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Foraging or growing vs Store bought


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#1 Ravenshaw

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Posted 14 June 2015 - 04:20 AM

So, I was re-reading the thread about the nature of sacrifice, and how the sacrifice itself is not just "something" offered, necessarily, but something that actually has *value* being offered, and that is where the power lies.

This made me think about foraging for (or growing) plants, rocks, etc. vs buying them in a store. I have always liked foraging for my craft items, but certainly have store bought plenty of them. I wondered, does foraging/growing plants or items bring a power to something that store bought things cannot? Certainly, when I made an object like a staff or fetish, the work my own hands and time put into it instill a certain amount of energy into it and empower it.

Perhaps for workings which require more oomph, putting the time and energy into it is necessary, on both a respect level as well as a power level. We live in a world where many things are literally at our fingertips - if my assumption of "putting in the time" is true, would this mean that many workings with store bought things are weak, or perhaps power is lost in it?

This also made me think of getting something yourself vs having someone give it to you. In a personal setting, getting a gift has a measure of power to it as well - it may be gratitude, anger, etc. BUT there is certainly a transfer of energy, and something personalized about it. Getting something from a store is not necessarily personalized all the time. Would paying for it count as "signing over ownership or energy" in some way, and is it less powerful than getting it yourself or given to you?

Hmmm.... Thoughts?

RSKHFMY


#2 Aria

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Posted 14 June 2015 - 08:06 AM

This made me think about foraging for (or growing) plants, rocks, etc. vs buying them in a store. I have always liked foraging for my craft items, but certainly have store bought plenty of them. I wondered, does foraging/growing plants or items bring a power to something that store bought things cannot? Certainly, when I made an object like a staff or fetish, the work my own hands and time put into it instill a certain amount of energy into it and empower it.


I believe there is power in making. In my practice, spell-casting starts with the fabrication of the items of the spell. Puppets, candles, incenses, oils... making them with intention, focus and passion is already doing a lot of work for you when you'll be doing the final thing. I have used, and still sometimes use, herbs and other stuff that I have bought but... it's not the same thing. By collecting the herbs yourself, you are starting a conversation with the spirits that dwell in/around it. When the molecules of the beeswax break down on the heat, you have a change to weave your incantation into the matter, as you can sow it in the sowing of a bag, and in the breaking and crushing of the mortar.
When I do this, I find that the whole operation goes more smoothly, and that I have more control and coordination on what's going on. It's difficult to explain, but I think the difference in 'quality' is tangible.

Perhaps for workings which require more oomph, putting the time and energy into it is necessary, on both a respect level as well as a power level. We live in a world where many things are literally at our fingertips - if my assumption of "putting in the time" is true, would this mean that many workings with store bought things are weak, or perhaps power is lost in it?


Some people here may not agree on this, but I believe that the basic difference between witchcraft and more ceremonial forms of magick, is that in witchcraft the only thing you need is the witch. I think that where magicians move through strict associations, witches move more through intuition and an unspoken form of understanding. I think there are two sides to a possible answer to your question. First, yes, a spell cast with cheap paraffin candles produced by an industrial chemical company carries much less of your intent and you can never really know what is surrounding it or its history. So, in my opinion, it will always be a less powerful tool. However, a tool is a tool. Tools are useful, but they are facilitators - you can go hiking with sticks and energy bars, but if you don't have good legs and a sense of orientation you won't get far. So eventually, the skilled witch can do with the finest hand crafted beeswax candles and metal sigils as well as with a burning toothpick or a cigarette.

Getting something from a store is not necessarily personalized all the time. Would paying for it count as "signing over ownership or energy" in some way, and is it less powerful than getting it yourself or given to you?


I don't think magic works like the market, so that you can trade energies through money. However, the money that is spent on a magical item is not going to be spent somewhere else. So, you are giving up something, and that is somehow akin to a sacrifice, in my view. I think that may also be the inner meaning of 'do not bargain on the price'.

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#3 Ogga

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Posted 14 June 2015 - 09:02 AM

I prefer to forage my ingredients and such myself. And by making my own tools i believe that i invest time and energies in the object wich makes it stronger.

I started to do this firstly because artefacts and tools are quite expensive and hard to get here. But then I recognised that they worked better than the few boght tools i had. I think it has to do with bonding with the object/ingredients. Its easier (at least for me) to connect with something I have foraged or made myself. The uppside with this is also that i know exactly what i put in the spell/object/artefact...and can avoid materials that makes doing my craft harder (plastic for exemple).

When i buy ingredients or tools its often because i cant pick or make it myself (like dragons blood, loadstones) or i really can feel the connection to the object in some way (like the bollocks dagger replica i plan as a new ritual knife) .

So my anwer to your question... Weaker magick?...No. Harder to make it work?... Often but not always.

Edited by Ogga, 14 June 2015 - 09:04 AM.

