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Yex

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Everything posted by Yex

  1. ____________________________________________________________ I don't know if I'd say that they go into the decision making process per se, but they talk at length about the connection between The Magician and Yarrow. Also, it's interesting that that deck uses Yarrow as the Ace of Wands, as the symbolism of the wand is touched upon heavily in the book. ___________________________________________________________________ There is some practical stuff in the book, but not involving wand-work. Most of the book is theoretical, though.
  2. I just finished Numen Naturae: The Magician's Wand, a collection of essays edited by Casandra Johns and put out last year through House of Hands, which is a collection of essays on the seemingly idiosyncratically specific, but very illuminating topic of the the archetype of the Magician in the tarot, the plant spirit of Yarrow, and the overlap between the two. I've always been fascinated by the Magician, and I have been working a lot with Yarrow lately, so naturally I found the book quite enlightening. A great deal of the book deals only with examinations of the Magus (within and outside of the tarot), but it does come around in the end and return to the topic of yarrow, and makes a strong case for the connection between the two. It was really a lovely read, delving as deeply as it did, and from so many perspectives, into a topic that was at once ultra-specific and totally universal in its scope. There's Jungian perspectives, animist meditations, and more, and even some practical magic that can be followed contained herein. Reading it was really an initiatory experience for me, and I can't recommend this book highly enough to anyone who wants to better understand what it is to work magic, or who works with the tarot, and especially to anyone who works with yarrow or regards Yarrow as a teacher plant. 10/10 PS: I guess this is supposed to be the first installment in a series that will pair each trump in the major arcana with a plant teacher; I think there's already another one out that pairs the Tower with Devil's Club.
  3. I don't think that I necessarily thought that I would become a magical practitioner as such... but, on the other hand, I think I took the existence of magic as being real more or less for granted. This was despite not really being surrounded by anyone that, to my awareness, had a magical practice. I was surrounded, though, by people who were really connected to plants, and I had no doubt that plants were alive and conscious and had spirits. My grandmother in particular, after rejecting the Catholicism of her upbringing early and life, and following an atheist path for most of her adulthood, found, at the end of her life, spirituality in nature and in gardening, and while this probably wasn't even something that I was conscious of, it probably rubbed off on me a good deal. I remember that as a very small child I talked to trees, and they talked back to me, though I can't remember what we talked about. I remember early childhood as being sort of like a waking dream, where reality was poorly defined and everything was enchanted. I did have "imaginary" friends, and talked to them often. I remember we had Brian Froud's Faeries, and I loved it - I took it 100% as a work of non-fiction; I had no doubt in my mind as to the existence of fae. I was also nourished spiritually through Russian Fairy Tales, Greek myths, and the Bible. I particularly liked the Russian stories. I still have those copies of Faeries and Russian Fairy Tales in my house, by the by, and I read them to my own daughter now. Finally, I'll add that the practice of Ancestor veneration has been intuitive since childhood. In particular, my great-grandfather (the person on the lefthand side of my avatar), a man who died 44 years before I was born, always utterly fascinated me. He seemed to reach out to me from old photographs. I had the overwhelming sense that I knew him, that we were intimately connected to each other. I would stare at photographs of him for hours, and interrogate anyone who had any information on him to mine anecdotes and anything that gave me insight into his life. Now, I work with his spirit quite a bit, and he is one of my primary guides in the spirit realm.
  4. Yex

    Spider-Wasp

    Thanks! Glad to oblige! :-]
  5. Yex

    Spider-Wasp

    Preliminary Invocation of Spider-Wasp Spider-Wasp, Child of Mars born under Sothis-Star There's no peace when danger roams Take up arms, protect your home Sky is White with smoke and ash White as war, White as Death Spider-Wasp, Child of Mars pierce your prey with poison barbs Earth screams out in desperate pain lashes out with fire and rain Invoking hatred's evil names wicked men stoke the flame Spider-Wasp, deliver me Adonai, part the sea Grandmothers' ancient wombs weave upon a nobler loom Seeds eternal ever bloom Hope persists beyond the tomb But lest the darkness make me lost Thee I invoke, Spider-Wasp
  6. I have some lunisolar water that I steeped with silver and gold, and then charged recently during the recent total eclipse of the sun. I'm really sure what I'll use it for yet, but possibly either some sort of visionary work, or some sort of healing work. I have an Eastern Orthodox icon of Our Lady of Bethlehem (I'll attach an image I found online that's pretty close to what it looks like). I that I charged on the Stone of Anointing (a stone traditionally thought to be in the spot where Jesus' body was prepared for burial by Joseph of Arimathea) in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. When you go there, there are all sorts of pilgrims laying various items on the stone and praying over them to bless them. I use mine as a general protective amulet on my altar. I think I'm going back to Israel and Palestine this fall, and I plan to gather some grave dirt from my great-grandfather's grave on Mount of Olives (thought to be the oldest continuously used cemetery in the world, with the oldest graves dating back 3000 years to the First Temple period). I'll put this on my ancestor altar, and may also use some for necromantic spellwork of some sort. I also have a piece of a meteoroid and an ammonite fossil, both purchased in a shop. They've been hanging out on my altar for some time, but I haven't really felt called to use them for anything yet. They both feel so "out there" that I'm kind of at a loss for how to work with them, and I feel like I should wait until just the circumstances present themselves.
