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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in arts & crafts

A wand is a magical tool, an extension of the power within your own hand, projected through the wand, to affect the world via your Will. The Yule tree was once a living reflection of the wand’s magic. It drew its own strength from the earth—it’s source—much as the wand draws its strength and direction from your Will, channeled through you. The Yule tree directed water and nutrients upward through its trunk, expressing these elements outward as branches, needles and pine cones. They, in turn, affected the world by providing shade, shelter, protection, food, and the seeds of a new generation. Therefore, at a time of freshly flowing sap, and the awakening of nature, a wand can be fashioned from the offering of branches of the old tree, copper wire to conduct energy, and quartz crystal to focus it.

The crafting of an Equinox swag carries the seeds of the Yule spirit forward. If you need to backtrack a bit, have a look at our introduction to this year-long magical project and tips for preparation and storage. If you do not have access to a Yule evergreen, fallen branches from other trees can be used for this craft. Use your favorite resource to identify the tree from which the branch came, and what energy that particular tree will bring to this work.

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The spring or Vernal Equinox is one of the two points on the agrarian calendar of equal night and equal day. The rabbit and the egg, symbols of Eostre (the Saxon fertility goddess honored at the dawning of spring), bespeak of the same sense of victory over death; in pagan belief, the “death” of winter. Eggs represent not only sustenance but also the potential of new life. Rabbits symbolize endurance and fecundity—a prey animal that still manages to survive, thrive and multiply. Beyond hard-boiled ovum and chocolate hares, the evergreen Yule tree can again lend itself to the festival of the season in traditional ways.

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It was tradition for each member of the family to hang a strip of white cloth outside the window on Imbolc Eve, so that Brigid could infuse it with healing and protective powers as she walked through the village. These would later be used to cure headaches and tooth aches (tied around the forehead or from chin to crown), and as a special touch to poultices. Craft a modernized version of this folkway with the protective properties of the Yuletide evergreen's balsam. (If you need to backtrack a bit, have a look at our introduction to this year-long magical project and tips for preparation and storage. If you do not have access to a Yule evergreen, fallen branches from other trees can be used for this craft. Use your favorite resource to identify the tree from which the branch came, and what energy that particular tree will bring to this work.)

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The Brideog, or “little Brigid,” comes down to us from ancient times. She was a corn doll (corn being wheat) that was fashioned into a female form and decorated with ribbons and shells. A bed of straw was prepared for her before the hearth in the home where she was assembled, and the young, unmarried women of the village would sit vigil with her on the night of January 31st. The next morning, on Imbolc, the girls would parade the brideog through the village to each home. There, the married women (or the female head of the household) would welcome the spirit of the Goddess. Create a modern-day Brideog using branches from your evergreen as a base, so adding a dash of Yuletide's hopeful energy. (Yule tree? But it's FEBRUARY! If you need to backtrack a bit, have a look at our introduction to this year-long magical project and tips for preparation and storage. If you do not have access to a Yule evergreen, fallen branches from other trees can be used for this craft. Use your favorite resource to identify the tree from which the branch came, and what energy that particular tree will bring to this work.)

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Imbolc, coming up in less than two weeks, marks a period of quiet growth. Seeds are coming to life underground, the sun is growing in strength, and waters begin their mid-winter thaw, another indication of the flow of life to come (Brigid, as Goddess of healing, had many ancient wells dedicated to her. Those that are still extant remain sacred to Saint Bridget). As an act of sympathetic magic, hoops would be set afire and rolled down hills, or pinwheels (Bridget’s crosses) staved and set to turn in the wind. In this way, the return of the sun was encouraged.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Connecting with Frigga through Fiber Art

Like all the heathen gods and goddesses, Frigga is complex and has many spheres of influence. One is traditional women's crafts involving fiber, specifically spinning and weaving, but also including all the fiber arts.

Frigga's symbols include a distaff or spindle. The constellation which the majority society calls Orion was known as Frigga's Distaff. A distaff is a staff upon which a spinner wounds spun yarn or thread. Spinning and weaving were associated with magic and prophecy. In addition to Frigga's spinning the clouds, the Norns were also depicted fashioning fiber into cloth. The threads represent individual lives and the cloth represents the community, or history, which is made of individual lives, or the world. We reference that idea when we use phrases like "the fabric of the universe."

About a decade or so ago, I spent a weekend at my local Renaissance Faire demonstrating spinning with a drop spindle. I did these repetitive motions all day, and after a few hours they became meditative. Partly like the state of flow of creating art, and partly like the repetitive motion meditation of drumming, the act of spinning opened my inner awareness and brought me closer to Frigga.

Once I connected with her, I found all types of fiber art can bring me closer to her. Before the Great Recession and immediately following Not-So-Great Depression started, I used to operate a custom fabric dyeing business. I specialized in silk, but also dyed other natural fabrics, yarns, and so forth. I make quilt tops, out of both my own fabrics and other fabrics. I find making quilt tops can be meditative the same way spinning was for me. I especially enjoy making the simple, geometric blocks of traditional quilts. Making them has both the repetitive motions and the artistic feeling from choosing fabrics and appreciating the fabrics as I see and touch them.

All fiber art can be a form of dedication to Frigga, if one intends it to be. Even if I'm making a quilt with a topic that isn't one of her particular interests, or if I'm making it for someone else, the act of making fiber art is still a way to draw close to her.

Image: a traditional Log Cabin quilt I made from various silk fabrics which I hand dyed.


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Happy 12th Night! Tomorrow is a traditional day for Yule-ish decorations to be tucked away for another day--and it's time to prepare your Yule evergreen for a year of wonder as we craft ritual items from its trunk, branches and balsam...

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