Thursday, September 30, 2010
This month, we are having our giveaway in honor of Samhain. To celebrate this darkening point of the year, Lori the owner of Witchcrafts, has donated one of her Dark Harvest Samhain ritual oils, to be our giveaway item! I had the chance to speak with Lori, here's what she had to say:
1. How long have you been crafting magical products? Since about 2006 (for my own use primarily), and on Etsy since 2009.
2. How did you go about starting your business? I created a shoppe banner, made a few magical items, and just did it. My shoppe is more like a hobby than a full-fledged business (in terms of making a living from my craftwork), although I'd really like to develop my shoppe as a small business. I love Witchcraft. I love craftwork. This is why I do it. I'm following my Bliss. I'd never want WITCHCRAFTS to turn into something mechanical and magicless. If it did, I'd have to close down or scale down because I'm not willing to sacrifice my joy and my bliss. I'd rather have a day job and continue doing this as a hobby instead.
3. What is your favorite product that you make?
My favorite products are my silk sari witches' ladders and new magical soy candle lines. I'm officially a chandler now - a dream of mine come true. My handmade hand poured candles are all made with premium certified kosher American-farmer grown soy wax. They are also very magically focused, potent and chock full of mystically enchanting goodies - for example, my Hekate Liminal Rites candle contains genuine wolfsbane, yew, mandrake-mandragora and many other botanicals sacred to Hekate - there is no skimping on the magical ingredients in any of them. My customers have written to me "the energy you imbibe is palpable," and "I have always wanted to honor the Fae, but have never found anything that felt 'right' [until coming across my Bendith y Sidhe magical pillar]. This too, is why I created my shoppe and offer the products I do - to share my love of the Craft and to hopefully touch the Bliss of other witches, pagans and occultists.
4. Can you tell us a little about the product your giving away?
Dark Harvest Samhain ritual oil grew out of my study of and pathworking with entheobotanicals. This blend contains wormwood (Artemisia absinthium) which, to produce chemically psychoactive effects, is usually ritually smoked or prepared as a liqueur. Wormwood is used in this Samhain ritual oil for it's magical effects (calling spirits, for example), which are closely related to it's psychoactive effects. This entheobotanical combined with the other dark ingredients led me to magically name this ritual oil DARK HARVEST.
Rules to enter the giveaway are as follows: Go to Witchcrafts, find a product (or products) that you like and comment on it here. The giveaway will last for one week, and then the winner will be announced. I will choose the winner randomly at random.org. Please make sure and add contact info as well to your entry in the giveaway.
I would like to thank Lori at Witchcrafts for donating her beautiful Samhain ritual oil! I am so excited to showcase her magically unique products here! Thank you to everyone who enters! Have fun playing!
Posted by Tara at 2:49 PM
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Today we celebrate Mabon, the second of the three harvest festivals. This is a time where night and day are equal in length, from here on out the days will grow short, and the nights will grow long. In the ancient world, this was the time of year when people were preparing for the coming winter. Harvesting their fields and stocking up food and wood to ensure they would survive the long cold nights. It was also a time to give thanks to mother earth for her great bounty.
Many cultures celebrated a harvest festival. The Greeks celebrated Oschophoria which was a festival held for harvesting grapes for wine. In China they celebrate the Autumn moon with cakes baked with flour from harvested rice. Also in some of the Germanic countries, offerings of flour were made to Odin in hopes that he would protect their crops. It seems that most of the world celebrated the time of the harvest in some fashion.
On Mabon we honor the Goddess Demeter, Goddess of grain. Her famous myth deals with her daughter Persephone and her seasonal trip to the underworld. Now is the time when Demeter is mourning the loss of her daughter, and because of this all of the plants wither and die. When Persephone is returned back to her mother at spring, life begins a new and Demeter is happy once more.
Now is the time to turn inward and reflect on the darker side of ourselves. To walk the labyrinth of life and find balance in this time of self reflection. Take some time to shed some of the negative things that hold you down, this will make room for more positive things to move in. In all of life and nature, there cannot be light without the dark, and their cannot be dark without the light. It is the great balance that we all strive for.
On your altar, have symbols of fall and the harvest, such as little pumpkins, acorns, or fall leaves. Candle colors can be red, orange or yellow or a combination of all three. Have warm colored stones and burn Mabon incense. To represent the Goddess Persephone you might want to have a pomegranate, the fateful fruit that has kept her bound to the underworld for half the year. For Demeter I suggest grains of any kind.
Wishing everyone a blessed Mabon! Enjoy your celebration of Fall!
Photo courtesy of Care2.com
Posted by Tara at 3:26 AM
Saturday, September 18, 2010
For many of us witches, discovering and working with our animal totems is a very important part of our magical lives. We all have them, but some of us might not know what they are yet. As followers of the Goddess we need to be connected to nature to truly feel her special power. Connecting with animals is a great way to do that! There are many different ways of finding out what your animal totem is. I found mine in a dream years ago, when I simply asked the Goddess before I fell asleep to "show me my animal totem". The dream I proceeded to have will forever be etched in my mind, and so will the beauty of the black leopard.
While reading my 2011 Magical Almanac, I came across a great ritual for finding your animal totem, and I thought I would share it here!
