This is a place that I have visited before. It is a beautiful place that my High Prince T brought me to. I walked through this incredible forest that was covered with death and bones yet had so much life.
Today, was the second time that I would return here. In fact, this is the first time I have astral traveled to another place in over a year. I had experienced burnout to a severe degree. I did not even have a moment within my own astral space before I was pulled to GrandMama’s place. Although, she found out that I had remembered her as Granny instead of GrandMama, so there was a bit of teasing about that.
It was about 4 in the morning and I had not slept very well. My congestion was really bad, and I was struggling to breathe in my sleep. So I was tired but decided that, hey, this was a great time to astral travel for the Blog-a-Day February. I was immediately pulled in and greeted with a hug and cheek kisses. We sat at her front table and had an excellent talk. I told her about things after the last time I had been there. It was the struggles and the happy times. She was pleased to hear I had fallen in love and found a fantastic partner… for mental health and physical health. At one point, she gave me a cup of tea, specially brewed and crafted. I sipped away and she had amazing advice for me about not returning and feeling guilt for not being spiritual.
It is sometimes that we will diverge from the path we think we have found, taking a longer road, in order to find the right part of the path to travel on.
It gave me a bit of a stopping moment to really consider that. Sometimes, we need that long path, that long rest… because then, coming back into things, I feel clearer and able to work better than before. It will take some time to get back into things as there are problems with focus and with interruptions of thoughts.
We talked for a bit longer before I started to feel extremely drowsy. She shooed me off and told me to come back later and visit, she had a lesson to teach me.
I went about the morning and afternoon before I took the time to return to meditation. It was around 3pm my time, plenty of time before having to do some work. I settled down with headphones and turned on some amazing meditation music composed by Saber. It takes me a bit to get into things. My focus is better but it is also struggling a lot with seeing and staying in the astral without thought interruptions.
I finally appeared in the sacred grove and was met by High Prince T, who guided me back to GrandMama. This time was more vivid than this morning. She asked me how I slept and made a special tea for us. I got to sit there while they talked and drifted a bit before snapping back. She added more stuff to my tea to wake me up. After a while, she held out her hands, and I stood up, following her. It was a workbench that had some supplies on it. I looked harder and realized that she had a bookbinding setup for me. I looked at her confused as to why she had brought me to this.
She explained that I would work on grimoires and binding journals for people. High Prince T had told her as such. With that, I would be working with different materials, especially leather. She had a lesson to teach me about the process of binding. This would be about how the demons work with bookbinding rather than the history of binding from a human perspective.
Creation of Books & Sacredness of Materials
When working with book binding and with animal materials, there is something crucial to remember. Even if modern materials are being used, there is a sacred process that originates from when the practice first began. Each of the materials used in book binding came from nature. Tools were made from the bones of animals, sharpened into needles and points. Later, this became metals mined from the ground and purified to shapes. Thread was made from the sinew of animals that had been hunted, so that the paper could be sewn. Paper was made from either the vellum of animals or it was taken as pulp from various plants and trees, the latter being the most common. Sap was used to bind the animal hide to the hard covers used to bring the entire book together. Every aspect of the book was sacred in nature. It was the life and breath of knowledge that was written within. Each aspect of binding held a magic and sacredness to it. Every movement had purpose to it.
The paper began as the materials of plants broken down into the pulp that would become the paper. Screens were used within the water to gather that pulp. Flowers and plants were used depending upon the purpose of the book being written in. Protection magics and knowledge had flowers and plants that magically were aligned with this knowledge. They were screened and brought out onto fabrics to dry. Once they were dry, the papers were folded to the desired size. This is where they would be brought together to be bound (called signatures). Paper holds ink and that ink is the written form of knowledge. Plants have a sacredness to them that is magical in nature. They can aid in different areas of magic as well as physical. Using them as the base form of containing this knowledge powers them with the intent. When plants are chosen, they are spoken with when they are living. Sitting down and speaking with them, sharing energy and intent on purpose for them. Usually done with a ritual, if they choose to accept, the plant will then be cut for either soaking or dried.
