Brand new Witches’ Ladders

All of these were just listed yesterday, on May Day!

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GODDESS ISIS: three groupings of nine beads each–8mm sparkly blue goldstone, 8mm orange sodalite (with gorgeous shades of royal and navy blue, white, peach, and orange all swirling together), and 6mm vivid green Russian amazonite–interspersed with gold-plated pewter scarabs, fire-polished royal blue and metallic gold Czech rondelles, 12mm carnelian rounds, and metallic gold seed beads, on cornflower blue silk cord. The ends of the 18″ strand are adorned with a gold-plated winged Isis charm and gorgeous black and white banded agate teardrop, framed by solid copper rounds. (The agate teardrop measures about 1 1/4″ x 7/8″.) $34

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BLODEUWEDD: In Welsh mythology, Blodeuwedd was magickally created from flowers to be the wife of Lleu Llaw Gyffes. After she later attempted to murder Lleu with the help of her lover, she was transformed into an owl. In this set, there are three groupings of nine beads each–8mm white howlite, 8mm rhodonite, and 8mm green fluorite rondelles–interspersed with 12mm pale turquoise Czech glass flowers, etched in gold, pink Czech rosettes, gold-fluted white Czech bicones, antiqued brass roses, metallic gold seed beads, and silver-lined pink seed beads, on white silk cord. The ends of the 16 3/4″ strand are adorned with a gold-plated Tierra Cast apple blossom charm and a Mikonos copper owl with beautiful blue-green patina. $26

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FRIGGA: three sets of nine beads each–8mm blue sponge quartz, 8mm grey moonstone, and 8mm white turquoise rondelles–interspersed with 12mm silver-plated spiral beads (representing Frigga’s spinning of Wyrd), swirled blue and brown Czech glass rondelles, metallic silver seed beads, and iridescent aqua seed beads, on grey silk cord. The ends of the 16 1/4″ strand are adorned with silver-plated Tierra Cast labyrinth charm (which to me speaks of Frigga’s ability to remain calm and centered in the midst of turmoil) and a genuine antique skeleton key (symbolizing Her status as queen and mistress of the hearth. $28

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DIONYSOS: three groupings of eight beads each–8mm green aventurine, 8mm wine-dark garnet, and 8mm sage amethyst–interspersed with 12mm gold hematite roses, fire-polished pale green aurora borealis Czech glass and metallic gold seed beads, on purple silk cord. The ends of the 18 3/4″ strand are adorned with a 25 x 12mm charoite barrel bead, a gold-plated goblet, and a gold-plated cluster of grapes. $25

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THE MORRIGAN:  three sets of nine beads each (one set for each face of this threefold goddess)–8mm dark garnet (for Badb), 8mm flower amethyst (for Morrigu), and 6mm green verdite (for Macha)–interspersed with 10mm silver hematite roses, 8mm red and deep orange swirled Czech glass rondelles, and copper-lined “black diamond seed beads, on dark red silk. The ends of the 17” strand are adorned with a silver-plated Tierra Cast rose skull bead, a three-dimensional pewter raven, and a three-dimensional pewter raven skull. $28

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ODIN: three sets of nine beads each–8mm blue goldstone, 8mm faceted black moonstone (larvikite), and 6mm lapis–interspersed with 10mm silver hematite roses, fire-polished royal blue and metallic gold Czech glass rondelles, and metallic silver seed beads, on dark blue silk. The ends of the 17 3/4″ strand are adorned with a silver-plated Tierra Cast rose skull bead, a cobalt blue glass evil eye protection bead (also symbolizing the eye Odin sacrificed to Mimir’s Well), a three-dimensional pewter raven, and a three-dimensional pewter raven skull. $28

Like prayer beads or a mala, a witches’ ladder is a sacred tool for meditation and ritual. In addition to using it to keep track of repetitions while reciting prayers or mantras, it can also be used during spell work, where incantations sometimes need to be repeated a certain number of times.

