Spell casting is ninety percent desire and ten percent will. The old adage that, "you can do whatever you set your mind to," is very true.
Spell casting is setting one's thoughts into motion, which requires desire, intent, and the will to follow through or act on the intent behind the spell. However, as the saying goes, "be careful what you wish for; you just might get it," also holds true in casting spells.
Desire or the purpose of the spell must be clearly thought out before the spell is cast. The spell caster may not like what he or she thought they originally wanted.
Also, one cannot hesitate or have any doubts during the casting process. If this occurs, threefold law will come into play and the spell will backfire on the caster. This may happen if the recipient of the spell has powerful guards or has magic stronger than that of the caster.
Thus, it is best for Witches not to cast spells against each other. To do so is considered improper Witch etiquette.
A lot more is involved in spell casting than simply wishing for something to happen. Wicca is an active religion, not a passive one. A caster must actively do something on the physical plane for a spell to work.
If a Witch casts a spell for a job but does not seek employment, the Witch will not get a job. Why cast a spell to get a job if all it requires is filling out an application or going to an interview? In a tight economy and limited job market, everything a Witch can do to help him/herself is appropriate. It certainly will not hurt because spell casting requires focus and concentration.
Casting a spell for a job helps the Witch focus on seeking employment and obtaining a job. A Witch may cast a spell before going to an interview if he/she lacks self-confidence, suffers from anxiety, has a speech or stuttering problem, etc... . All of these conditions may cause a prospective employer to reject an applicant, so spell casting is nothing more than a means of self-improvement in the majority of cases.
A Witch may also cast a spell to influence the employer to choose him or her for a job. This type of spell may also be cast to influence a judge to rule in one's favor. However, such spells require strong mental manipulation skills and are best left to those who are adepts. Such spells should not be attempted or cast unless they are absolutely necessary.
When casting a spell for someone who is not Wiccan, it is important to get to the heart of what the individual needs or wants. Two of the most common requests from Cowans is money and love spells.
I always cast a spell for employment when someone asks for a money spell. If the person is unemployed, it will help that person obtain employment. If the person is employed, it can be altered to increase work hours or acquire a pay raise.
When asked for a love spell, always get to the heart of the problem. What the person needs may be nothing more than self-confidence or increased communication skills.
Witches may turn to each other for objective spell casting, which is a wise practice. However, the same rule applies to other Witches as well. Lean heavily on psychology and talk sensibly with any person requesting spell work.
Spell work is the act of manipulating the world and energy around you in order to achieve a goal, which should be correct and for the good of all.
Wicca teaches us to take matters into our own hands through spells and rituals. However, there is a growing movement among modern Witches to request aid from the Gods, like a Christian saying a prayer of request to his or her God. I do not entirely agree with this practice because it is not Wiccan in nature and I am a traditionalist. Some would use the term, fundamentalist to describe my personal views.
Many of us do not cast love spells under any circumstances because they manipulate a person's emotions, which can be very dangerous. A pink candle should be used to cast any kind of love spell, or a spell dealing with human emotions.
Pink is a soft, passive color as opposed to red which is aggressive and forceful. For this reason, red should never be used when dealing with matters of the heart. However, red may be used to ignite lost passion in an existing relationship or to aid in sexual matters.
In olden times, red was used because it was the color of the heart and represented the heart and all matters therein. For those who are more fundamentalist than I am, the associations with the color red should always be taken into consideration before it is used.
The same rule applies to using a black candle. More baneful spells can be cast with a red candle than with a black candle because red is a more aggressive and powerful color than black, which can be used for both hexing and banishing spells.
Color coordination and the type of candle used is very important in candle magic. The candle color should correspond with the type of spell being cast, as with stones if the property of stone is not known.
The ink and parchment, and spell bag, if used, should be the same color as well. Or, if the Witch is casting a spell for more than one purpose, the different colors may correspond with the different purposes.
In any case, the candle color is the most important variable because it is the candle that sends the spell out into the universe to do its work. Unless the spell is burned in a cauldron without the aid of a candle, in which case, the color of ink and parchment should correspond with the purpose of the spell.
The lesser working tools are items used to aid in spell work. We use them because they help us focus on our goal, and none of them are truly necessary in order to cast a spell.
Many of us are so gifted or adept at spell work that we can cast spells through our dreams, which is what I do. However, I will go through the fundamentals of spell casting to focus my mind on my goal. Then I go to sleep while the candle burns and cast my spell.
Black: Hexing, unhexing, banishing, death-helping someone cross over, or honor dead.
Blue: Honor, loyalty, truth, wisdom, prophetic dreams, protection during sleep, and astral projection.
Brown: Locate lost or stolen objects, improve concentration, protect or heal animals.
Gold: Honor solar deities and Gods, attune with masculinity.
Gray: Neutralizes energy.
Green: Success, good luck, prosperity, money, renewal, ambition, counteract greed and jealousy.
Orange: Stimulate energy, pregnancy.
Pink: Love, friendship, femininity.
Purple: Psychic abilities, power, independence, household protection, spiritual manifestation
Red: Fertility, protection, sexual matters, passion, physical strength, will power, courage, anger, revenge.
Silver: Honor lunar deities and Goddesses, attune with femininity.
White: Consecration, meditation, peace, exorcism, healing, and spiritual strength.
Yellow: Confidence, attraction, charm, persuasion, mental clarity, legal matters, justice.
Source: (The Wicca Spellbook, 8-9)
Lesser Working Tools
Amulet: An object worn or carried as a charm for protection, luck, love, etc..., i.e.., Rabbit's Foot, Cross, Mojo Bag, Rosary, etc... .
Book: Contains rituals and/or spells. Leather, Wood, or Hard Paper backing; String, Staple, or Glue binding; Parchment, Vellum, Natural Fiber, or Modern Paper.
Candle: Used as a focal point during spell work; sends spell into universe; mark elements; honor deities, invocation. Made of Bayberry, Wax plant, Tallow, Beeswax, Petroleum wax or gel, Soy gel. Wicks are Hemp, Flax, Braided Muslin, Paper Core, and Zinc Core. Taper, Molded, and Jar.
Herb: Item used as an aid in spell casting or for healing. Also includes root, bark, etc...
Incense: Used to purify Sacred Space, and as a divination and spell casting aid, or scent. Loose Herbs, Resin, Cone, or Stick.
Ink: Used to write in ritual books, make talismans, and write spells. Lampblack, Blood, Berry Juice, Plant Extract, India, Gel.
Jewelry: Worn during ritual to denote status or aid in work. Is often times an amulet.
Mojo Bag: Used to place herbs, stones, amulets, or talismans in during spell casting and is consecrated with oil. Usually worn or carried.
Oil: Used to consecrate magical items and anointing candles or people. Plant Extract, Distilled, Condensation, Heated, Botanical, Essential, Absolute, Chemical Fragrance.
Parchment: Ritual paper used for writing spells or talismans on, and filling ritual books. True parchment is lambskin. Vellum is calf skin. Modern paper substitute. Also, Papyrus, Flax, Rice, Hemp, Wood fiber, Linen, and Cotton.
Poppet: Used the same as a mojo bag, and is the shape of the object of the spell. Mostly used for hexing and love spells. Fabric, Leather, Paper, or Cactus.
Quill: Used for magical writings. Feather, Porcupine, Cane, Brush, Modern Pen.
Robe: Worn during ritual. Pullover, hooded or non, Cloak, Open-closable Front, Dress. Other appropriate clothing may be worn as well. Fabric or Leather.
Stone: Item used as an aid in spell casing, or may be worn or carried as an amulet.
Talisman: An object with symbols written or engraved on it that is used as an aid in spell casting. Sometimes worn or carried as an amulet.
Construction of the Working Tools
Metalworking files for use on stainless steel
Drill & 1/8” carbide or titanium bit
Sandpaper for use on auto body
Blank Steel--ATS-34 stainless
Two Wood Blanks for handle
Two wood screws
Permanent marker and/or metal chalk
Using a permanent marker or metal chalk, trace your blade design on the steel blank and a design on the wood blanks. Using transfer paper, mark holes on the blade and handles making sure they’re in the same place before you drill them. The holes should be 3 mm in diameter. Place the steel in the vise. Using the hacksaw, remove excess steel around the outline of the design. Get as close to the line as you can to minimize filing. File the edges smooth and file the tine down so it is thin. Now, file an edge on the blade at a 45 degree angle. Remember that you’re making a ceremonial blade here, so it doesn’t have to be sharp. However, your bioline does need to be sharp because it is used for cutting. Sand the blade smooth and use the oilstone to polish it. Using the table saw, cut your handle out of the wood blanks. Sand the blanks smooth, being careful not to make them too small around the edges. They should overlap the tine or be flush to it. The tine should never extend past the handle. Clamp the handles to the tine and drill holes until you hit the tine, making a mark on the metal. Unclamp the handles and continue drilling holes through the tine. Re-clamp the handles to the tine and drill through the other handle. Doing this will ensure that the holes are aligned. Now screw the handles to the tine and cut the screws off where they extend past the handle. The screw heads should be flush to the handle. You may need to tighten the screws occasionally to keep the handle tight. This method will also work for swords, just make sure you get a long enough piece of steel. An alternative method to using a hacksaw and files is to use an oxygen-acetylene cutting torch and a bench grinder. You can also use flint for the blade instead of steel. Use a dremel to cut knapping notches out of the flint. Bone can also be substituted for wood for the handle.
