I did divination for myself, to gain new insights—or be reminded of old ones—about self-care when working hard. The reading was for me, but I post it below in case you find it helpful.
The following italicized paragraphs provide background, so the reading makes sense to you:
Exhaustion exacerbates multiple sclerosis symptoms badly. The final parts of curriculum development for an online course can be seriously exhausting for me because of how I tend to approach those final stages of creating an online course. I’m learning to approach those final stages differently, and have come a long way, but still have progress to make.
After working off-and-on for a long time developing a curriculum for learning Ogham divination, it’s time to finish the curriculum.
The course will be online, as opposed to my oral tradition classes, which meet by telephone. My process of creating an oral tradition class is a very different experience from creating an online one, but I’ve been teaching oral tradition for decades. I’ve been teaching online courses for far less time. And I find only the final stages of creating an online course terribly exhausting.
Mind you, I love my work, and doing it is a privilege. I adore the process of curriculum creation. But everything has its downside. For example, self-employment often requires a strenuous work schedule. End of background.
I did a reading about how to finish the curriculum in a self-caring way. I used a mini-deck of Ogham art I’d created, and pulled these three cards:
The messages from the reading:
* You have a high standard for your work, and work hard toward your ideals. That’s important. But working hard does not mean working so hard you hurt yourself.
* Perfectionism is not the same as hard work and high ideals. Perfection is impossible. No matter how hard you try, it is unachievable. Don’t beat yourself up by overworking because you think creating a course that is absolutely perfect in every way is possible.
* You are a bringer of light and goodness. Negative entities move toward those who do good work. Put up your boundaries, only allowing kindness around you.
* You easily forget you’ve already spent years honing this curriculum. Recognize that excellent work. Otherwise, your undervaluing the curriculum’s quality will cause you to overwork in the final stages of curriculum creation, sabotaging your health. Overwork caused by that undervaluing represents internalized oppression. It’s not enough to ward off external negative energy. Note when you internalize it.
* You are beautiful. Your spiritual beauty will shine throughout the course material, helping course participants affirm their own spiritual beauty.
* You let the Old Gods speak through you when you channel this course; it is far more powerful magic than you recognize yet.
* Pace yourself: if you have to take a few extra months finishing the curriculum, that’s okay.
* Yes, you’re at the point in the creative process that requires ongoing focus, to maintain awareness of all the threads that weave through the curriculum, so you develop each thread properly and weave the threads together properly. Yes, don’t doubt that maintained awareness of threads is necessary in the final stages of developing this course. Yes, if you walk away from that focus for very long, you’ll lose the ever-precarious hold of those threads, and may never find it in you to do all the work required to gather so many threads together mentally. Yes, mentally holding onto so many threads forever is impossible. But working slow enough that you might need to take a few extra months on the project will be fine; you don’t have to live in fear that you’ll lose those threads if you go at a sane pace; trust your Gods to do right by you; after all, They asked you to write this curriculum.
* Intensive curriculum creation will take a big chunk of your day, while you’ll also be doing a lot of other work. Take plenty of breaks and minimize the number of other things on your plate.
* Yes, you see nothing on your plate that you can afford to remove. Give it thought, remove one tiny thing, and you’ll get more ideas.
* Do activities that calm, encourage, center, and nourish you, so you’re centered and refreshed when working on curriculum, and hence don’t fall into work patterns that are not self-caring. (Dear reader, creating curriculum does calm, encourage, center, nourish, and refresh me, big time! In fact, it is a spiritual practice for me. It feels like I was born to do it and, as such, is a huge act of self-expression, which sometimes brings up every bit of internalized oppression—messages that I have no right to express myself, I have no right to joy, that I shouldn’t do what I love for a living, that I’ll be attacked for doing what I love for a living, that spirit and work should be separate, on and on. Harrying messages and fear can continue, debilitating me and subconsciously driving me to overwork. But adding other spiritual practices that are calming, centering, etc., make curriculum creation the wonderful, instead of negative, experience it is meant to be for me.)
The three wee Ogham cards for the reading are part of a complete Ogham divination set I made for students of the Ogham divination course. Everyone receives a digital file of the set to print and cut up into little cards. It is all my original full-color shamanic art.
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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.
Dear reader, my talismans are available exclusively to my newsletter subscribers. My magical classes are announced in my newsletter. Click the box below to subscribe.
I’m leaving this post here anyway, exactly as is, because most of my sets are shown through private viewings, e.g, my newsletter, so I list a few sets here to introduce my sets to site visitors. Blessed be!
Consisting of three unique talismans, the set is for one buyer who’ll think, “This is mine.”
