How-To: Hair Dyeing with Henna

Are you ready for a new look this summer? Want to avoid the harsh chemicals and cost associated with salon hair dyeing? It may be time for you to try out henna!

Henna is the common name for the Lawsonia inermis plant. This plant, when dried, ground into a powder and properly prepared, stains organic materials with a reddish color ranging from copper to dark auburn. Henna has been commonly used over the centuries to dye leather, fabric, skin, and of course, hair!

Treating hair with henna provides multiple benefits in addition to color, depending on how you prepare and apply the mixture. Henna treatments condition the hair, lend it shine and strength, help control split ends, and can help to loosen or straighten natural curls and waves.


So why doesn’t everyone do this? Henna has a few traits you may want to be aware of before starting. When prepared for dyeing, it is a natural, chunky, pudding-like mixture that does not apply like store-bought hair dye. As a result, it can be difficult to apply and rinse out without patience. It has a natural, earthy smell that some find difficult to tolerate. It must sit in your hair for at least four hours in order for the dye to fully take permanent hold. The color will not always be a drastic change; Henna is moreso a transparent red over whatever color you already have. For blondes, henna will turn hair a fiery, ginger red. For darker colors, it may only lend a red shine in high-lighting situations. Lastly, while henna is permanent, it oxidizes over time. What starts out as a bright copper may age to a deep auburn over time. Monthly applications will build on the depth of the color in your hair, and keep it’s effects visible.

Think you’re ready to get started? Great! First, and most importantly:

What henna should I buy, and where should I buy it?

There are many products on the market sold as “henna.” You may find products claiming to sell henna in a variety of colors, ranging from colorless to red to brown to black. These products are often sold in beauty supply shops, and are not what we are talking about today. These “henna” products are almost always a mixture of cassia, henna, or indigo, with some not containing henna at all! At worst, some varieties will contain natural materials mixed with chemical hair dyeing powders. So how do you avoid this? Stick to buying bulk henna leaf powder from a herb resource, such as a local or online herb retailer or health food store. The package should be labeled with the botanical name of the plant Lawsonia inermis, and preferably with the year in which it was harvested. If you are able to look at the powder itself, it should be a relatively bright sage green color. It should smell earthy and herbal. The Sojourner carries henna in a variety of packages, all checked for quality and consistency over the years. If you are unable to make it to a local store,,, and Jamila brand henna powder all provide quality henna suitable for hair dyeing.


How much henna do I need?

Speaking from personal experience, having more is better than not having enough! If you are able, go ahead and buy a full pound of henna powder in bulk, no matter what length your hair. Any excess prepared henna can be frozen and used for up to six months, and most people are able to use it up well within that time frame. Otherwise, it may be up to you to find the perfect amount for your hair. I have long, thick hair that is between 20-30 inches in length. I prepare a full pound, and normally use about 75% of the prepared mixture. Based on this, I would personally recommend at least a standard 4oz package of henna powder per every ten inches of hair. If you feel like it will not be enough, buy more!

How do I prepare it?

To prepare your henna, you will need a plastic bowl, whisk, plastic wrap, and plain bottled lemon juice. For a full pound of henna, you will need up to two 32oz bottles of lemon juice. An acidic liquid must be added to henna powder in order to release the dye. You will find individuals and articles that will recommend using coffee, orange juice, water, tea, beet root powder, and any number of other additives or liquids to help your henna release dye. I have personally found that straight lemon juice has the acid content to produce the most reliable and consistent color and dye release of any product out there. In addition, tea, coffee, and other dark liquids will not cause your henna to stain any darker or different that it would have with other liquids. Henna is a product that is easy and safe to experiment with, but keep in mind: The higher the water content of your liquid, the less consistent and reliable is the stain you will create on your hair.


Place your henna powder into your plastic bowl, and slowly begin to incorporate the lemon juice. You will find that it drinks up a lot of liquid! Alternate adding a bit of liquid, and whisking to incorporate. Liquid, whisk, liquid, whisk, until you begin to have a mixture that resembles a thick pudding. Place your whisk in a sink, or on a non-porous surface to reduce the chance of staining any surrounding material or area. Tear off a large sheet of plastic wrap, and lightly press down to cover the surface of the henna in the bowl. This helps to prevent a “skin” of thick, oxidized henna from forming on the surface of the mixture. After this is finished, allow the henna bowl to sit in a relatively warm place to 24-48 hours. This time period will allow the acids to penetrate the henna leaf, and fully release the dye for use!

