Memories and history
Ever since I was a child, I associated sickles with Druids and being a magical tool (I read a lot of Asterix comics) So after my partner’s grandfather passed away, this old rusty sickle showed up in the shed. No one wanted it, so I asked if I could have it.
Although rusty and covered it dirt, it was obvious that this was an old fashioned forged sickle and it looked that it was previously given a second life by someone to weld a piece of pipe to it to function as a handle (as obviously, the forced handle had been broken off at one point.
I decided it would be a nice little project to restore it to a useable tool again and I started with removing the grime, polishing the steel and creating a handle for it. As I set about the task, I got into that semi meditative mind frame, often when you do menial tasks where your brain has ample chance to “free flow” and contemplate about the task you are doing.
The methods and materials used where not really planned; I basically used what was available to me, but those choices because food for thought. The forced blade did represent the origin to me, the connection also to my childhood as I read about Panoramix, the Druid and always having this sickle with him; without it, he could not make his magical potions, so it was obviously a magical tool.
The forced blade represented an old tradition and somehow, that welded piece of pipe on to it was a metaphor that somewhere in time, the authentic tool served it’s life time, but with a bit of modern change was given the opportunity to continue to be useful once more, even though the addition was not of the same era. But without doubt, the surviving strong blade of the sickle could be used again with some modern adjustment of that time.
I felt it needed a good sturdy handle and the choice of material was made on 2 pieces of marine plywood that were left overs form the new double gate that was build recently to replace the old gate. Quite a modern material and being marine grade, it would prove to be resistant enough to moisture and rot. Shaping the plywood would bring out the different layers of wood that gave it it’s strength.
To fasten the handle, I chose stainless steel bolts with rounded heads (Allen key type) I figured that if one part should wear first, it would be the handle, so I wanted a solution that some one in the future (whoever I would pass it on to) could easily remove the handles and create their own handles in their chose of material.
I finished the handle off with a protected coat of yacht varnish (which also a left over form the gate)
Reaping what has been sowed
It was when I held the finished piece that it dawned to me that I would use it as a magical tool, much like the white handled knife on the alter. And it also struck me that the approach and choice of material had it’s onw esoteric meaning to it.
The origin of the blade symbolised the ancestry, from which the enduring part of tradition was maintained (the blade). That tradition came to me with obvious alteration (the welded piece of pipe) to show that in the past, a change was required to keep that tradition useful.
The chose of the plywood provided me a strong material, it’s strength derived form different sources and modern application (marine plywood) and it appealed to me that the plywood’s intentional use was to be a gate: to open what was invited, but to keep outside what is not wanted, as would be a magic circle.
The stainless steel bolts, again a strong enduring chose, but a choice made with the realisation that nothing is eternal unless it can adapt with time. certainly at one time in the future, the handle will be worn, but even though affixed with strong bolts, they could be removed; to be allowed change when time requires it.
The final varnish was maybe a protection not needed, but more an added protection against blemishes, to help endure and bring out the beauty of the plywood, a symphony of mixed sourced that should be seen, admired and remembered along wit the memory of the ancestor that wielded it.
The harvest consummated
As this sickle is now the creation in analogy of the concept of my Hibernian tradition, what else could it be then a magical tool to reap the harvest of what I hold dear and what I seek to pass on…
Magic is all around us and even the most menial task can serve us as a ritual in conception and creation. And that is, where I feel, the real magic can be found.