Messages Given and Received

Little beetle, little beetle,
Rememberest thou yesterday?
Little beetle, little beetle,
Rememberest thou yesterday?
Little beetle, little beetle,
Rememberest thou yesterday
The Son of God went by?

The seeds split, their shiny polished sacks cracked and then gnawed.  They've lived in the dark for so long, with the other curios and friends.  They've been fed on secret words and the warm and the quiet.  They emerge, ushered into the world among thorns and nightshade. Slick and black, they unfurl their wings and stretch their legs and with all my blessings they go off into the world, carrying with them the word I send out into the world, to those distant places, on air and in darkness.

The red poppy seeds (right) will attend the red sandalwood, dragonsblood and cinnamon; her dreams bring messages of lust; dreams that are warm and wet and wonderful.  The blue belongs with storax and blonde sandalwood, the orris and opium oil; it helps the mind cope with the wonders of the otherworldly messages our nightmares bring us (strangely, when burned on coals this batch smelled like baked honey). The brown and black and ash colored bottle repels dreams when they become inconvenient, especially when accompanied by wormwood,  fresh keif and a dose of clove (they smell cold and musky when burned, they've been aged 11 years), but the brown and gold, they draw dreams with wildness and wealth in the company of cedar, ground rose buds and a drop of olibanum. 
Pendell wrote in the correspondences of the poppy that her discipline was that of the "leechdom and perfumery", her element is air and her metaphor is dreams.  The seeds are my favorite part to use personally, for my own dream incense.  They produce odd scents and unexpected flavors, and in the art of ritual incense making, I've had a fair deal of luck with adding small quantities of poppy seeds processed in a number of ways; from tinctures to fine powders to fermented grounds and simple oils.

  I've been in a flurry ever since I started having these dreams of the poppies and dry fields and crackling leaves, and with the dreams came the inspiration to start sculpting again. Putting my hands back into the clay and giving birth to ideas was so cathartic.  I don't think I'll accept commissions again any time soon, but I do like making and trading whatever comes to me in my thoughts, in my dreams.  Soon, I'll share them, but for now, I'm just following the messages and trust in my messengers.


Dale Pendell's Phamako Gnosis
Carmina Gadelica Vol 1 &2 by Alexander Carmicheal

Thorns, Poppys and Living Things Within

Poppy, the Chinese "plant of joy".... Aphrodite's Tears, Demeter's Gift, Milk of Morpheus, Hypnos' Hypnotic, Minoa's Crown.  Feminine, saturn, sun, moon, air, water, love and dreams, the poppy (particularly the California poppy) is sacred to my immediate family.   It's an emblem, a tutelary spirit and a personification of an ideal resilience and beauty.  Back home in the desert, poppy flowers of mixed varieties populate every road side and hillside for stretches of miles all summer and they wind up on the altars of Our Lady and Corn Woman alike. They grow under the orange trees, in the willows and along the tall grass.  Papaver sominiferum, oriental and common poppy and all other related ones receive the same adoration and favoritism in our personal gardens and art.

"There was another species of Capnomancy which consisted in observing the smokeraising from poppy and jessamin seed, cast upon burning coals."Demonologia, Or, Natural Knowledge Revealed: Being an Exposé of Ancient and Modern Superstition (1831) by J. S. Forsythe

While the flowers get put to use in my work for the benefit of phila, the seeds and pods are used in dream work, to invoke or purify, to deliver messages or even confusion.  I use poppy seed to receive messages in dream, while the pods can be used as protective amulets, in bone sets or even to store herbs.  Mostly, they're to house the oneric spirits on the altar who seem to enjoy the dreamy smell and cool shade of the poppy.  In my collection is eleven bottles, each with a different year of poppy from my sister's garden on my mother's property.  Eleven years worth, all for the benefit of honoring our ancestors and familial spirits come the autumn each year, when the dead move.  As the seeds age and their smells evolve, they get added to the batch in small increments.  The smoke is used in a form of capnomancy after dream work.

"To know the future, or how any event will turn out, or whether or not you will win in a lottery, get a dry poppy pod, and, making a hole, let out all the seeds. Place a paper inside, on which your question is written then put it beneath your pillow and repeat: ""In the name of the heavens and the stars, and the moon, May I now dream, and that full soon, If this I see. (Here tell you wish)Pray tell to me!"" You will surely dream all you wish to know."-Encyclopedia of Superstitions, Folklore, and the Occult Sciences of the World by Cora Linn Daniels

The Dame Darcy Mermaid Tarot is a treasure.  It reminds me of a fortune teller under a dock in Atlantic City or Coney Island.  It's diverse and oceanic and contemporary... I'm a fan.  Blessing it with seaweed infused salt, storax, sandalwood and oceanspray incense, rue and mugwort, and Aphrodite oil was the right move.  This will function as my new public deck, and I'll be retiring my art decks to the private parlor. 

