bloodteethandflame

A life in threes

Category: slightly painful lessons

Month for Loki, Day 14: You’ve got it all wrong.

youareenough

I don’t know who Courtney A. Walsh is, but zie sounds like Someone I know.

Month for Loki, Day 11: Separated.

Being still sick with this flu, I spent most of this day in an almost meditative haze.

As in, I meditated heavily upon my follow-up to this entry.

And this is what came up:

Who bows to whom?

We are both switches, you see.

But I don’t know if He is talking about the relationship between He and Odin

… or if He is talking about the relationship between Himself and me.

~~~

The first thing that came up in my email feed was this powerful video post from a blog I follow:

Gage Wallace: How We Have Learned to Love

and how the poet has allowed words to separate him – how words separate us all – from facing each other in love.

 

That post was followed within moments by Jolene Poseidonae’s post on how ‘the heart must go first. [and] The brain may follow’ **

~~~

What I took from these two posts was to mean was that I have allowed this little writing project of mine to limit myself in my words already.

I promised to write and yet I have allowed the words to separate Loki and I from each other.

He doesn’t really care what words I use, as long as I write the truth of the story.

And the truth of the story is difficult for me to admit to because it requires a certain amount of writing with an openness and eye towards vulnerability that I am not used to.

I have begged Him to take me deeper and yet it has been the words that have always separated us.

When I taught other kinksters about words as ordeal and how words can make thoughts manifest –

How with the use of words alone, one can create powerful connections!

I was also acutely aware of the concept that Gage Wallace speaks of concerning about how the distance between lovers can be created just as easily — created by the words on the tiny screen of an iPhone.

Words can bring together and words can separate.  Names, titles, concepts, aspects….do they matter?

Well, it all matters just as much as it doesn’t matter, because words have a fluidity of meaning and power than is entirely dependent upon context and meaning.

We give words the power they have, and yet once they are said, or heard, their power becomes dependent upon others’ understanding of meaning and context.

Whether one is having a conversation or an argument, words are means by which access is given to thoughts, ideas, and feelings.

We connect with our words.  We encourage with our words.  We open up to others with our words.

But we can also wound with our words.  We can shut down connection with words.  We can separate ourselves from others with labels, titles, names, designations.  We can lie, confuse, obfuscate meaning.  We can hide behind our words.

Words can open and words can limit.

~~~

When Loki first came to me, almost from the beginning, I wanted to know Who He was.

And He wouldn’t tell me.

So I put words on Him:

Shadow in the Dark.

Invisible friend. 

Creature in the woods.  A shadow being that pursued me over a dark, empty field in a series of haunting dreams.

The Trois Frere Sorceror.

Teacher.

Magician.

Lover.

God.

 

But I realize that Loki encompasses all of these words…and yet, none of these words.

~~~~

 

**I love that last line, by the way.  It is a perfect description of where my devotional practice with Loki seems to be going this month.  I was equally tempted to use those words as the title for today’s post.

 

 

 

Month for Loki, Day 6: Student.

Being that this is the month for Loki, you may see many devotional blogs that feature a convenient little survey (like this one) that details the particulars of the development and practice of hows and whens and whys of  a devotee’s journey to working with Loki.

And in the interest of my task to keep it 100, I wanted to write a post today that talks about the first role that Loki played in my life once He re-introduced Himself to me in 2011.

Loki is, for all intents and purposes, an academic.   While His relentless desire for knowledge often does mirror Odin’s singleminded quest for wisdom in several ways, in my experience, Loki’s methods  seem infinitely more eclectic.

Loki doesn’t care how or by what means you’ve attained your knowledge; He just wants you to get it.

In that, Loki seems to value those with a variety of skills – and the more varied your skill-set, the better.

So, in that sense, His role in the development of my devotional practice for that first year, was as my Teacher… and I was His student.

That was pretty much the dynamic for the first year.

