Spiraling into the Center



Spiraling into the Center

Spiraling into the center
The center of the shield
Spiraling into the center
The center of the shield
I am the weaver
I am the woven one
I am the dreamer
I am the dream
I am the weaver
I am the woven one
I am the dreamer
I am the dream

—words & music by Lorna Kohler, ©1989–2016


The Story

I am with a group of women, some of us mothers, all of us daughters. We sit in silence together. We listen to each other’s stories. One woman suggests making shields.

I have been wondering what to do with the shirts I wore when I was pregnant: three embroidered blouses from India, white, turquoise, and golden yellow; two of striped cotton, white, blue and yellow, red, green and blue; a plaid smock from Guatemala with an embroidered wool panel across the top of gathered cloth woven from red, green, blue, and white threads. I know I will not wear them again. I want to honor these garments and give new form to the creative energy they contain. They will become my shield.

My daughters and I walk into the garden. They help me choose a branch from a rose bush and watch me cut it with a knife. Thorns pierce my fingertips as I curve the wood into a hoop. One by one, I grasp each shirt and tear it into strips. I tie the strips around the hoop, covering the wood and the thorns. The colors spiral, over and under, as I weave the strips, forming a circular fabric with ragged ends around a hole in the center of the shield.

My older daughter observes, “It’s not finished yet.”

I braid the ends, linking them at the center by buttoning the cuff of the embroidered golden yellow blouse. Stepping back, I see the head and body of a fetus in the open spaces between the braids, one long turquoise cord connected to the umbilicus in the center.


Filled with the rhythm and wonder of making the shield, I dream of seeing words written in blazing golden light:

“I am the weaver I am the woven one I am the dreamer I am the dream”

Informed by the weaving, I add, “Spiraling into the center, the center of the shield” and listen for the tune. Gestures come, and steps: a circle dance of the making of the shield, alternating between initiating and receiving, spiraling in and spiraling out. The next summer, I teach the song and the dance to a circle of women and men on the University of California Santa Cruz campus, overlooking Monterey Bay. From there, the song flies around the world. I make a recording of Spiraling into the Center and eleven other original songs and copy right all of them in 1989.

Spiraling into the Center—© 1989 Lorna Kohler

1 thought on “Spiraling into the Center

  1. Hi Lorna,

    Your song was shared with me at a women’s song circle last year and the lyrics stayed with me in a deep place.

    This year, I was at a women’s gathering in Oregon called Spirit Weavers. There is a web of rope that has been woven among trees on the land that I would go to lay in and sing by myself to replenish my energy. While I was laying there looking up into the trees your lyrics came back to me and I played within them, finding my own song for this land and experience.

    I am the weaver
    I am the woven one
    I am the dreamer
    I am the Dream

    I am the forest
    I am the tree
    I am the orchard
    I am the seed

    I am the currents
    I am the stream
    I am you
    And you are me

    This song has brought unmeasurable comfort, joy, and expression to me. Thank you. I am deeply grateful for the gift of your song. I honor your creation and would like to ask for your blessing to share my interpretation with others at future song circles and to share your name and story when I do. Thank you!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s