A journey through the hands of a maker of magical items, discovering not only the secrets of Sacred art, but also the history and preservation of disappearing forms of Artisan work.
A Very Magical Christmas Tree
Christmas trees are a fairly new addition to Spanish Christmas, which has less than 50 years of tradition in our country. Since the Canary Islands are located in the Northwest coast of Africa, fir trees are not native here – not that we would cut a live tree to place it on our living room anyway, so some years ago we got a plastic one, which was all we could afford at the time.
I never liked it much. Every year we would make and recycle old ornaments given away by family and friends, but it never looked like I wanted it to, and usually it ended up being put down on January 1st, even though Christmas in Spain ends on January 6, the Three Wise Men day, which is the day when children get their presents. Last year, the tree didn't even make it out of the box, as I had hand painted a set of Nativity scene figurines (we'll talk about that on a future post) and it won without any effort against our poor, neglected plastic tree.
My husband is a follower of the Norse path, so having a tree indoors (even if it's a plastic one) makes him extremely happy, and holds a very special meaning for him. But shiny spheres and tinsel only sounded too boring, so this year we decided to start working on it earlier to make a completely different kind of tree – the tree of two Witches, where each ornament added would have a unique, magical meaning, moving away from the concept of just seasonal decoration to make the tree itself become an amulet of good luck, health and abundance for the change of the year.
Several of the ornaments we chose were gifts from our wonderful customers worldwide: a tin sheet Witch from a Mexican market, and a beaded good luck charm from a friend in the UK - those represent the abundance that comes from those who love us, the extended and adopted family, the blessing of loving and being loved by others.
Other ornaments were made by Mother Nature – a nest, picked at the Hell's Ravine (the most magical place in the island), and several sachets filled with corn/beans/seeds; those represent the abundance of the Earth and our connection to it, since most of the grains and seeds are home grown, and have been chosen to remind us of the continuous cycle of sowing and reaping.
A few of them , of course, were made by us – pomander oranges, dolls and goat heads made of corn husk; those represent the continuity of our own work, and encourage us to keep working toward our goals. We also added an unfinished horse ornament my husband is carving, which represents what we are making right now, as the symbolic seed of what we will make next year.
Some that have been chosen only for their magical properties, and that usually are part of my talisman collection – a skeleton key, to open the doors of the future; a sachet with coins and bills from several countries to bring work and wealth, a vintage French doll to represent my dream of becoming a full-time doll maker.
Finally, we added the lights and a handful of small inherited Christmas ornaments and tinsel, which represent our family ties and specially those who are no longer with us; in both our spiritual paths, the blessing of Ancestors is essential for protection and Spiritual development; for them also, we placed two dishes with offerings on the sides of the tree, offerings that will be renewed several times during the Christmas season.
Voilà – a one metre tall amulet, filling the house with positive, powerful energy. I sincerely hope this post inspires you to create new magical traditions in your life this season! Next project (and next post): creating the Nativity Scene!
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