Pagan Craft Making

Magickal Goody for July 7th – Make Your Own Wire Tree of Life

Make a Beaded Wire Tree of Life

The tree of life is a symbol which appears in a variety of different cultures. In most religions, it represents not only fertility and rebirth, but also the connection between the realms of earth and sky. It appears in Kabballah, as well as in sacred geometry. Within the Norse pantheon, some practitioners connect the tree of life with Yggdrasil, the World Tree. For many Pagans and modern Wiccans, the tree has personal meaning — it often can symbolize rebirth and fertility, spiritual journeys, and growth.

If you’d like to make a tree of life pendant to wear, you can make one like this with just a few basic craft supplies.

You’ll need:

  • Jewelry wire
  • Seed beads
  • Needlenose pliers
  • A chain or cord

 

Form Your Circle

The first thing you’ll need to do is shape the outer circle of the pendant. The one in the photo is about an inch and a half wide, which seems to work well, but you can make it smaller or larger if you wish.

To make your circle, wrap a length of wire around a broom handle or dowel rod twice, leaving a bit of extra wire on either end, forming a double circle. Slide the wire circle off the dowel rod, and wrap the extra length around the double circle so that your wire won’t unravel as you bead.

To form a ring at the top of the circle (which is where you’ll thread a chain or cord through), simply twist a bit of the circle around the needlenose pliers before you secure the ends in place. Another option would be to slide a jeweler’s “jump ring” onto the circle and crimp it with your pliers.

 

Create the Roots

To form the roots of the tree, you’ll need to cut four equal lengths of wire — 7 to 9 inches is plenty (you’ll be trimming off the excess later). Fold each of these pieces in half. Position them equally along the bottom where the roots of the tree will be, and wrap them around the outer circle as shown in the diagram. Use the needlenose pliers to crimp the wires into place. This will leave you with eight pieces of wire sticking off your outer circle.

 

Twist the Trunk

The next step is to create the trunk of your tree. To do this, pull all eight of your wires into the center of the outer circle. Bring them together about a quarter to a third of the way into the circle, and twist them together as shown. Once the trunk has been twisted into place, fan the eight wires out to form the main branches of the tree.

 

Add Your Beads

Thread your seed beads onto the wires, working with one at a time. Once you’ve put enough beads on a branch to reach the outer circle, wrap the wire once around the circle to keep it in place. Repeat this with all eight branches.

 

Fill in the Gaps

Here’s where things can get a bit tricky. Once you’ve filled all eight branches with beads up to the circle, you’ll still have some spaces left. Add a few beads onto the remaining wires, and weave them in and out of the existing main branches. Use the needlenose pliers to help you guide the wires in — it may get tight as you add more wires and beads. Continue doing this until you’ve filled in as much of your tree as you want.

Wrapping Things Up

Once you’ve filled in as much of the wires and beads as possible, use the needlenose pliers to weave any poky bits of wire into the design — you don’t want them jabbing you when you wear it! Trim off any excess strands of wire after you’ve woven them in.

Add a chain or cord, and wear your new pendant!

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Magickal Goody for July 6th – Making Your Own Staff

How to Make a Magic Staff

Many Pagans and Wiccans use a magical staff in rituals and ceremonies. While it’s not a required magical tool, it can come in handy. The staff is typically associated with power and authority, and in some traditions only the High Priestess or High Priest carries one. In other traditions, anyone may have one. Much like the wand, the staff is considered symbolic of male energy, and usually is used to represent the element of Air (although in some traditions, it symbolizes Fire). Like other magical tools, the staff is something you can make yourself, with a little bit of effort. Here’s how.

 

Choose a Stick

If you get a chance to go on a hike, while you’re out there roaming around you should take the opportunity to look for a good piece of wood for a magical staff. Ideally, you’ll want to find a piece of wood that has already fallen from a tree — do NOT cut a piece of wood from a live tree just because you think it would make a nice staff. A magical staff is typically long enough that you can hold it comfortably in your hand, vertically, and have it touch the ground. Your best bet is to find one that is between shoulder height and the top of your head. Hold the stick to see how it feels in your hand — if it’s too long, you can always trim it down. When it comes to diameter, you should be able to comfortably wrap your fingers around it. A one- to two-inch diameter is best for most people, but again, hold it and see how it feels.

