Calendula Tincture

I have always had an interest in herbalism. Over the years I have made healing foods and drinks, natural bath/body and home products, blends for various uses, etc from store bought, Wild harvested and home grown goods. My husband says plants are my thing (his are crystals/stones/minerals). I tend to focus on certain skills and crafts for extended periods of time and recently pulled out of a crochet mania to study and “play” again. A really great herbal magazine and family herbalism course came into my life at the same time my mind started to wander back and I took it as a sign. 

One of the first things I did was start making tinctures. Inspired by the course I started first with vanilla extract. I want that to brew for a longer period than the minimum suggested so instead I am turning to what I started next for my first blog on the subject. A calendula tincture. 

I have various skin issues that have been with me for much of my life. It’s a combination of genetics, diet and potentially other issues such as inflammation. I looked into breastfeeding safe herbs I could ingest as part of a regime to heal myself and calendula came up as an option. I had just enough for a small batch and got towork! 

Some uses of calendula can be found here: https://www.google.com/amp/s/draxe.com/calendula/amp/

I took my dried calendula I put in my tea and crushed it a bit in one of my mortar and pestles. 

It came out to just over 1/2 cup not being pressed down or fully powdered. I considered it half a cup. 

I then added a full cup of 100 proof vodka (80+ is best though some say 90+ proof). For this particular plant it was suggested to do a 1:2 ratio. Others may be different so look into different information on plants if you plan to make a tincture. Some dried herbs suggest adding distilled water but for this I decided not to. 

I put the ingredients in a jar and stored in my herb cupboard. It is preferred not to have air space like mine but it wouldn’t fit into any other jars I had so I took a chance. It turned out fine. I probably wouldn’t risk it again however. 

I shook it every day for the period I had it brewing. Then I let it sit undisturbed 24 hours before straining. The minimum suggested is 2 weeks of shaking plus 1 day of rest. I left mine for almost a month and strained right before the New Moon. I may be a Heathen but I have a witchy side as well. The longer the better is a general rule for tinctures. 

Once done I strained it in a plastic strainer. I have seen suggestions not to use any metal so I take that advice. 

The herbs really soak up a lot so I would pressed it out well, let it rest then go at it again. 


My funnels have not yet arrived so I placed the amber glass bottle in a bowl to catch any of the tincture that might spill and used a measuring cup to pour. 

I put the tincture in several smaller bottles (2oz) but any size or amount works. I bought mine off of Amazon but usually buy locally despite the large price difference. 

Label with the name and date bottled! My handwriting is awful. I use tape to stick paper on mine but you can get fancy with special labels! 

Tinctures last several years if stored properly. I’ll be adding a few drops a day to coffee or tea daily. Starting off small and building up to more drops as this is a new-to-me tincture. You can take directly on the tongue or add to food or drink like I do. 

Be sure to look out for future tincture and herbalism blogs! I’m only an aspiring herbalist so please do your own research!

Natural Bug Repellent 

In a group I help run I posted about a natural bug (and arachnid) repellent I was making for our porch and patio today. It was essentially half my essential oils and a stick of cinnamon I soaked in a half and half vinegar/water mix. There are many different oils and herbs one could procure to help ward off a variety of bugs without chemicals. 

Some of these include:

*Lavender

*Citronella

*Lemongrass

*Tea Tree

*Eucalyptus

*Mint (any kind)

*Marigold

*Geranium

*Cedarwood

*Rosemary

*Citrus – Lemon, Lime, Orange, Grapefruit, etc. 

*Cinnamon

*etc. 

I usually do a mix of what I have on hand to ward off different types of bugs but if you have a specific pest you can easily find specific herb/s for them.

After I have made my repellent I either add a cup to a gallon of water and wash the porch with it or I put it in a spray bottle and spray around door and window frames, etc. I would avoid getting this near your plants. If you have children or animals I would spray where they can’t lick or touch it and/or use only safe ingredients that won’t harm them if accidentally consumed.

