Q. We know you have an amazing apothecary brand but what is happening with these magic wands? I need to know and how do I get one?
A. Thank you so much! I am so excited about them. I have so many ideas and literally not enough time…lol. I like to refer to them as Scepters, because they are so large in size. But it’s entirely up to the owner. Each one has a purpose that is unique in itself. For one person, it might be a ceremonial Wand, whereas it could be considered a symbolic Staff or ritual Scepter for another. Whatever the owner chooses to call it, is right. But for now, I refer to them as Scepters. I usually post pictures of ideas, concepts and elements, as well as progress, through my Instagram. If someone were interested in purchasing one, or approaching me to do a custom piece, that would be the best place to keep up to date on my newest projects. Otherwise, I post a listing through my Etsy store once a Scepter is completed and ready for purchase.
Q. How did you come up with this idea?
A. I came up with the idea while visiting a couple of members of my Coven in Portland Oregon. We were out and about doing some shopping, when I found this incredible Oryx horn at a natural curio shop. It instantly spoke to me and I knew exactly what it was intended for. It happened to be hollow, making it a perfect vessel to carry sacred items such as herbs, minerals, written word, sigils or symbols. And, being a lover of minerals, I had to adorn it with a gigantic crystal to seal it up. I made the first Scepter for myself. After that, I knew I had to make more. I couldn’t stop myself!
Q. Can you give us a glimpse into your process?
A. I do a lot of conceptualizing with each Scepter. And it’s important for the process to flow naturally. Sometimes an idea will come to me immediately, and other times the horn will sit on my altar gathering energy and waiting for its purpose to be revealed. Once I know what the Scepter is intended for, then I begin gathering the sacred items that will go inside it and I will select the crystal and minerals to compliment it for the outside. The Crystal and Cabochons are then soldered to the horn, sealing all the sacred items and securing the Crystal so it is very sturdy. It can be a long and thoughtful process, but each element chosen, plays a vital and important role in helping its owner connect with the intended purpose of their Scepter. I want it to be a sacred tool for magic, an extension of themselves and a piece that will be cherished for many Moons to come.
Q. What inspires each one?
I draw on many things for inspiration. I am deeply inspired by our interconnectivity with Nature and the elements. The majority of my personal practice revolves around working with Nature, so I draw on inspiration from the properties of herbs, plants, roots, resins and minerals. I also draw on the Moon for inspiration, the traditions and practices of our Pagan ancestors and the seasonal rhythms of the Earth. I love how the organic patterns of nature are mimicked throughout our Cosmos as well as ourselves. That harmonious interconnectivity is awe inspiring to me. With each Scepter, I synchronize different elements to create a powerful tool to help channel energy for its intended purpose.
Q. How would you use one of these in a ritual or day-to-day for those who may not know?
A. I think it really depends on ones spiritual practice. Someone might choose to use their Scepter to mark out a spiritual working space, circle or compass for rituals and ceremonies. Depending on the direction you choose to point your Scepter, it can connect Earth and Sky or call on the powers of specific directions or elements. It’s also a fantastic tool to focus and direct energy, whether it be to banish unwanted influences or to aid in a healing ceremony. Meditation with your Scepter is a great way to deepen your connection on a daily basis. Your Scepter will gather energy depending on how you use it, so some might want to “clear” it periodically and others might leave it alone to collect energy. I keep my Scepter on my altar in my sacred space and I use it for many of my magical workings.
Q …Okay, now that my excitement has mellowed out, tell me about your apothecary brand?
A. I began Nightshade Botanicals a couple of years ago in hopes of creating a natural bath and body product line that also focused on the magical properties of its ingredients. I wanted my line to be accessible to wide audience. I think initially I held back on the spiritual aspects of my products as to not scare customers away who were not comfortable with that. But as time went on, I came to realize holding back was not allowing me to be as free and creative as I wanted to be. My path was pushing me further. So I allowed myself to really come out. Out of the broom closet so they say! Anyone that knows me intimately, knows that I’ve been out for a long time already, but now there is no hiding it and so there never should be for anyone. My practice is sacred to me and to be able to share that with my customers is very special and gratifying.
Q. What are your favorite things to make and why?
A. Besides my Scepters, I am in Love with making my Black Moon Oil. For the longest time I have tried to channel the scent of walking into ones favorite witchy store. The smell reminds me of incense, herbs, books, woods, resins, candles and magic all mixed together into symbiotic perfection.
Another favorite is my Coven candle. Probably because of the meaning behind it. I created it in honor of my Moon sisters. Our gatherings, out in the woods together, inspired it. The fresh smells of nature with frankincense and sage burning throughout our magical workings.
