Greeting Dear Ones,
“It’s all fun and games until the bobbin runs out…”
Each time I go to the henhouse, there are fewer eggs these days. Even though it is warm and sunny—oppressively warm at times—the girls are shutting down their egg production for the season. Chickens lay according to the light cycle. The Autumn Equinox is on its way and my little feathered friends are ending the tyranny of daily ovulation and just eating their Cheerios in peace (God Bless them! Can you imagine anything worse? Ovulating every day, that is, not so much the Cheerios…) The harvest time has already begun. It’s time for drying the herbs from the garden, collecting the fruits and seeds, and burying treasures of bulbs. I am like a jay hiding acorns or a mouse taking stock of the larder. It is a time of hiding and tucking things away for later, hoping we can find them again. We are all preparing for the cold and darkness to come. It is a busy time of finishing projects—the big Hurry in the hope of a long Rest. Though all of Nature will soon take its rest, in the shop, there is no such thing, as people shuffle in with sweaters to be mended and their fall wardrobes to be revamped. The bridesmaids’ dresses are turning colors, like leaves, from shades of summer sherbet to pumpkin and cranberry.
On September 23rd, night hours will equal daylight—aequus (equal) + nox (night) and we begin the shift into dark times ahead. Ancient stories swirl about Persephone’s return to the underworld. Naturally, my thoughts turn to witches, goblins, and bobbins. What is a bobbin, you ask? Webster’s dictionary defines it as: “a cylinder or spindle on which yarn or thread is wound (as in a sewing machine) b : any of various small round devices on which threads are wound for working handmade lace” but I know it as that little thing I scream at on a daily basis when it jams or runs out of thread. How does it work in a sewing machine? Well, I am told that as the upper needle shoves the thread through the cloth, a hook rotates, capturing the thread from above and looping it around another thread, this one reeling from the bobbin below. The two threads interlock around the layers of fabric, binding them to one another and a seam is formed. But you and I know this is a lie. Really, it’s Magic. Little sylphs and pixies are in there, sorting things out—pretty much the same way there are tiny fiddlers having pints of Guinness in your CD player—until (play the scary theme music here) the Bobbin Goblins show up and ruin everything. When the Bobbin Goddess is smiling, your seams turn out smooth and even. You don’t turn the cloth over and discover that you have accidentally been manufacturing something with more loops than Turkish bath toweling. She is the angel of the underworld of sewing machines.
The bobbin factor is Huge: if things aren’t right below the surface, they won’t be right above. It’s a hell of a metaphor, eh? In modern times, we are not predisposed to see the world sacramentally—as outward signs of inward grace. We talk more about how “our subconscious intentions are thwarting our ability to manifest prosperity…” It’s all Bobbin Talk. Unconscious manifestation, like a snaggled bobbin, often leaves us feeling frustrated. We think we want one thing, but may keep creating something entirely different. Until we understand what thoughts, beliefs and emotions are really running the show of our realized manifestations, we may keep creating what we don’t want. Take a look at the fabric of your life and the way things are coming together for you—how is your inner Bobbin Goddess doing? What you have around you is what your secret intentions are calling forth. Is there Chaos or Order? Check your closet—does it look like a ship wreck? Mine does. Apparently, I also have an inner yearning for an inexhaustible supply of dog hair, house dust, and crispers full of limp vegetables ready for the compost heap. So many of us with tangled bobbins are often frustrated that the “world is standing in the way” of us getting what we want or feel we deserve. This often results in a victim mentality. (Please note: I’m NOT a Victim. There REALLY is a Committee established to thwart the forward momentum of Nancy Bell, whose honored members include every pet, vehicle, or machine I own, every red-light between here and where I need to be on time, and anyone I have given birth to.) Maybe it’s time to pause, unwind, rewind, reflect. It’s ok to seek help.
The shop is a marvelous, often hilarious, intersection of all the forces of Upper and Lower, Darkness and Light, Yin and Yang, Outer clothing and Foundation Garments. We often think of Balance as that midpoint between two extremes. But if we replace our sense of “the edge” with “the Infinite,” then those extremes become meaningless. The “line” becomes a Circle. We reconnect to Unity and it is then impossible to be Unbalanced. The pendulum swings and patterns complete themselves in time.
A woman came into the shop several weeks ago with a sewing machine she has owned since the 1970’s. “I really don’t sew very much,” she explained, “and I have just run out of bobbin thread and don’t know how to wind up more.” As someone who, by necessity, finds herself winding bobbins on a daily basis, this woman was something of a wonder to me. I very much admired her humility and courage in seeking help, as much as I marveled that she had made it all the way from Gerald Ford’s administration until now on the original bobbin! Listening from the corner was my beleaguered friend, busy sewing a football field’s worth of curtains for a ballet studio. She just sighed. Her bobbin runs out every twenty minutes.
The proper workings of the “surface world” very much depend on the smooth functioning of the hidden, under world. Just ask anyone wearing Spanx. There is an elderly man with a thick German accent in the shop. His wife has MS. He is trying to help her get dressed and he is having trouble sorting out her foundation garments and getting the tiny bra loops in the dress snapped so that her bra straps won’t show. What is foundational must stay hidden. I wonder idly how old he is and when he came here (to America, that is, not the shop—he’s only been in the dressing room about 20 minutes) and if he survived the aftermath of the Third Reich only to be stymied by complexity of his wife’s bra… Finally, muttering in German, he gets her sorted out and wheels her out of the shop. What meets our eyes as we pass each other on the street is only the shell—the barest skimming of the Real Story.
We’re all on this ride around the sun together. As the darkness in the months ahead makes us seek the light and warmth of our hearths, may we have good work for our hands to do, and good friends to with whom to share our bounty. May we seek out and cherish our inner Bobbin Goddesses, the mysterious, hidden, inward Feminine part that has such power to make us stop and curse or weep with sweet relief when things go well. May it all go well! Never before was so much possible.
Be well, my Dearies, and do Good Work!