Lately I’ve been branching out, art-wise, and experimenting with different media. I’m particularly taken with permanent texta and watercolour pencils on canvas. I’ve done a couple of different pieces, including a ‘devotional’ piece to one of my two patron Goddesses; Brighid.
From left to right, Brighid in her triple aspects as; the Healer, the Flame of Inspiration, and the Smith/Fferyllt. There are gold metallic details, too, but they don’t show up very well in the photo.
When I say ‘new’ altar setup, I am referring to the actual construction of the altar itself, which is now much larger (and more stable!) than the previous one. Here it is decorated in my room in Sydney;
And a close-up;
It’s actually made from a wooden-slat bathmat, cable-tied to a free-standing shelving unit. Cheap and very effective. Stay tuned for more pictures of the dedicated altar room in my new flat!
Welcome to today’s installment of the Book of Shadows sampler, which looks at the steps taken in creating a full-page knotwork design. In this instance, the main design is a bird-motif knotwork panel (design taken from Complete Celtic Designs) with decorated corners.
1. Pencilling the main design;
2. Pencilling the corner decorations, and inking the main design;
3. Inking, intermediary and final;
4. Colouring with inks;
5. Highlighting using metallic pens;
And with that, we have a beautifully decorated full page design!
While I try and take “in progress” photographs of my work, there are generally about 12 pages of unphotographed material to every detailed post I make here. So, I will intermittently take photographs of the completed pages to present these “overviews” of the whole Book of Shadows.
Tah dah! Stay tuned for more of the Book of Shadows project, coming soon.
As part of my practice, I sometimes make things that I continue to use outside of the context of a spell, ritual, etc. Recently, I encountered an idea in a psychology text (I can’t remember which one off of the top of my head) that suggested an exercise that effectively incorporates visualisation and ritualistic dedication, i.e. some of the cornerstones of NeoPagan practice.
Basically, the idea is to create a box/some kind of receptacle that can absorb and contain negative emotions. For example, if you’re feeling angry at someone, use coloured pens, pencils, whatever to draw/write out your feelings on a piece of paper. Really feel the anger, and pour it out on to the page. Then tear it up into pieces, visualising its hold on you dissipating, and place it inside the box. The box then contains the anger, and you have released it from your mind.
It may sound rather hippy-ish, but it’s a great way to vent, release stress, etc. With that in mind, I created my own “Box of Sorrows” (or, “Rage Cube”);
It’s a box that I painted black on the outside, red on the inside. I then added Celtic knotwork details and a symbolic lock on the front. The picture is taken out of a damaged copy of The Plucker, and I thought it looked appropriate. A better picture of it is this;
Welcome to another look into my ongoing Book of Shadows project. This post shows the steps taken in creating knotwork designs;
2. (Preliminary) Inking:
3. Colouring in progress:
4. Colouring complete:
Tah dah! Stay tuned for the next post, which will be a visual overview of completed pages. 🙂
I realise that I’ve previously posted photographs of my more recent altar, but this one was beautifully arranged, and deserves to be shared. Once again, it’s largely dedicated to Kuan Yin, the bodhisattva of compassion.
To the left of the altar are a set of Kuan Yin divination sticks – they each have a number that corresponds to a poem, a moon phase, etc. To the right is my Tibetan singing bowl, an indispensable meditation tool as I find ‘playing’ it to be immensely relaxing.
At the back is my lovely bronze Kuan Yin statue; in front of it is a jade statue of Kuan Yin, and a rose quartz pig and rabbit (two of my favourite animals). The lotus candle holders are something of a permanent altar fixture, and an offering plate containing foreign coins that I’ve collected. Around the offering plate are my amethyst rosary and smokey quartz mala beads.
Welcome to the second installment of the new Book of Shadows category! This post illustrates the several steps taken in creating a full-page knotwork design.
First, it’s pencilled in, and then inked in black around the edges;
Once all the outlines have been inked, the whole page is cleaned up with an eraser (I use a 2B pencil for the drafting, so there tends to be a bit of smudged graphite across the page, in addition to the drafting itself);
Finally, the whole thing is coloured – for full page designs I tend to use Faber-Castell connector textas, which are nice and bright but don’t seep through the page. For smaller designs, I colour them using extremely fine-tipped felt pens. I then highlight the edges using appropriately-coloured metallic pens (unfortunately, this doesn’t show up very well in this picture);
Stay tuned for more photographs of the lettering process, and the illuminated details scattered throughout!
What is a Book of Shadows? It’s basically a ‘magickal diary’ for NeoPagans, containing lore, rituals, notes, meditations, and pretty much anything else related to their magickal practice.
I’ve started collating all of my old Book of Shadows’ into one major undertaking; a beautiful Medieval-illuminated-manuscript style book. After tea staining all of the pages to make them look old, each page is ruled, the words sketched in, then inked in, and any decorative elements are inked and coloured. This labour-intensive process makes the whole activity quite meditative (not to mention being a great way to make the information stick in my brain, since I’m essentially writing it out twice).
In future, these posts will contain stage-by-stage photographs of the drafting and inking processes. But for this introductory post, here’s what the exterior of the book looks like:
And the title page:
The first two pages:
And a close-up of one of the sketch details spread throughout the book:
Join me next time for stage by stage photographs of the process of creating Celtic knotwork and calligraphic writing!
As part of my attempts to re-establish some kind of meaningful spiritual belief/practice, I have actually been taking care of my altar! Which looks like this (albeit less blurry in real life):
And an equally slightly blurry close-up:
Yes, that is a picture of Aragorn and Arwen from LotR up there. What can I say, the characters epitomise the Goddess/God in their effectively medieval incarnation. Fair, just, strong, capable partners; exactly what the Gods ought to be. The tarot cards are from the Druidcraft Tarot, and the little flourite Kwan Yin and bowl (containing a piece of rose quartz) are my current source of meditative contemplation.
Also, I put fairy lights up around the altar. Must take pictures soon. 😉