The Weavers’ Oracle book and 52 cards are created from thirty years of Carolyn’s paintings, mythic tales and work with women’s archetypal mysteries. It forms a wild alchemy of images and words that lay down original and inspiring trails into oracle lands. Beautifully printed, presented and packaged with wire bound book, cloth bag containing the cards and a fine-quality lidded storage box.
Price UK postage. For orders outside UK, additional postage is charged at checkout; please see below for information about international shipping.
This extraordinary publication is a beautiful distillation of Carolyn’s work created from paintings and writings that span thirty years, from the anchoring of the first images included here, to the completion of the series of shaman-weaving women that finally filled this oracle up to its brim. All the mythic stories and spirit images around which the oracle has been formed are rooted in high moors, cold rains and the untamed hills where she has lived and grown her work. But their reach is broad and deep; they are profoundly inspired by the wild songs of sacred land, the shadowy edges of ancestral memory and a reverence for deep mythologies that exist close to the earth. This oracle draws on the wisdom inherent in women’s journeys, as it crosses intuitive landscapes and follows the trails of cunning grandmothers, ice mothers, feral daughters and women who weave magic out of weather. To those who are familiar with Carolyn’s work, the oracle will be a richly-textured retrospective and inspiring compilation, as well as a wild alchemy that catches the essence of her craft as a weaver of images, words and women’s archetypal mysteries. To those who are newly-arrived to her hearth, the Weavers’ Oracle is a powerful doorway into the ancient landscapes through which she has travelled with her work during the last three decades.
The Weavers’ Oracle consists of a book and a cloth bag that holds a set of 52 cards. It is beautifully printed, presented and packaged inside a storage box that contains the book and the bag of cards, with additional room for other small sacred items you may want to place alongside your oracle.
Oracle Book: wire bound, 140 pp, b/w with colour cover, heavyweight paper (210 x 148 mm)
Oracle Cards: 52 colour images, silk coated heavy art board (148 x 105 mm)
Cards wrapped inside black cotton drawstring bag (200 x 150 mm, sewn in UK)
Weavers’ Oracle contained inside grey or black heavyweight lidded archive box (230 x 165 x 50 mm)
Price: £48 includes VAT and UK postage. Additional postage is charged at checkout for orders made outside the UK. Within Europe international tracked posting is additional £9.50. To countries outside of Europe the international tracked posting is additional £20 – many apologies for the recent price increase but international shipping costs have risen significantly this year.
Translations: The German translation of the Oracle book is now available here. It is printed as a separate and additional book, and included inside the Weavers’ Oracle box alongside the English edition. The Russian edition is also now available, with its official online launch on November 22 (link will be shown here) A translation is currently being made into Slovak.
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The Weavers’ Oracle is a travel guide with a map that may be useful and a set of directions that may help. It is both a landscape into which a questing woman may travel and an ancient weaving house inside which the traveller may seek sanctuary. This oracle is the loom in the weaving house, the cloth that hangs from the loom, and the threads that are bound into the cloth. It is a bone-eyed skull, an intuitive fire, an ancient secret and a hidden song. The weavers can be protectors, guides and companions to the travelling woman who chooses to enter their house.
There are 52 weavers who inhabit this oracle. Each weaver embodies a whole oracle voice so an individual encounter with her is a complete journey in itself. Within the text each weaver’s oracle voice has three parts to it: her YARN, which is the mystery tale that dwells at the heart of her story; her BRAID, which contains the key symbols that represent the essence of what she offers the traveller; and her CLOTH, which steps back from the detail to give a broader view of how her offering might be relevant to your journey.
The women in this oracle belong to four tribes of weavers, with thirteen women in each, allied to East, South, West or North. These tribes form the warp (vertical strings) of the weaving house and the oracle cloth. Across these tribal alliances, there are seven clans of weavers, each clan fulfilling a very specific role within the structure of the oracle. The clans are named Guardian, Earth, Blood, Life, Bone, Loom and Death. They form the weft (horizontal strings) of the weaving house and the oracle cloth. However it is not necessary to consider the clans and tribes when working with the oracle; they are there to enable you to extend your journey should you want to.
