I remember sitting on Santa’s knee as a wee lad and being asked “Were you a good boy this year?” I’m rather sure I answered in the affirmative even though I knew I was lying. I wasn’t terrible as a child, I didn’t burn ants with a magnifying glass or anything, but I used to steal chapstick at the grocery store when I was four. Over the years I’ve steadily progressed as a human being to the point where I can confidently say I was rather well behaved in 2019, I didn’t even have to sleep on the couch once this year!
Holiday lists are always so subjective, and what I find to be in good taste you might absolutely hate, but I like to think there’s something on this list for (nearly) everyone! Whether it’s a Witch who needs a little bling, or a Ceremonial Magician who needs a new book, I’ve probably got you covered! Every year people ask me why I spend six to eight hours working on this list, and the answer is easy: I want to promote the Pagan Community. We have lots of very talented artisans, writers, and craftspeople out there, and this is a way to highlight some of their work.
Someone is always left off of these lists every year, I can’t write about everything, but if you want to be considered for a future installment hit me up online. If you’ve been featured in previous editions of Pagan Things By Pagans For Pagans (especially last year’s) you probably didn’t make the cut this year. I’ve gotta change things up ya know! With all that being said, on with the list!
LET’S HANG SOME ART & OTHER STUFF!
One of my favorite Pagan artists in the world is Valerie Herron. Whether you are looking to honor a favorite deity, your birth sign, or simply need a stunning picture of a black goat above your bed, Herron has something for everyone. Valerie’s art ranges from playful to fierce and it’s exquisite. Most of her prints are also available as cards, perfect for announcing your next open full moon ritual.
Last Spring I was introduced to the art of Kjersti Faret and I was just completely enchanted. Her Cat Coven store features more than just her fantastic prints though, there’s a full range of really cool stuff. There are pillows, the coolest blanket you’ll probably ever see (it’s both a spell and art for your bed!), and lots of toys for your cat. I’m partial to the Krampus catnip pillow, which combines two of my favorite things: spoiling my cat and the magick of the Krampus.
I first became aware of the art of Maggie Elram through her work on the Traditional Witch’s Oracle Deck, but Maggie has got more cards up her sleeve than just that one terrific deck. Her online store features a whole lot amazing prints, but also original art at extremely reasonable prices (30 bucks?!?! You could charge twice that Maggie!). I especially like her elemental art prints, and if I had a Traditional Witch on my Yule list I’d totally get them a Stang and Cauldron original.
I’ve never included anyone from the United Kingdom on one of these lists before, mostly because I know the shipping is quite expensive, but I can’t quite get over the art of Fiona Bunting at Essence of Awen. Not only are there beautiful prints and cards, but there are also lovely wreaths, pentacles, and moons to hang on your doors and walls, but brass altar plates and oak leaves. So much great stuff.
MAGICKAL TOOLS & OTHER TREASURES
I’m something of an athame nerd, so when I saw Artes and Craft bookstore was selling an apple handled brass athame at ConVocation last year I handed them all the money I made selling my books there. But it was so cool! Sadly, that one is not currently available but they have some awesome, unique, and one of a kind blades. Not in the mood for a knife? That’s cool, because their wands are just as fabulous. With everything from simple wooden wands to ornate iron wands, there’s something for every magician on your Holiday list.
Last year my wife and I picked up a portable Dionysus altar from Rare Earth Wood Works to take with us to festivals and conferences. We fell so in love with it that it’s become a permanent addition to our living room, and sits on top of bar (when we’re home of course). The first drink of any good bottle of wine or Scotch in our house goes directly to Dionysus and sits on that altar.
If Dionysus isn’t the patron deity of your household, that’s OK, because there are about 100 designs of these portable altars for sale. Their portable travel altars come in a variety of sizes too, depending on your exact needs and how much will fit into your carry-on bag. In addition to altars they’ve got a whole lot of other great stuff worth checking out.
Looking for some fiercer candles to ramp up your magickal practice? Pagan Potions have a whole line of F*ck Candles designed to get rid of whatever and whoever is ailing you. They’ve also got some pretty awesome hemp based soap designed to open up particular chakras. Why not start the new year feeling refreshed psychically and smelling good!?!?!
