bloodteethandflame

A life in threes

Category: personal

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.

Month for Loki, Twenty-second: Clearly

I don’t know if I’d ever gotten around to mentioning this, but I am working on another project which has become rather intense lately.

After several incredibly productive weeks, it felt as if certain aspects of the project were just not flowing anymore, and I couldn’t figure out why.

So I pulled a few runes to see if I could tease out what was the source of the blockage:

And this is what came up.

Situation: Laguz –  a rune that represents the essence of flow, the essence of depth, complexity.

Overall Aspect: Wunjo – a rune that represents joy.  A rune of success and happiness. Situation has the potential to go well.  Paired with Laguz, this felt like an excellent sign.

So what happened?

Result: Berkano, reversed- Like a sneaky ton of bricks, I immediately grasped the message here: Your attitude is affecting the potential here; your overall attitude is affecting the growth and the flow.  I see Berkano as a rune of fertility here; and its reversal marks it as the blockage: a fertility that may be misdirected…a profound indicator about how my own attitude – perhaps I am ‘fertilizing’ or feeding my worries and stresses about the project rather than pushing past them or through them – and *that* is the problem.

Huh.

I don’t think I’ve ever experienced such a clear message through my runes before….

But that’s it in a nutshell, as it relates to the project, it would seem that the runes are telling me to get the eff out of my own way.

Again, point taken, Sir. 😯

 

 

Month for Loki, Fourteenth: Knot.

In the summer of 2012, I had one of the first of a series of strange vivid dreams  that involved Loki:

In this particular dream, I found myself searching through  a building of many rooms, and while I didn’t know what or who I was looking for, I knew I was looking for something…or someone.

Most of the rooms were spacious but empty – white walls, sparsely furnished, lit by buzzing fluorescent ceiling panels.  Like an abandoned office building, which I sensed may or may not be underground.

And then I was surprised to come upon what appeared to be a middle-aged man with dark auburn hair in one of the rooms.  As I’d mentioned, though most of the rooms were nothing more that white empty walls, the room this man was in was full of  brightly colored yarn.   Skeins of various colors and in various states of unravel lay scattered all over the floor.  While a few seemed no more than tangled handfuls of yarn, others were neatly wound and stacked in piles of three or four bundles, sorted by color.

Meanwhile the biggest jumble of knots lay closest to the man’s right foot.  I could also see that he was barefoot…. and he wasn’t exactly sitting in the chair.

This man was sprawled in an elaborately carved wooden chair large enough to easily be mistaken for some sort of throne.  I say sprawled because though I came upon him sitting upon this odd throne from behind and at somewhat of an angle, I immediately realized that this man was quite gangly; one of his legs casually dangled over one of the arm rests, and I couldn’t help but wonder how he’d  miraculously found a way to fold the length of the rest of his body comfortably within the confines of the seat.  

I don’t think he noticed me at first, as his head was bent in concentration upon his hands and the tangled mess of colored yarn in his lap.

However, when he did finally look up at me

He grinned….and casually asked me

if I knew

who he was.

Loki.

And Loki appeared to be knitting.  

But not with needles, mind you; He seemed to be knitting with His fingers.

(from my notebook, 17 July 2012)

~~~

But I learned something interesting today.

It occurs to me that Loki may not have been knitting.

He may have been nålbinding (“needle-binding”), an ancient technique which may pre-date knitting and crocheting by 1500 years, where a single length of thread or yarn is passed through loops by use of a single needle, and the resulting fabric is sturdily connected by interlocking these loops of yarn or thread with one another.  Nålebinding is also called ‘knotless netting.’

I came across this information today – though honestly I was researching something else that had nothing at all to do with Norse clothing -but a reference to socks caught my eye and I found my way to Hurstwic.org:

“However, Norse socks were not knitted (which apparently was unknown to the Norse). Instead, they were made using an ancient technique called nálbinding (needle-binding). Using a single large, thick needle, it was a method of knotting the yarn. Although time consuming, this approach resulted in a nearly indestructible garment. If the thread were to break or wear out, the garment would still be intact, since the thread was everywhere knotted to neighboring threads. Mittens and caps were also made using this technique. The sketch to the left shows the steps involved in making an article of clothing using the nálbinding technique. Note that the fabric grows in a spiral pattern. Once the spiral is large enough, it is knotted back on itself to create the shape of the finished article.”

 

(Photos: l-r: spiral nal-binding_sketch; Sock found in York; from Hurstwic.org.)

~~~

How does this personally relate to me in regards to Loki?

Loki has been referring me to knots and knotwork for many years now, and as it is with His method, I hadn’t any idea as to why He was always referring to such things, either literally or metaphorically.  But I’m starting to connect some things about knots and knotwork today.

But, barring that, it does give His references to ‘creating sockpuppets’ a whole new meaning, eh?

 

Month for Loki, Fourth: Firework.

