Fighting for Your business rights an interview with Lila ElWood of Wild Witchery

Many pagans think about running their own business.  They often dream about providing products and services for their faith community.  These products and services run from workshops and teaching to creating ritual tools and items for the religious practices.  Many of them don’t ever believe that someone would want to cause them stress or ill will.  When that trouble does come how does a small business protect themselves and manage to stay afloat?

I interviewed Lila Elwood one of the owners of Wild Witchery to find out more about her battle and how this has impacted them going further.

Loona Wynd: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your Business?

Lila Elwood: I have been a practicing Pagan for about 25 years now. On my mothers side of the family we are Iroquois and I was raised in native tradition. By the time I was 12 European Paganism/Witchcraft piqued my interest and I started down that path with no regrets.

I attended American University where I received my BA in Religious Studies-concentration on Ancient Mediterranean Religions with a minor in Ancient History of the same region. I am married and have 2 children and currently live in Yorktown VA- where our Business Wild Witchery is based out of.

We are primarily an e-commerce business specializing in creating Ritual Oil Perfumes, Candles, Bath & Body, Skincare, Hand Wrapped Amulets & Crystals. I have been making these items inside and out of Business for about 10 years now.

Loona Wynd: What inspired you to start Wild Witchery?

 

 

Lila Elwood: I had a business prior to this called Lady Leigh’s Apotheca, which was primarily an apothecary & didn’t focus too much on the metaphysical side, but offered similar items: bath and body, aromatherapy perfumes, plus teas and healing items. But I wanted to focus on the metaphysical. I wanted to offer really great products that were infused with Magick because i believe every aspect of your life has the ability to be infused with magick and sacredness- right down to the soap you use, lotion or perfume you apply or the jewelry you wear.

My friend now business partner and I had been talking about/dreaming about having a metaphysical shop together as our skills complimented each other, she focuses on crystals and jewelry and i on the herbal/bath body aspects. So this time last year we just went for it and started laying the foundations of what Wild Witchery now is.

Loona Wynd: You claim that you and your partner received a Cease and Desist letter. What was it for and about?

Lila Elwood:Yes, My business partner & I received a letter via email claiming  copyright and trademark infringement on 2 of our products, Amatus & Yule Ritual Perfume Oils. The letter demanded that we stop selling these items, remove them from all social media & pay the complainant $5,000 + their legal fees potentiallyThe letter also claimed issues with “Trade Dress”

Loona Wynd: Can you explain what they meant by “Trade Dress”?

Lila Elwood: I wasn’t sure what this was either until talking with our lawyer, it is the look and feel of the product.

Loona Wynd: Did they give you a further explanation about what it could entail? Feel and look of a product could cover a lot of things.

Lila Elwood: The complainant feels that our products look the same as hers – we DID at one point, use the same cap style on our bottles as theirs, and we also tie ribbons around our bottles to fill in void space. However, the bottles and caps we buy are available through multiple suppliers that sell to the public, and there are MANY other business’ who also use this same bottle/cap style for their ritual oils and perfumes as well.  in recent months however, the complainant has changed their cap style and discontinued use of the ribbon so really, there should be no conflict with this.

Loona Wynd: What actions have you taken to defend yourself and your craft?  It seems something named after a holiday such as your Yule Perfume Oil couldn’t be trademarked as holidays are open to anyone who follows those traditions, and there are many religious traditions which celebrate Yule.

Lila Elwood: We did a lot of research as to what constitutes trademark/copyright infringement. While the complainant holds NO federally registered trademarks/copyrights, they are alleging these charges based on seniority. They came out with these products first – which the law allows – sort of.

Common Names do not count in the eyes of the law – and as we all know, Yule is a common word/name/a holiday in our spiritual tradition. Many Pagans also make use of other languages when naming their products, i have half a dozen products named in various languages, which is how Amatus, which means Beloved in Latin, was named. Yet, it is uncommon enough to be misconstrued as trademark infringement.

After consulting with our Lawyer we agreed it was probably best to discontinue the use of the name Amatus, so we have removed our Amatus line from our Website and Etsy.

Yet there is another well known business who is selling a ritual oil using the same latin name as one of the complainants products of the same nature! But we want to keep the peace.

However we will NOT be doing the same with Yule. Yule is a sabbat and it belongs to everyone. No one person can trademark our holidays and the products we create inspired by those holidays.

We gathered examples of other Yule Ritual Oils from other Pagan businesses as evidence that we, nor the complainant are the only ones marketing a Yule Oil Blend

Loona Wynd: Is the Amatus line going to be discontinued completely or are you thinking about renaming it?

Lila Elwood:  We will simply rename it and re-release it.

Loona Wynd: What is the next step for you in this fight?

Lila Elwood:  Our Lawyer will be offering the complainant a settlement we discontinue the use of Amatus. But that’s it. Examples of other Yule oil products will be included in defense of out product & other business’ right to create sabbat oil blend, and we will not be paying them any money. We just released our Ostara oil so we’re honestly waiting on the other shoe to drop to speak!

Hopefully, that is the end of it. We do not want a huge dispute. We’re a micro business, small fish in the pond compared to the complainant who compared to other business’ in our niche, is a large corporation.

Loona Wynd: Given the small size of your business it must have been a shock to receive the letter. What went through your minds?

Lila Elwood: I was SHOCKED. I panicked, they were demanding $5,000 from us, we’ve made just under that amount in sales- not being that familiar with the law, I thought this was a formal lawsuit. i was envisioning us having to close up shop, being bullied out of business by the larger corporation

My business partner was not as shocked as i was. In hindsight we should have seen this coming, we had noticed in recent weeks personal friends of the complainant liking some of our social media statues and asking to join our Facebook groups.

Loona Wynd: So they had spies?  Friends checking you out and seeing what you were about?  Are any of those people still in your groups etc?

Lila Elwood: It kind of seems that way to us.   we never admitted these people to our groups and they have been blocked on social media

Loona Wynd: Are you taking any actions to protect yourself in the future?

Lila Elwood: Protection- YES! Our lawyer has implored us to trademark the names of our products – at least at the state level. In VA it costs $30 to trademark a product within state lines. My partner was apprehensive to go this route with trademarking the names of our holidays, and i agree with her, they belong to the community. However, the lawyer has assured us we do not have to enforce these trademarks, but they are there for if/when another situation like this comes about.

Loona Wynd: What advise would you give other small businesses should they receive a Cease and Desist letter or any actions along those lines?
Lila Elwood:  If you receive such a letter, research and consult with a lawyer, absolutely. Don’t Panic! It is not the end of your business, and don’t give in. Consulting with a Lawyer or having a lawyer draw up paperwork is not as expensive as you’d think. It cost us $250 to employ the help of a lawyer. But also, i do suggest researching the name you’re considering. We did not do that because we figured “we’re small & no threat to anyone” & also because we were naive thinking that no one would take issue with our business.how wrong we were! So research unique names, if a business is offering a similar product named the same thing, move on to the next name, no matter how perfect it was. And definitely look into getting state trademarks on the names of your products, if only for your protection.Loona Wynd: Is there anything else you would like to say about this situation or add?

Lila Elwood:  It is my opinion that the complainant is trying to corner the market on the type of items that we offer and is trying to scare the small business’ who offer similar items out of business. We all have a right to be here, we all have a right to create magickal products and market them – which certainly includes sabbat products named after the sabbats. To think you are the only person who has rights to these names and holidays makes you arrogant. Live and let live.

It seems like no matter what we do in this world there is always someone who will try to rain on your parade.  This author firmly believes that if you want to run a business you should try and go for it.  Live for your dreams and follow your path.  Don’t let yourself get discouraged.  Learn from articles like this and take their advice.  There is room for us all as we all have something different to offer.

