Monday, July 28, 2008

Grain of Sand

Over this past weekend, I attended a workshop led by Michele Jackson from Digital Dissonance on How to Create Your Own Tarot Deck. I've been wanting to try my hand at making a divination deck for years and I've been scared to dive in. I even listed it as one of my goals over at 101 Notes to Self (see #93 on the master list). So when I heard Michele was offering this class, I though it just may be the push I needed to get started.

I was not disappointed! Michele is a fantastic teacher with lots of tarot and art experience. She gives clear instruction and plenty of support along the way. She wants very much to inspire the artist in each of her students, just as she has been inspired in the past, and didn't even look sideways at me when I ended up producing a card that was clearly not of the tarot variety. Plus, she's just plain fun to be around.


Grain of Sand, originally uploaded by Marni Molina.

My card is called Grain of Sand and is 4x6". It shows a man walking through a swarm of locusts in the desert, just as calm as can be. In the foreground shines a giant pearl with a snake wrapped around it. As I was making it, I was thinking about the teachings of the Iron and Pearl Pentacles. More specifically, I was remembering Thorn (my spiritual teacher) speak about how it is the irritation of a single grain of sand (the irritation of the Work of the Iron Pent) that creates the pearl. I was imagining how irritating and frightening it would be to walk through a swarm of locusts, but this man seemed cool as a cucumber, dedicated to his walk ... his Work.

So the card is about Work and perseverance. It's about dancing with Iron before reaching for Pearl and about the snake of transformation that makes the transition possible.

I love my card. And now, dear friends, I am hooked. I have great plans for the stacks of old magazines and mailers I've been collecting and I can't wait to make more cards.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Feri Scarf


Feri Scarf, originally uploaded by Marni Molina.

I knit this scarf (no pattern, just back n' forth) for my trips to Denver, CO. It's pretty darn cold there for a San Diego girl, like me. Since I'm going there for Feri training, I decided to allow the tradition to inspire my knitting. The idea is that I'm wrapping myself in the love of the Star Goddess (the black) with witch stripes of blue fire thrown in for good measure, texture, and interest. I love how it came out and it's nice to have finally knit something other than a dish cloth.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Happy Summer Solstice


Eternal Sun, originally uploaded by Marni Molina.

"He who binds to himself a joy
Does the winged life destroy;
But he who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in eternity's sun rise."

William Blake

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Enlightened


Enlightened
Originally uploaded by Marni Molina
Finally got some time in for a little recreational photography. I love the way this one makes me feel.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Vegan "Starstruck Cake"


Starstruck Cake
Originally uploaded by Marni Molina
The first cake for my cake decorating class. Read about it here.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Cake Decorating


Cake Decorating Tips
Originally uploaded by Marni Molina
Be ye warned ...

I'm taking a cake decorating class right now. Expect to see lots of cakes and cupcakes with clumsy attempts at roses and pretty swirlies and whatnots made out of icing.

Though most of the blabbing about the cakes will probably go down in my vegan blog, I'll be sure to add pics here, too.  Soon! My first cake is due tomorrow.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Lady Day Cross Stitch

Though I'm late in completing it, here's my Spring Equinox addition to this year's sabbat cross stitch sampler. As with the Candlemas cross stitch, the pattern is from Willow Polson's book, Sabbat Entertaining.

Now if I can get my May Day cross stitch completed in the next couple weeks, I'll be all caught up. Yay!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

My New Fey Altar

(crossposted from 101 Notes to Self)

I cleared out the space for my Fey Altar and began pulling it together today. I decided to place it in the bay window in my kitchen. I like this spot for it because it seems like a "between the worlds" type place in my home. It's not really inside (because it juts out over my herb garden) and it's not really outside (because it's still part of the kitchen). Also, I spend a lot of time in the kitchen and I want to use the altar as a vehicle to build and foster and fruitful relationship with the Fey. What better way to do that than to place it somewhere I'll look at it a lot?
  
  
It's very basic right now, but after thinking about it quite a bit, I think I have a solid idea of where I'm going with it. I hope to create a portal, of sorts, around the frame of the bay window. I plan to do this using my interpretation of the symbolism associated with the points of the Feri Star (7-pointed star). It's difficult to explain, so I'll just have to show what I mean through photographs as I get it set up. Suffice it to say I'm starting with the top point: The Sun.
   
