Turtle Island II (and a bit of life stuff)

Nornoriel Lokason:

So in The Department of Spoop, when Beth made the first one of these I fell in love with it – not just because I really love turtles, but Turtle is one of D’s pet names for me (to the point where my Google+ profile avatar is of a tiny turtle nomming a strawberry bigger than itself, which is kind of an in-joke between myself and D), and D was like “Well, that’s one of your wedding presents, but I need you to wait a week or two to watch finances.” (Which was a good move on his part because I have made a motherfuckton of candles this month and needed to order more wax and more wicks.) WELP, “later” came and the turtle necklace sold and I was like “nooooo” and D didn’t say anything… and then I saw THIS today on Beth’s blog and I looked at D and said “YOU MOTHERFUCKER” because D knows I have a thing for larimar (as does he, because he has expensive taste). So. This is mine now. (Not only does it look fabulous in the pictures, but I have another necklace Beth made – a phoenix necklace, which was a present from Asmodai after I moved to Connecticut. I am very, very picky about my jewelry and tend to only wear things that I make myself for that reason, so the fact that I will buy and wear things that Beth makes is a testament to the quality of her work and her sense of style.)

Anyway… not only am I bragging on swag here, but I also wanted to reblog this because in Beth’s post, she mentions that she needs to buy a new laptop because hers just died. Having been in that position myself a few months ago, and it was not a fun expenditure, I thought I would take this opportunity to remind people of Beth’s shop, where she sells not only jewelry, but ritual cords (speaking of which, I will be showing off a couple I ordered from her, soon) and candles and soap, as well as her books and divinations. (I endorse Beth as a reader, and have referred clients to her for second opinions.) I think that having a number of Pagan artisans with Etsy shops is a good thing – when I was first starting out twenty years ago there weren’t that many Pagans making crafty things, and I would have loved to buy jewelry and candles made by actual Pagans, especially those who worked with gods and spirits I worked with. It’s also awesome because we all have different styles and aesthetics, so you can most likely find something out there to suit your tastes. I think it’s important to support other Pagans, and I try to buy goods and services from other Pagans when I can.

Originally posted on Wytch of the North:

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Since my original Turtle Island necklace was spoken for so quickly and is now on layaway for a customer, I decided to create a second one–this time featuring larimar instead of amber. Also known as the “dolphin stone” and the “blue stone of Atlantic,” larimar is extremely rare and expensive, as it is found only in the Dominican Republic. A stone of volcanic origins, it also carries the energies of sky and sea, and helps to balance these polarities, working to release fear, calm temper, and soothe the physical and emotional bodies.

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This necklace features a gorgeous, solid genuine brass turtle pendant with a highly detailed, openwork design. The pendant is flanked by dark green fire-polished Czech glass crystals, silky Patikan palmwood rounds, green pyrite rounds brecciated jasper, and genuine larimar chips, with gold hematite spacers. These larimar chips are BIG; the round beads are 10 ml, to give you…

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Thor Devotional Bracelet

In honor of it being Thursday, I thought it would be a good time to post one of the newest items in my shop:

Pewter Thor’s hammer (imported from the Isle of Skye, a place I have a strong spiritual connection to) on a strand of labradorite rounds with iridescent blue shell beads, and red Czech crackle glass (the crackle is within the glass of the bead, it is not painted on the outside), with pewter spacers.

The combination of colors is evocative of “storm clouds and blue sky”, with the bold dashes of red as one of the Thunderer’s colors. The bracelet looks like a Viking artifact and is a unisex piece. Bracelet measures 6″ circumference on a strong elastic. The Thor’s hammer pendant measures approximately 3/4″ long and is fairly flat, as to not be unwieldy on a bracelet.

The bracelet is $60, which can be split into 2 payments of $30 or 3 payments of $20 – message me if you’d like to put this on a payment plan, and I’d be happy to work something out with you.  If you’d like this bracelet but it’s a bit too small, put a request in the “note to seller” with your order of your desired measurement (7″ or 8″) and I’ll add a few beads (matching the pattern) to make it a little longer for you.

There’s other Pagan-oriented jewelry at my Etsy shop (and some more new pieces coming very soon!), and I also take custom orders for devotional beads and jewelry, as well as candles.

