During my original voyage into primal magic - which is where primal art came from! - I happened across Voodoo and the idea that the original idea of "the creator" comes into being when you shape a humanoid figure from clay with your own fair hands ...
This is the start of many things including the art dolls. This is a repost of the original article from SH.com which wanted to be on this website - so welcome to my spirit friends here on this art site :-)
Art Dolls, Spirit Dolls
A Personal Journey Into Art & Magic
Science plus magic equals art.
I believe that firmly.
I am interested in the science of magic for it is probably one of THE most under-explored areas of human concern. In the course of this, I came across Voodoo and Voodoo dolls.
Now it is true that "poppets", representations of a human form, are also used in my style of magic but this was a very different story.
Here, a spirit is being conjured by creating a portal for it to manifest through - the Voodoo doll.
This is a very human thing to do, and every religion on Earth, including those who aren't supposed to make "graven images", do "it" - making art dolls of saints and angels and demons and spirits and gods and goddesses and prophets in order to "conjure their spirit".
This is no different in essence whether it's a Buddha statue on your altar, a crucifix, a voodoo doll, the Virgin Mary, a carving of a bear, the highly stylized depiction of a snake in the form of a spiral - it's all conjuring THAT spirit by making a physical portal through which it may enter.
Of course, every religion on Earth also holds that THEY are the only ones who are doing this right, and everyone else's way is bad, wrong, or downright evil; but we need not concern ourselves with that also very human problem of xenophobia, aka "The only righteous people in the world are me and thee - and I sometimes wonder about thee ..."
Indeed, we need not concern ourselves about conjuring spirits at all for a moment and just contemplate the actual process of a human being "making" a humanoid form with their hands, taking things from the environment and "shaping a human shape".
Now, and as so often, any gentlemen who might have strayed upon this website, this article, may feel that this does not concern them, as "dolls" are of course, the domain of little girls and women who haven't managed to grow up as yet; and as so often, I would ask the gentlemen to reconsider, and to stay awhile, to make themselves comfortable and to go beyond societal entrainment and into a place, where humans are just humans, doing human things, doing things of magic.
"Making a human shape" is a thing of intense magic.
It is an eerie process whereby one cannot help but think of oneself as "a creator" - much more directly, indeed, than in the process of "creating" a painting, or a story, or a page of php code, for all it's worth.
When one takes two sticks and a bit of clay and "makes" a little person, we are in totally different territory all of a sudden.
The act of "making a person" has a flavour about it that is first of all, immensely OLD.
If you have any sense of energy at all, you won't be able to shake off the feeling that what you are doing there reaches right back into the timeless times, where man came into being and gained a reflexive self consciousness, a recognition of being THAT, the same as others, and to represent THAT in a model, a sculpture, a poppet, a doll.
If I was teaching an art class, any art class, at university or at kindergarden, that's what I would start with. And there is a good reason for it, and this reason is as follows.
We humans are structurally designed to interact with one another and to make relationships with one another. When you create any kind of art (or magic, for that matter), it is very difficult at the beginning to form a relationship with your own art because it is so abstracted from you or the ways in which we think and feel.
When you paint or write on a flat piece of paper, you might be forgiven for thinking that this end product has not that much to do with you, and the process can be subtle and difficult to note and learn from.
When you engage in making a representation of the human form in reality, even at the simplest level, your RELATIONSHIP with the unfolding piece of art is of a different nature right away. It becomes very PERSONAL by virtue of our own inherent design. It becomes mysterious, wonderful, frightening and many, many other things beside which ALL CREATING, ALL ART, ALL MAGIC AND ALL ACTION rightfully should be - but we don't recognise it as such in our general conduct.
There are many aspects to making what is here called "an art doll" that are astonishing and truly revelationary, but it is in the RELATIONSHIP that develops in the process of making this object between the artist and the object which is the priceless gift and where all the learnings lie.
One of the beauties of making art dolls is also that this sets a human being free from the restrictions placed upon them by the societal entrainments that hold you need to study some "thing" first for many, many years before you are allowed to engage in the act of CREATION.
If you were to set about making a "sculpture", for example, you might think, "But I don't know how. I don't know anything about that, and I'll make a mess, it'll be embarrassing ..."
Or you might think that you need to make something so grandiose "it will the angels weep" and as this is clearly out of reach for the "average man", so we never get started at all.
