Witch Tip--Charm: To Get New Friends

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels: ,

We're more connected now than humanity has ever been, and yet the problem of finding and maintaining deep friendships remains just as difficult.  You might have hundreds or thousands of Facebook friends and Twitter followers yet still have no one with whom you can share your true self--those innermost thoughts, fears, hopes, and dreams that acquaintances never know.  Everyone should have people with whom they can be genuine.  That kind of peace and understanding is what the soul craves.

Though this charm doesn't exactly fit with my usual style of spoken magic, the tone is earnest and the purpose is worthwhile giving it a good spot in any BoS.


Day to night, 
Night to day, 
I call upon my inner powers 
To bring me friends who will always be true.





I'm not certain of this charm's origins, but I found on this forum:

Quick Link--55 Songs About Witches

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels:


55 Songs About Witches


Though I object to a slight few on this list for picky personal reasons*, I think it's a great way to familiarize oneself with the long shared history of magic and music.  Plus, most of these are damned inspiring!  What kind of witch are you--Santana's Black Magic Woman" or one of Thurston Moore's "Wonderful Witches"?  Check out some unique and eclectic takes on the magical persona and let them stir up some witchcraft in you!


*  If you're curious, I debate choices like listing both Donovan's original and Julie Driscoll's remake of "Season of the Witch" as well as the bizarre choice "Ding Dong! The Witch is Dead", no matter how well Ella Fitzgerald did it (and I normally can't say no to anything she does).

Witch Tip--Formula: Aunt Sally's Dream Powder

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels: ,


This is probably my most frequently requested formula when I make spell kits privately.  That's really saying something, considering that the bulk of this witch's work for others is either love spells or curses!  But Aunt Sally's powder neither harms nor manipulates any other person; it's completely benign and beneficial, which (to my mind) makes it the perfect share so close to the holidays.

Use this classic Hoodoo formula to bring dreams that are prophetic, give winning numbers for gambling (it's original use, including the companion book "Aunt Sally's Policy Player's Dream Book"), or are of a fortunate nature.  Sprinkle this powder on your sheets before going to bed to make use of its influence on your sleep time or carry a pinch in your pockets to be lucky while you're awake!


Aunt Sally's Dream Powder

Licorice root
Cardamom seed
Coriander
Cinnamon


Quick Link--Snow Magic

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels:



Snow Spells


That time of year is here again and I'm pining for the snow!  Whether you are against the idea or no, there are many ways to work magic to make it snow and this page is but a sampling of it.  A snowy holiday is always a treat, so give your hand to a little flurry (or a foot) before the end of the month.

And if your part of the country/world doesn't naturally receive snowfall, don't worry--you can try some of these spells on central Pennsylvania and I'd be most obliged!

Witch Tip--Shortcut: The Push

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels:

Back again for another quickie piece of magic that I swear by!  Last time we focused on drawing people closer; this time we're drawing their thoughts.  We're going to give them a Push.

A push is a simple affair.  It changes a person's mind, gives them a new idea that you'd rather not say yourself, and inspires them to do their best work for you.

The most entertaining part of giving a push is that oftentimes the same words you use in your head are what they say out loud.  For example, I remember using it many years ago when my husband and I were buying a used camper.  The dealer was happy to talk it up but when it came time to explain how certain things worked, he was not entirely sure.  Campers, as you may know, vary widely depending on the make and age so it's easy not to know how everything works if there's no original paperwork available.

Being young and excited, we had already signed the papers when we realized that we didn't know how to turn on the furnace.  We were going on a trip with it right away and we'd need functioning heat.  But when the dealer tried to start it, nothing happened.  He tinkered a minute then said we might have to get it worked on (then, naturally, talked about how "little things" like that can happen with a such a great bargain).  I was inside the camper alone hearing this, and my shoulders slumped.  But then I took a deep breath, did a push, and in my mind I saw him getting back to work with real effort and focus and then finally saying, "Oh, here we are!" and the furnace turning on.

From outside I could hear more rattling in the open compartment, mutters, and then a click.  Suddenly, the dealer laughed and exclaimed, "Oh, here we are!" and the furnace started.  I laughed, too.  It was a fantastic feeling that still makes me smile.


So here's how to make your own miracle inside someone else's mind:



Using the Push

Close your eyes, let out a deep breath, and relax every muscle.  Your goal is to blend your thoughts with those of your target, so you want it to feel effortless and smooth, like water seeping into cracks in the pavement.

In your mind's eye, see your target from the front as though you were looking at him.  Now turn your mind-self around and fade back into his body.  Look out through his eyes, be aware of his body being yours for this moment; you're wearing everything about this person as a mantle.  Now begin to draw up a feeling about the situation that is useful to you.  If you need the person's help, give them the feeling of really wanting to help.  Make it something that makes them feel good, gives them a sense of reward.  If you need them to change their mind, give them the feeling of change being good, of them relaxing and making a choice that's better than the one before.   Make them feel happy about deciding.  This isn't about you; it's about them and what makes them feel happy and confident.

You can, as I did, inject a few words that sound like something they would say when they do what you want.  Repeat it a few times in your head--in their voice--while focusing on the positive feelings you're giving them.  Really hit home what you want them to do, then prepare to get out of their head quick.  Too long and they'll start to notice something weird.  You don't want that.

When you're ready to wrap it up, take another deep breath and push out all your focused energy into the person.  Pull away and return to yourself and your normal awareness.  You will find their attitude surprisingly accommodating.

This is, as I said, excellent for making someone bend to your will and be happy about it.  It's also good for rerouting a difficult conversation.  Remember that this holiday season when visiting relatives!


Wiitch Tip: Unpleasant Truths--What Makes a Real Witch

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels:

The short answer to this one is simple: you call yourself one, so you are one.

You are a witch, a magician, a sorcerer or sorceress, an occultist, a mage, a wizard, a warlock, a magical practitioner.  Your authenticity comes from doing something worthwhile with that title, not that you have gained some arbitrary right to hold it.

So don't you dare tell me that a "real witch" would never curse or manipulate others.  I have done so plenty of times in the past and I will again when the occasion calls for it.  Don't tell me that you have to worship Pagan Gods.  Though I do, I have met plenty of folks who don't, or only do so in a vague and barely-religious way.  There's atheists, Satanists, and Christians who practice magic.  Some folks even call themselves without ever having cast a single spell.  Witches can be monotheists, duotheists, polytheits, or no -theist at all.  They can cast elaborate magic from the Middle Ages or simplistic charms written last Tuesday.  They can be one with nature, meditating on a mountaintop or they can be ruling the streets of Manhattan, their ritual gear a cigarette, cell phone, and stiletto heels.

You don't have to dress differently and you don't have to blend in with any soccer mom on the block.  You don't have to practice for a certain length of time or have learned from a famous teacher.  You don't have to write your own spells or make your own wand.

You only have to want it bad enough to live it.  Every day is your chance to learn more and put it to work.  Whatever your methods, use them.  Whatever your morals, live them.  Whatever your spells, cast them.  Make magic and let it shape you.

You are real.

Quick Link: Yoga for Witches

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels:



Yoga for Witches Playlist



Every day I'm finding out new things about our community.  This week's Quick Link is a good example.

Who knew that someone would wish to cultivate the perfect set of songs for the magically minded to listen to during yoga?  Lucky for us, someone has, and it's fantastic!  If you're tired of the same old cheerful chimes and whale-song of New Age music, check out this playlist and sink your teeth into something that bites back.

This set is great for a 30 minute yoga flow but you can give it a try during spellcasting, ritual, or for the good practice of setting aside regular intervals of time for adding to your BoS.  Get to it, witches!

Witch Tip--Useful Herbs: Nutmeg

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels:

As we come up on the holiday season, I feel it only fitting to share one of my favorite herbs traditionally associated with various aspects of fall and winter festivities: Nutmeg.

Not only is nutmeg magically powerful, it's also strong in scent, texture, and color, making the whole, crushed, and ground spice a perfect fit for any application from potions to hotpots.  It will definitely make your formula come alive!