What It Means to Place the Gods First

Nornoriel Lokason:

This is also what I mean when I say that I put my Powers first in my life. It doesn’t mean that my obligations to family and friends disappear, it doesn’t mean that I love my corporeal family and friends any less. Especially this portion of Sarenth’s post: “What it means is that my family recognizes the Gods at the center of our lives. It is not an either/or thing, here. I do not love the Gods and ignore my family. In loving and serving my Gods, I love and serve my family as well. In separating one from the other is where error comes from. If the Gods are in (or are) the Air, the Water, the Fire, the Ice, etc., then it is impossible to escape Them and foolish, if not hubris, to ignore Them. Far better to partner with Them in good Gebo than to pretend we are somehow separate from Them.” – resonated with me a lot. Putting the Powers first is not the same thing as religious fanaticism and being, as my mom put it once, “so heavenly-minded that you’re no earthly good”. Rather, having Them as the center of my life helps me to live better in this world.

Originally posted on Sarenth Odinsson's Blog:

Having read Galina Krasskova’s recent piece at Polytheist.com, I have to say, when people like her or myself say “The Gods come first” that does not mean that family disappears as a priority.

As head of my little Heathen household, what it means when I say “The Gods come first” is that They are the first consideration when decisions are made, when efforts are undertaken, and around whom the placement of our lives is made.  Do we ask the Gods every time we do something small, like “Oh Odin, what shall I eat today?”  No.  What it means is that when we do sit down to eat, we pray to the Gods, Ancestors, spirits, the beings we are consuming (both animal and plant) and on behalf of all of those who brought the food to us.  It means that we recognize our hamingja as a family is tied into…

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An idea about divine relationships

Nornoriel Lokason:

IT HAS A GRAPH AND EVERYTHING.

Originally posted on Magick From Scratch:

This post will be brief. I am thinking of the various ways that I have heard practitioners describe their relationships to God, Goddess, Gods, or sacred figures across trads. I notice that there are two basic axises… at least as far as I can tell.

One spectrum runs from Self to Distant Other, with Other somewhere in the middle. On one end of that spectrum, you have people who see deity as shaping their identity in some way. They want to emulate that deity, live up to their ideals, dress in their sacred symbols, etc. On the other end of the spectrum, you have practitioners who see deities as abstract forces of nature.

The other spectrum runs from Independence to Servitude, with Dependency of some kind in the middle. On the one end of the spectrum, you have witches who relate to deities like the postman, those who relate to deity…

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Calendar, or, my religious year

Inspired by a post on this topic from the fabulous Jo (whose blog is worth reading if you’re not already), it has occurred to me that I don’t talk much about my own religious practise – what it is I actually do (besides sit around and banter with my People).  This is also a timely topic of conversation because we are coming up on the end of the Vanic year, and the Vanic new year is Kind Of A Big Deal around these parts, so.  Without further ado:

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The first thing to know about my religious calendar is that, while it seems like I talk about demons more than anything, I am Vanatru, and I do observe the Vanic calendar.

There is no historical precedent for the Vanic calendar, this is not something you are going to find in “The Lore”, in historical record.  When I speak of “the Vanic calendar” I am talking about festivals in Vanaheim that I have witnessed and participated in, during my journeys there.  I also have talked with other people who corroborate the existence of these days.  Vanaheim celebrates eight high days: the solstices, equinoxes, and cross-quarter days.  This is not dissimilar to the Wiccan Wheel of the Year, and there are quite a few similarities between the Vanic festivals and Wiccan practise, right down to The Great Rite on the full moons, and Limnaia Asthreanad (May 1st) involving a communal dance around a large pole, with ribbons.  But there are also some differences in theme as well.  For example, Pagans often celebrate their new year either on Samhain or Yule – the Vanic new year (Eshnaia Agreta, or Green Awakening) is on the spring equinox.  (However, the Serpent tribe actually celebrates the lunisolar new year [coinciding with the Chinese New Year] as the start of their year, which I find interesting, and they have a 24-year-cycle of animal-themed years based on the Vanic tribes.  We are now in the Year of the Cat, by Serpent reckoning.)

