by Linda Myers
(Note: This post describes how the theme for this year's rug show evolved. Join us for the show at Deer Valley in Park City this fall, November 2-4.)
At the 2011 Rug Show, I had lunch with one of the Elders and her granddaughter. The granddaughter had been struggling to stay in school and maintain positive family relationships. Her grandmother explained that there is an order in life which was established from the very beginning when the Holy Ones made their plans for setting up the sky. She said that when we go out in the evening and stand on Mother Earth we need to look up at the night sky and we will see the order above us.
The grandma said that there are star beings who watch over us. She described how the moon changes at certain times, just like we do. Sometimes we only show a little of ourselves, just like the quarter moon. But regardless of the phase of the moon, its light is always there shining on us. Sometimes when we have struggles with our families, we need to go outside at night and listen quietly to the stillness. The stars teach us to be quiet and reflective.
She said that in traditional ceremonies people wait for certain stars to be above the hogan before starting and that different ceremonies are held during different seasons. She said, “We always watch the night sky for guidance.”
As I listened to the grandma speak, I felt the faith she had in her beliefs and the strength of her connection to the skies. There was such a beauty in the way that she talked about the stars.
Later, I met with all of the weavers to talk about the possibility of weaving the night sky for this Rug Show. I asked them if they would be willing to share their traditional stories of the stars. The Elders listened then discussed their perspectives. Some said that they would weave rugs that represented the traditional star beings that appear in the sky when they weave their rugs. Some said they would weave the stars in the skies over their homelands.
The special rug featured on the cover of this year's rug catalog was woven by Miriam Whitehair. Miriam wove the rug to represent the sacred mountains at dusk. The evening stars, represented by crosses, fill the sky. The moon is shown with her feathers. The corn stalk represents the sacredness of life. A chief’s blanket at the bottom of the rug represents the male. Miriam is a young weaver. As we discussed her rug, I was touched by her knowledge of traditional teachings and their importance to her.
We received many rugs. Some of the weavers even wove several rugs because they enjoyed weaving the stars. Each rug has a story of sacredness associated with the design that brings me back to the grandma’s teaching to her granddaughter.