Hello, new friends and followers! You may have ended up on my blog because I wrote something funny once. Or an interview you enjoyed! Or maybe you followed me over from my Tumblr, where I’ve been sharing imagery that fascinates me since 2009 (WOW) or from TikTok where I share perfume reviews. Where ever you came from–hello!
But did you know I am also the author of The Art of the Occult: A Visual Sourcebook For The Modern Mystic? I imagine everyone else is groaning at this point, you already know this. Thanks for sticking around!)
The Art of the Occult is a feast for your curious eyeballs and seeking heart, a gallery of eclectic art inspired by spiritual beliefs, magical techniques, and otherworldly experiences. Featuring leaders of artistic movements, contemporary icons, the marginalized and the little known – – The Art of the Occult was written and curated to both inspire and delight, and is a book for all fans of magic, mysticism, and the mysterious.
If you would like to win a signed copy of The Art of the Occult, please leave a comment *on the Instagram post*and make sure you’re following my account over there. You don’t have to tag a friend, although if you have a friend who might be interested, please feel free!
If you want to bypass all of this, and just purchase a copy, well I certainly won’t stop you. Here is a link for signed copies, and The Art of the Occult is available in most bookstores, and places that you find books. You can even request it from your library – as a matter of fact I highly suggest that you do!
TWO WINNERS will be chosen and contacted on Friday, July 16th!
In yesterday’s post, I referred in a vague sort of way to having done something that scared me and that I had been dreading. But it was also something that would provide a valuable opportunity to not only step out of my comfort zone and have this new-to-me experience, but also to make a connection with a wondrous kindred spirit…both of which are good things to try for, so I agreed to do it.
This thing I am referring to also happens to be something I swore I would never do (which is another thing I have recently written about!)
I am, of course, talking about my first time ever being a guest on someone’s podcast.
I swore this was a thing I would not do, not because I have a problem with podcasts or those who create them! No, my problem is with me, my shyness, and my inability to carry a conversation. I didn’t want to put myself in a situation where I might stumble and falter with my words and look foolish…and I especially didn’t want to make the person trying to converse with me look foolish, either! When it comes right down to it, this is the main reason I write: I have a terrible time articulating my thoughts verbally. They just make more sense on the page.
The Red Transmissions podcast aims to document the work, behind-the-scenes moments and creative process of the characters in their network, and explore why artists, activists, and “worldthreaders” do what they do, how they do it, and hear about the inner workings of their projects. I was so very honored to talk with Red Transmissions host –and remarkably fascinating human in her own right!– Elizabeth Torres this past Saturday about all manner of things, from my upbringing in a weird household full of art and spirits and new-age wonderments, my history and experiences with writing and online curation, and what goes into writing and promoting a book during a pandemic.
When it came down to it, I wasn’t as terrified as I thought I might be. Elizabeth was so patient with me; soothing my jangled nerves and wrangling my rambling chatter! I’m afraid that the worst did happen… there was an instance or two where she asked me something and my mind went completely blank and I froze and stuttered and stumbled. But when the world didn’t come crashing to an end that second and she prompted me with an additional question or shepherded me along with another line of thought, and the conversation moved on. I wish I could be totally cool and tell you that it all went swimmingly and I was amazing and flawless, but I think you know me too well for that, ha!
I shared a press-type photo that was shot by my brother-in-law around this time last year for the purposes of this podcast and its corresponding article for the Red Door Magazine this summer, but since that time, as I’ve shared here before, I’ve chopped all that hair off. Here’s a photo of me post-recording, feeling empowered and exhausted and cultivating the 1996-97 dELiA*s catalog hair I’ve always dreamed of.
I’m not crying, you’re crying! Pictured here is my dear little sister, one of my favorite weirdos in the world, wrapped up in the hopes and dreams of the divorce blanket I started knitting for her six years ago, and which I finally completed a few weeks ago. “Hopes and dreams” and “divorce” probably don’t sound like words that go very well together, except that sometimes, I think, they quite splendidly do. She wrote about it on her blog, which you can find here.
Below I have included a gallery of some images of the process if you’re curious. And here is a link to my Ravelry page for more! And so many thanks to the thoughtful, generous friends who shared yarn, and well-wishes, and stories of their own along the way.
I probably never would have gotten around to starting a YouTube channel in 2020– or any other year, for that matter–if not for the badgering of my baby sister, who has been on me to start one up for a while now. I’d personally rather read a blog post about something than watch a video about it, but I’ve accepted that not everyone feels that way, and so to keep up with the rest of the world and to practice being flexible and adaptable and learning new things in general, I chose this ridiculously terrible year to get started. And I’m pretty proud of myself! Nine months later, I continue to upload videos, although not exactly consistently, and while I’m no award-winning cinematographer, I daresay my efforts have visibly improved along the way.