Like most modern Pagans, I have to adapt my religious calendar to fit my lifestyle.  I also have to adapt my religious observances to fit my lifestyle.  As I am chronically ill AND a solitary practitioner (this side of the fence anyway, which I will revisit below) who also lives in a small space and has limitations of budget and ability to get places, my religious observances tend to err on the side of keeping it simple, at least this side of the fence.  I also periodically have to revisit what I’m doing and why, and make adjustments as necessary.

My health – and more particularly, my mental health (and my mental health directly impacts my physical health) – is something that is more of a consideration now than it was years ago.

One of the things I’ve noticed for some years, but what really hit me hard over 2014, is that fall is very much my “off” season.  See, I feel my best mentally and physically during springtime.  Summer I get cranky and irritable, but still “on”… which is an interesting combination, and why I refer to summer as “mad season”.   I literally have what is known as reverse seasonal affective disorder – all of my past suicide attempts have been in the summer.  Winter isn’t especially kind to me either, but given a choice between winter fatigue and what summer does to me mentally, I’d go with winter.  Fall is my time to recover from summer, and that is when my world slows down.  (This is one of the reasons why living in SoCal was as awful for me as it was – it actually got HOTTER in September and October, including at night, so “mad season” not only got prolonged but got ratcheted up.)  Fall 2014 was especially hard for me, for personal reasons, and as a direct result of that I was not able to observe the fall equinox and Samhain, much as I wanted to.  There were a couple of months where I was not able to journey at all (which is otherwise a pretty important part of my spiritual life) and the only entity I was dealing with was D because my brainweasels had me convinced that Everyone hated me, thanks to problems I was having with other people connected to said entities. (My relationships with the entities in question have been repairing.  I got a good talking-to at Portland International Airport on the day I flew back to Connecticut.)  During this period of time, I was forced to finally admit to the fact that every year, I wind up “on the bench” for fall, and my approach of trying to push through it and Do It Anyway was hurting rather than helping, and it’s OK for me to have an off season, spiritually.

This is an important piece of background context because I am talking specifically about my own personal religious calendar in this post, which differs a bit from the Official Vanic Calendar as I do not observe the two fall holidays, I literally cannot, energetically speaking, and there are a few holidays which are specific to my own life and would be a bit odd for others to observe.

The other piece of background context is, as I mentioned, I am Vanic.  What Vanatru is will vary from person to person, but for me, my experience of Vanatru is coming from being actually Vanic-souled, having had a past life in Vanaheim and still being recognized as that person Over There (to them, it is not so much me who changed as my location, I am seen kind of like having an “embassy” job over here).  I deal with individual Eshnahai (citizens of Vanaheim), much more than I deal with gods named by lore.  So while Vanic holidays for a number of people might involve doing a blot to the gods, my Vanic holidays mean celebrating as they do in Vanaheim, and it is an energy exchange between Vanaheim and Midgard which benefits both realms.

Eshnaia Agreta (Green Awakening) – spring equinox: The Vanic New Year.  New Year observances last for three days. This is one of the few Vanic holidays where I do actual formal ritual this side of the fence, not just Over There. One of the common practises of this holiday is to write down bad things that happened over the past year, as well as painful memories, negative thoughts, etc, on slips of paper, and burn them, as a way of symbolically (and magickally) burning away all of the crud of the past year.  I did this for 2014 at Cannon Beach in Oregon, and not only did this for myself, but for my People as well, most notably D (who really opened up to me, it was an act of trust on his part).  I would like to get to one of the beaches in New England to do it this year – D in particular has a lot more shit to burn this year.  In addition to the cleansing work, the Hare tribe dances across Vanaheim to make the first spring flowers bloom, and the Queen visits each tribe to give them very ornate eggs that he painted himself, as tokens of fecundity and abundance for the year.  Eshnahai children often paint eggs at home, and families start planting their gardens.  This is seen as an auspicious time for beginning new projects, and children who are born within the first week of the equinox are seen as lucky (and a disproportionately high number of tribal leaders in Vanaheim have birthdays within a fortnight of the spring equinox).

