Sunday, December 28, 2008

We haven't fallen off the face of the Earth

Just in case you were wondering, I mean.
I've been run happily ragged, making incense and oils, working on new formulas, designing candles with Azzerac, filling orders for some lovely new customers, and a million other things.

The Herbalist's Primer on the site needs some attention, and I've been working on a piece for it on proper, actual, useful tools for the herbalist (like why those marble mortars don't work), but I hate writing when it feels mandatory, so that one is sort of simmering :) Part of me wants to attack it, herbal encyclopedia style, but am rather worried about releasing that much information on the web. that an what happens when I get to agrimony and someone really needs quassia?

Actually, I'd like to start putting the ingredients of some formulas on the site, but the barrage of plagiarizers has made me...hesitant. A rock and a hard place, and I don't see a resolution anytime soon.

I hope you guys had a great holiday!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Ice and Snow

The weather in Colorado is fierce! Viscious wind, driving snow, and that inevitable side effect, hassling the power company.
Our internet was down for a day or so, due to a bad ice storm, and hasn't been restored to the upload machine quite yet. "Steal This Book of Shadows" will be a few days behind, but we now have backup machine to ensure that this won't happen again. Blessings in disguise.
All orders are being recieved,packaged and shipped on time, perhaps even earlier, as most of Manitou hasn't had the slightest desire to brave the Post Office, lol

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A Post Card Kind of Town

A Lodestone & Lady's Mantle eye view of Manitou. Azzerac got up early to take this shot after our first real-ish snowfall this year. It's mostly melted by now, and re-frozen into patches that force even the most seasoned Manitoid to play hop-scotch down the street.

Manitou and Witches go together like bread and butter. A little history: the town is chock full of natural mineral springs, all of which have reputed healing powers. The Ute tribes held this place as sacred, and with the push for the Western frontier, Manitou became one of the first American health spas. Wealthy Easterners and Europeans would come to 'take the waters'. It was particularly renowned for healing tuberculosis victims, and a few sanatoriums still exist from that period. One, along the main avenue, has been converted into a charming little shop. I'll post a picture of it next time, but it looks like a tiny little round house; a hobbit sized castle spire.
Anyway, the tuberculosis and gold rush era is where we've gotten a lot of our ghosts, general hauntings, and weirdness.
Besides the ghosts at Briarhurst Manor (bleeding walls and a spirit guardian), The Cliff House (a headless, tuxedo-ed patron, and tunnels to the old speak-easy), and just about every home around town, Anton Levay built a house on the one of the hills overlooking the valley. Can't say I'm a fan of his, but ya know. Its a thing :P

Friday, December 5, 2008

Ring My Bell: Adventures in Witchcraft Around Town

" May we clean the bell?"

Yeah, said (something like) that to a church secretary. Azzerac explained (fairly) honestly why we wanted the bell grease, and offered to clean the (unkempt) bell once a month as a service to the community.
She looked panic-stricken; one hand reaching for the phone, and the other for a plaque of Jesus :(
At least she can tell the kids that there really are Witches in Manitou.

Maybe I should have covered up the tattoos and worn a bow in my hair.

Its the oldest church in Manitou, and there isn't any way to view the bell without a giant, obvious ladder.

Maybe the Episcopalians will let me in? Maybe I should hurl a sack of lard and wait for the drippings to succumb to gravity? *twitch and shudder*

This was so much easier in Virginia.

Its just as well, the day wasn't lost. I did find a great source of old Mercury dimes, on the long, sad walk home, lol
After Azzerac wrestled his rightful buffulo jerky out of Cowboys hands, I got that tingle in the back of my skull... I could smell the 1932 Mercury dime across the room :)

So we've got a quite a few in the shop now, glad to say.

Wish me luck on the continuing bell adventures!


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Green for Green, Brown for Brown-Ethicality in Spiritual Supplies

Okay, the Yule article that Azzerac wrote for Witchvox has received a bit of mail, only one negative, but it was from someone that seems bound and determined to be offended by everything.

Someone asked me awhile ago why I do what I do, as far as the shop goes. I want to get one thing straight, for the record. I don't hate Wiccans. Never have, never will.
The reason Azzerac and I started Lodestone & Lady's Mantle was as a direct response against the vast majority of metaphysical stores. They all stock the same Made-In-China, by child slave labor, plastic statues, diluted essential oils, fragrance (fake) oils marked as essential, inaccurately reproduced formulas, and stones that are unethically mined.

The height of New Age hypocrysy is blowing up the side of a mountain so that you can have a Power Crystal to "heal yourself" and "heal the Earth".

Not to mention the herbs. Old, overpriced, and the common practice of brown-for-brown, green-for-green among many spiritual suppliers. A green herb is substituted and sold in place of a more expensive green herb, etc. A lot of dragon's blood I've seen on the market is dyed frankincense or copal, depending on whats cheaper during a given season. Many shops justify this by saying that it is the belief of the practitioner that does the work, not the herb. If that were the case, why should anyone go to the trouble of purchasing herbs at all?

