Today’s experiment was dyeing 4 large skeins of 2-ply handspun wool using Wolf lichen (Letharia vulpina). It is a common lichen found in pine forests. I collected some last week while out on Ash Creek fly fishing with some friends. I came upon some blown down limbs while gathering wild rose hips for winter tea. It took only a few moments to pull it loose from the bark and fill a medium sized bag of the green stuff.
I have used this lichen once before, and the yarn came out a bright green. To help tone the color down a bit, I put in 2 cups of ground coffee into the pot along with the lichen…. after boiling, straining and immersing the wool into the decoction, the result produced a nice burnished gold color. Kind of like the color of Autumn leaves, especially of the elm tree….
You do not need to “fix” this dye to retain it’s color. Wolf lichen has a chemical in it that makes it permanent on natural fibers …
For any and all who have Irish roots….. just finished this little diddy. It is constructed from 16 layers of different kinds of paper.
Altar Bowl titled “Éire”. It’s name is taken from a LANDSAT photo of Ireland placed in the center bottom of the bowl. The dark purple/blue outer layer symbolizes the oceans surrounding the island, while the colors of the interior represent the green of the Island with her cities and landforms. Ibis feathers with vintage button and Swarovski crystal.
I found myself in a very dangerous situation the past few days, created from my own ignorance and deep willingness to help. Last week, I attended a close friend who died. I simply wanted to be a support person for him and his wife and sat near or next to him during his transition. Emotionally and spiritually, I opened myself wide to be available for whatever was needed. It never occurred to me that it would have been better to have entered the situation shielded.
I need to explain something here…. I’m a woman who is familiar with the “current” of dying and have assisted other friends in their transformation. I have first-hand knowledge of the process, having experienced two near-death episodes of my own (NDE), and a spontaneous shared-death experience (SDE) with my grandmother. In each of these circumstances, I saw and felt my physical body attached to this world through a “silver cord” which is comprised of hundreds of fine thread-like energy filaments attached to “nadi” centers in the body. In death, one travels along these filaments and cord until distance itself causes them to disengage from ones physical form.
I am not, and never have been, a student of yoga. I simply know what I saw and experienced during my NDE’s. The only explanation I have found which describes these energy filaments comes from yoga theory. Nadis carry prana, or life force energy. In the physical body, the nadis are considered channels that carry the frequency and nature of air, water, nutrients, blood and other bodily fluids. They energetically work with and are similar to the arteries, veins, capillaries, , nerves, and lymph canals of the body. In the ethereal body (or subtle and causal body), they work a bit differently. The nadis are channels for so called cosmic, vital, seminal, mental, and intellectual energies and vibrations. Different yoga texts agree that the number of nadis contained in the human body are in the tens of thousands.
So much for the lesson on nadis….. now back to the process of the death experience.
After my friend died, I experienced a strange disconnect with my own body. I felt like I was dying myself, or that my own death would come soon. I felt cold….my feet, hands and core were icy to touch. I laid in my bed fully clothed, with a fleece jacket on and under a heavy sleeping bag. That is all I wanted, to lay under my heavy sleeping bag. I cared little about what was going on around me. I could not get centered and even felt tendrils of energy filaments floating freely in front of my chest….kind of like the tentacles of a jellyfish in ocean waters. This went on for a period of 5 days.
A friend called yesterday and invited me out to sit and visit on Ash Creek for a while. I told her what I was experiencing. She recommended that I create a grounding necklace for myself and then take off my shoes to ground with the earth. I did as she recommended, looking for anything that would help me feel better….. and it worked.
There was a deep lesson for me to learn in this experience. My own ethereal body or aura “knows” the transition of death, and I got “caught” in the currents and eddies of my friends dying process. I had to “call” my own prana or life force back to myself, using the grounding of the earth both directly and in her “stoned frequencies” of rocks and gems. I know that it is not yet my time to leave. I simply got pulled into my friends transformation through my love for him….
