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 :)