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Veganism, Symbolism and Witchcraft


Nineheart

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Vegans will never use a product that is derived from an animal, but some ingredients that can be used in Witchcraft are animal products. Although ingredients are not required to perform any spell / ritual, some are especially renowned for their effectiveness. For example, powdered snakeskin is said by many to be powerful and increase the potency of spells. Eggs also are an extremely versatile ingredient and feature in a wide-range of spells.

 

Reflecting on the fact that a Witch needs only their will and intent to successfully cast spells, why is it then that some ingredients are used when they are not necessarily needed? Is it symbolism; to represent desired characteristics or to provide a connection to specific ideals? Is it possible to create a similar result using a different ingredient, or is it not that simple? Could one use dried and powdered Sansevieria trifasciata to effectively replace powdered snakeskin? After all, many traditional ingredients, such as eye of newt, are names associated with specific plants.

 

Although I specifically mentioned Veganism, any type of Witch would be able to use symbolism to replace "essential" ingredients within spells (to represent characteristics; not specific elements, such as psychoactive substances). I'm interested in hearing what "typical" ingredients do you replace with "symbolic" ones, whether this is due to personal opinions or a response to their origins (such as urine); and whether you believe they are just as effective or even more so.

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Vegans will never use a product that is derived from an animal, but some ingredients that can be used in Witchcraft are animal products. Although ingredients are not required to perform any spell / ritual, some are especially renowned for their effectiveness. For example, powdered snakeskin is said by many to be powerful and increase the potency of spells. Eggs also are an extremely versatile ingredient and feature in a wide-range of spells.

 

Reflecting on the fact that a Witch needs only their will and intent to successfully cast spells, why is it then that some ingredients are used when they are not necessarily needed? Is it symbolism; to represent desired characteristics or to provide a connection to specific ideals? Is it possible to create a similar result using a different ingredient, or is it not that simple? Could one use dried and powdered Sansevieria trifasciata to effectively replace powdered snakeskin? After all, many traditional ingredients, such as eye of newt, are names associated with specific plants.

 

Although I specifically mentioned Veganism, any type of Witch would be able to use symbolism to replace "essential" ingredients within spells (to represent characteristics; not specific elements, such as psychoactive substances). I'm interested in hearing what "typical" ingredients do you replace with "symbolic" ones, whether this is due to personal opinions or a response to their origins (such as urine); and whether you believe they are just as effective or even more so.

 

First of all Nineheart, thank you for posting this. I don't know how much help I can be in the " Vegan" realm, as I am a bonified Carnivore. For me personally, it would depend on what I'm casting and what properties, I choose that are to me, myself and I deem symbolic. It all depends, on the inside of the Witch, the intent, the will, you're right. 9 times out of 10, I will use DNA of some sort, something as simple as a cat whisker that has fallen off one of my cats or a shed claw nail. Depending on my emotional being at the time, or what I'm petitioning to cause with effect, I don't limit myself, or put a barrier between me and the end result I "will" to achieve. What you personally initiate in your workings, are your own to utilize. Once you've cast, you've pierced the barriers, so why limit yourself ? Sometimes, I'll close a spell with a breakage of glass, if it suits me, or sometimes I'll just blow out the candle and call it done. Here's a little tip, use the " Search " button, it will open up some enlightenment for you, I never get weary of the Search feature, here.

Regards,

Gypsy

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First off, I'll post this little gem that was making the rounds last year. I forwarded it to a friend who is vegan and he was horrified! *Snicker*

 

Now, back to the topic. I have never, ever been tied to 'must have this ingredient for this spell to work'. My spell is all about my intent and anything else I care to use is additional help; nothing more, nothing less. If I think I want something and I don't have it on hand, I'll rootle around until I find something else that will work just as well, or I'll go without it. Therefore, I don't think in terms of a substitute.

