bloodteethandflame

A life in threes

Category: personal

Well. I suppose that this was bound to happen at some point.

As many of you are aware, I have been running an Etsy shop since August 2017* – so that comes out to just about a year now.

I had been planning on writing some sort of ‘shop anniversary’ post to that effect on my shop blog, along with promoting some new product offerings.

I’d also intended to spotlight my custom work option, as I had received my very first custom order back in June

Aside from it being my very first custom order, I was very excited for several other reasons –

  • The custom order was going to feature runes! (Runes are – and have always been – one of my favorite subjects to embroider onto cloth, and my hand-embroidered rune cloths have continually garnered me a lot of compliments and have always sold well in the shop.)
  • As well, the custom order was going to give me an opportunity to use my highest quality variegated threads, as the customer insisted that the item be hand-stitched entirely in organic cotton.
  • And finally, in further discussion with the customer, I was told that this item – an embroidered altar cloth featuring a bindrune/sigil bordered by Elder Futhark runes – was being created at the request of a small Heathen kindred. The customer, it turned out, was not a Heathen himself; he informed me that he was a chaplain who claimed to be speaking in their stead, as this group of Heathen men wanted this devotional item to be created for their small worship space….in a halfway house in Kentucky.  As a result, he implied that he was not familiar with their practices, he admitted to simply wanting to help ‘these fine men’ by finding ‘a skilled artisan to create something for their practice.’

 

So I emailed the chaplain the breakdown of my prices.

He had mentioned that he would be paying for the cloth ‘as a gift for them,’ as he implied that the men may not have their own means, so he was very concerned with keeping prices ‘affordable.’ He thanked me for understanding his position.

Having just gotten an embroidery machine, I offered him a deal that it might be cheaper – and a lot faster – to machine embroider the design on a cloth to keep the costs down.

But he insisted that ‘that they had insisted on everything being entirely hand-embroidered’ as ‘the men’ had especially liked [my] hand-embroidery work’.

In an effort to do this, he suggested that I simply customize an altar cloth with a hand-embroidered EF border that was already posted for sale in my shop (for $15 USD) by hand-stitching ‘the rune symbols [he’d] get from the men’ in the center.

So I told him that it would take me some time (about a week) to complete the hand-embroidering of an image of the size he’d specified (6″x6″) on the cloth, and I would charge him $25 for that, bringing the total cost to $40.  I thought I was being fair

He said nothing regarding that price one way or the other, but he again reiterated ‘[his] position [that he] was ‘doing a favor for these men,’ and seemed to imply that I should see it as I’m doing a favor for them too, i.e ‘You are doing such a favor for these men – perhaps you will do me a favor too?’

Of course, I didn’t – and I still do not – have a problem with creating something for other Heathens to use.

So I asked him about thread colors and type – and he checked with the men – and responded that they’d specified that it should only be 100 organic cotton, in variegated blues, to match the border.

I told him that I would have to order a spool of 100% organic cotton in variegated blue…and reminded him that the already existing cloth he’d indicated that I customize was stitched in poly-cotton.

And I suggested that he might purchase that altar cloth for $15 as a start, or he could pay the $40 for it outright, and I would stitch the whole thing in 100% cotton once I received the thread (which would take another few days to arrive.)

And he seemed pleased with that. The custom order seemed a go, so far.

As a matter of fact, after going back and forth with the customer over the next few days after, his open-minded optimism was contagious, and I will admit that his rhetoric became more and more flattering. He thanked me for my ‘graciousness in taking on the custom order’, and he thanked me several times ‘on behalf of these grateful men,’ and he forwarded me the bindrune sigil that the men had requested be handstitched in the center.

I looked at it, seeing that Othala was the most prominent rune in the center of the bindrune

Now, while I know that Othala is referenced on the Anti-Defamation League’s Hate Symbols Database, the website does recognize that runes are, by themselves, not racist symbols – but cautions that ‘the Nazis adopted this rune, among others, into their symbology, causing it to be a favorite symbol among white supremacists.‘ Therefore, the site does caution that many of the runic symbols should be considered in context with other symbols and phrases.

But, as Othala is a rune that is featured in the spelling of both Loki and Odin’s names – and I wear runic jewelry featuring their names – I would be hypocrite to be offended by Othala now, wouldn’t I?

(Actually, the central bindune itself struck me as possibly an attempt at making an almost-bindrune of Odin’s name, as it could almost pick out a Nauthiz in the angle on the left side – and of course, Isa as a straight vertical line could be said to appear in many other runes! – but I could find neither Thurisaz or Dagaz, so…hmmm)

So I looked at the phrase – for context – that arched over the bindrune.

It was in German.

How lucky of me to have been learning German, eh?

(I mean, I had just been winding my way through a module on ‘Spirituality words’ on Duolingo.)

It read Ehre und Treue

Upon Googling ‘Ehre‘….

Blut und Ehre‘ is the first entry to come up: “Blut und Ehre (English: Blood and Honor) is a German National Socialist (Nazi) political slogan used by Hitler Youth, among others.’

Um… there is no getting around that, I suppose. Ehre is always defined as honor... and it does seem to feature in a lot of white supremacist slogans, at least, according to Google.

