“We are, as a species, addicted to story. Even when the body goes to sleep, the mind stays up all night, telling itself stories.”
|—||Jonathan Gottschall, The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human|
<<<<see previous post for context<<<<<<
1 September 2016 – Day 2
The visualization today requires one to look in the mirror and ask oneself:
What is being hidden? What is holding you back?
When I looked into the bowl – I saw myself, at approximately age 10 or so. I was crying, I was cutting – words into my skin.
And then I saw myself (at age 6 or 7) sitting at a table, deep in concentration.
I am making things out of clay.
My mother is there, but she is cleaning the kitchen.
(I am remembering, I am hearing snippets of my mother’s commentary: Stupid little junky things and making such a mess.
These were things my mother hated: messes and ‘junky things.’
And I am making a mess.
According to her, I am sitting there, always making ‘stupid little junky things.’ My mother hated them; but my father collected them. I see them lined up on the top of his bureau, these things I’ve made.
I watch myself trying not to cry, trying not to listen or to care about what is being said.
I feel defeated.
Suddenly, the words
run through my head as I consider my younger self in this vision.
It is difficult to see her. I want to push this away.
I want her to be someone who is not afraid to say ‘No’
I want her to be the sort of child who is not afraid to stand up and tell her mother:
You are wrong.
That is not true.
I am more than you know.
I am more than you think.
Where is she? The one who can do – the one who is unashamed – to create, to be, to shine?
She is crying. I am crying.
Suddenly I remember those words, said just a few nights ago:
How dare you dull yourself for others….
I saw a girl who stopped trying.
The girl who gave up, who accepted their words
feeling like she deserved this treatment.
The quiet girl who simply tried harder to be perfect.
I wanted to show you…the one who decided to accept their opinions rather than creating herself.
This is the one who hid.
This is the one you hid.
And then, I saw a ten-year old girl pinned to the wall of a well-lighted bathroom – disassociating from the humiliation of what her mother is doing.
‘Come here, will you? Stay still! Just let me…goddamnit, I am trying to help you!….’
Feeling ashamed. Trying to disassociate from the pain of fingernails digging into skin; face feeling hot and swollen…. and crying.
‘You know, you’d be so pretty if you would just let me fix…let me get this….’
I feel ANGRY.
This is the girl who holds it all in.
This is the girl who doesn’t complain.
This is the girl who didn’t think that she could win, so she didn’t fight.
This is the girl who acquiesced.
I wish that I could tell that girl that she did not deserve that — she did not have to accept that treatment – she didn’t have to allow her mother to do that.
I realize that this is why I have always inwardly cringed a little bit at those words Accept and Allow.
This is why I Can’t.
Because I realize when I accepted that – I accepted the unacceptable along with the acceptable and I allowed behavior that should not have ever been allowed.
And why? Because I thought that if I was ‘good,’ I would be loved…but I was never good enough.
‘Here. Step into the light. Look at your face…let me fix that….’
Crying didn’t help. Anger didn’t help. Physical resistance only led to escalating altercations that just exacerbated things between my mother and I.
So what did I do — to cope?
I learned to ‘fix.’
Like my mother, I compulsively examine my face in the mirror. I pluck my eyebrows and pick and scratch at the skin of my face, trying to fix.
I am wrecking my skin. I routinely over-pluck my eyebrows.
And she ‘taught’ me how, because at some point, she stopped pinning me against the wall – because I learned to do these things to myself – to fix.
But I always feel so ugly afterwards.
Each time I tell myself that I won’t do it again.
Until the next time, every time that I feel or see an ingrown hair growing crooked or feel a bump or a flake of dry skin. I always think my ‘fixing’ will make things better.
So I spend a lot of time examining my face in bathroom mirrors, looking for the slightest flaws – lumps, discolorations, hairs.
I also pick and scratch and worry the skin around my fingernails and at the tips of my fingers… and while I do not bite my fingernails, I try to keep them short enough so I can’t.
I convince myself that I’ve gotten better, you know.
Because it has to have been a good 25 years since I had gotten so lost in scratching or picking that the only thing that broke me out of my stress-induced reverie was that my fingers were bleeding.
When I’m stressed, I lightly – though compulsively – scratch my scalp. (I still actually find head-scratching rather soothing. Head-scratching is one of the only OCD things that I still do that doesn’t seem to do too much damage, but I can be obsessive about it, and thus feel ashamed enough to sit on my hands on my particularly ‘bad days.’)
It is OCD.
But the important difference between my mother and I – is that I respect the bodily autonomy of others.
