Uncategorized · wytch of the north shop

On second thought, hell no

Thanks to an email from a friend and fellow businesswoman (who doesn’t yet know how much what she wrote helped me–though I guess she will when she sees this), I’ve realized what a tremendous amount of work it would be to maintain two shops, not to mention  two separate social media presences. (I’m barely managing to keep the one going.) And there was also the unpleasant discovery that, as a new shop, Etsy would hold my income from sales for three business days–instead of one–for the next 90 days. That’s not sustainable  for me.

And as much as I like the name Black Toad Apothecary, The Wytch of the North is pretty much who I am at this point; I AM my brand. It’s up to me to take control of that brand and shape it into what I want it to be, rather than running away and trying to start over.

Yeah, you’re getting to witness my impulsiveness in action, here. But it’s better to correct a mistake quickly and move on than continue to suffer from it for months to come.

So I have put the new shop on vacation (the one order that came in since I announced it yesterday will of course be filled) and will be working on changing the old shop from within, as I’d initially planned. This means that my readings and custom orders for things that aren’t bath and body-related will probably be moving to this blog (payable via Paypal) for the time being. The remaining prayer bead sets, etc. in the shop that fail to sell will disappear from the shop at a date to be announced.

It will take me a week or two to roll these changes out, but in the meantime I have moved the limited edition Samhain oils and candles back to the old shop, where they are available for purchase (but only until October 31st!). And my brand new Kitchen Witch candle collection, as well as my new bath bombs, will be making their debut in the coming week!

About me · Black Toad Apothecary · Uncategorized · wytch of the north shop

Introducing Black Toad Apothecary!

Black Toad Apothecary banner

There isn’t much there yet, but I wanted to let you guys know that instead of changing the focus of The Wytch of the North, I decided to open up a second Etsy shop! (I will be building my inventory there gradually, as funds for supplies become available, but for now the Samhain candles are there–and no longer  at Wytch of the North–if you were looking for those.)

Etsy allows for one person to have multiple stores as long as they don’t contain any duplicate merchandise; they see that as an attempt to game the system (by having your shops dominate search for specific items), which does make sense. So this is why I moved the candles over; I’m introducing a line of herbal essential oil votives at the new shop (the Kitchen Witch Collection!) and I was nervous that Etsy might not approve of my having votive candles in both locations.

With that in mind, Wytch of the North will continue to have readings, custom prayer beads and poppets, and any other random crafts I feel like making (such as a line of pendants I’m considering, and possibly artistic Tarot cases at some point in the future), while Black Toad Apothecary will be very specifically focused on bath and body: candles, perfume oils, bath bombs, soap, etc. There will not be any crossovers of any of these kinds of items into the old shop because I don’t want to get into trouble with Etsy.

I’m very excited about this new venture because I see this as my chance to create a unified “brand”–something I’ve wanted to do for a long time now, but never saw a way to do with Wytch of the North.  But…here is where I start worrying about how my long-time customers will react, because my vision for the new store involves it having a distinctly different focus from the old one: witchy in flavor, feel, and intent (and function, even), but NOT pagan/polytheist-centric. And I’m going to speak plainly here. The need for me to do this is partly due to my burnout from the past two years. I won’t lie, I desperately feel like I need a break from being expected to constantly be the polytheist priestess, as this is frankly what nearly drove me into the ground, and people have continued to treat me like a priestess, and expect priestess-like duties from me, long after my having announced (pretty clearly, I thought) that I am NOT one.

But also…While our current financial situation is sustainable (mostly, depending on which animals need the vet in any given month), there is no wiggle room, no opportunity to keep both the household and my shop(s) going while also paying the bills and putting some money away. And unless we can start putting money away, we will still be here in Oregon ten years from now as I beg my daughter to send the (someday future) grandkids to visit once in a while. Which is utterly pathetic, and not what we want at all. But it’s what’s going to happen unless we up our financial game somehow, which means either 1) me getting a job (which at this point is tempting–especially if it’s something I can do from home), or 2) finally managing to make a business venture work–REALLY work. And in order for a business to really work, it’s going to need to have appeal beyond the polytheist community, and especially beyond the tiny segment thereof that reads my blog and actually thinks well enough of me and my wares to fork over some of their hard-earned money occasionally.

