Critical Role: Caduceus (2019)

Mixed Media

“Everything we do is a declaration of our love, our adoration, or our denial of it.”

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When I asked for advice about which member of the Mighty Nein I should make a box for next, a bunch of people suggested Caduceus. I wasn’t anywhere near ep 28 at the time and really didn’t want to spoil myself early, so I went by my love of his color palette and decided to jump into it with the limited knowledge I had of his character. Unlike Yasha, I struggled with putting his character into a set amount of words at the beginning, and the themes of the box were reworked multiple times. I also struggled with translating the vision of the box I had in my head into a real, physical object. I remade things more times than I’d like to admit, but now that he’s all done, I’m so glad I took the time to get everything just how I wanted it to be.

I found the box and carved out the center circle, knowing that I wanted to include the symbol of the Wildmother on the top of the box. It’s made from forget-me-nots, coral bells, cypress leaves, and a little hand-carved wooden staff, sealed in resin.

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The inside lid was a ton of fun. I knew I wanted to incorporate the beetles and the ruins of the Blooming Grove, and I really wanted to feel like you were peering in through one of the holes in the walls. So I sculpted some stone walls and filled some of the holes with lichen, leaving a space for a little graveyard scene in the corner, with some little mushrooms growing an the gravestones. And last but not least, I added some little beetle friends - which were a lot more time consuming then they appear. I had to hunt down brass beetles, paint them black, and then use green chrome powder with a bit of pink before I sealed them. I love how they turned out, though, and I think they look so cute nestled in the ruin walls!

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As far as crystals, this is a pretty sparse box due to lack of space, but I really wanted to include a large amethyst chunk as the focal point since Caduceus has one in his staff. Amethyst is a focus stone, helping with divination and visions as well as prophetic dreams, but also a stone to help us find clarity and illuminate our way when we don’t know if we’re on the right path or not.

Other than that, the box has a piece of moss agate, a piece of milky grey chalcedony, a piece of pink tourmaline, and a sprinkling of rose quartz pebbles.
Moss agate was a perfect aesthetic choice for the box, but it also helps with leaving your current environment and getting accustomed to a new way of life, as well as seeing beauty in everything, even things that might not necessarily seem positive to others. Chalcedony (which is also agate) is a stone of support, grounding and balance, reflecting the balance of nature and the cycle of life, death, and decay. Pink tourmaline is a stone of gentleness, helping to heal old wounds, cleanse guilt and grief, and stop destructive behaviors, which I think fits Caduceus’ personality and propensity for mentoring certain members of the Mighty Nein. Lastly, rose quartz is for comfort, love, and healing.

I included a tiny porcelain teacup filled with moss and hand-sculpted mushrooms, since Caduceus loves all of those things, and as a nod to his intro scene, which was one of my favorite scenes in the whole show. There is also a lily of the valley charm on a red thread. The red thread represents destiny, and Lily of the Valley represents protection against negativity, preserving nature, and power hidden behind an unthreatening façade.

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Potions:

As I said earlier, it was tough to really pin down concrete themes for the potions for this box. I usually have them all figured out before I start doing anything, but this time I was still trying to figure them out as I was creating. There are 6 potions, one of them being a tiny terrarium, and each is numbered on the bottom. The first 3 are in the first photo below:

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The first potion in the photo above (#1) is focused on Caduceus’ soft and gentle demeanor, his kindness, and his calm and comforting aura. It contains chamomile and lavender for calm; cedar, vervain and magnolia for peace/tranquility; rose quartz for comfort; pink rose for gentleness, and white carnation for kindness. It’s sealed in silver wax with a mushroom stamp.

The second potion (#2) represents his insight, wisdom, and perception.There’s acorns and sunflower for wisdom; cinquefoil for sharing wisdom with others; sage for wisdom and insight; anise and rosemary for awareness; mugwort for perception/divination and scrying, and jasmine for clarity. It’s sealed with silver wax and the swirl as a symbol of the Wildmother.

The last potion in the photo (#3) is a mini terrarium filled with pink and white lichen, a beetle, a dogwood flower, and a quote from Caduceus: “Things die. Sometimes they come back.”

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In this next photo, the first potion (#4) focuses on Caduceus’ role as guardian of his family’s temple, cycles of life and death, and upholding the natural order. It includes cypress for grief, death, and dying, and for helping people to heal in crisis; yarrow and rue for trying to get rid of corruption, and bluebell for rituals of death and dying. It is sealed with silver wax and a wildflower stamp.

The next potion (#5) is focused around Caduceus and his relationship with the rest of the MIghty Nein. I wanted to explore his role as a guide and mentor for them; he brings a positive outlook that differs from the rest of the group, and is willing to help them to grow and heal, even if he doesn’t necessarily consider them equals. The potion contains chrysanthemum for honest and blunt advice; chamomile for patience; calendula for joy and positivity, and fostering healing and growth; lemon balm for sympathy and easing sorrow; mint for guidance and mentoring/nurturing; hibiscus for helping others  work through trauma, and lilac for feeling removed from a group or like an outsider. It’s sealed with silver wax and a lily of the valley stamp.

The last potion (#6) deals with dedication and Intent as an expression of faith, and Caduceus’ philosophy of life as an act of Devotion to the Wildmother. It contains violet for faith; vervain and skullcap for ritual; anise and cloves for intention, and dogwood for devotion. It’s sealed with silver wax and a lily of the valley stamp.

Finally, the box is visibly covered in lichen and moss, which aside from being an aesthetic choice is also associated with perseverance, calm, patience, nurturing, and grounding; there is also a lily of the valley charm on a red thread. The red thread represents destiny, and Lily of the Valley represents protection against negativity, preserving nature, and power hidden behind an unthreatening façade.

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(Also, here’s the quote engraved on the bottom, one of my favorite Caduceus quotes!) Thanks for reading!

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