I will continue to walk barefoot on the earth and the necklace will remain around my neck for a while. I really do believe that rocks and stones have metaphysical properties that can assist in balancing our auric field. The semiprecious stones I used to assist me to “ground” include:
Red Jasper – A Supreme Nurturer. Labradorite – Stone of the Northern Lights. Snowflake Obsidian – Protection stone. Forms a Shield. Sardonyx – Stone of Protection and Strength. Agate – Stone of Inner Stability. Smoky Quartz – Stone of Power and Grounding. Hematite – Protection stone, Grounding. Garnet – Stone of Health. Mexican Fire Agate- Stone of Spiritual Perfection Black Jade – Power of Stillness.
There is a crisp scent of Autumn in the air this early morning. I felt it as I arose from my bed and began to systematically close the windows throughout our large house. It was a couple of hours before dawn, and I wandered through the house quietly removing window screens and pushing the frames shut. The cool breeze which had been rushing into the rooms suddenly sank to the floor like a sigh. “It’s too early”, I thought to myself. “It’s only August for gosh sakes!”
Winter is the longest season where I live. The cold can come in and settle from October and stick around until early June. Although we have had traditional hot days this summer, the gardens have foundered and produced vegetables and plants that are small in stature. “The soils remained cool too long into June”, neighbors say.
Yet, it’s my hands that tell me Autumn is coming. More reliable than squirrels caching pine nuts or the full ripening of berries and fruit on the vine. I am the latest manifestation of all of my Ancestors, the thousands of peoples which lay woven within the warp and weft of my DNA. My Ancestors experienced all of the variations in seasonal change one can find in the historic landscapes on this beloved Planet. Someone in my line, probably many of them, created clothing to protect themselves and their loved ones with the coming of the cold winter months. I think most of my bloodlines came from the northern latitudes where seasonal changes could prove to be life or death. How do I know that? Because my hands engage in projects and activities my conscious mind knows nothing about….
I knit and crochet up a storm in the months of Autumn. I have for many years. I make hats, gloves, scarves, leggings, sweaters, vests and bed socks. Lots of them…. My hands can knit and crochet on their own. I don’t even need to watch what I am doing. I can converse on the phone or with other people, watch a movie or look at a landscape while riding in a car. My hands just simply know what to do and they drive me into a fervor of activity for weeks on end. I am not usually drawn to the craft until early October, but 2 weeks ago I found my hands gathering knitting needles and yarn. I began to knit a project for a head and neck covering, only to drop it into a basket with alarm…. What am I doing? I have so many other mediums to choose from for my creative expressions. Knitting is simply not one of those things I do until the change of season is upon me.
I laughed about it yesterday when shopping, I had brought the project with me for something to do. My friend, who has known my habits for decades, raised an eyebrow at me and said “You’re kidding, right? You are KNITTING?” I told her that it feels strange to me too. My seasonal clock is a bit off this year and something feels amiss. My hands speak, almost as a portent, of an early shift toward colder weather. I trust the intuition of my body….my ancestors are telling me something that might just prove to be true…an unseasonable early Autumn. Hmmmm. We will see if my hands speak truth…..
I have a bit of a creative muse in my Soul. She is given lots of room to use different mediums, different thoughts and impulses. I went to my local post office just down the street to get the mail. A hidden message was waiting for my muse, laying on top of the discarded mail in the garbage can. My muse’s eyes popped right out of my own physical ones, and has taken the message into Her unknown Heart. Hmmmmm, wonder what She is going to come up with…
A little more technical….but still costs pennies to make. Construction took about 4 hours… My work almost always reflects something I see or feel while in nature. This bracelet reminded me of the exposed roots of old ash trees I have seen while fishing. The stone is a heart-shaped, aurora borealis Swarovski crystal….
Funny thing, “The Creative Void”…. I had no idea that I have been wandering in it’s embrace for a while now… I did not know why everything I choose to “lift” into expression is quietly put down. Writing, collage, social media, artistic expression or no expression… everything dropping from my fingertips. Nothing of “form” is collating or collecting enough energy to “Rise”.
