Magickal Goody of the Day
(pronounced “a-thAM-ay” or “ATH-a-may”)
Many Witches own one or more ritual knives. These are commonly known as “athames” in Wiccan circles. In the Scottish traditions, the knife is called a “yag-dirk” and in Sax Wicca it is known as a “seax” (see-ax). As with all ritual tools, the athame is a very personal magickal item-one which you will want to take some care in obtaining. It should fit well and comfortably in your hand, for one thing. You certainly wouldn’t want it to go flying across the room while you are casting a circle. This type of occurrence could cause a drastic drop in the attendance level at your next circle!
Many Witches make their own blades or “personalize” purchased ones with runes, carvings and other symbols; all of which serve to blend the energy of the tool with their own magickal intentions. Modern Witchcraft books almost always state that the athame is a “black handled double edged iron blade.” You may call this model, “the classic’, if you like! But many other practitioners now use athames made from stainless steel, copper, silver and various other metals, or even carved stone. Some have family heirlooms, such as letter openers which serve the purpose. Some Witches never use a blade at all! So you can see, it is more important that the tool you choose suits you personally rather than reflect the latest fashion craze.
The athame can be used to cast the magic circle, call the “quarters” or elements, and is part of many an opening ritual, handfasting (wedding) or initiation rite. It is associated with the element of Fire and the South. It is customary in some traditions to have your blade given to you as a gift. Some Witches or ceremonial workers give their tools a magickal “name”. (This practice has become a common reference in many role playing games and fantasy novels.)
Almost all materials written state-and most Witches/Wiccans, with the possible exception of the Sax Wiccans, agree- that magickal tools should not be used for any other purpose than ritual work. Often the blade is left “dull” or unsharpened because of this. (Another blade, the “boleen”, with a white handle is sometimes used to harvest herbs or carve symbols, but not used for ritual work.) Some Witches will not let their tools be touched by anyone other than themselves. Some covens or working groups share common tools. It is, other than for those who are dedicated into a specific Tradition, what you are comfortable with.
You heard right, weaving your own baskets! As witches, we have many knick-knacks that we collect. Sometimes we get some many they just pile up because store bought baskets are expensive. I ran across this idea on another site and thought knowing how to make our own baskets, might be helpful and save some while we are at it. I know I am going to give it a try, I hope you do too! Enjoy!
Learn to make an American Indian basket by studying the different techniques and weaving methods used by Native Americans, from the Pacific Northwest to the Southwestern United States. As you learn about basket weaving, you will learn that each tribe uses the same basic weaving technique, but each tribe or pueblo has adapted basket-weaving methods to the weaving materials they have available. The Native Americans have evolved their weaving to include pictorial designs — the Hopi Indian baskets are well-known for kachina images.
Basket making fibers (grass, yucca, twig, roots or cane)
Baskets can be made from a variety of materials, most commonly wicker, cane and reed. In order to make the material bend, you must first be saturate it with lukewarm water. The strips of material, the weavers, can be all the same color or used in combination to create patterns. Fancier baskets have handles and intricate designs.
For beginners, using a basket weaving kit with a wooden base is the most simple method of creating a basket. It should include all weaving materials and with a picture that shows the completed project.
A basket starts by inserting straight spokes into prepunched wooden base holes, leaving about an inch extended through the bottom, regardless of the size of the basket. They should be even with each other.
Start on the top side of the base. Select a long wicker and slide it between two spokes flat on the base, with the end pointing inside the first spoke. Gently weave outside the next spoke and inside the following one. Repeat this movement until you get to the end of a wicker.
Always stop on the inside with just a small piece protruding. Take a new moist weaver and go backwards two spots, placing the tip on the inside of the spoke on top of the old weaver. Hold both tips in place with two fingers or clothespins until they stay in place by themselves. Depending on the density of the material, you may have to go all the way around, putting another layer on top to make them stay. Continue pushing the layers down against each other and weaving inside and out until you have about 1 to 2 inches left on each spoke.
Finishing the basket requires soaking the protruding spokes in water to make them pliable again. Depending on the size of the tub and the basket, either immerse the whole basket or just the top or bottom spoke sections before working on it.
For a kit project, bend the wet bottom spokes one at a time in the same direction so they lie nearly flat to the base, tucking each under the one next to it and overlapping the following wicker. Bend the last spoke end under the first, making it as flat as possible.
Create a top border by following the same steps as making the bottom border. Tuck the last piece underneath the first, finishing on the inside.
Allow the basket to dry at least until slightly damp. Clip any protruding ends as close to the inside line as possible. Cutting too close to the area between spokes will cause it to pop through and stick out the other side, leaving a hole that is nearly impossible to fix.
The lovely African violet is used magically to increase spirituality, to protect, and making a protection charm bag is a good way to use this small plant.
Protection charm bag:
Gather nine flowers from your African violet (please thank the plant for the gift).
You will need a small charm bag (you can make or purchase)
Lighter or match,
Light your incense. Place the flowers in your bag, and hold your filled bag over the smoke to bless. Blessing charm:I bless this bag and all within, By the powers of protection it will send, Protection seen and unseen held within, Only love and light it will send.
Author: Penny Parker
Used externally for burns and irradiated skin, bruises, soreness, and skin ulcers. I love to use it for cracked, dry skin, eczema, diaper rash, and garden hands. It can help reduce bleeding and is wonderful for sore nipples and varicose veins! In other words, this salve is good for almost everything! And is a must-have in my healing cupboard.
3 cups dried calendula/ marigold petals
1 cup extra virgin olive oil, grape seed oil, or almond oil
2 ounces grated beeswax or beeswax pastilles
Optional: frankincense essential oil, 5 drops; tea tree oil, 5 drops
Heat flowers in oil to a simmer (about 20 minutes).
Let the oil flower mixture set over night (the longer it sets, the stronger the salve).
Next, using cheese cloth over a clean cup or jar, strain the oil flower mixture (you will now have a lovely golden infusion).
In a double boiler, heat oil infusion and grated beeswax until melted and pour into clean jars and let cool, then seal (store in a cool dark place).
Magical uses: Being an herb of the sun, calendula can be used to remove negative energy. Oil can be used to consecrate tools, and the petals can be used as part of incense for divination.
The plant can be used in any ritual to honor the Sun, as part of a sacred bath, incense, or strewing herb as well as to produce a yellow dye for and altar cloths for use in sun-honoring rituals. For protection, hand garlands of calendula over entry doors to prevent evil from entering.
Source:Farmhouse Witchcraft Penny Parker
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.