With the first look at a spider’s web, I was introduced to spinning. Sure I didn’t know that at the time. But it touched me, my artsy crafty soul. I’ve sought to capture that delicate feel and look, the intricacies of a spider’s web, maybe bedecked in the jeweled pearls of morning dew in many mediums. With little success.
Forward to years later (decades really) and my spinning wheel is sitting in its corner… I can feel it staring at me. That desire to sit at it and feel the fibers sliding through my fingers, twisting and twisting. The subtle shush sound of the wheel moving haunts me. Finally, I give in and it’s like sitting down with an old friend. One that eases my stress and allows me to relax a bit.
You see, I find that at certain times of the year, different crafts will call to me. This time of year it’s either knitting or spinning. This time, spinning won out possibly because it means the large space consuming fiber becomes the smaller beautiful piles of spun yarn.
But I think its something different.
See, this year has been a pretty tough one for my family and for myself. The husband has been very ill and the kids have had to grow up knowing that their dad is having a rough year and mom is taking on more (as are they). But that’s not really what it’s about.
I’ve watched friends close and far go through a lot of suffering. This year… feels more harsh than any I can remember and I think spinning has this connection to the home and earth.
Simply put, it’s comforting.
It starts with moving the wheel into place, then selecting your fiber. I’ve been collecting some over the last year. Which color? Which texture? It makes a difference. It’s like selecting the perfect blanket to cuddle with from a pile of bright blankets.
But this year it was more. I don’t normally follow particular deities so it was unusual to find myself contemplating Brigid and Athena (in her spinners mantle), Hera, and Frigg.
And for the first time, I found myself in a spinners trance.
Set the wheel
Add the fiber, separate and spread, feel the wheel start to move slowly then up to speed.
Feel my fingers loose their tightness as they begin to remember the motions and move with the twist of the thread.
The wheels sound is a soft shushing lulling my mind to a peaceful zone. It’s just the fiber and twist.
Now my thoughts turn, I’m able to turn over each tragedy of the year and look at it, the bad and then the good that went with it. Either memories, ending pain, a silly little conversation, a renewed healing. There is always a brightness to find, just sometimes it’s too fresh to see it.
I find the wheel’s movement comforting, like the measured sounds of the clock’s tick.
The movement of your foot on the treadle, and the motion of your hands, it allows my mind to clear.
I found it wandering to the goddess associated with spinning. I am amazed just how many there are. I know The Fates, Grandmother Spider, Arachne, and Athena. But there were others, Leto, Nit and Frigg, I had no idea of their connection to this ancient craft.
Its amazing how special a place spinning fiber has in our history, our lore, mythology and our everyday life. We might not realize it. But everyday we don fabrics that are spun from fiber. Cotton, wool, alpaca, cashmere, silk and flax are just a few of the things items that can be spun into yarn and then woven into cloth.
I find myself contemplating the changing of the seasons, we are moving from summer now towards fall. The first crispness of autumn air is dancing about the edges of the summer wind, just saying hello. Letting me know that summers heat and activity outside are starting to twine with the threads of fall and its combination of inside and outside living.
My bobbin is filling up, and my mind is feeling more open, cleaner and I thank those Goddesses, who represent this important craft.
The Spinning Trance
This simple trance can be done with craft or thing that you enjoy doing. It must consist of some repetitive motion and not need you to constantly check a pattern. Knitting or crochet, sewing, some simple embroidery/cross stitch are some examples.
1. Set up your area, it can be very simple. Your craft, a comfortable seat, music is fine, but television is pretty distracting.
2. Take a deep breath and let it out. Feel it relax you
3. Begin your task, let you mind think of how that task relates to you. How does it make you feel?
4. Hopefully, you will find yourself asking questions, thinking differently about your activity.
5. Do this until you reach a natural ending point.
6. Smile, sigh, close your eyes. Whatever you feel signals waking up for you.
This is much more gentle for me than most trances, I like that it has a natural progression and end and it can take into account your home life around you. If life is pretty hectic, it might be a very short trance, just a small oasis in your day. Or it might be long and lovely little getaway.
Enjoy, and smile those hearth goddess are watching over you.