bloodteethandflame

A life in threes

Category: background

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)

 

It’s a bittersweet symphony, this life.

 I’ve always felt a profound connection with this song – Bittersweet Symphony, by the Verve.

As I’ve been hearing this song a lot in the past month, the resulting thoughts and feelings that this song generates for me have been rolling about my brain for some time.

I hemmed and hawed about posting these thoughts, as I am aware the subject matter can be quite triggering for some.

And yet, in the spirit of my ‘Keeping It 100’ project – I decided that I might as well share those thoughts today, the intent being that if I come clean about this particular part of my personal history, perhaps someone out there might feel a little less…alone.

***So please be advised: In this post, I discuss my mental illness, including some details/references to episodes of  personal self-injury.***

I was once diagnosed with bipolar axis 2, and I thought that I was – for many years.

I even took medication for about 5 years  – which I hated doing – because that’s what I was told would help me get a handle on myself and my negative thought patterns, behaviors, and emotions. 

(It’s one of my personality traits: I’m pretty much a strict follower of prescribed rules regarding certain aspects of my life. )

Though the high level of prescribed medications actually didn’t help – for obvious reasons I’ll touch upon in a minute – I took my meds as prescribed, without fail.

And yet, I still found myself with a distinct inability to feel happy. 

In therapy, I was told to embrace change, to meditate, to talk about my feelings, and to reject negativity.

And this song – Bittersweet Symphony – signified all of these aspects to me:  this song resonated deeply with me because it gave me the words to describe my personal struggle with being bipolar.

Because bipolar was the blanket mood disorder that was ascribed to me.

My being bipolar was the explanation and the reason that I displayed all those ‘negative’ personality traits: moodiness, a penchant for melodrama, emotional instability, anger management issues – even the personal quirks that I talk too fast and too much was ascribed to be further proof that I must be bipolar.  (The speed of my delivery must indicate the speed of my thoughts!)

And oddly enough, as much as I hated it, the diagnosis of bipolar was a relief too.  

Because being bipolar explained everything.

Even if it didn’t.

When I went off medications in late 2001, my psychiatrist at the time insisted that I shouldn’t because he claimed that possibility that I would self-injure again or attempt suicide. 

But my stubbornness er, determination to prove him wrong was a powerful force.

Thus, it is a point of pride for me when I admit that I did not even think of self-injury nor suicide for 12, almost 13 years.

But when my 20 year marriage was on the rocks and I left my husband in the summer of  2014,  to stay with LOL, my self esteem was at an all time low.  

And I admit that I entertained some dark thoughts while I was staying with LOL.

While I am certain that she felt that she was helping me, I realized within that month, that I had simply traded one form of mindfuckery for an even more insidious form of manipulation. 

I felt as if my world was falling apart – and I was simply existing between that rock and hard place, and while I should be ashamed of this, I suppose, thoughts of self-injury came rushing forward like an equally manipulative but familiar friend.   

 (Trigger warning: discussion/reference to self-injury follows)

Now, allow me to point out that the desire to self-injure is not the same as suicidal ideation.

This is a concept that has only recently been recognized by the psychiatric community. 

An act of self-injury is not, and should not be conflated as a suicide attempt, and yet I have been in therapy long enough that I can recall when it was difficult to find a therapist/psychiatrist that subscribed to the idea that self-injury event did not equal a suicide attempt. 

And yes, I have a ‘helpful’ but essentially misguided Massachusetts social worker to thank for a three day stay in a state mental ward in 1998 to show for that.* 

But if you have never self-injured but have always wondered why the fuck self-injury should not equal suicide attempt, allow me to explain my personal take:

When I have self-injured, it has always arisen from my being in an intensely overwhelming emotional state. 

Usually my self-injury arises out of a combination of anxiety coupled with despair, as well as – and this is the most important part – a desperate need in me to have control of something. Anything.  The levels of my anxiety and despair have reached critical mass and I am not just emotionally overwhelmed – I feel like I have lost control of everything. 

Emotionally, my thought-patterns and self-image have swiftly become stuck in an endless dark loop of hopelessness and negativity. 

I have likely hurt someone’s feelings with what I’ve said and done.

It is likely that my words and behavior have concerned (if not terrified) someone I love.

I start thinking in absolutes:

Nothing is good.

Everything is wrong.

It is all my fault.

I cannot fix it. 

In short

I feel I have lost control of my thoughts and emotions in response to the situation.

Then, that emotional situation might be coupled with the physical symptoms of what is most likely a panic/anxiety attack:

My heart, blood and breath rates are going through the roof.  I am bathed in a cold sweat, and all major muscle groups ache and twitch with tension.