Making an art doll cuts through this bullshit like a laser through a sheet of thin plastic.
No, you do NOT have to study ANYTHING. Not for one second, certainly not for goodness knows how many years. Two sticks and a bit of material, ANYTHING AT ALL you have in your environment, that is all it takes to become a CREATOR.
This is a human birthright, and one that is so intensely magical, it may well be deemed dangerous by those who would have you be nothing but a sheep that follows with the rules of the herd for all your life. YOU - yes, YOU! - ARE A CREATOR. You're not THE creator, obviously, the one who made the stars in the sky, but nonetheless, you are A creator when you make the first representation of a human being that you hold in your hand.
And one might think, without that understanding, without that experience, how can one go on to create anything else?
To make an art doll is at once the most basic and the greatest accomplishment of being a human being, because that is the moment when consciousness diverges from the animal kingdom who live and feel but do no such thing as making representations in their own image.
A little moppet made from string, from straw, two sticks and a bit of fabric, a bit of modelling clay or wire and some cling film is in essence, the alpha and omega of understanding that you are an artist, that you are a creator.
What you do with it after that, is up to you.
That sentence above is a deliberate ambiguity - it matters not what you do with that understanding that you are a creator, no more than it matters how you go on to decorate your doll or start out on a journey that will lead to great marble sculptures and public acclaim in the end.
Once you know that you are a creator, the world is simply a different place, filled with different choices and many, MANY different paths, all of which are at your command from that moment forth. It is a fantastic thing, indeed and as many such fantastic things, it is a simple thing, and an old thing; a strictly human thing and here, right now and available to every single one of us.
My first foray into the magical world of making an art doll was Venus. At the time, I didn't know it was going to be Venus, of course, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing - which is the perfect way to proceed when you want to learn something new, rather than endlessly repeating the old, of course.
During my course of exploration into Voodoo I came across the idea of making a portal doll to channel a God, or an energy form if you will, and I thought I would like to try this for myself.
As I had no modelling materials, nor any access to the usual materials used in constructing a real voodoo doll, I used what I had to hand, which was in essence, a roll of cling film.
I started by making a woman's shape which became like a blank template as it went along. Even there already, there was the guiding hand of the artist's mind at work - the little figure wanted to become something specific and let me know in no uncertain terms if I strayed from what this was to be.
Now don't get me wrong, I don't hear voices and the doll certainly didn't talk to me. The art solutions process relies on feelings to guide you in the right direction, in the ancient "cold, warm, hot - you've got it!" way where you try various things and the feedback guides you closer and closer, until there is a resonance match achieved and you KNOW that's now correct. You don't just know it with your head, you FEEL it in your gut, in your stomach. If you try and do something wrong in the art solutions process, you get headaches and nausea, so strong is the feedback mechanism, and so absolutely definitive.
On the other hand, when you get it right, there is a feeling of triumph, elation, electric energy charges coursing down your spine, your vision widening out and it's just the best feelings that arise - so it is easy to steer a course in the right direction.
I had experienced this many times with the original symbol paintings which are very abstract and thereby don't allow the conscious mind to argue in the first place. It simply cannot know what shapes or colours are required, and so you are forced to listen and feel your way towards the right outcome, whether you want it or not.
You can't THINK your way towards the correct outcome in art, and this was a way to really learn that, practise it, and get good at reading the feedback mechanisms that exist absolutely within me.
When it came to making the doll humanoid shape, this system sprang into action right away.
The proportions, size of the breasts, the stomach and all those things were specific and had to be just right. I found it interesting that there was something wanting to unfold there, something that was known to a part of me already, when I myself had no idea what I was doing here whatsoever.
Once the original shape was done, it was time to "decorate" the doll.
Now this clearly has nothing to do with decoration, and everything to do with refining the entity, making it more manifest, step by step.
I looked at "her" and wondered what clothes she might like to wear, what colour they should be. I had a piece of fabric that was silver and blue and this immediately sprang to mind. At the same time, I also got the sense that there should be white/clear jewels involved.
Quietly and methodically, I set to work. At the time, I must have been in a deeply meditative state because there came the time when I noticed that I couldn't see what I was doing any longer - the afternoon had passed away, dusk had been and gone and it was dark.
The doll was nearly finished by then and I turned on the lights, added the finishing touches and it was then I knew I had made "Venus" - that's who she was.
I am still not sure what exactly that means, or means to me; but that's neither here nor there.
