bloodteethandflame

A life in threes

Tag: Odin and Loki

Milestone.

About two weeks ago, I celebrated a personal and spiritual milestone.

It has been one year since I welcomed Odin into my life.

I say ‘welcomed’ because…well, if you know me, you’d remember that I’d been fighting against working with Him for years.

At any rate, in celebration of that, I’d like to share a story with you – involving Odin,  a prayer card,  and my poor excuse for neglecting to leave Etsy feedback:

10 January 2018

Today, something occurred to me regarding my attitude towards working with Odin.

Even though it’s been a year – today! – since I welcomed Odin back into my life (it’s a long story!) I realized that I’m not going to get very far if I don’t entirely let go of that default setting/thought under which I’d operated  for the four years prior to 10 January 2017…and that concerns what was once my belief that

Odin is an [redacted but rather common obscenity]

It’s getting in my way; it’s getting in the way of my progress.

~~~

But I suppose progress is being made, because there’s this Odin prayer card that’s been sitting on my altar since this past July.

It’s a nice picture of Odin, isn’t it?

The artwork is by W. McMillan.

But what I’m going to write about now about concerns the prayer to Odin (written by Galina Krasskova) on the other side of this prayer card….and how powerful it has become for me to say it aloud.

I want to admit to you all that when I first purchased this prayer card, I bought it for the artwork; I hadn’t considered the prayer on the back of it at all.

Funny how that is, because it’s a pretty powerful one….but I quickly realized that I didn’t feel comfortable saying it aloud.

Words are important.

And the words of a prayer, the words of an oath are even more so.

I didn’t think that I could bring myself to make that kind of oath – to Odin.

So I would simply read the words – in pieces, and never all at once! – and I would silently marvel over how beautiful they were, and how evocative of Him.

But I could not – I would not – read them aloud.

It sounds foolish, I know.

Observe:

Prayer to Odin

Galina Krasskova

All-Father, I ask Your blessings.

Breathe into me,

Oh God of gainful counsel.

Nourish me, Wish-Giver

that I might know You more fully and well.

I hail You, God of wisdom, cunning and inspiration.

I hail You, ruthless in Your desires.

I hail You, God of single-minded hunger.

Be welcome in my life, my heart, my home.

Master of the Tree, I sacrifice to You:

my fears, my doubts, my hesitations.

Open me up to the knowledge of things holy

Wisest Lord, open me up to You.

I will seek You with the fervor

with which You sought the runes.

Always will I honor You.

Be my mead, be my joy,

be the prize at the end of my seeking.

Hail, Odin, Hail, All-father

Hail, Lord of Hosts.

~~~

Reading these words, I felt afraid because the words struck me as an oath that was beyond what I was comfortable giving to Odin.

But as I’ve often said – and I still believe it is true – that whatever Odin wants, He wants all of it. He wants all that can be given. There is nothing half-assed about Odin – nothing. And that was the essence of my awe – and my fear – of Him: I am still both terrified and awed by His single-minded determination…but by the same token, He demands that His devotees be as single-minded as He is –  about their desires, their goals, everything that they are. He wants His devotees to know themselves, to push themselves and to sacrifice themselves to … themselves, and to their purpose and to their goals, whatever it may be.

He is similar to a relentless general that way:

Honor Me by being the best that you can be in My name, for Me.

One of the most profound things I’ve ever heard said about Odin is that He will never ask you to do something He hasn’t done, or rather, something He would be unwilling to do.

Think about it: Odin hung Himself for nine days and nine nights.

Perhaps it was to discover what death was, or to find out where Death takes oneself – He was willing to metaphorically

if not literally

die .

He didn’t even spare Himself in His quest for knowledge, for that paradox of experience, for Divinity itself.

Perhaps He had to know, He had to experience that situation first-hand – you gotta admit that’s pretty f-ing crazy and yet unerringly logical – if one wants to know every nook and cranny of an experience, they are going to have to go through the experience themselves.

There is no avoiding it.

For me, that is the essence of His fury.

Odin is relentless, insatiable,  mysterious, and multi-faceted.

There is only one other God that I know of Who is as insatiable, as relentless and as multi-faceted as Odin

and that is Loki.