Now that you have your product purchased and prepared, it’s time to get started!

How-To: Hair Dyeing with Henna by Courtney V.

Supplies you will need:

Prepared henna. Spatula. Two or three pairs of vinyl or latex gloves. Plastic wrap. An old towel. An old shirt. Salve or lotion to prevent staining at your hair-line. Patience.

Optional: Shower caps. Plastic clips and combs for separating. Rain poncho.

  1. Wash your hair with a non-conditioning shampoo. Clear shampoos are a safe bet here; You will want to avoid coating your hair shaft with anything before applying the henna. Gently towel dry your hair, and brush thoroughly. Allow to air dry until only slightly damp. At this point in the process I like to have a friend or family member take “before” pictures of my hair. It will be easier to witness how the henna helps and changes your hair with a comparison photo!13288449_688767467941292_1117295107_o [One year since my last henna treatment. The split ends! The color transition! The dullness! The horror!]

  2. Prepare your area. A bathroom with a large mirror is the best place for henna treatments. Please avoid anywhere with carpet or expensive wood furniture! Henna will stain anything it touches that is even slightly porous! I like to cut a large trash bag along two sides, and lay it on top of my sink/vanity area. Afterward, gather anything that you will need handy, including: Gloves, plastic wrap, hair clips, combs, shower caps, prepared henna, damp rags or towels for skin cleanup, and salve.13340596_10156882629330123_1362949551_o

  3. Suit up. Wear an old t-shirt or other items of clothing that you would not mind being permanently stained. If you are able, a cheap rain poncho works well for keeping the henna off your clothes and skin! At this point, go ahead and apply salve or lotion on your face and neck from the hairline. Up to two inches is what I consider to be the “danger zone” for facial staining, while the back of the neck is almost guaranteed to endure some staining, somewhere. The ears are typically waxy enough to avoid stain.

  4. Apply the henna. Put on a pair of vinyl or latex gloves. This is important, as henna will stain skin and fingernails for up to two weeks! After donning your gloves, your technique will be up to you. If you are able, seperate your hair into sections and apply henna from root to tip. Realistically? My best hairdressing efforts almost always devolve into grabbing henna into my gloved hand directly from the bowl, and massaging/glopping/smashing it in. The goal is to coat every bit of hair, root to tip, with the henna mixture. It will be very messy! You may need to change gloves a few times to maintain dexterity.13287935_688767444607961_227206421_o[Just get it in there, any way you can!]

  5. Wrap your henna. At this point, there may be pounds of extra weight on your fully-hennaed head. I find it easiest, and most comfortable, to pile the hair as neatly as possible on top of my head. Use extra henna to sculpt and smooth it upward if you find it difficult. The Fonz is a good inspiration here. After it is piled atop, take the roll of saran wrap out of the cardboard box. Unroll a long piece, and cradle the back of your head/hair down to the hairline at the neck in the middle of the outstretched plastic, and begin to wrap from there. Try to cover all of the wet henna on your head with at least two layers of saran wrap. One continuous piece wrapped around the head two or three times provides the best strength and hold. Cut the wrap, and tuck in the edges. At this point, if you have a shower cap or two, place them over the saran wrap. This provides extra hold and support against leaks. In addition to that, I normally wrap an old towel around the other wraps. This helps keep in heat, which is good for setting henna color, and provide extra protection against dripping henna. 13313699_688767431274629_374453852_o[Try not to imagine what it actually looks like. …You did, didn’t you?]

  6. Clean up. And wait. At this point, what you have is a big mess, a wet head, and time! You will need to leave the henna on your hair for the next four hours or more in order for the dye to fully take and do its job. If you plan accordingly, you can henna right before bed and sleep with towel-covered pillows. This method also helps with the weight of the henna if you happen to have long hair.13324022_10156882629925123_655122789_o[There is unspeakable horror beneath this towel.]

