Hello There

My thoughts about Traditional Witchcraft, Wicca, cooking, gardening, and anything else that catches my fancy.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

My New Stang

I was going to write a post today about how one doesn't need a lot of elaborate tools to be a Witch, but I'm going to be a hypocrite and write instead about my Stang which I have in the works.  On the off chance you don't know, a "stang" is a tool used in Traditional Witchcraft.  It's a staff, usually made of Ash, which has a forked top and which is used as both a wand, and as an altar for outdoor rituals  It represents the Horned God, and can be decorated with garlands of flowers, or can have a candle burning between the fork, for various seasonal rites.

Traditionally, one makes all ones' own tools.  This might have worked back in the day, when everyone had access to huge forests and had hatchets and saws laying about, but for somebody like me, who lives in a big city in an apartment, it's just not practical.  I don't have any woodworking skills, and don't have the talent or resources to make wands or staffs (to be fair to me, though, I DO have gardening skills, and can do an awesome candle spell, so we all have our own gifts.)  So, I do the next best thing and find skilled craftspeople who can make my tools for me, according to my specifications.  That way, I have access to the best woods, the best tools, and can have beautiful pieces made AND can still put something of myself in them.

Anyway, the guy working on my staff sent me the following pics to show me the stick he found.  It needs work still; the fork needs to be evened out, he's going to woodburn some symbols in there for me, and an iron nail is going to be driven up into the base of the staff (this last is to keep the power concentrated into the Stang, instead of letting it escape back into the Earth.)  Ash was unavailable, so mine will be Oak (which is just as well since Oak represents the Horned God.)  I can't wait until it's done and I have it here.  As it so happens, the staff is a tool which is heavily used in one of the Pagan paths I am soon to be following, so it seems like Fate that I found someone to make it, and he found the perfect stick, at this particular time.  Enjoy the pics, and I'll post the "final" ones when I get the end result.

The fork up close

The fork will be trimmed, and symbols added

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Protection Incense

I was sitting around, staring at my herb collection, when I suddenly thought, "I should make something."  I feel like I spend too much time on my blog showing things off, talking about stuff, but never actually creating or doing workings, so here's a step in the right direction.  I decided to make a protection incense; I have some good recipes for it, and it's easy to do.  I started off with one of Cunningham's recipes from "Oils, Incenses, and Brews" but then altered it to suit my taste.  It called for Dragon's Blood,  but that makes such a mess, I substituted Rosemary instead.

Anyway, here's the final recipe:

1 tbs. Frankincense
1 tbs. Myrhh
1/2 tbs. Cloves
1/2 tbs. Rosemary

I ground them all up in my mortar and pestle.  I probably should have used powdered cloves instead of whole ones, as they were hard to crush, but I think it turned out well in the end.  It smells awesome!  Haven't put any to use yet, though.  Here's some pics, enjoy. You can see a spell candle burning off to the left.
How witchy!

Herbs are ground and powdered

Final Result

Folk Magic Festival!

In case you don't know, November 11th through the 13th will be the Folk Magic Festival  in New Orleans.  There will be loads of presenters, cemetery tours, astrology workshops, and lectures on various Conjure techniques and topics.  While this isn't strictly my field of practice (I do use some Hoodoo-flavoured magic, but as a Pagan Witch I generally stick to European magical methods) it's an area I'd like to learn more about.  I have a special love for candle magic, which I'm sure is something that'll will be covered.

Living in Texas, New Orleans is within driveable distance, though I know my rickety old car wouldn't make it. I'll be exploring alternative ways to get there, assuming I think I can go.  I really hope I can make it, as I'm trying to meet with more people and get more hands-on demos, instead of just doing the same old thing I've been doing for years.

In other news, I made the BEST dinner tonight.  For whatever reason, I was in the mood for nothing but veggies, so I baked a potato and made corn on the cob. The potato got butter, sour cream, cheese, salt and pepper and the corn got butter and salt and pepper.  SO good.  I need to start cooking more again.