  7. I should note that since writing the last post, I've found conflicting things online. Some say that it's deadly poisonous, and others say that that's a misconception based on confusing it with true Aconite. *shrug*
  8. So, a good friend of mine was recently in the UK for her honeymoon, and brought me back a present that she picked up in Glastonbury, namely a tincture of Eranthis hyemalis, which wikipedia tells me is commonly known as Winter Aconite (the bottle is merely labeled "Aconite", but then in the ingredients it says Eranthis hyemalis). I searched the forum, but only found information on true Aconite (aka Monkshood, Wolf's Bane, et al), (which, by the way, despite being mentioned a bit in passing, didn't seem to have any in-depth discussions on the topic, nor a thread devoted to it). I couldn't find *any* information on Eranthis on the forum. If I've overlooked something, forgive me, and please do point me in the right direction. I should note that I also searched Sarah Ann Lawless' blog and found no information on this plant there either, and that I also searched for information on Adonis vernalis (pheasant's eye, false hellebore), which has similar chemical compounds as Winter Aconite, and found no information on it on either this forum or Sarah Ann Lawless' blog. (Also, I wasn't sure if this was the right subforum for this topic or not, so feel free to move it if need be). Wikipedia makes the poisoning from this stuff sound pretty scary: "All parts of the plant are poisonous when consumed by humans and other mammals, because it contains cardiac glycosides similar to those present in Adonis vernalis. Glycosides of this type stimulate the heart when administered in small doses, but in very large doses may cause serious, often irreparable heart damage. Symptoms of poisoning include colicky abdominal pains, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, disturbed vision, dyspnea, bradycardia and, in severe cases, cardiac arrest. Specific cardiac glycosides present in E.hyemalis include Eranthin A and B, belonging to the bufadienolide group,[ found also in (and named for) toad venom." Of course, if you look up poisoning symptoms for, say, Datura or something, those sound pretty scary, too, but that doesn't stop people who know what's what from using them, internally and otherwise. However with no information at hand regarding how this is used, nor any way to really find out how it was prepared, I'd be pretty hesitant to ingest it. My friend said she was pretty sure that it was watered down to a point that it's probably safe to take internally, but, uhhhhhh, that's not really reassuring. The bottle itself says lists as ingredients: Eranthis hyemalis, brandy 50%, and water from Chalice Well and White Spring. It also recommends 7 drops on the tongue as needed, and says that it "supports fearlessness". So that's about all I've got. I'd love to hear what other people have to say about this plant. Experiences with taking it internally? Topically? What are the effects like? What is the spirit of the plant like? Magical uses? And how do all of these compare with other poison plants? I should note that my poison plant experience is pretty minimal; I've worked a tiny bit with mandrake, henbane, and amanita muscaria, and have a fair amount of experience with thujone-containing plants (mostly mugwort, but some others, too). (Also I have extensive experience with psychedelics, but that's a horse of a different color). PS: I guess delving into this topic would be a pretty good reason to go out and get some of the books on this list that I've been meaning to get.
  9. _________________________ No, sorry, I'm in the US, and I couldn't give you any recommendations on online sellers, as I get mine from a local apothecary.
