Ding Dong The Witch Kit is Dead – Pinrose Ceases Manufacturing

Found on Flickr

Well, there you have it. With all the up roar over the last six days on social media Pinrose has bowed to public pressure and is pulling the “Starter Witch Kit” from production.

While some folks seem to be disappointed with the prospect I’m positive others will rejoice. This was a split issue within the Magickal/Witchcraft community but it was no where near 50/50 and the majority had their fairy glitter wishes granted.

As found on the Pinrose website in a quiet corner, not quite a press release, but instead marked as a “note”.

9.5.18  A note from Pinrose on the “Starter Witch Kit”

First and foremost, to those who have shared their disappointment or taken offense to this product, we apologize profoundly. This was not our intent. We thank you for communicating with us and expressing your feelings. We hear you; we will not be manufacturing or making this product available for sale.

Our intention for the product was to create something that celebrates wellness, personal ceremony, and intention setting with a focus on using fragrance as a beauty ritual.

Responses to Frequently Asked Questions:

– Artwork used in the kit was purchased by Pinrose on June 24, 2018. The Print Usage License (P-EL) covers use on products for resale and never expires.

– Per the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, Salvia Apiana (White Sage) is not classified as threatened or endangered. The sage that was planned to be used in this kit is sourced from a Green America Gold Certified company. The sage is grown in the wild in California and is sustainably harvested and sold by Native American owned and operated businesses.

– The product did not reference ceremonial smudging or ceremony circles.

About Pinrose:
Pinrose is based in San Francisco. The company is majority owned by its 8 full-time female employees. All Pinrose products are made in New Jersey, California, or Texas. Pinrose is an inclusive, luxury beauty company that amplifies your imagination and individuality because it inspires playful product experience, demystifies the world of fragrance, and tailors your buying journey. Our brand values include playfulness, inclusivity, individuality and making our customer “the face of our brand.” We do not use celebrity or designer endorsements as we encourage our customer to be the best version of themself.

With a statement like that I’m sure there will be plenty of “woe is them” and “Witches are meanies” to go around, that is, if the reviews on Pinrose’s Facebook page are any indication at the ire many Witches threw their way.

However, with a company so profitable that they are able to partner with Sephora its highly doubtful that this statement wasn’t manufactured by a PR firm creating damage control. To believe otherwise is simply naive. The cry me a river spin on this will be amazing for them especially when Witches will be fighting amongst themselves.

There is much information missing from this little note from Pinrose, like, was the whole Samiramay Tarot deck copied? We only saw the outer package and if they are claiming that image was properly licensed (no actual proof just their word for it) does that mean all of the images were? If an entire tarot deck had been granted distribution rights one would think that the original artist would be aware of it. (Update: 2:35AM, The original artist has updated her public statement to say the Sephora has finally been in contact with her and the licensing appears to be in order but only for the image seen on the deck cover, no idea what art was used for the entire deck) Plus, it is highly in doubt that Pinrose bought the rights to use and manufacture Prince’s symbol. Which is what I suspect is the main reason they pulled the product.

Another question not answered, was there an educational booklet included in the kit? In their note Pinrose mentioned that “the product” did not reference ceremonial smudging or ceremony circles. So what exactly did it say?

So many questions.

However, the absolute kicker for me was the line that Pinrose “inspires a playful product experience”. Really now? Didn’t you just apologize for insulting minority Religions/Spiritualities? Words have power ladies and you just admitted that you didn’t take commercializing Witchcraft as a big deal or using a Sacred Medicine for fun. I guess you got that wrong. Just like you got the entirety of the kit wrong.

I’ll be one of those Witches who celebrates the demise of the Pinrose “Starter Witch Kit”. To be honest, I didn’t think it would happen but Witches and Indigenous People who were outraged received satisfaction, for once.

Let this be a lesson for non-witch businesses out there, don’t commercialize Witchcraft, there are more of us than you think and we won’t be made your entertainment any longer.

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The Occasional Stoic – Marcus Aurelius and Living in the Moment

Courtesy of Daily Stoic – Marcus Aurelius

“Even were you to live three thousand years or thrice ten thousand, remember that no one loses any other life than this which he is living, nor lives any other than this which he is losing. Thus the longest and the shortest come to the same thing. For the present is equal for all, and what is passing is therefore equal: thus what is being lost is proved to be barely a moment. For a man could lose neither past nor future; how can one rob him of what he has not got? Always remember, then, these two things: one, that all things from everlasting are of the same kind, and are in rotation; and it matters nothing whether it be for a hundred years or for two hundred years or for an infinite time that a man shall behold the same spectacle; the other, that the longest-lived and the soonest to die have an equal loss; for it is the present alone of which either will be deprived, since (as we saw) this is all he has, and a man does not lose what he has not got.” [Meditations, Book II, Chapter 14, Marcus Aurelius]

I had a conversation today about the risk of thinking or planning too far into future that prevents one from recognizing the current blessings in our life and from living the life that makes us happy.

