An Interview With Witch Casket

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Let me introduce you to Witch Casket, a company based in the north of England. It is run by two fabulous ladies, a mother and daughter team; Deb and Ella, who bring you magical goodies right to your door every month. From their little magical shop to a witchy mail order company, I was intrigued to find out more about their story.

Let’s begin at the beginning. You opened up your own magical shop in Yorkshire. Tell me, what inspired you to open up Practical Magick?

It was kind of an impulse thing really – I was looking for something to fill the gaps between my filmmaking and since I quit my day job about seven years ago, I’ve always made a living doing the things I love – so when I was looking to start a new business, opening Practical Magick just felt right…there certainly aren’t enough magick shops around, and it was something I knew and felt passionately about. Once I made the decision to do it, within 4 days our doors were open! I’m not one for over-thinking; my gut instinct has always served me well.

From there you went on to close the shop and open up Witch Casket, a subscription service that sends off a box of magical goodies to witches each month. How did that idea come about?

That was Ella’s idea! And it turned out to be a way better idea than either of us had imagined! It started as a way to boost the shop income through the slow winter months, but within 2 months we were shipping our magickal caskets to over 20 countries across the globe! It was then we had to make the decision on where best to focus our energies.

How do you decide what goes into each casket? What gives you inspiration?

That would be gut instinct again! We know there are witches of all religions and it is important to us that our caskets appeal to everyone, so we don’t follow the Sabbats – but we do sometimes take inspiration from the time of year (February’s Witch Casket had a ‘love’ theme running through it for example). Once we’ve (usually impulsively!) decided on the theme, the caskets are then very carefully curated so they flow nicely and present beautifully; as well as the unusual spiritual supplies and altar-ware we source, the caskets also include our own specially created spells, herb blends, rituals, etc. – those are exclusive to us and not available anywhere else.

With your experience in selling witchy wares; tell me more about your history in the magical world.

I’ve always been a very private person about my beliefs. Of course with launch of Practical Magick my knowledge of witchcraft, magick, tarot etc. was made public …but I still like to keep things as private as possible.

Witchcraft and spirituality seems to be very popular at the moment – why do you think this is? Does the success of the Witch Casket show this?

I think there are two things happening right now – firstly, in this fast-paced, materialistic, image-obsessed world, people are (thankfully) seeking out what’s really important and becoming more spiritually aware. I’m happy to see so many people learning that ‘energy’ is all important – that intent and belief are paramount, and that if we do things with the right energy and focus, we can make amazing changes to our world.

And then, going back to the image-obsessed, for some people it’s a fashion statement…and it certainly is very fashionable right now!

We’ve found that our subscribers tend to be genuine witches – and they really appreciate the time, care, and love that goes into the Witch Caskets each month. I’m a huge believer in positive energy, and as we prepare the caskets, they are filled with our very best intentions and love…there’s an authenticity to them, because we ourselves believe in what we’re doing, and that’s very important – and I truly believe the Witch Caskets make a difference to the people receiving them.

If someone was wanting to find out more about the world of witchcraft, which book would you recommend to them? You can pick more than one if you wish.

This is the question I’m probably asked most often – and after giving it a lot of thought, I’d say ‘read nothing – or read everything…and then find your own truth!’ I don’t believe any one book alone is of much use…after all, that’s one person’s view and your chosen path should never be based on any one person’s beliefs.

Do you have anything new coming up? Any future plans for Witch Casket or any other projects you want me to share on the blog?

Our plans for Witch Casket are the same as they were at the very beginning – to sprinkle our magick, love, and light across this beautiful planet of ours! We are very blessed to be able to work together, mother and daughter, doing something we love – and we are incredibly grateful for that!

As for new projects, I’m always working on other things…I daresay you’ll hear about them when the time is right!

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The Magical Art Of Gemma Gary

Gemma Gary is a very soft spoken soul. Creative and articulate; her books are beautifully written and illustrated. She is based in Cornwall, England and is the co-owner of an occult and antiquarian publishing company called Troy Books.

I am absolutely enchanted by her art and felt, after so many years of reading her books and following her work online, she should appear on Patchouli Tea.