From reading lists and hauls, to author chats and Q&As, to my obsessive love of perfume to those “what I do in a day” type videos, I think I’ve got a handle on the things I want to present on my channel, and surprise, surprise–it’s exactly the same type of thing I would write about on my blog. Which is okay, I think! Because people who are reading my blog aren’t necessarily stopping by here to watch my videos, and vice versa–and that’s fine! I’ll just try and connect with people wherever they are.
So what’s the plan for 2021? I literally have no clue, but I’d like to keep on track with my one-video a month plodding progress, so if you’ve got any ideas or suggestions or anything, in particular, you would like to see or hear me talk about, leave a comment and let me know!
See below for links to everything mentioned in the Hexmas holiday gift haul!
And a bonus that didn’t make it to the video, are these incredibly snazzy dangle earrings that my Best Good Friend sent me! A bonus about having hair that looks like a Fizzgig is living on your head, is that now everyone can see my ginormous danglers! From Haus of Sparrow on Etsy, if you are interested.
First order of business…yes, I totally did a chop! Bye-bye for now, hairs. This is the shortest my hair has been since about 1996 or so when I tried bleaching it at home and it all turned crunchy and fell off and I basically looked like Susan Powter for a year or so. Stop the insanity, Sarah! Never try that again!
But I do have a plan here. After my Halloween stunt with the Stevie Nicks wig, I came to the conclusion that while I don’t exactly want to go blonde again, I would like to start working my way back to my natural hair color. Whatever that is. I don’t even know anymore, it’s been so long since I have seen it! And since red is notoriously difficult to get rid of, I know I have got a long road ahead of me in terms of growing the color out. I figured a great shortcut would be to just shear most of it away!
I was pretty wrapped up in my long hair for a long time, but as of this year I began letting go of that attachment. I was recently sharing with a friend that I didn’t like the way it felt when someone complimented my hair. I know it was well-intended, but it always had the effect of making me question my other qualities. I’m kind, I am funny, I can string words together in interesting ways! I’d rather someone commented on something I practice, or a thing I do, instead of my appearance. But please don’t feel badly if you ever said I had lovely hair– I mean, objectively, it was pretty nice! But I’ve got other things to offer.
So now I have got a bit of a shag and it might be just a little shorter than I realized, but that’s fine, because that’s just more color gone! I plan on going back to long, eventually, but for now, this is new and interesting, and I really dig it. Also, when I wear earrings now–you can finally see them! Before the chop, they were sequestered behind massive curtains of hair. In the photo above is a pair that I haven’t worn since I purchased them in 2010! A handful of people have asked about them and I don’t know if the seller still makes this exact style, but their Etsy shop still exists, so you could always ask!
All of this happened AFTER the video I am about to share, though, so except for the intro/outro, my new hair does not make an appearance!
For this upload, I shared a small glimpse into my life in the form of a series of vignettes chronicling my weekend. I personally love peeking in on these kinds of “what I do in a day videos” because I am very nosy about the people I admire!
I challenged myself to try my hand at it after recently being inspired by my friend and fellow weirdo, the extraordinarily talented Courtney Lane. Courtney is a historian and hair work artist and on her Hair and Now YouTube channel on Youtube, Courtney uploaded “A Day in the life of a Victorian Hairworker,” which I found wonderfully fascinating. I interviewed Courtney back in 2018, if you are interested in learning more about her and what she does!
My day might not seem particularly exciting, but for me, it was practically perfect. I don’t really want to spend an entire day reading, for example, or binge-watching movies. Although I do like doing both of those things! Instead, I like to do a little bit of all of the things I love, spread over the course of a day. We can’t do all of the things we want right now, with quarantine and social distancing, so that’s why I like to plan days like this for myself, to give myself a little something to look forward to, and so I don’t feel like I am missing out. A few treats for myself, a bit of self-care, some housework and tidying, some time outdoors, making progress on projects–these are just a few of the things which I include in what I would consider “a good day.” And of course, that might look totally different for you!
Either here or in the video, please share in the comments what your idea of a perfect day looks like, and how you have adapted that for life in 2020!
I’d taken a bit of a summer break with regard to my non-personal writing, but I am back over at Haute Macabre this Friday in late July to share a lovely interview I recently collaborated on with Author, Poet, Word Witch Lisa Marie Basile.
