Vasilisa’s Doll

Vasilisa the Beautiful’s Doll:
A Magic Charm to Fix Problems

A necklace with a doll as the pendant

What is Vasilisa’s Doll?

In the Russian fairytale, Vasilisa the Beautiful, Vasilisa’s Mother is dying. On her deathbed, she gives a wooden doll to Vasilisa, explaining that when Vasilisa needs help, she is to feed the doll and ask for help, and her wish will be granted.

An Amulet for a Hero

Vasilisa’s story, which is one of overcoming trials, implies her doll is a talisman for heroes—individuals taking up a challenge. My gut concurs. By hero and challenge, I simply mean people who take responsibility for their life. Life’s journey is often a heroic quest.

If I take steps toward my goals, try to find steps, or seek the willingness to take them, Vasilisa’s doll will add her efforts to mine.

By contrast, asking the doll to do that which I can do for myself would be a waste of spell crafting. It doesn’t work. It would also amount to not taking responsibility for my life.

Ancestors, the Goddess, and Poppet Magic

I adore magic dolls. Whether you call them spirit dolls, poppets, totem dolls, totems, or guardian angel dolls, I find them tremendously charming, in both the magical and whimsical sense.

I believe many entities help wishes made to Vasilisa’s doll come true. Thus the doll offers powerful enchantments:

1. Given that Vasilisa’s Mother, on her deathbed, gave Vasilisa a doll to help overcome life’s challenges, I think the doll stands in for the mother. Requests to the doll reach the mother and other female ancestors.

2. I think the doll is a gatekeeper who carries wishes to the Magna Mater, Great Mother of all, and to all the wisher’s ancestors.

3. I intuit the doll is a magical being unto herself who grants wishes.

How to take Care of a Poppet

Wood dollA friend spoke to me about how seriously she takes being a poppet’s caretaker. She believes you don’t just tuck it in a drawer and forget about it. I have similar feelings: occasionally, poppets need company, as well as a tablespoon each of food and beverage.

It’s a nice idea to keep your dolls together, if you have more than one, so they can keep each other company.

I keep a few of my dolls in my bed. For one thing, it’s an easy way for them to have company since they’re hanging out with me while I’m sleeping. Sometimes I spend a minute with them before falling asleep.

A tablespoon of food and a tablespoon of beverage is probably plenty for all your poppets combined, a few times a year.

Having said all that, I admit to having neglected my totem dolls for long periods. They forgive me and continue to help me.

… Ooh, just had an idea. I tend to make offerings to my Gods, ancestors, and other spirit friends all at once, by putting out a wee bit of food and drink for them. I can include my poppet spirits in that group. That’s a way I can easily take care of them more often.

Making a Vasilisa doll

When a friend said she wanted a Vasilisa doll, I became obsessed with the idea and, after a lot of fun brainstorming, made two Vasilisa dolls. The photos in this post show the dolls.

I woodburned the design for the dolls. The pyrography (woodburning) goes all the way around the doll, so here are videos that show all sides.

The necklace with the doll as a pendant is for me:

The other doll—which can be a wall hanging—is for a friend:

The dolls are made from the wood of wild roses, which I harvested from my property in 2018, late summer or early fall. Then I let it cure for a year or two.

This is the wood after I harvested and cured it:

A lot of the wood was not usable. My experience is that when I cure wood, the ends tend to split so have to be cut away. The same might go for other portions of the wood. So, from those pieces, I managed to get only two small sticks:

The Hero’s Sacrifices

I consider cast away parts of the wood to be sacrifices to the Gods. That makes those two remaining sticks precious magic—the parts Gods have deemed suitable for me to craft.

In crafting, much might get tossed aside, all of it sacrifice in the name of the Muse, Who for me is the great Mother Goddess, Creator of All. Sometimes, I have a huge gorgeous stick that I have to throw out after curing it, none of it usable.

Vasilisa’s story is one of a hero overcoming challenges. Sacrifices are always made on the hero’s journey.

I love these dolls. The one that is a wall hanging was my first pyrography after a year away, and the lines are not as well executed and smooth as I would’ve liked. It was also the first time executing the design I’d created; the arms don’t quite match. While burning one arm, I couldn’t see the arm on the other side to check it. I thought about sanding the arms off and starting all over again, but their particular positions meant sanding would likely ruin the piece.

Ends up the arms of my friend who wants the doll are very different lengths. Wow. … Regardless, I reduced the wall hanging’s price because of the doll’s flaws. … I love her for her flaws. I love these dolls for many reasons, among them their spiritual beauty, winsomeness, huge spirits, and pretty ways. I’m delighted by my new friends.

Working on the first doll got me up to speed with my pyrography skills again and showed me how to refine my doll template. I’d spent weeks designing a template I can adapt for each doll. I corrected the template so it was easier to make the arms match next time. The time spent creating the original template and then spent changing it was not waste but sacrifice.

I restrung this wall hanging five times because I didn’t like the way it hung. I changed the beads a few times, finally ending up with no beads at all and a simple wax cotton cord, instead of woven cording. Sometimes it takes a lot of trial and error to see simplicity is the best design.

