Sunday, September 30, 2012

Samhain/Hallowe'en Giveaway

I know that it is a tad early to be thinking about Samhain & Hallowe'en quite yet, but I want to make sure that folks have enough time to respond to this giveaway, which will be ending in mid-October. That way I will be able to get the package out to the winner in time for Samhain/Hallowe'en.

Below is what will be in the giveaway package:

  • One $20.00 Cyber Gift Certificate
  • Ancestral Graveyard Dirt
  • Corked Bottle with Dried Datura and Poppy Pods
  • Beeswax Samhain Fire Starter
  • Dried Whole Dandelion Root
  • Ancestor Ritual Votive Candle
  • 1/2 oz Dark Daughter Loose Incense
  • 1/2 oz Tech Duinn Loose Incense
  • Beeswax Mullein Taper Candle

$20.00 Cyber Gift Certificate
{not pictured}

I will email a cyber gift certificate of $20.00 {CDN/US} value to the winner which can be used either purchase from my Etsy store or to purchase services on my website.

Ancestral Graveyard Dirt

A 1/2 cup of sifted Ancestral Graveyard Dirt that came from the graves of some of my Ancestors in a small Northern Ontario village cemetery. For Ancestor & Chthonic Deity rituals, or workings involving divination, protection and hexing.

Corked Bottle with Dried Datura & Poppy Pods

Since I had such a wonderful bounty of poppy and datura pods this year, I thought that I would share some. They would be great to incorporate into your charms or you can just keep them in this pretty wee bottle that comes with a cork. This grouping is an item that is not available in my shop.

Beeswax Samhain Fire Starter


One Beeswax Samhain Fire Starter made with local beeswax, along with fallen leaves and other pretties associated with the season. It can either be used for your Samhain bonfire or for fire-lit necromancy or Ancestor rituals. {Please be sure to only use in a proper outdoor fire pit, or in a wood burning stove or fireplace. This is not a candle!}

Dried Whole Dandelion Root


This dandelion root was harvested by myself during the dark moon of Bealtaine, after giving offerings to the plant for one year. Dandelions have many different properties, including being associated with death, necromancy, and protection. This root is a few inches across and can be used for a charm or perhaps even an alraun. Depending on the amount of my personal supply, I may have a few similar specimens for sale in my shop in the future.

Ancestor Ritual Votive Candle

A dark purple candle that I make for my own personal Ancestor workings. It has wormwood and graveyard dirt in it and is scented with sandalwood essential oil. I don't have any intention at this point carrying candles in my shop, but I am open to taking custom orders if there is interest.

Dark Daughter Incense

This loose incense is a mixture that I created to give as a burnt offering to the Irish Goddess Macha, and has various plant materials associated with divination, sorcery and battles. The most notable smell is the heady scent of wormwood. The winner will receive 1/2 ounce in a baggie. This item, along with all my other incense have yet to be released in my shop. They will be available soon.

Tech Duinn Incense

Tech Duinn, or the House of Donn is one of the places in Irish lore where the deceased go to. This loose incense has a combination of plant materials that are appropriate as a burnt offering to the Beloved and Mighty Dead, including sweet smelling sandalwood. The winner will receive 1/2 ounce in a baggie. This item, along with all my other incense have yet to be released in my shop. They will be available soon.

Beeswax Mullein Candle

This taper candle is actually a part of a dried mullein stalk that has been dipped in beeswax. The stalks of mullein were apparently used by the ancient Romans in funeral ceremonies, and I think that it would be a lovely addition to an Ancestor altar for Samhain or Hallowe'en. This candle is about 5 inches long and is for one-time burning {approximately 30-45 minutes burning time}. It fits nicely in a brass taper hold, and should have a plate or something underneath it to catch the ashes, should it be burnt indoors. {According to Nuno of the La Messe des Pâquerettes blog, the flames can be more than 15cm high. Definitely don't leave this unattended!}. This is an item that will not be for sale in my Etsy shop.

How to Enter the Giveaway

To enter all you need to do is share your favourite folklore, tradition, song, prayer, spell or ritual that is either associated with Samhain, Hallowe'en or Autumn harvests. Share any of the above in the comment section, or if you want to in a video or blog post, just make sure that it is linked in the comment section so I know that you have entered. One entry per person please! Entry deadline is Monday October 15th.

