as my chalice in my regular altar. This is not the same one I use for tea magic, of course... though the one I use for tea magic is a matching cup in a different color :) My tea cup is blue. Pick one that speaks to you.

Tea Spoon - A tea spoon is like it sounds... a spoon that scoops tea. And surprise, the amount of tea a tea spoon scoops is equal to 1tsp! This is actually where the name 'teaspoon' comes from. As you can see, tea is influential in culture and even defines words and measurements :) (Though a similar measurement existed before we called it teaspoon). Anyway, the tea spoon is used only for scooping the dry tea leaves and other herbs and putting them into your basket/pot/satchet/etc. It is not for stirring or getting wet. I recommend using one made of bamboo, as it is a natural disinfectant, and you will have no need to wash it (as tea will leave no mess on it anyway). The spoon or scoop represents the element of air in your tea magic. You can also use it in the same way you would use a wand.

Miscelaneous Tools - You can use tongs or chopsticks to pick up a hot basket or satchet from the water without rising burning yourself. Some people attach strings to satchets and simply use their fingernails to pick up baskets. Some baskets have handles you can just pick up. I have a small bamboo tongs, but I don't consider it a magical tool.

Another important item can be a whisk. When stirring ingredients into a tea after brewing it (such as honey, matcha, milk, etc.) you can use a whisk, also made of bamboo. There are whisks made just for this purpose, often associated with Japanese tea ceremony. For thicker things like honey you might want a thicker whisk or metal one. It is better to use a whisk than a spoon. A whisk will help everything mundane and magical mix more evently rather than just sloshed around. Whisk deosil, not widdershins!

And if you are storing your teas in flasks/bottles/whatever, you will of course need those, too. The kinds with corks are good. Teas are sensitive potions and should be consumed within 3-5 days at the most after brewing, to preserve both taste and the energies within.

Other tools can be used. If you are using matcha, you will need a chashaku. I am not going to go into any other tools now. If you find you need one after you start performing tea magic, go ahead and add it. Think about what it represents to your overall set when choosing a tool.

TYPES OF TEA POTS!!

This is one of the most important sections! There are many different kinds of tea pot. Metal, clay, fancy ceramics, plastic, whatever. You can buy many different ones, and even make them yourself. I do not make my own teapots. It is very difficult.

There are two types of teapots I would especially like to recommend. Not only do both of these types have a rich culture and history, but they have some special properties that make for good use in magic. Neither should be washed, other than being flushed with fresh water after use.

Yixing - Yixing pots are made from Yixing clay which is a special kind of porous clay from Yixing, China. This type of teapot has been around for over 5000 years and is an important part of Chinese tea culture. When you hear about Chinese tea culture and what may be considered old Chinese tea magic, you can bet yixing pots are used. The Chinese believe that tea originated in China (though the concept of tea appeared in all cultures well before documented history).

What is special about this kind of pot, besides its rich history which you can research on your own, is that it actually absorbs some of the tea every time you use it. When you are using magically charged tea, this of course means it's absorbing and retaining that energy, as well! This means every time you use the pot, it becomes even more powerful. The longer you keep using your pot, you will have a stronger and stronger pot and will be able to make some very potent potions.

Because it actually retains some of what was in it, there are a few things to be careful of. One, never try to wash it. Flush it out with fresh, clean water when you are done. Use hot water. Secondly, always use the same type of tea with the same type of purpose. Because it's retaining the previous energy, mixing different teas with different types of energy and charges can lead to dissonance that is unwanted, weakening your spells. It can also ruin the flavor of the pot -- as it retains some of the flavor of the tea, as well.

Because of this special quality, after years of regular use, you can actually pour hot water in your pot and it will taste like tea! You can easily use your pot to get a "quick fix" of energies this way without having to brew a potion -- the energy has been stored up for you :) It's not very strong just putting water in, as it will still keep most of the energy stored, but you can get a little out of it this way.

Also, what is unique about these pots is they often have a filtered spout and are typically quite small. This is because they are not meant for serving or pouring into a tea cup. These pots actually are meant for drinking straight from the spout! This kind of tea drinking was used by Chinese monks and scholars to help them focus. You can use it to help focus your energies. Because the energy you put into the water pulls out the energy of the tea, and the tea simply floats freely in the pot as you drink, the energy is never lost and is retained in the pot. You can imagine how powerful the energies can become, especially after you have a strongly energized pot that you've been using for a long time!