I rewove my necklace after finishing it, coming up with a second—completely new—design.

Repeated efforts until I find the right way are not wasted but are sacrifices that empower the hero’s journey. My dolls appreciate my effort and are all the more magical for it.

The videos of the dolls show them before they were restrung.

More about the Vasilisa’s Dolls I Made

It was wonderfully startling when, before I even finished sanding, I saw faces in the wood—spirits who were either in the wood or wanted to inhabit it. The faces were not appearing on the material plan, e.g., delineated by the grain of the wood. I’m thrilled by these dolls.

My necklace has a round Yew wood bead. It symbolizes the sacrifices along the journey. Sacrifices don’t have to be miserable. They can simply, for example, be part of the exploratory aspect of the creative process.

There is also a mother of pearl leaf, which I added as a symbol of the forests that house many a fairytale I love. The long bead, if memory serves, is bone. Bone represents eternal truths. There’s also a disc that is likely horn, to honor the wild, horned Goddess and God of the forest.

I wanted to add a bead from my mom’s jewelry, but it didn’t work out.

As always, I did lengthy ritual to bless these poppets with huge power.

A Surprise with the Vasilisa’s Dolls

After making both dolls, I told them, “Thank you for coming to me. I’m grateful one of you is my doll, to whom I can make a wish when I have a problem, and you will get me whatever I wish for. I’m grateful the other doll can do the same for someone else.”

They answered, without the confidence I’d expected, “Well, we’ll try.”

Surprised, I said to them, “Thank you. But you don’t sound very confident.”

They explained, “Francesca, we’re just sticks.”

I laughed, then said, “All the powers of the universe reside in every object in the universe. You have all power.”

They said, “Oh, yes! We’d forgotten. Thanks for reminding us.”

A few days later, they reminded me that I too have all power within. That doesn’t mean I should try to do everything on my own. One of the powers of the universe is the power of co-creation.

I should add that my wishes are not always granted, nor should they be. Sometimes the Gods have better plans for me.

Do You Want a Vasilisa’s Doll?

Wood dollIf you’d like me to make a Vasilisa’s doll for you or a loved one, I currently have the right size wood. At the time of this post, these are your costs:

A doll wall hanging is usually $98. There are some considerations, e.g., a larger doll might cost more. A necklace is usually $130. Shipping is additional and is $9 to a U.S. address.

Each doll is one of a kind—I channel woodburning details, then select beads that enhance it, magically and aesthetically, though there might not be beads on the wall hanging.

Email me or comment below if you’re interested. If you request a doll and then don’t like what I’ve made, no obligation to buy. I’m sure I can sell it elsewhere. The doll will go to their right home.

Rose Magic

Fairy Flower Magic: Rose Enchantments

Decorative frame of roses painted by Francesca De Grandis, around the words “Fairy Flower Magic: Rose Enchantments.”

Children, Magic, and Gardens

Children are wise in their innocence. They hear flowers sing, see garden fairies, and trust that magic is real. Children sing to the flowers, pile fallen petals and leaves to make wee beds for the Fae Folk, and leave cookies in the garden in case an otherworldly friend is hungry.

When I embrace this attitude, life is magical, and magic is in everything.

As our childhood is left behind, it can become harder to connect with magic. However, the magic of flowers is obvious to a lot of people, even after they reach adulthood. Gardens, potted plants, and cut flowers, for many a witch, have an easy-to-notice otherworldly energy.

The magic of roses, in particular, has been easily recognized worldwide for centuries. No surprise many mystical groups use a rose as one of their main symbols, if not their main one.

Roses, Italian Witchcraft, and Goddess Diana

Roses are important in many witchcraft traditions. Let’s look at one: la Vecchia Religione—the ancient shamanic witchcraft of Italy.

To explain rose’s relationship to the Strega (practitioner of ancient Italian witchcraft) as well as some of the powers of roses, I need to provide context.

La Vecchia Religione fosters joyful living, unlike religions that insist people be dour and view their existence as an uninterrupted burden.

In the old Italian religion, the Magna Mater—Great Mother Goddess, Creator of All—was known as Diana. Italian lore reveals Diana to also be the Queen of Fairies.

I call Her consort and Cocreator My Good Father, because He is true goodness, not the pretend goodness of another God many of us know too well. Nope, My Good Father is not a bully but instead protects me from those who are.

The Magic Powers in Roses

The rose is a symbol of:
* joy
* the ebullient joy we might take in loving the Magna Mater and My Good Father
* the ebullient joy They take in loving us and in using all Their powers to see that we become whole and happy.

The rose more than symbolizes everything in the above list. Rose also embodies it all.

In other words, a rose is not merely a symbol; its wee self is the living presence of any and all joys. Power in every petal! That living presence draws joy to us.

Roses also:
* attract the Fairy folk
* are sacred to the Magna Mater and hence to My Good Father
* draw Their blessings and protection
* add power to spells

Eight Simple Rose Magic Spells

These eight simple methods attract any or all the blessings in the above two lists:

* Strewn rose petals on an altar or all over the floor.

