Witchy Woodcrafts

Alraun coffin

Coffin interior with alraun and funeral shroud Pyrographed bottom of cauldron

Horned Dandelion Alraun with Coffin and Burial Shroud

The Dandelion root was dug up as is in human form at a three way crossroad during the new moon. It was then lightly carved with a ritual knife to exaggerate its feminine features and transplanted above the burial of a crow for three weeks. IThen it was unsurfaced at the dark of the moon and allowed to cure and dry. The wooden coffin is pyrographed with the chthonic Dandelion spirit of the root on the lid and on the bottom is a spider with a Dandlelion root. The interior is painted vivid vermilion red and the whole box has been sealed with varnish. The alraun is wrapped in a completely handquilted red linen burial shroud.

The reason for a coffin and shroud for an alraun is its chthonic nature – an alraun root is a connection to the underworld and the spirits of the dead. The coffin mimics the darkness of the earth which is the root’s natural environment. When the root is awakened, it becomes tied to the spirits of the dead (or one in particular) and can whisper advice, knowledge, or foreknowledge of the future. Dandelion is traditionally sacred to Hecate and is used in magic for calling spirits or sending messages to them. It is an excellent choice for an alraun. To learn more about alrauns see the article on Alraun Crafting. Now in a private collection

Cimaruta PentagramCimaruta Pentagram

This original cimaruta design by the Witch of Forest Grove has been pyrographed onto beautiful Pine wood – which reflects the cimaruta’s purpose of protection. The Rue cimaruta contains a serpent, moon, toad, skeleton key, bird, and vervain flower. The pyrographed background and the white foreground have been painted with black and white eco-friendly wood stains and the entire piece was finished with raw linseed oil and my handcrafted wood balm. This piece could easily be hung over a front door for protection or placed on an altar devoted to Diana or Hecate. Now in a private collection

Elder Greenman memento mori bead

Elder Mementor Mori - Skull side 2 Elder Skull & Greenman Memento Mori Bead

Elder Greenman & Skull Memento Mori Bead

This rosary bead is handcarved from ethically wildcrafted Elder wood. It has been finished with raw linseed oil and my handcrafted wood balm for preservation. The more it is handled, the more beautiful and healthy the wood will become. One side is a Greenman of Elder and on the other side is carved a skull. This memento mori bead is a symbol of the Earth’s eternal cycle of life, death, and rebirth. Now in a private collection


10 Responses to “Witchy Woodcrafts”

  1. Scylla says:

    Lovely! The pentacle design is similar to one I’ve been graphing out, only with Wormwood instead of rue (and the other symbols are a tad different).

  2. Marilyn says:

    Your work keeps getting better and more refined and one can see the progression over time!
    You truly have been blessed by the spirits with such wonderful talents and I’m sure I’m not alone in saying I am happy that you share them to bring a bit of joy into someone else’s world. :)

  3. Swynwraig says:

    The owner of the memento mori bead is fortunate indeed!!

  4. Martin Scott says:

    Again, lovely work, but remember to pass on to your friends that:

    “Elder is the Lady’s tree,
    burn it’s wood and cursed you’l be.”

    So, no matches!

    Blessed Be.

    (hope the holiday was OK)

  5. Sarah, love the pentagram, but what’s a cimruta?

    Martin : Elder has a long history of causing septicaemia in the people who have cut it down. We have one in our backyard which my betrothed wants to prune, but I’m trying to persuade him not to.

    • Hi QR! A Cimaruta is an amulet of a sprig of rue with objects and animals hidden in it. It is an amulet of protection, but mostly against the evil eye. Such charms are believed to be of Etruscan or Phoenician in origin. Here are some favourite links:

      Elder has a lot of traditions surrounding it, but the most common one found in Europe seems to be its tie to the dead. Elders were planted over graves and it was believed the spirit of the dead person would inhabit the tree. This is where the superstition comes from to always ask an Elder permission before cutting its wood or taking its leaves or berries for medicine. In later Christian times the spirit of an ancestor became twisted into a witch/demon and then came the superstition of witches inhabiting Elder trees. It seemed a perfect fit for a memento mori bead due to its history.

      The burning superstition seems to be modern and comes from the burning log or “firewood poem” from 1930:

      “Make a fire of Elder tree,
      Death within your house will be”

      Burning Elder would be like burning green bamboo or wet reeds. It is not so much a wood as it is a thick succulent reed. I believe it was adopted into the Wiccan Rede afterward – although the only “Lady” Elder belongs to would be Lady Hel – not usually a Wiccan’s first choice for the Goddess.

      “Elder be ye Lady’s tree, burn it not or cursed ye’ll be.”

      Despite these modern superstitions, I have found traditional incense recipes including Elder. If you do want the dead in your house because you practice necromancy, then go ahead and burn Elder – just make sure you dry and cure it first. I’ve always thought of Elder as a very shamanic tree – it’s the amphibian of the tree world living between water, earth, and air.


  6. Mike Howard says:

    That altar is really pokey!!

  7. Seeker says:

    Sarah, thank you for your insightful blog. I learn more with each post I read. You are truly gifted and inspired.

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