Sacred Space

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Last weekend was the winter edition of Castlefest, which is one of the biggest and most “gezellig” fantasy and pagan festival here in the Netherlands. The summer edition is amazing and we’ve been considering it our holiday for years now. This was the first year that we visited the winter edition and it was a lot of fun! {and cold… so cold!}

One of the things I wanted to look for on Castlefest was a statue of the Goddess that I had had my eye on for a while now. The Mother, sitting on a treestump holding her pregnant belly. I’ve loved it from afar for so long that I decided that I really wanted her to be the consort to my Horned God statue. And I finally found her! Which of course was all the more reason to redecorate my altar and sacred space in a big way.

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Isn’t she lovely? For years I had my altar set up in the same way, but this time I wanted to do it differently: more open space and make everything look prettier. I decided to put the statues on their own wooden disks, a lighter one for my new Mother Goddess. I decorated it with lots of gemstones, shells and feathers, as well as an adorable shell soap that I got from one of my coven sisters. The cauldron stands for the womb of the Goddess so I placed it at her feet. I love it!

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This amazing statue we got on our honeymoon to Glastonbury and I’ve spent forever trying to find a worthy companion. Because He is sitting down, I wanted Her to be sitting down as well, which wasn’t an easy task! The Horned God is sitting on a bigger wooden disk, surrounded by petrified wood, green gemstones and lots of forest findings. There is a small piece of antler there as well and of course more candles!

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For the centre I really wanted to play around with levels and different heights, so I took one of those small wall shelves and placed it upside down in the middle of my altar space. It works like a charm and looks great! Next to the pentacle are a pair of antlers and in front are a two hagstones, one bought in Glastonbury, one found years ago. I filled the space underneath with fake greenery, selenite and quartz.

The entire workspace now feels calming and open and I think I’ve found a set up that’ll suit me for years! {which is why I wanted to share it with you all} I’m very happy with how it all turned out and I’m sure this will help on my path of re-discovering witchcraft and paganism.

I’d love to hear about your sacred spaces, do you have one? What is it like? Let me know!

Grimoire cover

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I’ve talked about my spiritual path here before, but to be honest, I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus when it comes to witchcraft and paganism. I talked the talk but didn’t walk the walk so to speak. Since being home for a few weeks {pro tip: don’t fall down stairs… it sucks} I’ve had time to reflect. As you do, sitting on a couch with nothing to do all day, right? And what I found is that while my worldview and my beliefs have changed over the years, I do miss it. I miss the witchy feeling and the peace and confidence it brought me. So I’m back! Basically starting from scratch and trying to figure out which bits and pieces within the pagan and witch paths do fit me and which don’t.

Creativity, crafting and art have always been a big part of my life {my site is not called Marjolijn MAKES for nothing} so it makes sense that it also becomes a big part of my spiritual practice and pagan path. Something that I’ve wanted to do for a while now is make a beautiful Book of Shadows or Gimoire that’s filled with art and knowledge about a bunch of different subjects. But I’ve always been afraid to start. There are so many beautiful examples out there, how could I ever compare, right? So this was step one, making a journal fit to become a Grimoire.

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I took a blank sketchbook and went all out. Using different mixed media techniques I finally made a book I absolutely adored. Since I made the book at night {bad idea…} I had to tweak it a little bit in the days following. Because it was bright BRIGHT metallic purple with a few silver streaks, not the dark and mysterious book I wanted it to be. I added some matte black paint, some darker purple and gold. Now I absolutely love it!

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And the back needed to be fancy as well of course! Now if you’re still reading and thinking: what the hell is a grimoire or a book of shadows? Sorry, I should have explained earlier. Both are books used within witchcraft and within the pagan path. They are magic journals. Sometimes the terms are used interchangeably, sometimes a book of shadows is seen more as a magical diary, where you note the divinations, spells, rituals and prayers you used and what their effects were, where a grimoire is more a compendium of knowledge with pages filled with information and correspondences.