If I’m making something for the skin I use half witch hazel instead of vinegar and put it in a spray bottle. Be careful not to spray too close to clothing as it can stain. Spraying on shoes or socks before a hike is helpful. 

Alternatively, you can add a 2% dilution of these oils to body lotion and do a rest patch to make sure you are not allergic. Please look into the properties of the oils before attempting this. I am just giving suggestions as a place to start researching. 

Here is a basic bug repellent I used to make: 
Witch Hazel soaked in fresh Geranium and Marigold (then strained!), Spring Water, Essential Oils of Lavender, Peppermint, Lemongrass, Eucalyptus, Tea Tree and Citronella. 

I don’t have the exact amounts as I do things as I go without recipes half the time. I would still make a 2% dilution of the oils. The herbs should be soaked 1-2 weeks. Dried works as well. 

I hope this proves helpful in the warm months ahead! 

A Year Of Crochet 

In November I celebrated one full year of learning crochet. It was an on and off journey as I had other crafts I enjoy that I would spend long periods of time on instead. With the holidays coming up and a husband that was at sea I decided several months ago to focus almost solely on crochet. It was the craft I know most people I was going to give gifts to would enjoy. I also snuck in quite a few things for my toddler and baby that is on the way. The more I made the more I learned. I progressed and learned more about crochet in the last month than I have learned the rest of the time I have been learning. I can now read patterns a bit better and am more confident in my abilities as well as what I know I can tackle. 

Here are some of the things I have made recently:

I can’t wait to continue this journey and expand my knowledge and experience. I’m hoping with two little ones I’ll have plenty of projects year round to work on for them and others. Mamamade goods they can give their own kids should they choose to have any. 

To see more pictures and updates find me on: 

Instagram: theheathenhomesteader

Facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/theheathenhomesteader

Homemade Edible Play Dough 

Yesterday was a busy day. Cooking, cleaning, baking and mommying. A friend suggested I make my toddler play dough to help keep her happy and busy when I can’t be hands on with her. I have been wanting to make play dough for some for quite a while but never got around to it. I have made it before when I was younger for my baby sister and kids I babysat over the years but it was time my little one had some too. This recipe is safe for toddlers in case they decide to eat some. It makes quite a bit too! I ended up giving half to the neighbors!

You will need: 

*2 1/2 cups flour (unsure how gluten free flours would work if you are curious)

*2 cups hot water 

*1/2 cup salt (I used Kosher)

*3 tablespoons vegetable oil (I used melted coconut) 

*1 tablespoon cream of tartar

For coloring and/or flavoring you can use 2 packages of a powdered drink such as Kool-Aid or use food coloring and either food grade “kids safe” edible essential oils or flavoring extract. For the second option I would experiment with what works for you to determine how much you need. 

Start heating up water. I used a pot on the stove top but you can use a tea kettle or a microwave. 

Mix flour, salt and cream of tartar. 

Add flavoring and oil. Mix well! 

Add food coloring to the water if you are using it. 

Pour water into flour mixture. 

Mix! Mix! Mix! 

If you need to alter the color a bit feel free to here.

You will need to mix for about 10 minutes until it becomes smooth, flexible and cool. Alternatively, you can knead it once it cools for the same amount of time. Kneading produces a better dough I have found. 

Store in an air tight container when not in use. Have fun! 

Working With Essential Oils For Rosacea 

My whole life I have had pink skin. As a child it was cute. Eternally rosy cheeks and an easily reddened face. When I got older it got more red. Red OVER pink. Then dry patches and random skin issues arose. My mom suspected rosacea. It was never “bad enough” that I wanted to seek help. Instead, I started using lavender to help the redness. It worked decently when using regularly. I used infused oils, water infusions and essential oil from the plant at different times. Using what I had when I had it. Since moving to the Pacific Northwest last Summer from Southern California my skin became more dry. Whereas it was more oily before. Rough patches and redness started to make more of an appearance. Then recently a full rash spread like a trail across my face. I took pictures and immediately sent them to my mom. A nurse with many years experience in dermatology. The next day she confirmed her diagnoses with one of the doctors she works with. It was rosacea. She immediately began researching pregnancy safe medication for me. Whereas I ran to our essential oils. 

