A talisman is a magical item, something created to attract good luck or to embody particular spirit forces. Bindrunes fall under this heading, but so also do some other items I craft from time to time.
On occasion, as I’m beach-combing with the dogs or just walking in the woods and forest around my home, I come across something that calls out to me, wanting to be incorporated into a talisman. I bring these things home and work with them as a shaman as well as a crafter, asking them what they want to be and why, then I craft a unique piece of artwork for them and enliven them, inviting the informing spirit to become an indwelling spirit within the crafted item.
I never know what form the finished piece will take until we’re done and the spirit is in residence because the process of creation involves an ongoing dialogue with both the craft materials and the inspiring spirit.
Most of these talismans are not meant to stay with me, and I offer them for sale or, sometimes, gift them to friends and colleagues who are meant to have them. This is one that stayed with me.
I’ve always had horses in my life since I was a small child, and I have a very strong relationship with the Welsh goddess Rhiannon, who is a horse goddess. I was beach combing with my dogs in Wales many years ago when I found this horse pedal bone, the bone that’s inside the hoof, on a beach in Carmarthenshire called Morfa Bychan, which was very close to my home at the time. I used glass beads in the three sacred colours of the British Old Ways, red, white and black, to craft this necklace; each colour corresponds to one aspect of the Maiden-Mother-Crone triad and also with the Three Cauldrons that hold Life, Wisdom and Vocation.
The string runs through the two holes in the bone formed by the major blood vessels which feed the inside of the hoof in life, and the silver crescent formed across the front of the bone calls on the power of the moon, which all goddesses and women share in British tradition. Smaller beads protect the string and bone from wearing on each other in use, and the larger tassel at the back counterweights the weight of the bone and its tassel, making the whole necklace balanced and comfortable to wear.
Appropriately, the background to this photo is my 18 inch horsehide drum, Thunderhoof, decorated with stylised lightning and hoof prints, which you can just see creeping in round the edges. This is, interestingly, the drum my four horses react to most positively when I drum for them – they like all the drums, but Thunderhoof is their favourite.
Here’s Thunderhoof again – this time on my altar during a ritual.