bloodteethandflame

A life in threes

Tag: beginnings

Month for Loki, Second: Why July?

The practice of dedicating the month of July to honoring Loki likely began during the summer of 2012 with this particular blogging project started by Galina Krasskova. It was during that summer of 2012 that many Pagan communities on the Internet saw an influx of new members (quite possibly due to the popularity of movies like Thor).

As well, it may have been in response to this steady influx of Lokeans that Heathen groups such as the Troth heatedly debated (though eventually decided to uphold) their ban on Loki during sumbel that summer.

 Interestingly enough, perhaps the month of July–quite possibly the first community-wide attempt to celebrate Loki for 30 days – had been chosen for the specific reason that the heliacal rising of Sirius occurs in late July/early August.

But what does the heliacal rising of Sirius have to do with Loki?

(The image of Sirius A and Sirius B taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. The white dwarf (Sirius B) can be seen to the lower left)

In some Scandinavian countries, Sirius is sometimes referred to as Lokabrenna (Loki’s Brand or Loki’s Torch.)

Sirius is so bright that it can even be observed with the naked eye, provided that the sky is clear, the observer is at a high altitude, or the Sun is at the horizon in the eastern sky, especially as Sirius appears during the late summer months in the Northern Hemisphere.

The appearance of Sirius in the sky was seen as of immense importance in ancient times; several other cultures worshiped and offered sacrifices as the rise of Sirius signaled good fortune. (Coins retrieved from 3rd century BCE were embossed with pictures of dogs or stars emitting rays, which may signify the importance of Sirius.)

Another common name for Sirius is the ‘Dog Star’ – which coincides with arrival of the oppressive heat – hence the reason why late summer (July 3rd-August 11th) is commonly referred to as the ‘dog days.’

