bloodteethandflame

A life in threes

Tag: connections

Month for Loki: Ten

Dver wrote a great post about a way to look at relationships with the Gods which gave me lots of food for thought.


You see, I’ve been going through a bit of a weird emotional patch.

I’ve been feeling disconnected from everything.

When I read of how Dver writes of her relationships with Gods in regards to her devotional practice, what I found interesting is that she generally splits them into two groups: Gods she loves and she works with them closely/offers to regularly — and Gods whom she loves simply for Their existence.

She writes:

“There are some gods I love – have loved for decades, even – and have never had a single, personal, direct experience with. I don’t know if I’m on Their radar at all. I don’t need to be. It’s enough to know Them even a little bit, and to honor Them. I don’t ask Them for anything, typically. Maybe I just keep an image of Them somewhere, make an offering now and then, read Their stories, and appreciate Their existence. That’s all it needs to be.”


Interestingly, this concept intertwines with a discussion of ego – and how removing oneself from the equation of love was liberating, as love given with the desire for reciprocation was simply ego…and how to love simply for the basis of loving because of the other’s existence was the most profound sort of love, and therefore the sort of love to be sought when speaking of the Gods, i.e the Gods should be loved without the (ego’s) expectation of reciprocation or interaction.


But by the same token, Dver admits to believing that the Gods that she serves daily in her practice do love her in Their way (as love is at its core and is understood to be an energetic act directed towards another/what is outside of the self) but that to serve in exchange for being loved is neither her goal nor her intent.

And I found that profoundly helpful as I navigate my feelings about Loki and Odin today: up until that moment of understanding, I would have said that what is going on with me is that They both feel like old friends that I haven’t seen or interacted with in a while.

Or as the Hávamál would say, I have allowed weeds and high grass to grow over the path to my friends’ home:

 

…if you have a friend,

and you trust him,

go and visit him often.

Weeds and high grass

will grow on a path

that nobody travels.

Stanza 119, trans. by Jackson Crawford

So, in that regard, I’ve been feeling guilty and sad.

An overgrown path


So I asked myself, what would it feel like to love them without any expectation of Their presence or interaction?


Which leads me to this other personal bit: a new Lokean in one of my groups is asking how one can become so close to Loki that He would ‘show up’ without being called on/summoned?
Several folks responded that Loki shows up for them only when He isn’t being sought out, and that it was a well-known secret that Gods do show up if you think of Them enough, and Loki especially; Loki will eventually show up… the keyword being eventually.


As for me, I am going to work on loving Them simply for being/existing and see how that goes.


I’m not adverse to simply being the devotee for a while. And I think about


Love.
Just love.
Let it flow out of you unimpeded.
And I will be there.
And you will know.

~~

Month for Loki: Nine

Nine in Norse Mythology, from Wikipedia:

  • Nine worlds that are supported by Yggdrasil.
  • At the end of Skáldskaparmál is a list of nine heavenly realms provided by Snorri, including, from the nethermost to the highest, Vindblain (also Heidthornir or Hregg-Mimir), AndlangVidblain, Vidfedmir, Hrjod, Hlyrnir, Gimir, Vet-Mimir and Skatyrnir which “stands higher than the clouds, beyond all worlds.”
  • Every ninth year, people from all over Sweden assembled at the Temple at Uppsala. There was feasting for nine days and sacrifices of both men and male animals according to Adam of Bremen.
  • In Skírnismál, Freyr is obliged to wait nine nights to consummate his union with Gerd.
  • In Svipdagsmál, the witch Gróa grants nine charms to her son Svipdag. In the same poem there are nine maidens who sit at the knees of Menglod.
  • In Fjölsvinnsmál, Laegjarn’s chest is fastened with nine locks.
  • During Ragnarök, Thor kills Jörmungandr but staggers back nine steps before falling dead himself, poisoned by the venom that the Serpent spewed over him and after that, he resurrected himself.
  • According to the very late Trollkyrka poem, the fire for the blót was lit with nine kinds of wood.
  • Odin’s ring Draupnir releases eight golden drops every ninth night, forming rings of equal worth for a total of nine rings.
  • In the guise of Grímnir in the poem Grímnismál, Odin allows himself to be held by King Geirröd for eight days and nights and kills him on the ninth after revealing his true identity.
  • There are nine daughters of Ægir.
  • There are nine mothers of Heimdall.
  • There are nine great lindworms: Jörmungandr, Níðhöggr, Grábakr, Grafvölluðr, Ofnir, Svafnir, Grafvitni and his sons Góinn and Móinn.
  • The god Hermod rode Sleipnir for nine nights on his quest to free Baldr from the underworld.
  • The giant Baugi had nine thralls who killed each other in their desire to possess Odin’s magical sharpening stone.
  • The god Njord and his wife Skadi decided to settle their argument over where to live by agreeing to spend nine nights in Thrymheim and nine nights at Nóatún.
  • The giant Thrivaldi has nine heads.
  • The clay giant Mokkurkalfi measured nine leagues high and three broad beneath the arms.
  • When Odin sacrificed himself to himself, he hung upon the gallows of Yggdrasill for nine days and nights. In return, he secured rúnar ‘runes, secret knowledge’.
  • The valknut symbol is three interlocking triangles forming nine points.
  • There are nine surviving deities of Ragnarök, including Baldr and Hödr, Magni and Modi, Vidar and Váli, Hoenir, the daughter of Sól and a ninth “powerful, mighty one, he who rules over everything”.

