Webs of Woven Words, Threads, Stitches and Enchantments

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Sunday Musings

I am Anne Elliot!

Take the Quiz here!

Very nice - I adore Anne's character and Persuasion is a favorite. I love a little quiz like this. Thanks to my friend Judy for sending me the link.

Just about finished with Mansfield Park & Mummies which I am enjoying. I look forward to Jane Bites Back and can't wait to get it started. I also have an order in for some books about Jane and her time, so that should keep me busy along with...

Yes, The Nativity! I finished the pine tree that gave me a bit of a fit by putting the fabric in a frame. The frame helped pull the threads apart making it easier. The fabric is 32 count, which I never have a problem with, however this linen has thick, round threads - maybe that is the issue. Also stitching a little freebie, Love, from The Stitcherhood (www.stitcherhood.com) on that same piece of Exemplar 40 count linen that I did Thankful & Time on. I probably have enough linen left to do one more little piece. Now if I could just get them framed or finished in some way.

I did a lovely, solitary full moon ritual last night which has left me feeling peaceful. Mike was with his bonsai group so I had plenty of quiet time. A magical night!

So... the dishes need doing and I promised Mike a batch of shortbread so I had best get to it if I want to get any stitching done today.

Blessings nine!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Sad news

Sad news indeed. My very good friends, Sandy & Frank, lost their darling pup, Sage, yesterday afternoon. I and many friends are heartbroken and, of course, Sandy & Frank are beyond devastated. Another friend wrote the following to them and I am sharing it here because it is SO beautiful and true:

I am so sorry for those who feel the loss of a precious soul. Sage plays in the fields of The Summerland... young and whole. With playful companions and delicious food to satisfy a healthy appetite. Sleeping in a sheltering and mild den, on a soft bed, Sage's sweet and happy dreams are of loved ones who will come soon enough to play.
I wish you peace and comfort for your hurt, and for the many others who are touched by it, and by you.

I wish them peace and comfort as well. I think we all know what it is like to lose a beloved pet. Dogs love unconditionally and truly are the best of friends.

Good journey sweet Sage. While we will miss you, I know you will be around now and then checking on Sandy & Frank. As for my friends, time will heal, I promise.

Blessings nine!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Thursday, January 28, 2010

More Jane Austen

Well, I'm at it again! Reading novels, that is, with a Jane Austen theme. This time, Mansfield Park and Mummies. This one has mummies, as the title informs, as well as werewolves, vampires and curses! One would think Jane might be rolling in her grave... or not!!! No, in the next book on my fiction pile is Jane Bites Back - Jane is actually undead and living (I guess one would say living) in modern upstate New York - yes, Jane is a vampire! And would you believe a third JA book awaits me? Emma and the Werewolves.
I am, gentle reader, beside myself!

Blessings none!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Magic is There

"Turn down the noise. Reduce the speed.
Be like the somnolent bears,
or those other animals that slow down
and almost die in the cold season.
Let it be the way it is. The magic is there in its power."

- Henry Mitchell -

I'm thinking of seeds, seeds within the womb of the Goddess, within the dark, nourishing Land, seeds waiting. And candles brightly burning, calling the Spring, calling Persephone from Her home to return to Her mother... but not just yet, still a little more time beneath, within, deep. This shall be my theme for Candlemas/Imbolc, but since my goddesses are of the Greco-Roman pantheon, I want to find a different name for this time of celebration. So, thinking, thinking ... the magic there, waiting.

Blessings nine!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Blog for Choice

Today marks the 37th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade. While we've come a long way, there are still people who think women do not have the right to decide about their own reproductive health. There are still politicians and men who want to decide for us. Whatever one's opinion about abortion and birth control, each of us should be able to make our own decision, in peace, without harassment and violence .

Oh, gather ye now one and all
No what matter what all ye may do
Where the stars fill your soul
When the moon cradles all
So to yourself be true.
( from the movie Tinkerbell)
Blessings nine

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

La Befana

Today marks the Italian Feast of La Befana which brings the winter holidays to a close. There are a number of different versions of the Befana story, the most popular being the story of a rather unattractive (the word ugly is used repeatedly) old woman busily cleaning her house when she is interrupted by a knock at her door. The three wise men, on their way to find the baby Jesus, stop to ask for directions - why they stop at Befana's door for these directions is not mentioned. She could not help them but was invited to go along anyway. She declines the invitation, the most popular reason being she had to finish her housework. The wise men then go off on their way. La Befana thinks while she works and comes to regret her decision not to join them. She gathers up her own gifts, lots of sweets, for the baby Jesus and sets off thinking to catch up with the wise men. She never finds them nor does she find the infant Jesus and so wanders the world giving sweets to good little children.

