The Spell of High Summer

Approaching the Summer Solstice, it’s important to take pause and breathe it all in. The skin should be given freedom to soak in light and water in abundance, cleansing the static that clings to the soul. The lungs should open and with them the heart center, allowing radiant patters of thought to flow outward, mingling with the energy of the world. The greater the challenges presented on this plane, the more we stand to gain from cultivating open hearts and minds, shedding old ideas like skins, clearing a path for renewal. Mindfulness begets mindfulness, and lights the way for those who come after us.

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The Doctrine of Signatures

As an extension of my last post, about learning sign-language and applying symbolic languages for the greater good, I’d like to talk about the role of healing and protection in this practice. Artists are trained to see, not just to create. Drawing, painting and sculpting are ways of seeing – seeing with the heart and seeing with the hands. The doctrine of signatures was a framing concept in medicine that hails from the time of Galen, and states that we should read the botanical world visually, and that each plant in our herbal medicine chest should be used to treat the body part or ailment it resembled in appearance. Paraclesus (credited with the illustration above) is quoted  “Nature marks each growth … according to its curative benefit”, in short – like treats like. 

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Original Sigilcraft

When asked by patrons, I’ve been describing sigils as ‘symbols with intent’. Though certainly more complex than that, it’s a reasonable explanation in a nutshell, to those unfamiliar with their history and pervasiveness in visual culture. A logo is a sigil, a state seal is a sigil, a cattle brand, graffiti tag or maker’s mark can be a sigil. It is a crafted icon in which power has been invested toward a given outcome. For our purposes, it is a seal impressed upon an object (a personal talisman or house warding tile) to be used as a protective, energetic shield or to manifest a desire into being. Although they can be a battery for spiritual energy, the use of a sigil does not require religious belief, it can be viewed as a psychological science.

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