I ritually blessed all the amulets in a major Faerie rite.
I scored, acquiring a handful of one-of-kind carved stones, carved with true artistry. Having them near me makes me happy, pure and simple, because I love stones, drink in beauty, and am thrilled to find unique pieces to create amulets for unique individuals.
Among the carvings was an amazing spider I made into an amulet for this set.
This talisman wallhanging calls Spider Goddess(es) into your home to bless it:
My experience is every Spider Goddess I’ve met, regardless of the culture from which She arose, gave me the power to bring the metaphysical into the most mundane activities, so they embody spiritual and physical beauty, bring contentment, and are of immense service to others.
The stone is ribbon jasper, which I find exudes happiness and contentment.
I am hooked on ribbon Jasper, can’t get enough of it. It has a happy, grounded energy that is always a good addition to my day. Plus, that earthy feeling doesn’t keep magic away but, instead, helps plant my feet on the ground so my head can be safely in the clouds. I also love the way the stone’s different layers of color come forth in a carving.
This amulet will do its magic when hung anywhere in the home. Or put it on your altar. You could instead use this charm to bless a space other than a home.
Stone and wood combined delights my Fey heart. Copal (the large bead) is somewhat like amber and comes from trees, so for me it’s like wood, but with its own special traits. My experience is that copal is an ancient energy that is both solar and grounding. The three larger green beads are chrysocolla.
All the beads are designer beads. The tiny ones might actually be limited edition. It takes time to find the right looking beads, let alone with large enough holes for what I do. Even tiny designer seed beads might be costly. Time and money spent are worth it; I try to create sacred songs with jewelry; the wrong beads might make the melody go flat. Modern bead makers have amazing techniques. For example, beads can be etched or subtly multicolored, as if time had weathered them, creating an aged look perfect for my designs. Or a luscious patina can add an otherworldly feel.
This set also has a talisman pendant crafted of oak.
* Gives you strength, prosperity, protection, and overall
* Opens a door into enchanted realms and their Fey Mysteries.
* Empowers you to find the power and potential in that which is small.
On one side of the pendant, I wood burnt the Ogham letter for oak. My pyrography is done ritually to add yet more power. (Pyrography is the art of burning designs in wood.)
The natural markings on this and the following pendant are beautiful on both sides. Wear either side front.
This set also includes an amulet pendant crafted from ivy wood.
Ivy is commonly known as sacred to the Green God. Thus, ivy wood could give you vitality and free your energy, so your confidence, determination, and overall power come forth more fully. Ivy also revs up your sexuality.
Since ivy “belongs” to the Green Man, I think it should also belong to the Green Woman: Elen of the Ways. For me, She has all the powers of the Green God. My sense of Her also is that, for those who want nature’s power but need it channeled to them gently, She can do that for them. He can too, but sometimes a person finds it easier to accept that gentleness and sensitivity from Her.
Since the Green God and Green Goddess both embody living fully, I feel this ivy amulet would help you be in the moment.
This is good jewelry to wear in honor of the wild Green God and Goddess.
On one side of the amulet, I pyrographed the Ogham letter that corresponds with ivy.
This ivy pendant was actually mine. The time came when it wanted to move on. So I gave it a nice cleaning with an oil-beeswax finish and added a fresh new cord to it.
If you want ivy wood, grab this set. I only have one other piece of ivy I will part with and may not be able to acquire more.
To benefit from the power of either pendant, when you don’t want to wear it or otherwise carry it on you, put it on your altar.
Cost for the set is $130 plus $8.50 shipping. I ship only to U.S. non-military addresses, via USPS priority. Pay securely with PayPal:
Your set will arrive with simple care instructions to keep your talismans beautiful. I’ll also enclose a print up of this PDF.
All wood was ethically harvested, and finished with a natural beeswax and oil treatment. All the amulets are strung on waxed cotton cord.
Traditionally, oak symbolizes strength, prosperity, protection, and overall blessings.
Oak is a standard wand for witches, druids, and others, since it represents power.
Lore tells us oak is a door to Faerie realms and their mysteries. The name of the Ogham letter that corresponds to oak is Dair. To the best of my knowledge, Dair relates to the English word door.
Oak resonates with the energy of the Green God, often known as Herne, and of the green Goddess, often known as Elen of the Ways.
The triad of ash, oak, and thorn trees is often associated with witches.
(Photos in this post are oak talismans and wands I made, so you get to see the gorgeous wood of the tree under discussion, and because doing woodworking and pyrography—pyrography is the art of burning designs into wood—to make sacred artifacts is precious to me.)
