bloodteethandflame

A life in threes

Category: altar

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.

…and the world shall open up to receive your joy.

I’ve been meaning to post about some lovely things that have been happening in my life.

I’ve been collecting up these bits of joy, and out of a habitual fear of jinxing things, I’ve been keeping these things to myself.

But I am getting the impression that my cautious optimism will no longer do:

“…and the world shall open up to receive your joy.”

~~~

mala

Recently, I ordered this Loki mini- mala from Beth and I received it in the mail the other day.

Since my family and I were hosting guests from out of town the day that package arrived, I put it aside to open later, perhaps the next day.

Well, things got busy, and our guests lingered for a few days.

 

However, my thoughts kept straying to the package.

I’ve never had a mala before, to be honest, I was looking forward to having some time to myself to fully immerse myself in the use of this one.

And finally, almost a week later, I finally got my chance to open the package, hold them and pray with them.

*squeee*

 

This mala is truly a pleasure to work with.

(But then again, I think that could be said about every ‘touch bead’ item that I’ve ever purchased from Beth, as this mala joins a small collection of prayer beads – two of which she has also made – that reside on my Loki altars.)

But this mala has the addition of a black silk tassel that I absolutely love to touch – and the beads!

The beads just slide effortlessly through my fingers.

I am continually impressed with how Beth’s choice of bead (size, weight, and texture) always seems to be spot-on energy-wise in every prayer item that she has made that I have purchased.

As well, Beth enclosed a beautifully handwritten(!) prayer card with the mala:

IMG_3544

While I admit that I referred to it the first few times I prayed, the words and imagery of this suggested prayer served as a lovely jumping-off point for creating my own personal prayer as I moved through the beads during later sessions.

That alone was pretty powerful…and things got even more interesting when I began praying with my own words.

~~~

There was a personal prayer that I would offer back when I was just beginning my devotional practice with Loki in 2011.  I was transitioning from the mindset of a skeptical agnostic to making my first attempts at opening up to being a devotional polytheist.

It was at that time in my life that a specific prayer had nearly become a daily mantra that I would return to whenever I was full of doubt.

It was a prayer about letting go of anger, pain, and fear… and opening up to trust, to joy, and to love.

 

So, fast forward to last night.

I’d gone through several cycles of prayer.

Perhaps my brain was casting about for something else, but I found myself returning to the beginning of things, and when I began speaking the words–

May I let go of my pain and open to joy….

I inexplicably felt the need to pause

Because suddenly I just knew!

There had always been a response:

and the world shall open up to receive your joy.

~~~

These beads are full of such warmth.

They feel as if they are bursting with a bright expansive energy.

Loki is just so present in them.

 

I am in love all over again.

~~~

Thanks Beth!

 

 

 

I have been remiss.

Gods, my life has been one crazy thing after another.

I have desperately been needing a touchstone of sorts as I witness my life going through yet another flurry of changes, yet another excruciating emotional overhaul.

So, in the the interest of staying positive, I wanted to post about how I received my custom prayer beads for Laufey from BethWodandis in the mail a little over two weeks ago.

Yes, I have been sorely remiss in posting, as these beads were much anticipated addition in my ever-evolving devotional practice:

Laufeybeads

Aren’t they lovely?

I love the lush green of the seraphinite coupled with clear quartz.

When discussing the gemstones that I might choose to represent Laufey, Beth suggested seraphanite for its color and energetic qualities, as seraphinite is known for its associations with nature, healing, and the Divine Feminine.  The clear quartz definitely amplifies Her gentle energies rather powerfully, and I am most grateful for Beth’s suggestions.

They are powerful unmistakable combination that was so spot-on.  I am so very pleased with them, and I think that She is too ❤

These beads definitely evoke Laufey for me, and they have been providing me with that necessary stabilizing energy that I’ve been needing to connect with as of late.

Thank you, Beth

and

Hail Laufey, Mother of Loki, my Most Beloved ❤

 

Grateful.

I know that I haven’t been posting much, or rather, I haven’t been posting as often as I’d intended.   Though it’s not as if I have a shortage of topics to write about – as a matter of fact, I’ve been writing a lot lately.

My devotional practice has been going through some changes, and as much as I wanted to share my thoughts about some of the work that I’ve been doing, it just hasn’t happened.  I’ve been wanting to write about the connections that I have been making – but somehow coordinating my thoughts into succinct blog posts hasn’t been going so well.

Somehow I haven’t been able to Post All the Things.

But I did want to post about how delighted I was to receive my copy of Silence Maestas handmade Loki devotional:

altarbook

So I moved some things around on my altar – because He seemed to want it up there as soon as I opened it.

