Planetary and Elemental Jewelry, also an Etsy shop!

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.

Crafts from Christmastime

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).

Custom Wandmaking and Commissions

Given that this is my blog, I feel quite free and enabled to post goddamn whatever the hell I want using as many expletives as my little heart desires.  So, the posts here range from ancient Mediterranean rituals to modern energy work to politics and anywhere in between (especially the in between).  Some of my posts are dedicated to the crafts, tools, and other things I make in the course of the Work, and there’s even multiple pages dedicated to some of the more significant projects I’ve done (check them out under the Crafts menu above, while you’re at it).

I knew it was only a matter of time, but someone recently commissioned them for a custom occult item, a hardwood wand largely following the Trithemius model but with a few design differences and the use of custom ingredients, celestial empowerment, and hard-to-obtain materials to enhance the wand’s power.  Despite some unexpected oddities in the results, I’m pleased overall with the production.  I just hope the owner of the wand says the same!

Not a lot of people know that I’m more than happy to take commissions for occult crafts, mostly because I don’t advertise it.  So, let this post be the official announcement that I’m open to take commissions for occult crafts, tools, talismans, and other artefacts of the Great Work.  Depending on the commission and the time, I may not be able to take it up or might refer you to someone with more appropriate skills than mine, but if you have a hankerin’ for some polyphanic productions, send me an email (polyphanes at gmail) and tell me about your ideas.  Once we get the details, design, and circumstances of creation settled down and out of the way, I’ll get you a quote and we can go from there.

I may eventually get an Etsy page or something, like some of my other friends are suggesting, but in the meantime I’m content with making a few things here and there and selling them at the local spirituality store where I also do readings, Sticks and Stones in Fairfax, VA (which you should totally visit at some point if you’re in the area, especially on Sunday afternoons).

Craftwork update!

Gotta love the feeling of being productive and actually making stuff again.  About damn time, too; crafting this stuff is at least a quarter of the fun of the Art.

Since I had all the supplies, and now that things in my life have calmed down enough to allow me enough time during the week and weekends to focus and set my mind to some projects again, I can proudly show off two of my latest crafting projects:

  • A ritual sword, partially Solomonic in design but with certain elements that give it a much more offensive nature against harmful spirits.  Yes, dear reader, I made myself a demonsbane-type sword.  I’m going to conjure Kammael and Michael in turn as this conjuration cycle continues and get their opinions on it and how to keep it in good shape, so there’ll be a post on that in the future.  In the meantime, I’m scared to even hold the thing; it feels like a firebomb in my hands.
  • A Circle of Art painted onto a large canvas tarp, based on a design I introduced before.  Simple, elegant, and portable, and awesome-looking, besides!  I made a few wooden pentagram placards to serve as bases for candles and the brazier, too, so the whole setup is pretty cool.  Walking into it feels like stepping into a fortress observatory, so I think I did it right.
  • Although not a craft, per se, I had a hard time finding a proper blessing of chalk that didn’t specifically mention the Three Wise Men or Epiphany, so I made one up.  Here you go, if you ever need a Hermetic or Abrahamic blessing of chalk.

Now that I have these two things, in combination with the tools and supplies I already have (wand, triangle, pentacles, ring), I’m finally ready to start working with goetia and other types of demons.  This opens up a whole new set of practices to experiment with, so I’m pretty excited about this.  Yes, I know that dealing with demons is a powerful practice and can fuck my own shit up if I’m not careful, but what’s life without living, and what is living without learning?  I want the experience, and I hear some demons are pretty neat guys to be acquainted with.  Based on a friend’s suggestion and my own inclinations, I think Orobas will be the first guy in line.

My brony friends would be proud if they knew about this guy.

Though, this does bring up a good question for myself.  I’m used to using the Trithemius ritual to conjure spirits, which I’ve used for angels and genii (two totally different ranks of spirits), but nothing besides (since I haven’t done any other kind of conjuration).  Fr. Rufus Opus has said he’s used it equally well for all kinds of spirits from different grimoires, traditions, and texts, so I’m eager to try and figure out experiments with this rite and how to conjure spirits that are less-than-sanguine about the holy Trinity, qabbalistic godnames, and so forth.  The Lemegeton and Key of Solomon have good starting points for me to jump off of; a Trithemius/Solomonic blended conjuration might be an interesting thing to write up, since the Trithemius rite has the basic framework I need and the Solomonic texts have all the godnames, conjurations, and calls.