I was incessantly prodded to notice and examine the energy around me, and to become aware of the energy within my body.  In this sense, I was being encouraged to learn that everything that exists consists of energy, and that much of how matter (and by extension, will)  is manifested in this world is through movement of energy – the vibration of light (color), the vibration of sound (words) and the vibration of movement (dance, exercise, even sex.)

All matter that exists vibrates with differing frequencies.

In short…

13620924_1205141012829532_5055681162747369593_n

Then, of course, there was  The Three Laws of Thermodynamics.

As I never paid much attention in physics class, I despaired at all this complex talk about energy.

But then, as He is wont to do, Loki nudged me from other angles.

I began a meditation practice, that later grew to involve the use of chanting and mudras.

I began studying runes and other alphabet systems.  I re-acquainted myself with studying linguistics, as well as the structure and history of Proto-Indo European languages.

I learned about drumming and dancing as a means to bring about altered states, including trance.

I learned about the ‘energetic body’ – with intense focus on chakras and auras.

I learned about shielding, grounding, warding and other magickal exercises.

And looking back on it, I realized that there are definitive links between what is defined as science/history and what is defined as spirituality/magick.

Perhaps there is little difference between the two as long as there is focused intent, and a commitment to study with intent.

~~~

And my practice grew.

My interactions with others and my experiences with Loki at that time seem to reflect my student role back at me:

I saw myself as a devotee of Loki, nothing more.

And I was satisfied with all of that and with all that I was learning — about science, about magick, about Loki…and most importantly, about myself.

I was so taken up by what I saw as a rapid and very exciting process that was focused entirely on the pursuit of knowledge.

But then, things changed.

Suddenly, I began losing focus as a student… because my marriage was falling apart.

I could not ignore the profoundly emotional energetic shift that seemed to be occurring in my life.

Despite the fact that I was connecting with so many things on both a physical and a philosophical level, the structure of my most valued relationship was failing.

Suddenly, I started to chafe against that scholarly distance that I had created as a student.

While I could muster a polite respect for Him as a Teacher, underneath the surface, I felt distracted and disconnected.

Soon I began to daydream and avoid the lessons that I had once embraced.  I put away my runes.  I stopped my various studies of mudras and chakras and auras.  I stopped all of my daily rituals – the daily practices of grounding, centering, and warding.  I gave up focusing on energy work altogether.

The only thing that really stayed was my meditation practice.  It was the only mindful connection that I seemed to be able to have with Him.

And then, He began to come to me while I slept, in dreams.

For several months, I had repetitive cycles of dreams wherein He would encourage me to approach Him, to come close enough to touch Him.

Even though I had given up studying and I had been dodgy about approaching Him…

He was remarkably relentless and yet – surprisingly –  infinitely patient with me in my stubbornness.

And then, one day, in 2013, He asked me the question:

Wouldn’t you rather be in love?

And I didn’t know what to say.

Pertinent, but possibly not current.

I suppose that I should point out that I did do a little personal ritual last night.  As described in a friend’s post, I asked Loki to come to me in whatever face that He chose.

I promised that I wouldn’t question it, and I promised that I wouldn’t dispute it, so here I am on what was delivered.

I have been told that I am with-holding.  I am told that I refuse to be generous.

I find the most profound insult in being labeled selfish, in being considered self-centered.

I don’t like to be selfish, and I balk at being called self-centered, but sometimes I am.

Madness is a kind of selfishness.  Madness has a certain air of self-centeredness.

Or at least, it does for me.

I went insane in 1997.  I think that I may have always been, but I received a diagnosis of Bipolar Axis I – later changed to Bipolar Axis II – in 1997.  The axis never mattered to me because what followed that diagnosis was an intense 3 years of self-examination in my life, broken into 50 minute hours that occurred three, sometimes four times a week.

And I hated every minute of it.  Therapy felt like a terrifying exposure in front of a stranger -an educated stranger whom I was paying to stand emotionally naked in front of  – a session with an inquisitor for no reason but to punish and perpetuate the theory that I needed to learn how to fit in with a world that I didn’t fit into, that I never fit into.  I had to learn how to deal with others, but mostly, it felt like I was learning to sublimate myself.

It’s funny when I consider that I felt more feeling in my madness than I did in the 26 years that I had lived up to that point.

I suppose that I would have been considered mad as a child too, always being told how strange I was, how bad I was, how I had failed to be what was expected.  There was definitely a disorder to my life, to my thinking – even if no one was calling it bipolar back then – that’s what I felt was reality.  My struggle arose out of this desire to not be ‘disordered’, to not be separate.