Being the brightest star in the sky, Lokabrenna may have also been used as a navigational tool by sailors, such as the Vikings. Interestingly enough, Arab traveler Ibn Fadlan -who wrote the Risala around 921 A.D., regarding his impressions of the Varangians (Vikings) on the Volga trade route – dedicated the largest portion of his account to describing (and opining upon) the daily practices and beliefs of these traders.   Thus, Fadlan may have been the first to include reference to Sirius’ importance to the Vikings as a navigational guide in the eastern skies, among other things.

~~~

So, that being said, while there may not be any historical basis to celebrating July for Loki (as well as the fact that blogging for Loki is a relatively recent phenomenon) I see nothing wrong with dedicating myself to writing about Him for the next 30 days…do you?

 

 

Month for Loki, Day 9: Beginnings.

This is my third year of making July a Month for Loki, and I feel a bit like I’m cheating to be using a writing prompt.

I figured that I might as well answer this particular prompt today for two reasons.

First, for the three years that I’ve been dedicating July to Loki, I’ve always found myself at one point or another in the month attempting to answer this question in a post.  So, in that regard, I have written perhaps six variations of my answer to this question in the past three years, but I’ve always been reluctant to actually post it for various personal reasons.  So there’s that.

Secondly, there’s the ‘inevitable nudge’ reason: this is a question that has come up on several occasions during five – count ’em five – separate conversations that I’ve had with others this week.

So, here goes…

How did I first become aware or know of Loki?

The truth is, I’m not entirely certain.

On the one hand, I could say that I’ve known of Loki since I was a kid, but I’ve only been considering myself as Lokean in the past three years.

There seems to be a weird dichotomy there – how could I have always known of Loki but never noticed Loki in my life?  This is the reason why I read other’s answers to this question with great interest but I’ve been reluctant to post the answer to this question myself.  Simply because I don’t like to share a lot about my upbringing or childhood because it was, in a word, dysfunctional.  And the shame factor gets pretty high when I consider that, yes, there is no doubt that I was considered a ‘weird’ kid by family and strangers alike – and not to put too fine a point on it, I learned at a young age that the way that I experienced the world was not normal.  When pressed, my mother and my three older siblings often attempt retroactively to put a positive spin on things by insisting that they thought of me as simply an ‘imaginative’ and ‘sensitive’ and ‘easily spooked’ child,  but they are reluctant to admit to how they reacted towards my imagination, my sensitivities, and the reality of why I was often deeply affected by — if not terrified — of damned near everything on a daily basis until I was about 13 or so.

In short, it had become deeply ingrained in me that there are many thoughts, feelings and experiences that, if I talked about them with others, garnered me anywhere from looks of mild concern (oh sweetie, that sounds scary) to grimaces of discomfort (oh my goodness, that’s an awful thing to talk about [swiftly changes the subject]) to lectures of outright dismissal and warning hissed through gritted teeth (If you keep talking about that, people are going to think you’re crazy, so stop talking about that right now / Shut up!)*

And so, here I am.

But I did have an imaginary friend.

I suppose that a lot of children do.  I often wonder if other children have imaginary friends as moody,vivid and strange as the imaginary friend that I had had.  I mean, I suppose that every child has an imaginary friend that is uniquely theirs – a wonderful, engaging, usually benign being.  I was always delighted to find others who had imaginary friends, and I mostly enjoyed sharing details about mine.  I guess that everyone thinks their imaginary friend is different or unique…but I didn’t notice how different or how unique that mine had been until I was an adult.

You see, I had an imaginary friend in kindergarten. I thought that I had made up that imaginary friend because I was lonely.   I had made a ‘real’ friend named Jenny Glickman in first grade, and she had an imaginary friend, so I made up an imaginary friend for myself, too.  The ‘friend’ I made up was supposed to be a lot like Jenny’s; but hers was a young girl, and mine…was sometimes a girl, sometimes not.  Jenny’s looked like her, she said, and shared the same birthday and everything.  Mine had a birthday, but I thought that it was a secret (which Jenny thought was weird but funny) so I didn’t know how old mine was.  And mine – even though I made zir up – didn’t look like me at all, which Jenny also thought was weird.

She couldn’t ‘see’ hers, but I drew pictures of mine all the time.

Jenny and I made up stories about our imaginary friends, and we spent recess either telling each other the stories that we made up, or pretending to ride horses with them.  The ‘riding horses’ detail kinda sticks out in my mind, I think because it seemed to be the only interest that our imaginary friends seemed to share.  We could all agree that we liked horses.

I remember going home and telling my mother about Jenny Glickman and how I had an imaginary friend just like she did.

And I remember my mother’s response: ‘Well that’s nice. So you have two imaginary friends now?’

And I laughed, and I felt confused.  I argued that no, I only had the one that I had with Jenny Glickman.  And I’ll never forget how she corrected me, saying that I had had an imaginary friend long before I went to school or met Jenny Glickman.

Truth is, we were talking about different things.  She was talking about the Shadow in the Dark.

(You may remember that I’ve written about the Shadow in the Dark here).

So…yeah.

If you want to consider the Shadow in the Dark  as an ‘imaginary friend,’ that’s fine.

The Shadow in the Dark was, at first, quite terrifying to me.  Hardly like an imaginary friend…since aren’t imaginary friends supposed to be ‘friendly’ rather than terrifying?

But the Shadow in the Dark was the reason that I would have done almost anything to avoid going to bed at night.  Looking back on it, I had typical elaborate bedtime rituals that I had hoped would prolong the process, such as needing a snack, brushing my teeth, going to the bathroom, needing to have a story read or a specific stuffed animal in order to fall asleep, etc.  As it is with most, my parents were only slightly annoyed by many of those typical avoidance maneuvers — unless I was still awake three hours later trying to prolong my actual bedtime. (Sometimes I would be the only one left awake at midnight or 1 AM, when they’d notice light leaking out from the bottom edge of the closed bathroom door, and they’d find me sitting on the edge of the tub, praying for sunrise.)   They were baffled by my behavior because they couldn’t understand whatever in the world that I could have been so afraid of.  They thought it would comfort me to assure me that I wasn’t alone in the dark, since I shared a room with my older sister; but I quickly realized that the presence of my older sister didn’t seem to deter the SitD from showing up.  (If anything, the SitD would simply stand quietly by my bed until my older sister fell asleep.)  A few times, I thought that I was being clever by burying myself underneath a layer of assorted stuffed animals, thinking that I could fool the SitD into assuming that I wasn’t there…or maybe I could make myself so difficult to find in that pile of toys that the SitD would give up and leave.

Psht.  Right.

At any rate, I gave up trying to avoid the SitD, and over time, I began to feel less anxious about zir presence… but I still wouldn’t have considered zir much of a friend.

First of all, it seemed obvious to me that the SitD was an adult…a moody yet soft-spoken adult presence that definitely felt much older than my parents.  Whenever zie spoke first, it seemed only to ask me either of two questions, in a curiously business-like manner:

Do you know who I am?

or

Do you want to come with me?

