Many Branches–Going Bright with Candlesmoke Chapel

Learning and Community

D

ear Miracles,

I’m so delighted to introduce you all to two more of my favorite Sacred Artists. Joseph and Sara Magnuson are friends, colleagues, and collaborators who make beautiful and truly magical spiritual products. From sublime ritual oils to sweet sugar jars and of course their stellar candle services — these two run one of the most authentic spiritual supply businesses I have come across in years!

In their own words: Candlesmoke Chapel is a husband and wife collaboration dedicated to crafting high quality magical and spiritual goods. We’ve been crafting our own supplies for years and are proud to offer our products and services to others. Our work and studies include traditional witchcraft, hoodoo, genealogy, folklore, and herb lore. We are always working to better our own lives and are committed to helping others achieve their desires through the use of magical and spiritual practices.

Find them on the World Wide Web:

www.candlesmokechapel.com
www.etsy.com/shop/candlesmoke

1.) Candlesmoke Chapel fills many different roles, but one of the things that you two do beautifully is creating homemade spiritual supplies–how did you get started in this work?

Both of us have been interested in and studied various paths and traditions our whole lives. After many years of learning and practicing, we found ourselves drawn to the principles behind conjure and rootwork. This became a jumping off point for us, so while we don’t practice conjure and rootwork exclusively, we find that the tangible aspects of working with candles, roots, herbs, oils, incense, and washes speaks to us. We believe that having these items to physically work with help to focus one’s intent and purpose.

In working with these types of items, we’ve been in and out of every botanica and occult shop we’ve come across. Even though there seem to be lots of options out there, we weren’t always satisfied with the quality and the general feeling behind most of the products we found. So we decided to make spiritual supplies for our own personal work and quickly found that they were powerful and effective. We started giving items to friends as gifts and doing work for people we knew for free. The feedback we received was awesome and we’ve just kept growing!

2.) You also offer readings through Candlesmoke Chapel–what is your favorite subject to read on and what question would you like to never be asked again?

We’re going to answer this question separately because we each do different types of readings…

Joseph – I read with the Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot and my favorite kind of readings are open-ended general questions. I love it when the client just says, “tell me what you see.” This gives me the opportunity to really open up to the cards and the client’s energy and look at any and all possibilities. I really enjoy all the readings I do, but if I had to pick I’d say the most difficult readings are the third or fourth go-around on the same issue; when the client doesn’t like the answer they got the first couple of times and they keep wanting another reading to see if something different will present itself. These are difficult because I know they’re unhappy with their situation, but I won’t just tell them what they want to hear.

Sara – I read with the Animal Medicine Cards and my favorite kind of readings are about how people can move forward with something in their life. I love questions about feeling stuck in some way and guiding the client to the animal spirits and energies that they can learn from and call upon to bring themselves up to the place they want to be. I love helping people see the connections between other living creatures and themselves and watching that “aha” moment when the client sees how it all comes together. Like Joseph, I enjoy all the readings I do but, due to the nature of the cards I use, the most difficult question I get is “tell me what my spirit animal is.” People are usually asking this question without a real understanding of what that means and they’re typically not interested in doing the inner work necessary to discover this themselves. It can be challenging to explain to someone who doesn’t want to look within themselves that no one can tell you what your spirit animal(s) is/are.

3.) Talk to us about bottle spells–how do they work and what you do guys love about them?

We love bottle spells and especially sugar jars! The idea behind any type of bottle or container spell is to create a magical battery. You’re creating a small space that is super-concentrated with ingredients suited to your purpose. Immersed in that super-concentrated space is a paper with your desire written on it, your handwriting on the paper adding more power to the purpose of the container. Add some personal concerns, like a strand of hair, and this can be some powerful stuff! We create the jar for your purpose, you add your written paper and personal concerns and we provide you with instructions on how to work the Sweetening Jar on your own.

There are tons of different types of bottle spells and we focus on Sweetening Jars, specifically sugar jars. They can be made with many different kinds of sweeteners, but our preference is for sugar because it tends to manifest movement in a situation more quickly than something like honey. There’s also a physicality involved with shaking a sugar jar – seeing the magical ingredients tossing about; hearing the sound it makes and getting into a rhythm like a musical instrument. Our Sweetening Jars currently focus on romantic love situations, but we’ve done custom jars to help create a peaceful home and to help draw more clients to a business. There are lots of situations that can use a little sugar!

