Monday, 14 August 2017

Making Orgonite

Orgonite is a fab material made from inorganic and organic materials according to the principles of Wilhelm Reich.
     You can find some beautiful examples of this these days, and we have been stocking large and small Orgonite pyramids and other items such as pendulums and angels - when we can find them.
They are usually composed of tiny polished gemstone chips, plus crystals, metal in the form of wires and filings, all set in a clear resin - the resin being derived from petrol is the 'organic' element.
     My daughter in law has been creating some lovely pendants and needle minders, which have a clear resin protective surface, selling them through her online 'shop' Denkai Designs. So when I told her about Orgonite, and that I would love to have a go at making some, volunteered to help me, as she has experience of working with the resin and creating moulds for pendants.
     So on Sunday, Cherise arrived with all her equipment for us to have a go.
     First we had to make the mould, by mixing together two lumps of a plasticine-like stuff. We wrapped this around some glass shapes, which I thought would look nice for the finished objects, then had to wait for this to harden into sturdy but flexible moulds, and could pop out the original glass shapes.
     I had already made some tiny metal charms, one for Venus, one for Jupiter and a tiny interlocked wire pentacle. These would create three special Orgonite shapes which would make use both of the Orgonite energies and combine them with magical correspondences.
     The square shape I had decided would be dedicated to the energies of Jupiter and used to create a wealth drawing object. The heart shaped one was obviously going to be just right for Venus, and the third Crescent shape would embody the powers of the Moon Goddess.
     To be sure that none of the contents would poke through the surface, we first had to create a thin layer of resin all around the inside of the moulds, which would have to be at least partially set before I added anything else.
     One thing I am not good at, as anyone who knows me is probably aware, is patience.
     Many years ago, it was possible to buy a tee shirt showing two vultures sitting on a branch and one saying to the other 'Patience, my ass, I'm gonna kill something!'
     That would probably suit me. So the 'waiting while it sets' part of these processes, was not going well. I spent my time gently moving the resin around so that it built up the layer around the inside of the mould, and eventually Cherise agreed that now I could start doing the fun bit!
     The first thing into each mould were the appropriate little metal charms I had made. This was followed by tiny gemstone chips chosen because they were associated with each of the planetary powers. So in the Jupiter one went lapis, sodalite and amethyst, together with some pretty glitter. The Venus one had peridot and rose quartz, and the Moon one clear quartz - I should probably have used little pieces of selenite for this one.
     When I felt there was enough in each, the moulds were topped up with more of the clear resin to hold everything in place.
     Cherise then gently blew on the surface of each to disperse any little bubbles, and told us to cover the moulds and put them somewhere to stand while they set over the next few days.
     Heck! More waiting!
     After three or four days, the great un-moulding took place.
    I was really excited as the backs of the shapes looked really good and crystal clear.
     But saddly, the fronts weren't nearly as good. It looked like a layer of tiny bubbles had coated the moulds. so that when the shapes were revealed, the surface is both pitted and semi-opaque. Like the effect of a frosted window.


     Weirdly these look better in the photo than they do in real life.
     I have learnt several things from this: the moulds were too deep. I suspect that what I should have done is be prepared to put another thin layer of resin over the outer surface once they were set.
     The process of making these was fun. And I really don't have the patience for this.





Thursday, 10 August 2017

The Golden Grain

As promised, here is an extract from our latest Raven Newsletter, for those folk who miss out on its full magnificence:

