Ancestral Weaving-The creation of a sacred medicine shawl for a Seaweed Selkie Woman…

by Nikiah Seeds

PictureImage Public Domain

It was not that long ago I brought my first small loom home and marvelled at how long it took me to be ready to learn the ancient craft of my ancestors.
Mostly it had to do with patience and timing, as right now I am at a time in my life where our children are mostly grown and I have time to be patient and slow with things of great importance.
The first shawl I made was one for myself and little did I know how important that first altar cloth would be, nor the stole and the ancestral cloak that came after.

It was not until I made a sacred shawl for a dear sister who was coming through one of the most sacred and transformative times in her life that the idea to make her a “Selkie Shawl” came to mind. Since I was unable to be close to her and sit for long afternoons over cups of tea as we usually would when one of us was going through something big and powerful, I decided to throw all my love and all my joy at her finding her way back to her own selkie skin into the creation of a shawl that held the colours of the ocean where she lived, of the stones and sand and of course the colours of the selkie skin.

If you are not familiar with the old Celtic tale of the Selkie woman I highly recommend reading it, for the story is easily found with a quick google search.

The shawl quickly started to pull in the energies and ancestors of my dear friend and Japanese wool found its way into the shall marking a nod to her ancestors and opened up a new understanding for me about the Japanese way of weaving called Saori which means weaving from the heart, and encompasses the beauty of natural flaws and unique patterns that come when we let go of “trying” and allow the magic to flow in. Saori is a zen word–Sao which means beautiful and Ori which means weaving-Beautiful weaving.


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Sacred Selkie Shawl
The process of making these shawls or whatever sacred piece that I am working on is truly nothing short of magic, Every-time.
I can never predict what might want to come through or how things will turn out when I first begin, but I know this, on both ends strange and wonderful synrocities start to happen the moment we agree to begin the work.

And then there was the seaweed selkie shawl…..

This sacred medicine shawl has everything to do with this womans destiny calling and sacred path as a herbalist, woman and mother. Some of you may have heard of her, especially if you are from Vancouver Canada and buy herbal products from a beautiful organic herbal company called Harmonic arts.
Angela Willard has been interested in seaweed and  its amazing medicinal properties for woman’s reproductive systems for well over a decade now, so it was no surprise when I picked up a soft skien of yard and read that it was made from seaweed I thought immediately of her!

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Seaweed and yarn sit side by side, but who can tell which is which?
The yarn is called Sea Silk and it is made here in Canada on the east coast by a lovely company called Hand Maiden. ​
Seasilk is a combination of silk and a product called Seacell which is a brown algae known as Knotted Wrack and commonly found in the Fjords of Iceland.
This yarn is some of the softest stuff I have ever laid my hands on and was divine for weaving! This however was just the start of the synchronicities and magic that unfolded as this piece began to come into form…
​Angela being the kindred spirit that she is, was all in from the start and together we started weaving magic…
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Shades of green, red and blue of the ocean are all contained within this weaving…
So while Angela was busily packing up a box of seaweed that she hand harvested for me to weave into her piece and she was also finding new depths of inspiration for her own work around bringing the beauty and medicine of seaweed out and into the world as she has started to do so many moons ago…..
As I eagerly awaited the box of seaweed, I knew that I was going to need to spin some of my own fibre to be able to create new colours and textures to match those of the seaweed world.
So I researched and ordered myself a spinning wheel, and found out that there are so  many different kinds of seaweed it was mind blowing. All the while images of the deep ocean and the story of the selkie woman for whom I had already played with a few months prior, started to weave me….

I mentioned this to Angela and her reply was kind of mind blowing ..
She spoke about the herbal world and how right now mushrooms are all the fad for adaptogens, and how she had always been drawn to the softness of seaweed, to the female element of it, to the briny smell of the ocean, the slippery aspect of seaweed, and all of the medicinal properties seaweed offers us as women for our health and healing, but is often overlooked by the herbal medicine world in favour of some of the more sexier things such as mushrooms.

In that moment I felt more then ever that her work needed to get out and into the world and she in turn was inspired to continue writing her on-line offering course, which as soon as she is done will absolutely be linked here for anyone interested in all of the amazing herbal ways of the seaweed world! Check her instagram though @seaweed_gardens

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Angela’s seaweed shawl
In the meantime, my spinning wheel was delivered to my house and I spent days smoothing it with beeswax and adding my ancestral symbols to the wheel, so that while I was spinning, magic and ancestral blessings were also going into the fibre.