  
My selection of items for this altar were greatly influenced by the events of the day I began setting it up. Sadly, Cora Anderson passed the morning I chose to activate the altar and I was strongly moved to place her photograph, along with that of her beloved Victor, together as the centerpiece. It is appropriate, I think, since it is through their teachings that I am even communing with the Fey in this way. Eventually, however, I know their photographs will migrate to my ancestor altar, as they truly are my spiritual ancestors.
   
  
Other items on the altar in it's current incarnation include a sparkly blue kaleidoscope (it just seemed Fey-ish), the gold doilie I used during Cora's 93rd birthday celebration, two plants, a skull, a rose, a wooden mushroom, and the pieces that will eventually be assembled to create the first point in my Feri Star portal.

This altar is (obviously) a work in progress.  My goal is to have it finished by May 1, 2009.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Gone for the Weekend

A couple of you have asked me some crafting questions and I just wanted to let you know I'm out of town 'til Sunday night. I have ideas for both of you and I'll answer you when I return. Thanks!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Handmade Wood Altar

I begin every morning (or at least that's the goal) with my daily spiritual practice. Up 'til now, this included sitting down in front of a rather plain box on which I set up my simple altar - star goddess candle, incense, kala cup. I've been wanting to make a proper altar for myself to use for my daily practice for about a year and it's finally done! I'm rather proud of this project.

The altar is constructed of naturally felled elm. I was told the elm tree fell during our most recent firestorm. The legs are constructed of maple.


I had a large selection of pieces of wood to choose from, but as soon as I saw this piece, I knew it was for me. I absolutely love the grain pattern and the raw edge.


I hand-sanded the wood, envisioning how I would use it as I worked. To finish it, I simply oiled it.

This is how it looks when I use it for my daily practice.


This practice has, unfortunately, fallen victim to midterm craziness and I'm not sitting as much as I should. I'm consciously trying to get myself back on track and oddly enough, this altar is helping. I'm so in love with it, I find myself in my studio, circling it just to get a quick look. I run my hand over it, letting my fingers trace the raw edge. I carefully consider what I place on it, as I want to protect it and be mindful of what I call into manifestation with it.

Such is the beauty in creating your own spiritual tools.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Treasure Map Collage

Today is the Vernal Equinox and, as always, I'm marking the occasion with a Conjure Craft. I must confess, despite lots of juicy ideas for possible Lady Day crafts, the holiday really snuck up on me. So, when my girl's group got together last weekend to create Treasure Maps, I was grateful. A Treasure Map Collage is the perfect compliment to the energy of this time of year. It's a wonderful way to set your intentions and remind yourself of your goals.

Much has been written on the practice of creating Treasure Maps, so I won't go into it too much. If you've never heard of one, simply google "Treasure Map Collage" to find many articles and ideas about how you can go about creating your own.

Simply stated, a Treasure Map Collage is a visual affirmation of your goals and desires. Go through old magazines and rip out pages with pictures that speak to you. Don't think too much about it. Let your right brain run the show. Once you've got your images collected, begin cutting and pasting in a way that is visually appealing to you.



My collage is loosely organized into zones: self in the center, love and spirituality on top, health and environment on the right, and income and vocation on the left. The zones aren't all that important, though. Use whatever system speaks to you or simply paste all your images on wherever they seem appropriate.

I cut my poster board into the shape of a heart because love is the foundation for everything I want to work to bring into my life in this coming year. Once I had all the images glued on, I decorated it further adding ribbon flowers, scrapbook embellishments, charms, and key words that will help trigger my brain every time I look at it.

I hung my Treasure Map Collage in my dressing area, so that I will see it every day. It's very important to keep your goals and intentions on the forefront of your consciousness. It's also important to give yourself a timeline to reach or at least reassess your goals. My latest Treasure Map Collage will be "active" for one year.

Have fun creating your Treasure Map Collage. Make a point to use it every day to set your intention and live the best life you can.

May this Lady Day bring you love, wide smiles, belly laughs, and great sex. Blessings to you.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Knit Skully Dishcloth

My second knitting project! I taught myself to purl with this one.


Like it? Make one for yourself. The pattern can be found here. The flash on my camera made it difficult to see, but there's a cute skull in the middle of all that pink.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Candlemas Cross Stitch

I've been so extraordinarily busy lately, I haven't had time to produce much original art, but I am always creating something. It's during these times I fall back on simple projects like cross stitching. I actually have not cross stitched anything in a couple years, but my friend, fellow witch, and all-around crafty girl, Robbi, mentioned it to me a few weeks ago and I got the cross stitch itch again.