~~~

Do you know who I am?

Zie never answered who zie was, no matter how many times that I would try to guess.  It seemed an endless guessing game, and in the end, the SitD’s identity a remained a strange, puzzling mystery for many years.*

Though there were times when I thought that I was so close to figuring out zir identity, because zie would allow us both to abandon the yes/no pattern after a while, and zie would give me a tantalizing hint:

Are you older than my dad?  Yes.  Do you live in this house? No.

Does my dad know you? Yes.  Are you a friend of his? No.

Are you a stranger? No.  Do I know you?  Perhaps.

I don’t think so.  I don’t remember you. (Zie chuckles)  [calls me a nickname that my grandmother calls me.]

Do you know my [grandmother]?  Yes.

Do you want to come with me?

I didn’t say ‘no’ right away.  I asked zir to tell me where we were going, or why zie wanted me to go with zir.  As it was with the previous question, zie would usually only answer yes or no to questions that I asked, and offered very little information otherwise:

Where are we going? Somewhere with me.  Can my parents come (with us) too? No.

What if they won’t let me (go)? It doesn’t matter.  Why not? Because I am asking you.

At first, I feared falling asleep, because I was afraid that I would be taken away anyway…but then. later on, it seemed to be very important that I make the choice whether or not to go.

It still strikes me today as to how profound that felt – to have an adult -invisible or not, in dreamspace or not – seek my consent, and then, to realize that same adult would honor my choice.

But, at any rate, it took a while before the SitD went away.

And despite what my parents may have hoped, there was nothing imaginary about the Shadow in the Dark.

~~~

And, in 2008, like sneaky tons of bricks often do, I began to connect the dots as to Who my Shadow in the Dark was, a little over three decades since He went away.

~~~

* Gods please forgive others who would demand that a child discuss their experiences (paranormal or not), only to respond to their experiences with such invalidation and aggressive dismissal.  But not surprisingly, it was not until I had my own children that I began to realize the fear that was obviously inherent in the responses and reactions that I received from others; it concerns me in that I have come to consider myself in that ‘skeptical  onlooker’ category as well — but perhaps that is a shadow-work entry for another day  this month.

**In writing this entry, it occurs to me that He may have considered our guessing game to be quite an entertaining pastime rather than the frustratingly repetitive process that I thought it to be.

Funny, that.

Even though I know

Not everything that comes up in my life is a message.

Not everything in my life in my life has a hidden meaning.

And most importantly of all…

I know that if there is a message or a meaning

the message and the meaning aren’t

always

specifically

meant for me.

But then again, certain things show up in my reading and I have to wonder

Just what is the Universe up to?

 

Bittersweet, odd, and a little sad.

There are several entries bouncing around within my brain right now.

My head is full of too many thoughts on some wildly divergent topics, and I had been meaning to write about some of them in an effort to empty my head of them.  Or something.

