Over the past few months, I’ve been rubbing shoulders with more practitioners of Santería and Palo Mayombe than I ever expected to, to my ever-increasing delight and education. I was even invited to a San Lazaro party in December, which was fantastic (when the crowd chuckles and eggs on a 12-year-old girl getting possessed by a god instead of freaking out, you know you’re at a good party). One of the things that indicates someone as an ATR practitioner, specifically Santeros and Santeras, is the eleke or collar, a type of beaded necklace or bracelet that marks a person as receiving the blessing and initiation into a particular orisha. These aren’t usually fancy things; just a string of seed beads in alternating colors or specific patterns with specific colors. For instance, the eleke of Orunmila, the orisha of divination and life path knowledge, is a string of alternating green and yellow beads; Yemaya, the orisha of the oceans and seas, has blue and white beads; and so forth. Essentially, an eleke is a piece of consecrated jewelry made from a particular power’s colors. If you’re still lost, do a search for “orisha eleke” and you’ll see what I’m talking about.
That got me to thinking: why not make variants of elekes for my own work? After all, beads come in many colors, and Hermetic magic (thanks to Qabbalah and the Golden Dawn) has a large and well-known set of colors for the planets, elements, signs of the Zodiac, and so forth. So, for instance, why not make a bead necklace using orange and purple beads for Mercury, or green and amber for Venus? Of course, since only Santería has elekes, these wouldn’t be the same nor would they be “fed” (consecrated) in the same way, so I’m calling them something else: carcanets, a French word meaning “necklace” or “choker”; the etymology of the word is unclear, but it may have a Germanic origin or a root in the Latin word carcer, meaning “prison” (which may sound familiar to the geomancers out there). Carcanet is a sufficiently distinct term from a simple “necklace”, and I’m using it to describe these magical bead necklaces and bracelets.
To that end, I went ahead and made sets of carcanets for each of the seven planets and four elements using their planetary colors. Of course, since bead-makers don’t make all the fine gradations of colors the Golden Dawn king and queen scales prescribe (nor could most eyes tell the differences, anyway), my choices were slightly limited, but I think they turned out pretty well. Since then, my beading skills have improved, and I’ve moved onto making chaplets and rosaries, but carcanets are definitely among the most ritual-oriented wear I’ve made yet.
I made two forms of carcanets for each planet: a simple carcanet consisting of alternating colors (king and queen scales) of that particular planet, and a grand carcanet that consists of a specific bead pattern (corresponding to the number of that planet in Qabbalah) with extra gemstone beads in appropriate colors. The elements have only simple carcanets, which use the flashing colors of the Golden Dawn. Each force and type of carcanet has a necklace and two bracelets, forming a three-piece set. I’ll consecrate them under their respective angels in my upcoming conjurations, using the grand carcanets for ritual wear (in addition to or in lieu of sashes, girdles, stoles, etc. for a particular force) and using the simple carcanets for daily wear and on-the-go rituals. Essentially, carcanets would be another style of talisman that wouldn’t be as obtrusive as yet another pendant or as expensive as having a custom-made ring.
Making them isn’t that hard, and since it wouldn’t be hard for me to turn them out for others, I’ve decided to take commissions especially for carcanets. More importantly, you can commission them easily at my recently-opened Etsy shop! Yes, I finally took the plunge and opened up an Etsy page, where you can instantly buy my ebooks as well as buy crafts from me, such as these carcanets as well as some of my woodwork (Tables of Practice especially).
A few notes:
- The Seven Planets and Four Elements carcanets are only available as necklaces and cannot be combined as a set with wrist carcanets.
- The elemental carcanets, Seven Planets carcanet, and Four Elements carcanet are only available as simple carcanets.
- Carcanets will include consecration and maintenance instructions included with the package. However, since I know some people would rather others handle ritual and consecration, I’ll offer to consecrate your chosen carcanets for an extra $20 (both simple and grand carcanets). Due to the extra work involved, the Seven Planets and Four Elements carcanets will be $40 to consecrate. Requesting consecration may delay shipping by up to seven weeks in addition to crafting time, depending on the force requested. Look at the styles on my Etsy page, figure out which one you want and the cost, then contact me directly and we’ll work it out over PayPal instead of Etsy.
- Carcanets are not proper elekes and are not to be confused with them, nor do they have any association with the orishas or practice of Santería, nor do I have any experience with or initiation into Santería. Just sayin’. These things are their own things.
As always, if you’re interested in any other commissions, contact me and we’ll work things out over email and PayPal. Until then, enjoy the convenience of Etsy, especially now that I’ve updated my own business cards! Also, note that I’ve now taken down my ebooks from the Services page, since they’re now more easily available through Etsy.