bloodteethandflame

A life in threes

Category: Loki

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Process.

 

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’

and

‘runes’

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.

Heh.

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:

(Laþu Loki)

and

(Laþu Odin)

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

so

so

carefully.

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

 

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.

What’s new: Etsy Shop edition

Hello everyone!

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)

versus

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:

  • that of a falcon (both in the Skáldskaparmál and the Þrymskviða of the Poetic Edda)
  • that of a fly (in the Sörla þáttr, a short story from the Flateyjarbók a 14th century Icelandic manuscript)
  • that of a mare (and later, in this form, giving birth to Sleipnir, as attested in the Hyndluljóð,  a portion of the Völuspá in the Poetic Edda, and in the Gylfaginning of the Prose Edda)
  • that of a salmon (the Lokasenna, the Poetic Edda)

~~~

Shapeshifter Loki Altar Cloth

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

Some food for thought from Patheos…

This article:

 The Toxic Narrative of “Being Chosen” by Gods and Bad Boys 

came across my Facebook feed yesterday afternoon.

  I am glad that it did.

Misha Magdalene’s words have given me lots of food for thought concerning Deities and the topic of consent as this is an issue that has been on my mind for quite some time.

Like the author, I too have definitely noticed a particular toxic narrative be bandied about in several Pagan communities, and I agree with the author to some degree on the most problematic aspects surrounding the belief that one has been ‘chosen’ by a Deity, and more importantly, the inherent unhealthiness of attraction and desire to be chosen by  ‘bad boys’ (let alone Deities) 1

Now, before I get too involved, I do want to state that while I agree with the author on some points in their argument, I do disagree with some nuances of their argument.

Allow me to explain…

While I agree that it is a toxic and unhealthy thing to believe that devotees “are powerless protagonists at the mercy of domineering [Gods Who are]

socially inept aggressors who control the relationship” 2

(because I believe that such a mindset is an insult to humans, let alone Gods;  aside of the fact that  as much as one might be tempted to apply tenets of human psychology to Gods, They aren’t human…)

but more importantly, I disagree with the author that the Gods don’t choose Their devotees

(because, sometimes, They do.)

BUT… on the point of contention concerning consent – I do believe that just because you are chosen by a Deity

– Loki or otherwise –

1.) Being ‘chosen’ doesn’t confer some extra legitimacy to your praxis

and

2.) You don’t have to say Yes.

But….this article gave me food for thoughts that led to several jumping off points in my head concerning consent in regards to Deities, more toxic narratives regarding Loki as found exclusively within Lokean communities, as well as some convoluted thoughts involving the ‘legitimacy’ surrounding experience, praxis and UPG within said Loki-friendly communities.

~~~

  1. “…some folks derive both personal validation and self-esteem from the fantasy—or, in some cases, the reality—of being romantically involved with someone who’s just bad news, relationship-wise. They’re emotionally stunted, they’re dangerous, they’re “troubled,” they’re emotionally absent, or they have some other personality issue which makes them fundamentally a poor choice for an emotionally intimate relationship. The kicker, though, is that it’s precisely this unsuitability which makes them such a desirable relationship partner. The risk of being harmed—emotionally, financially, even physically—makes the dalliance far more exciting and gratifying than being involved with someone safe and, well, boring. The thrill comes from the danger, but also from that feeling of being chosen. Remember, of all the people this moody, dangerous, emotionally distant partner could’ve chosen, they chose us. The “bad boy” doesn’t like anybody, but they like us… and that makes us feel wanted, desired, validated. It makes us feel special, and “feeling special” can be intoxicating, exhilarating, incredibly seductive.”
    (from the article)
  2. Ibid.

crazywalls

Announcement.

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,

CrowsKnot

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

Welcome to The Crow’s Knot

 

Month for Loki, Twenty-Seventh: Tipping His hand.

I’d been meaning to write about this earlier in the week, but somehow I’d never gotten around to it.

First, some background:

During my daily walks, I’ve come across some pretty strange items over the years.

