I am Pagan. Though I was raised a highly spiritual agnostic, I found that I always associated nature with some sort of ineffable power. Thus, I found Paganism.
I call myself a crafter, and realized recently that there isn’t a big difference in the way I practice the Pagan Craft and the way I craft my yarns. Each movement is intentional both in a ritual and in spinning.
From the seeming chaos in my fiber basket, I spin my wheel clockwise, bringing together a thread that shows every color which in turn show the twist of the yarn. And with intentional movement I have created something beautiful. Then, when I am done, I share the joy it has already brought me by selling or trading it to someone for something that will bring me joy and fulfillment in return.
Spinning also has an explicit place among Pagan myths as a metaphor for the course of life.
Among ancient Greeks, the three Moirae were the most powerful beings even among the gods; Klotho spun the thread onto her spindle and Lakhesis drafted the thread out into measures, one for each lifetime, then Atropos chose the manner in which each life ended, cutting the thread in just the right place. Neither man nor beast nor god could escape the length of thread that the Moirae spun for them. Though their task may seem a cold and morbid one, they were reassuring figures to the people of ancient Greece, proving that the gods themselves were not all-powerful.
The Three Fates by F.P. Thumann (1908 CE)
In Norse mythology the goddess Frigg, often interchangeably associated with Freyja, in addition to being the patron of love, fertility and beauty was the spinner of fate and patron of death. She is said to have had the gift of prophesy but did not tell what she knew in order to keep people from meddling. The constellation most commonly known today as Orion’s Belt was then referred to as Friggerock — Freyja’s Distaff or Freyja’s Spinning-wheel. She sat in the sky and watched over all things while spinning fate from the clouds on her jeweled spinning wheel.
Frigga Spinning the Clouds by J.C. Dollman (1909 CE)
Though I don’t tend to muse upon death as I spin my yarn, I do often think of the changes it undergoes. I wonder what the yarn will look like when it is complete and I wonder what my customers will create from it. Though I have finished my part in the process, the end of my personal project, the yarn moves on to change state and become a scarf or a hat or a pair of socks in the hands of another crafter. Though they may not know or acknowledge it, the yarn they buy from me is created with deep thought and mindful intention beyond just making yarn. As it is created it brings joy into my life and that joy is spun into the threads as surely as the fiber itself.
When you buy hand crafted goods try to remember that though you are paying more, you are getting a product whose creation brought happiness into someone’s life before it even came to you. That piece of art, that gem of craftsmanship, is something powerful and worth appreciating.