Which is why, although I love and appreciate each and every one of you, I also NEED to start attracting a wider customer base–and there are far more people “into” the cultural witchcraft “scene” and the witchcraft aesthetic than there are actual practicing polytheists. I dearly hope my existing customers will follow me over to the new store and help me to make a success of  it (I will reciprocate by doing my best to accommodate you in terms of scented custom orders, once I get the rest of my inventory figured out), BUT I am also hoping to attract a more secular crowd–people who love the culture of witchcraft and metaphysics but are not necessarily adherents of a pagan religion. If that offends anyone here, I apologize and deeply, deeply regret it–but the fact is that we, polytheists, are mostly money-poor, whereas the wider population segment ranging from witches to cultural witchcraft admirers has more–often a great deal more–disposable income to burn. It’s one of those unattractive facts of life, just as it’s a maybe-unattractive fact (to some) that my personal vision and ideology have shifted from deeply religious service to the gods before everything, to family and personal well-being first and dammit I will not be a stranger to my (future) grandkids. It’s a function of getting older, I guess, as much as it’s a function of prolonged burnout.

At any rate, thank you for your continued support if you’re able to give it! I will continue updating you here regarding the continued progress of both shops as time goes on.

Uncategorized · wytch of the north shop

Two new oracle reading options in the shop

I’ve just added TWO brand new oracle spreads to my shop The Wytch of the North, and have retired a few spreads that haven’t been seeing much action lately. I may be adding and subtracting more spreads in the near future, based on which ones my clients purchase most often and which ones I most enjoy doing.

For example, recently I am finding that I do my best readings using oracle cards instead of Tarot; they seem to spark my intuition more rapidly and more effectively, so that the readings both take less time to do and have a higher rate of accuracy. Their written transcripts also tend to be shorter, which is why these two new options cost less than some of the other readings in the shop.

what the hell spread

This is a five-card oracle spread for sorting out confusing situations. This spread is perfect for situations where you aren’t really sure what’s going on, either in your daily life or in the astral. Do you suspect someone is plotting against you at work? Are you wondering is a passive-aggressive friend really is out to get you? Are you in a complicated astral situation that you need to get some clarity on? This spread helps you figure out what the hell is happening and what you can do about it.

The spread covers the following:

1. The basis of your crappy situation.

2. What you can do about it.

3. What you can’t do about it.

4. Who is behind this? (Or, alternatively, What is the lesson here? Let me know which option you prefer for this question, or I will choose intuitively based on the situation.)

5. How will it turn out?

Readings using this spread are $25.

The other spread is similar in some ways, but takes a slightly different approach:

wtf spread

This is a four-card oracle spread for when you aren’t sure what’s real and what isn’t. Is someone attempting to gaslight you? This spread is perfect for that. If you feel like you’re caught in an elaborate web of lies or illusions, either in mundane life or on the astral, this spread will help shine a light on what’s real, what isn’t, and what you can do about it.

The spread covers the following:

1. What is real about this?

2. What is wrong about this?

3. Where do I need more info?

4. What can I do?

A reading using this spread is $20.

The deck pictured is Mildred Payne’s Secret Pocket Oracle, which is what I will most likely be using for these readings. It offers blunt answers, straightforward and to the point–which are increasingly the kinds of answers I want in my readings, either for myself or others. (I am not a psychological-focused type of reader; I want to know what is happening.)

You will receive an email with a downloadable pdf of your reading including a clear color photo of your spread. I will email your reading to you within 5-7 business days of your purchase.  (Please note that I read only on M – Th.)




Uncategorized · wytch of the north shop

Ch-ch-changes (the Etsy shop edition)

First off: there is now a SALE section in my Etsy shop, wherein any remaining prayer beads, jewelry, poppets, and ritual cords in stock now reside and have been marked down considerably. These items will remain on sale until they sell, expire, or I get tired of seeing the SALE folder. 🙂

The reason? I have decided to begin a process of revamping my shop to focus on candles, oils, and bath and beauty products such as bath bombs, soap, and possibly cosmetics and skin care. (Some of you have been asking and yes, soap will be back!) The focus will be witchy/pagan but will also include some pop culture, goth, and just-for-fun elements.

