bloodteethandflame

A life in threes

Category: latest developments

Writing, rituals, prayer beads, and ‘fidget cubes.’

Otherwise known as ritual distractions.

I know it’s been a while, but isn’t it always?

I cannot say that I haven’t been writing – because I have – but as usual, I haven’t been posting as often as I’d intend.

There’s something about the ritual of sitting in this chair and writing that works for me, and yet, posting rarely seems part of that process.  I have been thinking a lot about processes and rituals as I am currently overthinking..er, writing…a small collection of rituals.

Perhaps it is more of a devotional, as much of what I’ve written leans more towards personal devotional rituals for the solitary practitioner.

At any rate, it is as it has always been…though I have been writing, I have not been posting in this blog.

It occurred to me that I have been dragging my feet lately, as I resolved in the new year to focus more upon not just writing but organizing my devotional practice into something much more coherent than it has been.  Long have I been getting the nudge to consolidate the jumble of notebooks and computer files into a consistent organized whole.

I know that my life could benefit from a more structured approach…and yet, the more I focus upon the task of collection and consolidation, the more scatterbrained I feel.  I feel like a student all over again, hunched over my desk, busily compiling five years’ worth of devotional writing from the stack of notebooks, the relevant pages clinched by paper clips with worn covers peppered with Post-It notes.

In an attempt to help, my son suggested that I try using a ‘fidget cube’ – a desk ‘toy’ designed to help one focus – as he claims that being allowed to use one in class has improved his ability to focus while writing.

So, I held the fidget cube in my left hand while I transcribed my notes on Anglo-Saxon runes and a Beltane bonfire ritual into my laptop.

~~~

Later that evening, when I was sitting in front of my altar, attempting to meditate, my mind kept wandering toward other things.

Distracted by thoughts of runes, bonfires and masks, I struggled to push those thoughts and attendant vivid imagery aside.

I opened my eyes, and my gaze settled upon the mala beads that lay atop the cigar box in the center of my altar.

Recalling how this mala had helped me focus in the past, I reached for them, closed my eyes, and settled into the words of the prayer that I had created for them.  While the prayer I created for them is simple and almost repetitive in its rhythm – as that is exactly what I need when I have difficulty focusing – I have said this prayer so regularly… that it suddenly became clear that something wasn’t working.

My breathing felt off, and my thoughts kept trailing off in strange ways so much so that I kept losing track of the words.

Disturbed, I opened my eyes, and looked down at the beads in my right hand…as if the beads were the problem.

Funny that…because I know better.

But it definitely occurred to me that I needed to do something else to focus.

I thought about that fidget cube on my desk in the other room.

And it got me to thinking of the similarities between this mala and the idea of fidget cubes as the concept is perhaps the same:

It seems to have always been true of me that in order to force my mind to be still, I have to be doing something.

I have to be moving in some way, however small or slight.

And so I reached for the fidget cube.

It has six sides – each side requiring a different movements of the fingers: pressing a button, flicking a switch, rolling the thumb over a ball bearing, or spinning a small dial that makes a satisfying clicking sound…

(Yes, that one….)

Clickity. Clickity. Click.

And so I settled into that.

Odd…but it *worked*

Hm.

So here’s to a different technology, I guess.

 

Though now that I think about it…it did sound a lot like typing.

Huh.

 

 

 

 

 

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The Forgotten Offering.

It was well after midnight and I was hungry.
While I don’t know what it was that I wanted, I went to the refrigerator anyway.
When I opened the drawer beneath the produce drawer, I caught a whiff of the musky scent of….old blood.

That’s all I could think of –  blood – meaty, dark, metallic.

Rummaging through the contents of the drawer I found the source of the smell beneath the poly bag of oranges, a few applesauce snack cups, and a half-eaten Hershey’s chocolate bar.

That scent was coming from a bag containing a cold loose lump of something…meat?

I peered into the bag to see a double Ziploc bag, with a date scrawled in black Sharpie marker.

Two hearts.

Chicken hearts, to be exact, wrapped in beige butcher’s paper.

I held the bag in my hands, looking at the date in disbelief.

Two weeks ago, possibly three – had it been that long ago?

While the expiration date hadn’t passed, I realized I had forgotten.

Those hearts were meant to be an offering to Them.

I thought back to the day that I had written out the ritual that was to include them as an offering….but judging by the scent of them,  I doubted that they would be acceptable offering now.

I stood at the counter, feeling the slow pang of remorse joining the insistent rumble of my stomach.

Empty.  You must be empty…

I felt empty.

Half-heartedly, I peeled an orange, meticulously removing the pith as I considered the packet of hearts laying on the counter.

The orange was ripe and sweet, a delicious leftover from Yule.

As I stood at the counter, eating the orange, I thought about my father.

I thought about how, when I was  a child, he’d told me that at one time, to be able to eat an orange at Yuletide was an especial treat – it was a gift and a luxury in itself to be able to enjoy an orange in the winter-time.

‘Oranges were expensive in December. Even from Florida,’ he’d said.

To eat an orange in December was a big deal.

I smile inwardly at the fact that I live in Florida nowadays…where, as one might imagine, oranges are plentiful and pretty much available year-round.

However, it occurs to me how often certain things can be taken for granted, especially when they are always available.

But the fact that oranges are always available doesn’t make them any less sweet.

Then, with the taste of oranges still on my tongue, my mind wandered back towards Them, and thoughts on gifts and offerings to Them.

I looked at the packet of chicken hearts, recalling the special trip I’d made to get them, and the particular ritual I’d written to offer them.

To give what is special and what’s best is all well and good, yes…

…and yet, I’d put off too long in the offering them, hadn’t I?

What good are they now that I waited too long?

What was I waiting for?

I don’t know.

The chicken hearts were for a special occasion ritual for late December…that, unfortunately, I hadn’t followed through on actually doing.

And indeed, what good is a ritual that one doesn’t do?

What good are intentions without follow through?

It occurred to me that I could have given Them a ritual in December and offered Them something else.

Anything else given with mindful intent would have served in the place of…not doing and not offering anything at all.

Heck, I could have offered Them oranges in December.

I reflected upon what I have offered and what I have taken for granted the past year, every year, any year.

I learn. I forget.

I noticed the sharp aroma of orange peel lingered on my fingers, as I dropped the handful of peels and the hearts into the garbage disposal.

I shall do better.

I resolve to be more mindful of myself and the gifts given to me

And I resolve to become more mindful of Them and in my offerings to Them.

Milestone.

About two weeks ago, I celebrated a personal and spiritual milestone.

It has been one year since I welcomed Odin into my life.

I say ‘welcomed’ because…well, if you know me, you’d remember that I’d been fighting against working with Him for years.

At any rate, in celebration of that, I’d like to share a story with you – involving Odin,  a prayer card,  and my poor excuse for neglecting to leave Etsy feedback:

10 January 2018

Today, something occurred to me regarding my attitude towards working with Odin.

Even though it’s been a year – today! – since I welcomed Odin back into my life (it’s a long story!) I realized that I’m not going to get very far if I don’t entirely let go of that default setting/thought under which I’d operated  for the four years prior to 10 January 2017…and that concerns what was once my belief that

Odin is an [redacted but rather common obscenity]

It’s getting in my way; it’s getting in the way of my progress.