I’ve always liked giving books as gifts, mainly because they are easy to wrap. I’ve always had the gift wrapping skills of a four year old, but even I can make at least one side of a wrapped book look reasonably nice. What follows are some of my favorite books of 2019, most of which are available either online or at your favorite local Witch-shop.
What is Remembered Lives: Developing Relationships With Deities, Ancestors, and the Fae by Phoenix LeFae is the rare book that actually lives up to its title. Full of great history and solid rituals, you’ll love this book, well unless you are an Atheo-Pagan, and even then I still think you’d get something out of it.
I often find myself stuck in the Witchcraft & Wicca bubble when it comes to my Pagan reading, and one of my favorite escapes from that bubble in 2019 was The Way of Fire & Ice: The Living Tradition of Norse Paganism. Fire & Ice is a wonderful overview of Norse Paganism, intensely readable, and written with a great deal of warmth and understanding. Ryan, probably most importantly, also knows his shit.
I’m not an avid reader of poetry, and when people recommend poetry books to me I tend to roll my eyes a little bit and assume the worst. However, A Witch’s Education by Serafina Bersonsage didn’t have me rolling my eyes at all; instead I found myself smiling, disturbed, laughing, and sometimes sad. Bersonsage can paint a whole picture and tell a complete story in just a few lines. If you are a Midwestern Pagan (or simply a transplant) this volume will really hit home. This is a perfect stocking stuffer.
Perhaps the most moving and powerful book I read in 2019 was Utu Witchdoctor’s Conjuring Harriet “Mama Moses” Tubman and the Spirits of the Underground Railroad. This is an absolutely beautiful book, written with a great deal of heart, and perhaps most importantly, respect for those who lived and died operating the Underground Railroad. Utu’s ritual techniques are solid, and throughout the book he paints a vivid picture of the spirts and individuals being honored in his tradition.
There were parts of this book where I was literally sobbing. Everything here is tinged with a touch of sadness, but also a great deal of hope that we as people can do better, and part of that “better” includes remembering this horrible period of American history and those that lost their lives during it. Utu is also cognizant of where people from outside of African-American traditions and culture should tread, and helps navigate that.
In the middle of writing this here guide I got a text message from my editor at Llewellyn telling me that copies of my latest book The Witch’s Wheel of the Year: Rituals for Circles, Solitaries & Covens had arrived in their warehouse. It’s so self-serving to include one’s own books on lists like this, but it really is pretty good. Featuring three rituals for every sabbat, information on how to create effective rites, and solid sabbat histories, you’ll most likely use this book as more than just a doorstop! In addition to Wiccan-style rituals, there are also rites in the style of Traditional Witchcraft! Look at me branching out!! It’s a bit pricey, 30 bucks, but it’s also really long, and contains some truly incredible artwork. Wheel will be out the first week of December.
JEWELRY & OTHER BLING
I have a soft spot for circlets and crowns, especially when they feature moons and semi-precious stones. Crow Haven Road has a variety of bracelets, circlets, and pendants inspired by the Goddess and the moon. The bracelets are to die for (or perhaps simply to “spend money on”) and are reasonable at only 59 bucks each.
Vie at Vis a Vis Jewelry is so awesome I sometimes stalk her at local art festivals (she’s out here in California). I’m probably exaggerating a little bit when I write “stalk” but when she’s nearby Ari and I make a special trip just to look at her ware’s in person. This year I picked up her Pan necklace, inspired by an ancient Greek coin featuring my favorite goat-god. My wife is partial to Aphrodite of course, and I can think of about two dozen people who would love this Hekate necklace.
Because we love Vie’s works so much I’m going to give her an entire second paragraph to spotlight her Zodiac Collection, featuring necklaces with your star sign. Also of interest to many of you will be her Tarot Collection, featuring Tarot images of course! If owning something I wear sometimes doesn’t freak you out, pick up her Tree of Life pendant too! Most stuff at Vis a Vis comes as either a necklace or a set of earrings.
