This is my first official post in which I review and recommend Pagan shops. In my introduction to the series, The Ditzy Druid Goes Shopping, I lament the quality of products in most metaphysical shops but agree that they are still important places to strengthen community, educate, and provide tools to newer Pagans. Unfortunately, once you’ve exhausted the honeymoon period and realize that, to progress, you actually need to leave the 101 books behind, most such shops leave much to be desired – especially in the area of environmental sustainability. This series will be a way for me to laud my favorite shops, old and new, and help those emerging from their Pagan chrysalises to find reputable, worthwhile merchants – both online and physical locations. This series will, unfortunately, be relatively infrequent because I do make, gather, and grow a lot of my own materials. That’s part of growing up and away from most new age stores – you become more of a DIYer and less about the cheap, factory produced “clutter” pushed by so many. Thus I will only post about shops I have actually had positive experiences with. If you make a suggestion, please don’t expect that I will patronize or post about it. Second, I will only post about shops that, in my opinion, are worth sharing. I will not be posting negative reviews. I only have so much time and I think you’ll agree that it is better spent recommending rather than spewing forth negativity. I highly suggest the stores I post about, but it’s important for others to grow and experiment as well – and that includes the organic process of growing out of the stores I tend to avoid. I do not want to publicly badmouth someone else’s shop. They are entrepreneurs who are also learning and growing, and as stated they do have a role in this community. Hopefully my recommendations will assist others in making improvements! (Gosh, this makes me sound like an obnoxious know-it-all. I assure you, I’m also growing and learning. There are still times when I’m a little materialistic – especially at Pagan Pride events. (“Ooooh…shiny…”) No one is perfect. Etc etc… I’m sure many of you will turn your noses up at my choices and that is fine.)
Name of Shop: Stang and Cauldron
Location: The shop is online, but Sarah Lawless lives in the Pacific Northwest of Canada.
Knowledge of goods:
First of all, let me begin by acknowledging how obvious a choice this is for a first review. Sarah is known for her wisdom, experience, and authenticity. She is highly regarded by Pagans from all around the globe and in many traditions. She shares much of her knowledge on her blogs which have become a goldmine for those who are becoming intermediate practitioners, reading outside of the New Age section, but are having difficulties connecting their knowledge to practice. Sarah continues to share, educate, and also warn: she definitely does not sugar coat her words. Many need that.
When it comes to her shop, Stang and Cauldron delivers and then some. If you follow her blog, you know that she has researched and experimented before listing. Often, the books and articles are linked on her blog for you to see for yourself. You also get to see the progress of her merchandize. Sarah usually shares photos from her harvesting trips, in-progress art, and finished products well before they go up for sale. She is quick to respond to any questions and can tell you where and how her ingredients were procured.
I feel Stang and Cauldron is mostly for intermediate and beyond Pagans, especially traditional witches, spirit workers/shamans, and those following an Indo-European influenced path such as Druidic or Hellenic. This is not necessarily exhaustive, and I do not dispute that others could benefit – but I’m only going from my own experience. Beginners would definitely benefit from her extensive selection of charms, handmade incense and oils, but I do not recommend using the flying ointments until you have mastered more of the basics.
Number of Experiences:
To date, I have made three (technically four) transactions with Stang and Cauldron. Each time, I received everything in a timely fashion. Nothing was broken or missing.
Most Recent Experience:
I made two separate orders, technically, but because they were within a day of each other, Sarah refunded my second shipping and handling payment and sent it together in one package (talk about good customer service!). My order is photographed above – some mandrake salve, a collection of blackthorns, and a hag stone. As I’m only starting to experiment with flying ointments, I did not trust my own DIY spirit. Not to mention, I do not grow mandrake. For something like this, it’s best to go to an experienced practitioner. The blacktorns and hag stone charm were ordered for similar reasons – I have never been able to find blackthorn or a hag stone, try as I might. The hag stone called to me and I couldn’t help myself. Everything arrived in a snug little package. Nothing was damaged or missing.
To begin with, Sarah uses almost all local ingredients that she harvests or grows. She creates small batches so as to not have anything spoil. Stang and Cauldron is also starting to feature work from other artisans. The hag stone charm actually came from such an individual. As you know, I’m very supportive of featuring work from artisans rather than similar products made in factories. Sarah’s packaging is very sustainable. The only plastic was tape on the outside of the cardboard box. Inside, everything was wrapped in reusable tissue paper. The blackthorns, as photographed, were attached to a bit of cardboard with embroidery floss. As someone trying to reduce her use of plastic, this was much appreciated! Sarah is definitely not a hypocrite when it comes to walking lightly upon the Earth. She does the best she can and it really shows!
I cannot recommend Stang and Cauldron enough. If you are looking for hard-to-find magical herbs or salves, this is the place to go. Furthermore, if you’re looking for spiritually themed artwork, Sarah delivers in that area too. She’s an incredibly talented Pagan who is sure to inspire you.