Thursday, 10 August 2017

MM / WW. DIY Wand, Prayer Beads & Witches Ladder.

While I am a firm believer in not NEEDING tools in order to be able to achieve your desires...  They sure are pretty and they can definitely aid you in your workings to say the least!!  That said tools can come to us in different ways for example we could go out and buy the most expensive item someone else made/found which they claim is X and we buy it and we consecrate it, bless it, pour our intent into it, name it and all round make it our own.  Perfect?  Alternatively we repurpose from our kitchens, are gifted, we buy the things that look like and will make do, make our own, find things in nature (my favourite) and/or we repurpose other things (something else I love) with a craft element and more.  All for the purpose of filling a position on our altar, in our arsenal, that blank space that someone else has one so we of course we abide by the same notion that we want/need one as well.  But as said, we don’t really need these tools..  We are the main tool.

That said I'd like to talk about 3 things I made..

Wand

The wand is seen as many things it is seen as a smaller more portable besom (broom), it is seen as male representative such as God, sun, yang.  Its place is in the south or god side (right) and lends itself to the powers of magick, will and transformation.  They also make for excellent divination tools as well as casting tools for example it can be used to cast a circle in place of an athame (a-thaw-may).  It can be made of natural material such as wood, crystal, stone but most traditionally and commonly its wood since wood comes from trees which each have their own properties which infuse additional properties to the particular wand made.

So that’s some basics about the wand.  But do we really need it?  No!!  And in fact for my first 10 years of study/practice I used my right hand (dominant hand) index finger – which if I’m being super honest I still do most often than not or I use my whole hand, as that’s what feels right to me.  But do I have a wand now?  Yes!  Did I buy it?  No!  Did I find and alter it?  Yes, actually!!

How?  I was drawn to the concept of wands a few years back, I had been looking at various wooden wands – as a lover of willow trees and cherry trees and even oak and birch trees and perhaps even apple and.. oh the choices..  None of them really coincided with what I wanted and I toiled over this not even knowing if I would use this overly priced stick or indeed where I would get one in nature (as a disabled person, who doesn’t get out much!)  So I started looking into crystal wands...  The only wands that seemed right was pure clear quartz and between the price and that they seemed overly common and if there’s one thing I can say for myself is I like things that are different, quirky, dark / gothic and unique.  Hmm.  I had considered making a wand out of clay – a natural earth based product that would combine both my Zodiac Fire sign with my Chinese Earth elemental Earth and let’s be honest Air and Water get a look in too so this could be a successful DIY alternative!! 

As I was still in battle with myself over this decision...  I was invited out to meet a lovely lady off of the internet who is also spiritual, lives reasonably close and we took and unexpected beach trip just before Imbolc a few years back.  While on said beach trip I came across the most amazing piece of driftwood.  It caught my eye while we were looking for seaglass as it looked like a long twisted bony witches finger sticking up out the sand and would you believe it’s pointing straight at me!!  If you believe in signs, I do, then this is it... RIGHT?  So I pulled the stick out the sand which instantly felt so right.  All these ideas came flooding to mind on how I could decorate it!  Fast forward to a few days later I was back troubled in two minds; while it seemed a perfect shaped piece of driftwood that had been stripped and polished by the purifying salty sea, smashed against the pebbled earthy beach, baked in the hot fiery sun and aided by air to dry out beautifully I still didn’t know what tree it came from?  What if it wasn’t compatible?  What if it had ugly properties I didn’t like?  What if…   I decided to go ahead and work on it anyway for what harm could it do?  At worst I threw it away or I sold it on to someone who would love it and at best I’d adopt it for my own (which I obviously did). 