So it is no mystery to me as to why They’d be drawn to each other

Nor is it a surprise to me that They would have such a powerful and profound connection between Them.

~~~

But nonetheless, I am ready.

Wednesday’s subtly layered lesson

(Warning: heavily cross-referenced, possible TL;DR)

I woke up with “Kiss This” by the Struts stuck in my head this morning.

As it seems to be a song about a breakup (especially the chorus), I was concerned.

I went to bed last night feeling both sorry and jealous; I know I was not in a good mindset upon falling asleep.  I tell myself that it is just that. (I hadn’t meant to go to bed, but I must have dozed off while I was meditating, as I dimly recall repeating ‘I’m sorry’ like a mantra…but what’s rather odd is that I remember feeling guilty and ashamed but I don’t know exactly what had happened to trigger those feelings.)

At any rate, here I am.

It is Wednesday.

And as it is with a lot of Wednesdays lately, I’ve been feeling disconnected from Odin, and so I think about what I could do today to connect with Him.  And so begins that weekly process of self-examination of whether or not Odin is blocking me or if I am (somehow still) blocking Him.

Therefore I search myself inwardly for feelings of anger and denial, for distrust and skepticism.  It’s as if I am opening up a box of feelings and I am obsessively running my fingers over what I find inside.

Perhaps this is the source of last night’s apologies as I ruminate over the past and over all of the ways in which I had insisted I wanted no part of Odin.

I wanted no part of Him.

There it is.

That realization.

You see, several months ago, it occurred to me: Loki is ‘a part’ of Him, whether literally or figuratively, as Loki is His blood-brother:

Loki spake:
9. Remember, Othin, | in olden days
That we both our blood have mixed;
Then didst thou promise | no ale to pour,
Unless it were brought for us both.

(Lokasenna)

Therefore, to deny Odin is to deny Loki, isn’t it?

To offer to Loki and not offer to Odin makes the offering incomplete.

And yet, for years, I did just that.

During those meditations wherein I’d first attempted to connect to Loki, often, I would sense another presence along with Loki… and I’d send it away.

As well, a few times in dream-space, Loki would ask me:

Do you like Odin?

Would you work with Him?

But, in response to that question, like a child, I would shut down, sometimes almost to the point of throwing a tantrum.

I’d flatly refuse the suggestion – sometimes becoming angry and dismissive:

No. I don’t want to work with Odin.  

I won’t work with Odin.

Tell Him to go away.

(Perhaps this is yet another thing that I need to let go of, more shadow work for me to do.)

Hel, I’ll admit that there was a time when I would become angry with Loki for even suggesting such a thing… insisting that I didn’t want to hear Him even say Odin’s name.

Now how ironic is that?

Considering how there are many Asatru who refuse to say Loki’s name – much less hail Him along with their much-beloved All-father – and yet there I was, doing the exact same thing, saying:

You are welcome; He is not.

Can one honor Loki without honoring Odin?

Well, I certainly thought I could.

What a hypocrite I had been!

~~~

But I suppose that it wasn’t always that way:

In 2010 or so, in the beginnings of my devotional practice, I did make tentative offerings to Odin… and yet I remember sensing His refusal.

Even back in those early days, I had vivid repetitive dreams wherein Loki would visit me, and more often than not, He was accompanied by Odin.

Several years later on, Loki suggested that Odin and I should talk, but then Loki would leave, as if it had been His intent all along…and yet, upon being left behind, Odin spoke very little to me.  As well, He would refuse all of my offers of hospitality – which left me feeling awkward and socially anxious.

As well, during that time, I was prone to terrifying nightmares, where I found myself feeling forced to interact with Odin anyway (such as detailed herehere, and here) and yet whenever I would show fear or emotionally shut down, only then would Loki come forward to ‘rescue’ me (such as in this shapeshifting guided meditation here.)

But now I look at these past experiences, and I can’t help but wonder:  Why are Loki and Odin always together? Are Odin and Loki one and the same God?

Or perhaps, are They so closely intertwined that They might as well be?

While I know that They are not interchangeable, perhaps in my denial towards Odin, I have denied Loki.

So, in a show of good faith and trust, I recently made space on my altar for both of Them:

Ich liebe euch beide

Now the work becomes to live that belief.

To accept both of Them, to love both of Them.

They are not interchangeable…

And yet, one of my greatest fears was that feeling of being seen as and being treated as ‘interchangeable.’

I suppose that I still do, as it is one of the things that hurt me the most when I think back upon what happened with Local Other Lokean (LOL), or whenever I consider myself in reference to my experiences with her.

Especially when Loki seemed to begin to make requests of me that mirrored specific requests that LOL often claimed that He’d made of her, regarding

gathering ‘resources’

serving the community through seidhr

and

writing a book of personal experience and practices.

