Magical Teachers

After an online blowup about a teacher who was predatory and abusive, but who’d also all but announced I AM PREDATORY AND ABUSIVE prior to taking on students, a new essay was spawned.

Just because you’ve found a teacher doesn’t mean they’re the right teacher for you. Or that they’re a good teacher. Or that they’re qualified to teach you. Cheaters, frauds, hucksters and predators abound in the occult and spiritual seeker community. Do your research before you decide to join an order, take an initiation, or find a teacher.

Why You Should Do At Least As Much Background Research On Your Teacher As You Would On A Computer

A Ridiculously Long Essay 
On How To Minimize Your Chances 
Of Being Screwed Over, Abused, Or Cheated

As with everyone else on Magical Basics, it’s a draft, but it’s a pretty solid one.

Two Things

Thing 1: I have been contacted by a few people asking where to buy my oils. The sites listed to the right are the stores that carry them, but as things are a bit weird in retail right now, I can’t guarantee that they HAVE the oils. Your best bet is to contact the store. The one that is probably best stocked is Draconis Arcanum. Dark Lady has temporarily closed – New Orleans retail got socked pretty hard, financially – but will reopen with it’s usual fine selection of Quadrivium Oils. I haven’t removed them from the list, since they’ll be back before too long. I hope.

Thing 2: I am going to be interviewed on TalkGnosis, a weekly talk show on YouTube, to discuss rituals. Rituals in magic, rituals not in magic, why we practice rituals, what we get out of rituals, what we should look for in rituals, etc. I will post a link when the show is available, which will likely be the last week of June.

I hope everyone is doing well and staying safe and healthy. Chicago is opening back up, much to my trepidation. I don’t go out much to begin with, but I admit the idea of getting my nails done is appealing.

Promoting Black-owned businesses

My project has fallen by the wayside as I, like most people, have been watching protests and listening to Black Americans talking about their experiences and generally being horrified all over again at the brutal, systemic racism that exists in this country.

As somebody who’s stuck at home due to being somewhat light on the white blood cells after chemo and not able to GO anywhere during the pandemic, I’m putting together lists of Black-owned and women-owned businesses that sell products that magical practitioners might have on a shopping list – candles, incense, accessories. At the moment, one full list exists (on the site), which is Scented Candle Sources. More to come.

MLMs Are Recruiting – Don’t Get Sucked In!

I keep seeing things posted on social media about being your own boss! Working from home! Setting your own hours! FREE STUFF! Take your stimulus money and invest in a home-based business, you’ll be glad you did!

Weirdly, this seems to be a popular time for MLM recruiters. Not something I’d have expected, but people are hurting for cash and that means some of them might jump at something that seems like it would make money.

It won’t. Multi-level marketing companies hide behind catchphrases and catchy slogans about being your own boss and making your own hours and starting a business. They will not make you money. They will take your money, stress you out, and force you to exploit every relationship you have in an attempt to break even. The first season of the podcast The Dream is entirely about MLMs and has a huge amount of information about where they come from, how people end up in them, how hard it is to get out, how deeply the MLM companies like Amway and Herbalife have sunk their claws into the government, and why these MLMs don’t get prosecuted as the scams they are.

“Why is a ritual oil business so mad at MLMs?” you (or someone) ask. Because ritual oils are made from essential oils. And essential oils are the product of two huge MLM scams: Young Living and DoTerra. These companies train “consultants” who don’t know how to use oils safely, who make insane claims, and who charge outlandish amounts of money for cheap, domestically produced essential oils. Anyone who works with essential oils has a beef with DT and YL, because these companies make us all look bad.

Doterra and Young Living are absolutely 100% pyramid schemes hiding under the “multilevel marketing” guise. The FTC has a good (if overly technical) explanation of why MLMs don’t work as a business model here.

One of the best introductions to the whole business is this New Yorker article from 2017 on the essential oil MLMs – it includes a bio of Gary Young that mentions his conviction for practicing medicine without a license (he delivered his own daughter underwater and she drowned), his involvement in a “medical clinic” in Mexico that was exposed as a fraud by the LA Times, and his other moneymaking schemes. Since then, Young Living has made lots of claims about lots of cures and treatments and cures and it’s all about as genuine as Gary Young’s medical degree. Utah Stories has a good series on the scam of Young Living.

