bloodteethandflame

A life in threes

New.

In a further effort to dedicate to working with Odin, I decided to order a new set of runes recently.

Though I have two other sets – one Elder Futhark and one Anglo-Saxon – in keeping with the spirit of creating a new devotional practice, I wanted to have a custom set made specifically for working with Odin.*

After receiving some recommendations and talking to different artisans, I chose a rune-craftsman whose shop is based in the Ukraine – Eril’s Workshop -because his work is simply stunning:

 

~~~

So my new runes were finished last week.

The artisan sent me a neat little photo essay that showed the creation process of my runes.

The runes blanks he used are made of a beautiful light oak – the color of honey -uniformly cut and neatly carved.

Despite being made of slices of oak, looking at the photos, they appear deceptively thin, light as feathers.

~~~

And they are…my runes arrived today.

They remind me of delicate cookies – honey wafers.

(Yes, the color of them does make me (almost!) want to lick them, imagining the sweet flavor of Daelmans Dutch Honey Wafers.)

I will be blooding them in the next few days, with intent to begin using them soon; perhaps by this coming Wednesday. 🙂

~~~

*Yes, I thought about making my own runes.  Perhaps that will be a project for further down the road.

 

 

 

Rune-pull: Uruz.

I haven’t done a rune-pull in a long time, but the other day, I had the surprising urge to do so.

And I pulled Uruz.

(artwork: Uruz, by Miky, from his Book of Shadows; here.)

Funny, of all the runes, I will admit that Uruz – the second rune of the first Aett of the Futhark – does not come up in my readings very often, and so I am not as familiar with its meanings as much as I am about some of the other runes.

This is odd, as I was showing my son K a bindrune that I had seen that incorporated Dagaz, Gebo and Uruz as part of its structure earlier that morning, so it was an unusual coincidence that this rune –which I had mentioned to K that I was not so familiar with – would be the next rune to come up in a rune pull.

How amazing it is when the Universe conspires to highlight a lesson.  I was just saying I wasn’t so sure of the meanings/power of Uruz…and now here it is. Perhaps I should have expected it.

My overall impressions of this rune are vague at best, as I knew that it is a rune associated with that animal, the auroch (as pictured in the artwork above), and in a reading, I often felt Uruz represented a physical obstacle or unpleasant task that must be faced in order to move forward.

Doing some research on Uruz, I found this description, and I was pleased to see that my basic impression of Uruz wasn’t so far off:

This rune signifies the power of the universe but it is a power that cannot be owned or controlled. [Uruz represents] the strength within you to fulfill your dreams, but with that strength comes responsibility.  Strength is not a force to wield over others but a force to stop others from exerting power over you.  Use your strength to keep focused on your present path and stop yourself from being outmaneuvered.  

[Other aspects of Uruz] include emotional and spiritual strength, male sexual potency, and good health.

Another interpretation I got when reading the translation from the above mentioned website that featured the artwork:

Uruz is a physical manifestation of a challenge which leads to a major life change. Much depends upon the strategy you choose when you approach this challenge or task, as you may be required to overcome yourself in rising to the challenge or task.

Uruz represents personal success, so be ready to accept the process and…step into personal power. 

Uruz is also known as a rune of healing and health, so if you need that vitality,  Uruz is the rune.

 

Wednesday’s subtly layered lesson

(Warning: heavily cross-referenced, possible TL;DR)

I woke up with “Kiss This” by the Struts stuck in my head this morning.

As it seems to be a song about a breakup (especially the chorus), I was concerned.

I went to bed last night feeling both sorry and jealous; I know I was not in a good mindset upon falling asleep.  I tell myself that it is just that. (I hadn’t meant to go to bed, but I must have dozed off while I was meditating, as I dimly recall repeating ‘I’m sorry’ like a mantra…but what’s rather odd is that I remember feeling guilty and ashamed but I don’t know exactly what had happened to trigger those feelings.)

At any rate, here I am.

It is Wednesday.

And as it is with a lot of Wednesdays lately, I’ve been feeling disconnected from Odin, and so I think about what I could do today to connect with Him.  And so begins that weekly process of self-examination of whether or not Odin is blocking me or if I am (somehow still) blocking Him.

Therefore I search myself inwardly for feelings of anger and denial, for distrust and skepticism.  It’s as if I am opening up a box of feelings and I am obsessively running my fingers over what I find inside.

Perhaps this is the source of last night’s apologies as I ruminate over the past and over all of the ways in which I had insisted I wanted no part of Odin.

I wanted no part of Him.

There it is.

That realization.

You see, several months ago, it occurred to me: Loki is ‘a part’ of Him, whether literally or figuratively, as Loki is His blood-brother:

Loki spake:
9. Remember, Othin, | in olden days
That we both our blood have mixed;
Then didst thou promise | no ale to pour,
Unless it were brought for us both.

(Lokasenna)

Therefore, to deny Odin is to deny Loki, isn’t it?

To offer to Loki and not offer to Odin makes the offering incomplete.

And yet, for years, I did just that.

During those meditations wherein I’d first attempted to connect to Loki, often, I would sense another presence along with Loki… and I’d send it away.

As well, a few times in dream-space, Loki would ask me:

Do you like Odin?

Would you work with Him?

But, in response to that question, like a child, I would shut down, sometimes almost to the point of throwing a tantrum.

I’d flatly refuse the suggestion – sometimes becoming angry and dismissive:

No. I don’t want to work with Odin.  

I won’t work with Odin.

Tell Him to go away.

(Perhaps this is yet another thing that I need to let go of, more shadow work for me to do.)

Hel, I’ll admit that there was a time when I would become angry with Loki for even suggesting such a thing… insisting that I didn’t want to hear Him even say Odin’s name.

Now how ironic is that?

Considering how there are many Asatru who refuse to say Loki’s name – much less hail Him along with their much-beloved All-father – and yet there I was, doing the exact same thing, saying:

You are welcome; He is not.

Can one honor Loki without honoring Odin?

Well, I certainly thought I could.

What a hypocrite I had been!