* Add rose petals to cookies, place one on the kitchen counter as an offering to the Fey, and eat one yourself. If you want to eat more because you enjoy cookies, no problem!

* Burn rose incense.

* Grow a rose bush.

* Carry a rose petal in your pocket.

* Put a rose on your altar.

* Put a picture of a rose on your altar or in your wallet. A rose or even rose petal is a powerful amulet. I find a depiction of a rose can have the same power.

* Wear a rose boutonniere.

Being Creative about Magic

If you want to be creative about how you bring rose energy into your life, here are some ways I bring it into mine, in hopes they inspire you to make up your own.

I spin yarn on a stick from a wild rose bush. (I tend to spin on a stick instead of a spindle.) This adds rose blessings to the yarn.

I harvested the sticks from my property in an environmentally sound manner. They are from invasive rose bushes that kill plants in their proximity. So my harvesting is blessed by the Faerie Queen.

Oh, I just had another idea: give someone a rose as a way to bring rose magic into my life. When we give something away, we gain the gift ourselves.

Rose Amulet Jewelry

I also like to make and wear rose-shaped pendants as amulets.

Elaborate or simple rose amulet jewelry—it’s all good.

I like both.

You could just put a string through a tiny picture of a rose and wear it around your neck. The Fey Folk will get the message. So will the rose’s magic, which will do its thing for you. Magic is alive and cognizant.

As to more elaborate approaches, the rose amulet necklace I just finished designing and making is an example. (I make ones more elaborate than this, too.)

The complexity I often enjoy when constructing a magical charm came into play with this necklace:

* My braiding is not simple. (The necklaces are not macramé, but I’m delighted some folks think my braiding looks like macramé.) It took a lot of time to work out the techniques needed for the look I wanted and then practice them until I could get them right.

* Dragon that I am, I’ve spent decades collecting pretties to make charms. My bead collection alone is mammoth. Now, when I make a necklace, the exact pieces I want are at hand to weave my magic. I mean, look at the wee bell-shaped flower beads braided in the necklace. Searching until I find that sort of thing, let alone in the color, glaze, and what not I want, takes a lot of time but is worth it for me.

If you’d like to buy this necklace, here’s more info:

* I don’t know what stone the carved stone rose is, but it might be stone from Russia and, given the quality of the carving, I suspect it would’ve been much pricier than my dragon collection skills allowed me to pay.

* The back of the stone is lovely. It is carved. There’s also a vulva-like fissure there, adding secret feminine mojo. No one will see it when you wear the necklace, but you’ll know it’s there. … I think it’s a fissure, not a crack. But if the pendant breaks anytime soon despite reasonable care, I’ll refund.

* If interested in purchase details, comment below or email me, and I’ll send you info. Once the necklace has been sold, I’ll update this post to say so.

* I titled the necklace Gentle Magic Is Powerful. When I design an amulet, I give it a name. The name describes at least part of the charm’s magic and, I believe, adds magic. The above necklace has all the rose enchantments I’ve mentioned, but I also wove in another magic, noted in the amulet’s name. When worn, the charm supports your gentle, powerful rites and also honors/supports your gentle powerful magical beingness.

* I’ve done a great deal of magic on the necklace. If you purchase it, no need to bless it further, unless you feel otherwise.

Blessing an Amulet to Give It Power

Blessing a rose amulet is optional. Roses are magic, end of sentence. However, if you want to add power, that’s great.

There are both simple and elaborate methods.

I performed elaborate blessing ceremonies on the above necklace. Those rites are beyond the confines of this post.

However, simple blessings work great. There is power in simplicity.

Simple Amulet Blessings

Here is a simple way to bless any talisman—not just a rose amulet: leave it outside overnight during a full moon and then, if you want, leave it in sunlight for a day. If you can’t leave the charm outside, put it on a windowsill.

Another simple method that is natural and organic: I think the many hours I spend finding perfect beads adds power to them, automatically. That mojo is incorporated into any talisman I make with them.

More about Roses and the Old Fairy Gods

Below are excerpts from a 2007 piece of writing, telling a story so personal that I barely shared it with anyone for a while.

I don’t know why I’m sharing it here but get a strong sense doing so is important. Perhaps, the story’s acutely personal nature provides a bit of insight into the Old Fairy Gods’ immense power—and how that links to roses—better than any abstract exposition might.

If memory serves, these excerpts are from a journal entry. I shared some of them in a newsletter years back. I tweaked them for clarity’s sake and the like:

“When I talk about shunning greatness, I’m referring to a very specific dilemma. I need to push everything far past what I’ve ever done. There is no escape anymore, except fully into Her will all the time and into the pleasure of Her embrace, not as escapism but as a simultaneous retreat from the world and utter integration with humankind’s plebeian existence. To fully find my Fey self in a new way. I run from that constantly. Makes me miserable. . . .

“Even though I resist, I bit by bit surrender. Or at least I hope that is the progression I am in. . . .

“ . . . As part of a book signing at a Border’s Books, I led a rite. . . . The moment I ended the ritual, the room filled with the scent of roses.

