A cross fragrant heather moor, and beneath murky swells of mist, a craggy mass of unforgiving floor lies in wait. There is movement beyond the opaque curtain of fog that beckons the unaware, luring them ever closer. If you could make out the forms that dance within the milky shadows, you would find the wise ones, conjuring to protect their sacred lands from the uninvited.

Ancient witchcraft in the Scottish Highlands was performed by the Picts, a tribe of gifted herbalists who embraced magic as part of their everyday life. Unlike most witches of old, the Picts practiced, by necessity of terrain and distance, as solitary conjurers. They placed emphasis on the magical aspects of their rites rather than the religious, living close to the land, revering it above all else. Though they observed a pantheon of gods, the emphasis on them was relatively minimal. Like the druids, they were essentially a sun cult, worshipping solar power as the force that ruled the day and going into seclusion during the evening hours.

The earth was indeed so precious to them that they honored an empathy with nature more intensely than other early witchcraft teachings. Oaths were sworn, sacred contracts were made, and children were conceived by and upon the hallowed land. In fact, ancient fields in Scotland were kept untilled until the late 19th century by the force of local people who were simply unwilling, en masse, to disturb sacrosanct ground. Similarly, places dedicated to “the good people”—fairies—also remained untouched until that time.

Though Pictish tribes prayed to the sun as their life force, they also revered the moon, believing that lunar power could exert stronger magical influences. They understood the cosmic balance of light and dark. It is essential that we too embrace this balance and carry forth the love and respect for the power of all things given to us by nature in her endlessly varied and effortlessly splendid guises.

The Picts were great visualizers, which helped their magic to be incredibly potent. If you align yourself with this practice, always remember to infuse your potions with their intended purpose.

The great harvest festival of Samhain this season gives us a splendid opportunity to let go of the old year while embracing the new, as we are able to catch a glimpse of what is to come through the now delicate gauze that lies between the worlds.

As you charge yourself with the uniquely witchy energies of autumn, bring that magic into your beauty potions and rituals with inspiration from the wise primordial spirits of the ruggedly stunning Scottish landscape. I have prepared three powerful blends just for you, my darlings! Infused with healing plants of early Scottish herbalism alongside seasonal favorites, these superstars will boost your immune system as the wheel of the year turns, help your skin to revitalize after a long summer, and lovingly prepare it for the coming months.

For 8 to 10 treatments

¼ cup rolled oats
¼ cup garbanzo flour
1 tablespoon Moroccan red clay
Lavender essential oil
Spring water

You can make a batch of dry ingredients ahead of time and store it, then add the liquid as needed per facial. First, pulse the rolled oats in a coffee-bean grinder for a few seconds until they are very fine and powdery. Pour into a bowl, then combine with garbanzo flour. Add the red clay, and whisk it all together until fully blended. Keep the mixture in an airtight container, refrigerated, until you are ready to use. (As you know, I like to make potions on the new moon, but you can concoct this any time during the waxing phase.) When you are ready for a fabulous facial, take a teaspoon of the blend and place it in a small bowl. Add eight drops of lavender essential oil and just enough water to create a paste. You can also use lavender tea or a lavender hydrosol if you like in place of the water. If so, you may want to adjust the amount of essential oil, depending on your skin type: If you are more oily or irritated, you can use six to eight drops. If you are extremely sensitive or dry, you can lessen it to three drops.

This simple little treatment is sure to become one of your favorites! It’s amazing for breakouts, be they of the monthly hormonal variety or the annoying sort that crop up when you’re under stress. It is excellent for calming irritated skin, tightening pores, and sloughing away dead skin cells. Gentle and hydrating, it also works wonders on dry or mature skin and is an effective balancing treatment that can be used up to three times weekly.

Apply a thin layer to a freshly cleansed face, and massage gently in circular motions to clear away debris, exfoliate, and rev up circulation. Lightly press another layer of masque onto skin and allow it to rest for ten to fifteen minutes. You may feel a slightly cool, tingling sensation: That’s the lavender as an active ingredient. Remove by first pressing a warm, damp cloth onto your face to soften the masque, then continue to gently remove with the cloth. Rinse well with cool water. Pat dry, and finish with a natural toning mist and moisturizer.

Earthy oats are actually gifts of Venus that draw money toward you. Used as a masque, they calm and soothe irritated skin and act as a humectant. Garbanzo flour has long been used in India as a beauty treatment for its peerless ability to feed the skin, imparting a gorgeous glow. Lovely lavender also quells inflammation, won’t clog pores, and is antibacterial. Not only is it fantastic for skin, but it brings magical protection and peace! Moroccan red clay is a strong detoxifier that draws impurities from the skin, while increasing elasticity with a high silica and magnesium content.

