A Witch’s Guide to Fountain Pens

It often surprises people to learn that I write my books and blogs by hand. Computers and phones have become so ubiquitous that I think it just doesn’t occur to us that this might be an option that some writers still choose—it sounds so antiquated and needlessly difficult. Maybe even pretentious. I admit that I was inspired to give it a try after hearing that this is how Neil Gaiman writes his novels, and because I once had the privilege to see the original manuscript of Dickens’s Oliver Twist, and I literally wept like a giant nerd (In public! Surrounded by worried colleagues and friends!). I had a similar reaction to seeing Ray Buckland’s beat-up wirebound notebook at the Buckland Museum a few years ago, containing the earliest draft of his Complete Book of Witchcraft (not to compare Buckland to Dickens, but both have been instrumental in the course of my life for very different reasons).

Like, holy shit, friends, people used to have to write everything by hand. I think that’s incredible. I remember learning about monks and illuminated manuscripts in middle school and thinking, “I want that job.” Being a Gardnerian—with our penchant for hand-copying the Book of Shadows and writing our own over the course of our lives—is about as close as I could manage.

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Witch Show-and-Tell

So my last blog had a lot of words in it. This one is also about favorite witch stuff, but with more pictures. Here are some of my most significant witch items.

photo 1

This is my skinning knife. Knives are a big part of my witch practice, and this one is specifically reserved for the work I’m doing with the Horned God. I only began practicing (traditional) archery and learning to hunt last year, and I haven’t made a kill yet, but this is one of the knives that I’ll use when I do. I purchased it from a magical blacksmith I met at a festival, who promptly disappeared into the aether. When I asked for his business card, he gave me a slip of paper with GPS coordinates. Fucking magical.

photo 3

This is the amber and jet necklace that I inherited from my Witch Queen. Amber and jet carries a lot of significance in many BTW circles, both in terms of magical association and as a symbol of our hierarchies (what this looks like specifically may vary across traditions, though).  It’s a tremendous honor to own a piece of ritual jewelry that’s been passed down like this, and wearing it in circle reminds me of both my witch family and the weight (and privilege) of being a part of this tradition.  If the house caught fire, this is definitely something I’d make a break for.

photo 4

I’m not particularly skilled in any artistic medium, but I know enough about some that I can trick other people into thinking that I’m more capable than I really am. I was just messing around with Sculpey, using Oliver as a model, when it occurred to me: hey, wouldn’t it be potentially useful to have a figurine magically imbued with Oliver-ness? I could use it for related spellwork, but also just as a token for when I’m forced to live life without him. Via sympathetic magic, the statue becomes Oliver. So I mixed the clay with a generally warm-fuzzy-type herbal concoction, then hollowed it out and stuffed it full of Oliver hair. Ta da!

photo 5

I own several sets of runes, but this is the one that I use to read for other people. If you wander into the shop, this is what I’m fidgeting with at the back table (when I’m not buried in a book). Runes occupy this bizarro nebulous space for me because I’m not Heathen, but I nonetheless have this massive out-of-control relationship with runes. I definitely think there’s sort of a gateway thing happening, though, because I’m finding myself increasingly in Heathen spaces, whether socially or spiritually. The runes have their own magical space, away from my usual Wiccan shenanigans, and that’s what they seem to prefer. So I roll with it and see where it leads.

photo 2

This is another piece of Sculpey fabulousity, crafted as a surprise by Aspen, who is currently circling with Foxfire’s outer court. She presented it to me when we first met face-to-face, as a thank you, and I don’t think I’ve ever been so surprised and touched. See how the fox is wrapped up in thorns? Perfection. This little guy sits on my main working altar at all times.

How about you guys? What are your favorite magical items?