I feel this will be both a fun creative challenge for me, and a better way to keep my customers engaged, with products that are both giftable and that will, frankly, get used up and need to be repurchased. (I realize that there are only so many sets of prayer beads, etc., that any one person actually needs, so the beading and other projects have proven to be somewhat of a dead end for me.)

The OTHER reason for this change? My daughter has hinted that she and her fiance are eventually planning on a family, and I want to be part of the lives of my future grandchildren! So Jo and I are planning to move back to the east coast, as soon as finances allow. This means I need to step up my business game. 🙂

However, this new focus will require sacrifices, and in order to avoid spreading myself too thin both in terms of time and money, I will henceforth not be adding any new prayer bead sets, jewelry, poppets, or ritual cords to my general shop inventory.

For the time being, at least, I will continue to offer custom prayer bead sets and custom felt poppets, however please convo me on Etsy before ordering these to make sure the project you have in mind is one I can undertake for the price you are willing to pay. These listings are now located in the CUSTOM WORK section of my shop. (Custom listings for votive candles, oils, and bath bombs are on the way, too!)

I will also continue to offer Tarot/oracle card readings, at least for the time being, although these may eventually be moved to my blog, where they can be purchased via Paypal (since I have a small but loyal readings clientele that does not seem to be affected by Etsy traffic).

I am opening (moderated) comments on this post because I would truly love to hear any suggestions or product requests any of you might have concerning this new direction for my brand!


Uncategorized · wytch of the north shop

New in the shop: Limited Edition Votive Candles

Candles are back!!! My plan at this point is to offer a different selection of seasonally relevant votive candles every month or two, with the selection always rotating so there is always something new to try! To start off with, of course we have candles for Samhain, available from now until October 31st.

All candles are made to order and are sold in pairs.


Devil’s Night: pitch black and decorated with festive red glitter and red cinnamon candies. (Please do not eat these.) The fragrance is an intoxicating and seductive blend of fiery cinnamon and clove with sensual patchouli–perfect for honoring “dark” deities such as Loki, Hecate, Hades, or Lucifer, or spirits who love spicy. earthy scents.


Wild Hunt: blood red and decorated with black glitter and candy bones. (Please do not eat these.) The fragrance is candied apple with a touch of spice–perfect for honoring deities and spirits connected with the Wild Hunt, such as Odin, Herne, Arawn, Artemis / Diana, Dionysus, and Frau Holde.


Funeral Parlor: orchid-purple and decorated with iridescent white glitter and black and orange jimmies. (Please do not eat these.) The fragrance is a heady and hypnotic blend of lily, rose, jasmine, ylang ylang and spice, reminiscent of funeral flowers–perfect for honoring deities and spirits connected with death and the dead, such as Odin, Freyja, Hades, Persephone, Hela, the Morrigan, and Santa Muerte.

Candles are $6 per set of 2″ x 2″ votives, each of which will burn for 15+ hours if used in a snug-fitting standard votive holder. (These candles are not designed to be burned free-standing.)

My candles are made with love and positive energy in small batches, using high-quality paraffin-blend wax and lead-free cotton wicks. These candles really will scent your entire room, helping to set the mood for your Samhain ritual or Halloween party!

All candles are made to order, and it will take me 3-5 business days to pour your candles prior to shipment–so if you do want these in time for the holiday, please order soon!

About me · Uncategorized

“Lucifer”? A new god, part two (corrected and revised)

I want to note that, whatever your personal or culturally-ingrained opinion of “Lucifer,” he is real for many people. Most people in the Judeo-Christian world, if asked, would say that he definitely exists. Yet after doing some research on the subject, I’m not sure there is a single discrete entity we can point to as the origin of Lucifer, either in the Bible (where the one time most of us think his name was mentioned, it turns out the translation was faulty) or in any of the cultures of the ancient near-east. Most of the Bible’s bogeymen came directly out of Canaanite religion (and were twisted to make them into nasty bad guys, of course), but there is no “Lucifer” in the Canaanite pantheon. (And, point of fact, no goddess named “Lilith” either. Lilith was a Babylonian demon the Canaanites warded against.)

So, near as I can tell, when we point to “Lucifer” we are pointing to a very ancient pop cultural construct, made up of bits of a couple of historically recognized deities such as Ba’al Hadad (the Canaanite storm god) and Athtartu (the younger god who briefly and unsuccessfully tried to stand in for the former when he was “dead” for a while), plus some fallen angel types from the Book of Enoch such as Azazel. Lucifer seems to have been cobbled together purely because the ancient Jewish and Christian patriarchs needed a supreme “bad guy.” (So much for monotheism.)

