Archive for Holy Stone

Hag Stone Necklace

Posted in Art, Folklore, Projects with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 14, 2012 by manxwytch

I’ve collected Hag Stones for many years and have always wanted to make a necklace.  However, not just a necklace with a single stone, but a  magical necklace that would mark some kind of passage of time and vision.  Waiting for the right Holed Stones has taken years of collecting and though I’ve had plenty of stones for many years, none were the right feel and fit until now.

I’m recently vision impaired so tying a knot alone can be a real challenge for me.  Stringing a thread onto a wee beading needle is a lesson in patience for even those with 20×20 vision.  My ability to create now takes an incredible amount of time, but I’m still an artist and craftsperson and I won’t let that part of me go as it helps to feed my soul.

As I said, I wanted to make a Hag Stone necklace for many years and I’ve wanted it to mark a point in my life.  This is the first piece I’ve made since the loss of my vision and a great challenge for me.  It truly marks a pivitol point of my life, a rite of passage in my way of being and seeing in the world.

Thirteen holy Hag Stones, one for each of the full moons.  I will begin the consecrations of each stone on the full moon closest to the new year, in the dark half, Samhain.  So each full moon will be marked and the necklace will be fully charged in a full year’s cycle.

Twelve round pieces of Amber stone to mark the solar cycles of time and light.  The passage of the Twelve Houses of the Sun.  Amber is a stone symbolic of life, light and energy.  Amber, like Quartz, can hold an electric charge and be seen to glow as if from an internal light.  It also smells heavenly when warmed, heated or drilled.  It has been used in ancient medicines for many years and is said to hold healing properties, bearing the lamp of the sun.  Many priestesses wear Amber and Jet necklaces to symbolize the eternal cycles of life and death.

Rather than use Jet, I decided to go right to the source and I’ve used carved bone as the third bead.  There are Forty Bone Beads.  Bone is our mortality.  The stone of our bodies.  Our inner strength and our support.  It’s what holds up this bag of skin, sinew and cell.  It is white to remind us of the Light where we originated.

The circle of Hags, Amber and Bone is held together with silk thread and copper wire.  Copper for the Green Venusian Current, and Silk for its opulence and  strength.  Fine materials for a precious piece that I hope I will one day hand down to a Priestess of my lineage.

During the year’s cycle, I will make a pouch or box to hold the necklace.  Right now, I don’t know how it will look.  The dream hasn’t manifested and neither have the materials, but I’m sure that Providence will bring the right tools at the right time.  She always does.

The centrepiece stone was chosen because of the natural Runes, yods and crescents carved by Fortuna’s hands. It was also the latest of the Holy Stones to come in to my possession, being found just a few months ago.

The Clagh-Array: a Watchstone

Posted in Folklore with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 2, 2012 by manxwytch

The Clagh-array is a heterotopic eye bestowed from nature and given to the witch as a magical gift from the Ancient Ones.  This never blinking vigilant sentinel is used for a multitude of purposes, the least of which is protection, warding and warning of the approach of danger.  It is sometimes placed in a window, on the pathway to the house, or on the outer lintel of the main door to the home.

It is not a seeing-stone per se however; one of its more interesting uses has been to place it in an area where a witch would like to keep vigil.  It therefore forms a third-eye link to a terrestrial area that the witch may not be able to physically inhabit.  Have you ever wanted to be a fly on the wall?  This is the means for the adept of vision.

The Clagh-array is highly sought after in Manx Traditional Craft and its power can’t be underestimated.  Greater than eyes of glass or beast or crafted by the hands of man.

A magical tool formed through hundreds of years by Nature Herself and Fate’s spinning webs that shaped the eye through rolling turns in sea and sand.  It is considered one of the most powerful vision stones to possess.

At the bottom right hand of this photo is a Clagh-Array placed in a window.

 

Holy Stones

Posted in Folklore, Musings with tags , , , , , , , , on February 27, 2012 by manxwytch

I’m trained as a stonecarver. Though I carve wood, horn, antler, wax, and I model clay in addition to stonecarving, stone is my favourite material. I love the look, the feel, the weight, the strength and the slowness of stone. I love the natural forms of stone, worked by the elements, as well as those sensitively and skillfully influenced by the hands of humans.

