Tree Magic Lessons:
Last year, I collected driftwood at the beach to make driftwood amulets. Loving wood of all sorts, I was excited for the opportunity to craft with driftwood and explore its magic.
Photographs of one of amulets I made—a talisman necklace—are throughout this post.
I sliced some of the driftwood into three pendant-sized pieces, shaped each one a bit, then sanded them to bring out their beauty, and so their surfaces would feel nicely smooth and not snag clothing. Here they are before sanding:
I tend to discover the magic of something by listening to it, meditating on it, and interacting with it.
During the period I learn that magic experientially, I pay attention to internal and external happenings whether they seem related to the magic at hand or not because “coincidences” are often divine synchronicity offering guidance.
Here’s what I learned about driftwood magic, and how I learned it.
When first sanding the pieces, the results puzzled me. I’d sand and sand, but the bumps wouldn’t go away.
Shortly afterwards, my chronic arm injuries worsened. I had to stop sanding for a year. Sanding did not damage my arms; I mention them because the need to halt woodworking is a synchronicity that helped reveal driftwood’s magic to me, as you shall see.
After the year, I returned to my woodshop and realized the bumps wouldn’t go away yet because they weren’t on the surface alone. The ocean not only eats away the surface of wood but also leaks into the wood and reshapes its insides.
Nevertheless, a bit more sanding, and the surface bumps went away. I simply had to go a bit deeper. Next, I moved to finer and finer sandpaper, and the sanding went quickly, at the speed I’d initially expected.
Isn’t that often the way with transformation? At first, the bumps don’t leave. Then there might be a long pause during which progress remains halted. When that plateau ends, transformation is easier, and the bumps leave quickly.
And then more detailed efforts can get down into the guts, where reshapings need healing.
Despite sanding, there’s going to be a bit of roughness to driftwood. That’s part of its charm. Let’s celebrate both our elegance and our rough edges.
This photo shows the three sanded pieces after I cleaned the sawdust off and applied lots of beeswax natural wood treatment. I let them rest in the treatment for a while; driftwood is so dry I gave them extra time to absorb the treatment.
I applied wood treatment three times, though nothing will keep driftwood from being driftwood. It’s dry. It will probably dry out quickly despite the treatment. But I felt it was worth trying, to make the best possible pendant. Even though I don’t know why, I think giving them the treatment helps.
If they dry right out, that’s okay, and the dryness of the wood is another lesson about driftwood’s magic: personal growth is wonderful, and we are who we are. I won’t expect driftwood to be other than what it is and try to force it into a jewelry design that, ultimately, won’t work. Instead, If I honor driftwood’s nature, I can find its beauty and thus know how it wants to be worked into a design.
No matter how hard I try to change, nothing will keep me from being me. That’s how it should be. If I honor my own nature, I find it is a jewel. I celebrate who I am. This gives me the power to change in me what does need changing.
The Magic of Driftwood
Here’s a summary of everything I learned about driftwood magic through the above experiences, as well as by meditating on driftwood and talking with it.
Driftwood offers the magic of transformation.
Driftwood is an amulet to help you through all phases of inner and outer change. Examples:
1) When trying to change, things might go slowly at first. But driftwood helps you remember change might take time, remain patient with both the process and yourself, and remember that “bumps” you’re trying to remove might be deep down and take time to reach.
2) Driftwood sustains you when you go deeper, or when a plateau ends. In other words, driftwood helps you keep going to create your desired metamorphosis of yourself and your life.
Driftwood also gives hope to sustains us when change is lagging. There’s a specific way this happens. Drift wood instills the wisdom that an about-face can quickly, easily occur at any point.
3) Driftwood empowers you when you go into deeper layers of change and might help that work go quickly.
Driftwood helps you honor who you are so, in your quest for transformation, you don’t tear yourself down, but instead recognize the gem you are and celebrate your beauty and power.
Driftwood becomes driftwood by being immersed for a long time in the ocean’s mysteries—the great womb of the Goddess. Her loving nature and immense power change us over time. Yes, we need to do whatever we can to change, but pushing too hard, hating ourselves for who we are, or otherwise beating ourselves up is counterproductive. Driftwood helps us surrender to Her loving power.
Driftwood becomes driftwood by being immersed in the Goddess. So we become fully ourselves by being immersed in Her love.
Meditating on what I’ve written above, I channeled the following liturgy. You can recite it to open yourself to blessings from driftwood—whether it’s on a beach, an amulet pendant, a large piece you put on your altar or elsewhere in your home, or a small piece you tuck into your pocket or backpack.
Driftwood’s magic works whether you say this or not. However, opening yourself to blessings that occur when driftwood’s magic and mysteries act in your life can make a big difference. (Opening yourself to any kind of magic and mystery can make a big difference.) Say this once or as often as you want.
I surrender to transformation’s power.
I surrender to transformation’s sustenance of me.
I surrender to transformation’s depths.
I surrender to transformation’s loving nature.
in the Great Mother’s love,
and thus surrender to becoming fully myself.
in all its beauty and power.
Driftwood carries the wisdom and magic of the ocean. These powers are part of our heritage from our ancestors.
One of ocean’s magics and mysteries is the power of transformation. I spoke of the ocean turning wood into driftwood. I spoke of how we too are transformed by immersion in the Great Mother’s love. The above liturgy can be spoken to open to that power.
As the birthplace of life, the ocean often symbolizes the Great Mother Goddess, Creator of All Things. The ocean depths are Her womb. The mermaid and siren harken back to ancient Goddess images, such as the dragon Tiamat. Tiamat is one way the Great Mother, when associated with the ocean, is seen.
A Driftwood Amulet Necklace
The talisman necklace in the pictures is one-of-a-kind and part of a talisman set. At the time of this posting, the set is available for purchase. You are welcome to query by email or in the comment field below. Here’s more about the necklace:
Weaving the necklace, I used waxed linen cord, while meditating on what magic to add. Tiamat told me to imbue this jewelry with the power to give all blessings from the Great Mother.
She also instructed me to weave in the magic of deep places—the deeps of the sea, the deeps of Faerie realms, the deeps of your imagination, the deeps of your creativity.
She told me to add magic that will draw to the person wearing the jewelry treasures from the deep—e.g., successful creative projects, prosperity, renewal.
Finally, She instructed me to weave in blessings to increase the piece of drift wood’s magical potency.
Immediately above its driftwood, the necklace has a large handmade glass lampwork bead with some heft to it. That is a nice counterpoint to the driftwood’s light weight.
I selected the bead after going through all the listings of an artist until I selected three, knowing they’d be gorgeous in something.
The longer bead up the side of the necklace is likely bone, to symbolize the everlasting spirit. If not bone, it’s okay because I wove that bone energy into the talisman’s magic. I experience everlasting spirit and ocean magic to be related.
The art beads that look like beach glass blew me away. They were worth the price because I knew they’d be perfect for something.
I don’t have time to make many talismans for sale and usually offer them to my newsletter subscribers first. Click the banner below to subscribe.
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