bloodteethandflame

A life in threes

Category: pandoramancy

Pandoramancy: I’ll make you a believer…

This song is evocative of some of my first interactions with L as an adult:

While I was familiar with the original Depeche Mode version from 1989, I preferred Marilyn Manson’s cover version (released in 2004), as Manson’s voice felt closer to the weary tone and cracked pitch of L’s voice, especially considering it had been several months’ post-breakdown*

~~~~

 

*Another personal Ragnarök had just occurred in my life in late February 2008- so when He came to me with that particular face and aspect, I found it to be more comforting than disturbing at the time.

I believe in pandoramancy, mark 2.

 

 

So.
Something worrisome is happening…

but there is nothing much I can do at 9:18PM EST

…but if you know me, you know that I’m worrying anyway.
And then, my son surprises me with this inspired piece of pandoramancy.
And that’s how I knew that this had to be today’s Song of the Day:

I laughed – because I love this video – but then I burst into tears.

I don’t know how he could have known.

And yet the message – that everything is going to be OK – is something that I didn’t expect to hear, and yet it is a message is one that I needed to hear so badly right at the moment….

Because…yeah.

The worry.

Sometimes the worry overwhelms me.

But the Universe seems to want me to know

Even if the sky is falling down
I know that we’ll be safe and sound
We’re safe and sound

 

Oh…and seeing those little singing cotton balls especially helped cheer me up a little. ❤

Another earworm.

I had three vivid dreams last night.

And this song…

was playing repeatedly in the background throughout all three dreams.

I have no idea why.

Upon awakening, I wondered if the repetition was simply an instance of pandoramancy, but its lyrics or imagery didn’t seem to connect to anything I’d dreamt of, so I guess all that’s left is to consider it as a rather insistent earworm.

 

Pandoramancy: Three.

Today is my Loki-versary.

Today marks three years since I made things official – three years since I made vows in front of witnesses and the like.

And yet since this past December – coming upon a little over two months now – my work regarding other things, as well as my working with Another has required Himself to step back a bit.

But I want to mark this day, and give Him some well deserved love and praise.

Hail Loki ❤

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.

It’s a bittersweet symphony, this life.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Because being bipolar explained everything.

Even if it didn’t.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I start thinking in absolutes:

Nothing is good.

Everything is wrong.

It is all my fault.

I cannot fix it. 

In short

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

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

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

My neck is tight, my chest feels constricted.

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

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

I am shaking. 

I feel nauseous.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~~~

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

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

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

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

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

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

The assigned therapist couldn’t answer that question.

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

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

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

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

So I tried another medication.

And another.

And another.

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

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

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

I started to wonder.

~~~

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

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

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

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

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

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

As well, I am not schizophrenic. 

Nor do I have borderline personality disorder.

And I do not have ADHD.

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

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

It’s nice to finally be heard and understood.

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

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

~~~

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

A burning love letter.

During this past month, I have been slowly making my way through Playing with Fire: An Exploration of Loki Laufeyjarson, by Dagulf Loptson.

I am heartened to find corroboration in my belief that one of Loki’s major aspects is as a God of Fire.   Now while Loptson connects Loki with specific forms of fire – as both the funeral pyre as well as metaphorical fire of illumination/knowledge – I am delighted to see someone else confirm so many of the personal connections that I have made in my own practices.*

Though I know of several more reconstructionist Lokeans  whom I have argued with, who hasten to point out that the connection of Loki with fire is nothing more than a case of mistaken identity – as there is that one instance wherein Loki is loosely conflated with Logi (to whom Loki lost to in that eating contest in Sturluson’s Eddas) and how supposedly, the only other incidental but still mistaken connection was popularized in Richard Wagner’s four part opera, often referred to as The Ring Cycle (Der Ring des Nibelungen).

But, in light of my own experiences, I have always disagreed with the assertion that Loki as a God of Fire is based merely upon accidental conflation that led to mistaken identity.

So three cheers for Peer Corroborated Personal Gnosis, indeed 🙂

~~~

But arguments notwithstanding, I’ve always equated Loki with fire, as He has often written me a burning love letter through pandoramancy

Pardon Me by Incubus

Burn The Cure

In Your Eyes Peter Gabriel

I Caught Fire in Your Eyes The Used

And His latest….

I Am the Fire Halestorm

And that has always been with His assertion:

I would like to see you burning.