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#4 Michele

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Posted 14 June 2015 - 12:22 PM

I have several thoughts... one, I think foraging (which I rarely do because I live in the city) has several pluses to it - I think that the time it takes to forage (assuming one isn't doing it with itunes plugged into their ears and blasting) takes one into a place where they are surrounded by nature and thereby more exposed to it, the feelings... the mind sharpens and quiets.... thereby, the mind is much more attuned to the job at hand and the reasoning behind it so it opens up that train of awareness and inspiration. Again, I don't forage so I've had to train myself to connect and be aware and open when I'm in my yard. Not the same thing, but it works for me. Also I think wild-grown plants may have stronger tendencies toward their aspects than commercial-grown. Commercial grown have not been exposed to the things that help make them what they are - just like a tiger in the wild would have hunting instincts much more sharpened than a tiger born and raised in the zoo. That said, a zoo-tiger would have the memory of it in their DNA, but you might have to really work with the tiger to bring that memory to the foreground. So yes I would think wild foraging is the ideal if one has access to it.

Re sacrifice and something of value.... I don't necessarily agree with that mind-set for myself that sacrifice must have value. I think that somehow over time the idea of having a relationship got morphed into the idea of making a three-second "sacrifice" of something valuable... kinda like a Christian who cusses all week then goes to church for an hour on Sunday and considers himself a "good Christian" because he spent one hour a week in church hut he never actually lives what he claims to believe. Relationships take up a lot of time, and if anything that would be the "sacrifice". I leave bread outside daily, and it has no value to me... I don't even eat bread, lol. The only reason I buy a loaf each week is to leave it outside. Not much of a sacrifice since all I do is chuck it out the back door before I go to bed. The point isn't so much that I am making a "sacrifice" as it is that I believe enough to do it. It kind of cements things. And I say good night when I do it.

M

Edited by Michele, 14 June 2015 - 12:28 PM.

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#5 Khundekling

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Posted 25 October 2017 - 02:03 PM

Bumping this as I've been having the same dilemma.

 

I always try to find the ingredients I need in nature, I only work with a few plants so I grow those. But on occasion I will resort to buying something and my gut is always telling me it won't have the same effect.

What I'm having issue with at the moment is animal bones and feathers. I'm looking to use animals who are local to me but I'm really struggling to find what I need. And I'm contemplating whether to buy them or not (if I can find somewhere online that sells them that is). I'm interested to know peoples thoughts on this?

In the past when I've found a dead animal I've let nature take it's course and scavenged what I need (with a little ceremony thrown in). Then, I've known where it's come from and can often tell how it died. But buying online I wouldn't have that connection. I certainly don't want some pissed of critter spirit coming back and F'ing up my working  :D 


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#6 Zombee

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Posted 25 October 2017 - 04:49 PM

I prefer scavenging or growing the plants i'll work with so their provenance is known and they are closer to their life force. it is this link to the life force that I will draw on. Medicinal herbs & Therapeutic oils have to be purchased because I lack skill to safely identify or equipment to extract the essential oils. I prefer to only use teeth & naturally shed or found parts so that I'm not contributing to a questionable body parts trafficking market. My path does not suffer and any contacts my spells require have been sufficient to accomplish the goals.

Our ancestors worked with the produce of their necessary hunts. My modern equivalent is the grocery store meat isle, and these animals were not dispatched with the hopes of a hunter towards his kill, but of a corporate mentality harvesting an income. It's the reality. I can choose not to purchase or accept it and enjoy the meal. Either way, the animal wasn't consulted. I simply don't have the stomach to stop at the slaughter house and ask for a head to take home to skin, boil and remove the brain, etc. If someone does, then they have bonded with the bones they've prepared and created a path for their consciousness to link with the animal's group spirit. They demonstrate to their psyche that they take their contact seriously by not using what is convenient. And that is potent indeed, in my opinion.

Edited by Zombee, 25 October 2017 - 04:49 PM.

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#7 citoyenne

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Posted 02 November 2017 - 01:35 AM

Of whatever can grow here I grow, I can raise things with intention they are filled both with my energy and their own local energies; the spirit of the thing knows what it is being raised for and will thrive if it agrees. I forage what grows here but not in gardens, they have wild energy of the land, these spirits may not always agree on their use and one must be careful to not just do what one wants and take it, sometimes offerings are just not enough. I am lucky enough that I am also left gifts, things placed in my path that are meant for me.

 

There are some things that can't help but be bought, things that just don't grow or can't be grown here. My traditions grew up in a maritime world of interconnectivity and so sometimes relies on things come from away (Primarily spices, herbs but also warm climate fruits like... oranges or lemons). I feel there is power in the come from away ingredients, the foreign energies, their journeys, the fact that it is just -not- available otherwise and there is sacrifice involved with the cost (though not as much as there once was); not even considering the per pound price, a single lemon costs me more than say a turnip which is many times its size.. and then we look at the costs of spices.... There are the stones that cannot be found here, there is basically all cloth that isn't wool that can't be made here without at least importing raw materials. Then there are skills that I just don't have like metal smithing or glass blowing, or things I don't have the tools for like a loom or a kiln. These things have layers of power from the materials they are made from to the energies of their creators to create unique spirits; blacksmiths are magic and I couldn't compare even if I tried, to make and imbue things with their power, I would argue the same of weavers, potters, glassmakers, masons and carpenters. I feel there are reasons why these people tend to be mythologized.

