Sunday, October 28, 2012

Pagan Blog Project 2012 Master List

It was high time to make a master list for the Pagan Blog Project 2012, because I found myself forgetting what I had and had not done. Plus, it'll be good for archiving purposes.

Altar Overhaul
(Otherworldly) Awareness, or the Lack Thereof

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab
Blackberry Season

Stone Impressions: Carnelian
Crafting As Spellcraft

EDIT: ...And then I ran out of energy to catch up.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

A Calm Autumn Day

Today is a beautiful autumn day, a no-work Saturday, a day to get things done. This is the view from my kitchen window.

From left to right: basil plant, candy corn-infused vodka (in progress), an autumn harvest scented candle in kitty-shaped holder, and a dwarf rosemary bush. Not quite in frame: abalone shell from the (cramped) water altar, and a dead & dried sage plant that seemed grumpy when I first moved it off the sill to make room for the candle, so I put it back. Maybe it isn't as dead as I thought...

Speaking of dead:

I found this little charmer at the drugstore yesterday, on sale. There is just enough abstraction to give it (him?...I'll go with "him") character. Right now he is sitting in Hekate's territory on the altar. Not sure who/what he is for, yet, but I am confident I will find out in due time.

In closing, here is a picture of the feline roommate also enjoying the day, if not the camera. Say hi to Issy (retraction of "Missy"), and kindly overlook the state of the floor.

Back to work.

Thursday, October 18, 2012


So I may have made my partner Sunlitgarden a sistrum/sesheshet this summer in a jewelry-making class.

For the curious, here is how I made it:

First, I cut a small sheet of copper into strips, and drilled holes for where it would attach to the handle, and where I wanted to put the wires that held the jingles. I bent the frame pieces into shape, then soldered them together with a silver-zinc alloy. Since I had to anneal (heat to soften) the metal to work with it, it was still too bendy afterward -- it could barely hold its shape! My instructor showed me a device called a tumbler: basically, a bucket full of ceramic pellets with a little water added, with a lid, attached to a motor that gently shook the contents. Working (hammering, bending) metal hardens it, and this machine does it gently, without distorting the shape. I put the sistrum frame in for about an hour. Meanwhile, I worked on my favorite part: the jingles!

I cut squares of about 3/4 inches (using a jeweler's saw) and drilled a hole in the middle of each. It wasn't important that they be perfect, because I would be distorting them. Many of the pieces were scraps from other students' projects, anyway. Once I had made enough, I hit each piece on a sand-filled leather pad with a round plastic hammer until I was satisfied with their shape, and they were completely hardened. I then strung them on wire and put them into the frame, securing the wire by putting loops on each end.

For the handle, I already had a suitable wood dowel (I forget what kind) from a failed wand-making attempt; all I had to do was saw off the extra and sand it...and sand, and sand some more. I finished it with a clear one-step oil and finishing product. Turns out I cut it too long, but better too long than too short, eh? I drilled a pilot hole and fastened the base of the instrument to the handle with a single all-purpose screw: not the prettiest, but I couldn't find a copper-plated one at my hardware store and it needed to be sturdy.

And there you have it! My explanation makes it sound simpler than it was. I made a plan, but I had to modify it a little as I went along. My instructor suggested that I could make more of these sistrums outside of class in the future, using cold-setting (rivets), but I haven't been brave enough and/or willing. Sunlitgarden is the Kemetic, not I. :) I hope Bast approves.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

An Experiment

Since I am fond of drawing elaborate medallions, I thought I'd try my hand at sigil-making. In the attempt I realized I had to par down the designs, make them simpler and more easily understood. So, please tell me if these symbols "say" anything to you, even if it's nothing at all! Any feedback is appreciated. Thanks!

Fig. 1

 Fig. 2

 Fig. 3

 Fig. 4