My neck is tight, my chest feels constricted.

If I’ve been on a crying and/or screaming jag, it’s likely that I’m become so congested from crying that I am having trouble breathing, my stomach muscles ache from all the clenching/sobbing, and my throat has probably gone raw from screaming/crying.

My head and teeth ache from clenching my jaw, and I cannot seem to regulate my body temperature.

I am shaking. 

I feel nauseous.

If I’ve lashed out physically, I might have gone and broken something. 

I have likely terrified or upset others with my physical response.  

I may feel like I’ve physically lost control of my body and its responses to the situation.

The loss of control – in the combined mental and physical responses –  is terrifying.  I feel disconnected from myself.  I need to get control of something.

I want to get control back.  I want to connect again to my body and mind.

And so then, I might focus on the repetitive actions of scratching/picking at my skin.

In extreme cases, I might move to using other implements – usually something with a point or with a sharp edge – and I might proceed in cutting or scraping until I reach the desired level of pain which brings me relief. 

It’s the pain, you know.  I need to focus on the pain. 

It is my attempt to create a little physical pain as a distraction –  to distract myself from my mental pain. 

The pain is nothing more than a coping strategy – the effort to create a controlled distraction for myself, from myself.

Self-injury is a coping mechanism some people develop to deal with emotional pain.

But self-injury was, in my case, an unhealthy avoidance maneuver/coping mechanism.

But self-injury, in my case, was never a suicide attempt. 

I didn’t want to die; I just wanted to have control of somethingand in the case of self-injury, it was a cause/effect paradigm that was much easier to control. 

When my levels of emotional pain and the anxiety/panic attack sensations were overwhelming (out of control), this was a pain I could handle, something I could control. 

Though honestly I do understand now how my anxious attempts to create sensation-situation I can control could easily lead to damage – anywhere from permanent scarring to accidental death.

(And yes, I do have scars as reminders of several episodes of self-injury.)

So.  There’s the background on the memory of my feelings that  led to most of my self-injury attempts, which includes that last major self-injury attempt in 1998.

~~~

But back to June 2014 – when my husband and I seemed definitively headed for divorce, I left my husband and I was living with Local Other Lokean. 

I was, as you may imagine, feeling an overwhelming level of despair.

(And as I had mentioned before, it was the first time in 12 years that I’d even allowed myself to entertain thoughts of self-injury.  That alone was a sign that I was in way over my head in  dealing with my emotional pain in a healthy way.)

So I checked myself into the closest mental health facility that took my insurance which happened to be in Bartow, FL.

While there, I began therapy, and again, I was put back on bipolar medications, also for the first time in 13 years.

I thought about what my psychiatrist had said to me in 2001, and I had to chuckle: if his understanding of the unmedicated bipolar patient were to be trusted, why did it take me 12 years unmedicated to get to this moment?

The assigned therapist couldn’t answer that question.

As well, she couldn’t answer why the bipolar medications that I had been recently been given (and took as scheduled without fail) for the last 3 months did not seem to have any of the desired effects.

I still couldn’t sleep more than a few hours a night.  I felt just as anxious, just as ‘manic’ as ever, though the meds did affect my memory skills and I did have trouble concentrating most of the time. 

If calmer meant feeling as if I was uncomfortably drunk to the point of nausea, then I wanted no part of this version of calm.

But I am a follower of rules in regards to my mental health, so when the doctor suggested I try another medication, I did.

So I tried another medication.

And another.

And another.

And yet, it was not until relatively recently that any psychiatrist, social worker or therapist thought to question my bipolar diagnosis. 

I would explain what my symptoms were, and they would ask if I ever had a diagnosis.  I’d tell them that I was diagnosed with bipolar axis 2 in 1997, and then,  they would write me a prescription for another bipolar medication.  

And it didn’t seem to matter if the medications didn’t work – I was bipolar, wasn’t I?

I started to wonder.

~~~

Well, finally in April 2016, I started going to another therapist who also had a degree in  psychiatry.

Oddly enough, my bipolar diagnosis was the first thing that he questioned, mostly because I’d begin to question it myself. 

So I laboriously described both my past and present symptoms in great detail over the next two months. 

As well, we talked about my meditation practice, negative self talk,  behavior modifications and mindful choices.  

Also, to ease my mind – and satisfy the insurance company – we sat down with the latest DSM of psychiatric disorders and methodically went through the symptom lists of bipolar axis 1 and 2, schizophrenia, OCD, ADHD, borderline personality disorder, and several anxiety disorders.

