The Future of Quill's Occult Supply

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels:

"Deactivated by Etsy"

 
Those are some gawd-awful words, not because my world is Etsy, but because part of my work is only found there.  For many occult sellers, these words--now found on 5 of my listed items--have been the opening lines to an obituary of their public work.
 
Following the rules of the site, sellers don't promote their goods anywhere else, so losing their shop is easily the complete end of their business.  It's tragic to think what has become of such a perfect platform for selling magical goods (especially when the ban on such items over at eBay saw sellers flocking to Etsy for a new place to host them).  I do understand the need for rules that protect buyers from hucksters, but in trying to keep out the false they have denied so much of the gloriously creative and honorable. I wish we could find some land between "too much" and "not enough" to occupy.
 
For those of you who may not have heard, it was in 2015 when Etsy quietly updated the restrictions on the types of items sellers may offer to include the removal of any items which are purport, either directly or indirectly, to create physical change through metaphysical means.  Of course, not all your items may be removed and some items in the same category could remain while others are taken down.  There seems to be no specific organization to this so the whole mishegoss has led to widespread confusion while sellers try to figure out why items were deactivated, how to get them reactivated, and what we need to include (or remove) from listings to adhere to the very vague language of the new policy.
 
It is, indeed, my job as a seller to control my own business and not wait to be controlled by authority figures. That I understand.  Without real clarity on where a shop is "right" and "wrong," however, many sellers are sadly watching a good magical career end.
 
For myself, however, I refuse to let this be the end of anything.  One way or another, I'm determined to bring to all my customers the kind of honest, potent magic they crave and have come to expect from me since 2012.  That could mean remaining here, leaving for other online marketplaces, or even doing the rogue thing and turning this into a full-fledged physical store. 

So what say you, internet?  Let's talk about what you think of the Etsy restraints.  Would you follow Quill's Occult Supply to new grounds or are you an Etsy-only shopper? 

No matter what outcome I receive from Etsy, though, it is my only interest to serve the magical community.  I'll always be doing that, through the shop, my writing, art, public speaking, spellcasting, divination--for you, for the future of the occult world, to whatever ends magic brings me. 



Image from:
Etsy.com

Quick Link--Spells for Your Wellness

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels:



Healing Spells


One of the best and most accessible uses for our magic is healing.

No matter what you practice, your background, your training, or what books you have--or have not--read, everyone appreciates magic that protects wellness, undoes the wicked work of disease, and speeds recovery.   Though there is still a low simmer of debate over the ethics of healing without consent, I really doubt anyone would object to you doing your best on their account.

Life is a long chain of opportunities to bring ourselves out of the seed shell which bound our soul at birth.  Good heath is fertile ground, warm sun, and plentiful rain to take that little potential we carry and raise it to unimaginable height, blooming in the full glory of summer.  Make this happen for you and those you love.

Making the Fantasy Fiction Connection

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels: ,

"No, I can't cast Fireball, a**hole. I do magick with a k."  Cue scowl and hair toss.



What I'm about to say might shock you:

I don't side with this kind of attitude.




In fact, I'm against most of such snarky remarks that are designed to separate us.

We can't deny the correlation between fantasy and reality in what we do, and we should really stop trying.  Not only is it a never ceasing task that renews every time a magic-centered book or movie rises to fame, but it also works against our best interests as casters. 

We can refrain from describing ourselves as wizards so that no one mistakes us for overzealous Harry Potter fans, but we can't ever forget the thrill we felt following him into Hogwarts for the first time and imagining ourselves amid an entire society of magic users.

We can insist on alternate spellings (magick, majick, magik), but since no one can hear the difference in our meaning--ya know, being the same dang word and all--it means very little except in print. This might seem like enough of a distinction since, of course, the occult is a scholarly pursuit for many of us, but it is certainly not enough in practice. In the coven, at the festivals, in the spell, and in our heads and hearts we still use the shared language of the fantastic.





Belief in Magic is Beneficial, Even to Non-Spellcasters


And what's so wrong with that? Scientists have already proven that there is a genuine benefit in superstition and other forms of what is known as "magical thinking." The numbers aren't small, either.  Even though this information is often presented in the context of magic being make-believe and a mild form of delusion, the fact remains that everyone from athletes to exam-takers, small children just exploring their new world to adults with life-altering anxiety gain a huge advantage by trusting in luck, magic, and their own ability to control circumstances.

Fantasy literature can help us be more creative, as well.  Those who embrace it understand concepts that make navigating life much easier: how heroes feel and act, compassion for wildly different types of people, respect for experiences we perceive as ordinary, and finding commonality in a diverse world.  This leads to better problem-solving and decreased stress.  Sounds pretty good to me.