Anyway.

~~~

Late yesterday morning, I had an ‘interview’ with the Department of  Children and Families.

As you might imagine, I was dismayed by the fact that anyone from DCF wanted to speak with me, much less so, that they wanted to stop by.

I had to keep reminding myself that the purpose of DCF as a government agency is to assist and to help those in need of their services; their mission statement is ideally one of being of service to the community…and yet much like the FBI or the CIA, I don’t think that anyone really prefers to have to deal with them in any capacity.

But honestly, I couldn’t keep avoiding them either, since they’d been calling, and we had been playing a tense game of phone tag for a little over a week as of yesterday.

So,  I spent yesterday morning feeling more than a little uneasy, and as one does, I was bustling about trying to tidy things up a bit to try to distract myself from my snowballing thoughts of doom.

But the appointed time came, and I was outside dead-heading my roses (how apt that seems — for spiritual reasons — I realize now) when the social worker pulled up.

I don’t know what she had expected of me, but the social worker was pleasant and engaging.   She seemed positively apologetic for asking me so many questions, and for the sheer amount of paperwork that she was requesting that I fill out.

I got through the interview without too much trouble, even though my anxiety level felt pretty high.

(And even more so today.  Yesterday, she informed me that a urinalysis was standard procedure.  She asked if I would mind giving her a test sample since she just happened to have a test in her car    So I did, but today I am concerned that I didn’t ‘pass’  it, much to my dismay, since she was sparse and non-committal in when I phoned her for details surrounding the result this morning.  Um… yeah.  *worries*)

~~~

I have to remind myself that this social worker is representing an agency that would be trying to help me rather than judge me.

~~~

Though what strikes me the most about yesterday, in retrospect, is how we had talked about mental health issues and how humor can serve as a mask and a coping mechanism for those with clinical depression.   I was telling her about my depression and my various diagnoses since 1997, and we specifically talked about Robin Williams at length.

I consider him as an example of  the manner in which I often find myself trying to cope.   I try to see the humor…or the absurdity in things whenever I can.   I don’t always succeed in doing so, but I do try.

I am often inspired in my darkest moments by how closely related my fears are to my joys, and how I prefer to make jokes rather than cry whenever I focus on coping with my anxiety or my depression.

She responded to this with surprise, and admitted that she never made that sort of connection.  Her reaction was something close to delight, and she expressed that she found my way of thinking rather enlightening, considering what I’d been through.

To that, I had to smile, since I was inwardly amazed with the situation: how had I managed to be so entertaining for over two hours when I felt like such a wreck inside?

Who knows?

But I’d bet Robin Williams would know.

 

And that’s why it strikes me as so odd and almost spooky to discover several hours later that Robin Williams committed suicide.

 

There but for the grace of my Gods go I.

 

~~~

Oh.  And here’s another thing.

A strange thing happened while I was having my DCF  interview in the dining room.

About an hour into things, my kid comes rushing into the room, suddenly asking me to hold back our dog, and to please keep him out of the patio for a few minutes.   Meanwhile, the dog is barking and throwing himself excitedly against the sliding doors.

It turns out that a baby bat had flown into the patio… and it seemed to be dying.

But by the time that I corralled the dog, excused myself and got out there to see what was up, the bat seems to have died… because it wasn’t breathing.

Poor thing.

My kid had wanted to bury it in the yard, but I nixed that idea.   (We have three cats, and a dog who all  love to dig, and I feared that it was more than likely if we buried it anywhere on our property, one of them would work tirelessly until it could be gotten to, unfortunately. )