Gemma Gary 002Gemma Gary 3Gemma Gary 4Gemma GarySkull Cup by Gemma GaryThe Old Farmer - Gemma GaryToad by Gemma Gary

Lindsay Lane’s Tea Picks

Creativity plays a huge part in my life and always has been; I grew up in an artistic family and it’s something I am very proud of. Both my father ánd my grandfather (from my mother’s side of the family) are -and in my grandfather’s case were- amazing autodidact painters and were mentors to me throughout my creative life, always encouraging me to find my own creative path.

As a child, I visited many art galleries or went to museums where I set eyes on famous paintings from Dutch painters such as van Gogh, Vermeer, Bruegel, Rembrandt, et cetera. In my gut feeling, I knew that art was to be my life’s course. I am simply not made for a 9 to 5 job; I am free-spirited, unconventional and a little bit of a bohemian. However, making a living out of art is almost an art in itself, it is very difficult (Vincent van Gogh comes to mind), but doing what I love most is very important to me.

I started drawing and painting as a very young child and animals were my favorite subject to draw. I spent a lot of time watching my father paint in his atelier; the smell of paint and the soothing brushstrokes of his brushes made me calm and had an almost hypnotizing effect on me. And it still does; whenever I smell oil paint or acrylics I get thrown back 20 years into the past. It is a comforting scent to me.

Wherever I went I always had a little sketchbook and some pencils with me, and, suffice to say, drawing was my favorite lesson in school. I excelled in it and it won me high grades.

Yet, there came a time where, when I was an adolescent, I quit drawing and painting due to some traumatic experiences that happened to me and it simply stopped having a place in my life. I wanted to have nothing to do with it. But once a creative always a creative, I did start to seek out other creative outlets in which I could find some solace and I found it in photography and writing. I worked as a model a little while, but I am now entirely dedicated to spending time behind the camera instead of in front of it.

I absolutely love to venture out into the world and photograph it the way I see it and I do so as often as I can. I always bring with me some vegetarian sandwiches and a thermos bottle of green tea with Jasmine; a favorite of me as of late. Besides green tea being very healthy, it also makes me feel calm. Grounded. Awake. And the scent of Jasmine makes me happy.

What I do is, I travel to a place (preferably nature or old graveyards) and go sit in a quiet spot, drink some tea and become one with my environment whilst scouting for things to photograph, sketch or write a poem about.

I used to be a coffee drinker for a long time, but a few years ago I found coffee to be a little too aggressive for my body. It wrecked havoc on my skin and the jittery feeling I got from coffee started to annoy me a lot.

Slowly I started to detox from coffee (which was tough!) and had green tea instead; I began to notice that I started to look forward to having my cup of daily green tea early in the morning, which was not the case with coffee. I simply consumed coffee to avoid the headaches a caffeïne addiction gives you and to feel instantly awake. I have to say: I feel so much better now without coffee, and green tea actually makes me feel so much more productive, awake and present than coffee did.

In 2015 I finally picked up painting again and I particularly found utter happiness in painting with watercolor paint; something I used to do together with my dad.

I remember the first watercolor painting I made, when I was very little, was a sunflower field in the Provence, which reminded me of summer vacations I spent in France with my family. Unforgettable memories I hold very dearly.

I am an early bird; I like to wake up very early in the morning and think, in all quietness, about my next project. I simply love to spend time at my (oftentimes chaotic) workplace, with all my materials laid out in front of me, a large pot of tea on my 1930s tea warmer, to simply relax and become one with my brushes and paint. Painting and drinking my tea calms me and makes me forget whatever worries I carry with me.

I am also an herbalist and my pantry is stocked with all kinds of herbs I use for tinctures, salves, and teas, et cetera. One of the things I love to do is painting herbs in my herbarium with watercolor paint and at the same time brew and drink tea of the herb I am painting; it makes me feel close to nature, which is what I love.

Of course, as someone who works with watercolor paint, I often make the mistake of dipping my brush in my tea mug instead of the water intended for my brushes. Coming to think of it, I should really get me those two mugs that are on the market that have “Paint water” and “Not Paint Water” printed on them!