As is always the case in art solutions, one emerges with a sense of wonderment and the feeling that a gift has been given and received, something extra special, something for you alone in all the universe.
Here is the finished doll:
It must be said that I was and still am fascinated by her. She was made under the precepts of being a "voodoo portal" to that energy form, so I used her in that way. I would address her and tell her of something that I would seek assistance with, and pass the fulfillment of the prayer/request/wish over to her. This too is a fascinating process and I was very happy with it, as well as being happy to see her in my kitchen on the shelf, as she is really quite delightful to me.
What happened next was the arrival of the moppets. I started making some little "party spirits" for good luck charms which was quite spontaneous, modelled on the idea (but not the execution) of JuJu dolls.
These little fellows, made from string like a traditional corn doily, and personalised with some gem stones, proved to be very popular.
They were/are popular with me, because I simply *love* making them. They're happy fellows and when they hang up and the wind catches them, they dance about; it is extremely difficult to see them, notice them and keep being grim and miserable, even if you were before.
Friends & family also liked them and people asked me if they could have one (as they kept proliferating!). There is something really *nice* about making a happy good luck charm for people to take away and hang on their car mirrors and over their computers, and that was also neat.
I took some of these to the EMO conference, out of curiosity how "serious adults" would respond to them and their bright, happy energy. It was very interesting to note that I had probably underestimated their reception, for there wasn't one person who said, "Well that's stupid!"
In the contrary. Everyone who saw them liked them and enjoyed them; some people really got into the idea big time which I thought was great. I mean, really! Why have a stupid old shrivelled up rabbit's mummy foot for a good luck charm, when you can have something happy, colorful and sparkling that has the right energy AND looks the part?
These celtic/romany/voodoo good luck charms are really easy to make and amazing good fun. I made some other ones in different colours, including a white one which wanted to be known as "The Spirit Warrior"; a black/red/gold one which was a fire sprite; and a black one with diamonds known as "The Star Man".
I was beginning to think that here there was something unusual going on, and then one day, when I was very busy with preparing meaningful speeches and so forth, a doll wanted to be made immediately. You could say, it demanded to be made ...
Again, I didn't have a clue what it would be, got the cling film out and set to work, as before.
This time however, I was even more surprised.
Here's what or who turned up:
This is "The Golden Samurai" - an androgynous being that at first I really couldn't track or trace to anyone, anything or anywhere I'd ever been in mind, body or spirit.
Venus, yes, I understand that. I have a history with Venus. Party spirits, alright, that's fine too. I have been known to be the life and soul of a party in my time.
But this one?
As before, it was immensely specific as to what it wanted to become, and I really didn't know where this had come from. I don't have anything like it in story, song, fable or Sanctuary.
I sent the picture to a Voodoo Priestess from New Orleans and asked if she had any ideas who this might be and she said she was sure it was a warrior/hunter god called Orishe. She told me some more about this and then I thought, "That's Apollo in our pantheon!"
Now Apollo is usually depicted as a blond haired, blue eyed, well muscled half naked white guy, and being an ex-German, I have serious reversals with that particular idea or archetype and would never have thought to channel in that direction. So I guess we went around the houses a bit with The Golden Samurai and Orishe, but at the end of the day, when *that* energy wants to come to you, it will find a way. I stood him next to Venus and they make a fine pair on my kitchen shelf.
It is a funny thing, but when you start on a track like that, it's like you're opening a door and all this stuff comes flooding in. The next "spirit" to arrive on my doorstep was a little green fairy.
I was making some decorations for the party spirits and possible future art doll projects out of modelling clay when I must have tranced out and not much later, found I had made a little green face - without me wanting to or even realising I was doing it!
This time, we started with the face and the body came after - much smaller than Venus and Apollo, and not only did he sport some very nice wings, but he also had a green tail.
By now, I had come around to the idea that I was making art dolls and in the process of this, "conjuring spirits", as the New Orleans Voodoo priestess had termed it.
That also made me laugh. I have quite a list of qualifications and job titles to my name by now, like hypnotist, housewife, author, SEO specialist, lecturer, teacher ... and now add "conjurer" to that as well.
Still, I finished my "little green guy" in due course, gave him a pointy golden hat and shoes and then I couldn't wait to photograph him out in the garden where he clearly belongs.
Look! I have a fairy in my garden!
