Category Archives: Crafting

Rattle

I have no idea what to write about for K. I have done very little knot magic, not nearly enough to write a decent sized blog post about. I have never worked with or felt any connection to Kali, and I am not sure where I stand on the whole Karma debate. Those are the K words that popped into my head. I havent the slightest idea what to write about. So in the place of a Pagan Blogging Project post, I decided to write about my latest crafting project, which I am very excited about. This is something that I first dreamed about when I started on my more shamanic path.  I wanted to make my first shaman’s rattle. I have always wanted a drum, but I just cant afford the parts to make one right now, and listening to rattle recordings are just as effective to me as drumming. The rattle is much cheaper as I only had to pay for the rawhide amd it really only requires common sense to make.

So I decided to set out upon this journey. I originally thought that it would be cheaper to get my hands on a gourd to make a gourd rattle, even though I never really pictured a gourd one in my head. I asked around on twitter and facebook. Then someone in a facebook group recommended getting rawhide from the pet store. They sell cheap dog bones that are decent quality beef rawhide.  So I bought a couple rawhide rolls. I have a number of lengths of wood stashed in my dad’s garage for use as walking sticks and such. I re-found a beautiful piece of sycamore that I have had for a long time. I found it years ago on my family’s property and kept it. I originally intended to use it as a besom, but as soon as I had it in my hand the other day, I knew what it should be used for.  I cut off the piece I wanted and I still have a good 2 feet for another project.  It was rather dirty and dried out, so I oiled it up and now it shines beautifully.

The piece of sycamore that I used. I love the pattern that was made on here. I found the branch this way, I did not alter the wood at all except to cut it to size and oil it.

Once I had my wood selected it was time to make the head. I soaked the rawhide in water with one my my cayenne peppers from last summer. I did this to add some fire and life to the rattle.  After a couple hours, the rawhide had loosened up enough to work with. So I unrolled it and cut out the pieces that I needed.  Once the sun went down, I sat down to sew it all together.  A couple hours and multiple finger injuries later, I had it all sewed together.  I had to use a heavy duty canvas needle and some pliers to get through the rawhide.  I got all the pieces together and turned it right side out. Once I was satisfied that it wasn’t going to fall apart, I stuffed it with clean rags and tied the handle in so it could set overnight.  The rawhide took about 12 hours to fully dry.

The next night, I set up a crafting altar in my basement.

I had selected the filling for the rattle during the day while the head dried. I decided upon mostly corn, but I added a single turquoise bead and a piece of quartz that I found in Arkansas when I first dreamed about the rattle.

I put enough in until I decided that I liked the sound. I also added a handful of corn to a small jar as an offering that I would take outside once I was done with the assembly. I also added a shot of the scotch that I was sipping to that jar. I put the filling into the head and began the process of binding it all together.  I hummed a bit and I tied it all together.   This was possibly the most magical part for me. I fell into a bit of a trance state as I wrapped the cord around the head. I bound it in several layers to assure that it would not come apart any time soon.

The rawhide head with the binding.

a close up of the handle. I still love this pattern.

I added a turkey feather that I had found on my family’s property.  I had it lying around my room for a while and it was eager to be put to use on the rattle.  I also added a string of 3 turquoise beads.

So here she is, the final product.

Me holding my rattle to give you an idea of its size.

She turned out beautiful. I love her.  She let me know as soon as she was sewed together that she had fire in her.  I tend to personify some of the tools, especially ones like this.  She is a great piece of work and I am very proud of her.  I may want to paint the head, but I am going to journey with her a couple times before making that decision. If I do paint her, I will do another post with pictures of that.

I hope you all enjoy my work. It was a lot of fun making her. I would love to make more like this just for the joy of crafting.

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Inspiration

One time, when I posted one of my PBPs on the facebook group, I was asked where I get my inspiration from. I decided that this would make an excellent blog post and since I am in need of an I post, here it is. Inspiration.

I am an artist. I use a lot of my artwork as a form of meditation and release. The artwork page of this blog is not extensive. You can hit the deviantArt link on the side to see all the artwork that I have posted on the interwebs. There is more but I have to photograph it. I will be doing that over the next couple weeks. Art has become a very important part of my spirituality. We all like to express ourselves in some way and my art is the most important outlet.  In the past year, my art has gone to the side to make room for school, and I am positive that it will do so even more when I get to Vet School, but I do what I can when I can.