The winner will be chosen randomly, and none of the participants are obliged to subscribe to my blog or purchase anything from my shop.

Good luck!


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Upcoming Giveaway

I had mentioned on the Unfettered Wood Facebook page that I have an upcoming giveaway, so I figured I would do a wee update about it as some folks have been asking about it. I am just getting everything together and am going to take some photos of what will be in it.

The theme will be Samhain/Hallowe'en and it will have some of my wares {much of which has not been launched yet} as well as some other bits n bobs that I have made.

I will be "officially" be posting the giveaway next week, hopefully Monday or Tuesday.



Saturday, September 22, 2012

Straw Men & the Art of Scaring Crows

{Since that Autumn is now upon us, I thought that I would share a post that I had originally published on the nefaeria blog a few years back.}
original image by Notafly

Once I said to a scarecrow, 'You must be tired of standing in this lonely field, 'And he said, 'The joy of scaring is a deep and lasting one, and I never tire of it. 'Said I, after a minute of thought, 'It is true; for I too have known that joy. 'Said he, 'Only those who are stuffed with straw can know it. 'Then I left him, not knowing whether he had complimented or belittled me. A year passed, during which the scarecrow turned philosopher. And when I passed by him again I saw two crows building a nest under his hat.

I've always wanted a scarecrow. Not that I want to scare away my Corvid friends {more the merrier I say!}, but it is probably just another symptom of my barnheart

Whether they actually get the job done in scaring the crows from the fields is up for debate, but they sure do tend to creep many of us human folks out! That is probably why they are often a symbol of Hallowe'en, and how it got the nick Dead Man of the Field

Of course, you do have the odd cute and cuddly scarecrow, like the one from The Wizard of Oz and the ones people have hanging around that look like a straw version of Raggedy Anne.

Dorothy & The Scarecrow, 1900
After doing a little bit of poking around, I was somewhat surprised to find that the historical use of the scarecrow can be found across various cultures, including Native American tribes, Japan, and of course Europe.
In her article The Great Scarecrow In Days Long Ago, Juliette Wood takes a look at some of the other names given to scarecrows and their origins; titles such as 'tattie-doolie', 'mommet', and 'bogle'.

The most widely known English term for these figures is scarecrow, but other, more regional terms, such as 'bogle', 'doolie' and occasionally 'mommet'or 'mawhini' are used to describe such figures. Most of the citations in the Oxford English Dictionary date to the sixteenth century and later, but there can be little doubt that scarecrows were in use much earlier. The terminology reflects both the function and nature of these effigies. 

The term ‘scarecrow’ reflects its role exactly and could be applied to a person who was employed to perform the task of keeping birds and other predators out of the fields as well as the figure. The same is true for 'doolie', if one takes this to be a variant of dole (marker). The rare Berkshire dialect word, 'hodmedod', refers to a silly person, while 'mommet' reflects the construction, something made of rags like a mop. 

'Bogle' is the only term with even a suspicion of the supernatural about it. The exact origin of the word is unclear, both 'bwg' (Welsh for ghost) and German 'boggel mann' are possible suggestions. 'Bwgan' is a common word for scarecrow in Welsh(Davies 2000) as is 'bodach' in Scots Gaelic (MacFhionghuin 1951), but this does really explain why a word with apparent supernatural overtones should be applied to the field figure.

These names usual refer to the straw men image that we tend to see the scarecrow as today, although they were sometimes made from different materials.

In ancient Greece the well-endowed Priapus had the honours of having his image carved out of wood for the purpose of keeping not only birds and predators away, but also thieves and other pesky intruders {The Royal Museum at Naples by Colonel Fanin}.

According to Lafcadio Hearn in Japan, an Attempt at Interpretation, the Shinto God Sohodo-no-Kami is the protector of the fields and the lord of scarecrows. In the book Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Japan by Asiatic Society of Japan it is said of Sohodo-no-Kami:

Sohodo no Kami, also called Kaye-biko, is the scarecrow placed in the fields to frighten away birds and animals, and though it is a very ugly and miserable creature, the divine books says of it 'this is a god that knows everything in the empire, although his legs are unable to walk.' 