~~~

But I suppose that it wasn’t always that way:

In 2010 or so, in the beginnings of my devotional practice, I did make tentative offerings to Odin… and yet I remember sensing His refusal.

Even back in those early days, I had vivid repetitive dreams wherein Loki would visit me, and more often than not, He was accompanied by Odin.

Several years later on, Loki suggested that Odin and I should talk, but then Loki would leave, as if it had been His intent all along…and yet, upon being left behind, Odin spoke very little to me.  As well, He would refuse all of my offers of hospitality – which left me feeling awkward and socially anxious.

As well, during that time, I was prone to terrifying nightmares, where I found myself feeling forced to interact with Odin anyway (such as detailed herehere, and here) and yet whenever I would show fear or emotionally shut down, only then would Loki come forward to ‘rescue’ me (such as in this shapeshifting guided meditation here.)

But now I look at these past experiences, and I can’t help but wonder:  Why are Loki and Odin always together? Are Odin and Loki one and the same God?

Or perhaps, are They so closely intertwined that They might as well be?

While I know that They are not interchangeable, perhaps in my denial towards Odin, I have denied Loki.

So, in a show of good faith and trust, I recently made space on my altar for both of Them:

Ich liebe euch beide

Now the work becomes to live that belief.

To accept both of Them, to love both of Them.

They are not interchangeable…

And yet, one of my greatest fears was that feeling of being seen as and being treated as ‘interchangeable.’

I suppose that I still do, as it is one of the things that hurt me the most when I think back upon what happened with Local Other Lokean (LOL), or whenever I consider myself in reference to my experiences with her.

Especially when Loki seemed to begin to make requests of me that mirrored specific requests that LOL often claimed that He’d made of her, regarding

gathering ‘resources’

serving the community through seidhr

and

writing a book of personal experience and practices.

Why, I had whinged,  Was this all just because we share the same name?

And again, I will admit that I reacted to Him with a ridiculously self-righteous tantrum:

She and I might have the same name but we are not interchangeable.

But just as I had once refused to consider working with Odin, I refused His requests and ignored any suggestions of working in any role remotely resembling a role that I’d come to associate with LOL…

Meanwhile, He went responded by reminding me of how

Separation is an illusion.  It is the creation of useless categories.  Window-dressing.  Manufactured restrictions.

