Although crocheting is obviously my passion, I realize that it is not for everyone and you may not feel the same way about it as I do. That being said there will be places in this book where you just might want to give crocheting a try. It goes nicely with magick though I might just be prejudice. *Cackle*
There is definitely magick in handmade things. There has to be. There's no way we can work with our hands and not impart some of our energy into what we make. Even just handling something we have not made ourselves, such as a piece of jewelry, captures our essence. Do you have anything like that, inherited from a family member or friend? You can feel them in it. When my Aunt Mary crossed the veil, her son was kind enough to give me her jewelry box full of authentic costume jewelry. It was costume jewelry, but it was the real thing from the 60s and 70s. When I worked in management, I wore one of her brooches every day and I truly believe that her strength was with me. I got through a lot of situations that were not really me. I'm not the boss type and yet there I was being the boss. I felt my Aunt Mary’s spirit with me.
So, if this energy is going to be transferred anyway, I propose that we do so intentionally. Then by using the correspondences of color, texture, and embellishment we can build on our intention. This is where the Fiber Magick comes in. Layers upon layers of magickal intention paints a clear picture in the Mind's Eye. This delights our inner child and ultimately manifests in the real world. I know a man who writes computer code who says he puts his personality into his work. He understood my concept even though he was not creating anything tangible. This tells me it all starts in the head as a thought. When the Thought becomes clear enough it will move you to manifest… Magick.
I want the concept of Fiber Magick to be able to translate into whatever passion you might have. It might be needlework, pottery, woodworking, or painting. The basic premise works the same in any artistic endeavor. In fact, I believe clay to be a wonderful medium for doing Fiber Magick. Imagine kneading your intentions into the clay and applying the pressure in just the right places to form a tangible expression of your imagination. I use small pieces of clay sometimes in my workshops. Each person kneads their lump as they meditate. Then we walk around the table feeling for the energy that has been transferred to the clay. I've had students pick up vibes such as healer or teacher from the other student's clay. Some will radiate heat; others will feel cold. Interestingly most folks don't get anything from their own clay sample. I liken it to your favorite perfume. When you are wearing it you can't (and shouldn't) smell it but other folks know it's you. So even though you can't feel it the energy is in there.
Now imagine using that clay to create something, Imagine a coven working their separate energies into each piece then combining them all to create a magickal tool or altar item. That's where pottery becomes Fiber Magick. To this end we create a tangible expression of our intentions. This totem can then be used as a storehouse or conductor for energy. It can be used as a reminder or an effigy. Abstract Concepts such as love, and peace become something we can feel and hold in our hands. It becomes a magickal tool or physical expression of a spell. It does so even if it is in the form of a mundane item.
Take a simple washcloth for example. Now picture that washcloth filled with Reiki healing. This particular washcloth is embellished with a sigil created on the number chart of Jupiter. This particular sigil is the charting of the word DESIGN. Now when I take this washcloth into my bath ritual with me and I pair it with a Bergamot, Orange peel, Epsom salt mix I am preparing myself to create new patterns.
I'm sure your mind is working now on maybe some washcloths you would need in your life. Something with a sigil that would say "relax" perhaps and a nice bar of lavender soap when Mercury is in retrograde. Make a cloth with a big dollar sign on it and add a few drops of clove oil to the tub. You get the idea. Your crafting becomes the Craft. Fiber Magick is a form of sympathetic magick, one where like attracts like. When you are crafting there are numerous places where you can add intention through correspondences.
I have always felt that my crochet was magickal. Quite early in my life, well before I became aware of my path, I used my handiwork as a divining tool of sorts. I used to get quite a kick out of hearing about someone having a baby and getting the opportunity to make that baby a blanket. Now, this was a long time before sonograms. Even if your aunty or grandma knew all the tricks and signs, you had to wait till that baby was born to find out for sure whether it was a boy or a girl. However, I began to notice that if I went to the craft store and stared at the yarn long enough, it would speak to me. If the pink and lavender yarns jumped out at me, it was going to be a girl. If the blue and green yarns caught my eye, it was going to be a boy. I was having so much fun with this. I was making blankets in these gender-specific colors and taking them to baby showers. The other women would say, "Do you know something we don’t?" Maybe I did, but I treated it like it was a game. This continued on until the day I was not able to decide on a color. I stood in the store and I looked at all the yarns, but they all made me feel kind of queasy. I finally decided on yellow. However, this really did not tell me anything. I suffered through making that blanket. Every time I picked it up, I felt sick to my stomach. Well, it turned out that the baby was a boy, but he was stillborn. That scared me enough that I never played that game again.