If you would like to support and see the products and services provided by Wild Witchery: Wild Witchery

Charissa Iskiwitch, she changes everything she touches

The words renaissance business woman is not something that many toss around, but that is exactly the phrase I would use for the person who I will be interviewing. Her name is Charissa Iskiwitch and this is why you want to know her.

Charissa Iskiwitch

For those who do not know the woman behind the curtain of one of the most dynamic growing organizations founded for Pagan businesses, who is Charissa Iskiwitch?

I am a practicing witch, healer, teacher and business owner.  I was born and grew up in Northwest Georgia.  I learned a love of nature and plants from my mother and grandmother and a love of doing things with my hands from both sides of my family.  I live on a 21 acre farm in Southern Appalachia with my husband and a whole herd of cats and dogs.

Let’s start at the beginning. How long have you been a Pagan and a business woman? And when did the two intersect?

I have identified as Pagan since the mid 80’s when I met a phenomenal wise woman that took me under her wing.  She invited me into her Circle and treated me as if I was one of them.  The entire Circle taught me all about their ways from the folk uses of herbs and animals to the spiritual side of gratitude to our gods.  I was always extremely spiritual and active in whatever church I was involved in even as a child and teenager.  This path touched me in a way I had never been touched before and sparked something inside me that has never gone out even all these years later.

My father was a business owner and he instilled in me the need to work for myself.  I have had jobs.  But I have also always done my own thing.  As a teenager I worked in fast food restaurants while building up an Avon business.  I worked at the library in college and started a dorm room business cutting cadets’ hair and sewing patches on their uniforms.  (I went to a military college) I later sold other lines like Princess House and Pampered Chef, made crafts with my sister and sold them at craft shows, started a firm to oversee tax credit properties and keep them in compliance with government regulations and went into business with my husband making coffee mugs with photos on them. This was all before the internet so marketing was much more expensive and on a smaller scale.

Currently my husband and I run Charissa’s Cauldron (http://CharissasCauldron.com ) and Kit’s Flea (http://kitsflea.com ).  Charissa’s Cauldron carries things I make as well as some other magickal supplies.  I make natural remedies, hoodoo waters and some other little tidbits.  I do some art but have not ever listed it in my shop.  I might decide to at some point. 

Can you tell us a little more about your business?

I started Charissa’s Cauldron shortly after we moved out into the country.  I have studied and worked with plants and other natural materials for years.  As an herbalist moving to a property that has both fields and woods was a dream come true.  The first line of products I decided to offer was flower remedies.  I have worked with and made flower remedies for years for family and friends.  Having access to so many different plants gave me the opportunity to have an ever expanding line of remedies to which I later added crystals. 

Charissa’s Cauldron

Since then I have added a line of Goddess, Lunar and Elemental Waters to the brand.  I sell retail through the website and have several shops and vendors selling my product on consignment.  I offer a unique program for retailers allowing them to not only make a profit from items sold in their store but also from sales made on my website.

What was your first brush with the wonderful worlds I like to call the American Neo Pagan Diaspora?

I was a part of what most Pagans would call a coven when I got started.  We just called it Circle. I went through 5 years of rigorous training.  The people that I circled with then had some unfortunate experiences with the greater Pagan world and instilled a little bit of fear in me about networking outside the Circle.  So later, when I was forced for geographical reasons to become solitary I stayed that way for quite a while.  Then I found a small shop that promoted a more social approach.  I kept quiet about my experience and played it as if I was brand new because my people had told me that I would not be accepted and could even be harassed. 

I realize now that was a mistake based on their limited experience with a local traditional Gardnerian coven.  It did make it harder to be taken seriously as a leader later on because some people remember me being “new” in those days.  I know that sounds crazy but people tend to do a lot of stupid things based on fear.

This led to your involvement and eventual leadership roles in your communities. Tell us what that was like.

When I first started seeking out others after going solitary I found covens galore but not much locally for solitaries.  Finally a friend forwarded something from Meetup.com to me.  It was a time and date at a local restaurant for witches to meet in our area.   I went with two friends and we found that that restaurant and time and date had been set automatically by Meetup.com.  There was one couple there.  There was no real life organizer setting up the meetings or planning any kind of activities.  So, my two friends volunteered me to step in as organizer.  That was in 2004. 

North Georgia Solitaires – PublicFBimage

The following year Meetup.com started charging organizers to use the service so we moved to a Yahoo Group as our means of communication.  Shortly thereafter we changed the name of the group from Marietta/Roswell Witches Meetup to North Georgia Solitaries (http://NGSolitaries.com).  From there we grew into a group that traveled together to festivals, put on festivals, put on open rituals every Sabbat, did community service work and helped local businesses network.  We started a charity – Pagan Assistance Fund and ran that for a few short years.    

Looking back, when you were earning your stripes in leadership and the social webbing of the various causes and societies, what do you wish you could have told your younger self if you had a time machine?

Do not be afraid to be who you are.  Do not let others bully you because your pedigree does not fit into their experience.   If you want to teach, teach.  If you want to heal, heal.  Helping others build their dreams is something you are called to do but do not let it derail your own dreams.

How different is it now?

The popularity of Wicca being the exclusive club that is somehow better or more legitimate than all others has shifted.  It is no longer unpopular to admit that your practice is not Wiccan.  As for leaders, I believe that true leadership is about walking the walk you talk about.

Too many leaders are out there telling us what to do and how to behave but not doing the “boots on the ground” work.  We still do not have a lot of the resources available to us as Pagans that the more mainstream businesses, religions, musicians, authors, artists, journalists and events have.

What things have improved? What things have seemed to regress or degenerate?

Society in general has changed both in positive and negative ways due to the internet.  Before the internet it was harder to find other Pagans to network with.  You had to actively seek them out in person or using snail mail.  Now you can find thousands on social media from the comfort of your own home.  On the flip side of that arguments can escalate within minutes because social media allows for instant responses before people have a chance to think things through.

Charissa Iskiwitch

 

What do you feel about the current state of Pagan leadership right now?

I believe there are many good people trying to do good things for the Pagan community.  There are so many more Pagans than there were 40 or 50 years ago.  Consequently, there are more people stepping up into leadership roles.

When it comes to our role in the landscape of U.S. Society, do you feel we are coming into our own as a group to be listened to in the places of power, or are we still back at the Starhawk point of activism?

I believe we still have a way to go.  The current political climate in the country makes me believe that minorities of all kinds, especially religious minorities have much more work ahead of us before we can expect widespread acceptance.

Do you see any new “Starhawk” level leaders on the field right now?

We owe much to the leaders that pioneered the freedoms we now enjoy.  We still have a lot to do and need leaders to step up and work to create a cohesive community for Pagans and remove the barriers that isolate us from mainstream society.  We have quite a few leaders that work through interfaith organizations to bring down some of the barriers.

Image: Pexels

Where have we progressed, in your view, when it comes to our festival relevance insofar as incorporating our gatherings with that of, say, the level of the local Baptist Picnic, or Elk’s cookout, in acceptance?

We are already starting to see a little more acceptance.  However, the social climate has taken a bit of an ugly turn recently causing some of the more vocal mainstream religious groups to target anything they do not understand and consequently fear.

When will we get there?

I believe it will get worse for all minorities before it gets better.

Do you believe it will be in our lifetimes that Paganism is on a par of freedom with other mainstream religions in this nation?

I would love to believe it will but I believe we will need another generation or more before the people running the country have evolved past the fear of differences.

What role do Pagan Businesses and Media play in making that happen?

I can only base my opinion on my own experiences.  I find that behaving professionally and speaking with tolerance effects more change than accusing and pointing fingers.

