Over the years I've written a lot of book reviews but today I'm sharing something a little different. I'm reviewing products I got from a couple of independently-owned businesses that I hope you'll support. These days, it's hard to do any kind of shopping without handing your money over to huge corporations. Patronizing small, independent businesses is one way to keep your hard-earned cash in the hands of regular people, where it supports local communities rather than corporate interests. And with the great 'leveling field' of the Internet, we now have access to great small businesses from all over the place, so let's do our best to support them. If you're going to spend the money anyway, wouldn't you rather it go to independent businesses?
I'd like to begin by suggesting that you check out the resources at the Pagan Business Network website and their Facebook page. These include a wide variety of spiritually-themed businesses as well as secular businesses that are owned by Pagans or are Pagan-friendly. If you run a business that falls into one of those categories and would like to network with others for support and exposure, check out the PBN's Facebook group. Now on to the product reviews...
I can tell you this, my house smells absolutely wonderful since I received my package from Mystic Echoes. I'm lucky I didn't set off my smoke alarm trying all the new kinds of incense! My favorite is the Sacred Space incense. It's beautifully balanced and cleared my space right away. I haven't asked, but I'd wager that it's made with energetic intention and not just stirred together casually. The Angelic Incense is not a type I had ever tried before, though I do work with the archangels to some extent. I was pleased with both it and the Saint Michael incense blend. I haven't had a chance to try the Spirit Travels Powder yet but I'm sure it will be lovely as well. These are all loose powder incenses that I burned on hot charcoal but you can also dress a candle with them or put pinches of them in the melted wax on the top of a burning candle.
I can also recommend a few Mystic Echoes products that aren't likely to set off your smoke alarms. The herbal Protection Salt is a traditional blend that works well for both Hoodoo/folklore purposes and in a formal Wiccan or magical setting. I also tried something that's new to me: magical tinctures. They're very much like herbal tinctures, with an alcohol base in which the ingredients have been dissolved or extracted. But instead of taking them as medicine, you use them to purify water, ritual tools, yourself or your sacred space. I found the Liquid Smudge to be every bit as effective as the incense smudge I've been using for years. And the Dragon Fire Protection tincture does what it says on the tin, as the saying goes.
I'd also like to introduce you to Phoenix Rising Apothecary. They make scented candles that do what scented candles are supposed to do - make your house smell good. I find it really annoying to buy a candle that smells great in the store only to light it and have the scent disappear altogether. I'm sorry to tell you that I got the last gardenia-scented Hand Poured Votive but I'm sure they'll be making more. In the meantime, my living room smells like Spring in a way only gardenias can do! And the glass candle holder is really pretty, too, with a pattern that meshes well with the scent.
The candles aren't the only Phoenix Rising product that smells delicious. You should try their All Natural Lip Balm. My daughter made off with the raspberry before I could try it because it smells so great and she reports that it's very moisturizing as well (she considers herself to be a lip balm connoisseur, being especially fond of those funny-looking round ones that are so popular now). I snagged the honey-scented one before she could run away with it and it's lovely as well. I'm one of those odd people whose skin doesn't get along with coconut oil. Since these lip balms are made with just safflower oil, they're perfect for me.
So there you go. The next time you want to do a little shopping, try out Mystic Echoes or Phoenix Rising Apothecary, or have a look through the possibilities on the Pagan Business Network. Let's do what we can to support regular folks just like us so we can all make a decent living.