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Forming new Products

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.

 

Research

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.

Personal Experiences

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.

Intuitive decisions

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.

Some of our altars

Belief-the basis of religion

Today’s blog is on an important topic.  This topic is one of belief.   The first thing that people often ask about religions and religious practices are what some of the basic beliefs and components of those religions are.  Each religion has different beliefs and practices.  Even within the same religion like Christianity some of the beliefs of the practitioners vary deeply.  Belief is in the end the basis of how we develop and experience our religion and spiritual practices.

Often seekers ask the question of “what do people of (insert religion here) believe.  This is an important question.  This question means that a person is actively seeking a path and practice which relates to their beliefs.  Often times these seekers are leave their previous paths after realizing that there is something missing from their original path.  In some cases the seeker doesn’t know exactly what they believe or are looking for.

The first exercise I recommend any person do when they are looking at their religious practices and searching for something is their own personal beliefs.  It is only by knowing what you believe about the world and the universe that a person can begin to develop their own practices and find real spiritual fulfillment.

The following questions are important questions to ask yourself when you are trying to figure out exactly what you believe.

1: Do I believe in the existence of Gods and or spirits?

2: If I believe in Gods and spirits how do I define a God and how do I define a spirit?

3: Do I believe in the soul or any sort of afterlife?

4: Am I looking for a religion with strict rituals and deity worship or am I looking for more of a personal path for enlightenment and spiritual development?

5: Am I looking for magic or am I looking for something else?

By answering these questions you can then be able to use them to find religions and paths that are suitable to you and your personal view of the world.

I hope this helps you all.

Frigga-All Mother

Frigga: The All Mother

One of the things I have mentioned is that I have a connection to the Nordic deities.  The three deities I have the most connection with are Frigga, Odin, Niord. The first Blot I ever held was in honor of Odin and Bragi as poets.  I have since honored Nirod at school.  Nirod being the God of the seas is quite at home on my college campus (which is on the ocean and has three beaches on the campus).  Odin and Nirod came first.  Then I started to be open to Frigga as there were mother issues I have had to over come.

My relationship with Frigga came out of a desire to help heal my abandonment issues from my biological mother.  I am adopted.  When I was two and a half the state took me away from my her due to the abuse and living situation.  I had never really forgotten the pain that caused me.  Since that day I had abandonment issues.

It got even worse when I was six and taken away from my Foster family that had raised me for four years.  Those wounds were things that have hurt me deep.  Several years ago my adoptive mother (from now on called mom) moved away.  I felt abandoned as she had always been about half an hour drive away.  Now she was almost three hours away.  I felt alone and abandoned.

With Frigga’s love and embrace I was able to start to forgive my parents for the abandonment I was feeling.  I started to feel the pain that they had for leaving me.  I began to see that it was their love, the true unconditional love of a mother that was what let them have me go under the care of another family.  The immense anger and rage I felt towards them was dissipated.  There remained a bit of anger, but it was towards the men who abused me and not the mother who let the abuse happen.

When my mom moved back into the area develop a more mature relationship with my mother.    My mother until that point has still been controlling and wouldn’t accept no as an answer to a question regarding what’s going on in my life.  She even still unrolls my pant legs when they get rolled up…It for me was really annoying.

I called on her to help me develop a relationship where she would respect my boundries as an adult.  I didn’t want her to ask about my finances or my therapy or anything any more.  That stuff was no longer her daily concern.  After giving an offering to Frigga I started to have the courage to stand up to my mom.

It was her devotion to Baldur that got my attention.  When she heard of the prophecy of Baldur’s death she traveled all the worlds and made all the plants and animals vow that they would not harm Baldur.  Even though she forgot the mistletoe she was still devoted entirely to saving her son’s life.

While my relationship with Frigga started out asking for her advice on helping me with a mother, there was much more that developed.  When I found my love for philosophy and began to understand what true wisdom was she started to become stronger.  It is said that Frigga is the wisest of the Goddesses and that she knows the Fate of all things though she speaks it not.

Her wisdom is one of the reasons I have continued to have a relationship with her.  She is wise and I aspire to be as wise as I can in her honor.   I feel that she has forced her hand in my life towards become a philosopher and ultimately a teacher and priestess who helps others find wisdom.  I also feel her arms wrapped around me as my own mother.