  7. Wash it out. FINALLY. Step into a shower with water as cool as you can tolerate, and begin to rinse out your henna. If possible, avoid using shampoo. A lot of material will come out of your hair, but none should clog your drain. Rinse as many times as necessary, until you no longer feel grit or material in your hair. The water may or may not run clear, and this is okay. Typically, you will wash brownish, oxidized henna out of your hair three or more times, up to a week later. The smell of henna will linger for a few days; A small price to pay for the gorgeous color that awaits!

  8. Enjoy! Take an after picture, and compare your results. How does the henna affect your unique hair type and color? What differences can you note? Henna is an exercise in personal experimentation and governance over hair care. I like to use argan oil on my hair after a henna treatment to enhance the natural post-treatment softness. Whatever you do, enjoy the beauty and health of your naturally treated hair!13287920_689151494569556_1825327336_o[Before//After]

Cheers, and happy hennaing!

❤ Courtney ❤


How To: Tarot Card Divination Part 1

Hey Lovelies! Liz/Ivy here and for the next upcoming weeks I’m going to talk about one of my skill sets: divination through the Tarot.  All of my amassed experience and knowledge in one post would be enormous, so I am going to break it off into more easily digestible chunks starting with this one. Expect new parts on Sundays.



What exactly is Tarot: A brief historical overview

And when I say brief, I do mean brief.

So the actual-facts first beginning of the use of Tarot as a divination source is murky and nebulous, like many things we modern-day pagans accept and use often. One of my very favorite and well-worn Tarot books: Rachel Pollacks’ Tarot Wisdom gives a much more detailed and meticulously researched history. I highly recommend picking up a copy of this book for readers of any skill level. Continuing education can only further hone and enhance the knowledge base we have.

Disclaimer: History usually isn’t my favorite subject, and it is difficult for me to stay focused when I do come across it. Consequentially I usually work harder at remembering it, and usually its the first bit of knowledge to slip through the cracks in my memory, but I will do my best to give you an accurate retelling. If I mess anything up, I apologize and Id love for you guys to correct me gently in the comments below.

Tarot started out as a card game and eventually was used by occultists as a means of divination, with individual card meanings and names fluidly changing with every iteration. Each deck maker placed their own personality, belief system and meanings in their cards creating a rich tapestry of contradicting experiences and individual flavor. This just further proves my theory that there is no wrong way to read or interpret, since the people who made the different iterations couldn’t even agree.  But more on that later. The tarot went through many of histories greats, like Lévi, before eventually landing at the feet of the well known A.E White, a member of The Golden Dawn (which for those of you unaware is a  Big Deal occult order). He paid artist Pamela Colman Smith to render the images of his deck. She was also a member of The Golden Dawn, and had a history of painting while in trance. The deck has many influences from the Marseilles deck,  and pulls from other contemporaries of his time. I wont go into Crowley’s Thoth Deck, as its like a foreign language to me, but for anyone seeking that information our owner, Heron Michelle has used that deck for some time and would be able to help.

Whats with all of these different types of decks?

The Rider-Waite deck may be iconic but I absolutely hate the imagery. No offense, Pamela, but the stiff figures and bold colors do nothing for me. Many artists have since put their stamp on the imagery of this deck. Now-a-days you can find pretty much any kind of themed deck ranging from fairies to gothic decks, to renaissance art decks to every imaginable deck in between. There have been a few solely around cats that I have seen.
My personal preferred deck is the Shadowscapes deck by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law. Her whimsical, impeccably detail approach really speaks to my aesthetic. I usually find that this deck is a bit softer in its messages as well, so it easily lends itself to readings for clients.


The Death Card from the Shadowscapes

So How Do You Use This Mode of Divination?

What an excellent question, dear reader!
That’s what this series is gonna be about, hopefully. Ill walk you through my process, give tips about building your own relationship with the cards, and write a couple of anecdotes that I have gathered in several years of reading. I hope you will join me on this journey and retelling. Until Next time, Blessed Be!



The Sojo News: Herb Sale, Drum Circle, Angels!

Hello Sojourners!
Today starts our summer sale of 20% off of our bulk ingredients in the apothecary jars! Herbs, spices, teas, resins, woods, salts, clays, etc. If it is in a jar, it is on sale! If you bring with you a container for us to fill, we’ll take off an additional 10%. Sale runs through Friday night, June 3.


