Summer has arrived. The longest day of the year has come and gone, beckoning in warmth and possibility. We at Moon Woman Rising have been immersed in the ritual and celebration of solstice, crafting our own connections to our world and one another. So, we have not been so much at the computer, but celebrating the bright sky, the abundant earth.
Guest blogger, fiber artist, and homesteader Jessica Green of A Little Weather shares her beautiful experience pulling fibers across the dawning of solstice--more or less on time. She shares her ritual, and encourages us to experience the world fully as it becomes around us, to weave ourselves into the moment of being.
Weaving the sunrise
A shifting of balance. A moment of equanimity before we begin marching down the other side of the great mountain of day into darkness.
How to gracefully treadle between dualities?
How to feed what feeds us and build a world based in reciprocity?
These quarterly seasonal shifts are beautiful places to practice, to try and fail, to try to try, to simply remember that we, too, are a part of the seasonal shifts of this planet and can find ways to integrate ourselves back within the living ecosystem around us- and live with a rooted sense of place.
I just finished teaching a weaving class at Penland School of Crafts in the hills of Southern Appalachia.
I experience weaving as both the mundane reality of simple repetitive tasks, as the creation of the cloth we take for granted as it embraces our everyday bodies, as the technicalities of threads interlacing to create a substrate- but also as the mythic reality of weaving the world into being, weaving the sun back into the sky and weaving the firefly stars into the night, as a gift and an offering that we little liabilities can humbly place our heartfelt efforts into, as an embodied lineage that contains all of human history, as a tangible chronicle of time spent.
Our class spanned the solstice and I am always playing with how to weave "ritual that doesn't suck" (i.e. appropriative or unimaginative) into my work and my role as a facilitator- and solstice at Penland seemed like a ripe opportunity. In the way of things, I thought the 21st fell on a Thursday this year- and realized on the morning of Wednesday June 21st, that I was 24 hours mistaken…it was an excellent mistake and my class and I were able to spend the night of the solstice casually drinking pink champagne and playing exquisite corpse- laughing really hard- time spent together as food for something holy. And the next morning, Thursday June 22nd, we met, as planned (only one day "late") just before sunrise on a bald hilltop to greet and thank and feed the Sun anyways. I love it when I can publicly fail, or flail, and still keep moving. I really appreciated the opportunity to realize that the world around us welcomes our heartfelt gratitude and quiet awareness no matter what the day is. The sunrise is beautiful every morning of the year, and our hearts are fed by quietly witnessing it.
So if you missed the sunrise and sunset on this summer solstice, plan to rise in the dark tomorrow morning or any morning- step outside without your shoes, feel the chill that descends just before dawn, hear the first birds offer their song to the sun as they do every single day, listen to the world wake up around you, notice the wild painting of dawn on the sky, slowly shift your weight to one foot and lift the other to begin turning yourself around in a very slow circle- noticing everything you notice, as the light begins to pour in through your eyes and your skin- let it drip into your chest until it's over flowing, let that light flood through your body and metabolize into gratitude, radiate that gratitude back out towards all of creation, towards every aspect of the world that feeds you.
And in turn, some day soon, stop what you're doing before the world begins to darken, find a hill or a quiet place, bring your pals if you like- and commit to witnessing every single little shift and change that comes over right where you are as the sun makes his final descent into the jaws of night. Don't get up to leave, don't aimlessly chat, don't wonder about the past or the future until you are fully cloaked in night, until the fireflies have risen from their daytime nests in the grass, until peeper and bullfrogs are in full symphony. Don't get up to leave until you find the words that your heart is speaking in gratitude, let yourself bathe in the awe of existence- and thank every single being and all their habits that keep this world in all it's cycles.
It's a nuanced thing- feeding what feeds us. On the one hand, the sun certainly doesn't need me to offer it anything or give it permission to continue to rise each day- but on the other, our world is sunk if we don't take responsibility for all of us being a part of a living ecosystem which needs our imaginative attention in order to continue day to day. On a wholly other hand, it feeds me immensely to remember to slow down, to offer the welling up of my oceanic heart, the quiet depth of my acutely toned eyes and ears and skin- to try and fail and be rendered useless as I try and try again to be of service, real service to the more than human world- instead of just a destructive tornado, as I've been taught and deftly trained to be.
Midnight prayer, one week prior to the Summer Solstice 2017
The students each took a candle to the dark side of the hill walking towards croaking ponds and emergent flickering of insect phosphorescence...
My candle burnt out immediately, and I was graced with the far away experiences of everything else:
When I remembered and turned around,
I mistook your warm glow
for fireflies who had lost their way
they were galaxies of burning stars-
who fell to earth
and grew roots
and those roots became bones
and bones fleshed and found heart -
I saw that it was you, becoming human.
Jessica Green is a weaver, homesteader, dweeby wiggler and myth protector out in Little Sandy Mush, North Carolina. She is most interested in being wholly herself, full of contradiction and whatever inconsistency the moment calls for. She wants to destroy what needs to be destroyed and build beauty beyond her broken imagination. Jess weaves to slow the world down.