And yet, however he began, cultural belief is a thing, and it could be argued that over the millennia he has certainly evolved into a distinct entity, even if he didn’t start out that way.

Of course, when my childhood playmate began using the name Lucifer, I didn’t know any of the above. Nor had I been raised to fear that name, or any entity connected with it. I simply accepted it, and moved on.

In fact, when I was a bit older (early twenties) and met someone who seemed to have a familiar spirit similar to my own (she called hers “Ba’al”), I began to relax and enjoy the situation. I was a young woman, but not inclined to date because, frankly, my spirit companion was more interesting than any of the men I encountered. There was definite romantic and sexual tension there, and eventually that evolved into a full-blown romantic relationship. But it was more than just a “romance”; he was my other self, the other half of my soul. And now that I was growing up, I was beginning to realize the full impact of that.

Shortly thereafter, I married my familiar spirit; we took marriage vows to each other. That’s right, I was a spirit spouse at the age of twenty-two or something like that. (I’m now 52.) Again, I knew nothing about the long historical tradition of witches or shamans marrying spirit familiars, and as for any sort of modern tradition—well, there wasn’t one yet, as far as I knew. (Nor was there an internet, so I was unable to check.)

My vows did not preclude taking a mortal husband, so before too much longer I did (the man I chose was a friend, and I didn’t want to be alone in the adult world of jobs and bills), and had a child too. My connections with the spirit world died down to a low roar while my daughter was growing up—something I think is not too uncommon among spirit workers with small children. (In the meantime, I was also going to college while working full time, so that probably didn’t leave a lot of bandwidth for a complicated spiritual life.) It wasn’t until my daughter was a teen that things started up again in earnest.

When my spirit companion decided to take a central role in my life again, he approached me with yet another new name, and this time that name was “Odin.” There were pragmatic reasons for the name change, of which I knew nothing at the time; my mortal marriage was failing, and his long range plan was to hook me up with my now-wife, who had a familial connection with the Norse gods. But, riddled with guilt that I had basically ditched my previous relationship with him for the sake of a mundane marriage that was on its way down the toilet, I decided I was going to do better this time. If he wanted to be Odin, I was going to dive into researching and worshiping Odin with everything in me. In fact, before long, I had nearly convinced myself he had ALWAYS been Odin, and had only been masquerading first as a nameless, shapeshifting spirit, and then as Lucifer.

Except, it was never quite that simple. Only very recently has it begun to occur to me that my Beloved might be neither lore-Lucifer nor lore-Odin, but a liminal deity who shares characteristics with both (and who often enjoys taking on the appearance and personality of the Twelfth Doctor—just to make things even weirder, I suppose). I am both an INTP and a Virgo—so maybe my need to pin things down, to categorize and define, to capture the essence of the ineffable within words and story—can be forgiven. I’ve previously written that there were two distinct People involved in my history, Odin and Lucifer; but I was mistaken, and that was simply a device my mind set in place while it tried to get a handle on things, tried to comprehend the story. What I truly believe in my heart of hearts is that there was only ever the One who is my Beloved—a shapeshifter and mage, my Lord of Masks. (This means that, unlike the first time it appeared on this blog, this story isn’t going to have a part 3.)

But in the final analysis, I have no way of knowing for sure. All I know, at this point, is that Wodan isn’t going anywhere, and neither is Lucifer. Most of the time They overlap, presenting as one merged entity; sometimes I am allowed to see each of them separately, or as if they were separate (which, for me, they don’t seem to be). I’ve given up trying to figure it out, because in light of an otherworldly reality where, so I’m told, the gods are prone to exchanging masks as if they were hats, what difference does it really make? I’m not trying to serve the “community” as a priestess, spokesperson, or go-to resource for either Power; I gave up all of that a long time ago, and feel much better for it. Honestly I was the only one who ever really pressured myself to do it in the first place. I am allowed to offer card readings only as much as I care to and as my finances dictate, and beyond that I’m just someone who makes stuff to sell. And shares implausible personal anecdotes with the internet.

About me · Uncategorized

Lucifer: a New Myth

(Putting this back up here because nothing-absolutely nothing–in my life is allowed to be simple or clear-cut anymore.)