We started the shop out of respect to magical practitioners, because we, as magical practitioners, were sick of the same Azure Green junk. Instead of the same, rehashed (and frequently plagiarized) information, we write original, in depth, born from experience, not Llewellyn.
Formulas are researched, tested, refined, and tested again before they ever reach our shelves. Herbs are organic, fresh, and exactly what they say they are.
Stones are gathered ethically, with no harm to enviroment, or humanity.
Ritual tools are as unique as the practitioner who uses them.

Wiccans and Occultists are creative people. How many people in your community make beautiful magical crafts, whether its dipping candles, making soap, sewing their own robes, or forging gorgeous knives and jewelry?

The person offended by the article didn't want his worldview of Paganism shaken. He has written to us, twice, to scold us for not writing happy "feel-good" articles (yes, he actually said that). While some may want to believe that the status quo is acceptable, that everything is perfect, happy and shiny, and will bite anyone that tells them otherwise, I think its an insult to the intelligence of my spiritual family.

It's honestly disheartening to see people behave this way. But if we wrote the pandering, simpering, feel-good articles, it would be like handing candy out to shut up a screaming kid.

I know advanced practitioners are sick of this kind of behavior within the community. Thats one reason why so many experienced practitioners have retreated from the community, because nearly every event becomes a political "I'm more damaged than you" fest.

In short, I love you guys :)

Sunday, November 30, 2008

And In Uniquely Stupid News Today...

Yeah, you heard me right. Apparently, without my noticing, Hoodoo became the "it" thing. The Crescent Rolls over at Llewellyn have found yet another thing to latch onto and screw up, and are doing so with a vengeance!

Dorothy Morrison has gotten into the action, with a full line of half-baked spell kits, most of which are exceedingly dangerous, and all of which have next to nothing to do with Hoodoo or Voodoo.
Thats right, kids! For the low low price of $12.00 you can invoke Elegba to " achieve great results when using His kit for matters involving luck, success, protection and truth."
If he doesn't eat you first.

Diasporic gods are really tricky to work with. They don't enjoy being pulled from a table of correspondence at your whim (like any deity does). They like their worship to follow precise patterns, have precise offerings, and initiated (or at the very least respectful) followers. When any of these are missing, they are more than happy to let you know. And they don't give second chances unless they really, really like you.

While some experienced root workers give friends or clients instructions on how to work with a particular god or saint (usually for a VERY specific reason), it is at the behest of their patron saint/diety.

Well, at least her spell kits come with pennies. Charged and blessed pennies. You guys know my take on buying charged objects.

If you had any magical talent, you would be charging it yourself. If you had the ability to charge it yourself, you could feel whether or not it had been charged. That being said, most charged objects are fraudulent.

Nothing against Ms. Morrison, its really just another symptom of the glut in the New Age market. Serving up all the McMagic you can chew!!!!!

Giggle with me at the Marie Laveau and Oya invocation kits, and let us dream of better days!

-Carmin (a.k.a Madame Curare)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Show and Tell

Ugggh. Weird void-of-course Moon seems to be tossing my mind about like jelly. I had actually looked forward to a WHOLE day I could spend in the workshop, making ceramics (playing in the mud). The clay just isn't talking to me today.
Made a fresh batch of Confusion Oil, though. It seemed like a good day for it, lol.

As you may or may not know, I love giving big-ups to fellow talented Pagan artisans, and since anything else productive seems unlikely today ;P here are a few links that you guys might like:

Senjo Clothing: Very elegant, slightly twisted Pagan and Fae wear. Definitely NOT the tired Ren Faire garb or sarong (so-wrong) mess that's become standard. I know you're sick of seeing it, 'cause so am I!
You can only get whiplashed from so many over-strained corsets, or beaten up by one too many bustles before you go bat-shit crazy and torch every piece of purple velvet in a half-mile radius. Yeah.

Osseanna has a nice podcast over at GetWitchified. Its become my afternoon routine to load up her latest podcast while I'm making stuff for the shop. She is hysterical, warm, grounded, and takes a lovely intimate tone with her audience. Definitely worth checking out!

The Anti-Craft , for my beloved fellow DIYers, they have brilliant patterns and instructions for all sorts of fiber arts, with a very magical bent.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A moving opposition to Prop 8

This is the most sincere and moving testament in support of gay marriage I have seen thus far.

Thanks to beweaver for posting the video. Thanks to Aunt Pam and Auntie Jill for setting a good example of what a loving, committed relationship can be; those are few and far between.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008


I ran across a couple of great sites, and wanted to share with you guys :)

One from a brilliant Pagan artisan, Don Waterhawk. His work is thrilling; graceful, elaborate and delightfully barbarian. The drinking horns look like they belong in the hands of kings. Jaw-dropping, and definitely worth a look-see! It is very encouraging to see Pagan artisans strive to this level of perfection.

An excellent Hoodoo blog from NinjaCat: her take on magic is daring, funny, and incredibly down to earth. Even if you have no interest in that particular path, she gives excellent advice and insight for Occult practitioners. A thrilling reprieve from the light-and-fluffy.

Sorry for such a short post, I've got wax on the stove and candles to pour!

'Til next time,
-Carmin (a.k.a Madame Curare)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Pagan Plagiarism

"The Bewick Thief" courtesy of Wikipedia commons

Dear f!@#ing gods, how much longer is this going to continue?

Yes, I found yet another Pagan merchant who has plagiarized my writings. I should just start a running blacklist, but being fairly certain that it would be a 9-5 job to keep up with all the thieves in the Wiccan community, I must be content with outing them here.

