"Sheep to shawl" as a spiritual practice

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kkieva
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"Sheep to shawl" as a spiritual practice

Postby kkieva » 02 Mar 2013, 21:00

I had started the OBOD Bardic grade last spring but got off track during the summer and fall…I found myself really getting into the whole “sheep to shawl” thing - buying raw fleece, washing, carding/combing, spinning on a drop spindle, then knitting or weaving lace shawls. Now I find myself wanting to restart my studies (I didn’t get very far), only this time I feel the need to incorporate my new-found “craft,” treating it as a spiritual discipline. Has anyone else done this? Is there a difference between, say, spinning for fun or enjoyment as opposed to spinning with Druidic intention? I’m not sure if this makes sense, but I feel as though I’m on the edge of a “ah-ha!” moment when all the disparate pieces of my life come together into a coherent, authentic whole. Or maybe I have low blood sugar... :???:
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katie bridgewater
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Re: "Sheep to shawl" as a spiritual practice

Postby katie bridgewater » 02 Mar 2013, 23:08

Spinning has an ancient deep association with trance and magic, as can be seen in the songs and folklore associate with it. Weaving has obvious connections to mythic weaving of the fates or norns. Felt has a magical significance in some parts of the world and little pieces of fleece are carried as a charm. Singing textile songs while doing textile crafts is really good. I love it.

Learning any kind of textile craft is an effective way to connect to the physical and natural world, and also to the life-ways of our ancestors. I don't think you need to 'do' anything special while you are doing these crafts to somehow render them 'spiritual'. They already are, just as eating and dancing and having sex are. To live and do necessary things mindfully is the best spiritual practice of all, IMO.

I've been doing fleece related crafts for over 20 years and spinning in particular is inherently spiritual - in fact, spinning was a formative part of my spirituality and therefore, to spin, knit, sew, weave, dye, nalbind, crochet, make felt etc probably constitute religious practice for me. I'm lucky I now have a part time day job where I am expected to know how to do all of them, do them regularly and teach them to children. This is also a spiritual thing for me, to pass on the knowledge and skills needed to live in harmony with the world and to connect with it and my ancestors. I am amassing a collection of traditional fleece related songs, many of which are really magical for a hypothetical album, though when I will have time to record it is anyone's guess....

elementalheart
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Re: "Sheep to shawl" as a spiritual practice

Postby elementalheart » 03 Mar 2013, 09:44

I've way less experience than you both, have never worked from raw fleece and the few attempts I made with a drop spindle were never going to be more than an exploration.

That said, when I started felting I did find and consciously use it as a part of my spiritual practice. Firstly in the creativity which is stepping into the making as a conscious choice and offering the best of my ability. Secondly in the surrender since once underway the actual result is beyond control, you bring it to a point and then start the rolling and all you can do is reshape at various points, the way it comes together in visual outcome is always unique and beautiful but not within your power to dictate precisely. That said, you put your all into it and trust the rest to be how it is meant to be. And for that I found myself drawn to chant, sing or otherwise make music - the rhythm of music assists the steadiness of pace hence the appeal of old waulking songs but also mantras, childhood rhymes, folk songs, whatever came into my head - inspiration or habit, who knows but for me it was important to make the craft part of my spiritual practice as I wanted every part of my life to have that context at the time.

Many of the items I made went to spiritual practitioners of one kind or another, so I wonder if they perceived my intention in some way or whether I just knew more folk in that world that wanted to support my efforts. Whatever the reason, I wove it that way intentionally and stopped at a point where the pressure of production for a deadline (Christmas gift posting as it happened) outweighed the joy of doing the work. I'm just restarting now about 15 months later, as I want it back to what it should have remained, a way of expressing creativity and spiritual practice, not a commercial product to be demanded and controlled by others, however supportive their intention. :)
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Michelangela
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Re: "Sheep to shawl" as a spiritual practice

Postby Michelangela » 03 Mar 2013, 19:32

Is there a difference between, say, spinning for fun or enjoyment as opposed to spinning with Druidic intention?
Greetings! I'm a novice spinner, myself (I do weaving, sewing, and dyeing, but just getting into the spinning part). But any time I'm working on something that is going to be used exclusively for spiritual work, I follow a stricter set of rules than when I'm just working for fun or doing practical work. For me, the spiritual work needs a greater focus - the mind needs to be clear and positive, the space needs to be set up in a way that augments the intention and energy. I like to set a time for it when I can not be interrupted until I'm ready to take a break, so that I can get deeply into the inspiration and trance, and also because I often use astrological timing, so I may work on it for just a certain hour or time of the month. I also have some taboos I observe, depending on what I'm making, the use and the person it's made for. But I also think there's a lot in the "just for fun" side too -especially when you're working with a group, and using the activity for enjoyment, community, education...that really connects me to the practice as it's been done for ages, and there's a lot of power in laughter!

In Peace and Health,
Michelangela

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Reuils
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Re: "Sheep to shawl" as a spiritual practice

Postby Reuils » 17 Mar 2013, 11:38

I had never thought to use my "fibre life" as part of druidic studies,but thinking about it there is an obvious overlap. I use it to give myself a creative outlet as I have no skills in music and poetry!


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