The Truth About Cascarilla Powder!

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels: ,

I'm so super proud of this beautiful new item in my shop, I've just gotta brag!  No one on Etsy offers brown cascarilla powder--until now!



Making brown cascarilla is more than just crushing shells of brown eggs.  Instead, white shells are flattened and then slow toasted for hours in the oven until they turn brown.  This is a long and very...fragrant...process (okay, honestly, hot eggshell smells awful!  It's like a roadkill casserole!  Bleck!  But, lucky for you, once cooled they are scentless).  After the shells cool, I grind them superfine by hand in my big marble mortar and pestle with chants and charms to drive away evil.  A lot of work goes into this little bag!

Cascarilla powder is such a potent cleansing and protecting agent that it can be used in any number of ways to guard from evil, malicious magic, and disease:
  • If someone leaves a trick on your doorstep or you find some suspicious item in your home from an enemy, dust your hands well with this powder before picking it up.  This keeps the evil from transferring to you, and you can dispose of it safely.
  • Add some to your bath water or sprinkle in the wash bucket for scrubbing the floor to disperse negativity. 
  • Use cascarilla powder to make symbols on the floor or altar during ritual or spellwork. 
  • Add a bit of water and use it to paint symbols on your skin or use it dry to dust your body for all-over protection.

All this magic talk has my mind percolating.  I'm in the mood for some spells--I'm off to my workroom for provisions!  Happy Equinox to you!

Related reading includes  The Magic of Iron,  Who is This "Joe Pye"?,  What's in a Spell Kit? 

Osho and Other Beautifully Imperfect Teachers

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels:

First off, I am a big fan of Osho (though, I usually call him by the name I first read him under, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh) and I have tremendous respect for his ideas. Osho has caught a lot of heat in the past for his sometimes politically-incorrect views.  One such view came to my attention only recently now that I'm his Facebook friend (Wild, isn't it?  Renowned the world over--and dead--and he's my friend.  I sure must be something special).  In an article linked from his website, he expounded on his thoughts about homosexuality being an expression of socially, physically, and religiously repressed heterosexuality.  He believed that without those conditions, homosexuality would not exist.  Though I don't believe that myself (and, for all I know, Osho himself may have changed his ideas since writing this in 1979) I do see what he's doing by saying it.  And it's a fundamental of teaching, no matter the message.

Here, for your enlightenment (if you haven't already read it) is the original article, taken from his "Be Still and Know" talks.  Read it and watch closely your reaction:

http://oshotimes.blog.osho.com/2012/06/same-sex-relationships/

So, were you intrigued?  Outraged?  Hurt?  Ashamed?  You'd be surprised at how few responses I've seen that answer the first.  Most people seem to say something along the lines of "I used to respect him, but no more!  What a quack!  What an affront!  How dare he?"  Here's a good example, straight from the gay community: 

http://gaysifamily.com/2010/06/07/osho-i-love-you-no-more/

Ouch.  Coming from the point of view as a teacher, I can say that every one of these people who are so grieved over Osho's statement, so hurt, so ready to turn their backs and shun his name, they have totally missed the point.

So what was the point?  Why is it that I can say I know this "as a teacher?"  It's because I've seen it happen plenty in my own teaching.  First you get this fresh-faced student, all geared up and ready to learn at your feet.  Then they hear you say something they don't like, something that offends their little ears.  "I have to practice this?"  "You expect me to do homework?"  "Wait, so I don't get to pick and chose what you'll teach me?"  And then it comes out--"I used to respect you, but no more!  What a quack!  What an affront!  How dare you?"  Yup, they're all yours until you challenge them.

But learning is about the challenge.  That's the reason we go into it.  Maybe it's been too long ago for adults to remember starting school, or maybe they just figure that it's a different story when you choose to take classes instead of doing it by government mandate.  But it's not.  It's still hard, it still takes work and dedication, and it will often fly in the face of what you knew before.  But that's good.  It means you're learning.

Sadly, I've lost more than a few students because they didn't like having to think.  I feel sorry for them.  We seem to have become a community that treasures individuality to the point of not wanting to even consider a teacher's right to say needful, if uncomfortable, things.  I'm not asking for students to worship my words, but I do want them to hear them, mull them over, practice what I prescribe, and then come to a conclusion.  Opinion-forming should be a process, not a reaction.  Just because your brain came up with it doesn't make it right. 

