Thursday, January 12, 2012

Colored Pencils and Air-Dry Clay: This Magician’s Best Friends

Last night I made my first ever attempt at anything that might be called planetary magic.  In the Hour of Mercury on the Day of Mercury, I blended a planetary incense—ground nutmeg, ground majoram, fennel, and lavender (because that was what I had on hand, and could get at my local pagan store; looking to Cunningham’s Book of Shadows for the correspondences)—and made two talismans under the auspices of Mercury.

The first was a pure Planetary Talisman, with the Planetary Talisman of Mercury on one side and the Planetary Seal of Mercury on the other (the Talisman did, indeed, come from Asterion; the Seal I used for refference may have come from anywhere).  Because I am a decidedly post-modern Magos, and because I lack the proper tools to inscribe the Talisman legibly into clay, I printed out the Talisman and colored it by hand; pressing the clay onto the back of the paper Talisman, I then scribed the relatively simple geometry of the Seal into clay on the other side.

The second talisman was to a much more specific purpose.  Attic Greek kicked my ass last semester, and I can’t afford to let that happen again.  Fortunately, I’m a witch, and there are Powers I can call upon for aid; in this case, the Powers of Mercury, the glib god Hermes, and the Titan muse Mneme.  The quick wit and silver tongue of Hermes are things that I desperately need, and the aid of goddess of memory even more so; besides, who better to call upon for this assistance than two gods first worshiped in the language I’m trying to learn?  Each are credited (by some, obviously conflicting, sources) with inventing language all together!

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[More and better pictures once I’ve finished painting them.]

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And what was the purpose of the Planetary Talisman, you ask?  The specific inspiration came from Lon Milo DuQuette, as I mentioned the other day.  In his new book Low Magick, he discusses using planetary talismans to help balance and enhance his life (Low Magick 49-55), as suggested by Israel Regardie (Talismans pp).  And I would, of course, be lying if there weren’t a certain element of “to see if I could”.

So … behold!  My first ritual magic of the new year!  Magic of a sort I have barely dabbled in before!  And hot damn, it was fun.  Ritual magic plus arts and crafts.

Both talismans are mixed-media, using a combination of printed paper, colored pencils, air-dry clay, scribed with a copper stylus, and painted with acrylic.

4 comments:

  1. Simple but beatiful! I like these very much; I haven't experimented with clay yet, but it's versatile in its own way. I like what you've done with these.

    DuQuette suggests to use talismans to build up weak areas from a person's natal chart, traditional astrology claims that that's a bad idea. The theory is that you've got a bad grasp on the energies and their expression of the debilitated planet in question, so bringing an influx of that power is like giving a person bad at fencing a greatsword to defend himself with; it's just too much to handle. Instead, they suggest boosting the planetary powers that are regaled and empowered in the natal chart, to enhance one's natural abilities. However, if the idea of balancing out forces works well (and I'd think it would, given the proper intent and focus!), then maybe there's something else going on that anyone can use for specific tasks.

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  2. Thank you.

    Clay is great. The best thing about it is probably the variety of clays to choose from, based on their various properties. Some air-dry, some oven bake, others require a kiln. I've also made several masks out of the air-dry clay, and a number of ritual tools (a talisman/seal for a spirit I work with and a number of offering bowls) out of Sculpey. I would love to work in stone and metal more, but that's just not feasible with my current budget--having always worked in someone else's shop, I don't even own my own tools.

    There's probably some virtue to the idea that one should be careful working in areas where one is weakest, but I am deeply skeptical of any school of thought which advocates avoiding them altogether. Such temerity cuts off personal growth and encourages a dangerous lack of balance. Now, do I think making this one Mercury talisman is going to fix all my Mercurial issues? Hahah. No. I'm probably going to have to work with this power in a variety of ways for the rest of my life. So, too, the various other afflictions in my chart. But no one ever said the Great Work wasn't, well, work.

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  3. I am a *huge* proponent for pantry herb use. I'm a component junkie so I have other stuff but I think there should be more of a focus in magic in general on utilizing grocery store goods.

    I have a soft spot for Mneme. :)

    Good work!

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    1. I actually had a conversation with the local pagan store about food-grade herbs yesterday when I went shopping. Back in KC I did more component shopping at the medicinal herb / tea store and at the local natural food store than at the New Age shop. Because I'm on the college meal plan, I have the luxury of ritually dedicating my kitchen space to magic full-time (yes, I still cook there occasionally, but feeding myself and my guests is potent magic in my book).

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