Month for Loki: Eight

Loki is big on the concept of “negative capability,” which John Keats defines as, “when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason.” Namely, that a poet must remain open to all ideas, to all identities–even to the point of obliterating one stable identity–if that poet is to remain truly creative. Basically: embrace uncertainty, because it leads to change, and change is generative and inherently creative.

Month for Loki: Five.

“Lokkr is the art of calling something towards oneself.

Lokkr is the art of compelling, the art of affecting change from the inside.

Lokkr is the art of singing the sweetest songs, using the most alluring words.

The most irresistible commands come from the breath, yet they seem as fragile as leaves in the wind

Lokkr is how we draw energy, how we pull magic towards us.”

                                                                                                 -Valas, Haegen

Artwork by Muirin007

A companionable silence

Things are changing and while I am not sure I wanted them to change, they did.

It’s been a while.

One of the things that seem changed is that They haven’t felt as ‘present’ lately…or at least, my sense of Them has been feeling a lot more abstract, perhaps removed.

Y’see, as much as I hate to admit this, I have been beating myself up a little lately, allowing myself to feel anxious, thinking that Their subdued presence was due entirely to my lack of interaction…and while that feels true on one level, it feels equally untrue on another level.

Meanwhile, a post by Jolene Dawe came across my feed recently that definitely featured a message that I needed to hear/read about relationships, change and acceptance.

In any case, Jolene’s words gave me some means to frame what’s been going on (or in some cases, what’s not going on) in my own practice.

Her insight into her feelings/thoughts about her journey helped me process the feelings and thoughts I’ve been having about my own.

Upon reading, it occurred to me that perhaps she was going through something similar to what I’ve been going through in my own practice – and that powder-keg moment surrounded her assertion that she felt like a hypocrite for creating a liturgy.

What is a liturgy? I found myself thinking, as my brain leapt to wondering…

Was she talking about a writing project?

If her liturgy writing project was going in any way similar to the way my latest writing project is going for me, I wondered if she too was debating with herself over the reason that things seemed to be…fizzling out.

Perhaps she too was trying to decipher if the project was dying a natural death or if she was somehow, inadvertently mucking it up.

At any rate, I could definitely relate to that inner debate, mulling over the concepts of hypocrisy, inaction, the evolution of relationships with what’s imminent vs what isn’t…

I especially found myself identifying with her discussion of the desire to be close vs. not feeling so close to Them (i.e the state of feeling connected to the Gods vs. feeling ‘Godless’.)

I liked her metaphor/line of thinking about God-relationships: that if P was an actual person, she could call Him up and They could chat about old times in a way that honors the meaning of what their relationship used to be

…without getting caught up in nostalgia or pining over what used to be because she wants it back.

(Or letting herself get mired in that feeling like she should want things to go back to the way things were.)