My loom also has sacred symbols carved onto it and in this way, I feel the ancient connection to my ancestors and those for whom I am spinning and weaving for….

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My spinning wheel with ancestral symbols marked onto the wheel.
After that, the shawl I think must have woven itself, for I was in a ma flurry of soaking seaweed and my kitchen table was a mess of yarn and seaweed and the room was full of the scents of the ocean…
The shawl contains all the colours of the seaweed spectrum, and there are many!!
Red and pink and a thousand gem shades of green, from dark black to purple and even dark shades of blue, they all were there and all were woven into the shawl…
I will not say much more, as some things require being kept close to the heart and I have already shared so much of the process, but if you have come over here to read this blog wondering what the process of having one of these sacred pieces woven for you, this hopefully will give you some idea.

Each one is different and holds the full essence of who you are and who your ancestors were as well, even if you have no idea about them.
I have woven horse hair and clooties, my own hair and others hair, I have woven seaweed of course, but also torn up pieces of precious quilts and fabrics that carry great meaning. Pretty much anything can be woven or sewn onto one of the sacred pieces and I believe that the sky is the limit!

I have yarn made of nettles and birch tree fibres, there is rose yarn and dandelion yarn, and yarn from Iceland and Scotland, from India and even Japan, because humans the whole world over have always spun, and woven, it is in our DNA and woven into the fabric of our ancestral lineage.

Once the shawl has been created a ceremony is written up, something different for each shawl, and made unique by the person it was made for, and so the magic continues on weaving and growing…

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Angela in ceremony with her shawl.

1 Comment

  1. Alisha on February 8, 2021 at 12:40 pm

    Hello! Beautiful story- can’t wait to save up and work with you!

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IMBOLC
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has been a quiet day here today as I learn how to spin on my new country spinner for making chunky art yarns, and I am so excited to master this new form as it is my goal to weave more with my own hand spun and hand dyed yarns. (If you are a spinner and have any suggestions I am all ears!)
It arrived this week and I assembled it on Imbolc eve which somehow felt auspicious as we inch ever closer to the end of winter.
Of course today we woke to a light dusting of snow which also somehow felt fitting as the mantle of winter slowly lets go of its hold..
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Imbolc-meaning in the belly or the belly of the mother in reference to pregnant and lactating ewes this time of year in Northern Europe.
However here in the west in many places we are still very much in the grip@of winter.
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Over the years I have marked Imbolc in many different ways from a weekend of ceremony and creation to small family gstherings@and everything in between. This year is very quiet and somehow perfect for my slow returning creative fire that although at times has burned bright within me has been waning a bit as I mentioned in my previous post about how hustle culture has slowly been draining me over the years.
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Having said that I am ever so slowly and quietly re-kindling my creative fire and allowing the slow turn of the seasons to guide me as I go.
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What has your winter been like this year?
I would love to know of you have any great Imbolc traditions that you do?
I am a big fan of shortbread so there will be a nice pan of that happening shortly with offerings made to Brigid, and the beautiful spirits of the land I live on.
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Blessings of the season
Nikiah
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#imbolc #imbolcblessings #shortbread #spinning #countryspinner2

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Greetings everyone,
I have been away from this space for awhile on a bit of a social media detox as well as sitting with what was coming up for me with regards to my creative life, social media…
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I have been reflecting on my journey with being an entrepreneur, and how deeply embedded my creative life has been within it, however as I began to look deeper and deeper at what was happening within my creative world, or rather, what was not happening, I began to see how my use of social media was tied to it, and how the hustle culture of posting constantly in order to gain exposure was killing my creative voice.
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Its a complex mix of being both a spiritual person, a creative and a business woman, which is a strange mix if you think about it!
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As I sat with what was coming forward I realized that writing might be helpful as I processed what was coming up and so I decided to write a blog post, which ended up requiring two parts to fully track it all.{Link in Bio}
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Anyways if you are interested in some of these musings pop over to my blog as I will be writing more over there in the coming months as I give myself more distance from social media and allow my creative voice more room to play and flow…