So what does this all mean for those of us practicing the genuine art of magic? Well, first we must put aside the concern that our magic is accepted only on the condition that it's fake. We've seen that it has real world merit, even before we start casting genuine spells. The personal opinion of others, especially those outside of our community, don't have a strong enough bearing on what we do to require our attention.  In other words--don't sweat it. Live well on that shared respect for the supernatural and don't bother to speculate on what exactly it means to the other person.

This Witch's Story

When my husband and I first met, I was still "in the broom closet." I had not, at the time, yet told anyone about my interest in magic outside of a few brief exchanges with my mother and sister, both of whom were firm disbelievers and scoffers. It's worth noting, though, that they both held similar attitudes towards other aspirational concepts like true love, so take that however you like.

When talking to this wonderful new person in my life, however, I found someone who was not only accepting of the possibility of the unshakable and meaningful connection of true love, but also a believer in a hidden side of the world. He has always been an intellectual and we had many conversations that swept quickly between philosophy to pop culture, sociology to the supernatural. We got there mainly through a shared love of literature. We talked a lot about books then and his love of fantasy-fiction quickly came up. I was intrigued; not having read anything of the genre myself, I saw through his eyes a sense of excitement and wonder at the possibility of the occult that I myself experienced with my first spellbooks.

When I finally told him that I was a witch, I prepared for any reaction from disgust to disinterest. Instead, he was fascinated and said what have become sweet and immortal words to me, "I'd always hoped it was real."

That, in truth, is what lies on the other side of fantasy. Yes, society makes sure that children grow up having clearly defined lines between reality and pretend (mostly, I believe, to stave off the possibility  of raising schizophrenics), but no one can really crush that universal small, inner wish to see it happen in real life.

Touching on this spot in our collective minds can make discussing our interest in non-fiction magic much easier. Fantasy opens up and explores out human thrill at the hidden, the beautiful, the mysterious. In that sense, we have a lot in common and that mutual curiosity can bring you closer to others.

What Fantasy Does to Spellcasting

So we know what fantasy does to the rest of our lives, but what does it do specifically to our magic? I've come to find that it does impressive things. Books, movies, video games, and other entertainment like RPGs offer fuel for your witchcraft by showing clear images of what magic looks like. This can help strengthen your visualizations and concentration while casting. Reading or watching examples of evocative spells and rituals can also influence you to up your game and insert more theatrics and beauty into your work, stimulating the senses and gathering a more impressive store of power. 

The other boon of engaging in fantasy forms of the occult is one that meant a lot to the 16 year old me who was just taking her first steps into the magical world--you're not alone. I watched "Bell, Book and Candle" and relished in the idea that there might really be other people in the world who did what I did. I may not have been ready to talk to them yet but I wanted to know that they were there.

This is a useful building block to your magical self-esteem. We talk a lot as spellcasters about the power of belief and there is no belief as strong as that in oneself. If you go into a spell knowing that results are imminent not only because the work is strong but because you are strong, you cannot fail.

Acceptance Will Bring You More Than Intolerance

In the end, we'll never rid ourselves of all the many ways that we are tied to fantasy, nor should we want to. It's only that instinctive desire to be taken seriously that gets in the way of us truly enjoying all the benefits of those ties. The best thing we can do as a community is to embrace it openly (not just among ourselves, as we already constantly do!), use it as a tool to help others understand us, and find our inspiration in that parallel world.

Images from:
images8.alphacoders.com
abstract.desktopnexus.com (King Arthur II)

Witch Tip--Unpleasant Truths: Our Community's Mental Health Issues

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels: ,

I realize that this is a difficult topic to breach for anyone, let alone the magical community where so many of us found acceptance after being shunned by the world outside.  To many, many practitioners, this is a safe and comforting place where we can be ourselves without judgment.


On the mundane side of things is the simple fact that a dangerous number of individuals with mental health issues are not coming forward or being properly diagnosed.  The stigma of needing help to balance one's mental landscape is too great for a lot of people to bear, so they hide their issues as best they can.  Others cannot afford doctors and treatment.  Still more have been on medication in the past and have chosen to go unmedicated for as long as possible, believing the drugs change them and that without such "unnatural" help, they are, in fact, their true selves.

The occult is all about seeing the world with an inner eye, delving boldly into the underlying beauty and terror of the universe, reaching for the pinnacle of human understanding.  But what if what you're seeing is really just a dangerous hallucination?  What if those guiding omens were delusion?  How can you tell if you are indeed powerful and important or just experiencing symptoms of unaddressed inner turmoil?

It's been my experience that the magical world contains a stunning number of people with Bi-polar Disorder, and of those I've met, none were currently on their medication.  They said that the doctors gave them drugs to keep them from being creative, from having visions, and to stifle their magic.  You can imagine how difficult it was to come up with a response that wouldn't be pushed aside as just more of the same "mundane" thinking they believed was ruining witchcraft.