And I have been through enough therapy to realize that what my mother did was abusive and wrong
This is hard.
You must step into the light…
But I realize that I am the one holding me back.
Beginning on Wednesday 31 August until Friday 9 September, I did Dagulf Loptson’s 9 day ritual, Breaking Loki’s Bonds.
I spent Tuesday collecting the supplies.
I bought a new red 8-hour candle, three white 4-hour candles, a bottle of Jameson Irish whiskey, and a thick red double-sided satin ribbon.
The other things needed – a fire-proof container, a Sharpie pen, a large needle for carving, and sharps/lancets – were items that I thankfully had on hand.
(Much to my dismay, I realized that I had misplaced the knife that I’d planned to use, and since I did not have a suitable knife on hand, I ended up purchasing a new one later on in the week. Trust me, certain items – the knife especially – turned out to be something you need to trust in, whether or not you ever find yourself using it again.)
As well, this ritual, as it is written, involves a lot of rune writing/carving, so be aware of the runes. While I don’t consider myself a rune-master by any means, I am familiar with runes enough that I was able to spell out what I needed to. You will be writing in runes on days 2-7.
(Here is a handy rune converter if needed.)
31 August: The First Meditation
The first meditation concerns asking.
On Wednesday night, I approached Loki, and invited Him to aid me in transforming my life.
By the way, I am terrible at guided meditations. While I’ve no doubt a vivid imagination, I have especial difficulty in visualizing if I have to jump between reading a text and visualizing the effect, so I spent a good half-hour recording myself reading the text aloud so I could set the visuals of the first meditation in my mind that first night.
Though I feared that the first night would be excruciatingly intense, in retrospect, the first night was the easiest night of all.
And just after I finished the first meditation, I went to bed.
And just before I dropped off to sleep, in crazy-town (commonly referred to as my head post-ritual), I heard my name called out (loudly!) twice.
I couldn’t figure out if it was coming from inside or out.
Perhaps He wanted to talk…but I fell asleep. 😬
This was His question during the first night’s meditation:
Are you ready to claim responsibility for yourself and the fruit of your own actions? Are you ready to see yourself as you truly are?
1 September: The Second Meditation:
Sigyn: Look in the mirror. What do you see?
Loki: Who do you have bound here?
-I saw myself, my younger self – the other Heathir*
The one pinned against the wall, disassociating, feeling humiliated. The one who is strong and creative who hides her light, dulls her shine, full of fear, feeling defeated. The one who waits in the dark. The one who cries. The one who has lost hope. The one who was trapped by duty, trying to fill the void that did not originate in her/with her.
This realization – and those visuals – unhinged me to a great degree, but in retrospect, I should not have been surprised: I am the one who is holding myself back.
I wrote ‘the other Heathir’ – in runes -on the bottle of whiskey. (I also wrote that phrase – in English – above the runes, in case I forgot what I wrote.)
The whiskey represents the hidden ‘poison’ as it were, that is staining my life. This is the truth I am hiding.
2 September: The Third Meditation:
What are your fetters made of?
I saw that the other Heather *is* bound in fetters.
Somehow I sensed that they were made of iron.
This is the strength of fear, the fear that holds in place, fear that seems insurmountable. Also anger, despair, and hunger for freedom/understanding, but fear mostly.
So I wrote ‘Fear made of iron’ in runes on the red ribbon.
3 September: The Fourth Meditation:
Who holds the bowl for you? Who are your allies?
Today, I see the box – with 9 locks! – where the weapon Lævateinn is kept.
K is my first ally: K.
K has always been my first ally.
Young and strong and full of love, K is the key and I am the door.
I fucked up.
I misread the ritual script, and I thought all 3 allies would show today.
So, after K, I immediately saw my father and then, I saw Loki.
I carved all three candles – easily enough – but then I had trouble drawing blood from my fingers.
I hacked up first two fingers before realizing my left ring finger (finger I wear Loki’s ring) bleeds rather well.
So I blooded and galdr’d (spoke-sung aloud the rune names) for all three candles.
K’s initials. My father’s initials. Loki.
I unlocked the first three locks.
4 September: The Fifth Meditation:
I woke up this morning, and there were spots of blood all over my pillowcase.
Last night, I realized that I had made a mistake.
So I burned off the two rune sets off the two candles #2 (my father) and #3 (Loki) to re-set.
Set second candle.
Who is your second ally?
And I Immediately saw a Fox.
Bright green eyes and surreal red fur.
I could not shake that image from my sight.
I quickly realized that Fox is cunning and quick, and upon a closer look, I saw that this Fox wore three colors in the form of three threads twisted red, yellow and green, that twined down its back and around and around its tail.