Those who know Carolyn’s work will recognise stories and fragments in the oracle book; there are some tales here that have spiralled around from previous publications. Since the paintings in this oracle have been the spine running through all of her work during the last three decades, some overlap has been inevitable, but those tales have been brushed up into sparkling new versions, trimmed and rewoven so they slide smoothly into the oracle and fit well alongside each other. Much of the oracle contains new writings, expanded perspectives on familiar themes, deepening explorations into remote landscapes, fresh tracks on untravelled trails. And through it all are woven the ancient spirit women that have anchored Carolyn’s own journey and the many circles, teachings and gatherings that she has created and shared with other women. You are warmly invited to step with her into oracle lands.
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This tale could only be fully dreamed when flames were leaping high inside the hearthstones,
when the household had settled down into that glowing warmth. For she who dwelled
inside this story and at the heart of the home was a spirit of fire and heat. She was not
always present, of course, for she was drawn in by love, yet shunned a careless or unkind
hearth. But when she arrived her coming was truly glorious, for she was carried in on the
boundaries of the morning when the full light of summer poured onto the land. Then the
fire within the stones would dance with pleasure, quiver and purr, reach up to embrace the
vibrant red and burnished gold of her luminous form. I give you my copper, the blood of
the soil, the blood of me, she sang to the fire as she slipped into the flames, and the band
of copper on her brow radiated joy into the people’s eyes. The amulets on her apron and
small bells at her feet made music that spread among the household like laughter; when
she arrived the home began to sing. Once anchored inside the fire, her work was potent
and plentiful. Two slender serpents, bronze and green, entwined themselves around
her arms; if women brought roots and herbs to make a brew, those snakes opened their
mouths and spat good medicine into the healing pot. A copper dish sat by her side; if men
brought respect and truth into the house, she set the dish like a mirror next to the stones so
the women might see what honour was reflected there, and from that moment look upon
those men with love. Her soothing hands constantly re-stitched the bright edges of each
morning into the waking house; if small children feared the journeys of the night, she drew
their tender bodies close and sang them home, you drift beyond your mother’s land, sweet
child, come back towards the dawn. Sometimes women crouched near to the fire and
whispered their quiet sadness into the flames, or their long weariness, or their desperate
worries, or their yearning to be safe. Then she sang, give me your amber tears, sweet sister,
bless the crying tree, and smoothed their brows, rekindled their vitality, nourished their
passion for life. Later those women would clasp their children with gratitude, or lighten
the air inside their house with music, or present their men with surprising yet appreciated
offerings of desire. In this way the fire was kept dancing, the people were kept laughing
and the home was kept singing. Over generations this snake woman’s powerful and simple
fire magic grew into the healer’s rattle and the shaman’s drum, but it belonged to any
woman who used kindness to kindle the fire within her own hearth.
There are many types of wings on which women may fly. The broad protecting feathers
of heron are perhaps most familiar, for she will clasp us to her inside any gale or tempest
and carry us to safer ground. We know through our ancient laments and lullabies how
the wings of buzzard will bear souls high into liberating skies. Small brown birds, massing
in great numbers, work together to disentangle us from our own knotted lives. A winter
raven will also lighten our load but in a confronting manner that we are not always ready
to face. But when summer clouds arrive, bringing soft rain and dappled light, we may find
ourselves astonished, sisters, by our careless and easy appropriation of insect flight. Travel
on dragonfly wings requires unbridled energy and the casting of caution to the wind, but
amid the bright drift of summer days that is not hard for us. When clouds weave a slow
dance with the sun it is a simple matter for us to throw arms open, legs apart and leap
skyward into the wonder of the land. Astride the jewelled wing-veins of dragonflies we skim
and swoop, we sail above the scudding breeze, immersing ourselves into the wonder of the
land. We grow dreamy with pollen and sit in pools of honeyed gold, where we absorb the
scents of summer until they are embedded in our skin. Emboldened by the heat, we soar
and ride the clouds like tiny glittering seeds. Our dragonfly wings propel us through the
trilling songs of light and air. And all the while we are women wrapped inside the wonder
of the land. It is a dream that we will crave to carry with us far beyond the summer’s end.