By being afforded first hand vision of how the sausage is made, so to speak, what has given you the perseverance to continue?

My father served in local government and instilled in me the need to serve community.  As early as my teen years I did what I could for my community.  From organizing a movement in my high school to make an unused corner of the property into an outdoor mini-park for students that wanted to spend their lunch or study hours outside, to traveling with my church group to lower-income communities and do chores like clearing an overgrown yard, painting houses, home repair and helping with the local Meals on Wheels program. After college I started a pet rescue operation in St. Louis helping to reunite lost pets with their owners and get unclaimed pets out of the pound and into foster homes while we looked for forever homes. When I joined the Pagan community it was natural for me to be drawn into service.

Image: Unsplash

No matter what kind of community service you are doing there are challenges.

Organizers and leaders must overcome those challenges for the good of their community. 

I continue to serve because I love community and people and feel that it is our duty as humans to try and bridge the gaps between different facets of the world so all can enjoy a safe and helpful community.

For a while you were doing events with Pagan Pride Project. How was that? And how did it affect your views on Pagan businesses?

Actually, I did not organize a Pagan Pride myself.  I support the Pagan Pride Project whole-heartedly.  For several years my organization, North Georgia Solitaries, provided labor for loading and unloading at Atlanta Pagan Pride.  One year we hit the road and attended Savannah Pagan Pride as a group and got there early so we could provide loading and unloading help.  We find that having a group of people helping vendors to unload and set up keeps traffic moving so other vehicles can pull up and get unloaded.

I was on the board of Church of the Spiral Tree that put on Auburn Pagan Pride a few years ago but I have to say that Linda Kerr did most of the work on organizing that.  I just helped out by providing ritual, a children’s activity table and a couple of workshops.  I offer my graphic design services free of charge for programs and marketing to any Pagan Pride that wants it.  I always donate product for fundraising to as many of the Pagan Prides I can.  

I organized two local events, Beltane Bash and Pagan Pathways Festival in addition to an open Sabbat celebration every Sabbat as well as an annual Litha camping trip for several years.

What was the thing that sparked your passion to create the Pagan Business Network?

My health the last few years has kept me from staying as active in the local community as I would like.  I am able to attend events if I do not have to travel too far, but the physical elements involved in putting on events was too much for me.  When I decided to start Charissa’s Cauldron I was looking for ways to network.  I did not find anything more than a few Facebook groups where you could post ads.  I wanted more.  My father taught me that if you cannot find the kind of organization you are looking for to create one.

I have been a member of many business networking organizations, some geared for women and some for local businesses.  They work.  I created a network for women business owners in my local community when I was running my family’s insurance agency after my father died. It just made sense for Pagan businesses to have a network.

Was this mainly an intellectual motivation that drove you, or was there something more at play?

I like to say jokingly that when I started my own business I got lonely.  That really is not that far from the truth.

Running a successful business means you must wear many hats.  Not all of us have the knowledge to wear all of those hats effectively.  For online retailers you need to have a place to sell online, create your product and market your product.  If you do not want to use a selling site like Etsy or Amaranth you need to have a way to put up a website.  You need to find suppliers that do not eat up your profit margin, learn how to take effective photographs and edit them, write effective copy, and learn how to market in a way that allows you to sell your product and still have enough left to restock and have a little left over as profit.

PBN News Ad

Having a network means we share our knowledge.  We are building lists of resources such as suppliers.  By adding an ezine such as PBN News we have a place we can help promote each other, keep up with community news and share information about events some of our businesses might want to be a part of. 

 

Our main website has pages that list all kinds of resources.  We have built some social media channels we use to promote community businesses, artists, authors, presenters and more.

 

When you hear the words, Pagan Business, what do you feel is the mental image most people have now?

I believe vendors and brick and mortar stores offering Pagan type goods come to mind first.

How do you want to change that?

Anyone doing something that requires getting the word out falls into the definition of business I want the Pagan Business Network to use.  This includes musicians, radio stations, authors, artists, podcasters, bloggers, presenters, teachers, clergy, causes, events, vendors, online stores, brick and mortar stores and so much more.

In your experience as a successful business owner, what do you observe to be the most difficult barrier to the success of niche businesses?

Targeting your demographic is crucial.  Today there are so many Pagans working to build a business of their own it makes it harder to get the attention needed.  Then there are big box places you can shop that are able to offer goods at lower prices.  I find that one of the best ways to stand out is to become known in the community.  If you are running a shop online get involved in online communities.  Not as a troll or someone pushing their business but more as someone that shows they care about the community and are willing to share knowledge and be present in discussions. 

You need to build credibility for buyers to feel comfortable buying your product.  Presenters and teachers need to build credibility to entice speaking engagements or students.  Musicians and authors will sell more of their work if they are viewed as approachable.

The Pagan Business Network was designed to do what?

PBN’s mission is to build resources through cooperation and collaboration.  In other words, bring the Pagan business community together rather than treat each other as competition.  We are always stronger together.

Pagan Business Network Ad

You built an empire. Just how expansive is this?

I would say that I am building a network.  I want to bring people together so we can all help each other find success in our chosen paths.

Can you tell us about your vision in the beginning vs. now?

Honestly, when I started this I really only expected to build a small group of businesses.  I did not anticipate how hungry our business community is for something like this. 

Instead of the 20-30 businesses I expected we have over 2000 businesses participating in one way or another.   With that growth the vision has grown. 

I was looking for a group of businesses to share knowledge and skills.  With the sheer number of people that have become a part of this we have expanded the vision to include providing actual promotion as well as a place for writers and budding writers to publish, a way for musicians to get their music heard in more places, and a place for business owners to be spotlighted so they can start building a larger presence.  I hope to see PBN add a few more resources to the table in the future.

What unforeseen challenges have arisen due to this labor of love?

As I mentioned before my health comes into play limiting what I can do.  My biggest personal challenge is setting limits for myself and not trying to do it all.

In what ways have you been able to master them? What has been your main support system?

I cannot take responsibility for mastering anything.  I have found a great team of people that are inspired by a similar vision.  That team makes all of this doable.  In that team I have found some friends that I hope to have for the rest of my life.  My husband keeps a close eye on me and calls a time out when I put my health at risk.  My mother supports anything I do regardless of how crazy it seems.  My chosen brother (meaning not by blood) always supports my wacky ideas and joins right in to help without question.

You are very gifted with creativity, which you have manifested in many ways. How did flower essences become your forte?

I am not sure that they are necessarily my forte.  I do many other healing methods as well.  I was first introduced to Bach Flower Remedies years ago when I was looking for some help dealing with grief.  I felt that I had to step up when my father died and take care of my mother, settle his estate and run his business until we decided what to do with it.  My sisters were not able to do any of that at the time.  I feel emotions deeply and found it hard to deal with the business at hand while grieving.  I found Bach and took them for a couple of years.  While I was taking them I read every book I could get my hands on and searched out as many websites as I could about them.  I started making them and experimenting with my own.  I decided that I was going to incorporate them into my healing methods. 

I am a Reiki master and have certifications in several other methods of healing including herbalism, color therapy, sound therapy and crystal therapy.  Essences just seemed to fit right in.

Pagan Business Network Flyer

Have you found that a change in the way they are accepted in the last few years?

I never really saw any acceptance problems.  Although I have seen some of the mainstream media personalities endorse Bach Flower Remedies.

What inspires your selections of herbs and blends for your products?

I tend to work primarily with what I have access to.  I often tell students they should start with the plants in their backyard before worrying about others.  I can find all the plant ingredients I need for just about any working within walking distance of my back door.

 

 

You have so many projects and creations, what management system do you use? Is there a small pixie with a rolodex in your pocket or what?

