Photography by Steve Parke
When we first discussed doing a photo shoot with ceramicist Rachael Platt, she said, “For some reason I cannot get out of my brain a scene where a single figure is holding a lit manifesting jar, and an array of illuminated jars surrounds them. Their face or form is illuminated by the candlelight and the full moon above them—almost like an action shot of something super-magical occurring, a glimpse into a manifesting ritual ceremony.”
We loved this idea for the cover of our Winter Witch issue, the last in our special yearlong witch series and the perfect moment for manifesting all your intentions and dreams and desires, right in time for the new year. The manifesting jar is, Platt explains, a ritual magic tool to help the user focus their intent, home in on their motivations and desires, and then release this energy out into the world—while also containing that energy in their sacred space. Yes, please!
So Platt and Steve Parke met one night under a full moon, and they created the cover to this issue. They met again in the forest and by the river to create the enchanting images that follow.
You might recall Platt from our 2019 witch issue, where we featured the handmade ceramics she creates through One:Eleven Pottery. We showcase them again here, beautiful objects that can be used for everyday rituals or magic—if there is even a distinction. “There is magic inherent in the mundane,” Platt says. “I feel that even the simplest practice of morning coffee in and of itself is a magic ritual.”
We love this about witchery: The brooms, the cups, the jars, the herbs, and the rocks that could not be more commonplace are the simplest tools for the most gorgeous magic. Below, we ask Platt about her latest work and these images.
Enchanted Living: Can you tell us about the manifesting jars and how they work?
Rachael Platt: The jars function as a means to physically assign and contain personal objects of power, energetically sealing the intentions of the user within the vessel and thereby helping them to focus and anchor their thoughts, visions, and dreams. You can transfer the spiritual energies you collect and organize and reinforce them in the physical world.
The jar is a ritual tool. Its magic can be as simple or complex as you desire it to be. The first step is to fill it with artifacts, herbs, crystals, or other meaningful objects that resonate with one’s identity and the goal at hand. You are collecting energies to be focused. Then, the user sets a candle at the top and allows the wax to drip and melt onto the lid, the entrance of the vase, thus sealing it closed and further focusing or harnessing the energies. When the manifestation is complete or the goal no longer serves, it is simply a matter of breaking the wax and starting again.
And one of the best parts of the object: It is completely reusable for as long as the user wishes. The vessel can be washed, spiritually cleansed, and fixed again with new intentions for many years to come.
EL: Why did you start making them?
RP: I started to make them for myself in private rituals because I found a need to contain manifestation energy in my own life.
I wanted a way to focus my thoughts and direct them in a more purposeful fashion. I feel as though sharing this tool with others, giving them a physical reminder of their desires and dreams that is not simply a one-use object, is an ideal way to spread intentionality and awareness. I have had a jar of my own in my sacred space for almost a decade now.
EL: What can you share about the power of wishing and manifesting?
RP: I think on my pottery name, One:Eleven, and the ideas behind numerology—repeating numbers, repeating energy, and the power inherent in continuously imbuing the manifest goal with power. One can create their own reality with their thoughts and intentions. This is the magic inherent in my energy work with ceramics.
EL: Tell me about the shoot and images here. How do they celebrate solitary elemental witchcraft?
RP: It was incredible to work with Steve Parke and depict some of the very essence of my beliefs, visions, and inspirations. We focused on capturing forest scenes, trees, rushing rivers, and the moon. A lone figure both interacting and merging with the natural world around her is very much the basis of my artwork and spiritual craft. Witchcraft is a solitary experience, where one focuses on their place in the natural world, celebrating the old gods and the land around them. To me, the slumbering landscape of winter has always been a metaphor for a harnessed power within—cooled and peaceful, collecting energy until one is ready to release it with the abundance and promise of spring.
EL: The cover image was taken under a full moon. Can you talk about lunar phases and how the full moon pertains to you and the manifesting jars?
RP: Doing manifesting work under specific moon cycles can be profound and very powerful. The full moon is arguably the most potent time for spell work because of the energetic ferocity. If you are looking for the perfect moment for your wish jar, this is it. The image I am depicted in represents just that—a harnessing of elemental, seasonal, and cyclical manifestation energy.
EL: Can you say more about what you do and the vision behind your work?
RP: I create art with care and magical intent. I am thinking of the lovely humans who will use my work as I make it. It is an intentional, energetic process, both spiritually and physically. I have some methods that will always remain private, but I can say that clay inherently is magic.
My vision is to bring to you objects and experiences that elevate your rituals, whether they be daily sips of coffee or more profound energy work in your sacred space. I pour a lot of myself into each piece, and I think when you hold them, you can feel me in the work. That’s my one true goal: a deep connection distilled and permanently affixed to stone.
EL: Do you have anything to say about winter witchcraft in general ?
RP: Winter witchcraft to me has always been an inward practice: of solitude, self-work, self-reflection, dreaming of the days ahead and what one wants to focus on and manifest for themselves. The murmur of the earth beneath the snow. You can take the time to slowly muster what is necessary to take on the rest of the seasons and their high energetic flow. I always find winter to be a time to dive deep into shadow work: communing with yourself, the dark side, the dark days, and transmuting that energy to again accumulate and later reap the harvest of rest and self-reflection.
EL: Do you have any special connection to winter?
RP: Wintry scenes have always had a huge impact on my work, especially in clay. I have always had an interest in depicting the viny, bare-tree, or woodland scene, and I’ve been particularly interested in winter for the past twelve years. Winter trees resonate because of visceral and recurring dreams I have about tree spirits, my love of the remaining wilds of the world, and deep appreciation for spiritual interpretations of trees from a variety of cultures and religions.
One of my favorite ideas is that the tree serves as a ladder to descend from or ascend into a variety of spiritual worlds. Trees are portals of sorts, aged wizened grandparents watching over us on the physical plane. The wintry, bare, exposed tree speaks to me perhaps because I appreciate the slumbering form of its full splendor. The gnarled roots and twisting branches speak of years withstanding the elements, a map of time, motion, surviving.
EL: How do you stay enchanted?
RP: I stay enchanted by continuously educating myself in all things that resonate with me spiritually, including the ceramic arts, folklore, and the natural world. Paying attention to my responses to just about everything in life, whether it’s a new book, or a conversation, or a photograph, can be a doorway to better understanding and a deeper connection.