My witches’ ladders are made with focus and intent to serve all of these purposes, while also making lovely worry beads and looking absolutely fantastic on your altar or shrine. They are constructed using premium silk beading cord, which is hand-knotted between the beads to give them a beautiful drape and graceful “handle.” They are designed to feel wonderful in your hands, and can be wrapped around your fingers during prayer, looped around the back of your neck while you meditate, or even used as a pendulum! They come in a drawstring organza bag and are small and compact enough to go anywhere with you!

Although designed with the named deities in  mind, each set could be used for any Power with whom the gemstones and other imagery resonate for you.

On personal relationships with gods and spirits

Some thinky thoughts came out of a discussion I was having with a friend on why I’m uncomfortable doing readings about deity/spirit relationships or astral doings, and why, if I ever start doing readings again, I probably won’t do those types. I think what started me down this line of thought was when a Tarot YouTuber I’ve been watching commented that she will do relationship readings, but only for insight into YOUR perspective and hopes about a relationship, not those of the other person involved (who hadn’t asked for a reading).

It’s difficult to explain what my own issue is with this, but here goes. Spirits and deities are very real, yes. Places on the astral are also very real. Both have an objective reality, as far as I’m concerned. However, on the level at which we deal with them personally, they’re also extremely subjective.

Odin, for example, might have general characteristic of “Odin-ness” that are more or less the same for everyone who knows Him, but beyond that, each and every relationship with Him is unique and very personal. Trying to transcend my Odin in order to channel the thoughts of intentions of yours is not only headache-inducing; it feels, in a way, like stepping into a different dimension.

Systems such as seidhr or deity-possession tend to assume that Odin is Odin, Loki is Loki etc.–and when you take a much, much wider view of things, this is true. Powers are huge and complex, incredibly multifaceted; places on the astral, and even pop-culture spirits such as Kylo Ren or Doctor Who, are the same way. (It could be argued–and has been–that the individual deities we perceive are simply Powers using very, very old pop-culture masks.) And to a certain extent, it is true that if you pose a question to “Odin” via a reading or seidhr session you can get an answer from Odin–but it’s most likely to be from such a overarching, universal version of Himself that it’s of limited usefulness to your specific personal relationship with Him.

This is also why what you tend to get from most seidhr readings and god-channelings very rarely transcends the general. For example, you might have a chat with someone horsing Odin and be given very Odin-like advice, but how often is He going to say something very specific that pertains precisely and uniquely to your own relationship with Him, something the person doing the horsing couldn’t possibly have known unless He told her? Yes, this can happen, but it is VERY rare. In lighter trance situations such as seidhr, or in card readings, it is even more rare–and when it happens at any level of trance, it is often distinctly unpleasant for the channeler. (I have heard people other than myself say this.)

For years, I did these sorts of readings (because I’m a godspouse myself, most people who came to me wanted deity relationship-type readings), and was able to provide some useful general guidance for people most of the time, and very specific insights once in a while. The general guidance readings I had no problem with; I enjoyed doing them, and still do. The very specific ones, however, always left me feeling like I’d crossed a boundary I wasn’t meant to. They felt like an invasion of privacy–like giving a reading to Someone who hadn’t asked for one.

This is why I maintain that relationship-specific readings, channelings, and even horsings will almost always be unsatisfying for anyone who is in a deep devotional relationship with a deity or spirit. Even when they’re able to produce truly personal information (which is rare), they only leave a hunger for more–and then what are you going to do when you no longer have access to that reader or channeler? (This is a big reason why some people become addicted to readings.) And when you’re trying to get personal insight and what you receive is too general, they can do real spiritual damage, leaving you feeling like you don’t matter to the Power in question, like the deep connection you thought you had isn’t real–when in fact, the problem is that the channeler was not actually communicating with YOUR version of that Power, but with THEIRS.

So, what’s the answer? I know it’s been said a thousand times, but discernment, discernment, discernment. If you have a question about your relationship with a Power (and I’m using this term to cover both deities and other types of spirits), the only person who can really provide you with insight is that Power Themselves–which is fair, because They are the other person in the relationship. So ask. And then listen. How do you listen, and how do you know when you’ve gotten an answer? There are many ways to hone your own personal godphone, and even ways to communicate (such as doing readings for yourself, taking omens, using a pendulum) if you’re convinced you’ve got no godphone whatsoever.