Limnaia Asthreanad (Dance of Lovers) – May 1st.  There is a communal rite at the capital, where those who wish to dance around a giant pole, weaving a ribbon of a color that represents their wishes and goals for the year (like gold for wealth, green for health, etc).  Following the pole dance, there is a communal orgy.  The tradition for a long time was for the King and Queen to mate, a male/female couple mates, a male/male couple mates, and a female/female couple mates (for balance), in the quarters (and everybody else gets it on with whoever in the ritual field), but in 2014 the Queen’s consort, Yanlin, stood in for the King (this is explained in Voices of Vanaheim), and then at Runekta Marunasat (in August) the King’s consort, Syddan, “fucked him back to life” in the Queen’s place, so the King and Queen came to a decision that Yanlin will be the Queen’s mate for this holiday.  The sex is seen as energetically feeding the land during the growing season, and those who do not do the sex thing for whatever reason also energetically contribute by drumming and dancing.  (The Crane tribe has a number of asexual members and usually sends a choir to the festivals.)  In my own observance of this holiday, I shag, directing the energy through a colored ribbon representing what I want most to manifest during the growing season; said ribbon goes on my altar later.  The pole represents Yggdrasil and the ribbons represent the Web of Wyrd, touching – it is not just Vanaheim which is affected by this working, but also Midgard, as many Eshnahai also have places in Midgard that they are “keepers” of.

Rasthuas Rihanansai (Lights of the Phoenix) – summer solstice.  At the capital, the Queen and the Lord of the Black mate to publicly herald the waning of the growing season and approach of the harvest season; the Queen is tied down and cut, his blood preparing a knife that will be used to sacrifice his twin at the next festival.  This is also a day when a lot of people get married in Vanaheim, and many people DOO EET ALLLL NIIIIGHT LONNNNG to feed the land with ecstasy, ensuring a good harvest (and those who do not do the sex thing, will often spend the night working on some sort of creative project and feeding the land that way).  This is a holiday where I burn lots of candles and have a lot of sex, not that I need an excuse to do either (especially with me making candles and all).

Spawn Day – July 6th.  Clarence and I became parents to elf!twins on July 6th, 2012.  (There will be another Spawn Day added to my calendar in the near future because D and I had an oops before I left Oregon.  [We made our decision to handfast before oops happened, so this is not a case of “shotgun wedding”.])  I don’t really want to discuss the subject of astral kids (for a lot of reasons, the first of which being it’s personal and I’m protective of my family) except to say it happens, it’s a LOT more common among woo-people than anyone might realize, including respected old school occultists who were hugely influential on modern occultism (Marjorie Cameron comes immediately to mind).  So before anyone is like “Nono is crazy,” yep – when you believe the gods are real and you allow them to actually work in your life, crazy shit happens.  My astral life is pretty tame compared to some, tbh.  Let’s move on:

Portlandversary – July 11th.  While I no longer live in Portland, Oregon, the day I moved to Portland – July 11th, 2013 – was very much a death and rebirth experience for me.  I moved under very shitty circumstances – my ex made me get out on short notice because he was moving and hadn’t informed me; Lucifer showed up and was like “I’m moving you to Portland, Oregon” and then I got an offer to stay in Portland, which I took to avoid winding up homeless in LA – and the day I left Portland, Lucifer told me that I was sent there specifically to meet D (and start getting my life back together), as there was a unique set of circumstances that brought D into my life.  So celebrating that day, is a way of honoring that sometimes things fall apart so other things can come together (D: “with emphasis on the word ‘come'” *facepalm*), and honoring my road to recovery since then.  Lucifer and D both get offerings on this day.

Runekta Marusanat (Feast of the Fallen) – August 1st.  The King is sacrificed by the Queen and walks the Hel-road.  (This was written about in Voices of Vanaheim.)  While the King lies dead, his family and the gathered attendants keep vigil, and blood is collected from every adult in Vanaheim, which is then baked into loaves of bread that also contains the King’s seed when his consort “breathes life” into him upon the King’s return and waking.  The first loaf is taken by the chieftain of the Bull tribe to be broken on Bull lands and blessing the Bull farms (as the Bulls are the largest producers of agriculture in Vanaheim), and the rest is shared among the people.  This side of the fence, I keep vigil.  I am not really one for baking bread in the heat of August and I have celiac to boot, but this year I have the idea of “sacrificing” something I’ve made and putting the parts together into something new, with the energy of sacrifice and rebirth carried into it from the day.

