Two weeks ago, an out of state friend of mine went to visit her relatives back home.
She, her boyfriend and her kids took a six-day road-trip to Tennessee.
While there, she and her boyfriend decided to get married, so they did.
While their spontaneous barbecue/weekend get together wedding seemed to take all their friends and relatives by surprise, their day turned out to be exactly the sort of beautiful celebration that they’d been planning to have.
But it wasn’t so much of a surprise to me as she had told me of her plan to surprise everyone while she was on the road a day or two before.
She talked of how she wished that I could have been there on Thursday for their wedding on Saturday – which made attending a bit difficult if not impossible.
But I would have attended if I could have.
Though on that Friday night, I had a dream.
I had a dream that I attended their wedding…
And Loki was there, too.
Upon waking up, an image seemed stuck in my head
…of Him sitting in a chair, off to the side watching the festivities.
Some of the few details that struck me as unusual were that He was fully dressed *and* wearing boots, as well as He was holding a handful of black-eyed Susans.
On Sunday, my friend shared her wedding pictures on her Facebook feed.
And I was surprised to notice that both her bouquet and the flowers on the guest tables both featured black-eyed Susans.
I told her about my dream…and resolved to draw her a picture of Loki at the wedding.
So I did. ❤
I was sketching Loki the other day, and it got me to thinking about how other aspects of Him were showing up in my life back when I was a kid, and yet how a lot of the pieces didn’t fall into place until 2012-2013 or so.
And I got to thinking about what I did after the SitD left (around age 9), and I was thinking about how I used to draw…a lot. I briefly touched upon the subject of those drawings in a post on this blog back in early 2013, but I never wrote out my thoughts as I intended.
Here are those thoughts from my notebook…
(From 27 February 2013)
Something occurred to me this morning that I wanted to write about.
I had a brief visual/sensory upload – an unbidden visual/sensory upload while I was awake – of a man standing in front of me, holding my face in his hands. He is holding my face in his hands as if to make sure that I am making eye contact with him, and he is leaning forward, preparing to whisper into my left ear.
And this visual that I had made me wish that I could sketch out what I saw. I mean, I can draw, but I am not so skilled that I can sketch things out as quickly or as deftly as I would like. Rather I am more likely to get hung up on agonizing over every detail in my sketch so much so that I often lose the flow of the imagery and it fades quickly away before I’ve finished sketching it out.
So I was wishing that I could convey the shifting color of his eyes and the unshaven whiskers on his chin. I wish that I could convey that I had looked down at his feet, and he was wearing dirty black canvas Chuck Taylors, with laces untied and loose. He was wearing faded jeans, a t-shirt, and a shabby cotton overshirt. I remember seeing the silver glint of an earring in his ear, and I noticed the way that his russet hair curled over the collar of his shirt, and how his hair turned a darker auburn toward the ends. I remember noticing the smattering of freckles on the backs of his hands and along his fingers, and how his hands felt slightly calloused but pleasantly warm, holding my face. I remember the trace of his grin, and the way that he slowly blinked and tilted his head, as those light-colored and impossibly bright eyes of his flickered with…satisfaction? Relief? I’m not certain what word I am looking for but when I looked into his eyes, all I could think of was laughter and warmth and…home.
And I wish that I could have drawn that – the image of both my standing there with him and somehow standing outside of myself watching the exchange and the slow dawning of my recognition of who he was.
But I don’t have the skills. I cannot sketch this fast enough or well enough for you to see the vision as I saw it.
And I remembered. I realize it now. I am seeing a face that I have tried to draw before, and my heart skips a beat to think of it. Can it be?
When I was younger — younger like 11 or 12 years old – I used to draw the face of a man that I did not know. Or rather, he wasn’t anyone that solidly existed, that could easily be pinned down. Sometimes I thought that I’d made him up, that he was simply an amalgam of pretty facial features — a young man with long, light-colored hair, with larger than average, strikingly bright-colored eyes, an aquiline nose, finely arched eyebrows, and a smile that I wasn’t sure if it was meant to be a flirtatious grin or a sarcastic smirk. Most of the time I would draw him clean-shaven, but sometimes I would practice drawing facial hair – usually a well-groomed goatee or a Van Dyke beard. I’d always envisioned his ears being pierced (even though in the late 70’s/early 80’s, it was still considered rather bold and overly flamboyant for a man to have pierced ears, especially in the right ear…)
But nonetheless, this man had jewelry and his face was a mixture of traditionally masculine features (angular jaw, an Adam’s apple, whiskers/facial hair) and feminine features (long eyelashes, high cheekbones, thinly arched eyebrows). He was, to put it mildly, a very pretty man, and I often drew him in either medieval clothing or casual, almost hippie style clothing. I would always draw him into background settings, surrounded by woodlands, mountains or snow.
