The Figa

The Figa
Reclaiming Women’s Power and an Italian Amulet

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A figa is an amulet in the shape of a closed hand. Often, the tip of the thumb peeks out between the middle and index finger. The figa represents a woman’s genitals and is a charm for protection and good luck. It is also a talisman for fertility.

Even as a youth, I was drawn to the figa, not only as a talisman but as an archetype. It held tantalizing mysteries, and its antiquity and exotic roots were a delicious contrast to the American 50s bland norm.

I acquired a new figa recently, and shot the above photo, so you could see it. Isn’t it beautiful? I absolutely love it!

I purchased my new amulet here; the shop has more, each one different: https://www.etsy.com/shop/ErikasCollectibles

I’d already had a figa for … hm, I don’t know how long. It could be 30 or 40 years, or far less. I don’t remember how I acquired it. I was raised in an Italian, shamanic family-tradition. Otherworldly sensibilities were so typically present in our home, a part of daily life. A figa could slip into my life seamlessly back then, the entry not as noteworthy as it could be for people who aren’t constantly surrounded by that sort of thing.

Yet, despite my familiarity with Italian folk culture and my intense draw to this charm, I rarely saw one that I thought beautiful. I was never fond of my old figa, had wanted a new one forever, but couldn’t find one that pleased me till now.

My finally liking one is significant to me as a woman. Read on to learn why.

Seeing my new figa, which is very feminine, sweet, and elegant, I realized by comparison why I’d rarely liked a figa in the past. For one thing, they’re usually quite macho. An object that is supposed to embody female sexuality should … embody female sexuality.

Plus, figa figures are often crude. The crudeness repelled me, though on a subconscious level until I saw my new sweet, elegant figa. The crudeness—again, I experienced this subconsciously—was like being slapped in the face, shamed for being female.

Instead, I adore my new charm. Its sweet, feminine elegance is powerful magic and significant healing.

I was blown away by the shop’s photograph of this piece. And I did my best when I took the photos for this post, but it’s even better to see it in person; its exquisite artistry almost took my breath away. The careful sculpting of an elegant, feminine hand, enhanced by the marbling of its resin, makes it a true treasure.

It triggered a train of thought. The charm must not only be an Italian folk symbol for female sexuality per se, but also imply lot more. The figa must have originally symbolized everything—everything—a woman can be if she is unbound; her full being realized and expressed. The amulet must have once represented this totalness of being and potency in all parts of life. Otherwise, I do not believe the charm would have become so incredibly popular. It is worn not only by Pagans but by many Italians, including Christians.
FigaPic1SmBe clear, when I write, “Everything a woman can be,” I’m implying everything a human can be. I am positioning a woman’s sexuality as potency, the same way a man’s sexuality is often viewed as potency in his business and all other parts of his life.

I love folk art, folk magic, and the place where the two intersect. I also believe one might better understand a piece of folk art if one knows the cultural norms prevalent when the piece was made. That includes pop culture. Enter Kenneth Lane. The figa I bought is a vintage Kenneth Lane.

What was occurring around jewelry designer Kenneth Lane when he had the urge to create a figa that would be neither vulgar nor shaming? What in the political climate impelled him? Or did something solely personal to him serve as motivation? (The political always impacts us personally, but you know what I mean.) Whatever it was, we owe him a debt.

I mean, “figa” is Italian for the demeaning term “pussy.” The styling of most figa figures reinforces that nastiness. I do not object to a figa shaped roughly in a spirit of exuberance, or if a limited skill set did not allow finely honed lines. What I oppose is the consistent vulgar representation and the overall gestalt it feeds, a deeply hurtful cultural norm.

By the way, I see nothing wrong with a masculine figa per se, but there’s something wrong with a feminine symbol generally being masculine.

In any case, Kenneth’s jewelry was popular with Hollywood stars. Although many Pagans wear a figa, the pendant is also popular with non-Pagans. So people can knock pop-culture all they want, but I bet Kenneth’s pendants made women of all kinds proud of being women.

Kenneth’s styling was powerful. It wasn’t until I saw it that I could understand by contrast how demeaning most figas are and reclaim another part of my power. His rendering of the figa was able to heal me from a cultural norm so deeply ingrained and horrible that it still hurt my soul despite my fierce pride in my female nature and witchy wildness. I have a new piece of my magic as a woman and a new piece of my womanly pride.

What had been a sacred image in ancient Rome lowered in value until it became used as a rude gesture. A symbol that once must have honored women came to denigrate them. I believe Kenneth helped change that. I hope my thoughts here help a bit, too.