Turns out, according to his professional opinion, while I am melodramatic, talk fast, and I definitely have my moments of rage and depression, I don’t fit the diagnostic criteria of bipolar either axis one or two. 

As well, I am not schizophrenic. 

Nor do I have borderline personality disorder.

And I do not have ADHD.

But I do have an anxiety disorder with some rather definite overtones of OCD.

And that, my friends, is all I needed to know.

It’s nice to finally be heard and understood.

As well, it is good to finally be working with a therapist and a correct diagnosis.  It’s good to finally be able to function.

While the path to this point was  not easy – I am grateful that I am making headway on treating my life-long issues with anxiety and depression.

~~~

* By the way: Thank *you*, Claire!   Sending three policeman to meet me at my home directly after our appointment on that miserable January day was an especial treat…and your suggestion/threat to the intake staff that I might require a straitjacket to ‘calm’ me when I arrived at the hospital for intake was a lovely though unnecessary touch.  Thank you ever so much for giving me and my powers of self-control the benefit of the doubt!)

The Other.

<<<<see previous post for context<<<<<<

1 September 2016 – Day 2

The visualization today requires one to look in the mirror and ask oneself:

What is being hidden? What is holding you back?

When I looked into the bowl – I saw myself, at approximately age 10 or so.  I was crying, I was cutting – words into my skin.

And then I saw myself (at age 6 or 7) sitting at a table, deep in concentration.

I am making things out of clay.

My mother is there, but she is cleaning the kitchen.

(I am remembering, I am hearing snippets of my mother’s commentary:  Stupid little junky things and making such a mess.

These were things my mother hated: messes and ‘junky things.’

And I am making a mess.

According to her, I am sitting there, always making ‘stupid little junky things.’  My mother hated them; but my father collected them.  I see them lined up on the top of his bureau, these things I’ve made.

I watch myself trying not to cry, trying not to listen or to care about what is being said.

I feel defeated.

Suddenly, the words

strong

and

creative girl

run through my head as I consider my younger self in this vision.

It is difficult to see her.  I want to push this away.

I want her to be someone who is not afraid to say ‘No’

I want her to be the sort of child who is not afraid to stand up and tell her mother:

You are wrong. 

That is not true.

I am more than you know. 

I am more than you think. 

Where is she? The one who can do – the one who is unashamed – to create, to be, to shine?

She is crying.  I am crying.

Suddenly I remember those words, said just a few nights ago:

How dare you dull yourself for others….

I saw a girl who stopped trying.

The girl who gave up, who accepted their words

their ridicule

their anger

feeling like she deserved this treatment.

The quiet girl who simply tried harder to be perfect.

I wanted to show you…the one who decided to accept their opinions rather than creating herself. 

This is the one who hid.

This is the one you hid.

And then, I saw a ten-year old  girl pinned to the wall of a well-lighted bathroom – disassociating from the humiliation of what her mother is doing.

‘Come here, will you? Stay still! Just let me…goddamnit, I am trying to help you!….’

Feeling ashamed.  Trying to disassociate from the pain of fingernails digging into skin; face feeling hot and swollen…. and crying.

‘You know, you’d be so pretty if you would just let me fix…let me get this….’

I feel ANGRY.

This is the girl who holds it all in.

This is the girl who doesn’t complain.

This is the girl who didn’t think that she could win, so she didn’t fight.

This is the girl who acquiesced.

I wish that I could tell that girl that she did not deserve that  —  she did not have to accept that treatment – she didn’t have to allow her mother to do that.

I realize that this is why I have always inwardly cringed a little bit at those words Accept and Allow.

This is why I Can’t.

Because I realize when I accepted that – I accepted the unacceptable along with the acceptable and I allowed behavior that should not have ever been allowed.

And why?  Because I thought that if I was ‘good,’ I would be loved…but I was never good enough.

‘Here.  Step into the light.  Look at your face…let me fix that….’

Crying didn’t help.  Anger didn’t help.  Physical resistance only led to escalating altercations that just exacerbated things between my mother and I.

So what did I do — to cope?

I learned to ‘fix.’

Like my mother, I compulsively examine my face in the mirror.  I pluck my eyebrows and pick and scratch at the skin of my face, trying to fix.

I am wrecking my skin. I routinely  over-pluck my eyebrows.

And she ‘taught’ me how, because at some point, she stopped pinning me against the wall – because I learned to do these things to myself – to fix.

But I always feel so ugly afterwards.

Each time I tell myself that I won’t do it again.

Until the next time, every time that I feel or see an ingrown hair growing crooked or feel a bump or a flake of dry skin.   I always think my ‘fixing’ will make things better.

So I spend a lot of time examining my face in bathroom mirrors, looking for the slightest flaws – lumps, discolorations, hairs.

I also pick and scratch and worry the skin around my fingernails and at the tips of my fingers… and while I do not bite my fingernails, I try to keep them short enough so I can’t.

I convince myself that I’ve gotten better, you know.

Because it has to have been a good 25 years since I had gotten so lost in scratching or picking that the only thing that broke me out of my stress-induced reverie was that my fingers were bleeding.

When I’m stressed, I lightly – though compulsively – scratch my scalp.  (I still actually find head-scratching rather soothing.  Head-scratching is one of the only OCD things that I still do that doesn’t seem to do too much damage, but I can be obsessive about it, and thus feel ashamed enough to sit on my hands on my particularly ‘bad days.’)

It is OCD.

But the important difference between my mother and I – is that I respect the bodily autonomy of others.

And I have been through enough therapy to realize that what my mother did was abusive and wrong

This is hard.

You must step into the light…

But I realize that I am the one holding me back.

 

On needs, noise…and silence.

From 8 August 2014:

I am surrounded by so much goddamned noise.

I get distracted by everything.

Sometimes, I just want silence.

I have always lived in a home wherein others have wanted noise around them to feel comfortable.  Whether it’s the constant drone of the television, or talking, or even music, sometimes I feel that I cannot focus on anything for all the effing noise.

(Though I will admit that music is the least annoying of these, as I’ve always felt that there is so much comfort and connection that can be found in music.)

But sometimes, I just need silence…

and so, through some meditative visualization, I built a cabin in the woods, at the base of a mountain, surrounded by trees.

cabin

(thoreau.away)

Whenever I go there in meditation, there aren’t so many distractions to focus upon – and that blessed silence brings me peace.

(And even if Loki is ‘there’ – as He sometimes is – there is very little conversation between us, thankfully.)

This might seem odd to others — as I am usually such a chatterbox — but I guarantee that silence is necessary.