All right, here's the deal. I logged into Etsy (a nice handmade website) looking for Yule gifts for fiends, friends, and family :)
I found a listing for "Command & Compel Oil" (not a terribly common condition oil to find on the open market) from Magickal Enchantments(Johnston, Rhode Island). I'm always interested in fellow herbalist's and root-workers take on a formula, so I clicked it. Only to find that my description and usage had been stolen, word for word. What she didn't steal from me, she stole from Lucky Mojo Curio Shop.
While it is quite flattering to be placed on the same level as Cat Yronwode (Hoodoo Goddess that she is!), it is, once again, enraging to find that someone claiming to follow a Pagan path would stab a fellow Pagan in the back.Of course, I wrote the shop owner, as follows:

"Hi, while I was browsing Etsy, I noticed your Command and Compel oil. After reading the item description, I realized that it bore a remarkable resemblance to the one on my website. In fact, an entire paragraph was taken, word for word, from my website, While I have had certain problems with other Pagan shops stealing my work (one memorable case in which a vapor-ware seller stole my Witchvox announcement, word for word), I cannot believe that this is a coincidence. I'm giving you the option of changing your item description, and if I see my original writings attached to your shop again, on or off Etsy, I will bring the full force of the legal team of TTR Group down on you like a ton of lawyers. Are we clear? Perhaps you should consider living up to the Pagan title you so proudly proclaim."

Dear Carmin, I never copy anything from anyone else and I would appreciate it if you didnt threaten me either. I tried the link for your store and it wouldnt come up so I cant see your item description. I have no problem changing the wording in my item description if it is like yours however I will have you know that I got my description from my book, The Book of 5,000 spells. Perhaps that is where you got yours as well? I tried the link and it didnt work. Is your website down right now? As I said, I have no problem changing anything that is exactly the same as yours but please understand that I in no way copied your item. I am pretty sure I have never been on your site as it doesnt ring a bell. Let me know when your site is working so I can change the wording that is the same as yours...I finally got to your shop by using google, for some reason the web address wasnt working for me. I am sorry, but I really dont see how your wording is anything like mine at all. Maybe I am on the wrong site? I copy and pasted what I found under your listing of the command and compel oil and posted it below. Am I on the wrong site? This doesnt sound like anything I have on my listing of this oil. I did put the listing as inactive until this is settled. I have had people copy my work and understand how frustrating that is and I would in no way do that to others as I know the law of karma quite well(emphasis mine). I am all set with getting into that area. So let us work this out as adults. With that said, please tell me where you see the same wording in our listings. Thank you, Brightest Blessings, Kat

Now, my fellow root-workers probably (hopefully) know that the Book of 5000 Spells, while entertaining, is NOT a great formulary.In fact, it looks a bit like Herman Slater's (prolific plagiarizer and owner of The Magickal Childe). Judika Illes comes a lot closer (for one, she doesn't put lavender and honeysuckle in every formula, or melon oil in D.U.M.E),and her spells are well researched, but if this is Kat's formulary, she's got more than a few things wrong. Of course, listing High John root, cherry tobacco, and mace as components in her "old family recipe" were a dead give away too.

My response:
Dear Katherine Cotoia, "As an anointing oil and spell powder, it can be used to boost your magnetic qualities and inspire confidence. Excellent for strengthening the Will." That was taken, word for word (excepting "spell powder")and placed on your listing. You didn't even change the capitalization or punctuation. No, it was not taken from Judika Illes' Book of 5000 spells, she doesn't use that phrase anywhere in the description. I'm looking at it right now. It is MY original writing, in MY distinctive style. For another, our tracking software is showing a hit (from Johnston, Rhode Island), on the 24th of October (same day you listed your oil), using the keyword "Command and Compel Oil", and landed on "Counter Oils". The click through display is also showing that you clicked "more" to arrive at the full description and usage page.
1.So it is very clear that you DID visit my site.
2. It doesn't appear in your supposed source material.

3. You say that you wouldn't take anything from anyone, but you stated yourself that you may have taken it from "5000 Spells", obviously contradicting yourself.Published works are still subject to copyright, and if you had ever actually used the oil, you wouldn't need to steal someone else's words.
4. No self respecting root-worker would ever put High John(or half the other ingredients you list) in Command and Compel, and stating that it is an "old family recipe" is clearly a falsehood. Especially when you have revealed the source material in your letter.
5. The phrase "like many other ipomoeas, some of which are psychedelic..." etc, is stolen straight from Lucky Mojo Curio Shop. Who exactly do you think you are fooling?

Your lack of honor and honesty goes without saying; It has been revealed in your every word and deed. I'm sure if I went through all of your listings, I would find another half dozen people you have ripped off. Karma indeed.
Take my description of off your page, and it will be considered 'substantial compliance'.

Oh, btw, I found her full name on her Witchvox account, we can't (and won't) track our visitors to THAT degree :P
It's been 2 days. She hasn't responded yet. Big surprise.
Scared that she was caught in the act? Who knows. I have spent too many years collecting, experimenting with, and refining formulas to have them stolen off my back. If someone actually had experience working with a particular formula or ingredient, they could relate personal experience/notes. Shouldn't a merchant (any merchant) have familiarity with their own product? Since then, she has removed the item from her shop. Meh.

