Magickal Arts and Crafts

Medicine Bags
So, What is a medicine bag? Well, in every culture I can think of,
shamanand other spiritual healers have carried and used something known as
medicine bags. They are generally various sized pouches containing
sacred objects and herbs used for various things. For instance, a shaman
consulting with a person in need of balancing and protection may have
a medicine bag with balancing symbols on it, and have herbs like sage
and sweet-grass inside. There could also be some, say, obsidian stones
normally used for protection. Another example could be, a person (not
necessarily a shaman) might be going for a job interview, or other
potentially stressful situation. They would wear a medicine bag
containing ylang-ylang, a lucky penny (or whatever that person has
that islucky for them), a bears claw (or whatever their power animal is),
and aHerkimer diamond for energy.

The medicine bag is a collection of symbols and objects that are
empowered and meaningful to the wearer. A person may have several
medicine bags, each carried for different reasons. They may have one
bag for dealing with stress, one for happiness, one for physical ailments,
etc. They can be as big as a large purse, or small as a wallet. I
prefermine wallet size, for ease of carrying around without causing to much
attention. The description on how to make one is just one out of a
million ways to make one - this is how I make mine.

Step One:
Find a piece of leather of canvas, and cut a roughly 9 inch section
out. It should be rounded on one side, flat on the other.

Step Two:
Fold the flat end over, 1/3 rd of the way up, making three equal
sized sections. Get some heavy thread, and sew it all around the edges. I
prefer to hand sew the material, since the act of sewing is threading
the essence of the creator into the bag, giving it a stronger connection
with you. While you sew, think about the purpose of this particular bag.

Step Three:
After the bag is sewn, Flip it inside out to hide the stitches. Get
a soldering iron, or a wood etcher (same thing), and burn designs that
are meaningful into the leather or canvas. The symbols should reflect the
purpose of the bag. I like to use Celtic Runes on some bags, animal
pictures on others, depending on what and who it's for. You may want
to make some strings to tie it shut with, or glue on a snapper or
something. This is all completely preference.

Step Four:
The bag needs to be empowered at this point, and filled with it's
objects. Lay all the objects you wish to put in it, and the bag
itself on a table. I like to dim the lights or just use candle light, and put
soft music on in the background. Hold each object in your hand, close your
eyes, and think about what you would like it to do. Thank it, and
put it
inside the bag. Do this for each item, one at a time. I also like to
cleanse each object in the smoke of incense as well. When the bag is
filled, hold the bag in your hand, and concentrate on what it should
do for you. Use your imagination and see the bag helping you in your
minds eye. Then thank the animals, minerals, plants, etc. that gave of
themselves so that you could have this bag. Now it is done.
Another way to do this is to buy the pre-made leather bags available
at any metaphysics store, and then decorate and empower it. This can
work just as effectively if you can't sew. The decorating and empowering
is the important part, and is what makes it effective. Some variations
if you do make your own is to use the classic draw-string style. These
tend to stay shut better, but I personally like the other look better.

To Change the Color of Flame

For 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 nitrates

Orange flame: calcium chloride

Red flame: stronium nitrate

Yellow flame: Sodium Chorate or Potassium Nitrate

Purple flame: Lithium Chlorate

A simple robe, because because not many people can  sew.
by Jeannette K. Waldie
© 2/15/96
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 two ways.
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 length.
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 store.
You will need to buy the following:
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 fabric.
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 straight.)
When you get home, wash and dry the fabric. Then iron out any wrinkles. Now you are ready to make your robe.
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 place.)
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 edge.
Note: This article was first published in the Spring Equionox 1996 issue of "The Accord," the newsletter for Council of the Magical Arts.

Corn Dollies

The last 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 next crop.
This 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 better.
On 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.
In some 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 procrastination.
In Wales, 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.
French, 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.
Today, corn dollies are seen as emblems of abundance.
Why corn?
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.
How to make a Corn Dolly
The best 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.
Dry straw must be soaked flat in cold water for about 15 minutes and then stood upright to drain before plaiting.
The Five-Straw Plait is the easiest to work with for a beginner:
1. Tie 5 straws together close to the ears.
2-5. Each 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.
The attractive spiral pattern grows as round succeeds round.
6. When 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.
Simple corn dollies can also be made with the standard three-straw plait.
More complex corn dollies involve multiple straws, intricate braids, and sometimes the creation of a straw core shape around which the outer straw is plaited.
A Corn Dolly by any other name
England: Harvest Queen
Kern Baby
Corn Doll
Scotland: Hag
Old Wife
Old woman (Cailleac)
Wales: Hag (Wrach)
Brittany: Mother Sheaf.
Germany: Kornmutter (Corn Mother)
Harvest Mother
Old Woman.
Prussia: Grandmother
Denmark : Rye Woman
Barley Woman
Poland: Baba (grandmother)
capturing the spirit
Corn Dollies are made from plaited or braided straw. Hollow wheat straw is the easiest to work with.
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.

Salt Dough
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.

300 g/11 oz/3 cups plain flour
300 g/11 oz/2 cups, plus 30 ml/2 tbsp salt
30 ml/2 tbsp vegetable oil
200 ml/8 fl oz/1 cup water

Wooden spoon
Large bowl

Put the 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 refrigerator.
Can be made into altar pentacles, candle holders, cesers etc.

Sand Dough

2 Cups sand
1  Cup cornflour
2 Tspns alum (potassium aluminium sulfate, can be bought at a chemist or a supermarket)
1 1/2 Cups hot water

* Cook on Medium Low heat till thick
* Goes hard when sun dried or baked on low for 3 to 9 hours depending upon thickness  
Can be made into altar pentacles, candle holders, censers etc.

Make your own Athame!

Some 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.

Stop by 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 angry!)
I know what your first question is. "Don't you need a forge to get the steel hot enough to remove the temper?"
Well, yes. 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 procedure.
You also need to do the above procedure for untempered metal, to make it soft.
If you 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.
Mark on 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.
Now you 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.
Now you 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 heating.
To make 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 days.
When 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 handle.


Try to 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.
Mark on 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.
Now your 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 paper.
Next, to 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.
Once the 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:
Moved the blade through the AIR,
heated it with FIRE,
plunged into WATER,
and showed to the EARTH.
For the 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.
When removed from the clamp, draw a profile of the handle you want on the wood and start cutting and carving it to shape.
Some 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.
Melt some 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.

How to make your own GEL CANDLE

STEP #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.

STEP #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

STEP #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.

STEP #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 over.

STEP #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 excessive.

STEP #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.

STEP #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.

STEP #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

STEP #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 earth.