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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in arts & crafts

Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Corn Dollies: A Harvest Tradition

Since I can remember, my mom has had two small corn husk dolls. I’m not sure where or why she got them, but it was before I was born, so they’ve always been there, through all my family’s moves from city to city, country to country. Even now, they’re nestled among other knick-knacks in the enormous Bavarian schrank my parents keep in their formal living room. They are quaint, dainty little things, and they’ve always held a kind of mystery to me that, for a long time, I couldn’t quite pin down.

As an adult, I learned that corn husk dolls originated among the Iroquois, and the tradition was picked up by European settlers who had similar traditions. In some ways, corn husk dolls are the indigenous American cognate to European corn dollies, which are usually not so much “dolls” as we think of them as they are decorative objects taking a variety of shapes: hearts, handbells, lanterns, horseshoes, to name just a handful. Another difference is that corn dollies are often made of wheat, barley, or oat sheaves, not the ears of maize used to craft corn husk dolls.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Hugh Gadarn
    Hugh Gadarn says #
    Fascinating. I find corn dollies intriguing and there are examples in early Britain. On the eve of St. Bride's day girls used to m
  • The Cunning Wife
    The Cunning Wife says #
    Thanks for sharing, Hugh! I love learning about the similarities and differences in corn dolly traditions across European cultures

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Flower petal & herb crafts

Creating beautiful craft items with flower petals, seeds and herbs is relatively easy, here are a few suggestions for you to try...

Flower Fascinations

Fascination means ‘to bewitch and hold spellbound’, they are flower spells and charms.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Crafting a Valknut for Odin

Coming up on the one year anniversary as a Bride of Odin on June 28th, 2015, I asked Odin what he wanted for our anniversary, and he said he wanted something to represent him in my "shrine." I clarified with him what he meant by shrine, and he meant the glass display cases on the wall where I had recently starting putting spiritual souvenirs. So I made a Valknut. I made two, in fact, one for the monthly anniversary which is every 28th of the month, on May 28th, and one for the one-year anniversary on June 28th.

I made the first valknut from silk ribbon on a silk hoop. I made the template for it on the 27th and made the art object itself on May 28th. The paper template helped me put the points of the triangles in the right places. It was interesting making a val-“knut” (knot) as a fiber craft, with the lines of the triangles crossing over and under each other like a real knot.

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A wand is a magical tool, an extension of the power within your own hand, projected through the wand, to affect the world via your Will. The Yule tree was once a living reflection of the wand’s magic. It drew its own strength from the earth—it’s source—much as the wand draws its strength and direction from your Will, channeled through you. The Yule tree directed water and nutrients upward through its trunk, expressing these elements outward as branches, needles and pine cones. They, in turn, affected the world by providing shade, shelter, protection, food, and the seeds of a new generation. Therefore, at a time of freshly flowing sap, and the awakening of nature, a wand can be fashioned from the offering of branches of the old tree, copper wire to conduct energy, and quartz crystal to focus it.

The crafting of an Equinox swag carries the seeds of the Yule spirit forward. If you need to backtrack a bit, have a look at our introduction to this year-long magical project and tips for preparation and storage. If you do not have access to a Yule evergreen, fallen branches from other trees can be used for this craft. Use your favorite resource to identify the tree from which the branch came, and what energy that particular tree will bring to this work.

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The spring or Vernal Equinox is one of the two points on the agrarian calendar of equal night and equal day. The rabbit and the egg, symbols of Eostre (the Saxon fertility goddess honored at the dawning of spring), bespeak of the same sense of victory over death; in pagan belief, the “death” of winter. Eggs represent not only sustenance but also the potential of new life. Rabbits symbolize endurance and fecundity—a prey animal that still manages to survive, thrive and multiply. Beyond hard-boiled ovum and chocolate hares, the evergreen Yule tree can again lend itself to the festival of the season in traditional ways.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Robin-Swag.jpg

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It was tradition for each member of the family to hang a strip of white cloth outside the window on Imbolc Eve, so that Brigid could infuse it with healing and protective powers as she walked through the village. These would later be used to cure headaches and tooth aches (tied around the forehead or from chin to crown), and as a special touch to poultices. Craft a modernized version of this folkway with the protective properties of the Yuletide evergreen's balsam. (If you need to backtrack a bit, have a look at our introduction to this year-long magical project and tips for preparation and storage. If you do not have access to a Yule evergreen, fallen branches from other trees can be used for this craft. Use your favorite resource to identify the tree from which the branch came, and what energy that particular tree will bring to this work.)

Materials

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The Brideog, or “little Brigid,” comes down to us from ancient times. She was a corn doll (corn being wheat) that was fashioned into a female form and decorated with ribbons and shells. A bed of straw was prepared for her before the hearth in the home where she was assembled, and the young, unmarried women of the village would sit vigil with her on the night of January 31st. The next morning, on Imbolc, the girls would parade the brideog through the village to each home. There, the married women (or the female head of the household) would welcome the spirit of the Goddess. Create a modern-day Brideog using branches from your evergreen as a base, so adding a dash of Yuletide's hopeful energy. (Yule tree? But it's FEBRUARY! If you need to backtrack a bit, have a look at our introduction to this year-long magical project and tips for preparation and storage. If you do not have access to a Yule evergreen, fallen branches from other trees can be used for this craft. Use your favorite resource to identify the tree from which the branch came, and what energy that particular tree will bring to this work.)

Materials

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