But it’s a strange sort of thing because when I was reading it, the vibe that I was getting from Him seemed to be both excited and irritated that I was reading it.  Perhaps He was cranky over the fact that I had to remove the book from its place on the altar there in order to read it?  I don’t know.

I bought a copy because I was excited to support Silence’s book project overall, but I was also curious and excited to read more information concerning the feminine Loki as well.

So my purchasing this book was intended as a gift for both of Us, in this sort of roundabout way: it was certainly intended as a gift for Him, and a combination gift/informational research project for me.  (I’ll admit that those two aspects often become somewhat entwined whenever I purchase books pertaining to Him, but, then again, not every Loki-book ends up on the altar… so there you have it.)

I also got the nudge from Him to get my hands on this antler-piece

Lokiantler

–thought I’m not exactly sure why.    Another gift, perhaps.

I’m kinda using this as a bookmark – as the leather thong that came attached to the antler works rather well for holding my place in the large poetry book that I’m reading right now – but when I’m not reading, He seems to like it if I keep it on His altar for now.

And most recently, there’s these Loki and Sleipnir mini-rosary beads from Beth Wodandis Designs:

LokiSleipnirprayerbeads

They are lovely is all I can say.

I was struck by the coloring and quality of the labradorite.  I find them especially beautiful*

You see, I almost fell asleep while praying with them on the night that I received them.

The other darker beads are ‘dumortierite.’

I have read that dumortierite works well to increase one’s state of inner peace.

Indeed.

I am not kidding when I say that holding these has been immensely calming somehow, even though I had read in several other places that ‘dumortierite can be psychically energizing.’ Labradorite has a similar intensity of effect for me…but either way, I am not complaining.  

Perhaps I have been more hyperactive than usual, therefore the intensity of these two stones has had a calming influence in response to my hyperactive energetic state.

Who knows?

~~~

*It would seem that Loki considered this mini-rosary as an appropriate gift for Him, as well, since every piece of labradorite I’ve ever had has eventually ended up on His altar somewhere.

Perhaps I should make Him a themed altar just for all that labradorite that He’s been wanting ❤

Month for Loki, Day 22: Prayer beads.

Some time ago, I purchased some prayer beads from Fiberwytch on Etsy:

lokiprayerbeads

Though I’ve written before on how these prayer beads are one of my favorite devotional possessions, I’d like to point out as much as I loved them and I purchased them upon first sight, I hadn’t any knowledge of how to use prayer beads.

I was familiar – in theory – with rosary beads* due to my extended biological relatives being devout Roman Catholics – but it’s not as if  I knew how to incorporate such an item into my devotional practices.

So, once I’d purchased them, I immediately began searching for ‘how-to’ information as well as a few appropriate prayers.

Most of what I’d found seemed tailored to use with larger lengths of beads counted off in specific order, similar to the rosary bead configurations.   At first, I was confused by this, but then I realized that I just needed to adapt the structures a little.

Here is a portion of a lovely but much longer prayer that I found here.

The prayer, from which this portion is taken, was written by Elizabeth Vongsivith:

In the name of Loki, Shape-strong and wily Trickster, may I never take myself too seriously.

In the name of Angrboda, Chieftain and Hagia of the Iron Wood, may I value others for their knowledge and abilities.

In the name of Sigyn, Lady of Endurance, may I endure my own suffering without complaint.

In the name of Fenrir, great chained Wolf, may I have the strength to control my inner monsters.

In the name of Jormungand, mighty World-serpent, may I maintain appropriate boundaries.

In the name of Sleipnir, eight-legged son of Loki, may I carry my burdens with good will.

In the name of Narvi, eldest son of Sigyn and Loki, may I remember those who died unjustly.

In the name of Vali, youngest son of Sigyn and Loki, may I be an advocate for those who suffer unjustly.

In the name of Laufey, Lady of the Leafy Isle, may I remain mindful of the green growing things of forest and field.

In the name of Farbauti, Flaming Arrow, may my will to survive remain strong.

In the name of Surt, Lord of Muspellheim, may I show respect to those who stood in my place before me.

In the name of Utgard-Loki, wise and crafty Sorcerer-king, may I know when to speak and when to remain silent.

In the name of Gunnlod, fair-voiced Lady Under the Mountain, may I find beauty and contentment wherever I am.

In the name of Hyndla, Hagia of the Northern Mountains, may I see clearly into the bloodlines I walk.

In the name of Mengloth, Healer of Lyfja Mount, may I be aware when I cause pain to others.

In the name of Hati, Chaser of the Moon, may I accept my most unwelcome tasks.

In the name of Skoll, Pursuer of the Sun, may I find what joy I can in my most unwelcome tasks.

In the name of Mordgud, Guardian of Helheim’s gate, may I have discipline and self-respect.

In the name of Nidhogg, Gnawer at the World-tree’s roots, may I remember that there is no such place as “away.”

In the name of Hela, Goddess of the Dead, may I honor the beloved dead, revere the mighty dead, and have compassion for the forgotten and unknown dead.