*sigh*

~~~

And then, this morning, while I was out walking to find a place off of our property to bring the dead bat…

Suddenly  I saw something out of the corner of my eye come out of the bushes, buzzing loudly.

I thought that it was some sort of insect — perhaps a dragonfly, or really big wasp is what I thought it was at first —

 

And it flew right up into my face briefly.

Without thinking, I waved it away, which must have disoriented it

Because then it flew downward

and inward

towards me

and hit me in the middle of my chest.

Ow.

 

When I looked down on the ground, I realized that it was a  bright little red and green hummingbird  much like this one:

 

hummingbird

Amazing.

It seemed stunned, and when I bent down to get a better look, it suddenly flew up and away, albeit a bit haphazardly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Month for Loki, Day 6: Five words.

Y’know, this would have been a better post for yesterday — since yesterday was the 5th and all – but, ah well, I saw this article posted again today.

 

As if to remind me.

 

So, here we are.

 

And yes, I do believe that the writer of this article is correct.

I’d seen this life-changing statement that answered the endless plea that I had made to the Universe regarding What I Should Do several months ago – yes, I had seen the article before, you know – but I wasn’t ready to see any of my relationships in this statement of just 5 words:

Only stay where you’re valued.

Yes.  That’s it.   Simple yet powerful, if you think about it.

There were no complex quizzes, no lists of questions that I should be asking myself when I thought about ‘Should I stay or should I go?’ or any of the other fence-sitting navel-gazing sort of circular musing that I am famous for engaging in at 4 AM while lying awake with insomnia.

This article asks one to consider just one very vital aspect of any relationship – especially personal relationships – and that is to think about the concept of value.

Not  ‘Are you needed?

Not ‘Are you happy?

Not ‘Are you paid attention to?’

or even

Am I loved?’

Or any of the other variations on the theme of  that last one that a worried brain who questions the status of their relationship can come to at 4 AM.

Why?

Because, if you follow along the premise as presented in the article, if you are valued in a relationship, and you value those who are in a relationship with you*, then all those other questions answer themselves.

(*Psst: hey, even if the relationship is with yourself, *this statement still works*.  Kinda sneaky ton of bricks, isn’t it?)

Seriously.

Go read it.

~~~

And with that, on the sixth day, I say,

Hail, Loki.

Thank You for the reminder, my Sweetest Friend ❤

 

 

Month for Loki, Day 2: Better late than never, I suppose.

So, July being the Month for Loki, I realize that I’m a little late to His party, but that doesn’t mean that I haven’t anything to post about it.

As a matter of fact, I just returned from a sort of ‘mini-break’ from the Two Week Long Chain of Events That May Very Well Be the Most Excruciating Personal Changes to Ever Happen in My Life(tm).

And since my Sweetest Friend is very well known for having a penchant for nudging His folks towards making excruciating (and often necessary) personal changes, it seems rather fitting that I would end June 2014 with some well-placed explosions to my comfort zones.

(Besides, it beats what happened last July 2nd.)

My mini-break involved visiting the ocean with H., thanks to the generosity of a very dear friend.

anamariasunset

So, I spent a few days at a beautiful little beach house on an island, far from home, hanging with H and her kid.

We went swimming in the ocean in the day, and swimming in the pool at night.

We looked for parking, bought souvenirs, had some intriguing conversations, and ate some delicious food — including  really fresh seafood, and  the best key lime pie that I have ever tasted in my life thusfar.

There were also maple bacon doughnuts, salted caramel doughnuts, and sriracha peanut doughnuts, all courtesy of a delightful local bakery that makes them fresh, right in front of you.

~~~~

All in all, it was a welcome break from nearly a month of navigating personal emotional landmines, and making some of the most difficult decisions of my life.

And while there is still a lot of work to come, I am not alone.

I began my painful journey among friends a little less than a month ago, and I don’t know how I could have navigated any of it thusfar without their support, friendship, and love.

I am thankful for them, especially H.

~~~~~

 

And, of course, I am thankful for Himself.

 

Hail and Thank You, my Sweetest Friend!

 

Month for Loki Day 26: Return

As I am updating this on my phone, please forgive me any typos and formatting errors.

After 17 hours on the road, I am finally home.

Looking over my mail, I see a thin envelope from my employer.

It was a letter of separation.

For several months now, I’ve been half-expecting this. You see, I was cut from their rolls for not making my hours this quarter.

I shouldn’t be surprised. My employer had been trying to phase out their seasonal positions in favor of setting standards for part-time and full-time employees.

In a way, this situation was a long time in coming.

But that’s over now, and looking on the upside, this leaves room for other work that I could be doing.

So it’s not all bad.