~~~

It’s odd to think that I wasn’t always this way.

The sound of the television, the radio, the endless chatter and near-constant buzz of activity that surrounded me as a child (being a member of a family of seven) — all of that noise and activity used to be a source of comfort for me.

And today, it suddenly occurred to me as to the reason why I no longer find comfort in being surrounded in a cocoon of background noise.

It’s strange to admit this now, but I think that I was always an empath well before I knew what that word meant.

As my long-term readers may recall, as a child I was accused of being overly sensitive and easily spooked by damned near everything around me.

To give you an example, my childhood home was in a rather rural area, and I can remember feeling startled and uncomfortable – and sometimes even crying – whenever large trucks would pass by on the road, or planes would fly overhead while I played in the yard.  And yet, surprisingly…I could not sleep without some sort of background noise.  Whether it be the buzz of a fan, the hum of cars passing on the road, or later, my baby sister’s music box playing in her crib, I could not sleep in a silent room.

Rhythmic, ambient sounds made me irritable by day, but I was anxious and wakeful by the lack of sound at night?

This definitely struck everyone as being a rather strange dichotomy.

But I know the reason why now.

And yes it is related to this (which in turn, is related to this.)

Sound can mask energetic activity, and as an empath, the strongest levels of energetic activity (including but not limited to spiritual activity) often occurred at night.

But this is not to say that I didn’t experience strange things in the daytime, it just that the strength and frequency of occurrences increased exponentially at night.

So.

That is my epiphany for the day: it is quite possible that when I stopped trying to ignore Them, I didn’t need to mask my perceptions of Their presence.

 

Speaking up.

(from 15 July 2015:)

What to do?  I should speak up.