The profound power that exists in every human is diminished when we reduce anyone’s power through shaming depictions.

But when we shine a light on the wonderfulness of those around us, our own powers shine.

… Now the only problem I have is how to stop myself from buying all the figas in the shop. There’s a gorgeous variety, each piece quite different. I’ve already bought a second one. Here it is on my altar:
FigaPic3SmI will treasure these figas always. Here’s where to acquire an outstanding charm: https://www.etsy.com/shop/ErikasCollectibles

Rabbit Magic: an Easy Prosperity Spell

BnyCrmoTlsmnThis morning, I intuitively chose a talisman to wear, without knowing why it was the right one for the day ahead. A while back, I’d made the talisman out of Angora fibers (otherwise known as rabbit fur), Cormo, which is one of the softest wools in existence, some other fibers, and two glass beads. (In case it’s hard to see in the photo: the three center beads are ones I made out of fibers, and on each side of them is a glass bead. If memory serves, I spun the cord entirely out of bunny fur.)

Later today, while on my physical therapy walk through the woods, I meditated on what the talisman had for me today. The first thing that came to me was the gentleness of rabbits.

The second thing that came was a new chant Rabbit sent me. I really enjoyed using it, but apparently it was meant just for the moment because, when I arrived home from the forest, I couldn’t remember the exact chant. What I did manage to hear from Rabbit, once I had my iPad to type on, was another, really solid version to use henceforth.

Like the original, this version is silly, fun, and singsong. I believe these traits feed magic.

Instructions: recite the chant while you’re walking. Or if you’re in a wheelchair, roll along. If you’re laid up in bed, perhaps you can move a finger or some part of your body a little bit in rhythm to the chant. If not, no problem, your spirit will automatically move to the rhythm of the chant.

Don’t rush the words or shout them. Just say them in a natural, easy-going manner, at a natural pace, enjoying the fun of singsong.

If it feels comfortable and unaffected, you might want to slow down the three lines that repeat at the end, but if so, probably slow down just the tiniest bit. And for those lines, don’t suddenly get loud, majestic, ceremonial, or the like. Still just have natural fun.

The ritual consists of saying the chant once or saying it three times (the repetitions happening right then and there, as opposed to spacing them out over time).

After you’ve finished the recitation, you can consider the rite finished or repeat the rite once a day for a week, whichever feels right. Then return to it again later if you need another prosperity boost.

You don’t need to add any special magical techniques for this chant to work, just the simple instructions above. However, if you personally feel the need to add certain techniques, do so. The same goes for protection: if you feel like this rite should be done in a magically protected space, do so. Myself, I set up a spell that always has me in protection, wherever I go. Someone else might not need that.

The chant mentions the World Tree. “The World Tree” means the Divine as it manifests in everything in existence. Well, it means a lot more than that. However, to do the chant, the simple definition here is sufficient. I should tell you, though, the definition I provide here is not one everyone uses. The World Tree is a deeply esoteric reality, which means definitions widely vary.

Rabbit Magic: an Easy Prosperity Spell

Hippity hoppety, hippity hop,
abundance comes and never stops
coming to me.
La la lee,
money and goodness flow to me.

Hippity hop, it’s easy to leap
over road blocks to what I need.
Hippity hippity hippity hop,
gently gently as I walk,
all I need will roll in now.
The World Tree holds me in its boughs.

Hippity hippity lala lee.
As I will so mote it be.
As I will so mote it be.
As I will so mote it be.

One nice thing about this rite is that, after I did it once a day for a week, little snippets of its words—or just its cadence without its words—would occasionally sing in my head. That was lovely because it cheered me up and made me feel optimistic about getting what I needed. For one thing, it helped me feel the Tree of Life (Tree of Life is another term for World Tree) was taking care of me—that I was part of the magic I believe pervades the entire universe. That doesn’t need to happen to you for the spell to work, but if it does, it’s a wonderful experience and a good sign.

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The Love-Witch: a Two-Month Faerie Ceremony

A two-month Faerie love-in! The unconquerable magics of love, gentleness, compassion, play, pleasure, and beauty will help you
* reach goals your heart longs for,
* make the world a better place,
* and enjoy wonderful self-care.

weebunnyhat1Some Pagans insist a “real witch” is always brooding, hexing, and amoral. Humbug! They might call this event “fluffy bunny Paganism,” but the event’s immense power syncs all the way to the center of the earth and rises all the way to the stars.

The Third Road tradition of witchcraft can be fierce and determined. We also have gentle magics that reach goals just as effectively. This event focuses on that gentle mojo, letting our love, compassion, and playfulness radiate to illuminate our lives and the world.

