Strangers

He looked at me. Pale eyes searching, yearning. His mouth was half open in lustfulness.

He mouthed something dirty, something sexual and appealing. I wanted to melt into him, to be swallowed whole by all of him. I wanted to be taken, rough and hard. I wanted to feel his breath on my neck, his body tense and tight as he climaxed.

But the moment passed. The train moved on, his carriage going north, mine heading south. Him into the city, me back home to my house. My cold, still, lonely house.


“What a laugh” Dave said, between his fits of giggles and rocking forward. “What a pisser!”

He was telling the story of the train ride in. By his account, if I let him go on, I might have actually fucked her through the windows.

“All I did was mime some fuck words” I said to the others. I turned to Dave “By the sound of it you got a boner over the whole thing, you perv!”

“Oh you’d like a big one from me eh?” Dave gestured the approximate length of his ‘big one’.

“Get off Dave, I’ve see ya after footy there’s nothing big there”

More jeers and gestures from the gang.

I tuned out and thought again about the girl on the train. She was cute in a bookish, geek girl way. Her glasses and hair were the kind you imagined a librarian would have. The cardigan a soft plain brown.

I really thought we had connected. If only I wasn’t such an arse about it.

“Fuck” I said then quickly covering my outburst. “I need a drink, my round” I headed to the bar more to clear my head than buy more drink.

She was at the bar looking straight at me.


I did it, I actually did it. I got out at the next station and headed back into the city. I don’t know why I just knew I had to go back. I had to follow and find that boy.

He was everything I hated about men. The short hair shaved at the sides, clean shaven but so very masculine. He wore fashionable clothes whose price tag would have given me head spins thinking about. He was as neat as a gay man but as crass as a jock. All the mix of things I hated in men, and boys.

He had actually mouthed obscene words at me through a train window. His tongue had mimed acts that I certainly wouldn’t do on a first, or maybe even tenth date.  

I was a strong independent woman. I didn’t need a man to define me. I didn’t need someone to fuck me. Yet here I was, in a club I had no right to be in, with people around me I hated and loathed. Watching him. Watching him and his mates.

I watching him thinking, while he ignored the crew around him. I saw him speak and walk away. Then he saw me.


Shit. Shit, shit shit I thought. What the actual hell?

“Hi” she said to me, putting out a hand. Before I knew it I was shaking it and returning the hello.

“Sorry about, you know, the train. That was fucking stupid.” She grimaced as I spoke. “Shit sorry I didn’t mean to swear. Oh crap” I managed to stop and stay silent.

“No, it’s OK. I just…my friends don’t swear much”

“Mine do” I said. “Do you want a drink?”

She looked around her. She looked awkward and out of place. Her long skirt, white blouse and cardigan were not the normal fashion for a place like this.

“Why don’t we go somewhere else?” I suggested. “Coffee?”

“Yes” she said. “That would be nice.”


Coffee. Coffee was safe. Coffee was easy. I could do coffee. I thought, then. 

What the hell am I doing here? I should be at home. I should be making dinner for one. My Kitchen Rules is on tonight!

I pushed that thought aside and suggested the well lit, frequently visited but crap tasting franchise coffee place down the street. The rules for a first date, public, open, escapeable and known. Not that I feared the young man, it just pays to be wary.

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Sound of Music

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“OK, let’s do this again.” Flame pulled a hand through her hair, like she wanted to pull all the frustration and angst out of her body.

Marshall’s sticks did a quick rapid-fire rata-tat-tat on the snare, ending with a loud crash. Blade shot a venomous stare toward the drum-kit, but Marshall was adjusting a nut on his floor tom.

“Enough!” Flame barked. “We have a gig in two days and we can’t even get the chorus change right”

he intro riff, repeating it twice. Then holding the last note he turned to catch the eyes of the bassist and drummer. A quick nod and he began again. This time the rhythm section joined in as one. Thumping open raw drums accompanied by the precise snapping bass guitar.

Flame closed her eyes as she stood cradling the microphone, swaying slightly as the music washed over her. Stuart’s guitar started to call out with it’s sharp notes, leading her to the start of the lyrics. The music enveloped her, becoming everything to her and everything with her was held in place.

The last note, perfectly in sync guitar, bass and drum, faded as Flame’s voice softly fell away.

“Fuck yeah” said Marshall. “That fuckin’ rocked”.

Blade even seemed to share a smile with his loud annoying friend, before the mask slide over once again.

Coming up from her revelry Flame turned to her band mates.

The wild boy behind the drums, almost jumping out of his skin with the energy and joy he had coursing through him.

