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Guest Interview: Taxidermy, witchcraft and all things gothic with Hanny from Mage Of Pentacles (she/they/her/them).

I’m super excited to introduce the guest for this special interview. Hanny, owner of Mage of Pentacles, an online store specialising in all things witchy snd wonderful.

Q: Tell the readers a bit about yourself?

A: Hey there! I am Hanny! I’m 29 years old and currently live in Dorset, UK. I’m a queer autistic artist that’s loves animals, 90s nostalgia and body positivity. I own my own business called Mage of Pentacles and you can read my full story on my website ://www.mageofpentacles.co.uk/

Q: Have you always had an interest in witchcraft and taxidermy? How did you initially get into it?

A: My mum has always been a witchy woman. I grew up around crystals, incense, legends of King Arthur and candles.

As far as the taxidermy goes, I was always that child that would be walking around with a dead frog that they found or something like that haha.

Q: Can you briefly explain to the readers what taxidermy is, for those who don’t know

A: Taxidermy is the preservation of a deceased animal, in whole or part, it includes traditional full mounts, bones, tanned skins, wet specimens. Mummified remains and freeze dried animals.

Q: What is it like running your own business/working for yourself?

A: It’s actually the best thing I’ve ever done. I got let go without a redundancy package from my job as an optician due to the pandemic and I couldn’t find another job in the same industry due to mass redundancies in the sector.

Owning my own business has given me the flexibility to choose my own hours and work around my disability.

Q: Does being Autistic impact your work/running a business?

A: It does, being autistic affects everything about me, from how I eat, to how I sleep and beyond.

Some of my autistic traits help, like having a good memory recall. Although some do hinder me, I find social interaction hard. Luckily most of my customers are super understanding and I’m honest and up front with people about being autistic.

Q: What’s your favourite thing about what you do?

A: I love honouring the animals that I come across. I’m vegan so I have a deep love for all animals and although I often shed a tear, it is really rewarding to be able to take one of nature’s gifts and love it as it deserves. Especially when people trust me with their beloved pets.

Q: Where does your inspiration for your work/designs come from?

A: Most of the taxidermy work is inspired by nature and the landscape that I live in as well as my Romany heritage. My digital work is more focused on my life as a queer disabled person, body positivity too as I’m in recovery from an eating disorder and nostalgia from growing up in the late 90s and early Y2K era. As well as some tarot inspired pieces being sprinkled in there too.

Q: I know you like crystals, do you have a favourite? If so, why is that specific Crystal your favourite?

A: Labradorite is my favourite. It look like a plain grey stone until you see the flashes and then it comes alive. My favourite piece I own is a necklace that I found in Glastonbury in a bargain bin! It was just sat right on top and I saw it as soon as I walked in and knew it was meant for me.

Q: Do you have any set rituals you like to follow? For example, meditation or moon bathing

A: I always make moon water. I use it to water my house plants and my herb garden. I charge my crystals in the moon light too.

I read tarot and always have a set ritual I do before a reading to get me in the right head space. I’ll cleanse the space and myself so I make sure I can tap into the person’s energy that I’m reading for and won’t be clouded by anything else.

Apart from that, I work on what I need to work on. Witchcraft is a journey and a path you follow. There is no end, you keep learning and I adapt my practices as I learn and grow and change as a human.

Q: If you could give one piece of advice for beginner witches or anyone interested in taxidermy, what would it be?

A: As far as taxidermy goes, check the sourcing. If it seems to good to be true, then I probably is. I have tutorials and video links on my website under the FAQ tab (FAQs — Mage of Pentacles) if people are visual learners and want to see what I do.

Witchcraft, my main advice is to read. Read, read and read some more. There are so many paths and so many different varieties of witchcraft. I see people getting frustrated early on as they are walking paths that aren’t right for them. Take what resonates with you and leave what doesn’t. I’ve spent years learning and I won’t ever stop so don’t think that you can go from 0-100 in a month. Take your time. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

Hanny is a truly amazing human bean, if you’re interested in what she does be sure to follow her on social media here, and here, and check out her website: https://www.mageofpentacles.co.uk/ for more info!

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