Too often I think people get caught up in pleasing others or trying to manufacture a future persona which in the end either becomes fruitless or does not meet the standard of the expected outcome. What I mean to say is this, if one focuses on what others expect or project onto us instead of making ourselves a primary focus, right now, there is no future self that will satisfy, which makes happiness an impossibility.

Why is it that we think so far in future? Why do people create these impossible life plans that are so over detailed that one hiccup makes the whole world fall down? My guess, outside sources.

If people could be seen by society as successful because they are happy and fulfilled no matter what their profession might be or how much money they make, living in the moment might be that much easier to accept.

While I’m unsure if the above quote is actually from John Lennon, it’s always given me the feels anyway. The idea of a person so free from society’s pressure to conform and only seeks to be happy in life is dream that I believe many people have but are too afraid to take hold of. Going against the norm is hardly ever comfortable especially when we don’t have support from those closest to us. Instead, we work hard to impress and show how productive we are in a sick society. We make lists and plans in order to navigate our way through so we never show anyone that we’re different, that long for more than superficial trappings.

My take away from Marcus Aurelius’ quote is that we need to understand that all we have… is right now, the only life we can live is our own and that there is no living if we don’t live for ourselves.

My mental musing of the day, be well.

The Fuckery with Pinrose and Sephora Deepens

Since the news that Sephora will be selling “Starter Witch Kits” came out a few days ago, social media has been a buzz. Lots of opinions for and against the creation and distribution of this “Entry Level Witch Boondoggle”, my opinions have been quite clear. I think it sucks and I think that it damages Seekers and Practitioners more than it helps.

People wasting their money on gimmicky “Witchy” junk does not affect my personal practice in the slightest but as a Professional Witch and an Occult Shop owner it does bleed into my interactions with clients and with the general public. It’s frustrating and tiring to say the least, which is why I’ve come out against such Fuckery by the Corporate Giants.

Well, it seems like there’s is a whole new layer that’s been revealed to that Fuckery.

Art Theft.

There are some accusations swirling the webs right now that Pinrose stole the art for the tarot deck that is included in this kit. I know I had my suspicions when seeing what looked like the Prince symbol on the cover of the tarot box and the fact that the overall look of the card didn’t really jive. After doing a quick search, there is in fact a deck called The Old Memories Tarot, designed by Tarocco Studio out of Italy. ***Correction: 09/05/18 – The original creation of the art was done by Vera Petrak in the Samiramay Tarot.***

Courtesy of tarocco-studio.com

I’m not one to simply ride on gossip so I reached out to both Tarocco Studio and Pinrose, neither had commented by the time of this post. However, if I do hear back or receive any documented proof of art theft, I’ll update this post. What’s interesting, will be Sephora’s response if these accusations are confirmed because so far they have refused all comments on the subject. (As of 09/05/18 I have not been contacted back by either party however, there are undocumented claims by a person online that they spoke with Tarocco Studio that said the art is definitely stolen from the original artist)

Personally, I suspect the rumours to be true. We’ve seen enough art theft in the Magickal community to be able to recognize it from afar. A perfect example was a few months ago when the shop and wholesale business Charme & Sortilége based out of Montreal, came out with a low quality talisman line of jewellery that ripped off the artwork and original creations from at least three well known practitioners. C&S made all sorts of claims to justify the theft from that they never heard of the artists, it’s a coincidence, to the designs being their own, to it’s not the same we slightly changed them so the designs are unique. Eventually, C&S bowed to pressure from the community and removed all trace of the talismans from their website as well as the apology they had written trying to quell angry voices. My support for that business soured immediately, especially finding out that this was not the first occurrence.

Remember that almost Prince symbol on the tarot card in the kit? Take a look at the original below. Prinrose changed it just enough to try and claim it to be different. I wonder what the Prince Estate will have to say?

Courtesy of Wiki

Regardless of where you stand on misappropriation or the commercialization of Witchcraft, with the added claim of art theft it’s really hard to ignore this “Trifecta of Fuckery” from Pinrose and still be supportive. I don’t really care how many wanna be Witches, might, in hopeful theory, come to The Craft from buying the Pinrose kit; it’s just not worth the price.