DoTerra is an offshoot of Young Living. They like to claim that they have “certified pure therapeutic grade oils,” but that’s a trademark. Nobody is grading oils. Science Based Medicine has an entry on DoTerra that’s very eye-opening. This blog post has a good outline of the sneaky way DoTerra convinces customers that their oils have certifications and approvals that don’t actually exist. The blog is defunct, but the links still work and the information is still accurate. Lazyman And Money has a good explanation of why essential oil MLMs and DoTerra in particular are a scam.

You can buy oils at the grocery store, at the drug store, and a dozen other places. Well, you’ll be able to when we’re able to go out, anyway. Do not get scammed. The NOW branded oils at Walgreens and Target are the same thing as DoTerra and Young Living oils. There is no difference except in price. Look to see that the Latin name for the plant is on the bottle, and that it’s 100% essential oil of that plant, and you’ll get the same thing you’d get from one of the MLMs. You’ll just pay less, and not be supporting a pyramid scheme.

Note: if you’re going to comment that OMG YL/DT IS NOT A SCAM, don’t bother. I’ve been working with essential oils a long time and I can assure you of this: if you are using DT or YL oils, you are being ripped off. If you want to spend your money that way, fine, but do not try to pretend that those oils are in any way superior to the oils sold cheaper in other places.

Essential Oils and Animals

This has nothing to do with ritual, magic, or anything esoteric, just one of my frequent freakouts over people using essential oils in dangerous ways.

My sister-in-law is a veterinarian in northern California, where a lot of people are really concerned with keeping things as natural as possible.  A few weeks ago, a dog died in her arms.  A perfectly healthy dog, whose owners had decided against a flea treatment like Frontline because of their concerns over pesticides.  They’d done some online research and discovered that certain essential oils can repel fleas, so they bought a bottle of pennyroyal essential oil and rubbed a small amount into the dog’s skin.

24 hours later, the dog died of liver failure brought on by pennyroyal poisoning.

This is not unusual, sadly.  Pennyroyal, which is extremely toxic to dogs, is touted in a ton of places online as a very effective flea deterrent.  Search “natural flea treatment” or “essential oils for fleas” on Google or Pinterest or almost anywhere you CAN search and someone will have helpful directions about using essential oils to treat a flea infestation.  Among the most popular – Pennyroyal.

“A 1992 study (Sudekum M et al, Pennyroyal oil toxicosis in a dog, JAVMA.1992) reported that .07 oz of pennyroyal essential oil was applied to a dog’s skin to help control fleas. “Within 1 hour of application, the dog became listless and within 2 hours began vomiting. At 30 hours after exposure, the dog exhibited diarrhea, hemoptysis (coughing up blood) and epistaxis (bleeding from the nose). Soon thereafter, the dog developed seizures and died. Histopathiologic (tissue) examination of the liver showed massive hepatocellular necrosis”. In other words, the dog died of liver failure.” [source]

.07 oz is less than half a teaspoon.

On the face of it, using essential oils to repel bugs is really sensible.  We use citronella candles with essential oil of citronella, after all, to keep mosquitos away.  People even use citronella sprays.  No big deal.  Plant based, natural, no dangerous pesticides.

Except one of those natural bug repellents is virulently poisonous, and less than half avteaspoon applied to the skin (not consumed, just rubbed on the skin) will kill a dog.  That part didn’t make it into the webpage or pinned recipe for flea repellent.

I have another post in the works on the many, many Pinterest recipes floating around, for human and animal use.  Put it on your skin, take several drops by mouth, diffuse it into the air so you/your kids/your pets/your guests can breathe it into their lungs.  Get the essential oil into your body, they say, because it’s natural and nontoxic and healthy and safe.

