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marking

Wreathing the Wheel

April, 2019

Wreathing
the Wheel: Mistakes, Messes, and Accidents

This
month, I’d like to take a little departure from talking about the
specifics of bullet journaling to talk about a related topic that I
am very passionate about: making mistakes.

As
an artist who works a lot with pen and ink, I’m familiar with the
unforgiving nature of the medium. It’s very easy to make a small
stray pen mark simply by dropping the pen, or (the horror!) even a
long mark when my cat decides that she really wants to play with my
pen too, or something jostles my drawing surface. From a mistake that
lasts a millisecond, hours of work can feel ruined when this happens.
I’m a perfectionist as well, and I like everything to be beautiful,
precise and clean… in my opinion, my attention to detail is what
makes my art interesting (to me).

But
it becomes necessary, when working on an ongoing project like a
bullet journal, to accept that some things just won’t work out how
you expected, and to tell yourself it’s worth it to keep going with
the hobby you love, even when you are confronted with mistakes. With
stray pen marks and similar mistakes, there’s little you can do to
hide them. Sometimes they can be hidden in designs, but sometimes the
design is already finished when you mess it all up. It’s a sinking
feeling, but I try to just take a moment and remind myself that this
mistake is an accurate representation of my life — and after all,
this is a journal! Isn’t part of the purpose to accurately
represent what my life was like at this time?

But
what about when the mistake is big? Like really, REALLY big? What if
it’s the whole book?

This
was my first 2018 bullet journal. Notice anything odd?

As
you can probably tell, I put a lot of work into this book, and I was
fairly upset when wine was spilled on it (although not as upset as
the person who spilled the wine, bless their heart). The wine soaked
through quickly, and it’s on almost every page. This happened when
I was halfway through the book — I couldn’t just toss it, and I
wasn’t ready to start another yet.

Instead,
I decided to celebrate the accident. In Japanese pottery, the method
of Kintsugi (meaning “golden joinery”) is used to repair
broken pottery with precious metals. The underlying thought process
behind this is that the breakage becomes a beautiful part of the
object’s history, and appreciated in its own right. Borrowing from
this idea, I used silver and gold ink to “repair” some of the
places in my journal that had been washed away by the wine, to try to
make them even more beautiful than before. Another way I have thought
about doing this would be to repair pages with embroidery, but there
are many techniques one could use — gold or silver plating,
decoratively placed washi tape, or even pasting a picture over a
mistake — anything, in short, that transforms the mistake into
something new, and uncommonly precious. I’d encourage you to start
showing some love to your mistakes today: it’s a way for us as
artists and craftspeople to embrace the reality of craft and indulge
in the unpredictability of traditional media, and it can help us grow
and learn new techniques as well.

***

About
the Author:

Sarah
McMenomy
is
an artist and witch. Her craft incorporates herbalism, spellwork,
trance, divination, auras, and more. Her work can be found at
https://sarahmcmenomy.tumblr.com

Interview & Review – Laura Tempest Zakroff: Sigil Witchery

February, 2019

A Book Review

Sigil Witchery

(An
interview with Tempest follows this review.)

It
was very serendipitous that as this book was coming up for review, I
had just registered to take a workshop with Tempest based on this
very book.

The
word “sigil” means “seal” or an action/word of a
spiritual nature. I would hazard a guess that most of us have seen
sigils that mean specific things, written and drawn by others.

Tempest
brings sigils to us in a more personal way, with the sigils drawn by
us, to have meaning to us, specifically. She simplifies it for us,
while never detracting from their power.

Before
doing this, she gives us a brief history of what she calls “making
marks”, discussing the paintings, symbolism and markings of
previous civilizations, which are still so important to us today.
Tempest does on to explain the differences between sigils and signs,
seals, designs, etc.

There
are sections on the basic shapes used in sigils and their meanings,
adding directions, letters and numbers, how to use the elements in
our sigils and how they work.

There
is space for us to create our own symbols for specific words that Ms.
Zakroff has listed for us, thus building our own library to make our
own custom sigils. She gives guidance on designing our own, what
tools we can use, why we should craft our own sigils. She offers us
suggestion sigils and a gallery of her own custom sigils.

We
don’t have to be “high magicians” to utilize the power of
sigils and the how-to’s are all right here, in an informative,
friendly, easy-to-read-and-relate-to manner.

As
one who has never given much thought to sigils, on their own, this
book has tempted me to not only think about it, but do it.

Interview
With Laura Tempest Zakroff

Susan
Morgaine (SM):
Hi Tempest – it was so nice to see you while you were on tour.

So,
belly dancer/performer, event producer, artist, witch, author and
teacher. That is quite impressive. I knew you primarily as a dancer
and performer when we met many years ago, and it wasn’t until I saw
the logo for Waking Persephone that I realized you were an artist, as
well

SM:
How did you start and what did you start with, realizing it was most
probably a circuitous journey? Please only respond with what you
are comfortable with sharing.

Tempest:
I definitely started with art, going back as early as age 3. By
first grade I was taking formal art classes on a regular basis – all
the way through high school. Then for college, I graduated from the
Rhode Island School of Design. I discovered modern Witchcraft and
Paganism in my teens, and got into dance in my college years. When I
moved to California in 2001, dance and Pagan stuff pretty much took
over my life. I didn’t have much room or resources to make the kind
of art I had been doing in school, so art took a bit of a backseat.
It manifested through my costume designs and creations, graphic
design, and some small drawings and paintings. When I moved back to
the East Coast in 2007, I started working as a fashion jewelry
designer. I did that until mid-2012, when it was time for drastic
life shift. In that process I moved to Seattle and began working for
myself full-time in all the things I do (dance, design, art).
Sometimes I feel frustrated that I didn’t just keep going with the
fine art out of school, but I realize I wouldn’t be where I am now,
on this path – if I had.