At that time, I was not ready for the responsibility of my own intuition. I was treating it as a game with no thought to the interconnecting web that made that game possible. If I were to indulge in premonitions today, I would, hopefully, use the information more responsibly. Of course today the game is a moot point. People know the gender of the baby before they order the blanket or send out invites to the baby shower. At least they think they know. New information about the gender identification spectrum makes all this quite archaic. When I'm asked about baby blankets now, I suggest high contrast colors such as red, white, and black. The baby can see them. It stimulates the brain which is way more important than the genitals to my way of thinking. So Mote it Be.
God and Goddess,
Lord and Lady
see me through my day.
Keep me on my path.
Help me on my way.
So, what does a solitary magick practitioner do besides pouring through piles of books or looking up information on the internet? We now have a wealth of knowledge at our fingertips. It is all just a click or two away but where do we begin? How are we to proceed? How do we find a path?
I was done with organized religions. Still, I wanted a spirituality of some kind. I knew I was part of a bigger picture, but I spent many years not being able to put a name to it. Then, one day, a message popped up on Social Media, "Alba is that you, my friend from Junior High School?" It was Trish. It had been years since we had seen each other. Even though it turns out we had just missed connecting at several crossroads over the years. It was now that the Universe decided we should find one another again. I am so thankful in many ways. Now, on getting back together, she just assumed that I was just like her, open to alternative spirituality. I let it happen. I was curious as to where this would go.
One night, she took us to the Tequesta Drum Circle. This is a huge gathering of drummers, dancers, and fire lovers who celebrate the solstices and equinoxes in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. On that particular evening, a Native American shaman spoke to Grandmother Moon. We all threw cornmeal into the fire in honor of Mother Earth. It was beautiful. I was intrigued by this nature-based worship. I wanted to learn more.
My husband , on the other hand, went nuts! He hit the ground running on his path. He woke up the next day with plans to make his own drum. I tried to be supportive and not at all jealous that he was finding himself. Turns out he knew what he needed. You can see him at local festivals selling and playing his drums. He became Karl the Drum Guy, player and builder of drums. He is of German decent and a Druid at heart. I couldn't be more proud of him.
Next thing you know, Trish wanted to go to a study group, and she wanted us to go with her. It turned out to be the Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans (CUUPS) Group. They were holding a meeting at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Fort Lauderdale (UUCFL). When we went, there were five people talking about Pagan stuff. Boy, were they happy to see us walk in. We came close to doubling their numbers. They were probably thinking that we were new brains to pick, and I was thinking that there was nothing to pick here. We returned each week and listened politely but really had nothing to share.
Just when I thought maybe this group was not for me, a CUUPS member named Dragonfli came to a meeting and talked about energy work. Later on, another CUUPS member named Moonday led a class on Chaos Magick. Slowly but surely, other folks started coming back to the meetings regularly. The programs became more interesting and I was even convinced that I too could give a class. My first one was on Candle Magick.
Today, this group can provide an experience equivalent to a year-and-a-day study. CUUPS is known as both a social and a spiritual group, an entry-level point to Paganism for neophytes and solitary magick practitioners. Of course, you have to attend regularly, pay attention, and bring the ideas home for further pondering. I like to think that we are creating a new breed of Pagans, the Eclectic Social Solitaire.
May I assume that most of us either know of or have played a game where dice are rolled, and characters are created? When you create a character in one of these games, you pick a class, such as a Thief or a Paladin. You also pick an alignment like good or chaotic neutral. No two characters will be exactly the same, but, hopefully, all will be useful on the quest. Building your persona as an eclectic pagan is a similar endeavor. We all have free will, so we get to pick and choose who we want to be and what role we want to play. Most of us play by only one rule, Harm None. Keeping that in mind, respect for nature and our place in it is the quest. These are the roots most of us have in common. Our various paths branch out like limbs on a tree.
This brings me to the part that I dreaded each week, the part when we introduce ourselves and share our paths with the other CUUPS members. I remember sitting there, racking my brain for something to say. Praying that something would come to mind when it got to be my turn to speak up. All the others would claim dedication to a particular God and/or Goddess, and I would often wonder to myself, "How do they know?" For my own path, this was how I found out:
It was New Year's Day and I started thinking about my dad and his mother. Both have already crossed the Veil. In fact, I never got to meet my paternal grandmother in person. When my dad was still alive, he always talked about making bean soup on New Year's Day. "If you eat poor on the first day of the year, you will always eat well," he would say. He grew up back in the Bronx in the 1920s, and he told me that there used to be empty lots where you could grow tomatoes. At that time, three cans of pork and beans cost a nickel. From such meager ingredients, my grandmother, Albina, would make the most wonderful soup. She must have put a lot of love into that brew.
I was named after her, and I look like her, too. One time, I was experimenting with hairstyles, and I came out to the living room with my hair up in a bun. My dad turned around and started crying. He had to sit down. He thought his dead mother had come out of my bedroom.
