Mask Making

Make a Mask of Your Shadow Side
Meditation to Find Your Shadow
Make a Mask of Your Totem Animal or Familiar
Other Mask Ideas
Make the Mask Base
Decorate the Mask

Make a Mask of your Shadow Self

At no other time are we faced with our shadow self more than at Samhain. Now we encounter the dark time of endings and completion, dissolution, and diminishing. The days grow shorter and the nights longer. The Earth is plunging into its winter darkness as the veil between the worlds grows thinner.

Halloween's monsters and frights are merely representations of our repressed fears and shadow side. One way of easing the tensions of the season is to shine the light squarely on our shadows. Examine it and in the process lose all fear of it.

Wear your shadow mask on Samhain and then burn it in the bonfire or cauldron fire -- or leave it on your altar as a tribute to your dark side.

Making a representation of your shadow mask can be liberating. You can feel empowered, because you have better control of the shadow when you can see it before you. Once you eternalize the shadow mask, you know what it is made of. You drain it of any power it holds over you because you know longer hide from it. You then gain magical power because you have changed your consciousness and now know when the mask is worn and when it is not. -- Timothy Roderick, Dark Moon Mysteries


Meditation to Find Your Shadow

Tape record this mediation or have someone read it to you. Find a quiet, comfortable place to perform the meditation, some place where you will not be disturbed. Be sure to answer the questions after the meditation below. (from Dark Moon Mysteries, page 27.)

Close your eyes. Imagine that a soft white glow is forming at your feet. It begins to swirl upward and it forms a protective shell around you. It lifts you up and takes you on a journey to the core of your being.

The misty glow sets you down and dissipates to reveal a marble staircase that spirals downward. The light is very dim along the walls of the staircase and you can't see all the way to the bottom, but you know this is a place into which you must venture.

You begin down the staircase and you notice it spirals in a counterclockwise direction. The light in the staircase comes from candles flickering in small carved niches along the walls. The staircase walls are made of smooth, cold marble that your occasionally touch as you continue to journey downward.

As you work your way down the stairs, notice on the walls that there are occasionally sigils, magickal symbols formed out of metal and embedded into the walls. These are the symbols of your shadow masks. Take note of whichever one is most prominent. This is the symbol for your primary shadow mask.

Reach up and touch the symbol of your primary shadow mask and you'll find that it comes loose from the wall. As you hold it in your hands, you can feel the cold weight of the metal symbol and you can see it from all sides. Hold on to this symbol as you continue down the stairs.

When you reach the bottom, you find before you a great golden door. You try the door, but it is locked. Look at the keyhole and you will find that it is oddly shaped. Slip the metal symbol you hold into the keyhole and you'll find that it unlocks the door. Open the door d enter the chamber.

The room is cold and quite dark, except for a single point of illumination that emanates from the far side of the room. The light comes from a mask that hangs on the far wall. Go over to it and look at it. You notice that it is well within reach, so you take it down and examine it thoroughly. On the inside of the mask is its name. Take note of it.

After you've examined the mask, place it on your face and ask: "How do I resolve this shadow mask?" Listen carefully to the answer. Once you've heard the message, ask one more question: "What does this shadow mask keep me from doing?"

After you've queried the mask, take it off and place it back on the wall. Exit the chamber and lock the door with the medal symbol you retained. As you climb the stairs, you can place the symbol anywhere along the wall and it will set itself within the marble. Continue to head to the top of the stairs,this time moving much more quickly than before.

Once you have reached the top, the white glow enfolds you once again, lifts you up, and brings you back into your body.

When you have arrived back fully, take a moment to contemplate your experience and do the exercises and answer the questions below:

1. Draw the symbol of the primary shadow mask.
2. Draw your shadow mask.
3. What is the name of the shadow mask?
4. What part do you play in keeping this mask alive?
5. What are the effects of this shadow mask on your life?
6. What does this shadow mask keep you from accomplishing?
7. What action must you take in order to resolve you primary shadow mask?
8. What have you to learn from this shadow mask?


Make a Mask of Your Animal Totem or Familiar

Get in touch with your wild side. Civilization requires us to adequately play our roles each day as parent, worker, friend, etc. Clocks and responsibilities keep us firmly on track each day. Samhain can be a time when we let out the animal to howl at the moon. What animal in you is bursting to get out? Decorate your mask to represent an animal that is meaningful to you at this time, be it your totem, familiar, or just a fancy.


Other Mask Ideas

At Samhain, many other kinds of masks are appropriate to the season. Here are a few other ideas:

A white or silver mask for the Maiden aspect of the Goddess. A long veil or sheer white veil might be added for mystery as well as white silk blossoms or silver or pearl-white sequin crescent moons.

A red mask for the Mother. Decorate with braided corn husks, sprays of wheat or seeds to express her abundance and fertility.

A black mask for the Crone. Decorate with peacock feathers (to illustrate her mysterious nature), a black veil, black feathers, or black crescent moon sequins.

A gold mask for the Oak King, decorated with acorns and oak leaves.

A holly-decorated mask to represent the Holly King.

A black mask with horns of some kind to represent the Horned Lord.

Masks of nature spirits utilizing feathers, leaves, silk flowers, sea shells, sequins, and the like.

adapted from Campanelli's Ancient Ways, page 184


Make a Mask Base

Mask bases and human head forms can be found in most craft stores. Should you desire to do make the mask base yourself, use the following directions from Dark Moon Mysteries.

Items needed:

Mixing bowl
1 cup water
1 cup flour
1/2 cup white glue
20-30 pieces of newspaper or paper towels cut into 1" by 6" strips
Plastic wrap

In a mixing bowl, pour 1 cup of water. Add flour in 1/3 cup increments. As you add each 1/3 cup flour, stir it well, using the fingers to break up any clots. Once completely mixed (it should be the consistency of plaster) add 1/4 cup white glue. Stir well.

Buy a mask base at an arts and crafts store, or use the wearer of the mask as a model. If using a human model, spread Saran Wrap or plastic over the person's face. IMPORTANT: BE VERY SURE TO INSERT A STRAW OR OTHER SUCH DEVISE THROUGH THE PLASTIC THROUGH WHICH THE MODEL CAN BREATHE.

Dip paper strips in flour mixture one piece at a time. Shake off excess mixture and smooth either side of the strip to take off more moisture. Begin to lay strips along the outer rim of the person's face or mask base, along the brow, the temples, the jaws, and the chin. Be sure to overlap and interconnect all strips as you lay them out. Smooth each strip into the others with your fingers. Next lay strips across the nose and connect those strips to those at the cheekbone area. Next begin to fill in empty places on your model's face and around the cheeks and forehead.

Repeat process a second time to create a stronger mask base.

Drying time will vary. Use a blow dryer to speed the process if desired. Once the mask is dry enough to be taken off the model's face, place it in a warm place for 24 hours. Decorate when dry.


Decorate the Mask

If making a shadow mask, it is best to decorate it during the waning or dark moon when it is easiest to externalize our shadow side. Gather feathers, glitter, leaves, twigs, baubles, and glue, tape or staples. Once all your art supplies are in one place, cast a circle or create sacred space. Light a single black candle and proceed to cleanse and charge the materials before you. Decorate your mask. Close the circle.