Wiccan Friend

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Category Archives: Book of Shadows

Thoughts on the God and Goddess and artwork to honor them

I feel their presence everyday.  Sometimes it is a nudge and other times a gentle reminder on the breeze.  There are even times that they take me over with anxiety or fill me with peace.  The Lord and Lady that I know, and that knows me, are more then All-knowing deity held out in front of me at prayer’s length.  I know I could never be atheist because of the personal experiences I’ve had while sharing my life with the Lord and Lady.

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Often times She is that wind that kisses my face.  She brings a wisdom to my heart to remind me of my promise to Her and affirm Herself to me.  When I was younger she would remind me of my lost true love by subtle hints of vanilla on the air.  I should have listened more closely because now I understand She was speaking through scent, and if I would have had the wherewithal I could have heard a much deeper message.  Other times She is the raw emotion that overcomes me, or the spirit of nurture for my loved ones.  She comes to me in the form of Awen to help creative pursuits, and lives inside my guilt when I hurt those closest to me.  I look out into this world and see Her represented in the feminine, the creative spark, and the nurturing Earth.

My Lord is a rock.  He motivates me with His example.  He is able to show me how things could be and what it takes to earn and achieve.  He provides a pillar of strength to both push me forward and to hold me up.  He is both giving and firm like a velvet brick.  He holds his values like a shield.  They keep him true and right and protect Him from lies and falsehoods.  When my Lord speaks life itself listen to his wisdom and takes care to heed his words as they are the foundations of truth.  He is the warm sun on my face and shoulders.  He is the voice inside me that yearns to be a better Man, Husband, and a wiser person.

Together the God and Goddess represent all things manifest in this mundane world and provide guidance and care to experience this life and the next.  For me the greatest lesson they have taught is that as long as I am alive, I can change the situation I am in.  This is the very basis of my belief in Wicca and Witchcraft.

So in my Wiccan tradition one of the requirements we are given to allow us to initiate and receive our first degree is to complete an art project.  It is to represent our relationship with the God and Goddess.  As simple as that sounds it becomes a huge undertaking.  You have to plan the media, and the subject, and search very deeply for an answer.  An answer to the question, what is my relationship with the God and Goddess.

Interestingly enough my answer would have been different a few years ago.  I think that is becauseall relationships change and grow in different ways.  Even in the last year, there have been so many things that influence how I view and interact with my Deities.  Even the way I define this relationship has changed based on new ways I have found of expressing it.

For me I knew fairly early that I wanted my art project to be a mask that represented both the male and female aspects of nature.  To me it gives not only a easy visual reference for the Lord and Lady, but also a very deep comment about our relationship given that it is a mask.  Even in my youngest thoughts as a child I can remember seeing the masculine and feminine in my world.  It was always right in front of my thoughts.  It is one of the reasons I couldn’t reconcile my beliefs as a Christian. The world was polar and all people, objects, even ideas had aspects of male or female.  So i set out in my mask to visually represent this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you look at it the Left Side being Feminine and the Right side representing the Masculine.

Left:

  • There are more pieces making up this side of the mask, they represent the ever unfolding layers of the feminine.  Complex emotions, and deep passion.
  • There is moss present on this side to represent the Earth.  The most nurturing and growing substance the we see and come in contact with nearly everyday.
  • The vines that cascade down the side of the mask really reminded me of flowing hair and gave the mask a more feminine quality.
Right:
  • Here you can see the bark is bigger in both size and weight.  I wanted something heavier and robust for the masculine side.
  • The main feature of this side being the feathers to represent animals.  The beast and foul being of the God I thought I would fit nicely within the God theme.
  • Lastly are the leaves and wood itself which reminds me largely of the Green Man and God of the forest.
Why a mask?