“A moment before, I had peripherally sensed, to my left, a female—wearing a rose scent—walking past me with a male. Then I realized they had not been on this plane—they were the Lord and Lady. I flipped out!

“I’m not, mind you, afraid of phenomena. I flipped because I felt like I’d been caught in my spiritual underwear. I was visible in the bookstore as a shaman, mystic, and guru (in the real sense of guru: not someone who is mindlessly obeyed, but someone who is plugged in and helps others get plugged in). I didn’t want that visibility. I thought people would start coming to my classes not for the message but for the bells and whistles. Or call me a fake who had put rose oil in the ventilation system. And look at what they did to Christ! I was upset!

“Here Goddess had given a gift, and I was flipped. (We are all such jerks!) . . .

“If the scent had happened in my living room or some obscure little metaphysical shop, I would have felt okay. But Borders is so mainstream I felt utterly exposed.

“Finally I accepted the gift.

“ . . . When someone moves toward my classes because they want a “piece of a celebrity,” they cannot help me create the scent of roses. They are looking for the wrong power, so see none, acquire none.

“ . . . Faeries are almost always invisible. So I guess it is okay. I adore the few individuals who see me. (I need to better accept that the rest parse me according to a bean-counting standard that reduces mystics and greatness to ashes, neuroses, and petty motives. Until I am accepting of these folks, my soul is soured by my haughty judgment of them, and I remain trashed by my false ego.)

“ . . . After my first bestseller, a marketing expert told me that few bestselling authors teach wee classes like I do, and that I should go on the circuit. But I’m just a shaman = small classes = big connection with a small number of people.

“… I’m just a Faerie. . . . I hide from the Faerie Queen’s love then, running toward Her, move through the mind-gate into Faerie. Then become confused, rejecting the stars in the heaven because I love my humanity as much as I adore my Fey blood. The stars. They always call. But so do the humans and plants and animals.

“. . . It’s my job to serve them. I am also drawn to them because I am human, and because I need every human, plant, and animal on this planet probably more than any one of them needs me.

“All of this happens together, in my home, where I am housebound with MS. Two examples: I teach beautiful people long distance. I travel the stars with my otherworldly wings.”

The Old Gods Welcome You: a Mystic Rose Ceremony

In this rite, Mother and Father, Who are the most loving Beings, welcome you into Their care, bestowing Their love, power, and protection, as well as fostering your magical power, otherworldly perception, and wisdom. The ritual can be done just once, or whenever you feel the need.

Place before you a rose of any color, a photograph of a rose, or a drawing of one, done by yourself or someone else. It does not matter if you draw “poorly.”

Then recite the following liturgy, which is called Divine Welcoming:

The Old Gods speak:

We welcome you, Our child.

With Us, there is safety.
With Us, you can take pride in yourself
and have honor.

With Us, pleasure is divorced from shame and hate.

Here, there is love.
Here, there is joy.
Here, there is safety.

We serve you, Our child,
and welcome you into Our Mysteries.

We welcome you into their beauty.
We welcome you into their joy.

Relax here with Us,
for you are safe, loved, and honored in Our care.

Additional Information

I initially channeled a more complex version of the above ritual, for my course, La Vecchia Religione. I streamlined that rite for this post so someone without any training could do it. It can be a lovely, important step for beginners.

Many adepts will find this simple version works well for them because the Gods are powerful.

To be apprised the next time I teach the La Vecchia Religione course, sign up for my newsletter by clicking the banner below.

Newsletter subscribers also often get first dibs on my talismanic jewelry.

Faerie Newsletter: Coming Events, Freebies, and Stardust

Magic Cats: Goddess Bast, Fairy Kitties, and Feline Familiars

Painting of a magical cat by Francesca De Grandis

Magic Cats: Goddess Bast, Fairy Kitties, and Feline Familiars

“Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea.”—Robert A. Heinlein

Superstitions about Cats Being Evil Aren’t True

We all know the superstitions. A black cat crossing your path is bad luck. Cats will jump into your infant’s crib and steal their breath. Bah humbug.

I wouldn’t allow a cat into a crib, in case it accidentally smothers the baby. But a cat has no demonic agenda of stealing breath. Cats are God’s creatures.

They are held dear in culture after culture.

Most people know they were worshiped as deities by ancient Egyptians, but respect for felines is worldwide.

For example, there is an Italian myth, found in the book, Aradia, Gospel of the Witches, about a fairy cat who helped the Goddess Diana play a trick on Her brother. This resulted in all of creation coming into being, showing that kitty was one pretty special feline.

There’s also the ubiquitous Japanese sculpture of a cat with one paw raised. You’ve probably seen it in restaurants. That statue brings good luck.

Who Is the Goddess Bast?

Bast is an ancient Egyptian Goddess.

Often portrayed as having a human body and Lioness head, She was considered a fierce protector. Later, images of Her tended to be a house cat, with perhaps a sistrum (a rattle used in ritual) by Her side. The shift of Bast’s image from lion to domesticated feline accompanied Her becoming the patron Deity of women, children, and domestic cats.

