The Return of Readings! And other things…

Starting as soon as the listing goes live in the Store, The Spider’s Masque will once again be offering divinatory and other spiritual services.

The following services are available through the Store as well as at live events:

Tarot Readings: Three card spreads ($10) for past/present/future and love/life/money quick views, our most popular option in the past, will be the first thing to return. Full spreads (the classic Celtic Cross, my own personal favorite Seven Sacred Directions, and Freeform spreads) will also be available ($25) from the Store and at in person events.

Rune Readings: Rune readings ($20) will be done using either the Elder Futhark or the delightful modern Witches’ Runes and a full cast rather than any specified number of pulls. I have found this method to be far more useful. These readings will be available through the Store and at in person events.

Light Setting: A dedicated, harmonized, intentional space for setting intentions is not something everyone has room to cultivate. Since I do, I am offering that space to others. Your intention will be placed into a tealight and released to manifest at the most auspicious time reasonably available. $5/light which also covers incense, libations, and other ‘common’ consumable tools. Exotic items may incur additional costs so please use the Contact Us form if you think you may have something out of the ordinary for me. This service will be available primarily through the Store, with limited slots available at in person events.

The following services will be available at our live events:

Aura Reading and Cleansing: Typically only available at in person events, aura scans ($15) and cleansing (an additional $15) are a way to get an experienced outside perspective on your energy bodies.

The Following services are available only after consult with the Artist:

Custom Spellwork: Need something very specific crafted? Not sure where to start? Use the Contact Us form to talk to us about anything from charged talismans to ready-to-burn spell candles to complete workings on your behalf. Prices will vary depending on the cost of your materials, the time required to make them, and the difficulty of working during your most useful astrological alignment. I reserve the right to refuse any requests that I find immoral or otherwise detrimental to my spirit. Billing will be via PayPal invoice after negotiation and before work begins. The time consuming nature of this service means that it can not (usually) be performed at any in person events.

House Cleansing and Blessing: For obvious reasons this will require conversation to determine the feasibility of your request based on location, the nature of your situation, and time available. The cost of this service will depend on these variables as well. Billing will be via PayPal invoice after negotiation and before work begins.

Life Event Rituals: As a ritual artist of no small skill, I have experience writing and leading rites to recognize and celebrate a variety of life events from coming-of-age ceremonies to end-of-life celebrations. I am also lucky enough to have an excellent network of friends and colleagues across many religions and will be happy to help you locate the right person to help you celebrate the next stage of your journey. Please use the Contact Us form for any questions about this service.

As always since ‘witch’ is not considered a real profession I am required to state that magic, magical items, divination and other energy work are sold as a curio/entertainment only and you should seek professional help when appropriate.

Mugwort Fumigation Wands Are In!

Artemisia vulgaris- common Mugwort- is one of the most popular and best loved herbs in the modern practitioner’s cabinet. The herb has a long history that reaches back into the Iron Age and walks alongside humans in roles from food preservation to brewing to medicine and more. It is one of our older allies.

Physically, Mugwort is a shrubby ditch weed thriving in rocky or soggy soil and everything in between. She’s a survivor. Mugwort is also high in thujone- a mildly intoxicating chemical to most humans (though not a hallucinogen as is often exaggerated) and has anti-microbial properties that lent it to use as a food preserving aid in ancient times. Referred to as ‘sailor’s tobacco’, Mugwort was once commonly smoked by those who could not afford tobacco and is still enjoyed by some practitioners today, though with caution. It should be noted that some of Mugwort’s other chemical components can build up in the liver so regular use is not recommended nor is Mugwort recommended for pregnant or lactating women.

The evidence of their own eyes may well have indicated to our ancestors that Mugwort is a very special plant. So how do we use it in magic today?

Mugwort is a lunar aspected herb of protection and divination, commonly employed to seek clarity in dreams or readings and to drive away malignant entities. It may be used in different kinds of satchels or bags to bring the energy of the plant into a spell. It may be used as an incense or a smoke to aid in divination. It is burned similarly to sage to alter the energy of a room or space and may be used to cleanse by smoke.

The newest listing in our store- found under the Ritual Tools section- is for Mugwort fumigation wands which function mechanically similarly to a sage smudge stick but are neither sage nor a traditional part of a true smudging ceremony. Mugwort has a rougher smell than sage and hearkens back to old Europe rather than the Native tribes of the Americas. Our fumigation wands are sourced entirely from our base farm and quantities are limited until next year’s harvest. They are approximately 10″ long and are bound with jute cord which will smolder but not flame. Natural variation between wands is unavoidable though we have certainly tried to make sure that each wand is the same length and roughly the same mass. Each wand is $7 plus shipping, US only, NO SHIPPING TO LOUISIANA. Sorry guys, your state thinks that Mugwort should be illegal still.