     All over the world we grow grain.
     Grains of different varieties are the staple food of millions of people, and have been for thousands of years, and it seems that all over the world, at roughly the same time, people began to attempt to cultivate different grains. This all seems to have happened around ten thousand years ago.
     In Syria or southern Turkey wheat and barley began to be farmed, in the East it was rice, and in southern Mexico maize became domesticated. Archaeologists have worked out that the most ancient crops grown around the Mediterranean were wheat, barley, lentils, peas and chickpeas, plus flax grown both for its seeds and for its use in textiles.
     Oats appear to have been a later addition to the domesticated grain family, but they do grow better in damper and cooler climates such as the British Isles. Oats can be planted in the autumn and over wintered as they are unaffected by frost and snow, but don't like to be too warm.
     These days it is wheat which is the main grain used to make our daily bread, so much of the lore and magic which once belonged to other grains, has been attached to wheat. But it is interesting to see how similar stories crop up of a special spirit or deity who comes to show humans how to grow the grain.
     In ancient Egypt the grain god was Osiris, who is killed by his brother, but magically brought back to life by Isis, so that she can conceive a child by him. In Egypt little clay trays in the shape of the silhouette of Osiris were filled with earth and planted with grains to be placed in the graves of loved ones. The sprouting of the grain gives the hope of resurrection. If the grain can have its head cut off and be killed, yet magically appear again in the spring, then we also have the possibility of re-birth in another life. The Egyptians believed that this was re-birth in the land of the dead, where people would carry on in a very similar way to their lives on earth.
     But in the land of the dead, even the poorest people could live like lords, with servants to carry out their work for them.
    When people were buried they were often given possessions to take with them into the afterlife. In Egypt this often included little models of workers, known as Ushabti. To the Egyptians when any image had its eyes painted in, that was when the image came alive. This applied to images and statues of the gods, to images of the deceased, and to the little Ushabti models too. There were similar rituals which could be used to ensure this awakening also, and these are detailed in the papri found in the tombs of the dead and known to us as The Book of the Dead.
     As it was the god Anubis who performed this ritual for the gods, he was invoked to help do the same for the dead and for the Ushabti:
Anubis grant thou that breathing may take place in the head of [name], 
and that s/he may see with her/his two eyes and hear with her/his two ears, 
and that s/he may breathe through her/his nose, 
and that her/his mouth shall be open 
and that s/he may be able to speak with her/his tongue.
May the voice of [name] be heard.




Monday, 7 August 2017

Visitors

You know how it is, you haven't blogged for a while because all has been quiet on the home front and then all of a sudden there are LOTS of things you need to put up all at the same time.
     I want to give you an extract from the last Newsletter, for folks who missed it.
     I want to tell you about my first (and possibly only, or maybe not, but I don't know yet) attempt to make my own Orgonite and incorporated magical correspondences into it.
     And then we got a pigeon in the kitchen again.

     There we were having a pre-shopping look at the computers - well a mini play of World of Warcraft if you want to get technical about it - when all of a sudden I heard the sound of flying glass objects and the crash of something hitting the floor.
     'There's something in the kitchen!' I said to Graham
     'Huh, what?' was his considered reply
     'There's something in the kitchen, go and look!'
     'I can't hear anything.'
     'Go and look!'

     So he went, he looked, he swore a bit, and then removed the pigeon from its favourite window above the sink, by throwing a t-shirt over it so it couldn't see him coming. Took the pigeon outside, put the t-shirt in the wash and replaced all the stuff it had swept out of the window.
   
     The bathroom is on the ground floor, right next to the little kitchen with the back door. And at this time of year, when I have a bath in the morning I like to have both the back door and bathroom door open, I love the fresh air - and I can kid myself that I am actually reclining in a hot tub.
     The other day as I luxuriated and read my book I glanced up to see a black and white cat passing the bathroom door. On its way out!
     So it had been visiting while Graham and the dogs were out of the way.
     So so far this year our visitors have included numerous bees of various sizes, two toads, slugs, butterflies,  a pigeon and a cat.
     I am hoping the rabbits, hedgehog and bats stay outside.


Saturday, 8 July 2017

Jasmine

     I love Jasmine.
    We have a well established Jasmine that grows up outside our front door and tumbles around the porch. At this time of year it is smothered in little white flowers, all of which seem to last for only one day, then tumble to the ground.
     The bees love it, although they need a long tongue to get into the trumpet shaped flowers and reach down to the nectar. Some of the bees cheat, and rather than accessing the nectar as they are supposed to, they manage to push their noses into the bottom of the flower from the outside and get their dinner that way.
     Jasmine always means summer to me, especially as it always reminds me of the Isley Brothers song 'Summer Breeze', with its lines 'Summer breeze, makes me feel fine, Blowin' through the jasmine in my mind.' It is the stuff of happy summer memories.
     Although Jasmine perfumes the air all through the day, it is in the evening when it really smells its best, so it is really a flower for long Summer evenings, when you can spend time outside. Its pretty flowers with their five petals also put me in mind of stars.
     For centuries Jasmine flowers have been gathered for their sweet scent. It is one of the most expensive essential oils as it takes 1,000 flowers to make a single drop of the oil. And at one time only young girls picked the flowers, because their hands are softer and less likely to bruise the flower petals.
     Jasmine is sacred to the Moon Goddess and also to the Goddess of Love. It is said that love will grow wherever a Jasmine flourishes. You can pick the flowers and use them as part of a Goddess incense, or put them in a pouch either to draw love, or to increase your psychic and magical powers.




