bloodteethandflame

A life in threes

Category: background

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.

Context is everything.

This quote has been sitting in a folder on my computer for at least three or four years now.

I never knew where it was from, except that it was from a poem by American poet, Louise Glück:

“…from the beginning of time,
in childhood, I thought
that pain meant I was not loved.
It meant I loved.”

~~~~

Today, I found the whole poem.

The poem is titled

First Memory

 

Long ago, I was wounded. I lived
to revenge myself
against my father, not
for what he was–
for what I was: from the beginning of time,
in childhood, I thought
that pain meant
I was not loved.
It meant I loved.

~~~

 

Context is everything.

Poetry: I need…a red dress.

BY KIM ADDONIZIO

I want a red dress.

I want it flimsy and cheap,

I want it too tight, I want to wear it

until someone tears it off me.

I want it sleeveless and backless,

this dress, so no one has to guess

what’s underneath. I want to walk down

the street past Thrifty’s and the hardware store

with all those keys glittering in the window,

past Mr. and Mrs. Wong selling day-old

donuts in their café, past the Guerra brothers

slinging pigs from the truck and onto the dolly,

hoisting the slick snouts over their shoulders.

I want to walk like I’m the only

woman on earth and I can have my pick.

I want that red dress bad.

I want it to confirm

your worst fears about me,

to show you how little I care about you

or anything except what

I want. When I find it, I’ll pull that garment

from its hanger like I’m choosing a body

to carry me into this world, through

the birth-cries and the love-cries too,

and I’ll wear it like bones, like skin,

it’ll be the goddamned

dress they bury me in.

(1954, from Tell Me)

Sunshine Blogger Award

sunshine-award

Thanks Amber who nominated me for this award!

Here are the questions from Amber:

  • What drew you to blogging?

I have been keeping a journal – in notebook form – since I was 8 years old. (As a matter of fact, I still do write in my notebook journal nearly every day.)

In 2002, I began blogging at LiveJournal and the now-defunct OpenDiary in an attempt to keep in touch with friends that I’d made in various online (and offline) Pagan and kink communities.

  • How did you meet Loki?

This is a difficult question to answer, as it depends on how one would define ‘meeting’ Loki.

I’ve known of Loki since I was a kid, mostly due to the combination of my interests in reading world mythology, cultural lore, fairy tales and comic books.

As well, as I’ve written before, I had an imaginary/invisible friend as a child who ‘left’ me around age 9 or so.  Then I started writing – keeping a daily journal/diary, as well as writing short stories that featured several characters.  Then, around age 12, I also started drawing in an attempt to illustrate some of these stories, and there was a particular man whose face I drew a lot.

It isn’t a far stretch for me to admit that that man had been my childhood ‘invisible friend.’

But I didn’t think of my invisible friend again, until the spring of 2008, when my younger son became severely ill, and was in and out of the hospital for several months. Though my son was hardly ever alone (besides that my husband and I took turns staying overnights with him throughout each hospital stay), my 5-year-old son told me in April 2008 that a tall, friendly man would come to visit him in the hospital, and that once, the man brought his wife and two sons.  The first time that my son described this man – how he looked, what clothes he wore, even the way that he talked – I could not help but admit that this man seemed a lot like the ‘invisible friend’ that I’d had until age 9.  But I didn’t think that it could be possible. (I am still not certain if these were dreams my son had had or if these visits were brief waking-visions, but after the third visitation, my son informed me that this man had told him to tell me that of course (he) knows me because (he) was my friend a long time ago. O.o)

And I still didn’t want to admit that that could have been Loki.