Elegantly Macabre is the look of the season!

Well, it’s The Look all the time around here. I’ve just finished up not one but two pairs of unique and intentional pieces for your consideration. Let’s take a look at them!

First up a brief walk in the garden of bones. On each hand painted wooden stand silk roses bloom eternally amid white bone. Both the duo of black roses and the single red rose rest in the axial vertebrae of a young buck goat- one of ours from our base farm. Bones have been cleaned, sanitized, and whitened with peroxide (never bleach as bleach damages the bones) and should remain bright for many years.

A red silk rose will bloom forever. The base is 6″ in diameter and sealed with enamel paint to remain bright and beautiful for many years.
Red rose bone garden, side view. This morbid delight is $28 and will require special shipping. Please use the Contact Us tab to purchase this item as it will not be listed in the Store.
Black silk roses, white bone, silver trim and a nearly black midnight purple base- it doesn’t get better than this!
Black rose bone garden side view. This base is also 6″ in diameter and this item is also $28. To purchase, please use the Contact Us tab on this website as this item will require special shipping and will not be listed in the Store.

The ever-blooming bone gardens are not the only recently finished project in this workshop. A pair of working staffs of smoothed crepe myrtle, each topped with a cleaned and painted horn of a young goat and vibrantly dyed craft feathers, are waiting patiently for the right partners for their magical workings. Please note that these staffs, due to their size, will require special shipping. We are happy to arrange this, just send us a message via the ‘Contact Us’ page and we’ll do everything we can to get your staff to you safely.

Feathers the colors of flame, pale leather lacing, and gold enamel are all perfect compliments to one who works with powers of sun and fire.
Plum colored feathers, black lacing, and silver enamel are the perfect color compliments to one who works with powers of the moon.
Our witchy model is 6’1″ in those heels so these are substantial staffs- each over 5 feet tall. Crepe Myrtle is a dense, sturdy wood associated with magics of love, fertility, and regeneration. Both staffs are priced at $45 and will require special shipping.

To purchase any of these items, use the Contact Us form on this website. These items will all require special shipping and will not be listed in the store. When they are no longer available this post will be updated to reflect that.

Keep an eye on us as the weather begins to cool and we can get back into the swing of crafting again. There are some new projects planned: bones and leather and chains- oh my!

Until then, keep it magical.

~ Masquerade

Planetary magic crash course- using keyed tools

THESE POSTS ARE IN NO WAY INTENDED TO REPLACE HARD WORK AND STUDY IN THE COMPLEX ARENA OF PLANETARY MAGIC.

Alright now that that’s out of the way let’s take a look at one of the questions I get asked most often and that is how exactly does one go about using the tools that the Spider’s Masque carries that are keyed to different planetary energies? The short answer is, of course, however you need to. The long answer gets more interesting.

Each of the ancient alchemical planets has an associated set of ‘arenas’ over which its energy is said to rule. For example, Venus rules not only over romantic relationships but also to a degree over our health and happiness while Jupiter rules over our more social selves and our finances. These are of course heavily condensed descriptions. So let’s approach from the other side.

You wish to do a working to sell a house. There are no other vendors at this event that have candles (you think I’m kidding but this ACTUALLY HAPPENED) and mine with their odd carvings don’t look like the candles you’re used to. So we chat for a minute about what you want to accomplish. You’re more interested in being free of this estate and its obligations than getting a huge payout so while both Mercury and Jupiter would serve well in a financial matter I suggest a Saturn candle. Saturn is all about boundaries and cutting away that which no longer serves. It can be heavy and harsh but if you want it done, that’s the energy to use.

Perhaps you are dealing with some symptoms you don’t understand. You’re achey, lethargic, your appetites are all depressed, and you don’t know why. You’re not even sure where to start looking. After some conversation about other things going on in your life and what you’ve tried already, I tell you that a Sun candle- the Sun is success in all things, if you’ll accept a reader’s digest version of the planet- might be a perfect boost to prayers searching for a diagnosis and treatment that will work. I do caution you to be very specific and include that bit about treatments that work because words mean things.

You do a lot of work with the dead and you find yourself looking for a new and better tool to aid and direct your own power in your workings. You come looking even though you’re not quite sure what you’re looking for but after talking for a bit your hand settles on a wrought iron wand- one forged on the day and during the hour of Mercury. It feels like just the right sort of energy in your hand and no wonder- Mercury rules over all manner of communication and is strongly associated with the role of the psychopomp. Perfect fit.