In the process of interacting with "the little green guy", I got some interesting insights into the nature of fairies. Now he might be small, but then so are bees and wasps, but that doesn't necessarily make them "cute", if you know what I mean.
Little children might want to "play with a bee" but you would tell them, "Look, the bee has things to do. It has babies to feed, honey to collect, nests to build. It has it's own thing going on, and it won't thank you for interfering in that for no good reason. If you do, it might well sting you!"
I think fairies are like that. People who bug them and annoy them for no other reason than they're bored and looking to play might well get stung. Pay them good respect and you never know, you might be able to get some interesting honey for your attention.
As I said, I don't know about conjuring spirits and all of that. But I certainly do know that interacting with these concepts, ideas, and ENERGIES in this way is not only highly educational on a very personal level, but also very amusing and interesting. I am actually *having fun* doing this.
Who would have ever thought that magic could be so much *fun*? Or art, for that matter? That it could be so easy, so natural and really quite delightful?
By now I was looking forward to who would turn up next, and the next spirit to make itself known was clearly some form of mermaid.
You could tell by the tail instead of the legs, if you know what I mean :-)
Still, and once more, many surprises were in store.
I am very ambivalent about the whole "mermaid" deal. Especially the "maid" part of it. There are parts of me that really do think mermaids are corny and one of those classic mind/body/spirit soft soaped delusions, much like dolphins used to be in the 1970s. Still, when someone turns up, who am I to argue, so I might as well get on with it and get the mermaid out of my system.
But once again, the world is full of surprises. As the work progressed, I had to re-assess my approach, which was way too haphazard and uncaring. Instead of just covering her tail in some cloth or other, I ended up making tiny scales and placing each one with loving care, a process that took absolutely ages but that's what needed to be done.
As this was going on, I was beginning to re-assess my ideas of mermaids and their corniness; and by the time it came to the final decorations (or dedications), I was actually in love with the creature or spirit.
I wanted to literally cover her in sparkling diamonds, deep sea jewels, weave pearls into her hair - but she said, "No." in a very gentle but absolutely non-negotiable way.
She didn't need any other jewels apart from her crown and the one crystal round her neck.
And she wasn't a mermaid, but The Child Of The Waves - Das Wellenkind.
Now that I *did* recognise, from a German HypnoDream of that title. I had met that entity before in a shamanic trip, and loosely translated, the HypnoDream says:
Far out at sea, the waves are turquoise, deep into infinity, so crystal clear, I cannot help myself - I have to become the child of the waves and enter deep within.
Here, something else happened. I don't think I've honestly ever really "fallen in love" with a work of art I've made, at least not like this.
I actually really love this child of the waves sculpture/doll/entity. I can really feel it rising up in my chest, touching my heart. I've never had that feeling before and it's truly an extraordinary experience.
It was here that I began to understand how *detached* one normally is from one's own works of art, how there is a barrier between oneself and one's own creations, and how one expects that to be so. Indeed, self criticism and not getting caught up in your own excitement is held to be a *good* thing for an artist to stay on an even keel, not get too big headed, not lose focus on their own faults and shortcomings and so forth.
Well to hell with all of that, most literally!
Of course we should love that which we create! If we don't, then who else ever could? Who else would ever know that much about it to be able to truly appreciate it? What foolishness is it to be "detached" from your own creations?
As I write this, I'm shaking my head and it actually scares me to contemplate that I could have gone on for goodness knows how many years and NOT knowing that, not having understood that on a deep and profound level, if I hadn't made this little sculpture.
It was there as well many other things clicked in and when they did, I noticed that my attitude and approach to many other things, including writing and music, were beginning to shift, become more fluent, become clearer, more satisfying, more RIGHT. Things finding their rightful place within my systems.
It was also this experience with the Child of The Waves that made me want to sit down and write about the processes of making art dolls, conjuring spirits or whatever you want to call this extraordinary modality I stumbled into without the first idea as to what I was getting myself involved with.
I have the feeling or sense that by making these art dolls I am putting things to rights between me and various energy forms of the universe, in a highly personalised fashion, and in an ORDER AND SEQUENCE that is absolutely perfect *for me*.
Each doll seems to be an unfoldment, a work of repair of channels of communication between me and me, and between me and the world, but then, they are so much more than that as well.
And I really do love the way in which these entities just manifest, now that an open invitation to the world of spirits, energy and existence has been issued on my part.
