Ink – Rivers upon which Boats of Will and Intent Sail…

by Ravemore

Never pick a fight with people who buy ink by the barrel.

– Mark Twain

Many spells, talismans, and charms have a written component. This begs the question of what components are to be used in their construction. Often times the recipes or directions are very basic and do not elaborate greatly. As with all arcane rituals, and with life in general, what you put into your art can have a proportionate effect on what you get out of it. I have touched upon my views before that atmosphere and ceremonial practices have a tendency to more easily place the mind into altered states that are conducive to successfully working magic. Therefore, would it be prudent to buy a pad of lined paper and a blue ink click pen at Wal-Mart and put it to use? I do not think so. Ink can be mixed, feathers can be easily made into quill pens, and paper can be self-manufactured. It is work. It takes effort. To become good takes practice. The self-satisfaction can be enormous though. With that being said, the pad of lined paper and blue ink click pen will work if that is the method you choose to pursue. I’m the first to say “to each his, or her, own…”

I’m not a fan of making 300 different types of inks and papers for every conceivable rite or ritual. In my opinion it would be a foolish waste of time and resources. Other components, such as herbs, can be easily weaved into the magical working with greater ease and equal effect.

I have listed three types of ink and one paper recipe below, which should be sufficient for most, if not all, craftwork.

You can follow this link to a very interesting page instructing on Writing Quill Construction. Josh Berer also has an extremely professional WordPress Blog with a lot of information on Ink and Calligraphy. A very comprehensive work written in 1904 by David N. Carvalho on inks can be found here. Knowledge is power, and I challenge you to delve into some of these subjects in an effort to expand your own horizons.

 Dragon’s Blood Ink. 

  • 1 teaspoon Dragon’s Blood resin (powdered)
  • 10 teaspoons alcohol
  • 1 teaspoon Gum Arabic (powdered)
  • 3 drops Red food coloring

Steep the powdered resins in the alcohol until dissolved, and then add the red coloring for a deeper and brighter color. Filter and store in a dark bottle.

Black Ink

  • 2 tablespoon Lamp Black
  • 1 tablespoon Gum Arabic (powdered)
  • Small bowl of warm distilled water and an eyedropper

Grind the Lamp Black into a fine powder, mix in the Gum Arabic, and then drop by drop add distilled water until it is the consistency of useable ink. Store in a dark bottle.

Brown Walnut  Ink

  • Crushed shells of three dozen walnuts
  • 3 tablespoon Gum Arabic (powdered)
  • 3 rusty nails
  • 1 cup distilled water

Place walnut shells and rusty nails in pan and cover with distilled water. Add Gum Arabic and cook on low heat, with a lid on the pan, for 1-2 hours. Pour all contents into a glass bowl, cover top with plastic wrap, and soak for 5 days. Strain ink into a dark bottle.

Homemade Paper

1. First, make several frames: Bend an old wire coat hanger into a square or other desired shape, fastening the ends together with tape in the middle of one side (not in the corner). Pull a pair of pantyhose over the square or shape. Trim the ends of the pantyhose, and tie a knot on either side of the square or shape.

2. Tear newspaper into small pieces. Use of a paper shredder also works well. Other types of paper such as egg cartons, old greeting cards, old white printer paper, etc. can also be used. The key is to get the material into a very small shredded state.

3. Add the paper material and water in a pan. Ratio you should start with is approximately 1 cup of water per 1 cup of shredded paper. Boil and stir your paper mixture in a large pan until it becomes the consistency of oatmeal, adding water as required. For color and variety, you can add bits of dried leaves, flowers or grass, the papery outer skin of an onion, etc.

4. Let mixture cool. Add 2 tablespoons of white glue for every cup of paper material, and mix it evenly.

5. Wet the frame. Spoon the mixed paper material onto the frame, smoothing it out to the desired thickness. Hold the frame over your pan and allow the excess water and paper material to run off. When it stops running it can be hung up for drying.

6. Hang the frame in a well ventilated area until it is completely dry! Carefully peel the paper from the frame. You can then place it between 2 towels to press it with an iron on low heat, or let it sit overnight under heavy books to smooth it out. (16)