The only thing you are doing now is making excuses.

(Well I will admit I did make excuses, refusing to listen and to do.)

This was yet another situation that showcased my obvious hypocrisy.

I was allowing myself to be triggered by all the same concepts with which He’d allegedly hounded LOL.

Well, it’s not even the concepts as much as how discussing these concepts brought up associations to LOL’s presence in my mind.

I was triggered that Loki always seemed to be surreptitiously referencing LOL in Our conversations.  I was offended that He’d treat me as interchangeable with LOL, and so I reacted from that place of offense rather than to look more intently at His actual request, which highlights a sort of inevitable parallel too:

Welcome Odin as you would welcome Me.

And yet, there I was also being offended by Odin’s presence in Our conversations, and though I didn’t realize what was going on….

But it was that exact feeling of angry offense.

Perhaps these two things are not connected, but I sit here feeling horrified that it would appear that I had spent years denying ‘a part’ of Loki by denying Odin….

(cue melodramatic pandoramancy here)

And suddenly realizing that I have recently moved through a rather layered lesson in denial:

Perhaps the ‘Odin’ I have been rejecting is another face of Loki’s.

Or perhaps They really are ‘two sides of the same coin’ and denying Odin is denying Loki.

Or…

denial

What I asked of her, I ask of you.

By avoiding mental associations [with LOL], you are denying your own gifts.

And in that, I know Loki to be relentless:

Do you see the layers? 

There is your work. 

Now do it.

 

This blog is not dead.

This blog is not dead.

However, my devotional practice has definitely changed, as nearly six months ago, I started working with Odin too:

LokiandOdinaltarfigures (2)

(Altar figures (l-r) Loki, Odin, ceramic, by artisan Dmitriy Kushnir from The Slavic Way on Etsy)

But maybe I am not.

As it has occurred to me that perhaps what I believe to be Odin could be simply another face of Loki….

But damned if it doesn’t feel different.

Dante.

Yesterday our pet ferret died.

His name was Dante.

Early yesterday morning, my son had gone to clean Dante’s cage, but Dante seemed lethargic and disinterested in coming out to run around while my son did that chore.

As a matter of fact, he seemed to be more interested in napping, which wasn’t unusual as Dante, like most ferrets, was more active at night….and as usual, Dante had been pretty active just a few hours before, so neither of us thought much of him wanting to nap.

So my son did a quick wipedown of the cage floors, put out food, water, and a clean blanket, and left for school.

About an hour or so later, I’d noticed that Dante still hadn’t moved to eat or drink, so I nudged him.

Though he was still warm, he had passed.

~~~

Dante was the most recent ferret we’d had in a long line of ferrets.

 

You see, we’ve had a good half-dozen ferrets in the last 10 years.

In the overlap, we had four ferrets at one time:

(Here’s my older son holding three of that four ferrets we had at that time.)

If you haven’t guessed, ferrets are social creatures who thrive on having company – the more the merrier.

~~~

But Dante was the last of the final two, which was comprised of he and his brother/litter-mate Jameson (who died two years ago):

As you might imagine, I felt a bit choked up to put away the food dishes, the toys, and that crate (roomy enough to house up to six ferrets at a time), and it feels strange to consider that our home is both without Dante – and without ferrets – today. 😥

As well, I am not ashamed to admit that I cried as I dug the hole this afternoon, and I cried as I wrapped Dante in his favorite blanket, and buried him three feet to the left of where Jameson lies beneath the bed of dark pink periwinkles.

Am I foolish to have wanted to send him off with a proper farewell – making prayers and burning incense?

 

Am I foolish to plan on planting flowers – violets and periwinkles – once rainy season comes?

 

Perhaps.

 

But today I am both sad and foolish.