In Black Magic pt. II, I related that I had a feeling that two issues, "Pagan Plagiarism", and "What Wicca can learn from Hoodoo" would be tied together. I guess this was just the manifestation of that intuition.

So, I honestly want feedback, why is plagiarism so rampant in the magical community?
Nearly every website listing magical herbs stole the correspondenses from Cunningham's "Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs", without a word of credit or source material. Sirona Knight was convicted of plagiarizing Freya Aswynn's work for the "
Little Giant Book of Runes (her response was hysterical, read it, please). Let's not forget the nonsense of Y Tylwyth Teg, who stole the bulk of their material from Francesca deGrandis, while simultaniously offering sex tours to Thailand.
It isn't just in the rarified world of Llewellyn authors (*cough*), but is plaguing the local levels as well.

The pattern that I'm noticing, honestly, is that the first people to scream "The Rede!!!" or "Karma!!!" or "The Secret!!!" are the most likely to perpetuate this, the greatest threat to our community, ever.
Think I'm exaggerating? Consider this: Imagine that you've spent the majority of your life sincerely pursuing a path, deeply studying and practicing it. You've written something original to help others on the path. And someone cashes in on your work, waters it down, and combines it with 'Egyptian Shamanism' and their channeled spirit guides (i.e, the voices in their head told them to do it), or something equally trite. What is the point of being original or creative if someone is just going to steal it a month later!?

And this is how we die as a community. This is how we come to distrust one another, because so many are not worthy of trust.
This has been a very long post, and for that, I apologize. If you have read this far, I thank you. Something had to be said, and something has to be done.


Thursday, November 6, 2008

In Betweens

I'll be checking in later for a longer post (finishing up Black Magic), but I found a great article on Reiki, sans fluffy-fake-mystic-love-donation.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

That Old Black Magic, Part II, well, not really.

Sorry it took so long to get back to this. Its been a tumultuous few days. My cat Aine got outside (her first time) and I spent the day wandering the neighborhood, trails, and deer paths calling her name. Enlisting the aid of the entire town, some construction workers, and possibly a few squirrels. Its all a bit fuzzy :)
After finally collapsing at home to wait, I did a bit of bibliomancy. The question: "When will she come home?" The answer: "The light".
Sure enough, she came prancing home at the first grey light of dawn. Safe and sound.

I'd love to finish up the post on black magic, its just a bit stonewalling at the moment. I believe that they have a value in the practice of the modern magician. What can hurt can heal, what can heal can hurt, as the old adage goes. With so many curses having their own signature points of manifestation, it's good to know what's being aimed at you, at least for the sake of uncrossing.

So that post is going to sleep for awhile. There are two articles I'm currently juggling, and it looks like they are going to be intertwined with this post, and each other. 1. The rampant plagiarism within the Pagan community(not a CATCHY working title) 2. What Wicca can learn from Hoodoo. It'll be a grand adventure ;)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

That Old Black Magic, or " A Long Hard Look at Wiccan Ethics" Part I

"Saul and the Witch of Endor" Courtesy of Wikipedia Commons
Now that I have your undivided attention, I'd like to address that most taboo of subjects within the Wiccan and Magical community. As Azzerac deftly pointed out, we have suffered as of late from an extremely Westernized, watered down ethical system poorly extrapolated from Mahayana Buddhism that has little to nothing to do with Wicca, Witchcraft, or Paganism.
Ethical and religious systems that cannot survive contact with the physical world are to put it bluntly, useless. If it doesn't meet physical and emotional needs, it is highly doubtful that it can meet the spiritual needs of its practitioners, yet another reason in a LONG list why more people are turning away from "traditional" religious ideologies.

So, black magic, then. The slightest whisper of performing bindings, curses, or what is perceived as 'controlling' magic is guaranteed to bring a gale-force sized petulant verbal slap of: "but the REDE SAYS...! Never mind that Rede doesn't mean law, but instead "good council", and is meant to be an easily remembered set of advice. Disregard that these are the same people who cannot say more than "Harm None" from memory; convinced that a coven must have "perfect love and perfect trust". That last bit of advice refers directly to the Rede, not to covens or any other group of practitioners. ( "Bide the Wiccan Rede ye must, in perfect love and perfect trust"), yet seem to entirely overlook this bit of good advice: "with a fool no season spend, lest ye be counted as his friend". Nope, just Harm None.

Part of me wonders if this isn't a nasty side effect of the "look normal for the Christians" movement of the '90's, when every author from coast to coast made sure to include a section in their article or book that we don't eat babies or wear black makeup, as if the two were synonymous! Geez, I still remember the pressure within the community to denigrate any practitioner who looked counter-culture. These were popularly perceived as newbies, or doing it for the rebellion factor. But when you meet an old school punker with a mohawk bigger than he is, that has been practicing for twenty years, well... I doubt he was still rebelling after 160 Sabbats.