It at the moment accurately represents how I feel about my relationship with the Lord and Lady andsort of my purpose on this earth.  I feel I am here to experience life through the eyes of the God and Goddess while at the same time I’m and charged with the God and Goddess experiencing this life through me, my actions, and my eyes.  I am to live the best I can, experience this marvel of existence, and bring it back to the Lord and Lady upon my return from this life.  A mask was the best way I could illustrate the dual nature of this concept of putting on the God and Goddess so they can experience what I see through their eyes.
How it was done:
I thought I’d add here how I actually made the mask for anyone who is interested in making their own.  It was really simple, and uses both natural materials and craft store materials.
What is used:
  • Bark found from downed limbs or washes ashore on a lake after a storm.
  • Paintable mask foundation bought at craft store.
  • Foam sheet bought at craft store.
  • Plastic vines bought at craft store.
  • Reindeer Moss bought at craft store.
  • Plastic leaves bought at craft store.
  • Bird feathers bought at craft store.
  • Glue Gun
  • Crazy Glue
I first took the paintable white mask and added on to it with the foam sheets.  I had a basic idea of how big I wanted the mask to be so I cut out a bigger mask pattern and crazy glued it on top of the original craft mask.  I used crazy glue because I really wanted this part to be a strong foundation for the rest of the mask.  For starting out it gives you a larger canvas to plan out what your mask will look like.  Later on whatever you don’t fill with the mask design can be easily cut away using a sharp knife or box cutter.
I then started breaking up my wood.  I needed several smaller pieces for the cheeks and forehead, and also a rounded piece of bark for the bridge of the nose.  I then took all of those small pieces and started to piece them together like Tetris.  I literally had all of the wood pieces trying one and then another until I found a pattern that suited me.  I then started gluing down the largest pieces of wood to “frame” the face of the mask.
After some of the larger pieces were down I inserted the moss into and under those large pieces and glue them down to the mask surface or if they were under a piece of bark gluing the bark on top of the moss.  This gives the illusion the moss is growing from under and around the bark and gives a simple transition into the smaller pieces of bark.  That way your bark edges dont have to match up perfectly and you have a bit of wiggle room to get the form of a human face down.
After all the bark and moss were placed I wove in the vines for the hair.  The vines are made from a metal wire painted dull green so fixing them to the top of the mask was easy by weaving it through the top of the bark carefully.
I then shaped the feathers and glued them to the part of the mask I had left uncovered.
All that was left was to fill in some of the empty space on the right side with leaves.  I secured those down with some hot glue and was done.
The final result is a really special result that I will keep around for many years, as a reminder of how I related to the God and Goddess during this time of my life.
What has been your favorite Pagan art project?  We Pagans tend to be quite the artsy folk and I would love to see what else is out there.  Link in the comments below!
Blessed Be.
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Thoughts on Knot Magick

Knot Magick
A Brief History by Eliza Yetter
(written 2002 / revised 2007)

* I take no credit for the following article.  Please support the original writer by visiting the link below.*

as posted on www.sacredspiral.com

Knot magick has been in use since long ago times. Knots can be found in the art and literature of all ancient cultures, ancient Mesopotamia onwards. Reference to knots and knot magick is also found in all the religions of the world.

It was a practice among Catholics to tie a knot when invoking saints as a way to bind the saints to them until they have done their bidding.

Mohammed, founder of Islam, was cursed by a knot and, had it not been found and untied, it is said that Mohammed would have died. Some male followers of the Islam religion would tie a knot in their beard to protect themselves from the evil eye. When at sea, they might tie several knots in their clothing to put an end to violent winds, but when going to Mecca they must not have any knots in their clothing.

In Hinduism, knot tying is often associated with the death gods.

Buddhists refer to the untying of knots as a “process of liberation.” [5]

Knot tying was common in Roman magic as images of lovers were sometimes tied together to keep the couple bound to each other. Solemn oaths were also made to their deities while tying a knot.

In mythology, we have the Fates who wove, knotted, and cut the strings of life. We also have the famous Gordian Knot which Alexander was said to have cut in two with his sword.

In not so long ago times, there were men and women who were called blowers of knots. They would recite incantations while tying knots. The most famous of these incantations were done for wind knots.

Wind knots were three knots made in a string, rope, or rag and sold to sailors. If a sailor were to untie one knot, he would get a moderate wind. If he should untie 2 knots, the wind would blow half a gale. To untie all 3 knots would have caused a hurricane. [2]

Knots are prevalent in wedding lore, where two people are united in marriage which is also known as “tying the knot.” From the Dark Ages to the 18th century, it was forbidden to tie a knot at someone’s wedding for fear that it would prevent a true union between the bride and groom. Another form of knot magic associated with weddings is the wearing of a net over the bride’s head. Today, brides often wear a veil, originally meant to protect them from the evil eye and evil sorcery on their wedding day.