The world needs your loving light, which my student Jenelle Campion describes as a sweetness that’s invalidated.

This event is for witches who strive to be both wild and gentle, strong and compassionate. I call such a Pagan a “Love-Witch.”

You’ll be drenched in love! The event has four magics that add up big. You receive:

1) Long distance direct spiritual transmissions, three days a week, for two months. You don’t have to do anything for the transmission to work. I do the work for you.

Traditional craft—my magic spinning to support your every cell. The transmission shapes to you: it gives you what your heart needs next, helps you go heart-led directions, and nestles you into the love and bounty within the Great Mother’s heart. For two months!

2) Seven ritual circles of love, via group phone call. Our rites together draw on gentle magics—our loving suppleness, light-heartedness, and spiritual beauty—to make a better world, achieve personal goals, and nurture self-love.

These gentle magics also align us with the enchantments that surround us every moment—that power is Divine Love, the most potent magic of all.

It’s a Faerie Love-In! Our shamanic process will be compassion, play, beauty, and pleasure. I push students when needed, but not in these meetings. I’ll guide with a gentle touch. We can best bring gentleness, compassion, play, and pleasure to the world if we give that to ourselves in our own process. These meetings will model that for you.

weebunnyhat2If you’re the rare heart-led being, you know it’s hard to be an agent of love in a world where vision is often scorned by those who prefer greed and narrow-mindedness, Receive tools to do your work in the world and to take loving care of yourself in the process.

Win as an agent of love:

* Has darkness tried to snuff your bright light? We’ll discuss shining brightly without drawing attack and other protections.

* Learn gentle magics that create immunity to cynics, greedy people, and others who fight Love. Move through the world as a love-witch, without being crushed by attacks or discouragers.

* Give yourself all the love, compassion, and joy you readily give everyone else.

Receive personal attention. During tribe meetings, I’ll intuit lessons and rites that help you go where your heart leads and nestle you in Divine Care.

The group meets via group phone call. Simply dial the phone to participate.

We meet seven Thursdays, from 6:00 to 7:00 PM EST. Meetings are spread over two months’ time. Holiday weeks are among those we skip. Meeting dates:

November 10
November 17
December 1
December 8
December 15
December 29
January 12
Reserve Thursday, January 19,
same time, for a makeup class in case I’m unavailable for one of the planned sessions.

(Direct spiritual transmissions start November 7, a few days before class, to begin our Faerie love-in before we even gather.)

3) Heart-Centering: On weeks without tribe meetings, a quick-to-read email centers you in your gentle witchcraft and heart-goals.

4) You receive a full color digital talisman tailored to your unique spirit. I magically activate the talisman to moor you to your Gods’ love and protection as you work toward your life goals and do Their work. Their powers and love feed yours. These talismans are my original art painted in trance. You receive yours as a JPEG by email. (I retain full copyright of my art. Commercial use of the piece is available at additional cost.) Here is one of the talismans, called “Silly Dragon Hiding.” Its detail is blurred a bit by this site’s download process:
sillydragonsmThe email explains the symbol’s specific powers, and includes instructions to receive the symbol’s blessings almost effortlessly.

Individually, all these services would cost $560. I’m reducing their cost:

Pay securely with PayPal, with two options. Both are big savings:

Option 1) Total cost: $460, with two easy automatic monthly payments of $230. Payments appear on the credit card associated with your PayPal account. This option is available if you have a PayPal account. Use the Subscribe button.




Option 2) Pay all at once by October 20 to save another $80. Total cost: $380. You don’t need a PayPal account. Use the Pay Now button.




Upon payment, your place is reserved, and I email you event phone number, etc. Refunds unavailable. For more info, or to discuss scholarship, partial scholarship, or trade, call 814-337-2490. I do not discuss this work by email.

You might pay long-distance charges to call the event’s number (a U.S. area code), depending on your long-distance plan. Charges would appear on your phone bill.

This two-month process can be used as one of the electives needed before advanced Third Road training.

No experience needed. But adepts are deeply impacted.

My poem “We Are the Old Ones” describes a Love-Witch:

We’re the Old Ones—ancient as forests—born into Gaia again
to continue our work and our joy.

We’re dreamers wanting to make a positive difference
by bringing love—and more love—everywhere
our free spirits wander.

We’re the Fey children of Mother Earth
who believe magic infuses
every aspect of Her being and all Her children.

We know Her gentle magics
are as powerful as flashy, overt magics.
We embrace both.

