Crafting Keys for Altered States
After the long process of grinding poison herbs, infusing them in oils, melting in the beeswax, and pouring the elixirs into jars – all the flying and fairy ointments are actually available at the same time! Aves Ointment (belladonna, mandrake, mugwort & wormwood), Mandrake Ointment (pure atropa mandragora), Porta’s Flying Ointment (belladonna, datura, henbane & mandrake), Witches’ Ointment (enchanter’s nightshade, mugwort & wormwood), and my Forest Spirit and Toadman’s Ointments for shapeshifting and spirit-sight.
Each little jar is a key to an altered state and to the otherworld. Combine their use with the next key my friend and I crafted and get blown away (in a good way). There’s nothing like drumming to take you in between worlds when you’re in an altered state from a flying ointment.
Amidst the happy chaos that is my life, I found time to work on a new project painting goatskin bodhrans (Irish frame drums) with deliciously witchy and magical designs (as if they weren’t witchy enough being goatskin to start!). I hadn’t painted with acrylics in a long time so I had a lot of fun playing with layering, colour, and negative space.
The first drum I painted is the twelve-inch Hekate’s Oak with an oak tree sprouting from an owl skull with leaves and acorns in sets of three to honour the Lady of the Crossroads for which I carved an oak wood beater. The second drum I completed is the ten-inch Blackthorn & Hawthorn with thorned branches wreathing the edge which, appropriately, comes with a blackthorn wood beater. The last drum is possibly the witchiest (and has already sold) – The Skeleton Key with its skull, serpents, black moths, and blackthorn beater.
My friend Grant from over at Wulfric Spirit Craft gave me some of his handcrafted hand drums to sell in the shop. These are large, serious, incredibly strong sturdy drums to last a life time and play until you have to stop from exhaustion. They are completely natural – pure raw hide, maple wood frames, and tough sinew lacing. I proudly own one of his eighteen-inch deer hide drums which hangs above my altar and sounds amazing.
Two sixteen and eighteen-inch Moose hide hand drums with a tough, thick hide that is pretty much indestructible and doesn’t warp with temperature changes:
One sixteen-inch Elk hide hand drum with a thinner hide, but a deeper and more resonant sound:
And, of course, what are drums without beaters? So I set to work carving simple natural wood branches of Rowan, Willow, and Indian Plum to craft drum beaters and finished them with hand-stitched natural deer leather, wool roving, and sinew.
The drum beaters are sold separately from Grant’s hand drums and can be found here: Natural Wood Drum Beaters
And now for more crafting – my whole apartment is filled with ritually harvested woods and I have plans for simple wands, rattles, and feather smudge fan handles… Time to get crafting on things to sell at the BC Shamanic Conference and the Gathering Festival coming up soon in May!