I’ll be honest, I was heartened to read when she admitted to feeling (mostly) at peace with the fact that she couldn’t go back

and doesn’t want to anyway.

And that got me to thinking how I began my life as a Pagan: I will admit that I spent a long time feeling like a Godless Pagan, as I do recall that some of my initial attempts at a devotional practice were spurred on by anxiety:

feeling

that I wanted to be closer to Them to the nth degree

that I needed to be connected to Them to the nth degree

And that acute feeling like The Goal of It All had always been to connect to Them to this nth degree.

But then to experience the level of connection that I’d so long sought?

(Oh there is sheer blissful NRE in having THAT connection…)

But did I ever expect that that intense level of connection could (inevitably!) change?

Honestly, I did not.

Now this is where it got kinda messy in my head because, yes, though I know what I’d always been told…

The only thing constant in this world is change:

*

Well, of course, relationships change.

But I will admit I wasn’t really prepared to fathom any level of change in my relationship with Them.

So now to experience these moments of what my anxiety wants to define as ‘less’ and ‘lack’ feels like a terrible loss.

But is it?

Perhaps I need to learn to reframe my perspective.

So perhaps I don’t have the same intense connection with Them that I used to have.

(and yes, I am aware of how part of it is my fault if one wants to assign blame)

but perhaps, the other part of it is

just a rather natural evolution towards something

more settled

not as imminent

not as active

as I had previously expected.

But is there any need to for me to feel so anxious about it?

Perhaps not.

Perhaps I should welcome the change as a sign of growth in my relationship with Them.