I Lived – The last time I seriously wanted to kill myself was August 10th, 2013, a month following my move to Oregon.  Clarence saved my life (by throwing me out of my body and taking over for awhile, which I might write about sometime).  This is my “unbirthday” and a celebration of the fact that I’m still here, and I am Loved.

D’s Birthday – September 8th.  I threw him a party at our place in Vanaheim last year, and this year there will probably be more of the same, and I might be able to bake a GF cake and get him a couple of things this year.

Rasthuas Essonsaras (Lights of the Serpent) – winter solstice – I journey to the capital to watch the festivities, which I wrote about before.  This side of the fence, I give offerings to All The People, usually food, drink, candle and incense.

My Birthday – December 28th.  This is also Clarence’s birthday.

Secular New Year’s Eve – In 2013, Clarence and I did a working for our life to get better, and things did get better in 2014 (though it was very much an uphill battle), and on the last day of 2014, I did a working with D for the same.

Robert Burns Day – January 25th.  Clarence identifies as Scottish first, Vanic second, and Robert Burns Day is a BIG FOOKIN’ DEAL to him.  A few years ago, I got visited on this night (not knowing then that it was Burns Day) by the fae guardians of Clan MacLeod, which included “Aunt Fee” before I read about Fiona MacLeod and had one of those “a-ha” moments.  This is a night where I will honor the Scottish portion of my ancestors, as well as the fae keepers of their clan.  Clarence usually gets whisky and indulgence in bagpipe music (which I normally can’t deal with for long) as well.

Rasthuas Ja’enladata (Lights of the Winter Storm) – February 2nd – At the capital, the Queen wears a crown of 24 candles, one for each tribe, and he and the King mate to empower the candles with light and life and joy, and then a candle is lit from each of the 24, one for each tribe, to take back to the tribes and each member of the tribe gets a candle lit from that candle.  It’s a beautiful thing.  This side of the fence, I like to burn candles for the Tribes, in addition to getting it on and adding my own energy of ecstasy and joy to the energy being raised Over There.

The Night D and I Met – February 28th – Which fell on a Friday last year, and conveniently falls on a Saturday this year.  We have plans to go to the place where we met on the astral (I was dreamwalking) and have shenans.  It may involve shutter shades and twerking.

Asmoversary – March 1st, the day that I formally oathed to Asmodai.  The ritual cord I ordered from Beth is on its way, and I need to get to the liquor store between now and then to get him a proper bottle of wine.

D’versary – March 2nd, the day that D and I first shagged, which we celebrate as the Official Start of Our Relationship and thus our anniversary.  (We didn’t Officially Declare Ourselves A Couple until a couple of weeks later – we said “I love you” on Friday, March 14th, 2014 – but we both acknowledge that we fell for each other right away, so.)

Wellbutrinversary – March 3rd, the day I started Wellbutrin, which has made all the difference.

Handfasting – D and I are getting married on Friday, March 6th, 2015, which will be during the last full moon of the Vanic year, and is also a full moon in Virgo (auspicious because that is his sign).  I will talk more about this at a later date.

In addition to festival days, I have regularly recurring observances:

Full Moon: So… in my elven incarnation I had a twin – not all Vanir are twins, but a number of Vanir do have twins, and the twinbond is seen as sacred, and your twin becomes your magickal working partner, for lack of a better way of putting it; my twin is the entity I refer to as “Clarence” on this blog (which is a reckoning of his elven name that I can actually fucking pronounce).  Clarence and I had a guardian job on the Isle of Skye (one of my ancestral homelands, *insert “I’m my own grandpa” jokes here*) a long long time ago, and Clarence remained in Scotland as a wulver, until he got called over here to be a pain in my ass, I mean, look after me.  :P   On the full moons, it is customary for Vanir to mate with their twins and “feed the land”, which in our case affects both Vanaheim and Midgard.  So, Clarence and I are booked for the full moons (except for this upcoming one in March, which is D’s).

Dark Moon: D and I have started doing magick together on the dark moons, for different purposes.  This is actual spellwork – he lets me use the dagger I gifted him as an athame (he will place his hands over mine when I wield it, which is a big surge of energy).

