Around Beltaine I made a bottle of charged water using rainwater gathered from a spring storm, a little Vodka, and some of Sara Lawless’s Saining Oil. I had hoped that by adding a couple of ounces of high-proof alcohol, I could prevent the milky clouds of biological gunk that grow in un-purified rainwater after a few weeks when you just bottle it up and stick it in your witches cabinet. I didn’t have any concrete information regarding volume of alcohol to volume of water for preservation, so I just winged it.
It turns out that “a couple ounces” is nowhere near enough to preserve a 750ml bottle of charged rainwater, and cloudy scum formed without impediment. I didn’t know where to begin to look for information on the proper ratio of water to alcohol.
Fortuitously, a few days later, a friend sent me a copy of a chart from one of Daniel Schulke’s books (Ars Philtron I think, but am not certain) that shows just this. Yes!
The ratio is thus: For every 10ml of water, add 8.6 ml of 100 proof (50% alcohol by volume) spirit such as Vodka, or 10.6 ml 80 proof (40% alcohol by volume) spirit. The text specifies “for every 7 parts rain water, add 6 parts 50% vodka.”
You might be thinking that that’s a lot of alcohol – more than half the total volume if you’re using 80 proof vodka! Doesn’t this mean that the rainwater is no longer “pure?” That it’s lost something in translation? No, I don’t think so. The rainwater itself is still present, still perfectly able to be charged with your intent; only now it won’t quickly degrade into a cloudy mess that you daren’t asperge anyone with. It’ll keep until you need it. Better all around.
I recently collected rainwater from a summer thunderstorm and tried this ratio, and so far the water has remained clear. Progress!