That is, until mid-2011, when Loki began to visit my dreams, and actually identified Himself as such.

~~~

So, take of the above ^ as you will.

You could say that I met Loki when I was a young child.

Or you could say that I didn’t really know it was Him until 2008.

Or you could say that I didn’t want to admit that it was Him until He insisted on (re) introducing Himself to me in 2011.

 

  • How long have you been with Loki?

(See above.)

Since I was a kid, but I wasn’t really pushed to put it all together until 2011.

And even then, I didn’t officially dedicate an altar to Him until April 2012.

So what is that 3 years -4 years – officially?

Or should I say what He would likely say:  Forever, Heathir 

 

  • Do you interact with other gods than Loki? Who?

In 1997, I began to identify myself as a Celtic Pagan.  I had been studying the Celtic pantheon for a long time before, and I decided to dedicate a lot of my practice/devotion to the Morrighan, believing Her to be my patron Goddess.

But for some reason, things began to change around 2010 or so.  I had begun working on writing a book about the Morrighan, simply because I’d been studying Her in lore for years and there wasn’t a lot of discussion of Her at that time.  And though I couldn’t figure out why, the more that I attempted to gather information on the Morrighan, the more disconnected from Her I felt.

So, in February 2012 I received a divination that pointed me in the direction of Freyja, rather than the Morrighan.

For this reason, I have always had a permanent altar for Freyja ever since.  (Not surprisingly, both Loki and Freyja have interacted with me in an extension of that same sovereignty work that I’d attempted to do with the Morrighan years before.)

As well, before officially dedicating to Loki in 2014, I had had interactions with Dionysus, Baphomet, and Cernunnos. (Dionysus still shows up once in a while, but I’ve never maintained a permanent space for Him.)

I also offer to Freyr and Odin at times, and I maintain an altar for Hela.

  • Your favourite way to relax and unwind?

I have no set favorite way to unwind.

I like to walk in the woods.

I meditate.

I write.

I draw.

I like to crochet and do embroidery, as well.

  • Name one place you’ve never been but would love to visit.

Iceland.

  • What kind of music do you like?

I love all sorts of music. I can and do enjoy listening to all different genres of music.  I don’t have a favorite genre, but in terms of radio stations, you’ll find me listening to alternative rock, such as what would be found on DC 101 when I’m in the car.

  • What kind of books do you like?

Like music, I don’t have a favorite kind of book.  I’ve been reading a lot of mythology and cultural history lately, but I like a well-written suspenseful story no matter what the genre.  I also love reading anthologies of short fiction and poetry.

  • What’s your favourite song, and why?

As I’ve said above re:music, I don’t favor any particular genre of music, so I could not ever hope to choose a definitive ‘favorite song.’

But I can tell you that I have had Chris Cornell’s ‘Nearly Forgot My Broken Heart’ as an earworm for over a week now.  When I’m not humming that song, lately, it has been either Cold War Kids’ ‘First’ or Coleman Hell’s ‘Two Heads.’

  • Cats or dogs?

While I have no problem with cats – I suppose that I like them well enough as I have three of them living with me right now – I consider myself slightly more of a ‘dog’ person.

  • Tea or coffee?

Both.  I used to drink tea exclusively, but when I started to suffer from kidney stones, my doctor suggested that I should switch to drinking coffee instead.  So I drink 1 or 2 cups of coffee a day as a replacement for all that tea that I used to drink, but I still enjoy a good cup of hot spiced chai once in a while, or a tall glass of sweet iced tea.

Month for Loki, Day 25: Dodge.

[The previous post has been redacted]

 

I am just going to leave this here.

 

heith

Month for Loki, Day 13: More pieces that fell into place.

I was sketching Loki the other day, and it got me to thinking about how other aspects of Him were showing up in my life back when I was a kid, and yet how a lot of the pieces didn’t fall into place until 2012-2013 or so.

And I got to thinking about what I did after the SitD left (around age 9), and I was thinking about how I used to draw…a lot.  I briefly touched upon the subject of those drawings in a post on this blog back in early 2013, but I never wrote out my thoughts as I intended.

Here are those thoughts from my notebook…

(From 27 February 2013)

Something occurred to me this morning that I wanted to write about.

I had a brief visual/sensory upload – an unbidden visual/sensory upload while I was awake – of a man standing in front of me, holding my face in his hands. He is holding my face in his hands as if to make sure that I am making eye contact with him, and he is leaning forward, preparing to whisper into my left ear.

And this visual that I had made me wish that I could sketch out what I saw.  I mean, I can draw, but I am not so skilled that I can sketch things out as quickly or as deftly as I would like.  Rather I am more likely to get hung up on agonizing over every detail in my sketch so much so that I often lose the flow of the imagery and it fades quickly away before I’ve finished sketching it out.