No, but I would love to find someone to keep my calendar up to date and organized.  For now I use Google calendars together with Google drive.  It seems to work for me.

Recently a change came about in the disposition of your businesses. Can you share what is going on right now?

My husband called a time out on me after a run of being in and out of the hospital this summer.  We decided that it would be best if I handed off the reins of PBN to someone else.  Rhiannon Hood, an exceptionally talented business owner has agreed to take on the leadership role of the Pagan Business Network.   I am moving into more of a right hand position to assist her.

How has your role changed in PBN?

I will continue to be extremely hands on.  I am currently launching a couple of columns for PBN News and a show on PBN Radio.

What is your wish to see happen going forward? And how do you plan to contribute to this vision?

I would like to see PBN continue to work towards promoting our businesses, giving writers a place to publish and podcasters a place to air their shows.  I want to work towards better promotion for our authors and musicians. 

I want to see PBN bring more Pagan businesses together to help each other reach our goals.  

As for how I will contribute, I will continue to utilize all the business skills I have to help the Pagan business community.

We’ve talked a lot about you and your businesses and your creations, but let’s get into some more heady stuff now. What part do you feel your connection to the Divine has had in your life so far?

Image milada-vigerova

I have always had a strong connection with the Divine.  When I was younger I focused more on the Christian god because that is what my family did.  Now I work more with the Pagan gods.  I have always felt that my experiences are blessings and I should use that to help others.  That is what led me to teach and to do the clergy work I do.

Would you say that you have been walking a path that has been predestined to a point, or are you totally in a freewheel roll?

I believe that a path with choices along the way is offered by the powers that be.  It is up to me to make choices on which way I go.  Each choice I make creates or removes choices.  I would say that my path has been an extremely winding and wandering type of path due to the fact that everything interests me. 

How have your recent experiences affected your spiritual practice? Or has it been the other way around?

I believe that each affects the other.

 As I get older I find more and more beauty in the world around me and more compassion for what others are going through.   When I was younger things seemed more defined in my mind of who and what was good and bad.  I see life and people differently now.

Friends come and go, but spiritual relationships are more lasting and enduring. Do any pillars in your life come to mind that you would like to talk about who have served as mentors, teachers, comrades, and inspirations?

There are so many.  I would start with my parents.  They taught me about community, compassion and creative thinking.  My grandparents taught me the value of hard work.  One grandmother taught me to look at my differences as gifts and not handicaps.  The other, along with my mother taught me the love of nature and working with plants.

You are something of an inspiration yourself. And you are still going. What counsel do you have for the aspiring person, of any age, who seeks to step out on faith and pursue their dreams?

Be smart about it.  Have a detailed plan of what you want and how to get there.  Keep a backup so you do not hurt yourself financially while you get started.  Have faith in yourself and do not let anyone tell that you cannot do what inspires you.

What affirmation would you give them in the face of detractors and underminers?

One step and one day at a time.  Let the negative energy and comments flow off you like water off a duck’s back.

Many people have a theme song, or genre of music, that they turn to get them going and rev them up to win. What is yours?

I love country music when I want to get my energy level up.  I love the ballads of some of our Pagan musicians as well as classical when I want to relax.

And if you had a theme song for your life up to now, what would it be?

“Thank You For This Day” by Karen Drucker

So, what is next for Charissa?

I will continue to build my businesses in 2017.  I would like to get my product into more retail stores and have a plan in the works for that.  I will continue to work with PBN to help others find success in their businesses.

Is there anything you would like to add that we may have missed?

Time for a shameless plug.  You can find my products at CharissasCauldron.com and our flea market at KitsFlea.com.   If any of your readers want to connect with me feel free to friend me on Facebook.  I usually have a tab up when I’m working in case anyone needs assistance.

PBN Blues Series: “Detroit Moan” – Victoria Spivey

Hello PBN Blues Series readers, today we return with another segment in our series. Brick and mortar businesses become a stable part of the business landscape in any area. The family grocery store, the local dry cleaners, the deli,  the corner ice cream stand, a Pagan or Holistic shop, and the church,  many of these serve as the favorite go to places for townies. So when it is time to leave, it can present special challenges.

People become accustomed to seeing your storefront as part of their neighborhood pillars. Whether they patronize your establishment or not, they still begin to use it as a landmark. In the mind of the masses, you have become a touchstone for their travels and how they describe where they live. The days pass, and you become part of the cyclic flow of commerce. People begin to count you as fictive kin.

Given this much momentum of group energy, it works to the advantage of an established business to capitalize on it. However, when the owner decides to move the business, they may run into an unexplained set of barriers. Deals fall through, calamities befall finances needed for the move, and other issues arise that become a pattern.  That momentum of acceptance now takes a form of anchorage that seeks to compel one to stay put despite the need for progress.

At Mercado dos Lavradores, Funchal
At Mercado dos Lavradores, Funchal

When the keys to the future don’t fit the locks

Zenobia S. has a small herb and spice market in a local farmer’s market. She maintains a booth that she opened 3 years ago. Success has blossomed for her to the degree that she tries to move into a brick and mortar of her own. The shop she wants is on the other side of town. It is precisely the right size, a better neighborhood, and great location for foot traffic.

Zenobia S. let her regular clients know that she intends to move by the end of the year. Most of them do not have transportation to the area where she plans to relocate. They have grown accustomed to purchasing her unusual herbs and spices at her reasonable prices. The only other shop carries poorer quality wares at double the prices. Also, the customer service is very poor, especially when compared to the wit and sparkle of Zenobia S. and her employees.

All was proceeding normally, until recently. For the last three weeks, a string of issues visited upon her plans. First, all records of the proposed contract with the new location were mysteriously deleted and paper copies lost. Second, a larger vendor at the farmer’s market has made an offer on the same property, 2 days after the loss of the paperwork. Third, her bank account was frozen by error, and the institution has her funds on hold until a full investigation concludes. This is anticipated to take 30 days, just after the offer for the property will expire. Lastly, her shipments  held up in customs due to bill of lading and letter of credit problems plaguing her wholesaler.

She comes to you for help. You decide, upon hearing the situation, that the vendor in the market is to blame. You sell her a I Can You Can’t candle and have her set up an altar. Together, you gather components for a trick and advise her to lay it under the west corner of that vendor’s booth. She leaves determined to avenge this wrong doing.

perhaps - lian xiaoxiao
perhaps
lian xiaoxiao

A week later, things have gotten worse for her when she returns to you. She suffered being caught red-handed laying the trick, and now the market has the two vendors in mediation. She stands accused of sabotaging the other business by trying to place a foul odor there (the bag contained asafoetida) to take over her spot. She has to pay restitution to the building association to show good faith, again impairing her ability to move. What now?

Shaking the dust off the traveling shoes

Zenobia S. has a small herb and spice market in a local farmer’s market. She maintains a booth that she opened 3 years ago. Success has blossomed for her to the degree that she tries to move into a brick and mortar of her own. The shop she wants is on the other side of town. It is precisely the right size, a better neighborhood, and great location for foot traffic.

Zenobia S. let her regular clients know that she intends to move by the end of the year. Most of them do not have transportation to the area where she plans to relocate. They have grown accustomed to purchasing her unusual herbs and spices at her reasonable prices. The only other shop carries poorer quality wares at double the prices. Also, the customer service is very poor, especially when compared to the wit and sparkle of Zenobia S. and her employees.

All was proceeding normally, until recently. For the last three weeks, a string of issues visited upon her plans. First, all records of the proposed contract with the new location were mysteriously deleted and paper copies lost. Second, a larger vendor at the farmer’s market has made an offer on the same property, 2 days after the loss of the paperwork. Third, her bank account was frozen by error, and the institution has her funds on hold until a full investigation concludes. This is anticipated to take 30 days, just after the offer for the property will expire. Lastly, her shipments  held up in customs due to bill of lading and letter of credit problems plaguing her wholesaler.