To decorate your new blade, you can etch the metal with ferric chloride, or an engraver’s wand. Use a wood burner, dremel, or exacto knife to decorate the handle. Bone has to be soaked in water before you carve or etch it.
Bells come in two forms, hand-held and mounted. You may want to make one of each, one mounted at the entry to the circle and another to get your Circle’s attention. If there are enough people present, the mounted bell can be wrung for this purpose. Bells are made of various materials: ceramic, clay, crystal, and cast metal (preferably bronze).
Potters clay and hands
Or a small terra cotta pot, hammer, wooden handle, and screw
You can hand build clay into the shape of a bell and fire it in a kiln. Or you can do it the easy way with a terra cotta pot. Simply screw a hammer to the wooden handle through the hole from the inside and you’re done. Now you can decorate it if you wish.
Materials Needed for making the mold:
Model Modeling Clay (water base) such as (WED) or #10
Plaster (USG No.1 Pottery)
Orange Shellac (for sealing clay and other porous objects)
Parting Agent (Tincture of Mold Soap or Purelube)
Baby Powder or Talc (for dusting prior to applying parting agent)
Denatured Alcohol (for cleaning shellac brushes and thinning down shellac)
You can use these ceramic mold instructions to make other tools as well, such as the cauldron, chalice, offering bowl and/or plate, pentacle tile, or thurible.
Models made of clay, wood or plaster must be coated with 2 or 3 layers of thinned down orange shellac. First you must study the object from which you are to make the mold, to establish the parting line. Draw a line on the object with a dye-marking felt tip pen. Place the object on your work board so your parting line is somewhat parallel to your work surface. Proceed to build water base modeling clay around the object to your parting line, extend out for one inch from the widest points. When clay is all in place, smooth and leather hard, square off clay. Using a soft brush, apply two thin coats of orange shellac over the object and the top surface of the clay parting line. After 15-20 minutes, apply talcum powder, dusting lightly. Apply parting agent with a soft brush covering the entire surface. Dry your brush and pick up all excess parting agent, leaving a very slick surface on the object and parting line clay. Prepare your casting boards, wiping each with parting agent on front surface and edges. Assemble with C clamps.
With wooden tool, seal edges where clay parting line meets the insides of the board. For the size of the object and the apparent bulk of parting line around the model, use the following proportions: With your 1 gallon plastic jar, weigh out 1 1/2 lbs. of No.1 pottery plaster. Let the plaster soak for 3-5 minutes, then mix with the drill motor mixer. Mix for about 1 1/2 minutes, then pour over boxed pattern. Plaster should cover at least 1 inch over the highest point on the model. After 20 minutes, take casting boards apart, scrape off top of plaster and bevel the edges slightly. Grasp opposite sides of the plaster/clay mold and gently twist to loosen clay from the work. Turn mold over and proceed to lift off clay from model and plaster half of the mold. If orange shellac transfers to plaster half, clean with alcohol. Clean all clay particles from the mold surface.
Now is the time to carve “keys” into the plaster parting line. You can make keys several ways - round end of large spatula, a coin (nickel or quarter). Prepare your casting boards again, dust the model and parting line area with talcum, brush on parting agent. Assemble the boards with C clamps and repeat all steps for casting the second half of the mold. Let the plaster set for 1/2 hour, remove the casting boards, scrape top of the mold, bevel the edge and corners. Now you are ready to open the mold. Scrape off any plaster that may have run down the side of the first half of the mold. Using a flat end screwdriver or a wooden wedge, insert it at the parting line; tap it gently with the hammer.
As soon as the mold starts to part, turn the mold over and repeat the process. When the mold is loose, grasp each half and gently pry apart. The model will usually stay in half of the mold. At this point, how accurate you were with your parting line, what material your model was made of, and how hard or soft that material was, will dictate how easy or hard it will be to get the model out of the half plaster mold. If the model was made of clay, you can ease it out by using the screwdriver. But if you have to do any prying like a lever, place a flat piece of wood under your screwdriver so you won't chip the plaster mold. If your model is made of metal, glass or ceramic, you might have to use other means, such as air pressure or tapping all around the model with a rubber mallet. In some cases, you will have to chip out the model thus destroying it. But keep in mind, that at this point the mold is the main object because a good, usable mold can reproduce 50 to 150 objects.
With both halves now clean of any particles, now determine where to carve in your pour hole. It can be in one half or in both halves. Bevel the outer edge of the parting line on both halves and bevel all outside edges of the mold. This keeps that edge from chipping. At this time, check each half of the mold for any under-cuts that can be cut back. Let your mold dry out for 4 or 5 days depending on your weather conditions. NOW YOU HAVE A MOLD. Prepare ceramic according to manufacturer’s instructions. Pour ceramic into clamped mold. Allow it to set and harden. Remove from mold and glaze if you wish and fire it in the kiln.
Your choice of metal
Smelting furnace or forge
Cast iron kettle and ladle
Wood for frame
Malasse (bonding agent)
Bolt and nut or screw
Iron is poured at 2700° F. Nickel silver melts at 2300° F with a flow point of 2400° F. Beryllium copper alloy has a pouring temperature range of 1850-2050° F. Brass melts at 1650° F with a flow point of 1900° F. Bronze melts at 1650° F with a flow point of 1850° F. Pewter and tin both melt at 500-600° F. It would be best to start with pewter or tin because it has the lowest melting point and is therefore safer to use.
To cast a metal bell, you need a model of the kind of bell you want. It can be of any firm material, so long as it is hollow inside and does not have a hammer. That part is added later. Prepare the "origin" or model with any letters or designs glued on. They should stand out from the bell so as to make an impression in the sand. The origin model is simply a positive model which makes the impression in the sand mold in which the pure bronze, brass, or pewter will later be poured. It is not part of the final bell. Prepare two sand molds (dies), one for the outside of the bell, and one for the inside (internal core). To prepare the outside die, place the "origin" in the bottom of a die frame into which you pour the sand. On the lettered portion, pour a finer powder to help form the clear perfect lettering. Turn the die upside down so that the underside of the bell origin, or model is now upwards. Mix sand with a binding agent (called Melasse) and pack around the bell forming the mold for the outside of your bell. Next, make a frame for the internal core. Attach the internal core frame to the origin frame and pour the sand mixture inside the origin. The loop for the hammer (clapper) attachment is also made at this time. After the sand mixture sets, take the die apart, and remove the model. Your die is made of sand and should have a hollow part where you will pour the molten metal into. This creates the bell. Allow the die to harden for a few days before you cast the bell.
Before casting, lock the die together in a box. You will need a smelting furnace or forge to melt the metal in a thick cast iron kettle. The ladle should also be thick cast iron. The furnace will heat the pot containing the bell bronze to over 1650 degrees Fahrenheit. After it reaches temperature, pour the melted bronze into the die. The melasse will burn with a blue flame. Leave the bell in the box to cool. After it has cooled sufficiently, tear apart the sand die and remove the remaining sand from the bell. Remove the ingots with a hacksaw. Now you are ready for finishing, which consists of turning, grinding and buffing the bell. Turn the bell against the wire wheel of a bench grinder to cut away the raw surface. Great care must be taken so that the lettered portion of the bell is not destroyed. Use a belt sander to grind the edge of the bell to a fine blunt edge. Now, buff and polish the bell with a jeweler’s cloth. Drill a hole at the top and assemble the hammer with a bolt from the top to the inside. Secure the hammer with a nut screwed onto the bolt. If this is a hand bell, fasten the hammer assembly to a wooden handle with a screw from the inside.
4ft dowel- 1" in diameter or a tree branch of the same size
Ball of twine
Straw, thin willow twigs, broom corn or pliable herb stock.
Take the straw or other herb stalk that you have chosen and soak overnight in luke warm salted water. The water swells the stalk slightly for bending without breakage, and the salt dispels former energies. When ready, remove stalks from the water and dry for just a bit. Not too much or the stalk will stiffen up, again. Place the dowel on a table where you have room to work. Start lining the stalks along the dowel , about 3 inches from the bottom, moving backwards. Begin binding the stalks to the dowel with the twine. Tie very securely. You may add as many layers as you like, depending on how full you want the Besom to be. When stalks are secure, gently bend the top stalks down over the binding. When all have been bent over, secure the stalks again with more twine a couple of inches under the first binding. Allow to air dry for a day or two. The dowel can then be stained, painted, or carved into to make it personal. Remember to consecrate and charge at the next full moon.