Courtesy of Tarocco-studio.com

Update: 09/05/18 – After some social media scrubbing this morning it has been confirmed that the original Artist of the images used is Vera Petrak in the Samairamay Tarot Deck. She confirmed publicly on her personal Facebook page that the use of her art was not licensed and she’s seeking remuneration.

Goal Setting in a Magickal and Spiritual Practice – Part Two

Yesterday we looked at some of the preparation work that is helpful in achieving our goals including personal inventory, Shadow Work and strategies to counteract personal traits that may prevent success.

What about self sabotage? How do we overcome our conscious or unconscious desire for failure?

My personal belief is that self-sabotage is rooted in unresolved trauma, usually from childhood. One method that I often suggest to my tarot clients is to identify the voice in your head that says awful things about you. Try it, Who’s voice do you hear when you say shitty things about yourself? I promise, if you dig deep, it’s never your own voice.

The reason I can say this with such absoluteness is because your core self, whether you call it your higher-self, HGA or Neshama is never going to abuse you. The abuse we perpetrate on ourselves stem from outside sources, always. Once we can recognize and resolve the liar in the back of our heads we can unpack what to keep and what give back; what is useful and what is harmful to our progress. (I’ll look at specific techniques to work through this issue in another post.)

Assuming we’ve now done the ground work necessary to remove any personal roadblocks we need to look at the practical roadblocks.

My goal list for September might seem daunting, really difficult and nearly unachievable but, if we allow for an opportunity and room for life to happen in our goal setting it won’t seem so impossible.

A strategy I like to include is “What if?”. What if my car has a flat in morning and I miss my opportunity to go to the gym? What if I sleep in because my kid was sick all night and miss my opportunity to meditate? What if… life happens and there isn’t anything that you could have done to prevent it? Do we just give up on our goals as some cosmic sign of our failure? No. We give ourselves the opportunity to make up what we missed without scolding ourselves.

An example from my own goal list, ; work out at the gym five days a week, if life happens and I’m not able to make it, I’ve made an agreement with myself that if I go for a 30-60 minute walk in that day, it still counts, if I work out on my home equipment, it still counts. Being too rigid and inflexible in goal setting is a sure fire way to ensure failure.

The last of my personal strategies for goal setting success must include Magick and requests of aide from Deity. However, with the vastness of different Magickal and Spiritual modalities out there I hesitate to tell anyone how that should look, except that as Spiritual and Magickal people it should absolutely be included. Be it help from your Ancestors or inspiration from Bridget, tapping into your personal relationships with Deity gives not only an added support system but also a sense of accountability. Personally, the last thing I ever want to do is petition my Gods for help and then not follow through with my goals. The ramifications of that could really smart.

Koalemos, the God of stupidity.

In future posts I’ll go into more detail with exercises and techniques to work through these goal setting suggestions. In the meantime this is not an exhaustive list by any stretch and my recommendation is to include them where you can with any other strategies that already work for you.

Goal Setting in a Magickal and Spiritual Practice – Part One

I really wish I had some formulaic wisdom to share on the subject of goal setting but in my many years I’ve yet to find any tried and true method that works a 100% of the time for 100% of people. There are however, a few approaches that have worked well for me.

Courtesy of http://www.universitywomensclub.ca – Kildonan Park, Winnipeg

September has typically been a transition month for me, perhaps it comes down to conditioning with the beginning of school being the starting point of a new cycle that included a mixing up of daily pattern but by the time the end of October rolled around finding a new equilibrium and routine.

This September is no different.

My Goals for September

1.) Write everyday.

2.) Meditate 4 times a week at a scheduled time.

3.) Go to the gym 5 days a week.

4.) Fast for 40 days.

5.) Wildcraft at least once this month.

These are not the only goals that I’ve set for myself this month but, they are what I’m willing share at this point with a public audience. I’m aware that some folks might look at this list and balk for one reason or another but, I assure you, all of these goals are possible even for one person.

Where to start?

Like in Magick, I do believe that achieving any goal lies mostly in the preparation and when I fail to prepare, my tasks are less likely to get accomplished. Therefore, a majority of the work I do is long before I take that first practical action in my goals.

For me, the very first place I begin is with, myself. I’m fairly aware of my flaws and foibles; what works is for me and what doesn’t and the traps that I have a tendency to fall in to. It took years of trial and error, experimentation, personal inventory and Shadow Work to get to this place. There are a number of Occult techniques out there to guide a seeker in taking stock of oneself and, I’ll be specific on another post. For now, I’ll assume the reader has already done this personal work.