Many thanks to my dear friend Sonya, for it was through them that I originally learned about Lisa’s work a few years ago, and it was also through them that this interview coalesced and came into being. Thank you, thank you, dearest bean of my heart!
Early on in our days of self-isolation and social distancing during this pandemic crisis, my baby sister asked if I would write a guest post for her blog about how I’ve worked out the kinks of working from home over the past decade. I happily agreed.
In classic Taurean fashion, it took me about eleventy billion hours of ponderous thought and laborious execution, but here we go– some work from home thoughts from “one of the most beguiling and original voices to echo across the Internet.” But she’s my sister, so she has to say nice things about me!
Mosey on over and have a peek at my guest post for her, and while you’re there, poke around a bit! She’s dedicated herself to recording a daily pandemic check-in with her Plague Diaries series and I think you’ll find some relatable stuff there and a great deal of keen insight and heartfelt sentiment. And I’m not just saying that because she’s my sister!
Our friends at Roses And Rue Antiques have teamed up with some of their favorite colleagues, all-female small business owners, for an Instagram giveaway of truly epic proportions. This has been a challenging, frightening, and uncertain time for all of us, so they have put together a selection of ghostly goodies which will hopefully lift your spirits, and make your time isolated at home a little happier.
Read further for a massive list of the marvelous items you will receive accompanied by some truly beautiful photos, along with links to the various vendors. At the bottom of the post, you will find the rules for the giveaway, along with the links you will need to enter. It’s not complicated, but please be sure to read! Also, please note, this is not a giveaway hosted by Unquiet Things, so any comments you leave here won’t be counted as entries. I just wanted to make sure you were aware of its existence, and point you in the right direction!
The winner of the giveaway will receive:
– 2 Victorian hair keepsakes, 2 antique miniature religious books, and an antique magnifying paperweight from @rosesandrueantiques
– A pair of antique crochet gloves and a funeral card from @blackcatclothiers
– A lock of hair in a paper box and funeral card from @lleyak
– A vintage candle holder with a crystal ball from @darknorthcraftandcurio
– A “You have been poisoned” teacup and Salem postcards from @emporium32
– A Victorian post mortem photo, 2 Victorian prints, and 2 funeral cards from @funerealephemera
So I am plugging away on my little youtube channel, which I know, it’s sort of a vain little project, but that’s okay, and I am okay with it. The world is nuts right now and I can’t just allow myself to freak out and shut down, so it’s a nice time to learn some new skills and do a thing I was gearing up to try my hand at, anyhow. And P.S. it’s also okay to freak out and shut down, but I know me, and if I allow myself to get into that headspace, then I might never make it out again.
Anyway, as all good Youtube channels do (as well as the really bad and annoying ones, or basically, well, all of them) I thought I might include a little “haul” video. But mine would, naturally, be with the kinds of things that I like to see! No basic, grocery store hauls here, GTFO with those frozen Tyson chicken breasts! No $5K Gucci sneaker hauls here, either! Although OK maybe I am just jealous about those!
This weekend I shared the first video from my Down A Dark Haul series, and because I am so very new to all of this, I forgot nearly everything I wanted to share about the marvelous things I mentioned. I thought I might stop back by the ol’ blog and share some photos and additional information.
And please don’t worry! I still plan on updating this blog and it will always be my first love. I’m just juggling one more personal project right now, is all. Social media platforms are sort of like Pokémon for me (I don’t play Pokémon, but) I feel I have to “catch them all,” so to speak!
The first two items were two books from Fulgur Press : UK based Fulgur Press is the leading independent publisher for esotericism and magic in visual culture. Founded in 1992 by Robert Ansell, the press works with artists, writers and editors who explore ideas of agency and enchantment through scholarship and practice.
Songs For The Witch Woman is an evocative book of art and poetry, a collaborative effort between a fascinating couple who were utterly consumed by each other: Jack Parsons, an actual rocket scientist, and a prominent figure in the Los Angeles occult world of the 1940s. And Marjorie Cameron artist and actress and an iconic part of LA’s early mystical underground. I believe this though this book is meant to be both a window into their love story, it’s more art book than a biography and I am dreadfully excited to dig in.
Séance by Shannon Taggart. I am also very excited to pore through Séance, a gorgeous book by photographer, lecturer, and writer. Shannon Taggart. Shannon is the world’s foremost contemporary spirit photographer and Séance is the culmination of an 18-year long exploration of spiritualism and which contains hundreds of photographs of her subjects channeling, table tipping, spoon bending, and having other spirit encounters. And a foreward by Dan Akroyd who is –wow!–a fourth-generation spiritualist!