Before there were books, we inscribed words into stone or wood. We didn’t have books until paper was invented in the form of papyrus. However, we had scrolls before we had books. When paper was first invented, it was very expensive and only the wealthy could afford it. It was never wasted. Therefore, students in the ancient universities took their notes on a stylus. A stylus was two pieces of wood with a layer of beeswax on them that folded like a book. Words were written in the wax with a pointed stick and were later transcribed onto paper with exact precision. People were very careful not to make any mistakes. Illuminated manuscripts were inspired by this almost sacred appreciation for paper. After the transcription was finished, the wax was heated which erased the words. I remember having a similar toy as a child, but it was plastic. You write on it with a plastic pen and lift the pink film to erase the words. That was a modern stylus. The descendant to the stylus is something with which we are all familiar--the chalkboard. Formerly a blackboard, it was originally written upon with a stick of charcoal. All school children used them during the 19th Century. Later, children used white chalk on green boards before finally graduating to paper notebooks. Today, the word, “stylus,” refers to a writing instrument.
½” diameter dowel, 8.5” long
2 plain wooden drawer pulls with holes pre-drilled (you can get these and the hardware store)
2 wood screws
Non-yellowing wood glue
Sheets of paper of your choice
Sealing wax and ribbon, or use a sticker that won’t tear the paper
I used colored parchment paper to make my scroll, but you can use any kind you like and as many sheets as your scroll will hold. I used three sheets for mine. Paint or decorate the drawer pulls and screw them onto each end of the dowel. You should decorate the edges of the sheets or write whatever you want on them before gluing them together. Only decorate one side of the pages. Leave 1” at the bottom of the last page. Leave a ½” at the top and bottom of each sheet, except for the first page, for gluing them together. When you’re finished with decorating the pages, glue them together. Let the glue dry completely on the sheets before gluing the scroll to the dowel. The bottom inch of the last page of your scroll is glued to the dowel. Let the glue dry completely before you roll the paper around the dowel. The paper should be wound beginning with the last page and ending with the first so that you see the first page when you open the scroll. Now, you can seal the scroll with sealing wax and a ribbon or a sticker that will not tear the paper.
Before making a book, I want to give you instructions for making a stylus. It’s a wonderful way to practice and when you’re ready to make a permanent book, it will be a natural progression just as it was historically.
Two 8.5x11” pieces of ¼” thick light colored plain wood panel for the front and back cover
Several 8x10” pieces of 1/8” thick light colored plain wood panel for the “pages”
3 metal O-rings for loose binding pages (you can get these at office supply stores)
Drill and 3/32” bit
Clear wood varnish
You can have as many “pages” as you want in your stylus. I suggest getting O-rings of a size that will bind the book fairly tightly. You can easily add pages to your stylus and use bigger O-rings. This stylus is much the same as a three-ring binder, except that you’re using wood instead of paper. Place a sheet of loose notebook paper on one of the cover panels and mark where the holes are, making sure they’re all straight. Drill the holes. Place this cover panel on the other and mark where the holes are and drill again. Now, place the “pages” in between the cover panels so the back edges are flush with them. The cover panels should overlap just a little on the top, bottom, and side of the pages similar to a real book. When they’re all lined up, clamp the stylus together and drill holes through the pages. After all the holes are drilled, sand the panels front and back until they’re smooth to the touch. Brush on a thin coat of clear varnish to both sides of each page and let dry completely. If you plan to decorate the cover panels, do not varnish them. You can paint the cover panels or decorate them however you want. You can even cover them with leather or encrust them with gemstones. Another option is gold leafing. The options for decorating the covers are limited only by your imagination. This is a good time to practice for making your book cover because if you make a mistake or want to do something different, it’s easy to start over with another panel. Decorate the covers while the first coat of varnish is drying. Check the varnish and if it’s smooth enough, you shouldn’t need a second coat. Melt the beeswax and pour a thin film over both sides of each page. Spread the wax so it’s even and remove any excess. It should only be thick enough to make a visible impression. If you like, you can place plastic protector sheets in between each waxed page so they won’t stick together. For the writing instrument, you can whittle a stick to a point or use a crochet needle.
Leather, Wood, or Hard Paper backing (acid-free two ply museum board)
1mm diameter heavy linen thread and needle, Staple, or Glue binding
Parchment, Vellum, Natural Fiber, or Modern Paper (acid free)
Rounded blunt object for scoring creases (a long screwdriver works well for this)
Modern paper should be acid-free as should any ink you use to write or decorate the pages with. Determine what size you want the book to be and choose the paper size accordingly. Also, choose cross-grained paper because it folds easier on the short side. If you choose 8.5x11” paper and fold it short wise in half, your finished pages would then be 5 ¼ inches wide by 8.5 inches high. Your book cover would need to be at least 11 inches long by about 9 inches high. This will leave a ½ inch for the spine, so your book would need to be ½ inch thick. If you want your book to be about 8x11”, then your paper dimensions need to be 17 inches long by 11 inches high. When folded in half, it should be 8.5 inches wide. This will leave ¼ inch for the fold and another 1/8 inch for the margin on either side of the page. The book cover would need to be about 18 inches long by 11 ¼ inches high. In any case, do the math first leaving at least a ½ inch for the spine and ¼ inch for the cover to extend past the pages at the top, side, and bottom. An encyclopedia serves as a good model for a hard bound book. If you’re making a soft cover book, then the cover needs to be flush with the pages. Don’t forget to include a single sheet that will wrap around all the sections. This is the blank front and back cover page.
Once you’ve determined what size you want your book to be and you’ve done the math, gather 8 pages and fold them together to make 16 leaves front and back. This is one section of your book. Do this repeatedly for as many sections as you want. Most books have 19 sections, totaling 152 double-sided leaves. If you do not have a book press, you need to set an encyclopedia or large dictionary on top of the sections over night to flatten them.
Place one unfolded sheet of paper on top of the museum board. Measure the thickness of all the sections stacked together. Add this measurement to the size of the paper on the board. Now add the thickness of the thread to that measurement. This will tell you what size your cover should be. If you want the cover to overlap the pages, add ¼ inch to the top, side, and bottom. Place the carpenter’s square along the cutting lines and cut out the cover with an exacto knife.
Now, with the cover face-side up, place the screwdriver close to the edge of the spine where you want the crease. Professional book binders use a scoring bone for this. Apply significant pressure to the screwdriver and compress the board. Do this slowly so you do not tear the fibers of the board. The goal is to create a hinge for the cover to bend easily. Before you bend the cover, you need to cut a series of equally spaced square-ended slits in the cover. Typically, these should be about an inch apart, and the slits at the top and bottom should be about 1/2 inch from the top and bottom edges. Each slit should be about 1 mm wide, but the precise width is less important than the uniformity. The ends of the slits should be about 1/2 the thickness of one section of your book from the creases that you just scored in the cover.
Now you want to punch holes in the sections of your book. To do this, make a jig out of a scrap of cardboard with a very straight edge. First, cut a shallow wide notch in the cardboard. The depth of the notch should be about the thickness of the 8 sheets of paper that make up your sections. The width of the notch should be the height of the spine of the book. Then, put the jig parallel to the length of the part of the cover that will be the spine, so the notch just brackets the cover, and carefully mark where each slot in the spine passes your jig. Finish the jig by making a V shaped notch at each mark. These notches show where the holes go in the crease of each section. Mark one end of your jig as the top, so that you can punch all of your sections the same way. Always make the up direction point towards the top of the page, and your book will come out with even edges. The purpose of the V shaped notches is to guide the tip of an awl as you punch holes in your sections. Slide your jig into the center of a folded section until the notched edge rests in the crease, then hold the back of the section against a scrap of wood and use a good sharp awl to punch a row of holes, one per notch in the jig. Keep the section folded fairly tightly, and the awl will find the center of the crease in the section and the center of the notch fairly naturally.
Now, you're ready to sew the sections into your book cover. The long stitch used is a fairly modern modification of an ancient style of bookbinding. The basic rules are simple: Sections of the book are sewn into the cover one at a time, in sequence, from the front of the book to the back, using a single length of thread to sew the entire book. In sewing each section, the thread runs once down the length of that section, alternately inside the fold of the section and outside the spine of the cover. The thread is always sewn inside the fold of the section at each end of the book; except at the ends, the threads of successive sections alternate.
The book is sewn with a single thread, between the indicated points. Note that it takes a bit of cleverness to sew the ends of the sections, since the natural alternation of over and under brings the thread out somewhat randomly in one or the other orientation. The thread should always pass over the end of each section and around the end of the spine. This helps prevent the pages from tearing out, because tears almost always begin at the end of the crease. Before you start sewing, you need to measure out enough thread to sew the entire book. For a book with 19 or 20 sections, wrap the thread 10 times around the handful of sections when they're clenched tightly in the cover. Then wrap one or two turns for good luck. It's better to have a bit of extra thread than to have to knot the thread in the middle of the book.