With that said, a major flaw I find that is pretty typical when folks do identify their personal limitations is the tendency to vilify them which triggers shame, guilt and fear. Magickal practitioners of any variety should regularly engage in Shadow Work, the simplest form of that work being an acceptance of those things about ourselves that we dislike the most.

Now that we know what our limitations are and we aren’t beating ourselves up about it we can get down to what strategies to implement to counter those foibles. For example, I have a tendency to procrastinate and get sidetracked, it’s part of my make up and it isn’t going to change anytime soon, if ever. When I used to work for other people, one strategy I employed was doing a task immediately when asked to do so even if it didn’t require to be done immediately. Sometimes my employers would be taken aback by my immediacy and try to assure me that I had plenty of time. Knowing that if I didn’t do it right now, I might forget to get it done because a million other things sidetracked me or I would be stressed out because I waited to the last possible minute to get it done. Neither one of those scenarios I wanted to experience so it was easier to temporarily drop whatever I was doing and return to it knowing that I didn’t have a Sword of Damocles hanging over my head. This is something that worked for me, it won’t work for everyone.

Looking at my goal of going to the gym five days a week, again I’m a procrastinator, I also really dislike exercising and if it’s something I don’t want to do I have a tendency to make an excuse for not doing it especially if I have to do too much work for me get there, basically I lack the motivation to do things I don’t like. Pretty common I suspect. Strategies I’ve implemented include renting a locker that has few different sets of workout clothes, toiletries and anything that I would need to make me “decent” in a professional setting. Why did I do this? Because I know, that if I had to schlep a workout bag everyday, I wouldn’t do it. I also know that if I ever “forgot” that bag that I would not be motivated enough to go all the way home to pick it up and then backtrack to the gym. Lastly, I wouldn’t ever manage to get myself to the gym and back home to get ready for work or a meeting. Now that all my possible excuses have been removed I have no other reason than, “I don’t wanna.”

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I will continue with part two tomorrow.

Misappropriation and Fuckery at Sephora

Yesterday the Occult community was notified that Sephora is dipping its greedy corporate fingers into the Witchcraft pie in partnership with a perfume brand called Pinrose.

Pinrose is certainly not the first brand to try to cash in on the instant witch fad with their “Starter Witch Kit” and given the colonialist appropriative trend in the wellness sector, they won’t be the last. For only $42 USD at Sephora you too can drop your IQ points and cash them in for ignorance is bliss credits.

“But Dominique, why are your panties in such a bunch?”, you may ask. Grab a Solstice Ritual Tea, adjust your Jade Egg and take a seat on an Authentic Yogi floor puff and I’ll tell ya.

Fuckery and Misappropriation.

First let’s address the Fuckery.

Tarot cards, perfume, sage and a rose quartz crystal. This is what makes up this alleged “Starter Witch Kit” from Pinrose. Any Witch worth their salt is already facepalming so hard that their unborn future generations are already feeling the slap. Literally, NONE of these things are Witchcraft. They are tools that SOME Witches MAY utilize but they are not inherent to The Craft. One does not become a Witch or learn anything of Witchcraft by simply purchasing any of these items.

Witchcraft at its core, is learned through direct teaching and a “passing up” of information. Each generation of Witches add their own knowledge, expertise and experiences to the overall tapestry of The Craft but they do so by standing on the well worn shoulders of the Witches that came before them. No kit, regardless of its origin will gain you access to those mysteries. Witchcraft by its very nature requires sacrifice. A sacrifice that after decades of work will hopefully allow one to lift the shroud of personal knowledge, personal power and a mastery of self. The Witch’s Path is not an easy road to travel. It’s not meant to be easy. It’s no meant to be quick and…it’s not meant for everyone.

Cutesy, homogenized corporate packaging of Witchcraft serves no one but these big businesses gambling to win untapped dollars. They have no care or concern with history, education or the continued progression of a rich and diverse religious/spiritual mystery. It’s unclear from other articles whether this kit even comes with any informational material on how to use these items, where they originate from, or how the creator has deemed them to relate to Witchcraft and how those things start a Witchcraft path. Sephora has refused to comment and Pinrose, at the time of this post, didn’t even have the kit listed on their website.

Now let’s address the Misappropriation.

Becky’s of the world listen up (Sephora and Pinrose I’m especially addressing you). Indigenous spiritual practices are not here for you to steal and commodify in order to make privileged colonialists feel yummy about themselves. Sage is a SACRED MEDICINE. It needs to be treated and used with the respect that only comes from SACRED TEACHINGS. Neither of you have any right whatsoever to sell a SACRED MEDICINE.

