bloodteethandflame

A life in threes

A long awaited visitor… and unexpected gifts.*

*(Otherwise known as a ‘what’s new: my life edition’…)

Happy 2019!

If you are a long-time reader, you may be aware of the fact that not only am I prone to social anxiety, I am not a fan of transitions either.

Therefore, as you might guess, I am not a fan of the month of January for that reason.

                                 ~~~

But this year, no one is more surprised than I to realize that I am looking forward to 2019….and looking forward to this new year enough to mean it sincerely when I say those words.

You see, as I said in my previous post, 2018 brought me lots of busy….and as usual, some of it wasn’t a heck of a lot of fun.

I know, I know, you can’t appreciate the sunshine unless you’ve had some rain, but yeah… there was a lot of rain.

But then…something unexpected happened.

Something so unexpected that in the 27 years since I’d prayed for this thing to happen….

I’d almost given up on it ever happening.

It wasn’t a prayer for myself; it was, oddly enough, a prayer for this man that I’d met (that I was still two years away from marrying)

who began patiently waiting for a phone call

and then, heartbroken, awaiting the visit

of the visitor who never came.

~~~

Meanwhile, in the intervening years, the name of this long-awaited visitor was never far from this man’s heart (or  his mind,) even if his name was spoken less and less…

Because, simply put, when things are what they are, there’s really no use in dredging up past pain just so you can drown in it.

Especially when you know that you’ve done your best — all you can do is to keep the door to your heart open.

So that’s what he did.

And that’s what I did too because I began hoping too …. and keeping the door to my heart open in solidarity with this man.

                 And the years passed.

Sometimes, he would tell me the stories, or we would look at some old photos, and he would speculate what he would say, what he would do if he got that phone call, or if the doorbell rang…

And things started happening between us two! — and we made things happen too.

It was all the typical things you’d expect to happen :

We moved in together. We got married. We had a child. We worked. Our child grew. We lived in apartments. We had another child. We bought a house. We celebrated and we mourned and we argued and we laughed.

And the not-so-typical things:

I joined the Army. I left the Army.  We moved our little family three states away, down south. We spent two years at one address, three years at another, and then we moved back home up north again.

Then my husband became a ‘road warrior’ – traveling all over the country while I worked part-time and raised our kids where-ever ‘home’ happened to be, and my husband (and their father) came home on weekends.

Several more years passed and my husband got a government job, living and working in DC, and I would visit him with our kids during school vacations.

What a pair of strange nomads we were, moving away and back again at least a half dozen times more, each time further and further south.  But then again, each time, we’d return north again, to our home state, like bouncing magnets, like stars to a fixed pole.

Each time we returned north, we wondered….

What if…?

Had we missed that phone call?

Did we miss the long-awaited visitor?

Perhaps we’d made ourselves too difficult to find?

So we settled down.

We marked ten years in one state.

We marked five years in one home.

Next thing you know, our oldest child graduated high school.

We celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary.

Our youngest child learned to drive.

Meanwhile, his name would come up once in a while. And as the years passed, it didn’t hurt my husband as much anymore to talk about him.

My husband wondered how he was doing.

I wondered if he had a family of his own now.

We both wondered if he knew that we had ever existed.

~~~

And then, my husband received a phone call around 9:30pm on December 7th, 2018 – from him.

Our long-awaited visitor.

At first, I admit that there was a lot of awkwardness.

Next, there were the ‘prepared’ questions…. and the ‘long-anticipated answers.’

And yes…It was so much more than everyday conversation.

You see, my hope, my prayer from 27 years ago had been:

Please may that little boy look for his father one day….

Please may he call on the phone…

Please may he come to find V…

And a few years later that hopeful prayer became

Please…may he come to find us someday.

And here they were: the answers to our hopes…and the long-awaited response to that prayer of so long ago…!

I am not ashamed to admit that after a moment or two of utter speechlessness,

V and I both burst into tears of overwhelming joy.

You see, he told us of what he’d been told.

He told us how he had wondered.

He told us that he had been looking for us for the past 6 years. 

