Category Archives: Reading and research
The process of forming new Products
Today I am going to discuss the process that goes into developing each and every herbal product that we sell. I handcraft each tincture and each incense blend and over the next few weeks will be crafting oils and candles. The process that goes into crafting each of these items is the same regardless of what form the product takes. It is a mixture of intuition, research, and hearing experiences from others in crafting similar items or when working with similar oils and products. The process is intense and it does take a lot of time but I as a witch and magician learn a lot about herbs and oils through this research and am able to grow my craft so I can best benefit you my customers.
In this post I am going to discuss the importance of each part in crafting the items I sell for you here. Without any one of the aspects of this process I would not be able to ensure the quality of the products I have to my customers. These parts are also essential to how I approach my spiritual crafts and practices in general so the crossover is essential. As I grow in my craft and practice so do my skills and my abilities to provide products that serve the needs of my customers.
When it comes time to develop a new product I think about what I want to make. For example when I think of oils I make a list of oils I have thought about working with and or have worked with. I also think about spells and what sort of magical oils would best work with those spells I want to help my customers cast. With the list of the oils I want to craft based on needs created I turn to books and websites. This is where the research portion really begins.
There are three Primary books I work with on my general witchcraft and magical oils, incenses, tinctures, and brews. Those books are Magical Aroma Therapy, & The complete book of Incense, Oils, and Brews both by Scott Cunningham. The last physical book I work with is the book Kitchen Witchery by Marilyn Daniels. These three books form the basis of my general occult, witchcraft, and magical herbal products.. I also have an e-book by Lady Gianne called The Magical Oil Recipe Book.
A few of my new Oils, Tinctures, and Powders have a Hoodoo Inspiration to them. This is true. I am starting to as I have mentioned on the Facebook page, this blog and our other outlets that I am starting to study and explore the practice of Hoodoo. These products that are inspired by Hoodoo have been deeply researched. I have books and websites I have looked into for herbal associations, recipes, and spells from the Hoodoo perspective.
These Hoodoo inspired products have additional prayers and charging aspects done with them. They are also prepared in a slightly different mentality as the ethics within Hoodoo vastly differs from the ethics found within most modern witchcraft traditions. So I make it my own by adding my witchy inspiration to the mix. Its the addition of herbs from a witches cabinet as well as those from Hoodoo/Rootwork/Southern Conjure that makes the products Hoodoo inspired rather than being strictly traditional Hoodoo.
After I use my book resources I start to look into the second phase of developing my products. The second phase of product development really doesn’t make any sense without the research first. The research prepares you for what you might encounter in this next phase. For me this helps temper my overwhelming inspiration and intuition at times with the research.
This second phase is one of the main reasons I have joined so many different forums and social media exchanges related to witchcraft over the years. The sharing of personal experiences for me is one of the best ways to explore experiences both that you have had and that you have and those you have read about. The sharing of personal experiences by others is also a way to prepare oneself for doing new work. Its a way of gathering insight and may provide ways of looking at things that you would not otherwise consider.
Personal experiences with herbs can also help a person develop a wider understanding of herbal spirits and practices. While there are some spiritual and magical aspects that seem to cross cultures with various herbs, other experiences are based in culture or tradition specific practices. By combing the traditional lore shared in books with personal experiences deeper relationships with herbs can develop.
At the same time new herbs and new ways of performing magic and working with herbs based on the needs can also be learned through discussions of personal experience. Through these discussions healing charms that can be carried in the pocket and may be a single herb can be learned about and simplicity can be embraced. Other applications could be learning edible and medicinal aspects to herbs as well as folk medicine and remedies that one may not have considered before.
One personal experience notes have been taken down and added to the notes from book research the final stage of the actual preparation begins. This is the stage where my witch hat gets applied and my spirit speaks through me. This is where the actual crafting of the spell and magical actions beginnings before the physical development starts. here is the mental preparation and focus.
During the research portion I write down copies of the recipes that spark my intuition and make me think “yes this is what I want”. When I am done with the personal experience notes I gather the recipes and I put them into piles based on need and topic (all money oils together, all healing oils together etc). After a while I look at the piles. I will then take all the recipes of that need (lets work with money for example here) and compare the components in each recipe.