As it was already perfectly stripped and dried; I gave it a bit of a soap and water wash, again let it dry out before rubbing melted bees wax into it – why?  I have no idea; it just felt like the right thing to do at the time!  I got some pink leather thong cord (from my craft supply stash) and hot glued it around the non-finger end.  I then melted candle wax over the top of this to seal it – again no idea why.  Approximately half way down was a little knot hole so I grabbed a piece of quartz crystal bead from my jewellery making supplies, I outlined the hole with a silver sharpie and I hot glued the crystal in place.  I loved it.  Just above the handle is the perfect notch for my finger to rest making the wand a perfect extension of my index finger or my thumb if I desired.  I felt like I wanted to weigh the handle down a little so got an eye screw from my junk drawer and twisted it into the end, I then again raided my craft supplies and my witchy supplies and attached 3 real magpie feathers (which were very significant in my life at that time), some symbolic charms, a chakra keyring I had made myself just days before and a few other oddity beads and such.  And thus it came to be, I have a wand!!

Granted to this day I still don’t know what tree it came from, but in my head all that is purified by the salty sea waters.  Making the properties of this driftwood...  of which any Sea Witch worth her salt can tell you that Driftwood properties are those infused with purifying abilities from salt of the sea making it a pure tool; fantastic for burning in fire magic, spells, protective jewellery, that it carries all the elements perfect for purity works such as protection, purification, blessing, casting circles and all those good energy workings.  And this, this sits right with me and my practices.  Driftwood!



My Pagan Prayer Beads.

Far more commonly associated with religions such as Christianity and the Catholic Church or Buddhist Shaolin Monks Prayer Beads have different but similar symbolic meaning throughout various faiths.  Some use them to count a mantra, others use them as a symbol of the holy trinity and god, and others use them to represent their sins, journeys or many other reasons.  Even inside each religion there are different types of Prayer Beads which not only have different uses but are also made of different materials, different numbers of beads, different sized beads, charms or not and the list goes on.  I shall not get into Prayer Beads here today as that is a whole library section of information.  But I thought I’d add the concept of why I made mine!!

So first off I liked the Christian image of the Rosary Prayer Beads draped over their hands, always been quite a strong spiritual (non religious binding) symbol.  Even before my spiritual and Paganism faiths I always liked the concept of prayer which for me is putting out good intentions be there someone or some being there to receive my words or not.

Second I like the counting mantra concept since when I try to meditate my mind often wandered away far from that task at hand, daydreaming.  So it helped me stay grounded and focused regardless of if I counted the beads or just passed them through my fingers – believe it or not there’s also a right and wrong way to do this as well but I just do what feels right to me.  (There’s a pattern forming here!)

Third and final, I liked the concept of what I could create using elements and corresponding stones which each of them carry their own properties and then using charms as symbolism to create my own personal Pagan / Wiccan Prayer Beads...  I am not saying this is what Pagan / Wiccan Prayer Beads are; just what mine are/mean to me.

I started with the concept, and some research.  Most beads are strung in sets of 9 and have points which have larger beads, charms or some kind of marker to give a signal that the next set of beads are coming up.  These also tend to form number patterns.  I decided since at that time I was researching and doing a lot of elemental working that this would be a good use of that knowledge and another way to incorporate this into my practice.  I decided to go for a Rosary inspired look, incorporating the 5 pentagram points the four elements Earth, Air, Fire, Water and the fifth point being Spirit or also known as the fifth element Akasha. From this a tail of grounding and all of this accompanied my symbolic charms.

   My design:
·       Air - Pegasus Charm - Air Stones: Amethyst
·       Earth – Fairy Charm - Earth Stones: Malachite
·       Fire – Dragon Charm - Fire Stones: Volcanic Black Salt
·       Water – Mermaid Charm - Water Stones: Sodalite
·       Spirit - clear quartz
·       Spirit & Grounding - chain pentacle, tree, sun/moon - Black Tourmaline in 3x 3s

Amethyst
Amethyst - Healing on all levels - body, mind, and spirit. Raises vibrational frequency and protects against negative energies.

Malachite
Malachite - Love, Money, Protection, Protection form Negativity, Transformation, Heart Chakra, Prosperity, Abundance, Imagination, Intuition, and Creativity.