The modern spillover effect: more and more high profile members of the community are actually trying to convince the Mundies that we don't cast spells! The worst bit is that real practitioners are actually starting to believe this, or at least repeat it en mass, at high volume. In an attempt to be accepted within the mainstream, the cries of 'we are all safe, suburb-living- khaki-wearing-PTA-attending-bake-sale groupies' has done nothing but water the Wiccan community into a fluffy bunny hypocrite parade that is MOCKED within not only the mainstream culture, but the metaphysical and Occult communities as well. When acquaintances learn that I'm Wiccan, its invariably followed by a long pause, and "you don't look Wiccan". It isn't just a few people. This is a wide sampling of people, of very different socioeconomic backgrounds, ethnic makeup, professions, etc. From the deep South to the Pacific Northwest, a score of Brits, a handful of Europeans, Jamaicans, Russians, and New Zealanders; it has been determined almost universally that the stereotypical Wiccan is a 400lb emotionally crippled doormat with poor hygiene.
Before you launch a tirade at me, remember I am one of you. I love my Pagans and Wiccans. I have watched this problem grow from inside the community. Let me give you some more stats. We at Lodestone & Lady's Mantle offer free classes, one of which is geared toward improving health and physical activity."Power-Walks: Magic in the Great Outdoors". To date, it has received 90 views on Witchvox. Compared to our other free class, Occult sciences 101 (454 views). Both posted at the same time, with the former being more well advertised. Goddess forbid a member of a Nature religion actually go outside, or apply their ethical system to their own bodies, or their own lives! Like I said, fluffy bunny hypocrite parade.

Those of you that insist on rubbing our noses in the Rede, or your convoluted and ill-researched version of it do not get a vote in this.

That was a huge lead-in to this: I am currently working on an article about what Wicca can learn from Hoodoo. What it all boiled down to was this. Hoodoo practitioners expect their workings to, well... work. None of this mucking about with "I move the Universe with my WILL alone, well, no, that's not right, but I can affect the universe around me with a change in consciousness. Well, a little bit. Not really. Umm.. sometimes I have dreams and stuff. Wanna see my new crystal?"
No, Hoodoo spell craft and formulas have the weight of centuries of practitioners using them because they work, in the real world, and meet physical emotional, and spiritual needs.

Wow, this has gotten to be a rather long-ish rant. To be continued on the 'morrow. :) Sleep well, my pretties!


Thursday, October 30, 2008

News from A Broad

I'll do a proper post tomorrow, however, just want to let everyone know whats going on:

We had another article posted on Witchvox, "Which Witch is "Persona-Color-Predator-Planet-God-Organ"?" The response has been phenomenal, but Azzerac is kind of disappointed that he only got one piece of hate mail.

I've buried myself in SEO marketing techniques, which is more fun than chewing off my own face. It's good to be learning something new, but the techniques get outdated so quickly as to render them almost useless.
My many thanks go to Pat (a.k.a Bo's Mom); the master of web marketing, and wicked awesome with a set of runes. If it weren't for her, we would still be getting off the ground. I'm going to bribe her with some more of my fab solar incense for web secrets. I love bartering :D

Have to get the next batch of Kyphi started before I go off to bed. I'm re-reading Wyrd Sisters, by Terry Pratchett. If I don't bring it back to the library tomorrow, our dear savage librarians are going to hunt me down and put my head on a pole outside the "Overnight Return" box as a warning to other naughty patrons.

Nighty night, and a Blessed New Moon to you!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Tag! You're It!

Hide and seek in the blogosphere

I got tagged by A Pagan Tapestry, here are the Rules. Ahem:
1. Link to the person or persons who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Write six random things about yourself.
4. Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them.
5. Let each person know they’ve been tagged and leave a comment on their blog
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up

Six random things about me

1. I have a Zombie Plan
2. Completely and irrevocably horse crazy as a girl, I had every major Thoroughbred, Arabian, and Quarter Horse bloodline (anything before 1970) memorized, and would sneak downtown twice a month to pick up a copy of the Racing Form. Spent most of my allowance on Horse & Rider magazine, Saddle Club books, and Breyer figurines.
3. I bite my nails religiously
4. I wrote some REALLY UNBELIEVABLY BAD poetry in middle school, sent it in to, and it only recently got published. On the internet. For the whole world to see.*Cringe, shudder, arrgh*
5. Most of my clothes are covered in paint. It doesn't matter that they haven't been anywhere NEAR paint. They can come over the threshold, sealed in a lead box, and paint would still magically appear.
6. I'd rather have swords than diamonds, and six random things was a lot harder to write than I thought it would be :P

Sex, Magick, & the City

Stir the Cauldron

The Spiritual Eclectic

21 Trumps and a Fool

Broomstick Chronicles

When Weeds Whisper

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Playing Catch up

Woot! Woot! Thanks to Azzerac, the candle molds are finally done! We should have the new soy-wax candles in the shop by the end of the week:) It will be great to get that giant sack of soy wax that has been lurking in our supply cupboard turned into something useful, finally!
I finished a wire wrapped double terminated quartz necklace last night, and slept with it on to see if it would be scratchy. No
scratches, but my dreams were really intense. Something about Tommy and fruit. I have no idea :P
Experimenting with an egg-cage-nautical design for the wrap. Sounds weird, but I like it.
I like the design for the charm bags, but they look so much different than the standard velvet pouch that everyone is used to. I'm not sure if other practitioners will use them? As often as people say they want something new and different, its kind of disheartening when they want the same old thing anyway.