So, now to the question. Where do I get my inspiration? What is the spark that lets me create the things that I create?  The short answer is that there is no simple answer.  My inspiration comes from various sources. Dreams, journeys, sometimes i just wake up with an image in my head, and then there are some that are my own take on other artworks that I have seen. Some inspirations comes from nature and some from ancient works.  It really is just a giant, messy hodge-podge of sources.  I don’t even remember the inspiration for some of my works.

I do see certain themes to my work though. It really depends what I was in to at the time. There are a lot of pentacles in my work, those started in a more wiccan phase of my path and I found that it was a design that I liked, so they continued on. I have not done another pentacle in a very long time.  I also had a tribal section, and I do not remember what triggered that. I did the boar when I was working with Boar to heal myself and that was inspired by pictish designs.  The small amount of work that I have done recently has been more spiritual to me. There is Cernunnos, who was really the biggest step down my current path and a lot of the artwork recently has been along those lines. Skulls, labyrinths, Awen designs, leaves, herbs.  My artwork has become more earthy as my path became more earthy. My inspiration now comes more from my dreams and journeys than it ever has before.  I find myself now with more designs and images in my head when I wake up. I will hopefully have time to get these down on paper now that I am not in school and have a regularly scheduled job.

I also find that I have more ideas for more physical works now. A lot of my work has been sharpie and pencil and paper. I have a desire to do more woodworking and more stone work. I love the choker that I recently made, and Cernunnos is probably one of my favorite works that I have ever done.  I have also had dreams of decorated skulls. I would love to do some art work with bone, but that is significantly harder to do. We will see what comes out of this summer. It is my last big chance to do fun things before I go off to school, so it should be pretty good.


Healing: My journey

So this is pretty late, I know. And it is only one H post. But since this is pretty important to me we are going to call this my H section.  I also still have no idea what to write about for I. I am open to ideas. Also, I know that I said there probably would not be blogging until after I got back from school and camping. Well I am slacking and instead of packing my shit, I decided to blog on this beautiful Beltane.

With my journey down a more shamanic path, I recently decided that I wanted to attempt a healing.  My journeying has been getting better and I wanted to attempt the next step. Healing seemed like that logical next step.  I have always been pretty good at other methods of healing and one day I want to be  a professional healer. I am, after all, going to vet school. So this is why I decided to try this new-to-me technique.

So I grounded myself for a long time, knowing that this was going to be the longest journey that I had yet taken part in.  I set myself up like I normally would for a working of this nature. I dressed in loose clothes and donned my bone choker. After a deep meditation, I started the drumming track and the journey. It started much like any other journey but when it came to applying my actual intent, I received an answer that i have never received outright before.  A resounding “No.” I thanked them and then ended the journey in confusion.  I wasnt angry, just confused. So I pulled out my animal oracle and asked why I had been refused when I tried to heal someone.  The answer was two-fold.  First, the person that I was trying to heal was not ready to be helped. He is not open to help and he needs to work on the problem himself.  Secondly, I was told that I need to do some self work before I am ready to do a healing of this magnitude. I have to heal some of my own wounds and deal with some of my own issues before I am able to heal someone like this.

This was pretty profound for me. I decided that this will be a personal goal for me. I want to be able to perform a healing. That being said, I have to heal myself first. So I am setting upon a series of journeys to do just this.

I also am doing a little bit of crafting to help the process. I made a choker to wear for healing work. It is made of hemp and has seven wood beads. Each bead has a sigil drawn onto it. This was my first time that I have used sigils and I find them quite effective.  It took a bit to get them right and to set aside my neuroses in order for me to just let them flow. Drawing them on the beads led to a bit of cussing and frustration in the beginning until I got into the swing of it. Once I was relaxed and refocused on my purpose they flowed pretty easily and feel very nice. So I completed those a couple of days ago and set them on my altar along with the piece of turquoise and the hemp to make the choker.

So last night, I crafted the necklace. The weather was not cooperating for my Walpurgisnacht plans. We had some sever thunderstorms, but I found a clear spot to go and at least meditate outside and make my offerings. The rest of the night was inside at my desk. I stated my purpose and began making the choker. I used a medium weight hemp and some macrame to craft it. With every know I tied my intention. This was my first time using knot magic, but I found that I liked it.  I strung the beads and worked them into my intent with some words. I bound the whole necklace with one final knot and a binding bead.