One of oak’s lessons, embodied in its acorns, is the power and potential in that which is small. My personal experience is that an oak keppen (keppen is a term for a wee wand), though quite small, can hold oak wood’s full power.
The rest of this post continues my personal experiences with, and observations about, oak:
Though lore may point to Hawthorn and other trees as being the most Fey, in some ways I experience oak as the most Fey tree of the forest. For one thing, my trance journeys refute the story of Merlin trapped in an oak. My visions show that, instead, he slept in an oak, in order to heal and have shamanic dreams. That is Fey.
Though the ash tree tends to be viewed as the World Tree in lore (the World Tree is a term used to denote all of existence), when I think of the World Tree, I often think of oak. To me, it is the definition of tree, the essential tree, the essential magical tree. Oak has been my longtime, stalwart companion, my primary tree. Therefore, crafting oak amulets is a delight.
Is there a type of tree that, for you, is the definition of tree, the essential tree, the essential magical tree? What tree seems the essentially Fey tree for you?
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Are you a treasure hunter, always on the lookout for mystical wonders? Chunks of wood, precious gems, books, rough stones found on walks, a fallen leaf, visions, beloved friends—I endlessly but patiently search till I discover the gifts my Goddess sends me. I am a treasure hunter, and I love it!
Back in January or February, I began a quest for new stones with which to make talismans, often spending a few hours a day hunting. This lasted some months, then ended about two weeks ago.
It took a long time to find the right pieces. The hours upon hours spent are worth it. My buyers are going to be happy when they see the talismanic jewelry and wall hangings made with these stones! I love combining beauty and magic, and providing that for folks in whatever form I can—e.g., a talismanic necklace or a visualization I create for a shamanic class.
The two photos above show a magic necklace I made for myself. Its pendant is one of the stones I acquired. I wove in designer beads. I also spend forever searching for the right beads.
The photo below shows another of the amazing stone carvings I acquired. It is fashioned out of a single piece of stone. I strung it on waxed cotton cord, along with designer beads.
I regularly bless my work spaces, and thought this carving, hung near the phone, would be a nice addition to that blessing. You see, a good portion of my shamanic community work is on the phone, giving psychic readings (spiritual guidance, shamanic counseling—they’re all the same, in my case) during witchcraft classes and one-on-one sessions. Now this fortuneteller talisman can bless me. (And, yup, I do a lot of different magical undertakings during my day. I’m a busy elf, happily working away on various enchanted projects, with a typical elf’s high standard for everything I do. This makes me one happy elf.)
With their luscious energy, stones make great amulets. Then to find stones carved with true artistry, each one-of-a-kind, oh my gosh.
I do major Faerie rituals to bless the talismans I make for my buyers and myself. Such carvings are perfect for that.
Rock and wood combined delights my Fey heart. I made a bead out of grapevine I had to cut back before it took over my garden. I suspect the large Pegasus in the photo above is carved of ribbon jasper. It’s a nice big chunk. Look at it next to the measuring tape.
One carving has already sold, but it is another example of these one-of-a-kind, amazing stone carvings. It seems to be a Snake Goddess, perfect for me to charge as a talisman to bring a grounded energy into the home. She seems to combine heaven and earth, the ethereal and the worldly:
She is carved of ribbon jasper, a stone that I find exudes happiness and contentment.
Copal (the large dark bead) is somewhat like amber and comes from trees, so for me it’s like wood, but with its own special traits. My experience is that copal is an ancient energy that is both solar and grounding. The light blue bead is Amazonite. The charm is strung on waxed cotton cord.
There are many reasons the gem hunt took so much of my time. I spent hours sorting through junk online to find treasure buried amidst it all. And it takes time to find one-of-a-kind, high quality carvings at a low enough cost that I don’t have to raise prices for my buyer. There are many other reasons treasure hunting has been wildly, crazily, time-consuming. For example, there’s a specific stone carver I became obsessed with, because her work is incomparable. For the life of me, I could not win the bidding on one of her horse carvings.
It was crazy. I was jumping through hoops to no avail. For example, a last minute offer often can win a bid. So, one time, I set my alarm so I didn’t miss the exact timing needed, put in a bid right before bidding ended, was told mine was the winning bid, then two minutes later received an email saying I’d lost the bid to one that was lower than mine. Huh?! Harrumph! Grumble. That would’ve been fine as an isolated incident, but it was one thing after another. I decided it was time to pray to Exu, Oxala, and Mercury for help. (I chose those Gods because of my specific relationships with Them.)