4.) You are a married couple doing awesome work together-are there any particular challenges or benefits that you find in working together on all your different projects?

One of the biggest benefits for us is that we’re passionate about the same thing. We’ve seen lots of situations where one person can’t be very open about what they’re doing or even has to hide it because their significant other doesn’t get it or isn’t into it. Yes, we’re a married couple, but we’re also best friends – and who doesn’t love hanging out with their best friend! There are also two sets of eyes on everything we make. It’s invaluable to have someone else that you trust to smell, touch and test a new creation; it’s the in-house quality control department. Luckily, we have a very honest relationship so the quality control department takes no BS! We openly and honestly give each other our feedback without the worry of hurting any feelings. The best benefit is getting to collaborate; we love putting our minds together to develop new products and services. Even though we’re walking this path together, we each have different sets of knowledge and our own ways of looking at things. If one of us doesn’t know something or can’t figure something out, the other one can almost always find the solution. The only real challenge for us is arguing over who gets to use the big work table and who has to clean up!

5.) If you could give one piece of wisdom to my readers today, what would it be?

Trust yourself. Completely block out what anyone else thinks and do what you feel called to do. Keep doing what you feel passionate about and practicing what you believe in because it will shine through in everything you do. Not only have we learned this lesson in our own work, but we also run into these issues with our clients. This advice is not just for someone following a path in life, but also for those who are working to change a situation. It’s not just about big-picture, life-choice questions and even applies to the little things. After you get a reading or use a product, trust yourself. Block out all the extraneous stuff and do what you feel called to do. Practice what you believe in and the right path will appear.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

The best herbs and curios for Academic Achievement+Success

Alchemy and Magic

D

ear Miracles: As school starts back up for many of us, it is time to work a little magic to craft the best possible approach to academic success and victory this year! Walk with me down the green path and let’s meet ten delightful natural allies that can help you do just that…

1.) Alkanet Root (Alkanna tinctoria) this root comes from a plant known as Dyer’s Bugloss and that should give you a clue about one of its uses — alkanet root creates a lovely and natural red dye. In Conjure folk magic the root is also used to hurry things up and speed things along (alkanet is one core ingredient in many a “Fast Luck” type formula). Since sometimes academic or work success needs to be hurried along a bit, working with Alkanet can provide that speedy edge.

Do: always add a pinch of alkanet to any sugar jar work you have going as sugar jars can be known to take their time before going into effect. If you have a lot of learning material to get through and comprehend, work with peppermint, rosemary, alkanet and bay leaf-perhaps making a mojo hand of all three and then wearing it on your person.

 

2.) Bay Leaf (laurus nobilis): This is in your kitchen drawer right now and is SO awesome! This aromatic leaf is wonderful in chile and soup but is also known for helping one achieve victory and high-flying success. In fact, Bay leaves were used to crown both poets and warriors in Ancient Greece and Rome and our esteemed appellation of “laureate” comes from the second part of Bay’s name: laurel.

Do: Write a petition for success and victory directly on a bay leaf. Add it to a prayer bundle, mojo bag, sugar jar, or wear it in the bottom of your right shoe.

 

3.) Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus): a Southeast Asian aromatic grass with many magical uses, lemongrass is used to open the road, clear out muck, and improve your luck.

Make: a magical floor wash/housecleaner by steeping lemongrass (and maybe some of the other herbs on this list too!) in boiling water or better yet, some vodka. You then use the liquid to wash your floors and clean your home before the start of each semester at school. Not sure about that? You can also buy commercial Florida Water and simply add some lemongrass to the bottle-let it sit for 9 days, and wash your home that way!

 

4.) Lillies (Lilium spp.): These beautiful flowers are sacred to St. Joseph (and various other holy figures) and St. Joseph is the individual who blesses the work of a person’s hands. If you are in a situation where you need to refine a skill set or have your own work be blessed and noticed (because it is excellent of course) the Lily is a good flower to work with!

Offer: lilies to St. Joseph with a petition or prayer that the work of your hands and the thoughts of your mind be blessed, improved, and generate prosperity for you and your family.

