is a medicine bag? Well, in every culture I can think
other spiritual healers have carried and used something known
bags. They are generally various sized pouches
objects and herbs used for various things. For instance, a
with a person in need of balancing and protection may
bag with balancing symbols on it, and have herbs like
sweet-grass inside. There could also be some, say, obsidian
used for protection. Another example could be, a person
necessarily a shaman) might be going for a job interview, or
potentially stressful situation. They would wear a medicine
ylang-ylang, a lucky penny (or whatever that person
islucky for them), a bears claw (or whatever their power animal
aHerkimer diamond for energy.
The medicine bag is a collection of symbols and objects that
and meaningful to the wearer. A person may have
bags, each carried for different reasons. They may have
dealing with stress, one for happiness, one for physical
can be as big as a large purse, or small as a wallet.
wallet size, for ease of carrying around without causing to
The description on how to make one is just one out of
ways to make one - this is how I make mine.
piece of leather of canvas, and cut a roughly 9 inch
should be rounded on one side, flat on the other.
flat end over, 1/3 rd of the way up, making three
sections. Get some heavy thread, and sew it all around the edges.
hand sew the material, since the act of sewing is
essence of the creator into the bag, giving it a stronger
While you sew, think about the purpose of this particular
bag is sewn, Flip it inside out to hide the stitches.
soldering iron, or a wood etcher (same thing), and burn designs
meaningful into the leather or canvas. The symbols should reflect
the bag. I like to use Celtic Runes on some bags,
on others, depending on what and who it's for. You may
some strings to tie it shut with, or glue on a snapper
This is all completely preference.
needs to be empowered at this point, and filled with
Lay all the objects you wish to put in it, and the bag
a table. I like to dim the lights or just use candle light, and
on in the background. Hold each object in your hand, close
think about what you would like it to do. Thank it,
bag. Do this for each item, one at a time. I also like
each object in the smoke of incense as well. When the bag
hold the bag in your hand, and concentrate on what it
you. Use your imagination and see the bag helping you in
Then thank the animals, minerals, plants, etc. that gave
so that you could have this bag. Now it is done.
way to do this is to buy the pre-made leather bags
metaphysics store, and then decorate and empower it. This
as effectively if you can't sew. The decorating and
important part, and is what makes it effective. Some
if you do
make your own is to use the classic draw-string style.
stay shut better, but I personally like the other look
To Change the Color of
Candles: add the chemicals to the wax, or soak the wicks in a
solution of the chemicals using the following recipe.
To Add to
a Fire: Put three level spoons of the chemical into a paper cup;
fill 1/2 full with water and stir. Soak several small chips of wood
in this solution overnight. The next day, remove the chips with
tweezers and lay on newspaper to dry. They can now be added to the
lames to produce bright colors.
Green flame: Borax or Boric acid, copper nitrates or barium
Orange flame: calcium chloride
Red flame: stronium nitrate
Yellow flame: Sodium Chorate or Potassium Nitrate
Purple flame: Lithium Chlorate
MAKE A ROBE WITHOUT EVEN SEWING
A simple robe, because because not many
people can sew.
by Jeannette K. Waldie
If you can't thread a needle even if
you're life depended on it, you can still make yourself a
functional and practical ritual robe.
The first thing you will need to do is to
find out your body's length from the bottom of your neck to the
knees or ankles (which ever you prefer.) This can be done one of
Have someone take a
tape measurer and measure down your spinal column from the bottom
of your neck (where that funny lump is) to your knees or ankles.
Once you get past the derrière, keep the tape measurer straight if
you were following the line of a rain coat. This will give you your
If you can't find
someone to do this, take your favorite bathrobe or any clothing you
have which is not very fitted and is long and simply measure the
length from the collar to the hem along the center of the back.
This will give you your length.
Now, it's time to sit down
and do some math. Take your length and divide by 18 (Length / 18 =
X). This will give you your yardage. Then it's off to the fabric
You will need to buy the
X yards of 60 inch wide fabric (45 inch if
you are slim and want short sleeves). Cotton or poly-cotten blend
is best for this purpose. (If you buy 100% cotton fabric, add 1/4
yard to your yardage to allow for shrinkage.)
2 Yards of Ribbon or Trim to match
4 yards of 1/2 inch permanent fusible web
tape (this goes by a variety of brand names) (Have the store where
you buy the fabric make sure both edges are cut
When you get home, wash and dry the
fabric. Then iron out any wrinkles. Now you are ready to make your
Fold the fabric in half lengthwise and
hold it up to your shoulders to check the length. Trim off excess
fabric if necessary.
At one end (the short side) fold the
fabric up 1/2 inch (this will make your hem). Then following the
instructions on the package of fusible web, gently steam the
webbing in place along the hem. Then fold again and press in place.
Repeat for the other end. (See Diagram A.)