I am also in the love with my Hedge Witch Candle because, in all honesty, I am such a ROOT Witch. It has Mandrake and Burdock root on the top. I’m not sure why, but I adore roots. It’s in my blood I swear. My ancestors worked with these magical lovelies. Given the choice between a fancy purse or a jar of magical roots, I’ll pick the roots! This candle appeals to me both visually and spiritually. I could go on and on, but I love the medicinal and magical properties of each botanical and oil that I work with. I cherish each and every one used. They are true gifts of nature to be honored and I love working with ALL of them.
Q. Do you work with the moon or any rituals when you make some of your products?
A. I love working with the Moons energy! I pay close attention to the cycles of the Moon to determine the ideal times to create my product. The entire process of making my product is very much a ritual. My home is a sacred space for me and that is where I choose to create. Its important to remove myself from distraction to be able to focus on my spiritual work. The process of my work may include burning herbs, incense or listening to music to heighten my senses. Depending on what I am creating, I might call on a specific element, direction, Deity or Ancestor for guidance, to help with inspiration. I might also make an offering to honor what I am working with. If the elements allow, I like to charge my items outside under the Moon. Otherwise, I have a special place indoors with a beautiful view of the Moon to do that. My items are not mass produced and I am a one woman show. Every detail and element chosen by me, is for a specific intention. I aim to deliver a quality product for my customer, that will hopefully aid them in their magical workings.
Q. I have an apothecary brand myself, so what I think of is what is your story on why you got into yours?
A. My shop and vision have evolved very naturally. I was at the point in my life, where I was ready to take on something of my own. After working successfully in the corporate world, I moved from Canada to the United States to start a family with my husband. After our beautiful son was born, I co-founded an art show in 2009 called Mourning Market. It evolved from something fun and simple, a bunch of artistic friends, to something more successful than I could ever imagine. Suddenly this group of friends grew into a large and deserving community. There was an undeniable need for an event where artists could thrive and showcase their work. Seattle is filled with such creative people. I feel truly blessed to know them and to be a part of this artistic movement. Mourning Market was retired at the end of 2016.
The success of Mourning Market truly gave me the confidence to move forward with something of my own. I was ready to make the leap into the world of self employment. I applaud the bravery of those who also take this leap. It’s scary, but so excited and rewarding in many ways! After the birth of our son, I reevaluated my life and what was important to me. I needed to be doing something that was fulfilling to me,versus working for a mind numbing job that made me miserable. Staying at home was the most important factor so that I could take care of our son. My husband has been 100% supportive throughout this entire process and I love him endlessly for that! I reflected on a time when I had a sense of peace and happiness, and that was when I was spiritually connected and began my path as a Witch nearly 25 years ago. I never stopped practicing, but it became less frequent and not a priority. It felt right that my path would lead me to where I am now. My decision to work with botanicals and essential oils came very easily. This decision also stemmed from my upbringing and the inspiring environment that I was raised in. I grew up in a very healthy and artistic household on the Semiahmoo Indian Reservation in Canada. My father was an artist, my sister was an artist, and my mother started her own business later on. We lived our lives simply and healthfully. My front yard was a landform along the shorelines of an open sea. My backyard was a lush forest, rich with the smells and sounds of old growth trees. I was surrounded by a community of amazing people. All of us were connected to our surroundings and conscious of the impact that we would leave on the world around us. To this day, I feel deeply connected and at peace when I go back to those roots, spiritually and physically.
The women, including my Mother, that I grew up around from the reservation days, made a huge impact on me. All very intuitive and strong. Being around them was, and is still, truly magical. Their sacred gatherings, and support of one another formed the way I wanted to be as a woman. They were a group of bad ass Earth Goddesses! They called themselves The Poker Ladies. Originally they had the intention of playing poker, and I believe they did initially. But their path as a group turned into a magical union of women, supporting each other, allowing them to be raw and open in a sacred space. I remember listening in on their gatherings with my sister as they laughed, swore, drank wine and cried in the arms of each other. I can’t express how precious that is to me. It has made me who I am today and brings tears to my eyes just thinking about how much of an impact its made on me. We are 3 generations strong now! Because of all of these inspirations, I strive to incorporate that magic into my products. Sacred, raw, honest energy that comes from a deep and meaningful place in my heart.
Q. Where can we find you?
Creator, Curator and Writer of THOT & Owner of Keven Craft Rituals, galley and boutique of handmade skincare products & metaphysical boutique in Eugene, OR. Erika is a fine artist, mother, lover of beer and a former roller derby player.