Whole nutmegs are good for carrying in your pocket as a talisman, no bag necessary.  Of course, because of nutmeg's reputation for getting things heated up, adding it to other herbs and curios can make for some incredible combinations!  Try it for bringing good luck, especially in money magic and gambling, or guarding yourself from illness.  Chopped or crushed, it keeps the peace at home and ensures faithfulness in your beloved.  Powdered, you can add it to food, powders, or incense to heighten goodwill among family or friends, intensify magical ability, and increase focus.

No matter what your situation, one or more of these intentions surely sparked with you as being the perfect spell right now.  So, as you bake pumpkin pies and stir eggnog this year, add a dash of power to your nutmeg to send your season in the direction of success!

Quick Link--Making Your Own Sealing Wax

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels:


Modern Sealing Wax Recipe

Medieval Sealing Wax Recipes


I am a big fan of wax seals.  Though it is becoming increasingly rare to find people using the completely unique and one-of-a-kind seals of old, they are still a useful and decorative way to ensure that a message gets where it's going without being switched or spoiled.

Or, if you're like me, they are the perfect touch to binding spells.  Because no one can tamper with a seal without it being obvious, wax seals are a constant reminder of the security of your magic intent.  Use them to cover knots around objects, bind scrolls, when signing your name to a piece of magic, or to keep spell bottle lids covered (be it permanent or temporary).

As a note, though convenient, modern wax sticks are not the proper choice if you're going to use your seal often or on any item to be buried.  They are made from plastics, stiff and non-biodegradable.  Instead, follow these links for great alternatives. The first is simple and easy for a modern practitioner and the other is the traditional Medieval methods for purists (or just for fun).


Witch Tips--Charm: Summoning Spell

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels: ,

This week's Witch Tip is a little devious but a lot of fun!

I offer you this original charm to summon any person you desire to come to you, contact you, or otherwise passionately persue you.  It's a little something from the back of one of my own spellbooks that I would like to share now for the first time anywhere for your pleasure and progress.



A Passionate Summoning Charm

Think of me earnestly:
Where I am, you wish to be.
And my voice you long to hear,
Desiring more to breathe my air.
And greater still, an hour spent
Submerged in my warmth, my stirring scent.
Your senses wake and your heartstrings thrum.
You hear my call and now you come, come, come!




Quick Link--Everyday Sigils

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels:





In keeping with the techniques we touched on last week, I would like to share with you this site that is both witty and useful.  

As you well know, I don't reserve magic for special occasions like your mother with the good china.  Nope, I want to bring it out for all events, big and small.  Can't find my glasses?  Magic.  Need to get a "yes" from someone?  Magic.  Want dinner to be extra delicious?  Magic.  It works for everything and using it for everything makes you a stronger caster.

Some of these "everyday sigils" are comedic ( such as "My Hot Pocket will cook evenly"), some are obscure ("My parents will not walk in on me activating this sigil"), but all are thought-provoking and full of potential.  Try some today!

Witch Tip--Formula: Lust Honey

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels: ,


This formula couldn't be easier or its application more fun!

Lust Honey does just as you would suppose: it increases desire and sexual awareness.  It's a great boost to other kinds of magic, as well, so give it a shot when you want someone on your side no matter what you ask.

You can use Lust Honey on yourself or another person, as you choose.  On yourself, it's a good formula for those times when your relationship is in the doldrums or you yourself just aren't feeling like the fiery sex idol you might be.  A quick spoon of Lust Honey will perk you right up!

On another person, you'll have to be a bit more sly.  I recommend adding it to baked goods or poured on top of fruits or other sweets.  It's suggested that it be stirred into tea but as I like to leave the herbs right in the honey, that will look a little suspicious to your target.  Any way you choose to administer your honey, it will inspire their interest and attraction to you as well as increasing their libido in general.


Lust Honey

1 C light honey
2 TBSP Damiana 

Warm the honey slowly and then add the herb.  Stir to incorporate and then pour into a lidded container for storage.  Eat or give to another by the measure of one tablespoon.

Quick Link--Online Sigil Maker

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels:



Sigilscribe


Sigilscribe has only recently come to my attention but it's already upped my sigil use in what is a relatively heavy amount I usually practice.  If you are interested in testing the waters or just would like a quickie version of the usually intensive procedure for sigil creation, give this handy little app a try today!

Witch Tips--Shortcut: The Glow

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels: ,

There are a few pieces of magic that I do often that are so much a part of my daily round that I nearly forget about them.  The Glow is one of them.

You probably already know this one but might call it something else.  There's many uses for it and whether you've done it before or no, it should definitely be in your repertoire.  It's a bit of glamour that causes you to get noticed in whatever way you desire.  It's a handy way to get help when you need it (like when your car breaks down) or to get found when you're separated from your group in a crowd.  Even if just used for fun, the Glow causes other people seek you out, pad your ego, and strike up conversations when you're lonely.



Using the Glow

Close your eyes and envision yourself in your current state.  From the center of your body, feel a warmth beginning to grow.  See this warmth as a soft orange color.  It spreads through your body like liquid, then extends past your form until you radiate light and heat like a miniature sun.  At this point you can infuse this light with the kind of response you want to get from others (like sexual attractiveness, leadership, or intelligence).

Let your light shine brighter and brighter until it encompasses a large area around you and all the people inside that radius.  When you have hit the peak, let this brilliance collapse, turning that outward flow around and rapidly drawing everything to you, like a black hole or water running down a drain.  Be inescapable!

Use this technique to bring an awareness of you as a highly magnetic individual in the people around you.


Quick Link--House Cleansing Magic

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels:



Spiritual House Cleaning


I've been a little lax lately on writing but that is only because I've been focused on an incredible opportunity that has only just come to fruition--my family and I are now homeowners!  After many years of struggle and much deliberation, after paying our dues and suffering without, we have a place in which we may be the master.  It is an indescribably wonderful feeling!  I spend hours now shifting boxes and unpacking, occasionally petting the walls--our walls--lovingly and smiling.

But whether you own or rent, share space or live alone, keeping your place cleared of harmful and restricting energy is an important part of upkeep.  So this week, in honor of my lovely home and yours, I share this page of extensive ideas for magical cleaning from rafters to foundation.

Witch Tips--Unpleasant Truths: Wasting Time

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels: ,

I have been in groups, attended meetings, sat in ritual with other covens, and joined the conversation online and off and you know what I've discovered?  Most of the chatter is useless.  The biggest culprits--being offended and talking about what we're not.

It's good fun to discuss the many ways that we buck trends and follow our own directives (and I do it occasionally myself) but to make this the mainstay of what you talk about when you're with other practitioners is a complete waste of time.  You have, in theory, an interesting, intense, deep, and meaningful conversation just waiting to be opened and explored with a person right in front of you who will understand what you mean.  And that person has the potential to share knowledge with you that will be an incredible revelation to you, something you will ponder for years to come or immediately work into your practice.  They might become a teacher or a student. The topics you discuss could lead to a new venture, a new group, a fresh way of thinking.

So don't you dare start talking about how the Christians stole our holidays.

Or how you yelled at a bunch of pacifist Jehovah's Witnesses last weekend.

Or contradictions in the Bible that could possibly refute the whole system.

That's not important, it's not interesting, and the whole concept of it has been played to death in nearly every corner of the magical community.  You're not defined by the list of things you're offended by.  Your practice is about what you do, not what you avoid.

If you're at a party, meeting, or event centered around magic, talk magic.  Talk about books you're reading, your field(s) of expertise, stories of magical successes and failures, trials you faced in finding your place in the community, important people you've met, places you've visited, your favorite events, plans for the future...the list is of topics that can lead to real insight is nearly endless.  Ask tons of questions, get opinions, get references, get email addresses and phone numbers for more discussion later.

You're a skilled and driven practitioner of occult arts--don't limit yourself to idle chatter.