Fold the fabric into quarters making sure
all edges are even and lay out on a large surface or floor. Measure
three inches from the outside edge along Fold A. Then cut along the
fold towards Fold B. (See Diagram B.)
To finish the neck opening, steam the
fusible webbing to the wrong side of your ribbon. Then pin to
neckline. Press permanently onto the neck line. (You may need to
add extra webbing to each corner or V to ensure it stays in
You're robe is now done! Congratulations!.
To wear, simple put on over your shoulders, fold the front edges
back and belt. The back hangs free like a small cape. If you want a
bit more security, you can either pin the back or add ties to the
Note: This article was first published
in the Spring Equionox 1996 issue of "The Accord," the newsletter
for Council of the Magical Arts.
sheaf of the harvest, dressed in a woman's dress or woven into an
intricate shape and decked with ribbons, is regarded as the
embodiment of the spirit of the crop, the spirit of the growing
grain itself. The safe-keeping of this corn dolly over the winter
insures fertility for the following harvest, provided that some
portion of it is given to cattle and horses to eat, and some
portion of it strewn in the field or mixed with the seeds for the
practice of saving the spirit of the harvest is extensive
throughout Europe.In Northumberland, the corn dolly is attached to
a long pole and carried home to be set up in the barn. In some
communities it goes home on the lastload. Sometimes it is fairly
small. In parts of Germany, the heavier it is, the
Isle of Lewis in Scotland, the corn dolly's apron is filled with
bread, cheese and a sickle. In other parts of Scotland, the reapers
hold races. The man who finishes reaping first designates his last
sheaf the corn maiden; the one who finishes last makes his last
sheaf into a hag.
localities, the corn dolly is made by the first farmer who finishes
his harvest and then passed from farm to farm as each farmer
finishes his harvest, ending up with the farmer who finishes last.
In this case, no one wants the dolly as it is a sign of
others try to snatch the dolly from the reaper who carries it from
the field. If he gets home safe, he gets to keep it on his farm for
the rest of the year.
Slavonic, and some Germanic regions use the last sheaf to create a
Kornwolf, believed to hold a wolf-like spirit that resides in the
last sheaf and provides the same life force for the next season.
This is a fiercer version of the corn dolly and is sometimes used
to scare children.
corn dollies are seen as emblems of abundance.
Historically the word corn was applied to the the small hard
grain or fruit of a plant. It was used generically to refer to the
leading crop of the district. In England, corn was wheat; in
Scotland, oats; in the U.S., maize.
make a Corn Dolly
part of the stem is the top length from the ear (the seed head)
down to where the last leaf leaves the stem. Leaving the ear
intact, strip off the dead leaves and sort the stems according to
size: thick, medium, and fine.
must be soaked flat in cold water for about 15 minutes and then
stood upright to drain before plaiting.
Five-Straw Plait is the easiest to work with for a
1. Tie 5
straws together close to the ears.
time the straw being folded passes over two corners, it is then
left and the one at the last corner is picked up and used in its
place until the round is completed.
attractive spiral pattern grows as round succeeds
completed, the ends are tied to the starting point below the ears,
making a decorative circle.
To feed in
new straws, cut the old straw off after it has passed the second
straw. The thin end of the new straw is inserted in the hole,
making sure of a firm fit which is hidden under the fold of the
straw of the next round.
corn dollies can also be made with the standard three-straw
complex corn dollies involve multiple straws, intricate braids, and
sometimes the creation of a straw core shape around which the outer
straw is plaited.
Dolly by any other name
England: Harvest Queen
Old woman (Cailleac)
Wales: Hag (Wrach)
Brittany: Mother Sheaf.
Germany: Kornmutter (Corn Mother)
Denmark : Rye Woman
Poland: Baba (grandmother)
capturing the spirit
Corn Dollies are made from plaited or
braided straw. Hollow wheat straw is the easiest to work
Cornucopia: the horn of abundance of
classic mythology, always filled with fruit and self-replenishing
according to the wishes of its possessor. The horn is reputed to be
broken from the goat Amalthes which nourished the infant Zeus or
torn from Achelous by Hercules.
One of the
simplest, and one of my favorite crafts, is salt dough. It is
really fun. You can mold it into any shape you like, such as
goddesses, gods, pentacles, etc. All is you have to do is follow
the recipe below, form it into your shapes, set them on a oven
tray, and bake them until hard. This depends on what sort of oven
you are using. In fact, you can even bake them in the microwave.