Once I was finished, I took the necklace on a journey with me. The results were astounding. I am very happy that I did this and I cannot wait to see where I go from here.

I am glad that I got a chance to blog again before I went camping.  I have a super busy next couple of days. Now that this is done, I am off to start packing everything. I will be altarless for two weeks. Wierd. I will get more posts out to you when I get back. I have a couple ideas for some things.


Everyday

So, I know that I said I was not sure if I would have time to get a blog post out this week.  I have 3 big tests tomorrow, and then as soon as I am done with them, my roommates and I are packing up the vehicles and road-tripping down to my property. We are camping for the first weekend of our spring break.  Since I have been studying nearly nonstop for over a week, I am feeling quite prepared for my tests and more than a little burnt out.  I also had a break this morning/afternoon and I am pretty much all packed up.  So since I have some time before I have to go see my furry friends at the Humane Society, I decided to turn out a quick post so that I can go camping without any guilt of forsaking my loyal readers (all one or two of you!).

This week, I am going to talk about witchery every day.  In this modern world, it is easy to get caught up in life and leave spirituality behind.  I know very well. With my class schedule being a minimum of 18 credit hours, plus my Pre-Vet Club responsibilities and studying and theatre, it was very easy to get lost in it.  I just recently found a workable balance (it also had something to do with moving off campus and not having a true roommate.) So for this post, I decided to ramble a bit about how I keep witchcraft in my day-to-day life. Hopefully, I can give some other people inspiration and get some good advice from those much wiser than me.

Altars. I love having an altar that I can work with.  On top of my old dresser in the corner is where I keep it. When I moved in here, I decided that this would be a place for magic and magic only.  Altars are ever changing and evolving, and I love it. It is a great representation of myself, and I keep it updated for seasons, holidays and all of that.  I think that altars should be ever changing, and that they are extremely personal.  I always have a place on the altar for Cernunnos and I keep an offering bowl as well as candles, a few crystals and all that. I always dedicate the space to the ancestors and spirits who have helped me get to where I am. Altars are one of my favorite craftings, and, one day, when I have my own house, I really want to have an altar for every room.

Prayer.  This is something that I just recently started doing. I have two prayers that I say on a daily basis, usually at night, right before going to bed.  I say them out loud before my altar after lighting a candle and burning a little bit of my rosemary smudge.  I am still deciding whether or not I like them as they are. They are common prayers that I modified to fit my purposes and myself. One for the spirits, ancestors and Mother Earth and the second is for myself.  I find that these are an excellent way to put everything for a few minutes every day and just focus on my spirituality.  I find that words tend to lose meaning when just spoken without any emotion or intent behind them.  So this is a way to work with intent as well.  I eventually want to write my own prayers, but I am nowhere near as creative with words as I am with a pencil.

Meditation.  I have always been a lover of meditation, especially since I am a worrier and an over-thinker. Meditation has been a way for me to put the world aside and just try to relax, and it is often very difficult for me. There are some days when I couldn’t meditate if my life depended on it.  I still try, however, and I feel that meditation on a daily basis has made me a better witch and a better person.  Since the weather has been nice lately, and the ground has been decently dry, I have started meditating under the big blue spruce in the backyard.  I sit with my bare feet in the dirt and my back against the trunk of the old spruce.  I have yet to have trouble meditating under his branches, and I am hoping that with the discipline of meditating daily and doing it outside whenever possible (when not muddy or under a foot of snow) that I will leave my trouble behind.

New things. I have also started trying new things in order to keep myself from slipping into a state of impractice. Journeying is the latest task that I have started working towards.  I have been mostly unsuccessful as of yet, but I will keep trying.

 

So that is how I keep witchcraft in my life on a daily basis.  How about you?


Crafting

This blog was originally founded to chronicle my pagan crafting.   In an idea world, I would love to be totally self sufficient.  Where I make or grow all my own materials and use it.  I know that this is not a realistic dream, because I will never have that much time on my hands as a veterinarian (not that I would want it any other way. A veterinarian is my true dream, and any time spent at that job would make my very happy.)  If you have read any of my blog, you know that crafting is important to me and my spirituality, and I that something is so much more meaningful when it is handmade.  Especially if you made it yourself and have your own heart and soul woven into the item.  Some people are happy buying everything from stores or the internet, and if that works for you, then great, but I am not okay with that.   I am okay purchasing some things and supporting witchy vendors, but I would like most of my stuff to be mine own.  For this post, I decided to chat about the craft projects and dreams that I have.