I had been neglecting using essential oils on my face for a few months prior to the breakout. I had started infused oils that ended up in baths and simply never got around to making my usual concoction to help my skin with essential oils to make up for it. I was using rose infused jojoba oil as a spot treatment for dry patches but found it too heavy for all over wear for my face (it is perfect for the rest of me though!) but it wasn’t enough. So when my husband found his essential oils by chance shortly after I had more of a confirmation on what was going on it felt like it was all clicking into place on what I needed to do. I grabbed our family oils and his collection (this was before we started buying them together) and headed to the bathroom to get to work.

My easy remedy to ease the redness was lavender essential oil in my light sensitive skin oil free face moisturizer. I use different brands depending on where we are and what is available but I always choose the light formulas for sensitive skin and that generally means oil free as well. Depending on the size of the bottle I would use 5-20 drops and mix well. Leaving overnight to “infuse” the lotion. This time I used lavender, rosemary and my husbands all time favorite helichrysum or “Immortella” oil. I added 5 drops of each as well as 5 drops of my rose infused jojoba oil. The difference is incredible! The first day the rash on my cheek went away along with some redness. A few days later the rash under my bottom lip was gone. A week later and only some redness remained. Less than I have had in probably a year or so. I still have dry spots the size of my 17 month olds pinky nail but I gently exfoliate daily and it’s not bad at all. I also found an activated charcoal cold process soap in the cupboard I began to use after someone I recently met suggested it as shelf full aide. 

Other essential oils for rosacea include: German chamomile, rose geranium (or just geranium), rosewood, tea tree, eucalyptus, thyme and others. Please be sure to always dilute your oils. A 2-5% dilution is generally recommended. Do your research prior to use if pregnant, nursing, taking medication, et cetera. I am only giving advice based off of my own research and experiences and I am not a medical professional. If you use oils on your face I would stay out of direct sunlight and from enduring long sun exposure! 

I’m not saying essential oils cure everything or anything at all. It has just helped me PERSONALLY in taming my symptoms immensely. Rosacea sometimes worsens around age 30 and I’m pregnant and turning 28 this month. Soon I will seek the advice of a medical professional in the case that it may worsen with age. Holistic healing is an amazing thing but we don’t scorn most modern medicine in our house. We use both! A gut friendly diet is also recommended for rosacea as many say it may stem from there. So eat well and do your research! If anything with using oils…at least you’ll smell good! 

Midsummer 2016

I joked a few days ago that when you’re a single person celebrating a holy day it seems to be a lot easier to do what you planned. Even last minute. Even with no plan. To have funds for supplies for cooking or craft making, to follow a schedule or ritual of sorts, etc. That in comparison being a parent with a family and a child/children can be a lot more difficult. That you can plan all you want but inevitably you’ll probably end up with pizza delivered as your family feast. With a mumbled: “Sorry. It’s pizza again.” When you’re setting out the first serving as an offering. That half your crafts may be unfinished and you’ll be cleaning your sacred space up right before it’s time to use it instead of preparing it ahead of time. Luckily, we fared well for Midsummer this year.

My daughter woke me up with a soft “hai” about an inch from my face before she bounced down into my arm and snuggled her face against me. My husband was downstairs and came upstairs to greet us with a “Happy Solstice!” after hearing us get up. Soon after we ventured downstairs and my husband lured me into the kitchen to show me a nice clean table (such a rarity) and a piece foxglove he collected for me. He knows how much I love them and how sad I was they were all at the end of their lives by Midsummer. He found one with a few blooms left for me. Then he revealed he had actually collected everything. Top to root. That it was waiting for me in the garage. I was so happy! I had only harvested a root from this plant once before. He said: “I wonder what the neighbors think of me going for a run and coming back with a 5 foot plant.” Haha! As if they are not somewhat used to it. After that we listened to Swedish Midsummer music and watched videos on traditional celebrations before moving onto more child friendly songs for our toddler. AKA more upbeat songs with funny words that she laughs at without knowing what they mean. Accompanied by lots of silly dancing of course. Eventually, my husband made us his amazing waffles stuffed with goodies for a special breakfast and we sat together and enjoyed that. 