burnhigher

~~~~~

*As well I cannot express enough how exciting it is to gain new knowledge for my path, as Loptson has threaded so many correlations between Loki and Agni, the Rigvedic deity of fire, divine knowledge, and conveyor of sacrifice to the Gods.

 

Perhaps we are all monsters.

At first, I hated this song.

Like really *hated* it.

There was something about Tyler Joseph’s sing-song delivery of the lyrics that just annoyed the heck out of me.

And yet, almost from the day that I first heard this song, it would *not* get out of my head.

It became a really insistent earworm, nearly on par in annoyance factor with ‘It’s a Small World.’

Then, a dear friend of mine reminded me of the possibility that it could be another example of pandoramancy.*

So, I did what I always do when I come across an incidence of pandoramancy?

I concentrated on listening to the lyrics the next time the song randomly came up.

I thought about what sort of emotions, thoughts and associations came immediately to mind while listening.   And since I am a person who is rather particular about words, I Googled the lyrics, so I could familiarize myself better with the lyrics as well.

But it all seemed to no avail, since the lyrics seemed, at first, surprisingly much simpler than I ever would have expected, and yet, the main thing seemed to be how annoyingly repetitive they were:

All my friends are heathens, take it slow
Wait for them to ask you who you know
Please don’t make any sudden moves
You don’t know the half of the abuse
All my friends are heathens, take it slow
Wait for them to ask you who you know
Please don’t make any sudden moves
You don’t know the half of the abuse

Welcome to the room of people
Who have rooms of people that they loved one day
Docked away
Just because we check the guns at the door
Doesn’t mean our brains will change from hand grenades
You’re lovin’ on the psychopath sitting next to you
You’re lovin’ on the murderer sitting next to you
You’ll think, how’d I get here, sitting next to you?
But after all I’ve said, please don’t forget

All my friends are heathens, take it slow
Wait for them to ask you who you know
Please don’t make any sudden moves
You don’t know the half of the abuse

We don’t deal with outsiders very well
They say newcomers have a certain smell
Yeah, I trust issues, not to mention
They say they can smell your intentions
You’re lovin’ on the freakshow sitting next to you
You’ll have some weird people sitting next to you
You’ll think “how did I get here, sitting next to you?”
But after all I’ve said, please don’t forget
(Watch it, watch it)

(Watch it)
All my friends are heathens, take it slow
Wait for them to ask you who you know
Please don’t make any sudden moves
You don’t know the half of the abuse

All my friends are heathens, take it slow
(Watch it)
Wait for them to ask you who you know
(Watch it)
All my friends are heathens, take it slow
(Watch it)
Wait for them to ask you who you know

Why’d you come, you knew you should have stayed
I tried to warn you just to stay away
And now they’re outside ready to bust
It looks like you might be one of us

Written by Tyler Joseph • Copyright © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc

 

Okay.   The first thing that struck me (aside of the 4 (!) repetitions of that rather long chorus) was the repetitive use of the words they and them and the phrases sittin next to you, watch it, and after all I’ve said please don’t forget.

So I immediately grasped the overall message that whoever they are, they are different than you or me.

They are – let’s see –

Psychopaths.

Murderers.

Weird people.

Freakshows.

So the song definitely seems to be a warning.

And there They are sitting next to you (the listener), and yet you don’t know how these dangerous people suddenly got to be sitting next to you.

Maybe you might love them for their differences ( as in loving on[the psychopath/murderer/freakshow]  sitting next to you) but still fear them on some level….because you must watch it.

Because there are possibly valid reasons.

The singer goes on to explain that perhaps you should be nervous, because it’s been established that they are not only dangerous, but abused and distrustful of those who aren’t like themselves.  They are easily triggered (take it slow/ don’t make any sudden moves) aggressive (brains will change from hand grenades ), paranoid  (Wait until they ask you who you know), and perhaps are prone to display distinctly animal traits of perceiving the intangible (newcomers have a certain smell and they can smell your intentions).

But, surprisingly, by the end of the song, there’s quite a strange twist.

Suddenly not only has the singer identified himself as being one of them (We don’t deal with outsiders very well and Yeah, I have trust issues, not to mention) and he is warning you
Why’d you come, you knew you should have stayed
I tried to warn you just to stay away

But you didn’t listen, so…

And now they’re outside ready to bust

Perhaps it is because
It looks like you might be one of us

 

Damn.

So perhaps this is not just a song about the difference between criminals and law-abiding citizens, or even humans versus non-humans but more about how appearances deceive and behavior might not be so telling after all.

Perhaps you never know who is different, who actually is the monster.

Hell, it might even be …you.

Perhaps we are all monsters…it’s just a matter of perception.

~~~

Though on a whole other level, some fans have theorized that the deeper meaning of this song is actually aimed toward the newest fans of the band – as the fans of Twenty One Pilots – the Skeleton Clique – can seem pretty devoted.

And I can attest to their devotion, as I had the pleasure of seeing Twenty One Pilots perform at The Big Ticket in the autumn of last year.

Between the incessant high-pitched prolonged screaming of the pockets of barely post-pubescent females in the crowd, I also noticed that most every fan knew all the lyrics of nearly every song and it would seem that almost every single one of those fans sang those lyrics at the top of their lungs throughout the entire show.  You could really tell who was a fan and who was not, to put it mildly.

~~~~

*Pandoramancy is when a random song seems to be not so random after a while.  A song which is not just an earworm, but a song that suddenly engenders a reaction in the listener that is oddly dramatic or meaningful through either sudden association or several random yet repeated coincidences.  As well, though an incidence of pandoramancy might only occur once, upon listening, there seems to be an over-reaching personal message for the listener inherent in the lyrics, based upon specific situational associations.

Pandoramancy can also refer to a form of divination that uses a playlist (containing a wide variety of music) and music storage software system (such as Pandora or Spotify).  This divination operates wherein the querent will direct a question towards the Gods, and the querent then sets the playlist on shuffle, and the next song that comes up on the playlist is the answer.)

 

Post-ritual pandoramancy

This is a perfect example of pandoramancy.

I had never heard of this song before – and yet it was suggested on my recommended play list on YouTube – and because I’d left my playlist on autoplay, it played through without my having chosen it early yesterday morning.

But  it conveys certain aspects of my feelings quite well.