June 29, 2021
The Seven Nations
This is a story I collected many years ago. It’s still one of my favorites.
Woven With The Earth
“I thought having eight kids would do it,” Eddie laughed and nodded to the large family photo over the living room mantle. “All grown and not one of them with an interest in the weaving.”
Eddie is a Donegal hand-weaver, as was his father and his father before him. Knowledge passed down father to son for centuries. Now, with as few as two dozen still working the loom, Eddie speculated that within ten or twenty years, there would be none left. That was ten years ago.
We climbed the narrow stairs leading from the shop to a small room with one window. Built in place, the loom took up the whole of it as we wedged ourselves against a wall to watch him work. The prospect of sitting there eight to ten hours every day seemed an obvious disincentive to following in his footsteps. Still, it was sobering to consider that we were watching one of the last of the Donegal weavers.
Three years later I returned to find Eddie filled with news of a son returned from college to be involved with the hand-weaving. Though, it turned out, not as a weaver. With a degree in business and marketing, he had just opened a weaving heritage centre in the old trading house on the village square, site of the original wool markets. At Eddie’s insistence we wandered over to have a look. Descriptive photo displays covered the walls between the shelves of woven and knit products for sale. Beyond the displays and shelving the room opened to a man sitting at a loom weaving. A friend of Eddie’s, he had been convinced to set up one of his looms for demonstrations. The centre was mostly empty that day and it was not long before we were listening to stories of his learning the craft at his father’s loom. Of him tending the sheep who supplied the wool. Of his mother gathering plants to dye the wool. Of how, like Eddie, he could not interest any of his sons in weaving.
There was an awkward silence and his eyes moistened. Clearing his throat, he stopped weaving and continued.
“For you see now, we’re not just after weaving the cloth. No, we are weaving the land into it. The colours of the turf and moorland, the gorse, the hills and fields, the stones and sky. All of that, you see, is what we’re about doin’. We gather up the colours of the land and put them in the cloth. For you see, the land is who we are. This is who we are as a people. Nowadays the cloth is more and more made by big machines. The wool comin’ from Australia and the colours decided by someone in England. Nothing Irish about it at all anymore. Only a few of us left to be weavin’ of the land, and soon enough all of that will be lost.”
He cleared his throat and began weaving again as a small group of tourists made their way toward the loom. “Well now, you’re not likely wanting to hear more of that,” he said. Just as we were protesting that we did indeed want to hear more, a young girl in school uniform burst through the back door, dropped her book bag and climbed up into his lap. “Ah, now then this would be my granddaughter,” he said with a smile. And together they fell into the rhythm of the clacking loom.
We are woven. We are one.
Judith – email@example.com
Note: Mukanda Dawe is an ascended master and one of my spiritual teachers. These are his teachings. The Shakti Tao book that holds these teachings and insights to a practice of connecting with the Nations is available online.