Throughout the day we cleaned and talked and enjoyed ourselves. My husband had opened up the house in the early hours of the morning so our home smelled like the sweet dampness of the dewy flora around our home mixed with the invigorating scent of various pine and Western Red Cedar from the forest behind our home. We burned candles and incense as the day grew slowly warmer. Lately, the sun has not made much of an appearance until the afternoon when it fights it’s way through the clouds. 

Other things we did were putting on brightly colored clothes (mostly) and then we went for a walk to collect wildflowers.

Checked on our small but thriving vegetable garden. 

Transplanted a Fern to a pot I painted with the rune “Sowilo” on it (and added a Lemurian Seed Quartz to the soil). 

Baked honey and strawberry cake with strawberry filling and cream cheese frosting. 

And honey and milk bread (with half coconut flour). 

Later, we played with friends outside and shared cake with them. 

Our “feast” wasn’t anything amazing as our day had been full of celebrating and merrymaking. We also were on our second day of celebrations! So cuddles with our daughter were called for to end the second day. 

The day period we had attended a local Midsummer event. We are lucky to live in an area with a part of the county that has a large Scandinavian population. There are many “Viking themed” shops and a local chapter of the “Sons of Norway” that holds regular classes, meetings and events that appeal to us. This year we were able to make one of their Midsummer events (last year we moved to the area a month late). 

We showed up to watch them decorate their midsommarstång (also called a majstång among other names) or “Midsummer Pole.” with local flora the club had collected. Once finished the children and teens from the club led a procession through the city to bring more people to watch the pole rise. Once gathered it took some time to raise the pole but it was fun to watch. Traditional Midsummer songs (in Swedish) were sung and dancing occurred. It was a ton of fun and I can’t wait to attend again next year! 

Making Sugar Scrubs! 

Sugar Scrubs are one of the easiest homemade body products you can make! For a very basic recipe you need a sugar of your choice, essential oils and then a carrier oil base. Clays, herbs, blends of different sugars, etc can also be added. Sugar Scrubs are great for removing dead skin naturally and for moisturizing the skin. They can also be very inexpensive to make! I am making a Lavender Sugar Scrub today! 

Lavender is not only calming but is used medicinally as an anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antidepressant, anti-fungal, anti-microbial and for detoxing to make a few things. If you’re magically inclined lavendercan be used for love, peace, happiness, to attract a lover, sleep (dreams/rest/etc), to relieve sorrow, purification, and OH so much more! It’s one of my favorites!

Getting Started! 

First off you will need a container. Glass is best in my eyes. I use jam jars as they are thick and easy to dip your fingers in to pull out the scrub. I also use the wide mouthed jars that are shorter. If you’re worried about dropping glass in the shower I would bring in a hand towel to hold it firmly. You could use plastic but it’s porous and will absorb oils as well as not keep as long. 

For sugar I used raw Tamarind sugar in this blend. There are various sugars on the market. Ranging from exotic and expensive to cheap white cooking sugar. They all work! Having a variety is nice as well as having them in different sized granules to aide in exfoliating better. I would fill up your container about 3/4 full. You need space for the oil as well as some air in case the oil starts to pool. You don’t want it to leak!

With your oil you can use olive oil or look into other types of carrier oils. My preferred base is pure sweet almond oil with added vitamin E oil to increase the shelf life. Apricot oil, jojoba, coconut oil, etc also work well. There are various kinds and wash gas its own properties in healing so I would study up first!

I used lavender infused jojoba that I made using a cold process method (aka letting it soak for weeks in a dark cool place). I prefer using herbal oils to just essential oils but you can do what you would like. I left my lavender buds in but you can strain them out if you choose this method. 