My Craft List

Items soon to come

  • Gifts

I have some great friends out there. I love them so much, and I owe them a hell of a lot more.  I have learned a lot from them and I am not sure I would be where I am without them in my life.  So I have some present ideas, and I am in the process of planning/making those.  That will probably be the next craft to come out of the works here.  But of course, being that they are gifts, their identities will remain secretive until they arrive with their recipients, then it is up to them as to whether or not to share them with the world.

  • A field bag

I originally got the idea and inspiration for this from Liz.  I want to make myself a bag for witchery. Find some canvas fabric that I like, cut it out, embroider it (this part I have no hope of doing on my own), sew it together, line it.  I would make it to fit me perfectly and with the specifications that I want.  It will have lots of pockets to hold all my witchy bits so I have a convenient carrying apparatus when I need to go out in the woods to do some work. Ever since Liz put the idea in my head, I have dreamed about this bag.  Hopefully I will get this one in this summer before I go away to more school.

  • Incenses

I have various ideas for recipes floating around my head. I have plants visiting me in my dreams.  I think it is time I start working with them on a deeper level. I want to make my own loose incenses for various purposes. I want it for offerings, for ritual work, for journeying.  I have so many ideas that sometimes I have the bad desire to skip classes one day and just grind up plant matter and mix incense.  Hopefully, this summer I can do some crafting and work on perfecting the theoretical recipes that I have been jotting down all over the place ( I really should centralize those so I do not lose anything).  I have some components here that I am going to start working with when I have a free weekend night here or there.

  • Woodworking

I dabbled in woodcarving and burning. I am not the best at it, but I would really like to change this.  I have a beautiful set of carving knives that my grandmother bought me and I have lots of wood pieces to work with.  The only constraint is time.  I tend to fall into a zone when woodworking, where all that is there is me, my knife, and the shape that I am discovering in the wood.  I would like to carve beads as well as spirit animal vessels.  I would also like to experiment with different woods since I have mostly worked with pine, basswood and mahogany.

  • Besom

I have wanted to craft a besom for some time.  I even have a great handle to use for it. I am not going traditional, but I am using an old, knobbly walking stick that I found on my family’s property and have had for years. It is a beautiful piece of sycamore.  I just need to decide what I want to make the bristles from and how I want to bind it and bless it and all of that fun stuff.  This may be a back burner project, but I am hoping not.

More Long-term ideas

  • Prayer Beads

As I have grown and developed in my spirituality, I have found I perform more devotionals and offerings to my spirits.  I think that a set of prayer beads that I have crafted and strung would be awesome.  Now, when it comes to projects like this, I usually wait until I get some inspiration.  You know, in a dream or during meditation.  This project will not be an exception since it is something that would be so personal.  I haven’t received any inspiration about it other than the general idea of making some prayer beads, so this will probably not be a project done very soon.  It also does not help, that I want to craft all or most of the beads myself from wood or bone or antler, and I would want to spin the string myself, or have a dear friend spin it.  It is mostly my own neuroticness that is holding me back here.

  • Oils

I really want to mix my own magickal oils and such. Unfortunately, this is an expensive venture since essential oils are so pricey. So, due to el fundsarelow, this is a project on the back burner. Like the incenses, I have several recipe ideas that are jotted down to try once I have an actual job and actual paycheck.

  • Salves

I really want to craft my own salves.  Mostly for healing, but there are also a couple magickal unguents planned. I really want to make some general healing salves, but I would like to focus on some veterinary healing. After all, that is what I am doing with the rest of my life. I would like to work with beeswax to start off with, so I am holding off until I am settled enough to find a local apiary to get wax from.  Once, I am comfortable with beeswax, then I would like to move on to using rendered tallow from animals.  So due to costs and neuroticness, this is a back-burner project.

  • A drum

The very idea of crafting my own drum sends chills down my spine.  I have recently been reading about drum making over on Shamanic Druidry, and I have decided that if I could go and make a drum in that fashion like they describe, I would be such a happy little witch.  This is definitely a project for later because, right now, there is no time or monetary backing to partake in a journey like this.  Plus, at this point in time, I am not sure that I would be able to donate the time and energy that I feel is necessary to birth a drum.

