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In 1662, Isobel Gowdie, a young housewife from the highlands of Scotland, confessed that her coven possessed the ability to transform into hares by repeating the following charm three times:
I shall go into a hare,
With sorrow and sych and meikle care;
And I shall go in the Devil's name
Ay while I come home again.
To return to their human form they said,
Hare, hare, God send thee care.
I am in a hare's likeness just now,
But I shall be in a woman's likeness even now.
The belief in the power of witches to change their shape into hares and go roaming about at night dates from much earlier. In fact, Giraldus Cambrensis, writing almost 500 years earlier in the Topography of Ireland reported "It has also been a frequent complaint, from old times as well as in the present, that certain hags in Wales, as well as in Ireland and Scotland, changed themselves into the shape of hares..." Remnants of this belief can still be found in the numerous folk stories about hares that were shot at night to find a local woman with a shoulder wound the next morning.
Another long standing tradition of magical transformation from man to beast are the werewolves. Richard Verstegan writing in 1628 in Restitution of Decayed Intelligence says this:
"The were are certayne sorcerers, who, having annoynted their bodies with an ointment which they make by instinct of the devill, and putting on a inchaunted girdle [usually a wolfskin belt], doe not onely unto the view others seeme as wolves, but to their owne have both the shape and nature of wolves"
Jean de Nynald, a doctor in Paris, discusses the composition of werewolf unguents in his 1614 book De la Lycanthropie Transformation et Extase des Sorciers, so it is well averred that some werewolves were aided in their transformation by such compounds.
Our Shapeshifting oil is made by infusing some herbs historically used by those who change their shape, and includes added essential oils like galbanum and clary sage. The sharp green fragrance and balsamic woodiness of this oil mirrors the pungent ointments used by turnskins of old. Smear it on your body during ecstatic rites and go leaping through moonlit meadows. Shapeshifting oil is also a perfect blend to use during masking and guising rites where bestial forms are assumed or the wisdom of the Fetch is sought: use it to anoint a mask sacred to a totem animal and let loose with the call of the wild.