Being your True Self – Welcome To StyleLikeU

 

SLU

Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are.

Kurt Cobain

I have been following the StyleLikeU Youtube channel for a while now. It is packed full of wonderful interviews with people living their lives creatively. It is run by a mother-daughter team whose primary focus is to empower people to accept and express their true selves. The whole idea of this has inspired me to share this project with you. I am yet to purchase it but they have just released, what looks like a gorgeous book packed full of amazing people –expect a review of that soon.

Over the years I have realised that fashion is only fashion if you follow. Your personal style isn’t fashion. It is an extension of your soul; if you ripped out my guts right now it would be dressed in black fringe, glitter and a demon leather jacket. I am just projecting what I feel inside. I am not dressing to impress, I am not showing off my wealth nor am I pretending to be someone else just to fit in. This is why I enjoy the videos so much, these people are unapologetically themselves and they tell us why. StylelikeU dissects the artist, the person, the bohemian in a way that only leads to self-acceptance.

My favourite video is of Stav Bee,  a performance artist and DJ based in London. She has a fierce demeanor that is so inspiring, I see a lot of myself in her especially when it comes to letting people into her life, formulas, being different and facing death.

“There’s no formula to love, no formula to be a human being, no formula to be a worker, and there’s no formula to how to live.”

I am going to share the video with you and hope you look through their other videos to inspire that soul to come on out and enjoy itself through the world of creativity.

An Interview with WytchenWood

Rowan Cross

Let me introduce you to some very special people. WytchenWood –  cunning-folk based on the Welsh borders who provide witchcraft supplies in the form of talismans, herbal charms, runes and much more. Every piece is handmade with their local ingredients. I was very lucky to be able to ask them a few questions about their work and what magic means to them.


You describe yourselves as English traditional witchcraft cunning-folk – what does this mean to you and how do you incorporate it into your everyday lives?

To us it means the continuation of traditional ways; traditional ways of working magic, of seeing our environment and landscape, of being a part of it as our families have traditionally been for generations.  Of remembering and continuing to tell the stories, legends and folklore of the land we are a part of, the knowledge of where to find certain flora and fauna and the stories that have built up over time concerning the areas in which they grow; these stories add into the ‘personalities’ of the plants and trees in that particular locale.

The term ‘cunning-folk’ is used by us to denote that we cannot be put in a box with a tidy, neat label such as ‘witch’, ‘druid’ or any other definitive and that we owe allegiance to no-one except our spiritual lineage, traditions, the Genii Loci and our familiars. That we do not follow a set doctrine, that our ways are adaptable to time and circumstances and that we will incorporate whatever works.

It is all naturally incorporated into our everyday lives through working as ‘Wytchenwood’,  helping people locally that come to us for either charms, divinations or healing.  It’s also in our way of viewing the world and interacting with it.  Also through spending so much time outside in the landscape in all weathers that determines our magical lives!

Why did you decide to start up your shop Wytchenwood?  What was your vision?

We started it because it had been said to us on quite a few occasions that other people might like to have access to our charms and talismans and then some good friends of ours, Lunaorbis, opened their shop in Tintagel.  They needed to add some unique items as stock and we offered to supply some of ours, which we did and the feedback on them was wonderful.  From there, the whole idea of Wytchenwood was born.  The vision was to keep it as authentic as possible, to keep it true to how we work and to allow a wider community access to what we do if they were interested or needed it.

Tell me a bit about where you find your magical ingredients and how it goes from the wild to your shop.

Thankfully we live in such a wonderful and magical area of the country that we don’t have to go searching for our ingredients; they are just there and because we know this landscape so well, we know exactly what grows where.  We are surrounded by ancient woodlands, open grasslands, dells and also watery marshes, so the proliferation of various flora and fauna is enormous.  Usually when we are out walking we just gather anything that we find interesting and lying on the ground; knowing that at some point, it will have a use.  We harvest wild herbs and plants but in such a way as to encourage further growth, never in a way that would diminish them.  Because we spend so much time in the great outdoors, we are usually near by when the seasonal pruning starts and so we gather up as much of the discarded material as we can carry and bring it home but because we live in a ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’ and of  Special Scientific Interest’, all seasonal work is done with the utmost care and respect, thus having no detrimental impact on the indwelling spirit of the materia magica.