In the ‘80s, I saw so many images of the house cat version of Bast having a gold, hoop earring piercing one of Her ears, that I assumed it was traditional. Then, I researched to see if the gold hoop is a modern addition, but couldn’t find the answer.

Bast loves perfume. This delights me since beautiful scents are part of my magic. Next time I use scent in a spell, maybe I’ll wear my Bast amulet and ask Her to bless the spell. I think perfumes would be a lovely offering to Her, too.

I personally do not believe She became any less fierce or effective a protector when She became domesticated. Humans no longer live wild in caves, but we remain fiercely protective as parents. And One of Her aspects is a loving parent.

Bast as a Fierce Protector Goddess

Bast has a ferocious side, which I turn to for protection.

While making three Bast amulets—photographs of them are throughout the remainder of this post —I was super aware of how well She protects me. Bast sometimes looks like a cute little kitty, but She’s fierce.

a magic cat amulet necklace

One of the many blessings from the entire feline kingdom is protection. Princess Beast, the cat who lives with me, looks like the sweetest, gentlest little ball of fluff, but she once reared up and attacked the postal carrier with such viciousness that the person scrambled out the door in fear.

When writing this post, I used voice recognition software. It translated my spoken words the feline kingdom as “God the lion kingdom.” That wild change cracked me up because my trickster Goddess sometimes guides me through incredibly funny voice recognition mishaps. I feel the particular synchronistic rewrite about cats affirms that in every cat resides mighty lion Deities, both male and female, lending us Their immense power, ferocity, and protection. And that Bast’s power is unquestionable, no matter how She is represented.

Bast Also Has a Gentle, Loving, Nurturing Aspect

In my experience (as opposed to any lore I’ve read), sometimes Bast turns into a cutie, an adorable kitten curled up around me with gentleness and love. Except that, being a God, the gentleness and love with which She surrounds me is immense beyond measure.

Words can’t convey what I experience when I visualize the universe being run by a Deity Who is as sweet, gentle, and softly furry as a kitten. All fear of any God or of a hostile universe leaves me. It is as if Princess Beast, who curls up on my lap, purring, affectionately licking my hand, has a larger version—an immense version that is God, curled up around me, and governing all things so lovingly that my material and spiritual needs are well taken care of.

That visualization is not the only time I’ve turned to Bast for help when I forgot that my Gods are loving, kind, and sweet, instead of judgmental, uncaring, and disdainful. Here’s another time:

I try to not chastise myself for my oh-so-human feelings of anger, but one day, I was actually hating the part of me that feels anger. I don’t want self-hate; it serves no good purpose. Hate for myself is not healing. In fact, self-hate hinders change.

After making the Bast talismans, which invoke Her into your life, She showed love for the part of me that’s angry. Her love transformed both my hate and anger. A God condemning me for my anger would not have helped me.

Another time, I was hot with anger at someone who’d seriously messed with me. Bast not only wrapped Herself tenderly and lovingly around me, so that I did not hate myself for my anger, She also told me I needn’t be pulled down by fear of my anger or of the person messing with me. That message helped me face my anger, be empowered by it, and release it, all of which in turn allowed me to take appropriate steps, on both the magical and mundane planes, to protect myself.

She also made it clear She would show Her other side should that person try to mess with me again. Picture a guest walking in my door, and Princess Beast instantaneously going from cuddling with me to leaping off my lap in order to prepare to slash out fiercely at the guest, should they be dangerous.

Witches and Cat Familiars

Witches keep cats or other animals as familiars (magical helpers).

My familiar, Princess Beast, hangs out with a poppet. (I made it probably in the ‘80s.)

I am such a cliche witch: I adore cats. Whether it’s the Goddess Bast, the fairy kitty in the aforementioned creation myth, or the black and white feline who’s been meowing at my door recently, then scrambling off as soon as I appear, I cannot resist a cat.

I find all cats to be Fey, and haven’t been without a cat familiar by my side for decades.

Familiars Are All So Different

Every cat has their own personality, magic, and lessons to give us. Every one of my familiars has come to me right when I needed its particular powers.

Teenie, my familiar of 17 years, may she rest in peace, was peaceful, loving, and noble. She tried to teach me these virtues. Ganesh, a high energy fellow who lived with us for a few years, embodied and taught me lessons in joyful chaos. Princess Beast is a comedienne, an utter Holy Fool who helps me be lighthearted and enjoy life more.

Teenie, 2013

Princess Beast as a silly kitten

Princess Beast constantly offers photo-ops, whereas Teenie usually hated having her picture taken. She tended to immediately change whatever darling, gorgeous, or otherwise noteworthy position she was in, if I grabbed the camera to capture the moment. She taught me to be in the moment instead of losing an experience by trying to document it.

Even as a kitten, Princess Beast loved surprising me with photo ops. Here she portrays a cat Goddess bigger than Gaia. Gaia statue by Oberon Zell-Ravenhearr

Bast Talismans / Kitty Faerie Charms

I made three talismans that invoke blessings from the Cat Goddess Bast and Faerie cats.