As the spirits of all the gods have recourse to it, and perform wonders, it is a very dreadful deity, and therefore an image of it should be placed before the door of the shrine for the spirits of the gods who are bidden thither to rest upon.

Often scarecrows of Sohodo-no-Kami would be made from sticks and rags and placed in the rice fields.

The Zuñi people of the American southwest would make scarecrows from long cedar poles with animal furs and feathers hanging off them {Corn Raising: The Decay of the Seed}.

The Scarecrow by Anchise Picchi
Some of the earliest references to scarecrows comes out of Egypt, where they weren't effigies stuffed with straw, but actual people who would guard the fields, and throw sticks and rocks at critters who trespassed.

In England, young lads who had the same job description were often called 'tattie-doolies' and 'Jack O'Kent'. They would often make noise by jingling bells, banging together sticks, or using wood clappers to scare off the crows {Country Living Gardener A Blessing of Toads: A Gardener's Guide to Living by Susan Lovejoy}. 

After the black plague, straw men became a more common appearance, since so many of the children died off. Farmers would often cloth the scarecrows in rags, and put gourds or turnips on their head {perhaps the birth of the scarecrow from Sleepy Hollow?}.

A growing trend seems to be fairs featuring scarecrow making contests. Pumpkinrot is one of those people who have been making scarecrows and entering them into contests, and they are some of the most beautiful {in a skeery way!} scarecrows I have ever seen! I especially love Bog Man and Cryptzoology.

You can head on over to the webby to see galleries of the scarecrows, as well as inspiring Hallowe'en decorations.

And I now leave you a video of Bog Man



Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Tuesday's Magic

I find Tuesdays particularly potent for heavy-duty protection magic; during the waxing period of the moon to draw in safety, and for the waning period sending back aggression to those who have harmful intentions. Dealing with sexual matters, raising up gusto for projects and taking on confrontations are also suitable for Tuesdays.

Pictured is a spell for family protection, with the assistance of some of my Ancestors. The candle used is one that I made for Ancestral workings {scented with sandalwood essential oil and it has wormwood and graveyard dirt in it} which was anointed with rowan oil.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Mullein Candles & Torches

After collecting the seeds and leaves from my mullein plant I cut down the stalk as part of my on-going garden clean up, and instead of just tossing it onto my compost heap I decided to have a go at making mullein candles/torches. It's been a couple of decades or so since I made them at camp, which were used later in our stay around the firepit as rustic lighting.

The Witch of Forest Grove suggests that mullein torches can be used in necromancy rituals, and this would make sense as according to Maud Grieve in her A Modern Herbal says of mullein:
'Torches' is another name for the plant, and Parkinson tells us:
'Verbascum is called of the Latines Candela regia, and Candelaria, because the elder age used the stalks dipped in suet to burne, whether at funeralls or otherwise.'

My mullein stalk was already dried when I harvested it, and I tried to get as many seeds from it before chopping it up into 5 inch pieces. I decided to go for candles in lieu of a torch so I can use them indoors. I got four in total and they were dipped into approximately 50 gr of melted beeswax {with some pretty essential oil added too}.

Some lovelies for my Ancestor altar this Samhain. If you decide to try this please do let me know how you like them! 



P.S. According to this site mullein candles that are 6 inches long burn for about 50 minutes and have flames that are 2 to 4 inches in height; once lit they are to be burnt to completion. 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Unfettered Wood Etsy Shop is Now Open

I have finally opened up the Unfettered Wood Etsy shop! I only have a few things listed right now but hope to put some more up soon. Below you will see what is in the shop so far:

Wortcunning Powder, Healer's Blend

Wortcunning Powder, Dark Arts Blend

Ancestral Graveyard Dirt

Vintage framed Madonna & Child print

Thank you to those who have been asking and waiting, your patience is appreciated!



Blue Moon Purification

On the night of the blue moon I decided to do a lustration ritual for myself with a prayer that I tweaked from the Carmina Gadelica. To see a particularly lovely adaptation, check out the one on the Gaol Naofa website.