I’ve got so much in my head right now.  It’s almost obscene.

~~~

A Pathological Liar : A Story and a Situation

-As a member of the kink community, I see certain situations happening a lot.  These situations lead to discussion that often concerns consent and manipulation, and whether or not members of the community have a responsibility to the community to broadcast the details of those situations wherein people have been manipulated or victimized by others in the community.   If a person has been manipulated by another member of the community, does that victim have a duty towards the community for reasons of safety, to warn others?  This is an endless debate and I have witnessed over and over  these explosively emotional situations  that ensue when someone was mistreated, shamed, manipulated or used by another and it all becomes a witch hunt.  Case in point, I recently watched a rather popular member of the kink community leave the community of his own volition in an effort to protect himself from being outed by others for being a pathological liar.  He was about to be found out, so he decided to come clean pre-emptively before others could expose his lies.  So he admitted that he was a pathological liar, and he expected to be shunned and shamed.  Instead, the community response of most members was to refrain from responding to him at all.  Certainly, many who knew him were shocked and it became a drama unto itself – but otherwise, he left in relatively embarrassed silence.  Most in the community expect that he will never be heard from again, and so it was assumed that the community will carry on, and anyone whose life he touched might now breathe a sigh of relief.  Most people hoped that with his leaving that the worst part was over.  Because he left quietly, it was assumed that no more lives could be damaged, no one else could be manipulated anymore.  As I said, as a member of several communities –both online and offline – that resolution is a common hope.

But I cannot help pondering that question:

Does the victim of a manipulative person have a responsibility to their community to speak up?  Some would say yes.  Some would say no.  Generally speaking, it is often assumed that no one would want a manipulator in their midst, and yet it would be difficult to find a community that has never had one.

There are those who would hide behind their self-imposed positions in the community.  There are those who would twist the structure or the mission statement or even the rules of their group to advance their own needs.  And in the case of religious community, there are still others who would hide behind the voice of the Gods to advance their personal agendas.  So whether or not someone recognizes manipulation in the community, or whether or not an individual is being manipulated by another in the community, where does the responsibility rest?

I want to talk about this – I want to tell you about a particularly well-known [ETA: now former] Lokean godspouse  –  who manipulated me  -but I don’t know how.

(Update, 15 July 2016 – edited to add:  Y’know, it’s not that I didn’t know how: it was that I was afraid to stand up for myself, back then.  I was afraid of what people would think of me.  And even worse, since this person and I both live in the same state, and we actually share the same first name, I was afraid that others who didn’t know me would conflate me with her.)

A Realization

I am horrified to realize something about myself in regards to one of my blog-followers on WP.

This is an acquaintance who has recently been ‘claimed’ by Loki.  Not surprisingly, her blog concerns her latest adventures which are rife with sickeningly sweet discussions of an overabundance of NRE.

I have discovered that she is friends with (this Local Other Lokean who shares my name [LOL].)

Any day now, I wonder if and when she will suddenly receive a nudge that she *should* leave her mortal partner in deference to ‘Loki’s wishes.’

I have known so many others – who had been told  this (by LOL) at one time or another – that Loki is nudging things in that direction.

It would seem to be a rather common experience, and it would seem many are familiar with that particular story.

I mean, LOL was by no means the only one who subscribed to the belief that if Loki doesn’t like your boyfriend/lover/husband, He will let you know.

But I remember when I had first been told by LOL that Loki wanted to nudge a certain mortal relationship of mine out the door in late 2012.

(And then again, concerning my marriage of 20 years…in mid-2013.)

So, as you might imagine, just when I thought that I was finished with a relationship overhaul, there’s another problematic relationship that needs tweaking, and if I refuse to overhaul, it … it goes.

 

Or does it?

Who do you believe?
Who will you listen to
Who will it be?
It’s high time that you decide
In your own mind…

                -Natalie Merchant, Life is Sweet

It’s all a matter of personal discernment, isn’t it?

And suddenly I am forced to look at the source.

Whom did I believe?

Whom did I listen to?

I listened to LOL, actually…thinking that I was listening to Loki.

I also listened to another of LOL’s close, trusted friends, P – who also claimed to know Loki and who also claimed to routinely channel Loki.

Though LOL’s and P’s readings would often corroborate each other, this fact strengthened my belief, rather than raising the red flags that this situation normally would have for me.

I wanted so much to believe, you know.

I wanted to believe that the Gods could talk to us directly.

And I considered myself headblind.

So I trusted LOL and I trusted P, since P identified herself as a natural medium with strong psychic gifts, whose psychic readings were ‘eerily accurate,’ as I’d been told by several other members of the online community group of which we were all members.

We were all part of the same kindred.

Both LOL and P claimed to have my best interests at heart.

Even aside of the ‘channelings,’ P and I had spent months chatting and interacting online, on Skype and Google hangouts, and in private messaging.

I’d even met P in person when P came to see LOL in April of 2013.

In short, it’s a rather clichéd story: I thought that LOL and P were my friends.  **

So you may imagine that there were several conflicting directives for me – do I listen to what I wanted to believe was LOL’s discernment of Loki  – or do I listen to my own discernment?

Well, it took me a long time to figure it out for myself.

And, as a result, in the meantime, I made many poor choices based upon my avoidance and refusal to take up the reins of my own life.   I fell into the trap of allowing myself to make decisions and choices based upon the validity of others’ truth rather than trusting my own truth.

I trusted that LOL and P wouldn’t mislead me.  I should have trusted myself.

So…what was the message?

getthemessage

Trust your own discernment.

 

A Lesson on Community Dynamics

I think about what another BNP and Lokean [D]  had said to me a little over 2 years ago concerning the ‘Loki-wives’ community dynamic.’

And surprisingly, D warned me specifically about LOL by name.

And that should have been another red flag…that I should have listened to.  But I did not.

But I wish that I could talk to D and I would tell him,

‘Hey, you were right.  I only wish that I’d listened to you then – but then again – perhaps I wouldn’t know now what I didn’t know then.’

But if I had listened – if I had grasped what he was telling me – I wouldn’t have learned the lesson that I needed to learn.

But I mean, I am a Lokean after all, and if there’s any way I learn, it’s the hard way.

I know that I don’t owe D anything except a thank you, but I am grateful to him beyond belief.

But sometimes one learns best by making mistakes.

See the Pattern?

I tried to write my angry whiskey bravery entry concerning patterns of manipulation but I didn’t post it widely.

My husband, V was supportive and encouraging, however.

The same person whom Loki supposedly didn’t like.  The same husband that I was informed that I should leave by Loki Himself.

But it was not until almost a year later that I realized.  I made choices that were based upon my trust in someone elses’s discernment rather than trusting my own discernment.