She comes to you for help. You do a reading before proceeding with any work here. After delving into the situation, you realize that what is actually happening is surprising. A group of has decided that they cannot afford to have Zenobia S. move away from the area. The strength of their conviction is such that they are doing active work to prevent her from relocating. The string of events is not about competition, but a result of self-interest and selfishness.

This will take more than simple uncrossing work. Blockbuster work, combined with road opener will follow a directed and focused addressing of the group’s workings. The group will be nullified.

Altar work, incorporating candles, oils, and incenses,  are in order. You also tell her to add boneset herb to her working, just to add some boost. This is mixed equally with benzoin.

You also recommend your client to keep her further plans for progress to herself. Loose tongues often serve as the rods for our backs. She is to discuss her business plans with no one. You then give sell her a floor wash to clean out her booth area.

 Image by 2015 Nathan Miller

Image by
2015 Nathan Miller

 

After two weeks, Zenobia S. returns to report her situation improved. Coincidentally, several of her regular customers reduced their number of visits. As an aside, she mentions they all go bowling together and often bring her donuts. This cements her confidence that they are “in cahoots” on this. She has known them all her life, even been taught by one of them in Sunday School.

She has no true ill will, however, and laughs. She takes it as a complement that a group of older men in their 60’s, think so highly of her. They often dote on her and swear that no one takes as much care of their special orders as she does.

A month later, she returns to your shop with news of a successful move to her now store. She buys a blend of pine/basil/cedar floor wash from you for good business for her opening month. Your client is happy and you look forward to increased commerce from her in the future.

 

PBN Blues Series: Willie Dixon – If The Sea Was Whiskey

Today we are going to talk about the addiction of loved ones. As practitioners, we will often be approached in our business life with the requests of a person who has friend, or family member who has a substance abuse problem. The most common situation is alcoholism in this region because of the legality and ease of purchase of liquor and beer.

Because this is a life issue, it is a matter of a controlling magick. For some this might be outside of their regular scope of practical wares. But in this case we are going to be in a setting where controlling work is allowable to the worker’s moral matrix.

The ability to discern the correct products and methodologies regarding each client’s situation is important. It is equally important to address the fact that the issue may be a symptom of something greater going on, or may not be. That is where consultation and divination comes into play.

Yourmanstan
Yourmanstan

A little too quick to call it

Johnny W. has come to you regarding his wife Edith W., the love of his life. They have been married over 20 years. Recently they traveled to Georgia, and once they returned Edith W. began to drink. Not really alarmed at first, Johnny W. began to notice that instead of going out occasionally to drink with friends, she started purchasing liquor.

Johnny W. explains that in the last month Edith W. has purchased liquor by the gallon twice. She drinks on a daily basis, where before now she only would imbibe once every few months. Their relationship is now strained. She is belligerent and hateful in her intoxicated state and seeks out reasons to argue. He is at a loss of what to do.

You decide that what he needs is to sweeten her up with a honey jar to make her listen to him. You have always wanted to try this kind of thing, so you want to experiment.  You add to this a bit of domination oil, and a bit of poppy seeds. You do not pursue the cause of the issue, only focus on his immediate goal of trying to stop the fighting. He purchases your creation and leaves.

A couple of weeks later Johnny W. returns to you. He is heartbroken and angry. His wife’s behavior has gotten worse, and often she is confused about simple things. Though they do not fight as much, the drinking is getting worse. You stand now wondering what to do.

A little closer look

Johnny W. has come to you regarding his wife Edith W., the love of his life. They have been married over 20 years. Recently they traveled to Georgia, and once they returned Edith W. began to drink. Not really alarmed at first, Johnny W. began to notice that instead of going out occasionally to drink with friends, she started purchasing liquor.

Johnny W. explains that in the last month Edith W. has purchased liquor by the gallon twice. She drinks on a daily basis, where before now she only would imbibe once every few months. Their relationship is now strained. She is belligerent and hateful in her intoxicated state and seeks out reasons to argue. He is at a loss of what to do.

You are an experienced worker, so immediately something in this story struck you as significant. This behavior change began after the trip to Georgia. You know that there had to be a catalyst.

Voodoo_doll_Louvre_E27145b
Nude female voodoo doll in kneeling position, bound and pierced with thirteen pins. Found in a terracotta vase with a lead tablet bearing a binding spell (katadesmos). – Marie-Lan Nguyen

You ask Johnny W. why they were in Georgia. He tells you it was a high school reunion. You ask him if he met anyone there that did anything he would find unusual. He tells you that his old sweetheart was there and that she took he and his wife home for a nightcap that evening to catch up on old times. They were offered the hospitality to spend the evening before driving back to their hotel.

You ask if Edith W. is missing any items. He finds this strange, but as a matter of fact she was missing her makeup bag and hairbrush. His old sweetheart had even called him recently to reassure him that it was not at her home. She calls a lot lately. It was at this moment the realization comes across Johnny W. that this is more than carelessness.

You recommend a divination. This allows you and Johnny W. to confirm the suspicion of enemy work. The fact that Edith W.‘s personal concerns are missing is a red flag.

Your reader is able to determine the working and the solutions needed. You assemble the necessary components and consult with Johnny W. about what can realistically happen at this point to reverse the condition.

Because this is a serious situation, you give him a multilevel approach. First cut the work. Then bind the worker next. Simultaneously, he will work to heal his wife and their relationship. Because you feel it is necessary, you give Johnny W. some acacia oil and recommend the “To Quit Drinking” ancestor working found here at mojomoon.net.

Magick without works is hamstrung. You advise him to seek counseling for his wife and himself in order to repair some of the damage.

 

Resources:

Alcohol Abuse and Crisis Intervention: 800-234-0246

Alcohol and Drug Abuse Helpline and Treatment: 800-234-0420

Alcohol Hotline Support & Information: 800-331-2900

Fire cannot burn away spirit of Mystical Mae Moon

On June 26th, 2016, fire struck and destroyed Mystical Mae Moon shop in Ontario.  The little shop located at 1666 Tecumseh Road in Windsor, ON served as a local destination for all manner and make of spiritual and Pagan seekers and celebrants.  The realization of a dream, the store’s owners Ron and Melissa spent the time and sweat equity to create a focal point of Canadian Pagan and spiritual communities in the welcoming space.  This week it was condemned, and with it the blood and resources of local Pagans were stirred into action.

Mystical Mae Moon‘s story does not stop here at ruined bricks and mortar.  They plan to build again from the ashes.  Supporters of festivals, meet ups, groups, businesses, artisans and more, they represent a spiritual heartbeat that must not be silenced.  This is their story.

Used with permission
Mystical Mae Moon before fire

Please tell us who you are and what this shop means to the community.

I am Ron Story, and my wife is Melissa ‘Mae’ Story. Our store hasn’t been open one year yet. We are very new. We have only been exposed to a small percentage of the community. I would like to think that we benefit the community with our workshops and classes. Not only do they help educate and spread knowledge, they also help people who are alike find one another.

I know connections have been made through our shops (sic) that probably wouldn’t have happened otherwise. We also offer products at an affordable price. We try to keep our markup low. The economy isn’t doing well in this area. We would like to give everyone we can the opportunity to acquire the things they would like to have.

And now, what is the plan to bring it back?

We are waiting on insurance. Once we know where we stand with them, we will start looking for a new place.

How long had you been working towards this shop?

Not sure if I can recall accurately. We opened Sept 23, 2015. The summer prior we vended at various local markets. If I recall, we started planning late 2014.

How did this happen?