To this day, I still feel separate.  It is still a struggle at times to convince myself that if I am myself, if I show others who I really am, I can still be loved.

I’ve no doubt that my husband thinks that I am mad, crazy, out of my mind.  But I believe that there are concessions that he’s willing to make until he gets tired of making them.  But, to take a page from my madness, it is likely me who will tire of making concessions first.  When we get tired of making concessions for each other, we’ve told each other, we have promised to move along.  We have promised to separate.

But I am nothing if not determined.  Some would call that loyal.

I know that we will separate someday.  I know that I will be alone.

Because we live as we die – alone.

It is interesting to consider that concept now that I’ve written it there.  Did I ever believe that?  Do I believe that now?

Because, even as a child, I felt that no one should be alone in death.  I used to wander around the most decrepit sections of New England cemeteries, inwardly noting dates and reading the names of those longest dead.  Sometimes I would simply recite their names aloud, but mostly, I would whisper greetings to them, because it hurt me to think that they may have been forgotten.  As far back as I can recall, I thought it the worst of all to be a person that had been forgotten, who had been ignored, simply because time had passed.

While it might be hardly surprising that I am estranged from my family today, I  imagine that it could also be perhaps that I was a little girl that was feeling somewhat forgotten, possibly even ignored by those who claimed to love me, albeit often dysfunctionally.

I have trust issues.  I have abandonment issues.  And the madness that grows from the pit of my soul was screaming to be seen:

See me! Hear me!   My emotions were a whirlwind, a storm that had been brewing for a long, long time.  My anger was a beast in chains that was demanding for release.  This is why the story of Fenrir appealed to that part of me.

There was nothing wrong with Fenrir; He is what He is.  There isn’t any shame in what He represents.  He is Madness.  He is emotion unchecked, hunger unfulfilled, the forces of Nature out of control.   He is Nature itself, the nature of all that we attempt to control.

badnewsgoodnews

A dark and scary place.

It has been a dark and scary place within my head these past few days.

It’s quite possible that I may be depressed, or perhaps, I am manic.

Either way, I have been stubborn and negative with those I love, and that has been especially true of my actions towards others today.

And for that, I am sorry.

Then, this image came across my Facebook feed:

Child3

This sculpture was created by Ukrainian artist Alexander Milov for Burning Man.

The Wealth of Wisdom on Instagram posted this description:

“One of the most powerful art pieces from Burning Man: A sculpture of two adults after a disagreement, sitting with their backs to each other.   Yet, the inner child in both of them simply wants to connect.  Age has many beautiful gifts but one we could live without is the pride and resentment that we hold onto when have conflicts with others. The forgiving free spirit of children is our true nature.  Remember this when you feel stubborn.”

Here are the artist’s words concerning his powerful piece:

“It demonstrates a conflict between a man and a woman as well as the outer and inner expression of human nature. Their inner selves are executed in the form of transparent children, who are holding out their hands through the grating. As it’s getting dark (night falls) the children start to shine. This shining is a symbol of purity and sincerity that brings people together and gives a chance of making up when the dark time arrives.”

ukrainian-sculpture-burning-man-love-alexander-milov-1

 

I took this as a message from the Universe, reminding me to be more mindful of my words and my actions towards others.

Today was not a good day.

I was hurting, and in response, I allowed my emotions to direct my words and fuel my actions.

I hurt others today.

I’m sorry to those I hurt today.  While I cannot undo the damage that I have done, I am trying to forgive myself and face tomorrow more mindfully.

I can only hope that tomorrow will be a better day.

 

Food for Thought.

I was talking with a friend about an hour ago, regarding an article that someone else had posted concerning how – theoretically – if one were to consider structures in nature as ‘order’ (the natural order of things in a system) then attempts by humans to impose their own concepts or systems of ‘order’ upon natural structures by other means (by sorting, categorizing, or classifying) is therefore a form of ‘disorder,’ because such imposition is creating artificial (unnatural) systems:

I  this graphic. Artificial order imposed upon systems *is* chaos because they’re useless to anybody BUT those utilizing the artificial order system.

To the greater system itself? It’s meaningless. Piles? Columns? Sorting by type? That’s all concessions to the limitations of our cognitive systems.

Sure, our cognitive systems are natural too – even the artificial/natural distinction isn’t “quite” right.

But in the greater scheme, the one where humans are optional, those piles and sorting is chaotic and meaningless.

kennerhudutchaosvsorder
~~~

