The Magical Artisan: Exploring the Art of Magic
A journey through the hands of a maker of magical items, discovering not only the secrets of Sacred art, but also the history and preservation of disappearing forms of Artisan work.
Spinning, And The Energy Of Handmade Items
Hand Spindle With Handspun Yarn And Wool Rovings
In many cultures, spinning has a place on myth, worship and magic, and thus deserve a very special place on this Magical Craft blog of mine. Goddesses that spin wool or other fibres are not difficult to find on Pagan iconography, and spindles and/or spinning wheels often equal magical items in legends and lore – one of the examples everyone knows is the poisoned spinning wheel of the Sleeping Beauty story, which shows how much the magic of spinning has woven (no pun intended) itself into popular culture.
Spinning is the act of turning a fibre (animal or plant based) into a thread, by twirling it and later fixing the twirl using several methods. The hand spindle or the spinning wheel help with the twirling and storing of the thread in the bobbins, which is later formed into hanks that are washed, dyed, set to dry and then winded into balls to be used for knitting, weaving, braiding, etc.
Handspun Yarn And Crocheted Amulet Bags
If you have never spun wool or other fibres, you simply cannot imagine how time consuming it is. Making the yarn for one single sweater can take many days, more if you are working with wool as it comes from the animal, as the wool needs to be thoroughly soaked and washed, cleansed of debris, combed and set into the rovings that you will use for spinning later. And then, there's the dyeing, and then there's the knitting/crocheting/weaving. It certainly gives you a lot of perspective into our modern world, where you can purchase a sweater for next to nothing and throw it away next winter because it got a small hole or because it's out of fashion. If you had washed, combed and prepared the wool, if you had spun the yarn for days, dyed and wound the yarn into balls, and then knitted the sweater from start to finish, you would treat it as the treasure it is, and would learn to mend it and keep it in good shape for as long as possible. If you had to repeat that sequence every single year as your children grow and do not fit in the sweaters any more, you would teach them to take care of them under threats of death :).
This perspective of the value of a simple, every day item, is invaluable to Pagans of all paths in my opinion. As a seller of handmade items, I have heard from many so-called “earth worshippers” nasty comments about the price of handspun, handknit/crocheted items, and while they do not offend me because I am quite aware of the real value of such items, it saddens my heart to know how people who are supposed to be connected with the Earth are so blind to the effort that creating a handmade items entails. While I am not against the ways modern production (because the problem does not lie in the existence of machinery, but in the capitalist way of exploiting the maker to benefit the factory owner), you cannot compare a garment made by a slave labour factory, using synthetic thread and exploitative measures of selling and distributing, from the handmade garment an artisan has created with his/her hands, and that sells directly from the hands that created it. And that's where magic and energy come to the front of the discussion – and there is where Pagans should always try to make a difference, because someone who calls himself/herself a Pagan, no matter from which Path, should always be aware of the energies we surround ourselves with.
Hat Made With Handspun, Hand-dyed Artisan Yarn
Absolutely every item around us has its own energy, some from its very nature and essence, and some gathered from its surroundings. When you pay for cheap items, you pay for cheap energy too, and if you think that doesn't affect your mood, your life and your spiritual connection, let me suggest you that you try wearing an entirely handmade item for just one day, and then compare results. Simple as that. Although I completely understand we are going through very difficult times and often we have to choose price over quality, I strongly believe it is better to save a little and purchase something of quality that will last a lifetime, than paying little today to get an item that will be in the landfill next year. Or even better, learn to make it yourself and pass that knowledge into the next generation.
Spinning yarn for hours is a strongly meditative activity, even more when the artisan is skilled and the muscle memory needed for the task is long acquired not needing much conscious thinking to do while crafting. Well, as someone who both spins wool and crafts spells, I can tell you without the slightest doubt that the energy gathered during spinning is incredibly powerful for grounding, concentrating, visualizing and then manifesting reality – and that, as you obviously know, is a process you could apply to making a spell.
Spinning, as many crafts, can also alleviate many physical, spiritual and psychological ailments like some forms of dyslexia, difficulty to concentrate, anxiety, depression, and of course spiritual disconnection. Spinning only has one downside – it is incredibly addictive.
Spinning Wheel, created from scratch by my husband and painted by me.
Note - all the images in this post are from our own work.
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