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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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.
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...
Simplify, simplify, simplify--that's the word for 2016. Posting here on Pagan Square has been, well, a bit spotty, but a little organization and simplification--and a magical year-long project--will (hopefully!) solve that. We're making some changes to Broomstix: The blogspot page is being reorganized as an archive and new posts will happen here only. It's A LOT less work to manage only one blog and put up what are (again, hopefully!) useful and enlightening posts on a regular basis. We're going to start with Evergreen...
Evergreen is a year long magical working envisioned--and now expanded--by Katharine Clark (http://irishelderblogspot.com) and Natalie Zaman (http://NatalieZaman.blogspot.com). It involves the use of a live, cut Yule tree throughout the year. Here's what it's all about--look for the post on how to prepare your tree on January 6th (thanks to Robin Ator for our accompanying artwork!)!...
(Mother Holle art by Florence Harrison)
My life has taken a rather domestic turn, lately, with my kids back to homeschooling and taking college classes, and with a concerted effort to organize the household and prepare everyone individually and as a family for the next transitions (driving, college, growing up, moving, etc.) It has been busy and maybe a little bumpy, but now it’s starting to run smoothly, thanks to the effort everyone has been putting in toward the plans we’ve made. Add to this the return of Spring, and I’m also feeling my sap rising and I have the energy to meet the challenges and expand my involvement in things both inside and outside of home. The urge for Spring cleaning is helped by the unseasonably warm weather we’re having, so I’m ready to throw open the windows and take care of business… scrub down the cottage, start some seeds, maybe mow the lawn (while planning to replace the lawn with a cottage garden when resources allow.)...
- 1 navel (thick-skinned) orange Grown in warm climates, the orange, with its round shape and bright color, is symbolic of the sun. Magically, you can use oranges to bring things into your life.
- 1 jar (or more) of whole cloves The strongly-scented clove will provide energy for this work. It also represents fire, an element honored at both Yule and Imbolc.
- Ground cinnamon A fire and sun spice, cinnamon is used in magic for healing, protection and focusing energy. Put the cinnamon in a shallow bowl. The mingled scents of cinnamon, clove and orange promote an energized warmth that will help you develop a sunny outlook and a positive outcome.
- 4 lengths of gold ribbon (long enough to wrap around your orange and tie at the bottom, leaving some length to dangle) The color gold is symbolic of the sun, fire, and the God. Magically, gold is good for thinking, problem solving and health.
- A straight pin or slender nail (it should be slimmer than the clove).
What would you like to see grow in the coming year? Better study habits? New friendships? Fill in the blank with your intention.
Samhain is a time to see, not just with your eyes, but with your mind and heart. It's traditional to make predictions at this turn of the wheel (it is the New Year, after-all), and there are lots of tools that can help us do this. One of my favorites is a scrying mirror. You can make a scrying mirror out of things that are probably in your home right now--save for the peacock feathers. You will need:
- Coffee can
- Black Paper (If you have no black paper, you can paint the cardboard black once it has been cut--see directions below. Use as many coats as you need to get a solid color. Allow each coat of paint to dry before applying the next.)
- Cling film plastic wrap
- Peacock Feathers (Besides looking pretty, the tips of peacock feathers look--and function--like eyes, and since this tool is going to help you “see" in a different way, they will make a great frame for the mirror.)