Several years ago, this song was everywhere.

Whether it was just a coincidence, or an instance of pandoramancy, I’ve always found something about this song to be rather evocative of Him.

Happy Fourth of July!

Month for Loki, First: Prayer

Welcome to the first day of July!*

So here I am again, facing another July with an ever-evolving devotional practice that includes Loki… and Odin.

To that end, a week or so ago, I ordered a pair of gorgeous prayer cards from Wyrd Curiosities on Etsy so you can imagine my delight when they were delivered this morning — just in time for the first of the month:

prayercardinsert

((left): Loki prayer card, artwork by Grace Palmer; (center) Loki note card, artwork by W. McMillan; (right) Odin prayer card, artwork also by W. McMillan)

 

While Wyrd Curiosities sells several different prayer cards for Loki, I’d chosen this particular one mostly because it features Grace Palmer’s beautiful artwork as well as including one of my favorite prayers to Loki, written by F. Arismendi:

lokiprayercardprayer

Lovely.

As well, I was delighted to see that the two cards I’d purchased were enclosed within a gorgeous notecard created by Dionysian Artist, featuring another stunning portrayal of Loki by Wayne McMillan…so that was an unexpected but pleasant surprise ❤

~~~

*As you may know, many Lokeans around the country celebrate the month of July by writing;  that’s 30 days of devotional posts for Loki.

 

 

New.

In a further effort to dedicate to working with Odin, I decided to order a new set of runes recently.

Though I have two other sets – one Elder Futhark and one Anglo-Saxon – in keeping with the spirit of creating a new devotional practice, I wanted to have a custom set made specifically for working with Odin.*

After receiving some recommendations and talking to different artisans, I chose a rune-craftsman whose shop is based in the Ukraine – Eril’s Workshop -because his work is simply stunning:

 

~~~

So my new runes were finished last week.

The artisan sent me a neat little photo essay that showed the creation process of my runes.

The runes blanks he used are made of a beautiful light oak – the color of honey -uniformly cut and neatly carved.

Despite being made of slices of oak, looking at the photos, they appear deceptively thin, light as feathers.

~~~

And they are…my runes arrived today.

They remind me of delicate cookies – honey wafers.

(Yes, the color of them does make me (almost!) want to lick them, imagining the sweet flavor of Daelmans Dutch Honey Wafers.)

I will be blooding them in the next few days, with intent to begin using them soon; perhaps by this coming Wednesday. 🙂

~~~

*Yes, I thought about making my own runes.  Perhaps that will be a project for further down the road.

 

 

 

This blog is not dead.

This blog is not dead.

However, my devotional practice has definitely changed, as nearly six months ago, I started working with Odin too:

LokiandOdinaltarfigures (2)

(Altar figures (l-r) Loki, Odin, ceramic, by artisan Dmitriy Kushnir from The Slavic Way on Etsy)

But maybe I am not.

As it has occurred to me that perhaps what I believe to be Odin could be simply another face of Loki….

But damned if it doesn’t feel different.

Dante.

Yesterday our pet ferret died.

His name was Dante.

Early yesterday morning, my son had gone to clean Dante’s cage, but Dante seemed lethargic and disinterested in coming out to run around while my son did that chore.

As a matter of fact, he seemed to be more interested in napping, which wasn’t unusual as Dante, like most ferrets, was more active at night….and as usual, Dante had been pretty active just a few hours before, so neither of us thought much of him wanting to nap.

So my son did a quick wipedown of the cage floors, put out food, water, and a clean blanket, and left for school.

About an hour or so later, I’d noticed that Dante still hadn’t moved to eat or drink, so I nudged him.

Though he was still warm, he had passed.

~~~

Dante was the most recent ferret we’d had in a long line of ferrets.

 

You see, we’ve had a good half-dozen ferrets in the last 10 years.

In the overlap, we had four ferrets at one time:

(Here’s my older son holding three of that four ferrets we had at that time.)

If you haven’t guessed, ferrets are social creatures who thrive on having company – the more the merrier.

~~~

But Dante was the last of the final two, which was comprised of he and his brother/litter-mate Jameson (who died two years ago):

As you might imagine, I felt a bit choked up to put away the food dishes, the toys, and that crate (roomy enough to house up to six ferrets at a time), and it feels strange to consider that our home is both without Dante – and without ferrets – today. 😥

As well, I am not ashamed to admit that I cried as I dug the hole this afternoon, and I cried as I wrapped Dante in his favorite blanket, and buried him three feet to the left of where Jameson lies beneath the bed of dark pink periwinkles.

Am I foolish to have wanted to send him off with a proper farewell – making prayers and burning incense?

 

Am I foolish to plan on planting flowers – violets and periwinkles – once rainy season comes?

 

Perhaps.

 

But today I am both sad and foolish.

I miss my ferrets.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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. ❤