Hard times – economic challenges are often associated with this term, but iron is hard, and so are horse shoes, they need to be hard to protect the hoof, the walk, the gait, the pace. Certainly poor economics does slow the pace of growth. Maybe that is a good thing.
In a Bad Mood – let the hot soul arise. Let the hot molten metal reflect your soul back to you. Work might do that for you. Work is the reflection of your soul. Physical work is less common than it used to be, work with product, unlike work in the gym or on a track. The blacksmith works alone. She values solitude but loses the ability to work in small groups. Both pure physical activity and being a soulferrier pushes me into solitude, so I can pace myself and set my own goals.
Ideas are food for the soul. Brainstorming or Bluesky is a process of throwing out random thoughts in a group, then selecting pertinent or relevant ones and building on the best ones. It starts with a suspension of critique. Suspension of critique is essential to the process and the best ideas often come intuitively and unexpectedly.
Who would be my ‘bounce buddy’ or my dream-weaver? I crave interactions of the intuitive with rapid acceptance.
I have created a facebook group called DreamPreen which is for discussions, tossing around ideas, and forming those in new ways. You can ask to join if you wish by logging onto facebook and searching for the name. I picked the name because it was not currently being used, but was visualizing a web catching the free flowing ideas; a weaver and dream catcher.
It came to mind today, while shoveling snow for what seems like forever, that the blacksmith uses snow to temper iron to a sharp edge. Snow is useful, a tool, and in limited supply. So too, is stoicism a tool, for the stoic says “Do the hard part first” and that decision has served me well over the years.
Conversation is measured by the hammer, the heat and the shaping process. Rapid cooling tempers the work of the forge. Rapid cooling benefits conversation too, there is that need to temper the tongue. How do you use cooling to advantage?
There are some rather broad and elaborate definitions of soul, but for this purpose the Soul is defined as emotional animation with intellectual vitality. That might be demonstrated by remembering the excitement in starting an activity which is reinforced by thoughts of how much we enjoy that activity. Then a Soul Ferrier is one who skillfully places the intellect and emotion into the fire of vitality to balance and shape the traveler’s steps, similar to the blacksmith shaping hot iron. The high heat washes out imperfections in metal. Weaker elements of thought may bring out-of-control emotion, the soul shaper must collect and value action arising out of thought and emotion. Soul is about the minor and the hidden internal things we might forget to value about ourselves. Soul might be called the inner angelic world, the inner message or communication, the inner emissary, but certainly not the inner mean-critic. Combining soul with the inner critic forges iron and brings discipline and stoicism, something not very popular in post-modernism days.
Reading about soul music is interesting. It might be described as a combination of secular interpretations of gospel and responsiveness to a call. Words are carriers of the soul, so it follows that words might also carry iron-like strength, and might provide service and protection. Let our words be the horseshoe that protects our walk through the rocks.
Around 1500 BC and on to 1200 BC, the smelting of iron became common. The technology to make fires hot enough to melt iron did not arise until the 16th century, when smelting operations grew enough to require overly large bellows. These produced blast-furnace temperatures high enough to melt partially refined ores, resulting in cast iron. Thus cast iron frying pans and cookware did not become possible in Europe until 3000 years after the introduction of iron smelting. China, in a separate developmental tradition, was producing cast iron at least 1000 years before this.
Although iron is quite abundant, good quality steel remained rare and expensive until the industrial developments of Bessemer process in the 1850s. Close examination of blacksmith-made antique tools clearly shows where small pieces of steel were forge-welded into iron to provide the hardened steel cutting edges of tools (notably in axes, adzes, chisels, etc.). In the medieval period, blacksmithing was considered part of the set of seven mechanical arts. Prior to the industrial revolution, a “village smithy” was a staple of every town. (Wikipedia)
To Be Continued
Factories and mass-production reduced the demand for blacksmith-made tools and hardware. The original fuel for forge fires was charcoal. Coal did not begin to replace charcoal until the forests of first Britain (during the AD 17th century), and then the eastern United States of America (during the 19th century) were largely depleted. During the early to mid-nineteenth century both European armies as well as both the U.S. Federal and Confederate armies employed blacksmiths to shoe horses and repair equipment such as wagons, horse tack, and artillery equipment. The use of screw cutting Lathes in the 1790’s started a decline in blacksmithing, replacing them with machinists. As demand for their products declined, many blacksmiths augmented their incomes by taking in work shoeing horses. A shoer-of-horses was historically known as a farrier in English. A farrier combines some blacksmith‘s skills (fabricating, adapting, and adjusting metal shoes) with some veterinarian‘s skills (knowledge of the anatomy and physiology of the lower limb) to care for horses’ feet. A renewed interest in blacksmithing occurred as part of the trend in “do-it-yourself” and “self-sufficiency” that occurred during the 1970s. Some modern blacksmiths produce decorative metalwork and refer to themselves as artist-blacksmiths. Source: From Wikipedia
Note: I spell it Ferrier, the way it sounds to me.
Did we lose anything in the industrial revolution with the change in the trades?
Have you ever been told to ‘get over it’, or ‘stop living in the past’. Recently I received a different message, one that says we should honour our past and perhaps spend a bit of time contemplating it. Our past, our history, is rich and full of treasures. The Ferrier is an occupation nearly obsolete, except in relation to racetracks. It is no longer a profession for the working person. Yet, coming from a family who were practicing Blacksmiths, there is so much to enjoy about my strong heritage. It is a privilege to remember the work of a Ferrier.
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My Dad, who learned to be a metal worker during the Second World War, said that a result only works if the ingredients are right. Some metals are incompatible with others. The heat must be right for the metal being worked.
The soul farrier is someone with iron in her blood. While iron may rust, it is something our bodies require. It carries oxygen. What carries your oxygen? Perhaps it is being around other creative people? What is the perfect mix of opposing ingredients?
I guess I could research the smith’s process. There is iron in perfect choices. The iron print of a horseshoe is sharper in the dust (the tracker knows) just as our soul print is sharper with the force of drive, drive to heal, drive to connect and drive to touch.
We are shaped even by the things that happen that we don’t want, the bad relationships, the arguments at work, the crisis barely averted. Horses sense danger and respond with heightened awareness of their surroundings, oftentimes trying to flee if the situation seems too dangerous to them. Anything might set them off, a bee or the sound of a hummingbird, a dark shape such as piled logs, even a scent they interpret as predator. They are not predators, although I have seen them attack a particularly annoying dog, bite the ass of a rider as she mounts, or play annoyingly mean jokes.
I could research equine therapy and incorporate my findings here. It is thought that horses have similar behaviors in common with humans, such as social and responsive behaviors. That finding annoys me a little because, as a rider, I figure I have to be able to outsmart a horse. It’s a survival thing!
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Solitude Made Perfect
I heard a term recently that got my attention. Solitude Made Perfect. What would that look like as a daily goal I wonder? It would mean I do my own thing in my own way on my own time. To include the Ferrier theme, a horse needs the freedom of the open field, soft grass underfoot, sweet cold clear water from mountain streams. Sweet grass we call it in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Sweet grass is a product of a fragile ecosystem. Like wind on wet skin, un-
gloved hands, the burn of an ember on the finger; mess and dependency on others makes me tend to avoid the quick action needed to form the molten shape of my introspection.