I assume you mean the fire. We are in a building that houses 5 commercial units, with 5 apartments on the 2nd floor. The fire started in the Laundromat which is owned and operated by the landlord. From news reports, the fire started at 9:30ish. We received a call from ADT at home (our alarm service) at 10:30 am that both doors sensors had been triggered. This was Sunday evening.

What is the damage to your inventory? How heavy is this loss?

Inventory is 100% loss due to smoke damage. Fixtures and furniture has yet to be determined by insurance. From what I was told, the building will be written off, that damage well exceeds the value of the building. So we are relocating as well. I had put a lot of money and work in renovations, which I will not be compensated for. We also lost our shop pet birds, 2 budgies named ‘Yellow’ and ‘Green’.

Emotionally, where are you right now?

After Fire
After Fire

What is getting you through this?

Emotionally, we are both a wreck. I didn’t sleep at all Sunday night. I didn’t fall asleep until 3pm Monday, for a few hours. We are with very heavy heart. Our friends, that we met through our shop, have been very supportive and encouraging. My wife and I are leaning on each other, and our friends and the community are a great help with moral support. We are overwhelmed by the response.

The support system that you have earned through the esteem and good works you have done are rallying together to make the path back to regular operations faster. How does this make your work flow right now?

It’s to early to say, the work flow hasn’t begun yet in rebuilding. Everyone is volunteering to help when the time comes. I’m sure it will make it a positive experience, and fruitful one.

On a spiritual level, where do you feel the push for coming together to uplift you is coming from right now?

From the Pagan Community.

The Fat Feminist Witch is really sounding the cry to arms. Who is she to you?

The Fat Feminist Witch, also known as Paige, is a part-time employee of ours, who also has her goods at our shop on consignment, and does workshops out of our shop. She is not only an employee to us, she is family.

Yellow and Green at Mystical Mae Moon
Yellow and Green, victims of fire

The staff and families of the store, how are they affected.

Our kids are upset over the loss of the birds. My youngest, who is 7 yrs old, asked us if the birds spirits are free and flying around us.

Paige is our only employee, and she has put our stores revival in front of her own survival. I believe she took it hard initially, but she became very motivated to ensure we rebuild.

Is there a move toward helping right now, other than the gofundme?

I’ve heard there is an online auction in the works. I don’t know the details.

Where can folks send their help?

Go to the page Help Mystical Mae Moon! on gofundme.

How else can people become involved in making this happen?

To be honest, I don’t know. I have never experience community pulling together like this. It’s overwhelming. I’m used to doing things on my own.

Mystic Mae Moon gofundme
Mystic Mae Moon gofundme

Is there anything you would like to say to the people just now hearing about this?

Hmm. Don’t take anything for granted. Things can turn upside down in minutes.

Sorry, struggling to put these emotions into words…

The community spirit that is pulling together to support us is amazing. I thought it was something that was lost. (the tribe spirit) I am so grateful for this support that I can not express it. I am sad and ashamed to say I was losing faith in humanity. It has been restored.

 

Come Delight in Sweet Treats and Coloring the Tarot

As you enter the sacred space, you are greeted with a warm and friendly welcome from the temple’s keeper. Soft music drifts through the air along with the delightful aroma of coffee and a sweet treat for the night. You approach the table with pages to choose from, you grab what calls to you and with colors by your side. You go on a colorful journey deep within the mind.

Pages upon pages to choose from
Pages upon pages to choose from Photo by Jackie Burkeen

Adult coloring books have been a new and unexpected rage within  the last few years. They offer a chance to anyone to have access to the inner child you crave to connect with all over again and can be used as another tool for shadow work.  Studies have shown therapeutic effects for anxiety, depression, PTSD, stress and many other conditions that involve overuse of the mind.

Sweettarot2
Photo by Jackie Burkeen

This past Tuesday, Pagan Pathways Temple started their first day of a three Tuesday evening event. The coloring of the major and minor arcana while enjoying the delights of sweet treats and refreshing beverages. Upon entering the temple, we were greeted with a very friendly welcome and were quickly directed to the coloring sheets provided and asked to have a seat to enjoy our coloring endeavors. While the event was small since it was the first night it provided an intimate atmosphere which included wonderful conversations to the sound of calming yet enchanting music filling in the air. There was a lot of love, including the sharing of colored pencils.

Sweettarot3
Photo by Jackie Burkeen

The results of the coloring journey were wonderful, everyone’s efforts inspired a variety of colorful masterpieces, although the journey has only just begun for they currently have more than enough pages to go around. All waiting to take you on your own incredible journey through the tarot in the form of colorful imagination. The treat that was served for the night was homemade baklava which was to die for with its light and flaky texture with the sweet taste of honey. The treat the was said to be served next week was homemade fudge. The first night of the event has come and gone, but you can still have your chance to come out and play. The event is to also take place again on June 14th and June 21st so don’t miss your chance to come join in on the fun. All with just a simple ten dollar donation towards the temple, you too can come and have a good time with sweets and coloring.

Pagan Pathway Temple is located at 28736 John R Road, Madison Heights in Michigan.

The temple offers more than just coloring, they offer a variety of rituals, classes, get-togethers, or simply having their doors open to just to give a lost soul a safe haven and a place to explore the Pagan path. You can check out their website for their hours and their ever-expanding calendar of events they have to offer to the public. Don’t forget to check out volunteer opportunities to see how you can get involved with the temple.

 

Jackie Burkeen (aka Rosalina Nightshade) has been a practicing witch since 2008 where her journey began with being enchanted by nature’s beauty of Mackinaw Island. She follows her own path which incorporates an eclectic modern taste to traditional witchcraft. Mother of a strong-willed child, two cats and a Guinea pig, she resides in the Michigan downriver area where she lives her dream as a practicing Massage Therapist. You can follow her spiritual journey and other surprises on her blog “Tales of a Backwoods Witch; Adventures of Rosalina Nightshade” and Rosalina Nightshade on Facebook.

The most important detail overlooked by pagan online businesses when building a brand

Building your brand is the most important thing to any business. Your brand is your opportunity to show transparency and offer a welcome mat. It is the hospitality of your business. Consumers want to feel like you know exactly what they’re looking for; they want to trust you. The most overlooked detail when building a brand is that the brand is commonly focused on the owner or operator’s vision. When you only focus on the vision of the owner or operator there is little room to grow your target audience and increase sales.

See most of us were taught that we need to focus on The 4P’s of Marketing which are:

Product or Service: What does the customer want from the product or service? What needs does it satisfy?

Place: Where do customers look for your product or service? If they look in a store, what kind? A specialist boutique or in a supermarket, or both? Or online?

Price: What is the value of the product or service to the customer?

Promotion: Where and when can you get across your marketing messages to your target market? How will you reach your audience will it be by advertising online, in the press, or on TV, or radio ads, or on billboards?

"Drink Coca-Cola 5¢", an 1890s advertising poster showing a woman in fancy clothes
“Drink Coca-Cola 5¢”, an 1890s advertising poster showing a woman in fancy clothes

It’s different now! now we must implement The 4 C’s of Marketing which are:

Customer: Product or service worth, competitive advantage and market positioning.

In order to use the 4Cs marketing concept, you must clearly identify your target audience/customer and keep in mind that you may be targeting more than one group.

Cost: Affordability, satisfaction and value using the 4 C’s you must look at cost from the consumer’s point of view, they are looking for a deal.

Communication: Customer Engagement “What’s in it for them? Social Media Engagement.

Convenience: Purchasing barriers and online sales. In the world of technology, convenience is valuable.

Now that we have a clear understanding of the 4 P’s and the 4 C’s of Marketing.

