Reweaving Our Destiny
There are three women sitting at the base of a tree so wide and deep, you can’t see where the trunk ends, and the branches begin. The three women are weaving. One spins the thread. One measures. One cuts the strings. What they are weaving is our collective fate, and each one of us has a thread in the tapestry.
In the ancient roots of Old Europe, the concept of the Fates as weavers is as old as the dirt that holds the forest. Perhaps even older. In Norse mythology, these creatrixes of destiny are known as the Norns and they sit together at the foot of the World Tree. Older than the Gods, these weavers of fate are sometimes personified as the elements themselves— frost, heat wave, thunderstorm, plague. They are the forces that are beyond our control, entering our lives to help us claim our destiny.
But fate is not fixed in stone. It is created with each spindle drop, every action and decision. In Norse mythology, Verðandi is known as the present-time weaver of destiny. As the thread passes through her hands, fate is spun. If the thread of your life is in your hands…. what are you here to weave?
We are in a massive time of renegotiation here on Earth. The tapestry that we have been weaving is untenable— and it has been for some time. The foundational structures of our world, the weft upon which the warp of our culture has been woven, is threadbare and tired, some of it broken from the start. These past few months have exposed, with clarity, the disintegrating weft. The fallibility of our global systems. The fragility of our economy. The pervasive, ongoing disease of racism. The inevitable hollowness of a culture that does not recognize the living world as sacred. The backlog of trauma that the Earth is asking us to tend to and release.
As the world is thrown into chaos, however, three women sit at the root of the world, whispering to us all— It’s time to reweave. Will you spin a new future with us?
The Norns by Alois Delug (1895)
There isn’t just one pathway for your life. Just as there is not one single trajectory for our planet. The possibilities branch out like a river into tributaries. In spiritual circles we often talk about jumping timelines. The idea that we can change the trajectory of our life each time we grow enough to see the possibility of a different direction. We all have had glimpses of other timelines we could have experienced— the life you’d be living if you hadn’t been brave enough to leave that relationship or if you’d never gotten sick and found herbalism. Destiny is not a single road, but a myriad of forking paths. The future is created from what you believe, and act upon, in the present moment— like a ball of yarn dropped and unwinding from your feet.
Carl Jung once said, “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will rule your life and you will call it fate.” If we want to invoke the greatest possible future of health, wellbeing, joy and equality, both personal and collective, we need only look at what keeps us bound to the track we are currently on— our programs. Programs are the unconscious beliefs that define the functioning of our life. They are the thought patterns we have running on repeat. A teacher of mine once said that programs are like a room full of record players all blaring at once. They have been playing for so long that we forget that what we’re hearing is noise. Racism is a program, as is the Western concept of hierarchical value itself, a belief that has caused untold damage to all of life. But believing that you are too small to change the trajectory of our collective future is a program as well. One that can be changed.
Many programs are naturally rising now to be released, like splinters working their way to the surface. It may feel overwhelming or scary, like wading in too-deep waters, but every time you glimpse the unconscious motives that drive you, you get to make different choices. Through these choices you get to jump timelines— changing your own individual thread and the fate of the world. If we can just stay present with the process, allowing the waves of recognition and healing to move through us, then we will harness this powerful moment to shift our sails and change direction.
The global rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, a revolutionary call to address racism across our planet, is one of the most moving and profound events I have ever experienced. Its power, and the swift changes it is bringing into form, is an example of what can come out of this time of diving into the depths— and it is a clarion call for all of us to take up our inner spindles so together we can weave a new collective destiny.
The Norns are usually personified as beings outside of us, but the deeper truth is that there is a Norn within each of us. Each of us is a weaver, and the thread of our individual life is incredibly important. The chaos of destiny creation can feel like a natural disaster for our bodies and nervous systems, and we are certainly in the eye of the storm. But now is not a time to abandon your own inner world, it is the time to come home to yourself and your power as a co-creator. Now is the time to be with what is rising within you, so we can build even more resiliency and capacity for the great re-weaving to come.
