flying ointment

Worth the Witch

September, 2018

Alchemy & Ashes

 

 

Parlour of Magical Curiosities

Inspired By History, Myth, and Magic

 

 


Alchemy & Ashes provide a variety of excellently handcrafted, by them, elixirs, incense, perfumes, soaps, conjure powders, and more. They supply an assortment of kits and boxes ranging from their $30 Sanctus Box, which includes a Protection Oil & Florida Water for Ritual, Purification & Aura spray for purification energy clearing, to; a PART the VEIL Conjure Kit- Witch Box that helps with intuition, divination & so much more starting at only $20. I’m only naming two, to see more of their kits & boxes, you can visit them at Alchemy & Ashes. You will not be disappointed. Their boxes are not recurring monthly subscriptions. They are one time purchases, as you go kits & boxes. So there is no need to worry about having to cancel your monthly subscriptions.

As I close the envelope addressed to me a waft of the sweetest herbal smells fills my nostrils bringing the promise of witchiness to come and my excitement surges. I received a mysterious box from Alchemy & Ashes all in black and smelling like a Witch’s Heavenly Cupboard. It immediately piqued my curiosity.

 

 

I had to tear right in I could not hold back. When I opened the box everything was beautifully wrapped like Gothic Presents. I was in a Gothic Dream come true!!!! Now let’s see what’s inside these little packages…. Rip, rip, rip…..

 

 

Pamphlet

 

Very nicely made. One page, folded. The art of their Logo and everything goes very well with a gothicy/witch theme. The Pamphlet lists all Alchemy & Ashes contact information and it mentions that they have a free app. I checked out the app and it is very helpful.

The pamphlet teaches you a few ways to use Conjure Powders. Reading this is how I learned the theme of the box. Everything is wrapped up so elegantly you could not tell what was in the box. Just smell beauty. The pamphlet goes on to tell you about 6 herbal blends of Conjure Powders, their titles, and info on them. At this point I was not sure what it all meant, but it looked promising. So I decided to get into more!

 

Conjure Powders

 

What I mistakenly thought would be a very large candle due to it’s sheer size and shape (most witch boxes give you candles what can I say!) when I opened the box turned out to be quite a surprise…6 tins of Conjure Powders. As you can see in the picture the tins are full. I kept spilling them in fact when I opened each of them. Then I would have to do a blessing, invite a spirit, or banish something. LOL. It was quite funny to watch. My familiar went nuts. I was expecting a smaller sample size of the conjure powders for a box. I was extremely pleased. The 6 Conjure Powders are as follows:

  • Elicio (Conjure) – a mixture to conjure spirits & energies beneficial to your workings.
  • Exilium (Banish) – a concoction to banish spirits & energies that are detrimental to your workings.
  • Praescientia (Intuition) – a blend to aid with intuitive abilities & divinatory gifts.
  • Amor (Love) – a mix to attract love.
  • Praesidium (Protection) – a combination to create a boundary of protection from unwanted spirits or energies.
  • Fortuna (Prosperity) – A mixture to attract spirits & energies of prosperity and abundance to you.

Almost all of the Conjure Powders from Alchemy & Ashes in the box are made from a blend of at least 7 herbs. Most of them were made from 13! The smells are vibrant. The pamphlet lists the ingredients in each powder as well as what it is used for & a definition for it’s meaning. Plus, as I mentioned before, they teach you a variety of ways to use Conjure Powders. None are difficult.

So excited by these 6 great sized tins that I almost forgot the box contains more! On we go….

 

A Modern Witch’s Flying Ointment

 

Unguentum Sabatti is the hand that parts the Veil.” That is how Alchemy & Ashes begin to explain what Witch’s flying ointment is. Flying ointment is a mixture of herbs & essential oils mixed in coconut oil and beeswax that help relax, soothe, and help bring you to another level of consciousness & help aid in meditations , divination, lucid dreaming, rituals, astral traveling, etc… When applied to certain areas of the EXTERNAL BODY before beginning.

You get a full 1oz supply in a nice tin. Solid, not too greasy and slimy like others I have tested in the past where you put your finger in the ointment and it just goes right to the bottom. This is substantial and will last a long time. The smell is amazing and you can actually pick out some of the herbs from simply taking a sniff. The back of the tin does, however, list the ingredients.

 

Sanctus Aqueum


This is Alchemy & Ashes own version of Florida Water. Florida Water is used for blessings, consecrating, cleansing, & purification when you can not smudge.