 

Of course I can't be sure of the energies of all people involved, I try to source both my magical and mundane supplies ethically but there is so much we don't or can't know. That is what cleansing is for, and I wouldn't use a thing without cleansing it first. I wouldn't think twice about buying what I need. I am still sacrificing time to make the money which I have to trade for items; money which is always tight and every additional expense a burden. The act of the trade has power, a deal is made to the satisfaction of both parties to obtain that which you want, if you're not satisfied with the terms don't make the deal... it's more of the magical same ;)


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#8 citoyenne

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Posted 02 November 2017 - 02:17 AM

Our ancestors worked with the produce of their necessary hunts. My modern equivalent is the grocery store meat isle, and these animals were not dispatched with the hopes of a hunter towards his kill, but of a corporate mentality harvesting an income. It's the reality. I can choose not to purchase or accept it and enjoy the meal. Either way, the animal wasn't consulted. I simply don't have the stomach to stop at the slaughter house and ask for a head to take home to skin, boil and remove the brain, etc. If someone does, then they have bonded with the bones they've prepared and created a path for their consciousness to link with the animal's group spirit. They demonstrate to their psyche that they take their contact seriously by not using what is convenient. And that is potent indeed, in my opinion.

 

For the record, you don't have to skin the head before boiling it but it does help to singe off any hair just because it makes an awful mess. PSA brought to you by horrible childhood memories of boiling pigs heads...

 

That being said, no the hunted animals were not consulted first but prayers might have been offered to the group spirit of that animal, and thanks given afterward. Consider all of the human history of farming too, it largely it took over subsistence hunting ages ago; those animals bred and raised with the sole purpose of feeding and clothing the farmer's family; the group spirit of cattle know what their destiny is. One could thank the meat they've bought as well, it doesn't hurt to be thankful. I guess you could also pray to that animals' group spirit before hunting those grocery store aisles but to me it seems a little silly being those animals have already been dead some time...


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#9 Khundekling

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Posted 02 November 2017 - 04:37 PM

@ citoyenne, have you ever bought bones over the internet? I always cleanse tools and the like, but my gut is telling me if I were to cleanse the bones of the animal I would be getting rid of it's energy. And I want that animals energy in my working. 


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#10 Aurelian

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Posted 02 November 2017 - 07:09 PM

My primary caution with buying bones over the internet is that it seems to be the case that very many, if not the majority, of merchants are re-sellers and sometimes can not tell you the provenance of their wares or the circumstances under which they are sourced.

 

An example of this is recently someone I know was interested in purchasing a wolf skull for her altar and had found a potential seller with one on offer..  Intuitively, she was questioning it, however.  I instructed her to contact the merchant and ask him where he had acquired this item.  He said he got them all the time, intact, from a person in Alaska whom he assumed was a hunter.  With very little research it was discovered that until recently this was not a legal practice, and often these wolves are mowed down en masse by hunters in helicopters, with no guarantee that they are killed cleanly and suffer in agony before succumbing.  They are very intelligent and social animals.  I certainly do not consider this to be an ethical practice, and she quite agreed, so the purchase was not made, and she continues to search for a suitable item.

 

So, a pox on that!  Be careful where you source your skulls and bones if you cannot gather them yourself.  Of course others may have a different opinion and say that at least in such a circumstance if they made use of that skull the creature did not die completely in vain.  

 

For other resources, there are a variety of skulls and bones and foraging forums online and on social media.  If you can find a seller that meets your standards this I think is a good bet, and often these sources are actually cheaper.  Get to know such persons a bit before making a purchase, however.  Some of them will just tell you what you want to hear in order to make a sale.

 

Perhaps the most reputable source of animal bones would be, for example, a shaman I know who is tasked by his spirits to hunt and remove pests and invasive species in his area.  If such a person can be found and can meet your requirements, so much the better.


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"The truth about the world, he said, is that anything is possible. Had you not seen it from birth and thereby bled it of its strangeness it would appear to you for what it is, a hat trick in a medicine show, a fevered dream, a trance bepopulate with chimeras having neither analogue nor precedent, an itinerant carnival, a migratory tentshow whose ultimate destination after many a pitch in many a mudded field is unspeakable and calamitous beyond reckoning." - Cormac McCarthy

#11 Khundekling

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Posted 03 November 2017 - 11:25 AM

Thanks Aurelian, yea I'm only interested in death by natural causes. One animal I'm looking for is a Badger and there is a big problem with Badger culling around here in the most horrific way. So I definitely need to be careful where I source it from.


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