sanc·tum - - - ˈsaNG(k)təm/ - - - a sacred place
po·tion - - - ˈpōSH(ə)n/ - - -a concoction with magical & healing properties
Sanctum Potions finds its inspiration in the Old World. A time when handshakes were backed by honor, clothing was stitched by hand, tea was a thing of social doing, letters were writtin by quill, and death was a reality waiting outside the door. When Life was a fragile thing; undone by sickness and hunger, embraced in corsets and courting.
These times were hard, but when have they been not?
These days in western cities people kill themselves, slowly, never having lived a moment in the forest, plucked an apple from a tree. We get lost in television because it is more exciting than our own lives. We buy clothing that reeks of plastic because it’s cheap. It is easier to find genetically modified food products and factory farmed animals than the stuff that nurtures our bodies and souls.
In the mean time there are people without clean water, forgotten as we dump ice buckets over our heads for fun, flush toilets without a second thought. Cities are destroyed by robots in the pursuit of money.
As the founder of Sanctum Potions, I am trying my best to say no to all forces I feel are burdening my Spirit, and the Spirit of all life. I understand life is evolution, and we may be going towards an age of computer technology that supports life, but for me, I want to stitch my apparel, hand mix perfumes and cut fire wood.
I live on a plot of land right outside the progressive city of Asheville, NC, with a handful of people who come and go. We live off the “grid” in our tiny cabin powered by solar. Our gardens are full of delicious vegetables, the fields alive with a heard of sheep, a bunch of cows, and of course the chickens and ducks who do as they please. There is a medicine wheel garden that has expanded throughout the farm.
This life style is what grounds me. I still love city life though, especially ethical and progressive city life. Restaurants that serve local, friends growing beets in their front yards, buildings going up instead of out. Buying from small businesses. The magic of knowing the local makers.
Over the years I have tried many ways to make a living off doing what I love. Small farm CSA’s, nutritional and herbal consulting, underground herbal medicine, perennial and medicinal nursery, permaculture landscaping…
Then this past year I realized the thing I really loved, what I found myself drawn to in the off hours, was creating beauty. Beauty through natural methods - plant extractions and distillery. Transforming one item of value into another, arguably, in a more accessible for human delivery system. Scented oils, potions for friends, dried herbs for the winter. I also found my love of aesthetics expressed in adorning these items in lovely packaging, and writing about them in Piscean verse. Friends starting offering money trades for these items, and before I know it Sanctum Potions was on its way out of the birth canal.
If you are looking for a touch of the Old World in your life, you will find Sanctum Potions to carry that essence in each product. All perfumes and oils found at Sanctum Potions are original scents, finding their inspiration from a single intention that grew in to a complex olfactory enchantment. I use only 100% organic botanical essential oils, some that we distill ourselves, and almost all from organic sources. You will not find synthetic scents or GMO products in any of our goods.
Our Herbal products are much grown right here on the land i tend. Some plants are hand-harvested out in nature, with a keen eye on keeping the plants population intact. All other herbal products not gathered by the hands at Sanctum Potions are sourced from sellers with similar values as us.
While we are not a Zero Waste Company, but do recycle as much as possible. Your packaging will most likely have been used before. The bottles are mostly purchased from other small manufacturers. Sometimes we have to use a certified kitchen and pull electric from the grid.
Over all, we consider our selves pretty damn Old World, especially when we are applying hand cut labels under the light of an oil lantern.
Enjoy our small batch creations!
I have a bit of an obsession with symbolism. Symbolism in everything: the words an authors chooses, abstraction in art, choices in marketing, the way someone portrays themselves to the world, consciously and subconsciously.
I especially love symbols though - symbolism with symbols. Anyone who has taken a swim with me at the river would know this, for they would have had a nice view of the symbols I have added permanently to my skin.
This total intrigue with symbols is one of the reasons I love reading charts; it’s like a puzzle of symbols to find harmony amongst, revealing deep inner workings of the psyche.