They create each batch on the New Moon & let it charge until the Full Moon. It is, also, infused with a Quartz Crystal to amplify it’s energy. It comes in a glass spray bottle.

When you spritz the air, you automatically smell more than just water in the air. I have used these sprays before, sometimes called ‘smudge sprays’ or ‘aura sprays’. I like them. They are quick ways to cleanse the area and yourself & they do work and calm you. You can feel them lessen tension in the air quickly. This one, however, has the most brilliant smell so far! The bottle may seem small but you don’t need to use much. Alchemy & Ashes recipe is strong. I am finding all I need is 1 maaaaybe 2 pumps. So shake, pump once, Deeeep breath, hold 1, 2, 3, Release, Ahhhhhh! I’m in a garden….a field….I’m goneeeeee….

 

Sanctus Oleum


In this 10 ml glass roller bottle is a witch’s protection oil. It can be used to consecrate items, make protective sigils on doorways & windows, as well as used to anoint yourself during ritual work.

Alchemy & Ashes creates each batch on the New Moon and leaves it to charge until the full moon. It is, also, infused with a piece of black tourmaline for it’s protective energy.

I have never heard of something like this before. It is definitely welcomed new knowledge and a welcomed new tool for my personal witch box. The smell to this oil is heavier than the smudge spray. Thicker somehow, if smells can be thicker. If feels thicker, too. I guess you would want protection to be heavier, your own fortress or armor.

 

Soaps (Free Samples)

Yes, I know you want to eat the picture, bu you can’t, they ARE delicious don’t get me wrong, but they are soaps! The deep brown, marbled soap on the bottom is named ‘Aquitaine’. A mix of lavender, patchouli, & bergamot it reminds me of a cleaner purer version of Bath & Body Works all “natural” line. I may have to change where I purchase my soap from now! The lighter brown, marbled soap on top is named ‘Sweet Alchemy’. It is a blend of almond, cocoa, honey, & oats and I think I may taste this one, it really does smell that good! The third, solid brown bar is named ‘Nimue’ and smells like clean sheets outside drying on a clothesline on a spring day to me. It’s made of lavender, lemon, & Clary sage.

They feel wonderful on the skin. So clean and fresh. They leave you skin soft and smelling as beautiful as the bars.

 

My Overall Opinion…


I have to admit the Witch in me loves the all black theme. Now they did send me a box of many different types of samples to review. I do not think they sell this exact box. But have boxes that sell these items. I can honestly say, though, that Alchemy & Ashes do not hold back and give small sample sizes in their boxes, because they gave me what they put in their boxes. They give you your monies worth. You can smell the quality. Feel it. The Conjure Powders tins are full to bursting, pungent, smell fresh. They explain all in their pamphlet, I love that. They don’t leave you in the dark wondering what to do. The Florida water WORKS. I have yet to try the flying ointment, but the quality is there, and I am waiting to use the Sanctus Oleum for Samhain on my front door. Their sample soaps quality is so amazing you will need more. I can, without a doubt, say this box is WORTH THE WITCH!!!

 

We were blessed to be able to have a little chat with the wonderful Owner & Madame of Alchemy & Ashes Shawnee Kircher!

 

Jennifer Wright: What brought the idea of the mystery box to you?

Shawnee Kircher: We loved the idea of other subscription boxes, and we also liked the idea of getting our products out there to people who may have never used them, or can’t decide which products to start with, so it was a win-win for them and us!

 

JW: How did you begin them?

SK: We realized there was a market for handcrafted ritual products, and felt that our products are a bit different from what we had been seeing. We were tired of seeing the commercially, mass marketed items in a lot of the boxes that lack the spiritual energy that a handcrafted product carries with it. That’s hard to recreate in a factory.

 

JW: How do you choose what you put inside them?

SK: We try to consider the season or sabbat coming up as to what people may be needing at the moment, but also like to have some staple products in there that anyone can use regardless of path or preference.

 

JW: Is yours a recurring monthly box?

SK: We’re aiming for seasonal at the moment. If interest grows, perhaps we will shift to monthly.

 

JW: Are you pagan?

SK: Yes. I use the term Pagan in the sense of a) outside the confines of the Abrahamic religions and b) nature based spiritual path follower. I also use the term Witch, as I am a practitioner of the Craft. I think those two terms can be used separately from each other, as not all Witches are Pagan, and not all Pagans are Witches, but in my practice they go hand in hand. I don’t ascribe to any religious doctrine, though I did find my way to Paganism through Wicca, as it was the most accessible at the time for me, about 20 years ago, and while I’m not an initiate of Wicca nor do I follow any of it’s “rules” (like The Rede), I do think it influenced some of my practice.