But that isn't witchcraft, people, it's dangerous.  Magic is something you can and should do with all your wits about you.  You don't need to have mental imbalances to see visions or speak with spirits.  In fact, I'd prefer if that were the case.

Here's a little story.  Many years ago, I met a young man--in a very mundane way--while grocery shopping.  He, amazingly, picked me out immediately as a witch.  I wasn't wearing anything that would make the average person suppose it, but somehow he figured me out.  He was eccentric, but I didn't see any harm in him while he talked rapidly and happily about his journeys into spirit conjuration.  I replied with more reserve than him, but didn't try to calm his fervor.  After all, he was in his early 20's and thrilled to meet another practitioner.  Who wouldn't throw caution to the wind and share magical experiences with abandon?  I gave him my phone number so we could talk more later.

You might suppose that giving him my number was the mistake.  In fact, letting him carry on was probably where I should have corrected myself.  Because I gave him the unspoken acceptance of the tales he spun in person, on the phone he opened up even further.  Demons regularly visited him.  He once killed a Goddess to punish a former friend.  His past life continually intruded on his current life, causing black outs and showing him long periods of that time in a dreamlike state.  The Devil himself wanted to talk to him.  And after all that, he needed me to ask around the Catholic church for any priests available for performing an exorcism on him.  

All of this was amusing at first but when put together, it became troubling, then terrifying.  He told me finally about the meds and how he only pretends to take them.  He was diagnosed as Bi-polar, but he knew better; he was special and would someday be the savior of the world.  I didn't believe he was Bi-polar, either--it looked much more like Schizophrenia.  I ran.

After that, I no longer answered the phone and he eventually stopped calling.  But what if he had known where I lived?  What if we were related or worked together?  To what extent could these delusions have taken him, a vain but seemingly unprepared actor in a movie under someone else's direction?  At what point would the average person have shut this down, and how much sooner than an occultist?

I'm no stranger to interesting magical tales.  I've listen with rapt attention to the conjurations of others, witnessed--and personally experienced--powerful deity possessions, made incredible things happen with spells.  I've seen with my own eyes fairies, sprites, and gnomes with others present to verify it.  So I know what it's like to see and do things that no one else would get.  But we're talking about something altogether different here.

This is the fatal flaw in the magical community; just because someone tells rich and detailed stories about their magical work doesn't make them true.  In our eagerness to be accepting and non-judgmental, we let in dangerous thinking without even a moment's hesitation.  We say "everyone's experience is different" rather than identifying patterns and beliefs that could point to mental problems.  We don't want to be like other groups, so we bring in all those who were both unjustly and justly removed from them.

If you know someone who seems a little off, do some research into the most common types of mental illness.  When they talk, stick to the big picture and stop them from trying to make their delusions real for you.  This sounds mean, but it could cost you something far worse than your time.  

Quick Link--Non-Wiccan Witchcraft

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels:



Traditional Witchcraft Articles and Information


The occult community in the modern day has much to thank Wicca for.  And yet, it was an imperfect announcement that the Wiccan tradition made to mundane society, and because of that, Wicca will forever be linked in the minds of many people with the "authentic" practice to which all others aspire.  That is definitely not the case.

The world of magic is vast and varied, with many traditions veering off into their own space and bearing almost no resemblance to others in the same area.  There is definitely no "one true way" when it comes to magic.

Traditional Witchcraft is one of the many paths taken pre-Wicca--as well as post--and it's particulars are unique and rich.

If you've ever been expected to conform to rules that work for Wiccan practitioners but no one else, you will certainly enjoy this elucidating read!

Let's Talk About: Being Witchy with Mundane People

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels: , ,

It's been overstated how little occultists are interested in converting others and understated how important personal expression really is.  Speaking our minds and trying to modify those of others are not the same thing.

It's true, generally magic users don't dream of everyone in the world becoming one too.  And if they did, we really wouldn't care; we're very much a "to each his own" crowd.  However, being this disconnected has created another problem, an assumption that magic folk shouldn't--or can't--talk about their practice with outsiders.  I'd like to say right away that this isn't so, and may even be hindering your progress.

My early years as a practitioner were fun for me because I didn't have any limits.  I kept staunch secrecy (even to the guy I was dating at the time who was a dabbler and very open about it!) so no one questioned me--my decisions, the books I chose to read, the spells I cast, all of it was up to my own inspiration.  No one condemned me.

But that meant that no one challenged me, either.

No one made me examine those decisions and really work through the processes in my head.  I was happy not to have anyone's influence, but it would have been helpful to have their insight.