The Fox had threads in its fur that are red and yellow and green.
As Fox licked my face, I asked if it would lead me out of the dark cave when it was time.
And Fox nodded. As I prepared to carve the runes, I realized something important.
Do you know there is no letter X in runes? I learned that today.
Because I had to carve its name into the candle. F O K S
And when I had finished blooding and galdring those runes, Fox bowed again and licked my face, saying:
I will lead you through the darkness – my eyes are light in the dark.
Trust me. I am the spirit of Wisdom and Cunning that you must trust to help you.
I am the Pathfinder! I will show the way, the secret way…soon enough.
And with that, Fox turned and ran off, making tiny silent tracks soft across the snowy field.
I unlocked the second set of three locks.
5 September: The Sixth Meditation:
Who is your third ally?
I spent quite some time in intensely deep meditation upon my 3rd ally.
It took some negotiation before the 3rd ally would finally come forward.
You see, my father didn’t come forward this time. I think my father had said no. 😦
Then I heard someone mention that it should be (my older son) by name. (I heard his name).
(I wondered if he had said ‘no’ too.)
Then I saw a woman cloaked in burnt red robes. And then I saw an enormous raptor – a hawk – who was somehow Her too.
It seemed that my third ally is the far-seeing Hawk-woman.
(Just as the Fox seems likely to have been Loki, it seems entirely possible that the Hawk was a shapeshifting Freyja.)
She then told me that She can see far above and, like Fox, She would be another guide through the darkness.
She is strength and perseverance in the face of battle.
So I carved the runes to spell ‘Hawk’ on the third white candle, and I galdred them.
Then, as the ritual directed, I set the candles and began to chant the meditation again to thank each ally, as now I been approached by all three:
Thank you, K for your assistance.
Thank you Fox, for Your cunning.
Thank you, Hawk, for Your sight-gifts
Thank you, K for your faith.
Thank You Loki for Your help.
Thank You Freya for Your strength.
Thank you, K for your alliance.
Thank You my Beloved for Your Love.
Thank You My Lady for Your Guidance.
I unlocked the final set of three locks.
The ritual then directed that the three candles should be allowed to burn to socket.
Oddly enough, though the candles were labeled as having a 4 hour burn time, the ritual lasted about one half hour, all told.
But within the next hour, all three burned out completely. O.o
6 September: The Seventh Meditation:
What is the source of your liberation?
Today the meditation focused on the blade which is the sword that was forged by Loki, Lævateinn
This day’s meditation had me opening the – now unlocked – box where Lævateinn is kept.
A word, concept or image will be revealed to me as appearing on the surface of the blade.
I chanted to Loptr to reveal to me the source of my liberation.
Suddenly, an image of a(n anatomically correct) heart flashed through my mind.
(As well, an image of the tear-stained face of my child-self also flashed briefly in my mind’s-eye. Her eyes were dark with tears.)
Suddenly, a thought flowed through my mind: Do you love her?
Suddenly I looked down at the blade and saw the word: Love.
Love was the source of my liberation. My love for that other self, that other Heathir, would free her from her bonds.
So I wrote the word ‘Love’ in Futhark runes on both sides of the blade and blooded each rune as I galdr’d their names.
7 September: The Eighth Meditation:
This is the day that I will use Lævateinn
Tonight, it was difficult to visualize the cave.
I couldn’t see Them, but I could sense the sword in my hand. It is rather heavy.
I feared that I would not be able to lift it high enough and get a good angle to cut His bonds.
My mind gets so hung up on such particular details, I suppose.
I started to think about what His bonds were made of vs. my own.
Earlier in the meditations, He had said that guilt kept Him bound – the guilt of not having been able to protect His children.
And I thought of myself, and how interesting to think that my fear was the means that I had been holding bound that other Heathir within myself.
Suddenly it made a weird kind of connection and I thought about how fear was at the basis of a lot of things in my situation, in my world – guilt and fear. Fear of change, fear of the unknown, fear of the inevitable future. And the choices that are made because of the fear of loss.
And for a moment I could see His eyes and the weariness and pain in them, and I raised the sword.
I cut the bonds at His shoulders, and thought about fear of not being accepted, of not being loved or understood. (The fear that leads to hatred/judgment and misunderstanding) Fear of the past.
I cut the bonds at His pelvis and thought about fear of judgment, fear of failure, fear of pain. And I found myself sobbing at the difficulty, as I could see the face of that little girl, that other Heathir, my child-self, sobbing too.