For certain charms or talismans, the wood needs to come from a living tree and so we turn to our spirits and tell them what we need and why.  They will then lead us to a particular tree and after due payment and observations have been made, we are then able to take what we need; notice the word ‘need’, nothing more.

In the creation of our works, we work with our spirits from start to finish; they guide the form, the correspondences and the materials.  Once finished, it is left to come to life, charge if you like, in the cauldron; the belly that will gestate it and give birth to the living creation.  It is them ready to include in our shop.

Herb charm

Witchcraft is definitely becoming more popular with those who are sick of the world we live in and want to find magic in their own lives, as traditional cunning-folk, how would you define magic?

We would define it as being both a state of being and a tool to effect a change.  As a state of being, it is gaining knowledge of the patterns of life, the threads of the web, of being a part of something bigger than oneself and being aware of your place within the web.  It is about being a part of the land and the procession of the Mighty Dead; those magical ancestors that preceded you in walking the land, of honouring those same spirits of place, of adding to the corpus of knowledge that you are now tapping into and adding to, to being guided and taught by them and being a part of that magical web that has it’s anchors in the past but continues throughout time to the present through the endeavours and experiences of different people at different times and in different ways but in this same place.  This gives the ability to see through eyes that are looking to the past, the present and the future; enabling us to see the relevant from the irrelevant and enables us to make much more informed choices in our lives.

On a practical level, it enables us to effect changes; either good or bad, attract or repel, heal or hurt, protect or harm.

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Can you recommend a book on witchcraft?

This is a difficult one!!  Our particular craft does not come from books as such but ones that I have read that I enjoyed because there were elements that strongly resonated with our own ways were:

Call of the Horned Piper by Nigel Aldercroft Jackson published by Capall Bann

Light form the Shadows by Gwynn published by Capall Bann

Cunning Folk and Familiar Spirits by Emma Wilby published by Sussex Academic Press

What is Magic?

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When people discover I am into “that kind of stuff” they think I am a black-clad Satan worshipping witch. The first bit is right but they are so far off the mark. When they find out that I work with magic and intuition, that sounds a lot less spooky so this led me to thinking – how would I actually define magic?

To me, magic isn’t anything spooky or supernatural. Magic is the world around us and it lives inside of us too. It’s the blossom that falls from the trees in the spring, the wild waves at the beach, the moon that bathes our streets and the grass that grows under our toes. Essentially it is an energy that we have and that we live in. Like a team, we work together with nature to create intentions and change. We feed her what she needs whilst she feeds us in the form of herbs and plants; it is this relationship we have with the earth that has never truly left us.

Intuitive Magic

I have a very intuitive approach to magic. Although I have read many books on witchcraft, folklore and herbal medicine; I have gone my own way (yes I can hear the Fleetwood Mac tune in my head too). I do what feels right, for example, I don’t use various coloured candles for anything, I use white candles for everything. I use incense that smells good and inspires the moment…it’s hard to describe the intuitive nature of my magic but I just know what I’m doing without guidance. If we want to take a very simple example of this, I chuck some sage in my pasta sauce for a little belly cleanse – mundane things like cooking can become magical actions.

Community

The idea of guidance leads me to community. I have stumbled upon a wonderful Wild Woman Project circle who, having only met once, I feel very comfortable with sharing my inner self with them. It isn’t essential to have community of course as the true magic and intentions should come from you and if you choose to be the lone wolf then so be it.

Remember one thing; make sure you follow the path you feel is intuitive to you. Sometimes we need guidance and a little nudge but just remember that we have everything we need inside us, we just need to let it be free.

The Art Of Change

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“How in the hell could a man enjoy being awakened at 8:30 a.m. by an alarm clock, leap out of bed, dress, force-feed, shit, piss, brush teeth and hair, and fight traffic to get to a place where essentially you made lots of money for somebody else and were asked to be grateful for the opportunity to do so? ” -Charles Bukowski

Get up at 6am. Force food down your throat. Get dressed. Get out the door. Sit in the office for 8-12 hours. Eat lunch quickly. Go home. Eat. Go to bed. Repeat.

