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Many spells and rituals require the use of special ink. Early varieties include Egyptian ink and various natural dyes made from metals, the husk or outer covering of beans or seeds, and sea creatures like the cuttlefish (this ink is known as sepia). India ink is black and originated in Asia. Iron gall ink was used by many of the old masters for drawing. Early cultures developed many colors of ink from available berries, plants, and minerals. Scribes in medieval Europe (about 800 to 1500 AD) wrote on sheepskin parchment. One 12th-century ink recipe called for hawthorn branches to be cut in the springtime and left to dry. Then, the bark was pounded from the branches and soaked in water for eight days. The water was boiled until it thickened and turned black. Wine was added during boiling. Then the ink was poured into special bags and hung in the sun. Once dried, the mixture was mixed with wine and iron salt over a fire to make the final ink. Approximately five thousand years ago, an ink for blackening the raised surfaces of pictures and texts carved in stone was developed in China. This early ink was a mixture of soot from pine smoke, lamp oil, gelatin from animal skins, and musk. (From the Voodoo Hoodoo Spellbook by Denise Alvarado)

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