~~~

As well, I have shorter prayers that I recite – such as this adaptation of a Enochian prayer by Sophie Reicher:

Teach me, oh my Gods, to have correct knowledge and understanding, for Your blessing is all that I desire. Speak Your words in my ear, oh Makers of all Things, and set Your wisdom in my heart

A shorter prayer like this feels appropriate at times (like now when it is 4 AM or so) and I cannot sleep, much less focus, and repetition is helpful to me.

~~~

* I am excited and must make a note of this, Galina Krasskova wrote a post on the Gods’ Mouths here, concerning that very thing that I had been looking for, concerning re-working the rosary prayers that she first became familiar with in childhood…and I was delighted to note that she references the above prayer in her post. ❤

 

runecloth

Finally finished with the rune embroidery on this altar cloth.

I just wanted to post to let those who were asking to see it.

I’ve already gotten the nudge that perhaps I could embroider this 3 more times – as a border for each side.

Though I really hope that that was perhaps not meant as an actual request…as I’m really feeling inclined to embroider something else for a change.

Or I could just look at it as a means to further memorize runes…much like those embroidery samplers of the alphabet that young children were known to make in colonial times.

/end whineage.

 

Process, and projects.

So, as I mentioned a post or two ago, I have been working on several projects.

I have been making jewelry that mostly consists of beadwork and wire-wrapping.

I began last summer making necklaces and ankle bracelets, simply because I found that the process has become quite a meditative and calming activity for me.

I’ve made several pieces now, mostly for myself, as devotional jewelry, because most of the devotional jewelry that I’d purchased from retail was beginning to fall apart.

As well, I have been wearing an ankle bracelet 24/7 * for several years now, and I have found through experience that a lot of ankle bracelets (whether purchased retail or hand made by me) aren’t sturdy enough for such constant wear…or at least, the clasps aren’t.  I’m still trying to work out a means of clasp attachment – or a clasp/attachment combination – that will hold for longer than four months.  I’m getting there.

On the other hand, I switch out my necklaces a lot more often.  I have made several pieces each that are dedicated to specific Gods, and so I often wear those necklaces for shorter periods of time.  I might just phase out some of my older (retail purchased) pieces in favor of wearing exclusively handmade ones.

And, of course, there are times when I make something quick, thinking that I might wear it, and then I get the distinct impression that Someone likes it so much that I’ll end up just leaving it on Their altar…

Laufeynecklace

 

…as is the case here.

The beading cord is recycled hemp, which I’m not familiar working with, and thus the attachment point for this toggle clasp is probably not sturdy enough for wearing for any length of time anyway.

But I have come up with other ideas to expand upon this design, as I really love the earth-toned color scheme.

 

*Loki seems to appreciate that I have been wearing an ankle bracelet which has a design/color scheme that honors Him and His families.

~~~

I’ve also been working on an embroidery project that features all the Futhark runes.

When it is finished, I will be sure to post a picture of it, as it has taken me a while.  Certain runes seem to be a lot more difficult for me to stitch than others, and my perfectionist tendencies aren’t serving me so well in that department.

But as it is with beading, I find embroidery a very satisfying and meditative devotional activity.  I am guessing that there might not be too many people in this world who enjoy embroidering their altar cloths as much as I do, but I enjoy it very much.

I probably should switch out my altar cloths more often, or likewise, create more layers on the altars to showcase the ones I have finished.

