bloodteethandflame

A life in threes

Process.

 

So I’ve been spending a lot of time working on products for my shop, which requires me to indulge in my favorite embroidery addictions.

I’m happy to say that it seems to be paying off just a wee bit – as I’ve had two sales in two weeks, and two more of my upcoming embroidery projects have garnered a lot of interest – which is an exciting and welcome distraction from the emotional intensity of the last two weeks.

Since the items folks searched for most often as well as ‘liked’ most often within my shop happen to be

’embroidered altar cloths’

and

‘runes’

Thus I’ve been testing different patterns of runes, along with testing out different thread blends, stitch patterns, and a lot of sketching (because one of my favorite things about my product process is developing various ideas and incorporating new imagery for embroidering onto altar cloths.)

But as much as I have been making a lot of altar cloths for my shop, I decided to make a new altar cloth for my personal altar.

I didn’t have a concrete idea in mind, though. I hadn’t mapped anything out.

But I figured that I would come up with something.

So, beginning at the lower left corner, I started stitching a smaller version of this design:

(It’s hard to see out of a color scheme but it’s a heart entwined into a triple horn – a design I’ve come to use to represent both of Them.)

And if you know me, I like working with color blends.

 

It’s a little more work – but I think it’s definitely worth it.

(One shade of red, two oranges, and a yellow for Loki, and four shades of blue for Odin. )

At first, I’d only intended to stitch this design onto one corner…but it’s as if I like to make work for myself  when it comes to embroidery

so I stitched it onto two corners:

Then, I sized down a particular border layout, as I wanted to test out some of my new silk thread blends, so I began embroidering

my favorite thing:

a border of  Elder Futhark runes.

But a challenge arose with the fabric – a black and grey cotton tie dye – as I found myself struggling to find a color combination that would ‘show up’ against the fabric which had so much variation in color and shade.

A lot of the lighter colors appeared ‘washed out’ in the pattern, so I tried several shades of blue, lavender, and grey thread as tests:

(For example, the Ansuz (ᚨ) is a light blue thread, and the Kenaz (ᚲ) is a lavender thread, though here, they look the same, in that light. O.o)

So I picked out/undid the stitching of the lavender thread, and continued the borders in a light to medium blue.

Fehu to Jera on the left side…and Eihwaz to Othala on the right side.

So, I thought perhaps the two heart/triplehorn should

flank sixteen larger runes

– *an invitation in dark blue*-

for the central portion of the altar cloth.

But this blue looked oddly ‘sunk’ (appearing to fade/disappear) against the darker portions of the pattern:

So, as you see here, I decided to outline the darker runes with a silk blend silver thread…

and I really liked the way it looked.

I liked it so much that I don’t know what I was thinking but

– silly me! –

I wondered how long could it take to outline sixteen runes?

I love embroidering runes (really I do!) so it won’t take long, I thought.

I mean, I’ve had lots of practice, eh?

Since it took me about a half of an hour to hand-stitch the 24 runes (12 on each side)

and about twenty more minutes to stitch the sixteen runes in the center

 I figured it would take me an hour

– maybe two –

to outline all of them.

Heh.

Well, I am a lot slower than I thought.

It took me almost three hours to outline just those sixteen dark blue runes on this altar cloth.

(Perhaps some other day, I will outline the 24 lighter ones that border the edges at the left and the right.)

~~~

And then the next day…after walking the dogs and doing my daily routines,

I decided that this altar cloth also needed to have a design to separate *the two sets of eight runes in the center.*

That invitation which looks like this:

(Laþu Loki)

and

(Laþu Odin)

At first, I thought I’d just make a little twist or a swirl, but no matter what I did

It didn’t look right.

So I picked, cut, and pulled out all the threads of that little swirly circular button.

And then I decided, how about the World Tree?

I mean, I had about a 2 or 3 inch rectangle to work with, so I thought I’d stitch this, in bright green thread:

(Psst…it was harder than it looked!)

It’s so hard to make things look symmetrical after midnight.

So, again, I unraveled that design and I picked out all those long, graceful stitches

so

so

carefully.

And I sat there staring at it for a bit.

But then I did another World Tree:

I thought it covered up the pulling spots nicely 🙂

Finished outlining the letters…

 

and as the finishing touch, I stitched a purple border around the heart/triple horns.

~~~

And here it is – my new altar cloth –

Hail Loki ❤ Hail Odin

 

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Fragile.