Speaking of the Tree of Life, there are some wonderful Tree of Life pendants at Divine Sanctuary. Featuring metal trees wrapped around useful stones, these are not only beautiful but also full of magickal energy. I’m especially partial to the black onyx one, the colors around the onyx really make the tree “pop” so to speak.
I’m kind of a sucker for nearly everything at Three Witch Designs. Is my favorite this brass goat head necklace with carnelian and garnet? Yes it is (kind of has to be, garnet is my birthstone). Looking for something a little less goat-like? How about a copper and brass moon phase pendant? (These are really great.)
TAROT & OTHER FORMS OF DVINATION!!!!
Tarot cards are like books in a lot of ways, also easy to wrap for those who are challenged by scissors and scotch tape. We truly live in a new golden age of Tarot, not only are traditional companies like US Games, Weiser, and Llewellyn continually releasing new decks, Kickstarter has made it easier than ever for artists to share their visions with the world.
Lisa Sterle’s Modern Witch Tarot Deck was one of 2019’s most anticipated decks, and it did not disappoint! What I probably love most about this deck is that the women who inhabit the Major and Minor Arcana look like the people I know. There are women of all shapes and colors in this deck, and the images are both clear and contemporary.
For those who just can’t quit the traditional Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot Deck, Llewellyn has just released a beautiful Tarot Black and Gold Edition of this deck. Pamela Coleman Smith’s artwork is even more impressive in this edition as the detail of her line work really stands out. This deck is fun because it’s both familiar and new at the same time, you are bound to notice something different in an old favorite.
I am not a huge fan of zombies, but I was still overcome by the charm of Tarot Z Deck by Alejandro Colucci from Italy’s Lo Scarabeo (and distributed by Llewellyn in the US). If you’ve got a Walking Dead fan on your holiday list, this is the perfect gift for them. Also this is probably the perfect deck near Halloween when you want to surprise whoever it is you are doing a reading for. The art here is masterful, even if Zombie’s aren’t really your thing.
We ran an excerpt from the The Alchemical Visions Tarot by Arthur Taussig recently, and it inspired me to go out and pick up the entire deck. I love the contrast between the black and white and color images included on each card. There’s a lot going on in each card too, perfect for when you need a very detailed reading.
And for something completely different how about a Rune Divination Board from Surcadiana. This is a handmade item, so absolutely unique and one of a kind. Now a fan of the runes? How about an Isis Oracle Divination Plate? These are gorgeous.
GIFTS THAT KEEP ON GIVING
Most of us have plenty of stuff and don’t need anymore of it. That’s why one of the nicest things you can give someone is a donation made in their name. There are hundreds of charities and organizations in the world that are worth contributing to. Some of the more obvious choices include groups like Planned Parenthood or the ACLU, but what about donating to a Pagan non-profit like Circle Sanctuary or giving a bit to help keep The Wild Hunt open?
There are a lot of really great Pagan artists and musicians on Patreon. You can get a continual glimpse into the work of Sharon Knight for only five dollars a month! Five dollars a month to Laura Tempest Zakroff might net you a custom sigil, which is worth much much more. There are a lot of great podcasts on Patreon that offer bonus content for a very modest fee (cheaper and just as entertaining as Disney Plus!). Some of my favorites include 3 Pagans & A Cat, Down at the Crossroads, and Weird Web Radio.
Don’t like listening? Pagan magazines are still a thing ya know. Give a gift subscription to Horns, Witches & Pagans, Sage Woman, or Witch Way magazine. Want to send something a little more hands on? How about a Blessed Be Box for the sabbats or full moons?
Now that we’ve reached 2500 plus words, how about one more crazy suggestion? The Llewellyn 2020 Witches’ Calendar, mostly just because they let me write about Yule in it!.
No matter how you celebrate (or don’t celebrate) the Holiday Season, I hope it’s all you want it to be! Thanks for being awesome.
I do these lists every year, and it’s always worth going back and looking at the old ones for gift ideas too! I try to change the people featured on these lists from year to year, so some of my favorite artists can only be found in the older links below! And for those of you who create stuff and feel left out, you are free to leave a link in the comments section on this blog! People really do read the comments.
The Witch’s Wheel of the Year: Rituals for Circles, Solitaries, & Covens will be out in early December!