I will also be sharing these posts with folks who subscribe to my newsletter
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#hustleculture #hustlecultureistoxic #creativity #spirituality
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Softness, Slowness, Stillness,
I am beginning 2023 on this note, and I am also...
Ditching the Gregorian calendar for the lunar one and easing into what 2023 will bring me..
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In part this means that I am taking it slow, sleeping and swimming and continuing to spend some time away from social media, for another week at least. I am also wanting to start this year out slowly because I am amping up for some big changes in 2023 which will take a lot of work and movement, as well as some exciting travel and other plans that are filling up the year fast!
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One of my favourite things to do each year has been to work with a word. Last year my word was mastery, which I believe was also my word for the year before, and which will probably be with me my whole life.
However this year there is no burning sense of a word that is pushing through like in past years, and I am guessing that is because I am still in transition in many ways.
Perhaps transition is my word!
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2023 will bring some big exciting moves, such as selling our home in Vancouver and some other exciting big things that I will share as they come into form.
Knowing this now though has me feeling a mix of excitement and also a bit of unsteadiness as I go into a new year knowing now that more change is coming, even if it is good, exciting stuff!
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Do you choose a word for your year? If not, is there something that you like to do that supports your soul as you move into another calendar year going forward?
I would love to hear.
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Today I am dreaming up a new line of weaving work that I am excited to begin and taking it slow...
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Blessings for 2023 everyone!
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Image taken by @_infinitebody_
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#newyear #wordoftheyear #stillness #quiet #transition
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Today I make offerings to my ancestors thanking them for this life I have.
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I recently found out on the cusp of my trip to Ireland that my great grandmother was originally booked on the Titanic!
Sadly/happily her mom got really sick and she missed her boat, deciding to take the next one instead in order to be at her moms side.
It was because of this that I am here, and because of this she came to Canada.
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It is for this reason and a million other things that went into my existence, that I am so grateful for all of my ancestors for.
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I am also thankful today because both of our kids are officially here, making it in time between the winter storms taking over Vancouver and Toronto!
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Yuletide blessings
Nikiah
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I have been in love with this beautiful book by my friend @carmenspagnola.
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It’s been wonderful to use it for inspiration and recipes during this Yuletide time.
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Today I am planning to make some cookies to share with my ancestors and family as we slide into this beautiful liminal space.
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What you you all doing? Send me some inspiration! 🌀
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Lots of love
Nikiah
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The longest night of the year, brings the return of the sun, also marking the beginning of the tile referred to as Yule.
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From Dec21st -Jan1st we mark the 12 days of yuletide which I love.
For me it’s all about setting intentions, making offerings and visioning for the year ahead.
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Each day for 12 days I might do any one of those things, as I like to keep things simple and in the realm of practical magic.
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Today, the winter solstice I begin with intention setting and spending time with family as is the tradition in our bodies.
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We share a big meal together, then light a fire and write either an intention for the year ahead or something we are ready to let go of and give it to the fire along with offerings and a lovely Yule log.
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Lastly we exchange small handmade gifts and I always get everyone a new set of comfy pj’s ❄️
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Over the years as our kids have grown I to adults they too have taken over the tradition and made it their own, so while our daughter is not here this year as she is knee deep in exams I know she and her roomies will mark the day in their own way.
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I would love to know what some of your traditions are or perhaps if you are new to creating your own tradition here what are your plans?
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#yuletide #wintersolstice #traditions #ritual #babayaga #winter
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Winter Solstice shawl.
This is my last shawl of 2022 and I am thrilled with how it came out, so much so I have been deeply tempted to keep it!
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This one invokes images of quiet snowfall, winter nights cozied in and the softness that snow can bring to the landscape.
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I was also inspired by winter foxes that change their colour for winter, and snowy owls in quiet flight over the landscape...
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This piece is now listed and available in my online store--link in my bip if you are interested.
Much love
Nikiah
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#solstice #wintersolstice #sacredshawl #weaving #snowyowl #foxmedicine
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Loom as altar.
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Since the fall I have been going daily to my loom as a form of spiritual practise.
However it was not until recently that I have been able to find the words for it.
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In many ways weaving has become a form of spiritual practise for me, and although I am still deepening into my own understanding of what it is to me, for now, this is what it has become in it purest most simple form.
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Today a new storytellers shawl came off the loom and with another already in my mind to start taking form..
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This piece holds a similar energy to one I made a few months ago, holding the essence of dragonflies and hummingbirds…
But mostly it was made for the king winter months as we cozy up by fires and in warm homes and read books or if we are lucky we tell or listen to great stories!
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I will list this piece in my online store sometime tomorrrow..
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In the meantime a new one shall take its place in full winter whites..
I am feeling the call of the white fox, and the white winter owl..
These two hold a kind of magic as they shape-shift from one colour into winter white so they are camouflaged against the snow…
More on that to come as the piece takes form.
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Also I would love@to know-do you have a hobby or creative outlet that borders on spiritual?
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Lots of love
Nikiah
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#storytellers #hummingbirdmagic #dragonfly #sacredshawl #weaving
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GIVEAWAY EXTENDED TILL MONDAY!
WINNER IS @copperwildpottery
This is just a little reminder of our awesome giveaway that is happening right now and ends on Monday Dec 12th!
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@carmenspagnola and I have paired up to give away a copy of her fabulous new book @thespiritedkitchen and I am giving away another of my 10” Red Drums.
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Here is how you enter:

1. LIKE this post and leave a comment tagging a friend-or two for extra entries!
2. FOLLOW @redmoonmysteryschool + @carmenspagnola
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And for even more entries:
SHARE the Podcast episode 'Embracing Sovereignty at Midlife with Carmen Spagnola and I /Nikiah that was released on June 10th 2022. {Link in bio}
Be sure to tag us so we can see! (You can do this by taking a screenshot of the episode in your podcast player or sharing directly from Spotify to your stories)

TERMS & CONDITIONS:
- Only one winner will be selected
- Giveaway will run until 11:59 EST December 12th 2022
- Winner will be randomly selected and announced on our stories by Dec 12th 2022
- Giveaway limited to US and Canada
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#giveaway #ancedtralhealing #kitchenwitchery #reddrum
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I had a little “reel” fun with this one, especially using this song :]
Anyways this is a little update on my Earth Ochre shoulder stole/Altar cloths as I have made two more which are now listed on my site.
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These pieces are inspired by my time in Ireland and the stunning red ochre I saw there while on the coast of Northern Ireland in an area called the Giants Causeway.
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These two pieces were created to be worn either as a shoulder stole for ceremony or beauty, you get to decide, and are easily transferable to your altar, for ceremony or beauty-haha you decide!
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Each comes with a small vial of hand ground red earth ochre in a vial, which can be used for making paint, or using in ceremony. Your package will come with a recipe for making earth ochre paint.
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Hope you love these pieces as much as I do!
Nikiah
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#ochre #redearth #ceremony #altar #priestesspath #weaving #ancestors
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Weaving another red ochre earth alter cloth/shoulder stole on my Saori loom.
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These looms are from Japan and their name Saori, in Zen means beautiful imperfection. “Sai” means everything has its own unique dignity and “ori” means weaving.
These looms were designed to support more humans weaving in a counter to all of the machine made cloth. They were designed so that they were accessible to every body, meaning that folks with disabilities can use them with as much success as able bodied folks which I love.
The whole point is Saori weaving is to be the antithesis of machine made cloth, and to embrace the perfect imperfection of human made beauty.
This to me is my kind of loom, and philosophy.
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My teacher Yukako has been slowly teaching me the ways of this loom for the past couple of years and I am loving how different it is from my rigid heddle loom.
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SAORI's 4 Principles

