Friday, October 01, 2010
Sabine's spirit board
"You asked once whether I had your psychic abilities," Miss Fairweather said. "You stopped short of asking how, in lieu of them, I communicate with the spirits. I am going to show you one method."
She picked up a feather, as black as the rest of the bird, and dipped it into a small silver bowl of oil. With it she drew a circle around the cage. Then she took a piece of crumbly yellow chalk and drew a few symbols at four compass points outside the glistening circle. At last she lit the feather in the candle. A horrid smell filled the air. She quickly blew across the smoldering feather, directing the smoke toward the bird in the cage.
It hopped up and down on its perch a few times, then began to bow rapidly and caw, with strangled urgency. Abruptly it dropped a load of birdshit onto the floor of the cage and fell like it had been shot.
"Nice," Trace said. "That work with humans, too?"
"Be quiet," she murmured. "Have you not seen this done before?"
"Not with a bird. I saw a hoodoo woman put a charm on a pig, once, and send it to find a murderer." The raven lay twitching on the spirit board, its eyes rolling.
"Did it work?" Miss Fairweather asked.
"The voudouenne said it did. I hope the pig was right, because they hanged the man it ran to."
The raven abruptly rattled its feathers and hopped to its feet. It bowed to them twice, tapping its beak on the floor. It cocked its head, waiting for acknowledgement, then tapped twice more.
"Be welcome," Miss Fairweather said to it, and a chill ran through Trace. The bird’s eyes were brighter than they had been a moment ago, he would swear to it, and the light in them was not the gold of candlelight, but the cold silver of spirit-light. "Name yourself," she commanded.
"Crick-et," the bird croaked, and Trace felt the hair on his arms and neck stand up.
Miss Fairweather nodded in satisfaction. "It is always best to make them name themselves," she said to him. "If they will not give you a name, it is probably not an entity you will want to transact with."
"I should think not," Trace said, leaning away from the cage. "That’s a demon."
So I had this itch to make a spirit/talking/ouija board.
No, I do not believe in them or any of the hype attached to them. I don't think I've ever actually played with one. I don't intend to play with this one. I find it equally amusing and appalling that people are so afraid of something that was invented to exploit the enduring hoax that is/was Spiritualism.
I just wanted one because my character had one, and I am that big of a geek.
Also, I think they're pretty.
So I made one. On leather. I did the lettering by hand, with a woodburning pen. And because I was making the kind of board Sabine Fairweather would find useful, in addition to the standard letters I threw in some alchemical symbols and the five Chinese elements (wu xing). The Chinese calligraphy was especially fun to do.
It can be rolled up, for storage. Or travel, if one were so inclined. Miss Fairweather has a tidy mind.
Hey, I also make dresses I never wear anywhere.
I may hang this on my wall. I need something to put me in the writing mood. Heck, maybe I can use it as a plot generator.