I am tired of being afraid, I am terrified of being trapped here, her eyes seemed to plead….
I cut the bonds at His knees, and thought about fear of inevitable change, fear of loss, fear of what the future holds…
And I thought about love.
How I used to think that love dies in the presence of fear, but here, love was the means to overcome fear.
Then it was time to cut away my bonds; to cut the ribbon I had made.
I momentarily entertained the fear that my own actual blade would be too dull to cut through the ribbon, but it flawlessly sliced through the fabric, into three pieces.
Then, as clear as day, I saw the vision of the other Heathir, bound there before my eyes…and just as it was with Loki, it took three strokes.
And with each stroke, I chanted my intent:
I see you. I recognize you.
I know you. I value you.
You are free. I am free.
I told her:
You are safe.
You are strong.
You are powerful.
You are loved.
I love you. I love you. I love you.
You have not failed. You are free.
There is no need to hide.
There is no need to punish yourself anymore.
There is no need to fear happiness or freedom or change.
And I allowed myself to cry and feel and know that I would never deny that – or her – again.
We are. We are. We are.
I am free.
We are both free.
8 September: the Ninth Meditation:
Today is the end.
Today He is free and so am I.
Today is about recognizing Him and recognizing myself.
Today I ritually burn the three pieces of the ribbon
As well, the bottle I put aside -that signifies the venom of the snake becoming the medicine – that was a powerful metaphor. We are going to drink it in celebration.
(So do not forget to bring a cup to drink from on the ninth day! 🙂 )
They had a personal message for me, and I realized that I have traveled a long road to Them.
Their message for me was profound and personal and Their words meant everything to me. I was almost in tears all over again – tears of catharsis, tears of release.
This was such a cathartic and necessary ritual for me.
So I placed the three pieces of ribbon in the miniature firepit I created. His (Loki’s) candle threatened to go out several times throughout, as one is to use the flame of His candle to burn the ribbon.***
Wax was everywhere. The scent of apple cinnamon candles, whiskey and burnt ribbon permeate my altar space, even now many hours later.
But it is done. And it was definitely worth doing.
And I feel lighter in spirit and more connected to my Gods.
Thank you, K.
Thank You, Loki.
Thank You, Freyja.
*The second meditation was so intense and vivid that I dedicated a post to just the specific visuals here.
**K walked in right as I set his candle thanking him for his faith and steadfastness defense/aid. He startled me. And I felt disheveled for the rest of the meditation. O.o
K was the first ally and I had just finished saying- ‘thank you K—-‘
and I hear K—- say ‘Hello.’
I startled – and I looked up to see K is standing there, standing just within the doorway to my meditation area.
I didn’t even hear K knock.
‘I’m going to bed’ he says.
(K had mentioned that he had asked Loki for permission to enter the circle; K told me, and I quote, that Loki had given it, saying:
OK — but make it quick!
And that’s why K was there.
But GAH. I almost jumped out of my skin! 😬
*** The ribbon – being satin and likely polyester – didn’t burn very well. But again, I sat with it but it took a long time – with several re-lightings – for it to burn to ash. But 20 long minutes later, it was done. I hope I did it right. What a perfectionist I am!
If I recommended this ritual to anyone, I would suggest using a ribbon that is made of paper or another fabric besides satin – that satin fancy shit doesn’t burn well and it smells awful. 😦
As well, again I didn’t read the ritual script as closely as I should have, and I poured way too much into the cup! The protocol is to drink the entire contents in one draught while you [and They] watch your bonds burn. So I am not the slightest bit ashamed to admit that I was pretty well lit by the time the ritual was over as 3 large shots’ worth of Jamesons’ will definitely fuck you up quick. LOL
Here’s a Thursday Throwback – from 21 February 2013 – that I am sharing at the request of a dear friend.
“Sometimes, He is not pretty.
Disheveled, stinking of piss and filth.
A frightening homeless man
Shouting at me from the other side of the train station:
The face that you often see is nothing but a glamour crafted to be pleasing to you.
But, sometimes, I am tired of that
face, and you will see Me as I am
An ancient being, whose face bears the ravages of time, and what appalling marks
Grief, pain and madness have inevitably made upon Me.
While it may be easy to approach Me in a finer guise,
Silk cravats and topcoats, leather and flash, I am
Also this, at My core. This is also Me.
I am bloated with rage, and careless
grime settled in the creases, compulsively licking
The blood and the spittle that collects at the corners of My ragged lips.
My yellowed, broken teeth have gnawed and ground down upon the offal and
bones of My very long memory.
I call to you
but you must approach Me.
Would you kiss My mouth?