The troubled sad bassist, had his head down, fingers running silently over the progression he had nailed with precision. He was almost startled and practised with disbelief that he had actually played the part.

Stuart seemed the least affect, his face turned away from hers, his body suggesting he was spent. Just as Flame was about to turn away she noticed the glistening tear fall from a dark eye. It was followed by more as tears streamed down his soft face, he turned to look directly at Flame. He face showed complete bliss, his tears pain as the pleasure left him.

Flame felt the power flowing in her, it was perfection. The song was ready, she was ready, it was her time to shine.

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When all the signs point to yes.

This week I went home. By home I mean that Ben and the girls and I drove back to the South Coast where Ben and I grew up and met, and where we left our home and our families and our jobs and our friends 3 years ago to embark on this adventure.

SO so much has happened in those 3 years. We’ve changed. The girls have grown. The places and people have changed.


It felt simultaneously like a spiritual homecoming, and also a spiritual cord-cutting.


Whilst staying at my mum’s, I walked the beaches I played on as a toddler, dug my toes into the sand, smelled the salty briny air, and connected. The ocean is so much apart of me. I was never a surfer like my parents, but whenever I go to the beach, people always comment that I look at home in the water. And I am home.


One day, while we sat over looking the harbour of my hometown eating lunch, I was relaying a story to Ben and pointed vaguely out to sea – and pointed right at a passing whale, announcing its presence with a glorious spray of water. I literally went “Oh-OH MY GOD! THERE’S A WHALE!” What a gift! A glorious all-knowing spirit animal, there just for me at the perfect moment.

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And I met with some old friends, that I hadn’t seen for a while, and we laughed and connected, and I realized that they’d all changed so much. And I was so different. But our friendship was the same. As with all true friends, distance and time cannot break bonds. We were still connected by our hearts.

But then some things, inevitably, were different. And I felt a kind of ‘letting go’. Like some of these childhood ways, comforts, habits: It was time for them to be put away. I dyed my hair, bought some new clothes, and forgot to check-in with all the usual ‘imaginary opinions’ that I used to check-in with as an insecure people pleaser. My step dad obviously hated my new hair. And I laughed and I truly didn’t care.


I saw an old friend clearly, for the first time in a long time, and realized I’ve changed so much, that it was time to let them go. They obviously did not see my worth anymore, and I felt uncomfortable, inconvenient and taken for granted. But I know my worth now. And I could choose to let go of what was no longer worthy of me. And I did. And it felt INCREDIBLE.

Then on the way home I listened to Clarissa Pinkola Estes’ “Woman Who Run With The Wolves” and had my mind absolutely blown open. I felt like she was summarizing the entire spiritual awakening I have had in the last few years!

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There were moments while listening where I audibly gasped, as I heard the author literally tell ‘my story’. If you haven’t read this, I highly recommend it!

It was as if she was writing the concluding paragraph to the ‘coming home, but letting go’ essay of the past week.

And I got home, and I threw open the windows of Hill Shadow House, and I scrubbed my kitchen floor, and I took out the garbage, and ripped all the unneccessary clothes from my wardrobe and bagged them up for charity. It was a purging. A throwing off of all that no longer serves me. a literal shedding of the skin; climbing out of my chrysalis to unfold my new wings. To welcome in this new era, and step into my power as the Wool Witch.

Here I was: Home at last. In my body, at my hearth, ready to use my intuition and the ancient knowledge of my sisters to create and to work the magic.

And then, the Universe threw me one final lightening bolt.


I had listed my last remaining skein of Activated Yarn onto an online Facebook yarn auction before I left. A roll of the dice. I reasoned that the person who needed it would find it. It was a golden bamboo-blended skein of Luck & Abundance. Infused with reiki energy, Zucchini flower, Aventurine and Citrine. A lady bid for it, saying she was going through a rough time, and could use some good luck. A second lady bid, and finally won the auction. She then contacted me by email saying that she had paid for the yarn, but could I contact the first lady for her address and send it there. She had bought as a gift for her.

Complete strangers. A completely random act of kindness brought about and manifested by threads, earth and energy. Ancestral medicine that made better three people.

That, my friends, is BIG MAGIC.

I felt overwhelmed and humbled by what had just occurred. The universe took me on this journey, showing me who I was before, and who I have now become. It showed me that I was rebirthing, shedding off all that no longer served me, while connecting to what is  deep, deep in my spirit. Then it finished up with a veritable “mic drop”.

BOOM!: THIS. THIS IS WHAT YOU DO.

The Volva has arrived.

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Know your yarn. 