Friday, March 25, 2011

My Animals

In case you haven't noticed, I love animals.  I have two cats of my own, take care of my Mom's dog a lot, have two "outside" cats at her house, and also care for other animals in the neighborhood because I have so much free time.  Today, I thought I would share some new pics of my kitties and the dog.  They are ALL rescue animals, and remember: SPAY OR NEUTER YOUR PETS!

Molly the Dachshund

Marmalade loves the sun!

Cosmic Creepers is a beautiful kitty    

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

"Traditional" Doesn't Always Mean "Good."

While knowledge of, and respect towards, tradition is important and will always be a part of Witchcraft, the fact cannot be denied that in some cases, practices and beliefs, no matter how "traditional," are better discarded.  While much has been written of the dangers of super-eclectic, "New Age" approaches to Witchcraft and Wicca, relatively little has been penned about the opposite, but just as unfortunate (and sometimes more so) extreme: that of slavish devotion to real or fancied traditions, no matter how irrelevant or even barbaric they might appear to modern practitioners and humans in general.

It is my opinion that practices that involve cruelty to animals (and this includes animal sacrifice) have no place in the modern world.  As scientific discoveries progress and our knowledge of the animal kingdom expands, it's become increasingly clear that, far from being dumb, mute commodities to be exploited at our whim, animals instead have the ability to feel emotion, process complex thought, and form social and family units.  Even the simple crow, once thought to be "just a bird," has been found to possess an almost unbelievable intelligence.  Pigs, some say, have the brain capacity of a two year old child.  Apes can form complex social hierarchies and have different, unique personalities.  The amazing dolphin can recognize itself in a mirror, and indeed enjoys examining itself as much as any human teenager. How, then, can we justify the barbaric treatment we give these creatures?  I understand that people are omnivores, and I myself eat meat; I have no illusions of some vegetarian utopia.  However, gone are the days when people hunted wild animals for food, where the choice was "hunt or die" and where everything belonged to some great food chain.  Now, animals are kept in cages so small that they literally cannot move, turn around, or stand up.  They are tortured and butchered in ways that, were you to behave thus to a domestic dog or cat, would land you in jail for animal cruelty.  Worse, they are hunted to extinction or poached solely to have pieces of their bodies stolen for "magical" use, leaving the rest to rot.

Magic doesn't require the use of animal parts to be effective, and it's time these practices ceased once and for all.  There are newer, and better, ways of doing things that do not require animals to die (though of course, using the bones or similar from an already dead animal is another thing entirely.)  While in a more primitive time people may have believed that the growth of their crops, or the happiness of their clan, depended on sacrificing animals to appease the spirits, we now know this just simply isn't true. Crops will grow without any rituals to "make" them, and rains, storms, and droughts we know to be the result of air belts, climate changes, and other factors that need no supernatural force to explain them.  Can we influence these things?  Maybe, though I'm not so sure; I think magic works much better on the small, person-to-person level than on a very large, global scale.   With current scientific knowledge, there can no longer be justification for any kind of animal cruelty.  It simply isn't needed.

The same can be said for practices that are regional but which have no bearing when performed elsewhere.  For example, I once saw a BTW practitioner get very angry at an Australian coven because they celebrated the Sabbats in reverse. Since the seasons are the opposite below the Equator, it makes no sense to hold a harvest ritual in what would be their spring, or to hold a summer-time Sabbat whilst shivering in the cold of winter.  By flipping things around, this coven in question was keeping these celebrations in their proper context, but this person was furious because "it's traditional to hold Beltane in May, so you should do it regardless of the seasons!"  In this case, rigidly following "tradition" and going by calender month, rather than by actual season, would have rendered the Sabbat meaningless and would have been equivalent to mindlessly reciting prayers on Sunday simply because it was required of you.  It would have transformed a meaningful rite into an empty ritual.