And I see Him across the room, and His voice is interwoven with the cacophony of noise that is noon at South Station, Boston.
I cannot will my feet to go forward, but I see His eyes, the intense clear blue of Icelandic water, His disheveled hair an awkward penumbra of red and gold, His face unshaven and streaked with the filth born of having slept in the elements upon concrete. He raises a hand, and makes a beckoning gesture. Oh I see you, little one, He drawls. I notice that His fingernails are dark with grime, and He smiles, a grin of wolfen teeth, and He licks His cracked lips, waiting.
For all that He looks, His voice is not unpleasant.
But I am afraid.
I am cold, I realize, and I hug myself tighter, as if my own arms could possibly warm me enough, and yet I know that I am holding myself in. This is me putting up all my walls and fronts.
You have so much shame, He shouts, You have learned nothing….
The rumble of the trains pulling into South Station obscures His voice, His tirade, for several minutes.
There are too many trains, I shout, I cannot hear!
He begins to laugh, shaking His head. He tilts His head, almost menacingly, working out a crick in His neck, as He continues, Oh no, my dear. It is as it is always, with you. You are too cold. You cannot hear. You have a headache. You are afraid….
He glares at me.
He pulls a cigarette from the pocket of His shabby, unseasonably thin coat. Oh, spare Me the details of all of your excuses, He snarks at me, loudly, angrily.
He reminds me of Heath Ledger’s Joker, as He wipes His sore and tattered mouth with the back of His grubby hand, before placing the cigarette deftly on the edge of His lower lip, and lights it.
A lone ribbon of smoke curls and spirals ever upward over His head, strangely unbroken and unbuffeted by the crowd and activity that surges about Him, between us.
Come. Kiss Me. I might believe you.
But I cannot will my feet to go forward. I will have to push myself through this crowd, I am thinking.
The air feels thick and heavy, my head rings with high-pitched buzzing anxiety, and my skin prickles with heat.
Poor little girl, is His singsong sigh, half a sarcasm, half a reprimand, to me, as He shuffles His feet, waiting.
Come to me, He whispers, more within my head than without, and His words seem to reverberate like a humming inward chant, in my head.
Come to Me.
Come to Me.
Come to Me.”
I have been wanting to write and I promised to write – it was the reason for this month’s writing project (which was not so playfully named ‘Keeping it 100’*) – but as you might notice, I haven’t been keeping up with it this particular July/Month for Loki.
There are reasons, and I am trying to decide if I really want to get into all of them, because Heaven knows, I had plenty that I’d planned to write about, plenty that I’d promised to write about.
It’s more serious than usual in that not only had I promised myself that I’d carry the project through the whole month, I promised Him that I’d write about these topics and that I would carry it through by writing in this blog every day for a month.
We struck a deal of sorts, and I reneged in the sense that I did not follow through on my part.
I had promised to tell a story that I have not told.
It’s not that I had a shortage of posts, or that I never intended to tell the story. As a matter of fact, I have enough posts sitting in draft as well as several other posts written that only require that I cut and past them from the file folder on my laptop where I’ve stored them. They are in order, as I had planned.
You see, it is not that I stopped writing. It is that I did write but I refused to post, and that was what I promised Him that I wouldn’t do. I promised Him that I would share as much of the story as I could, no matter how uncomfortable things got, no matter how controversial the topics were….and yet…
I have not.
So what happened?
I got sick around the 15th of the month, as I may have mentioned in several of my latest posts.
A few of my friends pointed out that if I hadn’t been keeping up with my writing, of course that was understandable.
If I was ill – and I still am recovering from that double ear infection and sinus infection – that it stood to reason that I should rest and recuperate.
Several opined that I was being too hard on myself to think that He wouldn’t understand, that He would insist that I write anyway.
But I wrote every day. The writing is not the hardest part. It has never been the hardest part. He knew (just like anyone else who knows me well) that the purpose of the project had nothing to do with a writer’s block or an inability to express myself.
In essence, what He asked for was that I stop censoring myself; that I stop hiding – privatizing posts, or posting my thoughts in my less-frequented blog. He was asking for me to make my writing entirely public and highly accessible, to post ‘where it counts’ meaning where people could see and respond to my thoughts if they so chose.
He wanted me out of my comfort zone. It was an exercise to force me out of my social anxiety.
And so, He wanted me to stop keeping secrets, to be authentic and unashamed of who I am and what I am and what I do — for one month.
Just for one month, and then I could go back to ‘hiding’ if I so chose.
He didn’t care (because, if you know me, you know that I argued with Him) if ten thousand other people had written about such things ten thousand times before I wrote about them, before I would write about them.
