Eyebright Infused Oil – Magical and Mundane Herbalism

I finished this oil the other day. I didn’t originally intend for it to be a blog post seeing as its use for me personally is purely magical. Nothing to really do with heathenry or homesteading. Seeing as my blog is mostly recipes and how to’s however I changed my mind. When I can get back to learning more self sufficiency promoting skills I will blog about them! 

I have found that many Heathens I personally speak to and have friendships with have some sort of magical practice they either incorporate into their faith or keep to the side. Separate in most ways other than the type of magic you would find in ritual. I am the same as I have stated in older blogs. With this particular entry I will be going over Eyebright infused oil and some usages. Both magical and mundane.

Eyebright is used medicinally for…you guessed it! Eye health! Inflammation, disorders, styes, etc. The entire plant above the roots are used medicinally. It is full of antioxidants, violate oils, vitamins (such as B, C and E), tannins and more to aid in much more than just eye health! It’s popular use as a supplement made it both easy and difficult to find. Powder stuffed capsules are found in any health food store and often even at large grocery stores. They are even found online easily on sites such as Amazon, as an ingredient in pre-made concoctions, etc. Finding the powder (I would have preferred it not be powdered but I wanted anything at that point in my search) alone proved much more difficult. I found some on sites I wasn’t sure were legitimate and for oddly priced bags on Amazon. I almost gave up until I found it at our co-op in the herbs section. It was powdered as usual but I was happy to see it. My husband prepared a bagful for me and we went on our way. So even though I could find it pre-prepared the thought of wasting so much plastic and the gelatin capsules bothered me. Also, who has time to pop open those things individually? This parent does not! 

Some energetic/magical properties include: working air elementals and the element itself, clearing the mind, increasing mental and psychic powers, clairvoyance, seeing the truth, seeing things for what they really are, etc. I made it to potentially help me see through situations. To determine if emotions and such are clouding my perception. 

Sounds hoaky and woo woo to many but I’m okay with that. I am about to be 29 and I’ve been doing this actively and knowingly since I was 12 with family. I’m used to it. 

I don’t have pictures of the process of starting the oil but I have an older blog that goes over that. Essentially, I just put the powder in a jar and then completely covered it with my carrier oil of choice. Leaving only enough room at the top of the jar to shake it. Because it is a powder I mixed it to make sure the oil filled all of the available space before topping off. Then I let it brew. Shaking daily. I left it for a few months but two weeks minimum should do the trick. 

To strain I first used the finest strainer I had. The powder makes it difficult to strain but I did the best I could. There are probably tools out there for this but nothing more available in this kitchen. 



I put the most powder free amount of oil in an amber bottle with a dropper for dripping into concoctions, the powdery slush I left in the jar for rubbing on candles and the in between oil I put in a jar I could easily dip my fingers into for anointing. Powder will sink to the bottom if you want to pour the top off into other jars. Then I stored these all in our herbal cupboard out of the sunlight.

I hope some of you found this helpful if magical oil infusing interests you! You can do this for medicinal use as well to make topical massage oils. 

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Ostara 2017 

It’s the night of the Spring Equinox as I write this. I’m tired (in a good way) from a long and relaxed day…even though I was working in the kitchen for half of it! Yesterday, my family tidied up the porch and planted another round of seeds we had in our fridge that were getting prepped to plant. We also repotted a few babies and took note of other plants that needed new homes soon. 

Today, my husband had to work in the morning so I spent the first part of the day alone with the kids. We ate a home cooked breakfast (as usual) and then took turns taking baths and showers so we’d all be clean and fresh for the day. I even got to do a face mask while washing the kids. By the time we were done my love arrived home! For lunch I made buttery seasoned Brussel sprouts roasted with pine nuts (I usually use almonds but wanted to switch it up) and topped with a egg. Keeping with the general Ostara food themes of potentially using seeds, nuts, greens, edible flowers and eggs for the day.

I also baked pretzel rolls despite having made regular pretzels yesterday. My husband loves these and always asks me to make them.

I topped half with sesame seeds. Yum! I love sesame seeds!

I even pickled some veggies! Someone likes the liquid so…

I had other treats I wanted to make but not enough mouths to eat everything I planned. Maybe next year! This year was more than enough for my family and for offerings. 

I even tidied the kitchen altar a bit for the day. It’s very simple due to the little grabby hands in the house. 

We played outside after I was done baking. My toddler Dagmar immediately jumped into this massive puddle. What else did I expect? 