 

5.) Peppermint (Mentha pepirita) Peppermint is known for its clean, cutting scent, culinary uses, the ability to spiritually cleanse and to replace bad luck with good, and, in some circles, its use in money drawing magics. This aromatic herb is also wonderful to work with when you need to increase your ability to focus and concentrate.

Blend: Peppermint essential oil with Rosemary essential oil for a fantastic, fresh scent that will also truly aid you when you need to buckle down and concentrate.

 

6.) Rosemary (Rosemarinus officinalis): Rosemary is another beautiful aromatic herb best known for its culinary use. It has also been sought out for its protective properties and its ability to bless a home and family. Rosemary aids in mental clarity and concentration and the best part of all? You probably have it in your kitchen right now!

Infuse: Olive oil with rosemary — not only can you use it for cooking, you can also use the oil to lightly anoint your third eye before a big test to bring you wisdom and success in all your work.

7.) Sage (Salvia officinalis): when we say that someone is sagacious we are really saying that they are wise. It should be no surprise then that the herb sage-another culinary favorite that is probably hanging out right now in your kitchen cabinet-is used for intellectual success and smarts.

Burn: sage and use it to smudge your body before big academic events. When you do this, pay special attention to your head, hands, and feet.

 

8.) Solomon’s Seal Root (polygonatum officianle, p. biflorum, etc): King Solomon is reputed to have been the wisest man on earth and has long been invoked by magical sorts of all stripes. Solomon’s Seal Root is an essential ingredient for any work aimed at creating greater mental clarity, acumen, and wisdom.

Make: at the beginning of the academic year or when dealing with a situation where you need smarts and success make a poppet that represents you. When you do this, be sure to add hair from your head so that you are blessed with wisdom and add fingernails to the dolly to refine the work of your hands. Add Solomon’s Seal Root throughout, so that you are imbued with Solomon’s legendary wisdom. Pray over the poppet daily and speak affirmations of wisdom and success.

 

9.) Sugar: A lot of magical work that goes into academic success focuses on the student. As we all know, however, a great teacher can make a huge difference! Whether we are teacher OR student, sometimes we find ourselves in a situation where someone we need to favor and support us has taken a disliking to us or seems uncooperative. In cases like this, it’s time to bust out the honey, sugar, or your sweetening agent of choice. Sugar and its relatives has long been used to sweeten someone up and bring them to your side. It is most frequently referenced in love magic but can absolutely be used to influence a teacher, administrator, or supervisor in your favor.

Make: a magical sweetening jar  or toss a bit of sugar in the path of the person you would like to influence while petitioning that they work with you, favor you, and come over to your side of things.

 

10.) An intellectual giant’s graveyard dirt: I am pretty herb focused here but one curio that I absolutely wanted to mention the graveyard dirt of an intellectual powerhouse. A quick search on Find A Grave will help you see who is buried in your area. If you are comfortable and proficient in graveyard work, go buy or collect dirt from a smart spirit and use it to give you aid from beyond.

Add: graveyard dirt to candles, sachet powders, and mojo hands so that you can work in close connection with a brilliant spirit. Only do this work if you are already experienced in spirit work.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

How to make a honey jar (with pictures!!!)

Alchemy and Magic

D

ear Miracles,

Life is sweet but sometimes it needs to be a little sweeter, yes? So it is that honey jars were born and have become one of the most popular and well-known techniques in folk magic. Today I wanted to share with you both in words and pictures on how to put a honey jar together.

As it turns out, honey jars are not just for tea and biscuits! There is actually a long history of folk magic traditions working with sugar, honey, maple syrup, molasses, simple syrup, and other sweeteners to promote love, kindness, joy, harmony, goodwill, and favored status. The theory is simple enough and a great example of sympathetic and contagious magic: because the primary medium (a sweetener of some kind) is used in a directed manner towards a specific person the intention is that said person will become “sweeter,” more kind, tender, loving, and harmonious.

