Categories
Artifacts Interview

Spinning Bracelet, Corvallis, Oregon, USA

Created by Y.F.B.S.J.C. in 1994.

Donated July 2021.

Formal Statement: 

When I was six years old some of the older women from my community took me aside and showed me how to cart wool, they taught me some songs to sing while I carted and instructed me to cart wool, they then showed me how to attach my wool to a starter yarn on a spinning wheel (this was my first time being allowed to spin, but not my first time ‘playing’ with the spinning wheel) I was guided as I spun, I don’t remember everything that was said but I recall being told that my first yarn was a magical token and that it will hold some of my magical essence. 

Bracelet sitting upon pillow made by the same creator.

Interview: 

So when I was six years old I learned to spin, as you do. Specifically I carded my own wool, and then I spun it into a yarn. There is/was a belief that a girl’s first spinning has some of her magical essences? For lack of a better word. I was being raised female at this point, this is before gender roles and I had a falling out. So my first yarn was made into a bracelet for me which is supposed to work as an external storage of my inherent magical powers? That is perhaps a bad explanation, but I was in kindergarten at the time. 

It was explained to me using chakras, because my friend’s mum is a Buddhist. I remember conceptualizing the idea of a shuraku as being similar to Buddha’s top knot being a place where he stored his extra chakra. I have absolutely no idea of the correct spelling. I was notoriously bad at spelling at that point in my life.

Can you say a little bit more about the community you were in/the tradition this was from, as you understand it?

The Corvallis Waldorf school was started by my parents and a couple other families and they, at the time, were kind of going their own way in terms of how they wanted to educate us. For reference as the school expanded and became more mainstream Waldorf the grade I was in and the grade above me (the original school) were separated out from the other part of the school and we split off again, so we were officially a Waldorf school, but the more I learn about mainstream Waldorf teachings the more I realize I was not actually taught many Waldorf teachings and I was instead taught something else. It was similar to Waldorf though. 

There was a lot of emphasis on crafts and hedgewitchery type things. We literally had field trips to go hug trees, that was a thing that happened more than once. We had storytellers from the Oregon tribes come tell us their stories, because it was important for us to know and respect the local Gods. We had the entirety of the Bible told to us in first grade. 

We studied the Nordic and Celtic Gods with equal fervor. When I was watching Midsommer, nothing in the rituals was foreign to me, other than the human sacrifice. We had a maypole at school. We learned to dance. We celebrated the eight high holidays of [definitely christian theology].

One of the founders of this group was a Basque man who, for political reasons, can’t return to Spain. One of them was a Buddhist. There was a Jewish family. Most were christian adjacent. 

Our teacher was a witch. He was definitely active in a coven, and that was reflected in the altars he would make. But the altars and the seasonal changes are a core part of Waldorf theology, so it would’ve been hard to tell from a distance.

Do you remember any of the songs?

Oh, no, well sort of, but they’re not song songs, they’re more work songs. The one song I still remember/use a lot is the yarn balling song? The song I sing when I roll a ball of yarn. 

You ready for it?

Absolutely. 

“I can roll a ball of yarn, a ball of yarn, a ball of yarn. I can roll a ball of yarn and this is how I do it.” Repeat.

When you get to the end of the verse you switch which direction you are winding the yarn. Or rotate the ball.

Did you wear this bracelet much once it was made?

Maybe for like the year I made it? But it was made for the wrist of a 6 year old. 

The reason it’s a bracelet is because it’s cyclical. It represents the cyclical nature of … Nature. You can’t make yarn without a starter yarn, which is made by the people who come before you and you (theoretically at least) pass this knowledge on to the next generation.

Like with bread, you need yeast. There is a life cycle.

We also made bread a lot in kindergarten. And strung corn. Rituals surrounding the passing on of traditional crafts. Like growing and making food (we once made bread from scratch including growing our own wheat, harvesting our own wheat, shucking and grinding our own wheat), making clothing, the preservation of folklore and folk traditions.

The Dalai lama came to our school on his first trip to America. There was an emphasis on us learning the folklore of our respective heritages, but also the folklore of the place we live in now. We played dreidel for Hanukkah. We made wax sculpture replicas of events from the Iliad. It’s difficult to explain any of this coherently. 

(About finding the spelling/details of this ritual) 

I know that a number of the rituals were customized to us specifically. I also have no idea if any of the other kids did this specifically, as it was a thing that I did on my own, and I know some of the more private rituals were not universal, or were more tailored.

(Tests and rituals)

One of the weirder rituals that I went through that I was not supposed to tell people about involves me holding a bag of rocks and they put a special gem in it, and then I was given a series of tasks to do while holding the bag of rocks and at the end the gem was supposed to still be at the top of the bag.

Did it work?

Yes, I passed, and was allowed to graduate to the next level.

The second part of the test involved me drawing an illumination of a story that was told to me, without direction as to what parts of the story was important to be illuminated. I only mostly passed that one.