We've all seen "tradition" used a an excuse to uphold backwards and antiquated thinking.  "Traditional marriage is between a man and a woman!" is used to deny equal rights to gay people, and to paint them as enemies of the family. "Traditional values" often means the same, and also extends to attacks on single parents, non-married partners, and other forms of blended families.  At one time, "tradition" was used as an excuse for slavery, and to keep Blacks and other non-whites "in their place." In some places, "tradition" says that women are evil temptresses, and must have their genitals mutilated and then hide themselves under cloth shrouds lest their faces and hair "tempt" men. People quote things that happened 400-500 years ago as reasons for modern Witchcraft practices and beliefs, forgetting that at that time, people were lucky to live to be 30, women were property more or less, and medical care consisted of bleeding and useless remedies.  We don't demand a return to this state of affairs, so it's curios why we glamorize others of the same period.

My point is not that we should discard all traditions ( indeed, there are many worthy ones that must be preserved) but that we re-examine them with a modern eye and using modern methods.  At all costs, we must avoid clinging to beliefs and worldviews that are absurd or patently false, lest we end up similar to the Christian "creationists" who insist on believing in 4000 year old Earth, made by magic in 7 days, despite all the vast evidence to the contrary.  There is room for both tradition AND common sense/modern scientific knowledge in all branches of Witchcraft, and unless we embrace that fact, along with humanist ideals and a compassionate approach to our dealings with the animal kingdom, we will end up as a footnote in the history books, lumped in with other radical fundamentalists religions who refused to change, and died out because of it.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Today's my birthday, which I am really excited about.  NOT because I am turning older (Grrr) but because my Mom (who lives about 10 minutes from me) is cooking me her awesome roast recipe, with carrots and potatoes and gravy.  YUM!  I actually had my party over the weekend, which is what I'm going to write about today.

I knew nobody would be available on a Tuesday, so I had my little party on the Saturday before.  Now, last year was a big age milestone for me, but this year not so much, so I didn't really plan on a big blow-out.  I invited some friends over, and we all went out to Celebration Restaurant down the street for some tasty, home-style food.  I had my favourite, chicken fried steak, and my pal next to me had the day's special of venison with cream gravy.  Yum!  For whatever reason, there were a lot of rather elderly people there that night and I'm sure we stood out in contrast to them, but we had an awesome time and stuffed ourselves silly.

After we were done, we went back to my place.  I actually made my own cake this year, because I didn't want to spend a lot of money and wanted one I knew would be yummy.  I made the sour cream chocolate cake (recipe on my blog a few weeks back) that I love so much, and it was a big hit.  We drank beer, wine, and cocktails and then went out as a group to see the huge Super Moon that had risen.  Two of my friends are really cute and work out, so we made them show off their abs to see who had the best tummy and arms (booze will do that to you) though it made the rest of us feel naughty to sit there and stuff our faces with cake.  Finally, I opened presents and got some amazing stuff.  My friend Matty got me a book called "Country Wisdom and Know-How" which tells you how to do everything from make jam, to dig a root cellar, to bake squirrel casserole.  My pal Chris gave me a Half Price Books gift card (he knows me so well) and some funny little odds and ends.  I also got a bottle of vodka (!) and a Bible (joke gift) and card from Kevin.  Also that day, I got my custom besom I'm ordered from Henson Broom Company.  It's got an Ash handle, and I absolutely LOVE it.

Anyway, it was a really fun time, much more so than I'd expected.  I didn't plan much, but there was a nice turnout and, perhaps because I wasn't as stressed as usual about making it "fun" it actually was MORE fun.  Here's some pics of my party, my guests, and my cake.  Hope you enjoy! Sorry for the wonky pic placement; the "improved" blogger pic adder ( by "improved" I mean "sucks and is impossible to use") rearranges them in an annoying way that you can do nothing about.

Wine and workout

Hey Hey hey

New Besom


Hanging Out

Yum cake!