You can still add essential oils to increase the scent or essential oils alone with a plain carrier oil. Less is more. Please do in depth research into EO’s before using them! 

Mix well and package! I would leave them at least a day to “mingle” before use. Though they are ready now. To use just take a small bit at the tips of your fingers and start scrubbing away! You can do this in a bath or shower. Be aware it may make your floor slippery so please be extra careful. I am not responsible for anything that may occur. I am simply suggesting uses. 

Making Herbal Bath Salts 

I have been making bath salts for seemingly forever. If you don’t already know from reading my other blogs my family was big on crafts growing up and we still are. I even made and sold homemade bath products for many years using top quality ingredients. Here I am sharing a way to make bath salts that anyone can make fairly easily with a trip to a store or two (no promises here). No fancy salts or super expensive ingredients. 

If you want to be super simple just use Epsom salts alone. They are easy to obtain, inexpensive and can be used in a variety of ways to treat soreness, stiff muscles, in healing some skin ailments, for relaxation, headache relief, etc. They can also be used as a laxative and as an additive in gardening. It is not actually a salt but a naturally occurring compound of magnesium and sulfate. Some holistic approaches to health recommend regular Epsom salt baths to draw out toxins and such from the body. If nothing else it is a nice addition to your bath or foot soak. 

I decided to make a rose bath salt as an example! Energetically speaking (if that’s your thing) roses are said to be used in creating/promoting love, increasing psychic powers, healing of all kinds, luck, protection, sexual attraction, boosting confidence, etc. Medicinally, in the way it is being used here it is great for softening chapped skin and helping to heal abrasions. Roses have other holistic medicinal uses but be sure to procure the right type of roses. Not all are edible or are the correct breed for use. Safest way to go is to purchase dried roses sold for tea blends. 

I bought the roses from one of our local co-ops as well as the oil I used to make my rose oil. If you don’t want to make your own herbal oil and then wait a few weeks for it to infuse you can pick up an essential oil of your choice. Please make sure to research oils before using them. I can’t tell you how many times I see people use essential oils incorrectly and potentially dangerously. Just because the bottle says it pure and ready to use doesn’t actually mean it is! 

Here is my blog on making infused oils: Cold Infused Herbal Ritual/Perfume Oil | The Heathen Homesteader

https://theheathenhomesteader.wordpress.com/2016/03/15/cold-infused-herbal-ritualperfume-oil/

I started with grinding my roses in one of my mortar and pestles. I lightly ground some for more aesthetic purposes then took the rest and pulverized them. You will have to test how much of the herb you are using works for you. Be sure to use skin safe ingredients and be aware of how they can effect you if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication or have a medical condition. I am not responsible for how something effects you. I’m just giving potential suggestions for use! 

To add a bit of color I added a powder I have had for a while. This isn’t needed. If you want color many craft stores carry skin safe color additives in their soap making section. You can also create your own color using natural ingredients. 

Then I mixed in baking soda to use as a skin softener. I used two teaspoons as I am making a batch big enough for two jars. 

Then add Epsom salt! So easy right? I filled my jars with a little over half Epsom salt to get an idea of how big I should make my batch. Some people will add sea salt or even table salt along with this but you don’t *need* to. 

Mix well before adding your oil. 

If you are using essential oils you only need a few drops depending on the size of the batch you are creating. My oil is jojoba infused with roses and isn’t as potent or pure so I put in quite a bit.

Let dry a few hours before packaging or use right away! Some people prefer to use a muslin tea bag to keep the herbs contained. 

To up your bath salt game you can add natural borax (not commercial store bought stuff), exotic salts, clays, top shelf oils, etc to your blend. Many natural food and holistic type stores will have a variety of ingredients for you to try. 