I miss my ferrets.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pandoramancy: I’ll make you a believer…

This song is evocative of some of my first interactions with L as an adult:

While I was familiar with the original Depeche Mode version from 1989, I preferred Marilyn Manson’s cover version (released in 2004), as Manson’s voice felt closer to the weary tone and cracked pitch of L’s voice, especially considering it had been several months’ post-breakdown*

~~~~

 

*Another personal Ragnarök had just occurred in my life in late February 2008- so when He came to me with that particular face and aspect, I found it to be more comforting than disturbing at the time.

Ragnarok

Even though I am over a month late in posting my thoughts, I could not wait to read National Geographic’s most recent article on the Vikings, which appeared in their March 2017 issue.

While much of the article concerned recent discoveries made about Viking culture of which I was already familiar, an intriguing theory concerning Ragnarok was mentioned on pages 38-9:

 In the nearly three centuries before the raids on foreign shores began around AD 750, Scandinavia was wracked by turmoil, [Neil] Price [of Uppsala University, Sweden] says. More than three dozen petty kingdoms arose during this period, throwing up chains of hill forts and vying for power and territory.  In the midst of these troubled times, catastrophe struck.  A vast cloud of dust, likely blasted into the atmosphere by a combination of cataclysms – comets or meteorites smashing into the Earth, as well as the eruption of least one large volcano–darkened the sun beginning in AD 536, lowering summer temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere for the next 14 years. The extended cold and darkness brought death and ruin to Scandinavia, lying as it did along the northern edge of medieval agriculture. In Sweden’s Uppland region, for example, nearly 75 percent of villages were abandoned, as residents succumbed to starvation and fighting.  

So dire was this disaster that it seems to have given birth to one of the darkest of all world myths –the Nordic legend of Ragnarok, the end of creation and the final battle, in which all gods, all supernatural beings, and all human beings and other living creatures die.  Ragnarok was said to begin with Fimbulwinter, a deadly time when the sun turns black and the weather turns bitter and treacherous–events that eerily parallel the dust veil that began in 536, Price says.*

        I had never considered that there could have been an actual historical event upon which Ragnarok was based.

        Fascinating.

~~~~

  • Vikings: What You Don’t Know About the Toughest Warriors Ever, by Heather Pringle, National Geographic, March 2017, pp 38-9)

 

I believe in pandoramancy, mark 2.

 

 

So.
Something worrisome is happening…

but there is nothing much I can do at 9:18PM EST

…but if you know me, you know that I’m worrying anyway.
And then, my son surprises me with this inspired piece of pandoramancy.
And that’s how I knew that this had to be today’s Song of the Day:

I laughed – because I love this video – but then I burst into tears.

I don’t know how he could have known.

And yet the message – that everything is going to be OK – is something that I didn’t expect to hear, and yet it is a message is one that I needed to hear so badly right at the moment….

Because…yeah.

The worry.

Sometimes the worry overwhelms me.

But the Universe seems to want me to know

Even if the sky is falling down
I know that we’ll be safe and sound
We’re safe and sound

 

Oh…and seeing those little singing cotton balls especially helped cheer me up a little. ❤

Another earworm.

I had three vivid dreams last night.

And this song…

was playing repeatedly in the background throughout all three dreams.

I have no idea why.

Upon awakening, I wondered if the repetition was simply an instance of pandoramancy, but its lyrics or imagery didn’t seem to connect to anything I’d dreamt of, so I guess all that’s left is to consider it as a rather insistent earworm.

 

Respite.

This past week,  the weather has been pleasant – much cooler than normal, but still rather sunny – and I’ve been appreciating it.

I’ve begun the past few mornings standing in my backyard, listening to the birds.  I’ve been seeing cardinals, bluejays, woodpeckers, and I’ve noticed at least one pair of ravens.

Yes, a pair of ravens have visited me several times over the last month or so.

They appear to be unafraid of my cat, Shasta (who usually delights in chasing most other birds from my yard, and her presence has long kept most birds away.)  Surprisingly she seems to have learned to ignore the ravens, as they’ve most certainly been ignoring her.

Another reason I’ve been enjoying the cooler temperatures is because cooler weather means wearing pants and lately, wearing pants means wearing boots.

The other day I was walking and suddenly, I felt so confident.  I think it had something to do with the sharp steady sound of my boots on the pavement.  I’ve always thought that there’s something just so heartening and bold about that rhythmic sound of boots walking on pavement.

It’s the little things.