Someone in this pic won the abs prize

Kevin's new glasses are CUTE

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The (Really Rather) One-Sided War Between Traditional Witchcraft and Wicca

If you're interested in Traditional Witchcraft, as I am, you've heard all about those silly Wiccans.  You know, the ones who worship only a Goddess, who think you have to always be spreading nothing but "love and light" and who can become Witches after merely reading a book or two by a big-name author. Of course, there's nothing historical about their practices; Gardner made them all up in the 50's, probably as a result of some kind of sex thing. Nowadays, all Wiccan are fluffy, empty-headed teens.  After all, the religion is "anything you want it to be" and has no rules or regulations. Not at all like Traditional Witchcraft, which we all know is the "real thing" and completely unrelated.  Better to just ignore those sad, wanna-be's over in the Wiccan world, who don't even use magic anymore.  Right?


The above no more describes real Wicca than "Satanists who ride broomsticks and turn people into toads" describes Trad Craft.  Wicca, the religion, is an orthopraxic mystery tradition that can only be followed after initiation into a lineaged group. They worship both a Goddess AND a God, do not shy away from the very real dark side of life (in Nature, things are born AND die, and the Horned God is often seen as the Lord of Death as well as the king of the forest) and accept that people can be wicked and destructive. Far from being "anything goes," there are in fact established ritual practices that, for the most part, are not and cannot be deviated from (before we go any farther, I want to say: I am NOT an initiate at this time, and cannot, nor would ever, give away any oath-bound secrets.  The information I refer to is readily available in published form via the Farrars and others.)  It's not something you can learn from books, nor is "Wiccan priest/ess" a title you can claim for yourself, no matter how many books you read.   Real Wiccans have no more use for the fluffy, "love and light" anything goes crowd than the Trad Witches do.  Likewise, most Wiccan practices (the circle, the use of knives, wands, cords, and pentacles, etc) are very ancient indeed, Gardner having drawn on the various Grimoires, folk magic, ancient Eastern practices and the like to form his system.  This information is readily available with even the most cursory research, and yet time and time again I see various "traditional" sites bashing Wicca as "unbalanced" (supposedly ignoring the darker sides of nature) and just generally "fake."  But why?

Two reason, I suspect.  One is the old (but sadly still used) "To show you how good MY tradition is, I'm going to spend my time tearing down this other one"  angle.  Inevitably on "trad craft vs Wicca" sites, you'll find them referring to some ludicrous, straw-man version of Wicca which they'll present solely to show how terrible it is compared to whatever it is they're doing.  Ranging from gross generalizations ("Wicca only worships female energy") to outright lies ("You can be a 3rd Degree Wiccan in 2 months just by reading a book") they'll hold these ideas up to derision, while at the same time presenting their own practices in a extremely favourable light ("Unlike Wicca, MY practices are based on ancient Cornish legend and are traditional.")  Perhaps ironically, many of the practices they present, whether coincidentally or now, actually do quite resemble the Wiccan practices they're trying to degrade.  The fact is, historical information on Witchcraft in general is quite murky, there are many examples of "fakelore" and it seems quite likely that all of the modern traditions have borrowed from the same sources, so the difference between Wicca and what followers label as "Traditional Witchcraft" is often much less than they would have you believe.

The other reason I feel is behind this phenomenon is the "me, too" effect.  People read these diatribes, latch into the "Traditional Witchcraft" concept, and then parrot whatever it is they read on various websites without thinking it through or doing real research into the matter.  Trad Witch A says "I have little use for Wicca; it's fake compared to my ancient Celtic Greek Roman practices." "Me, too" says Internet Follower.  "I hate Wicca, it's so fluffy and full of teenagers, I only use REAL magic and ancient spells."  "Me, too" says Internet follower.  Nobody wants to be seen as the newbie, or considered a fluffy bunny, so they'll blindly go along with whatever the prevailing attitude regardless of the truth, or lack thereof, behind it.