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I’ve already made a couple of pages about moon magic, which I’ll share with you over the coming weeks. It’s been so much fun to work in this way and I’m hoping I can fill my artsy grimoire with lots of colour and lots of different techniques. For those who want to see more, I have a pinterest board filled with beautiful examples of other people’s grimoires, and I have a witchy sideblog on Tumblr called Baduhenna’s Raven, where I also talk about grimoires and am starting a bit of a series on how to make an artsy grimoire like mine. {Though I might also start it here… If people are interested?} So check those out and tell me what you do with your BoS/Grimoire!

Dutch Myths: Hludana

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It’s been a while, but welcome to the third instalment of my Dutch Mythology series! Previously we covered the Dutch Goddesses Arcanua and Baduhenna, now it’s time for another Goddess: Hludana.

What we know.

As with all Dutch deities, we only know bits and pieces, and Hludana is no different. We only know Her from five votive stones found, three of which in Germany and two in the Netherlands. Four stones were found within the area that used to be the Provence of Germania Inferior, so we know Hludana was most likely a Germanic Goddess.

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Hludana inscription in Beetgum

The first four stones found, in Germany and Holdeurn (modern Nijmegen), give us nothing more than a name. This caused a lot of speculation as to who this Goddess was. The name sounds similar to known Goddesses like the Germanic Holda and the Norse Hlodyn, which caused Jacob Grimm to think that the earth Goddess Hlodyn and Hludana were the same Goddess. And for a while this was the general concensus: that Hludana was the Germanic name of the Hlodyn, or perhaps a variation of Holda. The discovery of a new votive stone in Friesland in the year 1888 shed some new light on this Goddess.

 

In the Frisian village Beetgum a discovery was made while excavating a terp. They found a votive stone where the lower part of a woman can still be seen, together with an inscription dedicated to the Goddess Hludana. This was the first stone to give us more information than just the name. The stone reads:

DEAE HLVDANAE
CONDVCTORES
PISCATVS MANCIPI
Q VALERIO SECV
NDO VSLM

Meaning: “To the goddess Hludana, the fishing contractors, when Quintus Valerius Secundus acted as tenant, fulfilled their vow willingly and deservedly.”

This tells us that Hludana was probably a Goddess of fishing. Since Beetgum at the time this stone was made was connected to the sea, as was Holdeurn, this would fit. The stones in Germany were all found along the river Rhine, so perhaps this Goddess was connected to this river as well.

What I think.

There is still some discussion going about the connection between Hludana, Hlodyn and Hulda. I think the stone found in Beetgum gives us the information we need to see that Hludana was a Goddess Herself and not an identification or different name for Hlodyn or Hulda.

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Hludana by Froukje Torensma

I see her as the Dutch Goddess of fishing, commerce and the river Rhine. Us Dutchies have always had deep connections to water, so a Goddess dedicated to fishing is something we would definitely have. Commerce is something that my own mind interjects with fishing: you do it so you can sell the fish and feed your family, hence the gold and coins in the aesthetic above.

Correspondences:

Rituals: fishing, water, anything work related.
Colours: blues and soft greens {water colours}, golds.
Symbols: fish, nets, winding rivers.
Stones: aquamarine, pearl, blue calcite, hagstones, simple river rocks.
Metals: gold, silver and copper {coin metals}.

Sources:

Book – Over de beoefening der Nederlandse mythologie, naar aanleiding der jongste tot dat onderwerp betrekkelijke geschriften – Johan van der Wal
Book – Nederlandsche volksoverleveringen en Godenleer – L. Ph. C. van den Bergh
Book – Teutonic Mythologie vol.1 – Jacob Grimm
Website: Livius.org
Website: Forgotten Gods – Reginheim
Website: Good Ol’ Wikipedia

So that’s it for the third installment of the Dutch Mythology series! Let me know what you think, or if you have a request for the next bit of mythology information. ‘Til next time!

Dutch Myths: Baduhenna

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Welcome to the second piece in the series on Dutch mythology! This time I wanted to share a favourite of mine: Baduhenna. Not a lot is known of this Frisian Goddess, which makes her all the more intriguing.

What we know.