I recently learned that Neanderthals, the predecessors of Homo sapiens and ancestors to nearly all people on the planet, were weavers of cloth. For a long time, people viewed Neanderthals as having very little technology, but we realize now that this was just a projection of our own unconscious bias. Given this, it’s possible that the idea of the fates as weavers— a concept that predates Indo-European recorded history— might be older than humanity itself. It makes me wonder…what kind of destiny would these most ancient ancestors weave for us?
As we move deeper into the reality of both the pandemic and this time of global revolution, it’s clear that the life we were leading has passed. We can no more get back to it than we can swim upstream. It is up to us now to choose which tributary we now want to flow down. Like boating the current to a whole new vista, the most incredible thing about jumping to a new timeline is that once you arrive, there will be horizons of possibility and hope you couldn’t have imagined before.
Downstream are untold wellsprings of creativity, calm, communion and healing. They are simply waiting for us to pick up our string and start weaving. We can’t know exactly what the future will look like, but every time we are willing to feel the tactile wooliness of the moment as it moves through our hands, we create a thread that will lead us to our destiny.
Solstice Ritual for Changing our fate
For our ancestors the summer solstice was a profound moment of community re-weaving, celebration and ritual. As the longest day of the year, the summer solstice is a time when the light is able to reach into all corners of our consciousness, illuminating the shadows and preparing the way for new light.
This year the solstice falls on an annular solar eclipse— the potential to invoke a shift for our personal timelines, and the world’s future, is profound. No matter where you are in the world, you can enact this ritual as a way to claim the timeline you most wish to see unfurl, for both yourself and the planet as a whole.
To do this ritual you will need two pieces of string or strips of fabric to make twine. (If you know how to make natural cordage you can use natural fibers as well). Full directions are below.
:: Ritual ::
1. Gather up your string, fabric or natural fiber and go find a quiet place where you can sit in the sun.
2. Take three deep breaths, then look around you at all the places the sunlight is touching. Notice the contours of your room, or the landscape you are in— how is the sun interacting with these places?
3. Take three more deep breaths and then turn your attention within. Imagine that the sun’s light can reach into any area of your body that needs a bit of warmth, love or light. As you allow the sun’s warmth into you, notice if any uncomfortable feelings you’ve been holding want to come up. Notice if feelings such as shame, grief, anger, fear, anxiety, helplessness want to come up. Just let them arise and give them to the light.
4. While you are resting in the light, see if you can take on the role of the neutral observer. Ask yourself… what am I believing and/or telling myself about myself, others, or the world, that might be deepening these feelings?
Try formulating this belief into a sentence. For example, “I feel grief because there is so much pain in the world and it’s so big I don’t know if it can ever be healed.” After you put this belief into words, notice how your body responds when you say it. Do you constrict or expand? Do you feel heavy or light? Where do you feel this in your body?
5. Now, use your imagination to try and flip this sentence around, like using a film negative to expose an image. For example : “I feel grief because there is so much joy in the world that we aren’t currently able to experience. The pain is big, but the joy is bigger. I know we can heal.” Try on a few different flips until one “lands” inside your body. Look for a sensation of settling inside of you. How does it manifest in your body? Can you feel any sense of relaxation or lightness?
6. Taking two strings in your hands, focus now on the future you want to call into being for both yourself and the planet. With two hands, twine these two pieces of string together to make a new cord. The process is very simple, and meditative once you get the hang of it. (If you prefer, can also choose to make natural cordage from materials on-site, a simple braid with three strands or a more ornate friendship bracelet ).
As you twine these strings together, use all your senses to imagine this future. In this new future what would you be looking at? How would you feel in your body? What would you be tasting? How would the world smell? What would the land look like where you live? How would people treat each other? As you twine, imagine every detail.
