The Empress Amulet


rota coins

Hand-cut, hand-reeded sterling silver. 19-25mm (quarter and nickel-sized).

Rota Orat Tora ‘Ator / The Wheel Speaks the Law of Love square charm.


copper portlandia coins

Seeds of our Portlandia Blessing work. Additive and reductive tetractys charms and inages related to the work. Mailed to participants by random drawing.


Portlandia Blessing Rite

To be performed on a Friday during a waxing moon at one of the “Benson bubblers” drinking fountains in Portland.

You will need:

  • a rose, preferably one grown in Portland soil, with the stem cut to 4-6 inches in length
  • a joss stick of frankincense or fir incense

If you know and regularly perform a banishing or protective ritual, do this at home before going to the bubbler.

Stand before the fountain in a relaxed and stable posture. Take deep and slow breaths, letting them cleanse you of all distracting thoughts as you breathe out, and filling you with the life force all around you as you breathe in. Your feet stand firmly on the sacred ground of your city. Continue until you feel focused and ready.

Light the incense and hold it in one hand. Hold the rose in the other.

Imagine the figure of Portlandia. She is a powerfully built woman in a Greco-Roman style robe of blue and green, edged with with gold. She holds a trident in her left hand and with her right hand makes a gesture of welcome and openness towards you. At her feet are roses and a bubbling, ever-filling spring or cup.

Above her head flames a six-rayed star.

With the incense stick, make a six-rayed star over the bubbler fountain in this manner:

  1. make a horizontal equal armed cross on the plane parallel with the surfaces of the fountains a foot or two above the surfaces
  2. place the tip of the incense stick in the center of the cross just drawn and make a vertical line, first going upwards and returning to the center, then going downwards and returning to the center

Then say:

I invoke Portlandia, indomitable,

bright goddess of my city.

Copper lady of the two rivers and the western hills,

wielding the trident,

generous, welcoming.

Come in peace, honored one,

heed my call.”

I, name , a native of *the city of your birth, who has attained the freedom of the city of Portland, do approach your holy fountain. (*substitute “a native child of this place” if you were born in Portland)

I thank you for your gifts, and for your presence in this life. [bend down and take a sip of the water]

As you come open-handed with free-flowing gifts for all who thirst, so do I come in blessing and in bounty.

As I have been given, so do I give in turn. [place the rose into one of the fountain chalices so that the stem is in the water as best you can]

May this offering nourish and sustain you in mind, body, and spirit. May it please you, may it refresh you.

O Portlandia, blessings upon your being and your name.”

Float open right hand, palm down, over the fountain chalices and pronounce or vibrate a word of blessing/benediction/fiat from your own spiritual or religious tradition, such as “Amen”,”So mote it be”, AWEN, AUM, etc.

Touch the water’s surface with that hand and then touch heart.

Bow, take a step back, and then go.



bubblers map:

On imagining the image described: The details of the image may differ depending on the operator. She may hold the rose, or she may hold the ever-filling cup. She may exhibit a wide variety of physical characteristics. She may reach towards you or simply show the open palm of peace and welcome. She may be seated, standing, or kneeling as in the statue. Begin with the described image, but don’t worry if some details shift.

This may be done at home or some other place in Portland in front of a cup filled with water from one of the fountains. This short ritual may easily be expanded for home use. I kept it brief as performing it in a public place at the bubbler fountains may require that. The invocation may of course be expanded to include a litany of epithets, or things you wish to remind Portlandia about herself, or appropriate extemporaneous inspirations. One might even compose a hymn to Her in the style of the Orphic Hymns, and recite it. Creating additional brief versions as “stealth blessings” are also an option. There are many possibilities.

Please feel free to talk to Portlandia, expressing what you need to and/or asking questions, after the placing of the offering. This conversation is best followed by a period of silent meditation (listening) before closing.

Like most ritual, this one is best done “off book”. Memorization will allow you to give your best attention to physically performing the ritual and communicating what is necessary. That being said, if memorization is a significant road block for you, don’t let it stop you from celebrating this ceremony.