So, as a parent, a Floridian, and an American citizen, I have been thinking a lot about the issues surrounding guns and gun control, along with some personal thoughts on being so recently reminded of the fragility of life and the (sometimes horrifying) inevitability of change.

While I had planned on writing a post about these thoughts – including my opinion that while Donald Trump might talk a good game, I find it highly unlikely that he’d have the wherewithal to run into an active shooter situation to save anybody – I realized that the facts of the experience which I’d meant to call upon to back this personal opinion are presently unavailable to me.

Y’see, in December 22, 2009, I had my own terrifying experience with an active shooter situation … and while I did protect my child (who was seven years old at the time) and myself, the sobering reality of that situation forever changed my mind concerning What I Would Do in an Active Shooter Situation.*

So, unlike Donald Trump… I do know what I would do … and honestly, it wasn’t what I would have thought that I would have done.

But as you might imagine, such situations never seem to play out exactly the way that one would expect, and that’s what makes them so jarring in the way they define our views and responses ever after.

But at any rate, it saves you all from having to read my heavy thoughts on a rather uncomfortable topic, but I had planned to tell you all about it by sharing a glimpse of a defining personal experience.

Instead, I leave you with the haunting truth of  this:

 

 

 

~~~

*But unfortunately, my access to the finer details of those memories – in the form of a heavily filtered LiveJournal post that I made two days after the event to inform several worried out-of-state friends – is unavailable to me at this time.

It turns out that I cannot log into my LiveJournal after 5+ years of solid inactivity and expect myself to remember the exact password.

 

Four.

Ich liebe euch beide <3

February: What’s New (Etsy Shop Edition)

So what’s new for February at my Etsy shop CrowsKnot?

Why it’s more embroidery, of course!

Since the month of February contains not one but *two* personal anniversaries for me, my newest products feature hearts – both elemental and of the Celtic knotwork variety.

First up, is the

Elemental Hearts Altar Cloth

A lovely hand-embroidered altar cloth featuring the four elements – Air, Fire, Water and Earth –

Elemental Hearts Altar Cloth – $15.00

*100% pre-shrunk cotton, in white, with hand-rolled double stitched finished edges.

*Measures approximately 15.5 by 15.5 inches square (39 by 39 cm)

 

As anyone who knows my affinity for the element of Fire

I was especially surprised to find that I most enjoyed embroidering the designs

for the elements of Air and Water

as conveying the color and movement of these two elements

turned out to be an unusual but welcome challenge for me.

~~~

As well, I decided to expand upon the original design by embroidering

an

Elemental Hearts Rune Bag

Elemental Hearts Rune Bag – $10.00
*100% pre-shrunk cotton muslin

*Bag measures approximately 5.5 inches long and 4.0 inches wide, with an opening of 3.75 by 2.25 inches wide

*Bag closes by a sturdy double drawstring closure.

~~~

You might notice that the rune bag design is not an exact duplicate of the altar cloth as

my expansion of the design features my favorite representation of the element of Earth

– trees! –

and I was inspired to depict a tree morphing through the four seasons:

I was so inspired by this heart-tree imagery that I plan on featuring it on several future products

I’m creating for the shop as the wheel of the year

turns toward Spring and Beltane ❤

~~~

As for the Celtic knotwork

-another design that features heavily in my embroidery –

I spent the last few days embroidering a lovely heart knotwork design

using a lovely rainbow ombre poly/cotton thread Coats and Clark refers to as ‘Jewels’

I love how the bold, bright colors of this thread just *pop* against the background of lighter fabrics!

The finished project:

The Celtic Heart Knot Altar Cloth

Celtic Heart Knot Altar Cloth – $15.00
*100% pre-shrunk cotton, in white, with finished edges

*Cloth measures approximately 18.5 by 18.5 inches square (46.7 cm)

~~~

I am so in love with these ombre threads that I have several more works in progress

featuring the Pagan pentacle

As well, keep your eye out for upcoming projects that feature one of my most popular designs involving

the Elder Futhark and Anglo Saxon runes:

~~~

Please note: I offer *free* shipping within the continental U.S!*

and

Since I have quite an embroidery addiction, I would be more than glad to create something just for you and your beautiful altar!

Please don’t hesitate to contact me

at

CrowsKnot

Or directly through my email at

Heathir(at)gmail(dot)com**

Thanks again for stopping by and I hope that y’all have a wonderful day!

~~~

*While I can and do ship to international buyers, I cannot afford to offer free international shipping at this time

** If you do choose to contact me directly through gmail, please put ‘CrowsKnot’ in the subject header so I know you’re not spam — Thanks!

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.

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.