bloodteethandflame

A life in threes

Followup to ‘Some Thoughts for Wednesday’

I received a comment on my post about Odin the other day.
In formulating my response to the comment, I realized I had a lot to say.

And what I wanted to say pushed well beyond the character limits of the comment box, so I decided to write this post instead.

To my commenter, please consider this post as my response to you.

Your words struck me deeply/profoundly in the sense that I had felt as you do about Odin for a long time.

The purpose of the post was to admit to the truth of my past beliefs about Odin – and based upon your comment, I realize I had succeeded in doing that.

I spent many years avoiding Odin, many years denying His presence, and yet, I also realize I had not completely conveyed the whole story in writing the post.

I had simply told you and any of my other readers only half of the story.

And for that I am sorry.

Your comment also highlighted the importance of making a followup to the post.

First of all, I wanted to clarify that in writing that post, I hadn’t meant to feed into stereotypes about Odin…and yet at the risk of sounding absolutely foolish, I realize that I’ve perpetuated/solidified the very stereotypes that I had hoped to dispel.

And that is a mistake on my part that I hope this post will rectify.

Years ago, the Odin person who mentioned the quality of His relentless nature, also made a stunning revelation about Odin that made me want to know more. As well, he challenged me to keep an open mind and allow Odin in; which, in effect, was meant to encourage me TO do what Odin seeks to do – to know more, to seek deeper knowledge about the unknown, to explore the darker corners of one’s own self,

This Odins-man – whose name was Bran – also said to me: I hope Odin shows you the faces and aspects that others often do not see… and he bade me keep an open mind.

Odin is a complex God, Bran continued, Who challenges us to know more about Him, about the world, about ourselves.

Though, as an Odinsperson/Asatru, Bran admitted to me that, up to that point, he’d been generally disinterested in engaging with Loki. And yet, through our discussions, he’d come to realize that there was a lot that he didn’t know – and never considered exploring – about Loki, and so, he challenged himself to know more.

In short, we ended up convincing/challenging each other about the preconceived notions that we’d each had about the other’s God.

And as a result of our many discussions, we both realized that Odin and Loki are incredibly similar in many ways: They seem to use the same means, the same tools, sometimes even the same faces/aspects to make Themselves understood to Their devotees, e.g I realized that Bran saw Odin with a similar sense of humor, passion, and creativity that I saw in Loki, and I saw in Loki a sense of relentless pragmatism and a penchant for self-innovation that he saw in Odin.

We saw the Other’s face in each other’s God, you see, as Loki and Odin are often mirrors of one another.

He thanked me for challenging him to see Loki in a different light, to examine Loki in a way he’d never been inspired to do so in the past.

And he wished the same for me in regards to Odin.

And thus I realize I have done a grave disservice to Odin in writing that last post. I have continued to perpetuate more than a few dangerous stereotypes about Odin.

Though I will admit that, yes, Odin did spit on me.

And yes, I did emotionally read that behavior as rising from disgust.

But it wasn’t until later -much later! – that I realized a possibility that particular behavior may not have been rooted in disgust.**

(And in the interest of full disclosure, while Odin did scare the shit out of me for several years, I’ve come to wonder if perhaps my fear was an unintended response rather than a tool of His intent or His means to an end. At the very least, I had had many conflicting emotional responses towards Odin that I hadn’t entirely understood much less critically examined until I consented to engage with Him.)

Odin is like a drill sergeant – tear you down to build you up.

Likewise, I’ve heard the same being said of Loki, as perhaps Both are well versed in world breaking.

As well I neglected to mention the symbolism that They are both well versed in.

Odin was the Ferryman and the Farmer and the Bridegroom – I have come to believe, like my friend Bran had so profoundly wished for me – these are masks that Odin used to ingratiate himself to me.

Perhaps some may see it all as a manipulation.

Or perhaps they are simply tools in the repertoire of symbolism: you will get the monster you expect.

But you may also get the bridegroom. The farmer. The Doctor who heals you with words and music and with the kindness that you never expected, in this flurried language of symbols you have only just learned how to read/understand/comprehend…and these symbols are as layered as the gods are layered.

You could say that Odin used my own preconceived notions against me.