I didn’t feel like drawing a person in detail so I put them in the distance partially obscured by leaves. I got told off for this and they considered holding me back I believe. I was like 7 or 8 at the time, so my memory is going to be fuzzy.

But at the same time there were rules about how much detail you were supposed to put in and like we weren’t supposed to use lines, or at least not outlines. The style of art that most comics are drawn in was forbidden.

The Waldorf style of art. This is the type of picture I was supposed to have drawn, and I did a lot of art like this over the years. We did water colors, crayon drawings, pencil drawings and form drawing.

Those were the main tests, I was also asked some questions, which I presume I answered correctly or correctly enough.

Categories
Artifacts Poppets

Borderline Personality Disorder Poppet, Virginia, USA

Collected March 2021

AndromedasCrafts on Etsy

“Does it sometimes feel like your BPD controls you? Take control of your BPD with these handmade poppets made specifically to beat the **** out of your disorders. Smack it, stab it with a pin, or give it a good punch. You are in control, don’t let your BPD control you! Sometimes you just need to physically visualize your disorder to begin to feel in control.

These poppets are made to order. Each one is unique as I don’t use a pattern and I hand stitch each one. I charge a tiny clear quartz crystal with positive energy specifically for BPD, along with adding a bit of lavender for calming. The fabric is gray to represent BPD.

Please let me know in the note section at check out if you would prefer your doll not to have lavender added. If you would like the back of the doll to be a different color than gray, please specify that also.

These dolls are approximately 8 inches tall and 4 inches wide.”

Categories
Artifacts Poppets

Poppet, Maryland, USA

Collected March 2021

BabaYagaSews on Etsy

“Poppet | Intention Doll | Voodoo Doll

A poppet is a small doll that can be bound to a person and used to cast good intentions, for help, healing, or for harm.

Personal items can be added to the poppet to form a strong connection.

The poppet can be combined with other spells. A poppet is a magical tool and can be used for many different things- healing, warding off toxic or harmful people, bringing abundance and blessings, etc.

This poppet is made of polyester felt and sewed together with polyester thread. The poppet is stuffed with polyfill. Please bear in mind that this is a handmade creation and may have some imperfections that make your poppet unique. This poppet comes with a small modal navy hood which is tied on using a piece of yarn (removable). Please be careful removing the hood and handling the poppet as the garments are delicate.

Size: 4.2 inch tall x 3.5 inch wide

I cannot guarantee any magical outcomes. I cannot guarantee any spell success. Additionally per Etsy policy I must state that this product is for entertainment purposes only.”

Categories
Artifacts Poppets

Peace Poppet, North Carolina, USA

Collected March 2021

WitchofWonderlight on Etsy

Peace Poppet

For those times when you need a little help reducing the anxiety and stress that so often inhibits our lives.

For yourself or someone you love.

This poppet/talisman was made with peace, relaxation, and anxiety reduction set as the intentions. Made during the new mon.

All of my poppets are made with a combination of ritual magic, color magic, and knot magic to enhance and harness the power of the original intention.

Made with love.
Crafted with magic.

Categories
Census Update Research

The Witchcraft Census: Round 1

Over 600 witches answered the first round of our Witchcraft Census and dozens of people wrote us with input on further questions. The Census was open from March 27th to May 24th, 2021. I’m now closing this set of questions in order to revise some questions and add others.

The methodology for this census was by no means perfect, and you should view this information knowing the flaws involved in gathering it.

  1. It was circulated through online witch communities, specifically those most likely to be interested in answering these questions. Clearly this is not a proportionally representative sampling of witches, even in the US, from which most participants hail.
  2. In a number of cases, particularly the question involving religious identity, I added a number of religions as I was reminded of them. Since the app I was using had no write-in option, this means that data is particularly skewed, as not everyone had the complete list you see in the results.
  3. Finally, this first round of questions was written on a whim, in a few hours, and reviewed by no one but me (I was expecting maybe 20 participants, not over 600). The multiple choice answers are by no means exhaustive, merely a sampling of the most common views I’ve personally seen expressed in or about witchcraft circles, which is of course limited to my personal experience. Further rounds of the census will involve more planning.

Nevertheless, I think even this first round of questions beings to illustrate the breadth and depth of beliefs within witchcraft. I hope it can be used to correct some misinformation about witchcraft for practitioners and nonpractitioners alike, and to sate curiosity. Thank you to everyone who participated or expressed interest. Here are the results, in image and PDF format.

Categories
Census Update Research

The first 24 hours of the Witchcraft Census

I am overwhelmed to have gotten 200+ responses to the Witchcraft Census overnight! When I wrote those questions yesterday, I thought I might get a couple dozen responses, if I was lucky.

Thank you to all the magical practitioners who have answered, and the folks who reached out with thoughtful suggestions about wording or choices. Keep reaching out if you have ideas for further questions or choices to add, or if you’re interested in taking part in the cataloging and research part of the project.