The Roman writer Tacitus is the only one who gives us any information on this Goddess. Tacitus writes of ‘the Battle of Baduhenna’, an attack by the Frisians on the Romans who had invaded their lands. For a long time the Frisians didn’t mind the Roman presence, they worked with them and lived alongside them. This changed, however, when Ollenius took control of the area. Ollenius demanded taxes of the Frisians, to be paid in aurochs and skins, something that the Frisians did not have. According to Tacitus the Frisians sold all they could to make the payments, including some who sold their wives and daughters into slavery.

It all came to a head in the year 28 A.D. when the Frisians formed a small army and decided

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Artist unknown

to attack the Roman fortress Castellum Flevum, where Ollenius was hiding. The Romans fought back and got reinforcements from what is now Nijmegen. In response, the Frisians pulled back into ‘the Forest of Baduhenna’, a well known terrain for the Frisians. This, and the use of light weaponry like handaxes, gave the Frisians the upperhand in the battle. They killed 900 Roman soldiers that day. Tacitus writes that the Romans were so paranoid, so afraid of betrayal, that they killed another 400 of their own soldiers.

In his work ‘Germanica’ Tacitus states that it’s very common for the Germanics to name their forests after a deity, which was then considered sacred to this deity and was seen as a place of worship. This is the reason why scholars believe Baduhenna to be a Goddess. The name Baduhenna can be split into two parts; the suffix -henna is more often used to denote the deity is female, while the prefix Badu or Badw means battle. Which is why Baduhenna is seen as the Frisian Goddess of Battle and War.

What I think.

With what we know of this Goddess one can’t help but wonder if another Goddess of madness and battle, the Morrigan, is perhaps related. One of the faces of the Morrigan, named Badb {see the similarity there?}, can fly over the battlefield in the shape of a crow and bring panic, confusion and paranoia to the enemy. If Badb and Baduhenna are related, this might explain the paranoia in the Roman soldiers, the reasons why they killed 400 of their own men.

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Artist unknown

It paints quite a striking image, the underdog, the small Frisian army creeping through the dark forest as the crows circle above. A crow flying through the forest, Her forest, crying out to claim victory for those who worship her, and instill fear into the hearts of those who oppose Her people. A cry for blood and vengeance. This the only sound piercing through the quiet just before the battle. The crow has chosen, the fight begins.

To me, Baduhenna is the battlecrow. She is both a Goddess of the forest and of war and madness. She is the Goddess who chooses the victors in battle and brings fear and paranoia to those on the other side of the field. She might even be related to the Morrigan, the Goddess Badb brought to the Frisians by the people of England. I like to see them as connected, sort of as a Dutch version of this Great Queen of War.

Correspondences:

Rituals: standing up for yourself, battle, bringing madness. {you shouldn’t, but you could…}
Colours: black and dark green or black and dark red.
Symbols: crows, handaxe, black feathers.
Stones: garnet, hematite, onyx, git, black obsidian.
Metals: steel and any dark metal.

Sources:

Book – Over de beoefening der Nederlandse mythologie, naar aanleiding der jongste tot dat onderwerp betrekkelijke geschriften – Johan van der Wal
Book – Nederlandsche volksoverleveringen en Godenleer – L. Ph. C. van den Bergh
Article (PDF): Baduhenna – Rijksuniversiteit Groningen (no longer available)
Website: Forgotten Gods – Reginheim
Website: Good Ol’ Wikipedia

So that’s it for the second installment of the Dutch Mythology series! Let me know what you think, or if you have a request for the next bit of mythology information. ‘Til next time!

Catching Dreams and Falling Feathers

One of the biggest trends in the craftworld right now is dreamcatchers. So many new stamps, cutting dies, stencils and other fun crafty stuff are coming out right now and being a fan of dreamcatchers myself, I’m loving it! One of the best things of working at a craftshop is that part of your job is to actually be crafty and make a bunch of stuff that inspire customers to make stuff themselves. So, with the dreamcatcher craze going on, I figured I’d show you guys and gals some of the fun things I made for our store!

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{crappy picture is crappy, I know, I’ll update it soon…} The first thing I wanted to show you was an actual dreamcather! I was the only one who’d actually made one before so our manager asked me to make a big one to hang on the wall. She also brought the idea to use the paper feathers in sweet mint and lilac, and I chose the other colours to match those. It’s a lot busier than the normal dreamcatchers that I make, but this seems to be the boho trend right now, so why not combine all of those. I do love how it turned out!

