by Renée Damoiselle
Picture a loom – a large one, for the weaving of those lovely tapestries that hang in old stone castles.
The “warp” are the tightly pulled, vertical, stationary threads. The “weft” are the threads woven horizontally, in and out of the warp ~ both binding them together and evoking from them a work of art.
The weft threads are passed over and under the warp with the use of a tool called a shuttle.
Now this process tugs at the warp threads. It creases and bends them. It stretches and stresses them. Sometimes they even break. But the individual threads are not the point. It’s the vision of the weaver that counts and her persistence and her desire to create.
There is a purpose here, a calling and passion, one that the weaver couldn’t imagine turning from until the work is done.
I think it’s a great metaphor for life.
Our lives are filled with events that stress and stretch us, that bend and crease our plans and dreams. It is up to us to hold the vision of the weaver and create something useful and beautiful, despite a few broken warp threads.
What does a broken warp thread look like in your life? It looks like loss, pain, addiction, failure, depression. You name it. You want some great examples of some broken warp threads? Read Carolyn Elliott’s Bad Witch Backstory in WITCH Magazine.
Those broken threads are the trouble in life. We all have it, witch or not. But if you make a habit of focusing your awareness on the vision, the art, on that final tapestry image, then you’ll understand that these things are just part of the deal.
And the deal is so much bigger than those broken threads.
What could all of this have to do with witchcraft as a spiritual practice? Lots!
Now, I say “spiritual practice” as opposed to “religion” because the word “religion”, I think, inspires in people a feeling of dread, over being given dogmatic templates of precisely how to think and live.
I prefer “Spiritual Practice” because it demonstrates a personal choice, rather than a dogma which a person may be bound to by virtue of birth or family tradition.
Even the word “religion” derives from the root “ligare” ~ (to bind.) It speaks of restriction, which, according to Aleister Crowley, is the only real sin. I happen to agree with the Thelemic master on this one.
Hmmm, “a Spiritual Practice of one’s own choosing”? What’s that for? What is its purpose?
Well, doesn’t the pursuit of a spiritual path come from some really basic questions?
Who am I? What is the true nature of reality? What is my purpose here?
I know that’s true for me. And it seems to be true the world over. Transcending eras, cultures, classes and ALL dogma, is what Aldous Huxley termed The Perennial Philosophy.
Three basic human axioms that can be found at the core of all spiritual teachings:
1) Behind and beneath the world of our perceptions we sense something eternal, unchanging, something at once greater than, and inclusive of, the material world.
2) This same “something” exists within the depths and at the ground of every being we can perceive in the material realm.
3) The purpose of life is to experience it first hand; that is, to have a personal relationship with the Divine here and now, in one’s lifetime and to express that spirit in the world.
That first-hand experience of deity is known, in witchcraft, (among other paths) as a “Mystery”.
Read all you want, take a million classes. It can’t be taught. It must be felt. There is no scripture that can produce an understanding of Mystery. It simply is. All the scripture on the planet was written about that feeling, because of it.
So, knowing that the divine is within, how do I work with that to answer those questions in a way that makes sense? How do I incorporate that awareness into a daily practice that gives life value for me and for the world?
How do I utilize that amazing power to create a beautiful and useful tapestry? (Hmmm… let me sit back and ponder that for a moment.)
Witchcraft, after all my searching and studying, has provided those answers for me.
Free from the dogma of the major world religions, witchcraft gives clear, step-by-step, instructions for experiencing and communing with the divine on a first name basis.
Many names, actually.
And it acknowledges that this eternal ground of existence is a single spirit connecting us all. It is the warp and we are the weft.
This belief system puts the power to create in the hands of the individual. Not only are we, as humans, given the gifts, the intelligence and the means to weave our own incredible fabrics of life, we are responsible for that!
For each one of us, finding our true purpose here (our True Will) has an uplifting effect on everyone and everything around us, and extending out to the whole universe! Our gifts represent that singular service that we are supposed to provide to the world.
