Monday, August 27, 2012

PBP: Crafting as Spellcraft

Sometimes, I make jewelry. I've crafted a couple wire rings, and a few bracelets, but my favorite thing to do is pendants and necklaces. Often, I just get this itch to craft something, so I sit down with my supplies and work with what feels right. In my deepest crafting-trances there's a corner of my mind that thinks I'm going crazy. But I've come out with some powerful stuff. Look:

Found length of copper wire, and hematite beads. 

It may not look like much, but this thing is heavy. It has resisted becoming a pendant, even though I added a thin bale; I just don't have the materials to wear it in a way it wants to be worn -- or if I do, I haven't figured it out yet. So it sits on my altar, soaking up the energy of the objects that surround it, until the idea comes to me.

I also can draw -- moderately well, better with reference. I am just skilled enough to have a chance that the images pressing for attention will come out right, and I get viciously disappointed when they do not (which is often). Coloring confounds me. As a result, my best works often begin as idle doodles. I have pulled some interesting things from my subconscious this way.

I want to be an apothecary and/or hedgewitch, damnnit.

Still not sure what this is. A minscape scene, perhaps? I was melancholy when I drew it.

So what am I getting at? Any artist or artisan worth their salt, no matter their world view, simply must pull from within themselves to create a meaningful piece. That's a bit of your soul, right there: on that scrap of paper, that clay bowl, inside that carved wood box or scattered in pixels on your computer screen. At very least, it's time and effort, a piece of your life. The process is similar to spellcasting, at least how I understand it: you set out with intent, take a dive into the Otherworld(s), and use your tools to make it happen and/or bring a part of it back. This can be draining...which is one of the reasons I am not a prolific artist. (The others are related to the overly high bar I set for myself.)

For the Spirit-deaf or -blocked, like I most likely am, art may be the best way to tap into the...other side. By "other side," I mean all incorporeal realms: mindscapes, the astral, lands of the Dead/Fey/Spirits, et cetera. (Fandoms, too.) I am lumping them together because I have no experience in consciously traveling them; they are not distinct to me -- yet. Perhaps that can change with persistent effort.

If you're curious about the other things I've managed to pull out of myself, scan, and post on the Internet, visit my Deviantart account.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

PBP: Blackberry Season

I am shamelessly turning this into a Pagan Blog Project post, because I need a second B.

Today, instead of taking a 5-minute drive down the street, I took a fifteen minute walk to a store and back again. I am now slimy from the combination of sunscreen and sweat (you're welcome, for that mental image), but it was worth it. Doubly so because on the way back, I picked blackberries as I went. They were growing wild amid the landscaping and didn't seem to be targeted by anything harsher than pruning shears, so I figured, why not? I nearly filled my water bottle with them. I had to empty it to make room; but it made a nice expression of thanks for the thirsty plants. Water is easier for a human to come by.

Blackberries are rather special to me: I grew up in a suburban area, but with the benefit of a designated, no-can-touch greenbelt behind the backyard, so I had a wonderfully leafy view. Because it surrounds a streamlet, the land is swampy, and blackberry bushes crowd the ground level. Unfortunately, the neighborhood committee sometimes poisons the ones growing on the edges, to control the brambly tide, so I wasn't allowed to pick the fruit as a kid. I know now that they're an invasive species -- that's why they take over so easily. But their presence was welcome. In addition to the blackberries, that strip of land houses cottonwoods, alders, low-growing willows, indian plum trees, and a couple salmon berries. (At least the last two are native.) Someday, I'll remember to take pictures when I go back to visit my parents.

Speaking of pictures, I decided to share this bounty with the gods on my altars. There is no prayer behind these gestures; they're presents, and tokens of good will.

I recently bought a nice blend of green and white teas from Celestial Seasonings. I thought Kuanyin might like some, so I gave her a portion from my mug in addition to the fruit.

I dared not leave Hekate out.

And even though Athena has been quiet lately, I decided to put two berries in her offertory dish, too.

Now, sometime tonight, I'll have to move or break down my altar so it doesn't get paint on it when the porch door is finished up. It would be all right if I was the one doing the painting, but I'm not. Call me a hermit, but I do not enjoy strangers entering my home, even on legitimate business. If it was up to be, the apartment complex would have never been painted in the first place....grumble-mumble. On the bright side, maybe I'll have new altar pictures to show you soon; that arrangement in front of Hekate is, I feel, out of date.

Monday, August 6, 2012

PBP: C is for Carnelian

I attempted a second B post for the Pagan Blog Project. But when I tried to write about my beliefs and thoughts on the nature of belief in general, the result was a lot of me talking about things I knew next to nothing about. So, I decided to skip ahead. The following is more or less copied from my journal.

Stone Impressions: Carnelian

Carnelian is one of my favorite stones, for its vibrant orange-red color, translucency, and pretty banding. It's a kind of quartz, variety chalcedony, which as far as I understand it means it doesn't grow in visible pointed crystals. I own a string of beads I got at a street fair, a ring from a bead shop, and a bracelet made from it and bloodstone that I found at Goodwill.

According to the snippet of info I got at the local Pagan bookstore, carnelian facilitates creativity and is good for the 1st and/or 2nd chakras (don't remember which). Honestly, I wonder how many of these "official" crystal uses were/are derived solely from a stone's mundane properties, such as color. Not that that isn't a valid starting point, but...Okay, some of the metaphysical descriptions I've read smell of bullshit. And I have a low tolerance for bullshit. I considered buying one of those big crystal guidebooks, to save myself work, but once I figured out they were essentially the author's personal impressions, seasoned with scientific info, I decided I would be an idiot if I spent $20+ dollars on it. I have several rock identification textbooks and a gemstone-focused geology class under my belt. I could do the rest myself. And if there's one thing I can get a mind-feel for, it's stones. (And crafted objects. But that's a story for another day.)

So, let me chat with my ring, and I'll get back to you.

Five days later...

So, I couldn't get a feel for my ring. I wasn't in the right frame of mind, it had soaked up too much of my energy, and/or it was being an elusive bastard. But today I was excited to find a large piece of tumbled and polished carnelian at the bookstore, and it has a much bolder "signature."

(Reminds me of a dried apricot.)

 As with all the carnelian I've encountered, it...kind of clears my head -- this one almost emptied it completely when I held it near my forehead, and not in a pleasant way, either. So, note to self: keep away from third eye?

I haven't properly meditated with it yet, because I am undisciplined/unpracticed in the art. However, this stone is like a small, comfortably warm fire in my hand. This is not a substance for introspection, but for getting things done.