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Spinning, And The Energy Of Handmade Items

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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.

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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.

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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.

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 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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Spiritist and Artisan, follower of Maria Lionza's path. Born and living in Tenerife, one of the beautiful Canary Islands, on the Northwest coast of Africa, her artwork is deeply tied to her African heritage and Latin American Spiritism.

Comments

  • Beth Lynch
    Beth Lynch Saturday, 02 March 2013

    Ooooh, your wheel is gorgeous! It's true: people do not appreciate the time and energy that goes into handspun yarn, or hand crafts of any variety. Spinning is magic, meditation and art for me all rolled into one--and it isn't just the spinning but the time it takes to prepare the fiber (since I mostly work from raw fleece); I love starting out with raw materials and using my own hands to craft something beautiful and powerful from them. This the magic of creation, and there is no greater power we can have.

  • Carolina Gonzalez
    Carolina Gonzalez Sunday, 03 March 2013

    Thanks so much Beth! I couldn't agree more to your comment :).

  • marti
    marti Tuesday, 05 March 2013

    I loved this article. I am just learning to spin with a hand spindle and would love to have a spinning wheel.... All of the places I've looked have prices I cannot afford. Do you have any suggestions as to where to look for a used spinning wheel...or directions on how to build your own? Thank you. :)

  • Carolina Gonzalez
    Carolina Gonzalez Tuesday, 05 March 2013

    Marti, we had to build both hand spindles and the spinning wheel because where we live (Canary Islands) there were none available, and purchasing one online was something we could not afford. My husband found the instructions for the spinning wheel here - although we made some modifications, and the article is in spanish, but the diagram should help you:

    http://www.mimecanicapopular.com/verherr.php?n=93

  • Deborah Blake
    Deborah Blake Wednesday, 06 March 2013

    My grandmother was a master weaver and also did some spinning. I inherited her spinning wheel when she died, and hope to learn to use it soon. There are two fiber addicts in my coven, and we are planning a spinning night at the end of the month as a way to connect with each other and all the women who ever spun, down through the centuries.

  • Carolina Gonzalez
    Carolina Gonzalez Wednesday, 06 March 2013

    Thanks so much for your comment, Deborah!

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