Discovering and moving towards excellence within your particular gift will produce intensely rich colors and intricate patterns in your tapestry.
Lina Boldt has an awesome take on the process one endures while traversing from unconscious creator to conscious creator and she understands the concept of service.
“That’s what you do: you serve…. You do your thing and you do it well and it’s Magic.”
~ Lina Boldt – from her article in WITCH Magazine entitled 7 Stages of Magical Metamorphosis.
Also, the philosophies of magic, an integral part of the practice of witchcraft, rely on the web-like nature of reality. Magic works because we see a warp thread here that connects to a weft thread all the way over there.
We perform this spell or ritual, using a matching color or texture to that thread, and send the message out, with confidence, having programmed it to reach its destination.
We acknowledge and utilize these connections.
And we draw from a broad base of knowledge spanning cultures and times to include the energies of spirits that could suit every purpose under the sun.
Witchcraft, drawing on mythology, is full of stories about weavers.
The Greeks give us Athena and Arachne. The Norse pantheon includes Frigga, who spins the clouds and the Norns who weave our fate. In Egypt it was Nit (knit?) or Neith who was said to have woven the world with her shuttle. Many Native American tribes have a divine Spider Woman, who creates all that there is and also weaves the stories and legends sacred to the tribes.
There is a Hindu goddess, named Maya. She weaves the fabric of reality, of all that we can see, touch, smell, taste and hear. She is the weaver of things material.
But the unseen warp threads, binding and underlying ALL were set by Brahma.
The Eternal – woven in to the transient. That’s what we are. That’s WHO we are.
With all this weaving metaphor you might be wondering if I have personally “labored long at the loom”.
The fact is, although I adore textiles of every ilk and admire so the deft hands that create the intricate patterns of tapestry, I use a different medium.
For me, the warp is the emerging idea, a barely crystallized understanding, a connection made or a feeling evoked. The weft is the English language with all its complexity and contradictions, its melting pot origins, its gift of idiom.
I am a devoted fan of phrases of high-minded intellect and poems of pure whimsy, alike. I weave a word tapestry. The telling of a tale, the spinning of a web of thoughts is a sacred practice to me.
I am never more attuned with divinity than when writing. And like the Native American Spider Woman whose task it was to weave reality but also to be the keeper and the teller of the old stories and the new, I know that writing is part of my purpose.
Your creative endeavors can be a conduit to your own version of the weaving. Your art is your magic wand (or if we’re sticking with the metaphor, your magic shuttle).
For more on this, you must check out Vedina Mosé’s awesome article on WITCH Magazine; David Bowie – Musician Magician and Master.
My gift for writing, I believe to have been bestowed by Athena – (I hasten to mention that fact here, lest I suffer the fate of Arachne who refused to acknowledge the source, even in part, of her amazing weaving abilities).
And no gift is given by the gods without the expectation of its good use. Responsibility, lies at the heart of every true blessing.
So for me, Witchcraft works because it embodies the ideals of responsibility and purpose.
We all weave a fabric of some kind with our thoughts and actions.
Before I found witchcraft, I was weaving unconsciously, allowing my habitual thinking to create my life, and as a result, I was weaving burlap. Today my tapestry is worthy of a castle wall. So should yours be.
About the Author:
Renée Damoiselle is a Worldly Wise Crone Witch with personal ties to warrior deities. Her “raised eyebrow” style of Truth-Telling enables her clients to face the realities of their challenges and triumphs with confidence and humor (each when necessary). Renée offers divination and coaching combining Cartomancy, Reiki, Skrying, Mediumship and a healthy dose of good old common sense. She also offers many workshops and talks and facilitates women’s spiritual retreats. Friend her on Facebook.
The next Goddess Retreat will take place in Sedona, AZ in May 2016! It’s going to be awesome! E-mail AffordableSedonaRetreat@gmail.com for more information and a FREE GIFT!
For more about Renée, check out her blog.
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