The Weavers’ Wyrd Wonders

Mightily wove they | the web of fate,
While Bralund’s towns | were trembling all;
And there the golden | threads they wove,
And in the moon’s hall | fast they made them.

~ Poetic Edda, Helgakvitha Hjorvarthssonar I, Verse 3

Weaving has been an integral part of human civilization for millennia. Though I’ve known this for ages, I am only recently learning what it means magically and how to use it. Many weaving related terms and concepts are a part of the magical vernacular. Spinning, warp, weft, and weaving are all terms used by witches and some other magical practitioners to describe spellcraft as well as fate-shaping magic and sorcery.

Die_Nornen_(1889)_by_Johannes_Gehrts

The Norns (1889) by Johannes Gehrts

Spinning had been the most powerful image for me. Women with wheels and spindles working, drawing raw materials up into a miniature cyclone that smooths, evens, and compacts the fibers into thread. The color, texture, and strength of the thread determined by the quality of the raw materials and the skill of the spinner. Then weaving came into my magical awareness but in a distant and detached way. It’s a skill farther from my magical home base. Precious few of the goddesses I know have intricate cultural connections to weaving, but those that do are utterly bound up with it as Fate-Shapers. The Norns and the Valkyries are the ones that I have the most connection with as weavers of fate, until recently.

Threads, once spun, are later woven into intricate patterned fabrics and then are sewn into the finished textiles that make individual and collective lives. I knew that weaving was the laying of threads but that was it. The basic ideas of spinning and weaving were magical but I just knew that in my head. I didn’t yet know and understand that magic within my heart.

At the end of 2017, the third to last day of December actually, I met Isis and Nephthys in a dream. They were weaving the universe, much like the Norse Norns and the Greek Moirai, the best known Goddesses of Destiny and Fate. In the dream, the threads they laid were human souls. The warp. I’d always heard about the warp’s counterpart- weft- but I didn’t know what it was. A basic Google search yielded that information recently. I’m embarrassed that I never sought out this information before now. The search was ultimately prompted by the shuttle that Frigga wielded in a recent trance journey. In trying to understand that symbolism, I researched the shuttle. While the distaff is the tool that holds raw fibers for the spinning process, the shuttle holds the weft thread that is carried betwixt and between the warp threads. Essentially, it’s the weft that connects the warp threads with one another and forms the weave pattern of the fabric.

The shuttle is the true witch wand of fate! It is the tool that allows us to use our inner and outer resources and will to work the threads of being into something beautiful and full of individual and collective meaning. Without the shuttle, everything is just spun thread singular and weighted, held in tension, with no organization, no pattern, no meaning.

Two Women Weaving

In my dream in December 2017, Isis and Nephthys stood back to back weighing and weaving human hearts and souls. The goddesses were the scales and the human hearts and souls were the raw material spun into thread and then carefully woven into the fabric of the star-studded cosmos. There are images from Ancient Egypt of women weaving together, each with a hand on the large shuttle moving between the warp threads. As the Two Weavers they are called the Abuti and they spin the thread and weave the pattern. They hold all in grace and beauty in Amenti, the mighty land of the west that is both the end and the beginning of life.

The Abuti, the Moirai, the Nornir, Frigga, the Valkyries and countless others spin the thread and weave the pattern, holding all in grace and beauty in the Other World that is This World that is Every World that is Our World.

We are a part of it too. Everything is connected. Every human, every animal and plant and insect, everything has been woven, weaves, and will become woven. The tapestry is made of us and made by us.

Hail the Weavers!!

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A Prayer to Macha

For the last several months, a good friend and I have been meeting via video chat as often as we can to discuss Morpheus Ravenna’s The Book of the Great Queen: The Many Faces of the Morrigan from Ancient Legends to Modern Devotions chapter by chapter. The book is robust, offering page after page of deeply satisfying food for thought and insightful guidance for devotional practice. This Friday night while I was sitting on the couch watching television, Macha inspired me. A supply of words rushed to my busy hands to be typed out. On Monday night, the eve of the Spring Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere, I finished a small prayer for courage in her name.

May the prayer honor Macha and bring at least some small measure of blessing to her devotees. In these brightening (in terms of season) but still difficult and dangerous times (in terms of institutionalized oppression and dehumanizing political moves) we need her blessing of courage more than ever.