I am enthralled by the relationship my distant ancestors had with stone; the preCeltic, prePictish, neolithic peoples who considered stones worthy of veneration, and committed a disproportionately large amount of their scarce time and population resources to their relationships with these living bones of earth.

The purposes and meanings associated with many of the megaliths have been lost, though physical and astronomical alignments can still be discerned. Folk traditions around the various types of stone monuments attest to magico-symbolic use into the modern era; if those uses have anything to do with the purposes of the original makers, we cannot know.

Those megaliths with ancient man-carved or natural holes through them have possessed a particular sanctity throughout history, and have been venerated throughout  western Europe for their powers to bless, to protect and to heal. They are found throughout the British Isles, particularly in Cornwall; the north of Scotland, especially the Isles and in Ireland. Examples include the, “Men-an-Tol, Tolvan holed stone and the Merry Maidens holed stone in Cornwall, used for fertility rites and healing and the Kenidjack Common holed stones – unusual in being a group of holed stones in the same location”
(The Megalithic Portal online)

On the Orkney Islands of Scotland and the Isle of Mann, where Scandinavian influence was significant, holed stones were associated with Odin, who in the Eddas passed through a hole in a stone in the form of a worm in order to gain the mead of inspiration. These stones took his name, as in Orkney,

“When visiting the stone, it was customary to leave offerings of food, or ale, and it was common for young people to stick their heads through the hole to acquire immunity from certain diseases. Along the same lines, new-born infants were passed through the hole, in the belief that this would ensure them a healthy future. Crippled limbs were also passed through in the hope of some supernatural cure.”
(Orkneyjar, the heritage of the Orkney Islands website)

Sadly, the Odin stone in Orkney was destroyed by the landowner in the 1940s.

Possibly related to their connection with the god, oaths were sworn at holed stones, with the two parties grasping hands through the hole in the stone. Such an oath was said to have been witnessed by Odin and could not be broken without incurring the wrath of the god. The last vestiges of this practice may have been the small holed stones given by the Deemsters on the Isle of Mann to summon people to court up until the mid 1700s.  (The Uses of Rocks in the Past, Manx Mines Rocks and Minerals)

The connection between the two uses suggests that small, portable holed stones may have derived their traditional uses from those of the larger megalithic versions, but on a personal level, rather than functioning for an entire community as the larger versions did. These charmed stones were said to protect those who possessed them from ill luck, disease and bad dreams, and were hung in the home, stable or carried on ones person.

We who follow the old ways may grasp the occult powers of these stones when we realize them as the ontological locus of the Neither-Neither; as lacunae empty of ‘normal experience’; neither in the world, nor in the womb, but in-between. Used properly, they have the power to facilitate a passing through, a leaving behind, a meeting between or an entering into.

As an object of theacentric devotion, holed stones encompass the symbols of both the eternal and bounteous womb of the Earth Mother, and the lithic and fruitless cunt of the Hag. They are holy in both barrenness and in becoming.

These inamoratas of the goddess, when mated with the phallic pole formed the first spindles allowing the metamorphosis of fibre into thread and evoking the eldest of the goddesses; The Three who spin force into form, allot it, and ultimately, deliver it unto Thanatos.

As an aperture to the in-between, gazing through the hole in a stone allows the beholder to see the unseen or otherworldly. Hagstones allow access to the true Dreaming, when used with Art, and protect from being ridden by the night mare while traveling the oneiric realm.

By tradition and experience, each holy stone has its own particular affinity and use, and it falls to the finder to discover the unique talent of the stone. The first holy stone I found was a seeing-stone, and it proved to me the first Samhain after I found it, the efficacy of its powers and my evocations!

I am currently working with two holy stones, both from Ellan Vannin. One I found there, the other is a stone that has been passed down through the tradition with a documented history of use in witchcraft dating back to the end of the 1800s.

Time and Art will tell what use they may make of me…

A cauldron of Holed Stones in a private and expanding collection.