~~~

But I suppose progress is being made, because there’s this Odin prayer card that’s been sitting on my altar since this past July.

It’s a nice picture of Odin, isn’t it?

The artwork is by W. McMillan.

But what I’m going to write about now about concerns the prayer to Odin (written by Galina Krasskova) on the other side of this prayer card….and how powerful it has become for me to say it aloud.

I want to admit to you all that when I first purchased this prayer card, I bought it for the artwork; I hadn’t considered the prayer on the back of it at all.

Funny how that is, because it’s a pretty powerful one….but I quickly realized that I didn’t feel comfortable saying it aloud.

Words are important.

And the words of a prayer, the words of an oath are even more so.

I didn’t think that I could bring myself to make that kind of oath – to Odin.

So I would simply read the words – in pieces, and never all at once! – and I would silently marvel over how beautiful they were, and how evocative of Him.

But I could not – I would not – read them aloud.

It sounds foolish, I know.

Observe:

Prayer to Odin

Galina Krasskova

All-Father, I ask Your blessings.

Breathe into me,

Oh God of gainful counsel.

Nourish me, Wish-Giver

that I might know You more fully and well.

I hail You, God of wisdom, cunning and inspiration.

I hail You, ruthless in Your desires.

I hail You, God of single-minded hunger.

Be welcome in my life, my heart, my home.

Master of the Tree, I sacrifice to You:

my fears, my doubts, my hesitations.

Open me up to the knowledge of things holy

Wisest Lord, open me up to You.

I will seek You with the fervor

with which You sought the runes.

Always will I honor You.

Be my mead, be my joy,

be the prize at the end of my seeking.