He wants His people to express themselves fully, and He doesn’t care if you’ve all heard the stories before; He places great value on self-expression.
Perhaps it’s more than that: It’s about self-knowledge. It’s about fearlessness.
He wants us all to tell our stories….or at the very least, be fearless and unashamed about telling our stories.
*Believe me, you have heard this story before:
And yet, you’d better believe He never gets tired of hearing that story.
So, as you might imagine, I haven’t any VALID excuses.
I feel like my throat is closing up.
My throat feels raw and it is painful to swallow. My senses seem dulled as my sinuses are filled with congestion.
Perhaps this is nothing but a chest cold, a head cold. My head feels as if I am under water, and there is a strange metallic taste in my mouth. My eyes water and my muscles ache.
Perhaps this is really nothing at all besides my simply being sick.
But I am not telling my story.
I know my task. I know what stories I have promised to tell and yet I am having trouble speaking of them. I am having trouble writing about them.
I know that He wants me to write of how things changed.
How Loki as the Teacher and the Magician slowly morphed into Loki as the Lover in mid-2013.
You see, my husband of 20 years was having an affair and that knowledge of that fact devastated me.
So Loki came forward, first to comfort, and then to strengthen and empower me in my feelings of brokenness and betrayal.
Ever the Teacher, He sought to show me –through use of Himself as an example – how I should be loved. Simple as that: He sought to love me and to heal me with a fierce and steadfast tenderness that I continue to marvel over, even to this day.
But I didn’t want His love…in the sense that I felt that I could not possibly deserve it. I did not believe that I deserved His fierce loyalty, His honeyed promises, His gentle touches. Instead, I insisted upon a passionate, almost feral connection.
I was angry and avoidant.
I didn’t expect to be understood, much less, did I expect to be loved.
I pushed Him away.
I refused to see; I resisted recognizing Him as anything other than a Being Who could break me and I sought to be broken.
I wanted to experience the height of relationship that I had recently been teaching others about – I wanted to experience a consensual, BDSM-fueled dynamic.
But He refused.
Our ‘scenes’ were passionate, yes, but He refused to cause me any pain.
Though I begged for Him to transform me through pain, He responded:
Why? You have been through enough pain…and yet you have not learned.
So He approached me with care and kindness. I daresay His behavior was all romance and gentility, and my response was I wanted desperately to shut down:
That is not for me, I wept and I raged, That has never been for me. I don’t believe in that.
And so I hid from Him.
I pushed Him so hard.
I dared Him to grab me by the neck and shame me like an errant puppy.
I waffled between fear and rage.
I was either afraid of Him or I was angry/despairing of Him.
I was insistent: You do not love me. You cannot love me. No one can.
But He simply smiled and blinked and continued to present Himself to me, in dreams.
He spread Himself out like water at my feet.
He stroked my face with tender hands.
He bowed down low, head to the ground, and asked me how He could serve.
To be honest, He was a better submissive than I ever could have been, and yet I still argued, how – why – what had I ever done to deserve such devotion, such heartfelt words, such considerate actions? The acts of His submission were all rooted in my own personal repertoire, and yet He faced me with every single one of them, challenging me to consider Him and to receive Him as I sought to be received in the BDSM dynamic I craved/created with so many others.
Allow Me to care for you as you have cared for others.
Allow Me, He whispered over and over.
He often tried to convince me, cajole me into recognizing Him in the shape-shifting flurry of faces, of former play-partners and past lovers that I’d see in my dreams:
I see you. Do you see Me?
Look Me in the face.
See Your Beloved. I am here before you.
He demanded eye contact. He accepted no less.
And still, I ran. I avoided. I cried.
I would not look Him in the eye.
But He was patient…and He was relentless.
By 2014, I stopped teaching at BDSM events.
Though I’ve been involved in ‘the scene’ for over 20 years now, I have not attended a BDSM event in two years.
(to be continued…)
Being that this is the month for Loki, you may see many devotional blogs that feature a convenient little survey (like this one) that details the particulars of the development and practice of hows and whens and whys of a devotee’s journey to working with Loki.
And in the interest of my task to keep it 100, I wanted to write a post today that talks about the first role that Loki played in my life once He re-introduced Himself to me in 2011.
Loki is, for all intents and purposes, an academic. While His relentless desire for knowledge often does mirror Odin’s singleminded quest for wisdom in several ways, in my experience, Loki’s methods seem infinitely more eclectic.
Loki doesn’t care how or by what means you’ve attained your knowledge; He just wants you to get it.
