Monday, October 20, 2014

A Month of Witches & Magick- What I Learned About Transmutation Circles Day 20

Today I want to talk about string art. There are several knot spells. You can tie up your troubles, you can literally tie the knot in a hand fastening ceremony, or you can untie knots to release wind and storms. These spells generally use very simple knots. It's one of those things that I am sure could be so much more and I wonder why there isn't a whole tradition dedicated to it. The older I get, and the more I refine my personal practice, the more possibilities I see to use it. Every time I sew, I see the magick in what I do. The act itself is magick and I can add even more power by enchanting the thread. This is really easy- before threading your needle, run the thread through your fingers several times while focusing on your desire. And if you pay attention to how your thread is made, this can actually help keep the thread from tangling while you stitch.

For me it has gotten to the point where I can't not use magick when I sew. I must say, projects seem to go much better now. I am more likely to finish rather than walk away in frustration. I am also more inclined to take on things a bit above my skill level. Finished items seem to hold up better and last longer.

This is one of those things where I wonder why there isn't a whole tradition dedicated to Stitch Witchery. I think we all agree it can be done. It's not a new idea. Think Aladdin's flying carpet. That was a powerful Witch who made it.

But when you go on the hunt for spells in sewing, one comes up woefully short. While there are lots of quilt blocks with magical sounding names, and there are lots of cross stitch patterns depicting everything from dragons to wizards, there isn't much about textiles being actual spells. Though every once in a while, I do find interesting little hints. Once I found a quilt book which mentioned a certain pattern meant to keep your husband from having an affair. Just make sure you had the right side of the quilt covering his half of the bed. When I find things like that I'm first excited to have evidence of people using every day objects for spells, then I'm disappointed that with the whole range of spells in the world the best they came up with is keeping a tom cat at home. Where's the spell for cutting that fool loose so you can move on to something better?

Sometimes occult publishers produce books for the 'crafty' Witch. I find these books to be very simplistic. It seems like the projects presented get dumbed down. If it's easy, why is it even a spell? I know magick is hard work. I'm okay with time consuming projects because lets face it, the best magick comes slowly, building over time. I would think a cross stitch protection spell would need to be worked over a long winter and it should be stunningly beautiful. How much protection does it really offer if I finish in one afternoon?

What I like about string art is that it makes complex designs out of just string and nails (and a bit of math). I can see how this could be so much more than art if just the right string was chosen, and maybe if say those were coffin nails. Now it's starting to sound like a portal, isn't it?

What I don't like a string art is the instructions often suck. I found a lovely 16 point star. I knew it was a perfection protection spell. I tried to draw it on paper first because I intended to construct in on the side of my house and I wanted a clear understanding of how to put it together before I drove nails into the wall. Right off the bat I realized half the instructions were missing. Presumably to save space, rather than show diagrams of how the star is made, they only had one photograph of the completed star. It's easy to divide a circle into four. It's easy to divide it into 8. It's even easy to divide a circle into 12. But at 16 things are rather tricky and it's not evenly divided.

Miffed, I looked for other examples of string art.
This one has points 1 through 5. Then it skips all the way to 14. That's not the least bit helpful to me. Let's try again.
I can at least follow this one without difficulty, or I understand as long as I don't try to make sense of why things are numbered in the this fashion. Evidently string art is just like transmutation circles; it is meant to be impressive and nobody's gonna tell you how to do it. If you figure out, congratulations! You are now a member of a very elitist group who withholds information. I imagine the whole point of not telling how or why is just so you can feel smugly superior.

I like the idea of textile magick whether that be a quilt, cross stitch, tatting, crochet, or string art. I like transmutation circles because they are things of beauty but trying to understand them is like trying to figure out a person based on their living room. Yes it tells you a lot, like how they live and if they share that space with others, and it might tell you some of their interests and hobbies, but it doesn't tell you the whole story like why the walls are one color and not another. It doesn't tell you if they are planning to redecorate soon or even if they ever enter the room on a daily basis.

I really think magick is meant to be used. And shared and taught. It does no good to create powerful spells and never pass them onto others.

I'm going to come back to the string art. This is the start of something good but it really needs refining.


Jeanne said...

Knot magick is such a simple way to work a spell! And utilizing that in sewing or crewel or any other form of textile work is a logical step. The color of the rope or string, type of rope or string, even the type of knot used can have an impact on the end of result. But like in any other magic, Intent and Visualization is Everything! At least IMO.
Back to String Art - I wish I still had my books which gave directions on many various patterns. Have you tried looking on Pinterest? Love your idea of a portal...
Many textile workers (Navajo Rug Weavers come to mind) believe that if they make a design perfect, then they will trap part of their soul in the design.

FreeDragon said...

I got these string art designs off Pinterest. I did do a search for macramé and so much cool stuff came up!

Some quilters, especially African-Americans, will make one quilt block different from the rest. It's called the 'zinger' and the purpose is to keep the quilt from being too nice. Something too nice never gets used or worse, invites envy and jealousy upon the owner. I've also heard of rug makers leaving a 'blank' so that any negative energy or pent up emotions will drain away from the rug.

The 16 point star called for a mirror to be hung in the center after the star was complete, so that makes it even more portal like.