Hail, Odin, Hail, All-father

Hail, Lord of Hosts.

~~~

Reading these words, I felt afraid because the words struck me as an oath that was beyond what I was comfortable giving to Odin.

But as I’ve often said – and I still believe it is true – that whatever Odin wants, He wants all of it. He wants all that can be given. There is nothing half-assed about Odin – nothing. And that was the essence of my awe – and my fear – of Him: I am still both terrified and awed by His single-minded determination…but by the same token, He demands that His devotees be as single-minded as He is –  about their desires, their goals, everything that they are. He wants His devotees to know themselves, to push themselves and to sacrifice themselves to … themselves, and to their purpose and to their goals, whatever it may be.

He is similar to a relentless general that way:

Honor Me by being the best that you can be in My name, for Me.

One of the most profound things I’ve ever heard said about Odin is that He will never ask you to do something He hasn’t done, or rather, something He would be unwilling to do.

Think about it: Odin hung Himself for nine days and nine nights.

Perhaps it was to discover what death was, or to find out where Death takes oneself – He was willing to metaphorically

if not literally

die .

He didn’t even spare Himself in His quest for knowledge, for that paradox of experience, for Divinity itself.

Perhaps He had to know, He had to experience that situation first-hand – you gotta admit that’s pretty f-ing crazy and yet unerringly logical – if one wants to know every nook and cranny of an experience, they are going to have to go through the experience themselves.

There is no avoiding it.

For me, that is the essence of His fury.

Odin is relentless, insatiable,  mysterious, and multi-faceted.

There is only one other God that I know of Who is as insatiable, as relentless and as multi-faceted as Odin

and that is Loki.

So it is no mystery to me as to why They’d be drawn to each other

Nor is it a surprise to me that They would have such a powerful and profound connection between Them.

~~~

But nonetheless, I am ready.

A mysterious Goddess?

Last night I dreamt of making statues of a olive skinned goddess who wore purple and green and blue clothing.
Her headdress was blue – with Her dark hair peeking out from beneath Her headdress – and I recall purple and green ‘stripes’ or mottled batik designs on her clothing.

mysterygoddess
In the dream, I was supposed to bring her an offering of some sort.

I remember she seemed friendly with dark eyes and a calm smile.

She was patient.

She was associated with dogs and roads and the nighttime sky, especially stars.

****

When I woke up and Googled ‘Goddess associated with the night, roads and dogs’  — I came up with Hecate.

Hmm.

Update: Pray Hard!

So, I’ve spent the last few days creating and adding some more product to my Etsy shop

CrowsKnot

and drawing a shop logo and making plans for the upcoming holidays.

~~~

For the readers of this blog who are not interested in shop talk, please don’t worry: I’ve been working on creating an entirely separate blog for my shop, in case I have readers that would be bored to tears by shop updates and product discussions.

Likewise, if you are a blog reader who is interested in reading about the behind the scenes adventures of having an Etsy shop and you would like to follow my shop blog, please let me know and I will be certain to let you know once the creation of  the shop blog is complete.

Thanks!

Update: Here is the dedicated shop blog

~~~

 Such as yesterday, I spent most of the day working on a set of chaplet-style prayer beads for Hela

and I’m really pleased with how they turned out.

I wanted to make them in the style of a rosary – so I hand-twisted and glued all of the hooks/links between the beads:

 

It was a bit time-consuming – but I’ve always preferred the chaplet/rosary style when I make my own personal prayer beads – so I felt as if it was worth taking the time to get it right.

I was impressed with myself in making this piece; it is exactly the sort of prayers beads I would purchase for myself… y’know, if I hadn’t already made them.

Though it got me to thinking, as I was making it: I wanted to make certain that I stabilized the links enough.

You see, even though I’m not even a Catholic – I’ve always thought that rosary bead sets look and feel wonderful.

I love how the beads of a well-made set will effortlessly slide through my fingers during prayer… mmm, lovely ❤

Unfortunately, I’ve found most rosary beads to be rather fragile in my experience.

But this fact is not lost on me that, as much as I love the structure and appearance of rosary beads, when in the act of praying with them, I have been known to somehow inevitably destroy them.

I suppose that I must hold the beads too tightly or try to push them over my fingers too vigorously, or something..

In other words, I pray hard.

But I’m proud to say that I think that this set of Hela beads that I’ve made – could withstand even me and my vigorously devotional handling LOL.

                              ~~~

And the other thing I learned?  I really could use better lighting over my work-space.

 

 

 

 

 

Month for Loki, Twenty-second: Clearly

I don’t know if I’d ever gotten around to mentioning this, but I am working on another project which has become rather intense lately.

After several incredibly productive weeks, it felt as if certain aspects of the project were just not flowing anymore, and I couldn’t figure out why.

So I pulled a few runes to see if I could tease out what was the source of the blockage:

And this is what came up.

Situation: Laguz –  a rune that represents the essence of flow, the essence of depth, complexity.