New Website, New Shopping Possibilities

This week we updated our website and began the process of developing an on-line shopping experience for our Sojourners out of town. Very soon, we’ll be offering a special selection of our merchandise on-line with shipping to your doorstep! Stay tuned!

Monday, May 29th, we will be closed for the Memorial Day Holiday.

First Friday Artwalk is June 3rd, and we invite you to come drum with us and hang out from 6:00-9:00. Bring your drums, the kids, your friends, snacks (if you’d like) and join us for a party! Liz will be available for Tarot Card Readings! $30/10 card reading.

Angels 101: Ten Phyla of Angels and Correspondences
with Angelica
June 4, 2016 2:00-5:00 pm
Join Angelica for an introductory class on angels!

“Angels have been written about, have appeared in different art forms and been much talked about over millennia. This course attempts to prove that angels do not belong to any one religious group, how many types of angels there are, often called phyla, their correspondences, and how they communicate with us. Sharing of angelic experiences is welcome.  The class culminates in a guided meditation meeting your guardian angel(s).” $25. Please call in advance to let us know you will be coming! 252-758-7656

**If you would like to receive our newsletters by email, scroll down to the very bottom of the main page of, find the widget to “Follow this blog via email” and fill in your email address. **

The Sojo News: Memorial Day Weekend

Hello Sojourners!
Memorial Day weekend is upon us! Its like walking through the front door of the summer season, and I am almost more excited than my kids that school is almost over for the year! We are open all weekend as normal, but will be closed on Monday for the holiday.

Our Summer Sale of 20% OFF of our large stone and crystal selection is ongoing through Friday night when we close at 9:00 pm.

Saturday May 28 through Friday June 3
20% off bulk herbs, spices, teas, resins, wood powders, clays, and salts!

Next week, if it is in an apothecary jar, it is 20% OFF and if you bring your own container we’ll take an additional 10% off.

Uptown Umbrella Market on Wednesday nights this Summer

The Uptown Umbrella Market is now in full effect on Wednesday nights this summer season in the 5 points parking lot at the corner of Evans and 5th street. They get started around 5:00 and usually run until 8:00. We will try to stay open a little later when we can, but I do hope you will choose to stop in and say hello and do your SOJO shopping before our regular closing time at 6:00 pm.


New in the shop!

  • Used books at 50% off the cover price.
  • New summery soy votive candles: 10 new scents and intentions, including: Intuition, well-being, forgiveness, illumination, happiness, renewal, freedom, vitality, energy and wisdom.
  • Restock of 7-day candles in sanctuary jars and 50-hour jars both for specific intentions like attraction, protection, money, win in court, fast-luck and reversing,

    and in solid colors, ready for your spell workings.

  • New Beeswax candles:  100% pure beeswax

    Citrolnella Candle

    citronella candles in glass jars, made with essential oils; No synthetic fragrances or harsh chemicals!

  • Restocked plain beeswax glass sanctuary jar candles, small beeswax tapers, black and white beeswax 12″ taper pairs, beeswax tealights, and beeswax votives! 

Thank you for shopping at the Sojo. We’ll see you soon!
~Heron Michelle

Summer Book Drive! We are gratefully accepting as donations any of your gently used books that you don’t need anymore. These can be fiction, non-fiction, cookbooks, children’s books, or any other book that holds resale value and would be interesting to Sojourner’s customers. Just drop them off anytime during business hours! Thanks in advance.

Product Spotlight: Orange Calcite

During our week of 20% off stone and crystals sale, I thought I would take the opportunity to tell you all about my most cherished and favorite stone. Here at the shop we have a huge selection of all matter of beneficial mineral allies, but one in particular catches my heart. I just cant get enough of Orange Calcite and I wanted to almost proselytize the good news that is this stone.  Calcite’s of all types have the ability to unlock potentials, and are about new beginnings, new opportunities. Orange calcite is what orange marmalade and sunlight would be coalesced into a smooth, warm package. The helpful info paper we have for this entirely magickal stone says this about it:

Orange Calcite is the happiness stone. It helps heal sorrow and grief, and brings joy and peace to its bearer. It is one of the most powerful and protective stones. It is helpful in all new beginnings, including the birth process, new projects, and life changes. It is very beneficial to one’s physical energy, facilitating a state of increased vitality and strong sense of purpose.

