bloodteethandflame

A life in threes

The Forgotten Offering.

It was well after midnight and I was hungry.
While I don’t know what it was that I wanted, I went to the refrigerator anyway.
When I opened the drawer beneath the produce drawer, I caught a whiff of the musky scent of….old blood.

That’s all I could think of –  blood – meaty, dark, metallic.

Rummaging through the contents of the drawer I found the source of the smell beneath the poly bag of oranges, a few applesauce snack cups, and a half-eaten Hershey’s chocolate bar.

That scent was coming from a bag containing a cold loose lump of something…meat?

I peered into the bag to see a double Ziploc bag, with a date scrawled in black Sharpie marker.

Two hearts.

Chicken hearts, to be exact, wrapped in beige butcher’s paper.

I held the bag in my hands, looking at the date in disbelief.

Two weeks ago, possibly three – had it been that long ago?

While the expiration date hadn’t passed, I realized I had forgotten.

Those hearts were meant to be an offering to Them.

I thought back to the day that I had written out the ritual that was to include them as an offering….but judging by the scent of them,  I doubted that they would be acceptable offering now.

I stood at the counter, feeling the slow pang of remorse joining the insistent rumble of my stomach.

Empty.  You must be empty…

I felt empty.

Half-heartedly, I peeled an orange, meticulously removing the pith as I considered the packet of hearts laying on the counter.

The orange was ripe and sweet, a delicious leftover from Yule.

As I stood at the counter, eating the orange, I thought about my father.

I thought about how, when I was  a child, he’d told me that at one time, to be able to eat an orange at Yuletide was an especial treat – it was a gift and a luxury in itself to be able to enjoy an orange in the winter-time.

‘Oranges were expensive in December. Even from Florida,’ he’d said.

To eat an orange in December was a big deal.

I smile inwardly at the fact that I live in Florida nowadays…where, as one might imagine, oranges are plentiful and pretty much available year-round.

However, it occurs to me how often certain things can be taken for granted, especially when they are always available.

But the fact that oranges are always available doesn’t make them any less sweet.

Then, with the taste of oranges still on my tongue, my mind wandered back towards Them, and thoughts on gifts and offerings to Them.

I looked at the packet of chicken hearts, recalling the special trip I’d made to get them, and the particular ritual I’d written to offer them.

To give what is special and what’s best is all well and good, yes…

…and yet, I’d put off too long in the offering them, hadn’t I?

What good are they now that I waited too long?

What was I waiting for?

I don’t know.

The chicken hearts were for a special occasion ritual for late December…that, unfortunately, I hadn’t followed through on actually doing.

And indeed, what good is a ritual that one doesn’t do?

What good are intentions without follow through?

It occurred to me that I could have given Them a ritual in December and offered Them something else.

Anything else given with mindful intent would have served in the place of…not doing and not offering anything at all.

Heck, I could have offered Them oranges in December.

I reflected upon what I have offered and what I have taken for granted the past year, every year, any year.

I learn. I forget.

I noticed the sharp aroma of orange peel lingered on my fingers, as I dropped the handful of peels and the hearts into the garbage disposal.

I shall do better.

I resolve to be more mindful of myself and the gifts given to me

And I resolve to become more mindful of Them and in my offerings to Them.

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Tricksters and Shapeshifters

So the other day, my younger son introduced me to a podcast called ‘Lore’ by Aaron Mahnke and I have to say that I’ve become a little addicted to it.

I am almost ashamed to admit that I have listened to a good 20 or so episodes – in a row – over the last two days.

While I’ve gotten a lot of almost mindless tasks done – folding laundry, sweeping the floor, even making dinner – I was surprised to stop and focus on this one.

It is called Doing Tricks.

And as you might imagine, it discusses Tricksters, shapeshifters in folklore…and of course, it references Loki, Hermes, and Anansi – and the fascinating Nein Rouge – the Little Red Man/Red Dwarf…and some fascinating connections involving the folklore of Detroit, Michigan.

Fascinating.

P.S – Folks from Detroit/North Michigan may find the main story quite familiar.

 

Take a listen:

Pandoramancy for Wednesday

 

Kind.

I want to believe this is the sort of kindness I could practice, as I have been wrangling with words all day concerning a particularly thorny issue involving the limits of my compassion towards others.

Ah, fuck it…the limits of my compassion towards a particular individual.

*sigh*

 

So here’s yet another chain of days wherein I am left contemplating the line between being compassionate and being naive.

 

 

Cycles

“I think everyone feels like they personally own, somehow, all the many possibilities inherent in their lives. But I think that only lonely people, or frightened people, really celebrate that fact or enshrine it as the most important fact of all.

I co-own all that I have experienced thus far, and I’ll co-own everything that happens from this point, with someone or many someones.”

Robin Artisson

I’ve heard it said that everything in life happens in cycles.  Sometimes I am comforted by that truth, and other times, I am horrified and despairing of it.

While I don’t know if I would define what’s happening to me as the result of some sort of cycle, I do know that I have been thinking a lot about the facts of my spiritual experiences, and how much they have affected my life and my identity.

And the simplest way I can identify this cycle is to accept that

 

I learn.

I forget.

 

Milestone.

About two weeks ago, I celebrated a personal and spiritual milestone.

It has been one year since I welcomed Odin into my life.

I say ‘welcomed’ because…well, if you know me, you’d remember that I’d been fighting against working with Him for years.

At any rate, in celebration of that, I’d like to share a story with you – involving Odin,  a prayer card,  and my poor excuse for neglecting to leave Etsy feedback:

10 January 2018

Today, something occurred to me regarding my attitude towards working with Odin.