The thing about thorns and nails is that they aren't inherently tied to curses, but they are the averting factor for a spell.  I don't get much use from iron nails in my work unless its commissions for other people, but hawthorns, rose thorns and brambles are a staple in most martian and saturnain work geared towards amulets of aversion and repellent charms.  Thorns in an apple kissed by a jealous lover and fed to the mistress/interloper will sicken them.

A charm to cause someone to sicken with discomfort and apprehension, to fill them with anxiety and paranoia, was shared with me by local seawitch Chelsea P., and involves the creation of a dolly/simulacrum of thin hemp cloth, filled with vetch pods, flowers and seeds, as well as slippery elm, thistle fluff, and the volts of your intended.  You would hide this on the grounds of your enemy, under the porch or house or a stone in their garden.  As the seeds shift and birth the beetles, they will crawl through the poppet, eventually eating through the thin cloth and emerging out, causing your intended to confess.  Vetch is for revenge on a lover, otherwise, the scotch broom, being under the rulership of mars and air, also attracts a beetle that is equally discomforting. 
Vetch, Oak gall and Snails are a particularly fun part of summer hexes and charm lore.  Did you know that charms "to cause living things to grow in the body" are found across the world?  I'm most fond of African American hoodoo and English folk magic where jinx, hex and curse folklore is concerned, I like seeing how both these strains of my ancestors viewed this mysticism.  They say in hoodoo, to cause snails and slugs to squirm in the body and slither up the throat, one must collect, desiccate and feed a snail or slug to one's intended victim.  Interesting stuff...

Vetch isn't well known in magic for anything other than its properties to bind and ensnare lovers, to ensure fidelity and to inspire beauty, this is found in local plant medicine and magic as well as English flower folklore.  The root and flower are the main culprits in these works, but the seed comes with a skin-crawling magic of its own.  The seed of hairy vetch is known to attract a beetle which lives as larvae in the center of the seed, and when they have consumed the innards of the seed they burrow their way out, leaving behind hollow husks which would make any trypophobe shudder.  You can usually tell when the seed is infected from it's odd coloring, small pinprick holes and/or soft pliancy.  A firm black seed is most often the best if you're looking to avoid an infected seed.

In this way, vetch and broom are much like oak gall, which acts as a vessel for insects who are most often associated with malady, war and revenge.  Unlike the seeds which are prey to the beetles themselves, oak galls are an immune response from the tree, and is in this way, born of conflict and from these emerge a wasp, worm and sometimes even spiders which can be messengers or can signify illness.  Both are infections to their host; parasites using the plant world to the benefit of their species.  Brilliant.  And magical.  And exactly what makes my skin crawl.  I'm not much for hexes, but I do like knowing how to respect every plant spirit in my arsenal, especially the ones that help usher other forms of life into the world.  Seeds, pods, that which holds the potentum of life, summer is ripe with it.

Further Reading...

Encyclopedia of Superstitions, Folklore, and the Occult Sciences of the World by Cora Linn Daniels
Hoodoo Herb and Root Magic by Catherine Yronwode
Plants of Love by Christian Rätsch
Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs

A Full Moon's Day

Vicia spirit gourd, blessed by a fullmoon hidden behind smoke
It was a battle moon this time, one made of smoke and worry.  There's a million battles being fought all around me and I've chosen mine.  Right now, my battle is in finding my balance.  This Moon's Day hosted a full moon during a time of fire.  It was a moon of rage, a moon of heat and forging.  It was a perfect time to think deeply about the imbalances that seem to have taken the fire and fight out of me.  It was a moon to cleanse myself and my house, to eat differently and move my body.   

Have you ever been so terribly upset about something that you responded by simply refusing to entertain it?  It's empowering isn't it?  To give so little power to any situation or person who is harming you by not engaging.  It isn't running, it isn't shutting down, it isn't denial.  It's peace.  It's looking past trying to entertain people's miseries and being disinterested in playing the game.  You start to see how much suffering around us is self inflicted and how much we don't have to participate in the cycles around us.  There are a lot of people trapped in negative cycles in my life, I don't get involved or interact with it.  

It's a toxic magic they're practicing.  When people put their intentions to nothing but bile and hate, or revenge and hypocrisy, or even just to insecurity, those intentions manifest in all aspects of their lives.  We create these waves of suffering that dominate our work lives, friendships and more.  The worst is the impact it can have on you spiritually, how much it can affect your work with the spirits.  I don't like these cycles, I prefer to wander around in my empathy and leave everyone else to their own devices.  Sometimes that's the best way to love people and the world, is to let them be and go your own way.  I've enjoyed my time away from people; I'm sculpting again, I'm back on track with my health and I'm gaining no grudges by indulging no misery.  I respect compassion and individuality above all other qualities, and those are my intentions, and what magic is made of that will be reflected.

