So I’ve been spending a lot of time working on products for my shop, which requires me to indulge in my favorite embroidery addictions.
I’m happy to say that it seems to be paying off just a wee bit – as I’ve had two sales in two weeks, and two more of my upcoming embroidery projects have garnered a lot of interest – which is an exciting and welcome distraction from the emotional intensity of the last two weeks.
Since the items folks searched for most often as well as ‘liked’ most often within my shop happen to be
’embroidered altar cloths’
Thus I’ve been testing different patterns of runes, along with testing out different thread blends, stitch patterns, and a lot of sketching (because one of my favorite things about my product process is developing various ideas and incorporating new imagery for embroidering onto altar cloths.)
But as much as I have been making a lot of altar cloths for my shop, I decided to make a new altar cloth for my personal altar.
I didn’t have a concrete idea in mind, though. I hadn’t mapped anything out.
But I figured that I would come up with something.
So, beginning at the lower left corner, I started stitching a smaller version of this design:
(It’s hard to see out of a color scheme but it’s a heart entwined into a triple horn – a design I’ve come to use to represent both of Them.)
And if you know me, I like working with color blends.
It’s a little more work – but I think it’s definitely worth it.
(One shade of red, two oranges, and a yellow for Loki, and four shades of blue for Odin. )
At first, I’d only intended to stitch this design onto one corner…but it’s as if I like to make work for myself when it comes to embroidery
so I stitched it onto two corners:
Then, I sized down a particular border layout, as I wanted to test out some of my new silk thread blends, so I began embroidering
my favorite thing:
a border of Elder Futhark runes.
But a challenge arose with the fabric – a black and grey cotton tie dye – as I found myself struggling to find a color combination that would ‘show up’ against the fabric which had so much variation in color and shade.
A lot of the lighter colors appeared ‘washed out’ in the pattern, so I tried several shades of blue, lavender, and grey thread as tests:
(For example, the Ansuz (ᚨ) is a light blue thread, and the Kenaz (ᚲ) is a lavender thread, though here, they look the same, in that light. O.o)
So I picked out/undid the stitching of the lavender thread, and continued the borders in a light to medium blue.
Fehu to Jera on the left side…and Eihwaz to Othala on the right side.
So, I thought perhaps the two heart/triplehorn should
flank sixteen larger runes
– *an invitation in dark blue*-
for the central portion of the altar cloth.
But this blue looked oddly ‘sunk’ (appearing to fade/disappear) against the darker portions of the pattern:
So, as you see here, I decided to outline the darker runes with a silk blend silver thread…
and I really liked the way it looked.
I liked it so much that I don’t know what I was thinking but
– silly me! –
I wondered how long could it take to outline sixteen runes?
I love embroidering runes (really I do!) so it won’t take long, I thought.
I mean, I’ve had lots of practice, eh?
Since it took me about a half of an hour to hand-stitch the 24 runes (12 on each side)
and about twenty more minutes to stitch the sixteen runes in the center
I figured it would take me an hour
– maybe two –
to outline all of them.
Well, I am a lot slower than I thought.
It took me almost three hours to outline just those sixteen dark blue runes on this altar cloth.
(Perhaps some other day, I will outline the 24 lighter ones that border the edges at the left and the right.)
And then the next day…after walking the dogs and doing my daily routines,
I decided that this altar cloth also needed to have a design to separate *the two sets of eight runes in the center.*
That invitation which looks like this:
At first, I thought I’d just make a little twist or a swirl, but no matter what I did
It didn’t look right.
So I picked, cut, and pulled out all the threads of that little swirly circular button.
And then I decided, how about the World Tree?
I mean, I had about a 2 or 3 inch rectangle to work with, so I thought I’d stitch this, in bright green thread:
(Psst…it was harder than it looked!)
It’s so hard to make things look symmetrical after midnight.
So, again, I unraveled that design and I picked out all those long, graceful stitches
And I sat there staring at it for a bit.
But then I did another World Tree:
I thought it covered up the pulling spots nicely 🙂
Finished outlining the letters…
and as the finishing touch, I stitched a purple border around the heart/triple horns.
And here it is – my new altar cloth –
Hail Loki ❤ Hail Odin
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.
Prayer to Odin
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
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.
I hope that you all had a wonderful Yule and Merry Solstice!
My family and I enjoyed a lovely low-key holiday, full of some much needed down-time.
And speaking of Loki
– and we were, weren’t we? –
I finally finished embroidering the corners of this altar cloth that I had been working on for about the last week or so:
This altar cloth was inspired by an ongoing conversation taking place in one of the Lokean groups I’m in concerning instances of Loki’s shapeshifting.
While many folks – including myself – associate Loki with foxes, snakes, spiders, and other various creatures, a lot of the discussion could be separated into discussion of Loki’s shapeshifting according to the Lore(tm)
the forms He takes during more UPG interactions (i.e visual forms taken during personal interactions with individual devotees during meditation, dreams, and mundane coincidences.)
Though while I’ve no doubt that Loki as a God and a Jotun is capable of shapeshifting into whatever form that He wishes, this altar cloth was meant to depict four forms Loki has taken that are directly attested to in the Eddas and elsewhere:
This altar cloth is made of 100% white cotton, and black poly/cotton thread used to stitch each Celtic knot inspired design.
Orange-yellow ombre thread used as a bit of accent within the eye of each form, in reference to Geirrod’s assertion that Loki is recognizable in any form by the appearance of His eyes.
This altar cloth is slightly rectangular – measuring a total of 19″x 22″ inches, and is completely machine washable and dryable.
Free shipping on all U.S orders
Price: $15.00 USD
According to Etsy, I have been a customer of various shops hosted there since 2010, and as much as I always intended to open my own shop, I never did.
But I have been making my own devotional jewelry – usually ankle bracelets and necklaces – since 2010.
As well, there are several altar items
– such as altar cloths, sculptures, and other various accessories –
that I’ve always made for myself, since I couldn’t always find what I wanted for my altars.
So after years of getting compliments on what I’ve made, I’ve decided to see how it goes…
Here is my Etsy shop,
where you will find some of the Norse-inspired
(and definitely Loki-inspired)
glass bead jewelry and altar items that I’ve made.
Thanks for checking it out!
UPDATE: For those interested, here is the WordPress blog that I’ve dedicated exclusively to my shop
(A Prayer to Be Free of Masks, [WIP])
All of my life I have been wounded
By the judgments of others, the shame of others,
And I’ve been holding myself prisoner
With my own judgments, my own shame.
So I put on many masks
To hide my wounds, to hide my shame.
Masks of strength and certainty
To hide my fear and my vulnerability
Masks of indifference and anger
To hide my grief and my pain.
Help me, Loki
To set myself free.
Reveal my lies to me.
Take my masks from me.
Show me my truest self
Teach me to be fearless
With no need to hide
Behind these masks.