Those are my major crafting conquests that I am planning.  I also would like to put work into the artwork page on this blog. I have a lot of artwork that I have not shared on my blog, and I think that it is important for me to do so. Most of it is up on deviantArt, but I think it would be nice to have it here too.  So there is my crafting list


Book of Shadows

 

I know you all recognize this. When we think of books of shadows, I am sure this is an image that would jump to many of our minds.  We all have an image of a huge, dusty old tome bound in some kind of leather with yellowed parchment paper full of beautiful calligraphy and illustrations. Stuffed full of every secret of our craft.  The idea gives you chills of excitement doesn’t it? Well this third post of the Pagan Blogging Project is about the Book of Shadows/Grimoire that we all dream about.

I have yet to meet a pagan who does not dream of a book like the one I described above.  I am no exception.  We have all planned and schemed and had many a fantasy about our own Book of Shadows.  We have all also tried the stand-ins for it. 3-ring binders, notebooks, legal pads, and even a trusty ol’ flash drive o’ shadows.  They work functionally, but they do not come close to what we desire.

In high school, there was a project in which we had to make a book. Being a young pagan still in my Wiccan phase, I made a little book of shadows. You can see photos of that over on DeviantArt. It was a small project, but very important. I learned calligraphy for it and learned that I really enjoyed it. It strengthened my resolve to one day have the book of shadows of my dreams.

I am going to one day make that book. Brahms Bookworks has some amazing things that are exactly what I picture when I see the book of my dreams.  The downside, the price. They put a lot of effort into making those books and you get what you pay for.  I know that most of us cannot afford any of what is sold here.

So, to my dream.  My ideal Book of Shadows ( I like the term Grimoire better, it sounds less 90’s television show, but this is a B week so we are going to continue with Book of Shadows.) It will be handmade. If you have read any of my blog, you know that I have a desire to hand make things.  Things that are handmade by me are much more meaningful to me, so I want to make my Book. I want to take a class in book binding at one point. I feel that would be very important and useful to me. I would also, hand write the entire thing. That goes along with handmaking. There is power in the written word, and just image how great that book would be when it is completely hand done in calligraphy and illuminated lettering. The pages would be parchment. That is just personal preference. I would like to handpress paper for it, but i think that might get too thick. (If I make an herbal grimoire, there are ideas for that with pressed paper. But that’s another blog post.) It would be filled with my own illustrations and artwork to further personalize it.  Never, ever will there be computer printed images or text in my book.  I think that takes away from any Book of Shadows.  Finally, the pages would be removeable in some way. This makes it so that I can be neurotic about the organization, and if I make a mistake in an artwork or in penmanship, I can remove that page and start over.

So there it is. Can you picture it? There very idea makes me excited. I think that once I am a veterinarian and I have spent years at my craft and have the money to spend on this project, I will sit down and do it.  It would be an amazing thing to pass down to my children if they continue on in witchcraft.  One day, I will have a Book of Shadows, and it will be exactly what we all dream of.


Bone

Here is Pagan Blogging Project post 2.

Bones are extremely magical things. Unfortunately, I have never had the opportunity to work with any bones. It is all the more unfortunate because my brother and father are hunters, and have brought home numerous animals through the years, and I never took advantage.  Now that I am more in tune with my spirituality, I am really hoping to take advantage of one of my brother’s kills in the near future.  He got a pair of ducks recently, and I was going to bury them and collect the bones later (maceration just isn’t an option with my current living situation), but, alas, life got in the way and I was just too damn busy preparing for finals at the time.  I love connecting with animal spirits, and I find that I have a knack for it. Working with bones just seems to be a way of connecting even more strongly in a way that I have never felt.

After having said that, I am very excited to announce that I will be working with bone here soon.  I have purchased some bone and horn hairpipes from a reputable dealer.  I have a project that I have been planning for quite some time and I have seen images of it in dreams and meditation, so i finally had enough spare cash to get the supplies.  I checked the species of the bone and horn and I am going to do a little crafting. Hopefully it will happen this weekend. I am very excited about my first experience working with bone. I can’t say if this will be blogged about or not, but it will be a great experience.