I find this a fascinating word, in that, like ‘tangible sanctity‘, it links together the physical and the spiritual. Crafting is the physical process of creating something, as opposed to artistry, which has more cerebral overtones. The Craft is also another name for witchcraft, an earthy spiritual practice that has been reborn as Wicca in the twentieth century. There’s something very compelling about a word that blurs the boundaries between the mundane and the sacred.
‘Craft’ comes from the Old English and originally meant ‘strong’ or ‘powerful’, just as ‘kraft’ in Swedish means ‘strong’ today. It is linked with notions of authenticity through physical presence, strength and longevity.
‘Craft’ has its negative, as well as positive, associations, with definitions around ‘deceit’ or ‘cunning’. Is it a coincidence that the art of the witch so readily took the name ‘witchcraft’ rather than ‘witchery’? The cunning man or woman was the local practitioner or folk magic in centuries past, synonymous with the witch.
There’s something authentic and inspirational about ‘crafting’, with body and mind working together to create harmony between crafter and material world, crafting objects in accordance with pure will. You might almost say craft and magic are one and the same, our craftspeople akin to powerful and respected witches or cunning folk.
A craft is also a vehicle, but more specifically a small boat. Crafting an honourable relationship with our sacred environment and heritage is much like manoeuvring a small boat. Sometimes the waterways are calm and reflective, sometimes stormy and tempestuous, but we are always reliant upon our skills and our appreciation of the power of nature, and how to work with it rather than fight it.