Befana is generally portrayed as elderly, dressed in rags, because her wanderings have taken their toll on her clothing, flying on a broomstick and very sooty from entering homes through the chimney. Does this sound familiar???

Another theory suggests that this little old woman may be a remnant of the Sabine/Roman goddess, Strina/Strenia.

This Befana appears to be heir at law of a certain heathen goddess called Strenia, who presided over the new-year's gifts, 'Strenae,' from which, indeed, she derived her name.[4] Her presents were of the same description as those of the Befana—figs, dates, and honey.[5] Moreover her solemnities were vigorously opposed by the early Christians on account of their noisy, riotous, and licentious character. (Vestiges of Ancient Manners and Customs, Discoverable in Modern Italy and Sicily by Rev. John J. Blunt (John Murray, 1823))

So who is Befana really? Talitha Dragonfly, in an article written for Witchvox, has the following to say:

Some people say that La Befana’s name comes from a mispronunciation of the Italian word epifania (epiphany) , or the Greek epi-fanea, because her sacred day is held on the eve of the Christian Epiphany. The word epifania, curiously, originally referred to a “manifestation of moon light”.
Others say that her name is a derivative of Bastrina, gifts sacred to the Goddess Strina. Strenae, evergreen branches, were exchanged as token gifts around the time of the Winter Solstice to honor the feast day of this Goddess. Children were given gifts of figs, dates, and honey.
La Befana is seen as a “good witch”. She visits all of the children on the eve of January 6th, arriving on her broomstick. She is a smiling Crone who wears a black shawl covered in soot because she enters the children’s homes through the chimney. She carries a bag over her shoulder filled with candy, dried fruit, small gifts, and coal. She will fill children’s socks with the treats if they have been good, or with lumps of coal if they have been bad. Because she is a wise and tidy housekeeper, she will sweep the floor with her broom before she leaves. The children’s parents will leave La Befana an offering of thanks. This may be a glass of local wine, or a plate of food.
La Befana is portrayed as an old woman to highlight the archetypal links between Mother Earth lending us Her bountiful fruits and then withering away into slumber as winter approaches. Even the lumps of coal she brings to the naughty children and the ashes covering her shawl are symbolic of this. She returns in the Spring as the youthful maiden, ready to begin the Wheel of the Year once again.

I also found this information, which seems to reinforce this theory:
The Roman strenae offered to the Emperor or exchanged between private citizens at the January Kalends have already been noted. According to tradition they were originally merely branches plucked from the grove of the goddess Strenia, and the purpose of these may well have been akin to that of the greenery used for decorations, viz., to secure contact with a vegetation-spirit. In the time of the Empire, however, the strenae were of a more attractive character, "men gave honeyed things, that the year of the recipient might be full of sweetness, lamps that it might be full of light, copper and silver and gold that wealth might flow in amain [exceedingly]." Such presents were obviously a kind of charm for the New Year, based on the principle that as the beginning was, so would the rest of the year be.
With the adoption of the Roman New Year's Day its present-giving customs appear to have spread far and wide. In France, where the Latin spirit is still strong, January 1 is even now the great day for presents, and they are actually called etrennes, a name obviously derived from strenae. In Paris boxes of sweets are then given by bachelors to friends who have entertained them at their houses during the year - a survival perhaps of the "honeyed things" given in Roman times. (Excerpted from Christmas in Ritual and Tradition, Christian and Pagan, by Clement A. Miles, London: T. Fisher Unwin, 2nd Ed. 1913)

Yes indeed, it sounds like it might be the origins of the legend. However, we cannot know for sure and I don't think it matters. For me, Old Befana is the winter crone, the Great Grandmother, the Old Wise One. She is the one who sits beside the fire in that special place I journey to, offering wisdom, tea and threads for me to stitch magic and healing with. She is there beside me whenever I have need of advice.

In Befana, I find the Crone of Crones, perhaps Dame Fate Herself, The Great Mother of us all.

Blessings Nine!