I have good news: My special recipe for Banishing Powder, which has had marvelous results in my own workings ( the psychotic ex was found in a forest in Montana, covered in ticks), has recently been used with great results by an acquaintance. His crackhead neighbors were given an eviction notice a few hours after he threw a pinch at their door.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

One Big Scary Step

Have you ever had a "clue-by-four" moment?
I quit my "day job" today.
Shortly after arriving, I found a coworker torturing an injured bird (he hit the glass) before breaking its neck.
I came to the realization that it may not be the healthiest work environment, and handed in my resignation. That was just a proverbial straw. There was more. I mean, it was the kind of place that wears you down to a nothing-person after awhile.
A big, scary step. And I gotta tell you, I haven't been this happy in years. In the ensuing panic of being ENTIRELY self-employed, I got busy.

I've spent the night (finally) getting our stuff in the Etsy Shop, including one of my personal favorites, Abra-Melin Oil. Warm, luscious cinnamon-gingery, silky myrrh. It's impossible to describe properly in words; tangible on my skin like cream.

I'm in my Polly Anna mode right now. Everything always works out. Just, keep your fingers crossed for me!


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A Chill Wind Blows

I love this time of year. Sure, the garden looks like it's on it's last leg (the Pooka came early this year), and I nearly got mugged by a squirrel this morning, but the mist is rolling through the mountains. Full Moon is tonight. Saimhain is just around the corner.
One of my favorite Samhain traditions is the Dumb Supper, especially as a prelude to ritual. I lay a small table with food and (strong) drink familiar to my ancestors. It's usually colcannon, pork, and beer or wine, as well as bits of the harvest. Anyway, in years past, I set it up outside the front door, take the seat beside it, with a bag of candy for the trick or treater' s. Most people assume that it's my dinner, and (it is a "Dumb Supper") that I wasn't speaking to be "creepy" or some such. Great way to avoid being interrupted later in the night.
Legend goes that if you wish to know who you will marry, lay a Dumb Supper on Samhain and watch the mirror at midnight.


Saturday, October 11, 2008

I wouldn't do that if I were you...

In fairly recent news (at least by Pagan Standard Time), the Cobb County (Georgia) Commissioner Annette Kesting hired a Voodoo Priestess to curse Kesting's opponent in the upcoming election. Kesting allegedly special requested cancer, or a car accident. Whatever.
Needless to say, the checks bounced, her opponent won, and her political career is in the toilet.
If your head is so mixed up that you need your competition whacked, how can you be expected to balance a check book, right?

Seriously? Does anyone not get that it is a bad idea to piss off a witch?!!

That was really just an excuse to post a link to the Moo Ha Ha! Awards ;)

I'm gonna go look into this whole "sleep" thing now.


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Wander, Don't Wonder!

(Thanks to "", for image & instruction!)

Sunday morning, our "Power"-Walks took place in the old "Midland Railroad Bed" (Here's the site we used as a guide!).

For 14 years, I'd walked & driven past this collection of tunnels & tiers, always wondering where they went, what they were for, and how they came to be. After starting these nature hikes (The Outdoor version of "Occult Sciences, 101"), it occurred to me that I had to come up with different areas to actually take these hikes. I did the research, and it paid off!

When a guide book tells you a difficulty rating on a trail, You Listen!
I assumed they were exaggerating when they rated it 4-out-of-5 in difficulty. You know: Lawsuits & such. They weren't kidding! Chalk it up to life-experience!
"You can't get Life-Experience if you don't go out and Have A Life!" ~Ac-ism #20-something
Reagan brought along a GPS device, and we made "Geo-Caching" part of the trip. That was fun! I hope to include it with the class as often as she accompanies us (I don't own one of those device, myself, but if it appeals to the rest of the class,...)

If the weather is agreeable, we're going to Bear Creek Nature Center, next time. The paths are easy, and I think we could use some gentle terrain! ~L~

We'll be meeting at 21st Street & Argus Drive, in the little parking lot, just west of the tennis courts. I've visited it, but never walked it.

I can't wait to see how it goes!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

"Stoned" with Stones and the Anticraft

It's been a busy week, and it's only Tuesday!
We've secured a PO Box, for mail orders, posted our shipping rates, and now that we have found a supplier that deals exclusively with ethically mined stones and crystals, we will be offering them in the shop.
Carmin & I just spent half the day handling and shooting stones for display on our site.


After about two hours, your skin is like a tuning fork, with all the different vibration changes you've gone through!

Our supplier is an interesting piece of work, as well! Her cultivated A.D.D. is quite the tool, helping her attend to us, deal with other clients, as well as drop-in friends, two wee-ones wandering about, and still finding time for the occasional smoke break! She's a Trip! Amazing, but still a Trip!

...and we have to go back, and continue shooting, tomorrow!
My head is already spinning!


Playing with the lovely stones all day definitely recharged my batteries. I bought a few for myself, rose quartz. It was funny; I've spent so much time working with obscure occult materials, stones inclusive, that I forgot that I could enjoy this stone so much. I mean, it's like, fluffy! It's love-y dovey! It's GIRLY! I've been swooning from it all night, and apparently, Aine likes it too!