~~~

And then, last night I had a dream – two dreams actually – and He definitely appeared in both of them.

The first one took place at the beach.  It began in the midst of a horrible event:

There I was, face up looking up blearily at the pale sky, feeling exhausted and disoriented.

Someone off to my left was informing me that I had almost drowned.

Evidently, I was being informed, I had been attempting to swim in the ocean but my skills were weak, so the strength of the ocean had become too much for me.  (What an apt metaphor.)

My chest ached, likely from having coughed up so much water.

I looked over to my left, to see who had rescued me.

Loki was crouched down in the sand beside me as I lay there gasping and exhausted, and He was reprimanding me for allowing myself to drown.

He told me that He had sat by me for over two years, listening to me whining about a particularly static personal situation and that He was now there to inform me that the time of my whining was officially over.

He demanded that I stop trying to drown and actually learn to swim.

He was supportive, but in a sly, harsh way.  He reminded me that I still haven’t done what I intended to do.

I know what that is.

And then the second dream, I was over LOL’s house, attending a gathering of the local Lokean ‘kindred.’

Of course I had been invited – and I should have felt welcome -but I was there and I was feeling rather awkward.  I had just arrived at LOL’s house, with my arms full of groceries and alcohol.   Feeling socially anxious, I remember inwardly cringing over the possibility that I felt the need to bring all the food and booze as compensation for my awkwardness.  The possibility that I could engage the process of cooking and drinking –rather than socializing with others – suddenly seemed like nothing more than one of my typical avoidance maneuvers. As well, it suddenly became obvious to me that there was a part of me that hoped that nothing else would be required of me.  Of course that was true; I would hide in LOL’s kitchen as I always did, grateful to have the distractions of cooking food and serving food.   Didn’t I always hide in the kitchen?

I was both surprised and horrified to realize this, and I suddenly wanted nothing more than to go home.

I didn’t want to be there anymore.

But I don’t drive, so I began stressing over how I could get a ride home.

I tried calling my husband, V.

I tried calling on my older kid, N.

No answer.

Then the doorbell rang.  When I opened the door, there was a delivery-person on LOL’s front step, holding a massive bouquet of flowers.  The bouquet was so large that I couldn’t see delivery-person’s face, until the delivery person peered around it.

I shouldn’t have surprised that it was Loki (and it was obvious, as He was using one of the more common mundane faces that He uses in my dreams) and He said:

Hey.  I see that you are still not doing what you promised Me. 

Stand up.  Stand the fuck up, and stop being afraid. 

What have I told you?  