He used vinegar and when it didn’t work — he used honey.

Odin uses the tools and it would seem he came at me from several angles to get my attention.

Yes, I see Bran’s wish for me as it is unfolding.

I don’t think Odin was disgusted with me as much as he used my own expectations of Him to open the door to deeper perceptions of myself and of Him.

~~~

**The spitting? Perhaps that was an act of marking couched in antiquity.

Perhaps this was the way Odin sought to mark me just as Loki kept that tooth of mine – that bit of blood and bone to remember me by so many years ago.

These are markers that old Gods understand, couched in beliefs our ancestors perhaps understood better than we do today.

Some thoughts for Wednesday.

(otherwise known as ‘On Loki and Odin: A Personal Perspective’)

I’ve come to realize that Odin and Loki are much more alike than they are different.

…and yet if you are in any way familiar with my journey, you may recall that I spent at least four years of the last eight of my devotional practice

rejecting Odin.

Perhaps my reaction was borne of listening to hype/gossip of others – including some Odinspeople themselves – who painted Odin as a stern taskmaster, a grumpy Old Man, a mystical instructor who is impossible to please much less work with…and yes, I believed all those things about Odin.

(Perhaps, in that regard, I was rejecting many aspects of the Work with a capital W.)

But I soon realized that I rejected Odin with the same hypocrisy that some Asatruar reject Loki:

He is untrustworthy.

He is impossible.

He is a monster who is out for the ruin/destruction of the order of my life.

He exists to cause (me) pain.

And thus, I did not call upon Him…. ever.

But He showed up anyway.

Much like Loki, Odin didn’t seem to take to being banished or ignored.

(Perhaps it may have energized Him even more to haunt me….who knows?)

Sometimes I have wondered if He fed upon my rage and anger.

It definitely seemed as if He enjoyed my stubborn reluctance to engage Him.

One particular Odins-man remarked to me that

perhaps the reason why Odin seemed so relentless

was due to His nature as the consummate Huntsman:

How could I expect that He would not hunger for the thrill of the chase?

~~

You see, I dreamt of Odin consistently beginning in 2011 or so.

He was at the center of many a nightmare I’d had of being pursued through the darkness.

Whether I had dreamt of the unease of walking home alone, only to be followed by a shadowy stranger

to the feeling that I was being actively hunted as frightened prey,

I dreamt of this…terrifying being.

During one particularly repetitive nightmare, I dreamt that I was a child again, playing hide and seek in the New England woods outside my childhood home.

Though in this situation, there was this sly aggressive adult stranger who was ‘It’, and somehow he could always convince the others in the dream to help him find me.

And what always followed was a pulse-pounding chase – with the help of my own childhood companions! – and whenever he would come upon my hiding-place, he would make it abundantly clear that he sought to kill me.

He would then order me to run for my life, and so I would run…. night after night.

At one point, I realized I must have had this dream nearly a dozen times.

Though one night, I did something different:

As usual, I was in the midst of the usual terrifying nightmare spent running in terror…and I felt exhausted.

Tired of running. Tired of hiding. Tired of trying to outwit and outmaneuver him throughout various terrifying situations.

I felt resigned to my death.

I begged him to finish me quickly.

Just get it over with, I’d muttered.

However, in response, he spat on me, before he strode away.

And thankfully soon after, those nightmares stopped.

~~~

Though something strange happened next.

A Being whom I’d wanted to assume was Loki began to appear in my dreams with many different faces and guises.

I dreamt of a clever Doctor.

Twice, I dreamt of a ferryman.

An unfamiliar but graciously attentive bridegroom.

A laughing farmer who labored in the fields,

who would not enter my house unless I intentionally invited him inside.

A young blond man with eyes that appeared to be made of glass

who insisted that I refrain from looking too intently at his face

who wanted to talk to me about runes!

Perhaps I had been foolish

enough to have convinced myself that

if this or that face was not Loki’s

then the face of that stranger had to have belonged to Freyr,

or Thor

or even Baldur.

Who was that laughing blond gentlemen with the courtly demeanor, with those strange blurry eyes, and a voice like honeyed silk?

I never dared assume that that Being could be Odin.