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First off, I'll post this little gem that was making the rounds last year. I forwarded it to a friend who is vegan and he was horrified! *Snicker*

 

 

:tongue: Your ' little gem ' is hysterical, the rest of your post is fabulous. What are friends for, it not to give pause to some of the inevitable ? You're bad..lololol

 

Regards,

Gypsy

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I don't limit myself, or put a barrier between me and the end result I "will" to achieve. Once you've cast, you've pierced the barriers, so why limit yourself ? Here's a little tip, use the " Search " button, it will open up some enlightenment for you, I never get weary of the Search feature, here.

 

 

I completely agree, there is no reason for any Witch to inhibit their own powers. Doing what needs to be done as efficiently as possible should always be the driving force when casting. And thank you for the tip; I briefly looked for similar threads, but I'm sure a this topic has been covered before to various extents.

 

I have never, ever been tied to 'must have this ingredient for this spell to work'. My spell is all about my intent and anything else I care to use is additional help; nothing more, nothing less. If I think I want something and I don't have it on hand, I'll rootle around until I find something else that will work just as well, or I'll go without it. Therefore, I don't think in terms of a substitute.

 

I feel that it is extremely damaging for a Witch to be inflexible; I have only ever cast spells impromptu when I needed to and have never used any ingredients so far, only a candle, incense and sometimes a chant. I was thinking that the "symbolic" ingredients would only be utilised in a ritual, not "everyday" spell casting and only then would they really be used for theatrics.

 

(Also I am not surprised about the uses of animals in various and "unusual" products. It can be quite the pain having to check for milk, eggs and other things in prepared food. There are many reasons for me being a Vegan and cruelty to animals is only one of them.)

 

I'm merely curious if anyone actually does use "substitutes" due to personal preference (such as scent) over a similar ingredient. I also find it interesting how people do things differently: for example, I don't really understand why people associate the colour green with money or finances; is it because of the colour of money, but then I've never seen green money before. I feel green would be more fitting for health as to me it represents freshness (along with white for purity). The colours I would associate with money are yellow and orange (gold), grey (silver) and brown (bronze); also I don't think eggs have much to do with prosperity (please could someone share their opinions), is it because hens lay eggs daily (but then isn't that more associated with fertility?). I would symbolise money with Saffron (as it is the most expensive spice and dyes things yellow) or by using a plant with a similar name, such as the Money Plant. Sorry for thinking aloud, but maybe it will encourage others to share their views.

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I'm merely curious if anyone actually does use "substitutes" due to personal preference (such as scent) over a similar ingredient. I also find it interesting how people do things differently: for example, I don't really understand why people associate the colour green with money or finances; is it because of the colour of money, but then I've never seen green money before. I feel green would be more fitting for health as to me it represents freshness (along with white for purity). The colours I would associate with money are yellow and orange (gold), grey (silver) and brown (bronze); also I don't think eggs have much to do with prosperity (please could someone share their opinions), is it because hens lay eggs daily (but then isn't that more associated with fertility?). I would symbolise money with Saffron (as it is the most expensive spice and dyes things yellow) or by using a plant with a similar name, such as the Money Plant. Sorry for thinking aloud, but maybe it will encourage others to share their views.

 

To use a substitute, one would have to have written a spell using something they didn't have, which implies it is a spell that may have been written by someone else. If I make up a spell to do, I will make it up using ingredients I already own so substitution wouldn't come up. As for "well known" things - like candle colours.... I suck at memorization, so I would actually have to look up what most colours are usually used for, lol, so I am sure I use them incorrectly. I really only use black and white, unless I'm in a mood to be very poetic or visual and really make a "stage" setting which isn't often. I make incenses, but most spells are simply me and a candle and maybe an incense. Once in a blue moon something more involved. Incenses I try and stick to a few basics that make sense to me and that I have a relationship with (or am trying to develop one with) as I don't want to end up looking like a pagen store what went out of business with one hundred packs of herbs stuffeed unopened in a drawer (and I have a SMALL house with no storage, lol). But I'd say if you're using a pre-written spell by someone else, look at the goal and pick your own ingredients rather than trying to substitute for the ingredients they suggest. That way you're working using what you want to achieve and what you have than can help you (positive) rather than trying to make up for what ingredients you don't have (negative). Work by the goal, I'd say.

