Updated: Dec 17, 2020
Happy Winter Greetings from the Cauldron!
It’s your mostly-friendly shop Witch Solaris here to bring you some end-of-year shop news to share with my circle of friends, customers and supporters (and maybe a few haters - I see you).
My year, like just about every other business owner, has been defined by the 2020 global pandemic.
I've stumbled and stressed, angst-ed and adapted, but am coming out stronger thus far.
I’ve redesigned the shop so it’s more shipping and order-filling friendly. It’s often a hot mess. I’m up to my ears in boxes, bubble mailers, paper shreds and shipping labels. I secretly love shipping supplies. I feel occasional mild shame at what it looks like to passerby - but then I get over it. I’m just running my business the best way I know how. There’s been many late-nighters and weekend marathons to meet the occasional surges of online orders and get them out the door.
Alex, my teenager, doing his junior year online from home, is no stranger to knocking out the assembly of hundreds of boxes for me and helping inventory herbs and such. David is always there to help make shelves, make postal runs and carry in heavy things for me. He and David both are rockstars and I’m glad they keep me.
My Etsy shop has been booming, coupled with moving the Cauldron online and learning a whole new way of doing business locally, now I have two online shops that are both doing well. It’s a blessing that I am both extremely grateful for, and exhausted from. I think women need to say that more. One doesn’t cancel the other out. We can be tired and grateful. We can feel blessed and fortunate and acknowledge our privilege and still know we need to sometimes step back, put down the hats (or the plates or the spinning-things-on-fire) and take a break.
No matter how much work goes into getting it all done, I can’t complain even a little. I sincerely love my shop and my customers, and have been pushing through the unpredictable parts of this crazy, messed-up year while still enjoying and soaking up all the good parts- the personal connections, friendships, the sweet messages, the creativity, the encouragement, the helping, the bright faces, the waving at the shop window and the love and support flowing freely. You guys- my heart! If I could write a love letter to each and every one of you I would.
Our country's amazing postal workers have been in my mind in keeping my small business working throughout the crisis. 100% of my shipping orders are handled by USPS, and I could not offer the same speedy and affordable shipping without them. Extra shout out to our local postal workers downtown (and everywhere) who had all their staff and resources cut during the pandemic and who showed up to work every day anyway.
I did not receive any loans or COVID-relief this year. I have been able to keep the shop going and the bills paid 100% through shop sales, and I’m so thrilled to be able to say that we’re still here! Would I have loved some help? You betcha! It's still been tough and some months were much too close for comfort. Small businesses like mine with no employees were those that fell through the cracks when it came to the pandemic. I know some did not make it. None of us knew back in March how long and how bad this would get. It all stinks. My heart goes out to the small businesses, families and workers who were adversely affected by this year’s nightmare of events. My heart also goes out to every person lost to COVID, and the families and loved ones left behind to grieve.
My toughest challenge right now with the shop? Besides needing to clone myself maybe six times, inventory has to be up there at the top. As global supply chains have been disrupted, it seems like everyone is out of everything. A heartfelt thanks to you, my lovely customers, for being patient and understanding with the out-of-stock status of your favorite items. On the plus side, I’m constantly adding new items to replace unavailable ones, and working with my vendors to get the essentials re-stocked as soon as I can.
Well, that's enough about Covid for now. How about some other awesome announcements and updates??
This year really challenged me to get my booty in gear and create a real website. I’m so proud of it and even prouder to see you all using it! The bugs and issues are mostly due to my own lack of skills in designing a website. Thankfully most of those are behind us (I hope) as I’ve buckled down and learned as much as I could and will keep building my new skills.
I’m also loving the new platform launched just a few weeks ago, Sage & Crow School of Witchcraft. This is my new baby and I’m enjoying taking a risk to grow something new and exciting. I miss teaching classes and interacting with you in my shop- but this will help us all stay connected a little better and give me an outlet to share what I know and what I’m passionate about.
I was delighted to see this year some new books came out from authors I either know personally or follow. Lilith Dorsey's 'Orishas, Goddesses, and Voodoo Queens' came out this year, as did the new 'Liminal Spirits Oracle' by Laura Tempest Zakroff, who hasn't written a single thing I don't love. I've taken classes from the two amazing women and they are not only gifted and talented, they know their shit. Patty Wiggington also got her new book, ‘Badass Ancestors’ published! I’m not Wiccan but I’ve been a fan of her blog for many years, back when she was new on the scene, which was a very, very long time ago. To follow her from way back then to now and see her achieving her dreams I just feel so happy for her. I love seeing people succeed.
