Kate Kiley of Fallawake Magickal Arts makes oils, mists, perfumes, talismans, and other amazing products. Thank you, Kate, for taking the time to share with us.
1. Please describe your background. How did you come to make sprays, oils, talismans, incense, and other items?
I’ve been practicing Green Magic in the Wiccan tradition since I was a teenager, about 30 yrs. – guess I just gave away my age! At that time, I was growing and wild-crafting herbs for natural dyes I used for clothing and craft projects. It wasn’t until my 20s when I read “Jitterbug Perfume” by Tom Robbins that I became fascinated with making scented oils and mists.
I’ve always adored fragrance as a way of transforming or enhancing mood and this seemed like the perfect way to marry that interest with my Wiccan beliefs. I started making oils and tinctures for my own personal use along with goatsmilk soap when we moved to a farm and raised dairy goats after I was married. I was homeschooling my kids at that time and we would make our own jewelry and little charms which later became talismans and amulets. Everything we made was originally for personal use or created as gifts.
2. What is your favorite color, essential oil, and/or herb, and why?
My favorite color is orange, essential oil/scent is dragon’s blood, and herb – wow! That’s a tough one! I love so many: bergamot, lavender, mugwort, sage, chamomile, calendula… I’ve always been attracted to warm colors and climates. I think I was a Mayan Sun Priestess in a past life LOL. I love the dark, smoky, seductive scent of dragon’s blood – maybe that’s the Scorpio in me coming through? I only recently discovered that orange corresponds to the sacral chakra which relates to passion and the creative force – very cool! I think we are intuitively drawn to those things that speak to us on an etheric level.
3. Describe your creative process. How do you usually get ideas for a new product, and what is your process for creating and testing that product?
My inspirations come from everywhere! I do a lot of meditation, listen to some beautiful tribal music, read a TON, walk in nature, and take a lot of “spiritual field trips” with my friends and family. I’ve been to Buddhist temples in Japan, Catholic monasteries, Native American drumming circles, Hindu mandirs, reiki exchanges, and all sorts of metaphysical workshops, seminars, and expos, etc.
When I first envision a new item – for example, an oil dedicated to a particular Goddess – I will spend days researching the culture that worships her, her aspects and symbolism, what colors, botanicals, and crystals represent her and her personality. It takes a long time to work up a “recipe” for everything – oils, jewelry, talismans, etc. because I also consider how color symbolism and numerology plays a role as well as finding the perfect auspicious day, moon cycle and moon sign to create this item. All the oils & mists are made in small batches and are left to “steep” for at least 2 weeks before they are bottled.
In the meantime, I wear the scent myself to see how it is maturing and what, if any, reactions I get from any of the ingredients – as well as how it makes me feel and other’s reactions from it. I also have a number of human guinea pigs that try them out and give me feedback! All of my oils, mists, essential oils, and botanicals are organic, 100% pure, and are food-grade. I try to grow as many of the herbs as I can.
4. I love how potent your blends are, and how everything is all-natural and created with clear intention. Please describe your outlook on natural living and how it informs your creative process.
I lived most of my life on the farm – first my parents, then my own. Being as self-sufficient as possible (living off the land) combined with the basic tenets of green witchcraft (using only that which nature provides) formed my beliefs in keeping my products as natural as possible. I’ve also always had a strong belief that the human spirit is not something that is trapped inside of us – we exude it like our breath or body heat.
Everything we come in contact with is influenced by our spiritual energy and thought. Just like most of us can “taste the love” that grandma puts into her cooking, I believe we can feel love when it’s put into those things that are handmade. That’s the biggest advantage (at least in my mind) to using a product that is handmade over machine-made. Our spirit, the Universal Spirit (or God or whatever you want to call it), and the Spirit of the Earth are all intertwined and we honor each of them when we use our intuitions and keep
ourselves in harmony with nature.
5. What would you consider to be your signature product or scent and why?
My signature scent would have to be “Dragonfly” because I developed it purely by intuition – and for my own personal use. I wanted an oil to enhance personal transformation – an important theme in my life and something I felt I really needed at the time – but couldn’t find any recipes in the old grimoires or texts so I had to blend it based on scent preferences. I discovered in later research that each of the botanicals had beneficial uses in personal change. The dragonfly has always been an animal totem of mine – I’ve always loved them and love that they are symbolic of metamorphosis.
