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All about amber: Secrets of an ancient perfume

Michelle Gruben materials oils

Amber resin with rosewood box

The rich, complex fragrance of amber is a favorite for meditation and love magick. Amber is available as an incense, perfume oil, and solid resin. But what is amber anyway? Is it related to the gemstone of the same name? Read on for all the details on this ancient, mystical perfume.

Amber Resin

Properly speaking, amber is a solid incense with its roots in the Middle East. Amber is a compound fragrance, meaning it is made up of a mix of ingredients. It is not the same as the semi-precious gem amber (fossilized...

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Making peace with plastic: Thoughts on (perhaps) the least magickal stuff on Earth

Michelle Gruben opinion tools

Plastic fairy with magic wand

I have an old photo of my little sister and me at home, playing witches. I’m about six years old in the picture. My sister is wearing a diaper and peering unsteadily into a big black cauldron. I’m hovering over her in a black pointy hat and tattered dress. It must have been Halloween because the costume and cauldron are new and store-bought. I’m about to go trick-or-treating, or maybe having one last game of dress-up before packing it all away for the year.

Looking at the picture now, I don’t remember much...

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Rare occult herbs: Dittany of Crete

Michelle Gruben herbs materials

Dittany of Crete illustration

Dittany of Crete is a Mediterranean herb closely related to Marjoram and Oregano. But Dittany is not the kind of green stuff you put on roast chicken. Oh no. Its reputation as a magickal ingredient has far outgrown the stature of this unassuming little pot herb.

Dittany (the name probably comes from Dicte, the mountain range) grows wild only on the Aegean isle of Crete. Ever since ancient times, it has been prized as an aromatic, medicinal, and culinary herb.

Dittany is a small and fuzzy perennial, with beautiful pink flowers that appear in...

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Pagan Pride Day roundup: All the 2017 events in one place

Michelle Gruben business festivals travel

2017 Pagan Pride Day Roundup

Summer is coming, and that means plans for Pagan Pride 2017 are underway. As you probably know, Pagan Pride Day isn’t just one day—it’s an entire season stretching from August to November. Pagan communities across North and South America host weekend events to gather their members, raise money for charity, and educate the public about Pagans and Paganism. Now is the time to make plans and get involved!

What follows is a roundup of the Pagan Pride Day gatherings expected to happen in the United States this fall. The...

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Collecting out-of-print Tarot decks

Michelle Gruben tarot

Old Marseilles style Tarot deck with crystals

Every Tarot collector wants that one deck. The 1980s deck that you first learned to read with (and haven’t seen since). The indie Kickstarter deck you should have bought when you had the chance. The deck that everyone raves about that’s long overdue for a reprint.

As a lifelong collector (and occasional dealer) of Tarot, I know the agony of searching for those elusive decks. I’ve written this guide to help you round up the stragglers on your list. With a little sleuthing, patience, and (moderately) deep pockets, anyone can build...

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