Unfortunately for Osho and I (though I'm not claiming to be in his league at all), people want to worship words.  They want their teacher/leader to say things that are easy to accept and agree with.  They want to nod at every line and be comforted.  "Work" should never enter into it for them.  And that has driven away many potentially enlightened people.  Osho might not have felt this pinch quite as profoundly in 1979 as today, with gay rights being one of the topics at the forefront of politics, but just the reprinting of this talk has people leaving in droves the shadow of the temple they built for him in their minds.  If they had only listened, they wouldn't still be inside it; they'd be out into the light of day.

Neither Osho nor any other teacher is perfect.  They have silly ideas sometimes, they work through impossible theories--they're learning as they go as well.  But they are ahead of the student, often far, far ahead.  We shouldn't follow blindly but we should follow and listen.  I saw in Osho's talk a viewpoint vastly different from my own.  I took some time to think about the possibility of it being true.  Could it really be that way?  What would that mean in general?  What would it mean to me?  How does this change my thoughts?  After that, I decided that it is not likely to be scientifically, literally true, but that there may be a kernel of truth underneath.  But, in the end, it gave me pause for thought.  I had to consider my own ideas and weigh them up against what I was seeing.  In the end, I feel pretty much the same about the topic as I did before, but my mind is just a little bit more open.  I still think about it from time to time, juggling these nearly opposite ideas and considering them all over again.  I think about the worth of speculation, of keeping open options, of not making harsh critical statements without full investigation.   Seeing the anger at other reader's fingertips, I feel sorry that they're missing out on this.  And I miss those students who refused to try to open, not for me, but for themselves.

Dreams and Curses

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels:

In our home, we don't hide from the important issues and we don't create an information gulf between child and adult.  Sure, there's "grown up" stuff I don't tell the kids, but I figure that if a child's old enough to ask a question, they are old enough for a straight answer.  This has been especially true with magic.

Now, I don't believe that magic is an adults-only game.  Nor do I see it as a membership club where, by someone else's say-so, you're either in or you're out (more about that later!).  So I believe in teaching children as early as possible.  Our daughter, Gigi (11), was only a few years old and making it rain and healing the neighbor boy's hornet stings.  The little man (7) is an expert incensier  (that's my freshly minted word, by the way: incensier [in-cen-SEER] one who compounds incense.  Sounds about right.) and I love employing his little biceps at the mortar and pestle.  But, until now, their learning has been atmospheric.  I always figured that the proper time would come for them to be formally taught.  And now, I believe it's Gigi's time.

Gigi and I were talking before getting her to bed tonight and I mentioned this.  She was happy to and only requested that it be a "weekend thing."  Fine by me!  Weeknights are plenty full as it is.  So I asked her if there was something she was especially interested in learning.  Her reply--dreams and curses.  I didn't say anything for a moment.  She explained that she wants to know how to return to a dream or get a specific dream, and how to give someone a little curse--if you're really mad--like bad test scores.

That set me back a bit.  Yes, the first one's no big deal and they're both easily done.  In fact, I could teach her everything about those two subjects in a day or two.  But...should I?  The kids know that I do magic of all kinds; sometimes I'm nice and sometimes I'm not.  That's just the work of a witch for me.  When I have clients who request curses or people who write asking for information on them, I don't turn them away and I don't tell them their feelings are wrong.  So I tried to look at it from that perspective.  I surely can't tell Gigi that it would be wrong to curse someone at school.  I'd be making a liar out of my practice.  And I can't tell her that it's not for her to know, because that could make her either perversely intrigued in this forbidden topic or dismissive of magic altogether since her lessons won't provide what she wants to know.  So what should I do?

I've been thinking about this ever since she said it.  I told her at the time that we'd talk more about it when it was time to start.  I guess that's the best way to go--talk it out and get to the core of the issue.  I can't say that at her age I didn't have the desire to blast some classmates, but maybe I can reroute those feelings so that she's less inclined to do it to the whole class.

Cursing is just as valuable a skill as any other in magic, so she will be learning it sometime.  Like any other spell, there's a right way to do it and a wrong way.  I believe most of the people who shout about the dangers of black magic and say that curses will always rebound on the witch did it the wrong way once and believed that it was the only outcome.  Training would have changed everything.