Quick Link--Be Good to Your Body!

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels:


Yoga to Boost Energy


As you know, I'm a major supporter of fitness as a means of strengthening your resolve, focus, and magical ability.  Taking care of your body is a good way to stay in touch with the physical world and your place in it.  It's something that I stress to magic workers of all kinds.

Whether you're into regular workouts or no, this week's Quick Link is a great option to use right away.  Not only is yoga generally gentle enough for all levels of fitness to partake in some way, but these postures are specifically collected for giving you instant gratification!  Who doesn't love that?  Try them out today!  Try them tomorrow, instead of a nap, when you first wake up, when you've got a mile long to-do list, before ritual, before a spell.  You will certainly find something worthwhile to tap all your new reserves of energy!

Desperation Will Get You Nowhere

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels: , ,

So there I sat in the front seat of my car, shoulders slumped yet every muscle tense and quivering.  I stared off blankly, looking into the rest of my evening, the rest of my week, with guilt and remorse, apologies and excuses.  The lights flashed in a chaotic display around me.  Yep, I was gonna get a ticket.

Now this may not seem like a big deal to some of you but I was in a tight jam and couldn't afford to give away any extra money.  Before you say it, yes, this was giving money away.  It was after 11:00 PM and as I was leaving my day job to start my night job, I went under a very fast yellow light at the end of a high arched bridge.  I passed under it just as it was turning red.  My ticket was over $250.00.

That's not to say that I didn't do my very best to avoid it.  As soon as I stopped, I grabbed the pentacle from around my neck and held it tight, clutching to a hope that in a few minutes everything would be fine.  I asked the Gods--nay, begged, pleaded, cried--to help me, to be kind to me, to fix this however a divine being can and I'd be so, so grateful.  By then, the cop was walking up to my car.  I tucked away my pentacle (just in case it mattered to him), dried my eyes, and tried to look casual as I rolled down the window.  I hoped the Gods were working on it.

They were not.

I know they weren't because I wouldn't have either.  I acted like a baby.  I begged for mommy and daddy to come outside and make the mean neighbor kid go away.  The gods aren't interested in us that way and they don't want us humiliating ourselves.  They don't care about our whims--and this, sadly, was a complete whim--anymore than we care about those of strangers.  They watch us for fun, they walk among us to learn and to teach, but they interact with us on a personal basis for their own purposes and not ours.  Unless you have become a pet favorite of a god or goddess, you are no more special than any other voice crying their name.  If, like me, you were extra whiny about it, prepare to be a lot less special.

So the gods didn't help me.  They didn't even look up from their ambrosia.  There I sat, sad and sorrowful, wishing for a miracle that wasn't going to come.  And why should it?  I was pathetic!  They might pity me, sure, but most likely they were disgusted.

And you know what happened?  That cop threw the book at me.  He got some notion in his head that I was the bust that would make him Sergent and took me out of my car, searched it, searched my purse, and was about to pat me down until I refused (remember, ladies, females can't get the pat down from male cops).  Just about then, another cruiser stopped by to check things out.  Now there were two cars--with all lights ablaze--and four cops looking me over like I was a mafia kingpin.  I was four months pregnant at the time.

They rolled up the tube of lipstick in my purse and flipped through my notebook.  They opened the positive pregnancy test that I still carried around with me.  I started to feel very exposed.  Then my boss drove by and I could see his wide eyes as we recognized each other.  The cops found nothing and I was horribly late to work where I then had to explain to my boss what happened and why he shouldn't count this against me.  This was a terrible night.



Okay, so we all have bad times.  We all have experiences that were going to be horrible no matter what we did or said, but that doesn't mean that some well-placed magic can't still help.  Had I been prepared and not frozen with worry, I would have seen an opportunity to use the right kinds of magic in the right places to soften the blow that was being dealt to me.  Had I stopped whimpering and offered something real, maybe the gods would have taken an interest.

All this happened when I had just turned 20, so I suppose I shouldn't be too hard on myself.  But it took me years to realize that what really stood in my way was the desperation I felt in the situation.  I don't like cops already and getting pulled over sends me into the closest thing I've ever come to panic attacks.  I was grasping at straws when I called on my patron deities.  Thing is, though, that they don't like being your straws.  They, like mortals, want to be treated respectfully.  They do things for you because they want to, not because you're so pitiful they feel sorry for your blubbering mess.  If you want something, you better use an extra large dose of respect and decorum--and that includes presents.  The gods enjoy promised gifts and if you know the kinds of things they like best, you're definitely going to get noticed.  Make a bargain with them.  Be kind and persuasive; be enticing, but be strong.  Show them that you are a business partner as well as your other roles as student, worshipper, disciple, and--occasionally--groupie.

Had I had the wherewithal to do things right, this is how I would've turned the whole night around:

1. Brief, straightforward prayer to my patrons with a promise of an offering if they help

2. Brief prayer to a god/dess, ancestor, or spirit who is specifically linked with my problem

3.  Spoken charm to Retain the Right

4. (As soon as the cop's face is in view) A mental push on him to recognize me as the kind of person deserving a second chance (exceedingly good, noble, or sexy--your choice)

5. (Before speaking) Charm to be eloquent

If I had done all that, I might not now be able to recall that night with such sickening clarity.  Sure, this all may seem trivial to some but giving up that money (and the insurance money paid out because it was a 3 point offense) was a very big deal at that time.  Even to this day, tossing away $250 for any reason would be insanity and I can't think of a soul who can afford it.

The point is that being prepared will save you from panic and panic is the kind of things that absolutely kills magic.  The Gods won't touch it, the spirits see the weakness and won't obey, that great flow that usually surges up through you when you cast will only trickle--if it even comes at all.

Witch Tip--Useful Herbs: Celandine

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels: ,


Maybe you've mistook this plant for another more famous summertime yellow flower, St. John's Wort.  Maybe you were sad that it wasn't a magical, mystical herb.  Well, you were wrong, sister!

Celandine is one of my very favorite herbs for one simple reason--it gives you get up and go!  I've never seen any spell component more inspiring to the uninspired, more energising to the lethargic, more steadfast to the worn out souls who just don't think they can go any further.

Make an infused oil from Celandine and use it to dress a candle that has been carved with your name and the aspect of your life that needs a boost.  Give it some power, let it burn, and then watch out!  You'll be amazed at how you suddenly have the energy and interest to get all those items scratched off your to-do list.  Just remember not to fight it or question it; this is exactly what you wanted--and needed!

Quick Link--Printable BoS Pages

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels:



Printable Book of Shadows Pages


Sooo, I'm doing a lot of printables lately, but it's only to show that you can find good information and have nice things without spending a lot of money.  I'm a firm believer that it's quite possible to have a rich magical life without going too far into the commercial aspect of witchcraft.  I've known witches who brag about their room full of purchased items they barely know how to use and shelves of books they've never read, but I've alo known many who stocked up on cheap, flimsy things at the Dollar Store and considered themselves brilliant.  Both are terrible ideas.

It's true that shopping for nice gear is fun.  I like to scout the shops as much as anyone else, but the possession of those items isn't enough to really make you feel it.  I would rather be out in the woods, digging roots and scrubbing the dirt from old bones than flipping through online shops and adding pretty things to my virtual shopping cart.  I believe that the connection is what makes your magic come alive.




Witch Tips---Charm: To Influence Others

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels: ,

This is one of my favorite charms because it has such a boom to it that you can easily work up energy to put behind it.  This charm comes from the classic "The Magic of Chant-o-Matics" by Raymond Buckland and is one of those he gives "to bring pressure to bear on another."  The language used may seem a little obscure to us today, but the effects are clear: exerting your influence on another person.

Influencing others is a staple of magic.  Even if it's in a totally benign way, we still use our powers to change people's thoughts and actions.  Charms are a nice shortcut to this process, especially when the situation is really not big enough to necessitate a full spell.  Try this the next time you want to make your will known to those around you in a big way.  I can attest to its efficacy!