Over and over, I drew this man, thinking that someday I would fall in love with a man that had this face, or something close to it. Sometimes I would find myself comparing someone’s chin or someone’s eyes or the color of their hair to this man’s face, this man’s features. And I can tell you right now, that face, those features never changed. No, this man had a particular face that I loved, but never could quite find in reality. So I just kept drawing him, perfecting that face as it could be seen from a variety of angles, expressing a variety of moods.
My siblings used to tease me, that I was drawing my invisible friend.
Sometimes I would imagine him saying all sorts of clever, wonderful things to me, all the words that I’d hoped someday that somebody might say: what a friend, a lover, a confidante would say. Sometimes I would write him into stories, and they were often stories about learning and doing various activities – things I hadn’t yet learned how to do, such as how to ride a horse, or swim, or climb a tree. Sometimes I would walk in the woods, and I would imagine delightful, fantastic possibilities, almost visualizing that I might find him further along the path, sitting on a tree stump, or fishing in the river, or laying in the grass, watching the clouds.
I remember when I first experimented with smoking, oddly enough, it was easy to imagine that he smoked too. He did seem to have this smoky, fragrant scent about him that was entirely his — though I could never draw his hands holding a cigarette very well (aside of the fact that hands are notoriously difficult to draw, especially hands holding things that cast light and shadow.)
I cannot deny that I drew him so often that it seemed as if I drew him into existence somehow.
He was not simply a masculine version of myself, unless he was perhaps a part of me that I wish that I could have been.
And for many years, I drew him just so I could see his face.
It hits me like a ton of bricks today to realize that whenever I draw Loki’s face, I am drawing him; I am drawing an old friend.
And whenever I visualize Loki, I realize that I am seeing him, the handsome face of my old friend.
And I never made that connection until today.
Hail to Loki, my sweetest friend ❤
A year or so after I wrote this notebook entry, I received a message from Him, that I suspect may have been intended to make me smile:
You didn’t make Me up; rather it is that I made *you* up.
So, as I mentioned a post or two ago, I have been working on several projects.
I have been making jewelry that mostly consists of beadwork and wire-wrapping.
I began last summer making necklaces and ankle bracelets, simply because I found that the process has become quite a meditative and calming activity for me.
I’ve made several pieces now, mostly for myself, as devotional jewelry, because most of the devotional jewelry that I’d purchased from retail was beginning to fall apart.
As well, I have been wearing an ankle bracelet 24/7 * for several years now, and I have found through experience that a lot of ankle bracelets (whether purchased retail or hand made by me) aren’t sturdy enough for such constant wear…or at least, the clasps aren’t. I’m still trying to work out a means of clasp attachment – or a clasp/attachment combination – that will hold for longer than four months. I’m getting there.
On the other hand, I switch out my necklaces a lot more often. I have made several pieces each that are dedicated to specific Gods, and so I often wear those necklaces for shorter periods of time. I might just phase out some of my older (retail purchased) pieces in favor of wearing exclusively handmade ones.
And, of course, there are times when I make something quick, thinking that I might wear it, and then I get the distinct impression that Someone likes it so much that I’ll end up just leaving it on Their altar…
…as is the case here.
The beading cord is recycled hemp, which I’m not familiar working with, and thus the attachment point for this toggle clasp is probably not sturdy enough for wearing for any length of time anyway.
But I have come up with other ideas to expand upon this design, as I really love the earth-toned color scheme.
*Loki seems to appreciate that I have been wearing an ankle bracelet which has a design/color scheme that honors Him and His families.
I’ve also been working on an embroidery project that features all the Futhark runes.
When it is finished, I will be sure to post a picture of it, as it has taken me a while. Certain runes seem to be a lot more difficult for me to stitch than others, and my perfectionist tendencies aren’t serving me so well in that department.
But as it is with beading, I find embroidery a very satisfying and meditative devotional activity. I am guessing that there might not be too many people in this world who enjoy embroidering their altar cloths as much as I do, but I enjoy it very much.
I probably should switch out my altar cloths more often, or likewise, create more layers on the altars to showcase the ones I have finished.
