Druid Meditation Blanket

UntitledThe project began when I read an article by John Michael Greer where he mentioned the arts of our ancestors are falling into disuse. I felt inspired to learn to knit and with the help of a magazine and DVD, YouTube and lots of patience I began to create my Druid meditation blanket one square at a time.

It was autumn and as the days got shorter and the nights grew longer I meditated while knitting. Here are some of my reflections:

My first square is light green, a gentle Ovate colour, which seems to sing of the leaves. During the time knitting the square I have sat in my deck chair, under the verandah, watching autumn changes. The last of the white butterflies, the cool wind, the dryness, and the changing leaves. I feel myself readying for the indoors and the winter soups and the fireside meditations. I think of mastering knitting, a craft handed to me by my mum. I connect with my roots, the women before me, my ancestors.

Aren’t the wobbly bits
At the edge of a piece
Of craft work
Personality coming
Through?

I have just listened to ‘Remain in Light’ by the Talking Heads while knitting the light purple square. I noticed the multi-layered African influenced drumbeats, the harmony singing and the experimental nature of the music. The light purple wool quickly formed into rows, knitting is quicker than purl. I checked the DVD and I’m doing purl correctly. There are only white sweet pea flowers and a pastel pink one left on the fence by the house. I’m waiting for rain. Drought was declared yesterday.

My white square reminds me of my Druid robe, the clear white shining stars, the cleanliness of soap, my tai chi gears, sheets flapping in the breeze, and the white clouds drifting overhead. My knitted blanket is going to be magic – like a magic carpet. Each square is a focus for my life as it is while I am creating it. It is a meditation woven in wool.

I can find myself in the strands of wool,
Jumbly, twinkly, spaghetti-like joy
Created by knots on a stick
A community of interdependent loops
Patched together from experience.

Yesterday I knitted a pink fluffy square. I thought of my home and all the comforts I have. It is a place for healing and rejuvenation. I sat on the sofa as the wind buffeted the land. The rain pelted down and I felt the comfort of being inside protected from the elements. I celebrated the feeling of the flow of water.

Magic carpet
Patchwork rug
Druid blankie
Afghan throw
Knitted blanket
Druid journey
Woven strands

~ Dawn

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Gift

Here’s something I wrote close to the end of my degree last year and I think it fits the Samhain idea of death and rebirth and hope. 

We looked at each other, the bound prisoner and I. Calm grey eyes met terrified blue ones. I winked. Don’t worry. It will all be fine.

It had been the worst year in memory. The drought-ridden summer had shrivelled the grain in the fields. Rivers dried to dust, leaving fish to writhe epileptically as they choked to death on the foetid air. Stream beds cracked into misery. The autumn rains failed to quench the land’s thirst, gathering slightly in puddles and then evaporating, leaving a stinking sludge behind that bred flies and disease, fever stalking in a septic dance from house to house.

Winter though, winter was the destroyer. With no stores from summer set by we were reliant on forage from the woods, soon buried under snow. The deer herds moved south, and we were without meat. Those that the plague had spared in autumn soon fell to a dreadful cough that turned into bloody, choking death. Mothers left their newborns in the forest because they had neither food nor firewood to keep them alive. Brothers killed each other over black and rotten potatoes, and if, after such a fight, a family suddenly had enough meat to keep them fed for a while, nobody said anything.

It will all be fine my wink said, and I wanted desperately to believe it. I wanted – no, needed to believe that the spring would bring a good crop. I needed to know that there would be food. Those frightened eyes found me again, deep in their starved sockets, and I held his gaze. The prisoner was handsome, or he would have been if famine hadn’t tightened his flesh around his bones. Tattoos coiled along previously well-muscled arms and his shrunken chest: A wolf and a bear climbed each bicep to bite at the twin suns on his shoulders while snakes curved around his chest like a pair of fists to challenge each other below his collarbones. Blonde hair was tied back from his face in a braid. There were scars where spear and axe had found him in battles past. He was a fine gift for the Gods, even though his tied hands shook and chapped lips were nervously licked.

I poured all of my ravenous hope into a warm smile for him, my chapped lips splitting and bleeding. My stomach growled at the taste of my own blood. After a long moment, he returned it, all former fear replaced with love. The priest untied him and waved him forward. The crowd parted. The man suddenly had a clear path to freedom, but he went to the altar as though meeting a beloved friend. He would give his gift gladly. He settled himself down on the wooden table, graceful as a cat. He had been cleansed, skin gleaming in the watery sunlight, the hot blood of his predecessors still flowing, nearly black in its redness. The man wasn’t looking at me now. His eyes were fixed on the skies above him as he lifted his chin. He still smiled. The priest’s knife came down, the man’s steaming blood collected in the gold bowl beneath the altar. The eight men that had gone before him, holy now in death, were hanging from the World Tree, blood dripping onto the leaves and feeding the starved earth.

It will all be fine.

~ Rhiannon

Samhain Music

Samhain is a time to honour those gone before. Thalloween-candle-holder-in-evening-grass-picjumbo-comhis is especially so in New Zealand at this time of year as we celebrate ANZAC day, which honours our fallen soliders.

What better way to honour our ancestors than with some music, which reaches out to the soul. Here are my top favourite songs to listen to at Samhain, in no particular order.

      Hallow’s Eve ~ Show of Hands

 

      Scarecrow ~ Gilmore and Roberts

 

      Time to Rest ~ Heidi Talbot

 

    Old Soul ~ Thea Gilmore
      The Green Fields of France ~ Dropkick Murphys

 

    Hope you enjoy. Let us know what your favourite Samhain songs are in the comments below!
    ~ Mary