Warp and Weft (Why Witchcraft Works - For Me)
Article ID: 14547
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 2,605
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Author: Renee Damoiselle
Posted: May 8th. 2011
Times Viewed: 3,519
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. It is shaped like a bullet with a narrow end to fit between the warp threads and help the weaver pull the weft through. 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.
And 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 live. I think the word has cultivated a fear in society over being told how they are obligated to behave a certain way or perform certain rites of observance. I prefer "Spiritual Practice" because it demonstrates a personal choice, rather than a dogma one is 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. I much prefer the "Blessed are they's" to the "Thou shalt NOT's".
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? For example: 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 human soul. 3) The purpose of life is to experience it first hand; that is, to have a personal relationship with Deity here and now, in one's lifetime.
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 that feeling. 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? How do I utilize that amazing power to create a beautiful and useful tapestry?
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!
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 deities that could suit every purpose under the sun.
Witchcraft is full of weaving stories. 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. 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 the path of Wicca, 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. Yours should be too.
Location: Phoenix, Arizona
Author's Profile: To learn more about Renee Damoiselle - Click HERE
Bio: I am a second degree priestess of the Alexandrian Tradition of Wicca, (with strong Thelemic leanings) I've been studying alternative spiritualities for about 15 years. I have recently formed a foundation (Odyssey Ridge, Center for Inclusive Sacred Experience) dedicated to fostering world peach through education about the similarites between apparently diverging religious practices.
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