This darling little nun is from Dark North Craft and Curio, who was recommended to me by another wonderful online antique seller whose wares I adore, Kate at Roses and Rue Antiques (and whom you may remember from a previous installment of Ten Things!) I love it when small businesses lift each other up and have each other’s backs! I will link to both shops below. And as a matter of fact, the pale madam in the second photo is from the Roses and Rue shop! Though I have not interacted much with the owner of Dark North (who it turns out is also a Kate), I do know that she specializes in items with an air of gothic romance or occult origins, and likes to stock items for witchcraft, altar spaces, ritual magick and divination.
I am not sure if this particular nun has a story, or if nun dolls, in general, have any sort of origin story. I started doing a bit of research and fell down a series of rabbit holes and didn’t find anything definitive after two minutes, so I gave up. But I did find a place called in Indian River, Michigan called The National Shrine Of The Cross In The Woods, which is apparently the home for the largest collection of dolls dressed in traditional habits of men and women religious communities in the United States. If I were to go on some sort of zig-zaggy cross country road trip, visiting all sorts of eccentric sites along the way, this would be near the top of the list! At any rate, I am not sure why I am obsessed with nuns, but for whatever reason, I find them absolutely fascinating, and I had to have this little lady for my shelf.
Later, someone on twitter gave me a bit of an answer as to my original line of query!
You mean why they were made? I spoke with a Dominican who said that, as postulants, they dressed dolls so they would understand how the habit was made. Orders also gave dolls to children to encourage vocations. They were also Catholic church raffle prizes.
Speaking of obsessions, I think anyone who knows me either knows or will soon find out that I am obsessed with Portland, OR, which seems to me a wonderful little oasis for weirdos. I’ve only visited a handful of times, but each time I do, I am always sure to stop by AltarPDX, an alternative handmade fashion boutique dedicated to beautiful clothing and accessories that are inspired by the natural world and the spirit of the Northwest. The shop curates an edgy, dark aesthetic and celebrates “a new generation of American artistry and manufacturing.”
RANT: As an aside, I keep hearing fashion and makeup bloggers and vloggers say something really annoying, and I don’t know if they are using the word in this way to be cheeky, or maybe…they just think this is how the word is used. And I get that the English language is ever-evolving, but come ON. Anyway, I often see people’s Instagram captions in which they declare that something is SO AESTHETIC. No! You can like or prefer (or not prefer) something because you either do or do not appreciate it’s *particular* aesthetic; Like… you prefer a dark gothic aesthetic or a colorful boho aesthetic, or a highly elaborate baroque or a more natural, minimalist aesthetic. Generally speaking, I guess you could say you appreciate something for its aesthetic qualities, or that you recognize that something has aesthetic appeal. But. Something can’t JUST be SO aesthetic. I mean…what does that even mean?? If I am missing something or am way off base here, feel free to let me know. I just think it sounds weird…and not in the fun way we like around here. In a dumb and wrong way.
ANYWAY. That has nothing to do with this lovely box of small-batch apothecary items, hand-selected for this particular “discovery box.” Not all of the scents or products are things I personally would have chosen for myself but I really do love these kinds of surprise boxes, so it was a fun purchase! Take a peek at AltarPDX’s website for the items above, and order your own apothecary discovery box here.
From the Haute Macabre crystal shop, I ordered this massive carnelian bowl, about which, the site shares: “Carnelian, once known as “the blood of Isis”, emits a warmth, recirculating the blood in your veins. In ancient times, Carnelian was worn to give warriors courage in battle, something not energetically different than our modern uses – Carnelian ignites a passion, gives a bold voice to the timid, and builds power within.”
This bowl is a beautiful, bold behemoth, and I have placed it on my desk where I can gaze upon its valorous vibes all day long!
Lastly, I received a surprise package from indie perfumers Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab this past weekend, so as a last-minute addition, I included a few mini-reviews toward the end of the video. I thought I would give you a close-up photo here because my camera definitely wasn’t close enough to get a good peek yesterday (and I don’t know how to add in b-roll or whatever yet) but if you want to know my thought on the scent, you’ll have to you know, watch the video. Hee! Sneaky, sneaky. The two fragrances that I reference are Blueberries, Cream, and Cardamom and Caramel, Smoked Chilis, and Black Vanilla.
So that’s it for this installment of Down a Dark Haul, but I hope to have more in this series in the future!
In the meantime, while please keeping in mind that I am very new to all of this, feel free to leave comments and critiques and suggestions in the comments! And also like and subscribe and comment on my Youtube channel, so it looks like I am not a lame loser with no friends!