Fortunately, those really in the know don't resort to this kind of sloppy nonsense. I've seen some wonderful writers, like Sarah Lawless over at "The Witch of Forest Grove" defend Wicca, and point out the poor logic of the critiques against it.  People with a real grasp of Witchcraft history aren't likely to be fooled by some of the silly statements out there.  It's unfortunate, though, that too often there's so much resentment and anger over who's got the right to what title, and who's doing the "real" thing.  I think that BOTH sides have the right to the title of "Witch" and that both have valid, workable magical systems.  Indeed, I don't see why one couldn't practice both Wicca AND Traditional Witchcraft.  Instead of constantly being on the war-path, perhaps time would be better spent educating people, so that these kinds of stereotypes and misunderstandings are less likely to happen in the future.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Welcome To My New Blog Location!

I've been meaning to update this for a while, but finally, here we are!  I like this URL a lot better, and I feel as though this is more the blog I wanted to create.  It's a little primitive right now, until I can get things switched over, but hopefully I'll soon have the design right.  Once I get all my followers switched over, I'll delete the old one.


The Moon, Blackthorn, and a Birthday Party

If you don't know (and if you don't, you should!) tomorrow is the Full Moon, and it's going to be what's known as a "Super Moon." It's the closest the Moon will be to us for years and years, and will appear much, much larger than normal. Some fear this may cause natural disasters (and, lo and behold, look at what's been happening) but for us Witches, it will also be a time of great power. I've got some new tools I need to consecrate, and I can't think of a better time to do so.

Speaking of new tools, Joy over at Wands of Avalon has made me a new wand from Blackthorn, and it's absolutely breathtaking. We can't grow Blackthorn in the US, or at least not in Texas, but it's an incredibly traditional wood to use for magical tools, and having used it before, I know it carried a tremendous punch. In the old days, Witches would use it for what are called "Blasting rods," which were traditionally associated with curses, but which could be used for positive ends (banishing evil, sending forth positive power) as well. This wand is wood burned with several symbols I requested, and she's also added some beautiful, thorny Blackthorn branches around it. Here's a couple of pics for you to be jealous of me over (she was kind enough to give me permission to use them here):

In other news, yours truly is going to be turning somewhere between the ages of 20 and 35 on Tuesday, so I'm doing a party for myself tomorrow. Not going to be a huge deal; a few friends coming over, we're going out to eat at my favourite home style eatery, Celebration and then coming back to my (tiny) place for drinks and movies and cake. Rather than buy some costly cake, I decided to make my own, since at least then I know it will be good (I waited too long to order from the best cake place around.) I always love my parties, but I never do TOO much because I get tired. I'm going to have to be cleaning, cleaning, cleaning today, but I'll post pics of the party after it's done.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Witch Vs Sorcerer Vs Magician

The words "witchcraft" and "sorcery" tend to be used interchangeably, but are they REALLY interchangeable? I would say "no" as I don't think they're the same thing, though there's a lot of overlap. In one of her books Sybil Leek (and I've heard it repeated elsewhere since) makes the statement that witches use a magical power or ability inherent in themselves, whiles sorcerers create magic my manipulating external objects. This is more or less my own feeling on the matter. While most people can learn to do magic, using various folk traditions, I don't think just anybody can be a witch. To be a witch, I think one has to be either born with an innate ability, or have it bestowed upon them, whether by spirits or deities or some other mechanism. Most folk magic practitioners ,in my opinion, would fall into the "sorcerer" category; indeed, many would be horrified if you were to call them a "witch" as their traditions claim that witches are evil.

Likewise, what's the difference between a "witch" and a "magician?" One could make the case that "magicians do high magic, and witches do low magic" but this isn't always true. Instead, as above, I would say that a witch does magic based on an internal power/skill, and a magician does magic utilizing external forces, whether by harnessing the elements or calling up spirits. Ceremonial Magic tends to be incredibly complicated and involved, focuses on lofty and non-material things, and almost always uses a strong Christian framework. While these elements can be found, to a lesser degree, in witchcraft, they do not make up the bulk of the practice as they do here.