Perhaps I should welcome this companionable silence

~~~

*Well, Loki IS a God of Change, now isn’t He?

Month for Loki, Day 20: Animal Associations

~~ANIMALS ASSOCIATED WITH LOKI~~

Common/Lore attributed

Horse:

In the form of a mare, Loki gave birth to Sleipnir, as attested in the Hyndluljóð, a portion of theVöluspá in the Poetic Edda. This story is also mentioned in the Gylfaginning of the Prose Edda

Salmon:

After leaving Aegir’s hall in the Lokasenna, in the Poetic Edda, Loki takes the form of a salmon to escape capture from the Gods who seek to punish Him

Biting fly/flea

In the Skáldskaparmál, as Loki has cut off the hair of Sif, and under threat of injury from an angry Thor, He visits two dwarves of Svartelheim who create three gifts – a wig of golden hair for Sif, the spear Gungnir, and the ship Skíðblaðnir. Loki then goes to another pair of dwarves and bets them His head that they can’t make three things as fine as the three treasures created by that first pair. While the dwarves are working, Loki takes the form of a biting fly in order to sabotage their work – which produces Thor’s hammer Mjölnir, the golden boar Gullinbursti, and the ring-giver Draupnir.

As well, Loki takes the form of a biting flea as told in the skaldic poem Húsdrápa, in the Prose Edda. Loki takes on this form to gain access to Freyja’s bed-chamber so that He may steal Freyja’s necklace, the Brísingamen. As well this same story is referenced in the Sörla þáttr, a short story from the Flateyjarbók, a 14th-century Icelandic manuscript.

Seal/Otter

As described in the Húsdrápa, when Freyja awakens to find Her necklace, the Brísingamen, missing, she asks Heimdallr to help her search for it. Eventually, they realize that Loki has taken it and has transformed himself into a seal. Heimdallr turns into a seal as well and fights Loki. After a lengthy battle, Heimdallr wins and returns Brísingamen to Freyja.

Falcon:

In the Þrymskviða (Lay of Thrym) of the Poetic Edda, a Jotun king, Thrym steals Thor’s hammer, Mjölnir. Freyja lends Loki Her falcon cloak to search for it.

As well, Loki borrows Freyja’s magic falcon cloak again, to rescue Idunn from Jötun Þjazi, in the Skáldskaparmál.

Vultures:

One of Loki’s kennings is Gammleið. This Old Norse phrase is commonly translated as “vulture’s path” associating Loki with Lopt (‘Air’) in the ÞÓRSDRÁPA, Stanza 2, verses 1-4, of the Codex Regius

Common Folklore/UPG attributed

Spiders:

The only academic source I have come across connecting Loki with spiders refers to a treatise written by Swedish folklorist Anna Birgitta Rooth in 1961, titled Loki in Scandinavian Mythology. Her treatise attempts to connect Loki within the context of Scandinavian folklore as a trickster figure, much like Anansi the Spider in African and African American folklore. Since the basis of her connections of Loki with spiders seems to rest mostly upon her speculations regarding the etymology of the word locke (a Swedish dialect word for“spider”), Rooth’s book on Loki has been met with more criticism than acceptance from other scholars. While Rooth’s conclusions are often referenced, I know of very few scholars who would agree with her conclusions.

Though from the standpoint of personal gnosis, I’ve found many Lokeans do associate Loki with spiders anyway, casting Loki in a metaphorical spider role – as a weaver of wyrd, a tier of knots, and maker of nets.

(On a related note, I recall that it been theorized somewhere that Sleipnir’s eight legs could be either a reference to spiders or symbolic of four pall-bearers at a funeral – but I cannot recall the source on that connection.)

Common UPG by Association

Snakes:

This is a complex one. Many may associate Loki with snakes, due to His association with one of His offspring with the giantess Angrboða, Jörmungandr. But snakes as a symbol of Loki could also be due to the association of snakes as symbols of intuitive wisdom, transformation, fertility and balance of energy as seen across several cultures. In Native American lore, snakes represent several forms of duality – the duality of gender (male and female), lunar and solar, and as well as creatures associated with the elements of fire and water. As a shapeshifting form in Celtic mythologies, snakes are regarded as creatures capable of cunning transformation, as they shed their skins. As well, it was believed by the Celts that snakes lived and moved within the shadow realms (underground) for half the year, and therefore, when emerging with the sun, snakes were considered creatures who possessed hidden knowledge of the Earth and its rhythms. As symbols in Hinduism, snakes are considered wise healers, possessing a balance of energies – dark and light.