Yields approximately two ounces

1.5 oz. grapeseed oil
3 tablespoons cloudberry seed oil
9 drops marjoram essential oil
6 drops pine essential oil

Decant the grapeseed oil into a glass bottle. Add in the cloudberry seed oil, and swirl clockwise thirteen times. Now drop in the essential oils, one at a time. Give it another good swirl and cap tightly. Use this earthy, nourishing age fighter daily, or whenever your skin needs a little extra moxie.

Grapeseed oil is an amazing base for any facial serum. It’s light enough to absorb quickly into the skin, yet possesses great moisturizing prowess. Suitable for even very sensitive skin, it contains antioxidants and vitamins that penetrate deeply into your skin while it firms and tightens, giving you an overall rejuvenated appearance. Cranberry seed oil is a star unto itself, brimming with antioxidants and a perfect ratio of omega fatty acids. Highly protective, thanks to its ruler Mars, cranberry oil guards skin against the elements and restores youthful radiance. Marjoram oil is valued for not only a high antioxidant content but also for its ability to brighten and balance skin tone, which can be important in banishing that post-summer discoloration. Majestic and protective, pine brings fertile, creative energy in, along with the ability to firm and heal skin.

Try mixing thirteen drops of Bonny Lass Facial Oil into your favorite natural skin cream for an added dose of its beautifying magic.

Serves two

1 teaspoon wild marjoram
1 teaspoon burdock root
¼ teaspoon wild thyme
2 cups spring water
½ apple
1 cup blackberries
pinch of cinnamon
1 teaspoon raw coconut nectar, or to taste

Begin by making an herbal infusion. You can use either fresh or dried herbs here, though dried will be easiest to procure year-round. You can do this one of two ways: by warming the spring water until just hot (but not boiling) and steeping the herbs for ten minutes, or by placing the herbs in a jar with the water, and allow them to mingle for at least thirty minutes. When the tea is ready, strain the herbs, and pour into a high-speed blender. Add the apples, blackberries, cinnamon, and coconut nectar. Blend until smooth. Adjust the sweetness to your liking (as the herbs give it a little kick), pour into fetching glasses, and enjoy! This lightly spiced libation also makes a delightful warm brew on a chilly evening. Perhaps with a splash of earthy red wine? Sounds like a fabulous post-ritual toast to me!

Besides being delicious and very pretty, this libation keeps your body and your beauty in top form as you navigate the changing seasons by boosting your immune system, fortifying your skin, and offering strong support should you fall prey to seasonal snuffles.

Abundant and classically autumnal, apples are Venus-ruled bringers of love, health, and peace. In ancient Egypt they were believed to bestow the gift of eternal youth upon the gods and indeed will extend that offering to you by way of vitamins A, B, and C. Long linked to spirituality on the British Isles, these juicy ladies provide UV protection, help rebuild cells, reduce wrinkles, and keep you glowing from head to toe.

Bombshell blackberries are also fruits of the love goddess. Though their myriad seeds are symbolic of sexual magic, blackberry vines are also used in protection spells. Traditionally consumed at harvest festivals, they contain high levels of antioxidants, which are key factors in the anti-aging nutrient process. They also contain lots of vitalizing vitamins A, C, E, and K, plus essential minerals for powerhouse radiant beauty.
Aromatic wild marjoram, known as “Scot’s oregano,” communicates love, peace, and good health to us by way of elemental air and was believed to be created by Aphrodite herself. Both antiviral and antifungal, it is immensely useful for sinusitis and colds, and eases inflammation throughout the body. It can also be used to guard against negative spells.

Burdock is a classic witchy favorite, used regularly by the Picts to purify the system. Indeed, it does a marvelous job of detoxing the liver, aiding digestion, and building immunity. Venus-ruled, this dear friend has been used for ages in protection rituals, though one of my favorite ways to work with burdock is for strength, both physical and emotional.
Another revered Venusian witchy herb is surely wild thyme. Possessing the magic of love, psychic awareness, purification, healing powers, and courage, these scented sprigs are potent both in their energy and their health benefits. Believe it or not, their tiny leaves hold an enormous amount of nutrients, including a saucy measure of iron! A bit of this will aid in pretty much whatever ails you—from indigestion to coughs and sore throats—while delaying the signs of aging. The sweet fire of cinnamon is added here as a sultry warming touch and a magical bringer of love and money.

Have a most exciting autumn, my loves, and come visit me at faeriemagazine.com for your monthly Beauty Witch forecasts!

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Alise Marie is the author of The Beauty Witch's Secrets: Recipes and Rituals For The The Modern Goddess, contributor at Enchanted Living, and creative director at The Beauty Witch®. Visit her at thebeautywitch.com for eco-luxe potions, planetary readings, and seasonal offerings, and on Instagram @thebeautywitchofficial.