The latest one arrived as a total surprise, yet again. I was making some thing and thought to make a few "faces" for dolls yet to come. I put the modelling material into the oven, and promptly forgot all about them - until 24 hours later!
That in and of itself is just unbelievable. How can I have cooked and walked past the oven for a whole day and a night and NOT remembered the modelling clay in there? How can I have not smelled this?
Still, I did remember, as I said, exactly 24 hours later, opened the oven door and, feeling very stupid indeed, removed what remained of what I'd put in there (and which was to bake for 30 minutes!).
Everything had turned to crumbled ash - apart from one face, which miraculously had turned hard as rock and a shiny pitch black, retaining all the detail of the original sculpting perfectly in every way.
I took one look at it and everything else dropped away, and I knew the being involved. I couldn't wait for an instance, I had to immediately make the body, a slim androgynous shape with elongated limbs and a very long neck to go with the face.
Two days later, we have "The Black Prince".
Something I really never get over is the fact that "you", or in this case, "I", don't have a say in what these things become.
I really don't.
When I first saw the face, I thought of purple, and then went on to hallucinate a Carnival Queen with huge amounts of bright purple and pink feathers, and all sorts of bejewelled garments.
Oh no ...
That's not what this is, Silvia ...
I really tried to give this doll a pink scarf or cloak because I have some beautiful bright cerise pink silk which also goes fabulously with the purple velveteen but I wasn't allowed.
I was also not allowed to add a feather headdress, or any form of head dress for that matter. Just beads for the hair, that was not just alright, but actually demanded. I started with one strand, which eventually became six strands of pearls and beads for The Black Prince's hair.
I wasn't allowed jewels for his necklace; there were very specific beads of red and gold colours, no others permitted; and the only jewel I did get to place is an amber jewel for his belt.
I call him him but that's very debatable; and other than that he is royalty, and comes from far away, I really don't know too much about this being.
But here he/it is and that would be that.
So that's the state of play in the art doll department up to today, May 4th, 2007.
I went out and bought some fabrics today, blues and turquoise, and some silver.
I have a sense that quite a few more of these guys will come my way and I feel extremely privileged that they should be doing this.
I look forward to finding out what else happens with this, and what other fascinating insights on the processes of art per se can be gleaned from this.
And then, of course, there's the magical aspects.
The world is certainly a wonderful place, so full of interesting surprises - and all you have to do is to let go just a little bit, don't talk yourself out of trying some things, even if at first your own yearnings might seem a little strange or out of the ordinary.
It's in the extraordinary where the magic resides.
SFX April 2007
New Arrivals - May 2007
I can't say really very much about this one, I don't know who she is, what she does or where she came from but she arrived after the Black Prince. She is certainly shiny, a little introspective but one day, someone came and brought me a little Juju doll that had been mistreated.
I took it to where all my deities reside and asked if anyone might want to look after this poor thing, and the Butterfly lady volunteered graciously. I had the sense that it wasn't really her place or job of work to look after mistreated ones, but out of all the folk I had there at the time, she was the only one who could stretch to that.
So I gave her the little Juju to be held in her free arm beneath her shielding cloak. This brought me a little closer to her, but no closer to understanding her purpose, or why she's here. A meditation might be in order ...
And so it came to pass on a bright and cheery May morning, that I found one of my bank accounts in utter disarray - again. Now don't get me wrong, it wasn't that there wasn't any money in it. In a way, quite the opposite. But it was just chaos. There were bank transfers that had been booked in twice, some that should have been there, weren't showing at all, and all sorts of strangeness.
I complained to a visitor about this and they laughed and said, "Why don't you get your Voodoo gods to sort it out?" pointing at the shelf where by now, a party of these guys was taking place.
I got up, took the bank statement and held it up to each one in turn. "Alright Venus, can you sort this out? Black Prince, any ideas? Butterfly Lady? Mermaid? Samurai? Anyone ...?"
We ended up laughing because CLEARLY, these guys didn't even know what a bank statement might be, and whatever they were doing wherever it was that they were doing, bank statements really didn't come into it!
So I decided to make a spirit doll especially for matters of bank statements, legal matters, that type of thing. Not exactly more down to Earth, but at least some entity that has some sense of what we're doing here with numbers and paragraphs, if you know what I mean.
As soon as I thought of it, The Prophet came to mind - fully fledged and absolutely certain.