I’ve noticed that it is very common to have multiple recipes in a book related to needs. There are several different types of money oils I have found in each of my resources. In noticing this factor I also made a note of the exact nature of the money oil (wealth, employment, fast cash, etc). This helped me further refine my own product decisions and allowed me to start refining magical and spiritual practices to more specific needs and desires.
I make a list of the herbs and oils I find in each recipe. From there I look at my herbal correspondence lists from earlier research. These lists provide excellent resources for future development as associations are already listed and correspondences have started to become known. Through using the herbs in multiple ways I start to know them very well. After working with them in a time the knowledge becomes second nature and I just know what herbs to add to a spell or ritual.
Its at this point that I start to write down what oils and herbs are going to be used in what new product. I often look at what I already have in stock so I can continue to develop working relationships with those herbs. However I am also always looking for new herbs and minerals to add to my practice. In each new product release I am working with a new herb or mineral. The last batch added sea salt to my practice. This new batch is adding several new herbs and essential oils.
Once I have the herbs and oils decided I can start the actual blending. After making decisions based on the research and personal experience my intuition decided in the end which herbs and oils to be used for each blend. Aside from choosing the herbs and oils there is one other essential aspect to the product development with the use of my intuition. That is the actual ratios of the herbs.
Often times in practice the actual plans end up needing to be changed to an extent. The ground herbs can take up more or less space than originally planned and envisioned. In this case slight changes need to be made based on how much of an individual herb I have left as well as for occasionally looking at substitutions.
This is where the intuition and personal knowledge and experience with the herbs comes into play. The more I know an herb through experience the better I can decide what to substitute and what to add. This also for me is where being crafty can come into play as I have to let the spirits of the plants and my spirit speak to me much as artists must let their muse speak to them. The blending of herbs is an art form in its own right. Its a spiritual art that often goes unappreciated.
Once these are all placed into balance the product has been developed. I test its use myself and keep some of each batch for my own personal use. This ensures to me that the quality of the product I send out is the same quality I would use myself. If I wouldn’t use it I wont sell it. This philosophy is also why the development of herbal products is tied directly into my own personal spiritual development and magical studies. The more I study and experience the more I can provide here.
The last few blog entries have been focusing on why pagans and witches are very individual people and why personal truth is so important. Today is a bit of a continuation on that theme. Today it’s about why witches and pagans are always seemingly reading a new book or looking for new materials to study,
There is always something new to explore or even something old to reexamine. With in the realms of spiritual practices and spiritual development there is always something new to learn about. There are so many different cultures out there that one can always look to new cultures for further inspiration as to where they would like to go or different types of practices.
I’m going to provide a few cultural examples that you can look at to see what I mean when it comes to looking for new things to study and explore to advance your spiritual practices and development. These are examples of things that I have looked at and thought about for my own personal studies. Though these will only serve as examples. From here I will go back and talk about what exactly this means for you as a seeker and a practitioner.
The first example I am going to cover is that of Germanic Paganism and witchcraft. These are two spiritual and religious paths that are a part of my personal practice that also inspire and help form the products that this business sells. This is also a popular culture to explore spiritually right now with more people having interest in Germanic mythology with new pop culture references.
In Germanic paganism there is a lot of lore that can be explored. Most people start off with the Eddas and Sagas. With in the Eddas and Sagas there are many tales of magical practices and spiritual works. This is where most of the concepts of Modern Germanic worship come from such as the Blot and the Sumbel. The Eddas and Sagas while having an extensive study in themselves, is not the only source of the lore out there.
Many people are familiar with the Grimm’s brothers fairy tales. These fairy tales actually come from the Germanic forests, These fairy tales provide another source of wealth for practicing Germanic Paganism and witchcraft. The tales describe many different spirits and even some of the traditional practices of the Dwarves, Witches, Elves, and other spirits found within Germanic cultures. These tales provide even further keys into the folk knowledge that create the base of witchcraft and other magical practices.
Aside from the fairytale and the Eddas there are other sources of practical information. The Rune poems give inspiration for the practice of rune magic which has been mentioned in the Eddas and the Sagas. By reading the Rune poems a Germanic Pagan begins to study another wealth of information regarding the spiritual practices of the ancient Germanic Pagans.
Even within the Umbrella of Germanic Paganism and practices one could go into even more specific studies. For example one could focus their attention on the continental practices in old Germany and Norway for example. Focusing even further on some of those specific tribes. One person could even focus on the Anglo-Saxon practices (England mostly here for those looking for a region). One could go so far as to say that even the Icelandic practices and tribal setting would have been different.