In that regard of the larger picture of snakes as symbols, I can definitely see how Loki could be associated with snakes. Therefore, it is perhaps no wonder that the Urnes snakes seem to have become one of the most popular symbols that many Lokeans have come to associate with Loki in the past ten years.

Wolves

As it is with Jormungandr, Loki as a wolf may simply be another association with another of His offspring with Angrboða, Fenrir. Many Lokeans claim UPG where Loki comes across as very much like a wolf – whether in actual guise or in manner/personality – whenever Loki is being sociable, loyal, protective or even aggressive at times.

Personally, I can see the correlation to wolves in terms of Loki’s seemingly insatiable appetites, but also in His attitudes towards whom He regards as His – whether they be family, friend or foe.

Common/UPG

Foxes, Hares, Raccoons, Crows, and Ferrets

These associations are likely due to Loki’s role as a Trickster Deity, as these creatures are all forms associated with Tricksters throughout many cultures.

And in an interesting bit of Icelandic folk belief that I came across recently connects quite well with my previous entry:

From a mutual FB group member, Hrafnsunna Ross – a self-described person of Croation and Scottish descent who was raised in Iceland – has this to say about Loki’s appearance and His association with foxes:

“In Iceland, Loki is depicted with light to dark brown hair. It makes sense for Loki to have brownish-grey hair because He is associated with Bragðarefur (‘Trick Fox’)…. as most foxes in Iceland are either dark grey/brown all year….(or a) lightish colored that turns white by winter.”

Lesser known Associations:

Axolotls

I’ve known a few Lokeans who associate the axolotl lizard with Loki presumably due to the fact that these amphibians exist at maturity in an in-between stage of metamorphosis called neoteny – a state of liminality.

Axolotls retain their larval gills into adulthood and this retention allows axolotls to remain aquatic for the duration of their lives.

Another name for axolotl is Mexican salamander.

Month for Loki, Fourteenth: Knot.

In the summer of 2012, I had one of the first of a series of strange vivid dreams  that involved Loki:

In this particular dream, I found myself searching through  a building of many rooms, and while I didn’t know what or who I was looking for, I knew I was looking for something…or someone.

Most of the rooms were spacious but empty – white walls, sparsely furnished, lit by buzzing fluorescent ceiling panels.  Like an abandoned office building, which I sensed may or may not be underground.

And then I was surprised to come upon what appeared to be a middle-aged man with dark auburn hair in one of the rooms.  As I’d mentioned, though most of the rooms were nothing more that white empty walls, the room this man was in was full of  brightly colored yarn.   Skeins of various colors and in various states of unravel lay scattered all over the floor.  While a few seemed no more than tangled handfuls of yarn, others were neatly wound and stacked in piles of three or four bundles, sorted by color.

Meanwhile the biggest jumble of knots lay closest to the man’s right foot.  I could also see that he was barefoot…. and he wasn’t exactly sitting in the chair.

This man was sprawled in an elaborately carved wooden chair large enough to easily be mistaken for some sort of throne.  I say sprawled because though I came upon him sitting upon this odd throne from behind and at somewhat of an angle, I immediately realized that this man was quite gangly; one of his legs casually dangled over one of the arm rests, and I couldn’t help but wonder how he’d  miraculously found a way to fold the length of the rest of his body comfortably within the confines of the seat.  

I don’t think he noticed me at first, as his head was bent in concentration upon his hands and the tangled mess of colored yarn in his lap.

However, when he did finally look up at me

He grinned….and casually asked me

if I knew

who he was.

Loki.

And Loki appeared to be knitting.  

But not with needles, mind you; He seemed to be knitting with His fingers.

(from my notebook, 17 July 2012)

