I just finished reading Fang and Fur, Blood and Bone: A Primal Guide to Animal Magic by Lupa. She takes what can be a heady, hard-to-follow topic and breaks it down beautifully, from working with animal spirits and totems, to practical work in crafting from animal parts. I find her especially brave in embracing and talking about crafting from animal parts, and especially so on animal sacrifice. Her writings online have helped fuel my nascent work with animal spirits and shamanism, even during my time on the Egyptian Way when I was heavy into ceremonial magic. While my practices aren’t revolutionized by this work, they are very-much affirmed, something I needed given I am striking into territory in which most of my work is given to me by spirit rather than reading tomes.
Something that working with Andvari taught me, is that I will probably begin working with animal parts and crafting things by hand more than I thought I might have to. When Lupa wrote about how feeling the fur really helped one connect to the spirit, I immediately heard a mental nudge from the Craftsmith. It looks like I might be visiting some flea markets and similar places in the near future, reaching out to those that know where to get animal parts. It’s one of the few crafts I might be able to do where I live. It will give me a way to both connect to animal spirits in an intimate way, and to give me a new way to focus my free time.
To this end, I’ll be looking at getting Skin Spirits: The Spiritual and Magical Uses of Animal Parts. I’ve looked at online guides for leathercraft and animal parts preservation, but I have not run across a book or resource that treats the animal in question as a spiritual being, or in any way how you might honor it while crafting it. I had a taste of that from Fang and Fur, in which Lupa described purifying the parts she worked with via a sage smudge. If I make animal-part crafts of my own, I will probably be using mugwort, the purifying herb of the Northern Tradition.
I owe a tremendous thank you to modern Pagan writers in helping to inform, teach, and push me along my path in Northern Tradition Shamanism. I especially owe the following authors:
Freya Aswynn, who was my first Northern Tradition author that I read and introduced me to the Runes in ways I could get.
Diana Paxson who introduced me to the Asatru community in Essential Asatru and whose book, Taking Up the Runes has deeply informed my Runework.
Galina Krasskova and Swain Wodening, whose work Exploring the Northern Tradition: A Guide to the Gods, Lore, Rites and Celebrations from the Norse, German and Anglo-Saxon Traditions deepened my understanding of the Northern Tradition community, my place and practice within it.
Galina Krasskova and Raven Kaldera, for writing The Northern Tradition for the Solitary Practitioner, which gave me my first pushes into truly spiritually uplifting devotional work, and methods of prayer I had use today.
Raven Kaldera, for his Northern Shamanism series of books, especially Wyrdwalkers and Jotunbok, both of which have and continue to inform my path as a Northern Tradition Shaman.
Lupa, for A Field Guide to Otherkin which comforted me and gave me insight into the Otherkin community, and of course, Fang and Fur, Blood and Bone: A Primal Guide to Animal Magic which has reaffirmed my practice with animal magic, and is pushing me to explore new boundaries.
I hope that, through my work, I honor all these people, and all the teachers, both physical and nonphysical, who have taken their time, energy and expertise to train and work with me in their own ways. May the Gods bless you all, and may your works be known wide and far for their wisdom, teaching, and celebration of the Gods and spirits, the vaettir and people. Ves Heil!