 

M

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I'm merely curious if anyone actually does use "substitutes" due to personal preference (such as scent) over a similar ingredient. I also find it interesting how people do things differently: for example, I don't really understand why people associate the colour green with money or finances; is it because of the colour of money, but then I've never seen green money before. I feel green would be more fitting for health as to me it represents freshness (along with white for purity). The colours I would associate with money are yellow and orange (gold), grey (silver) and brown (bronze); also I don't think eggs have much to do with prosperity (please could someone share their opinions), is it because hens lay eggs daily (but then isn't that more associated with fertility?). I would symbolise money with Saffron (as it is the most expensive spice and dyes things yellow) or by using a plant with a similar name, such as the Money Plant. Sorry for thinking aloud, but maybe it will encourage others to share their views.

 

Hey there, I think we all use a lot of what you term 'substitutes', but don't generally think of them as substitutes - its more going with what's meaningful to the person using them. Symbology of herbs, items, and colors doesn't mean squat (IMO) if you aren't really feeling the association. The "substitute" associations you've listed are sensible, and if they make sense to you, they'll work well for you. :) I've never heard of associating eggs with prosperity myself, I don't get that association either.

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To use a substitute, one would have to have written a spell using something they didn't have, which implies it is a spell that may have been written by someone else. If I make up a spell to do, I will make it up using ingredients I already own so substitution wouldn't come up.

 

Hey there, I think we all use a lot of what you term 'substitutes', but don't generally think of them as substitutes - its more going with what's meaningful to the person using them. Symbology of herbs, items, and colors doesn't mean squat (IMO) if you aren't really feeling the association. The "substitute" associations you've listed are sensible, and if they make sense to you, they'll work well for you. :) I've never heard of associating eggs with prosperity myself, I don't get that association either.

 

 

Thank you Michele and Aloe, I was mixing up "substitution" with "difference of taste"; I'm fascinated by how one person perceives something differently from another (like visualising a character from only a written description). A more accurate rewording I suppose would be; what ingredients do you use that are "unusual" or different from the "norm" that have a special meaning to you? I realise this is an extremely personal question so no one should not feel obliged to answer me. Similarly, I've very little experience with using ingredients in spells and cast another's spell, so that added to my confusion.

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ONe thing I probably use differently is rue. I know it is a "hex-breaker" and I would use it for that, but it's other uses I am not aware of. I personally find it very clearing of the mind so will use it to lift fog from the brain when I'm having trouble deciding something or when I am too close to something to think clearly. I would also consider using it in a love potion although I couldn't tell you why. I'd also use it in scrying water due to the "mind clearing" effect it has for me (although I'm not a big scryer). I also use damiana for the dead, and that I know of it isn't supposed to be used for that. I hadn't heard of it and some feller on a podcast was talking about it re it's use as a "girl-on-girl" herb. I thought that was interesting so I got some and started playing around with it and now use it in an ancestor honouring incense, although I couldn't tell you WHY I use it for that. Perhaps I knew at the time I started using it, but I don't remember now, lol. It just had that connection for me.

 

M

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I am still very limited with my experiences, but thank you for telling me more about your practices. I use Jasmine incense for any serious personal workings as I find it smells the best (although I currently have no connection with it). I've yet to look into the various uses and properties of plants, but I also want to make a connection with them and find out what they could offer me personally. Ideally I would like to grow all of the plants I use myself, but that will not happen for a few years until I have a place of my own. Still, I really need to stop trying to think things through so much and just dive in head first to experience Witchcraft (now to search through meditation techniques and beginning a traditional path threads).