Some people choose a specific type of wood based upon its magical properties. For example, if you wished to have a staff connected to power and strength, you might select oak. Another person might choose to use Ash instead, as it is strongly tied to magical workings and prophecy. There’s no hard and fast rule, however, that you have to use a certain type of wood — many people make a staff out of the stick that “felt right” to them. In some magical systems, it is believed that a tree limb felled by a storm is imbued with a great deal of magical power.

 

Remove the Bark

To remove the bark from your stick, you can use a knife (not your athame, but a regular knife) to strip the bark. This will also help you to shape the staff, if there are small irregularities on it, or to remove excess bits of branches. With some varieties of wood, you may want to soak the staff so that the bark is wet, making it easier to strip off. Some types of wood, such as pine, are easy enough to strip the bark off by hand if you choose.

Use a piece of light-grained sandpaper, or steel wool, to sand the staff down until it is smooth.

 

Finish Your Staff

Once you’ve got the staff shaped and sanded, you have a couple of options. You may want to drill a small hole at the top so you can insert a leather thong — this comes in handy when you’re waving your magical staff around in ritual, because you can put the thong around your wrist and reduce the chances of accidentally flinging your staff across a room. If you like, you can also decorate your magical staff by carving or burning symbols of your tradition into it, adding crystals or beads, feathers, or other charms into the wood.

It’s generally not considered necessary to use a polyurethane finish on the staff, and in many traditions it’s believed that to put a synthetic finish on a staff will block the magical energies. However, some people choose to oil their staff to give it a light shine – if you do this, use an oil that is plant-based, rather than petroleum-based.

After your staff is complete, consecrate it as you would any other magical tool.

 

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Magickal Goody for July 5th – Make Your Own Moon’s Eye

Make a Moon’s Eye

 

We’ve all heard of the “man in the moon,” so why not combine that bit of folklore with a traditional craft project?

God’s eyes are one of the easiest crafts you can make, and they’re versatile because you can create them in any color. A Moon’s Eye is a simple variation on the God’s Eye, using colors associated with lunar folklore. Traditionally, the moon is connected to silver, which related to wisdom and intuition. The full moon is bright and white, and the dark moon is (naturally) black. Use ribbon or yarn in these three colors to make your Moon’s Eye. You may also wish to add some red in there, to symbolize the moon’s connection to the cycle of women’s bodies.

In addition to your ribbon or yarn, you’ll need two sticks of equal length (dowel rods, popsicle sticks, or just branches you’ve found on the ground). To begin, hold your two sticks together in a cross. If you’re doing this with children, it’s a good idea to put a small dab of glue on here to prevent slipping. Look at the diagram on the next page for an idea of how this will look.

Wrapping Your Moon’s Eye

Wrap a length of yarn one or two times around the top arm of the cross, right where the two sticks meet, going counterclockwise (be sure to hold the loose tail in place and wrap the yarn over it to keep it from unraveling later). As you come around on the left side of the upper arm, cross down and over to the bottom side of the right arm. Bring the yarn out behind the top of the right arm, and cross over to the left side of the bottom arm. Finally, bring the yarn from the right side of the bottom arm across to the top side of the left arm.

This is actually easier than it sounds — look at the diagram above and follow the arrows. Continue wrapping the sticks in the same order until you have a good amount of the color you’re working in. Then switch to a new color, and continue the process until you want to change again. Finish it off with a length of yarn tied in a loop, so you can hang your Moon’s Eye. What you’ll end up with will look like the photo on Page 1.

Finally, you can decorate the ends of the sticks with crystals, shells, or whatever you prefer. Hang your Moon’s Eye on a wall or in a window to celebrate your connection to the moon.