I got to work right away, starting with his hat. Apparently, this was very important!
I made the black hat first, and then added a galaxy of stars, sparkles and general joy of the greater Universe. It made me laugh again and contemplate that the spirit world is never a dour or boring place, and even accounting, if its done magically, has the colour and light and LIFE built into its very structure.
After that, I began myself more with this guy. He has a lovely phonological ambiguity in his name - prophet and profit are indistinguishable in ordinary speech.
So the big book he is carrying is both the book of the prophets, as well as the book of the profits, which is just perfect in more ways than I have words to express here :-)
This is by far the most elaborate doll I have made so far, and I thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of it, especially the book itself. It is completely constructed like an old fashioned book, with separate pages, linen backing and of course, the cover set with patterns of gold and gemstones.
I didn't plan it that way, but the page sizes of the book are exactly the same as a credit card, so you can lay one or two credit cards on the Prophets book if you feel they need praying over :-)
He's wearing glasses to help him focus down from the higher realms where he resides onto muppety minutiae such as the numbers on bank statements.
Another interesting feature are the gold spirals which are coming down his arms; but then, there are many interesting features about The Prophet.
Not least how the entire developing pantheon on my kitchen sideboard took on a totally flavour with his arrival. He seems to have energized everything and put it onto a different level.
I've been thinking about this spirit on and off for a while now - the essential Carnival Queen - all feathers, diamonds, sparkling jewels and pink, yellow and orange.
So it was really surprising what heavy weather I ended up making of the creation of this doll.
It took by far longer than anything else I've ever made, not because it is particularly complicated, but because I was having previously unknown doubts and reversals as to what was going on.
I found her really difficult to deal with.
My ideas of "party, carnival and fun" were clearly at loggerheads with that spirit was representing or trying to be.
For starters, she is clearly very serious about having fun.
That in and of itself does my head in - how can you be serious about fun, or parties?
As I was battling with her through the days and nights, it became every more apparent that my idea of parties were not her ideas at all.
She was thinking in terms of an activity that is not just important, but clearly SERIOUSLY important to human beings, whilst I was thinking in terms of "wasting time" or having a pretence to find a new sex partner.
This was not on her agenda. There seems to be some deal about people and their "work/play" division, with the former being heavily weighted in favour as being useful and important, and the latter being only done when you can't work anyway, or you're too tired to work at the end of a long day, as it isn't important at all and you can live without it.
The Carnival Queen says, "You're wrong. The activity of festival is a key element of living life as a fully functional human being, and without it, you might as well forget all about enlightenment or spiritual growth."
"The ability to celebrate, to engage in a festival for its own sake, not as a prelude to sex or for any other purpose than pure celebration, is IMPORTANT."
I found that quite shocking and concede now that she is probably right, and I don't know the first thing about celebration, festival or carnival, for that matter. I have seriously asked her to help me understand this better, and to point me in the right direction so I may eventually *experience* this one day ...
One of the things that bug me about working in The Hard is the fact that you can't do things that want to be done in a parallel fashion. Two things at the same time, or in the same place.
As I was struggling with the Carnival Queen, at the same time there was the Swamp Witch making an appearance, and actually I got to do some things for the Swamp Witch before the Carnival Queen was finished. At first I thought this was a bit disrespectful to both, but in hindsight, starting on the Swamp Witch probably needed to be done to complete the Carnival Queen at all, as I was near to giving up on that whole thing more than once.
Now, the Swamp Witch is a traditional Voodoo deity, and it is intriguing to muse that this is the same archetype as the North European "in the dark woods" type of witch - let's call her a wood witch in her hovel, stirring in her cauldron.
In the plains of Africa, the worst spots and the ones where no-one farms or hunts would be the swamps; well away from anywhere a good housewife would want to raise her family, with the pigs and the relatives all around, if you know what I mean. The same holds true for the Western witches - no-one hunts, farms or chit chats in the dark parts of the woods where this one resides.
Swamp witches traditionally do not dress in ermine and pearls; as their Northern counterparts, they are bedraggled looking older women, possibly warty :-) but once in a while, you do need to seek them out for their knowledge of potions and spells is second to none.
As I was evoking the spirit of the Swamp Witch, some very interesting things happened.
The first was the revelation that Swamp Witches are actually not incredibly ugly and badly dressed. It just *appears* that way to those who cannot see beyond.