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I use whatever I feel like using and that which happens to be readily available at that moment. It is not so much about substitution as being creative with what is on hand. When making soup, one may choose to make a soup from a recipe; however, some of the tastiest soup is composed of whatever is around. It is not so much having the right ingredients as knowing the right way to combine the ingredients you have.

 

Jevne

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Guest Elfyd

All,

 

In keeping with my current status of "tangental one" I will state that as a vegan I have always felt "the odd one" in the crowd. I have been practicing veganism for around 12 years now for reasons of my own, in this time I have been laughed at, ridiculed, ostracised (sp?), glared at and treated like a "freak". Does this sound familiar? I have been called a freak more than once, nowadays it is more likely I be referred to as a hippy, all this is good and probably correct, at least in their eyes.

 

I remember a long time ago being told that "we" would be looked at as outsiders of society and it be best to do ones own thing and stay quietly in the shadows, where we have been for so long. I don't think that this is totally appropriate today but I still practice that way myself.

 

Another item i learned was to make do with what was there at the time to work ones skills and spells. In my mundane life I have always followed that mantra, I will make something out of the oddest things, turn someone's discarded item, machine, material or construct to work for any purpose I have at the time of discovery or at least have a damn good go a it. In magic the same thing applies, for me if I get the chance to flit around on a walk, in a wood, by a lakeside, at the side of a track or road and best of all anywhere abandoned by man I always find items that show promise and usually bear fruit. For simple spells I find that a plant with aspects of what is needed right now or even a name of an appropriate plant will do nicely, as was mentioned earlier it is the symbolism that is primary in cases like this.

 

The witch should be adaptable of course, fixed formulae is okay if you wish to be fixed, malleability is for me more of the witchy way.

 

FFFF

 

Elf

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I am still very limited with my experiences, but thank you for telling me more about your practices. I use Jasmine incense for any serious personal workings as I find it smells the best (although I currently have no connection with it). I've yet to look into the various uses and properties of plants, but I also want to make a connection with them and find out what they could offer me personally. Ideally I would like to grow all of the plants I use myself, but that will not happen for a few years until I have a place of my own. Still, I really need to stop trying to think things through so much and just dive in head first to experience Witchcraft (now to search through meditation techniques and beginning a traditional path threads).

 

The ingredients I use are usually whatever is around at the time as well. I don't have an occult shop near me so I have to use what's on hand. Doing things this way is also more fun because it forces you to use your creativity and you learn better. Not only will you be more likely to learn/remember what that ingredient was used for, but your goal is more likely to manifest because you put so much more in to it. As for herbs, the best way I found to work with herbs is to go get a new one and then learn all you can about it one at a time. This way you can not only focus on the book learning of the properities one at a time, but you can also create a relationship with that herb as you do things with it.

 

As for unusual ingredients, I was thinking recently of doing something with insects. Also, disgarded trash as a way connect to those that dropped it and pursuade them to not drop shit in my yard. Still playing with it in my head, but thats the fun part. You can use WHATEVER gets the job done and realising that gives you immense freedom and is extremely empowering. ( Not to mention cheap! ) ;)

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Still, I really need to stop trying to think things through so much and just dive in head first to experience Witchcraft (now to search through meditation techniques and beginning a traditional path

threads).

 

You just got your first inkling, there is a path there, you've just got to be the one to initiate it. Speaking from experiance, don't get all twitterpated about " techniques ", just do what resonates with you, and will it so. Experiment here or there, but take the step. You'll amaze yourself.

 

Regards,

Gypsy

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Elfyd and Nineheart - I am carnivore all the way, but I've always had respect for vegans because I admire the amount of willpower and dedication that it would take to commit to living a vegan lifestyle. A toast to you both. :atoast:

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Elfyd and Nineheart - I am carnivore all the way, but I've always had respect for vegans because I admire the amount of willpower and dedication that it would take to commit to living a vegan lifestyle. A toast to you both. :atoast:

 

For me I honestly have no cravings for meat, I can take it or leave (and choose to leave it). So I don't really see it as requiring willpower (patience maybe when having to read through a list of ingredients in food, like who puts milk in crisps/chips!?). I've "moved on" from consuming and using animal products, so it feels "normal". Although I do have to admit that I feel physically sick whenever I walk past a Butcher shop or a raw meat aisle, but I can tolerate eating with non-Vegans at meal times so I'm not too bad.