Learning Loom Weaving – My Latest Craft Obsession 

New Crafts Obsession should be a “thing.” I often find myself obsessively lusting after different crafts. Both crafts I already do and those I yearn to do. Many crafts I have had on my list to do for so many years that I have driven myself nearly mad with all my research and yearning for them. I tried to be “into” one craft at a time and progress with it before moving on. The problem with that was that I would find myself in a craft rut surrounded by piles of supplies for one craft and nothing much else to do. That happened with jewelry a few months ago. Something I find difficult to work with considering I have a toddler and sharp wire and tools plus a kid doesn’t work well. This year is the “Year Of New Crafts” so I have been investing small bits of funds here and there to get started with beginning various crafts. I’ll never be bored again! I started learning how to crochet last November (2015) and started on Knitting in December. Trying to get lessons from a friend concerning knitting (she also started me on crochet) with my toddler trying to destroy her house wasn’t working well so I stopped learning to knit. I’m hoping to go back to it soon. In February of this year I began handspinning yarn. In March I was cross stitching (I still need to do a blog on it!). Now it’s the end of April and I have my $5 plastic frame loom I have been working on for a few weeks. It was much lighter on my wallet than the much larger more complicated wooden loom I was wanting. I got so obsessed with wanting to weave that my husband even started doing research for me (US eventually as he’s incredibly crafty) in his extremely limited spare time. When I found this loom I had to have it. I even bought a package of comb looms that are ridiculously hard to find tutorials for. If you find some please share! The only decent one I found was in French so that wasn’t going to work for me as I don’t speak the language. 



When I was a child I worked on a children’s loom. I don’t remember much except making pot holders. In my adult years I wove wire and also did stick weaving for a while until I had piles of woven belts no one wanted (even for free). I also made and sold stick weaving kits and have a huge container of them still in one of my storage boxes. It’s something I would love to do again for making baby belts for my kids garb but it can wait for now. 

There are many reasons I want to weave. One is really just to have the skill. If the apocalypse happens then myself and my descendants will be the weavers of clothing material! Just kidding. Mostly. Others include eventually using historical looms and teaching others this ancient art, connecting with the weaving deities/ancestors/beings, making art for my home and devotional pieces, something to use up the odds and ends of handspun yarn I made and….well, I had more to share but I woke up already exhausted today. I’m low on brain power. Imagine more good reasons here. 

The looms I purchased are all very light plastic. Completely unappealing to me but beggars can’t be choosers. It’s something and I am very happy despite having a bit more difficultly with the light weight of the frame loom and the slippery texture of the plastic. I had watched and read tons of tutorials before ever having the loom but I’m one of those people that if I can’t physically do what I’m learning in some way the knowledge doesn’t stick as well. I’m learning as I go and experimenting. Still trying to figure out bits like how to keep things even while weaving in ends, doing designs, figuring out fringe, et cetera. It’s a fun process. I can’t wait to get better and make these as gifts. 

HHH- Handspinning and Heathenry

The original article I wrote for “Huginn’s Heathen Hof” can be found here:http://www.heathenhof.com/handspinning-and-heathenry/

 

For more than half of my life the art of hand spinning has appealed to me. Spinning wheels especially. The various wheels I would see in art, old photos, and antique shops always seemed like more than a tool to create yarn and thread. There was something magical about them. Like a veil of mystery that each one had cloaked over them. A connection to so many people that it had created threads of life for, through making material via weaving, stitching wounds, in the tying of the umbilical cord of a newborn, clothes making, selling raw material for food to crafters, the creation of the spinning wheel itself, et cetera. Along with the story of the spinner or spinners and the ritual art of spinning. The repetitive and meditative motions echo through time with the millions of spinners that have lived their craft.