To Bring Pressure to Bear on Another
Raymond Buckland

Doon venna leebo

Quick Link--Magical Names

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels:



Magical Names


This link references Pagan names but I changed it here because I feel that the topic goes far beyond spirituality.  It also specifies baby naming but we know that a change in title can happen at any time in life far beyond birth.  It is that "beyond" that I hope will inspire some interesting conversations among you.

The magic in one's name is a subject that deserves discussion.  It is common magical theory that to know the true name of something is to have power over it, hence many practices ranging from the old rule of not naming a child until it is a year old to our current use of secret names when among other practitioners.  Our innermost self is safe when we guard the key to it--our names.

Look up the meaning of your given name (there's no shortage of books of these lists) and see if it agrees with the person you wish to be.  If not, now would be a good time to take on another name even if you already have a magical one for ritual use.  Note, too, that your magical name should agree with your current best self and aspirations.  It is not enough to hold onto a name from your teen years merely out of tradition.  If your inner self has outgrown your moniker, find it a new one.



Witch Tips--Formulas: Incense to Get Back in Your Magical Groove!

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels: ,


So here's the funny thing about having been a spellcaster for nearly 20 years--you lose track of things.  I never thought I'd get to the point where I couldn't quite remember if I'd read a certain book, if I have this or that herb in my collection, or in this case, where a piece of information came from that I really cherish.

Weird, huh?

But there it is, and though it didn't sound likely when I first began, I've come to the point where I simply can't recall every spell I've cast or client I've worked with.  That's one reason that I'm such a pain in the rear to readers, students, friends (and basically every caster I meet) about keeping impeccable records about everything.

So today I'm going to tell you about a formula that I use all the time, works incredibly well, and yet I'm not one-hundred percent sure whom to credit with its creation.  I'll note that at first I thought it was from Cunningham--and his "Incense, Oils and Brews" does indeed have a similar recipe--but it's not quite the same thing.  If you have any idea where this can be found in its original form, I'd love to know so that I can correct not only this post but also my own formulary at home.

But, no matter its source, here's the indispensable incense formula of my practice, Prayer Incense.


Prayer Incense

2 pts. Red Sandalwood
2 pts. Brown Sugar
1/2 to 1 pt. Vanilla extract

Grind the sandalwood in a mortar and pestle until it's flaked and small but not powdered.  Incorporate the brown sugar until it is well mixed.  Sprinkle the extract over this in small amounts (so you don't melt the sugar), stirring between.  You want a slightly wet blend of liquids and solids (comparable to the right mix for making sandcastles at the beach).

Let this sit in the open air until it's dry.  Crumble with your fingers to break into a loose but chunky incense.  Alternately, you can store your formula in a sealed jar right away, leaving it soft and moist.  It will burn equally well either way.

Prayer incense is used for getting your magical life in order, reconnecting with the spirits and your higher self, finding magical ambition and intuition, and generally regaining the magical life that is so easily lost among mundane concerns.  I also like to burn this in my house any time my family life feels off, when there's been arguments or irritation, and when we can't seem to move forward in our goals.  It makes a place feel comfortable, in tune, and ready for the future.  

The Truth About Magical Tools

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels: ,

To being with a clarification, candles aren't tools.  Neither are herbs or oils or
incenses.  Those are components, the ingredients of spells.  When you're done using them, they're gone and can't be reclaimed; not so with a tool.

A magical tool is an object that is a standard implement used for spells and rituals of any kind, and it can be used again and again without creating a conflict between purposes.  When I cast a circle with my wand, I can then use that same wand to charge a poppet or draw a sigil over a magical object.  When I'm done doing all that, I put it away,  I don't throw it away.

The most common magical tools are those that we see mostly in their ritual use-- the wand, cup, dagger, and pentacle.  While they do have their place on the altar as representations of masculine and feminine energies and the power of the Elements, they are also useful implements in their own right.

The wand is a classic.  Use it to shape and guide the energy you generate.

The dagger (or athame, if you prefer) is not usually for cutting but for controlling and containing spirits and masses of power better suited to sterner means than the lithe wand.

The cup (chalice) is the perfect way to continue the flow after you've made potions or charged waters; drink your brews from it, use it to asperge, make offerings, or soak objects to be empowered.

The pentacle (paten) is the ideal place to charge objects, acting as a mirror of your power--infusing your item from yourself from above and from the pentacle from below.

There are, of course, many other tools that are used in spellcasting such as the cauldron, boline, and scribe, but we're here to talk about what makes tools important and not just what makes them different.

To talk about that, let's back up a bit.  In the distant past of the magical community, we had a very different view of magical tools than we do today.  Before the Fraudulent Mediums Act which made casters feel compelled to prove their legitimacy as well as their rationality, we could be proud to own an object said to contain immense power and to wield it with importance in our own eyes and in those around us.  Before the Witchcraft Acts which compelled practitioners underground, denying knowledge of the magical properties of any object, we could find power in anything and anywhere.

After these changes, after becoming a society that has all but renounced magic, it has been hard work for its occult subset to regain that lost inspiration toward magical objects.  We're expected to be suspicious and skeptical about any item of power.  Though we well know our own power, there's just no proof of anyone else's.  So we wag fingers and make up rules.  Don't buy items with an impressive reputation for spellcasting and don't get pre-charged formulas.  In short, don't trust anyone or anything to help you work better or faster.  You just can't be too careful.

I tell you now that the truth is far from this attitude.  Other casters are not out to get you.  Sellers who tell you that they charge items (like myself) have very little to gain by lying and a lot of reputation to lose.  If you truly think that there's a risk that you're buying an item with a false, insufficient, or otherwise unacceptable charge attached to it, learn to detect such things instead of denying the validity of others' work.  When you have the talent for detecting the energy of others, you will never fear trickery and the trust and power you will gain is substantial.

In the meantime, you can find the trust and power you seek by getting to know your own tools.  Yes, I'm saying you should have tools, lots of them.  Find out what you like best, what works best for what kind of spells, what sounded good when you found/made/bought it but turned out to be a waste of time.  This is all important stuff.

Once you have your favorite implements, use them.  Use them all the time.  Gather power from other sources--charging them in sun- or moonlight, drawing up energy from the earth, or having fetches or other spirits flood your tools with energy--and tap into it as needed.  You'll be amazed at the results!  I can say this because that is the truth I'm talking about in the title---


Tools are magical storehouses.

That's why you keep them around.  It's not because you want to be fancy or that you're too thick to realize that your finger can be used instead of a wand.  A real wand--fancy or plain--can do great things for you just by holding on to all the strength that has flowed through it from previous spells.  You won't get that from your finger.

There are some easy ways to make this happen.  First is that tools should be made of the most natural materials available.  As has been stated many times before, plastic is a lousy conduit and nil as a battery; the same thing goes for it's abilities when it comes to magical charges.  Try to avoid it unless just as a decorative accent.

Once you have a quality tool you must give it a quality charge.  Having tools in which your faith is strong helps a lot here.  Every time you cast with this tool, if you give the work the very best you have--the strongest visualization you can muster, the most earnest focus, fluid motions, and rhythmic speech patterns--an enviable charge will build up within that tool.

Having items of power at your disposal will not stay a secret for long, which leads to our next truth--


Tools are signifiers.

These items quickly become a symbol of your influence.  Anyone who shares magical space with you will notice not only your comfort in wielding your tools, but also the crackling energy which surrounds such use.  They'll see the results of your work and consider it both your own aptitude at play and that of the grand object you control.

The best part of this is that spirits also take note of this power shift.  Any spirits taking part in your work--whether invited or just as curious interlopers--will recognize your tool as being a sharp weapon, a scepter of your leadership.

Amazingly, after what tools mean to outsiders, there's no comparison to what they mean inside you.  Setting up space with your tools helps to set the mood for the work that's about to begin.  Holding your tools in defense against a greater enemy bolsters your nerve and resolve.  With them by you, you have a physical representation to which to look, symbols of your mastery and might.

