atlas catalan

Map of Asia from the Atlas Catalan, likely by Cresque Abraham, c. 1375. Currently in the collections of the Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris. Image taken from ARTstor.

“In the late fourteenth century, Barcelona was highly regarded as a center of mapmaking. The Atlas Catalan, likely produced by a Jewish cartographer from Mallorca [a Balearic island in the Mediterranean Sea] named Cresque Abraham, is a traditional mappa mundi [‘map of the world’], with Jerusalem in its center. The twelve-paneled map unfolds like a screen, providing information about various locations, including their geographical placement as well as their historical and mythological significance. The atlas also delineates portolan charts or sailing directions. In 1381, Pere IV of Aragon gave the work to an envoy of Charles V of France. Although the map indicates navigational directions, it was not intended for daily use. On the contrary, the atlas served as a luxurious collector’s item housed in a royal library. The section of the map displayed here represents Southeast Asia and China. Although the accuracy of the map wanes as one leaves the Mediterranean basin, it is one of the first maps to indicate the international travels of Marco Polo.” (Snyder, Art of the Middle Ages, 414)

Midwinter Alchemy Giveaway!

I am pleased to offer another giveaway. Since my last two giveaways were divination-related, this one is magick-related and focuses specifically on what is called herbal alchemy. As everyone likely knows, I’ve been heavily focused on it as of late, as well as more traditional alchemical processes, and I’m quite happy with the progress I’ve made. Thus, I’ve concocted some blends for this giveaway, and will also be including brand new copies of two of my absolute favorite books  on herbal alchemy, as well as a nice journal (as I usually do).

The first book is called The Herbal Alchemist’s Handbook, and is by Katherine Harrison. It gives an intricate account of the herbs associated with each planet and how they can be used, surpassing the basics offered by many other texts. It’s readily understandable regardless of whether you’re just starting out, or an experienced practitioner. Much of the associations Harrison mentions involve the physical effects of the plants upon the human body, which is a novel way of looking at it for some witches and alchemists. Most interestingly, there’s an entire section devoted to compounding herbal “prescriptions” based on an individual’s natal chart!

The second book is The Weiser Concise Guide to Herbal Magick, by Judith Hawkins-Tillerson. This book is based on Crowley’s 777 for the most part and gives a slightly deeper look into herbs, referencing the Kabbalistic Tree of Life and other similar reference points. It’s excellent for anyone wanting to pick up a little bit of information about Kabbalah while also learning alchemy. The most exciting aspect of this book is the extreme detail it goes into, not only about what plants are associated with which planet or path, but also why they have that association! It’s great stuff!

The journal is called Cosmology and was created by Peter Pauper Press. It is pictured above between the two herb books. I actually have one identical to it, which I’m currently using. With large pages and a lot of them, this journal will last you much longer than most! It’s also gorgeous, with a beautiful image from Abraham Cresques’s Catalan Atlas. It shows an astronomer or astrologer in the center, representing the earth, and concentric rings for various celestial principles. I chose to include this one because so much of my personal perspective on herbal alchemy is influenced by astrology.

The main thing, though: I’m giving away seven herbal charms, each harnessing the force of a particular traditional planet. These are: the Sun, the Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, and Saturn. They were each made on the day of the week corresponding to the planet. They are made of herbs, essential oils, and small chips of gems associated with the planet in question.  Each herbal charm is in a small corked bottle which is sealed with golden wax. Why golden? I like a bit of the sun in each of my formulas as a sort of activating agent. They’re each labeled with a small tag, handwritten, and have a sort of wire handle so that they can be hung on the wall or wherever one pleases. They’re packed in a small wooden box, to keep them safe.

These are not designed to be opened. However, they can easily be slipped into a purse or kept by your bedside, and each has a small wire attached to make them easy to hang in a special location. Each is designed to help you harness the given energy of the planet in question, and can even be placed on an altar venerating deities associated with the planet. I’ve begun the process of typing up my notes on the creation of each of these, and hopefully I’ll have them all posted soon.

Use your imagination! I firmly believe there’s a lot that can be done with these. I’ve field-tested the formulas in question over a period of a few weeks, and found them effective in their various purposes. They can be paired with a hexagram ritual to mix high and low magick, as well. Naturally, magick is not something you can win in a contest, so I can’t guarantee that you’ll have the success with the charms that I have, but I do believe they’re useful! As I type up and post the formulas for these on this blog, I’ll be highlighting ways in which each can be used, just as a starting point.

  • This giveaway is, unfortunately, not international, and, to enter, you must be within the United States. I really wanted to do international, but I just can’t right now!
  • To enter, reblog this post as many times as you fancy, but use your discretion regarding that and please don’t spam your followers.
  • On January 16th, 2016, I’ll use a random number generator to choose a winner and will send the prizes as soon as possible after that date.
  • The winner will be contacted via askbox, so please have yours open if you enter! You will have twenty-four hours to respond if you win, or another winner will be chosen in your place.
  • Likes are appreciated, but do not count as entries.
  • Sideblogs are eligible, but you must be able to confirm that you’re a follower via your main blog before claiming your prize. This is, after all, a gesture of thanks towards my followers!
  • Please do not tag this as “giveaway.”
  • Blogs that exist solely to enter giveaways are not eligible.

Naturally, given that this is herbs we’re talking about, I have some caveats. I am not responsible for what you do with these herbs. I cannot stop you from doing something ill-advised, such as opening the bottles and eating them. Please don’t do that. As was the case with my own witch bottle, I’ve sealed them with wax, because they’re not meant to be opened. They’re charms. Do not eat or drink them, please.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me!