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I could go on for pages about how absolutely atrocious this “witch kit” is and the misinformation perpetrates all for the glory of the almighty buck. Instead, I’ll address those Witches who “meh” at the seriousness of what these corporations and fraudulent individuals are doing in the name of The Craft.

It’s very easy to become complacent and apathetic when faced with the commodification of Witchcraft. Fortunately for most folks, they don’t have a daily dealing with the type of people who are created through these types of action. Unfortunately, I do. I have seen what Witchcraft is becoming, how it’s being stripped of it’s sacredness and mystery and welded by those who think they can buy their way into it. It’s not pretty and it makes our existence in the world just that much harder. The path of a Witch doesn’t need to be made anymore difficult than it already is because seasoned Witches refuse to ante in and speak against the misuse of Our Work.

In a Facebook discussion a commenter made an excellent point… When will Sephora and Pinrose come out with a Starter Christian Kit? How about a Muslim Starter Kit? Jewish Starter Kit?… All of these ideas are equally stomach turning, wholly inappropriate and no one in authority of those religions would allow it.

My question is this… When will Witches stop behaving less than and start advocating for Our right to be treated as equal and valid in Our own Spirituality? When will we as Witches stop letting them treat us and The Craft like entertainment?

Living a Magickal Life While Having a Spiritual Crisis

Perhaps its the fact that there are five planets currently in retrograde, perhaps it’s my upcoming 41st year in this fluid filled meat sack or perhaps its the incredible amount of change that my life has seen in the last year and half, no matter what the reason, I’m experiencing a crisis of the soul, a crisis of the spirit.

Like many, I’m going through a phase of inner reflection and I’m examining my life.

The unexamined life is not worth living. ~ Socrates

Socrates’ quote is certainly unrelenting in its absoluteness and its words stir in my head and heart with such a fury that the eddies it creates alone, are what keep me moving.

So what does one do when all those about them refuse to lose their heads, refuse to look within and are contented with glitter filled shallowness of perfectly preened still shots of a life they pretend to be living? Apparently, you write blog posts smattered with purple prose.

chainimage-purple-flowers-lavender-field-wallpaper-flower-meanings-pictures
When Socrates spoke the above words, at his trial that ended in his death, he was interpreted as declaring that he would rather die than live without the pursuit of wisdom through education, examination, critical discussion and critical thought. There was a time when philosophy was intertwined with the spiritual life, the magickal life, it wasn’t just the world of academia. I suspect this is why magick has become so popular again because on the surface, magick creates a space that allows for the fanciful, for the opportunity to think outside of what we know and what we expect however, in the end, magick should make us better, wiser, aware, connected, empowered and conscious.

In all my years as a practitioner I never really truly understood what a challenge magick faces when wielded by those who don’t seek to be better until I opened a metaphysical bookstore. Day in and day out I meet people at various stages in their magickal development. My goal when I opened the shop was to educate, support and create a space where people could explore who they are and to become better, wiser. I thought I was doing what I’m “suppose” to be doing, I thought I was successful at it, that was until a few of the very people who I encouraged, supported and educated decided that my living a life that included not only magick but a life of integrity, was not for them. They want to control, they want to abuse and they want to shirk responsibility for their actions and they do this by using magick and spirituality as a platform to harm others.

I’m often heard saying, “Magick isn’t for everyone and it isn’t meant to be”. Recently I’ve been hearing a lot of my words parroted back at me by people who I have never met quoting people who are quoting me while passing off the quotes as their own. My work, my  words and my ideas are being used by the unscrupulous to lull bauble blinded tenderfoots into a fantasy world of fairy farts and unicorn boners, where knowledge and personal responsibility yield to feel good sentiments and egoic rhetoric.

I feel like I’ve failed. I feel alone in the journey of wisdom. I’ve cried, a lot. I’m sure these confessions give unlimited levels of smug satisfaction to my detractors, to the people who have decided to troll my life, who have made it their mission to apparently make me incredibly important in their lives, so important that they can’t form their own thoughts without my words or have their own ideas without thieving mine.

Here in lies my crisis. I helped them.

I feel incredibly guilty for being so open and giving to people who didn’t deserve it. None of those people would have what they have in the magickal/spiritual community if it wasn’t for me. I helped create unethical practitioners who feel no remorse and who purposely seek to cause harm.

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So what do I do now?

I carry on.

I remain a truth speaker.

As an old mentor used to tell me, “Just do the fucking work.”

And so I carry on doing the great fucking work and speaking the truth.