So they retain power and act as representations of our hidden ability, but what about what really happens during the casting?


Tools are amplifiers.

Let's think of spellcasting in the same terms as making dinner.  All the components of your spell are ingredients to the recipe you're using.  The power you call up is the heat of your stove and oven.  The formulas, decorations, and music you might employ are spices and herbs to give extra flavor.  Now you're cooking!  Everything is coming together nicely--bubbling pots and sizzling pans giving off wonderful aromas of what treats are to come.  You want to ensure their success, keep things moving in the right direction, and work your ingredients into their final form.

Your tools are your spoon, your spatula, your whisk and tongs.   You can cook without them, to be sure, and make something tasty, but think of the variety of foods you can make with the added implements to whip, deep fry, sear, and bake.  An entire world of cookery is now available to you.  That is the way magical tools work, as well.


In an effort to exert an opinion on a standard method, the magical community has swung too far in the other direction, calling the standard silly, pointless, and stodgy.  What a sad waste of potential that is!

Naturally, the topic of money is closely linked into any discussion of obtaining new items for magic.  I am of the mindset that money is not a necessity to great magic, but knowledge is.  Instead of bashing those who can afford expensive wares, study and work with the natural materials found right outside your door.  Learn the methods for making quality tools yourself and hone those skills carefully.  There are sources of power all around you if you open all your senses to them; utilize what exists around you.  Also study the occult traditions that support straightforward magic, especially using everyday items for spells.  In this, you will be richer and more powerful than anyone who is able to simply lay down cash for a flashy object.

Now that you know what it really means to wield a magical tool--or, hopefully, many--go and show the world.  Take up your wand and staff and perform your miracles.


Images from:

Witchesofthecraft.com

Witch Tips--Shortcut: My Favorite Commanding Spell

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels: ,

Last week we talked about Licorice root and its powers of persuasion, and I promised to share with you a spell that uses it to impressive effect.  I think you'll be pleased with the pay-off of your patience.

What follows is my go-to spell for all those times when I need to change someone's mind, make them do things my way, give a gentle nudge in the right direction, or outright control their behavior.  Of all the formulas, spells, poppet rituals, and spoken charms I have to make these things happen, I use this little spell twice as much.  It's my own work so although I can't make you credit me (or can I?), it would be nice if you gave a nod to the source when sharing this spell or copying it to your BoS.


Simple Commanding Spell

Cut a piece of jute twine the length of your hand, measured from the heel of your palm to the tip of your longest finger.  Take this and a spoonful of Licorice root to a place where you feel strongly connected to the person you wish to influence.  When in doubt, stand outside your front door.

Take a moment to focus on the situation and your goals.  Pop the Licorice in your mouth and chew it well until it is completely broken down.  The sweetness of the root will make your mouth water--that's okay.  Don't swallow.

Now put the jute in your mouth with the Licorice and chew them together.  This works the root and its juices into the fibers of the cord, permeating it completely.  You might like to visualize your will permeating that of the target, making them malleable and soft as the root.

This bit is a little messy.  Pull the jute from your mouth and spit out the Licorice on the ground.  Straighten the cord so it's ready for knotting.  

Now think intently of what you want this person to do.  Make at one end of the cord the start of a knot while speaking over it a straightforward statement--in present tense--as though stating a fact about this person's required behavior.  Pull it tight to seal your words.   Repeat this two more times (making 3 total evenly-spaced knots) with either a single statement or 3 different but related statements for each knot.

For example, I wanted the boyfriend of a friend of mine to treat her better, so I did this spell using his name and making affirmations with the 3 knots, as: 

1.  "N.N. thinks loving thoughts about his girlfriend, N.N."
2.  "N.N. makes loving gestures towards his girlfriend, N.N."
3.  "N.N. says loving things to his girlfriend, N.N."

When you're done making the knots, ground the remaining energy that you didn't use and walk away.  You can either keep the cord or hide it somewhere that the target will come into contact with it.  

In the above example, I gave my friend the cord to put under his side of the mattress.  The next day, for no reason, he brought her flowers.  After that came a string of romantic overtures and public displays of affection such as I had never seen from him in the years we'd known each other.  As you can imagine, she was overjoyed!


So there's my favorite commanding spell.  Whatever you choose to do with it and upon whomever you choose to impart your influence, I hope you are overjoyed, too!  



Quick Link--Printable Magical Almanac

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels:



Printable Magical Almanac


I am a firm advocate of always keeping an almanac handy for timing your spells and maintaining a magical schedule, but over the years I've met quite a few casters who simply cannot afford such a luxury.  Perhaps you are one of them, or maybe you don't have any local shops that sell almanacs, or you've never used one before and you don't even know if you'll use such a thing.  Well, then you will love this week's Quick Link offering!

Available as a PDF to store on your computer or mobile, to print in its full array, or to print modestly and conserve ink, and designed for either the Northern or Southern Hemisphere, this magical almanac is all you need to get started mapping the movements of the universe--the moon, houses, sunrises and sets, and holidays--as they progress through your year.  Once you've enjoyed the simplicity and helpfulness of your own almanac you'll certainly want one every year!

Witch Tips--Unpleasant Truths: Judgement

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels: ,

If you think that you have come to the magical community to be rescued from the harshness of the outside world, I have some bad news for you.  Magical folk are just as judgemental as the rest, possibly more so.

It is based on sound logic, however.  Being accepted as knowledgeable and experienced in this community is shockingly easy to do.  All one needs is the right lingo and you're in.  You don't need fine clothes or expensive wares or even many books; many practitioners eschew such things and you can be one of them.  Just say that you received your knowledge on the astral plane or from guiding spirits or your intuition ("which is much better than anything you could learn from others, you know!") and you'll be welcomed eagerly.  I've read the interview of a well-known witchcraft author who admitted to not knowing anything about casting spells, only finding them interesting, even after having written a spellbook.

We've all met phonies in this world and phonies that damage you with bad advice and selfish interests should be rooted out wherever they lie, even amongst "kindred spirits."  Because of this, when you enter into this community, you will be scrutinized.  Even if someone says they don't judge, they do.  They must.

So, if you're new to magic or just new to a group, prepare yourself to be repeatedly analyzed and placed in rank according to your status.   How much you know, where you've been, what you've read, who you know, what you look like, your background, even the way you talk will be used to determine where you belong.  I have personally seen people prompted to use words like "boline" and "athame" in conversation, just so the others can judge if they know enough to pronounce them correctly.

If you are who you say you are--at any level--you have nothing to worry about.  If you are not, I suggest quitting the game and hitting the books instead.

Quick Link: Custom BoS Binders

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels:



Custom BoS Binders


I do love organization, and there's nothing finer than an organized magical practice for inspiring and keeping your work running smoothly to your ultimate destination.  So you can imagine what I thought after finding these binders online!

Made just like the sturdy but plain office supply style, these binders elevate your collection of papers into something nearing the classic tome we all dream of owning.  Note that most, if not all, of these binders are customizable on front and spine with whatever you wish to write, in the size and font of your choice.

I'm excited to get one for myself but they'd also make impressive presents.  Make sure to drop your hints appropriately this December!

  

Witch Tips--Easy Herbs: Licorice Root

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels: ,

Like Marshmallow, Licorice herb gets it's share of jibes by non-herbalists for its candy namesake.  But we are, of course, talking about the root of the Licorice plant, its incredibly sweet, strange flavor and fibrous texture, and its many uses in magic.  Though you can tease a witch about the addition of Twizzlers to her potion, you won't be laughing for long once you find out about its impressive powers.

Licorice is a sweetening agent, making people pliable and agreeable to your plans.  Oddly enough, though the effect is sweet, the source is brutal; Licorice is a commanding and controlling herb.  Even better, with all its love elements in the herb, the target is quite happy to comply!  I'll share with you in the next Shortcut post a Licorice spell I've used again and again to compel a person to conform to my wishes, whether in their favor or not.  It hasn't failed me yet!

