Add the Passion of Crafting to Your Craft with Fiber Magick, by Opal Luna
(Article originally published in The Llewellyn Journal.)
Long before the birth of the Bedazzler, the crafting world has been drawing folx in with the allure of making things with their own hands. Nothing beats the feeling of accomplishment that comes from making it yourself. Pride of workmanship and seeing your project come to life brings a true satisfaction. The joy that a handmade gift brings to the recipient is well worth the many hours invested. To be honest, we would be doing it anyway for the sheer joy of the act. Crafters talk about their craft of choice with a passion that is often missed in this world. My husband tells me that when I talk about crocheting a light comes on in my eyes and you can hear the love in my voice. Relating the steps I'm planning and the materials I'll be using for my next project raises my energy up to the next level. One might even venture to say that the whole process is magickal. If you feel the same way about your handiwork, then you will understand the concept of Fiber Magick. This passion was the basis for the book I wrote for Llewellyn, Fiber Magick: A Witch's Guide to Spellcasting Using Crochet, Knotwork, and Weaving.
The crocheting came into my life long before the magick. My Granny taught me the basics when I was eight years old. We would spend hours up in her attic bedroom perfecting our stitches; it was my escape from the world below. She showed me how to make the granny square, so naturally I thought it was her design—because she was the granny. (I found out about a decade later that that was not the case, however.) When the hippie vest came into style, I was truly grateful to have an outlet for all those squares. I was hooked.
Fast forward a bit further, and I discovered the Pagan community and began learning all the aspects of witchcraft. The kitchen witch in me came out first because I have always loved to cook. Learning the correspondences connected to the herbs and spices made it even more exciting. My imagination ran wild with the thought of making my favorite recipes into spells. So, when I added onions to the soup, I was adding magickal protection as well as the health benefits? That's fantastic. Cinnamon brings health, wealth, and happiness? We should be sprinkling that stuff everywhere! The magick just enhanced my joy of cooking. I was a happy kitchen witch for quite a while.
It wasn't too long, though, before my spirituality circled back to my true passion: crochet. Sometimes I will save the onion skins and cook them down and soak cotton yarn over night to add a nice burnt orangey brownish tint to the yarn. Is that a type of kitchen witch magick, too? The color correspondences that I learned in candle dressing and other forms of sympathetic magick began to factor into the mix. Now I was getting orange for creativity and brown to ground myself while I add the protection of the onion straight into the yarn. That is some powerful stuff right there. How does it affect me to wear a vest made of this yarn? How does it affect those who see me wearing it?
I began to see that what a kitchen witch does with food I could do with yarn. Embellishing my spells with buttons, charms, and beads. Using colors and textures to connote my intentions. Utilizing the phases of the moon and the power of the sun to add even more magickal emphasis. There is literally no end to the layers of intention that you can add to your projects. Keep adding until you can clearly see what you mean. Manifest it as a tangible expression of your intention. Then send it out into the world to make changes in attitudes. Isn't that what good magick does after all?
There you have it. I enhanced my magickal practice using my love of crochet. The passion I felt for my hobby now comes out in my magick increasing the efficacy of spells and magickal tools. What handiwork would you use to add this passion?
All needlework and fiber art lends itself well to Fiber Magick. Fiber Magick is built on the concept of knot magick. Knot magick is the practice of using knots to trap and hold energy. This energy can then be contained within the cord to be used as a talisman or used later by releasing it as the knot is untied. When we knit, crochet, macramé, embroider, sew, quilt, etc. we are tying hundreds of knots. This causes the possibilities for magick to be amplified. But what if you don't use thread or yarn or cord in your crafting? Can you still add some Fiber Magick to your Craft? Yes, you can.
When I coined the phrase "Fiber Magick" I was thinking about getting down to the very essence of what our craft supplies are made of to bring out the correspondences of the materials. One non-stitching skill that lends itself well to Fiber Magick is pottery. A potter will work with clay and glaze. Is the clay porcelain, earthenware, or stoneware? Will you turn it on a wheel? If so then the element of water will be added. Does the glaze contain tin, salt, lead? What colors will this add to the piece? What properties will it add to the magick? Will you be adding gold, copper, or silver? Now you are skirting the realm of alchemy. And then fire will be added. How will you fire the piece? There are methods that add plant materials during firing. Along with those plant colors and textures you will also bring out their magick. The correspondences go on and on and on. Most importantly, pottery (just like any other artistry) uses the most important component to any magickal endeavor: your hands. Your own hands are the most magickal tools you have, and the energy transference as you knead and work the clay is inevitable.
My purpose in creating Fiber Magick was not only to provide a spiritual path for the crafter but to encourage the magick practitioner to get a little bit more crafty. So what if you don't already have a hobby that you are passionate about? I will always suggest that you try crocheting, of course, even if it goes no further than the chain spell. But alas I have shared my passion with enough folx to know that it might not be for everyone. My second suggestion would be to look at your current spiritual modality for clues to a craftiness that might be more to your liking. Most, if not all, cultures and belief systems have at least one style of handicraft that is uniquely their own. This stands to reason for the simple fact that before the industrial revolution it was a matter of survival to be able to work with your hands. Do some research into the handmade items produced by the ancestors of your tradition. Spinning and weaving were common household tasks. Blacksmithing and woodworking were necessities. Variations of these skills are still practiced all over the world. Think about what your hobby/livelihood might have been once upon a time. Try your hand at some of these skills. This will offer a connection with those ancestors and a new appreciation of what life may have been like before big box stores. Simple examples of your tradition's crafting will be a powerful addition to an altar or ritual attire. Performing a little Fiber Magick can enhance any magickal practice and it's a great way to show your pagan pride.
Article originally published in The Llewellyn Journal. Copyright Llewellyn Worldwide, 2021. All rights reserved.