Before you start sewing, it helps to wax the thread with beeswax. To do this, clamp the thread against a block of beeswax with your thumb and pull it through with your other hand. The thread will tend to cut a slot in the wax, so keep changing the angle of pull to even out the wear on the wax. Do this two or three times with the full length of thread before you start sewing. You do your final quality control check when you commit yourself to sewing in a section. Once the wrong section is sewn in or the right one is sewn in with a missing or inverted page, it's no fun to undo. Check what section you are sewing, and make sure it is all there and right-side up. As you gain experience, you'll find that you spend less time checking, but it's better to do too much checking than too little. Also, with each section, check that all the pre-punched holes line up with the slits in the cover. If they don't you've probably got the section upside down. If they still don't line up, you've done a bad job punching the holes, and you'll have to re-punch a few.
Try to keep the knot and the loose end on the inside of the book. A tight square knot will do well here. Start by making the knot at one end of the first section, and finish sewing the first section to the spine. At the end, you'll face a problem -- how to finish one section and start the next. If the thread emerges from the end of a section in the crease of that section, go outside the cover and down into the first pre-punched hole in the next section, then out the crease, over the spine, and through the same hole as you begin sewing the length of the next section. If the thread emerges from the end of a section outside the spine, go around the end and down the crease, re-using the last hole in the same section before going outside, around the end of the next section, and up the crease.
Whenever you use the same hole twice, always be sure not to sew the thread through itself. Pull the thread that goes through the hole off to one side, then thread the needle through to the other side of the same hole. If you do accidentally sew through the thread, it will make it difficult to tighten the thread when you're done sewing. As you reach the end of the book, it will get hard to squeeze the last few sections in. You'll have to press hard to move the already bound pages down the spine to make room for the last sections, and as you work on the very last one, you'll have to squeeze the book again each time you try to get the needle through. If you measured the spine width correctly, you'll just barely manage to fit the last section in -- that's the test of a perfect fit.
If you run out of thread before you reach the end of the book, follow the instructions below for tightening the thread before you tie on a new length of thread, then tie the knot (a square knot) as close as you can to the last hole the thread passes through. Keep the knot on the inside of a crease. Do not back yourself into the situation where you have a knot that you need to pull through a hole in the sewing when you try to tighten the thread later. Before you tie the final knot in the book, tighten the thread, working along the spine from the initial knot towards the end, pulling out any slack until the thread is uniformly tight throughout the sewing. I use a sharp awl to do this, since it is easy to insert the tip under a tight loop of thread and pull the slack forward to that loop, tightening the previous loop. You don't need to pull too hard, but you don't want to leave any slack in the binding. Finally, when the sewing is uniformly tight, tie the final knot, and you have a book. If the pages aren't in the right order at this point, though you'll have trouble fixing the order without cutting the thread and re-sewing.
You now have a book, but you'll notice that the pages don't come out even along the edge of the book opposite the spine. The innermost pages of each section stick out farther than the others, giving that side of the book a jagged edge that can make the book difficult to use. People who do "art bookbinding" seem to like this irregularity, but for a book you intend to use, it's worth trimming the pages to make an even face. The easy way to do this is to take the book to a place that can shear off the edges. The same shear that works for trimming off the spine of a paperback will also serve to trim the pages of the new book, so if you can have the book trimmed for only a few dollars, do so. Tell the people who are trimming the book to square up the edge before they trim it, and then take off about 1/8 inch or 3 mm. If you've got appropriate margins around your text, this shouldn't cut into the original pages. Do not try to have the top and bottom trimmed. These edges of the book should be fairly flat already because you started with good square sheets of paper and punched them carefully in a jig. If they're a bit irregular, carefully banging the top and bottom of the book against a table top should square them up. In any case, the irregularities on the top and bottom are your fault, and you cannot fix them by trimming. The thread that sews your sections to the cover reaches all the way to the top and bottom edges of your book, and trimming the edges will cut the thread.
You can make a tool to trim your own book out of a wood chisel (1/2 inch or 15 mm minimum width) and a few blocks of hardwood. You'll need to hold your book in a clamp while you trim it. Make a minimal clamp out of two planks about 3/4 inch or 2 cm thick and a few inches longer than the book. These can be held against the book using C-clamps, or holes can be drilled through the ends of the planks so that long bolts and wing nuts can be used to hold the book tightly in place. Clamp the book (including the covers) loosely between your planks, then square up the irregular edge of the book by pressing it edge down on a tabletop. Use shims about 1/8 inch thick to hold the two planks back from the irregular edge. The edges of the planks will define the plane along which you will trim the book, so it is important to square things up carefully. Once you have the book squared up, with the squared edge protruding the right distance from the clamps, tighten the clamps down hard, being careful not to disturb the square-ness of the assembly. Now, you're ready to plow off the rough edges with your chisel, except that you need a jig to help hold the flat of the chisel exactly in the plane of the faces of your plank clamps.
If you want the cover to overlap, leave it out of the clamp and jig. Attach the chisel to the plowing jig with a pair of countersunk wood screws that grasp the narrowest part of the shank of the chisel between the handle and flat part of the blade. Most of the flat part of the blade is countersunk into the body of the jig in a slot cut with the same chisel. The final adjustment of the blade height is critical. Do this by trial and error, adding scraps of paper behind the chisel blade or shank, as needed, to bring the flat of the blade exactly into the plane of the bottom of the jig. It is crucial that your chisel be very sharp, and there must be no bevel at all on the flat side of the blade. Careless sharpening will frequently put a slight bevel on the flat side, and this will make your plowing ride up as you work across the book instead of allowing you to hold to the plane established by the jaws of your book clamp.
To plow off the edge of the book, stroke the sharp edge of the blade gently against the edge of the book, holding the flat face of the chisel (and the flat face of the jig) tightly against the jaws of the clamp. Each stroke should cut through a few pages along the full length of the book. Since the cover is in the clamp too, it might take a few strokes to make the first cut through the cover. As your plowing continues, a pile of confetti will accumulate around you, and you will learn the best angle to hold the plowing jig and the right pressure to apply in making the cut. It is far better to apply too little pressure than too much. Trying to cut through too much paper in one stroke will stretch the paper, resulting in a rippled texture. Even more pressure will begin to tear the paper instead of slicing cleanly through it. Plow your way through about 3/4 of the book from one side, then change sides and plow in through the other side. This means that you finish in mid-book, using extremely gentle strokes towards the end in order to trim of the last few hanging bits of confetti. If the plowing rode up out of the desired plane while cutting from the first side, the final cuts made from the second side end up trimming off hair thin shreds in the area already trimmed from the first side, largely correcting the error.
The cardboard cover of the book you just made has threads that show on the outside, and it has no title or cover art. You can add artwork, hide the threads and protect the binding with a paper dust cover. Use 11" by 17" paper to make a dust jacket. This is double the length of the book, and the largest standard size paper most photocopiers will handle. If you're lucky, you'll have an original cover that you can photocopy onto the dust jacket for cover art, but by the time a book has reached the point where this kind of copying and rebinding project is worth while, this is unlikely. If you’re repairing or replacing a book, then you will need to cut out all the pages and photo copy them, and have them collated when they’re printed. Care is needed in folding in the two sides of the dust jacket, crease B in Figure 9. If these are folded tightly over the ends of the cover with the book open, the dust jacket will be too tight to allow the book to be properly closed. Ideally, you should first close the book, then wrap the jacket (with fold A already completed) around the book, and then fold in the ends, cracking the cover open only as far as needed to tuck the large end flaps in between the cover and the pages of the book. You'll need to clamp the book shut to keep the paper flat while the glue dries, but this raises the risk of some glue leaking out and sticking to the rest of the book. To prevent this, insert sheets of wax paper between the sheet you are gluing and whatever it shouldn't stick to. You should be able to remove your dust jacket by opening your book so far that the front and back cover are parallel and then sliding them out of the jacket. In normal use you would never expect to open a book that far, so a dust jacket made this way is unlikely to fall off accidentally. If you intend to use the book much, wrap the paper dust jacket in a mylar jacket -- mylar drafting film is the ideal stuff. Use "magic transparent tape" to hold the mylar dust jacket on, taping the jacket to itself, not to the book. The only difference between making the first dust jacket and any additional layers of dust jacket is that, you tuck the top and bottom flaps into the space between the inner jacket and the spine.
