The Cloak That Kept the Village Warm - Swan Story

Roxie Jane Hunt
She took her granddaughter’s face in her hands and said, “Be free, child. You are released as I am released”. And the woman removed her cloak, took her grandmother’s hand and together they transformed into wild geese, graceful feathered wings, warm blood and dark eyes they took to the sky, following the swan towards the horizon.

Today I share with you the Swan Blessing story received by hair weaver and colour alchemist, Roxie Jane Hunt. It is a beautiful ancestral vision and journey she received during her Swan Blessing of the tale of the spinner that wove the cloak that kept the village warm but became the cloak of invisibility. When I see Roxie’s intricately woven hair creations I am always reminded of the weavers and the spinners of the past. Hair is such a magical fibre it is our wool, our human fiber and antennae to the cosmos. It is also one of the strongest holders of our DNA and secrets and gifts of our lineage. I am honoured to share Roxie’s story and to know her work of wisdom, devotion and dedication to creating community through ritual hair care and adornment.

For all those who need help to throw off the cloak of invisibility and shine again.

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A woman sits at her spinning wheel on a crag above the ocean, watching the light dance on water as the fingers of her hands spun wool. In this state, she prayed. This was her devotion. 

When the sun was high in the sky, and the rain slowed to allow for a breakaway ray to hit the sea and light her eyes on fire, she composed herself, and retreated inside to her kitchen, where the colors and flavors of ingredients foraged from the land and sea awaited her, beckoned her in to begin her second devotional act of the day, the Alchemy of Supper. 

With love, she prepared a meal, always enough for 3. This was just in case a friend showed up, a villager from a nearby town, to talk to her about a hand spun cloak. She was the one who made the cloaks that kept the village warm and protected from the icy winds of winter. She was loved and trusted, but lived far enough away from the village that visitors only came with a purpose

She was a solitary woman, happy that way. But everyone who came to visit her to inquire about a cloak was fed a meal by her and soon became a friend for life because she was unforgettable. She was not like the other women in the village. She was humble and kind, shy but with a wonderfully dark sense of humor. But she was also wild, and no one doubted or questioned that. She wanted it to stay that way. 

Her days were mostly the same, and time didn't matter. Only the seasons and the ebbs and flows of the moon, kept her to rhythm. Sometimes she dove into the sea. Some times she ran along the shore. Sometimes she stayed in her home, like a bear in a cave. Happy in the dark, trusting the light would return. 

One day, the nearby village was set on fire by invaders from a different land, who had come to spread the word of a new devotion. She could smell the smoke and the fear. She felt afraid that she would lose her freedom to her own inner wild, a freedom she would protect with her life and all she had. When they came for her, she had already left, crawling through the thickets of the Scottish highlands with nothing but her cloak which was so big and enveloping that she disappeared inside it. 

They set her home on fire, and her spinning wheel. She knew it without knowing it. She knew she could never go back. She spent the rest of her life hiding who she was, in fear of persecution. 

She clung to her wild nature, kept it locked inside her, wrapped up in her cloak of invisibility. Never again would she pray to the wool with which she spun in devotion, Never again would she offer her creations to the people that she loved to keep them warm and protected. Her own protection became her armor, and inside she turned to ice. 

What is wildness if it is held too tightly? What happens to a heart of ice?

When the swan came, she was still wandering. An old, old woman, frozen with sadness. We took her to the waters edge, the swan and eye, and we asked for the help of all our guides and ancestors to bring this woman back to joy. 

Her grandmother came, emerged from the sea. Same blue eyes that showed of a life of laughter snuffed out too soon, turned to ice. She was ancient as the cliffs and wrapped in seaweed, We cut her loose, unbound her arms and her throat and her stomach where the kelp had wrapped itself around her, enveloping her and dragging her deep into the inky water. 

She took her granddaughter’s face in her hands and said, "Be free, child. You are released as I am released"  and the woman removed her cloak, took her grandmother’s hand and together they transformed into wild geese, graceful feathered wings, warm blood and dark eyes they took to the sky, following the swan towards the horizon.


www.roxiejanehunt.com