Spinning Crocus Colors

In 2013, I was painting some silk hankies (aka mawata, a preparation of silk for spinning in which one stretches single entire cocoons over a square frame to form incredibly thin layers), and I did one ounce in peacock shades, which I eventually sent to a friend who was learning to spin, and another in purple, green, yellow and white, for spring crocuses. A few months ago, I finally got around to starting to spin the crocus colors, and even wrote a poem about them to submit to an upcoming anthology in honor of Flora. (I still owe that anthology a piece on Hekate and lavender.) I was in a lot of pain at the time, and I used the spinning to catch some of it up and pull it out of me, one of the things that can be done with spinning magic, and one for which sticky, grabby silk preparations like hankies are particularly good for. I've been working on it in bits and pieces, using it to capture pain, worry, depression, anxiety. I finally finished it! One ounce of thick-and-thin energized-single silk yarn. The colors got rather more blue in the drafting and spinning than I had meant them to be. Next time I try this, I'll add some other colors to get a better balance. Some red to the violet, some yellow to the green. But it's pretty anyway. I hope to use it as warp and weave it into a narrow scarf. The thick-and-thin and the extra twist should give it some interesting texture. It may take a while to get that done, though. The RH Cricket loom is missing a length of dowel, and I'd have to replace that before I could weave....

Writing Ritual

So I'm planning a retreat with some friends for this summer, and somehow I and two others got voluntold to write the main ritual. Um. OK. I, at least, have only ever helped to plan a ritual in a significantly larger group of planners, with people who are able to get and keep the ball rolling on the planning itself. This new thing is a little bit nerve wracking. It took a while for us to get rolling, and since there was community drama going on, silence from my writing partners kicked off my anxiety a bit. We got over than, and slowly built up a head of steam. It's a fascinating process. I've been throwing out images and phrases that have power, one writing partner has been keeping us focused on the purpose of the ritual, and the third has been good at finding methods. I think we're making a good team, now that we're rolling. But the proof of the pudding is in the eating, and we won't know for sure how good a job we've done until the ritual's performed....

Paper Edition of Litany! Giveaway!

That's right, there is now a paper edition of A Litany to the Many Dead that you can buy! Right now, you have to go to Createspace, but by the beginning of next week, it will be available on regular Amazon, plus UK and European Amazon! Whee! Hey, let's try a giveaway. How many of you knew this blog has its own Twitter? Nobody, because I never say anything about it or on it. But I want to change that. So. Go follow hexdotink on Twitter, and tweet me the name of someone who's dead who you honor. Window is open for one week, and closes 12am EST on Wednesday the 25th of November. For a second chance, tweet me Happy Birthday! on the 19th, when I'll be turning 38. Only residents of places where it can be purchased by then will be able to enter. US, UK, Europe. Sorry. Winner, of course, gets a copy of the book! Yay! And, of course, the ebook is available on Kindle and Smashwords, and there's the Procession for the Many Dead, a virtual ritual built on the Twine platform....

A Litany to the Many Dead available to buy

A Litany to the Many Dead is now available on Smashwords, and (edit) now on Amazon. Smashwords is supposed to send it on the B&N, iBooks, and other sites. A print version is also coming. I have, of course, posted a number of verses as I wrote them, and you'll find those under the Litany to the Many Dead tag. Here's a small sample of verses that have not been previously posted here. We pray to the Ancient Dead You who passed too long ago for records But who still passed down to us Both your blood and wisdom We pray to the Ancient Dead We pray to the Forgotten Dead Whose names and deeds are lost to time You, too, are our ancestors and forebears We salute you, not knowing your names We pray to the Forgotten Dead We pray to the Healing Dead You who spent your time and energy Caring for others’ bodies and minds Please show us how to heal others We pray to the Healing Dead We pray to the Holy Dead You who were transformed by your faith And remade entirely by your gods Let us strive to emulate you We pray to the Holy Dead In addition to the book, I'm working on a virtual ritual built on the Twine game platform, and mean to have it up by the 23rd. The ritual will be free and on this blog. I've also now got a page for The Litany Project (which you can find in the nav bar at the top of the page). I've invited readers to write their own verses and send them to me, to request new verses from me, and to send in accounts or recordings of any ritual use anyone might make of the Litany. All of those things will be posted on The Litany Project. Eventually, I hope there will be subsequent editions of the Litany that include the new verses I write, and if I get permission, verses by others....