Besides being a persistent agent of behavioral control (I kind of like the sound of that), Licorice can also be used to inspire love, fidelity, passion, sex, and potency.  On a calmer evening, try this root for its protective qualities, safeguarding your health, your home, and your life.

As a final note, this is the best known herb for changing habits, especially that of quitting smoking.  With so many options for bringing Licorice into your magic, be sure to rush to your nearest occult shop and pick up a bag so you will be ready at the first sight of a need!

Quick Link--Money Altar Offer!

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels:


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Every once in a while, I like to remind you all that you can find me in other places.  Today, however, I want to give you an extra reason to drop by.


For the whole month of September (and possibly beyond), my working magical altar is home to the spirits of money luck!  Since this began, I've been receiving names and petitions for new jobs, more work, more customers, bigger cash flow, raises, prizes, reclaimed loans, windfalls, and all other kinds of money luck you can imagine.  I don't judge and you don't have to say anything about your situation if you don't want to.  All names and petitions go on the altar where dressed candles are burned, charms are spoken, tinctures and powders are sprinkled, and power is raised in their stead.  This will contine throughout the month, so be sure to get your name in quickly so you can bask in the longest possible glow of money magic!

To get your name on my money altar simply visit Quill's Occult Supply on Facebook, check out the post with the following sigil from the incredible Lucky Mojo Curio Co. and post "SUCCESS".  I'll add your name the same day and include you in my spells immediately!  No charge, no obligation, no worries!  If you are in need (or just desire some added prosperity), add your name today!




Witch Tips--Charm: To Heal a Burn

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels: ,

There are many charms so useful that they should be committed to memory immediately so that they may be recalled when needed; this is one of those charms.  A standard for healing burns, this Pow Wow chant is also good for infections, fevers, and inflammation.

As is the case with many of the best charms, the wording is not explicit to the circumstances.  I happen to find chants that say exactly what they mean a little tiresome, but as that have become the modern style, you may wish to focus differently than normal while reciting this one.  Instead of listening to the exact meaning of the phrases, focus on their power.  Think on all the thousands, nay, millions of times it's been used in the past and with what success.  That will fuel your magic in what will most likely be a stressful undertaking.


To Heal a Burn
(by Preston Zerbe of Adams county, PA)

The weed and the dragon
Tried to cross the river Jordan.
The weed sank 
And the dragon drank.


Quick Link--Moon Diary Printable

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels:


Moon Mandala Diary

The Full Moon has passed and we are again on the leeward side of the lunar energy.  Now is a good time to think ahead (that is, of course, unless you have some wickedness planned for the waning moon).  Now we can think of all that we want to remove and what will take their place.

To this end, I offer this stunning and useful printable, the Moon Mandala Diary from The Kitchen Drawer blog.  You can use it in whatever way feels most exploratory to you: write on each line something you did during that part of the moon's progression to further your goals while keeping in line with the phase's energy; make notes on changes happening to your goal from outside sources; note how you feel during this time, how your own moods change with that of the moon.  Play with it and have some "me time" without rules or expectations.

Quick Link: Spoken Charms in Latin

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels:


Spoken Charms in Latin


As you may have noticed from previous posts, I love the Latin language.  Not only is it a beautiful, expressive tongue steeped in history, poetry, and romance, but it's also the main language of magic.

Countless spells feature Latin either spoken or written because of the time period from which they were derived and because of it's connections to the root of all communication.  Grimiores were written in it.  Talismans bear Latin instriptions.  To read and speak it is a potent way to access the power stored within.

While I could spend the rest of this post explaining pronunciation, it would be better for me to suggest you find one of the many web pages which describe Classical Latin pronunciation and use it as a guide.  Once you try Latin spells and see their worth, you will certainly want to be familiar with the basics so you can do even more spells with it!

Quick Link--Charm: Fire Up Your Spirit

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels:

This week's offering comes from a wonderful little book I joyfully discovered in a junk shop some 14 years ago called "Metaphysical Meditations" by Paramahansa Yogananda.  It contains brief yet hauntingly beautiful invocations to self and spirit which can be used in a variety of ways to bring higher realization. Though not a charm, per se, each of these incantations do have elements of magic to them.  The following is one of my favorites.  It creates a deep sense of purpose and calm, bringing connection to the caster as well as the energy to make use of this potent state of mind.

Though you may choose any method you like to utilize this charm, I recommend sitting comfortably and repeating it softly aloud until a trance-like state is achieved.  Once this point is reached, stop the chant but remain in the posture for a few minutes.  This is the point of listening and all manner of information can be obtained this way.    



O blazing Light! 
Awaken my heart, awaken my soul, 
Ignite my darkness, tear the veil of silence, 
And fill my temple with Thy glory. 

Quick Link: A Blog for Beginners

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels:


The Beginner Witch


All of a sudden, I have noticed a rash of newcomers to the magical community and though I'm overjoyed, I often forget the kind of advice to give the very new.  We should always be ready to help those who are just joining our ranks; their fresh viewpoint and enthusiasm are like a cool breeze to those of us to whom magic is a regular part of life.   For that reason--and general goodwill, of course--I will always offer what I can to the newcomers I meet.

To that end, you might like to check this blog, The Beginner Witch.  I adore books above all things, but a blog has a sort of personal presence that books cannot.  Because blogs are always being updated and because their authors are easily contacted by their readers, the newcomer will never be out of options for the latest information and new topics to explore.

Witch Tips--Formulas: Peace in the Home

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels: ,

Whether you live alone, with a roommate, significant other, or (like myself) a bustling family, your home is the foundation of your world.  As such, it can easily get cluttered with stress, fears, regrets, loneliness, or any number of other unpleasant emotions we carry around with us and then drop off someplace convenient.

A little bit of this bad stuff can quickly disperse with the usual ebb and flow of the emotional tides that surround you.  Playing music, opening the windows, cleaning, performing rituals--all these things can be used to get rid of the usual accumulation of negativity.  If, however, you have a lot of such energy or it builds up faster than you can remove it (often the case in homes with teenagers or arguing couples), try this instead.  There's no faster or more pleasant method I know that will clear out negativity and calm a restless spirit!


Method for a Simple Peaceful Incense

Light a charcoal disc in a theribule.  If you don't have either, heat a cast iron pan on the stove until it is very hot. Pour onto your hot surface a large spoonful of brown sugar.  Carry the theribule or pan (use layers of hot pads) throughout your home to suffumigate every room.  When you are done, you will easily note the change.  Welcome everyone back in and let them enjoy your renewed and peaceful home.

Quick Link--Classic Secrets for Powerful Love Spells

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels:


Six Secrets to Making Your Love Spells Successful


As you know, I don't shy away from coercive magic.  I believe that all types of spells are valid.  If it was the right thing to do, you have become stronger; if it was the wrong thing, you become smarter.

This article, however, makes love magic especially beautiful, workable, and achievable by giving the "old world witchcraft" perspective.  If you are seeking the love of someone special, of someone you haven't yet met, or that of anyone at all, read and get ready to cast some potent love magic!

Witch Tips--Shortcuts: Diversification

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels: ,

The best advice I can give a spellcaster of any rank is to diversify.  You should know 3 ways to attain any goal--a big, extensive spell with all the extras; a solid standard spell for a regular day; and a quickie emergency type that can be done while away from tools or in a rush.  At some time in your life, all of these will be important.

It's also good to diversify when it comes to storing information: keep a long-term Book of Shadows, an indexed reference, and a pocket-sized book to carry or keep in your desk at work.  These three do not have to contain all the same information.   Far from it! It's actually better that each book be tailored to fit the circumstances of its use.

The carried book should be full of easy, on-the-spot spells, charms, and sigils and be arranged according to problems you might have while away from home.  The reference should be organized by what works for you, be it by title of the spell, its purpose, or the items it uses (example indexes being "candle spells" or "knot magic").  Try out your method a few times before committing to it; it should make finding the spell you need fast and effective.  Your Book of Shadows is the place for longer pieces, rituals, and explorations into concepts and theories.  You'll want to revisit these ideas, but not often.

