The Cult of the Spinning Goddess

So what the fresh hell is this “Cult of the Spinning Goddess”?

The ‘Cult of the Spinning Goddess’ is not an established cult or set of practices, but rather an attempt to create such a cult for the modern day. I was originally going to embark on this endeavor alone, but figured that there might be other interested parties and so decided to open it up. This cult construction is going to have the following requirements:

1. The creation of a space where cultic matters might be discussed, research shared, liturgy, ritual year, and cultic practices fleshed out.

2. A commitment to researching the figure of the ‘spinning goddess’, spinning lore, and what remnants might remain to this day through a combination of reconstruction, retrospective methods, and comparison of related mythologies.

3. Given that the ‘spinning goddess’ was a figure from further back in history than Heathens typically look, it’s obvious that it will not be possible to be completely historical. We’re aiming for a percentage, a percentage of history supplemented by practices created now that fit within the Heathen worldview. All new creations will be labelled as such and the rationale behind them given.

Okay, but who was this ‘spinning goddess’ you’re wanting to set up a cult to?

I’ll admit, she’s an illusive creature, her traces found (I believe) mainly in a series of bracteates (a type of amulet that depicted various things such as gods, goddesses, zoomorphic designs etc.), grave goods that combine ritual items with spinning items (and bracteates), later accounts of Gullveig and Heið, tales of magic that was spun, völva staffs that resemble ornate distaffs of the same period, and the continued existence of a group of numina in Germany heavily connected to spinning and magic. It’s my belief, based on the research I have carried out, that all of these things pertain to that original spinning goddess of the bracteates. I would like to attempt to create a working cult in her honour.

No, it is my opinion that what we see referred to as Seiðr in the sagas is actually the final remnants of practices that had their roots in some of the cultic practices of this goddess and I believe that there is some support for this in John McKinnell’s work, namely his paper titled ‘On Heið’. In ‘On Heið’, McKinnell makes the argument that the name ‘Gullveig’ is actually referring to an idol of wood that is covered in gold.

The war I remember, the first in the world,

Spinning Goddess - bracteate
Replica of a ‘spinning goddess’ bracteate found in Oberwerschen, Germany. This was found in the grave of an elderly woman, under her chin. The woman is believed to have been of some importance and was found buried with a whorl, a silver needle, and scissors. Three bracteates depicting the same figure were buried with another woman from Grossfahne, who also had a weaving sword among her grave goods.


When the gods with spears had smitten Gollveig,
And in the hall of Hor had burned her,
Three times burned, and three times born,
Oft and again, yet ever she lives.

Heiðr they named her who sought their home
The wide-seeing witch, in magic wise;
Minds she bewitched that were moved by her magic,
To evil women a joy she was.”

If McKinnell is right about Gullveig, then the above passage in Völuspá is potentially telling the tale of the stamping out of a cult by the followers of Hor (Oðinn), and the survival in the form of ‘Heið’, a title for Seiðr women.

It is my hope to focus on the ‘Gullveig’ rather than the ‘Heið’.

if Oðinn was a doo doo head to Gullveig, does that mean I can’t also worship him if I join this cult?

No, not at all. No migration period vandalism is going to be the boss of us!

It’s also not my intention that this cult becomes something separate or separating when it comes to other cultic activities or groups our cult members are involved in. I’m looking for the ‘as well as’, as opposed to ‘instead of’. I’m guessing it was a mentality of ‘instead of’ that led to any desecration (IF that’s what happened!).

Is that all the evidence you have for this whole spinning goddess thing though? I mean, this is pretty light on details.

You’re right, this is. But this is some initial FAQ that I hammered out in response to the many questions I received when I first mentioned the intention to create this cult. There’s a lot of research and a lot of sources, but that’s going to require an actual paper. It’s not something that would be particularly useful in some quick FAQ format.

So, are you all going to be doing witchy shit?

Some of the cultic practices are going to be magical in nature, but not all, and not all members have to participate in that. As a cultus, our primary function will be to create a reciprocal relationship with the spinning goddess, and some form of coherent cultic practice. So, we’re talking more worship, with some witchy shit for those that are interested.

Do you all want sausages with your clams?

All genders/sexualities are welcome here!

Are there any requirements for members?

So far, it would seem that there are three categories of interested parties:

* Those that spin, are interested in the intersection between spinning and magic, and who are interested in getting involved in the cultus.

* Those that don’t spin, but are curious about the cultus (but not the spinning).

* Those that are curious about both spinning and cultus and would like to learn.

Considering that we’re going to be a cult dedicated to a SPINNING GODDESS I’m going to stipulate that members must be able to spin or in the process of learning.

However, curious parties can be considered ‘friends of the cult’, and engage their curiosity by having access to a certain level of documents pertaining to the cult. As time goes on, if we are successful, I expect us to develop closer bonds and eventually practices that will be kept ‘in-cult’ only.

What’s your role going to be in this?

Well, I was considering becoming a Jim Jones, or David Koresh type dude…or maybe like that guy in Japan that collects pubic hair and puts people in giant microwaves! Just kidding. We may be starting a cult, but we’re not losing our fucking minds. You can all rest assured that I won’t be collecting anyone’s pubic hair, trying to score illicit sex with brainwashed minions, or creating some weird Heathen Waco. The only money I’d be taking from anyone would be if anyone wants to buy my book (when it’s finally out), but that’s called commerce, and as a capitalist society, that’s quite ok.

My role in this is going to be that of founder and leader. I encourage discussion and participation. Disagreement is cool, as long as you don’t be a dick about it. As things coalesce, if they coalesce, I’ll look into starting a council to work on different areas and so we have some kind of system and forum to discuss anything that crops up, but I’ll always retain my position.

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