And what’s more, whenever Loki would come to me in dreams and meditative visions

to ask me if I could bring myself to engage with Odin – I would immediately and emphatically refuse.

Perhaps you already have, He’d chuckle, even though the concept of engaging with Odin horrified me.

I was certain that if I had engaged with Odin, I would have known it.

(After all, I was confident that all those years of nightmares had taught me that Odin’s presence had always been signified by that familiar onrush of fear and the rise of nausea in my body.)

Until I started to wonder…..

Had I?

And six years later, here we are.

Today.

Dodging or crying.

Hello there.

As usual, I have not written in a bit, beyond the sharing of clever memes and posts of other people’s (excellent) poetry.

So for those interested, here’s an update on what’s been going on with me lately:

— This past week, I’ve been fighting a rather nasty sinus cold with more than enough congestion to leave my sinuses feeling as raw and the rest of my body as exhausted as if I have just been rescued from a week-long bout of drowning.

Though speaking of drowning, I found it more than ironic to notice that this blog has had a surprisingly high amount of hits to two particular posts that reference my feelings of metaphorically flailing and drowning in regards to my spirituality, as well.

But really, I’m doing fine.

Though I was getting tired of being notified daily about the repetitive hits to that one post about Lydia (from a tight cluster of specific locations in the U.S) so, in case anybody wonders why, yeah, I did mark that particular post as private for now.(1)

— As well, you may have heard about Hurricane Dorian – which it is/was speculated to hit Florida sometime this Labor Day weekend.

Hurricane Dorian is the first storm of the season, and not surprisingly, the meteorologists around here in Florida have been whipping everyone into a frenzy since Wednesday about the possibility that it might make landfall as a Category 4 – which would be one hell of a destructive storm.

The local news showed Dorian’s trajectory to encompass most of the Floridian peninsula. The weather maps showed that even Central Florida would be hit hard:

 

So my family and I – along with everyone else in Florida – have been ‘battening down the hatches’ as it were, boarding up windows and doors, collecting supplies (bottled water, canned goods, matches, candles, propane, batteries) and filling up with fuel for our generators/vehicles, making sandbags, and putting any and everything we value into storage/safety/out of harm’s way.

As of Friday morning, the Florida governor officially called for the evacuation of coastal areas, and most local shelters were opened to accept evacuating people and pets.

People were already settling into the shelters on Friday night.

Local schools and universities canceled classes for Tuesday, September 3rd.

Supermarkets reported that they’d run out of bottled water and gas stations were closing due to being out of fuel.

However, this morning – Saturday – I woke up to the local news,

reporting that it looks that perhaps Hurricane Dorian would not be hitting Florida at all.

So guess who’s freaking out and calling for evacuations now?

South Carolina and North Carolina.

*sigh*

So I don’t know anymore.

Either way, the storm that is Dorian is hitting the Bahamas now.

And the newest news from the meteorologists is that  Dorian may/may not make landfall somewhere in Florida by Monday or Tuesday…

and might hit the Carolinas by Wednesday.

But no one knows for certain.

So: Are we dodging the bullet of a devastating storm….or are all these meteorologists just crying wolf?

Who the fsck knows?

I predict that whatever happens, the next storm to come to Florida is gonna take us all completely by surprise because I can tell you that all this manufactured panic that has been created by the local news has got everyone around here feeling really exhausted and more than a bit skeptical.

