A couple of years ago I bought myself a new journal. It was one of those finds where even though you don’t really need something at that moment it was too perfect to pass up, it practically put itself in my pocket! However, now I have filled my last journal and being the start of a new year, with 12th night / Epiphany, an eclipse and new moon all pretty much coinciding, it seemed like a good time to dig out the new journal I purchased over 12 months previous and dedicate it to the next meandering mile of this crazy crooked path.
For Christmas, my better half gave me a new calligraphy pen. It has interchangeable nibs and is used with what I call ‘dippy ink’ (that is, ink in from an ink well not a pre-loaded cartridge). Many moons prior, I had also been experimenting with some home made magical inks. So, I thought what better way to begin my new journal than give up the first fresh crisp pages to a handwritten dedication.
On the very first page I drew a magical symbol inspired by some traditional wheel shaped designs I had seen and used over the years from Icelandic sources (such as Vegvisir) and those I have come across in other Traditional Witchcraft publications. I didn’t however want to simply reproduce someone else’s design. Providence has its place, but this is my journal documenting my journey, so I designed something which meant something to me and resonates with the magic I practise (I refer back to my personal moto “Just because its traditional doesn’t mean its necessary; when something is necessary it doesn’t have to be traditional”)
As I thought about what I wanted to write in terms of a dedication I decided I would use a different alphabet rather than use the regular Latin alphabet we all use mundanely. A simple google search of magical alphabets reveals there are plenty to choose from ranging from Futhark Runes, Saxon Runes, Enochian to Ogham. Magical alphabets are used for many reasons, obscurity and secrecy are not worthwhile reasons in my opinion. However, there is a lot to be said for taking the time over a piece of text where you need to think about every word, every letter and every stroke of the pen. By adding ritualistic elements such as creating and consecrating a new ink such as Dragon’s Blood, blessing the paper and pen as well as the repetitive motion of dipping the pen into the ink turn the simple task of writing into a hypnotic and quite profound magical act.
I chose to use the ‘Theban’ alphabet purely because I find it aesthetically pleasing. Theban along with runic are probably my two preferred magical alphabets but I know runes so well I could probably write in runic as well as with the standard latin alphabet. I do not know Theban off by heart and need to check every letter.
The key to this is having to think about what you’re writing so you immerse yourself in the process and fill every word with intent. Again I don’t think the provenance of an alphabet matters, I’m by no means a magical snob…you could use MS Wingdings if you wanted. The point is that one’s mind becomes completely overtaken by the words and the act of writing. Not only is it powerful, it’s incredibly soothing to escape from the minds troubles and its good practise for nearly all other magical work where clarity and focus are essential.
Having come to this realisation I went on to ‘practise’ by making an ‘ABRACADABRA’ charm created to diminish illness and misfortune. The charm begins by writing ABRACADABRA in its entirety then removing the last letter of the preceding line when you write out the next. As the word disappears, so shall that which ails you. Whilst written in the Latin alphabet, I found I still became immersed in the act because I had to remember to take the last letter off each line and again, using my own ink and a ‘dippy pen’ helped the process immensely. Its created a far more potent charm than using a scrap of paper and the nearest biro!
Let’s give more time to the magical act of writing! Its already rapidly becoming redundant and so few people even send handwritten correspondence anymore, lets never forget the hours spent as children perfecting our handwriting, how the shape of each letter feels as it emerges from our pens and how unique to each of us handwriting is… it would be a shame to see it disappear.