I make charms my own way. So I’m not suggesting you need to make them the way I describe below. I just like sharing my magical process.

I imbued the talismans with the feline magical energies described in this post, as well as the power to grant blessings you personally might expect from the sacred feline realms.

Two of the charms are necklaces. One is for me. (Mine is the one with the paler cord.) A friend will probably be buying the other one.

Two magic cat amulet necklaces

Here is what I strung on both necklaces:

I am 90% sure each pendant is carved from a single piece of ribbon jasper. Ditto the cat in the wall hanging, later in this post. I love how different colors emerge in a ribbon jasper carving, especially when a skilled artisan takes advantage of it.

I find ribbon jasper exudes happiness and contentment. This was not taught to me by a human but directly by the stone itself. Ditto its happy, grounded energy that helps keep my feet on the ground when I’m walking between the stars.

The carvings remind me of a Victorian cameo. I’m an old hippie who loves Victoriana, so it is inevitable some of my designs end up BoHo meets Queen Victoria.

Immediately above each pendant are three large beads. The smaller two are moss agate, a stone I find wondrously Fey; a stone that appears so mosslike seems a magical marvel to me. That Fey energy is a good match for these talismans. Could anything more Fey than a cat? They run into the room when you’re doing a ritual because they want to join in. They stalk invisible beings. And many a strega (traditional Italian witch) honors the fairy cat who figures prominently in the aforementioned creation myth.

Detail of a magic cat amulet necklaceThe largest of the three beads is a focal lampwork bead. I go to great lengths to acquire items that help make each of my talismans shines with both its own unique beauty and singular magic. I buy beads carefully, taking my time. The lampwork beads in these two talismans are two of 18 unique beads I commissioned from Jill at https://www.wyomingsilvers.net. (I’m not suggesting Jill is Pagan. I’ve no idea. I found her shop because I love lamp work glass.) I’ve acquired a number of pieces by this talented artisan.

Woven up each side of both necklaces are designer seed beads. They have a mottled appearance that goes perfectly with all the natural stone in the necklaces.

Woven with the seed beads are three larger, round beads on each side. They were destash so I don’t know what they are. I suspect they’re serpentine because their surface has the “waxiness” of that stone. I’m not a gem-identification expert.

Serpentine is one of my favorite stones.

Or perhaps the round beads are not serpentine but the same stone as the cat cameos: I carefully sorted through a few hundred of those round stones—I love fastidiously creating talismans—to find ones that best match the carving, and I was able to match some well enough that it made me wonder if they were the same stone.

Regardless, these beads have a lovely, smooth ancient energy—gentle and peaceful.

I’m really happy my friend and I will have sister necklaces.

I make one of a kind charms. Sometimes, when creating one to sell or gift, I make a somewhat similar one for myself while I’m at it. I don’t make them identical, mindlessly going about the work. Quite the opposite. For example, I sorted through my moss agate and lampwork beads to find the ones best suited to each pendant.

Sometimes my Gods make it quite clear I’m not to create the similar piece for myself: e.g., I won’t be able to make the one for me work aesthetically, or its cord gets hopelessly tangled.

The Third Bast / Fairy Cat Talisman Is a Wall Hanging

a magic cat amulet wall hanging

It is strung on waxed cotton cords. The large orangey barrel-shaped bead is copal. I seem to remember amber being sacred in ancient Egypt. I didn’t have any, and copal seemed a perfect substitute. The large, long faceted piece is probably bone. Bone represents the eternal. The idea of a cat’s nine lives represents the same thing to me.

Here’s a close-up of the two wee designer beads I selected to put right above the kitty. Tiny bits of loveliness hold magic:
Detail of a magic cat amulet wall hanging

When knotting the cords in this amulet, I tied in blessings. When adding beads, I added blessings.

Crafting amulets is an important part of my magic and witch spirituality. To read a bit more about my talisman-making journey, check this out: https://stardrenched.com/2018/08/31/making-talismans/

I don’t get a chance to create talismans to sell very often right now. When I do, my newsletter subscribers often will get first shot at purchasing them. Click below to subscribe.

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The Most Important Magical Tree

The Most Important Magical Tree
Are artists and shamans faithless, committed to the moment and nothing else?
Sept 21, 2018 (Fall Equinox)

I fall in love with every bit of wood that I craft into a talisman.

As I’m sanding, doing pyrography, and otherwise working with a piece of wood, I start to realize how special it is.

A lot of the time, mind you, I see how marvelous it is to begin with but, oh, when I work in depth with it, I become enamored. When I strip off a layer of bark, nuances emerge. As I sand, the grain shows more and more. When I tenderly apply a beeswax finish, the wood’s mystical powers electrify my fingertips so I come to know both those powers and my skin.

It is through such thorough interactions that I understand wood, other people, the Gods, the emptiness from which of all creativity springs.

Often, the process of crafting a morsel of wood sends it and me into another world, where we rebuild Faerie.