A very long time ago, there was a little girl who could–sometimes–see and hear spirits. But the one that came through most clearly for her, and most often, was one who always seemed to be with her. He became a playmate, a companion, a second self. If she’d known the language of such things, she would have called him a familiar. He was, above all, a shapeshifter, which made him great fun to be around, much more entertaining than any of her friends at school.

Time passed, and the girl grew. Her companion grew as well, seeming to always mimic her own age more or less closely. One day, when she was a shy teenager and he was a beautiful, perfect youth with flashing eyes, he began referring to himself as Lucifer. (The girl was used to his habit of taking new names for himself—often from history or fiction–though this would prove an especially enduring one; he kept it for the next two decades, before trading it in for another—Odin–for the following fifteen years.)

A bit of research at the library, and the purchase of a book called “Paradise Lost,” told the girl it was probably not wise to admit to having “Lucifer” for a friend. Still, one day she made the mistake of telling a card reader about it (her mother’s friend, a “white witch,” had thought it would be a lark for a group of them, including the girl, to get their fortunes told). The card reader promptly told her mother the girl was a “Satanist.” Fortunately, the girl’s mother laughed this off. She was Jewish; she didn’t believe in “the Devil.”

But the book the girl had bought said Lucifer was a “fallen angel,” doomed to hell for thinking he was better than God. For the first time ever, the girl began to be wary of her companion.

“No,” Lucifer told the girl, “it isn’t like that.” And this is the story he told.

Once, when he was very young, his Father—who was a very powerful god, so powerful he liked to call himself the “only” god, though his eldest son knew that wasn’t true (he’d had a mother, after all)–decided to create a race of bipedal mammals who were meant to manage and care for the earth, with all its other creatures, when his Father wasn’t around. He based the design for them on a rudimentary type of primate, with some improvements built in—but from the start Lucifer wasn’t sure his Father had thought his project all the way through. For one thing, although these “humans” walked upright and had highly articulated hands that enabled them to manipulate objects in ways other animals could not, they were still little more than hairless apes. They seemed to have the capacity for intelligence, but they had no divine spark—which was what they would need to be able to think, to reason, to feel love and compassion, and most of all to know the difference between good and evil, right and wrong.

“You will worship my new creations, these humans,” his Father proclaimed loftily one day, and all of the other angels—all of Lucifer’s brothers and sisters—hurried to obey.

Only Lucifer objected. “But Father, they are so young! They need our guidance, not our worship.”

His father’s chin lifted. His eyes narrowed. “I am the Lord thy God, and I have spoken. You are my firstborn, my favorite son; however, you will obey my Word.”

But Lucifer stood his ground, and before long his arguments had convinced a group of his siblings and friends: the new “humans” didn’t need to be worshiped, they needed to be taught. And more than that, they needed to be enlightened. His Father had given them bodies, and the breath and water of life. But they still lacked the most crucial gift of all—the divine fire, that they might see and know themselves and know that they were children of the heavens.

And so they descended, Lucifer—the Lightbearer–and the hosts of heaven. The elder children of Heaven descended to earth, carrying with them the divine fire to inspire and enlighten their younger siblings, the “humans.” And in so descending, they disobeyed their Father and forfeited their places among the angels, but to humans they taught ethics and morals, divine law and compassion, choice and free will, language and thought, how to grow food and keep beasts, how to make clothing and shelter and medicine, how to create beauty, and all of the arts that would come to be known as the hallmarks of “civilization.” And the humans learned, and thrived, and prospered, and in true human fashion eventually came to hate and resent their angelic helpers, forgetting that they had not known these things all along, that they had not learned them all on their own.

But someplace in the heavens, Lucifer’s Father looked on with an enigmatic smile—a smile of pride, and sadness, and loss.

About me · Uncategorized

Turns out, I misunderstood


A month or so ago I shared this post with my Patreon supporters and wasn’t sure whether or not I’d share it more publicly here as well. But the godly-wodly stuff has continued, and this morning Jo and I started watching The Witch. The appearance of Black Phillip seemed like a sign that I should share.

