About the Shop
Sword + Scythe is the magical and artistic workings of Vanessa Irena. She creates handmade materia magica, amulets, astrological talismans, and provides divinatory services in collaboration with spirit and land under the auspices of Mars and Saturn.
I am a multidisciplinary artist, musician, and writer. My work focuses on the exploration of ecstasy and the body as a ritual and devotional instrument. I was born and raised in New Orleans, LA and currently live in Upstate NY in the Catskill Mountains. I received my BFA with a concentration in painting from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst and have been creating art and music since I was 4 years old.
I produce experimental devotional music as ek-stasis (formerly as knifesex) and released my first solo EP, Deipna, in January of 2017 and my first full-length album, dedicated to the goddess Babalon, in November of 2017. I released my first published work, Saint Raphael The Archangel, a pamphlet I co-authored with Alexander Cummins in July of 2018 through Hadean Press. I also released a collaborative musical piece with Alexander Cummins, a ritual invocation to Mars, in December 2018. In 2019 my interview with Alkistis Dimech was published in The Brazen Vessel, through Scarlet Imprint. I released the chapbook Ecstasy: A Devotional Guide to the Female Mystics, in July of 2022 through Hadean Press.
I am an astrologer and diviner with a specialized interest in medieval and renaissance astrological magic, horary, and medical astrology (the astrology of the body). I have studied astrology with Christopher Warnock, Judith Hill, Chris Brennan, and Bernadette Brady among many others and am indebted to their scholarship. I am a gardener and folk herbalist, and proponent of movement as a magical and spiritual practice. I practice both weightlifting and ecstatic dance and view the body as the primary locus of witchcraft. I am also an initiated Lukumi Olorisha apprenticed to elders within the afrodiasporic community. I believe every action we take to live fully is a devotional act to the ancestors. You can see more of my work at vanessairena.com
About Amulets and Astrological Talismans
Numerous definitions of amulets and talismans exist, and these terms have been been used in different ways throughout history. More recently, they have been used as catch-all terms to describe any magical object employed for a specific purpose. I wish to be clear on how I personally use these terms in my practice and offerings. To quote Claude Lecouteux in his excellent work The High Magic of Talismans and Amulets,
The amulet is an object possessing natural virtues…. The talisman is a manufactured object that has been invested with magic powers, thanks to a ritual compelling astral influences to condense within it…. A talisman can be an amulet, and vice versa; it is a question of its size and use. The same object can be presented as either one.
The amulets and astrological talismans created by Sword + Scythe are crafted through a process called copper electroplating. In the case of amulets, objects and materia selected for their occult virtue are encased in pure copper. In the case of talismans, the process is the same however the objects and materia that form all or part of the final piece have been enspirited through the use of ritual and astrological timing via full chart elections. All talismanic elections are personally selected by me according to considerations described in traditional sources such as the Picatrix, the works of Agrippa and Ficino, and as taught to me by my teacher Christopher Warnock.
It is not necessary to consecrate your amulet or talisman upon receiving it as this process is part of it’s creation, though you may wish to do so in order to form a deeper connection with it. How you choose to do this is deeply personal and there is no incorrect way, as long as the pieces are treated with respect. It is especially important to keep in mind that because a talisman has been enspirited, it is a living object.
Below are some basic suggestions for connecting with your piece however these are in no way prescriptive:
- For an amulet, depending on whether the piece contains the virtues of Mars or Saturn, you may choose to follow the below suggestions for consecrating a planetary talisman.
- For a planetary talisman: on the day and hour of the planet, recite the Orphic hymn or prayer of your choice to the planet. Other popular sources for planetary invocation are the Picatrix and the Hygromanteia. You may also choose to offer candles and suffumigate the talisman using an incense aligned with that planet or those suggested in the Orphic hymn.
- For a fixed star talisman: When the star is rising, culminating, or conjoined with the moon, perform the Orphic hymn to the Stars, inserting the name of the specific star in the hymn. You may also choose to offer candles and suffumigate the talisman using an incense aligned with that star.
- For a lunar mansion talisman, you may offer prayers to the spirit of that mansion when the moon is in that mansion. You may also choose to offer candles and suffumigate the talisman using an incense aligned with the mansion. Additionally you may also perform the Orphic hymn to Selene.
- For a decan/face talisman: you can follow the process outlined for a planetary talisman using the planetary ruler of the face as well as offering prayer to the spirits associated with the face.
- Prayer in one’s own words, spoken from the heart, is always an appropriate option.
The website astro-seek.com has a number of helpful calculators for creating electing consecrations
About Copper Electroplating
Copper electroplating is a technique that utilizes chemistry and electricity to encase an object in pure copper. This process creates a permanent natural amulet which preserves the original object inside, thereby retaining it’s virtue. Each piece is personally and individually crafted from materials I have grown, foraged, and ethically sourced when possible and is one of a kind. Because natural materials form the base of each piece which copper is then “grown” around, it will include natural variations and “flaws” though I do not personally view them as such. Additionally the electroplating process will often create unique organic textures, uneven formations and asymmetry which I believe add to the beauty of each piece. A patina is then applied to each piece using liver of sulphur and it is then sealed with a protective coating. Over time your copper piece will naturally oxidize adding to it’s story.
Each piece comes on a 28″ length of black genuine deerskin lace cord and can be worn on the body or hung. Faux suede cords are also available upon request. These pieces are delicate and should be handled with care. It is recommended to remove your item before sleeping, bathing, cleaning, or exercising. You may find this guide to caring for copper jewelry helpful.
Legally I must state than any item or service sold by Sword & Scythe is sold as a curio only and effectiveness is not guaranteed.
Sword + Scythe is not responsible for how its products and services are used.
Swore + Scythe products are offered for use in ritual and magical practice, not for medicinal purposes. I am not a healthcare professional. The information on this website is provided for its folkloric and magical value and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
All items are shipped via USPS priority mail or first class package international. US shipping is free. International shipping is $25 flat rate.
Please allow 3 weeks for shipping and 1 week for email responses.
The Purchaser agrees to not hold Sword + Scythe responsible for a parcel lost or damaged by the postal service.
Refund + Return Policy
All sales are final. Due to the nature of the products and services sold there are are no refunds or returns after a purchase has been made.
Sword + Scythe reserves the right to refund any customer and refuse patronage at our discretion.