Archive for necklace

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.

Tribal Elders

Posted in Projects with tags , , , on February 11, 2012 by manxwytch

Forty acorn necklace

In recent days I have have been working on necklaces; the first three of a series of nine I plan to make, and I began by taking my inspiration from a traditional Elder’s Necklace from the Isle of Mann.
This original piece was passed down through the Manx covens to my Initiator’s Initiator.
I don’t know if anyone living knows exactly how old it is.
It consists of twelve acorns and a human finger bone strung on a leather thong. Traditionally it would be either an index finger or a ring finger bone, and the necklace would have been a gift to a coven Elder to wear as a mark of honour and respect due to one who has learned and endured much and whose wisdom is as precious a gift as the strength of the oak, the promise of the acorn, and the value of this human life. The original necklace isn’t pictured here, the ones you see here are all modern pieces made by me.

I have been told that back in Gerald’s day a witch would practically be willing to give his left testicle to get his hands on human bone, to make into ritual tools, or symbolically significant jewelry. These days it’s expensive, but not unobtainable, depending on where one lives. The US is pretty open and nonrestrictive; in Canada, the limitations are placed on its transport, and the need to be able to produce a certificate of death to go along with the bone to show its origin and legality. I’m not sure what the limitations are in Europe and elsewhere.

All of this to say that we use what we can get our hands on, and what isn’t commercially available we make ourselves. Just like they used to in the old days. So where there is a lack of human bones we use those of appropriate totemic animals, or we carve in semblance from wood, antler or stone, or cast in metal.

In the old days, those who were adept at making tools and jewelry were greatly esteemed and appreciated by the covens. In the absence of online shops or occult boutiques, appropriate tools and altar fixtures used to be scarce. The efforts of these talented folks can be seen in museums such as in Boscastle, and some were collected by Williamson and by Gardner on the Isle of Mann. Very occasionally they are still in use downline from their makers or original recipients, creating a physical and psychic bond with the old traditions and the Elders who kept and passed them to the present generation of initiates.

I chose to begin my series of necklaces with three variations on the traditional status symbol presented to a Manx witchcraft Elder in honour of my own Elders, several of whom I was unable to gift with them in their lifetimes. So now the pieces hang around framed photographs of these precious people, and I continue working on ones for my living Elders – not all Manx, but each made to honour the individuals who made my path today possible.

Of Bones: The Ophidian Current

Posted in Projects with tags , , , , , on January 25, 2012 by manxwytch

Woodland wanderings and fortuitously connected friends this fall resulted in my happily acquiring a few complete and near complete snake corpses. I am in the process of cleaning them with slightly different methods to ascertain the most effective and efficient way to do so.

One corpse I interred in the back yard for exhumation in the spring. It was the most complete, and least decomposed of the bunch. The others I sealed in ziplock bags and left outdoors until the snows flew, and one by one, Iʼve brought them indoors to finish the disarticulation and cleaning process.

Iʼve had good success with pulling the bones away from the bulk of the putrefying matter and macerating in water, but the smell is an issue indoors during winter when ventilation is lacking. The solution I came upon is to deodorize the osseous material first by letting it soak in a bath of ammonia in a sealed container for a couple weeks, then draining and replacing the ammonia with water to continue the maceration process and loosen up the remaining connective tissue clinging to the bones. During maceration the container was only loosely covered, however there was little to no smell and the water was changed only occasionally, or not at all. After a few weeks the last remaining connective tissues were seen to be falling off the bones when agitated, and a gentle scrubbing with a toothbrush removed all but the most stubborn adhesions. These few were easy scraped away by judicious use of the edge of a blade. The results were clean white, (but not bleached looking), bones that maintained their strength and integrity.

Itʼs going to take a bit of research and work to reassemble the skulls, and a little more to return the vertebrae to their proper order, but my  imagination has already begun to shape the tools and jewels into which these osseous ophidians are going to transform.