Friday, September 23, 2011

O is for...

Before we get into our regular post, we want to congratulate Linda from Minnesota for winning our giveaway!  Linda, once you get your address to us, we will send out your prize - one of our Blueberry Hill Boxed sets!  It comes with everything you see here except the scissors!  Add your own to our pretty little fob to complete your set, Linda.  Congratulations!

O is for Occult and Octagonal Rhodes Stitch

The word occult comes from the Latin word occultus (clandestine, hidden, secret), referring to "knowledge of the hidden."  In the English language, "knowledge of the paranormal".  A name given to a number of magical organizations.

Occultopedia is an online source to all you need to know about the supernatural, paranormal and inexplicable.  You can also find what attracts men, original love spells and psychic readings! All in one place! 

What are some of the symbols of the occult and their meanings?  Many of the symbols are the same as we see used in various art forms to represent things that are meaningful to the artist interpretation. 

Some of these are the pentagram, hexagram and the all-seeing eye. The Shaka sign, 

which to me means hang loose in the style of the islands, in the occult world is a witch sign or a moon sign also called  Mano Cornuto (Horned Hand) in Italian; the gesture is commonly depicted on charms against the evil eye. It is unclear whether the gesture originated as an image of horns or as a "poking out the eyes" gesture, but ancient lunar goddess charms depicting animal horns were used for similar protective purposes and are probably related to the gesture. The use of the horns as a symbol of satanic belief is recent, and is evolved from its use by heavy metal musicians and fans.  The horned Hand gesture is also used occasionally by Wiccans as a symbol of the "horned God" or as the horns of the Moon Goddess, depending on tradition. 

You can find many of these various symbols and meanings in some of the sites listed below for further interpretations. Remember to take it all with a grain of salt, oh now what does a grain of salt mean?  Where do we get these clichés, but from wise tales through the ages and some of them have various meanings in the land of good and evil.

Some people (particularly individuals involved in occultic activities) look upon the Occult as fascinating, harmless, mysterious, spiritual and a source of knowledge and healing power. Others (particularly conservative Christians) see it as being profoundly evil, criminal, destructive, life threatening, and Satanic. It is a word that generates horror and revulsion.  Some of the practices of divination seem lighthearted such as tea reading, the Ouija board game, tarot cards, palm reading  and others seem to tread on more demonic grounds.  

The Crystal Ball is one of the methods of divination that has been practiced since the time of the druids. Many cultures have used this divining technique of crystallomancy for several years, although the use is not strictly confined to crystal balls, as water, smoke, glass and even the clouds have proven successful in finding images that are translated into the answers to questions, or receive messages about the future. 

Psychics sometimes rely on crystal balls not merely to see through their clients' minds, but to cleanse their own minds. When conducting readings they need to have undivided attention and they can only do this by looking at a clear crystal ball. The clarity and flawlessness of the ball allows them to get rid of the impurities they have on their minds and in turn gain better concentration on their sessions with clients.

As you can imagine we have not even begun to scratch any of the surface of the Occult and it is a ground we tread lightly on, as we are only looking at the playful aspects for our "Dark" alphabet, but the occult plays many roles in history from the beginning of time and can be quite fascinating.

Octagonal Rhodes Stitch
This stitch is typically used on canvas and is used to cover a large area.  But as with many stitches originally used in canvas work, we can easily use it in our counted work to add interest and texture. Especially depending on the fibers chosen for the stitch, it can be used to really create some great textures.  This variation is worked in the same way the Rhodes stitch is done, with the stitches following each other in a counter-clockwise direction, so that they all cross over the same central point. But the outline shape followed is an octagon rather then a square and gives a circular appearance.   Julie has used it for the Crystal Ball in her design as well as the O as in Occult.  My source again is the Complete Stitch Encyclopedia by Jan Eaton.

As always, click on the design to go to our Freebies page and download this week's chart, or click on Freebies in the sidebar.

We hope you enjoy this lighthearted trip to "the dark side"... as we head toward Halloween we find ourselves thinking of spooktacular effects for our dark alphabet.  Whoooo knows?  There may be some more surprises coming!

Julie will be out of town for a week or so, starting this weekend, which means no changes can be made to the blog or the website.  We hope you will not be inconvenienced by a short wait for our next post!  Maybe some of you will be able to catch up.  Since Julie expects to be stitching for much of this week away, she may have new pictures of her alphabet to share.


  1. This is my most favourite square so far. I think I will be stitching her at least twice, she will make great cards.

    Enjoy your stitching break Julie.

  2. I love the idea of these alphabet as my DS and DIL are both on the dark side and they don't want me to change my GD into a little pixie fairy (but my DH and I already have plans for that) teehee.
    thanks you, I will certainly make something for them out of these, after I put my thinking cap on....

  3. hello dear, i am your new follower and your new smiley face friend from south africa..
    i really love your dark alphabet project..i saw jo stitched piece and it is really looking so stunning..i am thinking to start it by myself too..
    wish me luck..
    lots and love for you all.
    cucki xx

  4. Good luck, Cucki - we'd love to see pictures as you go along. We agree that Jo's work is stunning! Wait til you see the latest!


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