Why, I had whinged,  Was this all just because we share the same name?

And again, I will admit that I reacted to Him with a ridiculously self-righteous tantrum:

She and I might have the same name but we are not interchangeable.

But just as I had once refused to consider working with Odin, I refused His requests and ignored any suggestions of working in any role remotely resembling a role that I’d come to associate with LOL…

Meanwhile, He went responded by reminding me of how

Separation is an illusion.  It is the creation of useless categories.  Window-dressing.  Manufactured restrictions.

The only thing you are doing now is making excuses.

(Well I will admit I did make excuses, refusing to listen and to do.)

This was yet another situation that showcased my obvious hypocrisy.

I was allowing myself to be triggered by all the same concepts with which He’d allegedly hounded LOL.

Well, it’s not even the concepts as much as how discussing these concepts brought up associations to LOL’s presence in my mind.

I was triggered that Loki always seemed to be surreptitiously referencing LOL in Our conversations.  I was offended that He’d treat me as interchangeable with LOL, and so I reacted from that place of offense rather than to look more intently at His actual request, which highlights a sort of inevitable parallel too:

Welcome Odin as you would welcome Me.

And yet, there I was also being offended by Odin’s presence in Our conversations, and though I didn’t realize what was going on….

But it was that exact feeling of angry offense.

Perhaps these two things are not connected, but I sit here feeling horrified that it would appear that I had spent years denying ‘a part’ of Loki by denying Odin….

(cue melodramatic pandoramancy here)

And suddenly realizing that I have recently moved through a rather layered lesson in denial:

Perhaps the ‘Odin’ I have been rejecting is another face of Loki’s.

Or perhaps They really are ‘two sides of the same coin’ and denying Odin is denying Loki.

Or…

denial

What I asked of her, I ask of you.

By avoiding mental associations [with LOL], you are denying your own gifts.

And in that, I know Loki to be relentless:

Do you see the layers? 

There is your work. 

Now do it.

 

Frustrated, Incorporated.

 

Some of my long-time readers have begun to notice that my devotional practices seem to have shifted a bit.

A major feature of this surprising change has manifested in that while I still work primarily with Loki, I have begun some major work with Odin.

(Yes.  Believe me, no one was more surprised than I was concerning that change – trust me on that.)

The bulk of this work – regarding runes, astral travel, and energy movement – often occurs somewhere within the liminal hours, especially as Tuesday bleeds into Wednesday….

Which lately, has led me to have some rather restless nights, full of much sleep interruption.

*yawn*

Despite how I feel about that, it is the way it has been for the past several weeks now.

So, while walking one of my dogs this AM, this song came up:

….as I was thinking thoughts on how it’s been going concerning working with the Two of Them, and I realized that there are several aspects to these interactions that are expressed rather well through this bit o’ pandoramancy.

Because…yes.  

They *do* seem to  know just what I need

And They might just have the thing…

because They *both*  know what I’d pay to feel.

And… since I’m often prone to being a touch melodramatic when I’m sleep-deprived, I have been known to ask Them to – y’know –

 put me out of my misery…

The suicide king being Odin

                                            and you know the drama queen just has to be Loki.

Perhaps we are all monsters.

At first, I hated this song.

Like really *hated* it.

There was something about Tyler Joseph’s sing-song delivery of the lyrics that just annoyed the heck out of me.

And yet, almost from the day that I first heard this song, it would *not* get out of my head.

It became a really insistent earworm, nearly on par in annoyance factor with ‘It’s a Small World.’

Then, a dear friend of mine reminded me of the possibility that it could be another example of pandoramancy.*

So, I did what I always do when I come across an incidence of pandoramancy?

I concentrated on listening to the lyrics the next time the song randomly came up.

I thought about what sort of emotions, thoughts and associations came immediately to mind while listening.   And since I am a person who is rather particular about words, I Googled the lyrics, so I could familiarize myself better with the lyrics as well.