I’d never thought of order or disorder as being defined this way, and yet, I have been thinking of the relation between the concepts of ‘order’ and ‘disorder’ a lot lately.  It began, as most things do, with a simple conversation in a Rokkatru group concerning someone’s UPG of the Aesir representing ‘order’ and ‘civilization’ in the cosmos while the Rokkr represent ‘nature’ and a ‘natural sort of disorder.’ Of course, there was discussion of how nature has its own sense of ‘order’ – but how, from the point of  view of ‘civilization,’ nature’s sense of order is random and therefore,  considered by civilization to be ‘disorder.’   As well, others discussed the concepts of open and closed systems and how a closed system eventually falls apart because it can’t self-sustain and whatnot, and things quickly became rather meta.

And being a Rokkatru group, of course, this discussion wound its way towards discussion of Ragnarok, and the role of Loki, Fenrir, and Surtr in bringing on the end of the world.  The world is a closed system and the role of the Rokkatru is to bring about the destruction of this closed system in order to make way for a new (and perhaps more open) system.

And so, it’s odd but not surprising to me that that conversation gave me a headache…because chaos theory usually does.

~~~

But then, there I was again tonight, having a conversation about order and disorder again, but this time, it was on a smaller scale.

I was talking to my friend about how Loki has laughed at me concerning my OCD need to arrange the items in a specific configuration on His altar, or my habit of overthinking that is a hallmark of my social anxiety, or my inability to let things go and/or trust the process.

I have no problem admitting that I am sort of control freak regarding several aspects of my life and practice.  And my friend agreed that she has some of those issues too.

And then, she said a funny-strange but interesting thing that hit me like a ton of bricks:

She said that her life as a child was hellish and the only way that she could have control over her environment was to draw. The only world that she could control could be found at the end of a pencil.  So she drew pictures and created stories.  She created worlds.  She told me how Loki told her that her best artwork seemed to come when she experienced personal turmoil.  How He has asked her why she would draw, and she told Him it made her happy.  But the truth was that she was often unhappy/angry/miserable while drawing.  (And, of course, He noticed that.)

Well, that reminded me of my own artistic coping strategies.

Honestly, I suppose that it’s nothing new, but I wrote and drew my way through a miserable childhood…and adolescence…and fuck, I *still do.*

And yeah, that realization, of how I tried to make sense of confusing experiences by filling up notebooks, and drawing my imaginary friends, and how much it shocks me to think that it wasn’t just me being escapist.

That art was …that art is a rather dysfunctional coping mechanism for me.

I don’t make money with it.

It doesn’t make me happy.

Things still pile up in my head, and writing them, drawing them doesn’t serve to make me any more sane or stable.

And it sure as hell doesn’t help me or my loved ones to understand me any better than before.

It’s just another method I hide behind. (Funny -autocorrect suggests that the word ‘method’ should actually be ‘met God’ over and over.  No, I’ve never met God by writing or drawing. Psht. I should be living.)

Perhaps my incessant writing and drawing are what I do to keep myself from meaningfully engaging with others.

who knows.

In whatever manner they approach Me…

So I realize that I have not written in a while.

I feel badly about this, despite the reality that I am beholden to no one, and yet, I have been meaning to write something.  There is a folder on my laptop that is contains at least a dozen half-finished posts- and several completed ones- and yet I still haven’t posted anything in a while.

  • I actually finished that post on polyamory.
  • And there’s a post that I’ve been verbally wrangling with for months concerning cultural beliefs on head-shaving, shame, and adultery, that has had all its references, checked and double-checked…and yet I don’t feel comfortable posting that one, either, because it contains elements that corroborate several personal UPG experiences.  I feel both vindicated and terrified by the concepts that have arisen from that.
  • And devotional tattoos!  A lovely 2,258 words on devotional tattoos that was railroaded into a major overhaul re-write by the latest research (as in anthropological research presented as recently as October 2015) on the historical accuracy of the use of woad.
  • And then there’s Odin.  Ah, Odin – the Blood Brother of my Beloved – and the wordless story that comes to me through a stream of beautifully rendered charcoal pencil sketches that I haven’t even drawn yet* – that involve the World Tree, no ordinary man, and a very curious creature who stumbled into apothesis.

*sigh*