I usually have one to three unfinished cloths at any given time, so I definitely have an altar cloth embroidery addiction, at the very least.  Ahem.

~~~

And finally, drawing.

I was puttering around DeviantArt the other day, and I realized that it has now been 3 years that I have had an account there, and yet I have never submitted any artwork.  Still.

(Still, a year or more after saying that I would.)

So, I was having a conversation – no, more like an argument, honestly – with an artist friend of mine yesterday.  In the course of our heated discussion, my artist-friend gave me all kinds of grief in regards to my obvious procrastination/aversion towards actually posting artwork, which led to his calling me out in his frustration, in a very Loki-esque manner:

You know what, Heathir?  

You need to stop talking about doing, and…f***ing DO.  

You need to either shit or get off the pot.

And it was a small thing, such a small thing, my not posting any artwork, you know.

I don’t know what I have been waiting for these past three years.  I’ve never had any excuse whatsoever not to post artwork…but I kept hemming and hawing, anyway.

And there was absolutely no reason to be afraid.

So, as soon as I got off the phone with him, I went to DeviantArt, scanned, and finally posted some artwork.

And the more that I scanned, the more that I wished that I’d keep my artwork in one place in a more organized fashion.

I scanned six pages from my sketch-book.  I started to wonder where I’d put some of the other sketches that I had done last summer.  I began looking through my notebooks, looking specifically for my vulture sketches, and all those face and figure studies that I did last month.

I couldn’t find a lot of what I was thinking to post on DeviantArt because I have been so disorganized in storing my artwork.  *sigh*

But, there’s actually artwork there now.

(There should be more, but I learned that my scanner doesn’t pick up my graphite sketches as well as I would have liked.  I’ll take that as a sign that I need to draw more confidently, ie; press down a little harder with the pencils, so the scanner will pick up the lines.)

 

In related news, I did a few more face studies, and one figure study yesterday in preparation for a t-shirt silkscreen project that I have been putting together:

Figure study 1

 

(Figure study #1: I am pleased with the leanness of the body, but I’m not as pleased with the face as much.  The eyes are fair to good (right eye is clear, left is not because of erasures), and I like the slightly raised eyebrow, but the mouth, nose, and facial hair need work.  And I realize that the hair on the head is all wrong.)

Face Study 1

(Face study #1: I love the hair, and even though it’s shorter than intended, I like the flow.  I like the left eye; too many erasures are muddying up the right eye, but the eye placement looks good to me.  The nose seems wrong somehow, and the mouth seems a bit too wide/too stiff of an expression.  Overall, He looks older than I intended, as well.)

Face Study 2

(Face Study #2: Facial feature placement seems good, but He still looks older than I intended.  Nose is better, and mouth is better.  Tried to keep the raised eyebrow.)

Face Study 3

(Face Study #3: Most of the time, I look at several photos of actual people and study their faces, and practice drawing the parts of the face several times before incorporating the details of several faces while I’m drawing one face.  This was a total freehand in that this face came together all at once, rather than incorporating the various details of several faces from studying photos.  This is the last, and oddly enough, the most simple face of the three that I drew.  I know that this one still needs work, but I really like that He doesn’t look so…middle-aged as He did in the other ones. )

 

Hail Loki, Fair of Face ❤

~~~

Tangled Up in Blue

Concerning Petrarch, poetry, and a question from a reader:

I read a lot of poetry, and I listen to a lot of music.

Often these two habits will intersect in my life in strange and delightful ways, especially where and when my Gods are involved.

One particular song that I have always loved is Bob Dylan’s Tangled Up in Blue.

And I came to love it even more when the Indigo Girls released their cover of that song on their live album, 1200 Curfews, in 1995.

As you may or may not know, it was not until 1997 or so that I started getting specific spiritual nudges again.  And sufficed to say, this song came up a lot on the radio at that time, and as a result, I heard the Indigo Girls’ cover several times a day.

But as much as I knew the lyrics, there was one particular verse that always baffled me, however.

This one:

She lit a burner on the stove and offered me a pipe
“I thought you’d never say hello” she said
“You look like the silent type”
Then she opened up a book of poems
And handed it to me
Written by an Italian poet
From the thirteenth century
And every one of them words rang true
And glowed like burning coal
Pouring off of every page
Like it was written in my soul from me to you
Tangled up in blue.

 

All I could think of was…what sort of words were those?  And even more so, who wrote them?

I mean, as a person who loves poetry, I could absolutely agree that poetry, in all its forms, is the highest form of word-alchemy.

As well, I would be the first to agree that good poetry certainly can and does transcend time.

But I had to, absolutely had to… find out who was that ‘Italian poet from the thirteenth century’?

And no, I don’t think that anybody really knows.

