Saturday, 3 November 2007
Firstly, how could I have forgotten before that Mum had been a collector of glass swans!
Secondly, she always wore a plain, gold necklace that Dad had given her. She never took it off, even refusing to remove it for surgery. Now, I have inherited it, I never take it off either.
Wednesday, 31 October 2007
I want to share with you the following tale and a little personal connection with it. Tonight, for Samhain, I felt drawn to pick a Druid Animal Card for remembrance of my mother who passed over a year ago next Sunday. I drew Swan. Placing it next to the wedding photograph of my parents on my alter, the significance for me was that Mum would prefer me to remember her as the young, beautiful and happy woman in that photograph, rather than the failing and feeble image of her in her last years.
The lwb description of the card hit me right between the eyes: "Being associated with the Druid festival time of Samhuinn (their spelling) the swan is also a bird of the threshold, and represents that part of us which can travel into the Otherworld. Drawing this card may indicate that you will receive inspiration from the Otherworld, or that love is entering your life." The books goes on further with swan tales that reference not only Samhain and the Otherworld, but also St. Kernoc - Kernow being an ancient name for Cornwall, where my mother and I both hale from.
Friday, 13 July 2007
The wood is English Oak and the feathers are Little Owl. Both were collected at a place where we were camping, near Fareham. (The owl paid many early morning visits to the oak tree we were parked under.)
For a while, I just held onto them with no clear idea in mind. Then at Spring Equinox 2004 it came to me to make a wand with them, as the stick has a lovely curve at the end that makes it comfortable to hold. At first I just made a rough point and tied the feathers on with red thread and that was it.
Frequently, the stick-wand was neglected and ignored but I kept coming back to it and felt I could make something very personal with it. For a long time I toyed with how I could attach a small crystal to the point but it never felt right. Then, after I'd used it during the Spear Ceremony (see my Hallowquest blog at http://myhallowquestjournal.blogspot.com/), at Solstice, I decided to sand the point until it was sharp and the other end until it was smooth enough for me to draw a rune on it.
I decided I would burn the rune Algiz (for spiritual protection) on the end. This was the first time I'd tried pyrography and, after a little practice, found it not too difficult, albeit a little dangerous! I then burnt a small hole where I hold it and sealed a tiny piece of quartz crystal with some beeswax candle. This got around the crystal thing rather neatly I thought, as I have the energy of the crystal, without a cumbersome attachment problem. The beeswax was from the remains of the candle I burnt at the Solstice ceremony, which fits my current efforts at recycling wherever possible.
I thought I might have finished then and sanded the wand lightly and rubbed it with a lump of beeswax Snr Antonio had given me. As I was doing this, I discovered that a raised area near the tip was beginning to look like the head of a snake. I was suddenly fired with passion about how I finally wanted the wand to look. I used my penknife to cut out a snake's body, coiled around the wand with it's tail near the hidden crystal. Then I sanded again and finally set to work highlighting and decorating my snake with pyrography.
I felt an adder design was appropriate for several reasons:
- Snake is one of my totem animals. I have snake medicine "within" and have felt it's power increasingly in recent years.
- Snake's power is "transmutation", the ability to transform one thing into another. Very appropriate for a witch's wand, although I have no intention changing anyone into a frog!!
- Caitlin and John Matthews, in their Hallowquest book, explain that adder is one of the totem animals of Celtic tradition. It represents the "Goddess of Sovereignty in her dark phase". It is depicted in the Arthurian Tarot on The Cauldron (trad. Temperance) and Sword 2.
So, after another light sanding and oiling, the wand was ready for the feathers again. I had to renovate the feathers a bit using steam. I tied them together with the thread that had been placed around my wrist at the Kali Temple in Kolkata. The priest had made it clear that I shouldn't just throw the cord away, so I was glad to find a use for it. I used the power of 3; 3 knots around the feathers, 3 times around the wand and 3 knots to secure it. The melted remains of the beeswax candle was used to bind the ends.
Now I have just to create a consecration ceremony, which I plan to do tomorrow at new moon.
One final aside: there was a tiny bit of cord and wax left, so I thought it best to destroy these by fire. As they burned I visualised a nest, with a flaming heart in it's centre. The ashes looked like a distorted sheep or goat. I took the ashes outside and offered them to Kali. Now the next bit sounds like an exaggeration but I assure you it's true. At that very instant, a massive whirlwind blew across our land - enough to slam doors and blow debris into the house!
Tuesday, 19 June 2007
I realise that I started writing for the wrong reasons - attention seeking I call it. Now I understand what sensible people already know - the computer and internet are just tools. In future, my entries will be for my own pleasure and interest. If it so happens that someone reads them and finds them interesting too, so much the better. However, they will be as sporadic or profuse as the journal entries they are based on. Only when they supplement or add to something I am working on, I will use them.
My journal has become much more creative and open this year, and particularly since getting back from India last month. People who have spent any time there already know just what an effect the place has on you. I feel I am being re-made.
Monday, 1 January 2007
It shows my thoughts turning to the winter solstice and the realm of the Stone Hallow and Stone family (my Arthurian tarot cards). The Goddess in her many forms was making a clear presence and I was particularly struck with the statue of Europa at the Eurotunnel, Calais end. The little figure, half woman, half scorpion, was inspired by a beautiful picture of Selkhet shown to me by our friend Chantel. She said it was the only positive image she'd ever seen for those of us born under the sign of Scorpio. It was in a book by Jose Olivier called Hybrides Dieux Oubles.