Friday 10 February 2023

Craft: Witch Marks and my Attempt at Pyrography

Witch marks are ritual protection symbols burnt or scratched on wooden beams and stones. They're most often found on very old buildings. Some academics call them apotropaic marks, from the Greek apotrepein, meaning 'to turn away' and think they were intended to prevent curses or malicious spirits from entering properties. Others think they might have been meant to trap demons. Historians don’t know for sure if they were for protection, trapping  demons, or just for luck, because no one has yet found any written record of what they were originally created to do. 

Some of the most common marks are often flower shapes like daisy wheels. I've been researching witch marks for my workshop on cleansing and protection at Treadwell's later this month. Part of my research has been practical - having a go at making a daisy wheel mark using a pair of compasses and pyrography. The photo is my first attempt. I was given a pyrography tool last year and had been looking for a good reason to try it out. I didn't mark any of the beams in my attic, although I might do later. For my practice attempt I just used an old wooden crate.

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