She walked along the forest line where the great north swept to the ground. She wore her
wolf skin trousers with the fur turned inside and the weather-hardened leather facing out.
She had followed that particular wolf for half a moon until she had at last caught up to find
it sick and dying in the snow. It was not the wolf she had been looking for. So long had she
been travelling through that winter, through so much undefined darkness, through so many
brief days rubbed raw by the ebb and flow of ice. I fear I lost you long ago, she spoke across
the brittle land, too many trees have grown to hide you from my eyes. The hunt seemed
difficult and endless; she had already searched in the past, now she was seeking through
her dreams of the future. Still the pouch hanging from her belt was empty and carried no
more than lonely air; and that air remained silent. She walked onto the icy lake where the
snow was piled up high in frozen waves. She thought she heard something behind her in
the pines but the wind had turned the sound to glass before she could catch it in her ears. I
will sing you out from the dark forgotten past, she said, and I will sing you a future road. But
still her empty berry pouch needed to be filled. She stared again through tight eyes towards
the forest and over the fields of snow then, with despair laid heavy on her shoulders, turned
back once more to the cooling hearth of her small tent. Smoke from scented pine boughs
drifted through gaps in the darkened hides that were wrapped over birch poles to form her
home. She stopped; something was changed about the place, the fire was lit, a pair of fur
boots had been laid outside the tent. Now she was running, panting, skidding on the ice,
crying out as she flung herself beneath the door skin, scattering snow onto the hides. There
beside the hearthstones sat the wolf! The one she had been seeking during all those long
months! The wolf was wearing the faces of this woman’s many grandmothers, who now
turned to welcome her to the fire. A fine dappled-skin drum sat next to the hearth. How
did I forget to look for you so close to home? she said to the wolf, how did I not know that
you would be here waiting for me? The wolf smiled; in her lap was laid the blanket of the
past while her grey wolf hands tenderly caressed the sleeping future. The woman kneeled
beside the wolf and watched her untie a leather bag. She opened her own pouch. The wolf
leaned over and shook in sweet berries, red and vibrant with energy, until the pouch was
filled right to the brim. Then the wolf reached to pick up the mending drum that lay by the
fire and started to beat on its bright skin.
A gathering pouch for berries is an essential tool for a woman travelling through wilderness.
Perhaps her leather berry pouch is shaped like a hard bowl, the edge curved to form a
shallow lip from which to pour. She uses it to collect the small fruits of forest, moor and
tundra; the concentrated essence of winter lands that she will use for medicines, rituals and
sustenance in the coldest times. Perhaps a scrap of fur holds the berries safe, tucked deep
inside the spirits of wolf and wild. The raw essence of wilderness is also found in wolfsmilk.
collected by patient women hunting in the forest, gathered from old lactating wolves that
pass by and may permit the woman to gather the milk dripping from their elongated dugs.
The hunters stir the wolfsmilk into a remedy that has been passed woman to woman across
many lands. Those who taste it awaken to the yearning moon, the rebellious night and the
howling song of wolfish sisters hunting down their future paths. When travellers eat the wild
caught within berries or wolfsmilk, it is easier for their ears to hear the beat of the mending
drum. Such a drum is very finely stretched over a deep belly and its face is freckled with
dark patterns like the circling tracks of herds in snow. With many jangling copper cones
strung from its frame, its voice is bright and sharp. It heals, protects, creates and welcomes.