The beauty of being a small business is knowing EXACTLY where your materials come from. And that it REALLY is ethical and compassionate.

Sure, you can buy commercial, mass-produced fibre. But you’ll have no idea if it’s from factory farmed animals, has been chemically treated, or made using unethical trade/labour. But it’ll probably be cheap.

I like to know EVERYTHING about my yarn, so you can too. ❤️👍🏼 The fibres are meticulously hand-selected from small local farmers. (Some are right here at Hill Shadow!) My dyes are sourced from a small business based in outer Melbourne VIC, who supplies ethical, organic and fair trade products. All labour (washing, combing, spinning, dyeing) is done by ME. By hand. At my hearth, in the Yarra Ranges, VIC.

So, I’d like to introduce you to one of my business’ cashmere suppliers.

Everybody: George. George, this is everybody.

When life gives you…

Perspective is a wonderful thing isn’t it?

On Friday night, a fellow fibre artist and friend of mine opened a sale album on Facebook. Now I normally try not to be comparative (that way lies misery!) BUT she had 65+ items in this folder and sold MOST of them in 4 hours.

She made HUNDREDS of dollars.

Now lemme give you some background info to be fair:

She is an established personality in spinning/fibre circles.

She’s good – VERY GOOD – at what she does. I would never try to diminish her success – she spins beautifully, dyes amazing stuff, and there is EVERY reason why she is so successful.

And we have a different product and a different niche: She dyes commercial roving with commercial dyes, and I dye locally farmed ethical fleeces with plant-based/organic/fair trade dyes. And I add the spiritual side as well.

And I’m comparatively new to the market.

But despite all this I felt INCREDIBLY FRUSTRATED AND DISHEARTENED.

How can she sell all that in 4 hours, and I don’t even sell one item a week?! I pour my heart and soul into my art: I BELIEVE IN IT. I spin sometimes ’til my eyes hurt at night, lovingly tending each skein to completion, and severely underprice myself (often only paying myself $1 an hour and often end up giving lots of stuff away!). And for what?! Is it worth it?! Maybe I should just give it away and find ‘real job’.

I felt flattened. I felt heart broken.

So I went to a movie with my friend Lou, and we grabbed a hot chocolate afterwards, and we got to talking about our grandparents. My German Oma immigrated to Australia in the 50’s. She had no English, was DESPERATLEY poor, and lived in a converted asbestos chook shed with 7 children. My Opa worked on the Warragamba Dam Project and was away for weeks on end, and my Oma supplemented their income by growing tomatoes to sell and milking the family cow.

Perspective.

This isn’t a PROBLEM. It’s annoying. But it’s not a PROBLEM.

So this morning I picked some daffs before Jerry the Goat ate them, and Tara and I baked a Banana and Raspberry Loaf. We ate it warm from the oven. And the washing machine broke down (Grr. But I bet Oma didn’t have a washing machine; broken or otherwise. And she had SEVEN KIDS), so I made plans to go the laundromat until payday. And the vacuum cleaner broke, and I laughed at the irony and took the broken piece out.

Perspective.

It’s not about being mindlessly, irrationally, ridiculously optimistic. It’s just recognizing what is an actual HARDSHIP, and what is a TEMPORARY INCONVENIENCE.

We have everything we need. I’m lucky to be able to do what I’m passionate about, and if I follow my passion, I cant lose. Success will come. And, you know what? The vacuum cleaner works better without that piece anyway 🙂

Living your life can be an act of rebellion.

Here’s my big lesson this week: Living life for yourself can be a HUGE act of rebellion.

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In modern day society, hubby and I don’t live a conventional life. We don’t have a huge mortgage. He works, I stay home with the girls, and work my home businesses. We don’t have credit cards – we try to spend only the money we actually have.

Sure, I could go back to full time teaching now. We could buy a new car on credit, take out a mortgage to buy a new McMansion in the suburbs and “have it all’. I could eat dairy and meat. That would make a lot of people around us much more comfortable.

But I value what I do for my family by being at home much more than society could pay me for working full time. My girls wont remember a shiny new marble benchtop, or a new car. But they will remember walking home from school hand-in-hand with Mummy, and having hot pikelets for afternoon tea, and climbing their swingset until its time to run over and hug dad as he pulls into the driveway.

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My husband loves his job. I love mine. We do ok. We’re ok with not having a lot of stuff, because we have SO SO MUCH to be grateful for.

But this week, I’ve been challenged: Do I have the courage to be what I am, and to do what I do, even if it makes some of the people I love uncomfortable?

I read this article by Julia over at SacredFamiliar and it resonated with me a lot.