Prayer helped! I finally won the bid on a cameo-like, handcarved horse, handcrafted out of gemstone amazonite. I love the little flower at the bottom, gently juxtaposing itself against the sweet majesty of the horse.Acquiring stones can be an obsession, but rocks sing to me the way wood does: in a compelling voice that is the river of life and that my very cells automatically answer, singing a song of self.
Perhaps it’s not an obsession but a lust for life. These carvings satisfy my passionate cravings for beauty and magic. In following photo, the pendant of a necklace I made for myself is ribbon jasper—carved to be a heart entwined with roses and thorns—and, oh, the colors of the stone!
A few pieces are not carvings. E.g., I acquired two pieces of serpentine in stichite, for necklaces, one for myself and one for a yet unknown buyer. These are likely the only serpentine in stichite I’ll get. I don’t want to be manufacturing, crafting the same piece over and over; I want to fashion distinct, special designs, each amulet suited to the buyer who recognizes it as theirs.
During my treasure hunt, I didn’t have as much time to make talismans. But not only has the hunt ended, I also completed writing a new shamanic curriculum, the creation of which required a substantial portion of my focus. Now I’m devoting a goodly amount of time to making talismans again: woodworking, designing—including pieces with these new stones—, crafting, blessing.
Pieces of wood have waited for me to get back to them for months. But there wasn’t much woodworking left to be done on some of them. Others are completed but not made into talismans. And yet others are in talismans, but need photographs taken and descriptions written. So they all should be available soon.
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Magic is not a substitute for psychiatric counseling, medical care by a physician, or other therapeutic treatments. Participants are personally responsible for the consequences of their voluntary participation. This ceremony is extraordinarily effective but may not work for all individuals.
The shamanic journey is not ritual alone, but is all of life. All of life’s moments have power. Every breath opens wondrous possibilities. Like beads being strung to create a necklace, one bead after another, everything that happens is leading to a larger whole.
You never know where the shamanic journey will lead because every moment opens wondrous possibilities. Each step has a lesson, transformation, elation, or other magic power. The more you grab the moments, the more is available to you: bigger lessons, more profound transformations, greater joy, deeper self-fulfillment, further movement toward cherished goals.
It can be hard to remember each and every step of any journey, whether financial, familial, creative, or otherwise, has value, as opposed to being irrelevant, trivial, or unnecessarily delaying.
Times of not directly hitting goals—e.g., hesitations, wanderings, or delays caused by external factors—are part of the journey toward my goals, not distractions from that journey. But I easily forget that; delays and the like become frustrating, if not downright demoralizing.
Reviewing the process that led to the necklaces I started creating last year makes it easier for me to remember that each life experience was a steppingstone toward my ultimate goals.
When I was about 14 years old, school was so tedious that I couldn’t stand it. There was value in that frustrating situation: my mother wisely said, “Francesca, I understand how boring it is. If you’ll apply yourself anyway, I’ll let you take adult education classes.”
Her strategy worked. I signed up for a silversmithing class. Little did I know that would kickstart a lifelong interest in jewelry-making.
I went on to take a few metal-smithing classes in college. I remember constructing a sterling silver scorpion (I am a Scorpio). Submerged in the morbid angst typical of many college-age kids, I fashioned a hangman’s noose, in sterling silver, to wear as an earring. Even then, I tended toward jewelry pieces that I found meaningful.
My silversmithing never evolved past three classes. That’s fine because any creative endeavor feeds one’s creativity.
I’ve tried different mediums for talismanic jewelry. Beads have been core. I made this necklace in the 70s or 80s:
I’m rather proud of that abalone necklace, considering that micro macramé was nonexistent then, but I decided to try tiny macramé, though I’d never heard of it.
That was my only macramé necklace. Nevertheless, last year, which was decades later, looking at the piece assured me that a recent vision I’d had of sacred necklaces was not amiss.
For one thing, I wove plain old embroidery thread for the abalone necklace. That reassured me, last year, when I started experimenting with weaving waxed linen cord and beads to make magical necklaces; I figured if I’d done what I had done with mere embroidery thread, I was more likely to be able to do something even prettier and more durable with the gorgeous waxed linen.
For another, what I did with seed beads back then became a template for what I’m doing now: it’s hard to see in the photo of the abalone necklace, but there are seed beads clusters—silver clusters and dark amethyst color clusters.
I had no idea weaving a necklace so fastidiously, decades back, would help me in 2018. Every breath opens wondrous possibilities.
In about 2005, I attempted freeform beadweaving, with seed beads. An example:
Though I loved my beadweavings, was blessed with the opportunity to show them in a gallery, and lovely people purchased them, I never enjoyed making them. And constructing them required physical movements that hurt my back and arms. However, those endeavors, too, were steps along my route. My technical ability and aesthetic grew from weaving seed beads, informing the weaving I do now to make magic necklaces of waxed linen cord, larger beads, and seed beads.