I have over and over found this to be true. Perhaps there are stones better suited for life’s many and varied transitions, but so often this little stone nestles its way into my life when I need it most. In fact, in a time of great upheaval and difficult change I chanced upon a fairly enormous chunk of it at the local pagan pride festival. It was love and rock lust at first sight, and I often went back to the tent to hold it until I finally just bought the dang thing. The owners of the tent were most understandably pleased that I would no longer be skulking about their booth.
The gentle, kind, and often seemingly understanding energies really aided me in that moment of emotional crises and has a cherished position in my homes living room as we speak. Or, er write.
Perhaps there’s a mineral ally waiting for you. to help you in your times of fortune, both good and bad. I suggest diving head first and feeling out each stone and you should find something that matches. When I find a good stone partner I usually feel a gentle tingling up my arm and a warmth from the stone itself, kind of like an energetic hug. In any case, we have lots of lonely stones just sitting here waiting for a friend. Who knows what will call out to you?13214718_10154839019713154_246388018_o

The Sojo News: New Ways to Stay Connected

monogramHello Sojourners!
Welcome to our new newsletter home on WordPress! I am phasing out usage of the old website and calendar. From now on, you can subscribe to this blog (see the subscription button at the bottom of this post) and when we post new updates, you can still receive notices in your email.

I’ve also created a new Facebook “Group” called The Sojourner Clubhouse that is public and open to all our customers as a guaranteed way to see what we are promoting online. Hopefully, we can stay connected and share our links to articles and newsletters, photos of new products, announcements, promotions and discuss topics of interest to you.  We welcome you to also share your own events and link to anything that would benefit our progressive, holistic, spiritual community. If you become a member, you can choose to be notified about all of the posts, rather than the rare few that FB will serve you without us paying their extortion money…ahem, I mean…their “promotion” fees. 😉

This week I am busy adding new classes and events to our schedule throughout the summer and into next fall. You’ll find descriptions below of many new offerings, and you can find even more details on individual events on our Facebook page. Stay tuned for more to come!

Bright blessings,

~Heron Michelle

The Sojourner Whole Earth Provisions
414 Evans Street, Greenville, NC 27858
252-758-SOJO (7656)
“Equipping the path less traveled.”

Weekly Summer Sales: 20% Off Select Items

Starting TODAY, Saturday, running through Friday night, we have a special promotion each week.

RIGHT NOW! May 21, Stones and crystals
May 28, Bulk Herbs and botanicals
June 4, Incense sticks, cones, and loose
June 11, Tapestries, bags and clothing
June 18, Books and calendars
June 25, Jewelry
July 2, Tarot and oracle decks
July 9, Statuary and home decor
July 16, Bath and body product supplies
July 23, Candles
July 30, Smudging supplies, bundles, shells, feathers.
August 6, Essential oils and Pure oils
August 13, Crystals and Stones
August 20, Bulk herbs and botanicals
August 27, Incense sticks, cones, and loose


Heron Rising Spiritual Services with Heron Michelle
every 4th Friday, second and fourth Saturdays
Tarot Card Readings, $30/30 minutes. Past-Life Retrievals $90/90 minutes.  Reiki and Crystal Healing, $60/60 minutes

Reiki Energy Healing and Tarot Card Readings with Liz Merritt
every 2nd and 3rd Friday night 5:00-9:00
$30 per half hour

First Friday Artwalk, Drum Circle
June 3, 2016 5:00-9:00 pm

Angels 101: Ten Phyla of Angels and Correspondences with Angelica
June 4, 2016 2:00-5:00 pm
$25. Register in advance
Join Angelica for an introductory class on angels!
“Angels have been written about, have appeared in different art forms and been much talked about over millennia. This course attempts to prove that angels do not belong to any one religious group, how many types of angels there are, often called phyla, their correspondences, and how they communicate with us. Sharing of angelic experiences is welcome.
The class culminates in a guided meditation meeting your guardian angel(s).”

Incense Making Workshop: Rolled Sticks and Cones with Courtney Varnadoe
Saturday June 18, 2016, 12:00-2:00 pm
$25 per person, register in advance.
Learn how to create your own rolled stick and cone incense from natural plant materials. Come prepared to use your hands and leave with your own handmade incense, including the instructions for continuing to make your own at home. All materials are included in the class fee.