 

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Magickal Goody for July 4th – Make Your Own Portable Altar Kit

Create a Portable Altar Kit

 

Why Bother With a Portable Altar?

Why bother? Well, the obvious reason is that a portable altar is… well, portable. For some people, that’s a desirable thing. You may wish to have a portable altar for any number of reasons. Perhaps your job requires you to travel a lot. Maybe you’re a college student in a cramped dorm, and space is at a premium. Do you belong to a group that holds rituals in a different place each time? Got small children who will knock over anything and everything that you set out on a table top? Any of these — and more — are good reasons to creat a portable altar kit. It’s easy to do, and it makes it a snap to just grab-and-go on your way out the door.

What to Include?

The first thing you’ll need to do is decide what items you want to include in your portable altar. Some people like to put in every single magical tool they own, five different decks of Tarot cards, and their entire gemstone collection, but I’ve found that simple is usually better. In fact, if you keep just four items in there, you’ve probably got it made — and those are the ones associated with the four classical elements.

Earth is symbolized by a pentacle, so if you can find a small one for your altar kit, add it. If you can’t find one small enough to be portable, improvise. Use a small decorative dish, a small flat stone, or even a small vial of salt to represent earth.

Air can be represented in a number of ways, the traditional tool being the wand. If you don’t have room for a wand, consider a feather, or even incense – the smoke is associated with both air and fire.

Fire is often connected to the athame, but if you’re traveling around you may not be able to put anything with a blade in your bags. If that’s the case, never fear — use a candle (and bring matches or a lighter), or some other fire symbol. Deer antlers are also good substitutes for an athame.

The cup or chalice represents water. You can carry actual water with you in a small vial, or use the cup as symbolic of water. If you don’t have access to water, try carrying a seashell or some other symbol of the feminine.

If your tradition requires you to use other items, you can add those as well. Some things you might want to include in your altar kit are:

  • A crystal
  • Tarot cards
  • A small statue representing deity
  • A bell

Finally, add a piece of fabric to use as an altar cloth. It doesn’t have to be big, just large enough to spread all of your tools on, so you can perform a working anywhere you may be.

Box or Bag?

You’ll need to decide whether you want to use a box or a bag. If you plan to carry your altar kit on a plane, backpack, purse or other place where space is at a premium, go with a bag. If it’s something you’re going to keep in your home, or maybe take over to a friend’s, you can probably use a box.

The great thing about a bag that enhances portability is that your bag can double as an altar cloth. To make a circular piece of material into a carrying bag, simply stitch a 1/2 hem around the edge of the circle, and run a cord through it. Knot the cord at the ends, and then when you pull it tight you’ll have a drawstring bag that unfolds into a round altar cloth.

If you want to use a box, great — there are tons to choose from. You can get a plain wooden one from a craft store and paint it or decorate it. You could use an old cigar box and cover it with fabric and embellishments, or you can buy a pre-made carved or decorated box from one of the thousands of retailers who specialize in metaphysical gifts.

The key here is to pick a container that will hold the tools you need.

The Super Mini-Portable Altar Kit

Years ago I had a friend who had to fly a lot due to his job. Typically, he had one small carry-on bag as luggage, and that was it. He basically had no room at all to pack a fully portable altar kit. He came up with a great idea for an altar he could literally put in his pocket. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A canister from a 35mm roll of film
  • A penny
  • A small twig
  • A match
  • A small thimble
  • A 4″ square of fabric
  • A ribbon or string

Use the penny to represent earth — draw a pentacle on it with a Sharpie if you like. The twig is your wand, symbolizing air. The match (which you don’t have to light) is associated with fire, and the thimble is a cup, for the element of water. Pack these four items in the film canister, and there’s your Super Mini-Portable Altar Kit. Put the canister in the center of your fabric square, pull the sides up, and tie it with the string/ribbon. You can carry this in your pocket or wear around your neck.