On your altar have the elements represented, as well as the colors of nature such as green and brown, and a white candle to represent your higher self. On your candle, carve either your name or astrological sign, and dress it with sandalwood oil. Make sure you cleanse yourself and your space with a smudge stick, and make your sacred circle. Now that you are ready to start, you may call on the elements, any deities you like to work with, and your higher self. Recite your statement of purpose:
On this night, I seek a meeting or communion with my true Animal totem. I enter this circle with pure heart, mind, body, and soul. I ask for your assistance and guidance. Please bestow your wisdom and guidance upon me, so that I can be true to myself and to others and pay homage to the earth and all it's creatures. Hail to the elements who keep the balance. Hail to my higher self who watches over me! Hail to (name of deity you chose) who assists me in my communication with my totem! So mote it be!
Now it's time for the meditation:
Focus on imagery regarding a pathway through nature of whatever kind suits you or feels right. Notice any creatures that come forward. Concentrate on just being, dont think too much or ask too many questions. Don't disregard any creature just because you'd prefer a different one. Take note of what happens, what creature (or creatures) you see, colors, shapes, textures and sensations. What memories are being evoked? Whatever creature reveals itself to you, commune with it. Observe it, what it's doing, if it's saying anything to you, or gesturing in a particular manner. Now thank the animal for it's presence and ask that they guide you in your life and dreams. Now thank any deities, the elements and your higher self and close your circle. Write down your experience and all details.
Once you find out what your animal totem is, you can call upon it or them when doing magical workings, or just to guide you through life. Sometimes a particular animal will show up at a certain time in your life, because it's trying to tell you something, or teach you a lesson.
I hope you enjoy working with your animal totems! There are many great books on this subject if you would like to research it further. I happen to like Ted Andrews Animal Speak
Photo courtesy of Sodahead.com
Posted by Tara at 1:20 PM
Friday, September 17, 2010
Thank you to everyone who participated in this giveaway! And the winner is......Lindsey Rey! Congratulations! I hope everyone enjoyed this giveaway. I know I will be doing some shopping from Montserrat very soon, so I can enjoy her beautiful pocket shrines as well. Enjoy your Sisterhood pocket shrine Lindsey! I would also like to thank Montserrat for donating her unique product for this giveaway! Check back soon for our October giveaway. Thanks!
Posted by Tara at 2:59 PM
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
This week our giveaway comes to us from The Sacred Feminine. Fabulous artist and candle maker, Montserrat of The Sacred Feminine , has donated one of her lovely pocket shrines for this giveaway. I fell in love with these little shrines the first time I laid eyes on them, and I'm sure you will too! I had the chance to speak with Montserrat about her beautiful artwork, here's what she had to say:
1. How long have you been an artist of the sacred feminine?
I have always been an artist, but it was at the age of 33, when I had a brush with death that the Sacred Feminine was awakened within me.
2.How did you go about starting your business?
My business started in 1996 officially as Candles by Montserrat, my candle line.
I never thought of owning my own business, since I was painting just for the fun of it, but one day I decided to make some candles to give as gifts to friends, and they loved them so much that they encouraged me start a business out of it. So, I started selling them at a local New Age Store and somehow they spread all over. Since I use my own artwork for the labels, it made sense to also sell greeting cards and the like. Today, I make many things with my art work.
3.What is your favorite piece of artwork/product that you make?
I love painting with oils, of course. That seems to be the best way in which I can express my feelings with the rest of the world. My favorite piece is Mother Earth.
4. Could you explain the item your giving away?
I am giving away one of my pocket shrines. I love creating sacred space everywhere, and these little pocket shrines are perfect for doing just that, and also for focusing your intention on anything. They are easy to carry in your pocket, purse, car, office and home altar.
To enter the giveaway, you must first go to The Sacred Feminine website and check out her products, then come back here and mention a product or two that you like. The giveaway will go on for one week, and when its over I will choose the winner randomly with random.org. Thank you to everyone for participating in this giveaway! And of course a big thank you to Montserrat for donating this beautiful little pocket shrine!
Posted by Tara at 3:43 PM
Saturday, September 4, 2010
I was so excited when I found the book by Jean Markale, The Great Goddess! It looked like the kind of book I had been searching for. This book deals with Goddess worship from the Paleolithic to the present. It's filled with so much information on Goddess history, that I recommend taking notes if you really want the info to stick. Now I must say that I did enjoy reading this book, although it can be a little dry in some areas, so it's a book you'll read over time. It's mainly academic with a little mythology.
Worship of a Mother Goddess dates back thousands of years. Figurines of women have been found with exaggerated breasts and hips that are believed to symbolize fertility. Jean Markale discusses each and every one of these ancient figurines. Everything from the famous Venus of Wilendorf to the Sheela Na Gigs of Great Britain. There is even a reference in the back of the book that names all Goddess centered figurines, sanctuaries and statues.
The beginning of this book gives you a history on the ancient practice of Goddess worship, starting with the Paleolithic peoples. It goes on from there to talk about Christianity, and the change of the world religion from a Mother Goddess nature centered spirituality, to a patriarchal spirituality. The last few chapters of this book talks about different Goddess/Pagan religions around the world, like the Celts, Egyptians, Hindu and so on. I have to say, that the middle portion of this book goes a little too deep into detail about when Christianity came about. Although it's a relevant time period in our history, I was looking more for just info on Goddess history.
The Great Goddess is filled with historical fact and is very academic, which I happen to like. There are no rituals or meditations to try or anything like that. Strictly historical fact on ancient Goddess worship. Which I think is very important for modern Goddess followers to know. But if your looking for an easy, fun, activity filled read, this isnt it. Take your time with this one and soak it all in! Theres tons of Goddess history out there waiting to come to the surface, and I think Jean Markale did a superb job conveying that ancient message to us.
Check out The Great Goddess on amazon. Enjoy learning about our history with the Mother Goddess!
Posted by Tara at 3:24 PM