During a woman’s labor it was custom in many cultures worldwide to undo all knots within the house. In black magic, knots can be used to hinder or stop the birth of a child, killing both the mother and infant. It was also believed that a knot could cause a painful and difficult delivery.

To knot a cloth that had touched a man’s penis was believed to bring about his impotence. The same was held true to tying a knot into a man’s pubic hair and burying it in the earth.

When someone was dying, it was once a common practice to untie all knots within the room so as to not keep the dying person bound to life and suffering.

In Russia, knot magick was once very common. There are written accounts of the many types of knot spells including an 8 double-knot curse to use against an enemy in which wool yarn was used. As each double-knot was made, these words were spoken:

“1. I go out onto the road, 2. I throw into the open field, 3. into the distance, 4. between the homesteads, 5. into the fields, 6. into the seas, 7. into the forest, 8. into the quaking bag.” [4]

This cord was then left in a place where its intended victim would step on it.

For protection from harm by a gun or other weapon, 5 knots were tied in a cord and kept about the body.

Red wool thread with nine knots was sometimes worn by children to protect them from getting a fever.

A cord with 40 knots might be kept as an amulet for protection against thieves.

In todays world, knot magic continues to have its place. Examples of this would be in the dream catchers made by the Lakota’s, the “Eye of God”, and shell decorated nets that are hung in homes and businesses.

Select Bibliography:
1. Amulets and Superstitions by E. A. Wallis Budge. Dover Publications. 1978.
2. The Golden Bough by Sir James George Frazer. Collier Books. 1963.
3. Taboo, Magic, Spirits: A Study of Primitive Elements In Roman Religion by Eli Edward Burriss. Greenwood Press. 1972.
4. The Bathhouse at Midnight: Magic In Russia by W. F. Ryan. The Pennsylvania State University Press. 1999.
5. The Penguin Dictionary of Symbols by Jean Chevalier and Alain Gheerbrant. Translated by John Buchanan-Brown. 1996.

Components to Knot Magick

  • Cord or Rope – Honestly it can be anything from thin thread to cotton cord or twine.  If you prefer to work with natural materials most craft stores can offer such things.  Cotton, Wool, Silk, Linen, and strips of Leather are just a few materials you could use. If you prefer an in depth approach you could even spin and dye your own thread. Additionally the cord can be colored to correspond with your spell work.  There is no set length the cord should be although some like to make the length a multiple of 3 or 13 inches.  Some people prefer to work with greater lengths and will have a cord 9 feet long.  This is helpful if you are doing cord magick as a group.  If you are a numerologist if could be any length with numerical significance.  This again falls under preference.
  • Knots – The knots in knot magick absorb the qualities that they are charged with. For energy you want untie the knot there by unleashing the energy contained to come back to you.  If you want the energy absorbed to be bound forever DO NOT untie the knot. Burn it or bury it. The knots can be as simple as an overhand knot or as complex as fusion knots (see below). This could even include weaving.  This can also be customized to what you want to accomplish. For example, weaving a bracelet or charm would be a good way to ward off the unwanted.
  • Purpose – Along with will and intent create magick.  This is more important than the cord or knots.  Be clear on want you are sending into the knots.  They are a powerful vessel and will gladly hold onto anything.  Mediation can help focus the mind from wondering during Knot Magick work, but avoid distraction as to not muddy your intent in the spell. I also find that chanting or old weaving songs also help when casting to focus the mind.

Practical Application

Knot magick can be simple to understand but it application will test your will and resolve. It is extremely portable and easily concealed. While working the spell it can be worn as a bracelet, necklace, or charm.  You can tuck it under a pillow or store it in a pocket.  The cord doesn’t have to follow you around but can as a reminder of the magick work.

Spellwork

Knot Magick can be broken down into 3 easy steps. 1. Meditate and raise energy to focus your intent. 2. Cast your magick. 3. Follow through with strength of will.

(Magick work is always best when done within a cast circle)

You should start with what you want to accomplish.  What is your intent?