Guided Meditation with Heron
Elemental Balancing
Friday June 24, 6:00-7:00, $10

Candle Magick 101 with Heron Michelle
Saturday June 25, 12:00-2:00 pm
$20, registered in advance
Learn the basics of candle burning spells to create beneficial changes in your life. Materials provided, and you can choose to create a spell for either love, abundance or health. This workshop is presented by Heron Michelle from a Modern witchcraft perspective using color, herb, oil, symbols, and timing with the moon and days of the week. $20

First Friday Artwalk, Drum Circle
July 1, 2016 5:00-9:00 pm

Crystal Magick 101 with Heron Michelle
Saturday July 9, 12:00-2:00

$20, registered in advance
Learn the basics of incorporating stones and crystals into energy work and spells to create beneficial change in your life. This is a hands-on introduction to a variety of stones, their metaphysical properties, how to utilize their powers through the seven levels of consciousness and health via the Chakra energy system of the human body/spirit connection.

Incense Making Workshop: Kyphi Incense
With Courtney Varnadoe
July 16, 12:00-2:00 pm
$25 per person, register in advance.
Learn a bit of history and how to create a modern approximation of Egyptian kyphi incense. Come prepared to use your hands and get messy, and leave with a good amount of your own recipe for kyphi incense pellets. All materials included in class fee.

Guided Meditation with Heron
Chakra Clearing and Charging
Friday July 22, 6:00-7:00, $10

First Friday Artwalk, Drum Circle
August 5, 2016 5:00-9:00 pm

Witchcraft 101: The Wiccan Rede, Ethics of Personal Sovereignty with Heron Michelle
August 6, 2016, 12:00-2:00 pm

$20 per person, register in advance.
An Introduction to the concepts of Modern Witchcraft, with a look at the long form of the Wiccan Rede, and Heron’s four rules for ethical and responsible living in balance with nature.

Angels 102 Workshop with Angelica
August 13, 3:00-5:00pm
$25 per person, register in advance.
Explore your relationship with the angels through this workshop on their history and hierarchy. Then connect with your personal guardian angel through guided meditation.
Angelica is a professional educator, witch, priestess, Reiki master/teacher and certified angel oracle card reader.

Witchcraft 102: Charge of the Goddess, Celebrating the Moon with Heron Michelle 
August 20, 2016, 12:00-2:00

$20 per person, register in advance.
An Introduction to the traditional Wiccan liturgy by Doreen Valiente, known as the Charge of the Goddess, it’s history, thealogy and how Witches work with the cycles of the moon to empower their magick.

Guided Meditation with Heron
Spirit Animal Journey
Friday August 26, 6:00-7:00, $10

Witchcraft 103: The Witches Creed, Celebrating the Sun through the Wheel of the Year with Heron Michelle
August 27, 2016, 12:00-2:00
$20 per person, register in advance.
An introduction to the traditional Wiccan liturgy by Doreen Valiente known as The Witch’s Creed, the modern Wheel of the Year calendar of sabbats that celebrate the solar cycles, its mythology of the cycles of nature, the eternal Goddess as maiden, mother and crone, and her lover the Horned God as Oak King and Holly King.

Witchcraft 104: The Witch’s Rune, Elemental Magick and the Witches Tools
September 3, 2016 12:00-2:00
$20 per person, register in advance.
An introduction to the traditional Wiccan liturgy by Doreen Valiente known as the Witch’s Rune, and working with the elemental powers of air, fire, water and earth through the tools of wand, athame, chalice and patten for personal balance and empowerment within nature.

Reiki Level 2 with Angelica
Saturday, September 10, 2016 11:30-6:00.
$100 Please Register in advance as space is limited.
What is Reiki? It is a Japanese term, “Rei” meaning spirit and “Ki” meaning energy, which translates into “Spirit Energy,” or the Universal life force. This level two Reiki class furthers the skills of the Reiki practitioner with additional symbols, distance healing techniques and attention to emotional healing. We will break half-way through the class, so please bring a snack and a drink.

Guided Meditation with Heron
Universal Connection
Friday September 23, 6:00-7:00, $10