Finally, and this is a bit of a controversial view, but I think Witchcraft has a religious angle, while sorcery or high magic may not. Obviously, we've got magical religions like Wicca and Feri, but even in "traditional" practices, one almost ALWAYS finds a deity at the center of it. Traditionally, this was usually a Horned God, though the Goddess Diana and others were also said to be the patrons of various covens. Likewise, in my view a Witch would always have at least some dealings with spirits and the Otherworld, which sets them apart from people who may do simple folk magic or even from Pagans who cast a spell every now and again.

So, merely doing magic doesn't make you a witch. An atheist, for example, who casts love spells wouldn't be a witch, nor would a Christian who calls on angels and casts simple charms. To be a witch is to be set apart, to have the power within, power that doesn't rely on tools or herbs or written spells. These things are tools, yes, and of a great aid, but they do not create the magic as they do in non-Witchcraft traditions. In my studies and networking, the people who really stood out, who I think of as true witches, did not have to "become" anything, or learn from others what they were. They always KNEW they were witches, and the training and practice later was only the icing on the cake. It's not to say that they (or myself, for that matter) are "better" than other people, just that they have a destiny and a call that is different from those who learn magic and use their skills purely for Earthly needs and desires.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Gods Are Not Fluffy

This post is adapted from an online discussion I was having, though I removed all personal details. We were talking about the tendency of some Pagan groups to call on random Gods and spirits, without having a full understanding of their entire nature or being willing to offer them something in return.

"I am always put off when I come across NeoPagan writings that talk of "using" various Deities for spells and magic. We've all seen the books that say something like "Flip through the appendix at back, and pick a God you want to use for your love spell." Never mind the horrid and arrogant presumption that the Gods exist solely to act as a kind of Santa Claus, granting wishes and gratifying shallow requests for goods, but it also seems to be to be a wee bit risky. When taken in historical context, most Gods are multi-faceted and may have attributes that could be harmful or destructive if wrongly invoked, and of course there are very real threats and dangers in the Spirit world. It's not hard to imagine somebody recklessly calling on beings from a book of which they had no understanding, and then suffering serious adverse effects from it. I would blame the authors of these books more than the readers. I guess a serious discussion of the risks involved doesn't sell as well as "The Spirit World is full of wonderful, happy Gods and angels who have nothing better to do than grant you a parking space!" Since so many newbies don't know how to find serious, reputable books (or even know they exist) I think they really can't be blamed if something goes wrong, as they probably didn't know any better."

Food for thought. I don't want it to sound like I think of the Gods as "evil" as that's definitely not the case. Just remember, Nature has both a light AND a dark side, and with life, comes death. The Goddess that protects the innocent may crush the wicked, and the God of the Forest can also be the Lord of Death.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Tragedy in Japan

I'm sure we've all been watching the horrible tragedy in Japan with baited breath. Not only was the earthquake severe, but the ensuing tsunamis did as much if not more damage and will probably have caused the most fatalities. Sadly, more may be yet to come. I saw on the news this morning that one of their nuclear plants had exploded because the cooling components had been disabled by the quake, and they've been unable to fix it. Radiation levels are already skyrocketing, and the air and soil may be poisoned for many, many years in the area around the disaster. My thoughts and prayers go out to the people who've been hurt or who've lost loved ones or their homes in the disaster, and I also pray that the souls of those who've died my peacefully find their way to the Spirit World.

Events like this remind us that, as much as we might like to imagine that we're "in control" of the Earth, we're really only one aspect of the entire system. When earthquakes, tornadoes, and other natural disasters happen, they're only "bad" from our viewpoint and experiences; they're not an evil, but a necessary function of the Earth. While I would never try to minimize the sufferings of those affected by events like these, if anything good can come from it, I would hope it would be that we'd be reminded that we must try and live in harmony with the Earth and its cycles, and not against them.

I'm sure the coming days will reveal in detail just how bad things are overseas (and at home; a small coastal town in California was devastated by a tsunami) and I'm sure we'll all do whatever we can to help those in need.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Oh My Gods!