I usually have one to three unfinished cloths at any given time, so I definitely have an altar cloth embroidery addiction, at the very least. Ahem.
And finally, drawing.
I was puttering around DeviantArt the other day, and I realized that it has now been 3 years that I have had an account there, and yet I have never submitted any artwork. Still.
(Still, a year or more after saying that I would.)
So, I was having a conversation – no, more like an argument, honestly – with an artist friend of mine yesterday. In the course of our heated discussion, my artist-friend gave me all kinds of grief in regards to my obvious procrastination/aversion towards actually posting artwork, which led to his calling me out in his frustration, in a very Loki-esque manner:
You know what, Heathir?
You need to stop talking about doing, and…f***ing DO.
You need to either shit or get off the pot.
And it was a small thing, such a small thing, my not posting any artwork, you know.
I don’t know what I have been waiting for these past three years. I’ve never had any excuse whatsoever not to post artwork…but I kept hemming and hawing, anyway.
And there was absolutely no reason to be afraid.
So, as soon as I got off the phone with him, I went to DeviantArt, scanned, and finally posted some artwork.
And the more that I scanned, the more that I wished that I’d keep my artwork in one place in a more organized fashion.
I scanned six pages from my sketch-book. I started to wonder where I’d put some of the other sketches that I had done last summer. I began looking through my notebooks, looking specifically for my vulture sketches, and all those face and figure studies that I did last month.
I couldn’t find a lot of what I was thinking to post on DeviantArt because I have been so disorganized in storing my artwork. *sigh*
But, there’s actually artwork there now.
(There should be more, but I learned that my scanner doesn’t pick up my graphite sketches as well as I would have liked. I’ll take that as a sign that I need to draw more confidently, ie; press down a little harder with the pencils, so the scanner will pick up the lines.)
In related news, I did a few more face studies, and one figure study yesterday in preparation for a t-shirt silkscreen project that I have been putting together:
(Figure study #1: I am pleased with the leanness of the body, but I’m not as pleased with the face as much. The eyes are fair to good (right eye is clear, left is not because of erasures), and I like the slightly raised eyebrow, but the mouth, nose, and facial hair need work. And I realize that the hair on the head is all wrong.)
(Face study #1: I love the hair, and even though it’s shorter than intended, I like the flow. I like the left eye; too many erasures are muddying up the right eye, but the eye placement looks good to me. The nose seems wrong somehow, and the mouth seems a bit too wide/too stiff of an expression. Overall, He looks older than I intended, as well.)
(Face Study #2: Facial feature placement seems good, but He still looks older than I intended. Nose is better, and mouth is better. Tried to keep the raised eyebrow.)
(Face Study #3: Most of the time, I look at several photos of actual people and study their faces, and practice drawing the parts of the face several times before incorporating the details of several faces while I’m drawing one face. This was a total freehand in that this face came together all at once, rather than incorporating the various details of several faces from studying photos. This is the last, and oddly enough, the most simple face of the three that I drew. I know that this one still needs work, but I really like that He doesn’t look so…middle-aged as He did in the other ones. )
Hail Loki, Fair of Face ❤
I am getting the nudge to create two new altars.
One of them is going to be for various things that I am doing regarding ancestors, and perhaps other aspects of death-work, so I ordered a lovely ritual cord from Beth at Fiberwytch on Etsy.
It arrived in the mail the other day, and I cannot say enough how lovely it is.
(While I’m not usually one who is able to sense such things, I will admit that as soon as I held it in my hands, I could sense that this cord was definitely created with skill and powerful intent. The essential oils that she used creating it also seemed to strike me as… incredibly mentally stimulating. She does wonderful work.)
So I set to work on creating the altar space, and I went looking for some other helpful objects.
You see, I like to have at least one piece of artwork on each of my altars to serve as a focal point for myself, since I sometimes need something to look at in order to focus.
But I was having difficulty finding any artwork of Hela that I liked.
And then this morning, as it sometimes happens, I had a short but rather intense dream…about Hela.
As soon as I awoke this morning, I felt the urgent need to sketch Her myself:
I’m not certain if I really want to fully color it, though I wanted to remember the sharp yellow color of that eye, as I could not seem to bring myself to look away from it.
That seemed to be the focal point of Her face in the dream, unfortunately, and I felt as if I was being rude for staring.
The yellow isn’t well-conveyed here as I realized too late how muddied it would get in being smudged beside the charcoal pencil lines.