Crafting a talisman can be a shamanic journey.
When I started to sand a piece of oak to make it into the above talisman pendant, it reminded me of a deer antler tip. This, in turn, made me think of Herne and Elen of the Ways, wild deer-antlered Gods of the forest. So I was very in touch with Them while I sanded, and thus my own wildness was coming forth.
As I sanded, my wildness more and more tried to flow, but I was visited by nasty messages; my mind was filled with shaming restraints. The messages were that I shouldn’t be doing art, that my jubilance and passion in crafting were wrong, that the passionate joy I took in the physical vigor of sanding was inappropriate.
Mind you, I know my passion, joy, art, and physical vigor are holy. And much of the way I act and feel is in accordance with that. But something deep down was sabotaging me, nonetheless. Those horrific messages weren’t overt, but quite faint; I barely noticed them when first sanding the pendant.
There is a well-known pattern of “should’ve, would’ve, could’ve.” Examples: telling oneself one should do something other than what one is doing; thinking it would be better if one does something differently from the way one is doing it; insisting to oneself that one could do better.
Such statements can reflect a search to find and achieve high ideals, but might instead be shaming, a tearing down of healthy pride in one’s accomplishments.
Those messages can bind one’s energy, keeping it from flowing into feelings of joy, happily vigorous activities, and the passion felt when dancing, having sex, running, or playing sports.
Those messages can knot muscles to the degree that one might get injured when moving.
When I was sanding, those messages at first came at me in the faintest repeated whisper of “You should be doing something else right now.” I barely heard it or noticed its terrible effect on me.
But a friend of mine had suggested I start watching for such messages, so I found myself noticing them while I was sanding and, the more I noticed them, the more I realized how constant they were. And the louder they got, which was good, because then I could hear their underlying messages—I shouldn’t be doing art, my jubilance and passion in crafting are wrong, the passionate joy I take in the physical vigor of sanding is inappropriate—and I could deal with them.
They slammed into me, over and over—as I sanded—first only as whispers but eventually brazenly, like a demon visited upon me, hateful. I resisted the messages and moved through them and past them, so my strength and passion and joy gathered and flowed and mounted, until I cried out, fully passionate and released, yet choosing my words carefully for their magic to be potent but safe,
“I defy the God of the patriarchs.
I obey the Old Gods—my wild Faerie ancestors.
Because of that obedience,
They can protect me
in my disregard for a petty deity.”
The moon is in this wood. After I finished sanding the pendant and burnt the oak Ogham on it, I applied a beeswax oil finish. I couldn’t believe what happened once the finish was on: parts of the pendant shimmered like mother of pearl. The moon is in this wood. The moon always protects me.
It’s been a few days since I finished the pendant, and I have been freed: healthy defiance allowed my energy to soar more than ever.
More than ever, I am enjoying myself exactly as I am.
I had rebuked the patriarchal God in the past, but now I had reached a new level of rejecting Him.
I changed the piece, so it no longer is reminiscent of a deer antler tip. Originally, I’d left bark on at the top, and had sanded so that, bit by bit, the piece graduated from bark to utterly bare wood. Thus, the pendant was thicker at top, narrowing bit by bit, and its shading progressed from dark bark at the top to pale bare wood at the bottom.
But, as amazing as that looked to me, it was not the tactile sensation I wanted. So I stripped all the bark off. I lost the gorgeous look, but I enjoy touching the oak more when I wear it now, plus more of its silver light shows.
Redoing the amulet added another power to it:
I’ve been told that “should’ve, would’ve, could’ve” thoughts are not one’s own, e.g., were drummed into one during childhood.
There’s no point in dwelling in other people’s thoughts. I choose to disregard what my actions look like to other people. What matters is how my deeds feel to me. This amulet bolsters that choice because it doesn’t matter whether this oak piece looks antler-like to someone else. For me, it will always have antler energy, and I love the way it feels to the touch, and my Gods live in it, Their moonlight and starlight radiating from the wood as a sign of Their indwelling.
Hail Herne, God of the forest. Hail Elen of the Ways. Hail Diana, my moonlit Mother.
The pendant’s name is Defiance.
So mote it be!