In that, Loki seems to value those with a variety of skills – and the more varied your skill-set, the better.
So, in that sense, His role in the development of my devotional practice for that first year, was as my Teacher… and I was His student.
That was pretty much the dynamic for the first year.
I was incessantly prodded to notice and examine the energy around me, and to become aware of the energy within my body. In this sense, I was being encouraged to learn that everything that exists consists of energy, and that much of how matter (and by extension, will) is manifested in this world is through movement of energy – the vibration of light (color), the vibration of sound (words) and the vibration of movement (dance, exercise, even sex.)
All matter that exists vibrates with differing frequencies.
Then, of course, there was The Three Laws of Thermodynamics.
As I never paid much attention in physics class, I despaired at all this complex talk about energy.
But then, as He is wont to do, Loki nudged me from other angles.
I began a meditation practice, that later grew to involve the use of chanting and mudras.
I began studying runes and other alphabet systems. I re-acquainted myself with studying linguistics, as well as the structure and history of Proto-Indo European languages.
I learned about drumming and dancing as a means to bring about altered states, including trance.
I learned about the ‘energetic body’ – with intense focus on chakras and auras.
I learned about shielding, grounding, warding and other magickal exercises.
And looking back on it, I realized that there are definitive links between what is defined as science/history and what is defined as spirituality/magick.
Perhaps there is little difference between the two as long as there is focused intent, and a commitment to study with intent.
And my practice grew.
My interactions with others and my experiences with Loki at that time seem to reflect my student role back at me:
I saw myself as a devotee of Loki, nothing more.
And I was satisfied with all of that and with all that I was learning — about science, about magick, about Loki…and most importantly, about myself.
I was so taken up by what I saw as a rapid and very exciting process that was focused entirely on the pursuit of knowledge.
But then, things changed.
Suddenly, I began losing focus as a student… because my marriage was falling apart.
I could not ignore the profoundly emotional energetic shift that seemed to be occurring in my life.
Despite the fact that I was connecting with so many things on both a physical and a philosophical level, the structure of my most valued relationship was failing.
Suddenly, I started to chafe against that scholarly distance that I had created as a student.
While I could muster a polite respect for Him as a Teacher, underneath the surface, I felt distracted and disconnected.
Soon I began to daydream and avoid the lessons that I had once embraced. I put away my runes. I stopped my various studies of mudras and chakras and auras. I stopped all of my daily rituals – the daily practices of grounding, centering, and warding. I gave up focusing on energy work altogether.
The only thing that really stayed was my meditation practice. It was the only mindful connection that I seemed to be able to have with Him.
And then, He began to come to me while I slept, in dreams.
For several months, I had repetitive cycles of dreams wherein He would encourage me to approach Him, to come close enough to touch Him.
Even though I had given up studying and I had been dodgy about approaching Him…
He was remarkably relentless and yet – surprisingly – infinitely patient with me in my stubbornness.
And then, one day, in 2013, He asked me the question:
Wouldn’t you rather be in love?
And I didn’t know what to say.
You are worthy.
I cannot make you understand.
But I will keep trying.
This is the connection between love and self-love.
Perhaps you will learn to love yourself in ways that you had not – but I hope that you find your way to me.
You are safe.
There is no need to fear being vulnerable with me.
I approach you without armor.
I see you for what and who you are, and I tell you:
You are worth loving.
You are loved.
I have chosen you. You have always been my choice, and you shall always be.
That’s the kind of loyal I am.
I can’t believe that the month of July has arrived already!
And as you may know, many Lokeans around the country celebrate the month of July by writing; that’s 30 days of devotional posts for Loki.
And this blog here will be no exception.
2016 has been quite a year thusfar, and in this month alone, I’ve experienced a lot of upheaval and change in my devotional practices.
For one thing, towards the end of 2015, I found myself being damn near forced to abandon most if not all of the connections that I’d previously made within the Lokean community over the past several years.
As well, I was encouraged to develop a renewed focus upon several of my most personal relationships, and to be honest, I was even more stubborn about that. As a matter of fact, I will freely admit that I abhor change. As one might imagine, this meant that I fought many of those changes damned near every fucking step of the way.
You see, I was given several tasks in the first few months of 2016, and I will admit that I would just not be myself if I didn’t somehow try to weasel my way out of doing some major work towards that end.
But if Loki is anything, He is a patient God, and His tactics are often relentless, to put it mildly.
You might imagine that the last few months have not been easy.
The first task that I was given was to be self-aware and honest with myself about all the ways in which I have avoided confronting …myself.