Yup, Aine finally got a pair :P

The Samhain issue of The AntiCraft finally came out, I'm still working on the Vlad Tepes hat from last issue. These are most definitely my kind of people ( a little twisted)


Saturday, October 4, 2008

Three Weeks of Foot-in-Mouth Disease

I shouldn't even be posting this. Mercury retrograde has been playing havoc with me. Yeah, yeah, I know that it should not affect me as harshly because I am AWARE of it, and I am not one of those Witches that hides under the bed until Mercury goes direct, but here's the thing: No man is an island. Interacting with people, on a daily basis who are angry and belligerent because their computers are reenacting "The Exorcist", or credit cards are doing loop-de-loops, cell phones are gleefully dropping calls, letters are playing hooky,... I mean, come on. It's a trying time. I had a woman in today who looked at me like I said a dirty word (it was a very nice "thank you") grabbed her things, and slammed the door.

Something that has intrigued me about this particular retrograde period is that the normally "voiceless" people have found their voice, and are waving it from the rooftops. All repressed emotion seems to be spilling from the mouth, like a combination of mental diarrhea and wasabi : vitriolic, burning, and profuse. Wow, bet that conjured up a really gross mental image :)
This is the dark, seedy underbelly of the meek and mild.
I think that whatever planetary conjunction is manifesting these tendencies can also be used for healthy, positive, and powerful workings. The tightly coiled spring, released, is a powerful medium for energy. Let me know what you think (if this didn't translate as a series of cuss words and gibberish)


Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Pennies in a jar

Every day we take steps to further the dream and cement it into reality.
Today, orders shipped off, a P.O Box acquired for those patrons who don't like credit cards, successful formulas written down for future use, mandrake seeds sent for so that we can finally grow these legendary creatures, and I've taken a bunch of yarn that was bought at a yard sale and recycled it into hand knit charm bags. I love the way they came out, like if your Grammy was a witch, she might have made these for you :) I have a short knitting attention span; I love the excitement of beginning a project, choosing yarns, altering patterns, colors, and sizes. I love finishing a project, seeing something manifested into realty by my own hands. It's just the long interval of K1, SSK, p2tog in between the two. The charm bags are holding my attention nicely. Switching colors every other bag, not to mention finishing something in about 30 minutes as opposed to a month!

The chill has finally settled into the cracks of night in our little valley. It feels as if summer is uneasy in this place. I can feel the promise of winter in the undercurrent of air, like my own native sea.
I've got to pick up some Life Everlasting from The Thymekeeper. Great stuff, by the way. It' is traditionally used ( and I can vouch for the effectiveness) as an all around health tonic, and the most remarkable effect upon myself was nearly instant relief from aching joints, cold, and lung complaints. Perfect for the descending frost.

I guess I will begin plotting and planning for tomorrow. On the upside, there have been no more attempts, at least at the moment, from Keeper of the Cauldron to steal our work. We are keeping close eye on the site, however, to ensure that it doesn't happen again.

I'll keep you updated on the progress of the mandrake!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Plagiarism is NOT the sincerest form of flattery

Thief and Plagiarizer: Kat Ravensword

I logged into Witchvox last night, only to discover that a company called "Keeper of the Cauldron" had not only stolen our "Call to Artisans" Notice word for word, but had the audacity to post it on the same page. The only thing that was changed was the commission percentage, from 10% to 15%. Yup, that's right. Not only steal someone else's work, but charge more for doing it.
Digging into the website a little deeper, I noticed that she had also stolen our format, and the basic outline of our company. There was nothing on the site; it was all vapor-ware. No product, only theft. Lie number 2: The shop profile claimed it as a brick-and-mortar store.
After a little detective work, I found the owners Myspace page, her personal Witchvox account, education and work history.

The owner of "Keeper of the Cauldron" is a high school dropout and former Walmart employee, currently working on the loading docks for Brooks Brothers in Denver. She lives in Byers, Colorado, and goes by various names in the magical community, including Kat Warsword, Ravensword, and L.K Penn, and apparently has never had an original idea in her life.

Needless to say, I am furious. That someone claiming to be Wiccan, and claiming to follow the Wiccan Rede would turn around and stab a member of the community in the back, or attempt to, is appalling. Azzerac and I created The Craftsman's Corner to celebrate the talented members of our community, give them an inexpensive way to show and sell their wares, and provide some much needed relief from the plethora of Azure Green plastic Made-In-China crap that tends to plague metaphysical stores.

Thankfully, Witchvox deleted both the notice and her shop account after I contacted them. But the point is, why do people think that this behavior is okay? That changing two lines in a poem is enough to call it their own? That altering the color in a painting is enough to tag it with their creative license? And moreover, WHY IS PLAGIARISM SO RAMPANT IN THE OCCULT COMMUNITY?

I mean, Helena Blavatsky is well known for stealing whole chapters from other scholars for her work. I have encountered thousands of websites that quote Scott Cunningham's "Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs" word for word without the slightest citation, kudos, or mention of source material. What is even worse is that all of it is taken as holy writ. Most practitioners don't even bother to work with the oil/herb/stone or do personal experiments.
Jeananne Rose, a wonderful and groundbreaking herbalist and aromatherapist, has mentioned frequently that companies and authors have stolen her published recipies, again without citation of source, or even a thank you. I know, as she does, that spending years taking notes, doing experiments, and refining a formula only to have it stolen and reproduced in a half-assed manner is enough to make even the most mild-mannered alchemist throw her alembic. Preferably against someone's face.