Morrigan Shrine

Personal Morrigan Shrine/Altar

Along with a glass of blood red wine and the light of my bright red Morrigan candle, I give these words of supplication:

Mighty Mother, hardened by horse hooves striking,
With striving muscle, shout thunder across the Plain.
With unrelenting strength, foal and finish.

Sovereign Queen, heartened by ripe crops yielding,
With cleaving claíomh, reap the high harvest of heads.
With blood-sorcery, doom the treacherous.

Woman in birthing strife!
Raven of the raids!
Greatness of wealth!

Courage we call up from the fertile land,
Hallowed and harnessed by womb and wound.
Great Macha, we pray you grant us favor!

Macha

“Macha Curses the Men of Ulster”, Illustration by Stephen Reid (1904). Image from Wikipedia.

Lilith’s Dark Mirror

art-3084798_1920On the Eve of January’s Dark Moon, after many months of working at it, Lilith pressed through a thin spot in the scaly skin of my self-delusion. Until the middle of last month, I’d been able to keep her soul-shredding wisdom just outside of my awareness by drowning out her Call to Power with something that I pretended was feminism. Spoiler alert: I was unwittingly living a feminism that wasn’t really feminist, at least not all the way down to its bones.  If I wrapped myself in that thin feminism, then my consciousness never required me to accept her Call.
In thin land, Lilith was enshrined as the feminine power unleashed on crappy man and a champion of righteously angry woman. Huddled within my thin feminist shroud, she was dangerous for men and others who drank the patriarchy Kool-Aid, but safe for me. Lilith was the powerful divine first woman who dared stand against the patriarchy. Of course all of the above is a part of her, but I discovered the night before the Dark Moon in January that my understanding was shallow and woefully incomplete. She had more to show me.
Last month, Lilith pierced through the comfortable self-deception I’d been engaged in for years. I’d glimpsed the issue ages ago but decided that I didn’t like what I saw and so I chose to see something else. The night that Lilith cut her way through my complete bullshit, she did so because she’d decided I’d lingered in that shiny spirit trap of my own creation for far too long.
That night, Lilith broke through into my dim bedroom, just barely illuminated by the last precious sliver of moonlight bouncing off of a fresh layer of snow. Her breasts were unexpectedly covered (in red silk artfully tied). The material fell at her left side and did nothing at all to cover the rest of her. She was completely exposed from the waist down. Diabolical glee shined in her dark red eyes. Her black hair and paper white skin sparkled with the last traces of moonlight falling through my blinds as she began to laugh in my face. She laughed at me deep from her belly like I was the dumbest and smallest creature she’d ever deigned to step on. Vampiric-serpentine teeth glistened in her mouth as the grin accompanying her delight widened.
I was not prepared. Just after I took in her appearance, she rushed at me! This was not new behavior in our relationship. Still I wasn’t ready. All of this felt familiar but disturbingly new at the same time. As my senses filled with her, that was when I felt it – psychospiritual garbage that I’d been actively burying. It rushed to the surface of my awareness. Suddenly I could barely stand. I grabbed my chest and my knees buckled.
She only spoke a few sentences but she seemed to speak forever. She told the dark and damning truth as I struggled to breathe. I shot back a reply at one point but it simply wasn’t true, no matter how much I wished it was. All I could think in that moment was that Lilith had emerged from her cave in the desert to kill me, and laugh while doing it. But really, I wasn’t dead per se; I was just miserable on the other side of a painful truth about myself that I really fucking needed to confront. No games, no camouflage, no thin feminist smoke screen. 
Lilith’s shining features drowned in soon-to-be dark moon light were black glass, a shadow mirror. She told the whole truth and nothing but the truth because that’s how she rolls and I accepted it, crumpled on my bedroom floor. In that moment, her skin darkened, her eyes cooled and we were sisters. Her power as a patron of feminists (among so many other things) extends way beyond scolding, scorn, and vengeance. She can do more than that. She can peel away the lies, deception, and fluff to reveal our true power and give us a hand up as we take a high step into that power. Our power is not monolithic. It is as diverse, potent, and deep as we are.
After I leaned into this uncomfortable encounter and accepted the truth she wielded, she said in a clear voice: “That which you cannot face, you can’t overcome. Now that you’ve faced the truth, who will you become?”
Then she slipped back into the deepening night.