Saturday Night Fever: D and I do sex magick together on Saturday nights.

(I listened to rock music once and wound up in a homosexual relationship with a demon and we do witchcraft together.  We even smoke pot together and everything.  My fundie relatives were right.  :P)

And there’s my calendar.  It’s not as festival-heavy as many others, and what festivals I do observe tend to be really low-key, I’m not as a rule big on doing formal ritual that involves a lot of script.  Also in my practise, the moons are the “meat” of what I do, with the high days being more like “gravy”.  (There are inappropriate jokes about “meat” in here, yes.  And now D is like “if you don’t eat yer meat, how can you have any pudding?”  Dear lord.  :P)

More new stuff: Pride Jewelry

Pride Bracelet: Opaque Czech glass rainbow beads with a golden luster, and silvertone spacers. Bracelet measures 6″ circumference and is strung on a sturdy elastic.  $30.

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Pride Bracelet II: Opaque Czech glass rainbow beads with a golden luster, and Tibetan silver knotwork spacers – the knotwork in this bracelet would be ideal for Celtic or Norse Pagans who are LGBT. Bracelet measures 6″ circumference and is strung on a sturdy elastic.  $40.

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Frey the Gay Necklace: A necklace made in honor of the Norse god Frey, who in widely corroborated gnosis is a bisexual man, was said in antiquity to have non-heterosexual priests, and in the modern revival of his cultus has many LGBT followers – a god of peace, who stands with us in solidarity for equality.

Bronze Frey pendant measuring approximately 2″, on a strand of opaque Czech rainbow “golden luster” glass beads with goldtone spacers. The necklace measures approximately 18″ circumference and is strung on sturdy monofilament, with a lobster claw clasp. Upon request I will bless the item for you, please let me know in the “note to seller”. I can also provide a free 2″ or 3″ extender upon request.

Necklace is $125.  If you want this necklace but do not have the $125 up-front, I will gladly put items on hold or set up a layaway plan with you – for example, five payments of $25. Message me, and we’ll work something out. :)

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There’s a lot of other fabulous things at my Etsy shop, and I take custom orders for jewelry as well.

Lots of new stuff

So I have a LOT of new items in my Etsy shop and did a big listing on Monday (and I have more stuff made since then, like a batch of candles that is currently setting, so I will have to do another big listing later this week).  It would be too much for me to post all of the new stuff in one post, so I will mention a few here, and spread out other new things over the rest of the week.

I now have actual votive candles in my shop (as in, candles that can fit standard sized votive holders)!

The spring equinox is the Vanic New Year (Eshnaia Agreta, or Green Awakening) and is kind of a big deal there, and as such I have made spring-themed candles to prepare for the equinox:

Spring: Candle is made of purple soy wax, dusted with iridescent pastel glitter in shades of springtime, scented with pure essential oils of lavender and ylang ylang, which blended in a way where the candle smells rather like berries (kind of like Fruity Pebbles)… quite yummy! $4/each.

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Spring II: A pale minty green soy wax, dusted with iridescent pastel glitter in shades of springtime, scented with pure essential oil of heather, with a little touch of pine. The candle has a delightful floral scent.  $4/each.

My Spring candles be perfect for your spring equinox and Beltaine rites, as well as devotion to deities of spring, nature, and beauty, and workings involving cleansing, rejuvenating, new beginnings, happiness and prosperity.

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Sun: Pale creamy yellow soy wax, dusted with sunshiny glitter, and scented with pure essential oils of vanilla and orange – the candle smells JUST like a creamsicle, absolutely delicious! Would be a wonderful candle for Sabbats or other solar holidays, devotion to solar or fire deities, or as an energetic pick me up.  $4/each.

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Moon: Pure white soy wax, frosted with sparkling iridescent white glitter, and scented with pure essential oils of ylang ylang and sandalwood. Perfect for Esbats or other lunar rituals, devotion to lunar deities, moon magick, or general purification and blessing work.  $4/each.

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As always I will put items on hold and work out layaway plans (for example, if you wanted to buy candles and a jewelry item [or more than one], I could do a custom listing for you with the items together, on a payment plan). There are many more new candles available at my shop, and I also take orders for custom candles for your personal devotional and magickal needs.

 

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