Four Thieves Vinegar is an ingredient found in many Hoodoo and folk magic spells. The recipe seems to have evolved from Western Europe, around the fifteenth century, and there are many variations on how to make it. The common thread between all the legends is that there was a horrible plague in a village, and the only people who survived were four thieves. Each of them contributed one ingredient to a jar of vinegar and garlic, they drank it, and somehow survived the plague unscathed.
Since they were healthy and everyone else was dying, the four thieves went around the town and robbed the empty houses. Eventually they were caught, and sentenced to hanging, but they were able to escape the gallows by sharing their secret formula. Whether this is true or not is anyone’s guess, but Four Thieves Vinegar is a useful item to keep on hand because it can be used in a wide variety of spells, from healing to protection to banishing.
First, find the best vinegar you can get. Apple cider vinegar is good, red wine vinegar is popular too. Peel and mince four garlic cloves and add them to the vinegar, in a jar with a lid.
Traditionally, each thief contributed a single ingredient – choose any four of the following: black or red pepper, cayenne or chili pepper, lavender, rue, rosemary, mint, sage, wormwood, thyme, or coriander. Add these to the jar.
Allow the mixture to sit for four full days – some people recommend placing it in the sun, others in a dark cabinet. Either way, be sure to shake it once a day. After the fourth day, use it in spellwork.
Here are some ways you can use Four Thieves Vinegar in a magical working:
Banishing: Use this spell to keep someone bothersome away from you. Write your target’s name on a piece of paper – some traditions recommend you use brown paper, or parchment. Soak the paper in Four Thieves Vinegar. Fold the piece of paper up as small as you can, and bury in the dirt somewhere.
Protection: Use Four Thieves Vinegar to prevent magical attack, as well as to protect your property. Sprinkle it liberally around the perimeter of your property, and keep intruders away.
Ending a Relationship: In some Hoodoo traditions, there are a variety of spells that use Four Thieves Vinegar to break up a couple, or to cause strife in a relationship.
Healing: This is a great ingredient to use in a healing ritual - after all, look at the history behind it! Use it to anoint a poppet of a sick person, or dab it on the walls and floor of the room where the ill individual lies. Believe it or not, it can even be consumed internally as a tonic to keep disease away.