Here’s that piece of wood when I first started working with it:

The sort of pyrography I tend to do is challenging to execute on some woods I use. Perhaps that’s because, unlike birch and basswood, which are the pyrographer’s staples, many woods that visit me tend to be ornery about pyrography. The wood-burning I usually see folks do on these woods is minimal and straight-lined—e.g., a solo rune or pentacle—whereas I attempt designs that are, by comparison, complex and detailed, and that include spirals, twists, and swirling flourishes.

Each difficult wood I pyrograph might have its own way of being ornery. Once I’ve figured out what will work on that type, it won’t necessarily work on another. I have to start figuring out a new way all over again. But determining how to pyrograph whatever wood is in my hand is giving me an understanding of the tree the wood is from, how different it is from all other trees. The realization that it would be too difficult to pyrograph more than a simple ogham or the like on some woods would be equally informative about the nature of the tree the wood is from.

From the toil that arises from committing to work with the wood as it is, from such thorough interactions, I can better understand that wood and do a better job serving it. When acting as a shamanic guide, the toil that arises from committing to work with a client as they are, such thorough interactions, allows me to better understand that individual, and thus do a better job for them. Such thorough interactions foster relationship. I fall in love with my clients.

My analogies between woods and clients do not extend to the orneriness of some woods. My clients aren’t ornery. I must have the easiest clients in the world. I wonder why the Goddess sends me ornery woods and easy students.

When I see what pyrographed design the wood in question will allow, that is part of my falling in love. The more I work with a piece, the more I adore it.

I am eternally fickle, wholeheartedly deeming each piece of wood my new favorite. Each one shows me how the tree from which it came is the most beautiful, important, and magical in all the planet. Each piece of wood is my new friend, gifting me its secrets. It has exactly what I need to make my life the way I want it.

It doesn’t matter how many pieces of oak (or elder or willow or other tree) have found their way into my hands, each oaken (elder, willow, or other tree bit) is the new and only path to power and ecstasy.

Within days, another piece of wood catches my fancy.

Whenever I work with a client, I am in love with that individual, eternally fickle, wholeheartedly deeming each client my favorite, the teacher’s pet. Each is the most beautiful, important, and magical being on all the planet. Each is my new friend, gifting me their presence. Serving that client is exactly what I need to transform my spirit into how I want to be.

I am eternally faithful: regardless of how many clients I work with in a given day, or how many folks are in a class, or how many times I’ve worked with a given client before, each time I work with a client, I understand how irreplaceable and essential they are to the universe and to me. (I usually keep class enrollment small, to have time for thorough interactions.)

Do I seduce wood, do I coax it to cooperate with my desire for it to be the most important piece of wood so I can be in union with it? Do artists and shamanic guides practice serial monogamy, devoted to each art piece or student, but only until it’s time to turn their attention to the next art project or client?

Artists and shamans are faithless, committed to the moment and nothing else. No, that’s not true. They’re also committed to crafting the next moment, so that it will be beautiful, so that it will best serve the client. The job of artists and shamans is to craft the next moment. … They are faithful to that job. … It is a prevalent lie that they are faithless. They serve. They serve. They belong completely and unceasingly to their students and the Muse.

I revel in the void of outer space, from which all creation comes. There, I constantly feed the stars. There, I am faithful to the needs of wood, clients, Gods, and self.

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Making Talismans

I’ve always loved making altars. My house is full of them … or, rather, is one big altar.

Using altars, in all the ways I did before illness descended in 2001, is no longer an option, long story short. Making talismans has picked up the slack. Many are ones I can wear. My body is an altar, and I adorn my body with magic.

Every talismanic pendant, necklace, hair adornment, or scarf I make for myself is magic for my altar. You’ll often see me wearing two or three magic pendants. I almost always wear the same enchanted earrings and rings every day, and did this long before the illness came, but these magical staples are accompanied by ever-changing Fey-touched adornments.

In the evening, choosing which talismanic pendants, necklaces, hair adornments, or other pieces to wear the next day is a meditation, part of a spell.

Making talismans for myself, both to wear and to place in my environment, is an important part of my magic and spirituality. I constantly make new items. Crafting and using them have become vital stepping stones. Each one—both the making of it and its use—paves my shaman path, furthering my journey. Each piece calls me, in a different way: calls me back to myself, calls me by one of my true names, calls me to my ancestors.

Others call my heart’s desires to me, invoking prosperity, protection, wisdom in a specific area of my life, success with a specific project, or whatever else I might long for.

In 2001, illness came as a permanent guest. By 2004, I only had months to live. However, now, I’ve another 20 years in me. Talismans are one of the things that made all the difference. In fact, I get healthier every year.

When I was first sick, a physician told me that most people in my situation never get back out of bed and can accomplish nothing for the rest of their lives. I am up and about and doing all sorts of things! Some day, I might completely recover and bid farewell to my longtime guest, a teacher I will no longer need. Talismans are helping pave the way. Though almost 70, I don’t feel old, just ill, and the illness decreases constantly. Eventually, old age will catch up with me. But, ha, it hasn’t caught up with me yet, and I’m 68.

I make talismans for every purpose possible, and might make several talismans to the same purpose.