SM:
What was the impetus behind the idea of Waking Persephone. I know
there were several years here on the East Coast; are you continuing
it on the West Coast?

Tempest:
I co-produced Gothla US from 2008-2010 – which took place in
California. It was supposed to switch coasts, but that didn’t
happen. Which was frustrating because most of my east coast,
home-base students couldn’t afford to attend it. So much work and
the people I worked the closest with couldn’t participate. I also
had a vision for something that encompassed more, without stylistic
labels – to bring in more ritual/sacred dance, more artistry, more
diversity. That became a reality first in Tapestry Dance Retreat
(2011) and then Waking Persephone the following Spring. We did 2
years in Providence, and 3 more years in Seattle. At this time, I’m
not producing any events, because I needed to focus on my art and
writing, but when the time comes, something will probably emerge
again. Producing events takes up so much time and energy. I
transformed that time and focus into something else. Since the last
WP in 2016, I’ve written 4 books, published an anthology, and pushed
my art deeper.

SM:
When did you realize your were a Witch? It’s so interesting to hear
about other’s spiritual journeys.

Tempest:
I was at odds with the Catholic Church since my youngest days. I
got sent to the principal’s office at age 6 because during a field
trip to the church, I insisted on sitting where the priests and altar
boys did (like my brothers!), and couldn’t understand while girls
weren’t allowed. So much doctrine that made no sense – I felt that
God was more present in nature and everywhere around us. I
discovered that there were other options to the Abrahamic religions
in my mid-teens – that Witchcraft and Paganism was a thing. The
realization that there were names for what I believed and felt, and
that other people saw the world similarly was a huge revelation.

SM:
What made you decide to start to write, and then to follow that with
teaching?

Tempest:
I’ve been writing for a long time – in high school I was the editor
of the literary magazine. At RISD in 1997, I got involved with
Crescent Magazine – where I became an associate editor and had
regular columns. I started up a website on Modern Traditional
Witchcraft around then as well. Around 2000, I started offering
Witchcraft classes – and kept that up until around 2005 or so. Then
I burned out on being a public Witch, and retreated to a solitary
path for almost a decade. After getting my life reset in 2012, I
ventured out of my cave a bit with renewed focus and purpose. I
started up a blog (which moved to Patheos in early 2016 I think),
began teaching again and toyed with the idea of finally writing a
book. In the Fall of 2015, I was offered the contract to write “The
Witch’s Cauldron” for Llewellyn. It was a wonderful way to just
dive right in, and was really well received. So from there, I wrote
“Sigil Witchery” – after folks taking my workshops asked
why I hadn’t written a book yet on it. And well, it’s just kept
going from then.

SM:
I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to take your Sigil
Witchery workshop (which is reviewed somewhere else this month in
Pagan Pages). What did you learn from your travels and sitting
with/teaching so many Witches and Pagans around the country? I found
it fascinating to see, on Instagram, the sigils you created with
each workshop.

Tempest:
No matter where folks are located or what path/label they use –
Witches/Paganfolks have so much more in common than not. The
community (or whatever we wish to call it) is incredibly diverse, but
we share many beliefs and loves, as well as fears and concerns.
There is so much potential in recognizing our collective power and
connections.

SM:
So what is next on the agenda for you, Tempest? Any sneak peeks?

Tempest:
A. I’m finally working on an oracle deck! The tentative title is
“The Liminal Spirits Oracle” and it will be out via
Llewellyn I believe some point next year :)

You
can reach/follow Tempest at the following:

Owlkeyme arts – Design & Fine art by Laura Tempest Zakroff | Seattle, WA

www.owlkeyme.com

Mago
Djinn – Modern Folk Wear

www.magodjinn.com

Author Site – www.lauratempestzakroff.com

Sigil Witchery: A Witch’s Guide to Crafting Magick Symbols on Amazon

***

About
the Author:

Susan Morgaine is a Daughter of the Goddess, Witch, Writer, Teacher, Healer, and Yogini. She is a monthly columnist with PaganPages.org Her writings can be found in The Girl God Anthologies, “Whatever Works: Feminists of Faith Speak” and “Jesus, Mohammed and the Goddess”, as well as Mago Publications “She Rises, Volume 2, and “Celebrating Seasons of the Goddess”. She has also been published in Jareeda and SageWoman magazines. She is a Certified Women’s Empowerment Coach/Facilitator through She is the author of “My Name is Isis”, one in the series of the “My Name Is………” children’s books published by The Girl God Publications. A Woman International, founded by Patricia Lynn Reilly. She has long been involved in Goddess Spirituality and Feminism, teaching classes and workshops, including Priestessing Red Tents within MA and RI. She is entering her 20th year teaching Kundalini Yoga and Meditation, being a Certified instructor through the Kundalini Research Institute, as well as being a Reiki Master. She is a member of the Sisterhood of Avalon. She can be found at https://mysticalshores.wordpress.com/ and her email is [email protected]

My Name is Isis (Volume 4) on Amazon