 

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Since Your Are Going To Be Outside Tonight Enjoying Fireworks, How about a DIY Natural Bug Repellent

Buzz-Off Bugs! DIY Natural Bug Repellent

As much as I love being outdoors, I hate getting bug bites!

There are lots of commercial bug repellents out there, but most of them contain chemicals I don’t want to put on my body or my children’s bodies. Instead, I use essential oils to get bugs to buzz off.

Try my buzz-off balm recipe:

Warm 1/3 – 1/4 cup of coconut oil and pour into a small, closeable container. (I love to repurpose containers I have from other products, like the tins from Bach Flower Remedy lozenges.)

Add 10 drops of each of the following essential oils: citronella, lavender and peppermint.

Mix slightly and allow to cool and solidify. In warmer weather, you may want to keep this in the fridge or a cool, dry place to keep it from liquifying.

Take a little of the balm and run between the palms of your hands and then over exposed skin before heading outside.

Note: sometimes essential oils (particularly citrus oils) can make the skin photosensitive or more likely to burn. Be sure to use a non-toxic sunblock in addition to this bug repellant.

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Magickal Goody for July 2 – Make Your Own Ritual Robe

Make Your Own Ritual Robe

Many Wiccans and Pagans prefer to perform ceremonies and rituals in special robes. If you’re part of a coven or group, your robe might have to be a certain color or style. In some traditions, the color of the robe indicates the level of training a practitioner has. For many people, donning the ritual robe is a way of separating themselves from the mundane business of everyday life — it’s a way of stepping into the ritual mindset, of walking from the mundane world into the magical world. Most people prefer to wear nothing at all under their ritual robe, but do what is comfortable for you.

It’s not uncommon to have robes for the different seasons, symbolizing the turning Wheel of the Year. You can make one in blue for spring, green for summer, brown for fall, and white for winter — or any other colors that symbolize the seasons for you. Do take the time to put some thought into your color selection — it used to be that most Wiccans wore white robes, but many people prefer to use earth tones, because it’s a way of establishing one’s connection with nature. Some people choose to avoid black, because it sometimes has negative connotations, but use the color that feels right for you.

Commercially Available Patterns

Anyone can make a robe of their own, and it’s not hard to do. If you can sew a straight line, you can make a robe. First of all, for experienced sewers, there are a number of excellent commercially available patterns out there. You can check catalogs at your local fabric store under “Costumes”, which is where most of the good robes are hiding out, especially in the “historical” and “Renaissance” categories. Here are some that look nice and can be made without too much sewing experience:

  • Simplicity 4795: Believe it or not, this is a set of patterns for a passion play. There’s an angel design in here that’s fantastic for a ritual robe. You may want to reduce the drop in the sleeves a bit, though, just to keep from setting yourself on fire while lighting candles.
  • Simplicity 3623: This pattern is for a Scottish-themed costume, complete with tam. However, it also includes a pattern for a muslin underdress to be worn beneath the bodice and skirt — this makes a great ritual robe, and can be assembled in just a couple of hours.
  • Simplicity 3616: Sure, the wizard costume seems campy, but if you eliminate the trim and the long white beard, it makes a version of the ritual robe that is far more masculine than some of the other patterns.
  • McCalls 4490: For more advanced sewers, this lovely Renaissance-style dress can easily be adapted for a ritual robe.

 

Getting Started

To make a basic robe without buying a pattern, you can follow these simple steps. You’ll need the following:

 

  • A piece of material in the color of your choice — make sure you select something that will be easy to sew and comfortable to wear. On the average, you’ll need about three yards, but if you’re heavyset or extra-tall, add in some more. A flat bedsheet is actually the perfect size for this.
  • Scissors, thread, tailor’s chalk, and a measuring tape.
  • A sewing machine.
  • A length of cord or light rope, approximately 6 feet long.

 

You’ll need some help for this first step, because you need to measure yourself from wrist to wrist with your arms outstretched. Unless you have a third arm, get a friend to do this for you. This measurement will be Measurement A. Next, figure the distance from the nape of your neck to a point even with your ankle — this will be Measurement B.