Portlandia’s iconographic parentage:

Lady Commerce from the seal of the city (1878), and prior to that, Brittania

Urizen (Blake), “The Ancient of Days”, reason and law

God in “The Conversion of St,. Paul”, Tedeo Zuccari

installed Oct. 6, 1985, morning

dedicated Oct. 8, afternoon



the Portlandia poem, found on her bronze dedication plaque:

“She kneels down,

and from the quietness of copper

reaches out.

We take that stillness

into ourselves,

and somewhere

deep in the earth

our breath

becomes her city.

If she could speak

this is what she would say:

Follow that breath.

Home is the journey we make.

This is how the world

knows where we are.”

-Ronald Talney


the confluence

I’m working on the river mouth and the ocean right now, but I thought I’d share what the confluence area looks like. Portland is an inlaid shell rose. We don’t see much of the Willamette (because this is the Columbia stick), but it is represented by a wiggly “W”.

A few other pics of other sections. It’s difficult to get much of such a long, thin object in one frame. (click on images to enlarge)


Lenormand Trio netsuke and ojime sets

They’re finished!!

Three sashi style netsuke and their accompanying ojime beads, each depicting a three-card combination from the Lenormand Oracle deck.

Material details for each found here.

(click on images to enlarge)

Card Meanings

Reading the Lenormand deck, one only interprets the meaning of a card in context with the other cards drawn with it. Each individual card has a variety of meanings, the correct one for any particular layout being determined by the compositon of the whole. Some basic core interpretations of the cards depicted in the netsuke, however, can be given:

Clover: a stroke of luck, opportunity, a winning situation, a happy surprise, a prankster or jokester

Sun: yes, victory, attainment of a goal, recognition, radiance, a leader

Key: revelation, an explanation or answer, security, something significant, vital, a correct choice


Tree: grounded growth, connecting with your roots, good health, religious or spiritual matters, heritage, slow but sure development

Book: study, education, the as-yet unknown, a project, an investigation, writing, secrets, a teacher

Heart: love, attraction, harmony, a good outcome, dedication, passion, activism


Bear: a large sum of money, investments, financial matters, maternal authority, stability, strength; a protector

Fish: abundance, entrepreneurialism, a lot of something, adapting, opening out, a positive change, being in “flow”

Stars: the big picture, blessings from above, calm and serenity, inspiration, helpful guidance, the light in the night, vastness


tree + book + heart


sashi netsuke and ojime set

white oak wood, salvaged piano key ivory, mammoth ivory, 14k gold, sterling silver

7.4cm x 2.7cm x .7cm (2 15/16 x 1 1/16 x 1/4 in.)

The third of three sashi netsuke and ojime sets based on three-card combinations from the Lenormand oracle deck.

mammoth ivory ojime


bear + fish + stars

Bear + Fish + Stars

sashi netsuke and ojime set

ebony, bloodwood, salvaged piano key ivory, mammoth ivory, 14k white gold, sterling silver

7.2cm x 2.5cm x .7 cm (2 and 7/8 in. x 1 in. x 3/8 in.)

The second of three sashi netsuke and ojime sets based on three-card combinations from the Lenormand oracle deck.

(additional views of fish ojime here )

Clover + Key + Sun and  Bear + Fish + Stars.  Now just Tree + Heart + Book to finish!


fish ojime

Fish ojime
(companion to Fish+Bear+Stars netsuke, in progress)

mastodon ivory

2.9cm x 1.1cm x 1.1cm (3/4 in. x 7/16 in. x 7/16 in.)



schreger patterns in ivory as fish scales/water pattern








bottom of bead


(roughed beginning)


crow inlay for sparkly guitar

Crow inlay designed for an extra sparkly Fender telecaster.

ebony, eggshell, pigment, turquoise dust, crow feathers, stage glitter, poetry


Ink tracings of several versions.

Ink tracing of selected design positioned and applied to inlay field on guitar.


Inlay channel cut, leveled, and poiia planted at the bottom. (Lines from “Two Legends” by Ted Hughes, from “Crow: From the Life and Songs of the Crow”, Faber & Faber 1972)


The binder.


Crow feather threads.


Feather threads laid into first layer of ebony.


More ebony applied, countless stars appear.