Because you need to devote one pot to one kind of tea and one kind of purpose, I recommend not going to overboard with these unless you are a serious collector with a lot of money. If you want to use them for magic, only buy them for something you think you will do often. It's not worth it, IMO, to buy a yixing for a spell you may only cast once or twice in your life or a unique potion you only ever make once. But rather, let's say you like to make a protection or self-blessing potion or use tea in a protection or blessing ritual that you plan to do every full moon. Or perhaps you want to make a tea that you will empower with the energies of the Lord and Lady or your patron/matron deity/ies to help strengthen your relationship with them, and would drink this regularly in ritual. Yixing is great for this because it will get more and more powerful as you use it.

You can get these in all kinds of designs, including ones shaped like deities and other magical creatures like dragons and fairies. You can get ones with all kinds of symbolism. A lot of them derive inspiration from nature (shaped like trees, leaves, animals, etc.) I have a frog pot, plum blossom pot, etc. They are beautiful works of art. Because I think art is channeling the divine, I feel this makes them already have magical qualities even before you use them. They are always hand-made pieces, as well, made by artisans who devote their life to mastering the craft.

Because of its nature (drinking from the pot, powering up, etc.) I feel that yixing is best used for ritual tea drinking, in which you brew and drink the tea yourself as part of the ritual or spell. Which brings us to the other kind of pot...

Tetsubin-Kyusu - This is a special kind of pot with a lot of history as well. These are Japanese pots and were once a status symbol. They are made of cast iron. They are said to brew tea better because they retain heat while brewing, not lowering temperature as much while the tea is infusing into the water, giving a "fuller" brew. Because of this, they can pull more energy from the leaves with each brew as well.

While yixing gets more powerful over time with a focus, tetsubin-kyusu can get you the most out of your very first brew of a specific infusion. So you can use it for any purpose at all. Instead of a porous clay that absorbs tea, the enamel on the inside of these pots builds up a petina layer of mineral deposits from tea. It's not absorbing the tea itself, but this helps the pot become healthier and stay energized.

These pots are also made in a variety of sizes, including large ones for serving many people. They include a basket/infuser that is put into the pot to infuse the tea, and can be taken out after it has finished. Because they are metal, you can heat them with a small candle (tea lights -- guess where that name came from!) to keep the tea warm for a long period of time (hours!). This is great for performing long rituals or meditations.

These pots also have a long history of artisanship -- though not as old as Yixing. Tetsubin is taken very seriously in Japan, and people devote their life to mastering the craft. There are very few people in Japan who are considered true masters of testubin.

While the shapes of tetsubin do not vary as much as Yixing, they come in a variety of colors and have many different artworks on the outside. These are part of the molded shape. The traditional pot has small bumps that represent a samurai's armor. They are a black shape and are a symbol of strength. The eastern and western color correspondences can be a little different, so feel free to use whichever you want. Often the pots are colored to give them different energies. You will see a lot of Japanese symbolism and spirituality in these pots' designs, so study it before choosing a pot. They are also very expensive so choose carefully. However, the pots will never rust, break, or wear down with usage (as long as you're not taking a sledgehammer to it or throwing it in a volcano or leaving tea in it for days on end, it should be fine).

Tetsubin are great for any occasion, and what I would recommend as your main pot. You can use the yixings when you have a specific purpose.

Your Cauldron - If you use a cauldron in your spellwork, this could be a tool you already have! I wouldn't buy or make a cauldron simply for tea work, though you could dedicate a kitchen pot to tea if you don't have any teapot or means of procuring one. I would recommend finding an affordable ceramic teapot before resorting to using a makeshift cauldron though.

However, if you already have a magical cauldron, then you have a powerful tool for creating teas, too! Make sure the cauldron is capable of brewing tea in (since cauldrons can be made of most anything it seems) and is washed properly before and after use for tea brewing.

To brew tea this way, you will have to use a tea basket. This is like a metal cup with holes for straining tea leaves that sits inside another vessel like a pot or cup. Don't use those little "ball" shaped ones on a stick, or spoon shaped ones or whatever. It is important for tea to have a TON of room to expand (some teas can expand up to 10 size their 'dry' size or more!) or else they will not release their oils properly and you will have very weak tea. This means the energies are being trapped inside those poor cramped leaves as well. You should always have at least way more empty space in your infuser than you do tea leaf. If the tea leaf fills more than 1/4 of your infuser basket/spoon thing/whatever, your infuser is probably too small.