Think today about how you can branch out and diversify in your practice.  In what ways can you open up and make magic that much easier for you?

Witch Tips-- Unpleasant Truth: Your UPG

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels:

"UPG", in case you weren't aware, stands for Unverified Personal Gnosis.  It's becoming a more and more normal part of the magical experience, especially where traditions are in short supply.  UPGs can create new beliefs, new practices, and new traditions.  So what is a "personal gnosis"?  In simple terms it means mythology that was revealed from the Gods only to you.  It doesn't reflect or connect with ancient tales of the Gods; it is new information gleaned directly from the source.  UPG is fascinating, enlightening, life-altering.

To you.

Only you think your UPG is amazing.  You were blessed and given insights only known to a few in history.  Like discovering a hand-written book in an old trunk, there's treasure in the discovery itself and dense mystery in every word within.  UPGs can inspire intense creativity, connection, and a feeling of universal adoration.  They can make you a better person, a better practitioner, and certainly a better follower of the God or Goddess who gave it to you.

To everyone else, however, it's just as interesting as you describing last night's dreams.  We'll say "uh-huh" and "wow," but there's nothing in it.  We just don't care.  And that's because no one loves your experiences like you do.  We weren't there, we didn't feel it, and we have nothing to gain from getting excited over it.

Or you may be lousy at relaying the story.

Or we may have had a contradictory UPG that now feels invalid and we have to deal with that.

Or you may be changing something essential about a deity we follow and we're choking back the words "S/He would never do that, you idiot!"

Truth is, the Gods are not static.  Eternal spirits of any kind still grow and change.  I believe that UPGs are a way to help specific followers understand this, but I can't imagine anyone but their original receiver really getting it.  Sharing this kind of information with other practitioners may seem important, even helpful, but that's rarely the case.  Instead, you'll risk feeling like others don't care about you personally (not true...probably), your experience was silly or meaningless, or even that over-exposed feeling we get when someone else has private information about us that make us vulnerable.  You can nonetheless share it if you like, just don't be too shocked if you see nonplussed faces still waiting to hear something important.

Quick Link--Review of The Wicker Man

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels:



Review of The Wicker Man


You know, sometimes I have to take a moment's pause for the many ways that magical thinking and Pagan beliefs have set my opinions at odds with what would be expected.  This review is a fine example of it.

After seeing The Wicker Man for the first time (happily, with no one spoiling the ending for me beforehand), I was puzzled at how it was considered a horror movie.  Sure, the nature of what is considered "horror" has changed since the '70s, just as "heavy metal" means something quite different from when I was a teenager, but I think it goes further than that.   Was anything truly scary going on?  If so, how did I miss it?  Lord Summerisle, to me, was a figure of grandeur (and not just because he was played by the incomparable Christopher Lee) and I would have been a willing pupil to his wisdom.  Willow, in my eyes, is a self-assured young woman enjoying the place of prominence that her youth, cunning, and connection with eternal Goddesses affords her.  Sounds great to me.

Unlike the woman in the review, I don't see anything sexist going on.  Yes, the penis is revered as a generator of life and given prominence but men are not.  Men are no better than women on Summerisle.  Many of the characters who do the truly important things in the story are female.  Willow, easily the most prominent female character, is unattached and doesn't consult with anyone else before acting.

And the suffering of Sgt. Howie?  He's not suffering at all to me, at least no more than anyone else playing out the fate of their lives.  I don't feel bad for him; it's the way things must be.  I also don't think that any of the deception of the people of Summerisle was devious.  There was something at stake which was of greater importance than any one person.  It all makes sense.

I suppose this is what made me also side with the townspeople in Thomas Tryon's "Harvest Home."  This was their whole world and its continuation was essential if anyone or anything was to survive.  The fact that some unpleasantness must ensue was, by ancient Pagan standards, completely reasonable.  There is always death before life and struggle before peace.  This is an essential part of true reverence of the earth.  We must shed the rose-colored glasses that make us see the world as a place of unending happiness and open our eyes to what it really is--a place of potential and possibility.  Sorrow eventually begets joy, pain will give way to pleasure, and death opens the door to life.

Enjoy this darkly comic review and think about which side makes sense to you.

New Orleans: Southern Fire of Magic

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels: , ,

This story has been a long time coming but I really wanted to be able to tell it properly.  On Monday I told you about something that happened to me earlier this month but now we're going to go way back and talk about a experience I had last September that I thought might never be possible.  Please note that absolutely none of this is in chronological order, but perhaps if you too have visited New Orleans you'll understand why that isn't important at all.

On a long-awaited day that seemed to arrive quite suddenly, I and my sister and niece took the long highway trail that leads from north to south, from Pennsylvania to Louisiana, and the bright, hot, magic-infused city of New Orleans.  Being a northerner through and through, NOLA seemed as distant as the moon so when the opportunity came up, I leapt at it.  Without any expectations (which is my favorite way to travel), I packed my things and hopped in the van to spend a week under the influence of the bayou and its ways.  I was not disappointed.

First, I'd like to note that though I am a witch and have been driven primarily by magic and Pagan thought since I was an early teenager, I chose not to explore the city in the standard way.  So I passed up the magical shopping (I'm already well-stocked so to do so would have been just the lookie-lou shopping that is a waste), I took no ghost tours, and I didn't have my fortune told.  There were, of course, a multitude of opportunities for each of these, but I enjoyed coming to the experience with an eye to find magic in the places that presented themselves to me without being bidden.

To that end, I took in the city as best I could in one week.  We saw both the rich and poor neighborhoods.  We walked quietly through the cemeteries.  We enjoyed street performers and jazz parades, ate at small restaurants, and talked with locals.  It was a scavenger hunt for all the particulars that make New Orleans its own beast.

What was most surprising to me was that even without hitting the standard magical scene, the city itself hums with magic.  Though the look of the place was fairly modern, the feeling one gets is that of the often yearned-for past ages when magic was accepted as obvious and ever-present.  Voodoo, Hoodoo, talismans for every purpose, spells, curses, occult symbols...they are everywhere.  Like my first trip to Salem, MA, I was confronted at every turn by images that I previously felt were so individual to my sub-set of society that it was a delightful shock to view them openly.


The juxtaposition of tall, sleek hotels and tiny mom-and-pop shops; the modern facades and old wrought iron railings and decorated window casings; icons of African diaspora and Catholicism, the well known business brands next to houses painted with touches of shocking tangerine and turquoise details.  Everywhere were bits of the profane and the sacred, the mundane and the magical, the thrill of a party town and the peace of classic Southern repose.  Though they surprised me at first, they never came across as contradictions, as though NOLA never learned who she was, but rather a sign of the variety and combined cultures who formed the city and grew with her.

The House of Blues was a temple to music.  What seemed like a simple venue from without quickly revealed itself within as an homage to the blues, jazz, and the kind of camaraderie that both seem to evoke from its fans.  We spent an evening in the parish and the signs of the building's former life
were like little eyes peeking from the shadows.  The likenesses of saints looked on from their alcoves lined with Hoodoo novena candles, the parchment colored walls and painted ceiling accommodating modern stage lighting, the stage itself festooned
with the painted inscription "Unity in Diversity."  I've never been in a lovelier church.

The other house of worship on our tour was Bourbon Street.  I'm not much of a drinker but the ever-present party spirit was enough to change my mind for the week.  Naturally, this lead to a case of too much too fast and I found myself regretting the pleasure I took in choosing the biggest and most colorful drinks available.  I couldn't have been alone in that state, though I saw only happy faces as we moved through the throng that filled the streets.  The scent was quite another matter.  In the halls of decadence are many pleasures and, I would suppose, few bathrooms.  We were told that the whole area had to be hosed down every night to wash away the vomit and urine, and the pungent evidence of this hung in the warm air.  Always the optimist, I prefer to think of this as one more inhibition shed: society forces us into a nearly constant state of discomfort that only a good party can properly loosen.  I kept myself within arm's reach of societal norms on my visit, but I don't mind those who didn't.