Do what you promised Me.  Do something.

~~~~

** In retrospect, I have come to realize that LOL and P were something else.

LOL and P were two people who were simply those who – whether they are aware of it or not – allowed their filter to color their channeling of Loki.

In short, LOL and P were a harsh lesson in discernment for me.

But I am here to tell you today – 1 August 2016 – that I allowed LOL to manipulate me.

As well, concerning their close association, I’d even allowed P to manipulate me in LOL’s stead, as well.

So, as a result, I don’t think that I could support anyone else going through what I feel was a pattern of grooming and manipulation that began in late 2012 and ended in November 2015.

But perhaps, that’s a story for another day.

On a related note…

To this entry.

This song will not seem to get out of my head.

I have heard this song at least a dozen times today, through various channels and means, so I thought that I’d post it….

Y’know, just to acknowledge to the Universe that I’m hearing it.

If anything, it seems to imply that I have some ways to go in dealing with my anger issues.

:-/

 

Month for Loki, Day 7: Magician.

As I was becoming increasingly aware of my unease with my role as a Student, you can be certain that Loki sensed that I was struggling.

It didn’t seem to deter Him from trying to instruct me, however, and His lessons for me increasingly involved transformative rituals.

I began studying runes, at His request, and it was around this time that the rune, Eihwaz first came to me.

I created a prayer to Eihwaz asking for protection, connection and transformation.

My meditations were full of trees – visualizations of an Ancient Tree with gnarled branches that twisted toward the sky – and the points of the Eihwaz rune were sunk deep in its bark, facing out in all directions:

massivetree

I learned that this strange Tree

with its dark, almost sentient presence

was the Axis of All That Is

and that Eihwaz served as an anchor to my understanding of it.

And there, in dreamspace, I would meet Loki.

malewitchMagoBruxo

He looked a lot like this.

Month for Loki, Day 6: Student.

Being that this is the month for Loki, you may see many devotional blogs that feature a convenient little survey (like this one) that details the particulars of the development and practice of hows and whens and whys of  a devotee’s journey to working with Loki.

And in the interest of my task to keep it 100, I wanted to write a post today that talks about the first role that Loki played in my life once He re-introduced Himself to me in 2011.

Loki is, for all intents and purposes, an academic.   While His relentless desire for knowledge often does mirror Odin’s singleminded quest for wisdom in several ways, in my experience, Loki’s methods  seem infinitely more eclectic.

Loki doesn’t care how or by what means you’ve attained your knowledge; He just wants you to get it.

In that, Loki seems to value those with a variety of skills – and the more varied your skill-set, the better.

So, in that sense, His role in the development of my devotional practice for that first year, was as my Teacher… and I was His student.

That was pretty much the dynamic for the first year.

I was incessantly prodded to notice and examine the energy around me, and to become aware of the energy within my body.  In this sense, I was being encouraged to learn that everything that exists consists of energy, and that much of how matter (and by extension, will)  is manifested in this world is through movement of energy – the vibration of light (color), the vibration of sound (words) and the vibration of movement (dance, exercise, even sex.)

All matter that exists vibrates with differing frequencies.

In short…

13620924_1205141012829532_5055681162747369593_n

Then, of course, there was  The Three Laws of Thermodynamics.

As I never paid much attention in physics class, I despaired at all this complex talk about energy.

But then, as He is wont to do, Loki nudged me from other angles.

I began a meditation practice, that later grew to involve the use of chanting and mudras.

I began studying runes and other alphabet systems.  I re-acquainted myself with studying linguistics, as well as the structure and history of Proto-Indo European languages.

I learned about drumming and dancing as a means to bring about altered states, including trance.

I learned about the ‘energetic body’ – with intense focus on chakras and auras.

I learned about shielding, grounding, warding and other magickal exercises.

And looking back on it, I realized that there are definitive links between what is defined as science/history and what is defined as spirituality/magick.

Perhaps there is little difference between the two as long as there is focused intent, and a commitment to study with intent.

~~~

And my practice grew.

My interactions with others and my experiences with Loki at that time seem to reflect my student role back at me:

I saw myself as a devotee of Loki, nothing more.

And I was satisfied with all of that and with all that I was learning — about science, about magick, about Loki…and most importantly, about myself.

I was so taken up by what I saw as a rapid and very exciting process that was focused entirely on the pursuit of knowledge.

But then, things changed.

Suddenly, I began losing focus as a student… because my marriage was falling apart.

I could not ignore the profoundly emotional energetic shift that seemed to be occurring in my life.

Despite the fact that I was connecting with so many things on both a physical and a philosophical level, the structure of my most valued relationship was failing.

Suddenly, I started to chafe against that scholarly distance that I had created as a student.

While I could muster a polite respect for Him as a Teacher, underneath the surface, I felt distracted and disconnected.

Soon I began to daydream and avoid the lessons that I had once embraced.  I put away my runes.  I stopped my various studies of mudras and chakras and auras.  I stopped all of my daily rituals – the daily practices of grounding, centering, and warding.  I gave up focusing on energy work altogether.

