web analytics
Occasionally I wandered in where I was not wanted and gave truthful answers.
Sometimes I even did it deliberately. A little disruption now can prevent disaster later.
sealing wax

Practical thingamabobs

This is a page from the third version of Technopagan Yearnings. There are some formatting differences. Originally published at www.neowayland.com/C1325529963/E20091015080006
Cross posted at www.teknopagan.com/files/TPY-Thingamabobs091015.html

Pagan stuff you didn't think was Pagan.

Sometimes I think that Crow and Magpie split all the franchises on Pagan shops. There's all the bright shiny things. And the soft silky things. And the exotic strange things. And all the rest that hints at Mysterious Lore Only Revealed to the True Seeker. It's romantic, it's unusual, it's meant to catch our attention and our credit cards.

Today I want to tell you about some useful items that aren't necessarily "Pagan" but that I've found useful.

Once I volunteered to help run a Sunship Earth program. That's when I learned about "hard tools." Hard tool is another name for a Sierra cup, one of those massively useful implements that you'll soon wonder how you did without. Forget finding a "portable cauldron," a good Sierra cup is almost made to order for small scale spellcasting. Just make sure you get at least two, one for "working" and one for you to eat and drink from.

"Soft tools" are another legacy of my experience with Sunship Earth . It's another name for a bandanna. I buy them by the dozen in my favorite colors (I love sweatbands in turquoise) from Trader's International. I give a lot away because I do get unusual colors. Besides wiping up sweat and small spills, in a pinch a bandanna can cover a small unconsecrated work area. And it lets you protect the expensive cloths and weavings.

Many Pagan shop sites have mortar & pestle sets, especially if they sell herbs. I have three, one in laboratory ceramic for salts and minerals, one in marble for organics, and one in stainless steel for consumables. The one in stainless steel is food grade and lives in my kitchen away from the other two. If you haven't found a science supply place, try American Science & Surplus, their prices are great. There's Edmund Scientifics, known to generations of American junior high and high school science students and garage tinkerers, but their prices are higher.

A Leatherman, a Swiss army knife, or a good multitool is an absolute must. It's never the "perfect" tool, but it can substitute for many other tools to get the job done quickly. Some people bless theirs and use it an an athamé, I prefer to keep my ritual tools separate.

Muslin tea bags are incredibly useful for small charms and potpourri. I get mine from a tea speciality place in North Carolina.

Cotton and silk thread can be found almost anywhere that sells sewing supplies. The silk is more expensive, but certainly worth it for some spells. Whatever you do, avoid polyester. it doesn't hold a "zap" as well and it smells terrible when burned.

For more substantial needs, go for the satin cord. It's one of the few things I buy from Azure Green. While the cord also comes in 1 yard lengths, I find it's useful to keep a larger spool on hand, at least at home. It's also useful for amulets and pendents. I used to use leather cord for that, but human sweat is mildly salty and acidic. The combination eats the heck out of leather, especially if it's worn daily. I still keep my grandfather's key on leather, but these days the only thing I use leather cord for is wrapping handles on my staves. Leather and satin both hold a "zap" about equally I've found. I have a homemade tool from satin cord to quickly mark circles, from the end of each end loop it is six and a half feet. There are additional loops to mark one and a half, two and a half, three and a half, four and a half, and five feet.

Parachute cord is cheap and rivals duct tape for sheer usefulness. The best and strongest grade, 550 lb test, is only available in limited colors. You won't be swinging off any buildings with this stuff, but it's great for tying things securely, wrapping tool handles, and at least a hundred and eleven other things. Some people keep about fifteen feet or so woven into a bracelet so it's always handy. I've seen the more wild colors and patterns used as shoelaces and walking stick handles. I've had no luck in getting paracord to hold a "zap" for more than a few hours at best.

I use parchment paper and a little sealing wax for packets of herbs and incense I throw in the fire. I prefer to use parchment stationary cut to size and folded into a packet, but cooking parchment will work in a pinch (and is cheaper too). Commercial candle wax has additives and beeswax burns much too hot. Sealing wax has a lower melting temperature. Some people will tell you that you need a signet, but I've found a little spit and a thumbprint works just as well. Plus, you always know where your thumb is.

For someone who's been known to trip over the edge of sunlight and shadow, small glass bottles aren't always the best idea. Recently I've found these plastic test tubes. These actually are two liter soda bottle blanks before they are heated and vacuum molded to full size. Very durable and waterproof, the test tubes work for keeping supplies sorted as well as sample collecting. My mother wants to use them when she collects wildflower seeds. The neighborhood kids absconded with about 3/4's of my first shipment (I was in a good mood that day). And um, truth to tell, these are the closest practical equivalent I've found to the cylinder things on a certain famous utility belt.

Sometimes you need to poke something without touching it and without discharging the "zap." Wood toothpicks work, but if you really want to get the job done, try bamboo skewers. You can probably find them in your local grocery store

I don't smoke, but a lighter is extremely handy. Of course you can get a cheapo Bic from thousands of stores, but you might think about the classic Zippo. It won't blow out in wind, and it stays lit if you set it down. That's handy when you're sealing the end of your paracord, among other things.

Finally, don't overlook the simple pad of paper and a pencil. Very few things work better to sketch, write, and plan. I prefer graph paper myself, but that's me. Just get something where it's okay to make a mistake and scratch stuff out. Leave the fancy papers and the custom BOS for the final version, after you're tested it.

Posted: Thu - October 15, 2009 at 08:00 AM


The Focusing Flame

Harvestpoint differs from Lughnasadh, but that is a good place to begin your studies.


Sunfell Tech Mage Rede Nine Words Serve The Tech Mage Best Keep What Works Fix What’s Broke Ditch The Rest

A narrow slice of life, but now and again pondering American neopaganism, modern adult pagans & the World.

2019       2018       2017       2016       2015       2014       2011       2010       2009       2008       2007       2006       2005