The tools are created from the bones found naturally. It depends upon the one who is doing the creating as the choice of creature or even if they choose to go the route of metal. Both have their own methods of procuring the materials. With bones, they usually are crafted carefully with the intent of sewing or punching the holes in the paper for sewing (an awl). Many choose to go to specialists, especially the Necrosis Bone Masters/Mistresses, who know the sacred handling of bones. Those that decided to use the metals, they go to the Blue Hellborns, who are known for their metalwork. This is not the only route or option, but it is common for those who do not make their own tools.
Both the Leather and the Thread come from animals, those chosen for the purpose. Animals are sacred in their own right, even those that do not hold a level of intelligence, they are still treated as such. All parts of animals are required to be used for any purpose that they can be. This is why they are chosen very carefully and with the knowledge of being used for such intent. In some cultures, being chosen to be this purpose is considered a sacred honor. They are treated the same as the Wagyu cows from Japan. There is utmost care and love given to the animals or creatures that have given their consent for this. Once they have been through a sacred ritual, they are carefully put down with love. Most of them are aged to the oldest they can be and peacefully pass or the creature can choose to go earlier. Each part is made sacred through ritual before they are carried to their designated purpose. For leather or hide, it is given to the one who asked for it first. Some of the sinew is then made into thread to sew with as well. Every part is used so that they have purpose completely and no waste occurs.
This was where GrandMama Tsülie began to work with me. After teaching me all about the beginning process with the materials and the origins, that I would then learn about the binding process. This was from a magical point of view and not the normal binding that I am familiar with.
The Binding Process
The starting process to binding is cutting and gathering the paper that will be used for the book or grimoire. Once it is dried and folded, it can be cut to size or kept the same. Each folded piece is placed together into one another with upwards of 5-6 pieces together. It’s called a signature. These stacked atop each other creates the large block of paper that is then bound together. As we fold the paper and work with it, we speak to the spirit of the plants. We speak of the knowledge and purpose that it has. Thanking them for their sacrifice and their hard work. Pouring the intent into each page as they are worked with. These are the pages that will hold sacred magics and knowledge, meant to last through the centuries and millennia.
Once all of the papers are stacked together as signatures, they are punched with holes in the center parts so that they can be sewn together with ease. Starting with the first signature, one weaves the sinew thread through the paper. The thread is an important part because it ties everything together. It brings a cohesiveness and stability to the paper and therefore the knowledge. The thread is sewn into the paper and giving it a stability in the magics so that it holds it all together. Magic can be fickle, same with knowledge. The thread binds this together and grounds it. There are no loose ends when the papers are bound together. The thread in itself can be a knot magic that is used to imbibe the book as a whole with intentional magics. There are many ways that it can be used to empower the rest of the book. Once sewn together, the thread becomes a part of the spine, which gives it the foundational support. It can be the strength needed to contain any magics used within, cast on it, or written within.
As the binding of the paper has completed, the leather is next with covering the hard covers. Many materials can be used, from thin wood to bark to metal sheets. Materials can vary between those who choose to bind. The leather is glued or sewn to these covers. This can be achieved with sap or other materials that create a sealant – like plants or minerals. The leather is important because it is the outside. It is the shield that protects the knowledge within. It has many purposes, whether it is a plain binding or if it is decorated. The Leather becomes a shields, wards and magic woven into the very fabric through rituals and chants. It can be handled and carved in, creating many methods of protection upon the book.
The entire process of creating a grimoire or a book of knowledge is intense and very complex. Every one that does it will do it in different manners and materials. The one things that stays the same is the sacredness of making the book itself and the sacredness of the materials that are gathered. It is a very intensive process, but it is one that creates the beautifully magical and powerful books that people cherish and adore.
I was really pleased to have this experience and to learn such a deep aspect of one of my most beloved forms of art at the moment. It was something that I was not expecting but it made my process that I do with the grimoires even better now. I am very happy that coming back into working with the demons and with the astral in general… that this was my experience. I felt better when I came out of it and just felt such deep peace. I was emotional and upset beforehand, also feeling sick and struggling mentally lately. It’s given me a lot of peace and comfort. I feel like I was able to heal myself as well even just doing so.