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Coyote headdress - full hide coyote headdress totem dance costume with paws and claws for shamanic ritual and dance

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Layaway is available for this item; please contact me for details! My layaway plans are quite generous, and I'm more than willing to work you to find a payment plan that works for your budget!

Materials: Coyote skin, leather

Description: When I got this nice, soft, home-tanned coyote hide, he was in need of some help--somewhere in the skinning process he ended up with a bunch of little holes in his hide, poor guy! However, I sat down and painstakingly stitched them up, and other than one tiny little hole on his muzzle he looks fantastic! I perked up his ears and fixed his face, added details and straps, and he's ready to wear. He'd be a great, lightweight hide for drum circles and sacred dance, and he has a great coyote energy to him which would make him an excellent companion in totemic and other rituals. He measures 61" from tip of nose to tip of tail, so he'd fit just about anyone. This 'yote is eagerly awaiting a home where he will not just be loved and cherished as the sacred being he is, but can be an active participant in spiritual practices--he's ready to go!

I can also add details, such as my signature fangs, or other decor, for additional cost for materials and labor--customization is my specialty, so feel free to ask :) I guarantee the workmanship on all my masks and other headdresses, and should this ever need reshaping or other repair, I will do it free of charge!

I created my first full skin totem dance costume (which I still have!) in 2002, and have created many in the years since then. Not content with just a chin strap, I developed unique systems of straps to distribute the weight more evenly. This was not taught to me; rather, I have developed my techniques independently through trial and error, as well as years of skindancing myself. As with all my creations, this costume has been purified as a part of my shamanic practice and is ready for ritual work. Additional details such as teeth or decoration may be added at additional cost; just ask!

Please note shipping includes insurance and delivery confirmation.

I began making headdresses not as a trend or fashion statement, but because a decade ago I began dancing my own wolf at pagan festivals in the Northeast (particularly at Brushwood) and other people wanted to be able to do the same. Headdresses, along with the rest of my dead critter art, are an intensely spiritual work for me. I work with animal remains because I want to give them a better "afterlife" than being a trophy or status symbol. While not all my customers are animists, a fair number are, and I specialize in making the best connections for everyone involved.

There are a number of practices that I incorporate into making my headdresses that are specifically born from the spiritual angle of my work, though some of them are practical as well:

--I stitch up all tears and other holes in the hide, even small ones, as part of the spiritual "repair and reclaim" part of the artistic ritual. Even when the leather side looks like swiss cheese, it's entirely worth it.

--I don't do traditional taxidermy beyond shaping the heads of the headdresses. Part of this is because I want to use as few artificial materials as possible. Some of it is environmental; styrofoam (which taxidermy forms are most often made of these days) is bad stuff, petro-chemical based, and additionally the fewer new or nonbiodegradable resources I use, the better. Some of it is also spiritual; my headdresses are designed to maximize physical contact between the wearer and the hide, which facilitates the connection between the skin spirit and the dancer. It does mean that there isn't the constant support of a taxidermy form in the head. This is why I offer to periodically reshape heads and ears for free, if it's necessary. It's like having a hat reblocked.

--There are other things I do to maximize the wearability of my headdresses, especially long-term and with a lot of movement. Another reason I don't put taxidermy forms, real skulls, or other such things in the heads is because of weight. I want the headdress to be as light as possible to ease strain on the shoulder and especially the neck. I add a series of straps to distribute the weight of the hide, especially full hide headdresses of larger animals. And the straps also serve to create as much physical connection between the headdress and the wearer as possible. The wolf skin I first danced in, as well as my current one, both have straps at the head and the shoulders to carry weight, as well as all along the forelegs/my arms and the hind legs/my legs to cover me as much as possible. I've started using the bandolero style of tying the forelegs over the chest with bigger hides for even better weight distribution, though I still do the older style on large hides if preferred.

--I deliberately make the stops (foreheads) of wolf and other larger headdresses more pronounced than they would be on an actual wolf. This is because the human skull is a lot more high-domed than a wolf skull, and pronouncing the stop more helps the hide conform to the wearer's head more closely, especially if the head is mask-style.

--I don't line my headdresses with fabric or leather. On a practical level this is to allow the caretaker of the hide to be able to treat it periodically with a leather conditioner, which you can't do if there's fabric in the way. If you've ever seen vintage fur rugs with felt linings, you'll notice a lot of them are dry to the point of rotting, and that's because there's no way to condition them as long as they're stitched together. Since conditioning is a vital part of ongoing care and can be a strong bonding process for the person who wears the skin, I don't want people to be dependent on me to remove and restitch a backing every time they want to condition the hide. It's also a weight issue; if you have a big wolf hide that already weighs several pounds, you don't want to add more pounds of fabric. Plus if you're dancing around a fire, I can speak from plenty of experience--fur is WARM. You want that additional air flow in there and less weight to keep from overheating! Not having a fabric backing allows for longer dancing. And on a spiritual level, fabric breaks the physical contact between the dancer and the hide; if you're in a situation where you're able to dance with little or no clothing, you don't want that fabric to still be in the way.


***Animal parts may NOT be shipped outside the U.S.; please do not ask me to make an exception for you.***

The majority of my supplies are from secondhand sources, such as old fur and leather coats, or beads from old jewelry. Everything made with animal parts is given a full ritual purification according to my spiritual path. A portion of the proceeds is donated to nonprofit organizations such as the Defenders of Wildlife.

Coyote headdress - full hide coyote headdress totem dance costume with paws and claws for shamanic ritual and dance

Overview

  • Handmade item
  • Materials: coyote fur, deerskin
  • Only ships to United States from Oregon, United States.
  • Feedback: 2684 reviews
  • Favorited by: 20 people