“There is a spiritual awakening coming out of the fog of the patriarchy, and people are finding things out there for themselves,” Missy Rhysing, owner of Ritualcravt told me in our interview. Her store is a place for darklings to come out and find supplies and lessons in an environment that is more than just your typical new-agey store. As said on their website, the store provides, “Metaphysical and witchy wares for the conscientious practitioner. Ritualcravt strives to bring essential items to you and your sacred spaces, with care and gratitude. Our provisions are sourced ethically and made by hands in ceremony.”
When first walking into Ritualcravt’s store in Denver, I was immediately struck by how it smelled. Unlike many of the witchy stores in my experience, it didn’t assault me with heavy patchouli-laden incense that was trying too hard to seem ‘occulty.’ Instead it smelled lightly of the herbs hanging on the wall by the cashier’s desk. I immediately felt welcomed and in a space where I could safely explore rather than feeling like I didn’t belong.
This reflects the nuances of Ritualcravt’s ethos. When I spoke with the owner, Missy Rhysing, she put words to the exact thing I had been seeing. One of the reasons she opened the store was because she had been trying to find goods for her own personal practice in the craft, goods that felt right to her with the correct intention and vibration.
Denver, like many American cities, has many metaphysical shops, both new age and botanicas, but not very many options in between. Many people, like Missy and myself, often have to rely on internet sources to get materials for our workings. But these sources can be iffy at best, and not ethically sourced at worst.
As someone whose practices include animal magic, animal pieces are very important to her. Finding ethically sourced animal products is a challenge in any situation, but is vitally important in witchcraft. Animal bones, feathers, and furs hold the essence of the animal and how the animal is treated both in life and in death. In our interview, Missy related how she has gone into occult stores before and seen piles of antlers and alligator heads that are factory farmed rather than naturally sourced. This is horrific on so many levels, not only because of how farmed animals are treated, but also because of how that must affect the magic performed with these items.
It is important to honor the medicine of the animal. Not only is it the humane thing to do, but it’s also the right thing to do magically. By doing so, it ensures that the workings we practice are ones that will allow us to honor and respect not only ourselves but also our world and our place in it.
Everything in Ritualcravt is a labor of love. Nothing in the store, with the exception of some of the books, is mass produced. All of the products in the store are made by small creators and craftspeople.
In addition to paying attention to where her products come from, Missy has striven to create a space that is inclusive and healthy for everyone. She wants to make sure that there is a place for people who aren’t into new age magic but who still practice witchcraft. There are few places in Denver that accomplish this, but I feel that Missy has succeeded in making Ritualcravt a haven for darkling witches who otherwise might be offput by yet another new age store. Or, as she says, she wants her store to be a liminal place for people who don’t necessarily fit in, but who want a safe space for them to be to be whoever they are, with no expectations or requirements for participation. One of her focuses is to have a place where marginalized populations and communities can participate in magic as well and in their own way without judgement or mandates.
The classes offered at Ritualcravt incorporate the overall ethos of the store as well. Each teacher is selected for their experience with a long-standing oral tradition or lineage behind their teaching. Classes are kept small so that there is no wasted time or energy and so the participants can get to the meat of the craft without the fluff that can be a distraction from a learning environment.
The witchcraft community is hungry for authentic experiences and Ritualcravt does its part to contribute to the ability of darkling witches to find the materials and knowledge they need.
All images property of Vivian Caethe.