The old days of seed beading also provided an eye-opener, allowing my motives for forsaking physical well-being to surface from my subconscious, so I could heal them. I now take better care of my body, not pushing it ridiculously hard; tolerating physical pain for the sake of art or anything else is no longer my default!
I never thought weaving seed beads would lead to the necklaces I make now—jewelry I have great fun making and that does not stress my body to make.
I never suspected the physical pain of bead-weaving small beads would lead to a healthier life.
Tedious high school curriculums eventually led to woodworking as a shamanic process, decades later, in my sixties. I make wooden talismans for myself and others to wear and to put in our homes or on our altars.
Woodworking gives me more pleasure than silversmithing ever did. When I’m sanding, sawing, or doing pyrography, the wood sings to me, and I to the wood. We sing in harmony, creating wholeness, wholeness for me, for the wood’s spirit, for my Goddess, and for the cosmos.
Since last year, I sometimes combine woodworking with the non-injurious, waxed linen beadweaving. Doing so is a spiritual experience that is joyful, fulfilling, empowering, and creative. I’m blessed to have had the many experiences that led up to it. I want to honor all of them as steps along my shamanic path.
The two photos at the top of this post show one of my necklaces made of waxed linen cord, and some of its beads are wooden ones I made. Below is another of my waxed linen weavings in which there are pieces of my woodworking: a wooden pendant and wooden beads.
Affirmation: The shamanic journey is not ritual alone, but is all of life. All journeys are shamanic, leading toward my heartfelt goals. I look forward to wherever I go from here. I affirm each moment along the way; each step has power and walks me toward my cherished goals; every breath opens wondrous possibilities.
******** Dear reader, my one-of-a-kind handcrafted talismans are available exclusively to my newsletter subscribers. If you don’t subscribe to the newsletter yet, click here for a free subscription: https://www.outlawbunny.com/newsletter/.
Sometimes, I want a simple, quick way to creatively express my spirituality.
That’s not my usual mode. Most of the time, I’m a do-it-from-scratch girl. I spin fibers into yarn, then weave the yarn into magical hats to keep me warm in winter. I dye fabric and paint my own designs on it to make altar cloths. I cure a piece of wood for months, if not years, and then sand its rough surface for hours, smoothing it to create a talisman. … Well, it’s not completely from scratch: I don’t harvest all my own wood, rarely concoct my own fabric dyes, and have never raised sheep for the wool fibers I spin.
In any case, sometimes, with my busy schedule, I want a project I can finish quickly. So, when Stencil Revolution offered me free stencils, I was delighted.
I chose four designs, each of which is available in various sizes. Below you can see the sizes I chose:
Much as I revel in coming up with my own designs, it was fun to work with someone else’s. And Stencil Revolution allows you to bring beautiful artwork into your home without having to pay an arm and a leg. All that’s needed is a stencil, a bit of paint, a paintbrush, and a few common household items, such as masking tape to hold a stencil in place while you apply paint.
… And, of course, an item to stencil. A friend had gifted me gorgeous pieces of weathered lumber.
Not wanting the projects to be costly, I decided a white paint and a black paint would be enough. I chose the 2.25 oz size of Jacquard Neopaque Black and Jacquard Pearlescent White. Those little sizes are enough to do oodles of small projects.
I chose those paints because they’re inexpensive, excellent products, easy to use (simple instructions are on the bottle), and, being a bit thick, are less likely to bleed past the cut edges of the stencil. They’re also suitable to cloth, wood, and other surfaces.
If you apply these paints to fabric, it is washable, once set. Easy setting instructions are on the bottle.
I suggest a test run on a piece of paper, thick card stock, or old cloth, just to get the hang of stenciling.
Usually, I tape all four sides of the stencil down to the surface I am going to stencil. But, for the wood projects in this post, the stencil edges extended past the top and bottom of the pieces of wood I chose:
When painting, I pressed down with one hand on the stencil, right by the cut edges of where I was painting, to moosh the edges flat against the wood, so paint wouldn’t run under those edges.
I used too much paint, so some of it crept under the edges. The use of old timber contributed to the bleeding; as gorgeous as the reclaimed wood is, it’s an uneven surface. But I’m still quite happy with how the projects turned out.
The next time I might, instead, use a near dry brush, then remove the stencil, and fill in paint where needed.