We know a flower found by the roadside
can be a transformative gift to a friend.

We’re the ones who defend
Gaia’s children from being harmed.

We’re the ones who speak up
to protect the defenseless.

We try to make our thoughts and actions
reflect the Goddess’ love.

We take care of people around us,
both those we know well
and those who pass through our lives.

We might do the above things poorly sometimes,
but they’re central to our lives:
we bring love, gentleness, and compassion to the world.
So mote it be.

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Magic Is Sacred

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My beloved witch,

The Goddess blesses your rituals. I wrote/painted the above picture-poem as the third and last meme in my mini-series about the sacredness and beauty of witchcraft.

The previous two memes are here and here.

(All three memes blurred a bit, because I shrunk the files so their webpages would appear quickly for you.)

I call them poems, though they could be viewed as prose. To me, they’re poems or prose-poems, both in that they are lyric and evoke magic.

I believe one of my jobs as a bard is to evoke magic. I’ve not seen that description of a bard in a historical text, but I know in my bones and past life memories that the Gods choose some bards to create ritual aka bardic poems.

My class lectures are sometimes lyric and other times straightahead prose, but on some level they are still my concept of bardic poetry.

Are you a bard who creates ritual? Or were you chosen to do bardic work other than ritual creation? We all are given such different jobs by the Faerie Queen.

I combine words with art to further the experience. Even when I first started teaching shamanism, class handouts sometimes had my calligraphy and artwork, though they were far more primitive than they are now. But I feel that extra effort added blessings.

I make memes like this not just for my site but also as Book of Shadow pages for myself and students (aka handouts). I’m fascinated with painting borders around my words to add magic for Book of Shadow pages. I even had to paint a border for the newsletter button below this post.

… Oh, if you wonder what the newsletter button has to do with Books of Shadows, bear with my following explanation, since at first it may seem to have no relation to the topic:

Ok, to me a Book of Shadows page points to your day and how you can live it magically. In the same vein, I teach oral tradition—which the written word cannot convey—and you only grasp oral tradition when you use its lessons by living magically in your day. So, in the final analysis, your day is your ultimate Book of Shadows, because it is your life that holds the most magic, not any text. Your life is the real ritual, not the words on any page.

And my newsletter is a doorway into that oral tradition, because it announces upcoming classes. So I can think of one of my newsletter buttons as the front cover to a Book of Shadows. So mote it be.

Since I view life as the ritual, it might seem contradictory that I work hard crafting my words and visually ornamenting them. But I want my pages to be really good pointers to the magic available in the world around us, so they can help me—and hopefully other people—see how to live a day magically. I believe that is why Goddess gave me gifts with words and art. Blessed be.

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Ostara Art Eggs

PaintedEgg1Ostara Art Eggs
My Spring Equinox Altar

What is going to be on your Ostara altar? Sharing our altar journeys with each other unites our spirits—it is a way we can celebrate Sabbats together long-distance.

In my case, preparing an Ostara altar this year involved art work.

Let’s start with the Ostara pendant I made, to the right. … Um, okay, it is jewelry, not an altar piece. … But I myself can be an Ostara altar!

I love ornamented eggs, but didn’t think I’d have time to make Ostara eggs this year.

imageThen, I couldn’t resist when I found tiny egg-shaped unfinished wood beads. I’d been looking for them forever. These are 7/8.” See photo to the right.

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They are tiny—I love tiny.

I painted one green and the other purple.

Then I ornamented them with various Jones Tones foils.

Next, I coated them with a protective clear finish.

I made each into a pendant by putting it on a jewelry pin, along with other with beautiful little beads. Joking aside about being an altar, I adorn myself in praise of my Gods.

PaitendEgg1AI think some of the wee beads are Swarovski crystals but am not sure because I upcycle a lot, so do not always know what I am using.

Whatever they are, they sparkle, and this faerie loves sparkly things.

Below is another piece that will be on my altar:

Ostara Egg Cosmic Egg—Abundance and Chaos Meditation. If you would like this on your altar, click on it to go to my shop.

Ostara Egg Cosmic Egg—Abundance and Chaos Meditation. If you would like this on your altar, click on it to go to my shop.

When I thought to myself that I’d have no time to decorate eggs, I’d forgotten that I’d already painted the above Celtic knot work talisman, probably in January. Do you ever get so caught up in creating that you forget what you have created? Let me know, please. I made this during a painting binge. Later I channeled material about it, which you can read at http://etsy.me/1pyFsvf

Traditional lore tells us that the cosmic egg explodes into chaos at spring equinox, creating the cosmos.