  10. Every day, I wear one of two fetish necklaces that are charged with Crow's spirit. The one I prefer to wear is just a crow's foot tied into a necklace with a piece of grey yarn (it's actually getting pretty raggedy, I should probably re-string it). The other one is one that I made before I found the dead crow whose feet I harvested, and it's basically the same, but instead of a crow foot it's a plastic shrinky dink in the shape of a crow (lol) that was originally colored black, though the coloring has since faded, so it's just kind of clear plastic now. I prefer to wear the crow foot, but it freaks out my wife and daughter, so I wear the other one when I'm around them. I wear a wedding ring daily as well, which was charged with a visionary psychedelic substance's energy a while before my wedding (long story). I have a blue and silver cloak that I was wearing to public Druid rituals for a while, but the button came off, and I haven't fixed it yet. I also had a piece of red tiger iron wrapped in wire and made into a necklace which I wore in connection with another Druidic group, but the wire came undone, and I sent it to someone in Portland who was going to fix it, and sadly it was lost in the mail. As others have said, I'm sometimes naked for more involved rituals, or rituals with certain spirits (in my own home). Sometimes I'll wear t-shirts with certain images on them for magical purposes. I also wear a variety of perfumes for magical purposes; common ones are florida water, lavender essential oil, palo santo cologne, rose cologne or essential oil, et al. I like to do purification and centering work when I apply these, and tend to use a lot of them, especially on my heart chakra, my hair, and my beard, with crosses of them made on my forehead and wrists, and sometimes elsewhere. I also use the commercial perfume Opium Pour Homme to work with a specific ancestor spirit, usually just spritzed on my wrists. Lately I've been carrying a stone I found in a lake on me as an amulet to keep one foot in the spirit world in day-to-day life. At various other times in my life I've carried various other stones and crystals around in day to day life. I usually just put these in my pocket as I go about my day. I smoke cigarettes heavily, and I feel very aware when I'm carrying around a pack in my pocket that I'm bearing a sacred plant medicine. I also sometimes carry specific lighters in a semi-magical way (different colors for correspondences, etc). I also wear my hair and beard long, but that's something for another thread, I suppose.
  11. Whew! It wasn't easy doing it this late in the game, but I was able to find a hotel room in Newport, Oregon for the night before the eclipse. I'm going to go down with my wife and daughter to watch the eclipse on the beach, and I'm planning on charging some lunisolar water that I've been steeping with gold and silver.
  12. _____________________________________ I definitely had a lot of dreams that night, but what was more profound - and I find is a common effect of mugwort - was that as I was drifting off, my hypnagogic imagery was so vivid, and stunningly psychedelic, and I was able to remember a lot of it the next day. Edit: I also just drank a lot of it over the course of that day, and I should note that there was a familiar mugworty stoned feeling.
  13. Just a quick update: The mugwort soda came out really well. It's pretty sweet, but you can definitely taste the mugwort. I'll try drinking a glass of it before bed to-night to see if it has any effect on dreams. I've attached a picture with the jar of the syrup on the right, and a glass of the syrup added to carbonated water to make soda on the left.
  14. Yeah, mugwort during pregnancy is an incredibly bad idea; it was used in the past as an herbal abortifacient. I have heard of it being used at the end of a pregnancy to induce labor, though I can't say how safe that is. I hope everything worked out ok for NamedForTheMoon :/ *** It's funny that this thread was revived at this point in time, and that I just stumbled upon it now, because just an hour or two ago I was making a mugwort syrup. I basically followed the steps for making a simple syrup, but with mugwort tea (steeped for an hour) instead of regular water. I'm letting it cool overnight, and to-morrow I'll get some carbonated water and make soda with it. This also comes at a time that I've been working with Mugwort a lot, including in class in the folk magic intensive that I'm taking. She's long been an ally for me, though. It's true, as others have said, that her affects can be very subtle, but when they're not subtle - wow. Definitely great for trancework, dreams, etc, as others have mentioned. I usually take it as a tea these days, or burn some as incense, but I have in the past smoked it; when I first discovered it, at the age of 18, I used to smoke it combined with cannabis (which I used habitually in those days anyway), and the effects were pretty psychedelic. Now that intensity usually comes out only in dreams and trance. I'm planning on making some mugwort wine soon as well. Anyone have any advice on that? I was thinking of using port (just because I'm not crazy about most wine, but I enjoy port). Ratios, experiences, dosages, etc?