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Marianne design also hopped on the dreamcatcher bandwagon and brought out an amazing collection of a cutting die (CR1373), a beautiful clearstamp (CS0975) with a bunch of texts about dreams and a bunch of cute feathers (CA3129). This one I wanted to make with sweet pastels to match the feather colours.

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This one I wanted to give bright, summery colours to match the fashion trends right now. Summery, ibiza style brightness!

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And something completely different, but still made with the same die and stamps. The purple feathers are the feathers that are supposed to be on the bottom of the dreamcatcher, but I had this idea of a calm card in purple shades with falling feathers on the side and a quote next to it. This is what came out and I have to admit, although I *love* the dreamcatchers, this is my favourite.

So this was my creative debauchery for the past weeks. I’d love to hear what you think and hear what you’ve been up to! ‘Till next time!

Dutch Myths: Arcanua

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Dutch mythology meme 1/? by marjolijnmakes

As most of you might have figured by now, I love religious history and mythology. In my spare time I love to read myths and legends from all over the world and see how their Gods, Goddesses and other creatures were seen and maybe even worshipped. A few years ago that curiousity got me thinking: what about my own cultural heritage? What about the Dutch Gods and Goddesses of Old? I’ve been researching on and off ever since and have been surprised with what I’ve found. So far I’ve uncovered 29 Gods and Goddesses specific to the Dutch region, not including the Germanic Gods. In this series I want to share some of my findings with you, and introduce you into the marvelous world of Dutch mythology!

What we know.

In 1976 in Burchten, a region in the provence of Limburg, amateur archeologists found the foundations of a Roman building. During excavation archeologists found a bronze and enamel rooster, with the name of the Goddess Arcanua stamped on it. Later, in 1982, other archeologists found a small bronze leaf in the same area. The name Arkanua was stamped into it, leading historians to believe that what they had thought was a Roman villa, was actually a temple dedicated to the Goddess Arcanua or Arkanua. The name Arcanua means ´the mysterious one´ or ´the mystical one´ in Latin. It is believed that She was a local Goddess who was was revered in the region before the invasion of the Romans.HaanArcanuaLimbMuseum

The bronze and enamel rooster is the biggest source of information we have on this Goddess. In the area surrounding the temple, more roosters like this one have been found, but this is the only one with and inscription. It reads: DEAE ARCANVE VLPIVS/ VERINVS VETERANVS LEG VI V•S•M•L, meaning ‘To the Goddess Arcanua Ulpius Verinus, veteran of the sixth legion, has redeemed his vow, willingly and with reason. The mention of the legion and the name Ulpius Verinus makes it very likely that this little rooster is older than originally thought, probably dating from somewhere between 123- and 142 A.D. Which makes it the oldest mention of the term DAEA we have to date.

The statue is made of bronze, with enamel eyes, beak and wings. The back of the rooster is hollow, which leads historians to believe that it was used to burn candles or perhaps oil in it’s cavity. This statue differs from others found in the Netherlands, which are usually sandstone altarstones depicting humanoid figures, sometimes accompanied by animals. This could mean that the rooster was an important attribute to the Goddess, or it could mean that the statue itself is not from the Netherlands, but could be from Brittania, where more of these roosters were found.

The leaf gives us little more information about who this Goddess was. It reads: D/ ARKANV/ AE/ M•I•AM/ L•M, which we can compement to D(AEA) ARKANVAE M(ARCUS) I(ULIUS) AM(—) L(IBENS) M(ERITO), which means ‘to the Goddess Arcanua Marcus Iulius Am— has devoted this, willingly and with reason’. Nothing is known for sure about Marcus, or why he would devote anything to this Goddess.

What I think.

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Once Wed

We don’t know anything else about this Goddess, what she stood for, what her attributes are, it’s all guesswork. So this is what I think this Goddess was. The rooster is a symbol of the dawn, of the rising sun. Combining this with the idea that the rooster was used to burn candles or oil, it could mean that Arcanua was a Goddess of light. A Goddess of the morning and the rising sun, the light after the darkness.

