We are into the second year of running the Journey to the Golden Fleece course now, and there have been some amazing experiences and rewards to both Arlene and I during this time. We have been blessed with the opportunity to share in the process and creative activities of the course participants, and been allowed to discover insights and learn about them in quite profound ways. Today I would like to share with you a story that one of the participants has written to describe her own journey through the course. Randi has given me permission to post her beautiful piece here, along with photos of her course work, I am sure you will find this as inspiring as I did, and the culmination of this journey in the final piece is just incredible, it contains all the elements of the story and they come together perfectly (pictured at the end of the story of course!)
This story brings us the magical side of a Golden Fleece journey in fairy tale form, it is a very imaginative and creative and beautifully written, thank you so much for sharing this with us Randi!
Once there was a woman who lived in a little cottage in a village near the sea with her two dogs. She was a wise woman in many ways, people often came to her for advice on how to heal their hearts. However, when it came to ways with money she had made some foolish decisions and so had to still work into her old age at the local school in service to the KIng, teaching the village children. While she loved the children, the King often made terrible rules about the education of children and the awful rules took all the joy out of learning, so the woman hated her job at the school. She wished that she could quit but because she had borrowed huge sums of money from the King, she was in his debt and could not leave her job for fear of being put in Debtor’s Prison.
In the evenings the woman found solace in spinning beautiful yarns on her spinning wheel. She would often go to the farmers and get the fleeces they had not sold at market. She would spin them and often dye them rainbow shades using plants from her garden. She would then use these yarns to knit garments for the poor or create beautiful weavings for the villager’s homes. She loved working with her hands and making beautiful things. She knew that creating things was healing for both her and the people who received her handmade gifts.
One day she heard that the King was having a Royal Contest to find the spinner in the kingdom who could create a magical yarn for a tapestry to be woven for the palace. This yarn must combine the lightness of the Wind, the softness yet firmness of the Earth, the flowing colors of the Sea, and the brilliant spark of Fire from the Sun. The spinner who could do this would win a Golden Fleece and would be given the Keys to the Kingdom.
She did not know how to create such a yarn, so she found a trusted friend to care for her dogs and she set out on a journey to find all the Elements she would need for the magical yarn. She felt sadness as she began, thinking of her mother and all that had happened since her death. She took some silk flowers that had been always by her mother’s side and put them in her satchel. She knew she had to go on this adventure in her mother’s honor and to fulfill her own destiny in the time she had left on Earth.
As she travelled the road she came to a dark forest. She knew she had to go into the forest to get to the King’s palace but had hoped it wouldn’t come so soon. As she slowly went through the dark woods, she could not see well and there were many thorns on the thick bushes. Her clothes got caught on the sharp needles and she could see ribbons of cloth were shredded from her clothes and were now hanging off the briar bushes. She collected the ribbons and put them in her satchel as she pressed on and soon she moved out of the dark woods onto a sunny path.
Suddenly, she heard a sound from above. It was a beautiful yet fierce Hawk. He beckoned her closer and as she approached he spread his wings, dropping several beautiful feathers as he said, “Keep all that you find on your journey for the tapestry you will create. Here is one of my feathers for the Wind. Next you must go near the Sea.” Then the Hawk flew off. She put his feathers along with the silk flowers and the ribbons into her bag and wandered further until she came to the fork in the road that led down to the Sea.
As she went near the water she found many stones, but they were all lodged firmly in the dark wet sand. She began to dig down with her hands and soon she was able to dislodge some beautiful little pebbles. As she picked them up from the wet sand they began to dry and transform into little buttons with holes that could be sewn. Here was the Element of Earth she would need for her tapestry. She put them in her knapsack and looked out to the Sea.
As she watched the water she wondered how she would take the flowing colors of the sea and spin them. All of a sudden she saw the Hawk from above. She saw his shadow over the water and there, floating on the waves were a myriad of sea grasses, gleaming with beautiful shades of green, blue and purple. She waded through the waves and gathered them to dry. Here was the Element of Water she would weave into her creation.
As she sat on the shore she pondered the last Element. How could she find a brilliant spark of the Sun to spin? She sat looking at the sea grasses and once again, she saw a shadow from above. The Hawk was circling and as he flew above a great flash hit the shore. She jumped up startled and when she looked down, she saw part of the sea grass was on fire! She heaped some sand upon the flames and when the last flame went out she saw part of the grasses had turned to Firestar, a glistening gold Sun-fiber to spin. She knew she could spin this Element of Fire into her creation.
Now she had her Elements. She took out her spindle, attached some wool she had brought along to bind the Elements and began to spin. Soon she had spun the flowers, the ribbons, the feathers, the buttons, the grasses and the Firestar with her spindle. She wrapped the yarn around the stone in a ball and set off to take it to the King, the Hawk guiding her all the way from above.
When she reached the palace the contest had begun. The King and his Royal Artists were looking at each skein, deciding which would make the Royal Tapestry for the palace. At last he took her precious ball, which plied the lightness of the Wind, the soft yet firm colors of the Earth, the flowing colors of the Sea, and the brilliant spark of Fire from the Sun. “Yes, I have found it!” proclaimed the King. He turned to the woman and proclaimed her the winner. He gave her the Golden Fleece , the Keys to the Kingdom. She was able to crochet and weave a tapestry with the yarn. The King displayed it in the palace for all to see. The King also made her The Commissioner of Creativity at his school and she could show the children how to weave the Elements of Earth into the magical tapestries of their lives.
The woman returned to her home and her dogs in the village. She had gained fame throughout the land and was able to teach many children and adults how to spin the Elements into the magical yarns of their lives. She spent her days meeting with people who wanted to learn how to use their creativity to heal themselves and live meaningful lives. She lived happily ever after for many, many years doing what she loved.