  15. I think it's worth noting, just because it seems to come up a lot in this thread, that one's blood ancestors stretch a lot farther back than the people whose names we know. No matter how long one's family may have embraced Christianity, somewhere further back in the lineage, there are spirits who, in life, practiced pre-Christian religions. ______________________________________________ ^ I agree with this, generally. I would add, though, that, in my opinion, no matter who you are, you have some ancestral spirits, from somewhere back in your family tree - it may be a long ways - who are alive in your DNA and guide you magically. I don't think you need to try and reconstruct the historical spirituality of your culture(s) of genetic origins - at least not necessarily - but it is there, and it does play some role, however subtle. (Sorry if this post digressed too far from the original topic).
  16. One of the ways that I look at this issue, applied specifically to spirituality/magic, is this this: Let's say I'm a lawyer, but I get it into my head that I'm meant to be a heart surgeon. I went to law school, my business card says "lawyer on it"... but that alone shouldn't really inherently prevent me from going back to medical school, putting the hard work in, and training to become a heart surgeon. Ok, fair enough. But let's say that heart surgeons - and indeed, the entire field of medicine - has been fucked over by lawyers for centuries. And let's say that as a result of this, no medical school will offer to teach me medicine, on the grounds that it's their field, they don't like me, and they don't feel like they have any reason to teach it to me. What is one to do? I could call myself a heart surgeon, but still keep practicing law, but that's just ridiculous. I could just go ahead and try doing an open heart surgery anyway, but that will undoubtedly have serious negative repercussions. Or, I could just resign myself that I'm probably never going to be a heart surgeon in this lifetime, and if I don't like law, maybe I should just study something else entirely. Maybe someday I'll have enough good fortune to gain the trust of some heart surgeons who will teach me anyway - and if that happens, and I learn how to perform open heart surgery, then great, I can do that then - but it's probably best not to hold my breath, and just roll with the situation as it is. I've definitely been drawn to some paths in my life - certain Native American tribes' religions, some African Diasporic stuff - that seemed like they were really calling me, but when it came down to it, I realized that I'm probably never going to be legitimately initiated into those traditions, and if that's not the case, then I should really just leave it alone. And I get that the spiritual forces involved are not controlled by human beings, but humans do pass on the knowledge of how to contact those spiritual forces. Reading a book and having a feeling that it's right is not going to give me enough familiarity with the spiritual technology (eg ritual forms, means of trance-induction, etc) to really work with those forces. If they are really calling to me, if it is my life's path, then chances are someone who does have familiarity with that path and is willing to teach will cross paths with me anyway. (I should note that the above is something I've had to learn the hard way, and it took a lot of humility to reach those conclusions). *** And now, since everyone else is sharing about their own genetic backgrounds and how that ties into their paths: On my mothers side it's half Ashkenazi Jew, half a mix of Irish and German; on my father's side, it's half from southern Italy, the other half a mix of German, Scottish, and English. The two lineages I currently work with as far as Ancestors go both on my mother's side: her father's paternal line, who are Jews, and her mother's maternal line which goes back to Ireland. I'm involved in Druidry, so I guess the Celtic stuff in there covers that. I work with some Greek deities, which I suppose is covered by the Italian, and a particular Celtic deity has been calling to me recently in trancework, although there's only record of him amongst the Gaulish traditions, rather than Insular. Years ago, early on my spiritual journey, I had a strong calling from Shiva, so there's a wildcard, though I don't really work with him anymore, for the most part. My training in magic comes from several human teachers - one trained in general "shamanism", one who works entirely with Ancestral healing, and one whose traditional witchcraft is rooted mostly in stuff from the British Isles, Germanic folklore, and Scandinavian trolldom stuff. Plus I do duel-faith observance with (albeit very heterodox) Christianity, and dabble in stuff like astrology, Tarot, and kabbalah. And of course, I learn the most from the spirits, particularly of nature and of the dead. As an animist, I try to seek out places of power in my locale, and honor the spirits there, but I certainly don't claim to practice the traditions of the local tribes. Well, make of that what you will. *** As a closing note, I dream of a day when the societal systems we live under to-day - capitalism, colonialism, racism, sexism, the dual monopoly of conservative Christianity and reductionist materialism over all philosophical and religious fields, etc - are long gone, when we live in some better world, and I imagine that when such a world exists, the shamans and witches of all continents will have no more need for secrecy and suspicion of outsiders, and will form vast global networks where practitioners of all traditions will learn from each other and help each other to hone humanity's collective spiritual technology, and better our relationship with the spiritual otherworld. Such a thing is nothing more than a pipe-dream in the society we live in, but someday, maybe.