Hold your cord and meditate on the meaning behind your spell.  When you have a clear focus on what it is you want tie the knots in the following order.  This is called a traditional nine knot spell, and is only one of many tying possibilities. (The x indicates a knot and the – is the string.)

–x—————————————————-

“By knot of one the spells begun.”

mystic knot, one of the eight Buddhist symbols of a happy omen

–x————————————————-x–

“By knot of two, it cometh true.”

–x————————-x———————–x–

“By knot of three, so shall it be.”

–x————x————x———————–x–

“By knot of four, the opened door.”

–x————x————x————x———-x–

“By knot of five the spell is alive.”

–x——x—–x————x————x———-x–

Click me to learn how to tie this knot!

“By knot of six, the spell is fix’d.”

–x——x—–x————x————x—–x—-x–

“By knot of seven, of Earth and Heaven.”

–x——x—–x——x—–x————x—–x—-x–

“By knot of eight, the stroke of fate.”

–x——x—–x——x—–x——x—–x—–x—-x–

“By knot of nine, the thing is mine.”

Make sure when tying the knots that if you plan on untying them later that you don’t tie them too tight. Also, as you tie them charge each one with the energy of what you are trying to accomplish.

If it is a spell for good, growth, or enhancement you want to untie, in backwards order, a knot every 24 hours after you cast the spell. By the time you reach the final knot your goal should be accomplished.  This will release those positive energies out into the world guided like a missile with your intent as rocket fuel.  I like to do simple visualizations of releasing colored energy out around me when I untie knots.  I really like doing growth/enhancement spells with knot magick because for nine days while I untie the knots it gives me something to think about and meditate on every day.  It becomes a good reminder of the purpose I was trying to fulfill when I cast the spell.

It is very important that if you are doing Magick to banish something like a bad habit or bind something that you do not keep the cord around you after your spell is done.  Bury it away from you or burn it after your ritual.  It should be thought of as poison with each individual knot having sucked up the bad energy.  I can’t stress enough how powerful this object will be and if you keep it around how it will amplify what you were trying to get rid of or bind.

For more spell ideas visit sacredspiral.com and Eliza Yetter’s post on Knot Spells.

Ritual

Knot and cord magick can be an invaluable ritual tool to store and release energy.  During each ritual you can charge the cord with energy and store it to release at a more appropriate time or if you are doing ritual with multiple people charge the cord and then use it like a laser beam to focus the energy when you release it.  Many covens and groups have a cord present at each ritual to store energy for those times when the group’s reserves are low or use it as another barrier of protection.

Celtic Knotwork

The use of interlaced knot work as decoration can be found in many cultures that pre-date Celtic design motifs. The earliest example of this being roman architecture around the 3 and 4th centuries AD.  It is not known for certain when the Celts started their use of knot work design, called plait work, but it is believed that the practice of broken and reconnected plait work spread from northern Italy and the southern Gaul area by the 7th century.

Much of the popularity of Celtic knot work design we owe to the reconstructionists of the 18th century, who as a conscious effort began to re-establish this type of design with Ireland and Modern Celts.

According to George Bain, a 20th century Scottish Celtic art professor, Celtic knots that have a closed path, (no end or beginning), are considered to be a symbol of eternity, or represent the infinite. Those with open paths are said to signify a journey (both physical and otherwise).

Magickally Celtic knot work can be use like a labyrinth to aide in meditation. Many Celtic knot work designs can be tied with cord as well, making it possible to create amulets or do Knot Magick through weaving.

Fusion Knotwork

Fusion knots are amazing works of art that can dazzle the eye and stir the soul.  I never realized, until I got deeper into knot tying, that most Celtic designs can actually be tied with cord or rope.  I really find this form of knot tying very closely related to weaving.  These knots take time to tie and lend themselves well to old weaving songs or chants.  They are a good way to clear the mind and meditate almost like you were tying a labyrinth.

The best resource I can give for Fusion Knots is www.fusionknots.com and Tying it All Together from Youtube.  Both were created by J.D. Lenzen who has  been formally recognized by the International Guild of Knot Tyers (IGKT) for his contributions to knotting, and is the originator of Fusion Knotting–innovative knots created through the merging of different knot elements or knotting techniques.

