Ten years ago when I first dipped my big toe in the Paganism pool, it was by exploring divination and magick. I didn’t start off my path by learning about the spiritual side of magick and witchcraft, it was only later that I learned that there are related religions out there that actually approve of, and incorporate, magickal practices, which lead me to where I am today. But that doesn’t mean that I’ve left those beginnings of my path by the wayside as I explore my spirituality; like many other Pagans I like to incorporate magickal practice into everyday life.
Now I will admit that there is one thing I spend quite a bit of time doing- knitting. Whether it’s in the doctor’s office waiting for an appointment, in the car (don’t worry, I’m not the one driving!) or while watching re-runs of Stargate; knitting keeps my fidgety fingers happily occupied. Then there’s also the bonus that it is a fantastic creative outlet that can offer a challenge. And let’s not forget that scientific studies are showing that knitting can be used as a pain-management aid, to manage stress and depression, lower blood pressure and heart rate, and manage anxiety conditions like panic attacks; all which I can vouch for myself. But I’ve been looking at my knitting a bit differently lately.
The most common little chant nearly every magickal practitioner knows is “By knot of one the spell’s begun. By knot of two it cometh true. By knot of three so mote it be.” And so it goes on to the ninth knot. Knot magick works by holding in magickal energy and a chanted/visualised affirmation in each knot. And once the spell has materialised each knot, and the energy contained therein, is usually then released. Now imagine that, but on a much larger and grander scale- imagine thousands of individual ‘knots’ joined together from a single thread to create a magick infused item that could be worn or used as decoration in a space. That would be the basis of knitting magick. Yes, knitting magick.
And why not? Believe it or not, the oldest example of knitting (that being the one most similar to what we call knitting today) is an intricate white and indigo sock from Egypt, dated from the year 1000AD. What really makes this sock so special is that, like many other examples of the period, it has Kufic blessings to ward off evil knitted into them. Some of the earliest knitters (on record that is) utilised knitting not only to create something cosy for their toes, but something that would protect the wearer against ‘evil’. The earliest example of knitted socks turned out to be magickal socks!
An increasingly popular trend in the Christian faith is the creation and use of prayer shawls. A prayer shawl begins with a prayer or blessing for the recipient, and the shawl is then knitted with the intention of healing or blessing. Once completed the shawl is offered a final blessing and then sent on its way with a card detailing its intention; whether that be to someone who has just lost a loved one, a cancer patient or someone just in need of love and healing. That shawl would then be worn when the recipient needed its ‘effects’ or when they themselves are in prayer. And while I’m sure someone of the Christian faith would debate it, a prayer shawl is a form of magick.
From a Pagan perspective knitting as a form of magick can incorporate many other magickal systems and take it beyond just knitting with intent and prayers. There’s cord magick in the actual looping of the stitches, colour magick in the colour of yarn and number magick in the amount of stitches and rows that create the finished item. You could even taken it a step further, adding crystal beads as you knit, or taking into consideration the type of yarn when choosing yarn for a magickal project and what possible properties it may possess. And that’s not even thinking about magickal patterns that could be used in the item you’re knitting.
Knitting could even be seen as a way to connect with deities that govern the weaving arts as while knitting is not weaving in the traditional sense, you are still essentially creating a fabric. From Arianrhod of Welsh mythology to Athena of Greek mythology, nearly every pantheon has a deity that governs the area of, or is associated with weaving. These deities are often linked with fate, destiny, reincarnation, creativity, wisdom, secret knowledge, the life cycle, and connections. By practicing a weaving art, and perhaps creating an item as a tribute to a particular weaving deity, you can explore the archetypes of your chosen weaving deity.
Knitting is not the domain of elderly ladies any more. It’s not being used to conjure up baggy jerseys or baby booties either- it is been used today to knit everything from gorgeous cardigans to a detailed replica of the human digestive system. And the beauty of knitting is in its versatility; so maybe it’s time for Pagan knitters to take advantage of that and incorporate knitting into their magickal and spiritual practices.
Web of Love
A shawl is more than an item of clothing. It covers, it wraps, it enfolds; a shawl’s warm embrace is an embodiment of nurturing. It can be pulled around your face to create a solitary sacred space for meditation, introspection and healing. A comfort shawl is a gift from one person to another; knitted with love in the heart and healing in the hands, and given freely to someone in need of it.
Aim: To create knitted/crocheted items, such as shawls and scarves, that are woven not only from yarn but interwoven with healing, love and blessings for the benefit of the receiver.
How the shawls are made: Each shawl begins with a meditation, an invocation or a prayer. This could be to a healing Deity, weaving Deity or any form of Divinity the knitter feels is best to bestow their blessings upon the receiver of the shawl. The shawl is then begun, and is knitted with the intent of healing and comforting its recipient; each loop capturing the energy that is raised. Once the shawl is completed it can be blessed or consecrated in a ritual, or a simple final prayer said over it before it is given to its recipient.
Comfort shawls can be used:
-As a comfort during bereavement.
-To aid healing and recovery after surgery or during illness.
-For anyone who is overcoming great emotional trauma.
-To lend strength and support to cancer patients or the terminally ill.
-As a protective blessing for new babies and mothers.
-Or at any point in life where one needs comfort, love and blessings during difficult times.
-Or at any of the major milestones of life such as birth, marriage, croning etc
Join WEB OF LOVE on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/386832171363119/
How this group works: At each monthly online meeting, recipients for shawls will be nominated, designs for the shawls discussed and who is going to be making them. Once each of the volunteers has their project, they can then get on with knitting it in the way that they feel is best for both them and the recipient. Once the shawl is complete it is given to its intended recipient. A card with the invocation, blessing or prayer used during the creation of the shawl can be given, along with anything else the knitter feels the recipient should know about the shawl.
Who is this group for: This group may be Pagan run, but it is open to anyone who is comfortable with the idea of working with Pagan knitters. And while this group centres on knitting, those who crochet or sew are also more than welcome to get involved.
How you can get involved: On the first Sunday evening of every month there will be an online meeting. You will find all the details of the upcoming monthly meeting in the ‘Events’ tab on the group and you are more than welcome to attend.
Even if you are not a fibre-crafter, you can still contribute to the monthly meeting by suggesting someone who could benefit from a shawl or with any ideas you may have. This group’s crafters will also happily accept donations of yarn or needles, or even a kind word or two.
If you would like to learn how to knit, please be patient- simple how-to guides will be up on the blog soon.