ED’s homework book finally came back from school for the holidays and with it her cross stitch homework.
It’s the first time she’s worked with anything other than plastic mesh and the pattern is a little more complex than what she’d done previously but it turned out really well. She doesn’t quite get the importance of counting in counted cross stitch, and she hasn’t quite got my compulsion to un-pick everything when she makes a mistake but she’s getting there.
This project turned into another lesson around magical theory. We discussed the associations of the colour red, what boat symbols mean, what the pouch could be used for etc. We did have to put the cart before the horse in terms of defining purpose after choosing the design and thread colour but perhaps ED had a purpose in mind all along.
Viking Dream Traveller Pillow
Design – Viking Boat
Meaning – boat representative of both real world travel and dream travel (think In the Night Garden as she did). Thread Colour – Red, used for good luck and protection.
Stuffing – a combination of normal toy stuffing and an Anglo-Saxon Nine Herbs Charm tea bag.
Theme – Dream/sleep pillow for protection
Why Use the Nine Herbs Charm?
The ED’s homework at the time was to do with the Vikings and the Anglo-Saxons and there was absolutely no way I was going to miss out the opportunity to include this herbal charm. Plus, it had the added bonus of actually fitting into the theme of the pillow
Relevant Magical Uses of the Nine Herbs
Mugwort – Used in a number of ways to increase the strength of dreams and prophetic skills. Also used in protective sachets relating to travel to avoid bad luck or protect the home against unwanted energies.
Plantain – Drunk as an infusion to promote vivid and prophetic dreams. Also used in protection spells, particularly for children.
Watercress – Used to promote clarity and strength of mind, aiding visions and dreams. Also used for protection, particularly relating to travel by water.
Chamomile – Used as an infusion to wash liminal points of a property (doors and windows) to protect against unwanted energies. The infusion can also be used as a Good Luck hand wash.
Betony* – Protective herb, historically used to guard against evil or mischievous spirits. Also used to protect against unwanted energies, negativity, misfortune and hexes.
Crab Apple – generally apples are associated with the realm of the dead and the appeasement of otherworldly spirits, being associated with immortality through mythology. They are also associated with protection as a result of the natural pentagram which can be found within them.
Nettle – Protective herb used to keep out negativity, unwanted spirits and protect against curses.
Chervil – Generally considered a funeral herb, Chervil is associated with the spirits of the dead and both aids in communication whilst also offering protection.
Fennel – Used as an infusion to wash doorways to keep away bad energies and spirits and can be used in protective charms.
*Betony is often substituted for the ‘hidden herb’ called Attorlaðe in the poem. Attorlaðe is often translated ‘venom-loather/ loathing’.
These associations fit with the overall theme of protection during the night and increasing dream view all and vision. Added bonus for the ED is that she felt that it was something she could take on holiday so that even away from home she would have protection.
As it happened I had just located an Etsy seller who was selling a blend of herbal tea inspired by the Nine Herbs charm.
I can’t recommend this brew enough. The brew is pleasant on the palate, though if you prefer sweeter drinks you should add honey rather than refined sugar and I have very interesting dreams when I drink it before bed. I’ve not used it in ritual context but I’m sure it would be more than suitable. You can buy the blend as either bags or loose leaf and as fortune would have it I had opted for bags on this first occasion.
The tea bags are really well sealed, and the bags themselves are a high quality so I hade no fear of it bursting within the pillow at a later date.
Needless to say, ED got a few extra merits *buffs nails*
Use and Ritualisation
I will be honest, we didn’t make this with the intention of it becoming an operation. Regardless it will make a nice dream pillow in a style similar to those I have used in the past to protect the children at night, and explanation of which will/has appeared under the Pagan Parenting tag as “Things That God Bump in the Night.” If you were making something similar from scratch there are a number of operations you would follow.
Firstly, as it is a hand crafted item, you can charge the pillow with intent during the stitching of the design and again during its construction. The next thing that can, and should, be done is the charging of the herbs. Even though in this instance a sealed tea bag is used this process can still occur. Instead of stirring the herbs by hand they would have to be held and empowered that way. If you were wishing to invoke a deity I would recommend Frigga. Although Woden/Odin would be the first deity to come to mind the pillows use as a dream pillow for children wouldn’t really fit his domain so whilst I would reference him his wife, and central matron figure within the tradition, would be a more appropriate figure to call on.
Given that I am working retrospectively I will need to work in a different way. Instead of charging all items separate they will have to be charged in a single operation, at the same time that I invoke Frigga.