As I was helping Z. move a few weeks ago, she discussed how she envisioned Hartwood Grove coming off of hiatus and again brought up the topic of my first degree initiation. Last year I’d asked to be initiated and all that was to be done was for me to perform some form of ritual magic in front of my HP and HPS. Unfortunately, I had computer trouble and the ritual I wrote (and saved!) was deleted in a total crash. This happened again, and by the time I had everything re-written and ready to go, I was in the process of moving and the coven was going on hiatus. Well, the coven is starting to come off hiatus, so Z. called me last week to tell me that our HP, Y., was going to be in Washington for Beltane and that they would like to initiate me then.
Z. gave me a few pre-initiation instructions, and that put me in mind of some of the things I’d already done, one of which being crafting my own beaded necklace so that I don’t have to keep borrowing one of Z.’s every time we circle. I’d actually made my own necklace last year just before the group went on hiatus, so I pulled it out of my jewelry box so that I could add it to my circle bag.
I was really proud of this necklace when I first strung it, but even then I knew that my craftsmanship was far from perfect. With a year behind me (and several more feet of knotted bead necklaces), all I could see were my many faults. Naturally, as this was my first attempt, there were several places in the necklace where I failed to get the knots tight against the beads. However, I had also just used one silk strand through the beads when I needed two in order to make knots big enough to keep them from sliding into the beads. Harlequin Beads, where I got my materials, had told me I would need a double length, but the needle they sold me couldn’t accommodate two threads through its tiny eye. Unfortunately, this resulted in knots that were small enough that I could actually slide the beads right off of them.
So I decided that part of my initiation preparation would be to re-do this necklace. I picked up better beading needles and two cards of beige No.4 Griffin silk cord at Shipwreck Beads and settled down to work with a special tool I’d acquired since I made this first necklace. This bead knotter tool really does make the job easier. I find that it basically gives me the third hand I need to fix the knot next to the bead and get enough tension to simultaneously close the knot while sliding it even closer to the bead. You can see the technique you use with this tool in the video below. About 20 minutes after I started re-stringing, I was finished, and the final result really was perfect.
A couple of days after I finished this project, I found myself at another bead faire in Tacoma with K. and V. As luck would have it, I found incredibly good prices on beautiful amber, jet, and larimar beads. As we all probably know, necklaces of amber and jet have a special place in witchcraft. There’s a lot of great folklore surrounding the stones, but both amber and jet can also transmit an electric charge (try rubbing a piece of amber with a soft cotton cloth: you’ll get a static shock!), so they’re also really good stones to help build and send magical energy, too. Over the past couple years, I’ve realized that I consider larimar to be “my” stone. It’s what I’m most drawn to whenever I go jewelry shopping, and I absolutely adore its sweet, serene energy. I’d been playing with the idea of making a necklace of amber, jet, and larimar to use after subsequent initiations, and this faire gave me an excellent opportunity to obtain the materials.
I couldn’t help it. I got the beads and strung them up, too. And I freaking love this necklace. The amber and jet quickly take on your body heat, and I swear you can feel energy swirling around the string. Aesthetically, I think the necklace is gorgeous, too. This bright, sunny yellow amber is perfect with this sky blue larimar. The necklace reminds me of bees flying in sunshine. It is perfect for me.
I don’t know what I’m going to do. Here I’ve gone and made two great necklaces that I want to use in circle, but I only have one neck. On the one hand, this Amber and Jet number is *my* necklace and I can use it happily in Hartwood Grove. As Z. has said, the most specific thing said about necklace material in Gardner’s writing (as far as she knows) is that a necklace of acorns is preferable. On the other hand, different lines throughout American BTW have set rules regarding the use of amber and jet necklaces. At least one Alexandrian line I’ve been made aware of stipulates that only 2nd and 3rd degree witches can wear amber and jet, but seconds have to wear each stone on a separate necklace and thirds wear them together. Additionally, some Blue Star groups practice where 1st degree initiates wear amber necklaces, seconds wear jet necklaces, and thirds wear amber and jet together. Z. has also mentioned that some Long Island line Gardnerians tend to reserve amber and jet necklaces for their thirds. I would hate to be at BTW function wearing this necklace and having people assume I was a third degree when I was not.
Me thinks I’m going to have to meditate on this problem and maybe consult other practitioners.