The meaning of her name, ‘the mysterious one’, could point to Her being a Goddess of the Underworld, many Goddesses of mystery are also Goddesses connected to the Underworld. The keepers of the hidden, that which is behind the veil. Many of these Goddesses, like Hecate, are also seen as Goddesses of magic. Arcanua has the word ‘arcane’ almost screaming at you when you see it. Furthermore, roosters are seen by the Celts and Germanics as messengers to the Underworld. A rooster would cry out if there was danger to the soul of a fallen. Combine that with the fact that the rooster was devoted by a veteran, and Arcanua might have been a Goddess who brought the souls of slain warriors to the Underworld.

Correspondences:

Rituals: endings and new beginnings, greeting the sun, unveiling mysteries
Colours: golds and bronzes, set off with bright yellow, red or blue
Symbols: roosters, candles, a golden veil, (autumn) leaves, the sun
Stones: amber, citrine, goldstone
Metals: gold, bronze

Sources:

Book – Antwoord op de vraag, door het Zeeuwse Genootschap de Wetenschappen – Jona Willem te Water
Book – Over de beoefening der Nederlandse mythologie, naar aanleiding der jongste tot dat onderwerp betrekkelijke geschriften – Johan van der Wal
Book – Verhandelingen over het Westland – Derk Buddingh
Book – Nederlandsche volksoverleveringen en Godenleer – L. Ph. C. van den Bergh
Article (PDF) – Born-Burchten – W.J.H. Willems
Website – rgsm.de (in Dutch)
Website – the Limburs Museum (in Dutch)

So that’s it for the first installment of a new series I want to do on Dutch mythology. I’d love to know what you thought of this one so far, or if you have a request on which Deity I should do next. ‘Til next time!

An Oath by Cord

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About two weeks ago I got an email from two pagan friends of mine. They’d been married for five years, {which had been a Goth wedding bash in a torture museum on friday the 13th, ’cause they rock that way}, and now they wanted to do it all over again and renew their vows with a handfasting. A handfasting is, to put it overly simply, a pagan wedding ceremony. The couple’s hands are bound by a special cord and they speak their vows. After that, they jump over a broom, which is believed to bring fertility and good luck to the happy couple. It is a wedding before the Gods and the Elements as well as a declaration of love in front of their family and friends.

They asked me if I would do them the honour of leading the ritual and doing the actual handfasting, on friday the 13th of May. Which was a little over a week away… gulp… I was of course amazingly honoured that they asked me and dove into my treasure trove of books to put together a ritual that was personal, heartfelt and festive. After a few emails back and forth asking tons of questions I had everything I needed to write the ritual. They also asked me to weave the cords, which are the braided cord in the picture above. Black and purple as ‘their’ colours, with red, love, to bind them together.

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The happy couple and me, just before the fasting of hands.

To the day itself: we were lucky enough to have the last day of bright, sunny weather that day, so the back garden where we had our ritual, was beautifully lush green and warm. A group of the happy pagan couples friends and family had gathered, together with three other witches to celebrate their love with them. We hung out and enjoyed to almost-summer-sun while talking and mentally preparing for the ritual to come. Now, I’ve been a High Priestess for a few years now, but this was the first ritual I led with this many non-pagan people. I’ll be honest, I was a bit nervous, hoping that I didn’t overwhelm them with too much information, while at the same time explaining why we were doing what we were doing.

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The Vows

I really was a magical night and a lovely group of people to share this moment with. The couple exchanged vows, jumped over the broom and shared their first mead and cake as a married couple. After closing the circle again, we went back to our cosy nooks in the garden and feasted and talked until the sky was dark and littered with stars. Blankets came out for those who were cold and the mead flowed freely. It was warm and it was wonderful and I’m still honoured to have been a part of it. This was my first handfasting of a couple that wasn’t me and my husband and I loved it! It’s an amazing thing to acknowledge a couple’s love in this way, in front of the Gods. So again, thank you Jan and Mira, for this heartwarming honour.

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Thanking the Gods while the couple is munching cake.