 

JW: What types of interests do you have?

SK: I love the dichotomy of beautiful and creepy when they present themselves as one – like in the “modern” vampire stories: Louis in Interview with a Vampire, or the suave and debonair Bela Lugosi – this beautiful creature that is deadly, so that you’re attracted and repulsed at the same time. That touch of “otherness” is very interesting to me in art and life.

 

JW: Did you feel the pagan world was missing something to make you create your Box?

SK: I think Pagans are pretty crafty folks, so I didn’t reinvent the wheel, but I did put my spin and perspective on my ritual products that are included in the boxes. Sanctus Aqueum (“Holy Water”) was based off of a 19th century recipe for Florida Water. I tweaked the traditional ingredients and added my own touch, and its been a great selling product. Sanctus Oleum (“Holy Oil”) is similar in use to Holy Chrism used in the Church, but with herbs associated with protection in various folk magic traditions. Unguentum Sabatti (“Sabbat Ointment”) was formulated with herbs associated with astral projection, necromancy, and visions to enhance your own intuitive abilities in a more gentle manner than many of the traditional flying ointments.

 

JW: Do you have a site and sell other types of products?

SK: You can find many of our handmade items to purchase on Etsy (etsy.com/shop/alchemyashes). Besides our ritual items mentioned above, we also make handcrafted cold process soaps, perfumes (both oil based and alcohol based), lip balms, herbal powdered incense, and amulets.

We don’t currently do direct sales through our website (alchemyandashes.com)

However, you can always email us your order at alchemyandashes@yahoo.com and we can invoice you and you can pay online.

We’d like to thank Shawnee Kircher for taking the time from her busy schedule to speak with us at PaganPagesOrg and everyone at Alchemy & Ashes for everything! We hope our readers get to meet everyone at Alchemy & Ashes soon!

***

About the Author:

Jennifer Wright is a witch on a path of change that is always winding. She founded PaganPagesOrg in the hopes of giving those a platform to share and learn without judgment. There are too many important things to her and not enough room to mention them. You are one of them.

Witches Soul Work

January, 2015

Witches Soul Work: Sacred Stories and Flying

Soul

 

“If that which thou seek thy find not within thee, thy will never find it without.” (1)

The Craft involves deep soul work leading to understanding the authentic self, the connection with the divine, and understanding the Mysteries. If you were Buddhist you might called this enlightenment. What is enlightenment for Witches? Many people new to the Craft read the beginner books and think that that is all there is. I would like to share with you some of the ways that Traditional Witches do soul work, the way they approach and understand the Mysteries and an exploration of what the Mysteries are. This idea was inspired by a course called Soul Work from Cherry Hill Seminary (2) and from a comment by a woman on our local pagan internet site who said that she was quitting our group because we were not serious (i.e. fluffy) about our spiritual work. (Thank you dear!) The Craft is the most deeply spiritual path I know, but because it is hidden it is not easy to find.

Sacred Stories and Flying

The old tales conjure up times gone by, medieval knights and dragons, Merlin and hur, Ladies rising from mysterious lakes and magickal swords. These stories, no matter what tradition they come from, live century after century and fuel our imaginations because there are hidden truths in them that are part of the fabric of who we are. Witches use the Sacred Stories as blueprints for pathworking or soul work. One way of entering the story is by using the technique called ‘flying’ which you might have heard referred to in modern day as ‘shamanic journey’. Witches flew to the Sabbat to celebrate if they were not able to go there in person and they did this by leaving their bodies and flying up the chimneys. Often they would use ‘flying ointments’ which are different hallucinogenic concoctions that facilitated the flying-state. This is common in Shamanic Cultures all over the world, and the Witches were the Shamans of what we now call Celtic people.

 

Flying Ointment

 

Sarah Ann Lawless writes in her article that “most flying ointment recipes include plants from the Solanaceae family; you may recognize some or all of them: belladonna, datura, henbane, and mandrake. Other traditional flying ointment herbs include the opium poppy, water hemlock, monkshood, and foxglove. Wherever these plants are to be found, so are witches.” (3). Witches would smear this ointment on different areas of their bodies to facilitate the flying. A less toxic kind of flying ointment is made from oil of basil but flying ointment is not needed at all for flying. You can do it by following their steps. They started by imagining that they were lifting up from their bodies and going to their brooms near the hearths. Mounting the brooms they imagined themselves flying up the chimney and into the star-studded night. Swiftly riding the dark winds they would whisk over the old forests to the Sabbat Circle where they would experience the ring dance and other ecstatic trance-inducing practices.

