My mother taught me how to can fruits, vegetables, jams and jellies. It was one of the most enduring skills that I’ve ever learned, still with me after 50 years. I am proud that I can store the food that I’ve grown. In the coming winter months it makes me feel secure knowing every ingredient that we’re eating as the North winds howl. I carry with me the memories of sweating over a hot August stove as the product of our efforts come out of the canner gleaming and colorful; the delightful pop that tells me the lids have sealed.
My grandmother Verna taught me how to sew; on an old treadle Singer, believe it or not. I learned about life from those lessons. How patterns come in pieces, like puzzles, and how to use a discerning eye to fit them together to make a whole. How to use the tools available and stitch slowly with love to find the beauty in a particular piece.
Life experiences have taught me that “it takes a village…”. Elders hand down knowledge of how to be self-sustaining and keep alive the inner workings of where our food comes from and how to live productively for the betterment of the community. Sharing our own unique skills to barter or buy those things that we ourselves cannot produce creates a web of inter-connectivity that expands our prosperity exponentially.
For me, Raven-Wolf represents spiritual community. For those who shed blood, sweat and tears to heal the Land, the gift of the healing of Spirit is given. We can touch the earth and hear Her singing, filling us with the joy of a job well done, and in the touching we connect with each other.
It is primitive camping when we stay overnight. There is no electricity, and only a hand pump for water. This may seem like an imposition, but it only seems that way. There is much to be said for the concept of struggle. Working hard at doing things the old way causes us to dig deeper within ourselves, to learn about where we come from. In turn we can begin to see where we are going.
A lot of the “primitive” skills are being lost to technology and convenience and I think a lot more than canning, sewing, hunting, building shelters and connections to Nature are going by the wayside. While it is easier now to buy our food in the stores, get our clothes off the rack, and watch “church” on tv, the interconnection and true interdependance are atrophying.
We are people of the Old Ways, worshipping the Old Ones through Nature and connection. Even though many of us are in a place where we can’t build our own furniture or can our own tomatoes, we can still remember to keep in touch with the concept of self-sustanence through community involvement. Whether it be shoveling gravel at the entrance to Raven-Wolf, taking a meal to a shut-in, or a donation to the local shelter, keep in mind that these are your fellow travelers.
We need each other. Our Mother calls to us as Her children to behold each other with reverence, as well as mirth; to share with each other our love for Her and with ourselves; to keep pure our highest ideals; and to Remember the Old Ways.