Fold the fabric in half (if the material has a print on it, fold it with the pattern side in). Using your A and B measurements, cut out along the lines indicated in Figure 1, making a sort-of T-shape. Don’t cut out along the top fold — that’s the part that will go along the top of the arms and shoulders.

The Next Step

Next, cut a hole for your head (X) at the center of Measurement A. Don’t make it too big, or your robe will slide off your shoulders! On each side, sew along the underside of the sleeve, leaving an opening at Y for the arms (Figure 2). Then sew from the armpit down to the bottom of the robe. Turn your robe right-side out, try it on, and adjust it for length if needed.

The Finishing Touches

Finally, add a cord around the waist, as shown in Figure 3. In some traditions the cord may be knotted to indicate degrees of training or education. In others, it acts simply as a belt to keep the robe from flapping around during ritual. You can also add trim, beadwork, or magical symbols to your robe. Personalize it, and make it yours. You may also wish to consecrate your robe before wearing it for the first time.

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Magickal Goody for July 1 – Sew Your Own Elemental Altar Cloth

Magickal Goody for Today

Sew Your Own Elemental Altar Cloth

 

In many traditions of Wicca and Paganism, the four classical elements of Earth, Air, Fire and Water are considered significant. To make an altar cloth that represents all four of them, you’ll need to select four different kinds of fabric — one for each element, and get about 1/4 to 1/2 yard of each, depending on how big you want to make your altar cloth.

When selecting your fabrics, make sure each material is of a similar weight — you don’t want to try stitching together satin, a heavy brocade, and tulle all in the same project. Quilter’s cotton is a great fabric to use, and it’s reasonably priced — usually under $3 per yard. You may wish to pick a material with a design — I used a green one with leaves for Earth, blue with clouds for Air, etc. — or you might just want to go with colors that symbolize the elements in your tradition.

 

First, cut out a 1/4 circle out of each fabric. To do this, you’ll need to make sure you have one square corner. Tie a piece of string to a pen, and hold the end of the string at the corner of the fabric. Guide the pen along the fabric, as shown in Figure 1. This will give you four quarter circles that have the same radius all the way around

Once you have four equal quarters, you’ll want to piece them together in pairs. Match up two adjacent quarters, such as Earth and Air, and stitch them along the straight edge, with right sides together (see Figure 2). Once you’ve stitched them together, unfold and press out the seam. Do this with the other two pieces as well. Now what you’ll end up with is two half-circles.

Take your two half circles and place them right side together, matching up outer edges and center seams. Stitch together along the long straight edge. Press the seam open.

Finally, press under 1/4″ all the way around, and then fold that edge under another 1/4″ to create a smooth hem on the circle. Pin in place, and then stitch the edge. You’ll end up with a complete circle, with each of the elements represented in a quarter. Use it on your altar during ritual or other celebrations.

**Helpful tip: If you use a full yard of fabric for each element, you can cut four quarters for each one — make one altar cloth for yourself, and then make more for three of your friends!

 

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Magickal Goody For June 28th – Since It’s Summer, How to Make Your Own Flea Powder

How to Make Your Own Flea Powder

This is a really easy recipe to make your own flea powder its really simple

Flea Powder Ingredients:

  • 1 part eucalyptus powder
  • 1 part pennyroyal powder (use sage or rosemary for cats)
  • 1 part fennel powder
  • 1 part yellow dock powder

You can pick these up from your local herb shop or you can get them on line by using Google Product search. Don’t forget you can pick some of these herbs up from Ebay which is also listed on Google Product Search.

Combine all ingredients in a shaker top jar and shake to mix the flea powder.

To apply the flea powder to your pet’s fur by brushing backward with your hand or comb and sprinkling the powder into the roots of the hairs.

Make sure you concentrate on the neck, back, and belly. Use just enough powder to add a little odor to the hairs.

For severe flea infestations, treat daily with flea powder; otherwise, use two or three times a week.

 

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Home Life Weekly

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