It’s just been me so far, so the current questions and collected artifacts are the result of my curiosity. I’m ecstatic that others are also interested in this project, and look forward to widening the scope of research to include others curiosity.

Without further ado, here are the results of the Witchcraft Census, as of 2 PM PST, March 28, 2021.

I’ll do updates on the Witchcraft Census when I see significant increases in total answers, or when there are new questions to answer.

Categories
Artifacts Poppets

Pride Poppet, Pennsylvania, USA

GaiaInspirations on Etsy

“Pride: made in honor of the LGBT community and my many beautiful friends.

I used threads to create a rainbow, the knots represent friendship and connection.

Red for life, orange for healing,yellow for sunshine, green for nature,blue for harmony, indigo for serenity, and violet for spirit. I chose stones not only for their color to match the rainbow of Pride, also for their healing energy and vibrations.

Garnet revitalizes, purified and balances energies, bringing serenity or passion. ( depends on how you need it ) it inspires love, alleviates emotional disharmony, activates and strengthens courage and hope. Something we need more of in this world.

Red aventurine with its lustrous orange color, provides physical, emotional and mental healing that can lead to a more joyful and balanced life.

Citrine opens intuition, imparts joy, wonder and enthusiasm. It raises self esteem and self confidence.

Green aventurine brings good luck and prosperity and positivity.

Lapis lazuli encourages self awareness, allows self expression, reveals your inner truth, helps to instill honesty and compassion for yourself. It stimulates creativity and clarity. It assists you when you need to confront and speak your truth with confidence.

Amethyst relieves stress and strain. It soothes irritability and balances any mood swings. It dispels anger and rage, fear and anxiety and dissolves negativity.

I know she is little, but she is very magical. She stands with you, beside you and will hold you up if you need.”

“A healing doll is made to represent a person, animal, Goddess or God. They are used in meditation, self help or ritual magic and spell work to effect change through the application of imitative magic. The use of healing dolls, poppets and dolls in healing, magic and art dates back to ancient times. They can be fashioned from all kinds of materials. I try to use as many natural resources as possible, such as: roots, branches, herbs, shells, stones, clay, metals, cottons and natural fibers. All things hold energy, from the growing herbs, bending branches, even the flowing dress worn on special occasions. I often use cloth donated from women worn during healing circles. These energies, along with the universal energy, give life to the doll.”

Categories
Artifacts

Prayer Cord, Texas, USA

Collected April 2020

Lindsay Disidore, Owner of LindsayLightWeaver on Etsy

“Prayer cords have a way of giving us prayerful and meditative focus, much like a rosary or mala. Holding them or wrapping it around your hand during your prayer practice can help infuse your practice with intention. After your prayer or meditative practice the prayer cord can be tied around your rear view mirror, worn like a bracelet, carried with you, or kept on your altar or bedside table to help your intentions and prayers be brought to fruition and remind you to hold those desires in your heart and pray continually. The color and charm you choose indicate the energy and intention you want your prayer to carry. All cords are made from 100% recycled sari silk and are braided to represent the trinity.

Green: Healing, Archangel Raphael, heart chakra, abundance, money, growth, Earth element

Flower of life/Celtic knot: Inter-contentedness of all things, binding, unity”

Categories
Artifacts

Succubus Haunted Necklace, Arkansas, USA

Collected April 2020

Drusilla, MysticalCompanions on Etsy

“This necklace is made of metal and has a turquoise stone at the center.

This spirit is a succubus. She has blonde hair and green eyes. Her height is five foot and three inches.

Her energy is very sensual and energizing. She has a very witty sense of humor, and often enjoys making suggestive jokes. She is very outgoing and truly enjoys being around others. She isn’t particularly fond of children. She can sometimes find them annoying and avoids interacting with them.

This spirit prefers offerings of red and white wine, champagne, and turquoise. She enjoys listening to classical music, jazz, and swing. She enjoys watching romantic movies and dramas.

She is looking for a keeper who will engage in a romantic and sexual relationship with her. She is a lesbian and would prefer a female keeper.

I will message you the name of the spirit after the purchase of this vessel.

As per Etsy’s policy, the seller is selling a tangible object for entertainment purposes only. The seller is not responsible for any spiritual activity that may or may not occur. This necklace is for entertainment purposes only. Also, as per Etsy policy, I am not claiming this object will change the buyer’s life in any capacity.”

Note from K. D. Hume

I wear this necklace often, and have chosen to keep this demon’s name secret as a fun party game. If you are ever at MoCW, take a guess.

Categories
Artifacts

Witch Ball, Florida, USA

Collected April 2020

Nicole Dunn, Owner of the Witches Haven on Etsy

“Witch Balls date back to the late 18th century, and were often used by hanging in houses to protect against witchy curses and spells! Hanging these wonderful balls near a window or on a porch are thought to ward off any negative energy that might be affecting the house!

The lore behind these balls is that the negative spirit and energies will be so attracted to the ball that when they touch it, they get sucked inside and trapped!

Each ball will come with a random charm attached to it.”