So I was wishing that I could convey the shifting color of his eyes and the unshaven whiskers on his chin.  I wish that I could convey that I had looked down at his feet, and he was wearing dirty black canvas Chuck Taylors, with laces untied and loose.  He was wearing faded jeans, a t-shirt, and a shabby cotton overshirt.  I remember seeing the silver glint of an earring in his ear, and I noticed the way that his russet hair curled over the collar of his shirt, and how his hair turned a darker auburn toward the ends.  I remember noticing the smattering of freckles on the backs of his hands and along his fingers, and how his hands felt slightly calloused but pleasantly warm, holding my face.  I remember the trace of his grin, and the way that he slowly blinked and tilted his head, as those light-colored and impossibly bright eyes of his flickered with…satisfaction?  Relief? I’m not certain what word I am looking for but when I looked into his eyes, all I could think of was laughter and warmth and…home.

And I wish that I could have drawn that – the image of both my standing there with him and somehow standing outside of myself watching the exchange and the slow dawning of my recognition of who he was.

But I don’t have the skills.  I cannot sketch  this fast enough or well enough for you to see the vision as I saw it.

And I remembered.  I realize it now.  I am seeing a face that I have tried to draw before, and my heart skips a beat to think of it.  Can it be?

When I was younger — younger like 11 or 12 years old – I used to draw the face of a man that I did not know.  Or rather, he wasn’t anyone that solidly existed, that could easily be pinned down.  Sometimes I thought that I’d made him up, that he was simply an amalgam of pretty facial features — a young man with long, light-colored hair, with larger than average, strikingly bright-colored eyes, an aquiline nose, finely arched eyebrows, and a smile that I wasn’t sure if it was meant to be a flirtatious grin or a sarcastic smirk.   Most of the time I would draw him clean-shaven, but sometimes I would practice drawing facial hair  – usually a well-groomed goatee or a Van Dyke beard.  I’d always envisioned his ears being pierced (even though in the late 70’s/early 80’s, it was still considered rather bold and overly flamboyant for a man to have pierced ears, especially in the right ear…)

But nonetheless, this man had jewelry and his face was a mixture of traditionally masculine features (angular jaw, an Adam’s apple, whiskers/facial hair) and feminine features (long eyelashes, high cheekbones, thinly arched eyebrows).  He was, to put it mildly, a very pretty man, and I often drew him in either medieval clothing or casual, almost hippie style clothing.  I would always draw him into background settings, surrounded by woodlands, mountains or snow.

Over and over, I drew this man, thinking that someday I would fall in love with a man that had this face, or something close to it.  Sometimes I would find myself comparing someone’s chin or someone’s eyes or the color of their hair to this man’s face, this man’s features.  And I can tell you right now, that face, those features never changed.  No, this man had a particular face that I loved, but never could quite find in reality.   So I just kept drawing him, perfecting that face as it could be seen from a variety of angles, expressing a variety of moods.

My siblings used to tease me, that I was drawing my invisible friend.

Sometimes I would imagine him saying all sorts of clever, wonderful things to me, all the words that I’d hoped someday that somebody might say: what a friend, a lover, a confidante would say.  Sometimes I would write him into stories, and they were often stories about learning and doing various activities – things I hadn’t yet learned how to do, such as how to ride a horse, or swim, or climb a tree.  Sometimes I would walk in the woods, and I would imagine delightful, fantastic possibilities, almost visualizing that I might find him further along the path, sitting on a tree stump, or fishing in the river, or laying in the grass, watching the clouds.

I remember when I first experimented with smoking, oddly enough, it was easy to imagine that he smoked too.  He did seem to have this smoky, fragrant scent about him that was entirely his — though I could never draw his hands holding a cigarette very well (aside of the fact that hands are notoriously difficult to draw, especially hands holding things that cast light and shadow.)

I cannot deny that I drew him so often that it seemed as if I drew him into existence somehow.

He was not simply a masculine version of myself, unless he was perhaps a part of me that I wish that I could have been.

And for many years, I drew him just so I could see his face.

It hits me like a ton of bricks today to realize that whenever I draw Loki’s face, I am drawing him; I am drawing an old friend.

And whenever I visualize Loki, I realize that I am seeing him, the handsome face of my old friend.

And I never made that connection until today.