You can also use a satchet you make yourself. Fill the satchet with your leaves, and again, make sure it is definitely big enough to allow for a ton of room for the leaves to expand and float. Sew it up or tie it closed (tying is a lot easier...) and then use it a lot like a teabag. You can make a string that hangs out or pick it up with chopsticks/tongs/etc. when the tea is done. Make them out of silk, cheescloth, or even coffee filters.

Other Teapots - Ceramic teapots work nicely as teapots and can be quite inexpensive. They make for great starter pots, and because they are earthenware, are still perfectly suited for spellwork and ritual. The only thing I would avoid are plastic pots and brewers with plastic parts. Use them as a last resort.

GENERAL TIPS AND ADVICE

Here's just some advice that was not listed earlier:

* You can rebrew your leaves many times. Try to wait at least 15 minutes between brews. Give the leaves time to cool and dry a little. Depending on the tea, you can rebrew more times. Some teas retain oils and energies better than others. Use your own discresion to decide when a tea has 'run out.' Try to feel the energies in it between brews. You can keep a tea sitting out for up to 24 hours. Once a day has passed since the last brew, toss it out.
* Tea pots, especially the yixing and tetsubin I meantioned earlier, are not made to be heated outside of the tea water going in. Do not put them over a fire or stove. You can break and ruin them. Yixing can shatter and the enamel inside tetsubin will crack and break and the pot will be ruined.
* Because of a recent surge in tea culture popularity, you can find larger yixing pots with infusion baskets. I have never used this, but it may be interesting to try using one for group work!
* Tetsubin can also refer to cast-iron pots and cauldrons that are made for heating water. This is not the same as a tetsubin-kyusu, even though both can be called simply "tetsubin." To tell the difference, make sure the pot has enamel on the inside (you can't easily see it unless you know what you're looking for, so read a description or ask someone who is selling one) then you know it is a testubin-kyusu for brewing tea. Without the enamel, tea can ruin and rust a tetsubin boiling kettle or cauldron. You also have to clean them much more thoroughly if you put anything other than water in them. So look for the enamel!!
* If you're wanting to extrapolate ALL the energies from your tea, brew it for a long time. At least 30 minutes. Your tea will taste extremely bitter and VERY strong. I recommend using this in potions that will have other ingredients, especially sweet things like honey, sugar, or juice. Sometimes this kind of 'overbrewed' green tea is drunk by connoisseurs in Japan. It is said to greatly stimulate the mind. Be careful as most people will cringe at the taste. With Yixing, you can continue to drink while adding water when all the current tea has been consumed. Or just keep adding after each sip. This way, you can continue to brew the tea without as much astringency and get all the power out of it. Otherwise, you can just make several teas/potions by using second infusions.
* Certain teas 'open up' as they brew, especially knotted and rolled/pearled teas. Sometimes, these teas release more energy on a second or third infusion than on the first! A popular example is tieguanyin tea. This tea is named after and directly associated with Guanyin, the bodhisattva of compassion and goddess of mercy. In China, this tea is said to not be at its full power when first infused, so knowledgable drinkers will actually brew it once and dump out the first brew, then start drinking from the second infusion onward. You can also infuse this several times, and the flavor will change slightly each time. In these cases, you can channel energy in different ways with each brew I believe. I have not put too much study into this as tieguanyin and similar teas are extremely expensive (though very worht it) and I have depleted my entire stock and been unable to get any more.
* Don't use flavored teas, especially those flavored with fruits, in yixing pots. Small pieces of fruit can get stuck in the pores and then mold (even if you clean it regularly), ruining the pot permanently. So flavored teas should go in your cauldron, tetsubin, or whatever.
* When brewing multiple types of tea at once, there are various methods you can use. One is to take the lowest brewing temperature and time and brew the entire mixture at those perameters. However, I feel you don't get the most energy out of your tea this way (though you may get better flavor if you're going for a specific taste, like a green tea with a hint of black or something). I recommend starting with the 'longest' brew, and then adding the other teas as they need to be. For example, if you were brewing a black tea and green tea together, and the black tea needed to be brewed for 3 minutes, but the green only 1 minute, I would brew the black for 2 minutes then plop the green leaves in for the last minute. Now everything brews to its fullest! The water should have cooled down plenty to allow the green to brew without being burned.
* Often, water will be too hot if its just been boiled. An easy rule to live by is to let your water sit off the heat for 30 seconds if you are brewing oolong or black tea, or 60 seconds if you are brewing green or white tea.
* Oolong tea seems to resonates strongly with the manipura chakra. Some people experience stomach pain, cramping, hunger pangs, etc. after drinking oolong tea, especially after not eating for a long time. This is because the digestion is speeding up. If you have these feelings, do not worry. All you need to do is eat some food. It is a good idea to not drink oolong teas if you have not eaten for several hours. I would drink them with meals or with an hour or two or eating. If you're going to perform ritual that involves drinking a lot of oolong for a long time (meditation, cleansing) I would recommend having a snack beforehand, or performing it after a meal. Of course, for a cleansing, you may want to fast beforehand... so at least keep this in mind.

