Beginnings

black_book

My Black Book, showing one of my own recipes (Heart of Saturn) and a couple by Daniel Schulke from either Ars Philtron or Viridarium Umbris.

I’ve been so jazzed about gettting started with Azoetia that I couldn’t wait to start working, so I created something to do in the meanwhile. I have Viridarium Umbris and Ars Philtron, both of which contain various recipes that I’ve been meaning to try. I decided to go through both books and choose which recipes I know I would like to do relatively soon and transfer the info to my Black Book (which is not black). I have stuff of my own in my Book, but it’s been my habit to do most of my recipe-making for the shop, so I don’t have a lot of things of my own in there (I have other books for the shop recipes). It was nice to choose recipes for things that I would like to try but that I know I could never make for the shop because of perhaps dangerous or rare ingredients or just the amount of labor involved. It will be great to make stuff just for me. I feel a bit spoiled already.

The first one I’ve chosen to make is Tears of the Dragon, an incense. It’s a simple recipe of dragonsblood resin, dammar, and iron powder and is focused on working with Draco. I decided to use red iron oxide instead of iron powder because I like the idea that it is basically rust. I’ve always been fond of the iron oxides in painting, so it seemed a natural choice for that reason as well. I found a beautiful one at naturalpigments.com.

red jarI usually use quart canning jars or tea tins to store incense in that I make for the shop, but I am not going to need anywhere near such large containers for my own work and Daniel Schulke very much encourages getting special containers for the Work. Do I need an invitation to get such things? Hardly. For this project, I chose this neat red and blue (the two colors of blood) jar. This guy makes various vessels that would be wonderful for the Work, and I love that I am getting something made by a self-employed artisan.

white_knifeI have not had much use for blades in magic I’ve done, and I’ve never needed the regulation white-hilted knife and a black-hilted knife, but they are mentioned in VU (and I think AP as well). The white-handled knife is used for harvesting herbs for magical work. In the past I have just used my pruners, which are steel, of course. Schulke mentions various metals for the blade of the white knife but also considers a ceramic blade fine. I like the ceramic bladed knife I use in the kitchen a lot. It’s wonderfully sharp and light. I tested its usability for harvesting herbs, and it’s good for cutting various types of stems and easy to manipulate, so I bought one with a white handle to use just for magic. This is a Kyocera kitchen knife, pretty inexpensive. I really like that it is energetically neutral but still quite usable. I don’t know yet if anything’s to be written on the hilt or not.

I found a wonderful cauldron tor making ritual infusions on rubylane.com, an antiques site where the sellers are a bit more professional than ebay generally. I looked through tons of different types of neutral pots made of glass, enameled steel, and porcelain-coated cast iron. I really wanted some vintage Granite Ware, which is the speckled stuff people still use for camping. There’s an old glaze that is mottled gray that I really love, but I could not find anything that did not have some rust on the inside, and that would have meant contaminating the work with Mars energy. Although I was looking at Granite Ware, I ended up with a white enameled steel soup pot with brass fittings. I knew as soon as I saw it that it was the right one for me. which is weird, because I have nothing white that I use for rituals at all. Enamel is fused glass, so it too is neutral. I’ll snap a photo when it arrives.

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