I enjoy cross stitching because I can pick it up when I have a few free moments, put it down when I need to, and it travels well. I can work on it on the couch as I unwind in front of the TV, in the car while waiting for my son at school, or outside while he plays and I soak up the sun.

Willow Polson has a few Pagan craft books available that I love. Her Sabbat Entertaining: Celebrating the Wiccan Holidays with Style is kind-of like a Martha Stewart-style guide to the eight sabbats. For each holiday, Ms. Polson offers up recipes, crafts, lore, rites, and customs. I strongly believe in traditions - I think they anchor us while allowing for creativity. Sabbat Entertaining offers many starting points for creating your own traditions.


In this book, Ms. Polson offers a simple, small cross stitch pattern for each sabbat. I've decided to work through them all this year, and assemble them into a cohesive project when I'm finished. Earlier this month, on Candlemas, I began working on her Imbolc Stitchery pattern.


I think this project is sweet and simple. It calls for both DMC and Kreinik flosses and even though I had to order the latter online, I still finished it very fast. I'm looking forward to working on the other sabbat patterns as the wheel of the year turns and assembling them all as a permanent marker of 2008 for myself and my family to keep and enjoy.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Knit Washcloth

Just Another Snarky Navy Wife recently taught me to knit. After a couple of misshapen practice swatches, I dove into my first project: a knit washcloth.


I know it's not perfect, but I'm so proud. Knitting is the perfect remedy for my Idle Hands Syndrome. Like most repetitious crafts, it's meditative and magical. It's like mantra for the hands. I'm hooked! I've already gone to the store and purchased yarn for my next project - a scarf - and informed The Husband that I'll be making a beanie for him and he will wear it.

To compliment my new found obsession, I've started DVRing all the episodes of Knitty Gritty I can. Where I live, it airs in the middle of the night, so I watch each episode every morning over my cup of coffee. Vickie Howell is the cutest and the show is just awesome.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Woven Wheat Heart


Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Brigit's Cross - Kid Version

Why even have a kid's version? Well first, though creating a traditional wheat Brigit's Cross is certainly not very difficult, it is beyond the manual dexterity skills of most younger crafts. Second, wheat isn't dangerous, per se, but I have received my fair share of minor cuts while weaving it (similar to a paper cut). Parents, you know what your kids are capable of. Here are two alternate versions of the Brigit's Cross made with good ol' pipe cleaner.

Brigit's Cross - Kid Version One

This version is basically made exactly like the traditional version. Replace the wheat with pipe cleaners and delete the soaking period. Weave the cross the same way and tie it off with decorative ribbon. I made this one from wheat-colored pipe cleaners and tied if off with gold ribbon. The pipe cleaner affords you the opportunity to shape the ends however you like, so get creative!


Brigit's Cross - Kid Version Two

This second version is the most basic one for our youngest crafters. Simple lay the pipe cleaners on top of each other in the form of an equal-armed cross and tie them off with yarn or string. My three-year-old helped me make this one from sparkly white pipe cleaners and red yarn. Later tonight, we'll hang it together in his room.


Of-course, with both kid's versions, it's important to explain the purpose of the Brigit's Cross to your child. To ensure an empowering and rewarding experience for your little Conjure Crafter, allow them to hang their own Brigit's Cross along with yours over the family altar or in their bedroom.

Don't miss:
Brigit's Cross - Adult Version

Imbolc (or Candlemas) Primer

Brigit's Cross - Traditional Version

How to make a traditional Brigit's Cross...

Supplies:

  • wheat (any type - I used Triticum Natural Green Wheat)
  • rafia, ribbon, twine, cord, or floss
  • clips to hold ends together as you weave (optional)


When you get it home, the wheat will be dry and brittle. In order to get it soft enough to tolerate bending and weaving, you need to soak the stems in water for at least an hour (I typically soak mine for several hours). This is trickier than it sounds. Because the wheat is buoyant, it won't sit in water inside a flower vase or bucket. The easiest and most effective way I've come up with is to fill an old, repurposed cookie sheet (it needs to be one with a lip) with water and place the wheat in it with the heads of the wheat resting on the lip of the sheet.

TIP: Set your sheet of wheat and water near your kitchen sink. It is extremely difficult to move a cookie sheet full of water very far without spilling it.

When the wheat is pliable, you'll be able to fold it in half without breaking it. At this point, pull off any leaves attached to the stalks of your wheat. Set an old kitchen towel on your work surface and place your wheat on it so excess moisture can drain off without making a mess.

