This past Christmas was kinda fantastic, you guys. I took off about two weeks from work in the office, started it off with a low-key party at my boyfriend’s, spent a week in my ancestral hometown at my parents’ house dogsitting for them while they went to Maine to see the rest of the family, then returned to Northern Virginia for a good number of ribald New Year’s ruckuses and riots. A pretty nice, relaxing, and recharging time; I didn’t do much in the way of ritual or practice, but it was fun all the same. Now that I’m all recharged and refreshed, especially after that two-week conjuration ordeal I did recently, I’ll get back on my five-week conjuration cycle (and see how long I can maintain that again).
However, just because I wasn’t doing much in the way of practice doesn’t mean I wasn’t busy. I busted out the woodburner, woodstain and finish, and a bunch of wooden placards and got to work making a whole slew of goodies to sell, some as commissions and some at the local store in Fairfax, Sticks and Stones. Coming up with names or descriptions for them to sell at the store, making them friendly enough for New Agey-types and small enough to fit on the back of a business card, was about as soul-wrenching and fun as making the things themselves, in my opinion, but here’s what I got done:
- Tables of Practice. You know, the summoning circles with the names of the elemental archangelic kings and planetary angelic governors around the triangle with the cross, pentagram, and hexagram. I use one in my own conjuration work, based off the Trithemius ritual. I made four of them: two basic ones, one with “Tetragrammaton” around the triangle, and one with the signs of the zodiac on the outside bevel.
- Divination trays. These were inspired by my friend Raven Orthaevelve, another occult crafter (whose skill and art far surpasses mine). They’re large wooden plates to hold runes, stones, crystals, or other small objects used in divination, kinda like the trays used in Ifa (opon Ifa). The outside could have an abecedarium or some arrangement of symbols, and the inside could be divided up to assist in divination or for art. I made four of these, each with a different style and script:
- Runic tray: the Elder Futhark on the outside, with a triquetra on the inside with the names of the three Norns (Nordic Fates), decorated with an eight-spoked wheel and little faces representing the Norns.
- Greek tray: the Greek alphabet on the outside, with a quartered square and latticework on the inside with the symbols and names of the four traditional elements.
- Theban tray: the Theban script, also called the Witches’ Runes or Runes of Honorious, on the outside with a pentagram, the five elements, and five holy weapons of the magician’s altar. Definitely my most neopagan-friendly one, ascribing Swords to Fire and Wands to Air instead of vice versa (you know, the ceremonial/correct way) and including the Triple Moon in the center.
- Hebrew tray: the Celestial Hebrew script on the outside with the hexagram and seven planets on the inside, each with their names written in mundane Hebrew.
- Sator Square. An ancient Roman charm that can be read forwards, up, down, or backwards to reveal the same text: SATOR AREPO TENET OPERA ROTAS, a perfect palindrome and magic square of rank 5. Used across the Mediterranean and European world for centuries.
- Wand of Trithemius. A rod engraved with “AGLA ON TETRAGRAMMATON” with a hexagram, a hexagram with a yod inside, and a cross on one side, and “EGO ALPHA ET OMEGA” on the other. The standard wand from the Trithemius ritual, except using oak instead of ebony (because I’m not that resourceful). Nothing too spectacular here.
- Wand of Homer. This was fun, and I really liked how it turned out: a wand bearing the Golden Chain of Homer on one side (an alchemical symbol describing the process of manifestation from and reunion with the Divine Source that is the Great Work of the alchemists) and the symbols for salt, mercury, sulfur, and azoth (the four alchemical principles) on the other. Made of oak as well, I stained it with ebony (though it didn’t take as well as I’d hoped), inlaid it with gold leaf, capped the ends with brass, and set a crystal point on top. It’s got a different feel than my other wands, and I almost don’t want to get rid of it.
- Sets of runes and geomantic figures (geomes). These are small little things, sets of wooden tokens with the Elder Futhark or the geomantic figures on them, for use in divination. The store’s had a dearth of divination supplies, and apparently runes are in high demand, so I made three sets of those and one of the geomantic figures. I’m going to borrow Les Cross‘ term for the figures, “geomes”, since that works pretty well and gives it a cooler sound.
Check out the pictures below, also put up on the Crafts page, for closer looks. If you’re friends with me on Twitter or Facebook (yes, I succumbed and got another account after two and a half years, mutter mutter), you probably saw pictures of the unfinished projects as I made them. If you’re in the area, consider stopping by Sticks and Stones and making a purchase! If not, be it known that I take commissions now, so if you’re interested in something like this or something original, send me an email (polyphanes at gmail) and let’s talk about it. Once we get the details sorted out and the design finalized, I’ll make it, you pay me, I’ll ship it, and you get it.
And the crafting isn’t quite over yet, either; a friend of mine who attended one of my workshops is gifting me an actual Gabon ebony dowel to make into a wand. I cannot express how grateful and omg excited I am over this thing, not to mention the ebony shavings and sawdust they saved to use in future crafting projects (waste not, want not). Plus, another two crafts for friends for gifts are in the works, a special type of summoning circle/ritual focus connected to a well-known dreamworld and a special cane with alchemical symbols and a poem in ancient Chinese script (bronze script and oracle bone script).
Your blog is absolutely amazing. We re very alike, you know, I just wished I posted as much as you do. Your posts are intelligent, insightful, well informed, charming, and your illustrations rule! Hat s off to you sir. I linked you in my blogs, btw. Right now I m copy pasting your posts and printing them. Can stare at the screen for so long, but I want to read everything you posted!
That’s high and welcome praise! You’re one of my big inspirations when it comes to the occult, design, and crafting, and your own stuff is beautiful and exceedingly well done. Thank you for your awesome words, and I hope you’ll stick around to keep reading.
I just like to write, after all. Working with Hermes and the sphere of Mercury makes me chatty; the notion of “keeping silent” is boring, especially when people should know about this stuff. Falling into fluffiness is an abyss all its own I like to jeep people from, if at all possible.