A book made as suggested here, using both an inner paper dust jacket and an outer mylar jacket, looks very much like a commonplace hardbound book. The air spaces between the layers of the book jacket give it a bit of a plush feel, and the hard mylar surface protects your cover art at least as effectively as the varnish and laminated plastic common in modern commercial book bindings. Furthermore, the added height and width of the layered dust jacket protects the exposed threads at the top and bottom of the spine from abrasion; this corrects what is perhaps the most important weakness of this particular style of binding. Do not use vinyl dust jackets! Vinyl sticks to xerographic copies, pulling the ink from the paper, and it is slightly acid, speeding the decay of the paper. The effect of vinyl is not confined to direct contact. When a stack of xerographic copies is stored in contact with a vinyl surface for a period of years, the influence of the vinyl appears to seep through the pages, causing the ink to get sticky on pages many sheets from the sheets actually in contact with the vinyl. Polyethylene dust jackets are also compatible with xerographic copies, but they are quite soft and do not provide the same degree of mechanical protection that is offered by hard plastics such as mylar.
Here, you can get creative and use leather or a combination of leather and wood panel for the cover decoration instead of a dust jacket. The alternative to sewing is to staple the sections together and glue them to the spine.
See Ceramic or Metal Casting.
See Ceramic or Metal Casting.
See Ceramic or Metal Casting. Or make one out of wood or paper.
Take a dowel 5-6 ft long by 1 ½-2” in diameter or natural tree branch the same size and decorate it till your heart’s content. Honestly, what else can I say here. A staff is the easiest tool to make. You can carve it with an exacto knife or dremel, embed it with stones, paint or dye it, hang feathers from it, wrap it with wire, leather and/or beadwork, or mount a crystal point or ball at the top.
To embed stones, carve out a place for the stone bezel. Mount the stone in the bezel, then glue the bezel into the carved space. You can do this with faceted stones as well. Just use a dremel to make a hole deep enough for the mounting.
To prepare the feather for hanging, soak the quill end in warm water until it’s soft and pliable. Then shave off half of the quill, lengthwise to make a sharp point at the end. Put a drop of super glue on the point and just a little ways down. Bend the point down into the large opening and hold it in place until the glue dries. Once it is set, you can wrap it with string or wet leather. Now you can tie it to your staff using the loop. Don’t try to do this with a dry quill; it will split.
To mount a crystal point, drill a hole into the top of the staff large enough to support the crystal. Some extra gouging and digging might be necessary. Fill the hole 1/3 full with epoxy and set the crystal inside it. Some of the epoxy might be pushed out; just wipe it away with a damp rag. Let the epoxy cure 2-3 days. Now whittle the wood on the outside just enough to give it a slight bevel. This will give the impression that the crystal is growing from out of the wood. You can now wrap the end with wire, leather, or beadwork.
A ball needs to be mounted to wire. A clothes hanger will work for this. Cut several pieces and bend each piece to reinforce it. Secure the hanger wire to the staff with wrapping wire or heavy duty staples. Now mount the ball in the wire. The ball should be large enough so that the wire resists it making a tight fit.
An alternative is to use a natural predator bird talon. Drill a hole in the top as for the crystal, but only large enough for the talon. Secure it with epoxy. It may be necessary to drill some tiny holes in the ball and epoxy the tips of the talon inside the holes.
See Ceramic or Metal Casting. Or carve one out of soapstone.
I used an old drumstick to make my wand, but you can use a foot long by ½” diameter dowel or natural tree branch. Follow the instructions for the staff to decorate it.
Most primitive jewelry was an amulet worn to denote social status, or it was a symbol of a person’s totem animal worn for protection. Primitive jewelry was usually bone beads and shells with the occasional drilled stone. It could also have been a carved image or a piece of fired clay with symbols inscribed on it. Prehistoric humans also used dried seeds for decoration. This is where we get seed beads from. Today, seed beads are glass; but in prehistoric times, they were actually plant seeds that had been dried and dyed a myriad of colors. They were then sewn onto clothing or made into jewelry. Native Americans excel in the art of beadwork, an art form they are still well-known for today. When humans discovered metal, their jewelry reflected this discovery. Try the primitive art first, then graduate to metal and stone. There are several sources for jewelry making supplies. My personal favorite is Fire Mountain Gems. A good book that teaches how to make primitive jewelry is Primitive and Folk Jewelry by Martin Gerlach.
Soda can with top cut off
Pan of water shallow enough for the can full of wax to stand up in without tipping
Dye chip or liquid, any color (you can get candle dye from Hobby Lobby)
Wick, 24 ply flat braid for candles under 2” in diameter
Never melt wax on direct heat! Chop the wax into small enough pieces to drop into the soda can. Use a pot that will not be re-used for cooking. Boil water in the pot and set the soda can of wax into the water. Do not allow the water to boil up and over into the wax. Keep it on medium heat and do not walk away from it. It will take about 30 minutes for the wax to melt. It should come to about ½” below the top edge of the can. You’re going to dip the candle wick into the wax in the can. There’s no need to pour it into another container. I use a soda can to dip my candles because I use 4” inch candles for spell work. Whatever length you want your candle to be, the container should be cylindrical and close to the size candle you’re dipping so you don’t melt more wax than you need. You can even line up several soda cans of melted wax and dip more than one candle at a time and more than one color. If you want to do it this way, you’ll need to make a dipping frame to support the number of candles you’re dipping and a rack for them to cool on. While the wax is melting, tie the end of the wick to a threaded nut. Measure 4 inches of wick from where the wick ends at the nut and mark where the tip of the candle will be. This is the point where you stop dipping. Cut the wick about 2 inches above this mark and tie it to a pencil. The nut provides weight to the wick and keeps it straight. This ensures a straight candle. As soon as the wax is hot and liquid, add dye to it a little at a time. Stir it to evenly distribute the color. Test the opacity and color with the plastic stirrer. If you want white candles, don’t add dye to them. I add an ingredient called Sno Wax to make my white candles more opaque and pure white. Remove the can from the water. The aluminum can shouldn’t be too hot to handle, but if it is, use a pair of pliers or a glove to remove it. Dip the wick all the way past your mark one time. This will wax the part of the wick that you light. Let it cool slightly each time between dips. Continue dipping the candle until it reaches about ½” diameter at the base. When it’s finished, cut the nut off the end and remove the wax and thread from it. Pull the pencil out of the knot at the top. I leave mine knotted and hang several candles in a row by unfolded paper clips. I just cut off the top down to the wax when I’m ready to burn one.
Incense is fun to make and requires a little trial and error to get it just right. I learned how to make incense in about a day, so it isn’t hard at all. Some herbs burn well and others shouldn’t be burned at all. Do not burn garlic or cayenne pepper! They’re toxic! The only time I would suggest burning these two herbs is during an exorcism, but you must leave the area immediately. Don’t ever do this around people or animals! A necessary ingredient for making incense is Tragacanth. This is a bonding agent from a natural resin that is soluble in water. It’s expensive, but very little is needed so it’s worth the expense because it doesn’t spoil. You can purchase a bottle of Tragacanth from a pharmacist. Another necessity, which isn’t used in every case, is salt petre. This is a burn agent also available from a pharmacist. Again, it doesn’t take much. Other items you will need are blank incense sticks, plain talcum powder and very fine sawdust powder (preferably pine) available at a sawmill or lumber yard. Try to get sawdust from untreated wood. Any herbs, bark, resin, or root should be powdered for best results. A flour mill works best for this. To powder bark, resin, or roots, any mill designed to powder nutmeg works well. You’ll need to clean the blade after powdering resin because it will leave a very sticky gum. Try to purchase items in powdered form if possible. Oil can be mixed with the herbs to enhance the aroma or to mix scents that don’t always work in herbal form. Salt petre is always needed when oil is added to the mixture. It isn’t necessary to use botanical oils. I found that fragrance oils work just as well. The best book I’ve found for making incense is Wylundt’s Book of Incense by Steven R. Smith. I learned to make incense from this book and quickly wrote my own recipes. Here’s my recipe for sage smudging sticks. I like them better than burning a sage bundle because they create less smoke and no sage is wasted in the burning. One stick can last a long time depending on how long you use them. Their scent also improves with age.
Mixing bowl with lid that will not be reused for food
Tongue depressor (available at craft stores)
Measuring spoons and cups that will not be reused for food
¼ cup Wild Sage, whole leaves--no stems
1 t. Talcum powder
3/4 t. Tragacanth
1 T. Water
It isn’t necessary to powder the sage. It works best when the leaves are left whole. Blend sage, talcum powder, and Tragacanth in bowl until all ingredients are evenly distributed. Add water and stir until mixture forms a ball. Beat the mixture with the stick repeatedly to get it all blended well. Do not add more water. It’s supposed to be really thick. Pinch off a piece about the size of a ping-pong ball. Cover the bowl tightly with lid so the mixture doesn’t dry. Roll the ball in your hands, then roll it on a table. It should be about 4 inches long and ¼--½” thick. Don’t be discouraged if it comes apart. It will do this if you get it too thin or as it begins to dry out. If it’s dry, just add a few drops of water to it and continue playing with it until it will roll. Let the stick dry completely and store in a Ziploc bag. This recipe will make about 10 sticks.