But it all seemed to no avail, since the lyrics seemed, at first, surprisingly much simpler than I ever would have expected, and yet, the main thing seemed to be how annoyingly repetitive they were:

All my friends are heathens, take it slow
Wait for them to ask you who you know
Please don’t make any sudden moves
You don’t know the half of the abuse
All my friends are heathens, take it slow
Wait for them to ask you who you know
Please don’t make any sudden moves
You don’t know the half of the abuse

Welcome to the room of people
Who have rooms of people that they loved one day
Docked away
Just because we check the guns at the door
Doesn’t mean our brains will change from hand grenades
You’re lovin’ on the psychopath sitting next to you
You’re lovin’ on the murderer sitting next to you
You’ll think, how’d I get here, sitting next to you?
But after all I’ve said, please don’t forget

All my friends are heathens, take it slow
Wait for them to ask you who you know
Please don’t make any sudden moves
You don’t know the half of the abuse

We don’t deal with outsiders very well
They say newcomers have a certain smell
Yeah, I trust issues, not to mention
They say they can smell your intentions
You’re lovin’ on the freakshow sitting next to you
You’ll have some weird people sitting next to you
You’ll think “how did I get here, sitting next to you?”
But after all I’ve said, please don’t forget
(Watch it, watch it)

(Watch it)
All my friends are heathens, take it slow
Wait for them to ask you who you know
Please don’t make any sudden moves
You don’t know the half of the abuse

All my friends are heathens, take it slow
(Watch it)
Wait for them to ask you who you know
(Watch it)
All my friends are heathens, take it slow
(Watch it)
Wait for them to ask you who you know

Why’d you come, you knew you should have stayed
I tried to warn you just to stay away
And now they’re outside ready to bust
It looks like you might be one of us

Written by Tyler Joseph • Copyright © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc

 

Okay.   The first thing that struck me (aside of the 4 (!) repetitions of that rather long chorus) was the repetitive use of the words they and them and the phrases sittin next to you, watch it, and after all I’ve said please don’t forget.

So I immediately grasped the overall message that whoever they are, they are different than you or me.

They are – let’s see –

Psychopaths.

Murderers.

Weird people.

Freakshows.

So the song definitely seems to be a warning.

And there They are sitting next to you (the listener), and yet you don’t know how these dangerous people suddenly got to be sitting next to you.

Maybe you might love them for their differences ( as in loving on[the psychopath/murderer/freakshow]  sitting next to you) but still fear them on some level….because you must watch it.

Because there are possibly valid reasons.

The singer goes on to explain that perhaps you should be nervous, because it’s been established that they are not only dangerous, but abused and distrustful of those who aren’t like themselves.  They are easily triggered (take it slow/ don’t make any sudden moves) aggressive (brains will change from hand grenades ), paranoid  (Wait until they ask you who you know), and perhaps are prone to display distinctly animal traits of perceiving the intangible (newcomers have a certain smell and they can smell your intentions).

But, surprisingly, by the end of the song, there’s quite a strange twist.

Suddenly not only has the singer identified himself as being one of them (We don’t deal with outsiders very well and Yeah, I have trust issues, not to mention) and he is warning you
Why’d you come, you knew you should have stayed
I tried to warn you just to stay away

But you didn’t listen, so…

And now they’re outside ready to bust

Perhaps it is because
It looks like you might be one of us

 

Damn.

So perhaps this is not just a song about the difference between criminals and law-abiding citizens, or even humans versus non-humans but more about how appearances deceive and behavior might not be so telling after all.

Perhaps you never know who is different, who actually is the monster.

Hell, it might even be …you.

Perhaps we are all monsters…it’s just a matter of perception.

~~~

Though on a whole other level, some fans have theorized that the deeper meaning of this song is actually aimed toward the newest fans of the band – as the fans of Twenty One Pilots – the Skeleton Clique – can seem pretty devoted.

And I can attest to their devotion, as I had the pleasure of seeing Twenty One Pilots perform at The Big Ticket in the autumn of last year.

Between the incessant high-pitched prolonged screaming of the pockets of barely post-pubescent females in the crowd, I also noticed that most every fan knew all the lyrics of nearly every song and it would seem that almost every single one of those fans sang those lyrics at the top of their lungs throughout the entire show.  You could really tell who was a fan and who was not, to put it mildly.

~~~~

*Pandoramancy is when a random song seems to be not so random after a while.  A song which is not just an earworm, but a song that suddenly engenders a reaction in the listener that is oddly dramatic or meaningful through either sudden association or several random yet repeated coincidences.  As well, though an incidence of pandoramancy might only occur once, upon listening, there seems to be an over-reaching personal message for the listener inherent in the lyrics, based upon specific situational associations.

Pandoramancy can also refer to a form of divination that uses a playlist (containing a wide variety of music) and music storage software system (such as Pandora or Spotify).  This divination operates wherein the querent will direct a question towards the Gods, and the querent then sets the playlist on shuffle, and the next song that comes up on the playlist is the answer.)