More knotwork: I painted this Birthing Goddess in 2013, probably during the winter. So this is the first spring equinox I can have Her on my altar.

If you would like this Goddess image on your altar, click on it to go to my shop. There, you will also find an essay I wrote, because painting Her brought up a lot for me.

If you would like this Goddess image on your altar, click on it to go to my shop. There, you will also find an essay I wrote, because painting Her brought up a lot for me.

She has the cosmic egg in Her belly. BirthingGoddessDetailWOB

My altar will also hold other pieces of my art, plus ritual objects I’ve acquired over the years—including other people’s art, such as a beautifully crafted wand, and a well-made blade. Art takes many forms.

I only speak for myself when I say that placing my and other people’s art on an altar feeds my pagan heart and imbues my Sabbats celebrations with power.

What is going to be on your altar? Is there a story about creating or acquiring those pieces? Sharing our altar plans and altar stories can be an actual joint celebration of the rituals done at our respective altars.

Amulets, in Gratitude

With enormous gratitude, I hand-made amulets for financial supporters who gave $100 or more toward my book. Each talisman is one of a kind, and channeled for the person who’ll receive it. I love these kind folks—and making simple, elegant, powerful charms—so much! This post is so they can read about their specific talisman. Keep reading to see why it is also posted in love of my whole sweet community.

Click on a pic to see it full-size and without the blurring that happens when WordPress shrinks a pic to fit into a blog.

Though each talisman is unique, there’s also a visual theme throughout the charms, to represent that all of us made this book happen. Community is all! The blessing I put on each is different too, but there’s a magical theme throughout. (I liked it so much I had to channel one for moi.)

Creating visual and magical themes also represents everyone who helped, financially or otherwise—and my community members not in a position to contribute. Community is all!

To use: Simply wear your amulet around your neck, hang it in your home, or put it on an altar. Looks great worn on a 16-18″ cord. The delicate lack of weight may not hang well on a long cord.

I know God talks to me when I channel art, but God talks to everyone. So when we combine our perspectives, we fully hear God. So if you think the amulet I made you isn’t right for you visually or magically, and/or you think one of the others is “yours,” do please tell me. I upcycle, so can’t vouch for all materials, but will make informed guesses. Numbered 1 to 5, left to right:
1) This is for a secret German donor who studies with me. The small, red, faceted bead hanging from the top loop is probably Swarovski Crystal. I can’t say what the bear bead on the main stem is. I would’ve guessed glass except that it came with a bunch of stone totem beads. It is a gorgeous material, perhaps moonstone, which I’m not sure the photograph picks up. Below it seems to be a black pearl. The gorgeous smokey beads on the bottom dangle are from a necklace that I plundered, and probably crystal.

2) For Julie N. The little dangle that I made to hang from the top loop is probably rose quartz (for self-love) and Swarovski crystal. The pink tube on the main stem is vintage glass (see, sometimes I know what my materials are, LOL), followed by another probable Swarovski crystal, then a dangle with another probable Swarovski. At the bottom of that dangle I wrapped the wire into a spiral.

3) This one is for me. I thought it was for one of my contributors, but realized it was mine, an expression of us all making this project possible. (For my own records: The blue bead on the main stem is vintage glass, both dangles probably have Swarovski.)

4) For Donnalee Dermady-Minney of Laughing Dakini Music LLC, this talisman has an evil eye dangling from the bottom with two probable Swarovski crystals. The eye bead is a traditional protection amulet. The main stem has a vintage glass tube, and the two faceted beads seem to be fire polished glass. The top dangle is probably Swarovski and rose quartz.

5) This is for an anonymous German donor new in my life. On the main stem, we probably have Swarovski and rainbow obsidian. The latter has a subtle luminescence in it that the photograph will not show. The three beads on the bottom dangle are probably more Swarovski. The top dangle is a mother of pearl teardrop, and probably Swarovski.

6) Finally, for Chicot. The two beads that I used to make the top dangle are probably tiger’s eye, which I read somewhere is both grounding and solar. On the main stem, the top bead with golden flecks (which I’m not sure show on this photo) might be goldstone, a man-made “stone” that I am fond of. Then comes a bead with an exclamation point on it, ending with a gorgeous, green probably Swarovski crystal. The bottom dangle is probably rose quartz, a stone for self-love.

Let me know if your amulet is right for you. Post here, email me, or comment on my Facebook page

If you bought a copy of my book, that is pivotal support! Thank you so much!!!! If you’d like to buy a copy, yes, go here! Only available from the author. Thank you to my sweet sweet community!