Incense Alternatives and How to Use Them

Right or wrong- and the jury’s out depending on who you ask- we’re all relatively familiar with the use of fragrant smoke in magical work, yes? Whether the phrase calls to mind clouds of white sage smoke, the sweet uplifting scent of frankincense, or the ridiculous pile of department store incense sticks that we may or may not have stored in our tool chest….

OK I definitely have a stash of department store incense. It’s cheap and it smells nice. Sometimes.

But what if fragrant smoke isn’t an option?

I remember living in an apartment where the smoke alarm went off for every pot of boiling water because it couldn’t tell the difference between tiny amounts of steam and an actual fire. I also remember being in a situation where my roommate was allergic to most incense binders and I had to use something else. Maybe fire and air just don’t work for you like other elements do. Maybe you just don’t want to. Whatever the reason, it’s good to have alternatives.

I’m a very sound-oriented person. My voice is my most potent magical tool and the use of sacred sound- be it galdr or chant or something else- is very important to my work. I’m a very air and fire person so this works for me.

An acquaintance of mine was have a real struggle with finding a way to cleanse and bless her space. She couldn’t burn incense in her living arrangement and just didn’t have the connection to air as an element to make sound work. She never felt great results from chants or bells. So we hit on the idea of making a water based version of the same tool. Enter the room spray.

I created my original three room sprays after much trial and error and abuse of my own sense of smell. I knew there were at least three very specific tasks for which I employed incense regularly- cleansing a space, blessing an item or action, and during meditation. I also knew that I wanted to avoid white sage. It’s a beautiful plant with amazing energy and properties but I wanted to use something else.

“Cleanse” uses Rosemary and Hyssop essential oils in a diluted clear alcohol carrier. Rosemary and Hyssop are both powerful purification herbs with long histories in Europe. The resulting smell is bright and clean but not overly strong. CAUTION: Hyssop oil may be extremely irritating to both cats and dogs.

“Sacred” uses the ancient sacred resins Frankincense and Myrrh- sanctifying, blessing, purifying, rooting and uplifting. The essential oils of each are in a diluted alcohol carrier and, as with most sprays, are not as strongly scented as the resin itself would be.

“Meditate” is a soothing combination of Lavender and Sweet Orange in a diluted alcohol carrier. Lavender is widely used to soothe the mind and Sweet Orange is used as a spiritually uplifting scent. The combination can be helpful before meditation.

I am currently working on a much requested Success/Money spray which will be available as soon as I work out the right proportions of each oil.

Now these oils do separate from the carrier over time so shaking before use is necessary. Sprays in general are not as strongly scented as their fumitory counterparts but since the strength of an incense can be problematic especially in closed spaces, that’s just one more reason to consider imbued sprays as an alternative. They work best when sprayed generously into the center of a room or well above an item that you intend to bless. Be aware that these sprays use diluted alcohol as a carrier for the essential oils and that both alcohol and some essential oils can damage some surfaces.

All three of the currently available sprays are live in the Store. The Success spray will be listed as soon as it is finished so keep checking back!

Goddess Beads and Body Chains

Aphrodite had one, Freya had one, technically so did Thor but his power was about physical strength. The belt (or necklace) of power is a common symbol in the mythology of the western world.

Ever wanted one?

I can’t promise magical results from adorning yourself with any of these beads and chains, but there is no denying their beauty or how beautiful you could feel wearing them. And really, isn’t that the source of real power?

Goddess Beads from The Spider’s Masque are long strings of tiny glass beads in assorted complimentary colors, each string averaging approximately 9 feet. Wear them any way you like- multi strand necklaces, waist beads, looped around your arms, adorning your altar or staff, anywhere you wish. Our body chains are just that- elegant chain jewelry worn as you wish.

The Spider’s Masque will be keeping a small selection in stock but encourages you to contact the shop and discuss a custom order to create your ideal style.

all pictures used with permission of the clients

Yule Ornaments are in!

There are three sets of red and gold painted goat vertebrae waiting to make their appearance on your Yule trees! Natural goat vertebrae have been carefully cleaned and hand painted and set with wire loops so they can take hooks or cord for hanging. Each listing is for one dozen (12) assorted red and gold vertebrae. Natural variations will occur.

There is one pair- just one!- of goat bones painted with the hooked beaks and glossy black plumage of ravens waiting to adorn your Yule tree! Carefully cleaned and hand painted goat hip bones each set with wire loops to accept hooks or cord for hanging. This listing is for the pair.

Both listings are live in the Store under the “Beautiful Bones” section.

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.