~~~

But I learned something interesting today.

It occurs to me that Loki may not have been knitting.

He may have been nålbinding (“needle-binding”), an ancient technique which may pre-date knitting and crocheting by 1500 years, where a single length of thread or yarn is passed through loops by use of a single needle, and the resulting fabric is sturdily connected by interlocking these loops of yarn or thread with one another.  Nålebinding is also called ‘knotless netting.’

I came across this information today – though honestly I was researching something else that had nothing at all to do with Norse clothing -but a reference to socks caught my eye and I found my way to Hurstwic.org:

“However, Norse socks were not knitted (which apparently was unknown to the Norse). Instead, they were made using an ancient technique called nálbinding (needle-binding). Using a single large, thick needle, it was a method of knotting the yarn. Although time consuming, this approach resulted in a nearly indestructible garment. If the thread were to break or wear out, the garment would still be intact, since the thread was everywhere knotted to neighboring threads. Mittens and caps were also made using this technique. The sketch to the left shows the steps involved in making an article of clothing using the nálbinding technique. Note that the fabric grows in a spiral pattern. Once the spiral is large enough, it is knotted back on itself to create the shape of the finished article.”

 

(Photos: l-r: spiral nal-binding_sketch; Sock found in York; from Hurstwic.org.)

~~~

How does this personally relate to me in regards to Loki?

Loki has been referring me to knots and knotwork for many years now, and as it is with His method, I hadn’t any idea as to why He was always referring to such things, either literally or metaphorically.  But I’m starting to connect some things about knots and knotwork today.

But, barring that, it does give His references to ‘creating sockpuppets’ a whole new meaning, eh?

 

Month for Loki, Fifth: Signs.

Again, a member of a Lokean forum posted an interesting question today:

Has anyone felt moved to learn sign language for/because of Loki? (Do any of you sign btw?)

This question got me to thinking, as I hadn’t thought about it, much less admitted to anyone else that though Loki and I have been communicating non-verbally for a while now, I’ve never gone into much detail as to how we communicate.

In the summer of 2012 – which I consider the second beginning of my contact with Loki – any ‘communication’ I experienced with Him was almost entirely non-verbal: I first experienced His presence in dreams and meditations through particular sensations, and through association with sudden, lingering scents.

Then I started experiencing visuals of Him, but these visions only occurred in vivid dreams and during particularly intense meditations.  Even in those vivid dreams, I rarely ‘heard’ His voice and more often than not, there was hardly ever any sound.

I’d begun to see references to the god-phone, but I didn’t think I had one.

The more I read about the ‘godphone’ concept, the more I began to feel that perhaps I wasn’t wired for such a thing.  So, I accepted this, began to refer myself headblind, believing it was not possible for me to ‘hear’ Loki anyway.  I felt confused and often wondered if what was happening between us was communication at all.

There was a long while wherein I dreamt of Him rather regularly, and while I would often feel sensations or even smell the scents I’d come to associate with His presence, on the rare occasion that I’d get a visual, He seemed to communicate by showing me objects, or indicating that I should observe His body language, or communicate concepts to me through hand gestures.

I felt that Loki ‘spoke’ to me only through sensations, scents and symbols, nudging me to make connections between seemingly unrelated objects, concepts and ideas.

And it was only later – sometimes months later – that I’d make the connections: What He’d shown me in dreams would appear later in a string of coincidences in my waking life: He’d been holding a bird, reading a book, or drawing me a symbol, and then later, I’d see flocks of those birds in my backyard, or see that symbol on a random bit of street graffiti, or I’d catch sight of that book displayed in a store window.

There’s nothing like that sudden inevitable sense of deja-vu.  Where have I seen this before?  Where have I heard of this before?

A good example of this is in 2013 – almost a year after my first exposure to the visuals, I realized He had been showing me mudras.

So, as you might imagine, it took me a long time to to figure out that Loki had been using sign language with me.

So, you can imagine my surprise to realize that, over the past three, perhaps four years, I have learned how to finger-spell and I have learned to recognize basic actions/concepts (signs for want, give, need, do, go, and love, for example)

Like the mudras, I thought these were particular and unique to the interactions between Loki and I.

But I didn’t realize the full extent of the meaning of that happening until last July, my family and I adopted a puppy.

And it turns out my puppy is deaf.

So in my research of learning how to communicate with my puppy, I feel that strange but exhilarating sense of discovery when I watch videos of hand signals -which are various extensions based upon American Sign Language – for different basic commands, such:

Listen to me.

Pay attention/Focus.

Remember

Do (you) understand?

 

Now, my signing skills have had to improve in yet another realm of my life, and I realize that I really should buckle down and actually learn ASL.

And I find it interesting and sort of amazing that even though my ‘godphone’ has gotten a lot better…

Loki still defaults to signing sometimes anyway.

The Other Side of Judgment and Fear

Another re-blog…but it is good and necessary food for thought today.

I highly recommend reading if you are prone to negative self-talk and worrying, (ie, ‘brain-weasels’)

Element

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Hello everyone, welcome ❤

I was trying to get caught up reading and commenting to posts the other day and I came to a one that dray0308 from Dream Big Dream Often reblogged. The title of the post was “Worrying About Nothing” This post was about questioning yourself, your choices and decisions rather than just living and enjoying your life.

It’s sad how often we judge ourselves. We suffer under the crushing fear that we can’t live the life we want because we aren’t doing enough, we aren’t good enough, we aren’t smart enough, we aren’t pretty or handsome enough. We just aren’t, right enough.

I’ve been to that dark place. I spent 10 years struggling with little to no self esteem and believing everything bad in my life was my fault, that there was nothing I could do right. I spared no judgment against myself. I saw my son, how we…

View original post 441 more words

Tumble Down In Love

Thank you Annie, for sharing your lovely words.

I needed these sweet words today.

~~~~

Tumble Down In Love

Come sweetheart

Come tumble down in love with me

Unveil yourself to this unanswerable desire

That echoes in our hearts

Whirling, in flight let it take us together

Into the velvet night

Where unspoken promises are understood

Whispered to us

Danced upon our acquiescent flesh

This dream is far too sweet

We love passionately

In a thousand different ways

The peaks blaze up against the sky

The petals that flow with our blood

Tremble in full bloom

Tender like water

Our passion runs like oncoming tides

We swim in a sea of stars

I am a bird in song impatient with desire

Your sure fingers sound the strings of my soul

Slowly, you release me

I breathe you in and we fall into dripping colours

At last we lie in sweet repose

Embraced by infinity itself

And so I drown in joy

And drown, and drown

Once more

© Ann Bagnall and AnnieB222.com, 2013.

Image: http://wallpaperwidehd.blogspot.com.au/2014/05/glowing-flowers-wallpaper.html

Source: Tumble Down In Love