F is for Fetish
This blog follows directly from B is for Bis
"Wood for the living, Stone for the dead." Celtic proverb
The choice of wood used is important. I live in the northern hemisphere where the traditional uk woodland provides soft woods. The hardest timber that grows here is pine which was imported from Scandanavia. It grows straight, the wisdom keepers for pine are the Ojibway (Chipawa) indians of Canada which has the same climate. I was taught that Pine is metaphor for "truth in lifes path"; many branches but only one true Way.
An example of how the available equivalent materials changes a culture can be seen between the Irish buzuki as compared with the Arabic and Greek buzuki. Buzuki is a long-necked lute, a musical instrument. Hardwood enables a domed resonance chamber body where the Irish model has a softwood flat-backed body. The sound is beautiful, medieval, folky, in both variants however it is distinctly different depending on the softness or hardness of the wood, and the shape of the resonance. This is perceptible even when playing the same song. The traditional styles played on this instrument are definitely indicative of a medieval or prior trade route between Ireland and the Mediterranean as recognized by both Irish and Eastern history by story of Noah sending his daughter on a second Ark to Ireland.
Although I have several attempts and an avid interest, I am not a musical instrument maker. Most of my woodcraft is for wands and unique faye artifacts.
I collect the wood shed by trees; I do not cut them, with the exception of a living relationship with Willow, which is polarded and used for strengthening embankments and as a medicine against the arthritis common to people in the cold damp country of Wales. Willow is brittle once dried.
I love the natural weave of vines and the knots and warps of softwood. It reminds me of Celtic knotwork which in turn reminds me of folk music. Every item of wood I gather has to in some way be reminiscent of something, by its shape and energy. It has grown to serve a purpose, and finds me on my path when the time is right.
"Our tools come when we need them." vodou tenet
For this reason my fetish's are different from the carved wooden artifacts of African tribal spiritualism. The shaping of a piece has largely been done by Nature. My role is to adorn the piece and work with its concept. Jungian archetypes a prevalent in my work. However, the techniques involved with primitive artifacts, the tradition of fetish use, as a practical daily ritual in communion with the Spirit world, is welcomely imported wholesale as a part of my living tradition.
Poppets or voodoo dolls developed once fabric making had become industrialized and are used because traditional African wooden fetishes are a lot more difficult carve than fabric is to sew. Driving nails in to a deity to get its attention, and sticking a pin into a pin-cushion, are comparable. Another difference with use of voodoo dolls is the result comes from the users own will or desire, rather than communicating with a spirit, requesting it to serve and achieve the result. Contemporary voodoo in this sense cuts out the middle-man and sure makes it easier to be getting on with.
What was used prior to availability of metal nails?
F is for Fetter's
"The Love we with-hold is the pain that we feel."
Vasseius, via Alex Collier
Fetters are the chains that bind. They are the keys to unlocking the illusion we generate, to preserve a comfort zone of the familiar. They are need based. They are the ritual cycles we are trapped into, until we let go and can move on. Fetters are our attachments. They are tricks, used to bind spirits against their will, to take their freedom, to control them. Often these energies work through us, through Ego. This theme is continued in E is for Ego.
Fetters are Dogma that inhibit our freedom.