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For me I honestly have no cravings for meat, I can take it or leave (and choose to leave it). So I don't really see it as requiring willpower (patience maybe when having to read through a list of ingredients in food, like who puts milk in crisps/chips!?). I've "moved on" from consuming and using animal products, so it feels "normal". Although I do have to admit that I feel physically sick whenever I walk past a Butcher shop or a raw meat aisle, but I can tolerate eating with non-Vegans at meal times so I'm not too bad.

 

I was assuming willpower in forcing yourself to check all foods and products for animal derivative ingredients. *shrug*

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I was assuming willpower in forcing yourself to check all foods and products for animal derivative ingredients. *shrug*

 

I suppose so, but then if you do something enough times it becomes a habit. But thank you the compliment atoast.gif.

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sometimes, if you are not used to making up your own spells, its good to look on pre-written ones (where-ever you find them!) as inspiration to get your own creative and intuitive juices flowing, if thats what you need,

 

I like to use whats to hand, I mostly work as I need, so not alot of time for forward planning, and I also like to use things which are found local to me - as I think its all about connecting the energy with where you are at the time of working too.

 

I like to think (though I have no family history of witchcraft to fall back on!) that my ancestors, were people who worked with the seasons, the surrounding land and indigenous species, and above all their intuition and gut instinct. If certain plants weren't in season then they would improvise, If they needed silk, and only had sack cloth, that would have to do to. By being intuitive, you end up creating workings which come so naturally to you, and are spur of the moment, that these may be the ones which work best, and the ones you will tend to repeat again and again.

 

 

Not saying that I don't like a good bit of shopping for bits and bobs like the next girl though....! (cue box of madly coloured candles... :rolleyes_witch: )

 

and as to colour correspondances, if I am unsure I may look it up, but if it doesnt feel right I go with intuition too, I have often used green for health too, and gold for money, its the layering up of a certain number of things which makes it work for me, more than just the colour, so if I only have a white one its not a problem.:chakrahearts:

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I've only come across green for money on American sites/books and assume it's because their money is green and called the greenback. In Australia we have a predominately different colour for each denomination, but over all I view gold and silver as the colours of money.

 

As for milk in xhips, I think it's dried lactose powder, used as a flavour fixative.

 

The only reason I can think of for using a specific animal product in a working (apart from that is the way my family has always done it) is because the witch wants the symbology or properties of the animal it comes from attached to the spell. Things like feathers for the spell taking flight, dog hair for loyalty, fish scales for fluidity or affinity with water, etc etc. You get the point. Doesn't mean you ever have to use it though. One of my most successful spells I use often is coffee to clear my mind. Might just be coffee, but when I add my intent through stirring it a certain way, a certain number of times I'm imbuing it with my intent. :vhappywitch: Seriously though, use whatever feels right for you.

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I'm making the change over to vegan and it is hard. There is so much out there that is derived from animal. For my spell work, I typically don't work with anything more than my will and intent but when I do work with "props" I use candles or incense to aid in my concentration while casting the spell.

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I have little to no respect for veganism so I won't get started on my views of that.

However, there is no need to refrain from using an animal product if it has been given freely or is from roadkill or natural death.

 

Hair, skin, fur, feathers, claws ,teeth, whiskers and bodily fluids/waste.

 

All of those can be collected from roadkill . It's dead, it lived it's life wild and was not bred for any purpose, it was simply unlucky enough to get hit by a car/truck if it leaped into the road at the last moment ( which many do , espescially deer and rabbits )

 

At the end of the day it's dead and isn't using it's body any longer. You can take what you need with respect, and bury the rest or leave in a safe sheltered spot away from the road, for other animals to consume as they would anyway.

