A necklace and poem combined express what grapevine told me its magics are. This post has photos of the necklace, which I titled Passion and Freedom. I crafted its pendant from the wood of the grape plant. I wrote the poem to accompany the necklace, giving them both the same name:
Passion and Freedom
I give myself to the care of
Dionysus’ passion—intoxication, not drunkenness—
which fuels love, kindness, freedom, and magic.
Elegance in passion—not debauchery in stupor—
fuels enchantments that work.
Elegance in passion fuels wholeness.
A witch has elegance.
Nature has elegance.
Wilderness has elegance.
Exuberance has elegance.
Joy is sacred to the Gods,
not the province of naughty, rebellious revelers.
Joy is my innate being.
I find myself by drinking
from the Sweetest Chalice: ecstasy is gained
through peace and surrender.
Grape vine told me joy comes after obedience. I’d wrongly though that, in rebellion, I’d find the freedom needed for joy. Wrong. Obedience allows joy.
Grapevine’s message is often misunderstood as permission for arrogant licentiousness and lack of accountability. Yes, grapevine embodies ecstasy. Yes, it does, thank you, my Gods! However, in the face of a prevailing false morality that dishonors passion, many people go to the other extreme, equating joy with complete immorality. No.
Summary: Grapevine shows me how to bring joy into my life and the lives of others, and gives me the power to do so; I would imagine that is the traditional metaphysical understanding of grapevine. However, grapevine also revealed that obedience—not rebelliousness—opens the door to joy.
There are situations against which rebellion should occur. In those circumstances, rebellion does opens the door to joy, and grapevine tells me it will assist in that revolt. However, even that disobedience is not the equivalent of naughty licentiousness and lack of accountability.
Ancient Druids considered grapevine a tree, one of the most sacred trees. … Well, some folks will say blackberries, not grapes, are the vine that Druids held sacred. I don’t think that was always true, though I’m not 100% sure yet and am still trying to corroborate my belief.
In any case, when teaching tree magic, I suggest my students have direct interactions with a specific type of tree in order to learn its magic. I’ve learned a lot of magics that way, magics I never found in books. Also, I teach tree magic and other forms of witchcraft as shamanism, in an experiential learning process through which you not only learn magic but are transformed.
I cut some grapevine back to keep it from taking over my garden, then cured the wood. I was grateful for the chance to woodwork grapevine, so that it could be in communication/communion with me. When I’m woodworking, wood sings secrets to me, often at an almost subliminal level, until the woodworking sinks my conscious mind more and more into that deep level, till I become aware—on the cognizant level—of the entire song the wood and I are singing silently together.
In the process, I not only learn about the wood’s magic but become fully alive, the song waking my very cells.
It is so restorative an experience that, when a crisis had fractured me seriously, I sanded and woodburned for hours, sinking down into the silence of our song, until I felt whole again, and no longer prey to the horrific mental chattering that can occur in me—or in most folks—during a trauma. The serenity, joy, and wholeness I was gifted despite the crisis says a lot about how powerful a wood’s magic can be.
I designed and handcrafted the one-of-a-kind talismanic grapevine necklace. The design is a culmination of designs I’ve developed over decades, as I strove toward an organic look that, paradoxically, actually takes a lot of work developing techniques for and a lot of care executing. It has not escaped my observation that I was able to create and execute this design only when I needed it to express my understanding of grapevine’s magic.