I spent ALOT of my teens and 20s doing what I thought was ‘best’. I had the voices of my parents in the back of my head at all times, and I always did what I thought would make them happiest. I never made a decision without mentally consulting everyone I knew to check if they’d be ok with it.

But actually, it’s not my responsibility to make everyone else comfortable and happy.

What if I had the courage to live my truth? With no apologies. And no explanations.

What if I called myself a witch.

What if I said, “I choose not to work fulltime.”

What if I said, “I don’t want a big new house.”

What if I said, “I actually don’t support the dairy farmers’.

These statements are all potential time-bombs. They all have the potential to be misunderstood. To be criticized. To make people – including the people I love – VERY uncomfortable.

But here they are. In writing, for all to see. My truth. Here’s me having the courage to speak it. Here’s me being FUCKING BRAVE. My act of rebellion.

Here’s me living my life for ME, not for what others will think.

Because – hand on heart – “This is what’s important.”


 

 

Dye me a rainbow…

Today’s efforts…

275g of beautiful hand spun Corridale fibre went into the dye pot today. I wanted to see if I could dye a rainbow gradient with natural dyes (why spoil a beautiful natural fibre with a chemical dye, huh?!)

This was a few hours of scouring, drying, carding and then spinning already, so I really hoped it would turn out beautifully!

I mixed up my potions like a crazy alchemist:

lac* for red,

lac and pomegranate for orange,

Himalayan rhubarb for yellow,

Pomegranate and indigo for green,

indigo at 2 different concentrations for light blue and indigo,

indigo and lac for purple.

All at different precise concentrations, mixed with the required amount of vinegar.

I mordanted the wool for an hour, then handpainted on each colour, wrapped it and steamed it, rinsed it and rinsed until no more dye ran.

Gee it was a process. But gee it’s worth it. ❤️

*Not hugely keen on using Lac or Cochineal for dyeing, due to them being ‘natural’, but made from ground up beetles. Doesn’t feel right. Doesn’t feel kind. So I’m just finishing this little sample pot off, and I’m going to try a plant-based alternative for red: Quebracho! Its made from a Mexican tree! Results TBA!

Step into your destiny.

I hardly know where to begin this post!

I have just spent Mother’s Day weekend on the most amazing course at Abundant Healing where I spent time learning spirit healing and achieving my Reiki/Seichim Masters with 4 beautiful people who I now have a forever connection with.

The weekend was just so intense, I could not possibly do it justice in a single blog post, so I’m not even going to attempt it! But I may write further posts about it down the track, so watch this space!

I will today tell you a little bit about a certain aspect of it, as it relates to my new direction into activated yarns, which is originally why I went into the course; to learn how to channel universal energy into yarn.

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One of the initial exercises we did, was to enter into a guided meditation in order to find our spirit guide, who would help us on our journey of becoming a healer. During the meditation, I looked to my left to see a line drawing of a girl, who then became a pale girl dressed in white. She had long hair, and she was quick to tell me that she had no speech, but was overjoyed to see me, and that she had always been with me as we were sisters. She then motioned to me all the times through my life when she had been there, sending me this mile-a -minute set of flash backs to life moments in my childhood: “So that: That was me! Remember that?! THAT WAS ME TOO! And you know how you love that pearly colour – THAT’S MY COLOUR!!!” When the meditation ended I felt completely overwhelmed and emotional – HOW COULD SHE HAVE BEEN THERE ALL THAT TIME AND NEVER HAVE SHOWN ME? (That night I saw her again in my dream, and she gently explained that if she’d just APPEARED at the end of my bed looking like a pale version of Samara from the horror movie The Ring, I would’ve FREAKED OUT and shut down. She was absolutely right. Fair call. So the things she showed me was her way of letting me know she was around – NOW I know what to look for! ❤ )

Anyway, fast forward to the end of the weekend, I’m feeling so empowered and looking forward to using my new abilities, but not really sure how I’m going to go forward. I don’t intend to open a practice – it’s not my path. But I have this yarn and I’m called to make it, but I’m not sure if it’s really “A THING”. I mean, I just made it up, right?! I just had this idea, and I felt like it made sense, and in my heart I knew what to do, so I did it, right? But like: “why?” and “does it work?” and “where did the idea come from?” (I have NEVER heard of anyone doing it before.)

So even though I was excited to move forward, there was still an uncertainty: What next?

Then as a final exercise, Tash had us all pull one tarot card for each person to interpret (without looking at the card, just by intuition) for us as a final message for the weekend (we could then look at the card).

Well, I kid you not: 4 separate people handed me a random card. I gave 4 separate readings.

