The Braided River

KERDÂ BLAIDÂ

This is a very special place on the Weavers’ Trail – it is where we witness, honour and celebrate sisters who have completed all three journeys, all thirteen moons and all 533 footsteps of the Wedjê Kerdâ. This is a wonderful accomplishment for the travelling sister but also a profound inspiration for everyone who is undertaking a trail journey or thinking about stepping into this braided river.

Some women travel here with quiet tread and whispered song; others choose to weave into the nourishment of the trail community through all the different ways that happens. Some women will step out of the final footstep and set off through the mist to explore a new beckoning path; others will choose to continue their journey here in some form, spiralling around and deepening into their Daweyo, Lagyâno and Soitlâ experiences, discovering new possibilities to braid into this river. Everything is honoured here.

This is not a graduation or a completion or a finishing line; those words are far too linear for this trail! To fully acknowledge our travelling sister as she finally steps out of the Soitlâ bone dreaming house, we use the word blaidâ: a celebration or joyous ceremony to mark her arrival, to honour her return, to witness that she has found herself here. And kerdâ means sacred trail, pilgrimage and quest – she has truly journeyed through all three journeys with commitment, wonder, courage, intuitive wisdom and trust. We honour you, sister, with this Kerdâ Blaidâ.

Each Soitlâ sister is invited to offer some words to this page that might catch something of the essence of her journey and a photo of herself or, if she prefers, a shrine or sacred item that she has worked with during her travels. The arrival of women onto this page will be steady but slow; there may be three hundred women travelling on the trail at any one moment, but it takes dedication and time to reach, enter and fully experience the Soitlâ’s dreaming house. I give gratitude to each woman who has come this far and send blessings to your onward journey wherever that will carry you. You are an inspiration to all your trail sisters and we thank you for everything you have shared along the way.

Rity

Here I am in the wild, windswept and free, the sea roaring behind me, bringing forward treasures and the feeling of peace within. I am happiest when walking outside in the wild and the Weavers’ Trail encourages this wild connection with nature, with your true free self and our sacred ancestors and spirit women. The Weavers Trail has enhanced my spiritual and personal growth, it has given me a sense of community and true sisterhood, it has made me feel connected to other women in a way I haven’t experienced before. This isn’t a course in the traditional sense of the word, it is a way of being, it weaves into your life and becomes a lifetime journey. Now I have come to the end it doesn’t feel like the end, it very much feels like the beginning, and I know I will be spiralling around for a long time to come! I have been lucky enough to visit Carolyn’s land three times now and I have always found her work extremely profound, powerful, and inspiring. Therefore, when the opportunity arose to work with Carolyn online with regular gatherings, I signed up immediately, what a wonderful thing to be offered! Carolyn is such a warm, genuine, and wise woman, so full of integrity, how could I not want to work with her in this way, exploring her work of many years. The Weavers’ Trail has given me time for myself, a focus on something that can be woven into my everyday life. As a mother to a four-year-old wild princess, I have loved having the Trail as something for me and I continue to do so. I love to create and craft and if it’s something to use on the Trail, even better. The Trail has helped me become more confident with my public speaking, talking to lots of wonderful supportive women really helps. Currently I am going back over the Proto-Celtic words as I didn’t focus on these as much the first time around, only the words in the written texts provided by Carolyn. As a plant mad woman and herbalist, I am focusing on beautiful words for my favourite plants, I am very much enjoying seeing the words and hearing how they sound. There is so much to keep exploring even after walking the whole Trail once already. Thank you so much to Carolyn for creating this wonderful Trail and to all the wonderful women who are walking it with me. Rity

Nicola

At summer solstice 2022 I began the Weavers’ Trail and finished just after autumn equinox 2023. Although I read through the entire trail content within the 13 Moons I have not started any of the craft tasks so my hope is that if anyone else feels unable to move forward on the trail due to anxiety around craft skills or worried that they must tick each footstep in order, I hope that my own non-linear journey is able to inspire others to feel that they too can pause in some parts and race through others. For me the braided river has been a deeply personal and life changing experience; I feel I will be part of this trail for the rest of my life. It is not just a course or a quest to be completed; the trail  has become a community of sisterhood and connection that can grow and blossom. I have never been part of any other online workshops or  taken part in any in-person workshops. I have lived a very  secluded life and only participated in my first sister circle weekend on Dartmoor last summer, which I found added immensely to my ongoing transformation and personal growth. I feel that Carolyn’s work is very special and she is one of the few people who has that rare quality of being a genuine guide and teacher with deep authenticity and profound integrity and those qualities are what pulled me to work with her. This trail journey teaches me how to listen, it’s not so much about acquiring information or making creative progressions, for me it’s about undoing not gaining; what I love about this path is it teaches that embracing our inner realms and shedding spirals are a vital part of our integrity. True authenticity is found within; that’s where we meet our wise inner woman and this trail supports and encourages that. The trail has deeply fuelled my inspiration and creativity and I can’t even begin to describe how empowered and witnessed I have felt along the way. Halfway through my Daweyo journey my mum fell ill with terminal cancer, I was suddenly her full time live in carer and it was the trail that gave me strength to do that. While caring for her I would play her the trail songs and sing her the wrakkâ-yîkkâ chant which she adored and found healing. I started to write my own chants to help with my grief and they really seemed to channel the pain and still do now. My mum died as I stepped into Lagyâno and that pain and loss propelled me up Lagyâno’s mountain with my mum’s spirit on my back, the grief holding my focus and immersion. I feel with every bone and drop of blood in my body that the pain and challenges we face in life and on this trail are there to be embraced and not to run from. Soitlâ has reminded me that carrying sorrow is a life- long skill. For me, this  journey is about yielding to an internal, invisible, intangible practice, kerdâ, and staying true to it. This trail has helped me to find and reclaim my voice; discovering the Proto-Celtic language has been hugely life changing for me. It feels like our sisterhood grows and deepens through the sharing of our vulnerability not just our strengths. I hope that other travellers will be as inspired and transformed as I have been on this trail, and find the blessings hidden here as healing and profound in shaping their journey and life as they have been for me. love from Nicola

Tiggy

Through the doorway of the bone dreamers house I have stepped and now I stand in another liminal place, in the teeth of an easterly blowing the North Sea up an east coast beach in southern Scotland. Inland there are signs of spring, the blackthorn are erupting into bloom, and the elder is bursting bud but winter still holds sway and nowhere more so than at the coast with freezing wind chill at my back. The Braided river trail has truly been a journey along the motherline for me, a tracing of ancestry and reconnection to the women who have always stood at my back, passing their bundles, blessings and words, hand to hand, lips to ears, forward to me. Through the land of my birth and my immediate foremothers to the far distant mothers who travelled west before the great ice came. Further back to mothers who we might not normally include as family but kin they truly are, their footsteps left on a muddy coastline every bit as human as the ones I leave on this post-ice beach. I had thought this trail might lead to the northern ice but I realise I have already travelled that path in another life. All rivers lead to the sea (or most of them anyway) and I find this trail has delivered me a wide open horizon, one that looks eastwards towards another trail I have only recently glimpsed in dreams. A wide nomadic trail that hints of open grasslands, wild steppes, vast deserts and free running herds. The basket I carry forward is a small one containing only what I need from the sisterhood of weavers; my ancestors oracle with its cave painted waymarks, a felt and fur wrapped bone oracle, a felted pouch for berries and herbs and a fire making pouch…and lastly a piece of reindeer hide just large enough to pad the seat bones. If I listen to the roar of wind and wave I fancy I can hear the drumming of hooves…. perhaps a new drum will be needed for the future trail. Tiggy