Hail The Thunder Moon!

thunder_square

Tonight is July’s full moon, sometimes called the Thunder moon.  We are definitely waiting for a thunderstorm here at Feral HQ, as summer has come on with a vengeance. I currently type to you in 33 degree centigrade heat, something we are just not used to in the North!

To celebrate we are having a sale in July on all my Tesla Hoops– the gauged threaders fit through tunnels worn in stretched ears.  Just visit the Tesla Hoop Collection at feralstrumpet.co.uk use coupon code THUNDER at checkout.  Offer expires 31/07/2016.

These threaders now come in a rainbow of coil colours for you to choose from!  The coil slips over the hoop to secure it in place– making it both decorative and practical.

These colourful coils come in metal tones as well as brights– perfect for summer or when you need an injection of your personal power colour in your life!
teslas_colours_choice
Here is a short video showing how to put on and take off the hoops:

Happy Birthday, Doctor Dee

dr.dee

Magical objects said to belong to Dee, now housed together in the British Museum.

Magical objects said to belong to Dee, now housed together in the British Museum.

Today is the birthday of Doctor Dee, court magician and mathemetician to Queen Elizabeth the I.  My ambivalent fascination with Doctor Dee can be traced back to a single object– his scrying mirror in the cabinet of curiousities that is the Enlightenment Hall of the British Museum. During my monthly pilgrimages to the British Museum, I would always pay a visit to this most seductive of objects, desplayed beside a crystal ball and a pair of Enochian tablets– tools to decode the angelic language dee and Edward Kelley thought would be the key to communing with angels.

The Scrying Mirror Ring, made to order in your size at Feralstrumpet.co.uk

The Scrying Mirror Ring, made to order in your size at Feralstrumpet.co.uk

His angelic conversations were always conducted with Christian piety, perhaps sparing him from the witch trials rampant at the time. He had hoped the angels could help heal the very real spiritual rift left from the dissolution of the Catholic church and the new Church of England.

This is an exray of a painting of John Dee performing an experiment in front of Elizabeth I.  The exray reveals a circle of skulls at his feet.

This is an x-ray of a painting of John Dee performing an experiment in front of Elizabeth I. The x-ray reveals a circle of skulls at his feet.

Portrait of John Dee.

Portrait of John Dee.

We are left to wonder just what kind of magician was Dr. Dee? The newly revealed circle of skulls at his feet in the painting above– and that they were once painted over– speaks to this ambivalence. He was perhaps foremost a librarian– his library was the largest in England.  After six years abroad, advising monarchs in Central Europe, Dee returned to London to find his home and library vandalised and ransacked.  He was an imperialist, one of the early architects of the colonisation of America.  Perhaps its no wonder that this power object, his “devil’s mirror” was Aztec obsidian imported to England in the early 1500s. The coloniser and colonised are wedded in the deepest ways, but I digress.

The Scrying Mirror Chandelier Earrings at Feralstrumpet.co.uk

The Scrying Mirror Chandelier Earrings at Feralstrumpet.co.uk

Was the mirror even Dee’s? We only have Horace Walpole’s word on this. Fiction is often closer to the truth, and the stories we have inherited have already given shape to a shifting past.  In the iconic portrait of Dr. Dee, he seems to be contained in a round wonder cabinet, his black cap resembling his “devil’s mirror”, a black nimbus framing his head. His pointed beard, like the finger of a planchette aimed into the dark, asks us to decipher some secret at his heart.

Terry Pratchett, that true bard of the English soul, got it right– here we have a wizard of the Unseen University– and I a Granny Weatherwax wanna be, staring into the dark glass.

The Scrying Mirror Neckalce at Feralstrumpet.co.uk

The Scrying Mirror Neckalce at Feralstrumpet.co.uk

 

 

What the Dwarfs Taught Me

Sudri, the Chrysoprase pendant from the Sindri's Forge collection at Feralstrumpet.co.uk

Sudri, the Chrysoprase pendant from the Sindri’s Forge collection at Feralstrumpet.co.uk

Dwarfs get a bad rap– chthonic whistling hoarders, pathologically sneezing, sleeping or grumpy, these homunculi have never been able to compete with the glamour of elves.  But what if I told you they really were elves?

Moss Agate Pendant from the Sindri's Forge collection

Moss Agate Pendant from the Sindri’s Forge collection

Hot Dwarf or Dark Elf? It's semantics--my point is made. Aidan Turner as a Kili the Dwarf from the Hobbit.

Hot dwarf or dark elf? It’s semantics–my point is made. Aidan Turner as a Kili the Dwarf from the Hobbit.

When I first started cold forging, it was a magical process.  As I have become more masterful, something else guides my hands, something older and wiser than myself, but who or what is helping me?

 by Arthur Rackham

by Arthur Rackham

rose_quartz_pendant-4According to Norse myth, dwarfs were born from the maggots swarming the dead body of Ymir, the primordial giant birthed from melting ice in the great void.  Their beginnings were less than auspicious, it’s true. Dwarves have made some of the most powerful artifacts of Norse legend– Thor’s hammer, Freya’s necklace, the magic ring Draupir, the fetter to bind the apocalytpic wolf Fenrir and Odin’s spear as well as the replacement for Siv’s golden hair.

Nordi.  Rutilated Quartz pendant from the Sindri's Forge Collectiom

Nordi. Rutilated Quartz pendant from the Sindri’s Forge Collectiom

GOALS.  Total aside, but what of the Dwarf women? Read this wonderful post on male-bias gender neutrality and dwafs up at Lady Geek Girl.

GOALS. Total aside, but what of the Dwarf women? Read this wonderful post on male-bias gender neutrality and dwarfs up at Lady Geek Girl.

