Sewing Magick: Enchanting your Needlecraft with Intent
Sewing is an ancient art; to thread a length of cord through the eye of a needle, then pass it back and forth between layers of fabric is a process that our ancestors have been doing for millennia. Remnants of primitive needles provide evidence that mankind has been using thread for over 33,000 years! However, before sewing could take place fabric needed to be woven into existence, and before weaving could occur, fibres had to be spun into threads using spindles. The intricacy and human ingenuity required not only to understand, but to perfect this particular sequence of processes is awe inspiring. When we work with threads we carry on the age-old tradition of our ancestors as we weave something new and magickal into existence. The items we create by hand carry an energetic potency as they are the product of our time and devotion; no two items are truly identical as each carries the fingerprint of the maker. The creation process is also deeply meditative, providing an opportunity to focus the mind and enter a flow state. In the Mists of Avalon, a novel by Marion Zimmer Bradley, sorceress Morgan Le Fay uses her spinning wheel as a means of divination and spell casting as it allows her to enter a type of trance.
We can use our thread based craft as a way to work our own magick; performed with intention, each stitch is a repetition and reinforcement of the enchantment we wish to weave. Every loop of the thread is an invocation of our desire, each stitch a declaration of our purpose. We place a part of ourselves within each thread, transforming our creation into a talisman of power. Whether it's sewing, crocheting, embroidery or knitting, working with threads can be a means to cast our spells. Even the simple act of tying a knot in a piece of string can be an effective form of magick, as a fragment of our desire is held bound within those knots.
Sewing and magick go hand in hand as we can see from the shared vocabulary that spell casting and sewing often share. We may say that witches weave magickal webs, or tug at the energetic threads of the universe. A spell is spun and cords are cut. Even the ancient spinning wheel used to make yarn has become a mythical object, the subject of folklore and fairytales throughout the ages. The spinning wheel also provides us with the word ‘spinster’, a term originally meant to indicate occupation but has come to imply a bitter, frigid and prudish old woman. During the middle ages, spinning was considered ‘women’s work’; demand for spinsters was high and the role offered a steady income. This granted women a small level of financial independence and alleviated the pressure to marry for security. As the majority of spinsters were unmarried, the word became synonymous with ‘unmarried woman’ before eventually implying ‘old, undesirable woman’. The archetype of the spinster overlaps quite neatly with that of the wicked witch or crone.
Bring Magick into Your Craft
The difference between practical thread craft and magickal thread craft is in the intention you bring to it. Creating a ritual around your needle craft allows it to become a form of spell casting. Incorporate these steps to construct your own sewing ritual:
Cleanse and bless your craft tools as you would your other ritual magick tools. The method you use will differ depending on the tool, with options including passing the item through incense smoke, or above the flame of a candle, placing it in moon or sunlight and anointing them with sacred water. You may appeal to any deity or spirits you work with, or simply speak a few words of dedication over your tools. Treat your tools with respect and keep them stored safely away when not in use.
Before beginning any spell, be clear on your intention. Will you be creating an item that offers benefits to the user? A scarf or blanket could become talismans of protection, or a pillow could be created to aid in prophetic dreaming. Perhaps you are mending an item and wish to place magickal intent into the stitches, in which case you can consider enchanting your needles and thread.
Set Your Space
Before ritual sewing, cleanse your space with your preferred method (smoke cleansing, sound cleansing or diffusing essential oils are all options) and create an atmosphere that brings you into a centered state of mind. Perhaps you will light a candle (away from anything flammable) or burn incense as an offering to the divine. Music can also help to bring you into a magickal mindset.
Work with Moon Phases
Consider moon phases for your sewing spells. The new moon can be a favorable time to begin a new spell, or perform a spell for attracting or gaining. On the other hand, the waning moon would present an ideal opportunity for banishing, binding or decreasing. The full moon, as the peak of the cycle, would be an excellent time to spin a spell with maximum potency.
Connect with Deity
If you work with deity or any form of higher power, you may wish to appeal to them before creation to bless your working. You can do this by centering and grounding using your preferred method, and reach out to them. Take several slow, deep breaths and ask for their favor. Leave an appropriate offering and express your gratitude for any assistance given.
Sigils & Symbols
Using tailor’s chalk, you can draw symbols of power or sigils of your own creation onto the fabric as you work with it. Tailor’s chalk will wash away however, so you may consider embroidering the symbols on if you want them to be positioned permanently within the threads of your creation. Some practitioners like to burn sigils after their creation though, so the temporary nature of tailor’s chalk may be appealing to those who do that in their practice.
Thank you for reading, I hope you enjoyed this piece of sewing magick. It is an extract from my upcoming book 'Spinning a Spell' by Jennifer Heather, and a four page printable PDF on sewing magick for your Book of Shadows is available here.