bloodteethandflame

A life in threes

Category: personal

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.

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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 ❤

3 AM

3am on YouTube:

As it is with most people, I thought this song was about a romantic relationship.

But when this acoustic version of ‘3am’ came across my suggested YouTube feed today, I actually assumed it was going to be ‘3am (Breathe)’ by Ana Nalick.

Instead, I was surprised to see Rob Thomas at the piano, informing his audience that it was actually meant to be a song about his mother.  And he continued on about how when he was 12 years old, his mother was dying of cancer.

Upon hearing that, I suddenly burst into tears.

Not that my mother is dying of cancer, mind you, but I am estranged from her (for reasons which many of my longtime readers may be aware –but I don’t feel like repeating the long and sordid story of our toxic relationship right now….)
Though suffice to say, I sometimes find myself uselessly mourning for the relationship we did not have.

Related to this, I have been dreaming of my father – who did die of cancer – 10 years ago as of last month.
I have been dreaming of him a lot lately…and in every dream, he has come to me asking for me to make amends with my mother.

And of course, sometimes I cry about that too.  As much as I would like to oblige my father, I am a stubborn bastard just as much as my mother is. As well, while I know that what is wrong between us could likely have been fixed long ago if one of us could relent, I am tired of being the only one who relents …over and over.

You see, my mother is one of those people who can never admit to the wrongness of her behavior, and so it is unfortunate that she has continued to insist that she has ‘never done anything wrong.’

Thus I haven’t any contact with her since 2009.

And so here I am.

 

Stubborn.

Though my intent is to write every day, sometimes I struggle to write about certain topics.

And this topic – and its array of sub-topics – is one of them.

How important is ritual?  How important are offerings?

How – or why –  would anyone do any of this? How important is it to do any of this?

 

And then, this article came across my feed this morning, and I immediately thought to share it.

Why?

Because this part especially, hit me hard:

“Have you ever heard about people who accomplish amazing things, and been jealous? I know I have. There are many ways to be successful. I’m not the prettiest, not the smartest, and definitely not the most talented or luckiest. But the one thing I have always been is as stubborn as the day is long – not in some petty way (mostly), but in the kind of way that makes me get up when life knocks me down.

I’m not the fair-haired hero. I’ve never been the chosen one. I’m that other guy. My power isn’t born of charm or good looks. I was born to wear a t-shirt that says, “it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog.”(1)

We live in a cynical age where our fair-haired heroes have revealed themselves as paper cutouts, our leaders have sold themselves to the highest bidder, and the world gets less friendly every day. We wake up and go through the motions and wonder if there’s a damn thing we can do about it.

And you know what? There is.”

Read more at http://www.patheos.com/blogs/agora/2017/10/the-other-side-of-the-hedge-four-hundred-days/#1Vu07d2lKj39HT1A.99

 

Because, much like Christopher Drysdale, I too, am as stubborn as the day is long.

And yes, I have been jealous of the success of others.

And yes, I have realized that I am not special nor am I particularly disciplined all of the time.

I have wished that my week could be stripped of Tuesday nights and Wednesday mornings, because sometimes, what I am doing is not easy nor is it particularly rewarding…

But then it is.

And when it is rewarding…when I look back at the trajectory of my Tuesday nights and Wednesday mornings

That is when I realize that that is the essence of why I do what I do, and why it is important that I keep doing.

You want the carrot…you gotta be stubborn.

You gotta chase the stick.

Happy Wednesday.

 

 

4 Science Based Strategies for When You’re Feeling Down.

(or something like that)

I was reading an article the other day because I was feeling like sh*t and this article caught my eye as I was scrolling through my media feed.

This article was broken into four parts, each headlined by an action, and each part discussed scientific reasons why that action would help bring one out of a temporary ‘funk.’

(I say ‘temporary funk’ as this post is not  meant to address the situation of those who suffer from clinical depression or other mental illnesses…just as I believe that the article was not meant as a replacement for seeking medical help, psychological therapy, or taking prescribed medications either.)

These are the 4 strategies as I listed them in my notebook, and the descriptions are my take on the information as it was presented in the article:

1.) Ask yourself: What am I grateful for?

  • Even if you cannot ‘find’ anything, remembering to do so distracts/busies the mind enough to help you feel better.
  • According to the article, worrying – as well as feeling guilt or shame – ‘rewards’ the brain centers, because the brain treats the process of worrying  or feeling shame or guilt about a problem as a valid attempt to find a solution.  The brain treats the worry as an activity – the brain thinks it’s doing something to solve the problem and to the brain, that’s all that matters is that it is doing something.
  • So, the article stresses the importance of keeping one’s mind busy with what is good, as it is all the same to your brain, whether you are thinking of a solution or not.

2.) Label negative feelings.

  • Give that awful feeling or idea a name; don’t suppress your feelings and emotions about it.  It’s part of your brain’s process.
  • When you suppress emotions, your brain still ‘knows’ it and your body still reacts to the emotion, whether you’ve allowed yourself to feel the emotion or not.