Mina seemed to enjoy the light sprinkles of water that the breeze blew from the trees. Haha! (Not our car btw)

After ANOTHER bath for the toddler I took the baby upstairs to read while the other two napped on the couch. I rarely get uninterrupted time to read so this was very exciting for me. Then this cutie decided to giggle and smile the whole time which of course I couldn’t ignore! Aw! 

All in all it was a good and simple celebration. Nothing fancy and all done using things we had. You don’t need to break the bank or go all out to celebrate the change of the seasons! Recognition and time spent with loved ones or on some self care is all you need!

Herbal Electuaries 

I was recently inspired to make something I have not made in years. An herbal electuary! It’s basically a blend of honey (or another liquid sweetener but I have never tried them) and herbs. It’s great for bitter herbs or for those like myself who are really picky with different tastes but want the benefits of different herbs. It’s also great for kids as the sweetness of the honey can overpower the taste of the herbs you may be administering. Such as during flu season when you want your wee ones to have a extra boost of vitamins and proactive ingredients to ward it fight sickness. Be aware children before 1 should not be given honey. 

Before I begin let me say that you should never ignore medical help in my opinion. The news reports I see of children dying because their parents used tea or something of that nature instead of medical help break my heart. Herbs are a great way to live a healthy life but some things are too serious to be ignored as I see it. Also, be aware herbs can interfere with medications and react differently with each persons body chemistry. The properties of herbs will also change depending on how they are prepared! Consulting a certified herbalist or a doctor with holistic healing knowledge is encouraged before ingesting various herbs regularly. Especially, if you are contemplating giving them to children and teens. 

There are some that say honey never goes bad. That its chemical makeup gives it an extremely stable shelf life and a long one at that. Dried herbs also tend to last quite a while. Though there are those like myself who believe they start to very slowly lose a bit of their goodness as time goes on as soon as they have been harvested. The honey helps to lengthen their life in a sense. Honey is also known to be an antibacterial and anti-fungal. 

To make an electuary gather your herb of choice or herbal blend. I am using a pregnancy tea of my own creation here. 

I suggest grinding the herbs into a powder first. You can use a mortar and pestle, blender, coffee grinder, etc. I used a coffee grinder to speed it up.

Blend the powdered herbs with honey. Local raw honey is best! There are also types of quality raw honeys on the market that are popular with those who use holistic medicine. 

You can use as little or as much as you would like. Anything from a syrup to just enough honey to make a really thick paste.

I chose to make mine a little syrupy. I plan on using a teaspoonful in hot water for a tea. You can eat it directly but when I’m pregnant it’s hard to consume certain textures easily so I am going the tea route. Some people even create lozenges with their blends to take directly and raw! 

Make sure to store in an air tight container. I made very little this time around as I plan to make a few different blends with the honey I have. 

A spoonful of the electuary a day is what is typically suggested. If you’re using it to fight sickness, promote sleep, help with nerves, etc more can be taken. Just be sure to study up on the herbs you are using. Electuaries can be taken immediately! 

Electuaries can also be used for ritual purposes. To ingest SAFE and EDIBLE sacred herbs before an undertaking. Of course this is just an idea and I am not responsible for anyone taking this for their own use. 

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! 

Homesteading Herbalism – Mugwort 

Home grown mugwort! We have several jars from different parts of the plants that were harvested at different times back home. I wanted to write a really quick blog on mugwort to share! These are some bare bones to get you started. 

Mugwort is a prominent herb in Urglaawe and Braucherei. The American Heathen practices that originated in Germanic Europe. It’s a family favorite here and sacred to my goddess Frau Holda. Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) is one of the 9 Sacred Herbs to the Anglo-Saxon people. It is mentioned in “The Lacnunga” that was written after the Christianization of the area but still gave insight into the popular practices of the populaces who tended to hold on to some of their Pagan rituals. The 9 Sacred Herbs are said by some to refer to the world tree Yggdrasil while some texts say these correspond to the 9 different illnesses. In either case the herbs were used by Odin (or Woden to the Anglo-Saxon’s) to defeat the serpent which was a symbol of death and suffering. Mugwort was used by the Anglo-Saxon’s not only to flavor their brews but to also protect against evil and illness among other things. Today, it is commonly used in divination, dream pillows, for protection, to increase psychic powers, for healing, strength, astral projection, safe travel, spiritualism and more!

Medicinally, mugwort is used by women to help with delayed menstruation and to regulate the menstrual cycle. It is also create to stimulate the digestive system, aide gas and bloating, in calming nerves, in relaxing muscles, etc. It is a popular ingredient in some Asian goods and medicine as well. 

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. 