He didn’t know for certain what our last name was until three months ago.

~~~

And we found out that he still lives in New England – still living mere miles from the area that our hearts would’ve called ‘home’.

He served two tours of duty, one in Afghanistan, and one in Iraq, and he is a decorated war veteran.

He has been married for 10 years, and he and his wife have three children – two sons and a daughter.

And if that wasn’t enough of a gift – to hear in his voice that breathless mixture of relief and joy at having finally found his father at last – it was even more so in that he wanted to meet us.

I’m sorry, but is it OK? I don’t want to be pushy. You have no idea how long I’ve wanted to find you….

So he flew down to Florida to spend New Year’s Eve with us.

And it was amazing and it was wonderful….and though it was 27 years in waiting, it was one of the sweetest moments of my life to see my husband V finally embracing that boy – his son (!) – at the airport gate

It was truly a wonderful, beautiful way to end 2018!

 

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What’s New: re: the Crows Knot Edition

Welcome to 2019, dear readers! I hope that your holidays were bright and busy!

Since it has been a while since I’ve updated, I wanted to let you all in on some exciting news

My shop, The Crow’s Knot now has its own page on Facebook!

Check it out here: https://mobile.facebook.com/thecrowsknot/

As well, I’ve extended the Crow’s Knot to Shopify: https://thecrowsknot.com/

~~~

For those interested, I’ve updated my shop blog – detailing some new jewelry offerings

So please feel free to check those out

and

Thanks!

Lemonade

I have given up on summoning demons and I have come to accept the lemons….

Because when the Universe gives you lemons, you make the lemonade.

And if you’re anything like me, you know lemonade can fix anything 😉

A fair amount.

 

 While I am experiencing a fair amount of diggity these days, the next few weeks are promising to bring me an overwhelming surplus of diggity to my life…and that, my friends, is a good thing.*

~~~

*That is, depending upon how one defines ‘diggity‘ – of which I am using in line with the definition of “a state of being or existence, in association with and conveyed by interjections, such as  absolutely or definitely”

What’s New: December 2018

Hey there!

After the success of last month’s event at Florida Pagan Gathering

as well as greatly expanding my product catalog

        

I have opened a new (supplemental*) shop at Shopify!

https://thecrowsknot.com/

Click here for The Crow’s Knot full catalog!

Thanks for stopping by!

 

* ‘Supplemental’ because I still maintain a shop at Etsy as well as this expansion at Shopify 🙂

What I’ve been up to: an update

After a busy month spent embroidering, sewing and assembling

tarot and rune bags:

  

and altar cloths:

   

 

And I spent the weekend of November 9th-11th attending Florida Pagan Gathering —

  

and I made my first attempt at vending at a public event!

(By the way that’s K in the photos, who graciously assisted me in manning/arranging my product table…)

Though it was both nerve-wracking and exciting, the FPG community gave K and me – and my Etsy shop, CrowsKnot – such a warm and supportive welcome!

I was grateful to have the opportunity to connect and network with other Pagan artisans (in person!), make some new friends, and meet so many wonderful people. (What’s more, I made a few sales – and received a few orders for custom work – creating handmade magic for happy customers 🙂 )

All in all, K and I had an amazing time!

I cannot wait to vend the next event – in February 🙂

Thoughts for Thursday: Are there Nazis in Valhalla?

I saw this meme a few Thursdays ago shared on FB in one of the larger Pagan groups (of which I am a member).

At the time, I assumed that it had been shared in that group simply because it features Thor…and it was Thursday.

So I didn’t think much about it beyond that, because let me tell you, it can be difficult to find a variety of good artwork featuring Thor.

However, within these last two weeks, I have seen this meme shared within various Heathen and Pagan groups over a dozen times.

In that, I will admit that I have been constantly reminded of it simply because it has been cluttering up my FB feeds.

Though after the third or fourth time seeing it shared, I began to idly wonder if there were Nazis in Valhalla…

But again, I’ll admit that I didn’t think too deeply upon it.

Because, like most memes, I noticed that while it garnered a lot of likes and shares, there was little to no commentary on the premise of whether or not the meme was based on some sort of ‘fact’.

(Yes, sometimes I am the sort of nerd that sees particular memes that share ‘historical’ facts that I know to be untrue…but usually I’ll scroll past. Once in a while, a particularly popular meme will spur me to research a particular topic to satisfy my own intellectual curiosity, but other than that, I don’t put stock in the historical accuracy of Internet memes. I doubt most memes are created to foster intellectual debate; most memes strike me as a vehicle for opinions.)