Speaking of Wicca, this year was a perfect opportunity for some introspection. I am who I am, always changing, growing and learning, and I’m not interested in trying to please everyone. My shop reflects me and my beliefs and I want that to always stay authentic. This includes using my platform to speak about and raise awareness about issues like racism (Black Lives Still Matter), inequality, violence against women, and other injustices, which to me are inherently wrapped up in my core Spiritual values.
Through this year's disposition to shine a light on all that's wrong and broken in our world, we've all had to adapt and learn new ways of meeting our needs. With that, many of us have had to face what doesn't work anymore and create something new that does. I decided my vision for my business needed to evolve along with a lot of other things. Some of my work in my shop this year has been to intentionally move my products away from Wiccan, Christian and New Age influences. There are plenty of shops for those interests and paths and I’m happy being something else that doesn’t fit neatly where people might want it to. Instead, I’m mindfully updating and maturing my product lines, labels and new creations to be coherent with my crooked-path, secular-animism, and folk-magick style of Witchcraft. It feels good to be the Boss!
In other news, we painted our house this Summer the most bright, cheerful Yellow ever invented. I’m sure it’s pissed some people off. My 'F-U 2020' attitude was no small influence on the color selection. It’s been the talk of the neighborhood apparently with folks giving our house nicknames - most of them nice. Traffic has picked up by our home - both vehicle and pedestrian- and while I'm sure much can be attributed to more people being home due to the pandemic, it’s not too crazy to hope at least some of it is from lookie-loos and people who may possibly love the happy vibes shining bright from our house as they pass by. I’ll believe what I want regarding this and refuse to be sorry. Have I been putting out energetic ideas and thoughts for my neighbors to find bright and bold paint colors for their homes, too? Absolutely. I positively dream of living on a rainbow street. More work to be done in 2021 as we continue with house projects - a new front porch and portico, new back deck, planter boxes, etc. I’m excited to see it all come together once it’s done. In the meantime, it’s a work-in-progress and it’s a home filled with love, political debates, silliness, good food & wine, laughter and teenage angst.
As many of you now know, my youngest daughter and her husband are expecting a new baby in the Spring, mid-late March/Early April. My heart is bursting with excitement for our third grandbaby. I can’t wait! I’ll be traveling to be with her for a few weeks when the baby is near, and the shop will be closed during that time.
We pulled off a fairly successful Season of the Witch Livestream event in October. It almost didn’t happen and then it did! I'm so grateful for all the people who presented and the folks who attended the Livestream. Many more have since viewed the event in its recorded form and I hope with or without COVID we can all gather that way again. The Season of the Witch event was our effort to do something in place of the Witch’s Ball. I felt the loss of seeing all of you at that event keenly. I did not for a second miss all the work of organizing that event or having to clean up afterwards, though, lol.
There’s no way to know if or when it will be safe to have large public gatherings again. I hope we will get to have our Summer Solstice Pagan Fest in the park this year, but it seems more likely that 2021 will be more similar to 2020 in many ways than to 2019. Whether or not we can gather in 2021 or not- I hope we can stay in touch with our beloved community until this thing simmers down.
Currently I have opened the shop to one customer at a time by appointment only, and made this available exclusively to my subscription folks. You guys really helped me stay in business this year by having a steady and dependable paycheck every month that kept the shop lights on and honestly I just wanted to reward that loyalty. It mattered. Thank you, thank you!
Changes are happening, though! Starting in January 2021, I will begin opening the shop to everyone by appointment one Saturday per month. In addition, the shop will be open one day every quarter exclusively to subscription and School of Witchcraft members. Monthly dates will be announced one - two weeks in advance and bookings will be first-come, first-serve. 1-2 people will be able to book at the same time, appointments will be 30 minutes long, masks will still be required until the CDC says they definitely aren’t necessary anymore. I hope once all this mess is fully behind us, I will reopen for regular hours again. I do miss the shop being a gathering space, crowded as it is, and all the good will and lovely energy being shared.
As we near the Winter Solstice, I'll close the shop for about a week like I normally do, and hope you all enjoy this special time wherever you are, whoever you are with.
Well, that's about all I have. Here's to putting this year in the history books, and seeing friends again very soon!
With love and gratitude,
Owner & Creatrix
The Kindred Cauldron
Sage & Crow School of Witchcraft
Shamanic Root Witch
Founder & Community Organizer
Magic Valley Pagans & Witches
Gem State Black Hat Society