7. When you are finished you can either leave your twined string somewhere in nature as an offering or wrap it as a bracelet around your wrist or ankle as a reminder. Every time you see this braid in the coming weeks take time to remember your visions and know that when the cord finally disappears, or slips from your body, this intention to jump timelines is being made manifest.
We at One Willow stand in solidarity with Black folks everywhere— protesting, birding, grieving, beautiful, brave and healing— and everyone who stands beside them, demanding that the sanctity of their lives be recognized.
This is an amazingly powerful time of releasing programs and rewriting our collective destiny. It is also an important time to keep regrounding in self-care and give yourself permission to regulate your nervous system, especially for our Black readers who are, in the words of Camille A. Thomas, working overtime spiritually and energetically right now. We are here for you and pledge to create more space for your healing by doing our work and showing up in all the ways we can.
For those who are ready to do the important work of allyship there are many lists going around the internet (education lists, action lists etc.). These lists are wonderful resources, I’ve also found that overwhelm, especially for sensitives or empaths, can lead to feeling frozen. If you are feeling overwhelmed about all the avenues to take, I have found this step-by-step liberatory model by Dr. Barbara J Love incredibly helpful.
In order to make any great change, we first need awareness. From awareness, we can transition into analysis (with includes therapy and somatic healing), and from analysis we can step fully into accountability and action. But we cannot jump into authentically helpful action until we give ourselves enough time to do the inner work first. One of the biggest learning lessons, and opportunities for awareness/analysis for me has been exploring the deep link between trauma and racism.
The invention of race grew out of European people’s backlog of deeply historical, unprocessed trauma. The resulting structures (internal and external) of this trauma are white-body supremacy and programs of racism, which continue to cause untold trauma today. Because we cannot talk about healing racism unless we talk about trauma, as we approach the task of healing global racial trauma, our own personal traumas may be triggered as well. This is why incorporating resources that focus on the mental health and the somatic (body-based) aspect of racism is so important.
Outer systems can’t change unless inner systems are healed. Doing the inner work to see and release the programs that live inside of us is essential to changing the outer world. If you come from a spiritual lens and want to hear more about this concept of racism as a program we are collectively unsubscribing from, check out this interview with the brilliant Kidest Om.
I believe that healing racism from a body-based and mental-health lens is the groundwork of awareness we need to make each of our individual threads strong enough for the destiny re-weaving to come. Below I am sharing a few resources that has been profoundly helpful for me in unpacking the way trauma lives in my body, culture and country, and so freeing myself up to keep walking in that cycling continuum from awareness to allyship.
Therapeutic resources for understanding + healing racism and racial trauma
My Grandmother’s Hands – Resmaa Menakem
I can’t recommend this book enough. Resmaa Menakem’s approach of healing white-body-supremacy in America through the perspective of trauma and the tool of somatic processing is profound. Reading this book is cathartic in the “clean pain” you can experience, and settling for the nervous system in a way that feels deeply unique and effective for releasing the trauma that underlies racism in our country. You can also listen to Remaa’s recent interview in On Being.
Led by the brilliant Tada Hozumi and Dare Sohei, this emergent school teaches the confluence of somatic healing, animism and social change. At the heart of their offerings is the idea that culture itself has a collective nervous system, and all the tools we can call upon for individual healing can be used to heal the larger cultural body. I have deepened my knowledge exponentially through their free IGtv videos.
Prentis is a somatic practitioner who teaches about body-centered transformation as the key to healing and justice. I deeply appreciate their approach of looking at embodiment as a form of curiosity about one’s self, and how that curiosity naturally extends to repairing all other relationships, including to other people, cultures and the environment.
As a clinical psychologist and social worker, Dr. DeGruy’s research focuses on the intersection of racism, trauma, and American slavery. Her book Post-Traumatic Slave Syndrome is a powerful analysis of the way intergenerational and historical trauma has impacted Black communities and the lived experience of Black folks in America today.