Although in my mind there's no place like my beloved Ozarks, I recently got the opportunity to spend some months living on the coast. It was the first time I'd ever lived more than 50 miles away from my birthplace and it was a fun experience. It was interesting to see how the energy of new land and a different culture (I was close to NOLA - whoot!!) changed my way of working magic during my time there. Spending some time by the sea (more time than a vacation but not a permanent move) had always been a dream of mine, ever since my Grandpa gave me a tiny preserved seahorse when I was small and suddenly the real-ness of exotic sea creatures opened like a kaleidoscope in my brain. :)
I lived very close to the beach and went walking at the water's edge pretty much every day, and became completely enamored with seashells and their myriad of possibilities. After realizing the first day there that many of the most desirable shells were inhabited by hermit crabs (and making a flying trip back to the water to release the live crabs that were freaking out in my stifling hot car) I made sure to check first whether they were empty or not when picking them up. lol
^Hermit crabs inside!^
In the area I was in, one of the most common types of shell along the beach (and in every yard) was oyster shells. Most of these have a beautiful abalone-like sheen to the inside, and some have holes in them from predators or just the wearing of the tide. They will be excellent for hanging on wind chimes to bring a bit of that ocean energy that I enjoyed so much back to my home. I've read some intriguing information about mortar made with oyster shells (apparently many of the older tombs in St. Louis Cemetery #1 in New Orleans were made with oyster shell mortar), but the process appears to be quite extensive - too much for a simple home sculpting project.
I also picked up a ton of quahog shells on this trip (and still have a stock of them from previous beach vacations). I would dearly love to learn to make wampum beads but have so many other time consuming projects going on that at the moment my attention span is more suited to arranging the quahogs into lovely sea mandalas.
Another type that was common was snail shells, although these were usually broken. I found the broken ones quite useful for traveling through visualization or jumping. When the outer edge is slightly broken away but the spiral still intact, the shell has a larger gateway where the darkness within can be seen, and the way leading to it visualized a little more clearly. Spiraling up, spiraling down, or even spiraling within, these 'broken' shells overlooked by most beachcombers are a treasure.
Another beach treasure I picked up was a large red crab shell, but haven't decided yet how I'll be using it. Crab shell powder has a good reputation in hoodoo for removing curses and jinxes, and reversing the 'evil eye' and sending it back to it's sender. I may grind it to powder, or use him in a protection ward.
Throughout the time I spent there, I picked up several bags of empty shells to test my ideas and make some
nice art pieces and spirit houses with. Broken bits of shells are
useful to me too, as some of them will be ground up and put into spirit