Another lovely option is Shiva Iridescent Paintstiks. These gorgeous oils are dry sticks that you rub on, so when you stencil, they don’t bleed, but create sharp, crisp edges. I’ve used them to stencil clothing, and I imagine they’d work well on other surfaces: https://www.dharmatrading.com/markers/shiva-paintstiks.html
When I removed the deer antler and crescent moon stencils, and saw the bleeding, it was tempting to give up and abandon my projects. But I’ve learned that a “mistake” in the creative process is an opportunity to make the project better than I’d originally envisioned it.
I used a Q-tip, toothpick, or X-Acto knife—depending on which worked best where—to scrape off as much of the unwanted wet paint as I could.
Then, for the antlers, I used black paint to draw the outline that had been intended in the stencil. I drew freehand instead of stenciling. Then, to continue covering up the white paint bleed, I extended the black, roughly surrounding the antlers.
I like the effect. Its roughness and hand-painted quality go well with the aged timber. The bleeding was lovely synchronicity. Without it, I never would’ve thought to add the black paint.
The moon stencil was quite forgiving, when it came to bleeding. A few brushstrokes to spread the paint a bit in a couple of places did the trick.
The final results:
The bleeding in the moon project, too, was lovely synchronicity. The Gods are always with us when we’re creating. The outer curve of the moon stencil is a smooth line (see below), but bleeding paint made that edge ragged, which looks beautifully natural, like the moon’s actual bumpy surface. Since the inside curve of the stencil is bumpy, it was nice that the outside ended up matching.
Next, I used the raven stencil and part of the arrow kit stencil on a scarf. I applied a light application of paint, so there was nowhere near as much bleeding. I’ll love wearing the scarf.
In fact, I like the sort of batik look created by the combination of a bit of bleeding and my using a brush that had less paint on it. And, after removing the arrow kit stencil, I was able to, freehand, easily add strokes here and there to make everything look pretty, yaya!
On my walks, I see raven feathers on the ground. I never pick them up. To me—and this is just my personal interpretation, I’ve never read this anywhere—Raven Spirit drops a feather by me when I need a reminder to live in the moment, focusing on enjoying my walk, rather than being distracted by worries, resentments, or the gathering of feathers. When I put on the scarf to keep me warm for my walk, the raven and its falling feathers on the scarf will be an additional reminder.
When stenciling on cloth or paper, lay it on a smooth, hard surface, to avoid bleeding. If stenciling the front of a T-shirt, stick flat sheets of newspaper or something else absorbent inside the T-shirt, so the paint doesn’t leak onto the T-shirt’s back.
I’m a perfectionist. Going with the flow and experimenting allows my high standard to remain without stopping a project dead in its tracks. Not every piece works out but, if I just keep going with it, good chance it pans out beautifully.
Stencil Revolution has all sorts of stencils for the Pagan, nature lover, tree hugger, boho spirit, and DIY Goddess. You’ll find feathers, paw prints, dream catchers, the tree of life, Halloween decor, huge mandalas for the wall, and lots more. There’s even a pentagram: https://www.stencilrevolution.com/products/pentagram-stencil
What an easy way to turn fabric into altar cloths or festival banners, or to adorn a ritual robe or T-shirt.
A last little tip: Once your project is done, and your stencils are washed and dry, keep them flat by storing them in the cardboard envelope in which they were shipped.
I’m leaving this post here anyway, exactly as is, because
1) It discusses a vision that inspired a series of shamanic necklaces. I’d love to share that vision with you.
2) Most of my sets are shown through private viewings, e.g, my newsletter. I list a few sets here to introduce my sets to site visitors.
———————————————————————————————————— This one-of-a-kind set is available exclusively to one of my newsletter subscribers. Crafting amulets only for folks traveling alongside me feels true to who I am. If you don’t subscribe yet, click here for a free subscription: https://www.outlawbunny.com/newsletter/.
Consisting of two unique handcrafted talismans, the set is suited to one buyer who’ll think, “This is mine.”
I ritually blessed both amulets in a major Faerie rite.
The set includes a one-of-a-kind Faerie Shaman necklace titled Fey Memories of Future Days.
It is pictured above and in photos below.
Fey Memories of Future Days is the third piece in a series called Hidden Power Places. I expect the series to consist of a small number of talismanic necklaces. Here’s how the series started:
I had a vision in which a necklace appeared and told me what its magic would be. It said, “I am the spaces in between,the hidden places of power, safety, and beauty.Wear me to be in those places.
“You can live in them throughout the day, live your mundane life in safety, beauty, and power, without it being obvious to those without the eyes to see, or those to whom your essence should not be revealed.
“I’m not meant to adorn the loud flashy Pagan who has more volume in speech than actual power in deed. Instead, I am the amulet to foster the power, safety, and self-realization of the quieter practitioner—the Fey soul who strives to live magic.