3.) Make a decision

  • Making a decision reduces worry and anxiety, as your brain treats the activity of making a decision as ‘finding a solution’ – even if the decision/’solution’ is to allow yourself to feel a feeling for 20 minutes – and move on.  Even ‘I will decide what to do on Monday’ will work – but you must decide and move on.
  • Your brain treats the act of making a decision as a ‘successful’ attempt at a solution – and it calms your limbic system as a result.
  • Even if it is not a ‘100% effective solution’ or even a procrastination (as in ‘I will think about what to do on Monday morning’ or even ‘I don’t know what to do but I will decide later’) your brain registers that as you have decided to do something.
  • Why? Because actively choosing causes changes in attention circuits of the brain and studies have shown this in action: participants were asked to describe how they felt about an action, and then asked to choose how they are going to react to the action.  The simple act of choosing (ie. verbalizing aloud) their reaction caused an increase of dopamine activity in the brain, and the more specific the decision, the more dopamine was released (such as the general “I am hurt, so I will cry” versus the more specific “I am hurt, so I will cry for 20 minutes.”)

4.) Touch people

  • We need to feel love and acceptance from people.  If we do not and we are rejected, it is painful. The brain registers this lack and this rejection as if we have experienced physical pain. According to science, rejection doesn’t feel like a broken heart; your brain treats the rejection like a broken leg.
  • Touching someone that you love, even a pet – for 20 seconds or more – actually reduces pain: “A hug – especially a long one – releases the neurotransmitter and hormone oxytocin, which reduces the reactivity of the amygdala (the base of the pain center) in the brain.

~~~

I would link to the article – if I could find it – so I will keep looking for it, and update with it if I can…

Found it: http://theweek.com/articles/601157/neuroscience-reveals-4-rituals-that-make-happy

 

 

 

Songs from the musical vacuum:….take me back to the start.

A friend of mine once told me that I must live ‘in a musical vacuum’ because there’s a lot of popular songs that I’ve never listened to, much less heard of.

Often, I don’t want to agree with her for two good reasons.

First, I’ll pretty much listen to any and all genres of music.

And second, I’m pretty much listening to music all of the time.

Yes, much like Starlord, I have a soundtrack to my days, if not, my entire life…so I cannot fathom how this could be.

I do not want to  believe that I live in a musical vacuum.  I tell myself that I’d know a popular song if I heard it before, wouldn’t I?

Yeah.

Yeah.

 

So last night, she sent me a link to this:

 

This is Lennon Roach.

He is an munitions system specialist for the US Air Force stationed in Lakenheath England.

So I listened to the song, and then I went to bed.

~~~

But I woke up this morning with bits of that lovely melody and heartfelt lyrics still resonating in my head.

So I’ve been thinking of this song all morning.

I must’ve clicked on the link a dozen times, listening to it since last night.

Because of the way that it was shared, I did not see the tag that identifies this song, but I found myself absolutely falling in love with the words and the melody.

Once I’d practically memorized the lyrics of the song…I realized I had to know more.

So I Googled the song lyrics, expecting that this would be an original piece.

It’s not.

Much to my surprise, I found out this morning that it’s a cover of Coldplay’s ‘The Scientist.’

Heh.

Oops.

Maybe I do live in a musical vacuum.

I stand corrected.

 

Pandoramancy: Lost.

There is nothing wrong, and yet I have been rather socially-avoidant today, just fumbling through the hours.

It happens.

But then a notification came through my email: an old acquaintance of mine wrote a post on zir blog little while ago, and damned if it didn’t give me a bittersweet feeling of nostalgia:

You see, I too, have had Him come to me as Peter Pan, and yet oddly enough, I was an adult – with adult responsibilities such as a job, bills to pay, and a child of my own – so I didn’t understand the meaning of His usage of that particular face during His visitation at that time.

And yet…

I believe that it was a sign, a marker of sorts – meant to remind me of the part of me I hid, that part that I never really allowed to be- the part of me I’d chosen to tuck away from my everyday awareness.

Perhaps it is a cliche – the playful attitude, the sense of wonder – but I will not deny its importance.

I was a serious child with a vivid imagination and if anything, I’d always thought someday, I would come back to that part, I would allow myself one day…

To remember the boy who waited at the edge of those bad dreams…

The young man who lived in the woods

whose face I drew incessantly

whom I was half in love with

before I even could have known what love was.

As He was – and yet He was not – Peter Pan, but it was not until I realized much later that the face of Peter Pan was a convenient and rather apt metaphor for what I had pushed away from myself.

Come find Me, He said.

You know where.

Month for Loki, Twenty-Ninth: Faith.

Yesterday, this song featured in a movie I was watching.

It was the end-theme of a bittersweet movie.

Hearing this song made me sad…but it also made me smile.

And today, even though I was not sad anymore, I was thinking all morning of how yesterday had actually been such a wonderful day overall, and how thankful I was for having had the opportunity to spend time with the people I love the most.

As well, I was thinking of L too – and realizing that He had delivered on what I’d wanted, on what I’d asked.

And then this song turned up on my recommended Spotify list this morning.

Pandoramancy.

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.