 

When I came to Heathenry spinning was a part of it. Not physically however. I became a heathen officially in 2008 and didn’t start spinning until February of this year (2016). Though I had owned a custom handmade drop spindle that was a gift for 4 or 5 years by the time I started. The time just wasn’t right when it first came to me to learn how to use it. Now that I have begun I can’t imagine not spinning. The idea has been with me so long that the fulfillment of this dream in one aspect (I still don’t own a wheel) has been deeply satisfying. What really brought me to Heathenry were the stories of Frau Holda and a spindle that led a young girl to her domain. Drawn in not only from the familiar symbol of the spinning wheel, but through what she stood for and had to teach. The stories of her love of industriousness and specific morals reflected my upbringing with a first generation German-American mother, and close German ancestry on both sides of my bloodline. Together they made this German goddess appeal to me in so many ways. I found connections through her to the more popular Norse figures of Frigga, Hel and even Odin. Soon after I got quite the nudge to proceed along the path after a dream concerning Thor. I had been a Pagan for around 7 or 8 years at that time and it felt amazing to find something more suited to me more-so than general Paganism.

 
I got my first drop spindle from a close friend that I called my “fairy godmother”, as she was extremely helpful during a confusing and gray period in my life. She used to gather reclaimed wood and burn the Elder Futhark onto the top, so that as I spun the wheel of runes would turn. I found myself unable to proceed with use of the gift until recently, but kept it tucked lovingly away for the right time. After moving to the Pacific Northwest I almost exploded with creative energy and spinning became an eventual outlet. I joined groups, watched videos, made new friends who spun and eventually spotted the most perfect drop spindle to start my journey at a local fiber shop. I started immediately. I spun a beautiful bulky cobalt blue Corriedale wool yarn. Later I bought my first Viking spindle. (A replica made in Europe.) Now, I use all three and lust over both historical replicas, as well as more modern adaptions. I won’t go into detail of my journey here, I have my own blog for that; though I will say that though my journey has barely begun, the fact that I spent so many years full of curiosity and yearning makes it feel as if I have always spun. Spinning is a part of me reaching deep into my soul.

 

Another reason I feel spinning may be so dear to me is due to my ancestors. I feel that most people more than likely had an ancestor who spun. So many cultures use quite an astonishing variety of traditional drop spindles as well as wheels that were introduced not too far back in history. It’s easy to forget the majority of our ancestors couldn’t pop into a shop to buy clothes. Especially cheaply. They spun and wove and sewed. Or had family members who did. Even if you claim noble ancestry, someone was at least taught embroidery or some sort of basic weaving depending on your heritage. For me spinning is one of many crafts I use to connect to my ancestors. I may not know them all or even their names but my intention is to honor and respect them in my work. So whether they did or did not spin is not of much consequence. I did however find a picture one of my aunts sent me of my 4 times great grandmother at her wheel. When I found out her name I was floored. Eleanore. A name I had loved since childhood. Funny how that works. Makes one wonder how close the ancestors are even when we don’t actively seek them out or try to honor them. With ancestor veneration being a part of my personal Heathenry I am trying to strengthen these types of finding are very important to me.

 
One could also use spinning to connect with the gods. This seems the most obvious seeing as I am writing this for a mostly Heathen audience. Readers that I do know personally work mostly or even exclusively with the gods in many cases. For me, wights are my go to in most situations but I can understand why it’s so popular to try and form relationships with deity. The most obvious choice of goddesses for forming a connection with via spinning would be Frigga. Many artistic pieces show her at a wheel. It isn’t historically accurate as the spinning wheel wasn’t introduced to that area until much later than our lore was written but then again most Norse inspired artwork isn’t accurate and is heavily fantasy inspired. Still, having her at a wheel could show her still thriving in later times. Changing as the world moves on to reflect our world. Other deities may include Frau Holda if your practice is more Germanic, Saule who spins the sunbeams if your practice is Baltic in origin, the Norns who spin the threads of fate and others. You could include Frigga’s handmaidens as well as many female deities. Whether lore or historically based or even experiential in your workings with them. One could argue the case for different gods as handspinners per their personal experiences but I will leave that up for debate.

 
In the end spinning is one of many crafts one could incorporate into their Heathenry. Nothing has to be based from the Viking age to “count” as something that will honor the gods and ancestors. It is your work, your drive and and your respect that honor them. Finding crafts that flow back into the ages past is an amazing thing but definitely not necessary. Now go and craft!

 

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