6. Can you describe the best feedback you’ve ever received, or describe an interaction that you had that made you feel good about your creations?
How do I choose just one?! I’ve loved all of my customers/fellow travelers – they have all meant so much to me and have thoroughly strengthened my faith in all mankind! I have learned so much from each of them and their different faiths, beliefs, and spiritual experiences. I love the deep, meaningful discussions I get into with them about their passed-over beloved pets, or the symbolism of animal totems or recurring dreams, whatever. There’s a woman I’m currently making Jewish talismans for and I’ve learned so much from her already! I’m not that familiar with Judaism but she’s teaching me and it’s been a very rewarding experience. I love the constant sense of discovery and the connection with my fellow spiritual explorers. And meeting you!! You truly are a kindred spirit and earth angel! All of these wonderful interactions reminds me how truly blessed I am to be able to do what I do.
7. What plans do you have for your shop in 2011? What should we be looking out for?
I have big plans!!! I’m planning to add lots of new stuff – maybe soaps? I don’t live on the farm anymore (but plan to once again when the kids are all grown and moved out) so I don’t have access to the goatsmilk but I’d like to make vegan soaps with magical properties – I haven’t seen a lot of that around. I’m also taking a class this summer at John C. Campbell Folk Art School in direct metal casting so I can finally make all the charms and amulets I can never seem to find anywhere else! I also plan to start selling some of my homegrown dried botanicals. In a nutshell – LOTS so please check out my shop frequently! Beyond 2011, I plan to open up a spiritual center/art studio for people to explore their spirituality through meditation, art, and communion with nature. Can’t wait!!
8. Do you have any favorite crafters or artisans that you would like to share with us?
First and foremost, all my wonderful Metaphysical Team on Etsy buddies! They are an amazing, diverse, and talented group!
There are many, many, many others but it would take up your entire blog to cover them all!
9. What advice would you give to budding artisans who are looking to present their wares to the public?
Go for it!! I’ve always been making things for my own use and as gifts for friends but it wasn’t until a friend of mine invited me to set up a table at a local Pagan Pride festival that I started making things to sell. The entire 2 months before the event, I was a wreck! I constantly doubted myself and my abilities – how would people react to my stuff? Was it good enough? With my dear friend’s encouragement (arm twisting!) I put together a table and showed my wares. The reaction I got was phenomenal!! That was the little nudge I needed to finally overcome my fears of not being good enough and it started a snowball effect in my life.
So much of what is holding us back from living the life we want to live is FEAR. That’s still something I deal with on a daily basis but I’m making steps in the right direction! Also, surround yourself with the right people. If it weren’t for my friend Nancy, I wouldn’t have gone to the Pagan Pride festival, met a ton of wonderful people, and opened my shop on Etsy – and fallen in love with the whole thing! There will always be people that will tell you you can’t do something – that’s their fear talking! If you truly love what you are doing and the life you are creating, other people will too. Living a life of light and positive energy will create more opportunities for you to feel that light and positive energy in others. Like the amazing and inspirational Joseph Campbell says “Follow your bliss”!
10. Is there anything else that you would like to share?
Anyone can perform magic! You don’t need someone else to manifest something for you – the most powerful magic you can do is the magic that you do yourself! All the magical oils, amulets, and mojo bags in the world won’t help you if you don’t first have the vision of clear intent firmly in mind. You can manifest anything you want if your intentions are positive and clear – oils, amulets, incense, and spells are there to help you keep these intentions at the forefront and help put forth the creative energy you are sending out into the universe.
Whenever you catch sight of that transformational bracelet or a whiff of that love drawing oil, you are reminded of your desire to transform or attract love. That memory or thought or desire sends out a message to the universe. Call it magic, the power of prayer, the secret, or the power of intention – you can change your life with your thoughts! Make your own magic everyday by sharing the light of your love – and see how the universe sends it back to you tenfold!
Thank you for sharing your light with me! I feel truly blessed to have met you and every one of the other people that have crossed my path on this journey. Bright blessings to you and best wishes on all your spiritual adventures!
❤ Kate Kiley