This is is the fourth creative piece I have completed as part of my Witchlines studies, this time imagining the clothing and adornments that may have been worn by a young girl of Old Europe as she enters into womanhood.
Crowning the Blossoming Body
Her bleeding had begun, just after midwinter, and with the return of spring, she knew it was her time to dance with the other women, to waken new life, and herself. She entered the temple where they waited, in the inner room, and there they were: her mother and grandmother, her sister and aunt—all of the women who had danced the dance before her. She sank into their embraces, bathed in their kind words. She was becoming one of them.
In the warmth of the room, by the oven which glowed within, and in sight of Her, they removed her clothing, then anointed her body with herb-infused water, gently combing it through her hair, which fell loose down her bare back. Around her waist they draped an ankle-length skirt, newly woven by her grandmother, the fabric the colour of river sand. Over this they tied a belt of clay medallions, their heaviness pleasing on her hips; and from this belt hung a fringe of leather cords, weighted at the ends with small clay beads, which would click and jangle as she swayed.
Encircling her upper arms, woven bands of hemp were tied, three on each side—the number of She who is one, who is two, who is three. On her small, firm breasts, her mother painted spirals of red ochre, giving her eyes, moons, whirls of energy, with which to pass into womanhood. Over her breasts were hung long bead necklaces of greenstone and white spondylus shell—precious things that said earth and water and beauty. And last of all, they set a garland of woven greenery on her head, the first emergence of early spring, to crown her blossoming body.
Then, dressed in their finery, smelling of wild thyme, with hair flowing, breasts bare, long fringes undulating, and beads clinking, the women emerged into the chill of the spring morning to dance.
|Figurine from the Vinča culture, c. 4500–3500 BCE|
(Source: Wikimedia, by Sailko)