To me, the most important stop on our journey was a visit to what seemed to me to be the very heart of the city, the cemeteries.  Easily the second most recognizable "attraction" of New Orleans (right
after Marti Gras), the cemeteries are a lovely reminder of how this city has suffered but also how it has absorbed such suffering and made it beautiful.  The magic that feels like lifeblood in NOLA pulses through these places.  A respect for the dead, and death itself, is a permanent aspect of events.  The lurking underworld
spirit is actively invited into daily life, talked about, talked to, painted and sung, honored, even loved.

Walking in the gates at St. Louis #1 was strange mainly because it was so popular--great clusters of people regularly filtered through, a man at the gate was selling cold drinks, the tour guides proclaimed loudly to their wards.  A cheerful lady asked us as we were leaving if we knew where to find the tomb of the mass murderer Madame LaLaurie.  It was all too much.  Much like I feel in the local city library where "library voice" has been completely abandoned-- even by the librarians--I felt compelled to be extra quiet and meek to make up for the bustle.  But then we went to one of
the smaller cemeteries and found ourselves completely alone.  There the silence present needed no help from me.  I wandered silently in that still place, as though I had entered a painting.  I took sparse photos only out of hopes to capture that uncanniness, though with every snap I felt as though I shouldn't.   It was lovely, though, and so easy to make beautiful in film that I couldn't help myself.  Everywhere was whitewash and black wrought iron, potted plants on the steps of tended tombs and scruffy wildflowers growing atop those untended, all stretching out in the bright sunshine of a cornflower blue sky.  If this was a painting, someone had done a masterful job.

Coming back out again was a weird experience.  The rest of the city was so busy, even in the back alleys, that the contrast of the peaceful cemeteries felt impossible.  I don't recall hearing the traffic from the nearby streets while we were inside those gates.  Perhaps that's part of the mystique of such a place--it entombs you with all the rest and while yet living you may understand the peace of the dead.

Indeed, coming back to Pennsylvania after this trip seemed much the same.  There is a rich history and blend of cultures in my own home state but nothing quite so vivid as what I discovered in Louisiana.   I had entered the gates a student of experience and emerged again no scholar but certainly wiser and with one eye open to the underworld.

Witch Tips--Easy Herbs: Catnip

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels: ,




Catnip

Around our home (and, indeed, across the entire valley in which we live) can be found great
clusters of wild catnip plants.  Right now they are all in flower, their soft purple crowns constantly worshipped by hovering bees.  It's quite a sight...and scent!  Catnip has a distinctively pungent herb-minty smell that most people recognize simply from being around the plant's greatest fans, cats.  But don't let that make you think that the only place it belongs is in the toy mouse!  Catnip has an illustrious history in magic that you can easily make good use of today.

The standard application for catnip is in love spells and potions, as well as any kind of work for peace and enduring friendship.  However, there is a flip side to this calming plant; it can be used just as well for instilling fierceness, courage, and energy.  Think of the different reactions cats have to it and this becomes clear; some roll in the leaves and then fall asleep purring, others eagerly tear through them and bite any hand they see.

I like to chew a leaf or two before starting something really challenging.  One of the hardest roads I cycle in my standard 13 mile trek has a row of catnip plants growing alongside it, which is perfect for me because they're right at the bottom of the biggest hill I climb.  A quick pluck from a plant as I pass, the taste of catnip, and suddenly I know I can conquer this mountain like I've done with all the others.  I've also taught our son (now 10 years old) to do the same when we go for runs together and he is starting to lose his enthusiasm.

Catnip tea has been a popular relaxant for thousands of years and I highly recommend it.  The Amish families in the area in which I was raised grow great quantities of it just for after dinner tea.

As an interesting addition, whole dried catnip leaves (the bigger the better) were said to be traditionally used as bookmarks in witches books to keep anyone unwelcome from reading them.  Even though we have little to fear from angry villagers with their pitchforks and torches, it is still an excellent idea to protect your BoS from the snooping of others.  After all, you may possibly consider your own grimoire to be sacred but it is also certainly private.  To expose to foreign eyes your written explorations of magic, your own mind and wishes, your fears and how you conquered them, as well as every spell you've cast and who it helped or hurt is both humiliating and damaging.  So even if you think that no one would try to spy on your personal thoughts, it's a good idea to protect them nonetheless.  

With the exception of the last example, all of the other ways to use catnip can work equally well in dried form as in fresh, so if you are not as fortunate as I am to be writing from the convenience of summer in a rural valley, you can still work this wonderful herb into your magic and your life.


*Also check the link below for information on the use of catnip tea before entering the sweatlodge.


Image from:

insidetaekwondo.com/2012/08/07/catnip-not-just-for-cats-anymore/

Quick Link: Making a Flying Paper Lantern

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels:

Instructions to Make a Flying Paper Lantern


Instead of my usual explanation, I'd like to tell you a story that meant a lot to me.

On the evening of this past 4th of July, my family and I went into the city to watch the fireworks. As I wended my way through the crowd that had filled the parking lots and side streets which were blocked off for a fair in its honor, I saw lots of things: loud people, various radios playing their own brand of loud music, food on the ground that had been crushed into the pavement, colorful drinks sweating in the heat, kids running and their parents shouting after them, puddles from the recent rain, and precious few clean places to sit.

This surely makes me sound like a puritanical bore, but I had done nothing but work, work, work as of that time for the past several months as I scrambled to get all the illustrations done for the comic book I'm producing with my teammates at MixMinds.  I knew that as soon as I got home it would be time to get right back to work.  It was natural, then, that I cast a bit of a critical eye at the outside world that was both my distraction and my supposed respite.

The sun went down and it was dark, the kind of milky not-quite-darkness that can only happen in the presence of street lights, however dimmed.  Then they were turned off. Things got a little quieter and I sat with my husband and our kids idly watching the sky until the show began.

And then I saw it.

Not far away from where we sat, a glowing orange light, an ethereal ember, was slowly lifting off over sea of strangers.  It was a paper lantern and I was glued to the sight of it.  It climbed softly into the sky, now a denim blue, and I watched until it was nothing but a speck and then was gone.  What a sight!  Like a little leaf riding the surface of a smooth running stream, like a tiny flame that dances on the tips of a log when the rest of it is only char, it was captivating because it seemed pure and calm in a dirty, overwhelming place.  After a few minutes pause, another took to the air on the other side of us, and then another much further away, nearly across the river.  There was an intensity to their burning, too, because we all know they won't burn for long.  But it will burn on nonetheless, and that is all I can manage to think about a life well lived.

Burn on, my friends.

Witch Tips--Unpleasant Truth: Our Community

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels: ,

I'd like to present a new feature to go along with the herbs, charms, formulas, and spellcasting shortcuts of Witch Tips Wednesday--Unpleasant Truths.

In a practice that so often tries to be above the muddle of ordinary life to the point where we should all be levitating under the power of our own enlightenment, it can surprise folks to hear about the very real, gritty, unadorned, un-charming parts of magical living.  But I'm here to drag them all out into the light and show them off!  It's okay, though, we'll all be better for it.

So this week's unpleasantness is about the magical community at large--it can be a very rough place.  It's not, as is sometimes claimed, "safe space" away from society; it is a society.  You're just going to have to accept that there will be a notable presence of cliques, prejudice, and criticism.  Even here, no one is obligated to like you.

Think on that one for a moment, if you would.  If joining the magical community is like joining any other, then that means that the rest of the world isn't as horrible and soul-shattering as you may have thought.  You are just as likely to find good people living on your block as you are to find them in your new coven.  And, likewise, rotten people can be in both as well.  Despite having every reason to play nice, there will always be those folks who see themselves as separate and above.  They won't join the club, they'll hide behind it.  It's best you know this now.

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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