Essential oils are the most concentrated form of a plant that exists.  They can make humans and animals sick or dead.  MLM companies want to sell oils; the more you consume in more ways (skin, ingestion, diffuser, etc.), the more you’ll buy from them.  They are salespeople.  Not herbalists, aromatherapists, doctors, nurses, homeopaths, naturopaths, or anyone else who has been through training regarding the safety of essential oils.  Some of them are knowledgeable, I’m sure, but the are first and foremost salespeople trying to sell you something.

Be careful.  Please.  Essential oils are strong, and they can make people and animals very ill, or even kill them.  Never base your use of oils on a salesperson’s pitch, an essential oil company’s instructions, or something you found on Google or Pinterest.  If you’re interested in essential oil use, learn from a qualified program before you use them on yourself, your dog, your kid, or your clients. These pet deaths (the dog my sister-in-law saw was just one of many households pets sickened or killed every year when people try to treat a problem with herbs or oils) are completely avoidable.  Not one of those animals had to die.  They were victims of a “natural medicine” craze that turns salespeople into instructors, advising their customers on the use of oils to maximize their own profits.


Web Site Purchases Suspended

Hi clients and customers and friends:

You may have noticed that you can’t currently get to the oil listing, or to the different pages for each of the oils that Quadrivium sells.  This is because, for all intents and purposes, Quadrivium is a one-woman show and the one woman has to be Mom before Business Owner right now.

My 8 year old daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes about 18 months ago.  We’ve been managing it successfully, with a Continuous Glucose Monitor and an insulin pump.  On April 29, we found out that our 5 year old daughter is also diabetic.  She is in the very early stages of Type 1 Diabetes, where the pancreas still does it’s job (at least part time), so she’s not on insulin yet.  She’s in good health, and with an older sister who has the same thing, she’s taking the diagnosis better than we are, I think.

Currently, my time is being occupied with school meetings, doctor appointments, blood sugar tracking, completely changing everything about the kids’ room (because midnight blood sugar checks and bunk beds are not a good combination), and being really angry at the world for hitting us with a random autoimmune disorder not once, but twice.  Type 1 Diabetes is manageable, but insulin isn’t a cure – it’s life support.  It’s also a LOT of work, especially for parents of diabetics too young to manage their own care.

One of my goals, when I started Quadrivium Supplies, was to get customers their orders within two weeks.  Preferably one week.  I hate waiting for things, I assume other people hate it too.  At the moment, it’s all I can handle to fill my (very late) store orders.  Online ordering for Quadrivium Oils WILL reopen, probably towards the middle or end of May, when the whirlwind of meetings has eased up and we’ve hired a childcare provider who’s able to manage two kids with diabetes.

In the meantime, please order your oils from one of the retailers that are listed on the sidebar.  Each of them carries my full line of oils, plus one or two exclusive oils that you can’t get elsewhere.  One store is in Canada, which is great if you’re an international customers.  They will all be restocked with Quadrivium Oils by May 11, if the Post Office cooperates.

Thanks for your understanding.

This Should NOT Have To Be Posted

This should go without saying, but apparently it has to be spelled out:
ALL the material on the Quadrivium Supplies website, from the item descriptions to the sample oil use rituals to the blog content, is under copyright. You may not reproduce our on your blog or your website. Period.
Stores that carry our items online are permitted to use material from our website, and that permission is a part of our contract with these stores. If you are NOT one of these stores, you may NOT use material from this website on yours, and you certainly do NOT have permission to pick out the suggested oil use rituals and publish them.

This is called “plagiarism.” Look it up. It doesn’t matter if material is printed or online – the person who wrote it, or the company for whom it was written, holds the copyright to it.

We regularly run our suggested oil rituals through an online plagiarism checker. If you think one of our rituals is cool and you’d like to put it on your noncommercial site or blog, please contact us ( to ask for permission. 99% of the time, we’ll give it, as long as you attribute it to us. But if you’re just swiping our content to fill your own blog or website, that’s stealing and it’s not okay. Not only that, but it’s the sort of thing that goes on often enough that the owner of the copyright can appeal directly to the ISP of the plagiarizer and have the content removed, if not the entire site taken down.
Which we will do. This website is a business; the suggested oil rituals are specific to our oils and were written for our website. They are not free for use elsewhere.
Please don’t steal our content. It’s not just impolite. It’s illegal.