So I guess we just wait and see.

~~~~~

(1) And to that one person that is so obsessed with that ‘Lydia’ post enough to hit that blog post several times in a single day – what gives? If you are who I think you are (based upon your IP) stop reading into what you think I am saying in that post – because you are wrong. Better yet, you might want to stop reading my blog altogether. Thanks.

Worried.

In a nutshell.

FB_IMG_1563837575556^^ So.

The above pretty much describes the month of July 2019 for me – in a nutshell.

How convenient, eh?

To be clear, yeah – my mental illness was the main force behind my lack of participation – and general executive dysfunction – during this year’s ‘Month for Loki’

And I’ll be honest, I’ve felt foolish each time I’ve logged in over the past 25 days… to see my first post of the month.. 2nd, 3rd, 4th…

And then…nothing.

I recall being so full of excitement on July 1st – promoting this thing that I’d done for the past 7 years! – but then feeling entirely unable to bring myself to writing much of anything.

Oh well.

Such as it is.

Goodbye July.

 

Ephemeral.

I was looking for something else when I stumbled upon this video tonight.

Though I’ve always loved this song, I didn’t have any expectations as to how it might sound acoustically:

The subtle tones of the keyboard, the change in time signature and stripped down vocals of this performance have given me a new appreciation for this song.

Month for Loki, 6: Trickster (poetry)

A lovely poem about Loki by Sophie Oberlander:

 

Trickster

by Sophie Oberlander

“I never sought You.
Those places deep within my heart were far too burned and scarred
To let You in, hard like misshapen stone.
Or so I thought. But I gave much
The first time I hung on that Tree.
Not enough, by far, but just enough to shatter that wall of stone
The barest fragment breaking free.
I heard Your whisper, but turned aside my face
You could not be speaking to me.
I felt Your gentle touch cradling my wounded spirit
As You cradled Odin,
His body bloodied, His spirit on fire beneath that Tree
Long before I climbed its branches.
Was it through Your laughter that You taught me to love You?
Or through the tenderness of Your caress?
I have seen a face of You that few bother to see.
I have felt Your burning passion, gentle and tender beneath the Tree.
Brother, Lover, Friend,
No image of God quite prepared me for You.
You eased away my terror with Your wicked cavorting,
Making a broken child laugh by playing the fool.
I have seen Sigyn’s quiet contentment,
And the love behind Your games.
I no longer understand the trepidation in which others call Your name.
I have seen Your other face too,
When You took me to Your daughter’s realm.
I have seen You, locked in ecstasy,
Summoning up Her wards and wights for me.
My heart’s stone did not so much break
As melt beneath Your flame.
I have tasted Your rage, Your fury at my hurt,
Reveled in the darkest glee
With which You opened the gates of Niflheim to defend me.
No one told me how much You cherish Your children.
I have seen You, Trickster, weeping in anguish
Every one of Your children’s’ wounds piercing Your heart.
And I have seen You in battle, Odin’s equal,
Though Yours a far darker art.
I have heard Your song,
Far sweeter than I ever knew it could be,
As You took my hand, and led me from that Tree.
If it Your stories I cherish most, as we walk Bifrost bridge,
Dancing patterns amongst the stars.
You placed my hands upon the web, and taught me songs to weave.
As I hung for Asgard, through You, for Hella’s realm I reached.
I know how You are feared, or mocked, or thought long bound.
But I know too, it was Your hand guiding me
Through my darkest despair and pain.
And how can I fear Your deepest love,
When it is the freedom of my heart I’ve gained?
Loki, now it is Your burning that I seek.
Let us mingle songs beneath the Tree,
For I adore the flame you have ignited in me.”

Month for Loki, 5: Knife-Thrower

This is such a beautiful description of – and quite possibly the most apt metaphor for – working with Loki that I have ever read.

From an excellent Tumblr blog – see, they do exist! — here is coldalbion’s reply to an anonymous question, “Do you have any advice on working with Loki?”

(from coldalbion.tumblr.com)

===

“Advice, anon…? Not per se. I do have something for you, which may help:

Ah. Loki.

Oh, Loki.

What to say here? Loki’s like a whirling dervish; an expert knife-thrower all shining steel and flame-flicker.

And you’re his assistant.

You may or may not be blindfolded at first, and sometimes that’s better, despite the fact that you can hear those knives whistling towards your head with deadly precision.

With the blindfold on, you can at least recall his charming smile, the wicked quirk of his scarred lips, sly and arch and smooth. How he led you there with honeyed words and soft touches; how the tales of wonder and excitement thrilled you, all bright colours and exotic new adventures. How he picked you up and, somehow, for some reason decided to give you the benefit of all of him – how he blazed with a kind of Light that had nothing to do with vision, and everything to do with existing without reference to anything else.

