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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in handspinning

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Spinning all of the Things

Summer has reached full boil here in Eugene, with temperatures climbing into the mid to high nineties—and it's only July 2nd! Our animals are miserable in the heat, and my partner and myself only slightly less so. I know you east coast denizens out there are rolling your eyes at me, and I do understand; I am from Pennsylvania originally and I realize that one month of sweltering, killing sun beats eights months of stagnant humidity. But the heat kicks some of my health issues into high gear (while somewhat alleviating others, and then in the cool weather this situation reverses itself; I can't win!) so while I am not intending for any of my blogs to be on strike this month, the heat has me feeling somewhat more introspective and less verbal than usual.

That said, I'm very pleased that the first installment of my “Baby Heathen/Odinist” series has garnered so much positive attention, and I will be continuing the series very soon--never fear—but in the meantime I wanted to share an anecdote. This blog is called Threads for a reason: because although many of the posts seem to wander off in their own direction they are all part of the central fabric that forms my life, and the other day I was struck by how cohesive that weaving is, even when I am occasionally tempted to think otherwise.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Beth Lynch
    Beth Lynch says #
    Well, as Jolene and I were saying just this morning, neither of us feel we need to have ALL OF THE THINGS in common with a person
  • Soli
    Soli says #
  • Soli
    Soli says #
    Here's the thing about our culture, which I am sure you realize. We're raised to believe that only a certain type of people are "a

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Celebrating the Sheep

While most pagans were celebrating Imbolc this past weekend, in my household we were doing something a little different. Neither my partner nor I has any connection with Brigid, and while we might be okay honoring a less-than-familiar goddess as guests in a larger group setting, as hard polytheists in our own small rituals at home we tend to stick with deities we have a personal history and relationship with. Since we are also (more or less) Heathen, in our own two-person tradition the beginning of February is time for Ewemeolc. This is an Anglo-Saxon holiday whose name means exactly what it sounds like. That's right: it celebrates the annual lactation of the ewes.

In Anglo-Saxon England, the agricultural year began on or around the beginning of February (a tradition that lingered into medieval times and became Plough Monday, the official resumption of farming work after Christmas). The 7th century English scholar Bede referred to February as “Solmonath,” or “the month of cakes, which in that month the English offered to their gods.” This most likely referred to the AEcerbot (“Field Remedy”) Charm (which we know in a Christianized form from the 10th century Anglo-Saxon manuscript Lacnunga), a ritual to bless the fields for the planting season ahead. It may also help explain why pancakes seem to be a traditional meal for this holiday.

Then as now, however, English agriculture was hugely dependent on sheep, dairy production, and wool, and for the Anglo-Saxons it's likely that the primary significance of this holiday was that it marked the beginning of lambing season. As a handspinner who honors Frigga, this of course suits me just fine and meshes very nicely with both my spiritual and artistic priorities. We first began celebrating Ewemeolc as essentially a celebration of the lambs and their gifts a few years back, and it clicked so well that we even added a second sheep-and-Frigga focused holiday later in the year (in June, to coincide with our local sheep and wool festival).

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