For my first book of the year, I happened to pick up “Cord Magic: tapping into the power of String, Yarn, Twists, and Knots”. New years is always a spiritual time for me. As a pagan woman, I delight in learning about magic, and as a woman of wool, I am enchanted by threads. Threads have always been a part of my life. As Brandy Williams notes, from our genesis, a cord tethers our cells and string of heartbeats to our mother, who is tethered to the ancestors by her family line. The umbilical cord.
Stories of string are spun from the tongues of each nation of our species. From Spider Woman to 3D printers and fiber optics. To stem cells and the spinal cord. Axis mundi lives, and breathes; tightening and loosening, coiling and uncoiling.
Williams writes about examples of the myriad cordage rituals and magics, and I’m reading quickly, hungrily, my eyes feverishly desiring more Inspiration… already I’m planning ceremonies, imagining a future enchanted by that which naturally fills me with glee: handspun wool yarn.
I’ve been spinning yarn for…. Four years now! I started during the 2020 pandemic as one of my pandemic projects. Before therapy on a hot summers day in my garage, I tapped out my cigarette and stood up from my thrifted wingback chair—the Queen’s chair. Stretched. Straddled my spinny stool at my craft table and got out my purple Electric Eel Wheel nano, with six brand new bobbins, fresh out of the plastic bags and cardboard box. I’d watched video after video after video. I had a bag of “sheep’s tails” from Mary at Camaj Fiber Arts, an embroidery floss “leader” and I was ready.
Fiber through the loop, twist on, aaaand ssssslurp clog stop.
Soooooo it takes a minute to learn to draft.
I have never been so frustrated! (Welll… not true… buuuut).
Many frustrated moments and incredulous tautological lessons later, I had actually forced out a few mini skeins of lovely, spirally yarn. But looking back on it, my journey with twists and threads really started when I met my drop spindle. A light, red Malle burl top whorl from Viscount Woodturning, that is ever so balanced. It spins gracefully and evenly, a balance I never knew I needed in life, never knew I would want, crave, a whirl that would suck me in, a whorl that would keep on turning. Immediately it had meaning, immediately I knew. Like Harry Potter picking up his wand, red sparks whizzed off my whorl, like a planet sent into orbit, flicked on its axis.
Wheels later, I identify as a spinstress, walking it out through the history books and tapping it out through the “for you” pages. This is me. I make magic with thread,
And this book is speaking my language…
I feel pulled into these traditions, I feel the pull of the goddesses, plucking the strings on their harps to usher me into song. I will be an enchantress in between the tall grasses, I will tend the flocks by night, and bear my lambs with the ewes, bringing forth the fiber seeds, and brush my fingers through their hair. I am of the fiber. I am fiber.
Williams goes about describing several magical charms that can be worked with or without partners for various purposes, how to undo them and recycle the magic…
Welcome to book club 2023! This year I have selected 14 books (one for each month, an extra, and a partially read one I will finish) to review for you as I read through them. Feel free to read along if you’d like and leave all the comments you’d like whether you’re reading along or just reading my posts! Stay tuned for extras and fun! Blessings, August Lee
Sacred Actions by Dana O’Driscoll
How to be a Good Creature by ash Montgomery
Cord Magic by Brandy Williams
Finding the Mother Tree by Suzanne Simard
The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan
Beauty by Natalie Carnes
World of Wonders by Aimee Nezuhkumatathil
The Wisdom of Birch, Oak, and Yew by Penny Billington
Sacred Agriculture: The Alchemy of Biodynamics by Dennis Klocek
American Georgics edited by Hagenstein, Gregg, and Donahue
Maddaddam by Margaret Atwoodd
Our Only World by Wendell Berry
The Mushroom at the End of the World by Anna Tsing
Silent Spring by Rachel Carson
- Feb 4 2023 Sacred Actions section 1
- Feb 6 2023 The Spinners Book of Yarn Designs, BC Extra