And the more time you felt his presence, the more you began to know that his darkness was like his Light, a thing in and of itself. The full sense of his presence illuminated you, made you feel like you were the only thing in the worlds. He took your pain and scars and ran himself along them with a kind of knowing, a sense of recognition that generates a seemingly ever-present resonance.

So it’s the most natural, thrilling thing in the world when he asks you to do something for him, to put on a special costume, take his hand and step into the ring for this little act he does, purely for fun.

Charmed, beguiled, feeling the pull of nerves, you do it. You listen to his patter, his introduction as you stand there in the spotlight, surrounded by a audience shrouded in darkness. You’re his glamourous assistant, the absolute necessity to his act.

He smiles at you as he blindfolds you, as he raises you up to the board. Your heart begins to race as he binds you, secures you tight so you can’t move. You’re helpless, waiting, praying.

When the first knife whistles through the air, you stiffen. The wind of its passing plays across your skin – the impact into the board is shockingly loud. You can’t help but gasp, the board vibrating with the force of that blow. You imagine the audience’s intake of breath, but you can’t hear it over the noise of the knives that suddenly seem to come in from all directions.

Again and again and again. When one buries itself scant millimeteres from your face, you realise that you can feel the cold of the metal against your cheek. You flinch, and realise that the buried blades surround you. Your body is ringed by steel. There is nowhere else to go.

The act must be over now, mustn’t it? Surely it must!

So why is it that you can hear more knives coming? What kind of insane game is this – is this madman actually trying to kill you?

You think back to what he told the audience – that you are an absolute necessity to his act. Is it possible he lured you under false pretences, that you are some kind of sacrificial animal, and that one of those knives will be your doom?

No wonder you might be afraid!

And when the blows come, you can feel the edges bite, sharp against your flesh. This is it. You’re going to die. What a fool you were to do this, to let this motherfucker lead you on.

But..wait a minute. You’re still here. Everything is suddenly silent, way too quiet. Heart hammering, you gingerly attempt to move, and, to your surprise, you realise that your bonds, after a moment of snagging, seem to have fallen away.

With trembling hands, you pull down the blindfold, and are momentarily blinded – the house lights have come up and you stumble away from the board a liittle. When your vision returns, you’re in for a shock.

Because there’s no-one there. The vast ranks of seats are empty. The audience have gone, even though you didn’t hear them leave. Maybe they were never even there to begin with…

Maybe you’re still bewildered when a voice tells you to Think fast! and you jump back as a knife suddenly comes out of nowhere and buries itself in the sawdust at your feet.

The unseen voice tells you to pick up the blade. Go on, just pick it up. So you do, and suddenly he steps out from behind the board with a little, courtly, mocking bow.

Turnabout is fair play, he drawls.

It’s your turn. Without thinking, the knife leaves your hand, aiming at his head. But he’s not there.

He’s behind you, lips against your ear, hand on your arm, guiding you through the arc of the throw. The knife hits the board, straight and true, in a way you’d never have known how to do before.

And then? Then he’s dancing and you have an endlesss supply of blades. He weaves and curves, eels and dives in ten thousand intricate movements; a shining, glittering impossibility. Without thinking, you fall into a rhythm, and later you realise the strangeness of this – for you and he are acting together in the space between heartbeats. You’re part of the same dance, the same ebb and flow and weave.

There’s no telling how long it goes on for, or why it stops. Maybe he becomes bored, or maybe you send steel singing so close that it leaves a line of blood along his cheekbone.

Who can tell? Because suddenly, the knives you throw are suddenly plucked from the air by nimble hands, and turned back on you. Lost in the rhythm, you struggle to evade the most lethal, but manage it. But you do not remain unscathed – your shining costume is cut from you swifter than lightning, until you stand naked and nicked in the sawdust.

Your nerves sing – the cuts are not deep, after all, but the endorphins are called into your blood, as surely as someone summoned an army. A single droplet of blood falls in slow motion, splashing on the shaved wood, blossoming and swelling and staining the ground of the ring.

When you look up again, he’s smiling, eyes sparkling with ancient wisdom and dark mirth. Not bad, he says. Let’s go again.

Steel sings and you feel the air move against your skin.

And you smile in return, and you move.

It’s time to dance.”

(Artwork: ‘Jester’ by MuYoung Kim)

jester

Month for Loki, 4: Explosive

This is what it looks like when you’re trying to get pics of fireworks – and the mortar blows up in the tube

O.o

explodingfireworks2019

 

(We were OK though. )

Happy Fourth of July!