~~~

But what I do end up wanting write about is this rather simple concept that my friend Stormwise mentioned to me over six months ago, regarding how the Gods can act as mirrors, and this premise is found in the Bhagavadgita, of all places, Chapter 4, verse 11:

In whatever way people surrender unto me, I reciprocate with them accordingly. Everyone follows my path, knowingly or unknowingly, O son of Pritha.

Another translation:

With whatever motive people worship Me, I fulfill their desires accordingly. People worship Me with different motives. (4.11)

And this little bit of Chapter 4 stands out to me in that this is the very thing that I am trying to accept.

That the Gods will come to you in the manner that you have come to Them.  If you approach Them full of fear, then They shall come to you in a manner that inspires fear.  Many years ago, I struggled to repress the fear and uncertainty that I felt towards the facets of Them that I felt that I was experiencing.

And Their response -which was often visual at that time – was rather cryptic:

If you are looking for monsters, you will certainly find Us.

It seems such a basic aspect of manifestation that I found myself feeling rather foolish, especially in regards to Odin.

Of course, He was a monster, because I was expecting a monster.  If I learned anything, it was that it scarcely concerned Him if I was afraid of Him or disliked Him.  He had some business to do, and I had some things to learn.

Well, I learned.

~~~~

* Yes.  I can’t get these images out of my head.  I feel compelled to draw them out…and yet, my artistic skills aren’t as well-developed as I would hope.  At first, I thought the story was a rather simple rendition of the lore…until the storyline took on an unexpected turn that featured some rather adult-themes during several meditations later. :-/

 

 

Context is everything.

This quote has been sitting in a folder on my computer for at least three or four years now.

I never knew where it was from, except that it was from a poem by American poet, Louise Glück:

“…from the beginning of time,
in childhood, I thought
that pain meant I was not loved.
It meant I loved.”

~~~~

Today, I found the whole poem.

The poem is titled

First Memory

 

Long ago, I was wounded. I lived
to revenge myself
against my father, not
for what he was–
for what I was: from the beginning of time,
in childhood, I thought
that pain meant
I was not loved.
It meant I loved.

~~~

 

Context is everything.

this drippy cold rain is bothersome and i admit i am part of the problem

Source: this drippy cold rain is bothersome and i admit i am part of the problem

Whoa.

Though I did not expect this post to go in the direction that it eventually goes, I maintain that this post may give others some food for thought.