The second task was to stop engaging in all of my various avoidance maneuvers, including but not limited to vaguebooking, privatizing entries, and downright avoiding certain relevant topics, simply for the sake of someone else’s comfort, let alone my own.
And the third task was to pull all those half-written and mostly hidden entries from my files, and either complete them/post them…. or throw them away.
So it’s a mental and perhaps spiritual decluttering, if you will.
And I am working on it.*
So. Where do I begin?
First up, I screwed up my resolve and over the course of several months, I have been forcing myself to discuss the finer points of my devotional practice with my husband, V.
So far, things have been going well enough.
V has been nothing if not open-minded, and I am slowly coming to terms with the fact that it is not as I had feared it would be at all.
In fact, many things have gone so entirely well that I am left wondering if perhaps I am the close-minded one in our relationship.
I don’t know what I am – or have ever been – so afraid of.
*The network of tasks that I have been given shall, henceforth, be referred to as ‘keeping it 100:’
It’s not just one thing, Heathir.
It is the whole of Heathir.
You are to be known. Make yourself (known)
Open. Be open.
You give (the permission to others.) Give permission (to yourself.)
I suppose that I should point out that I did do a little personal ritual last night. As described in a friend’s post, I asked Loki to come to me in whatever face that He chose.
I promised that I wouldn’t question it, and I promised that I wouldn’t dispute it, so here I am on what was delivered.
I have been told that I am with-holding. I am told that I refuse to be generous.
I find the most profound insult in being labeled selfish, in being considered self-centered.
I don’t like to be selfish, and I balk at being called self-centered, but sometimes I am.
Madness is a kind of selfishness. Madness has a certain air of self-centeredness.
Or at least, it does for me.
I went insane in 1997. I think that I may have always been, but I received a diagnosis of Bipolar Axis I – later changed to Bipolar Axis II – in 1997. The axis never mattered to me because what followed that diagnosis was an intense 3 years of self-examination in my life, broken into 50 minute hours that occurred three, sometimes four times a week.
And I hated every minute of it. Therapy felt like a terrifying exposure in front of a stranger -an educated stranger whom I was paying to stand emotionally naked in front of – a session with an inquisitor for no reason but to punish and perpetuate the theory that I needed to learn how to fit in with a world that I didn’t fit into, that I never fit into. I had to learn how to deal with others, but mostly, it felt like I was learning to sublimate myself.
It’s funny when I consider that I felt more feeling in my madness than I did in the 26 years that I had lived up to that point.
I suppose that I would have been considered mad as a child too, always being told how strange I was, how bad I was, how I had failed to be what was expected. There was definitely a disorder to my life, to my thinking – even if no one was calling it bipolar back then – that’s what I felt was reality. My struggle arose out of this desire to not be ‘disordered’, to not be separate.
To this day, I still feel separate. It is still a struggle at times to convince myself that if I am myself, if I show others who I really am, I can still be loved.
I’ve no doubt that my husband thinks that I am mad, crazy, out of my mind. But I believe that there are concessions that he’s willing to make until he gets tired of making them. But, to take a page from my madness, it is likely me who will tire of making concessions first. When we get tired of making concessions for each other, we’ve told each other, we have promised to move along. We have promised to separate.
But I am nothing if not determined. Some would call that loyal.
I know that we will separate someday. I know that I will be alone.
Because we live as we die – alone.
It is interesting to consider that concept now that I’ve written it there. Did I ever believe that? Do I believe that now?
Because, even as a child, I felt that no one should be alone in death. I used to wander around the most decrepit sections of New England cemeteries, inwardly noting dates and reading the names of those longest dead. Sometimes I would simply recite their names aloud, but mostly, I would whisper greetings to them, because it hurt me to think that they may have been forgotten. As far back as I can recall, I thought it the worst of all to be a person that had been forgotten, who had been ignored, simply because time had passed.
While it might be hardly surprising that I am estranged from my family today, I imagine that it could also be perhaps that I was a little girl that was feeling somewhat forgotten, possibly even ignored by those who claimed to love me, albeit often dysfunctionally.
I have trust issues. I have abandonment issues. And the madness that grows from the pit of my soul was screaming to be seen:
See me! Hear me! My emotions were a whirlwind, a storm that had been brewing for a long, long time. My anger was a beast in chains that was demanding for release. This is why the story of Fenrir appealed to that part of me.
There was nothing wrong with Fenrir; He is what He is. There isn’t any shame in what He represents. He is Madness. He is emotion unchecked, hunger unfulfilled, the forces of Nature out of control. He is Nature itself, the nature of all that we attempt to control.