Select one piece of wheat and lay it vertically on the table in front of you, with the head of wheat pointing away from you.

Take a second piece of wheat and bend it in half (you don't need to be precise) and hook it around your first piece of wheat. Hook it near the center point, so it extends horizontally, out to the right at a 90 degree angle.

Next, rotate the whole thing counterclockwise, 90 degrees. Take a third piece of wheat, bend it in half, and hook it over and around the second piece, parallel to the bottom half of the first.

At this point, the center of your Brigit's Cross should look like this:


Continue in this fashion and each time, turn the entire piece counterclockwise, 90 degrees. After each turn, hook a new piece of wheat over and around the center, ensuring it extends horizontally to the right. As you progress, the center will grow larger and you will start to see the weave pattern emerge.

Once you have reached a size you are happy with (I like to have 7 heads of wheat on each arm of the Brigit's Cross), begin to tighten up the weave in the center by gently pulling and pressing the wheat into place. As you do, tie the arms off with rafia, twine, or whatever you prefer. You may need to tie each arm both at the center and the end, just before the heads of wheat. You also may need to trim off some ends of wheat that may be sticking out in random spots. Your finished product should look something like this:


Hang your Brigit's Cross in your home on Imbolc night with a prayer for protection for all that live there. As I mentioned in yesterday's Imbolc primer, I craft a new Brigit's Cross every year at Imbolc and as part of my personal observance, burn the previous year's cross in our family hearth. Have fun with this craft and create your own traditions around it.

A kid-friendly version of this Conjure Craft, using pipe cleaners instead of wheat, will be posted shortly.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Imbolc (or Candlemas) Primer

Imbolc (or Imbolg), as most pagans I know call it, is just days away. Though it is an astrological event, occurring each year when the sun reaches 15 degrees Aquarius, it is traditionally celebrated on the fixed date of February 2, with observances starting at sundown on February 1.

There are several traditional crafts associated with the holiday, including crafting a Brigit's or Bride's Bed, creating a Crown of Lights, and making and/or blessing candles for the year to come. But perhaps the most universal of Imbolc crafts is that of weaving wheat into a Brigit's Cross. The cross is then hung in the home for protection.

My personal tradition is to create a new Brigit's Cross each year after which I burn the previous year's cross in my family hearth with a prayer of thanks.

I'll be posting a detailed tutorial on creating a Brigit's Cross with photographs tomorrow. I'll also include variations for young crafters using pipe cleaners instead of wheat. If you'd like to make either version of this project, you'll need the following supplies:

  • wheat (available at most crafting stores in the flower section) or pipe cleaners (white or beige)
  • raffia or natural hemp twine (if you want an all-natural look) or any sort of ribbon, string, or floss to tie your ends off
  • clips (like laundry clips, large paper clips, or small chip clips) or rubber bands to hold the wheat together as you weave - this is optional as some find it more useful than others

That's it! This is a very simple and rewarding project. Check back tomorrow for details.

For an excellent article on the history and traditions associated with Imbolc, please read the article Candlemas: The Light Returns by Mike Nichols.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

¡The AntiCraft!


I'd like to thank Anchored Away for bombing my email box with links to ¡The AntiCraft!. They are, in their own words, strange girls, tactless and profane with a physical need to create things. And they too hang with the green fairy. Crafters after the darkest parts of my own obsessive heart.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Cake for Cora

Yesterday was Cora Anderson's 93rd birthday. As a student of the Feri Tradition, I wanted to honor her with an offering of thanksgiving so, I baked her a miniature birthday cake. Even though she's in northern California and I'm in Southern California, and I've never met her, I felt moved to mark this splendid occasion. I set up a simple alter to her, setting her picture on the center pedestal. To the right is her late husband, Victor Anderson. To the left is my teacher and connection to them both, T. Thorn Coyle.


I used simple numerology to determine the number of candles to put on the cake. Her age (93) reduces to 3.

9 + 3 = 12
1 + 2 = 3

Plus, three is just a great number. Who doesn't love three?

I lit her birthday candles, sang her happy birthday, and then read the story of her birth out loud from her book, Childhood Memories. The cake sat with her picture overnight and will go out in my garden tonight, to feed the fey, the earth, and any lucky animals that happen to catch a whiff of it.

Happy Birthday, Cora. Thank you and blessed be.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Self Love Sugar Scrub


Hooray for Self-Love Friday!