~~~

Hail to Loki, my sweetest friend ❤

 

~~~

A year or so after I wrote this notebook entry, I received a message from Him, that I suspect may have been intended to make me smile:

You didn’t make Me up; rather it is that I made *you* up. 

 

 

Month for Loki, Day 9: Beginnings.

This is my third year of making July a Month for Loki, and I feel a bit like I’m cheating to be using a writing prompt.

I figured that I might as well answer this particular prompt today for two reasons.

First, for the three years that I’ve been dedicating July to Loki, I’ve always found myself at one point or another in the month attempting to answer this question in a post.  So, in that regard, I have written perhaps six variations of my answer to this question in the past three years, but I’ve always been reluctant to actually post it for various personal reasons.  So there’s that.

Secondly, there’s the ‘inevitable nudge’ reason: this is a question that has come up on several occasions during five – count ’em five – separate conversations that I’ve had with others this week.

So, here goes…

How did I first become aware or know of Loki?

The truth is, I’m not entirely certain.

On the one hand, I could say that I’ve known of Loki since I was a kid, but I’ve only been considering myself as Lokean in the past three years.

There seems to be a weird dichotomy there – how could I have always known of Loki but never noticed Loki in my life?  This is the reason why I read other’s answers to this question with great interest but I’ve been reluctant to post the answer to this question myself.  Simply because I don’t like to share a lot about my upbringing or childhood because it was, in a word, dysfunctional.  And the shame factor gets pretty high when I consider that, yes, there is no doubt that I was considered a ‘weird’ kid by family and strangers alike – and not to put too fine a point on it, I learned at a young age that the way that I experienced the world was not normal.  When pressed, my mother and my three older siblings often attempt retroactively to put a positive spin on things by insisting that they thought of me as simply an ‘imaginative’ and ‘sensitive’ and ‘easily spooked’ child,  but they are reluctant to admit to how they reacted towards my imagination, my sensitivities, and the reality of why I was often deeply affected by — if not terrified — of damned near everything on a daily basis until I was about 13 or so.

In short, it had become deeply ingrained in me that there are many thoughts, feelings and experiences that, if I talked about them with others, garnered me anywhere from looks of mild concern (oh sweetie, that sounds scary) to grimaces of discomfort (oh my goodness, that’s an awful thing to talk about [swiftly changes the subject]) to lectures of outright dismissal and warning hissed through gritted teeth (If you keep talking about that, people are going to think you’re crazy, so stop talking about that right now / Shut up!)*

And so, here I am.

But I did have an imaginary friend.

I suppose that a lot of children do.  I often wonder if other children have imaginary friends as moody,vivid and strange as the imaginary friend that I had had.  I mean, I suppose that every child has an imaginary friend that is uniquely theirs – a wonderful, engaging, usually benign being.  I was always delighted to find others who had imaginary friends, and I mostly enjoyed sharing details about mine.  I guess that everyone thinks their imaginary friend is different or unique…but I didn’t notice how different or how unique that mine had been until I was an adult.

You see, I had an imaginary friend in kindergarten. I thought that I had made up that imaginary friend because I was lonely.   I had made a ‘real’ friend named Jenny Glickman in first grade, and she had an imaginary friend, so I made up an imaginary friend for myself, too.  The ‘friend’ I made up was supposed to be a lot like Jenny’s; but hers was a young girl, and mine…was sometimes a girl, sometimes not.  Jenny’s looked like her, she said, and shared the same birthday and everything.  Mine had a birthday, but I thought that it was a secret (which Jenny thought was weird but funny) so I didn’t know how old mine was.  And mine – even though I made zir up – didn’t look like me at all, which Jenny also thought was weird.

She couldn’t ‘see’ hers, but I drew pictures of mine all the time.

Jenny and I made up stories about our imaginary friends, and we spent recess either telling each other the stories that we made up, or pretending to ride horses with them.  The ‘riding horses’ detail kinda sticks out in my mind, I think because it seemed to be the only interest that our imaginary friends seemed to share.  We could all agree that we liked horses.

I remember going home and telling my mother about Jenny Glickman and how I had an imaginary friend just like she did.

And I remember my mother’s response: ‘Well that’s nice. So you have two imaginary friends now?’

And I laughed, and I felt confused.  I argued that no, I only had the one that I had with Jenny Glickman.  And I’ll never forget how she corrected me, saying that I had had an imaginary friend long before I went to school or met Jenny Glickman.

Truth is, we were talking about different things.  She was talking about the Shadow in the Dark.

(You may remember that I’ve written about the Shadow in the Dark here).

So…yeah.

If you want to consider the Shadow in the Dark  as an ‘imaginary friend,’ that’s fine.

The Shadow in the Dark was, at first, quite terrifying to me.  Hardly like an imaginary friend…since aren’t imaginary friends supposed to be ‘friendly’ rather than terrifying?

But the Shadow in the Dark was the reason that I would have done almost anything to avoid going to bed at night.  Looking back on it, I had typical elaborate bedtime rituals that I had hoped would prolong the process, such as needing a snack, brushing my teeth, going to the bathroom, needing to have a story read or a specific stuffed animal in order to fall asleep, etc.  As it is with most, my parents were only slightly annoyed by many of those typical avoidance maneuvers — unless I was still awake three hours later trying to prolong my actual bedtime. (Sometimes I would be the only one left awake at midnight or 1 AM, when they’d notice light leaking out from the bottom edge of the closed bathroom door, and they’d find me sitting on the edge of the tub, praying for sunrise.)   They were baffled by my behavior because they couldn’t understand whatever in the world that I could have been so afraid of.  They thought it would comfort me to assure me that I wasn’t alone in the dark, since I shared a room with my older sister; but I quickly realized that the presence of my older sister didn’t seem to deter the SitD from showing up.  (If anything, the SitD would simply stand quietly by my bed until my older sister fell asleep.)  A few times, I thought that I was being clever by burying myself underneath a layer of assorted stuffed animals, thinking that I could fool the SitD into assuming that I wasn’t there…or maybe I could make myself so difficult to find in that pile of toys that the SitD would give up and leave.

Psht.  Right.

At any rate, I gave up trying to avoid the SitD, and over time, I began to feel less anxious about zir presence… but I still wouldn’t have considered zir much of a friend.

First of all, it seemed obvious to me that the SitD was an adult…a moody yet soft-spoken adult presence that definitely felt much older than my parents.  Whenever zie spoke first, it seemed only to ask me either of two questions, in a curiously business-like manner:

Do you know who I am?

or

Do you want to come with me?

