Spring blessed us with a jam-packed journey to Ladakh. First, the SRS mothership flew to Leh for the Stok and Matho Oracle Festivals. It was an amazing visit, filled with lovely moments of Ladakhi hospitality: butter tea with a Buddhist abbot, lunch with friends in Gya village, morning assembly with the Siddhartha School children, and shopping with our pal Nikki Costello, yoga guru extraordinaire.
Then there were the meetings with the oracles. What was that like, you ask? Utterly transfixing. The oracles are inhabited by the spirits of warrior brothers from Eastern Tibet who came to Ladakh in the early 15th century. Two laymen in Stok village and two monks at Matho village offer their bodies to be inhabited by special spirits of historical and mythic significance to their communities. The spirits serve as protectors who forecast the coming year for the village and answer questions the villagers may have that are more personal/private. Photography is forbidden during their presentations, and it is quite a spectacle as they perform feats of strength, brandishing swords and spears and racing along the monastery rooftops. Laura wanted to ask about the New Approaches in Himalayan Education Conference at Columbia University this month (SRS is supporting the program through service and as a cosponsor). There was a lot of commotion, and she wasn't sure if the oracles would consider her question. She did feel like she received a blessing, though—along with a sinus infection that manifested on her return home.
Sometimes a blessing works that way. You get to burn off some karma and slow down. Are you curious about Ladakh and love textiles? (We are not oracles but venture to guess that if you are an SRS customer, you do.) Laura will lead a textile tour of Ladakh through Global Family Travels in September. This woman-owned travel company specializes in community-based, sustainable experiences in partnership with the Ladakh Arts and Media Organization (LAMO), a marvelous local community center and arts space established to articulate an alternative vision for arts and media in Ladakh. Laura would love to welcome you and introduce you to her friends, such as Monisha Ahmed, Executive Director of LAMO, author of Living Fabric: Weaving Among The Nomads Of Ladakh, and textile historian for the GFT tour.
We will explore ancient temples, royal halls, nomadic camps, and the bustling bazaar filled with handmade garments, furnishings, and liturgical items created from an array of fibers. This uniquely curated adventure provides hands-on, immersive learning opportunities with local artisans, livestock herders, conservationists, and religious leaders, to learn about the history of the Silk Road and the preservation of Ladakh's cultural heritage.
One of the tour highlights will be a botanical dyeing and weaving workshop at LENA, a Silk Road Spaceship collaboration partner. We stopped by their studio while we were in town, and they are working on beautiful new designs. If you appreciate handcrafted textiles and you'd like to learn more about the trip, rsvp to join GFT's May 2 information session:
Tour info here: https://www.globalfamilytravels.com/textile-tour-culture...
Register for May 2 event (1:30-3 pm PST / 4:30-6 pm EST):
Check out our Pashmina Shawl Collaboration with LENA here. We have an end-of-season sale going on right now, 30% OFF with code ORACLE. Jullay! (That's Ladakhi for Aloha, Mazel Tov, and everything good like that. —much love, the mothership.
PS: We have many more things in stock right now than are on the website, so whether you are looking for a gift or something special for yourself, message us, and we will gladly Zoom or Facetime from our showroom for personal shopping with Laura. As always, thank you for your enthusiasm and support for our enterprise.