Friday, May 17, 2013

Craft: Celebrate the Summer Solstice by Creating a Solar Talisman

The Summer Solstice is right around the corner, so now is the time to start planning store events, home altars, rituals, and get-togethers. Looking for inspirational recipes, crafts, or rituals to help you celebrate? Llewellyn's 2014 Sabbats Almanac has everything you need to celebrate the entire Wheel of the Year. We've included instructions for creating a solar talisman for the Summer Solstice, which appears in Llewellyn's 2014 Sabbats Almanac. This makes a great craft project, whether you plan to make just one for yourself, enjoy some Sabbat time as a family, or put together a store event.

Written by Black Octavian Blair, Excerpted from Llewellyn's 2014 Sabbats Almanac

The Sabbat of Litha, also called Midsummer, marks the Summer Solstice and the longest day of the year. This is a time to celebrate the Sun at the height of its power and the divine masculine whose energies are so closely tied to it. All of us, no matter what our gender, possess both the divine masculine and feminine within us. So when we celebrate the powers of the Sun, we celebrate as well as invoke and evoke that part of the divine within ourselves. In addition to masculinity there are many qualities associated with the planetary energies of the Sun, including creation, manifestation, health, protection, vitality, strength, and motivation, to name just a few.

This sabbat's craft will help you to honor and call upon these qualities through your own act of creation. It is no secret that Pagans love their jewelry, and when you complete this craft, you will have your own handcrafted solar talisman to wear during your Midsummer rites!  

Solar Talisman Necklace
Wearing a talisman is like keeping a battery charged with a specific magickal energy with you at all times and serves as a physical reminder of its corresponding goals and properties. This easy-to-make, oven-bake clay talisman features the inscription of a solar symbol and utilizes colors and herbal ingredients with solar correspondences to provide a sunny, energetic boost for the Litha season.

  • 1 (2 ounce) package oven bake-polymer clay
  • Bamboo skewer or a nail
  • Loose herbs of your choice
  • Necklace cord (hemp, nylon, cotton, or other material of choice)
  • Aluminum foil
  • Clay tools (optional)
  • Rolling pin (optional)

Before you begin your project, you will need to select a nonporous work surface such as a cookie sheet, a sheet of acrylic, or a glazed ceramic tile. An inexpensive option is to simply cover your work surface with aluminum foil. Polymer clays are nontoxic; however, if you choose to use any kitchen implements in the process such as a rolling pin or a cookie sheet, you still do not want to use it for food use after it has been used for clay work. I suggest obtaining them inexpensively from your local dollar store.

Choose a clay of a solar corresponding color. Shades of yellow and gold are excellent choices and are easy to find. Upon opening your package of clay, the first thing you will need to do is to condition the clay by kneading it. Clay straight from the package will be stiff and difficult to work with, and kneading the clay and working it in your hands will make it warmer and softer. Some people like to use a rolling pin for this. However, it can be just as effective to shape it into a ball, flatten it, and otherwise knead it like bread dough. At this time, you can also simply knead any herbs you wish to include into the clay. Focus on your magickal goals as you knead the clay to further imbue it with your intention. A thorough kneading will integrate the herbs and their properties into the clay as well as assure that all air pockets are removed. The following popular magickal herbs all have the Sun as their planetary ruler in addition to their other properties: chamomile, cedar, juniper, marigold, sunflower, copal, frankincense, and bay. Use a mortal and pestle or an electric spice or coffee grinder to reduce the herbs into very small pieces so that they integrate smoothly into the clay. Resins will need to be powdered. Once integrated, the clay should still be smooth to work with. Stop kneading when your clay becomes warm and is soft enough to work with.

When your clay becomes workable, you can begin shaping your talisman. One block of clay will be enough to make two or three talismans, so you can tear off a piece of clay the size you want to work with. I would start with a little less than half and adjust from there. Because it will ultimately take the form of a necklace pendant, I like to make a round, flat oval shape. To easily accomplish this, roll the clay into a ball, and press down on the center of the ball with your thumb. This will roughly smoosh the clay into the desired shape. A good thickness to aim for is approximately ⅜ of an inch. I find this to be a durable happy medium between too thin and frail and too thick and chunky. Continue to adjust the pendant by shaping it with your fingers until you reach the desired shape.

The next step is to inscribe the front of the talismanic pendant with the solar symbol of your choice. Research various sun symbols and choose one that resonates with you or create your own! A simple stylized sun works just fine. There are a few different ways to inscribe this into the clay. One is to use wooden clay tools (available at craft stores), many of which have a flat edge, to press and indent into the clay. However, an effective and inexpensive version of such a tool is a Popsicle stick. The other option is to scratch it into the soft clay with a bamboo skewer or a nail.

The final step before baking the talisman is to make a hole in which to string the cord through when it is finished. A bamboo skewer or nail works well for this task also. Be sure you choose a tool that will make a hole the proper size to accommodate the diameter of the cord you have chosen. Take the bamboo skewer or nail and carefully insert into the side of the pendant, about one-third of the way down from the top. Continue to push it through until it pokes out the other side. Stop and back the skewer out of the clay from where you initially pierced it. Do not try to push or pull the entire length of the skewer through the pendant as that much handling can distort the talisman's shape. Once this small tunnel is made for threading the cord, gently clean up any rough bits round the holes with your fingers.

At this point, your pendant is ready to bake! Cover your baking sheet with tinfoil and then place your talisman face up onto the sheet. Now simply follow the baking instructions on the clay package. Each brand can vary slightly. When it is finished baking, allow the pendant to cool completely. The pendant will have hardened during baking and will be fairly durable. The pendant is now ready to have the cord threaded through. Insert a long length of your cord and adjust to the desired length. Trim and knot the cord.

Congratulations! Your solar talisman necklace is complete! My favorite way to consecrate this pendant is to place it on my Litha altar after its creation to soak up the energy of the workings and blessings that take place there and then to wear the pendant during my sabbat ritual itself. Enjoy your handcrafted talisman, as it is of your own sacred creation. May you be blessed by the powers of the Sun this Litha and all year long!

Time to complete: About 75 minutes with baking and cooling time.
Cost: $10.00 to $20.00 (makes 3 or 4 talismans).

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