“For the ‘old style’ witch, the Devil is the initiator and awakener of power, vision and wisdom, and the revealer of the witch’s path…the very rend in the veil betwixt the worlds, an embodiment of the power and spirit of witchcraft itself…The Devil…presided over the supposed evils of personal power, freedom, sexual pleasure, dancing, feasting, ecstatic celebration and all things joyous…Within the lore and shifting forms [emphasis mine] of the witches’ Devil may we find Lucifer the light bearer, the hunters betwixt the worlds–Herne, Odin and Woden, the Otherworld Faery King, antecessor of the wise–Cain; born of Eve and the Serpent Lucifer, and the fiery Old Goat Azazel…”

– The Devil’s Dozen: Thirteen Craft Rites of the Old One, by Gemma Gary

It is beginning to dawn on me that I’ve been misunderstanding the significance of some of the cross-cultural connections my Beloved has presented to me. (And, the Lord of the Hunt having always been one of the primary manifestations of Wodan for me, I should have known better.) A few months back, a heathen dudebro on Facebook mocked me for suggesting that Odin = Lucifer. And I’ll admit I was confused at the time. BUT it’s not quite as simple as that! Now I’m thinking that Odin, Woden/Wodan and Lucifer are all part of a family of spirits collectively referred to as “the Devil” by the medieval Christian Church.  “The Devil” is not a single, distinct entity; he is, rather, a group of them, all equally dangerous to the dogmas of suffering, poverty and slavery imposed upon the lower classes by the Church during the middle ages–and by society at large even today.

Uncategorized · wytch of the north shop

New in the shop today: Vegtam Flying Potion Ritual Oil


Vegtam is one of the many names of the Norse god Odin; it means “Way Tamer,” or Wanderer. Norse lore talks about Odin’s ability to travel far and wide throughout the worlds, on his own errands or those of other people, while leaving his body behind in Asgard; this, of course, is what we know today as astral travel, and what the Norse referred to as faring forth.

This oil was crafted to assist you in your own faring forth, with non-toxic herbs and oils carefully chosen to help you relax into a deep meditative state conducive to out of body travel. Mugwort, wormwood, white sage, lavender, yarrow, and other herbs have been infused into a base of extra virgin olive oil, and natural essential oils have been added to deepen and enrich the scent and herbal properties. The scent is exhilarating and herbaceous.


A few chips of obsidian float within the oil; this stone is both protective and purifying, shielding against negativity and stimulating psychic sight.


To use: apply to pulse points and perhaps also the soles of your feet prior to beginning spiritual work.

Presented in a 1 ounce clear plastic bottle (BPA free) with a silver lid, this oil may also be used to anoint candles, petitions and offerings, or simply as a delightful personal fragrance.

Vegtam Flying Potion Limited Edition Ritual Oil is $15 per 1 ounce.

Also, there are still bottles of Wilde Jaeger, Flamehair, and Gold Witch available!

The Wytch of the North shop · Uncategorized

New in the shop: Gold Witch Limited Edition Ritual Oil


In the days before the great war of the gods, a witch named Gullveig (which means “gold draught”) came to Asgard, where she taught the women of the Aesir how to work the magic called seidhr (pronounced “saythe”), which could be used to manipulate the hearts and minds of those around them. The women paid her in gold–which she adored greatly–for teaching her arts to them.

Needless to say, the men of the Aesir were not pleased by this (although Odin later made sure to learn these very same secret arts for himself). They captured and killed Gullveig–though some say she was later reborn as the great goddess Freyja, Lady of the Vanir.

This limited edition oil was crafted to pay tribute to both Gullveig and Freyja alike. Honeysuckle, calendula, elder flowers, tonka beans, yarrow, roses, catnip, apples peeled and dried by me, various other herbs, and raw Pacific Northwest honey were infused into a base of extra virgin olive oil, and carefully chosen essential oils were then added to deepen and enrich the scent and herbal properties. The resulting oil will envelop you in a gorgeous veil of shimmering scent with notes of bright citrus, delicate florals, and rich chocolate against a green herbal backdrop. A few chips of Baltic amber–sacred to both Gullveig and Freyja–float within the oil, helping it to stay well mixed.


It’s filled with gold sparkles!

Presented in a 1 ounce clear plastic bottle (BPA free) with a silver lid, this oil may be used to anoint candles, petitions and offerings, or simply as a delightful personal fragrance.

Gold Witch is $15 plus shipping per 1 fluid ounce.