I’m sure that there’s a word for it – divination through found objects – but nothing seems to capture exactly what happens.  Apantomancy comes close (as apantomancy is a form of divination through chance encounters, usually involving, though not limited to, encounters with animals) or even oryctomancy (which is divination using excavated objects), but nonetheless, I’ve found some unusual items during my daily walks.

Something I find a lot of is… playing cards.

Now I cannot express to you how often I have come across a single playing card in a random place:

  • In the middle of the woods, half-buried by leaves.
  • Floating in a drainage ditch that runs along the side of the busy road.
  • Skittering along in a light breeze across the gravel path of a New England cemetery, while my husband and I searched for the grave marker of my husband’s best childhood friend who died in 1987.
  • Folded in half and wedged between two crumbling bricks in a brick wall in the alley way behind a busy suburban restaurant – and the only reason I noticed it is because I had stepped out to get some quiet and privacy in order to make an important phone call – as I happened to be staring at that particular wall while I was waiting for the other person to pick up.
  • In the trunk of a newly delivered vehicle in a car-sales lot in Orlando – but the car only had 6 miles on it and the salesman insisted that no one had ever driven it before, as it had been delivered on a flat truck that morning from the manufacturer’s warehouse.

As well, I have had several vivid dreams over the last four years wherein Loki has shown me playing cards or made a direct reference to playing cards.

I didn’t know what to think, but it had gotten to be such a thing that I started to wonder if I should be considering these occurrences as some sort of message.

Could playing cards be used for divination?

The hell if I knew.

~~~

Such as eight months ago, I found this card:

Now while I was aware of cartomancy as a form of divination, I’d assumed that the ‘divination by cards’ definition referred exclusively to tarot cards.

Again, I wondered if there was some connection between tarot cards and playing cards, but I hadn’t thought to explore it further until that day.

I was surprised to find that playing cards and tarot decks are more closely related than I’d assumed, as according to this website, playing cards may have originally been invented as a means of divination long before people used them to play games of poker or bridge.

(The chicken or the egg…does it matter?  I didn’t know either way.)

So, I bit… what is the meaning behind the 9 of clubs?

Various websites define the clubs suit as a suit that governs finances, achievements and ideas. And 9 is the number of completion, fulfillment, unity and insight.  Most interpretations of this card focus on the concept of ‘small’ or ‘short’ as well as contentment and finality without fanfare.  9 of clubs signifies to keep your eye out for small successes, a new idea that can lead to a slight increase, or a step towards positive change.  Perhaps there will be a slight increase in pay, some progress towards a goal, the completion of a short-term plan, or the subtle end of a process.  Several describe the 9 of clubs as indicating a new friendship or taking up with a new lover.  And nearly every one of them mentions something odd:

Don’t be stubborn

And considering that, I have to laugh.

Stubborn is definitely something I can be.

And that definitely sounds like something He would say in response.

~~~

Moving onward, I found myself coming across a few more playing cards in random places while walking and cleaning house, and a few more meditation visuals and dream-sequences of Loki that featured what appeared to be references to poker, gambling and…lottery tickets.

Two weeks ago, a particular meditation visual was so strong that I suggested my husband buy a lottery ticket.

And he did.  Sort of.

He bought scratch tickets…and the theme was something along the lines of ‘Set For Life’ — referencing the game of poker, with the usual logo of lucky playing cards.