I can’t promise that it will happen often, but when I can carve out time for it I am going to be sharing short posts offering some of my tips for getting answers on your own, without a reader. Because there seems to be a need.

Brand new Witches’ Ladders: Njord and Freyja

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This witches’ladder was designed with Njord–patriarch of the Vanir–in mind but could be used for any deity or spirit with whom the gemstones and imagery resonate for you. There are three sets of nine beads each–8mm teal apatite, 8mm green fluorite rondelles, and 6mm vivid green Russian amazonite–interspersed with 20mm spiral shell beads, solid copper spacers, iridescent aqua seed beads, shell heishi beads, and 8mm clear quartz beads, on light turquoise silk cord. The ends of the 16 1/4″ strand are adorned with an antiqued bronze ax (Njord’s weapon of choice) and a beautifully patterned conch shell.

Njord’s beads are $32.

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This set was designed with Freyja Vanadis in mind but could be used for any deity or spirit with whom the gemstones and imagery resonate for you. There are three sets of nine beads each–8mm dark garnet, 8mm faceted golden strawberry quartz, and 6mm faceted tiger eye–interspersed with 18mm red quartz hearts, pink Czech glass rosettes, metallic gold seed beads, watermelon luster Czech rondelles, and Baltic amber chips, on pink silk cord. The ends of the 18″ strand are adorned with an 18k gold-plated Tierra Cast wing (to represent Freyja’s falcon cloak, and a handmade ceramic pendant with a dragonfly on one side and a flower on the other.

Dragonflies are useful allies in dreamwork, enchantment, and achieving clarity, and are sacred to Freyja.

Freyja’s beads are $28.

About my Witches’ Ladders

Like prayer beads or a mala, a witches’ ladder is a sacred tool for meditation and ritual. In addition to using it to keep track of repetitions while reciting prayers or mantras, it can also be used during spell work, where incantations sometimes need to be repeated a certain number of times.

My witches’ ladders are made with focus and intent to serve all of these purposes, while also making lovely worry beads and looking absolutely fantastic on your altar or shrine. They are constructed using premium silk beading cord, which is hand-knotted between many of the beads to give them beautiful drape and graceful “handle.” They are designed to feel wonderful in your hands, and can be wrapped around your fingers during prayer, looped around the back of your neck while you meditate, or even used as a pendulum! They come in a drawstring organza bag and are small and compact enough to go anywhere with you!

Introducing: Witches’ Ladders

I’ve only completed two of these so far, but am so excited about them I couldn’t wait to share! (There will be more posted in the very near future!)

Like prayer beads or a mala, a witches’ ladder is a sacred tool for meditation and ritual. In addition to using it to keep track of repetitions while reciting prayers or mantras, it can also be used during spell work, where incantations sometimes need to be repeated a certain number of times.

My witches’ ladders are made with focus and intent to serve all of these purposes, while also making lovely worry beads and looking absolutely fantastic on your altar or shrine. They are constructed using premium silk beading cord, which is hand-knotted between the beads to give them a beautiful drape and graceful “handle.” They are designed to feel wonderful in your hands, and can be wrapped around your fingers during prayer, looped around the back of your neck while you meditate, or even used as a pendulum! They come in a drawstring organza bag and are small and compact enough to go anywhere with you!

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This set was designed with Odin in mind but could be used for any deity or spirit with whom the stones and imagery resonate for you. There are three sets of nine beads each–8mm blue goldstone, 8mm grey moonstone, and 8mm black lava stone–interspersed with 18mm lapis disks, 8mm faceted larvikite rounds, and metallic silver seed beads, on dark blue silk. The ends of the 17″ strand are adorned with a silver-plated Tierra Cast rose skull bead, a cobalt blue glass evil eye protection bead (also symbolizing the eye Odin sacrificed to Mimir’s Well), a three-dimensional pewter raven, and a three-dimensional pewter raven skull.

