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!!

Seidhr, Hamrammr, and Other Wyrdness

As mentioned in previous posts, seidhr (pronounced “say-the”, according to Jenny Blain in Nine Worlds of Seid-Magic) is a Norse/Germanic shamanistic practice that many Heathen magickal practitioners are reclaiming. Seidhr has a mixed wrap. Some people view it as a positive practice for healing, prophesy, faring-forth, shapeshifting, weather-work, wyrd-working, and spirit communication (especially with the Ancestors and Wights, but also the Gods – of course). Others associate seidhr primarily with maleficent workings like mind tampering to cause delusions and bring on madness. If you are looking for a crash course on the who, what, when, where, and why of seidhr, the Viking Answer Lady gives an excellent treatment of this art for those who seek detailed information that is grounded firmly in the lore. Diana Paxson, Kveldulfr Gundarsson, and the folks at Vanic Paganism also wrote very strong articles on the subject. Just follow the links above directly to the articles!

I have been working seidhr for about two years now. The majority of my experiences and budding skills have been in the areas of spirit communication, faring-forth, and prophesy. I have also done some shapeshifting but I am still getting the hang of that. Frankly, the initial phases of shapeshifting can be a little disorienting and disconcerting! There is nothing quite so odd as sliding into the perceptual framework of another creature! Sight, taste, smell, sensation, all change. Not to mention, you get shorter so you are seeing the world(s) from a completely different vantage point :-). Very cool. Very useful. Very wyrd. My hope is that as I improve at shapeshifting, as I become hamrammr (shape-strong), the transition from human to animal and back again will become smoother. What is interesting to me is that something like shapeshifting is not outside the scope of seidhr as defined across ancient and modern Norse/Germanic shamanistic practice. Seidhr is everything that I mentioned above, and more.

At this point in my development as a seidhkona, I feel good about my growing abilities and I of course want to continue to strengthen them for the service of the community. While testing my existing spiritual skills, I also feel like I can take on a little more; I hope to begin learning seidhr for wyrd-working! This totally qualifies as “and more”. I would definitely begin small and work my way up to more complex weavings. I am actually not certain how much a seidhkona can change an individual or group’s wyrd given the profundity of the wyrd – what it means – but I hope to study with a deity or other weal-willing spirit in order to learn more. Soon I will propitiate Freyja for her guidance on the matter likely through both journeying (aka faring-forth) as well as through the runes (my new-found spirit allies in the process of working wyrd). I’ll approach her with questions like: Is this a good course of action for me to take? Is this the right time? What must I learn or do first? And others. I think I may also approach the Nornir for their counsel and, of course, I will consult Odin, whose insight in such matters is quite invaluable. All will receive proper sacrifice of course because nothing in any of the Nine Worlds is free. A gift for a gift as the Havamal teaches. Right now, I am thinking dry mead for Odin, perhaps a rich dark beer for the Nornir, and a cyser for Freyja.

Hail the Ancient “Seithing” Arts and the Ones Who Weave Wyrd!