the act of creating sacred thread requires weaving a web of several things. time, effort, skill, sacrifice, ritual, devotion and divination. and definitely not in that order.
in fact, the nonlinear quality of it almost makes me want to add *chaos* or *uncertainty* or *a thread of randomness* to that list, but that is something that is created within the process and not usually present at the beginning. embracing uncertainty in a ritual format is not usually how folks view a sacred undertaking, but it’s necessary to go with the flow when working with and for my SIsters. Chaos and Need will always make an appearance and if you learn to roll with it and expect the unexpected, then the outcome will be much better than anticipated in the long run.
so in a non linear fashion, i’m beginning this post about spinning/creating sacred thread in the middle.
i am not a beginner anymore. no matter how much it feels that way. i have been doing this Work for decades, but i also learn new things every time i pick up a spindle or fill a tote with rainwater for the first suint ferment of the season. it’s just that those lessons are not beginner lessons for me. the spiral of experience means that every new lesson is a layer built up upon the lesson learned the last time it came around. so i am going to tell this story of how to create the tools and materials for worship and offerings in my practice from my perspective of 30 years along my path, and 5 minutes into learning my current lesson. (practically, that lesson is “how to manage nalbinding with stretchy thin yarn”, and it’s a hard one!)
my Sisters request service as an offering and i have been serving Them for a long time and the time and potential bound in the things that i have been asked to do for Them over my lifetime is an important part of that ritual framework. this practice is not made of a quick spell to cleanse your house or protect your family, altho those can be boons asked of Them. to see the threads of this pattern of practice, one must comb thru their entire life and find those ends and changes that occur at seemingly random times and for uncertain reasons and trace them forwards into their present, meet and converse with past selves within this lifetime and follow the patterns into the futures and between the worlds.
deeply knowing the bones of your own timeline is necessary for seeing the patterns woven in between your lives and finding the rhythm where you live and spin your own story for the greater tapestry of community bonds and social obligations with both humans and other beings. seeing yourself not as a master of your domain, but an integral piece within an ecology both spiritual and mundane.
some thread takes decades to spin. it starts with the idea of thread, yarn, wool, whatever it is you call the stuff that weaves and knits and knots. my own path took the trajectory of learning to crochet, learning to cross stitch, tying knots and macrame, to embroidery and stumpwork and dying fabric and yarns, to knitting to spinning to felting, to weaving, to scouring and all the while processing experiential knowledge as deeply as i could go within the boundaries of a fixed income and the unmoored life that i have been shaped to live within.
some rituals are seemingly quick to perform, spinning a length of thread and knotting it in a pattern and then gifting it as an offering for the first fruits of the season or the liminal time where it is both winter and summer. henbit and yarrow growing up thru the snow. but the time required to gain the skills so that that offering is swift and easy and well practiced is much longer and included within the offering. i am grateful for the skills and the time i have had to hone them. i offer that time and those skills to Those who gave them to me.
and it seems easy and effortless on the surface. a linear line of skills performed. “skirt, scour, pick, prep, dye, comb, card, hackle, blend, nest, draft, spin, ply, set the twist, finish with herb wash, dry, reskein, store with lavender to be used in future projects.” but those steps are never as cut and dried or as straightforward as they seem. and that’s ok! some projects take more time than others and many many end points are not the same as what was originally planned.
it’s not that precision has no place, but that that place is highly overrated in places where it’s not needed and in all honesty hinders actual results. you might begin spinning yarn for weaving an altar cloth and end up knitting it into a veil 5 years later. but you might spin yarn to knit a veil and end up using a completely different design and learn an entirely new set of skills along the way. the only right result is if you end up with a tool that is accepted thru divination and is tailored for the job that it was created for.
my Sisters tell me that no learning is ever wasted, but some times and places are more right than others. there are opportunities that lead to paths that are more fulfilling than others and it is a skill learned thru hard experience to know which paths to take and which patterns to follow in the threads. when to say emphatically YES and when to take the hard step and walk into the unknown. and also when to be cautious and say “not now, thanks.” knowing yourself and your limits and having strong personal boundaries is one of the most rewarding lessons of all and the foundation to all of the skills you need to walk this path.
over the next few weeks, i’m going to be talking about the practical details in how to spin sacred thread for worship, devotion, tapestries and offerings and get into the gritty and nasty(sheepy) details as well as the sublime wyrdweaving of the Flow. i hope that those of you who follow along find value in this telling and share your own journey and lessons learned along the way.