Vinegar of the 4 Thieves

Vinegar preparation for protection and pest removal

Preparation Time: 10 minutes (active) 17 days (inactive)


1 Quart distilled white vinegar
2 Tbsp. dried sage
2 Tbsp. dried rosemary
2 Tbsp. dried lavender flowers
2 Tbsp. dried mint
2 Tbsp. dried wormwood, or 2 Tbsp. wormwood-containing absinthe
2 Tbsp. red wine
3 cloves garlic, smashed and coarsely chopped
1-Qt. glass jar with tight-fitting lid


Fill a 1-Qt. glass container almost to the top with the vinegar. Add the dried herbs to the container one at a time, infusing them with protective energy in whatever way your tradition dictates. Add the absinthe, if using. Pour the red wine over the safety pin and drop the pin into the jar. The wine is being used in this preparation as a symbolic substitute for blood. Tightly close the jar and give it a good shake. Store in a cool, dark place for two weeks, shaking the jar once a day. After the two weeks is up, strain the herbs out of the preparation and transfer to a new, clean, 1-Qt. jar, retaining the safety pin in the jar. Add the garlic and again tightly seal, shaking the jar. Continue to shake the jar once a day for 3 days, then strain out the garlic, again retaining the safety pin in the jar. Your vinegar is ready for use for protection magick, house blessings, hex breaking, and as a very effective bug spray (skin safe).

Additional Comments:

Vinegar of the 4 thieves has been around for centuries, in various forms and recipes. The legend goes that during the era of the Black Plague, 4 thieves were caught stealing from the houses of the dead, and sentenced to remove the dead bodies from houses to the crematorium. If they survived, they could go free. One of the thieves was an herbalest and came up with this preparation to keep them alive. It is true that many of the herbal ingredients have been used over the years as effective insect and rodent repellents. Over the years it has been incorporated into many magickal systems to be used for protection purposes.

This dish is best served on the following occasions:

house blessing

This dish carries energies for the following magical purposes:
protection, esp. protection from illness, hex breaking

Attribution: This is a traditional folk recipe of which many variations exist. It was originally posted on this site by Limula Moreine

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