Since my most recent tattoo, an image that begins with the symbol of Venus, the literal and dominant understanding of symbols has come up almost every time I have shown it off. “Oh, that’s the symbol of the female.” Yes, true, it is used for that often, and that is how most people know it.
Venus has a stereotype, a very broad and superficial stereotype of symbolizing the feminine, and it makes sense how this came about. Venus is about beauty - harmonizing, softening, opening, luxuriating, enhancing, flirting pleasure, basking in admiration. And these ideas are qualities commonly associated with the yin, the feminine energy. The roman goddess of beauty was named Venus, and it is said she was female.
I could be over analyzing this, but are humans obsessed with viginas and penis’ or what? What if we identified people with energies of feminine and masculine rather than a physical attribute giving one their gender association? And this energy would change as much as we wanted…
Ok, ok that last spat was a bit of a personal digression. What I am trying to get at is to me, these feminine qualities are attributes of spirit. And that is they symbol of Venus, the circle which represents pure spirit, over the cross which represents matter. Venus is just the quality of putting spirit before all else.
And now the real focus of this post…I thought it would be fun to go through all of the planets symbols and how they came about, what is means, how it brings enlightening to their nature.
First we must look at the main symbols/shapes before we can combine them into the planetary symbols.
The circle represnts a perfect shape, a never ending shape, unlimited, un-ending potential, basically the spirit, but the spirit which is connected to all, that travels life among life, the idea beyond the veil of ideas.
The crescent is half the symbol of spirit, and it represents the soul. The soul which does have a beginning and ending in this lifetime, a chosen focus to express itself. It can be reaching upwards toward the heavens, spirit, extrovert world, downwards into the deep unknown of the inner self, backwards toward the past / focus of primary self issues, or forward to the future and humanity as a whole.
The horizontal line represents the body. I honestly haven’t found a legit source for this. Maybe it’s the body because of the physical limitations to inhabits one realm, one physical plane.
A vertical line represents the mind. Again, not confident enough to say where the hell this came from. Maybe its that the mind can penetrate many physical planes?
The two lines combined creates the cross, which presents physical matter. I particularly like how it divides space as well, which can be easily viewed as cardinal directions.
East: spring, physical, actions, ego, expansive
South: Winter, mental, awareness, understanding, inward, hibernation
West: Earth, emotional, relationships, empowerment,
North: Summer, spiritual, dignity, values, connection, fruition
I will stop there because I could really go on….and on.
So lets combine!
The Sun: Circle with a dot in the center = the limitless potential brought to a definite focus, or with a spark of conscience.
The Moon: The crescent shape, most commonly reflected backward because it is our past experience that develop the soul. The reflected shape of the crescent is also symbolic of reflecting parts of our spirit into the world.
Mercury: The crescent shape reflecting upward, on top of the circle, which is all above the cross. Contains all the symbols, showing the integration of physical, mental (soul) and spiritual. Mercury is receptive because of its exaltation of spirit over matter, and the souls discriminating and accepting and reflecting values above all; discerning and sharing all in the spirit and material world.
Venus: Circle over cross, Spirit over matter. This can also be viewed as Spirit held up by matter, meaning an understanding of the material world, through which you chose to view all in a spiritual way, or the spirit is the lens through which one views the world.
Mars: The Old symbol for mars was actually the cross on top of the circle. Meaning material/ physical value over spiritual value. This is also where the desire to meet ones personal needs are above the greater whole. Not in a bad way, just in a basic needs type of way, or egotistical type of way…
Jupiter: The crescent opening at the east, coming before the cross. This is the soul’s yearning taking precedents over material matters. With the crescent opening to the east, a receptivity of past experiences and basic needs being brought into the physical world. A need to meet soul desire more necessary then definite physical need.
Saturn: The cross of matter over the crescent, which opens south. This shows a need to meet tangible goals in the realm of soul purpose, or emotional security. Also, Saturn is easily affected by past experiences, which is taken easily into subconscious behaviors or encoded (programmed) model of being.