 

Bones of long dead animals can be found if you search enough. Things die natural deaths all the time.

 

 

Most of the above -excluding teeth and some bodily fluids, can also be collected harmelssly from pets. You can brush most things with hair, cats shed claws and whiskers, dogs, rabbits, guineapigs , even birds, often need nails cutting. Birds moult feathers naturally, most things shed hair, even horses and sheep rub/itch themselves on fences , leaving hair/wool caught there. You wouldn't need to physically remove anything from such animals, just pluck it off the fence.

 

Snakes shed skins regularly. Ask anyone with a pet snake, or go into anywhere selling reptiles . They will be happy to give you some old shed skins if you need them. They'd only be thrown away.

 

 

You are not supporting any sort of farming by collecting this way, you're not harming or killing anything that isn't dead already through natural means or by accident.

 

 

Veganism in this matter is simply illogical.

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I'm making the change over to vegan and it is hard. There is so much out there that is derived from animal. For my spell work, I typically don't work with anything more than my will and intent but when I do work with "props" I use candles or incense to aid in my concentration while casting the spell.

 

Sorry, if I noticed sooner I would have replied earlier. I can only offer you advice based upon my personal experience, but really the biggest tip I can give you is to have an open mind and not expect vegan food to taste the same as non-vegan food; it will never be the same and rarely taste the same, so you've just got to accept that it's different. Also, you best enjoy cooking as that's the easiest way to be vegan and never count off a recipe before trying it a couple of times using different brands and ingredients.

 

 

 

I have little to no respect for veganism so I won't get started on my views of that...Veganism in this matter is simply illogical.

 

I understand what you are saying and to some extent I agree. I personally think that it depends upon what your reasons and motives are for adhering to a certain diet and lifestyle: for example, vegetarians do not eat meat; vegans do not consume (dietary) or use (ethical) animal products; Jains do not consume root vegetables; fruitarians do not eat plants (some will not eat nuts and seeds); inedia or breatherians do not eat any food and consume only water (or not). If the primary purpose is to kill as little life as possible then although admirable, it is completely ridiculous as just being alive causes death (whenever you breath you kill millions of micro-organisms). Therefore you should think of other important reasons for adopting a lifestyle. I've looked at many different diets, the reasons for adhering to them and the consequences of following them: some fruitarians believe it is the "original diet" of Adam and Eve and some do not believe in killing or abusing plants much the same as animals for them to live.

 

I completely agree about using animal remains if it has died of natural causes or is collected indirectly from the animal (such as moulted feathers). A moral dilemma for me is keeping animals; would having a pet be abusing animals? or is keeping an animal that is unable to survive in the wild on its own (rescues) acceptable? what if the animal has to eat another animal to survive? etc. Yes, I wholeheartedly accept that life can only exist because of death, but in saying that I will try to go out of my way as much as is safe for me to so as to avoid abusing life (that's the animist and pacifist in me talking). Think of me as idealistic or idiotic, either way you're entitled to your opinions just as I am.

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It's a pointless philosophy to say you wish to avoid abusing life when it comes to collection of animal products for the craft in the ways I have mentioned.

 

I am quite curious to know what on earth you find so abusive about collecting hair from something already dead, or emptying out the contents of the comb of a long haired dog/cat. Incidentally, domesticated animals such as those require brushing, as to not do so causes matting of the hair, attracts parasites and in general causes them misery. Brushing them and keeping their skin and hair healthy is not an abuse in any form.

 

 

By not buying any animal products, and only collecting from the dead, or from pets, you support no form of farming or mass breeding. These are naturally shed/released/found products and would be so regardless of wether the beasts were wild or domesticated.

 

Wether you use these things or use a substitute is of course your own choice, but In the matter of collecting animal parts for use in the craft ( or even for crafts such as art and jewellery and so on ) , I honestly think veganism and it's ideals has no place and holds no weight, due to the described methods of collection and the situations in which you collect.

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