I make so many talismans, but it works out beautifully. After they have served me—and many of them continue to serve me for years—I might combine several of them into one necklace or wall-hanging, one grand spell. Or, when a charm tells me to do so, I will pass it on to someone else or to the earth. Some charms I will probably always keep, they continue to hold me up. Some charms I will asked to be buried with.

When I have time, I make talismans for other people. … Well, I’m constantly making digital talismans for my students, but I don’t usually have much time to make many non-virtual amulets except for myself.

I make talismans out of wood, stones, beads, bones, and feathers. Or I spin cord from silk, wool, and bamboo. I dye silk cloth and paint it. I calligraph words and symbols on paper or tree bark. Spoons and forks and anything else at hand might become a talisman. Magic is in everything, so anything can be used to make a talisman. Or can be used as a talisman without being crafted into one.

The cast-iron skillet in which I fry my breakfast eggs is a talisman. After all, a pentacle is an amulet, and what better pentacle than a heavy cast-iron piece in which the four elements combine: the heat from the stove, the fruits of the earth, the moisture in foods, and the scents filling the air.

Perhaps a pentacle and frying pan would be better named ritual tools. Or altars. But words can limit magic. Everything is an amulet, altar, magical tool. Unlimited by definitions, imagination is allowed to bring us in mystical directions we might not notice otherwise.

As distracting as words can be, they are equally useful, wondrous, and enchanting. If I frame a shoe as an “amulet,” that might show me its magic and how to use it. The next day, if I frame the shoe as an “altar,” other valuable ideas might emerge. Ditto framed as “magical tool.”

Dividing a shoe into amulet, altar, or magical tool as strict categories is beside the point and self-defeating. These words—amulet, altar, and tool–can evoke significant perceptions, and the perceptions evoked by one word might overlap with perceptions evoked by another word. That’s not a problem; the point is to find power; I refuse to forsake power by restricting myself through the mental rigmarole of categorizing everything into little boxes.

Magic is in everything.
I am its altar.
I am the magical tool on which I draw the most.
I am a talisman.

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Kitchen Moon

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If you can’t see the graphic at the top of this post, here’s its text and photo:

You Needn’t Leave Yourself to Find Magic
Diana Magna Mater Is Everpresent

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After glancing down into my sink, I was thrilled by what I saw there, snapped the above photo of it, and wrote the following:

Quarter moon tide does not arrive pounding at my winter door, but sneaks into my kitchen sink, as clever as steam.

Moon tides are everywhere—dark moon tides, whole moon tides, quarter moon tides. That is my safety, solace, and soul: moon tides are everywhere.

You need not leave yourself to find magic. To walk into Fey lands, walk into yourself, just as you are; live there; you can then recognize the entry to Faerie.

Calligraphy to Ornament a Book of Shadows Page

Below is a stop motion vid of calligraphy I did for my upcoming online class in Italian magic. I’ll use the calligraphy in a Book of Shadow page for the course (unless something unexpected stands in the way. And I might keep tweaking it, I never know because I am very fussy, but so far I am happy with it).

If you want to see the vid again after it’s played, click the arrow that’s kind of circular or refresh the page.

I attempted to calligraph the word “Strega” in a way that conveyed the power of traditional Italian witchcraft.

Art is magic!

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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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Baba Yaga’s Apprentice

Baba Yaga’s Apprentice:
A Faerie Tale Ritual

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If ever we needed ways to stay focused and whole, and experience some gentleness, this is the time.

Baba Yaga’s Apprentice is my gentle enchantment that creates focus and wholeness. I believe this magic is all the more powerful and effective for its gentleness.

This storybook is for grown-ups . . . but the sort of adults who remain, or want to remain, childlike at heart.

This book’s format: PDF.
List price: $25
Price: $19.99

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The tale is my revisioning of Baba Yaga folklore.

As the book’s story proceeds, a ritual simultaneously unfolds for the reader.

Here’s one of the illustrations:SampleILLstrtn

Baba Yaga’s Apprentice is fun, easy reading.

Along with being a Faerie tale and a gentle ritual, this book is also a work of art for you. Trying to evoke the embellishments in old Faerie tale books and add a layer of enchantment to the magical foundation I’d spun with the text, I ornamented every page with my original full color art. Most of the art is my spin on Poland’s folk art.

I have felt immense mojo on the project; I wanted this spell to happen so much.

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From the preface:

“The spell is very easy to do. You don’t even have to “do” it. The sheer reading of the Faerie tale to oneself, just for fun, even silently, and enjoying my paintings, is all it takes for the spell to work.”

“The storybook’s magical current helps you:
* Focus on what’s important to you.
* Follow through on it.
* Stay centered in your power and your love.
* Protect your dear heart from being hurt or blocked.
* Feed your witchy soul.

“The ritual also supports you if you are introverted, empathic, exceptionally magical, or sensitive psychically.

“And when you are fearful or nervous, this is a good tale for you.”

The book is 7000 words and 46 pages.

Here’s another sample, a text frame I painted:
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This volume was created with my sincerest hope that the gentle love and hope with which the Muse infused the pages will sustain and empower you … over and over.

Available only from the author.

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