Even though it’s been a year – today! – since I welcomed Odin back into my life (it’s a long story!) I realized that I’m not going to get very far if I don’t entirely let go of that default setting/thought under which I’d operated  for the four years prior to 10 January 2017…and that concerns what was once my belief that

Odin is an [redacted but rather common obscenity]

It’s getting in my way; it’s getting in the way of my progress.

~~~

But I suppose progress is being made, because there’s this Odin prayer card that’s been sitting on my altar since this past July.

It’s a nice picture of Odin, isn’t it?

The artwork is by W. McMillan.

But what I’m going to write about now about concerns the prayer to Odin (written by Galina Krasskova) on the other side of this prayer card….and how powerful it has become for me to say it aloud.

I want to admit to you all that when I first purchased this prayer card, I bought it for the artwork; I hadn’t considered the prayer on the back of it at all.

Funny how that is, because it’s a pretty powerful one….but I quickly realized that I didn’t feel comfortable saying it aloud.

Words are important.

And the words of a prayer, the words of an oath are even more so.

I didn’t think that I could bring myself to make that kind of oath – to Odin.

So I would simply read the words – in pieces, and never all at once! – and I would silently marvel over how beautiful they were, and how evocative of Him.

But I could not – I would not – read them aloud.

It sounds foolish, I know.

Observe:

Prayer to Odin

Galina Krasskova

All-Father, I ask Your blessings.

Breathe into me,

Oh God of gainful counsel.

Nourish me, Wish-Giver

that I might know You more fully and well.

I hail You, God of wisdom, cunning and inspiration.

I hail You, ruthless in Your desires.

I hail You, God of single-minded hunger.

Be welcome in my life, my heart, my home.

Master of the Tree, I sacrifice to You:

my fears, my doubts, my hesitations.

Open me up to the knowledge of things holy

Wisest Lord, open me up to You.

I will seek You with the fervor

with which You sought the runes.

Always will I honor You.

Be my mead, be my joy,

be the prize at the end of my seeking.

Hail, Odin, Hail, All-father

Hail, Lord of Hosts.

~~~

Reading these words, I felt afraid because the words struck me as an oath that was beyond what I was comfortable giving to Odin.

But as I’ve often said – and I still believe it is true – that whatever Odin wants, He wants all of it. He wants all that can be given. There is nothing half-assed about Odin – nothing. And that was the essence of my awe – and my fear – of Him: I am still both terrified and awed by His single-minded determination…but by the same token, He demands that His devotees be as single-minded as He is –  about their desires, their goals, everything that they are. He wants His devotees to know themselves, to push themselves and to sacrifice themselves to … themselves, and to their purpose and to their goals, whatever it may be.

He is similar to a relentless general that way:

Honor Me by being the best that you can be in My name, for Me.

One of the most profound things I’ve ever heard said about Odin is that He will never ask you to do something He hasn’t done, or rather, something He would be unwilling to do.

Think about it: Odin hung Himself for nine days and nine nights.

Perhaps it was to discover what death was, or to find out where Death takes oneself – He was willing to metaphorically

if not literally

die .

He didn’t even spare Himself in His quest for knowledge, for that paradox of experience, for Divinity itself.

Perhaps He had to know, He had to experience that situation first-hand – you gotta admit that’s pretty f-ing crazy and yet unerringly logical – if one wants to know every nook and cranny of an experience, they are going to have to go through the experience themselves.

There is no avoiding it.

For me, that is the essence of His fury.

Odin is relentless, insatiable,  mysterious, and multi-faceted.

There is only one other God that I know of Who is as insatiable, as relentless and as multi-faceted as Odin

and that is Loki.

So it is no mystery to me as to why They’d be drawn to each other

Nor is it a surprise to me that They would have such a powerful and profound connection between Them.

~~~

But nonetheless, I am ready.

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.

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 ❤

What’s new: Etsy Shop edition

Hello everyone!

I hope that you all had a wonderful Yule and Merry Solstice!

My family and I enjoyed a lovely low-key holiday, full of some much needed down-time.

~~~

And speaking of Loki

– and we were, weren’t we? –

I finally finished embroidering the corners of this altar cloth that I had been working on for about the last week or so:

   

This altar cloth was inspired by an ongoing conversation taking place in one of the Lokean groups I’m in concerning instances of Loki’s shapeshifting.

While many folks – including myself – associate Loki with foxes, snakes, spiders, and other various creatures, a lot of the discussion could be separated into discussion of  Loki’s shapeshifting according to the Lore(tm)

versus

the forms He takes during more UPG interactions (i.e visual forms taken during personal interactions with individual devotees during meditation, dreams, and mundane coincidences.)

Though while I’ve no doubt  that Loki as a God and a Jotun is capable of shapeshifting into whatever form that He wishes, this altar cloth was meant to depict four forms Loki has taken that are directly attested to in the Eddas and elsewhere:

  • that of a falcon (both in the Skáldskaparmál and the Þrymskviða of the Poetic Edda)
  • that of a fly (in the Sörla þáttr, a short story from the Flateyjarbók a 14th century Icelandic manuscript)
  • that of a mare (and later, in this form, giving birth to Sleipnir, as attested in the Hyndluljóð,  a portion of the Völuspá in the Poetic Edda, and in the Gylfaginning of the Prose Edda)
  • that of a salmon (the Lokasenna, the Poetic Edda)

~~~

Shapeshifter Loki Altar Cloth

This altar cloth is made of 100% white cotton, and black poly/cotton thread used to stitch each Celtic knot inspired design.

Orange-yellow ombre thread used as a bit of accent within the eye of each form, in reference to Geirrod’s assertion that Loki is recognizable in any form by the appearance of His eyes.

This altar cloth is slightly rectangular  – measuring a total of 19″x 22″ inches, and is completely machine washable and dryable.

Free shipping on all U.S orders

Price: $15.00 USD