Day 159: Thoughts on Spinning Yarn



As has been mentioned in other posts, string and yarn are used in a lot of folk traditions, the Ozarks included, for various cures and remedies. I’ve been spinning my own yarn for about a year now and I absolutely love it. There’s nothing more relaxing than sitting on the porch and spinning, especially if it’s cool outside. It always seems to calm me down from the angriest of moods.

The act of spinning in and of itself can be healing work. The way I look at it is that the intention I’m putting into the yarn will then carry over to the healing work I’m using it for. If, while I’m spinning, I can pray or sit silently, or think on good things, those thoughts and feelings get woven into the strands themselves.

Historically spinning has been associated with various oracular traditions. In Scandinavia the völvas were often buried with their spinning equipment as symbols of their status within the community. I while back I posted an interesting article from Eldar Heide entitled “Spinning Seiđr” which basically talks about this exact idea; that the repetitive nature of spinning yarn is conducive to creating a trance state that can be used for divinatory or magical purposes. I highly recommend reading the article for those interested.

Along similar lines, spinning yarn has been associated with storytelling for ages. There’s even the familiar saying that someone telling stories is “spinning yarns.” There’s a reason behind that. First is a somewhat practical reason, that storytellers were often women who would tell tales while spinning yarn, a somewhat labor intensive and monotonous task. But I think that there’s an underlying symbolism here; it’s perhaps that the creation of yarn is the creation of a timeline, the physical manifestation of the hours and minutes devoted to the task or the story being told while spinning. Remember that the fates were spinners, and each human’s life could be read like looking at the bumps and smooth places on a length of yarn.

In this way spinners can spin prayers and stories into the fibers of the yarn itself. This combined with soaking yarn in healing herb waters and the use of knots can create a powerful yet simple sympathetic connection between healer and patient. Just a thought.

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