After baking them, just paint them, and let dry. Voila, you have
cute little figures perfect for jewelery, ornaments, decorations,
or anything else you can think of.
oz/3 cups plain flour
oz/2 cups, plus 30 ml/2 tbsp salt
tbsp vegetable oil
fl oz/1 cup water
flour and 2 cups of the salt into the large bowl. Add the oil to
the flour and salt mixture and add the remaining salt. Mix the
ingredients together with the wooden spoon. Pour in the water and
mix thoroughly, making sure there are no lumps. Knead the dough
until it is firm. When it is ready you can use it right away or
store it in an air tight container in the
made into altar pentacles, candle holders, cesers etc.
alum (potassium aluminium sulfate, can be bought at a chemist or a
1 1/2 Cups
* Cook on
Medium Low heat till thick
hard when sun dried or baked on low for 3 to 9 hours depending upon
made into altar pentacles, candle holders, censers
traditions call for a specific size for the Athame, though it
usually is between six and twelve inches. The size of your Athame
should be of whatever length is comfortable for you.
your local hardware store and ask for a piece of untempered steel
that can be tempered (also known as 10/10 steel). If they dont
carry this, buy a steel file that is about three inches longer than
the knife you want to make. Also buy a corse steel file and a fine
steel file to file your new blade into shape. Be sure to get a
hacksaw and blade capable of cutting the file once you have removed
the temper from it. (Yes, files have a temper, so dont make them
what your first question is. "Don't you need a forge to get the
steel hot enough to remove the temper?"
Do you have a charcoal barbeque? Great! You have a forge! However,
in a barbeque, it takes longer. So be patient. Even the shaping of
your blade will take some time.
If you are
making your blade out of a file, you have one advantage. The
advantage is that you won't have to cut out the tang for your
handle, as a file already comes with a tang! You have to remove the
temper from the file before you can do anything else. To remove the
temper, stock up a large pile of charcoal in your barbeque (large
enough to bury the entire file.) Once they are fully lit, bury your
file halfway deep in the pile of charcoal. Cover any exposed ends
with charcoal using a pare of long handled tongs. The file will
need to stay in the charcoal untill the charcoal goes out. This may
take all day, so start early in the morning. BE SAFE! Don't leave the fire unattened! If you
need to leave it for a short time, put the cover on your barbeque
untill you get back! This should be enough to remove any temper. If
the metal is still hard to work with, repeat this
need to do the above procedure for untempered metal, to make it
dont have a barbeque, and no other way to do this, you can lay it
on the burner of a gas or electric stove. This will take a long
time, but has the advantage of being able to see the to-be-blade.
Once it it becomes a dull red, it is ready. Turn off the stove and
let it cool down naturally.
the steel or file with a Sharpie marker (or other permanent marker
with a fine point) the shape you want your knife to be. Make sure
you mark the tang as well if you are not using a file. Just trace
the one from your file. Remember, an Athame
is a double edged blade. With the hacksaw (or a power
bandsaw if you have one) cut out your blade and tang, and file off
any rough edges. Now start shaping the blade area for sharpness
with a grinding wheel, if you have one. If not, then use the files,
rough file first. Finish it off with two grades of wet and dry
sandpaper. If your blade is being made from a file, make sure to
remove the grooves from all surfaces.
have to harden and temper it. You ask "but didn't we take the
temper out of it?" Yes, but your blade will not hold an edge if we
dont harden and re-temper it. Heat up the blade again, this time
making it red hot, not dull red. Then take hold of it with a pare
of pliers (the longer the handle, the better) and immerse it into a
bucket of tepid (warm) water. If the water is
cold, it will crack. Let it cool, then clean it with wet and dry
sandpaper. Youv'e just hardened your blade.
need to temper it. Again, reheat it. Again immerse it in tepid
water and clean it with wet and dry sandpaper. Next, heat up again
to a dull red, this time keeping a good eye on it as it changes
color. It will get a bright, light straw color, then a medium straw
color.Immediatly dunk it into the tepid water and let it cool off.
Do not allow it to go past the straw color, it will go blue, then
purple and green. Keep an eye on the tip, as this will change color
first. Keep the point furthest away from the heat to allow an even
the handle, take two rectangular pieces of wood and trace the tang
onto each of these. Chisel out the marked sections one half
the thickness of the tang. After this is done, the two pieces
should lay together perfectly with the tang between them. When they
fit together well, roughen the inside wood and spread a good epoxy
resin glue all over, including in the tang grooves. Put the tang in
it's grooves, press the two halves together, and clamp. Clamp
slowly to give the glue a better spread. Leave clamped for three
unclamped, draw the shape of the handle you desire, then cut or
carve it out. To finish, sand it down with a coarse sandpaper, then
again with a fine sandpaper. then paint or stain the
find a suitable piece of steel. If one isnt available then a file
or chisel will work just as well. Whatever steel you have it is
going to be hard so the first job is to soften it. Heat the steel
till it is a dull red. If you have no other way then lay it on the
burner of a gas or electric stove. You may have to leave it there
for a few hours with the burner turned on high. It will eventually
turn a dull red color. Once it has reached that color, turn off
heat and let it cool down naturally. Now it will be softer and
easier to work with.