Notes from Tree Pose

- I’ve already written about my yoga practice. - I’m not spinning cotton much at the moment. Still trying to figure out how to reintegrate that. I’m going to focus on settling into a solid yoga practice first, and then worry about that. - I’ve finished the first batch of purple wool, though I haven’t made a skein yet. I can’t find my damn niddy-noddy. Now I’ve moved on to spinning a midnight blue tussah silk on my trindle for the same prayer. I don’t manage it quite daily, but I try. Current form of the prayer of the Purple Thread (which remains the Purple Thread regardless of the color I’m spinning): (before spinning) Six women whose lives are twined In history and myth Six women whose names are wrapped In purple thread Six women whose lives show Our weaknesses and our strengths Six women I honor and praise: The women of the purple thread. (flick) I pray to Arachne Who rues what she did And weaves now forever (flick) I spin for Arachne of the Purple Thread (while winding on) The Purple Thread winds on and on The Purple Thread winds on (repeat throughout winding) (flick) I pray to Erigone Beloved of the Vine Who sorrowed and mourned. (flick) I spin for Erigone of the Purple Thread (while winding on) The Purple Thread winds on and on The Purple Thread winds on (repeat throughout winding) (flick) I pray to Ariadne Mistress of the Labyrinth Who died and returned (flick) I spin for Ariadne of the Purple Thread (while winding on) The Purple Thread winds on and on The Purple Thread winds on (repeat throughout winding) (flick) I pray to Helen Lady of Sorrows Who stands now for the Voiceless (flick) I spin for Helen of the Purple Thread (while winding on) The Purple Thread winds on and on The Purple Thread winds on (repeat throughout winding) (flick) I pray to Medea Witch and Priestess Betrayed and Vengeful (flick) I spin for Medea of the Purple Thread (while winding on) The Purple Thread winds on and on The Purple Thread winds on (repeat throughout winding) (flick) I pray to Circe Sorceress and Goddess Who ever surrendered her power (flick) I spin for Circe of the Purple Thread (while winding on) The Purple Thread winds on and on The Purple Thread winds on (repeat throughout winding) I’ve said it before: any repetitive thing can be used as prayer. That’s why beads are so popular. Spinning also echoes the spinning of prayer wheel, the motion sending the words spinning out and up to the gods. It’s good for me. - Serving morning tea as offering to my gods is working well for me. Adding rusks with honey has not been so easy, and I’ve dropped it for the time, but preparing and pouring the tea has evolved into a set of ritual motions that have become easy and natural. It feels good. I still would never presume to tell anyone else that they must practice food offerings, or what they can or can’t afford. It just works for me. -My copies of Crossing the River finally arrived! SQUEEEEE!...

Published!

Crossing the River: An Anthology in Honor of Sacred Journeys has finally been published. As I've mentioned, this is my first time being published in a Real, Honest-to-Gods Professional Book. I'm very, very excited. Go! Read! Enjoy! Come back and tell me what you think, even if you hate my piece. We'll talk about it....

Notes Hanging in Midair

I am being published! My UPG on using the divine madness of the maenad to alleviate symptoms of my bipolar disorder will be appearing in Bibliotheca Alexandrina's upcoming anthology Crossing the River, on sacred journeys. It's entitled "I shall set free my hair and wear a fawn skin", and will be published under the name Rebecca Lynn Scott. I hope some of you will pick it up, and let me know what you think. I'll be sure to post when it's actually available for sale. I really must remember that taking even a few days off from spinning on the charkha badly affects how well I do. I've had some very bad sleep cycle problems lately, so I've been skipping it during morning rituals. I was getting quite good, getting a lot done, wasting less, and even starting to be able to do the magic trick of the long draw, evening out slubs just by gently pulling. And then I took four or five days off, and today was awful. Ah, well, it's the nature of the beast, and all I can do is pick it up again and keep going. Like any practice, like during a session of meditation itself. My brother is now a yoga instructor for Broga (yes, that's yoga for bros, or at least men). I've taken a couple of yoga before, and it's one of the few forms of exercise I really enjoy, that really makes my body feel the way fitness people always tell me exercise will make me feel. (The only other that that do that for me are swimming and horseback riding.) The last time, I started to take Yoga for Round Bodies at the Whole Life Yoga Center. Unfortunately, I had some physical problems that prevented me from finishing the class. But it was good. Really good. Now my brother is going to send me some videos that he likes that includes instructors of various body types, including a fat woman, and which stresses doing only what your body can do, and not pushing too hard. Taking up a yoga practice again sounds wonderful. The problem with it is cultural appropriation. Yoga is an Indian practice, spiritual as well as physical, and exists within a specific cultural context. White Westerners who wish to practice it usually either selectively adopt a whole slew of Indian cultural bits, like wearing saris and bindis, eating Indian food extensively, saying "Namaste" in inappropriate contexts, all kinds of things. But they take them out of their original context, and they do it from a position of privilege, never having to experience the discrimination against Indian people that exists in the Western world, and not having to deal with the continued weight of more than a hundred years of colonialism and oppression against them. The other thing we do is utterly divorce yoga from its original context, treating it as a purely physical practice, or perhaps adding a bit of meditation or chakra work, never learning anything about the original context or practices at all. Frankly, I'm not sure what to do so as to minimize cultural appropriation in my practice. I'm mostly interested in the physical aspects, as I have my own spiritual and magical practices, and just want a way to move my body and train my muscles that feels good and increases my consciousness of this part of me. I dunno. It's a question I'll have to study and consider carefully. I want to understand what it is as best I can as an outsider, even as I don't want to adopts all parts of it. I'm reading Decolonizing Yoga (which has videos on yoga for fat people) and South Asian American Perspectives on Yoga in America, and some other things. We shall see. Labyrinths continue to turn up here and there, and I continue to walk mine as part of my morning rituals. Come the new moon, when I will have been doing it for a full lunar cycle, I'll start to do some deeper work. Today I lit the last candle of Forty Days of Ritual for Reproductive Justice. I feel pretty good about it. Every bit of energy and work helps in these things....