Tuesday 4 January 2011

12 days of Mithra-mas day 10

distaff image found here:
January 4th: Distaff Day
“ Partly Work, partly play
Ye must on St. Distaff’s Day……
…..If the maids a spinning go,
burn the flax and fire the tow…..”
A quote from Robert Herrick

Among the pre-industrial era, this day is known as the ‘distaff, or rock day” as distaff pertains to weaving. This was the time women went back to doing all the regular work of maintaining the home during the winter.
Especially during the 14th century when all spinning was done with distaff and spindle, in English to say “distaff side” was to denote heritage as it counted from the woman’s side of the family.  In Scandinavia the stars in Orion’s belt was called “ Friggjar rockr, "Frigg’s distaff".

Weaver, Weaver weave her thread,
Whole and strong into your web
Healer, Healer, heal her pain,
In love may she return again"

"Weaver, Weaver"---Starhawk (found here)

The distaff is a very powerful woman’s symbol, along with any of the tools of weaving, including: the loom,the spindle, and the scissors . There are many Goddesses from all the pantheons with whom the power of life and death rests who were weavers. Even many who were Goddesses of War. 
There is within the Greek legends the story of Arachne and Athena who is both the Goddess of War & Weaving. And the Goddess' revenge of changing the woman who dared to attempt to best her into the 'creepy' spiders we know today. You can hear the reclaiming song here:

Of course within the Greek legends there are also the Fates who wove the web of a person's life and would choose to cut it at the appropriate time. 

Within the Egyptian legends the oldest of the mother Goddesses is Nt (Neith) who was a Goddess of weaving and war, and protectress of the Lower Kingdom, when the two kingdoms were united she became known as the Goddess the others went to seek wisdom from. to show how important she is the root word for 'being' and weaving' is the same 'nnt' according to E.A.Wallis "the Gods of the Egyptians"

The Valkyries are of course another example of the life and death aspect of the weavers, as they had heads for weights, arrows for shuttles and human entrails as their thread (gruesome stuff). The other Germanic goddess Frau Holle (the Goddess from Mother's Night) was also associated with weaving.

There are more tales of Goddess who are associated with weaving here. You can even search within each pantheon to find them.

How to Honor the Weavers:
  • You can sing the song with the lyrics found on the website.  
  • You can if you know how to spin, why not spin a bit of thread while meditating on how you are connecting to the Goddesses( i wouldn't challenge any though we've seen how that turned out with Athena..Lol, come on I had to do one)
  • If you can craft with yarn or thread, create a piece that you can dedicate to the goddess of your choice. There are patterns found here.
  • Simply meditate on how your life's paths have created your own tapestry, what must it look like, are there many colors? many different types of threads? are there snags? is there a way to improve the tapestry? adding more threads that include others? How ever you meditate on it OWN it, this is your tapestry and it's completely unique.
During the 14th century on this day, to prevent the event of spinning all the thread that was necessary for the whole families (if not the villages) clothing, from becoming a boring job; it became somewhat of a game. With men & young boys attempting to set the freshly spun thread on fire and the women would retaliate by throwing buckets of water, not just on the fire torches but on the men as well.

Bring in pails of water, then
let the maids bewash the men
give St. Distaff all the night
ten bis christmas sport goodnight
and next morrow everyone
to his own vocation”
----Robert Herrick

How to Celebrate:
Today was also a day to divine the future: in the older days, and still in some parts of Finland, they do lead pouring. 
  • Which was the meting down of lead 9the pieces used for smoldering things, can be used) it was then melted, 
  • and then poured into a bucket of water, after the steam cleared, the shape of the lead would be read to determine the outcome for the following months.
  •  if the shape couldn't be read, once it cooled it would be held up in front of a candle and the shapes created by the shadows would be read.

Don’t have random bits of smoldering lead laying about? Then candle wax will do the same, you can always remelt into a candle at the end.(great way to recycle those odd bits of candles you have left over).

However you enjoy today, have a Blessed Distaff day
Be Blessed

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