Below is only on example of the over 100 videos J.D. posts on his Youtube channel.  If you find this interesting please visit his website.

I hope you enjoyed the post and found it informative.  Thanks for your support and if you liked this post spread the word about my blog.  All the kind words and emails keep me moving forward to post new content.

Blessed Be.

Thoughts on House Blessings

So recently I was checking out some postings of fellow pagan bloggers and read over on Saga Parva that the author, Artista Oscura, was looking for some suggestions on house blessing charms.  I thought it would be an awesome blog post to put out there and give me a chance to share with my readers a house blessing along with two charms I have in my house.   If you have the chance check out Saga Parva, I find Artista Oscura’s writings interesting.

So you got yourself a new pad? Moving feels good doesn’t it?  For me it is like a fresh start in a new space.  New rooms, new energy, new possibilities.  I find it extremely important to protect the things that we love so much.  Not only should this include warding the space to protect against unwanted energy and visitors but also to allow the things we do want in our lives passage into our space.  This can be as simple or complicated as you really feel is necessary.  It really doesn’t have to be much more than sending out positive energy and asking the gods to watch over the space.  If that is what feels right, then it is.  Personally I enjoy ritual and like finding corresponding elements and items to attract those things which I want in life, and banish or bar the things that I don’t like.  So I’ll describe one way of going about this.

Things you’ll need:

  1. Smudge Stick – usually made of sage but I’ve seen other made from various other grassy herbs.  This will be used to purify the space.
  2. Small cauldron filled with a mixture of appropriate herbs, incense,  or a salt and alcohol mixture.
  3. Friends/ Loved ones to help with the cleansing.
  4. Care – please be VERY careful when handling anything that is on fire.  Have an extinguisher handy just in case.

Start at the entry inside your new home and light the smudge stick and herbs/salt. Walk clockwise around the perimeter inside your home and while doing this put out energy of the things you want to attract to your space.  This should be things like peace, love, understanding, consistent flow of money, happiness, and the like.

To explain, the smudge stick purifies the surroundings with the element of air and fire, as well as helps get the participants into a better state of mind.  I know that whenever I smell burning sage I find getting to an alpha state is much easier.  The herb or salt mixture purify with water (the cauldron) and earth.  This could also be done with salted water but I just know that my cute little dog would probably just find those spots and try to re mark them… *sigh*.  We travel clockwise because not only are we purifying the space but also projecting into it new energy.  If we were banishing something we knew was in the space that might be different.

When you arrive at a window you should pass your tools counter clockwise around the window and imagine barring out the things that you do not want in your home.  I also find that if before hand you come up with a simple symbol or sigil you can draw it into the air in front the window as well.

When you arrive at a door you should pass your tools counter clockwise but avoid barring it like the windows.  Instead maybe saying a few words about protecting you from harm and granting passage to good.  Symbols and sigils are also appropriate here.

After you have traveled the perimeter follow the ritual with a nice meal while leaving the herbs/salt in a central location.  If you have a fireplace, it would make a good place for this as the cauldron will eventually heat up and become very hot.  Leave some food and drink from the meal to offer up as a sacrifice.

After the ritual:

There is a world of things one can do with charms to keep one’s house and space safe and magickal after the house cleansing.  Satchels, poppits, and small bags full of purpose appropriate dried herbs make a great way to attract good things into your home.  Also creating a Sigil that is unique to your home could be useful as well.  It would be almost like giving you new space a name and purpose.  You could then paint or draw it and then frame it for your new walls.

I have two things that I leave out consistently leave out that would fall under the charm category.  Neither were made by me, but by other members of my coven as an herbal gift.  The first is a small bottle filled with an herbal concoction to attract a steady flow of money into the house.  This was done by adding herbs to a pot of water and basically making a tea then bottling the result and charging it with energy and purpose.  Every now and again I will grab it and charge it more just to reinforce its properties.  Otherwise I keep it perched in a window sill so sun light can reflect through it.  The second is a protection satchel with various herbs and stones inside.  This smells amazing and currently I keep it in a drawer with my most often used magickal things like my tarot cards and BoS.

Hopefully this might inspire some of my readers to create something for their home.  Feel free to share what charms you have in your home.