Uranus: The cross above the circle, and sandwiched between two vertical lines (lines of the mind, which one is east, self and basic need concerned, and one is west, relationships and connecting with others) Some say the line two vertical lines represent the columns of good and evil. This symbols basically shows spirit represented in the material world through a very mental point of view.
Neptune: The cross with an upward (north) opening crescent placed in the top part of the cross (the northern hemisphere of the cross) This represents the souls desires being corned with spirit affairs yet caught on the material plane, and more specifically the realm of the plane concerned with fruition, which is quite the challenge for a soul only concern with ideas in the intangible realm of spirit.
For each symbol there many other meanings you could pull. Use your imagination.
Maybe now we could have a discussion of why I must label or “genderize” or energize spirit and matter the way I do? Also a sterotype or bias?
I don't have sources for the info above, because it is my own ideas and takes on the material I have read until now. I will say if you are interested I can provide recommendations or tell you to start reading old alchemy books.
As Mars squares Venus, it's a good atmosphere to talk about needs being met with a partner. This could be a romantic partner, business partner, co-worker, best bud. Who ever holds a strong presents in your life currently. If you are feeling a pull towards needing to express more individuality, now is the time to discuss that. Keep in mind though, as things may have a tendency to get agro, that what you are really needing from your partner, things that may be very much bothering you, may just be the mirror shining back in your face. Are these desires what you actually need to give yourself in order to feel the individuality you are seeking? While a relationship equilibrium is easily disturbed today, in general this point in the month also gives you the ability to balance the push pull that every grand spiritual relationship requires.
So, state what you want, what you need. Be receptive to your partners desires. Create a safe place, like a circle on your bed, or a table at a cafe to do this, where you may come to terms on having the ability to express yourself while the other listens and does not react from an emotional, ego-centric place.
I don't have much to say, out loud, but I've heard folks like to hear about the person behind the products. So, my first entry in my latest blog, the blog for Sanctum Potions, I will attempt to tell you a little story about myself.
My full name is Ashley Alexandria Sierra, most people call me Ash. I was born in the year of the Tiger, contemplating stars and the deep unknown, even when it appeared terrifying. My hands have been in the dirt since childhood, my most favorite memories involve harvesting blueberries for pie with my grandma in the great Appalachia's and gem mining in the mountain creeks. So of course, that is where I have ended up, nestled in, made my abode.
I'm truly an introvert, reenergizing from long bathes, long books, long stares into the Ivy river. Most of my days are spent with non-human creatures, the animals which I feel most comfortable with. I care for a flock of sheep, ducks, chickens, cows - one diary cow who owns my heart - two precious guardian Pyrenees and of course my feline friends, three of which sleep in my bed.
I believe, as Lauryn Hill sang, everything is everything. We are all one degree away from being each other; one life lesson that our soul has come to learn. So, be kind, be giving, mostly importantly be true to yourself.
My -self, whatever that may be, tells me I am a few breathes away from death, so live this adventure to your fullest. I over empathize and under articulate. I love crafting and creating beauty. I have a hard time with dominant society and set standards. I can't bring myself to wear bright colors but I love people who do; I prefer pastels and muted tones. I've always had a part of me that goes too deep, into very depressed states, since a child, but I've learn to use this as a tool over the years. It's given me the experience to greatly help others who have life debilitating emotional depths, both highs and lows. It takes a strong level of comfort (or alcohol) for me to open up to people, and speak my mind - Scorpio Rising and pluto right at home. I'm open to almost anything but do have personal ideals and rituals. I'm an extremist. I was once dedicated to yoga but not how one would think. I'll talk nutrition, herbals and stars all day. I also like to sit around and shoot the shit over a delicious meal and herbal tonic. Sometimes I'm a bitch. You can find me at home in the forest, but I still embrace smart technology, whether it be human or plant. I feel a close connection to the dark sides of life most people may fear, and I am ready to dive in for you.
Our consciousness is a thin veil which we have been creating since birth, possibly before. There are other realms, right before our eyes. Let's believe in magic, lets explore these hidden treasures.
I have credits to, plenty of certifications things, but what does that really matter...