Tag Archives: herbal smokes

Of Clay & Fire

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The ritual I am describing is something that in actuality took several days. It is condensed into what sounds like an hour or so here for the sake of ease of reading, and if truth be told, ease of writing.

The coals are ready. I dust them with a handful of lavendar and anise, with rose petals and orange peel, with cedar and acorns and lemon grass. Smoke billows up in eddies and mad spirals. It billows and writes out the words of the wind.

I pass my clay through the smoke, I touch it lightly, dabbing it with oil.

I set it down, across the fire, so that I can see it through the smoke and flame. Then I begin.

I fill my pipe with Damiana and breath in the smoke.

A deep calm settles on me and I straddle the veil between worlds.

I look through the fire and flame and see the potential of what sits across the fire there.

I weigh it against what I have in mind, against what I need, and I nod. It will do.

I breath in and gather my need, I hold it close and tight and then I breath it out into the air,

    “I need a force to keep the peace in my home,

I need a reminder to find joy in the every day.

I need something to balance my family and bring us closer.”

Again I taste from my pipe and look again at the clay through the fire.

I gaze past this world and see into the other.

There I see the shadow, a vague silhouette of what I have done. This will be the mold, the bones from which I build my spell.

I gather my clay up and hold it in my hands. I knead it and I speak.

“First He took the stuff of fire, and threaded it through. He spun it hard and strong and set it deep, and from it built a skeleton of light. Next he drew the stuff of living earth, this he set about the bones and molded into flesh. He set water to flowing and made it its blood and then he bestirred it all with air and gave it life.”

I take a moment and look at what I have done so far. What I have molded, both with my hands and with my words.

Satisfied that the vessel would suffice I set it aside and set about refining the spirit.

Oberon I name it, and that gives it identity, a personality for itself and in my mind.

I take my molded clay, the physical link from him to us and I hide it. I am tempted to bury it, to give it to the earth but I need him to be for us, not deeded to the land.

Instead I find it a place in our home. Where it will not be seen. Where it will not be moved or touched. Not yet. First I will let it watch and learn us. First it will need to understand us then I will bring it out and let it take what place and role it may.

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Burial Rites

Bonekeeper

And they call her the Bonekeeper ~

She drums, the soft leather beater tapping out a steady rhythm that sounds out from the frame drum in her other hand. Her eyes close, her head tilts back and she begins to sway. Grass pricks at her bare feet and smoke of anise, mugwort, damiana, wormwood and mullein rises up in the low-hanging oakleaf canopy above her. Before her lies the feathered body of a great bird, her lover knelt beside it, knife in hand. The rhythm changes from a slow three-beat to a quickened four-beat. Dum dumdumdum dum dumdumdum… this is the burial rite. Wings are cleaved from torso, feet carefully detached, toes spread around a maple seed ball to hold them in place. Feathers are salvaged. These are all placed in layers of rock salt and covered with a tight-fitting lid to keep out moisture and those who would devour all. The rest is wrapped in burlap, and placed gently in a hole nearby, gaping wide from the dark earth where roots lie stirring with the new spring. More herbs are burnt upon the coal and poured into the hole with the Dead. In a few months time what remains when feather and flesh has been eaten away will be exhumed, he will bring out his herbs and smokes, and she will again bring out the drum, and this time, they will sing the bones back to life ~