Sunday, June 3, 2007

Warp and woof....and prayer

When a Huichol woman begins to weave, she takes the hand loom from her back and ties it to a tree branch. With one end in the tree and one end anchored in her lap, she sets long strong warp threads. On these, line by line, the pattern of her piece emerges.

Stacy Schaefer’s To Think with a Good Heart explores the world of wixarika women and their weaving. She paraphrases the weaver, Gabriela:
“[The loom] is life. When I want to weave and I tie the loom up above [to a tree], my life is also tied up to the sky.”

Anchored in the sky. Held taut between earth and heaven with long strong cords. The pattern of a life waiting to be woven across the strings. Could this be my life?

The Hebrew prophet Hosea quotes the God of Israel caring for Her people: “I drew them with cords of a man, with bands of love.” Cords of a man. The original Hebrew chebel can mean umbilical cord. Following that cord I find Mother God.

Babies in rebozos, outside of the womb yet still at rest. My hamaca cradle swings on the verandah. Is it possible that I am held in such closeness to my Mother God?

Another woman weaver, Yolanda, speaks:
“You have to want to learn weaving. You have to think that the work you are doing was done by Takutsi Nakawe [Grandmother Goddess of Growth and Creation]. You have to ask for these thoughts.”

What are my thoughts? Where do they come from? Do I trust the great Mistress of Weavers enough to cast the warp and woof of my life into Her care? Do I hang my loom in the sky? Or shall I selfishly hold my crude instrument close to the ground, anchored on a handy stone where I can closely inspect every fiber, agonize over each perceived irregularity, stain the work with tears, sweat, and dirt?

Takutsi Nakawe, this name is new to me, but Your love I’ve known forever. My loom is in Your hands. I am throwing it way up to the sky – hooking it on the stars. I trust You to secure each knot, choose every thread, and pick a pallet of colors that will make my life sing. Quiet grays. Raucous reds. It’s Your choice. The divine science of my being – that design of Yours which has conceived me and everyone else in one big web of Life -- is consistent, integrity intact No seams. No rips. No tears. Only underlying strength and structure. You know what You’re doing -- the purpose for which I am being fashioned, my own unique pattern. You won’t find me second guessing.

Now, please make me flexible, pliable, like one of those rebozos from Santa Maria. Eight feet long and three feet wide they can be, yet they fall through a wedding band like water through a pipe. Let me be that fluid. And let me keep these thoughts – Your thoughts – embedded on the loom I carry on my back. Your wixirika weaver, Gabriela has it right about the work: “You have to remain careful, thinking all of your life.” Amen.

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