It's like a counter-glamour, hiding something very precious and beautiful away from those who would seek such things for trophies or for sport, or to destroy it for destruction's sake, or to try and break their power.
In this spirit doll, her dress is made of green silk and covered with magic symbols, sparkling hearts, stars, moons, shells and flowers but she wears a veil over this.
The same with her hair - her hair is fair and decorated with many golden pearls, but the same veil covers her hair.
This veil is the counter-glamour that allows those who have the eyes to see it to seek her out and share her wisdom and joy; and those who cannot see it, will dismiss her as just an old woman dressed in dowdy greens which make her seem to disappear into the general landscape.
The Swamp Witch carries many secret containers with herbs, charms and potions; these are ready for anyone who would ask her to dispense them quite freely. But the chosen few, those who have the eyes to see beyond the veil, will be able to receive these rewards.
There is another side to the Swamp Witch story which I found quite remarkable.
For any young girl, to see a bedraggled dirty old warty woman shuffling about her lonely, pathetic abode, muttering to herself, that wouldn't be much of a role model, would it.
UNLESS this young girl could see through the glamour.
THEN, she would see the true beauty of the Swamp Witch; the fact that she isn't just not alone, but far more connected and loved on a daily basis than the women in the town or camp; that she has fantastic experiences and riches surrounding and nourishing her which are beyond any decoration a rich husband might provide - and of course, her absolute freedom to love whom she will, and to do as she pleases.
So in a way, the Swamp Witch is a portal - apparently to less than nothing if you can't see, but if you can, then there's a doorway for you to enter into which is wide open, right there for all to enter into freely, if only they could.
A truly amazing and mysterious thing, practical and delightful in so many ways ...
SFX May 2007
One day in October of 2009, two and a half years after I last made a spirit doll, I woke up one day and felt the need to make another one.
I had received some truly astonishing Wild Tansy aromatherapy essential oil from America some months previous and made a real connection with that, it really called to the "Magical Wild Woman Within".
As I was having all sorts of serious menopausal symptoms at the time, it was welcome and made sense so I made Wild Tansy.
In December 2009, the symptoms got much worse very rapidly and I was taken to hospital, to await an exploratory operation.
When I got back from hospital to rest at home, I was very unhappy.
I fell asleep and in a state of deep meditation/lucid dream, Wild Tansy came to me and gave me the most extraordinary healing I've ever had in my life.
The experience was totally indescribable, totally beyond words in every way, so powerful, so moving.
I don't know the first thing about physical healing, I've made it my business in this incarnation to explore the other realms, those of mind and energy, with volition, by design, and in absolute preference.
I've also burned the candle at all five ends, if not at all six; and that's how it was, how it is.
I do not know if my physicality can recover, I truly don't, but with friends like Wild Tansy by my side, I'm not afraid for there is more to life than just the physical, and SOMEONE had to make that the focus and target of all they did, and I was lucky it was me who happened to end up doing that. It was certainly worth it, and produced a wonderful life.
I was really awed once again on this occasion by the sheer power of spirit dolls to open a connection, a very PERSONAL gateway to touch, communicate with, be helped by things out there we don't know what they are and we might never know.
But just like we all have the spark of the wild divine inside of us, so I do have Wild Tansy as a part of who I am.
That's the resonance, that's the connection, that's HOW we human beings communicate with the higher forces in the first place.
Spirit dolls are mirrors and portals all at the same time; they are a wonderful thing, EXTREMELY magical in the most perfect sense of the word, and way, waaay beyond just "therapy" at that.
A fantastic experience all around, I am deeply grateful that it came to pass I had this, and it makes me think that to really fully activate all the spirit dolls I've made is something that should be done, and as soon as possible.
SFX December 13th 2009
(Will There Be Any) More Coming Soon ... (?)
Many years have passed since last I made an Art Doll. Then two things happened on the same day - an Energy Symbol Master's student made an art doll, and my partner, on the search for sand paper in the art storage, had an art doll skeleton fall on his head!
I took these signs for a sign and set about finding out who would like to come to be with me at this time.
Creating these spirit dolls is such a fascinating process.
It took quite a while for this one to become; and I really thought I was making a disco dancer or a Bowie fan for quite some time before his title became revealed - the patreon of the arts. Curious!
I will meet him in Sanctuary and find out what he has to say to me.
And yes, Martin & Alex, that's definitely a HE. :-)
May 19th, 2019