Keys to the Hidden Door: Part II


Keys and Spiritism

Even the name “skeleton key” makes it hard to ignore the connection between this former household essential and the beyond.  Although the name came simply from the shape resembling that of a hollow skull on a bony frame, skeleton keys seem to have an inherent ghostly quality and inspire thoughts of séances, mediums, and hauntings.  Granted, a part of this is due to the fact that skeleton keys have fallen out of use over the last century and remain as keepsakes from a bygone time, but it is the purpose of the key that holds its power.  The skeleton key was the one master key that could unlock all doors in a household.  By extension, it is not hard to imagine their potency as a symbol in breaking through barriers and passage through liminal zones.

As antiques, skeleton keys make for nice channel points for relating to the past, our ancestors, and ghosts in the home.  Not surprisingly, there is a wealth of folklore about keys and keyholes relating to spirits and ghosts.  A few select examples include:

  1. Spirits come through the keyhole and blow out lamps.
  2. If there is a ghost in the house and you see it, take a door key and throw at the ghost and then it cannot harm you.
  3. When a person dies who has sinned a little during his life, he should be buried with a key in his pocket so that he can open the gates to heaven with little trouble.

In this season, when the veil is thin, it might be nice to set up an altar with a skeleton key and some ferns (a plant that also aides in opening doors).

As part of my Hunter’s Moon ritual this year, I did a variation on the key candle from Part I, with remarkable results.  In case it inspires some ideas for you, here is how it went!

I started with a small, plain white votive candle
that had been dressed with oil
and my own intentions.

Before beginning, I had selected a particular key for this ritual.  Holding it over the flame, I meditated on obtaining access to my desired outcome.  (Be careful during this phase — remember the key is metal, so the handle can get very hot!  Put it down on stone or glass periodically if it gets too hot.)

When the key was sufficiently warm and I felt it humming with the intended energy, I pushed the key with steady motion into the side of the candle, as though sliding it slowly into a lock.

To my utter astonishment, as I pressed the singing iron against the white candle, a sudden rush of midnight black streamed down the candle like free flowing blood and pooled on the table beneath.

Overcoming my surprise, I quickly realized this was caused by the liquidized molten wax being instantly colored by the soot that had accumulated on the key from the smoke and flame of the candle, creating a river of pure black wax.

I continued to press the key forward into the candle, occasionally removing it for reheating.  Once the key had reached about the middle of the candle (but just before the wick), I began turning to the right, being careful to turn it back to its normal axis before removing it, thus creating a mold inside the candle conformed precisely to the shape of my chosen key.

After letting both parts cool, I now have a lock-and-key candle for all of my key spell needs!  So whether I’m working through an emotional block, working towards that shiny new apartment, or catching up with great-great-great-great-great aunt Mila, I can simply light the candle, turn the key, and away we go.

My dad always told me that if I played with fire I would wet the bed.

I decided it was worth the risk.

Mwah!
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