Tree Frog Tattoo by Sylvie le Sylvie

pacific tree frog tattoo by sylvie le sylvie

My first tattoo. Inked and finalized by Sylvie le Sylvie.

Pacific tree frogs (Pseudacris regilla) are the most commonly heard frogs in British Columbia. They can change their colour in a matter of minutes. As amphibians, they live their lives in two worlds: the submarine life of a tadpole and the semi-terrestrial life of a grown frog. They embrace the elements of Earth and Water, making their homes in each.

The hind legs of my frog are represented by a feather and a leaf of the broadleaf plantain (Plantago major). The feather is a representation of elemental Air. Broadleaf plantain leaves are used to soothe stings and small cuts. They are like natural bandaids!

The square together with the intangible circle represents the altar, a sacred space, with its magickal circle of power.

Surrounding the altar are four offerings. In the upper left is the flower of the bitterroot (Lewisia rediviva), an edible, if bitter, taproot. Following clockwise is a representation of solar Fire: the sunflower (Helianthus maximiliani). An ammonite fossil (Ammonoidea) resides in the lower right corner. As the remains of an extinct mollusc, ammonites represents the element of Water and mortality.  Elemental Stone (or Earth if one prefers) is represented as a quartz cluster (SiO2).

These were not the original symbols and meanings, though the central image of a frog and its connection to the four elements has remained consistent throughout the three year revision process.

From the beginning I was keen to design the tattoo myself and have that design translated by a tattoo artist to better fit the medium of skin and ink. I wanted to have the tattoo inked in my home town of Nelson, BC. After careful consideration, I found the work of Sylvie le Sylvie, of the Timber Tattoo Co. Animals and plants are plentiful in her work, which has a rich, black and white, aesthetic. After a consultation, she made several changes to the design, arriving at the finished product a week later. The tattoo was inked on a drizzly morning on the day after the vernal equinox.

This is my first tattoo. It may not be my last, but for now I could not ask for a more magickal connection to nature, the elements, and the mineral, floral, & animal kingdoms.

Magickal Ostara Update

Spring has come reluctantly to my part of the world. The clouds have hugged the ground and wept their daily tears. With the coming of the equinox, the seasons have indeed turned on their wheel. The sun is once more shining brightly above, driving the winter drifts back beneath the soil. The crocuses will soon begin their flowering.

With this changing of the seasons, I felt a shift. Spring is a time for decisions, dedications, and new adventures. For three years I have been working on the design for a magickal tattoo. My creation speaks to the elements and cycles of the natural world.As a portion of my sabbat ritual, I made a consecration and dedication. It has been some time since I performed a proper magickal working. Ritual and prayer are a much larger part of my spiritual practice, but this called for something more direct. Tomorrow, the day following Ostara, is the day I take this design into my being.

Wishing you all the happiest of equinoxes,

Callum.

Turning Paperbacks into Beautiful Hardback Tomes 

Recently, I decided to revisit my long standing project of re-covering the books in my library. I’ve been using a new more versatile technique which allows the artist to create many different styles of books. The covers are made from card stock much as the ones made in this blog post. The covers are then decorated with raised designs and covered in a fine paper mâché. The mâché technique ends up looking a lot more impressive in person than I had at first imagined.

For more information on the building of these books, you can watch the video I made documenting the process. I used several other articles for the inspiration and technique behind the creation of these books: For the Love of Books: A Guide to Knocking Together Your Own Journals’08 Halloween #12: Making Creepy Books, Altered Halloween Books Tutorial, new and improved!, and Crafty Mommy & Me.

Poking Fun

I came across this slightly foolish idea in Scott Cunningham’s book Earth Power. It’s an awesome book which I highly recommend. However, in his section on fire magic, Cunningham quite seriously implies that burning a sample of tobacco as a symbol for the problem of smoking is a good idea. I got a good laugh out of it. Sometimes,

For the symbols think a moment – if you overeat, take a portion of your favourite food and throw it onto the fire. Smoking, drinking the same.

It could be worse, he might have suggested drinking the alcohol!

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“No I’m not smoking. I’m just burning this cigarette as a magical symbol of my desire to quit!”