Although “honey jar” is the preferred term, I actually like to use Whole Foods’ vegan sugar in my jars. I like sugar because it is less messy than honey, it’s easy to take petition papers out and add new papers if the need arises, and sugar is also less expensive than honey. I use vegan sugar which might seem strange until you understand that most sugar is processed through filters made of animal bones (due to the high heat required during the refining process). Vegan sugar is not.

honey_jar_contents

Honey Jars and sweetening bottles are created and worked with for a variety of reasons. Some like to make a jar that represents themselves so that they will be kinder and more loving to all of the people in their lives. Others choose to create a honey jar to mark a marriage or special anniversary and to bless a couple with years of love and tenderness. In other cases, honey jars may be used in a more compelling manner–to make a difficult boss like you better, to encourage a judge or jury to find in your favor, or to persuade your students or clients to work with you and follow your lead. Making honey jars is relatively easy; because of this they have become one of the more popular forms of magic–and because of the materials involved, you can get very creative (or stay simple) in the creation process.

First, you need to write a petition:

honey_jar_petition_1

The petition made for a honey jar tends to follow a specific format. First, you will write the name of your target (the person you would like the honey jar to effect), then you will turn the paper 90 degrees and write your name on top of the target’s name. If you are doing a honey jar on yourself then you do not have to do this second step.

Some people like to use pencil for the target’s name and then a pen or permanent marker for their own name–the idea behind this is that permanent ink is “stronger” than a pencil (which can be erased) and therefore exerts more influence. I personally like a strong ink that I can see well for both names. After the names have been inscribed its time to create a magical circle around them like this:

honey_jar_petition_2

During the writing in a circle around the names, the pen cannot be lifted from the paper and this is why it makes sense to use a short and sweet prayer. In this demo, I used the prayer: “love and blessings” over and over again.

An optional but fun step is to embellish the petition paper:

honey_jar_petition_3 (1)

Once the petition is completed you can anoint it with oil and then fold it towards you. Turn the paper 90 degrees and fold it towards yourself again. Now you are ready to add it to the sweetening jar. Different people have different attitudes about the jars themselves. Personally, I like Ball Canning Regular Mouth Half Pint Canning Jars. I like using a regular, inexpensive jar and then embellishing it myself–that is part of the magic! It’s also essential to have a metal/heatproof lid if you want to burn candles on the jar.

honey_jar_complete (1)

You will add your sweetening agent be it sugar or honey but then you will also want to add roots, herbs, and curios that are appropriate for whatever situation you are working on. If you do not know the first thing about herb magic, don’t worry–I have an Amazon store chock full of my favorite herb books! Once you have added what you want in the way of herbs, roots, and curios your jar will look beautiful and you can tuck the petition right in. Make sure that the petition is totally covered by the contents of the jar. Now in some cases at this point, people like to ask if they can use the sweetening agent that is in the jar and the answer is…it depends on what you put in it!

Obviously, if you used any toxic roots or herbs when making the jar you will not be able to consume the sugar/syrup/honey. However, if you used edible plants (of which there are MANY) you can eat the sweetener and you can also use it in baking, cooking, and beverage making. In fact, one very simple and stripped down honey jar spell involves putting a whole vanilla bean into the family canister of sugar–it is believed that this leads to a happy and peaceful home. The sugar, of course, is used in the day to day doings of the family and its magic extends through use!

At this point, you could stop. These days a lot of people are making sugar jars and then they work them and magically impart their intention onto them by praying over them, stating their desires and shaking them rhythmically. However, some of the oldest honey jar workings do center around a candle and adding a candle to your honey jar is a wonderful way to imbue the magic of fire into your work–and it also can provide you with a great focal point as you pray or charge up the jar.

Choose a candle that resonates with you–many people like to work with specific colors of candles. For the demo, I went with a blue and yellow candle since the jar I was demoing was made for love, communication, and healing. You will want to anoint the candle with a ritual anointing oil appropriate to your situation. Hold the candle at heart level and draw the oil from the base of the candle towards your body. You may also want to dress the candle with ground herbs, ground herbs and magical sachet powder, and of course glitter:

dressing_a_candle_for_honey_jar

Set the candle on top of the honey jar and it’s time to light it!

I consider honey jars an endurance type of ritual work. Typically they are fashioned with the intention of being worked for a long time — at least several months and often for years. The jars are usually set up on an altar or dedicated working space. Candles can be burned on them and they can be prayed over and put to work every day, two or three times a week, or on a monthly basis. Pay attention to the way the wax of the candle melts and the way the flame burns when you are working your honey jar–these are two of the main ways that you will receive confirmation and affirmation that your magic is doing its thing! And remember, when in doubt you can always order a custom-crafted honey jar of your very own.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.