“Sorry love, that’s life” says your Mother.

“Sorry love, it’s not” I say to my daughter.

OK, so I don’t have a daughter but if I chose to live my life again, I would tell myself that working just to live is the most soul destroying action a human can ever undertake. The only exception is if you have your dream job. If you don’t, then your life is wasting away as you constantly wish for Friday, you wish for payday, you wish for Christmas breaks…you are wishing your life away.

What if we were just to STOP? Just for a moment…

What if we were to take a long bath instead of that quick shower?

What if we made a delicious dinner rather than chucking something in the microwave?

What if we ignored the clock? YES, ignore the clock. Don’t watch the clock, listen to yourself, your human clock and let that decide what to do. Eat when you feel hungry, drink when you feel thirsty, go to bed when you are tired. When did we stop listening to our bodies?

It has been such an eye opener over the past couple of years; the media have been publishing articles on how to beat depression and anxiety. It is a huge problem because we live in a world that is moving too fast, too much is expected from us. We simply can’t cope – even if we look happy on the outside, we are crumbling inside. We ache for peace so we buy things we don’t need when what we have inside us is really the gift we should be buying ourselves – happiness. If only we would stop to let it out.

This year, on a personal level, I let it all out. The biggest frustration in my life was the travelling I did to get to work. I found myself missing the essential pieces of getting myself together in the mornings. Now, I have a ritual of mindfully drinking tea, taking in the air of the morning in the garden, eating my breakfast and reading my cards for the day. Now, I have control over myself instead of the other way around. I asked if I could change my working hours – they said yes. There is no shame in asking to move things around, if it makes you more productive and then why would they disagree?

This isn’t about being selfish, it is about taking control of your life from the inside. If you feel you need deep internal change then get to it.

Write out a list of things you want to change and move through them one by one.

Never assume people will say no.  

Just ask.

Remember what makes you happy even if you dance to your favourite song in the morning or wander on the grass without your shoes on.

Don’t listen to what you should be doing.

Ignore what “they say” you should do.

Listen to yourself.

Be yourself.

Love yourself.

 

Glengettie Tea

Glengettie

I have to say this before I go on with my review but…I am not biased when it comes to this tea. Yes, it is Welsh and yes I am Welsh but I had never heard of it before (shame on me, I know). I was told by my Mother that this tea, many years ago, was considered to be of a very high class of tea or for “the posh people”. After seeing it on the shelf of my local supermarket I needed to try it, it has been around since 1952 afterall. Talk about late to the party…

It is a delicious black tea that has become on of my favourites. It’s funny because usually they sell it in Wales but for some reason my local shop has it – is there a Welsh take over in England?

The tea itself is a full bodied black tea, it is rather strong but it is a really lovely wake me up tea and it has taken over my usual morning brew. I have to have a cup of black tea as soon as I wake up and this has been by my side for a little while now. The good news is that they seem to sell it under the Typhoo brand which means you can buy it online really easily. If you love your tea mellow tasting yet strong then order some of this – it is delicious.

Glengettie Tea Site// Typhoo Shop

Flowers from the Dead: The Animal Bones Divination Deck

 

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This is a rather pleasing looking pack of divination cards, their black and white images are rather primal and they are beautifully illustrated. There are 27 cards in the pack (it is now 37 with an extension pack available). On each card is a different animal and each animal represents a specific quality, so for example the wolf is known for its loyalty and family traits.

Like most oracle cards, there aren’t any lengthy meanings, in other words you won’t be left thumbing through a book. The cards not only show an illustrated representation but they have two words on each card that will help you to interpret them. The wonderful thing about any set of oracle cards is their ability for you to use your intuition whether you are reading for yourself or another person. There are a lot of wild stories to be told when using the Flowers From The Dead cards and I certainly love the natural world and how it is represented in this pack. If you are a wild woman/man then these come highly recommended.

You can buy them via the American Obscura Etsy Store