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MagickalArts

December, 2018

Excerpted from:

19-Days of Illuminated Darkness

Day Three

The Light Within the Shadow of the Winter Solstice



For most of us the turning of the Greater Wheel to the Winter Solstice (Yule) is one of welcoming the return of the Light of

renewal and strength, the promise of increasingly longer hours of daylight and anticipation of warmer weather and a more outer world focused time. This change is subtle in physical form as this is also when the cold of the Winter (Northern Hemisphere) will remain for a few months more prompting us to retreat indoors as the early arrival of evening’s darkness envelopes and calls us into the warmth and light of home.

Each year, I do my work of Self, both within my Tradition (The Assembly of the Sacred Wheel) and personally to call forth this return of Light. And, I also find myself retreating more deeply into the shadows and taking refuge in its landscape of shadow; being intuitively drawn towards the deeper work of spiritual quickening, I think of this as the energy of the Hermit Key of the Tarot and my time to move into the darkened areas of my own inner landscape so that I may welcome and bring forth the Greater Light within. This is also the time of relying on my Shadow self to provide the necessary absence of light to guide me through those darkened paths in a constructive and informed way.

In all spiritual practice, the thought of the physical being holding the Inner Flame of Spirit or The Divine Spark of Light is offered up as a basic concept. The language may differ. The way in which this Inner Light presents itself and interacts with conscious awareness may have different ideology. And, the tools and methods used to quicken its energy may be worlds apart in intent and function, but the premise remains the same. In the space of our dark nature lay a light that is luminescent and brilliant that may be called upon to enliven and transform our spiritual and mundane pursuits. If we take it a step further, this transformation is the direct result of collaboration and embracing the dark and the light natures of our consciousness and using each as support and spiritual catalyst of the other.

This dark nature that I am referring to also has many names, functions and philosophies attached to it. I will simply call it the Shadow (Self) . There is an inherent polarity in all things and this Shadow is that polarized image of our Light nature. I am intentionally not using words that are negative in connotation for the Shadow, because it is not anymore a negative aspect of our being than the Light filled self is. Both are states of being that are subject to all the permutations and scales of intensity and impact that any other state of being is. In reality, if we did not have the antithesis or opposite of something, how could we ever enjoy and fully embrace the thing that is being opposed? So, how can this Shadow state be used during the waxing of the Light and engaged to work co-creatively upon those parts of myself I Will to quicken and prime in alignment with the increasing state of light?

The time of the Solstices allows for a deeper awareness and exploration of what impact we have in this world and how we may use the information we learn about ourselves to move in appropriate and fulfilling ways. It is the time of disequilibrium to bring about the eventual balance that is actualized at the Equinoxes. Neither of these energies are about everything being measured and being exactly the same amount of something on each pan of the scale. Rather, they are the states of balance that are dynamic in nature, moving and flowing one to the other and arriving at an informed state of equilibrium at some point of the process. It is again about the process of polarities and the allowance of a void or lesser amount of one thing, so that it may be filled and quickened by its opposite. There is also the component of sacrifice within these thoughts in that we must willingly acknowledge that something must be given up to make room for that which would be drawn in.

This is the battle of the Holly and the Oak Kings, as each gives way to the other and also resists the relinquishing to the other of its power. One holds the promise of the growing Light and the other the refuge of the increasing Darkness. And, although they are one in the same, in order that the cycles may continue and a newly formed energy can be birthed into being, one must relinquish a parcel of its power to be subsumed into the other; temporary imbalance as brothers become enemies and in the final act, become allies in the process of transformation. The Light of the Oak King birthed from the darkening and lessening of the Holly King.

We call forth to the return of the Light-filled Oak King and celebrate the waxing of the Light half of the year. But, in order for that light to shine in its fullest way, we must also embrace and celebrate the remaining vestiges of the darkness of the Holly King. The darkness of the months that persist of winter’s cold. The darkness that becomes the expanding shadow as the sun shines increasingly longer and brighter around us. And, the darkness that we can retreat into to find those hidden sparks that yearn to be nurtured and brought to the full light of day.

As the weather remains or becomes even colder, the natural inclination is to seek out the warmth and coziness of home. And, so I retreat into the welcoming warmth of my home and settle in ready to study, meditate and reveal more of myself to myself. I embrace the early evening darkness as a cloak that I step into so I can more fully appreciate the sun’s light of day. I move within both physically, settling into home and family and spiritually as I dig deeper into the recesses of my own nature. I seek out and call to the inner spark within and stand ready to embrace also the Shadow of my nature as it rises to the surface, revealed by that light.

In meditation, I allow my breath to slow and deepen into the darkness and move along the paths of my own creation that I have tended to in the previous months in preparation for this time of going within. These paths are often mired with the thorns and treacherous roots of inertness, illusory thoughts and judgments that I have used as the trappings of who I am in the world. My Shadow has nurtured each and knows the weakness and strength of each because in this space of darkness what is revealed is often seen more clearly in its true form than in the blinding light.
When I finally relax and surrender into the wisdom of my Shadow the first striking of the match of greater light is drawn across the rough surface of my resistance, and the resistance is transformed into the tiny sparks that ignite the part of myself that is receptive and waiting.

In accord with the energy of Yule, I allow the weakening resistance of my Holly King to be replaced with a renewed sense of purpose and the strength of my Oak King. My Shadow self is resistant to being brought forward, knowing that bits of it will be released in sacrifice and other parts will be transformed so that its darker nature can work co-creatively with the strength of my light self. I call to the Oak King that he may bless and enliven both aspects of myself as we move forward into the new year in anticipation of what can be seeded at the Spring Equinox; and accepting the knowledge that his wisdom will be transformed as the Shadow begins to strengthen its work at the Summer Solstice and the rising once again of the Holly King.

At those points when the darkness seems pervasive and overwhelming and the light is barely visible I am reminded that without the necessary shade to prevent the seedling from drying and withering from an overabundance of the light’s unfiltered rays, the beauty of new growth and radiant and healthy flower will not come to fruition.

May the blessings of the growing Light and the wisdom of the Dark create the quickened space for a prosperous, enlightened and informed Yule.

***

About the Author:

Robin Fennelly is a Wiccan High Priestess, teacher, poet and author.

She is the author of (click on book titles for more information):

 

The Inner Chamber Volume One on Amazon

It’s Written in the Stars

Astrology

 

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Two

poetry of the Spheres (Volume 2) on Amazon

Qabalah

 

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Three

Awakening the Paths on Amazon

Qabalah

 

A Year With Gaia on Amazon

The Eternal Cord

 

Temple of the Sun and Moon on Amazon

Luminous Devotions

 

The Magickal Pen Volume One (Volume 1) on Amazon

A Collection of Esoteric Writings

 

The Elemental Year on Amazon

Aligning the Parts of SELF

 

The Enchanted Gate on Amazon

Musings on the Magick of the Natural World

 

Sleeping with the Goddess on Amazon

Nights of Devotion

 

A Weekly Reflection on Amazon

Musings for the Year

 

Her books are available on Amazon or on this website and her Blogs can be found atRobin Fennelly 

 

Follow Robin on Instagram & Facebook.

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.