Mother’s Day Weekend

This weekend was a special one for us. Before we had our daughter we didn’t go all out for most holidays or even celebrate them all (meaning most holidays celebrated by the majority of Americans). Our truly special days that were of upmost importance were days that meant something to us. They still are. The day we met and fell in love, the day we officially started dating, the days (we may have done it a few times in different spiritual ways) we got engaged, the day we conceived our first child, etc. You get the point. Those are our real “holy-days” other than some purely spiritually based days of the year and a few conventional holidays. 

This weekend was both the anniversary of our official dating date (we celebrate everything it feels like!) on Saturday and Mother’s Day on Sunday (it’s still Sunday in our part of the world but it may be past midnight where you are). We’re not big into Mother’s Day but both years I have been a mother my husband has bought me roses and we have gone on a nature walk at least. This Mother’s Day I was excited to use a coupon for a discount on buying some makeup that also got me a free gift at a beauty store. I rarely buy myself anything except for craft supplies but I can’t pass up on saving the amount I did when getting items I already “needed.” Makeup is a great personal pick me up. I used to wear it daily but have almost stopped completely since I left my job to be a stay at home mom. Other than that my husband bought us a rare “bad food” treat for lunch, we caught up on a few shows, I had an uninterrupted nap alone (crazy right?) and we went for a nature walk as a family. A nice and simple way to spend our first entire day together as a family in almost two months. 

Saturday my husband had to work at night but the day was really special. We woke up and shared the news of my pregnancy with everyone (our parents and a few close friends already knew). I took some quick photos of our toddler the day before and put this together kind of last minute. 

Her necklace is actually a Thor’s Hammer teether from “Helles Teeth” on a cord. Her garb is a pillowcase and a quickly crocheted belt. For not spending a dime and less than an hour of time I think it turned out decently! 

After we shared our joy I started on food. The night before I had baked my first homemade Kransekake (Norwegian Wreath Cake) based off the one we had at our handfasting. We may have eaten that for an indulgent breakfast.

I also made homemade pretzel rolls for our Saturday lunch. I ended up making so much food we skipped the rolls. I made buttery spaetzle with champignon sauce, roasted asparagus and local-ish wild salmon with a German dill fish sauce. 

Shortly after that my husband left for work and my toddler and I went to play with friends at the park.
I may not have gotten everything done that I set out to accomplish but it was a fulfilling and loving weekend that I won’t soon forget. 

We feel so blessed by the gods and our ancestors with the growth of our family and can’t wait to see what the future has in store for us. 

Hexennacht – Witches Night Celebration 

Hexennacht or “Witches Night” is a celebration that seems to be growing in popularity. Or it could be I am just lucky to meet more people who are drawn to it. It is more commonly known as Walpurgisnacht or “Walpurgis Night.” Named for St. Walpurga. There are arguments that this day was sacred before the Christianization of the Germanic people and others speculate it was a Christian creation that was later led to have a different meaning. You be the judge. I have loved this night for more years than I ever was a Heathen. Though being a Heathen has nothing to do with it as most I know don’t celebrate it. Probably, because the origin seems to possibly be more in Continental Europe (though there are the Valborg celebrations in Sweden). I came to it through a group that discussed Traditional Witchcraft around 10 years ago. Though I had probably heard of it before that in connection to Beltane when I was a general Pagan. Until the last few years I have met very few pagans or heathens who celebrate it in America. In some countries in Europe there are still festivals where you can see its Pagan roots (in my eyes at least). There is a lot about this night that is very fascinating and I encourage you to read all you can! This isn’t a scholarly article so I suggest you read more if this peaks your interest. 

On this night witches are said to meet with the Devil at Brocken (if we’re going the German route as I do because of my ancestry). A sacred mountain in Germany. For anyone who has more Occult or Pagan and not so much Christian leanings the Devil isn’t seen the same way and the same names are not always used. If you want more information there are MANY books on this topic. On this day I feel the wights stir, the air change, my energy become more wild and free as it breaks through the stagnancy of the remnants of Winter that have clung to Spring and I just feel “witchy.” Though I may be scoffed at for it I do practice witchcraft and folk magic as a Heathen. Not generally together but it happens. Like tonight. I usually have a bonfire or fill my room with candles, howl outside, do something adventurous, cook good food, give offerings and…spend time with my partner. That last part I’ll keep at that as our parents and some family read this blog. It is a great time to explore your primal nature and free yourself from the modern and mundane world. If only for a night.

Tonight, I made pretzel rolls to eat and offer to the gods/wights/ancestors as we had a power outage for 9 hours and I was unable to make a proper feast. My husband is on duty as well. So it’s my just my daughter and I with candles lit, offerings made, singing and dancing and lots of growling and howling in between story telling. How do you celebrate?

Ready for Witches Night! 

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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