bloodteethandflame

A life in threes

Category: personal

Fragment.

They’ll take you places you didn’t want to go,
and see things you never wanted to see,
but be not afraid,
for they are there with you,
for everything.

~~~

Years ago – quite possibly more than 10 years ago – I found the above (unattributed) quote on a blog.

So I wrote that quote down in the daily paper journal I kept, as I did not have my own blog at that time.

And though I could not put my finger on why this quote resonated with me so long ago

it occurred to me this morning that it pretty much sums up

what

spirit-work

feels like.

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Pandoramancy: Wednesday

Because life has just been one thing after another…but I’m doing all right.

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

 

Four.

Ich liebe euch beide <3

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.

Pandoramancy for Wednesday

 

Cycles

“I think everyone feels like they personally own, somehow, all the many possibilities inherent in their lives. But I think that only lonely people, or frightened people, really celebrate that fact or enshrine it as the most important fact of all.

I co-own all that I have experienced thus far, and I’ll co-own everything that happens from this point, with someone or many someones.”

Robin Artisson

I’ve heard it said that everything in life happens in cycles.  Sometimes I am comforted by that truth, and other times, I am horrified and despairing of it.

While I don’t know if I would define what’s happening to me as the result of some sort of cycle, I do know that I have been thinking a lot about the facts of my spiritual experiences, and how much they have affected my life and my identity.

And the simplest way I can identify this cycle is to accept that

 

I learn.

I forget.

 

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.

Food for thought: a re-blog, and my spirit animals

Asbjorn Torval’s latest post on spirit animals brings up some good points regarding spirit animals, personal bias and what he terms ‘power play’ when considering why there are so many folks who choose wolves and bears as their spirit animals, and yet no one seems to choose cockroaches or rats.

Why indeed, and this post has given me much food for thought regarding my own experiences in that if I were to choose a spirit animal, I would likely choose the fox, the horse, or the raven

– and yet, if I were to be honest –

The reality seems to be that my spirit animals are

 

 

Vultures

(L-R: Turkey vulture; Black vulture)

and

 

 

Possums!

(L-R: angry possum; possum ‘playing dead’)

You see, ever since I began working with Loki – and then later (and at present) Odin – my life has become overrun with vultures and possums!

Did I expect the relentless presence of vultures and possums in my life?

Well, I cannot say that I did, and yet – much like the Gods Themselves – I find that my life is full of signs of their presence at every turn.

So what have all of these interactions with vultures and possums taught me?

As many long-time followers of this blog may recall that I have written of my mundane (and spiritual) experiences with vultures, I don’t think I have ever written about my interactions with possums.

I grew up in a rather rural town in Massachusetts.  My father had quite a sizeable garden on the 1/2 acre property, and as you might imagine, I came across possums – both living and dead – quite often.

As a matter of fact, a dead possum was likely my first childhood experience with death – when, at the age of five or six years old – I found the very much dead body of a possum under an outdoor picnic table in the backyard. I remember my father explaining to me how sometimes possums would ‘play dead’ – just like I’d seen in cartoons – but that this one was really dead 😦

As well, my siblings and I would often come across live mama possums -with tiny babies – living in our root cellar, or trying to survive the winter by sneaking under the bulkhead stairs and into our basement. (I remember my older siblings and I learning to build a (humane) catch and release trap (courtesy of a Mark Trail book) for catching all the possums and other animals that snuck in, and how aggressively we competed with each other for the exciting and very honorable privilege of being the one who help our father carry the [occupied] trap into the woods to safely release whatever animal it had caught.)

But then, once I grew up and left home, I spent many years living in suburban areas and in bigger cities like Boston, Orlando, and Newark…and I didn’t see another possum for almost 25 years.

Fast forward to 2010, when my husband and I bought a house in a large Central Florida suburb…and I am telling you, I have never seen so many possums in all of my life.

In the month of July 2013 alone, I came across eight dead possums in my backyard; I swear that the vultures were bringing them – perhaps even dropping them – into my backyard, which is surrounded by a 6 foot privacy fence.  Two of them were huge- larger than each of my three full grown house-cats – and even my 75 lb Labrador retriever was afraid to go near them. (They were very dead and very heavy – and the body of one of those particularly big ones would not fit on the scoop/blade of my largest shovel.)

And nowadays, I’ve seen a few (thankfully live) possums while walking my dogs at night, either trotting down the middle of my street, or perched on my next-door neighbor’s fence or in the tree overlooking their swimming pool.

My dogs go berserk and stand out there barking at them every time one of the possums show up- but I don’t think they even blink anymore :/

~~~

 Most of those ‘What’s your Spirit Animal?’ websites (like this one) often portray Possum as a sort of trickster and problem solver:

  • Possum comes up with alternative plans for difficult situations that don’t require fighting/violence. They have an effective strategy – either by putting on an impressive display of ferocity or by playing ‘dead’ – and both strategies are indicative of one who is a master of projecting an impressive image of what they want others to see.
  • Possums are highly social with curious, inquisitive minds. They know when to run, when to hide, and when to move forward.
  • Possums are short lived creatures associated with youth and vulnerability. As a spirit animal, Possum assists those who are either young in spirit – or those who need to reconnect with their own vulnerability (or their inner child).
  • Possums are nocturnal creatures who are comfortable in the dark (in burrows underground) or in trees. Thus, Possum has strong element ties with the Earth and with trees. They have mastered navigating darkness and Possum serves as an excellent guide for those who seek to develop their navigation of darkness to uncover elusive truths, especially spiritual truths.
  • When Possum shows up – ask yourself if you are taking the right path toward your goals or if you have wandered off track. If the latter, Possum might be saying: ‘Be still and play dead’ and take some time to reflect and assess your circumstances. But likewise, Possum symbolizes to expect the unexpected and always be on the lookout for deception and lies. You are being called to challenge the status quo and outsmart the people who may wish to trick or deceive you.
  • Possum can indicate the need to be prepared for change – opportunity knocks! – but Possum’s message is one of caution: Not all is as it would seem. Some options will leave you exposed and vulnerable, while other options may divert you from your goals. Possums are creatures who look for the path of least resistance.
  • Ultimately, Possum is a survivor and the possum is a reminder that you will survive whatever threatens to overtake you, including your fears, doubts, or emotional trauma. Stay guarded, listen, and bide your time.

~~~

So, considering best laid plans and all that…

Every time I see a vulture, I take it as a reminder that I need

  • to rely on the tools given to me
  • trust in the process
  • look for opportunities to transform
  • accept that what seems like an end is not the end of the world

And, oddly enough, when I see possums, I take it as a sign that I need to:

  • Be resourceful
  • Meditate on my options
  • Learn to navigate the darkness and don’t be afraid of it
  • Learn to accept that appearances can deceive
  • Be cheerful

That being said, I think Vulture and Possum are my unexpected spirit animals

…and I imagine that they are here to stay.

 

 

 

 

 

QOTD

I am not a fan of New Year’s Eve.  I’ve never been a fan of New Year’s Eve.

 

So, I was delighted to see such an apt quote on my social media feed today..being the last day of December, the last day of 2017.

Like Sam Shepard, I detest endings….but perhaps it is simply that my perception is faulty.

May 2018 be a worthy beginning for all of us ❤