I just got in a new shipment from the ever-reliable 13 Moons (the only witch shop I trust, since I've dealt with them many times and they're always reasonable priced, prompt, and sell high-quality merchandise) and, among other things, got my new "Seated God and Goddess" statues. Designed by Paul Borda, they're made of plaster and resemble (as blogger friend Veles pointed out) the statues that sat on Doreen Valiente's altar. I absolutely LOVE them; they much resemble the picture I have, in my own mind, of what the Gods might look like.

Anyway, here's a pic of Them on my altar. Just wanted to share my happiness!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Plants About Town

I went to Lowes today to have a peep, and boy what a surprise! They have MUCH better stuff than their competitors, and their plant selection was amazing. I snapped only a few pics, but I found loads of things I wanted. Jasmine, Lavender, some beautiful poppies, hanging baskets of petunias and begonia.....awesome stuff! Alas, after my trip I got a migraine, and I've been stuck in bed since. Sad end to a good day.

Lovely Jasmine at a good price....

A lovely home for bird friends.....

Monday, March 7, 2011

More From The Witch's Supply Cabinet

I just got in my new order today from Mountain Rose Herbs , so I couldn't help but show off a few of my treasures. I usually hit up local junk shops, antique markets, and gardening stores for most of my Witch needs (I'm not a huge fan of mass produced, "Pagan" supplies) but when it comes to a few specialty items, I spend more to get them from really high-quality vendors. I'm trying to convert to using only 100% beeswax candles, for example, because they're better for the Earth, and for our health. Likewise, for herbs, I try to avoid "occult" shops (especially for herbs I'm going to be ingesting) and prefer to get them from herb specialists. Mountain Rose Herbs is my all-time favourite, because much of what they offer is wildcrafted, almost ALL of it is organic, and they have great customer service and amazing products. Today I got, in the mail, a bunch of their stuff. Essential oils of Lavender, Benzoin, and Eucalyptus. Dried Myrrh, Frankincense, and Fumitory. Some special "Lucid Dreams" tea and an eco-friendly tea-making product that sits in your mug to make one cup at a time. Oh, and finally, a great big bottle of Jojoba oil to be used as bases for magical and aromatherapy blends.

Some oils:

My mortar and pestle set, along with a few crystals and some miscellaneous supplies:

A few of my powdered and dried herbs, along with some sea salt:

Anyway, hope all 8 of you are well ;) It's still kind of chilly here, but my plants are growing well none the less, and hopefully we'll get the rain tomorrow they're predicting.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Beards For Everyone!

I have to admit, I totally want this!

You can get it here: "The Scholar" Adult Size Beard

Book of the Week: "Horns of Power: Manifestations of the Horned God" edited by Sorita d'Este

I got loads of new books in, but the first one I'm tackling is called "Horns of Power: Manifestations of the Horned God." I'm really ill at the moment (I developed a terrible migraine in the middle of the night, and I'm very medicated and run down) so I can't read as quickly as I'd like to, but so far the book is amazing.

Not merely a dry, academic study of half-forgotten Gods of the past, this book is more about people's personal feelings on, views of, and interactions with the Horned God in His many guises. Too many NeoPagan books put the God into corner, or even discard Him as unnecessary, and prefer to focus on Goddess worship (sometimes, I'm afraid to say, deliberately as a way to "get back at" men or male Deity.) However, you cannot right past wrongs by creating a new one, and to ignore the male aspect of divinity is as incredibly unbalanced as ignoring the female half would be. The various authors presented here discuss their own particular Pagan path, and their own particular conception of the male Deity, whether through the guise of Veles, Cernunnos, Pan, etc. I'm very pleased to see, too, that they have a much more balanced perspective and don't fall into the trap of focusing solely on the God's "lighter" aspects, while ignoring the more Earthy, sexual traits.

I'm not even halfway done with the book yet, so when I'm finished I'll write my final report. Right now, though, I'm very excited to have found such a promising work, and I suspect that it's one I'll be referring to (and recommending) for a long time to come.