“I’m the dark rainy day that most people complain about, but in which you find ecstasy. I am the gray days of winter that most people dread, but in which you find peace. I am the magical circle between the worlds. I am the heart full of joy in solitude.
“I am the road you wander, thinking yourself lost, until the way before you opens into the primordial forest, where Fey welcome you. I am all hidden places that are goodness. Adorn yourself with me to receive the blessings those places confer.
“Know I am bestowed upon you by Goddesses often viewed as one-sided, as only fierce or frightening. You know that those who hold such limited views miss immense Divine blessings.
“The Snow Goddess brings death in winter, but She also brings snow-dusted winds sparkling with enchantment that ignites hope and fortitude in even the weariest heart. She is also a springtime Goddess, bringing pale budding greenery and sweet blossoms of new beginnings. She is only one example of Goddesses viewed in too limited a manner. Here’s another: many a dark Goddess, lauded for dangerousness or ferocity in battle, is known by too few as a gentle, kind healer and peaceful companion, loving us in the dark maternal safety of Her starlit womb.
“I will help you walk with loving Goddesses in Their full power and all Their caring for you.”
I ritually imbued this set’s one-of-a-kind necklace with the powers described in the vision.
I was delighted to receive additional visions of a few more Hidden Power Places necklaces. Each has an entirely different-looking design, yet all have the same magic shown in the first vision. Each distinct design represents a different doorway into the powers described in the first vision.
And each doorway has its own additional magic, which I wove into that doorway’s corresponding necklace. So let me tell you about the necklace in this set. Fey Memories of Future Days:
Faerie Shaman, your DNA holds memories that promise your day can be beauty. These memories are a door to hidden places of power. As are your whimsy, lightheartedness, down-to-earth attitude, and love of Nature.
This necklace is a blend of new and old beads, which I wove together, while also weaving magical power into the necklace.
Almost all the beads are designer beads. It takes time to find the right looking beads, let alone with large enough holes for what I do. Even tiny designer seed beads might be costly. Time and money spent are worth it because I try to create dreams with jewelry. I don’t want the wrong beads to pull someone out of the dream. Modern bead makers have amazing techniques. For example, beads can be etched or subtly multicolored, as if time had weathered them, creating an aged look that can be perfect for my designs. Or a luscious patina can add an otherworldly feel.
The pendant is moss agate. Above it is a moss agate bead, then a rosey-pink Bali recycled glass bead, then a luminescent-honey, faceted bead with a pink blush at the top rim when the light hits just so, and then another moss agate.
Here is information about some of the other beads. Past the pendant and aforementioned beads, one side of the necklace starts with wee, round, green stones that I was told might be aventurine. They also look like they might be quality jade. I’ve no expertise in gemstones identification, so my guess holds no weight. But they really look that way to me, and were part of a destash that had some fine pieces. In any case, these sweet green beads have an ancient, lovely, calming yet vivacious energy that runs smooth as a quiet pond’s surface. If memory serves, I acquired that destash about 12 years ago, so who knows how old these green beads are. If they are really old, it’s more likely they’re fine jade.
I often save beads until I find just the right use for them—even if that means them sitting in my stash for decades—so it’s lovely to tell you about old beads so you know how special these talismans are to me.
I’ve possibly had some of the other beads 10 or 15 years, but I’m not sure.
There are also two oak wood beads I made. The last bead on the side of the necklace with those two oak pieces is a Swarovski crystal.
Oak symbolizes strength, prosperity, protection, and overall blessings. Oak is also a door into Fey realms and their mysteries.
I associate oak with the Green God, often known as Herne, and with the green Goddess, often known as Elen of the Ways.
If you enjoy using a wand, the pendant is a fine keppen. (A tiny wand is called a keppen). It is a general purpose wand, but you could also gently tap yourself with it, to be enfolded by the power this talismanic necklace bestows. Simply wearing the necklace will do the same thing, but it’s a nice and different experience to do it with the wand.
I left the top part of the necklace simply braided and bead-less because that looks nice, is more comfortable, and makes the necklace hang nicely.
The necklace is woven with waxed linen cord.
To benefit from the power of the necklace, when you don’t want to wear it, put it on your altar.
This set also includes an elder wood threshold talisman to protect and bless the home.
This lintel amulet will do its magic when hung by or above the door, another opening to the outdoors, or elsewhere in your dwelling. You could instead use this threshold charm as a protection and blessing for a space other than a home.
Elder wood can add power to your magic, facilitate change, protect from evil spirits, and be used in exorcisms.
