Repost: Gigi's First Big Spell (Be Warned--You May Not Agree)

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply /

Today was another day quite similar to the one I described when I first wrote this article 4 years ago. The names have changed but the bullshit remains the same.

Our son, now in middle school himself, was hit by a similar monster-run-amok as the one who attacked Gigi. Again the belittlement of our religion (oh foolish mortals, aren't we past this?), again the unprovoked violence. It ended with our man, Drake, being hit in the eye in a sneak attack from behind. I contacted the father of this boy immediately so that he could handle his end of this altercation and--what a surprise--he was as vicious as his child. This grown man's tantrum was truly a masterwork full of accusations against my character, my child, and (of course) the fact that I am surely "what is wrong with the world today."

Oh, pal, you have no idea what's about to happen to your world today.

So after I humiliated him with a solid display of tact and fact--ending up with him agreeing with me--Drake and I took to the spellbooks. This wasn't over.

All of this got me thinking back on the incident described in the following article, how I handled it, and even how a local parent managed to uncover my writerly pseudonym and expose me to her church group as a topic of discussion.

Yes, it was just as weird as it sounds.

But, in truth, I was much more careful back then than I am now to appease a reader who might misunderstand and disparage my methods. I am a witch. My whole family believes in and practices magic. I don't care if anyone thinks it's wrong or sinful or filled with Karmic debt. I do what I do because it is my work to fix what is broken, to loose what should be free, to bind what should be restricted. If you can't handle that I do these things, don't bother telling me--just go about your own business.

If, however, you've ever been so mad that your limbs are shaking, if you've ever wondered where you can go from here now that there is no help for you, or--most essentially--if you watch this in your child, see the powerlessness in their eyes, read on and see what magic can do.


P.S. I don't believe I gave an adequate update on the situation you're about to read. The school, at first hesitant to do what clearly needed done, was deeply apologetic to us. The girl's parents were called in to discuss her behavior, ending in her suspension. Gossip around the school was brutal towards her and deeply sympathetic towards Gigi. Nothing of the sort has happened since and, in fact, both now juniors in high school, the girl has made tentative steps towards friendliness with our young woman.

No word if that has made any sort of impression.




                                     ********************************************




Today the bus arrived at the edge of our snowy yard promptly at 3:30 and I expected Gigi to leap promptly through the door and declare herself home from the forced labor camp that is middle school.  Instead she quietly slunk in, with a red face and redder eyes, her shoulders drooping so low I couldn't believe she was still upright.

Somehow this bold, smart, friendly girl had been viciously bullied on the bus.  Now I take the middle-of-the-road approach to school bullies.  One one hand, bullying has happened since the time of the cavemen and continues the be an issue, in one way or another, for adults as well as kids (pushy relatives telling you how to live your life, that jerk who's out to get your job, etc.).  If we're able, standing up to these people can be a real breakthrough.  Can we (should we?) really eradicate something that is old as time and that many accept as part of learning one's own strength?  On the other hand, bullying is a painful, unnecessary expression of pointless hate (or repressed desire, jealousy, fear, etc.).  How can we pretend that isn't a problem?  How can we accept it without showing our kids that we condone them becoming victims...or monsters?

Like any mother seeing her child hurt by another, I was ready for blood.  While I simmered, Gigi's dad sensibly called the school to let them know what happened. I probed Gigi for more information: no, it wasn't provoked; yes, others saw and they can be trusted to tell the truth if asked; yes, the bus driver saw but, no, it didn't make her stop.  It had begun with the other girl calling names and shrieking  (can you believe this??) "You're a witch!"  Gigi did as I said before and ignored her, but it only escalated now that she wasn't getting any reaction.  It ended with the girl taking scissors from her bag and trying to cut off Gigi's hair.  Hearing that, I wanted to march right over to that girl's house and shave her head bald and her mother's too, for good measure!

Gigi was upset for quite a while and especially embarrassed at having cried in front of older kids.  I explained things as best I could about how embarrassing things happen to everyone and that, to others, we usually don't look as bad as we think we do.  "It'll fade away and pretty soon, no one will remember a thing about it," I said.  But is that so?  Did it feel like that to me when I was her age?  My optimistic "mom talk" wasn't working.  I needed stronger medicine.  I needed magic.

Up until now (read Dreams and Curses), Gigi has learned and long worked with little magic -- healing, rain making, etc. -- and mostly in her own way, not formulated spells.  It has been time, in my estimation, to begin the work in earnest but it's been slow going without a clear focus to begin.  Was this a good focus?  Can curses properly propel a magical career?