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This set was designed with the Morrigan in mind but could be used for any deity or spirit with whom the gemstones and imagery resonate for you. There are three sets of nine beads each (one set for each face of this threefold goddess)–8mm dark garnet (for Badb), 8mm flower amethyst (for Morrigu), and 8mm green rutilated quartz (for Macha)–interspersed with 15mm x 10mm oval red Picasso Czech glass “windowpane” beads etched in copper with birds in flight (to represent the Morrigan’s crows) and metallic gold seed beads, on dark red silk. The ends of the 17 3/4″ strand are adorned with a silver-plated Tierra Cast rose skull bead, a black-oxidized silver plated Tierra Cast wing, four 6mm black opal rounds, an 18k gold-plated Tierra Cast Celtic knotwork bead, and a three-dimensional pewter raven skull.

These two sets are $32 each, however future sets will vary in price depending on length, materials used, etc.

I WILL be accepting custom orders for these, but please keep in mind that, unless I just happen to have the exact materials on hand needed to complete your custom beads (which is very rare), my custom price will be a LOT higher than the price I am listing them for in the shop. (This is to be expected with custom work, to compensate the artisan for the time and money spent sourcing and ordering materials, planning the design in collaboration with the client, etc.) I won’t be creating a stock custom listing for them because, just as with jewelry, every custom piece is different, but don’t hesitate to ask–OR you can just wait and see what I make!

Meditation and Cats *reblog*

Yet another testimonial from a happy customer! Plus, cat!

The Druid in the Swamp

For years, I have sat on the same purple cushion in the same little bedroom in front of the same little altar space to meditate.

I am still not allowed to do it without help.

meditation with cats

And no, I can’t just close the door. If I close the door, they sit and paw at the door and meow loudly in protest (there are two of them).

*Since I know someone will ask, the mala was handmade for me by Beth Wodandis, and I can’t recommend her services highly enough. This one is onyx, bone, coral, and amber, and I am absolutely delighted with it every time I pick it up to pray or do magic. I’ve had to keep myself from buying all of the prayer beads that she makes (I’ve had a problem with collecting prayer beads for a long time). Her etsy shop is here.  

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Sale ending soon!

Just a reminder that my 25% off sale ends at midnight tonight, Pacific time (which translates into 3 am on 4/25 for the east coast). Enter the coupon code BLOGGATE2016 to take 25% off your order (with a $20 minimum purchase) as my way of thanking everyone for bearing with me through the WordPress kerfluffle that was affecting my blog’s visibility on the WP Reader page for a couple of days earlier this week.

Also, a note regarding sales in my shop, going forward: I’m not going to say I won’t be offering flash sales from time to time–because I will–BUT it will be quite a while (most likely November) before I offer another 25% off sale; I’m only doing so now because I feel badly about all the “test” posts I subjected you all to. I also wanted to let you know that my new policy regarding jewelry items that sit for an extended period of time with no apparent interest is to either remove them and try to sell them locally OR to take them apart for the materials INSTEAD OF reducing the price or offering them on clearance. (I won’t be offering anything on clearance henceforth.)

I’m not doing this to penalize anyone, but because my business continues to be a process of experimentation, and if a particular style of jewelry is not going to work out for me sales-wise, I’d rather wipe the slate clean (so to speak) and start from scratch than take a loss that’s going to leave me unable to pay my bills and my taxes. I lost a lot of money last year by offering 30% and higher discounts (with a lot of the pieces I let go on clearance, I probably could have made more money by selling the components as supplies), and had to pay for my mistakes by owing a huge amount in taxes that I am going to have to pay off on a payment plan. If I want to stay in business long-term (and I do), that isn’t something I can afford to repeat!

That said, I have a completely new approach to jewelry I’m going to be turning my attentions to shortly, as soon as I’ve pared down my custom order list, and I’m also in the midst of overhauling my line of candles and oils. The changes will be rolled out very gradually (to give me time to gauge responses; I won’t be changing everything all at once!), but I’m working hard at setting my brand and my products apart from what my colleagues and competitors are currently offering, while keeping production more sustainable for me.

One more note regarding jewelry and prayer beads–if there is something you’ve had your eye on, keep in mind that I DO still offer layaway.  There is a 10% surcharge to compensate me for having to wait for payment–but if you wanted to put an item on layaway during the sale (before midnight Pacific time tonight) you would still be getting 15% off the list price, even with the surcharge. Please let me know if you have any questions about this!