I have also felt Frigga angry with me when I have been highly disrespectful to my parents.  I feel as if her eyes are looking at me coldly.  I then end up getting calm and apologize and try to explain what my feelings were much easier.  I try to do my best to honor Frigga by being a good daughter and learning all the lessons that come my way.

Forging Pentalism

So what gives about the blogs name?  Forging the Pentacle?

The explanation is simple.  The path I have started to develop is called Pentalism.  There are five aspects to almost all parts of the practice.  There are five primary influences, five Gods, Five goddesses, five parts of the soul, and more.  The pentacle for me shows how while there can be five individual points, in the end they can all be connected and are always interwoven in peace.  The Pentacle is an extremely sacred symbol for this path due to the importance of five.   Pentalism is meant to be experienced in a group setting.  However I have not really developed each of the degrees and practices (related to each of the foundational traditions of types of craft) I can’t really teach and initiate people until the first degree has been formed (I’ll develop the second degree material in my personal practice as I teach the first degree and so forth).

Ok, so that explains the name, what about content?

I already mentioned some of the content you will be seeing.    There will be information on ritual content as well as some basic sabbat or holiday information.  There will be some basic information about the deities involved (this is going to be an initiatory oath bound tradition).  There will also be posts about failures and successes and everything in between.   When I fail I want to have people laugh at it and also help me find out where I went wrong.

By writing this blog I am sharing the basic outline  of what will become my tradition.  I process information best when I write out my thoughts and my experiences.  By putting the information and the process on a blog I hope to get input from other people in the Pagan community .  I want that input to challenge me.  I want people to point out mistakes in my research and logic.  I also want people to tell me why they like something or find something useful.  That way I can become a better writer and explore the things I write about in a different light.

This blog will also be participating in the Pagan Blog project.  However all of the entries on this blog will reflect this path specifically and only this path.  My other blog  (Seeker sight) is more about my search for knowledge and wisdom which I can find any where.  There will be some cross over as they both will cover some of the same beliefs and practices.  That said both blogs should be treated as unique and individual blogs.

You said the title is “Forging the Pentacle” right?  So what are your tools and what are the foundations and origins of Pentalism?

There are five primary spiritual and religious practices which form the basis of Pentalism.  All of them are different forms of witchcraft as a spiritual practice.  Each of them has provided me with many different ways of working my craft and my religion.  They have all had an effect on how I have experienced the Gods and Goddesses of Pentalism.  I don’t belong to any one of these practices, but have combined them all.  Which is why I am and Pentalism will always remain an eclectic religious witchcraft tradition.

The first witchcraft path I must discuss is Wicca.  When I say Wicca I don’t mean the works of Silver Raven Wolf, Edain Mc Coy, D.J. Conway, Raymond Buckland, or even Scott Cunningham to name a few.  I am refering to the books by Janet and Stewart Farrar (What Witches Do, 8 Sabbats for Witches, Way of the Witches, The Witches God, The Witches Goddess), Gerald Gardner (Witchcraft Today and The meaning of Witchcraft), and some of Doreen Valientines work as well as the writings of Alex and Maxine Sanders.  Those are actual Wiccan initiates who have lineage via initiation which is cross gender and that can be traces back through Gerald Gardner to the New Forest coven of witchcraft.

A brief explanation of how I define Wicca is required here.  I define Wicca as an Oathbound, Mystery, Cross Gender initiatory, Orthapraxic Witchcult where every initiate is a member of the clergy  That is a lot to swollow.  So I am going to break it down into little bits.  I’ll cover each section in it’s own paragraph.  Once you’ read each paragraph you’ll see why that simple definition required extra explanation.  You’ll also see why I have such a strict view on Wicca and why I am only Wiccan influenced and Inspiried.

Let’s start with the term “oath bound”. By oath bound I mean that the rites and rituals, mysteries, names of deities, and practices are known and only taught to initiates after initiation.  Prior to initiation the rites and rituals a seeker and pre-initiate experience are Wiccan flavored and Inspired, but Not Wiccan.   There are many religions whose practices are oath bound.  In history the Eluisian mysteries come to mind as only the members of that cult ever experienced those rituals and knew what those rituals entailed.  There you go.  A historical reference to a religious practice and set of mysteries that are oath bound.

The next term in my definition is mystery oriented or based.  So what does this mean?  By Mystery I mean that there are some aspects of the religion that are based on expereince in ritual which are deeply intimate and can not truly be expressed by words.  All witchcraft traditions have mysteries.