As far as I can tell, Bob Dylan has never identified any particular poet as being the poet that he references…so I began to wonder if Dylan was just simply trying to convey some universally profound fact about love and human relationships, as well as something similar to what I just wrote up there about poetry being word-alchemy.

~~~

Cut to three years ago, I was in a large retail bookstore chain, just browsing, as I often do.

If you must know, I wasn’t even in the poetry section.  Because, as much as I love poetry, I hardly ever buy books of it.

So it was more than likely that I’d been skimming a Kingdom Hearts graphic novel with my kid, or trying to choose between two or three sci-fi/fantasy anthologies, or whatever, when ‘Tangled Up in Blue’ came up on the in-store music system.

I remember looking up from the book that I had been browsing, to see that someone had left a copy of Petrarchian love sonnets on the floor.

…and that exact verse – with line about an Italian poet from the thirteenth century – was the verse that was playing when I noticed that book on the floor.

And no, I didn’t buy the book.   I brought it back to the poetry section and left it there.

If I bought anything, I probably purchased an anthology of short horror stories and a comic book for my kid.

But when I got home, I Googled ‘Petrarch.’   Having been an English major in college, I did know that Petrarch was an Italian poet… and just as any English major who studied poetry, I was familiar with the Petrarchian sonnet.

What detail that I didn’t know, or likewise remember, was that Petrarch wrote most of those sonnets about love and loss…in the 13th century.

In that next week or so, I hemmed and hawed about this whole thing being  a ‘universal sign’…

 

But eventually I did purchase a book of Petrarchian love sonnets a few months later.

 

So.

Yes.

You may take it however you will, but that book of Petrarchian love sonnets is on my altar because of one particularly sneaky incidence of pandoramancy coinciding with a misplaced book.

🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

File under: A few of my favorite things.

I swear to Gods, I’m not a wreck all of the time.

But lately, one might think so, judging by how often I have chosen to write posts that detail my latest struggles.

So, in an effort to be more positive, I wanted to post something that makes me happy.

 

This is one of my Loki altars:

cropaltarpicMay7

This altar happens to be the first thing that I see every morning and the last thing that I see every night.  And, as you might imagine, it holds several devotional items that have come to have a lot of meaning for me lately.

First, there is the very large picture of Himself, a special commission that I had done (for my 43rd birthday) by talented Pagan artist, Kimberly Williams.   While this picture might not be everyone’s cup of tea – as some folks are of the opinion that He has a frighteningly voracious grin – but I find His grin tremendously comforting, if not downright friendly at the end of a particularly trying day.

Secondly, there are those lovely – and powerful! -Loki prayer beads purchased from Fiberwytch on Etsy.   I can’t say enough how much I love and heartily recommend Beth Lynch’s work.   The beads often reflect light with a lot of fire and flash whenever I use them, and the hematite and jackfruit beads are positively silky to the touch. The sleepy fox charm, on the other hand, comes across to me as more adorable than sneaky, and that’s just fine with me.

Overall, these prayer beads are a joy to handle and use.  I pack them whenever I will be away from home overnight.

Thirdly, is my latest purchase -also from Fiberwytch – a tinned candle with a wooden wick for Loki that is so strongly scented of espresso that my family often insists that I must be brewing a bottomless pot of fresh coffee in the bedroom. (Though I would imagine that He wouldn’t mind that one bit.)  As well, the wooden wick does crackle like a miniature bonfire – which also sounds and smells woodsy and wonderful – creating the perfect atmosphere for Lokean meditations.

And so there you have it -three of my favorite devotional items made by two talented Pagan artisans – both of whom I would highly recommend.

~~~

Perhaps tomorrow, I will post some of my own personal artwork, crafts, and offerings that I have been making to the Gods

 

 

….as well as the beginnings of my latest long-term fun project that I’m hoping to expand upon this summer.

 

 

 

Candle.

There is so much that I often think that I might want to write about, but then again, things have been so strange, sometimes I think that it would be best to keep certain aspects of what has been happening to myself.

So, in its place, things such as this happen, and it makes a good filler for something else:

The white candle on my Loki altar had a thick clump in its wick this morning.

It was shaped like the Elder Futhark rune,  Algiz  (a Y intersected by a third stave):

runa algiz

….or perhaps a figure with its arms raised upright.
When I lit the candle,  the wick flamed up very high, and the the three prongs of the wick were striated with a swirling orange glow, as the flame sputtered and danced about.

As I watched it burn, I meditated on the various interpretations of Algiz  (or Elhaz)

“Elk-sedge” – (Z, or -R)  – Protection, Shield.  Wards, or guardians.

-Connection with higher self, or connection to gods; an awakening.

– Can be used to channel energies appropriately, or to protect or to hold a position that has been won or earned.

Then I blew out the candle, and the wick slowly shrank and curled downward a bit, as if the wick was a figure with arms lowered

algizcandle

…or perhaps, a person holding arms outward, as if to embrace another.

Or…maybe I am just overthinking, hmmm?