Lucet Cord Making

      A lucet is an ancient tool used to make a four sided cord. They have been dated back to the viking and medieval periods, found made of bone, wood, horns and walrus tusk.
      The one pictured here is not so old, having carved it out a couple of weeks ago in anticipation of making our own cords and ties.
     In older times affluent households were known to embellish lucets with mother of pearl or gems. Being of a more humble lineage, I envision a lovely knot work pattern on it and pyrograph it.

Here's a tutorial on how to create the cord. I swear it's not as complicated as it seems. Once you get it you can do it without even thinking, falling into a rhythm as simple as braiding or single crocheting.

 1.) Thread your yarn through the center hole and bring the tail down across the back, out through the bottom hole.
     Hold the Lucet in your left hand. With the right hand hold the working yarn. You don't want anything silky. The size of your cord will depend on the thickness of your string. It's easiest to learn this with a thick soft string in a bright color, so you can see what's happening. The idea is to create a clockwise figure eight pattern. Like so;
2.) Bring the working yarn through the center space (L to R), around the right prong. 
3.) Go back through the center (R to L) and around the left prong.
4.) Come strait over to rest on the face of the right prong.

    Now you're going to begin knotting the cord. Starting the cord can be the trickiest part. It will be important to keep some pressure on the back of the lucet, to hold the tail in place, and to keep your working yarn at an even tension.
     It's handy to loop the working yarn over your pinky or index finger the same as you would to crochet or knit. This keeps the tension for you while you move your hand to knot the cord.

1-2.) On the right prong are now two strings. Grab the lower one and pull it up and over the prong.
3-5.)Turn the lucet clockwise, to the back face.
6.)This should bring your working yard around to again rest on the right prong, above the previous figure eight.
7-8.) Pull the lower string up and over the prong.
9.) Turn the lucet, giving the working string a tug as you do.
10.)  Again, pull the lower string up and over the prong.
11-12.) Turn the lucet, keeping tension on the working yarn.
13.) The yarn lands on the right prong, above the previous figure eight.
14.) Put some pressure on the strings resting on the right prong and pull the tail down until it's taut.

Repeat these steps. It may look like a mess, but after about a half dozen turns tugging the tail will make your string suddenly look like a cord! Just keep turning and going, keeping your string tension even throughout the project will ensure the width of the cord is the same throughout. Make your own rhythm, but i usually go 2 turns and then tug tail. The tension on the working yarn is correct if it stays between the center and right side of the space between the prongs. The tighter you keep the working yarn, the farther to the right it will sit, the tighter and smaller your cording will end up. To practice keep it loose and in the center. If you make a mistake just pull up on the working string and it will undo the knots.

Tieing Off Cut your working string with 3+ inch tail. (1)Slip both string off the right prong and thread the working tail up through the loop and (2)pull the knot up. Turn and then (3) take the loop off the left prong and (4) put the working tail through the loop, (5) pull up, (6) and done!

Using Divination as a Ritual Focus

"A tarot reading is always a reading of possibilities.
In this sense the cards are signs on a road.
Once you have the lay of the land, so to speak, 
you have a better idea of what is ahead. 
It is up to you to choose how to proceed." Ellen Dugan
     Whether the cards reach their conclusions through divination or psychological interpretation, the Tarot and Oracle cards represent archetypes, images of recurring  elements or patterns in life. Familiar concepts such as mother, father, birth, death, success, isolation, etc. A tarot deck will take these ideas and weave them into a set of imagery around a central theme.

(One of my previous spreads.)
Lenormand Oracle Deck
by Lo Scarabeo, a reproduction of
deck from 1918 Carl Schneider & Co AG
from Altenburg, Germany.
Lenormand Museum
     Lately I've been having a series of cryptically difficult dreams, in response to some hard life decisions that I've got going on. So today I turned to my favorite deck to get a better feel on it. That deck being the Lenormand Oracle. I've had it for some years now and it is the deck I always take out when I have a real problem. I find the simplicity of the images, and lack of a handy booklet for interpretation, opens me up to more intuitive explanations. 

     There I sat, and the whole mess of it just was laid out before me. One of those spreads that surprises by just how right it is. But what then? Put it away and move on? No, I thought, this I can deal with right now. In particular some of my problems had an outside source, and the images to represent those problems were already conveniently placed before me. In my mind I could see a clear picture of how it all made sense, I had a handle on it and I wasn't about to let that slip.

     Lots of spells use a focus when you are affecting another, for good or ill, an image of them. Poppets or pictures, sigils of their relationship to you, etc, charged with your intent towards them and then punctuated by some sort of climax. Like a ritual where you funnel your grief, anger, etc, into an appropriate image and then stab through that image into the earth, releasing your torment through its destruction.

     For me it was this: someone was making a very good effort to manipulate me, in life and so in my dreams it reflected this. The cards helped me to see who it was, something so right in front of me that I had completely missed it. I gathered up supplies, a candle that had already been dressed and a long black string. I held the impression of that person that the cards had shown me in my mind, and over my spread I knotted the cord by nine. Sealing them out and binding their ill will intent towards me. Afterward I wore the cord as a talisman, to remind me.

Looking at the ritual action objectively, what I take away from all of that is a feeling of impulse and imperfection. There are a great many spells and rituals, instructions for great power, to be found all over the internet. I think Ritual is whatever you need it to be. Let magic be fluid and when it comes in a rush, ride the current, don't fight. It doesn't all have to be so complicated, it just has to feel right and in that moment, it works.