So maybe I'll let her get her feet wet.  She's not blasting crops or poisoning wells, just spreading a little revenge.  She'd probably be doing that anyway, and much sloppier too. 

Feel free to write in with your feelings on this topic.  What would you do?

That Big Bright Thing in the Sky is Back!

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels: ,

This is so my new ritual garb.
As a woman in a cat leotard famously sang, "Look, a new day has begun!"  And it sure has.  But I haven't gone to bed yet; I've been up all night working for my shop, blog, and making homemade tortillas for sandwich wraps in 3 packed lunches.  I'm not very sharp in the morning unless it's technically the end of my day.  And for the past two school-years I've worked it out that I stay up all night and sleep once our kids go off to school.  I'm simply too much of a night-owl to stop what I'm doing at a respectable 10 pm.

In fact, when the sun goes down, I come up, even if it means I sleep fewer daytime hours than I would have gotten at night.  Unfortunately, last night was absorbed for the most part by figuring out this blog business (fie on you, technology!), but now that it's done, I have new plans to set before I lay down my head around 9 am.

This all may sound a little unconventional (and it is), but being unconventional is pretty much what a witch does.  I have seen so many people eagerly blurt out "We're just like you!" in interviews, books, and on the street as though there were something for which they must apologize.  But there just isn't.  You and I don't owe the "regular folk" anything any more than they owe us.  You don't owe them an excuse, and explanation, or even a second glance.  So long as it's working for you, it's no one's business.

So I stay up all night writing, drawing, and working magic.  My husband is an inventor and mad genius.  Our kids pretend like they're robots and cats (or, sometimes, robot cats!) constantly and for no reason.  We are an openly Pagan family, living next door to a church.  And we don't owe anyone a reason why.

Nothing Good is Ever Easy

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels: , ,

That's what they say, of course.  I say it too.  But do I mean it?  Wouldn't it be the perfect omen of a good thing if it came without effort, without tears?  Well, the old saying happens to be true for this blog and also for many of the other things I have brought into the world. (children included!)  I won't, however, use a tired expression and call it a "labor of love."  No, it was a labor of determination.  There was no way in hell that _________ (fill in the blank with whatever happens to be trying my patience at the time) was going to best me today!  Sometimes a dose of irrational stubbornness/stubborn irrationality is just what you need.

So here we are, together at last.  Welcome to this nest for the many bits of magic that no longer fit in my head, the ideas I'd like to share, the photos and the formulas, and--yes--scraps of Latin that you need to hear.  I am a huge fan of Latin, which is, at the moment, becoming my third language.  "Ex Penna" means "from the quill," a little nod to the Latin tradition of puns.  "Penna" is also the old abbreviation for my home (and current) state, Pennsylvania, for those of you who like to weave webs of association.

I am a witch in the grand tradition of spellcasters, curse throwers, card readers, magic sellers, and healers. I'm an entrepreneur, teacher, coven leader, writer, mother, wife, and homemaker.  In here you'll find herbs, talismans, spells, formulas, advice, secrets, thoughts about the past and questions for the future.  Ask me anything and I will tell you.  "Cross my palm with silver," as they say, and the magic is yours.
 

About Me

My photo

My name is Quill and I've been practicing witchcraft for the past 17 years. 10 of those years I've been reading tarot and teaching.  I own a shop on Etsy called Quill's Occult Supply (check it out at QuillsOccultSupply.Etsy.com) full of handmade ritual and decorative items, spell components, and wild picked herbs.

I love to work with my hands.  Magic is a tool to shape our lives, and I'm using magic to shape tools to shape magic.  Cosmic! 

I use a lot of my favorite things in my shop: herbs, candles, wood, fabric, paint, clay.  And I get to carve, burn, grind, mold, think, dream ... I'm in the perfect business!

I've written 3 manuscripts for publication (2 non-fiction and 1 fiction) and am an avid NaNo-er!  I and my husband run a local coven called Orbis Prosapia, and our children are growing up surrounded by magic, mythology, fairy tales, Earth worship, art, open discussion, music, and humor. 

In addition to working on Ex Penna about my experiences as a professional witch, I also write for Scenes from the Circle about being a coven leader. 








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