The first “ink” was probably charcoal; the first pen, a charred stick. Some proto-human who casually scraped a blackened stick on a rock must have been startled to see a dark line trailing after its point. This can still be done today. Simply burn a stick until its end is reduced to charcoal--not ash. When cool, use the stick as a natural charcoal pencil to trace an image of your goal. Such primeval rites may be sufficient to spark your ability to move and direct personal power. If not, try creating your own magical inks.
Ink has long been used in magic. Perhaps its most useful application lies in its ability to transform symbols or images of our magical goals into visible form. These pictures are then used as focal points during ritual to program and send forth personal energy. Many magical textbooks were carefully culled or transcribed during the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Some of these have been published in recent times. The inks were used to draw symbols and signs thought to invoke or banish. Today the magical uses of ink have mostly been forgotten, though some still cast spells with the likes of pseudo “Dragon’s Blood Ink,” “Dove’s Blood Ink,” or “Bat’s Blood Ink.”
Lampblack--the very first ink--is obtained through the use of a candle. Light a candle of the proper color for your spell and hold the back of a spoon in its flame, barely touching he wick. After leaving it there for 30-45 seconds, the flame will have covered the spoon with a black coating. Remove the spoon from the flame and hold it over a small bowl. Carefully scrape off the lampblack into the bowl using a small piece of cardboard. Ensure that the lampblack actually does fall into the bowl. It’s lighter than air and will fly all over the table if you don’t watch it carefully. Repeat this process 30-60 times until you’ve acquired a generous amount of the black soot. Since lampblack is nearly impossible to measure, no measurements are given. To the bowl of lampblack, add warm or hot water one drop at a time. Mix the soot and water after each drop with a finger until the soot has completely dissolved and the water is inky black. This isn’t easy, as the lampblack likes to float on top of the water. Next, add a small amount of ground gum Arabic, and mix with your finger until the gum has been dissolved. The mixture should be as thick as commercially prepared ink. Study a bottle of ink to determine its correct thickness.
Follow the instructions for Lampblack to collect the soot from the smoldering frankincense and myrrh. Mix the soot in a bowl with a little rose water and sweet wine. Add enough gum Arabic to make the mixture thick enough to write with. This recipe dates from the 1600s or possibly earlier and is a perfect example for why magical ink making has died out. It also serves to explain why hand written books or manuscripts were held with such sanctity and were highly expensive to purchase or have transcribed. Not only was paper expensive, but the ink was very time consuming to make. It certainly add a “magical” quality to ancient manuscripts.
This formula was a well-known commercial ink of its day. It uses a metal mordant or fixative that was applied to fabric dyes and a widely used source of tannin for tanning animal hides as well as dying textiles.
10 oz. Gall nuts (walnut husks--source of color tan and tannic acid)
3 oz. Green Copperas (Ferrous sulfate--metallic dye mordant)
3 oz. Rock alum or gum Arabic (rock alum is a color brightener so use both if you wish)
Reduce all ingredients to a powder and place in a glazed pot with river water. Make a fire of sprigs of fern gathered on Midsummer and vine twigs cut on the Full Moon in March. Add virgin paper to this fire and set the pot over it. When the water boils, the ink will be made. Basically set the pot on the stove and boil it till it thickens to the consistency of ink. This will make a brown color ink.
You can use a bit of both rock alum and gum Arabic to make these inks. Rock alum brightens the color. It is used in natural dyes and for pickling food. Gum Arabic is a resin that thickens the liquid. You can use any berry or natural dye material to make these inks. Each material listed will make a single color of ink. Just use your imagination and have fun. All you need is the fresh berry juice or liquid from the boiled material. No water is necessary.
Saffron, Pokeberries (poisonous!!), Beet juice, Blackberries, Boysenberries, Grapes, Indigo, Cherries, etc. Here is a list of natural dye materials. The mordant isn’t necessary for making inks so ignore that for now Dye Source.
The most well-known and probably first botanical or fragrance oil was Rose oil. Rose oil was said to be accidentally discovered in Persia at the wedding feast of the princess Nour-Djihan and the Emperor Djihanguyr. The canal that encircled the gardens was filled with rose petals. When the sun shone onto the water the heat caused the oil to separate from the petals and float to the top water where it was noticed as a kind of scum. When this ’scum’ was examined, and its true nature discovered, it was not long before the production of Persian rose oil began.
Today, we call this the Condensation Method of oil making. Pick your petals or fresh herbs between 10:00 AM and Noon to assure they’re at their peak extracting point. This method, if you have lots of petals and time can be a very rewarding experience in making your own perfumes from flowers and herbs. It doesn’t really matter what size jars you use as long as they have the same size mount openings. In the bottom jar (usually the largest), fill with any fragrant botanical. Don’t be afraid to crush the petals as this will help bring their oils to the surface more easily. In the top jar place a clean sponge saturated in a carrier oil, just so the sponge isn‘t dripping. Cosmetic quality sesame oil is best for this, but grapeseed oil will work. Nutragena Body Oil or its generic equivalent is the sesame oil I’m referring to. It’s very light, thin, and non-fragrant; it adopts another scent and blends well with other botanical oils. I’ve found other carrier oils to be too thick or heavy and this requires ten times more flowers or herbs to infuse them with a scent. Place the two jar openings together and fasten with masking tape or duct tape. Now leave your homemade still in the sun to do its work. What will happen is this. As the sun shines on the jars, condensation will occur. The jar will heat up, causing the oil in the petals to be released, which in turn will rise and be captured in the carrier oil in the sponge. At the end of the day, separate the jars and smell the sponge. The scent may be faint, but chances are it’s too early to smell anything yet. Now throw your spent botanicals in the yard or mulch pile. The next morning repeat the process again, smelling your sponge every day. It may be only a few days or it may be a week before your sponge will smell fragrant. When you’re satisfied with the scent, carefully squeeze your oil-laden sponge into a cup that you can pour from. Or use an eye dropper to transfer the oil to a little glass vial. Now you have your own essential oil.
Different methods make different types of oils. The most expensive method that is rarely applied to botanicals is the cold-press method where the oil is pressed directly from the plant material. The only botanical oils I know of that are still extracted using this method are rose, lavender, tuberose, and others used only in the finest French perfume. This is what makes it so expensive. It takes 1,000 rose petals to make ½ dram of rose absolute, which is the only cold pressed botanical I’ve found on the open market. The French perfume industry keeps cold pressed botanicals reserved for its own use. Other cold pressed oils are nut oils and cooking oil.
Both essential and botanical oils on the market today are made using the heat process and distillation method. Herbs are heated to release their oil and this oil is mixed with ethanol, which distills it and gives it a longer shelf life. The only difference between the two is that essential oil should still have the alcohol in it. The label may read: “10% alcohol by volume.” Botanical oil should have the alcohol removed through an evaporation process where the alcohol is heated out of the oil and only the pure oil remains. Sadly though, most essential oils are being sold under the “botanical” label and essential oils are labeled as “pure” giving the consumer the impression that one is more pure oil than the other when in fact, they’re usually exactly the same thing with a different price. So, be sure and check the label for the 10% alcohol by volume warning. Culinary oils also have this warning on them. The more alcohol present in the product, the less oil is in it. Oil is expensive and this is how manufacturers boost their profits. When in doubt, or if the label doesn’t say otherwise, assume that your oil has some amount of alcohol in it.
Fragrance oils are inexpensive chemical scents made in a laboratory to mimic their natural equivalents. I’ve found that fragrance oils are perfectly suitable for any application calling for essential or botanical oil, except for medical or culinary applications.
We often take an abundance of paper for granted, but a few insights into the history and process of papermaking can increase our appreciation for this extremely useful and versatile material. Stone and clay tablets, metals, and fabrics were used for writing and drawing surfaces until people began making vellum from calf skins and parchment from sheep skins. Then, at least 4500 years ago, Egyptians created papyrus, the precursor of paper--and the word from which “paper” is derived--from the inner layers of reeds. By 105 A.D. in China, T’sai Lun had developed a method of making true paper. He beat fishing nets and rope into a pulp, which he poured over a screen made of tightly tied bamboo strips. The water drained through the small holes between the bamboo strips, leaving a thin sheet of paper, which he left to dry. When it was dry, he peeled the finished paper off the bamboo. As knowledge of the method spread through China, silk, plant fibers and wood pulp were used to make papers of various styles. Japanese and Korean papermaking also began during the first century and, in that part of the world, became a fine art. The Japanese made papers that were so fine and strong they could be used for making light-weight, semi-transparent walls in homes. The finest papers were used for recording sacred texts and the lesser grades were used for money and wrapping. It was a long time before papermaking knowledge traveled outside Asia’s closed societies. The spread of this knowledge was helped along when, in 755 A.D., Arabs invaded Samarkand and captured Chinese papermakers who finally divulged their secrets. Once the Arabs learned the methods, papermaking spread throughout the Mediterranean region, east to India and west to Europe. The need for paper remained limited until the invention of the printing press in the mid-15th century. Before that time, books were written and bound by hand and their circulation was limited. Once entire pages could be printed on a press and books became less expensive to produce, paper was needed in large quantities and the paper industry was born.