 

You can use the practice of flying in the same way to enter the Sacred Stories. Pick a story and read it until you know it well. Pick the characters and places in the story that seem to be the most important to you. When you are ready cast your circle and lie down in a comfortable position. Imagine yourself taking your broom and flying up the chimney and into the story. If you don’t have a chimney you can imagine yourself taking your broom outside your front door, mounting it and flying into the night sky. Only go to one character at a time and when you return make sure that you take good notes as this type of practice is like dreaming and it can be forgotten easily.

 

The Lady of the Fountain

 

I first started working with the Lady of the Fountain when I created a Solitary Pathworking for Initiated Witches called “the Path of the Cauldron”. This pathworking is an inner quest for the Cauldron of Cerridwen using the sacred stories of the Mabinogion. Part I is working with the Lady of the Fountain story using reflection, meditation and flying journey.

 

When I started this work I didn’t really know how much it would affect me and the others who followed the path. This is the fourth spiral, or time, that I am doing the pathworking with another Coven and each time I learn more and go deeper into the understanding of what the Cauldron of Cerridwen really is. I would like to share with you some of the new insights and experiences that it created. In the pathworking I used only half of the story and I welcome you to read the rest if you are interested by following the link below.

 

The Lady of the Fountain (4)

 

In this story Sir Kai tells the story of travelling into the forest and meeting the Black Man, a huge giant with one eye and the ability to call and control all the wild animals. The Black Man tells him how to summon the magick of the Fountain of Barenton in the Forest of Broceliande by throwing water using a silver ladle on a slab beside the fountain. This summoned the Black Knight who challenged him. In the story Sir Kai was defeated by the knight but Owain was inspired to follow his footsteps. He also met the Black Man and the Black Knight, but defeated him and went in search of the Lady of the Fountain. He was helped in his quest by the Lady’s handmaiden, Luned.

 

Here are some of the experiences I had with the story, but they may not be the same as yours. If you consider that these stories contain not only the magick and mysteries of our ancestors, but also the secrets of our own souls, they take on a deeper meaning. Which story calls to you?

 

  1. The Black Man also called the Woodward
  2. The Fountain
  3. The Black Knight
  4. Luned
  5. The Lady of the Fountain

 

 

The Black Man also called the Woodward

 

In many myths of the world the elder gods are giants. For example the Greeks have the Titans, the Celts have the Formorian, the Norse have Frost Giants and the bible talks about the Anakim and Nephilim. These giants represent primordial forces of nature and wild untamed chaos. So what is the Woodward doing in this myth and why is he important? What does he mean in soul work? Sir Kai starts his quest after meeting the Landholder in the castle who tells him about the Black Knight and the Fountain. Yet the first person he meets is not the Knight but the Woodward. Significantly the Woodward is standing on a mound. In Ireland mounds are connected to Faery or the Sidhe who are said to dwell within the earth, and are also considered to be an elder race of the earth. Is the Woodward a Faery? Is he an elder god or an elemental?

 

We suppose that this sacred story is a map for soul work and even a map of the soul. So the first person the wanderer meets is this terrifying giant with one eye standing on top of a mound brandishing a huge club. He represents the challenge at the gates because we cannot pass until we have met him. In a flying journey into the story images I met the Woodward and he gave me a lot of advice about purification. Before I could carry on with the quest I had to meditate more, eat healthier and even bless the food and water I ate, making it sacred. He seemed to be creating a way for me to purify my intentions and my physical and energetic body before I could continue. I felt as if he were preparing me for the journey and challenging me to look at the way I was living my life.

 

At this point in the journey a wanderer can easily give up! We don’t want to change and we don’t want to take a good look at ourselves. We don’t want to face challenges head on and overcome them. My challenge was about food and meditation but for others it might be leaving a bad relationship or leaving an unhealthy job. When we start our quest we are challenged by the Guardian at the Threshold. Do we really want this?

 

The Fountain

 

The Fountain is not a character in the myth and yet the Lady is called the Lady of the Fountain. The Black Knight is protecting the Fountain and when the wanderer throws water from the fountain on the slab terrifying things happen. The Fountain is also called the Fountain of Barenton and is said to dwell in the Forest of Broceliande. This story is a mine of magical information but when reading it and working with it I wondered: what is the importance of the Fountain?

