Barbara Rucci, who is the mastermind behind artbarblog.com is an incredible art teacher and has a wonderful way with watercolor paints. She has begun a new series on her blog of interviewing art educators. It was such a pleasure corresponding with her about running a business as well as classroom management. It's so important for art educators to communicate with each other and share ideas. We are not alone out here trying to help children with creative thinking and problem solving, although sometimes it can feel like we are.
Our Potion and Spells class has been such a wonderful combination of history, botany, performance, chemistry as well as some self-realization. We have made ink from spices and other botanical elements. We have made candles to use in our spells. We have done some Shibori dying from Japan. We have created lip balm from the herbs we grow and gathered. And we have made the materials for ancient spells learned from the Gypsies of Bohemia. One of the aspects I didn't expect in this class was the calming effect of the collective ritual. When doing the spells together, the kids are participating in a performance and an experience together that is quite unique and sparks the ideas of magic in the world and where that magic comes from.
We prepare the materials needed for the spell, wrapping herbs, and painting the sacred ancient symbols on stones, which are found. While preparing the materials we discuss the ideas of magic and whether it exists and how it exists. One of the aspects about magic we have discussed together is by doing a spell for what they believe can deepen their conviction of their own beliefs. They each have the power to change things by making different choices for themselves.
This spell is a protection spell.
Rosemary is an herb that not only tastes good and is a great antiseptic but it represents remembrance and protection. We made bundles of rosemary to burn. We painted a protection symbol on rocks. The symbol combines the earth, fire, water and air signs within a triangle.
So here are all of our ingredients, a rosemary candle the kids made, the stone with the protection symbol, a rosemary bundle and some salt. Salt is used in spells for protection mainly because it's used as a preservative which was used to protect people from bacteria in food.
We also had a bowl of water in the center of our circle to douse the flames.
The kids wrote who or what they would like to protect on a piece of paper, folded it and placed it under their symbol. They then created a circle of salt around their paper. The kids spontaneously created the designs in the salt which was such a wonderful surprise.
They lit their rosemary bundle in their candles and blew them out. It filled the room with the scent of rosemary. They doused the rosemary and holding hands in a circle recited this incantation 3 times.
Rattle now, rattle clear
rattle far, rattle near
Protect this place and all within
keep away harm, away widdershin
They removed the paper from under the stone and lit the paper in the candle. After lit placing the paper in the bowl of water.
The salt was then used to douse the flames in the water by sprinkling it onto the flames.
Every few weeks we are doing spells, spells for love, spells for healing and spells for knowledge. I do alter the spells I find to make it more experiential for the kids using the age the old symbols and herbs of magic. This class seeks to expanded their ideas of art combining the historical and the performative.