(P.S – we did not win.)

~~~

So, this past Saturday, I went to a local mystical shop.

I was looking for a particular tarot deck that I’ve been wanting for a while, but they did not have it in stock.

While I was browsing their selection of tarot decks, I noticed these ‘Lenormand’ card decks and card kits were mixed in with displays.

Although I’d heard of Lenormand, I didn’t know exactly how a Lenormand deck differed from any other tarot deck.

But according to the blurb-descriptions on several of their featured decks…

Lenormand follows the heritage of fortune telling cards based on playing card decks.

So I bought a deck designed by Ryan Edwards, called Maybe Lenormand.

The two decks – one base deck of 36 cards and 16 additional – feature these lovely Victorian-inspired line illustrations that I absolutely adore.

You know, having some delightful artwork to focus on certainly helps as I learn this new divination skill.

And so, I am exploring a new divination skill –  and perhaps that was what He was nudging me toward all along.

And here I thought He was encouraging me to play poker or gamble more.

Heh.

 

 

 

 

Month for Loki, Twenty-Sixth: Reveal (a poem)

REVEAL

(A Prayer to Be Free of Masks, [WIP])

Dear Loki

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.

Oh Loki

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.

Month for Loki, Twenty-Third: Kenning.

Inspired by Lokean Welcoming Committee’s outline of topics for Month for Loki, today’s post:

Find out some of Loki’s kennings, or other names, and what they mean. Which one(s) resonate with you the most?

Since many of Loki’s kennings resonate with me, it was difficult to choose one that resonated with me the most…but I think that there is one in particular that actually took me by surprise, and so, I am going to write about Gammleid today:

In July 2014, I took a course from Cherry Hill Seminary. This course dealt exclusively with studying the role of shapeshifting in the lore of several cultures. Though the course mainly focused on shapeshifting lore in South and Central America, the final project was to present how shapeshifting might feature in our personal spiritual practices.

Thus, I performed a personal meditation ritual in mid-July 2014 that was meant to introduce me to my ‘spirit animal guide.’

And much to my surprise, Loki showed up and suggested the vulture as the ‘spirit animal guide’ in that first meditation, and again, vultures featured in a few more interactions thereafter.

I was baffled, but like a good student, I resolved to research the connections between Loki and vultures.

Soon enough, I came upon a list of Loki’s kennings, and even more surprisingly, the kenning, ‘vulture’s path’ came up.

But oddly enough, I wasn’t able to find much scholarship that even speculated as to what this kenning might represent, until I found this:

Gammleið

This Old Norse word  is commonly translated as “vulture’s path“, i.e. Lopt “the air”

-from ÞÓRSDRÁPA  Stanza 2, verses 1-4, The Codex Regius from this site 

~~~

Meanwhile, I’d begun amassing quite a collection of vulture feathers:

– from both turkey vultures and black vultures as I began to notice quite a lot of them in my neck of the woods from late March to June of that year (2015)

And then, shortly thereafter, I read this in Dagulf Loptson’s ePub, Playing with Fire: An Exploration of Loki Laufeyjarson :

               “The name “vulture’s path” is possibly a kenning for air, which connects with another of Loki’s kennings, Loptr. However, we are left with no explanation as to why the vulture, as opposed to any other kind of aerial creature, is used to illustrate flight through the air, especially since Loki typically takes the form of a fly or a falcon. I personally feel that vulture might be associated with Loki for the following reasons.
Both vultures and ravens are well known scavengers, making them both symbols for death. It isn’t unreasonable to assume that our ancestors often saw vultures and ravens together while the birds were eating bodily remains. As Odinn is always with ravens, perhaps his blood-brother and traveling companion Loki was associated with vultures.
The vulture could also be linked to Loki…in his aspect as a god of death and cremation, as a traveler to the underworld, or as a dissolver of illusions.” *

**Cue the sound of my mind being blown**

~~~

But what did working with Vulture teach me?

On the surface, a lot of folks (including myself, at one time) see vultures as birds of the dead, and they are.  But, much like crows – another creature I associate with Loki – Vulture’s work is one of transformation, as vultures, like crows, are carrion eaters.  Ancient cultures, such as the Greeks, Assyrians and Egyptians saw the vulture as a purifying, transforming force — a creature who purifies the landscape and environment through its consumption of the dead and decaying remains.  Symbolically, carrion eaters make use what others have abandoned or cannot use, and through that process, the carrion eater ensures the continued health and life of other living things. Vulture symbolizes that process – of turning poison into medicine, death into life – and therefore, the vulture represents transformation and regeneration.  Connected to that transformative aspect, vultures can teach us that our difficulties and struggles are temporary, and that what seems like an end (death) or a loss (sacrifice) is simply a phase in the process of growth and change.

 

Hail Loki, Gammleid ❤

And of course, Hail Vulture, Resourceful One, Patient Teacher, and Master of the Skies ❤

 

~~~

*Loptson, Dagulf, Playing with Fire: An Exploration of Loki Laufeyjarson, Asphodel Press, Hubbardston, MA, published July 7, 2015; pp 57-9.