And 4 times I got THE SAME CARD.

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I giggled at the name. (Of course!: I’m only human!) And I looked at her face looking at me like “You know, don’t you…?!”

But I didn’t know. I drew a complete blank.

So I left it, and I came home. And I went to bed, and then got up and went about my day. And took my kids to school. And did the laundry. And I couldn’t for the life of me, work out what I was supposed to know. So I turned to google. And I googled “Volva”.

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And I nearly FELL OFF MY CHAIR.

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And suddenly, there was my Sister.

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(Like a pale white version of Samara.)

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And my blood ran cold. And I got the message loud and clear. This is not new: what I do is ANCIENT. And I know it, because it is my heritage. Volur are Norse. They were Germanic. My sisters were putting energy and intention and magic into yarn together as Norne, and Valkyrie, and Seeresses in times of ancient mythology and history.

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She was right. I didn’t ‘make this idea up’ to put energy and intention into threads and yarn. It, like my sister, has ALWAYS been in me. It’s my heritage.

I didn’t imagine.

I remembered.

I knew.

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It’s about more than just wool.

No one ever makes something without an intention. And no one ever knits or crochets an item without someone or some purpose in mind. I’ve long been inspired by that, and by the chain of hands yarn goes through in the process of becoming ‘someone’s’. A chain of creativity and intention.

I love the way fibre craft connects me. I sit down, my mind slows, and I create. I can just be. I think about my Nan and Pop – they passed away when I was seven – and Nan was a very ill lady for a long long time. She couldn’t get out and do much. But she sat down, and put her hands over mine, and she taught me to knit. And my pop taught me to crochet. and I think many many people who knit and crochet were taught this skill by their grandparents, and aunties, and uncles. It’s probably one of the few skills still passed down this way. Generation to generation. Hand to hand.

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See, the thing I love about handmade items is their uniqueness. Their flaws. But also, their ‘story’. I love to imagine all the hands, all the skills, all the intentions that have gone into a handmade item. I’m just a link in the chain of something really special. I add my chapter of the story, then I pass it on to the next person, and they add theirs.

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It’s part of the reason I prefer to buy raw fleece from small scale farms, rather than commercial roving dyed in huge dyelots. I like to know the whole story. I like to know that this was Wilma’s fleece; a rescue sheep from Daylesford. She belongs to Linda. Linda collected and sold her fleece, and I add my hands to the story. And then I will hand it along to the next person, who will add their chapter to the story; knitting a blanket for their grandson, a beanie for their Nanna, a scarf for Uncle John. A chain of love, and creativity, and intention.

There’s something magical about that.

So that set me to thinking: I want to activate the yarn. I want to imbue it with healing qualities. I want to capture the spirit of ‘connectedness’, of ‘ancestry’, of ‘specialness’ and  healing’ that I see in yarn. And so I’ve been lead to create “Activated Yarn”.

So here’s my creation unfurling. This first attempt at a fledgling idea. I bathed my crystals in the light of the lunar eclipse. I cleaned, processed and handspun a soft Corridale fleece, into a DK weight yarn. I smudged it with White Sage to remove any negative energy, and used natural organic plant dyes to dye it a beautiful healing green. I then put it into a steeping blend of homegrown Eucalyptus and Lavender -picked from my garden – and Clear Quartz, Amethyst, Aventurine and Ruby Fuschite for healing, soothing and purifying. This cauldron bubbled away over a white candle, opening the pores of the fibre and allowing the properties of the crystals and plants to seep in. Lastly I added a tail hair from my horse Will, as an animal totem. He broke his leg as a foal, but defied all logic to not only heal, but to then go on and win races. A miracle horse. His racing name was ‘Once a Blue Moon’, so rare and miraculous his recovery.

My healing yarn is now out drying in the moonlight. What I do is not Witchcraft. It’s not Magick or anything mysterious. I work only and always from a place of love and light. It doesn’t fit into a box or a definition. All I have done is filled this yarn with love, focus and intention. Its art. It’s a special creation. My hope is that someone buys this yarn and makes something special. I hope they think about their Aunty while they make her some mittens, and that they add their chapter to the story. And that when they give the mittens to their Aunty, she feels the hands and the energy that has been put into this special creation, and it makes her heart feel good. That’s all.

It’s not magic. It’s not going to cure cancer. It’s not going to change the world.

But it’s my art. And I hope you like it. – And it’s also ok if you don’t 🙂

And you know, if you’re sick, this healing yarn wont ‘cure’ you. But I hope that if you’re going into battle, you’ll wear my armor. I made it with my heart and my hands x

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