The only thing that really stayed was my meditation practice.  It was the only mindful connection that I seemed to be able to have with Him.

And then, He began to come to me while I slept, in dreams.

For several months, I had repetitive cycles of dreams wherein He would encourage me to approach Him, to come close enough to touch Him.

Even though I had given up studying and I had been dodgy about approaching Him…

He was remarkably relentless and yet – surprisingly –  infinitely patient with me in my stubbornness.

And then, one day, in 2013, He asked me the question:

Wouldn’t you rather be in love?

And I didn’t know what to say.

Food for Thought.

I was talking with a friend about an hour ago, regarding an article that someone else had posted concerning how – theoretically – if one were to consider structures in nature as ‘order’ (the natural order of things in a system) then attempts by humans to impose their own concepts or systems of ‘order’ upon natural structures by other means (by sorting, categorizing, or classifying) is therefore a form of ‘disorder,’ because such imposition is creating artificial (unnatural) systems:

I  this graphic. Artificial order imposed upon systems *is* chaos because they’re useless to anybody BUT those utilizing the artificial order system.

To the greater system itself? It’s meaningless. Piles? Columns? Sorting by type? That’s all concessions to the limitations of our cognitive systems.

Sure, our cognitive systems are natural too – even the artificial/natural distinction isn’t “quite” right.

But in the greater scheme, the one where humans are optional, those piles and sorting is chaotic and meaningless.

kennerhudutchaosvsorder
~~~

I’d never thought of order or disorder as being defined this way, and yet, I have been thinking of the relation between the concepts of ‘order’ and ‘disorder’ a lot lately.  It began, as most things do, with a simple conversation in a Rokkatru group concerning someone’s UPG of the Aesir representing ‘order’ and ‘civilization’ in the cosmos while the Rokkr represent ‘nature’ and a ‘natural sort of disorder.’ Of course, there was discussion of how nature has its own sense of ‘order’ – but how, from the point of  view of ‘civilization,’ nature’s sense of order is random and therefore,  considered by civilization to be ‘disorder.’   As well, others discussed the concepts of open and closed systems and how a closed system eventually falls apart because it can’t self-sustain and whatnot, and things quickly became rather meta.

And being a Rokkatru group, of course, this discussion wound its way towards discussion of Ragnarok, and the role of Loki, Fenrir, and Surtr in bringing on the end of the world.  The world is a closed system and the role of the Rokkatru is to bring about the destruction of this closed system in order to make way for a new (and perhaps more open) system.

And so, it’s odd but not surprising to me that that conversation gave me a headache…because chaos theory usually does.

~~~

But then, there I was again tonight, having a conversation about order and disorder again, but this time, it was on a smaller scale.

I was talking to my friend about how Loki has laughed at me concerning my OCD need to arrange the items in a specific configuration on His altar, or my habit of overthinking that is a hallmark of my social anxiety, or my inability to let things go and/or trust the process.

I have no problem admitting that I am sort of control freak regarding several aspects of my life and practice.  And my friend agreed that she has some of those issues too.

And then, she said a funny-strange but interesting thing that hit me like a ton of bricks:

She said that her life as a child was hellish and the only way that she could have control over her environment was to draw. The only world that she could control could be found at the end of a pencil.  So she drew pictures and created stories.  She created worlds.  She told me how Loki told her that her best artwork seemed to come when she experienced personal turmoil.  How He has asked her why she would draw, and she told Him it made her happy.  But the truth was that she was often unhappy/angry/miserable while drawing.  (And, of course, He noticed that.)

Well, that reminded me of my own artistic coping strategies.

Honestly, I suppose that it’s nothing new, but I wrote and drew my way through a miserable childhood…and adolescence…and fuck, I *still do.*

And yeah, that realization, of how I tried to make sense of confusing experiences by filling up notebooks, and drawing my imaginary friends, and how much it shocks me to think that it wasn’t just me being escapist.

That art was …that art is a rather dysfunctional coping mechanism for me.

I don’t make money with it.

It doesn’t make me happy.

Things still pile up in my head, and writing them, drawing them doesn’t serve to make me any more sane or stable.

And it sure as hell doesn’t help me or my loved ones to understand me any better than before.

It’s just another method I hide behind. (Funny -autocorrect suggests that the word ‘method’ should actually be ‘met God’ over and over.  No, I’ve never met God by writing or drawing. Psht. I should be living.)

Perhaps my incessant writing and drawing are what I do to keep myself from meaningfully engaging with others.

who knows.