The delicacy of my wire work, the fluidity of the copper and vine-like qualities of the metal come from hands that have begun to ache with arthritis, that are cut and calloused.  It is a common theme in mythology that the smiths that create great beauty are wounded, misshapen, as if their bodies are a foil to their creations. I’m no different.

But in the words of the Völva in the Völuspá, what of the elves?

In Norse mythology, dwarfs live in Nidvallir, or Dark Fields, which is also called Svartalhiem or dark-elf-land. Dwarfs are dark elves.  I have named my recent collection after their ancestor Sindri.  Adornment was a powerful force in Norse myth, and beauty forged of metal and stone was an essential part of Old Norse life.  The power to make such things was seen as magical, something which originated with the beginnings of the universe.  When the gods made their first temples they also made forges alongside them. They smelted ore and created tongs and tools for smithing before even creating human beings. The dark elves are the keepers of these first secrets, and they have shared them with me.

My alter-ego.  Jewellery vendor dwarf from the Hobbit film.

My alter-ego. Jewellery vendor dwarf from the Hobbit film.

This One is For My Dance Sisters…

brigantesMany of my shop supporters and customers are fellow belly dancers.  I thought you might be interested in this epic post I’ve written for my American Tribal Style® Belly Dance Blog all about costuming for Tribal Belly Dance. I wrote it primarily for my beginner students who are coming up to their first performances this summer, but it might be of use to anyone who dances in the Tribal Style, or anyone who is curious what goes into the elaborate costume!

Root Moon Blessings

root_moon_squareAccording to old German Custom, this month’s full moon is the Root Food Moon.  It seemed to fit the moon I’m in, going back to basics in my craft and my daily practices of meditation and dance.

To celebrate, I’ve gathered together all the tree, root and moon inspired designs in my independent shop, feralstrumpet.co.uk into the Root Moon Collection.  For the rest of the month of May 2016, receive 20% the collection with coupon code ROOTMOON. (only at feralstrumpet.co.uk)

How are you feeding your roots this full moon?

It’s the Season of the Bindi

Photo of Brigantes Tribal dancing at Beltane at Thornborough Henge by S'ana Yates.

Photo of Brigantes Tribal dancing at Beltane at Thornborough Henge by S’ana Yates.

"Women with Upraised Arms Holding Flowers" Bindi, after my Teacher Caroleena Nericcio-Bohlman's one-sentence concept of ATS® Belly Dance

“Women with Upraised Arms Holding Flowers” Bindi, after my Teacher Caroleena Nericcio-Bohlman’s one-sentence concept of ATS® Belly Dance

It’s summer– I just returned from camping at Thornborough Henge (The Stonehenge of the North) for the Beltane Festival there.  I danced with my American Tribal Style® Belly Dance Troupe, Brigantes Tribal, during the festival which is held in the Neolithic henge every year.  Despite the freezing temperatures and crazy winds, we honoured our ancestors and the goddess of this place– Brigantia– closely tied to a much older goddess, Bride or Brigid who is the goddess of poetry, brewing, healing and smithcraft.  All are vocations I have undertaken in my life and in many ways this goddess has guided me through them all.

The Shub Niggurath Eye Bindi

The Shub Niggurath Eye Bindi

As festival season gets into full swing, and haflas (belly dance parties) start happening almost every weekend, I thought I would make some bindis!

What is a bindi?  Bindu is a sanskrit word meaning dot and is traditionally worn by Hindu women as a spiritual symbol, but the bindi has grown into a fashion statement in the countries where it was traditionally worn as a red dot of power, expertly applied.  It has also become an item of adornment across cultures.

The Hearts in Spades Bindi in Emerald

The Hearts in Spades Bindi in Emerald

The bindi’s traditional significance has many beautiful aspects– it heightens the inward gaze, and adorns the third eye chakra, which is the locus of inspiration and the place of focus in meditation.

Nothing enhances the eyes like a bindi– adding intensity and sparkle to the most expressive part of the face.  I love to wear bindis while I dance, as a beautiful adornment as well as a sign of respect and honour of the roots of my dance, many of which come from classical Indian dance.  Also, I couldn’t dance without my third eye– without spiritual connection and deep-mind instinct!  The bindi reminds me to dance from that place, the inspired soul-mind at work.

The Hare and Moon Bindi

The Hare and Moon Bindi

My bindis are inspired by dance and Pagan ritual as well as myths and legends.  They would enhance your ensemble at any Pagan celebration or handfasting!

 

The Hamsa Bindi is available in many colours to compliment your costume.

The Hamsa Bindi is available in many colours to compliment your costume.

My bindis are made with care to last through multiple wearings.  I use spirit gum to apply mine, but others use eyelash glue and it works for them.  I need something a bit more heavy duty because I can get pretty, ahem, dewy when I dance. If you choose to use spirit gum, thinly coat the back of the bindi and leave it to get tacky.  Do your eyes or lips or something and come back after several minutes have passed.  Place it directly on the skin and hold for a few seconds.  When removing the bindi be sure to clean any makeup off the back either with olive oil or vodka will also work!

The Current Version of the Mother Weaver Spider Bindi

The Current Version of the Mother Weaver Spider Bindi

Tesla Coil Threaders, a How To

Here is a quick video showing you how to put on and take off Tesla Coil Hoops. Here I’m wearing the 12g in Bronze which has a lovely rose gold hue.  My gauge is currently 0g.  I have other designs in different gauges and metals here.

Here is a diagram showing you how the coiled tube slides open and closed.

Here is a diagram showing you how the coiled tube slides open and closed.