Now we can see that when selling our products and services we must keep the consumer in mind. In this day in age we have more competitors than ever and our brand must be universal. By Universal I mean expanding your target audience with emotional marketing. Emotional Marketing is when the consumer feels empowered by the message that you are sending through your Advertisements, Logo, Website and ALL of your Social Media Channels.

Let’s take Nike for instance. They truly do have a universal feel and it’s because the focus on the evolution of one’s personal growth and development. Now ask yourself how can you make your product or service have that same effect? It’s quite simply actually…..Implement emotional marketing in the core of your branding.

Image of marketing for Charissa's Cauldron
Image of marketing for Charissa’s Cauldron

You must paint the picture of what it could look or feel like to the consumer. The consumer must have a mental or visual experience that triggers emotions that prompts them to buy and encourage others to have this fabulous experience or product. Your brand must create a moment of magic for each potential customer.

Now that we have all of that out of the way, here comes the fun part. I want you to take time to re-evaluate your brand and make sure your core values still show. Then I want you to ask yourself what will it take to prompt your targeted customer purchase? Really think about it, what would be the best way to experience for you to experience your own product or service? And build from there.

Short Bio

Shalena is hands on with her Family, Friends and her Community, because they are what’s most important to her. She believes in helping other reach their full potential. Raised in the Christian faith as a child she always felt like something was missing, that there was more to life. As life went on she realized that she has a deep connection with nature and began to research religions that were nature based. It was then she found Wicca and now she has Pagan/Christian Roots and Beliefs.

She is the founder of SWINC Corporation, SWINC Marketing and The People’s Tax Company. She created SWINC Marketing in 2014 because she has a passion for help small businesses, entrepreneurs, and nonprofit organizations. She has been a freelance Marketer over the past 7 years. She has helped local schools, small businesses and entrepreneurs on paid and unpaid projects. She understands the need for affordable marketing solutions and genuinely wants to help the small business community.

 

Shalena Ward

Marketing Expert

Multi Business Owner

Pagan/Christian Roots and Beliefs

Wife and Mother

Nature Witch

Luna Dragonfly

www.swincmarketing.com

sward@swincmarketing.com

(248) 733-3792

UnWrapped VOL 1, Issue 1

Some Nights

 

Beads, Beads everywhere, and not one idea to string…”

5946812284_e83bd3a039_b
Hanged Beads by 11×16 Design Studio

As I sit here with a hard cider and an amalgamation of beads, wire, and various other findings, I really wonder if customers appreciate the pieces of us that go into handmade jewelry.

I mean think about it: when you are wearing a handmade piece, you are literally wearing Ashe, or Divinely gifted personal creative energy.

More than that, there is literally someone’s blood (do you know the havoc wire working wrecks upon one’s hands?!?) , sweat, and yes, tears (especially if creativity does not come easy) in a nice shiny and one of a kind package.

And people have the gall to scoff at $25 for a price.

Custom piece
Custom piece

See, while you are looking at that ring that  has been meticulously forged from silver or steel and a dream, what you don’t see is the countless sketches that are trying to capture a beauty that was expressed in a dream. You don’t see the long nights spent trying to steal a quiet moment to create because the babies still need time and love, the dog still needs a bath and a walk, and the bill-paying job’s boss still needs that report and those 8 hours at a desk doing soulless tasks.

You don’t see the 5 or 6 other conflagrations of stone, bead , wire and whatever else that were failed attempts at manifesting this vision. You don’t see the cramped hands and cut fingertips from filing, and weaving and cutting; no what you get to see is this uniquely weaved dream that catches the light like you’ve never seen!

But, hey! Our personal issues aren’t your problem! Nay, why should you pay for the nuances of our personal lives?

Well, you , my dear potential customer, aren’t being asked to pay for these issues. That would be unfair.

However, what you must realize is time is a commodity you really can’t value, and yet can never really recoup. And since we’re Capitalists, the next highest commodity is money. So what you are paying for is the hours ( yes, hours) spent roaming our supply stores for inspiration or that unique cut of quartz you haven’t seen before.

You are paying for the high quality steel, silver, gold, brass, copper, pewter, or silver that is American made.  It is verified not to turn that pretty finger of yours green and blistered. You are paying for that hour spent winding, grinding, and wrapping to make sure everything is the perfect size and shape for your needs and vanity. You are paying for that special box and bag, and you are helping to pay for the opportunity to walk by this table and be able to even see these works of magick up close and personal; because most shows don’t have free tables.

So, out of the maybe $150 dollars it took to deliver, you get to take a piece of me home for $25; simply because I refuse (read: don’t know how) to charge for love.

So yes, you could “have your friend make it cheaper” , but will it be this exact piece? Will it have the passion and energy? Will the care be taken in the selection of materials and methods?

Are you sure?

See, you could put a group of us jewelry makers in a room.Then give us all one project to duplicate with the same tools and supplies.  You will still end up with a different piece from each of us. No two artist are exactly the same.

And while one may be faster, a testament to experience,  that would only affect the labor cost associated. (We artists, as a community, NOTORIOUSLY undercharge for this.)  It still doesn’t take into account the cost of those skills.

 

Want something truly unique for less? Order the supplies (buyer beware on that outrageous deal on metals you say on Ebay) and queue up YouTube. Make sure you get some extras for inevitable trial and error. Then devote about an hour or two…Wait, you don’t have time to devote to all of that?!? Well, you have the same hours in a day as us!

 

However, you have other More Valuable things to do, I bet. That is plausible, for value is in the eye of the beholder. But just like you wouldn’t be able to recoup the time spent learning to make your own piece of jewelry, We’re not able to recoup the time we took to create either.

That $25 suddenly seems like a bargain, huh?

So, next time you run across a handmade item you love, appreciate what it took to create it and present it to you. Respect and appreciation is the one thing that makes nights like this worth it to us sometimes.

 

10365438_864739156921132_1818379449913310550_oOnyoja(Onya) a.k.a Phoenix Nightshade is a Mother, amateur blogger, Science enthusiast, and IT minion who turned a love for jewelry and accessories into an entrepreneurial journey. When she’s not sleeping, working or mothering, She enjoys West African and Afro-Cuban Folkloric dance,African Traditional Spirituality,  Water Aerobics, Personal assistant/Concierge work, Desktop Publishing, and creating and seeking out little pieces of magick for The Butterfly & The Phoenix and Aisiki Collective .

Blog: https://thebuildingofagoddess.wordpress.com/

Website: http://thebutterflyandthephoenix.com (She built it!)

Facebook: Onya Jennings

PBN Blues Series: “Garter Snake Blues” by Victoria Spivey

by Kenya Coviak

Sometimes as magickal/spiritual workers in the business of selling our services to clients, we find that we are helping folks who are generally not held in the best regard in society.  Cultural mores and standards can come into play when dealing with sensitive issues.  Infidelity is usually a topic that makes many people pause.  But if you are in business, and if you can separate your personal beliefs that may be opposed to the subject, then this installment of our series could be of use to you.

Various products exist to exact vengeance and the infernal fires of torment on the cheating partner and their paramour.  Gender roles do not matter, nor do sexual orientations.  Almost universally in the human condition, the heartbroken will seek compensation.

Hollywood's Greatest Year: The Best Picture Nominees of 1939
By film screenshot (RKO) [Public domain]
However, what of the cheaters?  Where do they seek protection and service?  How do they keep the affair hidden in order to not cause harm, in  their minds, more than they feel they have?  This is when your door may open one day and in walks the proverbial “other man or woman”.  Now, this will take some turns, so let’s get started.

How to lose two clients

Floyd J. and Lynn N. have come to your shop on a mission.  They are there to seek the right wares and spells that will allow them to continue a clandestine affair without any problems from their mates.  They have been very careful, but Lynn N. believes that they may be nearing the end of their luck.  So they are looking for a way to keep the heat off of both of them.