As the wanderer continues her quest and after she has met and overcome the challenges from the guardian at the gate she comes to a place where she is helped. All magical tales have this moment where the wanderer finds something that will give him luck. I think the Fountain is a mirror of the Cauldron of Cerridwen, so the Lady owns the Fountain just as Cerridwen owns the Cauldron. The Fountain contains magical water that is the catalyst for change. The wanderer must throw water on the slab with an intention. If she is not challenging the Black Knight then the storm will not kill her and the Knight will not threaten her. She is calling her power by this act and solidifying her intention to go further on the quest. It is not enough just to meet the Guardian and his challenges, but we must name what it is we are seeking and set the intention or outcome of our soul work. All the secrets are contained in the Fountain but we don’t know that yet in the story. In fact the Fountain represents our own soul and we need our own power to continue on our soul work.

 

The Black Knight

 

The Black Knight is the protector of the Fountain and the champion of the Lady. In the map of the soul he represents the support that we have on our journey. Who is protecting you? Who loves you and supports you in your soul work? We all need supporters and Knights who will champion us or we cannot carry on. We need our families, our Covens and our friends. This is the lesson in the soul work not to neglect love and our relationships in the ‘real’ world. Owain kills the Black Knight and then he replaces him. If we destroy our own support networks then we have no-one to support us but ourselves and we have to be our own champions. This is not a comfortable place to be but perhaps it is part of the challenge of the soul. If we cannot champion ourselves and stand up for ourselves, then we may not be strong enough to do the work. We need the support of others but they cannot do it for us.

 

Luned

 

Luned is like our High Priestess, our guide on the path, like a soul friend who is ever-present cheering us on and giving us advice. She saves Owain from sure death by giving him the magical ring of invisibility. This is what he needed on his quest which must have been hard for such an egotistical Knight. We all have an inner guide, that some may call the Higher Self, who watches and suggests if we will only listen. Luned wouldn’t let me continue on my quest until I could hear the voice of the wind, understood fire, felt the emotion of water and walked earth. This is some of what I learned:

 

            I have listened to the voice of the wind—it is the voice of the Creator and it whispers AWEN, the birds sing the songs of the Universe. The wind is also within me and is my own inner voice. I must always listen to my own inner voice because then I too can hear the song of the Creator (Creatrix) and sing the songs of the Universe.

            Fire is the God energy manifest. Fire heals, purifies and inspires. The Fire within us is the spark of God energy. Sitting with Fire can inspire us to solve our problems. Air is intuition and voice and very different from Fire. Fire is masculine.

            We release our obstacles such as anger by letting water carry them away. We grow our wishes and needs by planting the seeds in the earth.

           

How funny that Luned was bringing me back to beginner Craft training! Truly a return!

 

The Lady of the Fountain

 

The Lady represents the Goddess, who is ever-present within us and is that who is “attained at the end of desire”(1) When I met her in my inner work she said:

 

Luna means moon. Lunette means glasses (in French). Luned is one who sees the Moon and I am the Moon! I am Arianrhod and the Black Knights fight and are killed the same way as the Oak King and Holly King fight. (5) The Black Knight is the Sacrificial God. Please read and study the story of the Fisher King.” So the Lady leads me on to the next Sacred Story which is the story of the Grail King who is married to the land and has a wound that cannot heal.

 

Conclusion

 

Re-visiting this story has brought me some new insights about all of the characters in the story and the way I can use it as a soul map. I begin to understand how Witches can use Sacred Stories of all types to help people to find their way through the landscape of their own lives and their own souls. Everyone faces the challenge of the guardian, and everyone needs to clarify their intention and call their own power. We all need support and the ability to accept change as renewal. Listening to the voice of our inner guide and meeting the Goddess within shows us the mysteries of the soul and the next step on the path.

 

References:

  1. Valiente, Doreen. The Charge of the Goddess

      Poetry

  2. -11.php">http://www.doreenvaliente.com/Doreen-Valiente-
    • Poetry

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  4. Cherry Hill Seminary. http://cherryhillseminary.org/
  5. Sarah Anne Lawless, Flying Ointments. http://sarahannelawless.com/2011/09/10/on-flying-ointments/
  6. The Lady of the Fountain by: Lady Charlotte Elizabeth Guest(Translator), Anonymous (Author)from: The Mabinogion from the Llyfr Coch o Hergest, and Other Ancient Welsh Manuscripts, with an English Translation and Notes(Pp. 39 – 129)  1838-1849
  7. Wikipedia. Oak King and Holly King Myth.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holly_King_(archetype)