I absolutely adore that quote. Of course, in real life, what Snape promises is hardly achievable. In theory, you can do absolutely anything with a good potion. But in practice, the situation is kind of different. We will see why.
I am so glad to be writing about this, hoping this will help you on your way to "transform metal to gold", just like the old sorcerers were trying to do. Of course, you might achieve it, metaphorically speaking. The next series of articles will be dedicated to coven members only. Hope you will enjoy and study hard before trying to create a potion.
Let's speak no more and crack on with the show.
1. What is a potion?
A potion is a liquid with magical properties. This is the most general definition, maybe not 100% accurate. There is a debate going on if ointments are potions, as some people consider potions to be the ones you can drink only. There are also people who consider ointments or all sort of magical liquids, no matter the use, as potions. The debate does not really interest us, it is rather a more philosophical one than one that interests us in practice. Therefore, from now on, when I use the term potion, I refer to liquids or gels, drinkable or non-drinkable, ointments and all that jazz. It is easier to approach the topic not using fancy terminology or overexplaining concepts.
2.Classification of Potions:
a.Drinkable and Non-Drinkable Potions
One must be very careful about how to use/ apply a potion. There are potions that we call ointments that if they were to be drunk, could actually kill or cause permanent damage to someone. In case you come across a potion that does not specify how it should be used, as a beginner, you should not attempt to use it. We will re-discuss this in the Advanced Potion-Making course. An experimented potion-maker knows just by looking at the ingredients how a potion should be put to work.
b.Thin Liquid and Dense Liquid Potions
The thinnest liquid potion has the exact composition and texture of water and the densest one can be as dense as a gummy bear. For example, the thinnest potion I know is called "Serum Amplio Immunitatem". It is a potion that improves and boosts the natural immune system of one's body and contains extracts of juice from vegetable and fruits. The densest I have ever done is an ointment called "Apollo Curse Reverse" and it is as dense as a jelly. It is so because when made, apart from many other ingredients, one has to let pig bones boil for approx. 5 hours and then refrigerate the liquid. During the refrigeration process, the liquid becomes very dense, looks just like a jelly, and once applied to a burn, it starts melting into a thin liquid state, creating a comforting sensation and, because of the other ingredients in the ointment, healing the burn.
c.Instant Potions and Long-term Potions
There are potions who are supposed to be drunk once (comparable with a pill you take once for migraine) and there are potions who work just like a treatment and are supposed to be drunk constantly (comparable with an antibiotics treatment). It is crucial to know which kind of potion you are preparing because potions for chronic diseases, for example, are usually long term. And having the ill person drinking it only once is not going to help at all. Same with the others. There are potions containing substances that can become toxic for the organism in long term usage.
3. Composition of a Potion:
A potion is created with 3 categories of ingredients:
a. Active ingredients
The active ingredients are the ones which a potion is based on. Usually, a potion has one main ingredient which brings the effect to it. More complicated potions, such as Flying Ointments or cures for major health problems, have more than one active ingredient. These potions are to be avoided by the beginners, as one has to know the interactions between the active ingredients and this is pretty advanced and requires a lot of research.
If a potion usually contains one active ingredient, it also contains more than one adjuvants. Their purposes are: to enhance the ability of the active ingredient, to offer a wider range of responses toward certain illnesses and to reduce the problematic effects of certain symptoms. For example, the Ail Blanc Potion is used to cure common colds. Its active ingredient is garlic, and the others are adjuvants: mint, black pepper, cinnamon and vanilla. Garlic is the one who combats the illness, whereas mint and cinnamon are used to help a person with a runny nose, mint and black pepper for sore throat and vanilla to reduce the fever.
The bases are the ones who are supposed to incorporate the whole potion. Most of the time it is water, but not only. You will also notice other bases such as cocoa butter, plain creams, oils, etc.
Extremely important observations:
! The active ingredient/s and the base cannot be removed from a potion.
! The adjuvants can be removed or replaced with other adjuvants.
! In case of creating a larger amount or smaller amount of a potion, the active ingredient and the base are usually increased/ decreased directly proportional.
! The adjuvants can also be increased directly proportional, but an advanced potion maker is going to think about the amount and sometimes change it in order for the potion to have a better effect. As a beginner, it is best to increase everything proportionally and not play with the adjuvants too much, as sometimes they can reduce the effect of a potion or completely denature it.
4. The spiritual side of a potion and the chants
Most of the potions are dedicated to a God/ Goddess and sometimes even more. Some potions are dedicated to nature itself when invoking the properties of the elements placed in the potion directly. Rarely, there are potions who are not dedicated to anyone and do not invoke the power of anything. These are the ones who usually do not have a specific chant related to them. In case you meet such a potion, my recommendation is to still bless it, in order to increase its power.
Chants are very important because words are powerful. But words are powerful only if they come from a focused mind. When reciting a chant, one is not supposed to be absent-minded, but have a clear thought and direct its energy towards the potion. Make sure you are chanting right, you are very focused on what you wish for that potion to achieve and send your energy to it. It is best if you learn the chant by far and rehearse it before actually making the potion. When you are rehearsing it, rehearse your state of the mind as well. "Do it like you mean it". Focus on the thought and energy. This way it will be way easier for you to chant properly during the making of the potion.
5. General Rules for Potion-making:
No matter how advanced or beginner you are, these rules are unbreakable.
I. Always research all the ingredients and their interactions!
No matter how trustworthy the source from where you have the recipe for the potion is, you have to research it yourself and make sure everything is fine.
II. Always research the spiritual being you involve in the process of potion-making!
Make sure that they are suitable for the purpose you wish to give to a potion.
III. Always check the side effects of a potion!
In case you cannot find the side effects of a potion, check the side effects the ingredients can have.
IV. Always be sure that your potion is safe!
This means that you should only use a potion if you know 100% that it is going to do the job you want without causing any other damage.
V. Always explain the purpose, the side effects of your potion and how it should be used, in case you give the potion to someone else!
And, very important as well, make sure you declare yourself completely not responsible for how they are going to use it and the results that are going to follow. Especially as a beginner.
VI. Always work in a clean environment and, especially when creating a drinkable potion, make sure your tools and your hands and everything that enters in contact with the potion, are clean!
Be careful to clean and purify everything after making one potion. They should not interact with each other.
VII. Always make sure you are in complete control of the environment where you are creating a potion!
It is very important to make sure you are not going to knock something over or accidentally drop anything. More importantly, a cauldron is a key tool in potion making. Make sure it is placed in a very safe zone and that the fire you are using is safe and under observation all the time. Always keep at least a little fire extinguisher somewhere safe and close to reaching.
VIII. Always make sure no one interrupts you while you are making a potion!
Do not let other people or your phone or anything interrupt you as you will lose focus. And also, make sure that people do not have access to the room where you keep your tools. There is no problem if it is someone you trust, but this rule is especially good in case there are children around. A child should not be allowed to interfere with the ingredients or the tools, as it can be very dangerous for them.
IX. Always keep the ingredients safe, in clean bottles or jars, and the toxic and highly toxic ingredients as out of reach as possible!
My personal recommendation is to keep the ingredients in a special cabinet and place the toxic and the highly toxic substances in the back and preferably on higher shelves.
X. Always be safe and protected!
Protect yourself both physically and spiritually. You can wear protection amulets and you can wear gloves, to make sure substances or herbs are not going to touch your skin. This, of course, depends a lot on the kind of potion you are making. But, as a beginner, just wear protection every time and make sure everything makes you feel comfortable.