At this point, Floyd J. chimes in and adds that there is another factor to this.  You see, both couples meet every Wednesday night and play Spades at the local bar.  So they are in close proximity on a regular basis.  Suspicious glances have begun to be shot their way by both mates during the games.  While it has remained friendly to this point, they are beginning to feel that they may be about to be caught.

You decide that the best thing for them would be to cease the affair.  They tell you that is not an option.  Both of them were swingers before they got married, and have continued their relationship in spite of their vows.  They have been together for over a decade.  But both have children with their partners and do not wish to break their homes.

After listening to their story, you decide that you will lecture them on why they are selfish and wrong.  You follow this up with advising them that they should ask for forgiveness of their spouses and come clean.  You conclude with an offer to give them a marital healing package for both couples so that they can start to regain their marriages.  And then you watch them walk out of your store and slam the door.

 

How to better handle a delicate situation if you choose to take this one

 Floyd J. and Lynn N. have come to your shop on a mission.  They are there to seek the right wares and spells that will allow them to continue a clandestine affair without any problems from their mates.  They have been very careful, but Lynn N. believes that they may be nearing the end of their luck.  So they are looking for a way to keep the heat off of both of them.

The_Cheater_(1920)_-_Allison_2
By Screen Classics Inc. / Metro Pictures [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
At this point, Floyd J. chimes in and adds that there is another factor to this.  You see, both couples meet every Wednesday night and play Spades at the local bar.  So they are in close proximity on a regular basis.  Suspicious glances have begun to be shot their way by both mates during  the games.  While it has remained friendly to this point, they are beginning to feel that they may be about to be caught.

You ask them if this is a long-term situation, or if it is a fling.  This will help you determine what kind of work is needed.   They tell you that they have been together for over a decade.  They met while both were swingers.  Their only concern about being caught is to not break up their homes, as they both have children.

Because you have decided to take on this case, you have decided to caution them that no working is 100% fool-proof forever.  You make clear that they must be ready to take on the consequences of their actions if discovered.  The advice you give is that they should take all mundane precautions to guard against their exposure if they are to have a successful working.

For the secret itself, you have decided to suggest the Uranus Oil method to start.  To this you consult on how they can best avoid detection through both concealment, persuasive speech, and shut up work.  Finally, you strongly recommend components and workings to strengthen the relationships and familial bonds of both family groups.  You clients leave, and you close your till.

Because they like to play cards, you have also suggested that they might wish to reinforce their works with playing card spells.  This is a simple form of magick, and would allow you to custom design a blend of herbs to go with the spells.  No suspicion about carrying cards comes into play in this scenario, as practicing solitaire can be claimed.

In the above example, the shop keeper made a decision to provide services for persons who they may not have had an approval.  They kept it professional, and still offered counsel to the clients on responsibility and the limitations of spell working.  You might wish to consider what your personal practice will entail in regard to matters such as these before they come to your door and you find yourself unprepared with a response.

PBN Blues Series: “Manish Boy” – Muddy Waters

by Kenya Coviak

As magickal workers, it is not uncommon for us to run across every form of the human experience.  Love, money, success, sex, health, and more are equally likely to walk into our realm of client concerns.  Having a full line of product choices in stock, as well as individual tools and components, is beneficial both to us and the customer.

Today, we look at sexy times.  Dealing with sex is always fraught with emotions and esteem issues for the client.  The fact that they are coming to you is an indication that their desire has motivated them to the point of action on a potentially embarrassing situation.  Most times, they will simply grab a reference book or a kit and purchase it without commentary.  But other times, you will find yourself in the role of adviser and sex therapist (if you are unlucky).

By William Hounsom Byles (1872-c.1924 or 1940?) (Bonhams) [Public domain]
By William Hounsom Byles (1872-c.1924 or 1940?) (Bonhams) [Public domain]
So now, we look at a scenario that can go a couple of ways at least.  First we shall have a scene where it may not be the best course of action.  Then a scene where it may be a better course of action.  Here we go.

 

What may, or may not, be the best way to go about this situation

Jody D. is a regular client at your shop.  He comes in from the auto plant every other Friday with the same order for Steady Work materials, and Fast Luck.  You have a pleasant rapport with him.  However, on this day he appears nervous and fidgety.  Instead of his usual easy mannerisms, he hangs back until all the other customers have been served before speaking to you.

Jody D. explains that he is having problems with his “nature”.  He just cannot please the ladies like he used to do and feels his body has let him down.  He has seen the doctor, and has decided against the little blue miracle pill.  He has come to you for another solution in the spiritual/magickal realm.

You grab some some deer velvet, burdock, and a few other things and send him on his way, telling him to wear it around his neck.  Quick cash for you.  You also offer to sell him an oil to use to supplement the blend.  No further discussion needed.  You have made the sales, and he has gone about his way, never to speak of this between you two again.  But did you give the best service?

 

Now, let’s try this another way

Jody D. is a regular client at your shop.  He comes in from the auto plant every other Friday with the same order for Steady Work materials, and Fast Luck.  You have a pleasant rapport with him.  However, on this day he appears nervous and fidgety.  Instead of his usual easy mannerisms, he hangs back until all the other customers have been served before speaking to you.

Jody D. explains that he is having problems with his “nature”.  He just cannot please the ladies like he used to do and feels his body has let him down.  He has seen the doctor, and has decided against the little blue miracle pill.  He has come to you for another solution in the spiritual/magickal realm.

You know this is a delicate situation.  Your rapport is one you do not wish to jeopardize by being overly dismissive OR familiar with you client.  Respecting his emotional state, you come away from the front counter to another area of the store to give a greater appearance of  privacy.  You ask him how long this has been going on, and if there were any events that he can remember that happened around this time.

He does not really remember events.  But he does share how long.  You ask him to give you a moment to check on something in the back.  You do a quick divination, or intuition check, away from his presence so that you can be more objective.

After having a moment to think, you come back to Jody D.  and ask him what it is he is actually feeling he would like to do.  Would he like to burn candles, use oils, or use herbs.  If you offer the service, you may offer to do work for him, or let him burn the candles at your store altars.  You may also, if he is open, give him some affirmation, chant, or psalm, to work.  This depends on both your, and his, spiritual tradition.

Enrico_Tarenghi_Le_tre_Grazie
http://www.duesseldorfer-auktionshaus.de/ (2011/1

Under no circumstances do you guarantee results.  You tell him that he did not get this way over night, so it will not be solved overnight.  You stress that this is a continual working, and that only he can decide how effective it is, and how long it needs to be repeated.

But you also, as a practitioner, know the power of positive expectancy.  Therefore you let him know that the fact that he has chosen a course of decisive action and control will greatly boost his endeavors.  This will also restore some of his confidence.  Remind him that spiritual work also needs physical anchoring in the mundane world.  He is to make lifestyle changes that will facilitate good health.  He must research these, as this is empowering him as well.  You have also projected to him that he is strong in his conviction, and that this strength will make his work strong as well.

Jody D. leaves with his purchases that you have both agreed are within his budget and comfort zone.  You let him know that if he wishes, he can discuss this with you again in a few weeks, but you will not be prying.  He leaves feeling hopeful, and you have served your customer well.  It is hopeful that he will be successful in his quest to improve his “nature”.  A good song to play if you do a visualization for him would be “Manish Boy” by Muddy Waters.

 

(Special Notation for Blues Fans:  Some of you are doubtless familiar with the significance of the name Jody when talking about men and sexuality in the Blues music.  For those who are not, here is a bonus link to bring a smile to your face and let you in on the cultural reference that may have gone by you.  Enjoy by clicking here.)