Purification takes a lot of forms.  I was waiting until the full moon because I needed to clear my head before filling a gourd with of binding love. There were offerings to the spirits, and homemade rosewater cascarilla laid down.  I placed the gourd on a bed of vetch flower on a wax healing tablet and prayed.  When I read for myself, I saw exactly what was binding me, and when I threw the pearwood healing runes, there was a map of tension and misery laid out for me to trace my way out.  Labyrinth magic is sometimes just following the clues out of the maze of your own mind.
 It's been isolating and solitary, but then, that's every summer.  It's just not my time of year.  This year is a tad harder than the last few have been.   I don't do well with family and friend emotional baggage.  It's hard for me to keep up with all these social interactions and expectations.  I don't do well under social pressure, I much prefer to just be on my own and in my own space, and I don't think much about how anyone around me feels about it.  I wish I could indulge it, but I know better.  Never let people change you just because they're desperate to connect to you; not everyone needs to connect the same way, maybe for some people the silence is more deeply connecting than the chatter.

When it all becomes too intense, when there's too many feelings and emotions coming my way from the outside, I recede deep into my work and the woods.  The balance of silence and distance is where I thrive creatively, emotionally and spiritually.  When autumn comes, I'll again be thrust back into the constant miasma of other humans, but while the sun is high in the summer sky, I get peace.

High Summer has come and past and next the harvest season brings the browning and redding of everything.  Things once green wither to blackness, pods twist and snap in the heat, the berries rot on the vine and fall.  I was born in Autumn, right after the Autumnal Equinox, and I've always felt affectionate for the colors and tastes of the season.  There's corn husk cigars to roll and oat cakes and to make and blackberry ale to check on; there's tall yellowed grass to get lost in and all those delicious smells.  

It's time to go collect dried galls and fresh acorns, and time to cut roses and smoke long into the afternoon.  It's golden out, even with the smoke wafting down from British Columbia, and so so warm, it's almost like being back in Los Angeles, among the smog and smoke and dry air.  Sometimes, through the stresses of life, you just have to stop moving so much and be still, listen, lick your wounds or whatever, just take the time to keep up that which animates you... your spirit.

First Fruits

Binding Birdsfoot

Binding, binding, entwining, I adore the vicia vetch that Pliny called the "binder".  Vetch's local traditional applications according to Turner and Gunther were love magic, love drawing, fidelity charms and charms of beauty.  In the language of flowers according to Powell, vetch means "shyness", and to Cunningham, "fidelity".   She is ruled by  the star of Venus and seeks to ensnare, binding all things in her path, sowing as she goes.  Her pods can be used as a rattle component to send away the spirits who follow usurpers and mistresses.  I have several vetch spirit gourds in my collection and they bring the essence of attachment to my Binding two poppets in vicia villosa and ipomea will create a bond of deep fidelity and fascination, and can be woven in a pattern of knots or twisted and wound, and then gifted to newly weds on their commitment day.  

Gather all materials on Fridays in the hour of mercury, in the sun.  Gather from a romantic place preferably.  Fill two dollies with the black and green seeds of your favored vetch, as well as the dried flowers and dual-twisted pod shell (only use ones which are split in two, never single).  In one doll place the hair of one intended, and in the other, the hair of the partner.  Have each partner give their blood to a vine each and then twist those two vines together in a tight rope, then bind that rope around the arms of the two dolls in a heart knot or bow.  Give these to the intended to bury in the far yard of their very first home or at the front gate of their home.  When they bury the seed-filled doll, bound and bonded, they should consecrate the act by consummating their love.

There are a lot of varieties around here and many in the world.  I've got a few vicia in my collection and I try to keep them separated and cataloged for specific work; sativa for large marital charming, common for poppets, hairy for fidelity and attraction.  There are braids for binding charms and nests for blessing candles and vessels to sort the virtues of one vine of vetch from another.  I'm trying to stay organized these days... heh.

In addition to my vetch, I enjoy trefoil to act as a sister to vetch.  See, vicia doesn't do well alone.  That's not her style.  She despises to be without a companion of equal neediness; it thrills her to tangle and weave and choke and strangle.  It's an intense relationship that requires some personal distance or it becomes a tad dependent.  Vetch pairs well with morning glory, thistle, broom , but most of all, I've found the synchronicity between vetch and trefoil; they like each others company a lot and share in their sexual and somber symbolism.  In the language of flowers, this trefoil is associated with "revenge" according to C. Daniels, and is also ruled by Mercury. Imagine what a binder herb meant to ensnare an errant lover and an herb associated with sex, stability and revenge might do if they worked together...

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