  17. Currently been reading Hoofprints in the Wildwood: A Devotional to the Horned God, it's pretty enjoyable. I've also been perusing the Enchanted World series, this folklore anthology series from Time-Life from the 80s that's actually really, really good. Great illustrations, simple yet beautiful writing, great bibliography, plenty of opportunities to mine them for folk magic. Each one is on a different topic, and there are 21 total. The one I started is on water spirits.
  18. Since childhood, I've known that I wanted to wear my hair long and grow out my facial hair. Starting in my early teens, I began to grow out my hair, and as long as I've been able to grow facial hair, I've kept a beard (although in my teens I would shave it occasionally before letting it grow back). For me, my hair has always felt vitally connected to my spiritual well-being and strength. The last time I had a serious haircut was on my 20th birthday (7 years ago), and it marked the snapping point in a dark period in my life and the beginning of a nervous breakdown (and a powerful spiritual initiation). Since then, I've only trimmed my hair once, shortly before my wedding (about 2 years ago) to get rid of some dead ends. The last time I shaved my beard was about 5 years ago, save for a slight trim of my mustache just before my wedding. I definitely feel like my hair is a source of power in my magic, although I can understand that for some this may not be true (or the reverse may be true). Taboos are rarely universal, but they can be very real to the individual. I've been thinking about trimming my hair again, just because the ends are looking so dead, but the thought of going into a barber and having them unceremoniously lob off my ends fills me with revulsion and dread. This thread has been helpful to me, in the suggestion about trimming hair on the full moon. Furthermore, it has inspired me to put out some inquiries in my magical circles to see if I can find someone who might be willing and able to give me a trim in a ritual setting. I want my hair to be healthy, but in the same vein I want to treat the act of cutting it as the sacred and severe activity that it is.
  19. Since this topic has been revived, I'll weigh in: I've smoked numerous different plants over the years. Few blends, though, save for various things mixed with cannabis, as I was a daily cannabis smoker for some time. I no longer smoke cannabis, but smoke tobacco - just "regular" nicotiana tobacum, not the n. rustica that's found in mapacho , though I have smoked that, too, in the past (when in Peru, in and out of Ayahuasca ceremonies, and afterwards when I brought some back). I should note that I exclusively smoke brands of cigarettes that don't add other chemicals to their tobacco, as most commercial cigarette brands do. In the United States, the only brands I know of that are without additives are Dunhills (my preferred brand), American Spirits, and Nat Shermans. Having done this for so long, on the rare occasion that I've smoked, say, a Camel or Marlboro or something, it makes me very sick - headache, nausea, and after one cigarette my lungs feel like I've smoked a whole pack in one sitting. So I stick to natural stuff. Options might be better if you buy loose tobacco, but I've never been good at rolling. For a while I smoked hand-picked wild tobacco out of a pipe, but my source for that dried up pretty quickly. At any rate, even though I "just" smoke cigarettes, and even though I definitely am physically addicted to nicotine, and even though there are definitelyNow major physical consequences to regularly smoking tobacco, I do try as much as possible to treat it as the sacred substance that it is, and definitely use it magically and medicinally. As noted above, it's definitely a plant that adapts to and amplifies whatever your intentions are as you smoke it, for better or worse. Musings about tobacco aside, as I've said, there are many other plants that I've smoked. It's been some time since I've smoked them, and at the time that I did so, it was alongside a regular cannabis habit, so even if I wasn't smoking it in a blend with cannabis, it was often difficult to distinguish all of the individual effects of the respective herbs (read: I was constantly stoned in those days). Therefore, I apologize if I'm not able to give more than a laundry list of things that I've smoked, but even that might be useful to some, so here goes. Off the top of my head, I've smoked damiana, mugwort, wormwood, hops, lavender, rose, sage (Salvia officinalis), Calea zacatechichi, Blue Lily of the Nile (Nymphea caerulea), blue lotus (Nelumbo nucifera)... as well as others, that's about all I can think of for now. And now a very brief synopsis: damiana was nice, kind of like a weird counterpoint to cannabis that at the same time wasn't like cannabis at all, and a great aphrodisiac. Mugwort is a personal favorite, but it's also a plant I work with in general, and now i consume it in ways other than smoking it for the most part. Wormwood for some reason didn't resonate with me as well as mugwort, even though other people say it's stronger, idk. Hops did absolutely nothing for me. Lavender, rose, and sage I used mostly to blend with cannabis, as on their own I just felt like there were better ways to contact those plants than by smoking them, but they'll definitely mellow out a smoking blend. Blue Lily of the Nile did nothing for me but tasted nice. Blue Lotus was amazing - so incredibly relaxing, but so clearheaded. (Yet Blue Lily and Blue Lotus share a lot of the same chemicals?) All of that is a horrendous glossing over of plants that are far more nuanced and beautiful than that to which this post could ever do adequate justice. I've smoked other things, too (frankincense?!?) but I'll let this post serve as a starting point to anyone who stumbles upon this thread and wants more information.
