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Four Thieves

Updated: Aug 29, 2023


If you've been in the occult community for any amount of time, you're sure to have seen Four Thieves' Oil/Vinegar/Soap. So what's that about? Who are the four thieves and why do they have their own bath and beauty line?


Four Thieves' Vinegar was a concoction created during the Black Death in Europe. The most common version of the story is that in the 1300s in France, a group of four thieves would go around to the houses of people who had died of the plague to steal their possessions. Somehow, the thieves never got sick. When they were caught, they agreed to tell their secret to remaining healthy in exchange for a lighter sentence.


Their secret, of course, was this blend of herbs and vinegar. The real recipe has been lost to time, but there are several versions of it floating around that have some similarities.


An alleged copy of the original recipe was hung in the Museum of Paris in 1937. Here is the recipe given:


Take three pints of strong white wine vinegar, add a handful of each of wormwood, meadowsweet, wild marjoram and sage, fifty cloves, two ounces of campanula roots, two ounces of angelic, rosemary and horehound and three large measures of camphor. Place the mixture in a container for fifteen days, strain and express then bottle. Use by rubbing it on the hands, ears and temples from time to time when approaching a plague victim.


To put it into more of a list format:

Gather:

- 3 pints white wine vinegar

- 1/2 cup wormwood

- 1/2 cup meadowsweet

- 1/2 cup wild marjoram

- 1/2 cup sage

- 50 cloves

- 2 ounces campanula roots

- 2 ounces angelic

- 2 ounces rosemary

- 2 ounces horehound

- 6 ounces camphor

Combine all ingredients and leave in a container for 15 days. Strain, pressing all the vinegar out of the herbs, and bottle. Rub on the hands, ears, and temples when approaching a plague victim.


(Small disclaimer: I'm not 100% sure about the amount of camphor. I tried finding out what a "large measure" was and concluded that they meant three times the amount of the previous ingredients. The rest of the measurements are my guesses based on what I could find about old recipe lingo.)


What's so special about this recipe? Why was this able to protect the thieves from illness? It turns out that many of the ingredients have antimicrobial properties and some are used to repel insects, which would have kept the infected fleas away.


This is not a substitute for modern medicine. The illnesses we deal with nowadays are generally stronger and need different methods. But it doesn't hurt to add a little magic, right? Plus it's summer where I live, so keeping the bugs off sounds nice.


If you're motivated to make your own Four Thieves' Vinegar, that's awesome! Go for it! But if you don't have the time or ability to gather so many ingredients, I suggest this brand. It's what I use and I like it a lot. I also love this brand of Four Thieves' Soap. It smells so good. I'm not sponsored or anything, I just genuinely like these products.


I guess that's it for this post.

Stay safe!

- me

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