The Cross Gender initiation is self explanatory.  Only men can initiate women and women can only initiate men.  This goes into the power myth described in the decent of  the Goddess.   There is also an issue of polarity.  I’m sure all the reasons for this practice are explained after initiation.  It’s something I have experienced.  The “public” rite I went to basically said that in their circles it’s male-female-male-female as much as possible (based on the ration of men to women).  I actually think it’s a great way to raise energy.

The orthapraxic aspect of Wicca is something that many people can’t grasp coming from orthodox religions such as Christianity where having specific beliefs was the important part of the religion.  In Wicca it is not the belief that is important rather it is the proper practice and performance of Wiccan rites and rituals (which can only be performed in a coven setting) that is important.  It is the proper performance of these rites and rituals that allow the clergy

The witchcult aspect is important to note as well.  Upon the seeker or dedicant’s initiation into Wicca they are made a witch.  This is especially important if that person never identified or used that term before.  All wiccans are witches, but not all witches are Wiccan.  In fact most witches are not Wiccan.  Wiccans are witches because they use witchcraft in both practical day to day life and in their worship of their deities.  That is what makes them witches.

The final aspect of my definition of Wicca is that they are all members of the clergy.  That is right.  Once you have been initiated into Wicca you have become a priest or priestess of the Lord and Lady.  For this reason every one is a part of the clergy.  If you are not called to serve the Lord and Lady of the Isles (the two specific deities in Wicca) then you are not a proper person for Wicca.

Ok.  So you explained what Wicca is.  You didn’t explain why you say you are inspired by Wicca.  Can we get an explanation for that please?  Afterall you even said that you aren’t an initiate.  There for you don’t actually know the rites and rituals of Wicca.  So how are you influenced and inspired by Wicca?

There are a few reasons why I say that.  The first thing is that I cleanse ad consecrate my holy water in the same fashion, often times using the same words outlined in 8 sabbats for witches.  The second thing is that part of my understanding of the deities I work with (with in Pentalism) was influenced by the Oak and Holy King battles (also described in 8 sabbats for witches).  Finally there is the full ceremonial outline.  When a full complex ritual is performed it often includes all the elements described within Wicca. These form the first foundation of Pentalism.

The largest element found within my path is the central fact that this path is eclectic.  Generic eclectic-neo pagan witchcraft can be found in many different books.  My favorites include Christopher Penczak, Laurie Cabot, Ellen Dugan, and Doreen Valientine.  I have however also been influenced by Starhawk, Silver Ravenwolf, Edain McCoy, D.J. Conway, Raymond Buckland, and Scott Cunningham (you see there was a reason I mentioned them before).  All of these author claim to teach eclectic Wicca.  There is no such thing (as shown above).  There is however essentially a core tradition of eclectic neo-pagan witchcraft loosely based on Wicca and ceremonial magic as outlined by Cunningham in his book “Solitary Wicca” and “Living Wicca”.  At the end of his life he did drop the association with Wicca and simply called it a witchcraft tradition, but the publisher kept the title as is.

The books by these authors all have different views of the God and Goddess and the wheel of the year.  However there are some key and central similarities in the practices that lead me to believe they are essentially practicing the same religion, but not always the same way.  It is a witchcraft tradition or set of traditions and way of thinking/practicing that has it’s own mysteries and basically a freelance style of ritual.  Every eclectic is different, but they are all the same at the same time.  We embrace the similarities and celebrate the differences.  That is what being a true eclectic is all about.

The MMC concept here is one of the reasons I came to the 5 god and goddess concept for this tradition. It seemed with in the various discussions about the forms of the Goddess with in the wheel of the year there were some things described which never seemed to fit to the MMC concept. I started to see five different Gods and Goddesses described with in the lore and the rituals. That, along with the outline in Wicca lead me to the format that became the Gods and Goddesses of Pentalism.

The ideas about experimentation and the different types of ritual and altar set ups encountered through these books gave me the foundation of how to explore and experiment.  That is what has lead me to know what does and doesn’t work for me in my religion and spirituality.  That is how I have been able to begin to piece together this tradition.  I am very thankful to be an eclectic and to have started to form a cohesive eclectic tradition that I am going to be proud to pass on to others.

Hedge witchcraft is a practice of witchcraft that not many people are aware of.  While there are more books available on the subject these days,  originally there were only a few websites out there that had any information out there.  I am not entirely a hedge witch, but I do embrace and participate in the practices.  I say I am not a hedge witch because it is not the only practice I engage in for my craft.  While it has played a central role in my access to mysteries, it is not the only or the central aspect of my practice.