1. Consider the differences between people and machines.

2. Be bold and adventurous

3. Look out through eyes that shine

4. Inspire one another, and everyone in the group
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I have a few beautiful wall hangings listed in my online store in celebration of earth ochres if you fancy a peek and this one will be listed next week at some point as well.
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Have a beautiful weeekend everyone!
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Nikiah
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#redochre #earthochre #saori #weaving #ancestralwisdom
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Ochre has fascinated me for years now, from the vast amount of colours and shades that occur naturally depending on the mineral make up of the soil to how we as humans have used it over the centuries, from body point, to fine art, from sunblock for the skin, to cave wall paintings...
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However it was not until I travelled to Africa and saw the deep red earth there that I actually understood and began using it in its many applications.
It was from that trip where while staying with family I scooped up a large handful of red soil from outside my cousin-in-loves house that had been exposed due to construction and really had a deep look at it, and in turn she helped me to make offerings and then pack it away in a small zip lock bag so I could bring some small piece of this sacred earth home.
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From that soil there were many ceremonies and of course paint was made and used in turn was given away to my students as we worked through a year of ancestral healing for which red ochre was used in a powerful ceremony of forgiveness...
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So you can imagine my delight when I was recently away in Ireland on an ancestral journey when I came across the stunning swath of open red and black earth along the coast of Northern Ireland in an area called the Giants Causeway.
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Once back home I found myself in a liminal time of flow and creativity in particular with my weavings...
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Interestingly enough I had already started a weaving before I left using black and red yarns that reminded me of earth ochre, so upon returning home this piece {which is now listed as an altar cloth in my online store} was what started it all...
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For this piece though, I wanted to weave layers that represented the layers of earth, and how when the earth opens up we are able to see all of the many things that go into making soil such as plants, insects, sea creatures, mammals, and abiotic materials factors, like minerals, water, and air and how each one will create a different colour of soil.
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I now have a small and growing number of altar cloths, and wall hangings available in my store all affordably priced so folks can enjoy them, or perhaps gift them as we slowly make our way into the giving season.
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We are home again from our epic time away in Ireland and in all my years of travel I have never once been sad to come home until now!
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Ireland, the home of my ancestors has completely captured my heart and I felt at home the moment I arrived.
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Now that I am back and integrating all that happened while I was away I am feeling a little blue, it was healing to sit with some of the images from our time and put together a little reel.
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Some of the places you will see here {In order} are:
Sliabh na Caillighe otherwise known as the Hill of the Witch or Loughcrew cairns, where we were totally alone and able to connect in a way that would have otherwise been impossible.
Bru na Boinne/ Newgrange which even at this time of year had tons of people visiting the site and again we found ourselves with a smaller group which was wonderful. The Hill of Tara which in one of the photos has the stone of Destiny in, and Uisneach, otherwise known as the centre of ireland.
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We then went up to Northern Ireland to the Giant’s causeway on the wild coastal shores and the Dark Hedges which are amazing shots of the trees.
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Northern Ireland is where some of my more recent ancestors are from and it’s been powerful to spend time here on the land and to take it all in.
The ruins are from an old Castle called Dunluce.
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It was a joy to plan this trip, rent a car and then drive from Dublin to Northern Ireland stopping along the way to see things as we were called, I am blessed to have been able to do that.
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I was able to lay offerings for my ancestors and in a small way come back home to where some of them are from. I also learned a lot about my family, such as learning that my great grandmother had a 3rd class ticket for the Titanic leaving from Belfast, but because her mother fell ill she stayed close to home and as a result, I am here today and she came to Canada!
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My heart is now a little bit here and a little bit in Ireland and I am already planning my next trip back!
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Have you ever been altered by a place you travelled to?
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#ireland #travel #sacredsites #ancestors #ancestralhealing
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The Willow Tree (Salix) is one of the sacred trees in The. Magic and Folklore of Trees course and yesterday I found this ancient willow tree on the land we are staying on here in Ireland, which I just had to share!
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Willow trees are associated with water and emotion, the moon and inspiration, which I must say seeing and being near this ancient Willow was beyond inspiring for me.
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In the course I share some of the folklore of this magic tree, as well as practical applications such as did you know that Willow bark has been used for millennia for fevers, inflammation and pain? Chewing the bark of the white Willow tree which contains Salicin which is a chemical similar to aspirin and in the 1800’s the bark of the Willow tree was used by scientists to help them develop aspirin.
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Willow is also associated with dreaming and it is said that if you have lost touch with your dreams making a small Willow wand and placing it under your pillow will help, or you can make a dream pillow with things like Mullen and small pieces of Willow bark to use.
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While I have been away here in Ireland the trees have captured my heart and soul especially the willow, and hawthorn which are planted as hedges here and as such are everywhere and full of brihh go t red berries..
I will write a post on hawthorn next though as I have so much to say about what some say is the most sacred tree in Ireland.
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If you are curious about the Magic and Folklore of trees course pop over to my site and download a free sample chapter. ♥️🌳🌲🌳
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What is your favourite tree? Mine changes but for many years now it has been the Hawthorn.
#sacredtrees #willow #folklore #witches #ogham
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