Words are such funny things. They remind me of wooden blocks. Giving a description to thoughts and feelings that really have no form about them…. yet I have become accustomed to using them the reflect or symbolize colors within myself that are as elusive as shadow. My “muse” at times stumbles over the limitations of wordy constructs… especially in English, a very limited language.
The Creative Void has its own peculiar landscape, with directions and textures, smells, weather of its own. All I know of it is that I have to let go of everything I think is “real” including this construct I have created called “Self”. Self perception is eerie…. and mostly a deceptive construct I create about myself and defend. In the “Void” that construct has no meaning, is no longer something I can wield or use to guide me from one step into the next. The journey into this Void is unmapped and relies on my willingness to Risk. I have a relatively high margin for risk taking, but sometimes the journey calls more upon my Courage and sheer Guts. It is a time that I strip myself naked, pull on my big girl boots and spurs…because one never knows when they will come in handy – kind of like a pocket knife. I then lean forward and let go…. I am not at all comfortable with freefall…..but that is how I grow my wings….
I found an old stone today while cleaning a corner of my studio. I do a lot of beadwork, and most days drop everything from seed beads, semiprecious stones and jewelry findings onto the floor where they skitter in a thousand directions. It is difficult, if not daunting, to squeeze underneath my heavy oak desk to clean and retrieve long lost baubles. They tightly jam themselves between the wall and the baseboard, and underneath the lip of a large piece of vintage linoleum which covers the pine wood floors.
I was using a fine horsehair brush below the baseboard to tease out beads and pieces of jewelry findings when I noticed a long forgotten cabochon jammed in there…. I had to use a piece of wire to force it out, it appeared to have been stuck in there a long time. When I climbed out of the shadows beneath my work bench, I opened my hand to discover a gemstone I had purchased in 1987. I remembered it well….
I took over a PhD research study when the original researcher hurt his back and had to return home to China. I applied as a candidate to the professor who held the research grant and was accepted to complete the studies as a Research Associate. I was little prepared for the 3 years of intense field work that was going to be required.
Anyhoo… when I completed my last day of field work, I drove back to the University. On my way, I purchased a ring at the local country store. A ring that contained the stone I found today….. Hmmm. 31 years ago. Now THAT is a river of time that has flowed through my fingers…. As it turns out, the stone is a “composite”, an “assembled” stone. One that simulates a gemstone and is made of two or three layers of gemstone or glass. These are cemented or fused together so as to appear as a whole natural stone. I did not know that at the time I purchased it. The shopkeeper identified it as a “Black turquoise” at the time. Uh-huh….
Holding that little stone in my hand today, I realized that as a human, and a Woman, classical philosophy has turned me into a “composite”, an “assemblage”…. Although I look human, I am so enculturated in the ideas introduced by a couple of Greek guys, Plato and Aristotle. In the most SIMPLISTIC terms, both men cut the “Wholeness of Being” into a “composite”, an assemblage. A theoretical construct of Body + Mind + Soul. In short, both men surmise that we have a physical body, AND a soul/mind (a thinking Be-ing) which is complete in itself, and capable of living without the body.
Don’t you think there might be an error in this way of thinking? Slicing up into parts and defining lines where there are none?…. Their philosophic ideas have been driven deep into European and Western thought and cultures. These ideas have heavily influenced not only how we see ourselves and each other….but how we see EVERYTHING….. A tree? A forest? An ocean? A rock? A cup of tea… No wonder it is so hard to really “see” and “be” with Gaia and the nature. As a ”composite”, I lack integration and interconnection with myself, let alone everything else….
I want to rip these ideas out of my head, pulling them out through my hair roots. Pulling, pulling, pulling still….until I hold the fibers of my spine tingling in my hands. Perhaps the invisible lines of separation created by philosophy and western culture will simply “poof” disappear….. and the fullness of union with all things will take its place….