(I double-checked with a few German speakers, just to make sure, and was told by a few that the exact words in that phrase, above -either spoken or written in German – are definitely frowned upon to a great degree.)

So. Honor and….

Now, Duolingo tags treue as translating to English as ‘faith’ as a primary definition in many of the word-lessons in the ‘Spirituality’

But again, Google has other ideas.

Treue is translated as loyalty.

Honor and loyalty.

*sigh*

First Google entry for German phrase containing ehre und treue?

*cross-references to a Wikipedia page about slogans pertaining to the SS*

Second entry?

*The ADL’s hate-symbols page – referencing variations on German phrases associated with the Waffen SS (the military wing of the SS) *

*sigh*

So that first custom order I was excited about?

Yeah.

Not so much.

Does the chaplain know?

He denies it. He denies knowing anything about the possibility that these men…could be white supremacists.

After all, he doesn’t know runes….and remember, he only wanted to ‘help these fine men.’

Perhaps I should be glad that he was reluctant to discuss payment.

He positively avoided it.

I think he might have been trying to convince me that I should give him a break and create this altar cloth for free, as a favor to him and as a favor to them.

Because they’re such fine men who like my work.  And they don’t…have means of their own. Isn’t that enough?

But it’s just as well.

Because I’ll say it again:

I didn’t – and I still do not – have a problem with creating devotional items for other Heathens.

But some might take issue with the fact that, if given the choice, I am not keen on making devotional items for white supremacists.

~~~

1395 words later…thanks for reading!

~~~

* In case you did not know, I offer hand-embroidered (and now some machine embroidered) altar cloths and other devotional items, such as tarot bags, altar tokens, rune sets and the like.

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Interview question….


Yes, I am a hard worker who happens to make almost everything harder than it has to be.

And that unfortunate bit of personal truth functions in me much to the dismay of damned near everyone.

Month for Loki, Day 28: Celebration.

(Psst…I am aware I am a wee bit behind, but here we go…)

So!

Did you know that July 28th is Peruvian Independence Day?

Well, I did not.

So, this past Saturday, my husband and I were invited to the home of the parents of my son’s (Peruvian) fiancee -to celebrate! 🙂

Much like Fourth of July in the US – Peruvian Independence Day is celebrated with much food, drink, and revelry in the form of dancing, music, and singing.

Yes, we drank and ate some great barbecue.

And, as it is a tradition in her family, both my husband and I were persuaded into not only singing karaoke, but dancing.

(As for anyone who has been following me for a while – the reason why this experience may fall under the auspices of an offering for Loki, is that I am prone to social anxiety. This sort of situation – a large social gathering that most non-socially anxious folks would consider an enjoyable party – is a one-way ticket to a panic attack for me.  The added aspect regarding family and hospitality was a not-so-surprising feature of the day, and the importance of that was not lost on me as well. Besides, one might recall that I have been promising Him that I would dance and/or sing at a social event for years.)

And so, I finally did just that.

I danced several rounds and I sang not one but several songs, much to the surprise of my husband and children.

There was such an air of joyful celebration throughout the day.

My husband and I felt honored to be invited to share in that joy, and I can honestly say that the hours (yes, hours!) flew by.

It was truly an amazing day.

 

And one of the most delightful surprises of the day was in the traditional drinking of a particular cocktail – the Pisco Sour:

It consists of Pisco – a clear brandy made of fermented grapes which originate from Peru.

The traditional form of the Pisco Sour contains a shot and a half of Pisco, an egg white, a dash of simple syrup, and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Or, in the case of a quick fix  – a shot of high-quality Pisco, a splash of ginger ale, and a few lime slices.

It was rather tasty – and the ‘quick version’ as you might imagine, is deliciously similar to another of my favorite drinks -the Irish Buck 🙂

 

Month for Loki, Day 16: Change

(no dime like the present, eh?)

Why is there a pile of loose coins on Loki’s altar?

Many devotees see Loki as a God of Change – both in terms of money and in transformation.

Loki has provided me with both forms of much-needed ‘change’ many times in my life – whether it be a random quarter or two to make a call on a pay phone (I know I’m dating myself there) or nudging me towards the Thing I Thought I Could Not Do.

It makes perfect sense to me, on several levels.

As a result, a lot of the loose coin change I find in the course of the day will often find its way onto His altar…especially dimes and quarters.

Month for Loki, Day 1: Altar

Today is the 1st of July!

 

 Since 2012, Lokeans all over the world have been devoting the month of July to Loki.

Would you like to join me?

Hail Loki!

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Six.

On the 29th of May 2012, I signed up with WordPress, deciding to keep a blog.

Though I didn’t know exactly what I was going to actually write about

nor did I expect much of an audience

(though to be honest, for the first year or two, it was an audience of only 2-3 folks who commented regularly)

Today, the folks at WP informed me that I have been keeping this blog

for six years now.

All I can say is…

Wow. Time flies!

So…

Thank you to all my readers

and followers

and commenters

for your love

your support

and in some cases,

some challenging food for thought

Happy Anniversary

to

this

blog!

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.

Pandoramancy: Wednesday

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

Four.

Ich liebe euch beide <3