To the Egyptians, the energy of magic (heka) was the underlying energy of the universe. They often spoke of it as being woven, knitted, or knotted. “We make magic for You with knotted cords,” say Isis and Nephthys to Osiris. Funerary texts tell us that magic is woven or knitted around the deceased to protect her or him in preparation for rebirth. In an ancient formula to cure a poisoned pet cat, Isis is said to “spin something” against the poison and Nephthys to “weave something” against it.
Modern Wiccans and Witches sometimes describe the structure of reality as a Great Web; tug on one thread and a silken strand on the other side of the world vibrates. Chaos theory gives us the “butterfly effect” (a butterfly flaps its wings over here and causes a tornado over there). Mystics and meditators throughout the ages have experienced the marvelous revelation of the holy interconnectedness of all things.
If we explore this metaphor of the universe as a woven thing, perhaps our first question is the identity of the Weaver. Some would certainly answer that God (and it is usually a male Deity to Whom they refer) is the one and only Weaver. Stub your toe and God set you up for it. But if everything’s connected, are we simply flies caught in the Divine Web or are we all weaving away at our own part of the cloth? I suspect the Egyptians (at least the philosophers who thought about these sorts of things) would have said the latter.
Clearly, they understood the Deities to be weaving Their part of reality—creating, protecting, healing, transforming, connecting. But the Egyptians always knew that human beings were capable of handling magic, too. We can weave our own magic. And so we do. As we weave our lives, sometimes our stitches are perfectly graceful; other times we make mistakes and drop a stitch here or there. Sometimes we get snagged and tear a gaping hole in our lives. Other people can pull out some of our carefully woven threads, too.
I got on this subject of weaving because when I asked Isis what to write about for this post, She brought me back to the subject of the interpenetrating, interconnecting worlds. She wanted me to make a point about it, but I haven’t quite figured out how to say it elegantly. The gist of it is this: that everything IS woven together… and we all—Gods and humans, plants, animals, and spirits—do our parts to weave the Great Cloth of Being. Importantly, there are particular places in the cloth where we are intended to connect; nexuses where one strand is meant to join to another. For instance, the human brain has built-in structures that appear to enable spiritual experience. Why? Because we are meant to connect with the spiritual. We may choose not to, in which case there’s a gap in our weaving; still, the whole cloth isn’t destroyed. Many people choose not to make a religious or spiritual connection. Some fill in that hole in some other way, others feel the gap, don’t know what to do about it, and simply live with a nagging feeling of dissatisfaction in that area of their lives.
Even those of us who are trying very hard to weave our threads together at these human-Divine nexuses need to reinforce our stitching from time to time. Isis the Weaver reminds us to treat those sacred interconnections with the attention they deserve. Therefore, in Her name, I plan a votive act for tomorrow. I will take time upon arising, at noon, and before I sleep to meditate briefly on my interwoven connections with the world, with Isis, and with you.