Overall Aspect: Wunjo – a rune that represents joy.  A rune of success and happiness. Situation has the potential to go well.  Paired with Laguz, this felt like an excellent sign.

So what happened?

Result: Berkano, reversed- Like a sneaky ton of bricks, I immediately grasped the message here: Your attitude is affecting the potential here; your overall attitude is affecting the growth and the flow.  I see Berkano as a rune of fertility here; and its reversal marks it as the blockage: a fertility that may be misdirected…a profound indicator about how my own attitude – perhaps I am ‘fertilizing’ or feeding my worries and stresses about the project rather than pushing past them or through them – and *that* is the problem.

Huh.

I don’t think I’ve ever experienced such a clear message through my runes before….

But that’s it in a nutshell, as it relates to the project, it would seem that the runes are telling me to get the eff out of my own way.

Again, point taken, Sir. 😯

 

 

Good advice, actually:

powerreaction

Dante.

Yesterday our pet ferret died.

His name was Dante.

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

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

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

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

Though he was still warm, he had passed.

~~~

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

 

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

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

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

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

~~~

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

Perhaps.

 

But today I am both sad and foolish.

I miss my ferrets.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Frustrated, Incorporated.

 

Some of my long-time readers have begun to notice that my devotional practices seem to have shifted a bit.

A major feature of this surprising change has manifested in that while I still work primarily with Loki, I have begun some major work with Odin.

(Yes.  Believe me, no one was more surprised than I was concerning that change – trust me on that.)

The bulk of this work – regarding runes, astral travel, and energy movement – often occurs somewhere within the liminal hours, especially as Tuesday bleeds into Wednesday….

Which lately, has led me to have some rather restless nights, full of much sleep interruption.

*yawn*

Despite how I feel about that, it is the way it has been for the past several weeks now.

So, while walking one of my dogs this AM, this song came up:

….as I was thinking thoughts on how it’s been going concerning working with the Two of Them, and I realized that there are several aspects to these interactions that are expressed rather well through this bit o’ pandoramancy.

Because…yes.  

They *do* seem to  know just what I need

And They might just have the thing…

because They *both*  know what I’d pay to feel.

And… since I’m often prone to being a touch melodramatic when I’m sleep-deprived, I have been known to ask Them to – y’know –

 put me out of my misery…

The suicide king being Odin

                                            and you know the drama queen just has to be Loki.

the more you know

I love Brene Brown…even when she is throwing out some hard truths.

So you can gather what I am talking about, you might want to watch the video.

Y’see, I , too, am a ‘blamer.’

It’s true of me that when something bad happens, my first thought is often whose fault is this? – and, more often than not, I twist it in my head until I’ve found a reason for whatever happened.

I need to know why.  I am a person that needs to know why.

Even if -more often than not – I end up blaming myself for whatever it is that happened in some way.

Yeah.  I know that that’s unhealthy.

Yep, I thought that that was holding myself accountable.*

This mindfulness and this desire to hold myself accountable for myself and my reactions to bad things happening is often the way that my thoughts go.  And I’ve had enough therapy to know that I’m only doing half the work, too, when I stop and actually think about it.

Why is it only half the work?

Because the full work would be the realization and implementation of the fact that some bad things happen because they are random.  Sometimes there is no reason.

Yes, it’s true that sometimes bad things happen because someone wasn’t mindful of themselves or others – and I include myself in that – and rash decisions get made.   Things get broken, or feelings get hurt, or what have you, and often emotions fuel those decisions.

But the key is – the process of thinking that there has to be reason somewhere.  That there has to be a reason, there has to be a fault.  And that there has to be this endless overthinking and wasting of time and resources trying to figure out why something is, why something happened, or what led to this or that result.

As Brown points out, the fault-finding and blame is a discharge of discomfort and a desire for control of the situation, including getting control of one’s emotions and reactions.

And that gets me to thinking about my zen Buddhist therapist who speaks a continuous refrain of how I need to work on letting shit go, learning that the only person one can control is oneself and one’s reactions to the world, and the constant reminder that the only moment is the present moment.  He talks endlessly of the fact that the present is the only moment in which we can live, and how when one has realized this, and one focuses on mindfulness and control of oneself in the present moment, only then can one create inner peace and happiness.

Oh yes, it gives me a headache sometimes…this zen business.  The letting go, the reactive vs. proactive paradigm, the mindfulness — so much jargon.   I cannot deny that this all feels exhausting sometimes, and I’ll admit that I fall back upon ingrained reactive habits and value judgments, and and and….*sigh*

I wallow in self-blame, another waste of time.

So.

Yes.

I seek control.

But the only control I seek in the end is self-control.

~~~

*This video opens my eyes to the mistake I’ve made concerning what accountability is.