     I'm just glad that ours has recovered from the 'trim' Graham gave it a couple of years ago.



Thursday, 29 June 2017

Aconite

   This is an extract from an article 'A Witch's Garden' from the last issue of the Raven Newsletter  

     At this time of year there are many flowers in bloom, and in our front garden we have a particularly magnificent clump of aconite, known also as Wolf's Bane or Monk's Hood.
     This is a wonderful deep blue and has spires of flowers all with their distinctive hood shapes. Because it is such a beautiful flower it often finds its way into table decorations at weddings, often without the florist realising that this plant is extremely poisonous in all its parts.


     Aconite can be tricky to get going, but once it has settled it will come up year after year. However be careful as this plant should only be handled while wearing gloves as it can make itself known even through unbroken skin.
     Interestingly the antidote to Aconite is Belladonna, another extremely poisonous plant, and both were used together in many recipes for Witches' Flying Ointment.
     Aconite juice was used by many ancient cultures as a hunting poison, to coat the tips of arrows, and it has been speculated by many including Dr Margaret Murray (author of 'The Witch Cult in Western Europe'), that this was the poison used by the fairy folk, the indigenous tribes of Britain and Ireland, to coat their elf-shot. Thus making their arrows particularly deadly.


Wednesday, 21 June 2017

The Day of Big Hair

The other day, when it was really hot, I was in the bath and sloshed water over my head, just to try and cool down a bit.
     The water felt so lovely that I slooshed a bit more, and of course my long hair got well and truly wet through. But I was quite happy with that, and let it dry naturally, steaming gently in the heat.
     Of course that meant that it dried plastered to my head in a particularly unflattering way.
     The next day, when I combed my hair out, released from its plastered-ness it decided to celebrate by going LARGE. But not consistently BIG all over, Oh No! It had to go Wild Child at one side and normally wavy at the other.
     This HUGE plume of sticky-up hair really amused me, so I decided to take a photo of it - well, I asked Graham to, actually. Then I went to put the photos on the PC and see if the large fluffiness had shown up sufficiently.
     And it was then that I got a shock.
     We have a nice digital camera. It is a few years old now, and was an xmas pressy from Mike and Cherise, and it takes excellent piccies. It has an optical zoom facility too which helps with photos of flowers or close-ups of small objects.
     However, when I looked at the photos of me I had a heck of a shock. My God! How hairy am I ?!
     This is the problem with a good digital camera, the detail it captures is amazing.
     Now I have always had a problem moustache - pale skin, black hair, my word the unwanted ones really show up! And I deal with it regularly with magnifying mirror and tweezers.
     But the digital camera picked up every hair I had missed. And as I focus on dealing with the moustache, I had not noticed the creeping growth of long hairs dotted around the sides of my face, and around and under my chin.
     I know that I am an oddity, and that my Crone-ness is growing daily, but I had no idea that I was turning into the Wild Woman of Melton Fields.
     Needless to say, those photos have been consigned to the re-cycle bin, and I have been busy with my tweezers again.
     But why is it when the rest of my hair is turning grey, the moustache is still persistently and photogenically black?


Monday, 12 June 2017

Magical Fern

Ferns have always struck me as being magical plants.
     They are certainly one of the oldest, and long before there were other trees, massive forests of tree ferns covered parts of the earth.
     In the UK they are found in cool, dark and mysterious places. They form the undergrowth in many ancient woodlands, and by ancient springs. They don't need good soil and are happy to re-populate derelict ground or old industrial sites.
    I love the way they emerge in Spring and unroll their fractal fronds. Some times patterns on icy windows resemble feathers or fern fronds and it is because these follow the same method of construction. A piece plucked from a frond has the same overall shape as the entire frond.


     They are said to be at their most magical around Midsummer, and are one of the plants associated with the Fairy Folk.
    It is said that at sunset on Midsummer's Eve the ferns put out a bud which glows blue in the dusky woods. It grows into a flower through the evening and at midnight is ready to shed its seeds. These magical fern seeds should be gathered by holding a pewter plate beneath the plant, while you gently tap it with a hazel wand. The seed will fall onto the plate and should be stored carefully as they will confer invisibility on the user.
     Of course we know, these days, that fern does not have flowers, and that it reproduces by spores, or by sending out underground runners.
     But at midnight on Midsummer's Eve, when the Fairies are about, and you know how to enter the magical world, then you can still gather your magical fern seed, and work the spell of invisibility.