Thursday, November 05, 2015

I'm Telling You the Story that She is Thinking

"Take a deep breath of all the stories that live here. A re-ligious act, to be true to the origin of the word “re-ligios”- to re-tie, re-link - is to find ways to re-connect, re-turn, re-imagine.  All of those "Sorcorer" words.”
-  Spider Woman Speaks, 2004

In the colder and darker season of the year, we are allowed to say,

“Ts' its' tsi' nako, Thought-Woman,
The Spider
named things and as she named them they appeared.
She is sitting in her room thinking of a story now
I'm telling you the story she is thinking.”
-  Keresan Pueblo introduction

The image above is of the string figure called The Apache Door (Jayne SF12) known to many string players.  A different Navaho string figure, with a criss-crossing web pattern, is called Many Stars (Jayne SF51), which I re-named "Spider Web" or "Spider Grandmother's Web" (Jayne SF51).       

Strings on Your Fingers by Mike Garofalo.  String figures and tricks from many lands.  

Spider Grandmother weaves the Grand Cosmic Web and then spins off the planets and stars in the Navaho myths.  Zuni myths say the Spider Grandmother gave the art of string figures into the hands of the children.  Spider Grandmother is a powerful earth spirit being, the primary Creatrix of the cosmos and mind, a source of boundless imagination and the creation of the new.  An archaic Goddess of Weaving is essential to a pleasant life for all our people. 

Many Stars, Son-thlani, (Caroline Jayne SF51)or Spider Grandmother’s Web is one of my favorite Navaho string figures to make.  I usually do the Spider Grandmother's Web (Jayne SF51) string figure first, for ritual purposes, to remind myself of my debts to all the people who have helped me learn in various ways.  The pattern is a reminder of our shared real world web of re-lationships and re-connecting with others, the productive Cosmic Web or Matrix symbolized as the Cosmic Web of Spider Grandmother.  

Hands, Fingers, Feeling, Touching by Mike Garofalo 

The first picture, taken around 1978, shows a small group of children learning and playing string figures, string games, and string tricks.  This was a crafts activity for children in a public library.  Physical education in improving manual dexterity and memory.  The teacher is Mike Garofalo.  

The second picture, taken in 1990, shows a brief demonstration and talk by me.  Afterwards, each child gets their own private string to take home to play with.  Then we do some manual dexterity and memory improvement practices together.  


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