Elda the Still

It's amazing how dreams and the mind and setting intentions can work.

I have LONG had an obsession with copper.

I have LONG had an obsession with essential oils.

I have also had a life-long love affair with the prairie and her vital and flourishing life.

As is typical for me, I look for ways to combine these obsessions, to make sense of my desires, to make sense of myself, to make a difference somehow.

I have had pictures of copper stills on my Pinterest dream boards for years. I continued to pin them. Even my husband has photos of them on his own vision board (albeit for slightly more "adult" reasons). 

This summer, because of saying yes to several opportunities, I found myself with enough cash and the right connections, and finally in a position to invest in this beauty.

It is my vision to ethically wild-harvest prairie plants and explore their medicinal applications through essential oil distillation. I truly believe that, as the book of Revelation states, "the leaves of the trees are for the healing of the nations." I believe that extends to grasses. To roots. To flowers. I believe that it is very possible God has provided a botanical solution for every disease we have brought upon ourselves or invented in Nature. And this is also why I feel passion towards stewardship of this land, especially the native prairie, and for learning from elders about how these plants can be used for the betterment of all.

I also feel passion about my Scandinavian heritage. This was instilled in me by my maternal grandparents, Momo and Fafa, who taught us the Swedish prayers and songs, wore the traditional garb, passed on the recipes, told the stories, and showed us all, their progeny, unconditional love.

It was a passion that I started further exploring with the advent of the very popular Vikings TV show. And in all their darkness, and in all their magic, and in all their light--these Vikings were people I needed to know more. Because I knew in knowing about them, I was going to come into more alignment with some things about myself.

Enter Randi Buckley and her Viking Woman Workshop. This was part of my personal development work over the cold winter months last year. And I learned I was right--my bent towards intuition, toward healing, toward botanical potions and elixirs--that was all in my heritage as well and as much as it is also God-given. It was validating. Soul-filling. It pushed me forward and deeper into that identity even as I was shedding other layers of identities that were no longer serving me as much as I loved them. I shed expectations of others. I shed my job as college professor. 

I found more of myself.

Winter grew to spring which grew to summer--and life allowed me to continue stepping more and more into that identity--that of healer. That of energy worker. That of educator. I desire, that of hope-bearer.

I have had a hobby distiller for several years now, and it became evident, through networking with and talking to other artisan essential oil distillers, that this little still--I had outgrown her, too. I needed to upgrade. I needed more space. I needed a way to take the prairie earth and the green of her plants and the heat of the fire and the space of more space to make those ethers that would supply the healing elixir of essential oils to anyone who needs. 

This seemed impossible. Stills are WAY expensive. But I kept the hope. And through a very, very dark time, a summer of complete and total mayhem, heartbreak, and tragedy (a post for another time) opportunity showed her face. 

Through residual income and teaching stipends I was in a more spacious place financially than I have been as a business at any other time. And it was time.

And because of that same network of distillers, I met Andrew Bailey, a dude I knew I could trust, and who does beautiful, gorgeous work--a true artisan in the old ways. A fellow alchemist, of sorts. And he was willing to work within my needs as an essential oil distiller. And he answered all of my stupid questions. 

And Elda was born. And she came home to live in North Dakota.

Elda. Yes, the still has a name. When you meet one in person, you will know why. They have their own presence and their own personality. 

This still--she was not a Marilyn Monroe. And she wasn't a wallflower either. She is fire. She is a Viking warrioress. 

Eld--it is the Swedish word for fire. But it connotes so much more, if my translation work is at all correct. It also means harmony. Passion. Ardour. And Spirit. It encompasses everything I feel about what I do in one word. I wish we had this word in English. And to make her female, I simply added an "a" to the end of the word. 

Elda. May she bring help and wholeness to many as she already is to me. 

Her first work will be soon--the weather is now right for the collection, maceration, and distillation of some juniper leaves, and if I feel ambitious, berries. 

You can get your own beautiful Elda here: http://www.coldspringscopper.com/

Aside--incidentally if you are a Viking woman who wants to know more, Randi does have another workshop coming up. I highly recommend. http://www.randibuckley.com/viking-woman-workshopwinter/