You could use a Moon candle to help you scry or dream. You could use a Jupiter wand for any and every working involving social or financial success. You could use a Venus candle while working to recover from trauma, as well as the more obvious use of working to manifest love in your life.

I’m not here to teach you about the planets and their powers. That is a study that will take years. They don’t line up neatly on a correspondence chart like colors or elements do. They are much more nuanced. To work planetary magic is an undertaking entirely its own. However, with some study (sorry, some study is still required, there’s no getting away from it), little bits of their energy and association can add tremendously to the work that you already do.

And if you get bitten by the planet bug, well, enjoy the journey. And make some space on your bookshelves.

Senses in Ritual- engaging your whole self

After an absolutely out-of-this-world Midsummer and plenty of time to recover, it’s time to tackle some of the topics that have been requested. I didn’t forget, see?

I’d like to start with an idea that is near and dear to my own witchy heart and that is engaging ALL of your senses in a ritual. Not only seeing your ritual tools but smelling your ritual incense, hearing your ritual words, feeling your ritual movements and more. The whole body becomes engaged in the ritual and the mind is freed of mundane anchors. There is a reason why the Catholic Mass works as well as it does- every sense is ritualistically engaged. So how can we take advantage of this?

We start by realizing that engaging a sense, using sensation in ritual, and ritualistically engaging all senses are slightly different things. Words mean things and I have broken these out separately for a reason. We can engage a sense by deciding to include some ambient music this time or by deciding to use a different garment that feels different than our usual clothing against our skin. These are great starts! I strongly encourage you to experiment with different senses in your rituals as well: find an incense that is somehow special for your purpose or select different lighting for your ritual to alter your visual perception completely. The changes in sensation will carry over into the ritual- now you’re engaging more of yourself and taking more of yourself with you into your ritual space.

What about ritualistically engaging all senses? This is different. Magic is not our only ritual- many of us have morning rituals of coffee, skin care, dog walking, etc. If we miss or mess up these rituals it can affect our whole day. Ritual is hugely important to our mental process. The first claim that the Catholic Mass works so well is because it is a strictly scripted, unique and predictable ritual that engages all the senses from the sound of the bells to the call and response of prayers even to the taste of their communion- it’s all ritualized and it’s engaging all of the senses. I think many of us- myself included!- do not use our senses ritualistically as well as we could. Falling into the familiar rhythm of a ritual puts your mind into a slightly different state- quite literally, if you’re at all familiar with the alpha brainwave phenomenon. What if we could practice doing the same thing? You don’t have to follow any sort of familiar format if you don’t want to- make something up from scratch if you’re crafty like that! But find things that engage all of you- not just spoken words.

My ritual starts when I change from street clothes to garb. I feel physically different sensations. It continues with cleansing smoke- I strongly favor mugwort over white sage for a variety of reasons. I smell and taste (yeah mugwort is pretty strong. You’re going to taste that one as much as smell it.) something that is unique to and a predictable, ritualistic part of my practice. My mind begins to shift gears. As I continue through ritualized words and gestures that are unique to and a predictable part of my practice I find myself fully engaged in the magic that I am working. My ritual doesn’t look like yours. It doesn’t have to. It is ritualistic, as in predictable, practiced, and readily identifiable by my conscious and subconscious minds. It engages my whole mind and body. And it works.

Summer Project and Posts to Come!

Unfortunately, all of my available time has been sunk either into the farm or into preparing for our annual Midsummer Festival. This will be the 4th year of the fest and it gets a little bigger and fancier every year. This is a good thing, but it’s also a challenge.

Event information here, for the curious: https://smcpmidsummer.com/

I have a series of posts being readied on an assortment of topics that have been requested which will include things like using the planetary-energy keyed tools that are in the shop, costumes and masks as ritual tools, and all about dead stuff. I’m looking forward to it!

As soon as I have time to polish the posts up, that is.

Take a look at the event website and if you’re of a similar mind and you live nearby, consider dropping in to visit!

Upcoming Event- Blue Ridge Beltane at Buffalo Gap Retreat in Capon Bridge, WV

Blue Ridge Beltane is at a new location this year and y’all, I can’t wait to see it!

Official BRB Site:
https://blueridgebeltane.org/

Buffalo Gap Site:
https://www.buffalogapretreat.com/

Blue Ridge Beltane has been running for twenty years solid, with a few prequel years off and on before that. It’s a big show with a dedicated team of wonderful people that make the magic happen and I can say with complete honesty that I am excited, overwhelmed, and honored to be a part of their Vendor Village this year. I hope you’ll be able to come and see us and be part of the magic!