WHAT IS THE SPIRIT TRAIL?
The basis of the Weavers' Pathway concept is the traditional Navaho fear of being enclosed on all sides with no way of escape . . . the fear of enclosure is extended to weaving when a border surrounds the design.
In Navaho, two words are employed to indicate the consequences of weaving a rug with an enclosed border. They are adii je tlo, "too much weaving," a concept involving sickness of body, and adaage de tlo, "close yourself in," which can be considered a sickness of mind or spirit . . .
And so a complex concept emerges from a seemingly simple line - a concept involving the weaver's fear that in channeling all her energies and mental resources into a rug with an enclosing border, she may encircle and thereby entrap her spirit, mind, energies and design.
In jeopardy are future loom experiences: the continuous use of design, the well being of weaving muscles, and of paramount concern, her vision and sanity.
The moment of Pathway is the moment of liberation, of peace, of serenity - and a wish for the future: may the next weaving be even better.
Noel Bennett, "The Weaver's Pathway: A Clarification of the 'Spirit Trail' in Navaho Weaving," Northland Press, 1987.