This project was inspired by an exercise found in T Thorn Coyle’s book, Evolutionary Witchcraft. If you haven’t read this book, I strongly recommend you buy it and do so. The exercise, which can be found on pages 19-20 in the hardcover edition, is called “Self-Love Cleansing” and is a wonderful way to deal with the personal crap that inevitably surfaces when doing the real Work of evolutionary / revolutionary paths like Feri.

No matter what your spiritual leanings, everyone can benefit from a sacred shower from time-to-time. It’s a sensual and personal experience that can provide profound emotional release and affirm your love of self. The standard structure for a generic sacred shower is:

  1. Just before your final rinse, concentrate on any difficult feelings you may want to release.
  2. When the feelings surface and you are certain you are ready to let them go, rinse yourself off with water. As you do, imagine them running out and off of you, seeing them go down the drain.
  3. Turn off the water and take a moment to say a prayer, align your soul, or make an offering of thanks.

Simple, right? The first time I did the version of this exercise given in Evolutionary Witchcraft, I was amazed at how wonderful I felt. I found myself wanting to do the rite again and again. Eventually, I incorporated it into my regular spiritual practice and do it every Friday. Hence, Self-Love Fridays.

After doing the exercise a few times, however, I began to feel the need to inject some of myself into it in some way. Just as many Wiccans, witches, and Pagans have special tools they use for magic(k), I wanted something special for my Self-Love Fridays. So, I created a Self-Love Sugar Scrub. I make it every Friday, just before my shower ritual. The process of measuring and combining the ingredients helps me prepare for the rite and set my intention.


Basic Sugar Scrub Recipe

  • 75 grams (approximately 1/3 cup) fine sugar
  • 30 grams (approximately 2 tablespoons) sugar in the raw
  • 38 grams (approximately 3 tablespoons) oil
  • 5 grams (approximately ½ tablespoon) glycerin
  • 6 grams (approximately ¾ tablespoon) essential oils

Blend all ingredients and store in shatter-proof container until ready for use.

When you use the scrub, gently rub it into your skin, avoiding your face and nether regions. After rinsing, pat dry with a towel.

This recipe yields a large, single-shower amount. It should be used as soon as possible – preferably immediately and if not at least within a week. If you are not going to use it the same day you make it, I recommend you add a little bit of Vitamin E oil to help preserve it. Just cut open and squeeze a cap or two into the mixture.

As far as the “38 grams oil” is concerned, don’t choose oils that aren’t safe for consumption. If it’s okay to eat, it’s probably okay to rub into your skin. So …

almond oil = good

baby oil = bad

jojoba oil = good

… you get the idea. I like to use mostly almond oil, with some jojoba oil and a bit of olive oil.


The essential oils you use should be whatever scents you like, provided they are safe to use on your skin (do your research!). Create your own combinations by intuition or from a recipe. Sometimes, it’s helpful to look at the combinations of scents and oils used in some of your favorite bath products. Here's my personal Self Love Formula:


  • 1 part Lavender (air)
  • 3 parts Sweet Orange (fire)
  • 2 parts Rose Absolute in jojoba oil (earth)
  • 3 parts Vanilla in jojoba oil (water)



  1. Lavender oil is associated with the planet Mercury, the signs Gemini and Virgo, the female gender, and qualities of peace and comfort. In aromatherapy, it is known to be helpful as an antidepressant.
  2. Sweet Orange oil is associated with the Sun, the sign of Leo, the male gender, and qualities of joy and social interaction. In aromatherapy, it is know to be a general health aid, to reduce stress, and to bring restful sleep.
  3. Rose Absolute oil is associated with the planet Venus, the signs of Libra and Cancer, the female gender, and is known for its harmonious qualities. In aromatherapy, it is known to be calming, to ease pain, and as an aphrodisiac.
  4. Vanilla oil is associated with the planet Venus, the signs Libra and Pisces, the male gender, and is associated with self-confidence and sensuality. In aromatherapy, it is known to promote strength and aid in sexual stamina.

These essential oils can be purchased at most health food stores. The Rose Absolute and Vanilla oils tend to be rather expensive and are typically only available combined with a jojoba oil base. If you buy them undiluted, you’ll need to change the ratios in this formula.

NOTE: The oil associations provided are from The Magick of Aromatherapy by Gwydion O'Hara. It seems to currently be out of print, but I’m sure you could find a copy if you do a little digging on the internet.

Have fun, love yourself, and blessed be.

SAFETY WARNING: The oil can make your shower slippery, so be careful!