For now, that is all I'm going to say about tea. This concludes tea 101! Hopefully you will feel inspired to incorporate tea into your rituals, spells, meditations, etc. If you try any tea magic, let me know how it works and if my posts helped you in any way. Also, if you have any questions or would like to discuss tea magic and crafting more, feel free to continue a discussion here as well!

Tea culture can be very influential in your life. Even outside of ritual, I think it's good to drink tea every day. It is healthy for the mind, body, and soul.

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Re: Teas 101: Tea Magic and Potion Crafting

Post by firebirdflys »

scaravich...this is fascinating! I haven't used tea in ritual for ages,
....you have inspired me to return to the Ritual of Tea! I really appreciate you posting this, very informative.
Thanks, :flyingwitch:
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Re: Teas 101: Tea Magic and Potion Crafting

Post by scaravich »

Thank you!! I'm really glad these posts have been well-received. I'm very passionate about tea and incorporate it a lot into my spirituality. I think tea brings me closer to the divine. I often drink tea while praying or connecting with the Lord and Lady.

Recently, I had a very powerful experience involving tea. I just brewed some tea and went outside at night after a storm to connect with nature a bit. It is very nice to enjoy tea with your feet in the soil and grass that has been blessed by the falling rain :) Feeling the critters crawl on your feet and stuff, too. Anyway, I do this kind of often.

I held the tea up while it was cooling, to the moonlight, to bask her glow. I started to feel her energy resonating through the tea and cup like a catalyst, distributing to the rest of my body. It was a nice feeling. And later when I drank the tea, I felt incredibly connected to the earth around me... I could see and feel the energies of everything around me. The sweetgum tree in my front yard, which I could see towering over my house (I was in the backyard) looked especially amazing. It is the oldest tree in my yard and I already have a bit of connection to it anyway. I felt like if I had gone up to the tree and touched it, I would have become a tree myself or something. It was a really interesting and powerful feeling. And I just felt so happy. It is hard to explain.

But not just the tree, I could feel the power of all the life around me.

I mean, I can easily feel this power and resonate with nature like that simply from taking a moment to stop and feel it, but this was on a level I've never felt before. It felt so sharp and clear and vibrant. I felt like I was the earth itself, and the life around me were simply extentions of me, like just parts of my body.

Sadly, it only lasted for a few moments, maybe not even a minute. Afterward I just felt very peaceful and happy, and very thankful and grateful. I left the last of my tea out as an offering to the Goddess.

I've felt this kind of connection with perhaps a specific one object or deity during ritual, but never everything around me and so suddenly like that. It was very powerful. My new aim is to create a way to feel that again. I luckily will have plenty of alone time at the next full moon later this week. I think perhaps what I did was unintentially draw down the moon. It's not something I've actually tried to do myself before, but to think that it just happened like that from holding up a teacup.

So this next full moon in a couple days, I plan to try agian, but with an intent this time :) I will craft a special tea just for this purpose. Though I had some other things I wanted to do this full moon as well... we will see how much stamina I have, I guess, haha!

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Re: Teas 101: Tea Magic and Potion Crafting

Post by -Dark-Moon- »

Makes me want to have a tea party...

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Re: Teas 101: Tea Magic and Potion Crafting

Post by EbonySunset »

Thanks again for this post, it is fascinating! Very inspiring, makes me want to give up wine and take up tea! Amazing!

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Re: Teas 101: Tea Magic and Potion Crafting

Post by EmberWolf »

Great googly moogly. Thank you so much for posting, I've been wanting to study tea magick for so long!
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Re: Teas 101: Tea Magic and Potion Crafting

Post by scaravich »

Thank you thank you and you're welcome :D I want to start working on a book that covers all of my findings thus far, and inspiration for using tea magic as an integral part of the craft :3

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Re: Teas 101: Tea Magic and Potion Crafting

Post by EbonySunset »

Do it! You're passionate about tea so what's stopping you writing a book??! Do it! I would certainly buy a copy!

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