Then clouds.


Internal lining cut and inlaid with powdered eggshell, pigment, and powdered turquoise.


Bright eye in progress.


Completed inlay.


Reassembled guitar, back in action!





Clover + Key + Sun

Clover + Key + Sun

sashi netsuke and ojime set

ebony, bloodwood, salvaged piano key ivory, mammoth ivory, 14k gold, sterling silver

7.3cm x 2.5cm x .9 cm (2 and 7/8 in. x 1 in. x 3/8 in.)



commemorative disks

Commemorative disks for The Red Door Project’s August Wilson Monologue Competition (Portland)

copper, 1″ x 1/16″

hand-stamped, patinated




Protected: prototypes II

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Nox Luna

Sol 2o* Libra

Luna wn 69%v at 1*Cancer



Fleshing knife with hand-forged carbon steel blade. Handle of carved and inlaid pink ivory wood, bronze, salvaged piano key ivory.

28cm long, 15.2cm x 2.5cm blade  (11 in. long, 6 in. x 1 in. blade)





















fly eggs & larva inlay



Carving the fly eggs inlay for knife handle in salvaged piano key ivory.





more larvae!


flesher_larva inlayhandleloose

pre-fitting one of the larva inlays into roughed handle





closeup of fly egg cluster after inlay, before light staining


in progress


sketch, carved guards (bronze), handle rough (pink ivory wood), and forged blade for “Flesher” knife


flesher in progress


Runic talisman

Talisman to Assist in Runic Studies (gift)

Nox Saturnus

Sol 27* Aquarius, Luna FULL  in Virgo

Stag antler, brass, camphor wood, red ocher (iron oxide), jet, pigment

9.5cm x 3.2cm x  1.9cm  (3.75 in. x 1.25in. x .75in.)










critique: first forged knife

Nox Luna

Sol 15* Aquarius, Luna wx 30%v at 14* Aries

Hand-forged steel, brass, ebony, mosaic pins

about 8.5 in. long




– It’s a functional knife! Not too thick, not too klunky. Nice weight and shape. Feels good in hand. I think it’s a pretty good for being the first one. This was one of three blades I forged in the first class day. The other two were ugly and not usable. Getting consistently good results and achieving what I set out to make each time will take a lot more practice.

-It sharpened up quickly and has a very fine edge. Time and use will tell if it holds the edge well.

-It was SO MUCH FUN.



-The edge bevels should have been deeper and cleaner. Use correct stance at the belt sander!

-A deeper finger guard notch would have been nice.

– The blade has a slightly thicker area about an inch back from the point. It may actually be a happy accident in that it gives the tip more strength, but it wasn’t intentional.

-The point ended up being quite rounded. Had to reshape the point after T sharpened it. I was pretty grumpy that I overlooked it.

-I didn’t anneal and flatten the brass liners before bonding them to the blade and ebony pieces. One of the visible “wing” projections that extend out on to the blade on each side (I put my maker’s mark on one of them) had a little bit of upward bend, pulled away from the blade.  It’s slight, probably half a millimeter if that, but it’s there. I had to fill it in with epoxy to be sure it was all sealed.

– We didn’t put the ebony on another piece of wood when drilling through, and so of course it chipped out in a couple of places on one side. Filled with ebony dust and glue. Not too ugly, sealed and solid.

-I didn’t rotate the mosaic pins so that the axes of their patterns aligned. Even reminded myself to do this beforehand, but forgot. D’oh!


wasp pointer

Nox Venus

Sol 6* Capricorn

Luna wn 18%v at 9* Scorpio


Wasp Pointer

Lector’s pointer of cedar, rose cane, mammoth ivory, Siberian jet, copper, iron, ebony, sterling silver

63.7 cm X 1.9cm   (25 in.  x .75 in.)


The main shaft is made of cedar, a remnant of the piano sacrificed during Moe Staiano’s Moe!kestra improvised orchestral performance of “Death of a Piano”. The handle grip is made from thick rose cane hollowed to take the shaft, which is wrapped in alternating layers of iron and copper wire. The wasp on the carved section of mammoth ivory is inlaid with Siberian jet.