So, here I was with all of these thoughts and making soup. I was throwing in whatever there was in the pantry. While I was stirring and chanting, I must have gone into a trance. Still with the glorious scent of that soup all around me, I found myself at the computer researching Italian Witchcraft of all things. I found out about the Goddess Jana, Diana and Aradia, and the Italian word for witch, Strega. At the very next CUUPS meeting, when it was my turn to speak, I introduced myself and announced, "I think I might be Strega”. Everyone got very excited for me. They recommended books and encouraged me to find a teacher and a coven. One hereditary Druid person asked me if I liked Walnuts. Huh? Whoa! I guessed I that I had some work to do.
With all of the encouragement that I received, I went and read all of the books that I could find about it. I was even given an affirmation that I was on the right track at the Florida Pagan Gathering (FPG) later that year. The first workshop of the day was on Candle Magick just like my first talk. The teacher of this class followed the Strega tradition. She had once been a part of a coven near me. Now this is the kicker, she was a crocheter as well. She asked me about using my crochet in my magick, so I told her about thinking happy and healthy thoughts while doing blankets and booties. That's when I got the sideways look and the admonishment. "Oh dear", she said. "Someone needs to study up on her knot magick."
She seemed to think that if I was happy with my spirit guide, aka Grandma Albina, that that was what it should be. The student finds the teacher when he or she is ready, and the teacher finds the student when he or she is needed. On returning to CUUPS the next week, Moonday, who by this time was a facilitator of the group, stared at my husband and myself and said, "One of you is supposed to study knot magick." Well, alrighty then, that was my cue. Instead of conforming to an established path, I would cut out my own. I would look to the ancient past before organized religion. Back when folk medicine and folk magick were one and the same. When it was all about working to keep your family safe and sound. Back when it was all about that pot of soup.
That pot of soup became a metaphor for me. Everything I learn to this day either goes to the shelf for future consideration or directly into the pot. My soup will not taste like anyone else's, but it will still be delish. This book is a bowl of that soup. Enjoy! Take what you will for the shelf or for the pot. Build your own beliefs with the choicest bits that the pagan community has to offer and watch your path grow.
Sometimes it is difficult to see your own progress day to day unless you are setting clear milestones. Setting goals and celebrating the achievements keep us moving in the right direction. But don't overdo it. Sometimes I get so caught up with lists and outlines I waste time I could be using to advance. Start with a firm foundation. It is most important. It is the key to building any structure and that is no less true for personal growth. Keep the end in mind but always remember to crawl before you run.
We must crawl before we run
Do not think it insignificant
Crawling is part of the journey
As a seed forms roots
And gathers energy to break through the soil
Suddenly as if by Magick
We become ourselves
Then the real work begins
I have an inner Kindergarten teacher that I shoulda, woulda, coulda been. If I had the chance to do it over or the gumption to do it now, I would go for a career in education. Managing a deli in a supermarket was close but no cigar. The prerequisite for that job was housewife and mother since you are cooking, cleaning, and trying to deal with children on both sides of the counter, lol. I've retired from those shenanigans. All I miss are the paid vacations. My current job is more about teaching. In fact, I teach customer service to deli clerks. It is my job to make sure they know what to do. It is no longer my job to enforce that they do it. I like this better.
I have an outer Kindergarten teacher who is a good friend of mine. She has developed and conducts the Peewee Pagan group, Enchanted Education. She has always encouraged me to do a book for children. This may still happen but honestly there is not much difference in my magick as far as age goes. I try for the inner child in everyone. She allows me from time to time to let my inner Kindergarten teacher come out and play. My husband and I both have done classes with the Pee Wees. It is so much fun and extremely satisfying to encourage young minds to think.
Interestingly the projects we do with the children translate quite well into projects done at CUUPS. I think that is the best thing about being part of the pagan community. Grown people who still like to play are so refreshing in this world. Giving each other the permission to enjoy ourselves is an amazing gift. It lets our inner children grow and heal. It offers us refreshment of the soul. It makes adulting a little easier the next day.
Fiber Magick has proven to be quite enjoyable for children of all ages. Let's engage our inner children as well as outer and have ourselves some Fiber Magick fun. This book is meant to spark the imagination with some ways to include crafting into your magickal path.
My given name is Alba. It is a shortened version of my maternal Grandmother's name and it is magickal on its own. It is the Italian word for “dawn”, first morning light. When it came time for me to pick a magickal name, I chose Luna, the Italian word for “Moon”. Together, “Alba Luna” is the time when you get up early and the moon is still there with the sunrise. Opal is my birthstone, so I chose that at my Croning. Opal Luna, Crone of the Moon, that is me.