And then there was the time, many years later, when I was standing among a group of new acquaintances--who did not yet know I practiced--as they bonded over their mutual distaste for a co-worker who was Wiccan.  Their mockery of him was based on his general awkwardness coupled with what little they knew of his beliefs.  It displayed more about them being pointlessly aggressive and elitist than showing anything negative about Wicca.  That could have been a perfect time for me to chime in and clear up some misconceptions, as well as shut down what could be considered hate speech.

But I was not in a position that I felt was strong enough to speak up.  When the perfect moment had passed, I realized how important a moment it was, not because I needed to correct these women or because I wanted to make the guy better liked, but because we deserve a strong defense.

As you can see, I completely understand the kinds of thoughts that prevent the magical community from being open to outsider discussions.  Besides the assumption that we should remain an insular group, there are some really unappealing images that many of us fear we project when speaking up.  Rather than try to dissuade you from thinking that way, let's bring those images out in the light.

Street Corner Preacher

You open your mouth to spread a bit of enlightenment but in your head you must certainly be screaming through a bullhorn and wearing a sandwich sign.  It's okay, you're (probably) not actually doing that.

Combat it with:

  • Short, clear statements
  • Terms we all understand--don't say things like "paradigm shift" 
  • If you're asked a question, answer only that.  Don't complicate things

Rebellious Teen

Many of us started out our occult careers as teenagers (I certainly did), but that doesn't mean we want to be written off as bored and rejected kids who crave attention.   If that's not what you're doing, then don't let that be what you're saying.  

Combat it with:
  • Not trash talking other practises
  • Separate information--your viewpoint is important, just make sure you're clear about it being an opinion
  • Your message must be about what you do, not what others think of you

Flower Child

When you're the first actual spellcaster someone has met--and don't laugh, that has happened to me several times--you might be surprised to find out what they're expecting to see.  It's okay not to normalize witchcraft; it is indeed special and different.  Plus, you'll probably have no choice but to describe certain topics in a fanciful way, but that doesn't mean you'll lose cred doing so.

Combat it with:

  • Be authentic. Show the side of your personality that comes out most with magic
  • Remember how it felt when this was new to you and speak in a way that is reminiscent of that
  • Be descriptive, liken one thing to another, explain and express.  Paint an emotional picture.  It's okay to wax a bit poetic if the conversation is going deep
  • Project a balanced, realistic image.  Magic doesn't send you off into other realms; it's for the here and now

The Pretentious Nonconformist

I know, there's a bit of pretention that will probably come out around some folks no matter what you do to fight it.  Any time I find myself caught in conversation with someone who says "Yuck!  I hate to read!" or "When I'm not at work, I pretty much just watch tv until it's time to go back to work," unless I catch myself I feel my eyes start to roll and a give snobby sniff from my upturned nose.  We all have our limits.

But you're not really a snob and neither am I.  I think that most of us do our best to find a point of connection with others, and when talking about something that is so close to our hearts, maybe we put even more into that connection.

Combat it with:

  • Focus on the personal stories.  It's these things that are most interesting to outsiders and what makes your viewpoints the most human
  • Don't fight against pop culture references.  There are little pieces of what we do in familiar things like Harry Potter and Charmed.  Talk about what's real and what's inspirational; they know you don't actually ride a broom
  • Remember to note the little things that non-practitioners can identify with: mementos from loved ones as protective objects, actions and circumstances that bring good luck, even dream interpretation
  • Share your experiences as casually as others do.  If you're asked what you did over the weekend and you spent it at a festival or celebrated the Sabbat, say that.  It's just another part of who you are.  If they want to know more, they'll ask; if not, they'll move on

We can be as open about our beliefs and practices as anyone else.  We don't have to fear appearing like a bland stereotype when the truth is so rich and complex.  When we open up we give the people in our lives a glimpse of what is most important to us, but we also open them up for tolerance and understanding in a corner of society that easily suffers from a lack of both.  All it takes for outsiders to see it is a willingness to share one little piece at a time.

 


Images from:
indiegogo.com/projects/occultists-record-label
everydaysigils.tumblr.com            

Quick Link--Free Natal Charts

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels:


Free Natal Chart Generator



Whether you normally follow the course of your stars or not, having a natal chart cast for you is a deeply meaningful and useful method of bringing awareness to the influences of the very underpinnings of your personality and lifeline.

If all this seems overly complex, it's because it is, in a general way.  There are many calculations that must be made to create the chart, a good deal of information that one must have about the intended person's birth, plus books, lists, and time.

The reason that astrologers undergo such effort is because either they A) are simply in love with facts and figures, or B) in the past have had a successful chart of their own.   To become one of the second group, look no further than today's link!  Here you can have a computer-generated chart of your own to chart your course today.

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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