In the end, it's up to every parent, teacher, guide, whathaveyou, to determine when the student is ready and how best to help them cross into the magical life.  If it "takes", great.  If not, try again another time, another way and hope for better success.  Some may disagree with my methods but the timing couldn't have been better.  She was totally ready.

I went to my work room and picked out my favorite spellbook.  Gigi sat sniffling on the couch as I opened the heavy book and sat it between us.  "Now, we're gonna fix this," I said.  "And we're gonna fix her, too!"


We looked through all sorts of curses, Gigi asked questions and I explained, we talked about herbs with bizarre properties, we cracked jokes and cackled at our own wickedness.  I looked at Gigi and her eyes weren't red anymore.  Her body was relaxed but her face was alive with curiosity.

We worked magic together--mother and child, fighting fire with fire.  Our visualizations fed one another, our chanting blending perfectly, growing rich and deep.  The candles burned brightly and reflected in her eyes, her smile.  I talked about having faith in the work because you put your all into it, and about letting that power unfold in its own way because it's on your side and knows just what to do.  I told her of the importance of faith in yourself because you will be the only one certain to always be there for you.  She sat up straight and looked proud, listening more intently than I've seen since she was a wee little girl and thought mommy was a genius.  The work done, we laughed and relaxed.  We washed our hands in special salts and had a hug before bed.  She fell asleep calmly, breathing deeply.

This isn't over and there are things yet to happen between me, this girl's parents, and the school.  But what happens next rests largely on what we did tonight.  There will be no "getting away with it" and no similar events in the future.  But, best of all, what this taught Gigi isn't over and never will be.  She's tougher than any opponent because she's got the will to be.  If it takes a little revenge to teach her that, then I say it's worth it.

Who says that black magic only brings sorrow?  All magic is done for the betterment of someone, somewhere.  The better is here and now--mother, daughter, partners and protectors.  The worse is with our enemies.  What they have asked for, they now receive.  Who are we to deny such a fervent request?

Repost: The Truth About Cascarilla Powder!

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply /

Cascarilla was my big pride back in 2012 when I first introduced it in the shop (Notice the old labeling? Ah, simpler times...) and I am still in love with both the process and the practice.

Here's what I had to say about it back then. I'm sure you can still find use here, especially if you haven't tried Cascarilla before.








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?

Repost: Osho and Other Beautifully Imperfect Teachers

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply /

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 Revisited

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply /

I haven't read this post in many years and the sight of it gave me quite a smile. Now our Gigi is 16 and as independent a Pagan thinker as ever. She's learned a lot, though we never did create an organized training system. I guess organic learning is my parenting style.

 Enjoy!

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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?

A New Direction for Us All

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels: , ,

After much deliberation, I've decided to close Quill's Occult Supply on Etsy.

This wasn't a flippant decision, nor one based on monetary reasons. On the contrary, the shop was doing quite well and I was finding it difficult to get orders out in a reasonable amount of time. After over 1,000 sales and over 530 followers, I was enjoying interacting with customers but not feeling able to do justice to their trust with my shipping issues. My other projects--including manuscripts still in the pipeline for publication--were suffering while I tried to keep all these separate plans orderly. As you can imagine, it didn't work very well.

So let's talk about where we're at now...

What's Happening to the Shop?


Quill's Occult Supply is no longer with Etsy. I'm relieved about this for the above reasons but also because they've been cracking down on their new rules about metaphysical products in a firm but totally random fashion, and it was starting to eat away at my listings. I had a rather devious trick planned to ensure that customers still got to hear all the details about what my products can accomplish and how to use them (Etsy's main grumble was the descriptions; absolutely no insinuation that magic actually works is allowed), but it was looking like a long-shot that they still might pick up on. If that was the case, I could end up banned from the site and lose everything without warning.

So, instead, we're hitting the road! From my love of working Comic-Cons with the indie comic book group with whom I collaborate, an exciting plan has sprung to offer the same wares of the former Etsy shop to customers in person at live events aimed at the Pagan and magical community! All your favorites will be there, plus live tarot readings and magical advice for getting the very best from your situation.

 What About This Blog?


To keep with the new goal of streamlining my public practice I've chosen to switch things up around here, as well. Monday Quick Links, Wednesday Witch Tips, as well as the long Friday articles you're used to will be replaced with shorter, quick-read pieces once a week plus event schedules, photos, and observations from traveling in the magical world. Hopefully this will be as exciting an adventure second-hand as I'm sure it will be for me!

In the meantime, I'm going to bring back some of the older posts you may have missed, dust them off, and pop them on the front page for you to enjoy. So look for this old/new content every Friday. It's sure to be a grab bag of unique snapshots from my earlier days!


