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The Witches' Ointment

  • The Sacred Well 536 Grand Avenue Oakland, CA, 94610 United States (map)


with Thomas Hatsis

Friday • November 6
6.00p ~ 8.00p

(no one turned away due to lack of funds)

During medieval times certain wise-women and local magicians concocted psychoactive potions, ointments, and powders that were used for a variety of magical and religious reasons. One of these religious practices involved a certain kind of entheogenic flying ointment used for fertility goddess worship.

Around the early 1400s some theologians debated how "witches" could fly to meet the devil at evil congregations called the Sabbat. A few of these theologians decided that these women weren't using these entheogenic ointments to experience ecstatic revelry in the presence of the Divine Feminine, but rather were worshiping Satan. 

In this landmark study of the long ignored history of psychedelic magic, Tom Hatsis will unravel the journey that entheogenic flying ointments took to become the demonized "witches' ointment" of popular imagination. 

Long before "reefer madness" hysteria, long before "The War on Drugs," long, long before Nancy Reagan's failed "Just say No" campaign, the witches' ointment was the original anti-drug propaganda tool of both religious and secular authorities.

The book, The Witches' Ointment: The Secret History of Psychedelic Magic (Inner Traditions: Park Street Press) will be on sale for those interested.

Thomas Hatsis is an historian of witchcraft, magic, Western religions, contemporary psychedelia, entheogens, and medieval pharmacopeia. He has worked in historical research at Queens College and taught history at Pioneer Pacific College. A derbygypsy, juggler, musician, and potion-mixer, Hatsis also skates throughout the global derby underworld, dodging police, visiting rare archives, slinging elixirs, and coaching roller derby.  He lives … somewhere … with a kitty cat.