Sodalite
Sodalite - Healing, meditation, wisdom, calm, grounding, stress reducer, strong metaphysical properties, creative abilities and it aids teachers, writers and students to understand the deeper philosophical principles. Psychic abilities, developing intuition. aid communication. Helps understanding of astrology and the tarot. Power & Luck.

Lava Stone
Lava Stone - Strength, Courage, Calming, Grounding, Healing, Rebirth, Stabilising, Root Chakra, Energy. Born in fiery brimstone that bubbles to the Earth’s surface (and eventually cools), lava stone comes from the core of the earth. Lava is a rock formed from magma erupted from a volcano. Lava rock is a grounding stone and can help you connect with nature. Since the stone comes from raw energy, Lava Stone is considered to be a stone of rebirth and shedding unneeded layers of emotional attachment.

Quartz Clear
Quartz Crystal (Rock Quartz) - Attracts, amplifies, and sends energy. Easy and safe. Useful for all kinds of healing.

Tourmaline Black
Black Tourmaline - Protection, Powerful protection against negative energy of all kinds, strong spiritual grounding stone. Positive attitudes, good luck and happiness, regardless of the circumstances that you find yourself in. Healer & creates a positive attitude and mind-set. Very grounding.


I could go on and discuss the symbolism of each of the charms, but trying to justify that dragons are not fire and apparently are actually water creatures blows my mind so perhaps we shall leave that for another day.

I like to use them in meditation, they also help me feel grounded and due to the size I made them they also work as an oversized necklace or a multi-wrap braclet if I feel I need to wear and harness those energies while I work etc.



Witches’ Ladder:

While technically it’s not a tool per say it is rather a fantastic item a witch should have in her home.  The concept is putting your intent/goals/wishes/dreams/request into the braid to bring forth a particular thing or keep away or well there really are a number of uses for them!!

They're normally made of 3 pieces of material (wool, leather, string, ribbon, cord...) can all be the same material but usually in different colours. - Traditionally black, white and red but that's optional colours.  Colours can be chosen by meaning, birth colours, colours you’re drawn to, colours that represent your intent, colour correspondences, seasonal or just your fancy!! Traditionally Witches’ Ladders are a total of 13" long once completed but that can also vary.  They can include a mixture of feathers and/or beads and/or charms and/or other trinket type items and/or other items such as animal bone, feathers, pieces of the intended such as their hair. You can use oils on the knots or braids as well.  It really is an open concept to be almost anything you desire and as shown there is really a lot you can do with them…  Made for you or for someone else! 

Made with intent, ritual, spell, prayer... can be made for many uses like protection, to bring a wish, to enchant, to bring luck, to bind love, lots of reasons. It's said once the intent is for-filled you burn/bury your Witches’ Ladder. Or if it's not something specific like just a general protection or to keep from negative energy away etc. you can keep it or hang it above your alter (I made a protection and guidance one which hangs above my altar and incorporates 3 of my favourite colours and 9 charms I associate with paganism, witchcraft, magick, fantasy and well me.

Wikipedia - A witch's ladder (also known as rope and feathers, witches' ladder, Witches’ Ladder, or witch ladder) is a fetish, in folk magic or witchcraft that is made from knotted cord or hair, that normally constitutes a spell. Charms are knotted or braided with specific magical intention into the cords.

Here's some more info on this:
http://paganwiccan.about.com/od/bookofshadows/ht/WitchsLadder.htm
http://www.legionofpagans.com/divination/3616/making-a-witches-ladder
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YbRuzrQub5Q
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x8TSmUppvHs 

I used 3 types/colours of fibre yarn: a white fibre yarn, black fibre yarn and pink fibre yarn and braided them together and knotted in 9 "witchy" charms. Charms are moon (Goddess), bat, mermaid, triquetra/holy-trinity, pentacle (Elements), tree of life, fairy, witches hat and sun (God) - these are all charms I had (I make jewellery) but that spoke to me and represents something personal to me in my life, my journey. 


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 Here's a more detailed look at those 3 items..


I hope that might give you some DIY ideas.
BB Imogen xo

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