I urge you to be so damn original that it hurts!


Monday, September 22, 2008

Wild, Wild Mabon

Happy Mabon to you! This second harvest festival was marked for me by wild cousins everywhere, including Monsieur Reynard lolling in the garden, eating wee mice or maybe my tomatoes.

Apparently, skunks hiss. I got sassed tonight by a skunk hiding in the bushes and eating peaches. Cute little maladjusted booger though. It still doesn't top the raccoon that wanders around the property talking to himself. He's like a little crazy old homeless guy.

One of the things I love about living in Colorado is the very real danger of animal encounters. I know that sounds weird, but everything just seems more...REAL. Even a trip to Tubby's Turnaround for a carton of milk means keeping your eyes peeled after dark.
The bear that pays me no mind as I inch past him, because he's trying to eat my neighbors garbage. There is a mountain lion roaming around town, a little too close for comfort, And yes, garbage should be locked up and pets put in the house at night; my neighbor Debbie just lost a cat to our local mountain lion.
The deer are late this year; I've seen exactly three, but by this time last year there were herds of ten or more grazing outside the door. I remember last September, having to explain very carefully to a three point buck with funny eyebrows that I really, REALLY had to leave for work. I finally gave up and told him to move his fat ass. The cats were quite impressed :P


Saturday, September 20, 2008

Harvest festivals, hag's tapers, and garden bagels

Everything looks better on a full stomach, right? I'm a little buried right now, so a full round dinner is sort of out of the question. I grabbed a thing of bagels, some tomatoes from the garden (they took FOREVER to ripen this year!) extra sharp cheddar, cream cheese, and fresh basil (also from the garden). Delish! Protein, carbs, veggies, and comfort food, all in one.

I saw the first deer of the season, grazing outside a motel around sunset. Three does, utterly content with their grass, and end-of-season tourists so busy getting to the sites they are supposed to see, that they did not even notice these gorgeous creatures right in front of them. People continue to astonish me, usually on an hourly basis.

Mullein is growing everywhere this year; in between the cracks in the stone walls, between the steps of the Grand Ave short cut, inside, outside, and upside-down. I've got a few stalks drying by the door, and am planning to see if the plant's nickname "hags tapers" really holds up to practical use. It is historically used as a torch in ceremonies to drive out evil and malevolent forces; to clear out the old and make way for the new; to communicate with the dead. Mullein stalks were dipped in tallow, dried, and lit for these purposes, according to various texts, but so much in the metaphysical community is passed on by rote instead of practice! I would like to see how mullein candles hold up in ritual (maybe for Samhain?) , and if they can be made with anything other than pig or cow fat. Although, pigs themselves have always played a role in Celtic myth, particularly those involving the Underworld. Hmm...

We got an order in today for magical inks, specifically, Raven's Blood, and Dove's Blood. For those of you unfamiliar with magical inks, these are strictly picturesque names applied to classical formulas. I make the Raven's Blood Ink from iron oxide derived from Iron Springs at the foot of Pike's Peak, and the Dove's Blood from a resin called Dragon's Blood and various essential oils. These inks are used to inscribe talismans, charms, and other bits of spell craft.

Nearly time for Mabon, and my heart is already turning to Samhain, turning over the garden, and plans for the spring. I've got a load of peaches (courtesy of our local bear breaking the tree) to turn into mead, and a batch of white sage incense to hand roll before the night is done. I must be off! Thank you for stopping by, and have a great night!


Friday, September 19, 2008

'Allo allo!

Having decided to step into this technological revolution called "blogging" at 2 am yesterday, I failed to introduce myself, or post any content. In fact, I was so sleep deprived at that point that I may have stolen the technological revolution's underpants and worn them on my head!
The details are fuzzy, but welcome to the tea party!

My name is Carmin; I am the co-owner and co-founder of an all natural and organic occult store
( Lodestone & Lady's Mantle) and along with my dearest love and business partner, Azzerac, will be shouting sweet nothings and everything's across the web. Trust a witch to have a great set of lungs and an opinion :)

My passion has always been for putting the Earth back into Earth worship.
The shop began, as many things do, over a cup of coffee at the now defunct (and sorely missed) Java Buddha.
I think that I was yet again bemoaning the 'sameness' of every metaphysical store. That they all buy their products from Azure Green, that the statuary is made by child slave labor in China
( how is that for "harm none"?), that most everything is plastic, acrylic, and the very antithesis of natural magic. That there are so many talented crafts people in the Wiccan, Pagan, and Magical community, but their work wasn't getting seen, except at the occasional craft fair, farmer's market, or Renaissance Fest. Even then, the booth fees were exorbitant, especially for a hobby crafter.
Azzerac, in a sublime example of Occam's Razor, began everything with a phrase that fell like farmhouse in Oz: "So why don't we start it?"
We have made a home for talented artists to show and sell their work, a place to get everything that we as serious occultists always wanted, natural, organic, handmade ritual tools, and moreover, a hearth and home for the community.

Oh, and I should warn you, I'm a rabid fan of Doctor Who and Terry Pratchett.

I hope that you will stop by often; take some scones for the road!