Two rust-proof pails
Plastic or rust-proof fine sieve (screen)
Deckle and mold: frames for forming sheets.
Vat: dishpan or laundry tub at least 10” deep and 8” larger in width and length than the deckle and mold
Old blanket or towels
Felt: wool felt, linen, or cotton fabric cut about 4” larger in width and length than the deckle and mold.
Pressing boards: sheets of wood, baking sheets, or heavy cutting boards piled with books. Or make a press with two sheets of 16x20” plywood and clamps.
Large sheet of Formica, glass, or acrylic for drying sheets (optional)
Rolling pin or brayer (optional)
Deckle and Mold
The mold is the mesh-covered frame that forms the sheet of paper. The deckle is the open frame that contains the edges of the paper. A versatile size for paper, and a frame size that is easy to work with, is an inside dimension of 6x8 inches.
3/8 x 3/8” sections of wood-teak, mahogany or any hardwood that is not knotted or twisted. Four of these sections cut 8 ¾” long and another four cut 6” long for a deckle and mold that will make 6x8 inch paper.
Water-proof wood glue
16 brass L-shaped, screw-in corner braces to hold the wood together
Brass or aluminum screen mesh with 30-65 wires per inch or fine textured nylon netting
Rust-proof staples or brass tacks
Put two of the 8 ¾” wood sections on a work table; place two of the 6” sections perpendicular to the longer sections, at the top and bottom to form a frame. Apply wood glue at the joints and allow to dry. Secure the four sections together at the corners with the L-shaped braces. Fold under the edges of the screen so the wires don’t scratch your fingers. Stretch the piece of screen mesh over the frame and secure the screen to the frame with staples or tacks. If you’re using nylon netting, thoroughly wet the netting before stretching it tightly across the frame. Made the deckle in the same manner, except do not put screen on the deckle.
Now it’s time to make your paper.
At least one day before making your paper, tear your paper for pulping into stamp-size pieces. Tear rather than cut the paper because the torn edges can better absorb water. A paper shredder works very well for this. The amount of paper you tear depends on how much paper you want to make. The amount of paper you make will be about 75% of the amount you have torn up. In other words, if you tear 12 sheets of standard size stationery, you will probably have enough pulp to make 9 sheets of 6x8 inch paper. Put the torn paper in a plastic pail and cover it with cool water. Stir it with your hands to make sure all the paper has contact with water. Let the paper soak for at least 12 hours. When the paper has soaked sufficiently, it will be very fragile. Assemble all the equipment and soaked paper in an area where you have running water and a drain where splashes won’t damage anything. Always strain pulp through a sieve; never allow pulp or paper to go down a drain because it will cause a clog. Make sure your blender has no grease or food particles in it before pulping the paper. Put ½ a cup of soaked paper in the blender and fill the blender with cool water. Turn the blender to low then to high and whirl the paper for 15 seconds. Check the consistency of the pulp. It should look creamy. A good way to be sure it has been pulped sufficiently is to pour a small amount of pulp into a clear jar of water and hold it up to a strong light. If there are floating chunks of unpulped paper, whirl the pulp for another 10 seconds and check it again. Heavy papers will take longer to break down.
Pour the pulp from the blender into a pail or large bowl. Continue to blend the soaked paper until it is all pulped. As you go, drain some of the water by pouring the watery pulp through a fine sieve. Leave enough water in the pail to cover the pulp. If you are not going to use the pulp to make paper immediately, prevent souring by adding 2 drops of household bleach to one gallon of pulp and mix well. Drain off most of the water through a fine sieve. You can store the drained pulp in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to one month or in the freezer indefinitely.
Tear sheets of cotton linter into stamp-size pieces and soak in cool water for at least 10 minutes. If the linter is already shredded, simply soak it. Pulp in a blender as you did the paper. Add to the pail of pulp and blend well with your hands. Laundry lint should only be from 100% cotton fabric. Bleach it white if necessary. If you want it to add color to your paper, leave as-is. Shred the lint into fine strands and soak. Pulp in a blender and add to the pail. Use this in place of the cotton linter if you can’t get linter.
If you want to color all or part of your pulp, now is the time to add a coloring agent. Before adding the dye, pour the pulp-water mixture through a sieve until the pulp is thick but still wet. The pulp will be cloud-like and very soft to the touch, fluffy and a bit runny. If you remove too much of the water and the pulp is stiff, just add more water. The amounts and ratios of coloring agents to pulp given below are only guidelines. Regardless of the type of dye you use, the color of the dyed paper lightens considerably as the paper dries.
To dye pulp with colored paper napkins, tissue or crepe paper, tear the colored paper into very small pieces and pulp thoroughly as above. The water will be deeply colored. Combine the colored water and pulp with the plain pulp in a large jar or zip top freezer bag. Store in the refrigerator overnight to allow the pulp to absorb the dye.
To dye pulp with turmeric, which will make the paper golden yellow, mix ¼ cup powdered turmeric in 1 cup water. Add the mixture to 1 gallon of pulp and mix well. Pour into a large jar or zip top freezer bag. Store in the refrigerator overnight to allow the pulp to absorb the dye.
To dye pulp with onion skins, which will make the paper light tan, simmer 2 cups of dry yellow onion skins (loosely packed) in a medium saucepan in water to cover for one hour or until the skins are light in color and the water is brown. If you want to use only the dye-water, drain the onion skins in a sieve, discard the skins and add the dye water to 2 quarts of pulp. If you want to use the skins in the paper, let the skins and water cool completely, then puree in a blender until the skins are small flecks (or large flecks, if you like). Then, add the skins and water to 2 quarts of pulp. Pour into a large jar or zip top freezer bag. Store in the refrigerator overnight to allow the pulp to absorb the dye.
To dye pulp with food coloring, which will make the paper a pastel version of the color you choose, pour ¼ cup liquid food coloring into 2 quarts of pulp. Mix well with a wooden spoon. Pour into a large jar or zip top freezer bag. Store in the refrigerator overnight to allow the pulp to absorb the dye.
To dye pulp with coffee or tea, which will make the paper light golden brown, make strong coffee (4 teaspoons dry, instant coffee to 1 cup of boiling water) or brew tea (4 tea bags to 1 cup of boiling water). Dilute the hot coffee or tea with one cup of cold water, then pour it into 2 quarts of pulp. Pour into a large jar or zip top freezer bag. Store in the refrigerator overnight to allow the pulp to absorb the dye.
Vat-sizing incorporates size into the fibers of the paper. Sizing-whether in the vat or after the paper is made-prevents paint or ink from running along the fibers, making spidery lines in your paper. You can vat-size with gelatin or liquid laundry starch.
To use gelatin, dissolve half a packet of plain gelatin in ¼ cup of warm water, then mix it into the water in your vat (about 2 gallons of water).
To use laundry starch, mix one tablespoon in ¼ cup of warm water, then mix this into the water in your vat (about 2 gallons of water).
Forming Sheets of Paper
Before forming a sheet of paper, prepare a “couching” area. This is where you will stack your wet sheets to be pressed before drying. Put one pressing board in an area near the vat where water won’t cause damage. If the pressing boards are not laminated with Formica or melamine put a sheet of plastic on top of the board to prevent warping. Thoroughly wet the felts and put on felt on the pressing board. Fill your vat halfway with water. Add about 1 cup of partially drained pulp and mix it well with your hand. Mix the pulp frequently as you work, because it sinks fast. After you make each sheet of paper, replace some pulp for the next sheet. As you gain experience, you will learn to know when the water/pulp ratio is right and how to make sheets that are as thick or thin as you like. Make a few sheets of plain paper for practice before adding things to your paper. If you’re adding leaves, flowers or other things, like glitter or threads, now is the time to add them. Simply put the items you’re adding to the pulpy water and they will become part of the paper. Use your judgment as to the amounts of things you add. Dried flowers and leaves tend to gather around the outside fo the vat, so you may find you catch only a few in the mold.
Pressing the Post
Press the post outside or in the floor of a shower or bathtub, because a lot of water will escape from the post as it is pressed. Cover the top sheet of paper with plastic, if necessary, to protect the top pressing board from water. Attach the clamps to the corners of the pressing boards, and turn the clamp screws to apply pressure to the post. If you’re not using pressing boards and clamps, put a baking sheet or sheet of wood on top of the post and stack books on tip. For a quick squeeze, stand on the top board for a minute, then stack books or bricks on top. Pressure squeezes out excess water and, more importantly, makes the paper stronger by helping the fibers interweave. Leave the post under weight or pressure for at least one hour and up to 24 hours.