Elder is sacred to Goddesses Freya and Holda, as well as to the Crone Goddess. I myself experience elder as invoking the Great Goddess, Creator of All Things. Some folks, myself included, meet a Goddess called “the Elder Mother” living in the tree.
One reason I started woodworking was to discover mystical powers a specific type of wood might have that go unmentioned in any books, blogs, etc. When woodworking, I experience a wood firsthand and at length; this intimate, direct experience creates a chance for the wood to speak to me, sing to me of its powers, and bless me with them. When sanding elder, it appears primordial to me—the original archetype of a tree mystically.
Elder wood’s energy—as distinct from the energy of elder berries or elder flowers—is suited only to a person who
* serves a Goddess (other than the Goddess within oneself. I am not diminishing the importance that viewing self as deity has for some people. I’m instead stating what’s needed to work with elder wood.)
* works hard on surrendering to that Goddess
* strives for humility
* and devotes substantial time to serving humans (as opposed to serving non-corporeal beings. My emphasis on humans doesn’t diminish the importance of serving spirits. I’m simply stating what’s needed to work with elder wood).
If the above requirements are met, elder wood can safely provide all the marvelous magic described in the three paragraphs that kick off with “Elder wood can add power.” For anyone other than the type of person I described, elder wood energy might automatically backfire harmfully on them. So I dare not sell an elder wood talisman without cautionary statements.
To readers who lack confidence: if you underestimate your devotion to the Goddess, the importance of the service you provide your community and/or family, your surrender to Her, and its humility, then your under-estimation might not let you realize that you can use elder wood when many others cannot.
Magic is everyone’s birthright, but not every magic is right for everyone. I’m comfortable with elder, adore it, but I couldn’t work with a garnet stone if my life depended on it.
If you think elder is safe for you though you don’t fulfill the requirements listed, trust yourself. My belief in elder’s restrictions is purely my own. I’ve never seen it in lore. It is something the Old Gods of the Druids told me directly. Even if it appeared in traditional material, lore is not law. You are the ultimate authority on you.
You might consider spitting on the ground outdoors, as a one-time offering to the Elder Goddess and the Great Mother, before you first hang this elder wood amulet in your space.
Lore tells us to never burn elder. Many folks, myself among them, believe that includes pyrography.
I want to add that the serious, hard-working Elder Mother is also lighthearted, gentle, and merry, if you get to know Her. A far cry from the dour depictions often given of Her, She enjoys my joy and whimsy.
Above the elder lintel charm is a large piece of copal, and below is lavender-colored Bali recycled glass. The two wee blue pony beads were in my stash ballpark 15 years, waiting for the right use.
Elder has a soft pithy core. I hollowed it out, to put a string through it so you could hang this talisman on your wall. The core was off center, so the elder hangs at an angle. That natural hollow is a channel through which magic can travel to this realm.
Cost for the set is $130 plus $8.20 shipping. I ship only to U.S. non-military addresses, USPS using a tracking number. Scroll down to pay securely with PayPal:
Your set will arrive with simple care instructions for your amulets. I’ll also enclose a print up of this PDF.
All wood was ethically harvested and finished with a natural beeswax and oil treatment. The lintel charm is strung on waxed cotton cord.
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“I so want the good and increasingly oppressed hearts among us to take just a step—just one—onto the path you offer and into the presence of the way you hold yourself, Francesca. That path and your essence will enfold them with not just the promise of peace but the living presence of it, deep as the inner earth, vast as the starry heavens.”—Rebecca
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“Francesca healed my warts. What more can I say? 🙂”—Meaux
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“It has been awhile since our session, and I still appreciate the work we did, because it jump started an art career. ... During our hour session, I never thought the outcome would be like this. It’s so hard to describe what you do, it is unusual, the weirdest psychic reading I’ve ever had. You are awesome.”—Meghan
“Your classes sneak up on me. My husband will ask, “How did class go today?” and I’ll answer, “Oh, it was ok,” but then later I see the lesson moved a mountain. The work is so gentle I think it won’t take me anywhere, then it takes me all the way.”—Maggie Frances P.
“Now I have an artist’s website that is mine, and I’ve started to make jewelry. I’m doing all kinds of creative work and it joyously surprises the heck out of me. Thank you, thank you Francesca!”—Meghan
“I’ve gone to many different “spiritual advisors” and gotten lots of junk. Everything I got from you was pure quality and I truly appreciate it.”—Cathy
“Hey, Francesca! The transmission I received from you a couple of years ago helped heal a gallbladder issue I’d had for years! I was told I’d need surgery, and was in pain, but not anymore! Love you.”—Sandra
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