The rhythms of the mending drum reshape what is damaged, gather what is dispersed, and
sing to travelling women of how they might recover their paths into wilderness.
When the wolf comes how do we run: towards her or away? We used to know this wolf well,
do you remember sisters? Long time ago we journeyed easily with her and roamed far with
her beside our trail. But somewhere along the way we lost sight of her and gradually we
forgot that she exists. How was that possible? The wolf was always the dark reflection of
our strange feral selves; how could we still travel not knowing how to howl? She was our
fierce and constant protection on the trail ahead; how have we survived this far without her
attentive eye? The wolf was the first to hear our spirits call across the winter land and the
first to reach us through the forest gloom. She nurtured and sustained our journeys with the
life food of the wilderness. Without those berries we became too tame. Our wolf, though
carved from the sharpest edges of the land, was always quietly wild, like a fiery chasm
running far below the silent ice. She may have seemed unknowable but we each knew
her to our deepest core. The wolf was all the mothers we have known and lost. And now
she comes. We cannot yet see her shadow on the ice nor have we found her tracks across
the snow. But there is no doubt that she is trailing us, waiting for us to turn. And when we
do she will invite us to lay the toils and perils of our journeys in her lap. She will help us
strengthen the way we wear our womanhood. She will hold out her sweet berries to us. And
she will keep us wild. So how do we run, sisters: towards her or away?
Come into the water, sister! There is an unleashed exuberance bubbling up beside this
river and we are powerless to stop it. The morning is capturing us all! Now it is time for
you to throw off your clothes and any lingering shadows. Come and join in with this mad
joy! You look content enough, sat there on the willow bough wrapped in your warm coat,
but allow us to entice you in. Let the river wash you through, sister! How can you resist her
sparkling invitation? This river’s arms are cold and that is certain, but from her chill embrace
she will return you clean and entirely new. We promise we will hand you to her tenderly,
taking care to steady you down this muddy bank. Then we will cheer when you stand in her
fast flow, and sing loudly to encourage you to dip your thighs and breasts and belly into
the watery swirl. This river’s song is bright and we will whoop when you grin then dunk your
head to hear her frothy-foamy voice. We will still be singing for you, sister, as you stretch
out across the pool, eyes closed and body reconciled now to this startling cold, floating in
the morning light that is turning your skin gold. We will sing our delight as we witness your
reluctance dissolved into this glorious vision of shivering wet womanhood. But now, sister,
it seems we cannot persuade you to come out! You are slowly rotating as you drift freely
downstream like a stick caught in a whirl, and we are laughing, running after you, stumbling
over willow roots and mossy hummocks with blankets and hot tea and warming whisky
while you, oblivious and ecstatic, float off towards the sea.
Even as the traveller pushes her way through the transforming edge of dusk, the cave
elders are already singing to her soul. They inhabit the farthest reaches of the cavern,
surrounded by the blood and bone and ash and night and moon of their dark oracle. Their
cave song shapes the challenging womb into which each travelling woman is laid. With
unresolved harmonies and unsettling chords, their voices wrap around the tears and terrors
of the ritually dying daughter and carry her away and inwards, back and beyond the vigil
of the cave. The skin of the bear drum is uncompromising, and darkened by the smoke
of many vigil fires. It intensifies the magic of the ritual, catching prayers into its resonant
body and causing them to tremble. The bear drum sounds loudly and very slowly when
the traveller first reaches the cave. As she deepens into this solitary heartbeat, it builds a
protective shield around her and will patrol her edges while she journeys in the cave. It will
deliver her to the threshold of her dreaming, from where she must venture onwards quite
alone. Every travelling woman returns from the cavern marked by shadow. Bear claws have
scraped her flesh and the night has filled her bones. By those scars each woman knows
her body has become the loom onto which the bear mother is weaving darkness. That
shadow will always be part of her when she leaves the elders’ womb.