It’s a year in the making! But here it is a little tiny imbolc zine!
A lot of things are mechanized these days. I will never bash machines because after all machines and tech are as complicated as quantum computers and as simple as a weighted stick.
But I do think there is something to be said about process especially regarding the handicrafts.
The spring shearing season nudged me to finally try my hand at processing a fleece. And wow. When I get a nudge there is something in my character that unearths everything I can without physically doing the process before the actual process begins. For weeks I poured over breeds, combs versus cards, different washing methods, more breeds, fantasizing about future knitting projects with future fleece(s). In the end. As it usually goes all the learning went out the window once I saw the bags of fleece lined up and whiffed that heady smell.
For me there is something fiercely nostalgic about sheep smell. Yes I grew up on a farm but beyond that. I am convinced that my people who lived so close with their sheep for hundreds of years even so much as to bring them in their houses at some points–that sheep and wool is in my dna somehow.
I walked away with a romney lamb and pining for a romney ewe in silver grey.
It took about three days of should I do it now? do I have everything? right now? to alright we’re doing this. I’m not sure how to describe the washing process aside from feeling a little like an expectant parent waiting to see if I did it properly–checking for felting–wondering where all the vm was going to go. I scented the fleece with a spicy vetiver–vetiver reminds me of temples and I have it in my mind to dye the yarn a deep red and make a ritual garment from it.
The combs ordered the night of the fleece’s arrival showed up a week later–perfect timing for the first third of the fleece that had dried. A few passes of the combs and
I’ve happy to have found the rhythm and satisfaction of freshly hand combed and pulled roving twisting up merrily on my spindle.
It’s really quite something to reflect how every single garment prior to the industrial revolution held this much human and earth energy in order to come into existence.
What was ordinary a few hundred years ago has become extraordinary in a world of consume and dispose.
as fiber witches know spinning, knitting, crocheting, weaving…. insert any fiberwork…is inherently creation work. Taking a raw material and giving it an intention or purpose. One of my favorite simple but powerful spells involve knotwork.
knot work can be done with virtually anything you can tie in knots.
for me. for particularly potent spellwork– I like to turn to my spindles. selecting each tool with purpose– fitting each tool to the task at hand. Carefully going through my fiber collection, choosing the fiber to reflect the intention of the spell.
today I sat in ceremony spinning for communities, the one in which I reside and another I know nothing about.
for safe crossings to the otherworld.
3 ply tussah silk.
braided 3 by 3.
knotted by 9.
two in the apple tree
two in the rose tree.
do you remember the night the moon dropped from the sky?
and we ran through the forest to find where it lie,
i was tripping on tree roots and slipping on snow,
you were holding my hand saying not to let go,
when we found it at last, there were twigs in our hair,
a rose on our cheeks and our breath in the air,
and the words to describe it got caught in our throats,
as its silver light danced through the threads of our coats,
we knew that our eyes had not seen such a view,
you were looking at it,
i was looking at you.
Happy first full moon of the year! What are you spinning this evening? How are you celebrating?
Here in my kitchen it is new years eve. Chaos reigns despite all the good intentions. My home is a heap of memories, half finished projects and a reticent quiet.
The world tells me it is the end of the year. Tomorrow begins the mysterious, grizzled with determination, 2018.
One second to another. Endings, beginnings. Starts and finishes.
For practicalities sake this is how we are told it is.
It is not.
Finite ends and beginnings are not the way of this world. The spirit has departed but the body still remains. A relationship is over but lingers through grief. An idea is born but still exists in another plane. A child is conceived but gestates.
Where I live it is winter. Winter is both death and birth. Winter is otherworld times. Secret times. Winter is where in old times we exchanged the tools of the field for the tools of the hearth. Creating and mending, honoring the past while looking towards the future– making plans for when the sun is bright and full.
This in between space, this creative space is the seed dropped into the soil and nourished by the wisdom of the crone.
Growth acknowledges the past and enacts the lessons learned there.
Growth looks at the bullshit in the eye. Examines and learns from it. Owns it and applies it.
I hope that in this wintery season you are able to find your own shifts, honor the wisdom keepers in you and around you and sow those dream seeds for the next bend on your spiral.