Magical Drafts And Potions

Arsenius Jigger was a notable potioneer, former Ministry of Magic employee, and professor of Defense Against the Dark Arts at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Following his retirement, he traveled the world studying various forms of defensive magic and potions in the hopes of giving young people a solid foundation in magical knowledge upon their entrance into Hogwarts. The following represents the third printing since Jigger’s original publication of Magical Drafts and Potions in 1856. Although the content remains the same, the editor has left footnotes to denote changes in legislation, theory, and other relevant content.

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Medieval And Renaissance Potions

Chapter 10
Until the International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy in 1689, many witches and wizards in medieval Europe lived in constant fear of oppression and discovery. As such, witches and wizards often lived spread far and wide and without consistent communication with one another. The magical community thus saw very few advances in potioneering during this time. Previously, owing to the magical community’s responsibility within society as priests, healers, shamans, and even rulers, magical folk had also worked to find concoctions that helped not only their magical brethren, but also Muggles. However, during this time, even helping a well-meaning Muggle with magical means could provide the very kindling used to light flames under the witch or wizard’s feet if discovered by that Muggle’s family, neighbors, or others.

There is one field which flourished during this time of fear, and that was in the field of defensive and concealing potions. The most common form of punishment for suspected witches and heretics in medieval Europe involved being burned at the stake. While many witches and wizards would perform Flame Freezing Charms in order to protect themselves, others would use forms of warming Potions, Flame-Resistant Drafts and similar potions to protect themselves. They would also take a Draught of Living Death before mounting the pyre in order to properly fake their own demise. A family member or trusted friend would distribute an antidote once they had been taken down, and would then help them disguise themselves, and most often then transfer them far away from the scene of their “execution.”

There were also various potions which were created to allow witches and wizards to pass in secrecy, even among those who might be able to recognize magical talent in the Muggle religious world. for example, the Draft of Concealment, a potion that masked any evidence of magical activity, was created by Hildewald Greenthumb during the thirteenth century. Although this did not permanently eliminate a witch or wizard’s magical talent, it was able to mask or mute it for a temporary period. This was especially useful when given to younger practitioners, who did not have full control of their powers yet, and who risked exposing their entire family to the ire of the Church. The primary ingredient in this potion is ground moth wings, as moths have a peculiar ability to act as a strong magical blocker and damper. It also utilized dragon blood, whose magical immunity likely contributed to the efficacy of the potion.

Other potions included the perfection of the Polyjuice Potion, allowing suspected witches and wizards to impersonate others who were not suspect, as well as cloaking, befuddlement, and forgetfulness potions intended to hide those of magic as well as confuse and deter those who sought to oppress them.

Following the failure of the newly-formed Ministry of Magic to engage with Muggle monarchs throughout Europe in order to request the protection of wizardkind by these governing bodies, the International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy was enacted in 1689. This represented a voluntary withdrawal of witches and wizards into their own secluded and often magically hidden communities. While this may seem to many to have been a capitulation to the tyranny of Muggle society, this proved to be the best thing for magical advances and the future of magical inquiry. As soon as they found themselves separated from Muggles and free to practice magic openly again, a flurry of ferocious discovery erupted in European wizarding towns. Research became creative once more rather than defensive, and there was a revival of older potions traditions invoking the practices of early Greek and Roman Potioneers. It is even rumored that some wizarding towns rekindled the tradition of marital Stepsisia, and continue it to this day![1]

There was a motto that emerged among potions researchers during this time immediately following the Statute of Secrecy, “If it bubbles, then it brews!” This is a philosophy held by many in the magical world during that time that if you can add an object - any object - to a cauldron in some capacity, it must serve some magical purpose, even if we have not yet discovered it.[2] This mindset, while possibly naive, led to the invention of some of the most creative - and odd - potions we yet know. Free from the oppression of Muggle-run Europe, they began to get inventive and often downright silly in their endeavors. The potions created during this time of early discovery include the likes of the Babbling Beverage, Dogsbreath Potion, as well as the rise of the ever-popular cheese-based potions.

As wizarding villages grew more hidden and more comfortable within themselves, the development of what we today recognize as magical society truly began to develop. Witches and wizards took not only utilitarian crafts, such as manufacturing, potioneering, healing, and systems of governance, but the sport of Quidditch as well as entertainment professions such as singers, actors, painters, and performers also emerged once more and became well-loved and even revered by magical youths. This brings the author to the current state of potions in the magical world, as well as a look at what the centuries ahead and into the third millennium may bring to the magical community.

[1]Subsequent to the publication of this book, it has been confirmed that certain Finnish and Italian towns do practice stepsisia.
[2[Jigger wrote this book during a time of some potions skepticism and elitism. During his time, only certain “noble” ingredients were able to be used in potions, while others were thought entirely worthless. In the modern era, many researchers are revisiting this idea that if we do not use something in a potion, it’s possible we simply have not figured out its particular connection to magical energy yet.
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