Sewing/magic: Geomancy wall hanging

It is perhaps standard that we are never happy with our own work. That doesn’t matter, really. Keep working. The quilt in context for me, this quilt was both a Working and a Work with a capital-W. What do I mean by that? I mean that my goal was to create something that was both physically beautiful, at least to me, and that was magically operant.

Beauty is in a sense a subjective category.

This wall hanging is beautiful to me: I appreciate the range of colors on display, the way that they interact with one another, the way that some colors merge into others with no boundary, the way that some stand out as particularly shining. I also like it, for its imperfections: The way some of the figures are just a bit off kilter, the way that some of the lines become sick or thin or even invisible, and the way that some of the seams are imprecise. And it registers as imperfect, And yet there is a genuine soul wholeness to it. It may only be a thing, but it is not a random thing: someone had to want to produce it, and that someone is me.The quilt close upA magical operantcy part of the equation may not make sense to all of my readers, though. Let me see if I can unpack that part, too.

When you look at the images that are coded In each of the blocks of this quilt, you may find that an image expresses itself to you. A thought may come into your brain. Stare at any one block too long, and you may find your imagination placing you in a landscape you have never visited, conversing with people you have never met before.

It would likely surprise you, and seem like too much coincidence, if your images resonated with the traditional meaning of the geomantic figures. Random squares of cotton cloth should not be able to tell stories. Cotton cloth has no stories to tell, except perhaps hardship for the growers, and the thread-makers, and the weavers, or truckers and sailors who bring it to me. Yes, those stories are here also.

But maybe, some of these squares, or blocks, really, call up and emotion in you. Some may feel sad. Others feel fears. Still others feel successful, and others feel tinged with tragedy. Do your feelings match traditional lore and history? That is what I mean by magically operant. If you experience even a slight hint of a change in consciousness from looking at a couple of photos, imagine what it might do to you, if you were standing in front of the real live wall hanging? Would it make you feel… Charged?

3 comments

  1. A question that’s really starting to bug me: Does changing the material or technique, while retaining basic imagery, change how it interacts with the…viewer? Participant?
    How would this be different if you grabbed coloured pencils and sketched a replica?

    • Hi, Jeff!

      I think that’s a really complicated question, and without a good answer except “try it and see. “You could probably do this on the sheet of graph paper; or on a blank sheet of paper with a pencil grid. I did some digital planning using the vector graphics tools in my word processing program, and found the results quite effective — yet I also know the system very well. So it may have affected me because I know what it means.

      But I think that when it comes to magical, or even artistic, objects — that you are correct you choose the word “participant” rather than “viewer”. It’s not really a passive activity, in the same way that we think of viewing as passive. The mystery writer Dorothy Sayers wrote a play for the Canterbury Festival, called “the zeal of thy house” About the building of the cathedral in the 1200s A.D. she compared the stages of construction to the layers of the mind of God, and our very real participation in it. I think that matters: we participate in creation, and part of the way that we participated creation, is how we participate in the artwork of other people; or how we fax the world through Magic, or how the magic of others affect us. It Hass to be remembered that magic is the art of causing changes in consciousness in accordance with Will; add art, at its best, should cause changes in consciousness through causing changes in materials.

      I was talking online with someone recently, and we got to speaking about how a Christian priest is dressed as much in symbol, as in clothing. I think that’s relevant. An artist may make art that is filled with symbols, and those may resonate with the viewer. The magician makes symbols, add the participant may see those as art, but their primary effect is symbolic — and therefore affecting consciousness.

    • Hi, Jeff!

      I think that’s a really complicated question, and without a good answer except “try it and see. “You could probably do this on the sheet of graph paper; or on a blank sheet of paper with a pencil grid. I did some digital planning using the vector graphics tools in my word processing program, and found the results quite effective — yet I also know the system very well. So it may have affected me because I know what it means.

      But I think that when it comes to magical, or even artistic, objects — that you are correct you choose the word “participant” rather than “viewer”. It’s not really a passive activity, in the same way that we think of viewing as passive. The mystery writer Dorothy Sayers wrote a play for the Canterbury Festival, called “the zeal of thy house” About the building of the cathedral in the 1200s A.D. she compared the stages of construction to the layers of the mind of God, and our very real participation in it. I think that matters: we participate in creation, And the receptive act of being inspired by a piece of art or magic to create art for magic of our own, is it self a participation in that creative energy. I hope that makes sense.

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