Drying the Paper
Remove the weights or clamps from the pressing boards. Very carefully-to avoid tearing the wet paper-separate the sheets with their felts still attached. Do not try to separate the sheets and felts at this point. Place the sheets of paper and felts on a flat, newspaper-covered area to dry. Or, you can hang the felts with paper attached on an indoor clothesline. On dry, sunny days, you can spread your paper out on the grass or on a blanket to dry in the sun. If you want very smooth sheets, dry them on glass or Formica. Simply place the paper and felt (paper side down) on the smooth surface. Gently and lightly roll the paper flat against the surface with a rolling pin or brayer. Leave the felt on the paper until dry. Whichever indoor drying method you use, you will find that a fan gently blowing just over the surface of the wet paper will help it dry much faster. Drying will take several hours or overnight. When the sheets are dry to the touch, gently peel the paper from the felts. Unless dried on flat surfaces, the sheets will most likely be wavy. If you want them to be flatter, place a stack of dry paper under heavy books for several days. Or, you can press them on a hard surface with a medium-hot iron. Do not press hard or you will make an impression of the flat of the iron in the paper.
If you didn’t vat-size and would like to use your paper for writing, drawing or painting, you can size externally. There are some advantages to external size. The size may be more evenly applied and may make the paper stronger. You can use gelatin or starch by spraying or dipping for external sizing. Either way, let your paper age for at least three weeks or it may disintegrate during the sizing process. The simplest and quickest way to externally size paper is to spray on size, using spray-on laundry starch. Place the paper on a sheet of newspaper and spray it evenly with starch. With a medium-hot iron, lightly press until dry. To dip in starch or gelatin, first dissolve one tablespoon liquid laundry starch in ¼ cup hot water; or, dissolve ½ packet plain gelatin in ¼ cup hot water. Add either starch or gelatin to one gallon hot water in a shallow pan and mix well. Slip the paper into the size and leave a few seconds until the paper has absorbed the size. Gently pull the paper out of the pan. Place the wet paper between two dry felts and gently press with a rolling pin or brayer to remove any air bubbles. Dry the paper using any of the methods described under “Drying the Paper”.
The legend and superstition connected with voodoo dolls is varied, and the rituals are widely disputed. Most of the doll rituals are connected with revenge, harm, and hate, but there are also love, success, luck, and health spells, as well as protection or dispelling negativity rites. In the past the uses of voodoo dolls were closely guarded secrets known only to a few practitioners, but within the past few years several books have been published which include information on this mysterious subject of dolls and how to use them to gain magical objectives. No one kind of doll is better than another--paper, wax images, cloth, straw, or pear cactus leaf, can be employed with equal success.
Cut two pieces of cloth in the square shape of a doll. Any kind of material and any color can be used. Sew around the doll’s seam lines, leaving one side open for turning and stuffing. To represent eyes, mouth, and heart, make a large stitch with heavy white thread where marked on pattern. Turn inside out and stuff with cotton or rags. Herbs appropriate to the purpose for which the doll is to be used, hair or nail clippings from the doll’s namesake, or small pieces of clothing may be added to stuffings. The doll may also be made from the spell object’s clothing. Sew up the open side by hand to close and complete the doll.
A quill or dip pen is also easy to make. Or you can just purchase a calligraphy quill and nib from a craft store.
Feather with a strong point large enough to rest well when writing. Ostrich feathers were favored because of their large quills.
Soak the quill in hot water until it is soft and pliable. Cut the quill at a 45 degree angle to make a point. Sand point smooth with sandpaper, being careful not to blunt the tip too much. Let the quill dry and it’s ready to write with. If you want, you can purchase a medium or fine point nib designed to fit in a calligraphy quill and slip that inside the feather quill.
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.
X yards of 60 inch wide fabric (45 inch if you are slim and want short
sleeves). Cotton or poly-cotton blend is best for this purpose. (If you buy
100% cotton fabric, add 1/4 yard to your yardage to allow for shrinkage.)
One 2” square of fabric, any color
Embroidery floss of a matching color
Needle and thread or fabric glue
Fold the piece of fabric to make a one inch square. I use fabric glue to secure the sides. You can sew them together if you like. Fold about 1/8” of the top down to make a flap and secure in place. Let the glue dry. Thread the embroidery floss through the flap and tie knots in each end. Turn the bag outside in and it’s finished. Make several of all 13 colors in advance.
Types of Spells
Choose a candle of the appropriate color, scratch your desire or spell into it, anoint candle with oil, and light the candle. As the candle burns, project your desires and emotions into the flame by visualizing what you wish to occur. Allow the candle to burn down completely.
Choose a cord of the appropriate color and tie knots in it. As each knot is tied, name your desire. This is known as a Witch's Ladder. Place it in the possession of the spell's object without their knowledge.
Choose material, or a bag of the appropriate color and place in it, herbs, stones, amulets, or talismans, and consecrate it with oil. Hold the bag and project your desires and emotions into the bag by visualizing what you wish to occur. Wear or carry the bag, or tie it to a tree branch or bury it. Or, place it in the possession of the spell's object without their knowledge.
Obtain a photograph of the person or thing that is the object of the spell. Project your desires and emotions into the photograph by visualizing what you wish to occur.
The legend and superstition connected with voodoo dolls is varied, and the rituals are widely disputed. Most of the doll rituals are connected with revenge, harm, and hate, but there are also love, success, luck, and health spells, as well as protection or dispelling negativity rites. In the past the uses of voodoo dolls were closely guarded secrets known only to a few practitioners, but within the past few years several books have been published which include information on this mysterious subject of dolls and how to use them to gain magical objectives. No one kind of doll is better than another--paper, wax images, cloth, straw, pear cactus leaf, or any other kind can be employed with equal success.
The doll one uses is merely a symbol; it is the power the practitioner infuses into the spell which brings force to one’s intentions. Dolls of particular colors are made for those who believe in color zymology-- red being used in protection spells, pink for love, black to dispel negativity, green for money, blue for health, etc. It’s the same as a spell bag, but more personal because there is often the person’s image attached to the doll or inside it. For healing rituals, it is often times more effective than a bag because you can mark the area of the body afflicted and include herbs that treat the afflicted area. When a doll is made, it is customary to increase its talismanic value by adding to it a token from the person it is to represent. Glue to it a photograph; wrap around it a piece of the person’s clothing (or make the doll out of the clothing); or add a few hair or nail clippings inside it. In general, the practitioner casts a spell by shouting out the chant while pulling a red (or other appropriate color) cord tighter and tighter about the doll. Then a needle or pin is stuck into the doll (usually in the region of the heart or liver). The spell is now cast.
Choose material of the appropriate color and sew it together in the shape of the object of the spell. Place in the same items as with a mojo bag, and consecrate it with oil. Project our desires and emotions into the poppet by visualizing what you wish to occur. Stick pins or thorns into the poppet to inflict pain, or pin a spell to it. Bury the poppet in the ground, or place it in the possession of the spell's object without their knowledge.
Write appropriate symbols on paper, while visualizing what you wish to occur, and either burn or bury the paper, or carry it with you. Or, place it in the possession of the spell's object without their knowledge.
Third Degree Test
This test must be given orally or hand written. Each student must score at least 90% in order to qualify for his/her Third Degree. Each section is worth 25 points.
List the magical properties of all thirteen candle colors. Each property can only be listed once.
Black, Blue, Brown, Gold, Gray, Green, Orange, Pink, Purple, Red, Silver, White, Yellow.
Lesser Working Tools
List the different types and describe the construction of each of the following:
Book, Candle, Incense, Ink, Mojo Bag, Oil, Parchment, Poppet, Quill.
Describe the mechanics involved in performing each of the following:
Candle, Cord, Mojo, Photograph, Poppet, Talisman.
Describe the mechanics involved in performing one spell which incorporates three of the above listed spells.
Third Degree Initiation
Initiate should bring his/her Bioline, Chalice, and Pentacle for consecration.
Nar.: We are met in this Circle to recognize the acquired knowledge of (mag.?). His/Her perseverance and dedication to the Wiccan path has made us proud. Thus, we acknowledge (mag.?) for his/her achievements.
P.O. consecrates Initiate's Working Tools.
P.O.: I ask the Goddess Brighid to suffuse these magical Tools with Her loving energy by the powers of Earth and Water.
I ask the God Cernnunos to suffuse these magical Tools with His strong energy by the powers of Fire and Air. May these Tools be used correctly and for the good of all. So mote it be.
(Mag.?), I present you with you third most personal and magical tools. Use them wisely and guard them well. I also present you with the thirteen Candles and a blank Book of Shadows. They are the Light and Voice of the Craft.
Nar.: Let it be known to all in this Circle that (mag.?) has completed his/her Third Degree. He/She has been presented with a consecrated Bioline, Chalice, and Pentacle, and carries the Light and Voice of the Craft. May he/she be steadfast in his/her endeavors. So mote it be.
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