What's Replacing Them?


The biggest excitement of all of this is that moving my schedule around this way will give me the time I need to really focus on my manuscripts! Though I indeed have a possibility of professional publication, it is a very long process that has not yet garnered much. So I will be putting all my efforts into another edit, plus illustrations and cover art for all four of them and then to a local bookbinder to create for you a homebrewed edition of my work. I believe very deeply that these manuscripts are able to provide some of the renewed vigor and beauty that the magical community is sorely needing. I write for the intermediate to advanced practitioner with a solid education and a willingness to experiment. I bet this sounds familiar to many readers!

Naturally, I'm hard at work making these books beautiful enough for all of you to enjoy at every event I attend. I don't know how long this will take, of course, so bear with me as I dig through the mountains of unused material from earlier drafts, work up countless hand-drawn illustrations, and play around with just the right wording to get these new books out to the world in the best possible version of themselves. It's just another trip we'll take together.

Something else exciting that you'll see with me at events will be a custom quarterly magazine. If you find yourself missing the articles of Ex Penna or are just in the market for more bite-sized magic than a whole book, I know you'll love what this new exclusive mag will provide! It's as yet untitled but the focus is clear: modern, upbeat, snappy articles with ideas and spells throughout for a fresh take on the magical life. You're going to want to grab a copy of this a.s.a.p.!

Also note that one of my newer projects will be stepping into the spotlight now--The +1 Pencil--a side-business my husband and I have of drawing custom RPG character portraits and painting minis. We are both gamers and also have lots of friends in the geek community (and I mean that with both respect and also a noogie) and the demand for quality representations of player characters is pretty damn high. Minis are fun to shop for and dream about painting, but actually doing it--and doing it well--requires more than patience; it's a skill requiring a steady hand, careful attention to detail, knowledge of color theory, and practical experience with portraiture. In short, it's really hard and worth the money for someone else to do it for you.  lol

My work in comics is also a part of my life to which I would like to dedicate more of my time. Deerborne, who you'll remember from her first issue available at the shop (and the piece that I both write and illustrate), has a lot more story to play out, as do the MixmeN, the neo-futuristic fantasy taking place on a defunct prison planet (in which I am the illustrator). There's so much to explore in these stories that I really want to get more time to dig around in their respective universes! Happily, with this shift, I can.



As you can see, now matter what comes and what goes, I will still be available for the same purposes, just in a different space. You can write me anytime through this blog, Facebook, Twitter, or by email and I will faithfully respond. In time, I'll have a printed catalog available for old-school mail order and possibly a stand-alone website from which you can find Quill's Occult Supply alive and well online. In the meantime, however, I can't wait to come straight to you, in person, with armloads of spells to enliven and enrich your life!

Thanks for traveling with me, from the first beginning and onward into this second one.

 

Witch Tip: Formulas--Van Van

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels: ,

Van Van is a formula, most often found as an oil, that is lucky in all respects while also removing all barriers to that success. It's the standard item in any good Hoodoo cupboard.

Oddly enough, though there are many successful recipes floating around, the only ingredient they have in common is Lemongrass. It would also seem that there are sellers whose Van Van oil is nothing but Lemongrass.

You can certainly create a starter version of this all-purpose formula with just Lemongrass in a carrier oil, but if you have access to the other Asian grasses found in the complete recipe, I recommend adding a generous dose of each:




Van Van Oil
 
Palmarosa
Citronella
Vetivert
Gingergrass

Witch Tip: Spellcasting Shortcut--Ritual Arangement

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels: , ,

Sometimes all you really need is some uninterrupted focus on a topic, and everything will turn out in your favor. This what you are doing when you create an arranged space.

Here we're talking about making room on a shelf, on your everyday altar, or on a special zone set up just for this purpose. Put all things related to the topic on that table as well as a hefty dose of items which are lucky for it and which work in favor of your goals. I like mixing in a few colored papers with positive messages on them and some auspicious tarot cards.

Move everything around until it looks and feels done. I know that I've seen such instructions in books and I've shuddered, but I can say that you will indeed know when it's done. Leave this layout untouched for a week. Take stock at that time. How are things progressing? Need more influence? A bigger push? Add some compelling herbs. Want to smooth things over and let them settle a bit? Change the color scheme to reflect a calmer atmosphere for the work.

Don't actually do a spell.  Let the casting be in the movement and setting of the space. Put all your energy into that and not into words or thoughts. Just allow the space itself to do the work.

You may be surprised at what happens.

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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