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!