~~~

And so here it is again, on another Thursday, and I awoke to see that the first post on my feed concerned this meme.

Yep, after a week, someone in one of my groups decided to do a dump post meant to call out zir opinion on several ‘popular Viking memes’ – including this ‘No Nazis in Valhalla’ meme.

Evidently this particular meme was the one that set zir over the edge.

So, this meme generated a rather intense discussion upon whether or not there would be Nazis in Valhalla, which touched briefly upon the essence of Valhalla as a training ground for Ragnarok, the role of Valkyries, and what’s most interesting to me, a debate/speculation upon the spiritual beliefs of Hitler.

So…spurred on by that discussion – and based upon the two main premises that Valhalla is a training ground for Ragnarok, and that the Valkyries choose the ‘best’ and most capable warriors – my thoughts wandered in the direction of whether or not the morality/political stance of a warrior ** was part of the equation.

Now, based upon what I’ve gleaned from pursuing a liberal arts education (majoring in English history and minoring in linguistics), as well as the many books, articles, and all the academic discourse I’ve heard and read over the last ten years regarding Norse society, my first response was that there would be no Nazis in Valhalla.

And I will admit that the case against there being Nazis in Valhalla was based upon my vague recall of meme-worthy factoids such as

  • the existence of the plain in Niflheim where Nidhogg eats the unrighteous (murderers, rapists, et al)
  • the much-shared factoid that Eric the Red was so violent in deed and in temperament that he – and by his extension, his family – was banned from both Scandinavia and Iceland, and therefore they were inspired to seek settlement elsewhere (i.e the New World/America)

And in response to my understanding of what I’d gleaned from that liberal arts education, I felt safe in making that surface conclusion that the Norse may have looked upon the beliefs and actions of the Nazis as violent and unjust.

But then, it occurred to me: as history notes, the Nazis saw their nationalistic goal to overtake Europe as just and righteous, as they felt it was their destiny/birthright as a nation and a race.

And I do not believe that many historians would dispute that the Nazis had any personal qualms about attempting to achieve their nationalistic goals by any means necessary. (“The ends justify the means…”)

And so it is that the Nazis perceived themselves as just, as righteous, as doing ‘right’ and that single-minded determination to achieve their destiny/goals by any means necessary led to genocide and a world war being waged in response to their attempts.

And oddly enough, a stray thought about Odin kicked in:

One of Odin’s by-names is “Glad of War.”

Not “Glad of Righteous War”

or

“Glad of Just War”

just

“Glad of War.”

Though the consensus of the discussion concerned the purpose of Valhalla being a place where the most skilled and competent warriors are to be gathered and trained for Ragnarok, no one speculated upon Odin or His agenda at all, so I do not know why this thought occurred to me at all.

Glad of War, glad of war, glad of war….

And yet, I could not shake it.

So which is it?

Are warriors chosen for Valhalla based upon their skill *and* their morality?

Or

Are they chosen based solely upon their skills and abilities?

And if warriors were to be chosen solely upon their skills and abilities, perhaps only then there could be Nazis in Valhalla.

Hmmm.

What do you think?

Deeper.

Deeper

 

Written by Jacob Ibrag

 

It feels like sinking.

Like you’re trying to break the waters

surface with every kick your body delivers.

You remember that panic causes

more panic so you try to remain placid.

Deeper.

You think about love and if you really

had it.

If it was really love then why hasn’t it lasted?

Maybe if it was real love, you would’ve

already been found.

And if it was real love, how could it ever die out?

Deeper.

You try forming

a symbiotic relationship with the water, letting it take you so you can become a part of it.

You’ve always belonged here.

Deeper.

You let go, giving up the fight.

Remembering

that it was all in your head as you wake up in the middle of the night.

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.