  20. Hey, I thought I'd check back in here and relate my experiences with the mandrake ointment. I know some people said that their orders took a long time to get to them, but in my case, it arrived in a pretty timely fashion, and I'm in the United States. Shortly after getting it, I tried it out by using the recommended "pea-sized" amount for an allergy test, which I spread on my wrists. No distinct effects, but no allergic reaction either, so good. Anyway, after waiting some time to find the right moment (as one in which I had the courage to proceed), I went ahead and tried out a full dose. I per the FAQ's recommendation, I used three teaspoons' worth. I should note that 3 teaspoons of ointment is a lot of ointment. I felt pretty greasy. It wasn't entirely unpleasant, though, and seemed to warm the skin. I started with my wrists, and then proceeded to put it on my arms, chest (especially above the heart), armpits, and neck, as well as a small amount on my forehead and some residual amount on my back. The result, for me, was pretty subtle. There was a definite intoxication, but it was mild, and felt like a mixture of drunkenness and stimulation. Really nothing to write home about, if I'm being honest. Just before going to bed, though, there were some mild visuals, just sort of strange flashes of light, which were kind of cool, though nothing particularly significant. However... I had been interested in mandrake's potential as an oneirogen, and before bed, I petitioned my ancestral guides to send me a message through dreams. Then I went to bed. I awoke from a striking dream with distinct significance, which seemed a direct answer to my request. It was the sort of dream where there's no question that this wasn't a mere "psychological" dream, not just your mind churning out white noise, as it were, but a distinctly "spiritual" dream, one in which some sort of contact was made. The content of the dream itself left me with some work to continue in waking life, so I suppose all in all the experiment was a success. I will add one final note, which is that I wish that I had used more of the ointment, because given the subtle nature of the effects at the dose I used, and given that there is less left over than the amount that I used, I'm not really sure what I'm supposed to do with the remainder of it.
  21. Sorry to dig up an old thread, but we had a big Thunderstorm this afternoon here in Seattle (seems to have died down now, although the forecast says there could be more). I did some trancework near the tail-end of the storm, and without going into all of the details of my journey, I'll mention that I encountered some entities that seemed to be tied to the storm in my trance. Take it for what you will: Some of what I encountered seemed to be more of land spirits feeding off of the energy of the storm, but there were these beings that were dressed as whirling dervishes and had oval shaped heads of slick, grey skin, with no face save for "eyes" that were like grey-blue, translucent eggs bulging out from the face. They danced, and as they did so, sparks flew from them, and they seemed directly tied to lightning. The main spirit of the storm appeared as a massive, blue, winged dragon, with frills around his head like a frilled-neck lizard. "He" (gender wasn't entirely event) said he has overseen storms in this area for countless millennia, since long before humanity. He gave me a ritual to do the next time there's a thunderstorm, and then I danced with the lightning dervishes, currents of electricity flowing from our chests and intertwining and joining up with the lightning that emanated from the dragon's nostrils as he breathed, and this filled me with a feeling of ecstatic love. Anyway, again, take what you want from that, just thought I'd share the experience here. By the by, I did a quick search on lightning dragon mythology afterwards, and this was all I could find (from wikipedia): "... in Serbian and Bulgarian folklore, dragons are defenders of the crops in their home regions, fighting against a destructive demon Ala, whom they shoot with lightning".
  22. I finally bit the bullet and ordered some mandrake ointment. I'll post here again once it was arrived, and I've tried it out.
  23. I've never been to any of those cities (save for Berlin for a night or two some years ago, but I didn't go to any magical shops there), but: Having, once again, never been to London myself, I'd like to second Alyssa Blackthorne's recommendation of Atlantis Books. It was founded in 1922, and it used to be a huge hub of major magical activity - the people who hung out there are a veritable "who's who" of 20th century occult history. I agree that this thread could be a great resource - let's keep it going!
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