So what is hedge witchcraft?  Hedge witchcraft is based on the concept of the hedge representing the border between the civilized world (towns, farms, and cities) from the wild (forests, open fields and stretches of road where no one is in sight) and the practitioner being able to be in both this world (civilized) and the other worlds (wilderness and forests).  This is the European native form of shamanism.

One thing about hedge witches and hedge witchcraft it is essentially a solitary practice as each hedge rider must find there own way of getting into those trance states, and they need to find their own connection to deities and the sabbats.  The other thing is that often time hedge witches will celebrate the sabbats through their trances.  This is where the myth of the flying to the witches sabbat comes from.  I haven’t used trance as a sabbat celebration yet, but I bet it would be powerful.

However due to my use of various types of trance and trance states to acces the mysteries and to contact spirits I have to add this as one of the foundations of Pentalism. It has been a major part of my practice for years. In fact it was during a workshop on “shamanic witchcraft” that I met my first formal teacher Christopher Penczak. That is also one of the reasons I consider hedge witchcraft to be one of the points on the foundation of Pentalism.

In many ways it has been equated to traditional witchcraft in it’s truest form, but I personally think there are other things.   This goes into traditional witchcraft.  I had mentioned it in my foundational forms, so I will discuss it briefly here.  This is an aspect of the foundation I am still developing.  It is a new addition to my practice, and as such it is something that needs a lot of exploration.

So what is traditional witchcraft?  I thought that Wicca was a form of traditional witchcraft?  Am I wrong?

There are many definitions of traditional witchcraft.  The most common definition is that of “forms of pre Gardnerian witchcraft”.  By default that makes Wicca not traditional witchcraft, and there are a few reasons for this.  Wicca is a more ceremonial form of witchcraft than most traditional witchcraft practices.  That is the first and primary difference between Wicca and traditional witchcraft.  The other is more of a focus on a personal relationship with the land.  While there are some correlations and the like,  there are many differences between them.  I have explained why Wicca is not traditional witchcraft, but I haven’t explained what it is yet.  So here goes.

For me traditional witchcraft is pre-gardnerian forms of witchcraft.  There are some forms of this practice which are initiatory (The new Forest Coven for example) and there are many forms which are solitary. The sources I have read on the subject come from both solitary and coven based books. So my view has a bit of both. That still doesn’t explain what exactly traditional witchcraft entails.

Well it is an underworld tradition. The rites and rituals typically involve some sort of physical and spiritual travel which symbolically and spiritually bring us to the underworld. That is where the Gods reside in this tradition. It is also where fate is woven and where the ancestors reside. That is why I say traditional witchcraft is an underworld tradition.

Traditional witchcraft also involves a lot of ancestral worship and veneration. Who and what the ancestors are and what the ancestral worship and veneration mean will be covered in another post shortly. For now they are those who have passed beyond the physical veil and into the underworld reals and they are those who are yet waiting to come back and return (they will be future witches and will create future ancestors). The ancestors are of blood and body as well as emotional and spiritual ties.

The final difference between traditional witchcraft and Wicca is the way the rites are performed and the tools used in rituals. The rituals in traditional witchcraft are less formal and theatrical/scripted. They are more spontaneous, yet they have some structure. All of these are factors in why this form of witchcraft has become part of the spiritual foundation that is Pentalism.

The final point in the Pentalist foundation is that of Hermetic witchcraft. This is a style of witchcraft in religious and spiritual terms as well as magical practices that highly engages the mind. When the tradition will be taught this will actually be the first degree. The points and lessons of this degree are outlined in the book “The Kybalion”. There will be many more essays on the Kybalion and how it relates to this tradition.

The is also tied into the first degree of the Temple tradition. That is where I have started my official training as a witch. For the last three years my magical practices and my rituals as well as meditations have been based entirely off of the teachings in the first degree of the Temple tradition as well as the Kybalion. As I begin to develop more and develop techniques for each of the key principles I can begin to further develop this.

Ok. So there you have the foundation. This should give you a basic idea as to where the ideas and concepts in this tradition are found. Things will become more clear as I post more. Every post will add insight into this path and how it comes together. This has served as your basic introduction and foundation to Pentalism. Some of the basic practices will be covered in an upcoming post. Please enjoy!

~Loona~

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