~~~

Do you know who I am?

Zie never answered who zie was, no matter how many times that I would try to guess.  It seemed an endless guessing game, and in the end, the SitD’s identity a remained a strange, puzzling mystery for many years.*

Though there were times when I thought that I was so close to figuring out zir identity, because zie would allow us both to abandon the yes/no pattern after a while, and zie would give me a tantalizing hint:

Are you older than my dad?  Yes.  Do you live in this house? No.

Does my dad know you? Yes.  Are you a friend of his? No.

Are you a stranger? No.  Do I know you?  Perhaps.

I don’t think so.  I don’t remember you. (Zie chuckles)  [calls me a nickname that my grandmother calls me.]

Do you know my [grandmother]?  Yes.

Do you want to come with me?

I didn’t say ‘no’ right away.  I asked zir to tell me where we were going, or why zie wanted me to go with zir.  As it was with the previous question, zie would usually only answer yes or no to questions that I asked, and offered very little information otherwise:

Where are we going? Somewhere with me.  Can my parents come (with us) too? No.

What if they won’t let me (go)? It doesn’t matter.  Why not? Because I am asking you.

At first, I feared falling asleep, because I was afraid that I would be taken away anyway…but then. later on, it seemed to be very important that I make the choice whether or not to go.

It still strikes me today as to how profound that felt – to have an adult -invisible or not, in dreamspace or not – seek my consent, and then, to realize that same adult would honor my choice.

But, at any rate, it took a while before the SitD went away.

And despite what my parents may have hoped, there was nothing imaginary about the Shadow in the Dark.

~~~

And, in 2008, like sneaky tons of bricks often do, I began to connect the dots as to Who my Shadow in the Dark was, a little over three decades since He went away.

~~~

* Gods please forgive others who would demand that a child discuss their experiences (paranormal or not), only to respond to their experiences with such invalidation and aggressive dismissal.  But not surprisingly, it was not until I had my own children that I began to realize the fear that was obviously inherent in the responses and reactions that I received from others; it concerns me in that I have come to consider myself in that ‘skeptical  onlooker’ category as well — but perhaps that is a shadow-work entry for another day  this month.

**In writing this entry, it occurs to me that He may have considered our guessing game to be quite an entertaining pastime rather than the frustratingly repetitive process that I thought it to be.