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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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.

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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

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.

 

Faerie Magazine

Faerie Magazine is a rare creature. It combines intelligent features with some of the most beautiful photography. Far from the realms of silly subculture fashion it brings in every element of beauty and magic in the form of history, home décor, recipes, poetry and fiction. A publication you can certainly lose yourself in, its content imagery is something you can hear, smell and touch; it’s fabulous.

The idea of a magazine dedicated to the faerie culture may sound rather odd and far too whimsical for this cynical world but alas; they have hit on something here. The magazine brings about the oldie worldie, the traditional and the free spirit that can be found in all of us, if we let it. Quietly coaxing out your inner magic; we all have it in there. Whether you want to put on a Victorian tea party, require fashion advice from Oscar Wilde, glimpse into magical homes or learn how to make beautiful jewellery; Faerie Magazine is your bible.

Both printed and digital copies are available here