While each of these tribes had a base shared language and some base cultural similarities, the names for the Gods and even some of the specific practices were different. Though they were similar and related enough that the cultures and tribes were able to trade and intermarry and work successfully together in war and in peace.
Those are just a few examples from the Germanic cultures. There is so much to explore and study within one area of the vast umbrella of Paganism and Pagan spirituality that one will always find something new to learn and study. Even if a person decides to stick to a specific set of cultural practices and identities ( Germanic paths for example) there will always be something to learn.
Here is a set of examples from a different Pagan culture completely. Hellenic Paganism or Greek style Paganism has many different facets. This cultural style of study and practice can be even more difficult and extensive as it is so diverse. You have on one hand the cults for each city state as well as cults of areas.
Greece because of the way it was organized for many years did not have really a cohesive religion for the culture. They had in general a pantheon that they all shared with some common festivals, but each area was highly specific. There were areas where people focused their entire worship on One of the Gods and you had those whose temples were only really visited once a year (The Elysian mysteries for example).
Hellenic pagans from what I have found typically follow one or two specific Gods that are their Patron Gods. While extensive research into the practices of worship in the culture is important in order to form bonds closer to their chosen deities they will most likely focus their attention on studying the cult centers and cult worship of those Gods.
The above examples were specific to Paganism in general as a study. Now I am going to try and give some examples of magical practices from the view of a witch who is always studying and learning. This blog does focus on all of these topics so covering both of these topics in this entry is reasonable.
Within magic and witchcraft there are many different ways to practice and types of practices that one can study. To be honest there are so many options that a newbie often seeking to start practicing witchcraft can feel overwhelmed. Which is why many find that mastering spellcraft can be near impossible and they wonder if they are doing it right.
In magic you have herbalism, crystal and gem magic, Galdar, Seidr, Trance work, summoning, healing work, poppet magic, astral projection, weather work, ect. Often times a person may have so many interests that they can’t figure out where to start and will find that practices can overlap.
I’ll take Herbalism for example. In Herbalism a witch and magician studies the herbs that they work with. They can use them in powders and in potions as well as in oils, lotions, tinctures, soaps, and other types of charms. There is also the healing work with herbalism. Though while one studies making an oil for example they may learn or hear about spell oils from Hoodoo and then start to explore that for further herbal use and practices.
The examples above are one cultures examples of how deep and diverse the study of a cultures religious heritage can be. The above examples also illustrate just one example of why it is impossible to master the spiritual crafts. There will always be something new to learn and explore.
This is also why some witches, Pagans, and spiritual people tend to have rather extensive libraries. Books are used as references in work and in studies and are often to valuable to just borrow from a library when it is needed.
Religious witchcraft falls under the category of mystery religions. In mystery religions the focus is not on worshiping the Gods through action and words but on having direct experiences with the Gods and the spirits. Mystery religions are all about bringing forth the Gods from within you and becoming one with them.
Mystery religions are not religions of the book. In a mystery religion it is not so much important on how the religion is practiced. This is actually a type of religion which is based on experience. The lore and the rites of the religions are there to guide and direct you towards your interactions with the Gods and spirits and may even provide some context for the meetings.
The nature of these religions means that it is impossible for each witch or participant to ever have the exact same experience. Even covens of traditional Wiccan practices like Gardnerian or Alexandriean while there is a core set of contexts and practices which provide a foundation for some what shared experiences, in the end each of the members of the covens have their own relationships and their own unique experiences.
Mystery religions can not be learned from a book. With this statement one may be wondering why there are so many books out there on the market on witchcraft and pagan practices. The answer is simple. The books provide key concepts and guidelines which can lead the seeker to having their own experiences. With the books and the concepts within the books a witch is able to begin their understanding and practices for developing their own spiritual path.
This is ultimately the reason why two witches will never practice the same path even within the same tradition or base practice. Each with must find their own way. No one path is better than the other paths out there. It is simply not the path for you. Even if a path is not perfect for you there may be something in that path that will inspire you or have something to teach you.
Be open and let the spirits teach you. Find your own wisdom and personal path. Let your heart guide you and your path can do no wrong. Go out there and experience life and what the spirits has to offer. Play and go wild. Don’t let other people tell you what to do. This is your path and your journey. Find your own truths and find your spirituality.