the metal with a pencil the shape you want it be. With a powered
bandsaw, or a simple hack saw, cut out the profile and file off any
rough edges. Then start shaping the blade for sharpness. A grinding
wheel would come in handy here, though you can work with roughand
smooth files.The blade is going to be double edged so you are
aiming for a diamond shaped cross section. Finish off the blade
with two types of wet and dry paper.
blade will need to be tempered. Heat it up again this time until
its red hot.Then take hold of it with a pair of pliers and plunge
into a bowl of TEPID water or oil, not cold or the blade will
crack. Allow it to cool off then clean i with wet and dry
temper it, reheat the blade to a dull red again. Again plunge it
point down, into TEPID water or oil, moving it up and down in the
liquid. Clean it with wet and dry paper then heat it up again.
**WATCH THE BLADE CAREFULLY THIS TIME AS IT CHANGES COLORS** It
will go to a bright, then light, straw color, then to a medium
straw color. Immediately plunge the blade into water and let it
cool off. (DON'T let it get past the straw color; it would go on to
blue, purple, then green) Watch the point as it will change colors
first. At the first sign or of "blueing" on the point, plunge it
back into the water. **NOTE** The colors will appear quickly so
keep the point furthest from the heat.
blade is cold take it outside and plunge it into the ground a few
times (there is a method to the madness) Now you have:
blade through the AIR,
to the EARTH.
handle, take 2 pieces of wood. Draw around the tang, the handle
part of the blade, on each of the pieces of wood. Then chiselout
the marked sections, each one to half the thinkness of the tang.
When finished, the 2 pieces of wood should lay together perfectly
with the tang inserted between them. When youare satisfied they fit
well, slightly roughen the inside of the wood and then spread a
good epoxy resin glue all over. Put the tang in place, press the
two wooden handle halves together and clamp. When clamping, put the
pressure slowly so as to give a better "spread" to the glue. Leave
clamped for AT LEAST 3 days.
removed from the clamp, draw a profile of the handle you want on
the wood and start cutting and carving it to shape.
traditions call for certain signs to be carved on the handle. Even
if yours doesn't, you may wish to decorate it with some. I put my
craft name and monogram on mine. You may also wish to etch
something on the blade as well.
beeswax and cover the blade with it. Then cut into the wax with
sharp inscribing tool, A nail will do the trick, in the way you
want the inscription to look. Make sure that you go right through
the wax to expose the blade. Then pour on either sulphuric acid,
iodine, or a similar etching agent. Leave on for a few minutes then
rinse off by holding under running water. The acid will eat into
the metal while the wax is protecting the rest of the blade. IT
WOULD BE WISE TO PRACTICE THE ETCHING ON A SCRAP PIECE OF METAL
FIRST SO YOU CAN DETERMINE THE AMOUNT OF THE TIME TO LEAVE THE ACID
ON BEFORE FLUSHING IT AWAY.
#1 You will only need a few simple tools, of which all can
usually be found in your kitchen. A metal spoon, a scale, a
measuring cup, and a crock pot with a thermostat or a stovetop pan
and a thermometer.
#2 Ingredients: Mineral Oil, CP9000 Resin, Wick and base,
Fragrance and color. (optional). Measure ingredients as follows. 2
Fluid Cups mineral oil, 25 Grams CP9000 Resin. Mix and allow to set
at room temperature for 1 hour, stirring occasionally
#3 Begin heating ingredients slowly bringing to 200-210 degrees
F and hold at this temp for 1 hours or until the gel is completely
smooth flowing. The consistency of corn syrup.
#4 Be sure to never let the temperature exceed 230 degrees as
this may scorch the gel. If gel does scorch it is worthless and no
amount of fragrance can save it. Give up and start
#5 Stir the mixture often while cooking to to assure proper
mixture. If you don't have a crock pot be sure to watch your temp
on a thermometer. The gel may smoke slightly during the process,
this is not a cause for alarm unless smoke is
#6 Just before you are ready to pour add fragrance to suit (do
not exceed 3%) as this will lower your flash point to an unsafe
level. Color should be added now if desired.
#7 Dip wick base in the gel yjen place in bottom of container
and hold for a few seconds to allow gel to adhere to the glass.
This will hold your wick in place during pouring.
#8 Pouring the gel is a breeze. You can get different effects
from different pouring temps. 180-190F lots of bubbles 190-200F few
large bubbles 200-210F almost no bubbles 210-220F Bubble Free. ( to
insure bubble free candles preheat glass for 10 minutes in
preheated oven at 150F
#9 To embed objects wait 2-5 minutes after pouring and drop
into place. Only use glass or ceramic nonflammable objects. Marbles
work great aquarium rocks. We know that you guys are creative,
that's while your here at the largest craftstore on