Nahusha Hoops, World Serpents and Keepers of Secrets

 

Nahushas on Instagram– clockwise from top left: @ninarosewylie, @missmagissa, @dagger_dutchess and @misslunapoison

The Nahusha Hoops are inspired by my ouroboros Anglo Saxon brooches. Designed in lightweight, work-hardened aluminium to be worn through tunnels or bare stretched piercings. The tumbled and hammered aluminium takes on a moon-glow. Perfect to wear if you don’t want to stretch your gauge further but still want a minimalist rustic statement earring; they look heavy but are actually light to wear. This abstracted hoop is inspired by the World Serpents known throughout world myth as a creator-destroyer and keeper of secrets. 

I make these hoops in 2 gauge sizes: large 4g (4.50 mm) and medium 6g (3.25mm). All hoops measure approximately 2″ in diameter as well as 12g or 2mm in a cold-forged bronze. The bronze I use is a lovely rose-gold colour.  Keep your eyes on the shop, as I will soon be rolling these out in pure sterling silver in a 12g. 

12g Nahusha Hoops in Bronze at feralstrumpet.co.uk

You can open the hoops by gently pulling one end toward you and then sliding it back into place, like a jump ring.

The popularity of this open circle is found in many of my designs, including the pennanular brooch and worry ring as well as hidden away my logo! Known to the Gnostics as the Wise Serpent, the Ouroboros revealed the mysteries of the heavens, protecting the world-egg. This symbol can be traced back to an earlier Goddess, Nehushta, a parallel of the Hindu world-serpent Nahusha. The Norse called this the Nidhogg, the World Serpent eating away at the roots of the World Tree.  A wingless dragon, she took on a darker significance in the Middle Ages when female snakes were thought to swallow the male in order to reproduce.

Here’s what one satisfied customer had to say about these hoops:

“Perfect weight to them. Love the hammered texture. Easy to wear and goes with a lot of shit. Thank you again. Will be ordering new earrings soon” – Kali

Thank you to my gorgeous and inspiring IG community who have posted images of themselves wearing these hoops– noteably @ninarosewylie, @missmagissa, @misslunapoison and @dagger_dutchess Do you have a pair?  I would love to see them– send me a pic!

Feral Vintage Shop Update

I’ve been busy filling the shop with lovely vintage pieces– they are going fast.  Gorgeous tribal Kuchi pieces, sterling silver and gemstone rings from the 80s and some heady Baltic amber among other treats are all waiting to be snapped up. Check out the Vintage and Antique Collection at Feralstrumpet.co.uk to see it all.

I have always been a collector of vintage pieces, from back in my high school days in the 80s when you could still find plentiful vintage at thrift stores and charity shops. I was often drawn to pieces because of a detail, colour or texture– only to find after some research I had indeed “scored” and found something of value.  As I became more knowledgeable I sold vintage pieces as a hobby and a way to supplement my salary as a University lecturer.  I think is the time spent with vintage pieces that provided me with a crash course in jewellery design, and their construction an whimsy have remained a prime influence in my work.  I still source vintage when I can, refurbishing it when necessary or using fragments to recreate new designs. I love pieces that carry a history, and a glimpse of the past– beyond the wonderful quality of vintage pieces I offer– each has a unique narrative that they are no doubt saving for their new owners alone!

Ostara Stars!


Spring is here, lovelies! I know because I saw a massive Queen bee buzzing around my garden, (Seriously, she was the size of a small bird) and the daffs have started to bloom on the Medieval city walls!

This is such a special Equinox, coming as it does on the heels of a waning half moon. We have all needed this spring energy so much for all the wonderful changes that are afoot in our lives.

To celebrate, I’ve collected all my spring favourites in one spot, The Ostara Stars Collection, and am offering 20% off everything there with coupon code OSTARA17 from now until March 21st, 2017.

What signs of spring have you seen? What are your plans for Ostara this year?

Hedgeriders, Soul Flight and a not-so-literal Brocken

 

The Flying Ointment Necklace, inspired by an old hedge-rider’s recipe.

Flying Ointment, the poisonous balm that aided witches in flight, has many recipes.  Modern ones might not get you there, as the most potent and potentially lethal ingredients will have been omitted.  In this necklace, however,  I’ve included three of the most dangerous.  Datura, henbane and nighshade are represented with Czech glass flowers and the  beautifully detailed little Queen stands in for the beeswax vehicle.   Soot is often mentioned as an ingredient– hence the black colourway of the piece.  I’ve included the skulls because if the recipes for flying ointment teach us anything, it’s that witches were skilled poisoners as well as herbalists, and the nuanced proportions of ingredients in the ointment could either aid in soul flight, alleviate the pain of childbirth or other woes through “twilight sleep”, or of course, kill you.

One of the oldest recorded accounts of the use of flying ointment is from the 2nd century in Apuleius’ delightful Golden Ass. There are also recipes mentioned in Margaret Murray’s exhaustive (and exhausting) Witch Cult in Western Europe, which modern day witches can only read critically, trying to decipher the truth through the lens of these “confessions” often elicited under torture. Much of the evidence we have left to us from our powerful female ancestors is weighted with such distortions.  Perhaps by flying ourselves to visit them, through soul-flight and meditation, we might know a better truth. Often witches are depicted flying in groups, communing– there are few solitaries where flight is concerned!  So were such ancestral Sabbats the ultimate destination of their night flights as well? Did they also meet with those who’d come before, not at a literal Brocken but somewhere else beyond this time and space?

This necklace was made to honour the hedge riders of the past who risked everything for wisdom and the healing of others.

Image of witches concocting flying ointment before the sabbat (Hans Baldung Grien, 1514) from PotShot

For a more in-depth treatment of this subject online, see Sarah Ann Lawless’ Blog.

 

A new Logo for Feral Strumpet

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Meet the new logo for Feral Strumpet, created by Alaura of Desnoir. After seeing the work she did for Black Moon Cosmetics, among other brands, I knew she was the woman for the job!  After giving Alaura some ideas she was able to create this design which is medieval, gothic and also based on some of my best selling designs, the Nahusha hoops and Pennanular brooches as well as the Worry Ring. She created the perfect design on the first version– I love it and feel it encapsulates the mysterious, delicate and beautiful world of Feral Strumpet that I have created.  Alaura was a joy to work with and I recommend her highly.

While you are perusing Feralsturmpet.co.uk‘s new look, take a peek at the mighty shop update in the What’s New Collection!

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Rising Sap & New Moons

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Imbolc is just a few days away, and it is one of my favourite days on the Wheel of the Year.  This year is comes aided by a new moon and I don’t know about you, but I can already feel the rising sap, up in my bones, as I look for the first snow drops to appear, heralding a change. Above I’ve chosen a selection of pieces that remind me of this energy– clockwise from the upper left– The Snowdrop Fairy Flower Earrings, The Mother Troll Amethyst Necklace, The Griffin Milk Earrings, The Gerd– a delicate sterling silver strand with faceted chrysoprase, the silver scent locket (what would you put inside to herald spring?) and lastly the Cosmic Hug pendant of Rose Quartz.

Tomorrow I’ll be putting together my altar, and cleaning and oiling all my tools in honour of the heathen Charming of the Plough.  I’ll give thanks to Brigid, who in the form of Brigantia, was the goddess of the tribal ancestors of this area– she was also the goddess of the forge, brewing and poetry; she has guided my hand in all these things and I am eternally grateful. What do you do to celebrate Imbolc and herald the first glimmerings of spring?

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