As I described in earlier writing, as a girl I had an imaginative alter ego who I simply named Barbara Cowboy. Her existence in my imagination and play took place decades before the theory and language of current day Feminism and Spiritually were formed. And Her story continues….
She had the gift of making fire. I have never seen anything like it. I would gather whatever I could find, often hastily constructed into a loose mound. It did not matter what the fuel was made of, stones piled in mud topped with a handful of green leaves, dry sticks and grass, wet twigs, frozen pine cones, algae strands collected from a slow running creek. Barbara Cowboy carried a source of heat deep, deep inside Herself. Like a coal stored deep in the ashes of the world, kept bright, smoldering.
I noticed that She never seemed to get cold, even when the temperatures dropped, and sleet blew in horizontal streaks across a landscape. She did not own a coat, or heavy skin to drape over her back. Her only cover was a serape-like blanket in colors of ochre, with striations of green, blue and white interwoven in colorful rows. I would often watch her unfurl it from a pouch in her saddle bags, throw it around her shoulders like a market shawl and throw me a quick grin and a wink as She wandered ahead leading her horse. In the most inclement weather, her hands were warm, downright toasty. Raindrops and snowflakes would dissipate on her skin, and rise like clouds of vapor to the heavens. Internal heat, always present, always warming. Never too hot or too cool. She made fire-tending look as easy as taking a breath.
In some spiritual teachings, the hands are identified as having the gift to begin and end all sorts of manifestation in this world. With our left hand, we receive what the universe offers us, and with our right hand we release or send these gifts to others and the world. I often witnessed Barbara Cowboy extend her right hand to make fire. She did not seek to receive anything from the world to make fire. She used what was inside herself, her internal flame, and would merely reach out to gift it to whatever fuel lay before her hand. Be it dung, waste wrappings, improbable fuel choices….it didn’t matter. A heat would be released and ignition … the bright flames of transformation would rise. Without effort, simply and freely given. Simply by using INTENT to give to herself the warmth she needed.
Build your campfire and throw onto it your personal garbage, limited self perceptions, feelings of not being seen or heard. Throw your sense of unworthiness on top of it all and reach out your right hand. Release your heat, buried beneath the ashes of your world. It’s there, believe you me. Release your fire as a gift to the universe and watch the flames of your own transformation reach to the sky above. Then turn around and walk your path with your left hand held high. Let out a whoop!
Not doing much “art” right now….My muse has placed my hands in my lap. She will wander back when She is ready, I really don’t worry about Her when she wanders off to muse alone… I did, however, build myself a powerful piece of jewelry. This necklace contains a nuummite crystal as the central pendant. Now Nuummite is the oldest mineral on this planet. It was created 3 billion years ago from volcanic origins and is named after a volcano in Greenland where is was discovered in 1982.
Nuummite is a stone of personal transformation, increasing the frequency of synchronicity or the sacred geometry of timing and intuition. Nuummite is a stone of tremendous grounding, attuned to the elemental forces of Earth that can be drawn upon in times of need. It is an excellent source of energy with a strong electro-magnetic field. It aligns the subtle bodies, strengthens the auric shield, and is fiercely protective against negative energies, manipulations, and environmental pollutants. It is useful in over-all healing and tissue regeneration, and to relieve pain and discomfort associated with headaches and degenerative disease. It may be used to purify the blood and kidneys, and to alleviate infections that are slow to heal or recur. Regarding emotional healing, Nuummite is a powerful stone to locate and retrieve parts of your lost child, and integrate it back into the Self for healing and wholeness.
I coupled this pendant with additional semiprecious stones for the root chakra (hematite, oxblood, tiger eye); sacral chakra (mouakite, garnet, red agate, jaspers); solar plexus chakra (sunstone, amber, yellow jade), heart chakra (Green adventurine, rose quartz, ruby in zoisite); throat chakra (sodalite), third eye (lapis lazuli, labradorite) and smoky quartz for the crown chakra.
Talk about a resonance! Not sure when I am going to release it from my grasp into the world…… Enjoy!