bloodteethandflame

A life in threes

Tag: Odin

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.

New.

In a further effort to dedicate to working with Odin, I decided to order a new set of runes recently.

Though I have two other sets – one Elder Futhark and one Anglo-Saxon – in keeping with the spirit of creating a new devotional practice, I wanted to have a custom set made specifically for working with Odin.*

After receiving some recommendations and talking to different artisans, I chose a rune-craftsman whose shop is based in the Ukraine – Eril’s Workshop -because his work is simply stunning:

 

~~~

So my new runes were finished last week.

The artisan sent me a neat little photo essay that showed the creation process of my runes.

The runes blanks he used are made of a beautiful light oak – the color of honey -uniformly cut and neatly carved.

Despite being made of slices of oak, looking at the photos, they appear deceptively thin, light as feathers.

~~~

And they are…my runes arrived today.

They remind me of delicate cookies – honey wafers.

(Yes, the color of them does make me (almost!) want to lick them, imagining the sweet flavor of Daelmans Dutch Honey Wafers.)

I will be blooding them in the next few days, with intent to begin using them soon; perhaps by this coming Wednesday. 🙂

~~~

*Yes, I thought about making my own runes.  Perhaps that will be a project for further down the road.

 

 

 

Karma, and struggling.

I found this article by Erin Pavlina this afternoon, and I thought that I would share.

It explains rather succinctly a connection that I’ve been struggling with understanding concerning karma and the Universe.

Mostly, this article inadvertently answers why it is probable that we as spiritual human beings keep running into the same situations in life over and over, and what that has to do with karma.

Check it out.

 

The part that hit me the most profoundly was this:

Karma is about being given the opportunity to change your vibration and attract something different. No one is going to inflict that upon you, but the universe will bring you ample opportunities to choose a different path.

So if you’re holding out hope that something bad will happen to another person, you’re better off releasing, forgiving, and moving on, otherwise you will attract new opportunities that involve you needing to forgive someone. Are you catching my drift here?

If you are constantly wishing negative things will happen to those who wrong you, the universe will constantly bring you people who wrong you so you can continue wishing negative things will happen to them. That’s your vibration. That’s your karma. That’s what the universe thinks you want since that’s what you’re always thinking about.

Karma is not punishment, it’s not revenge, it’s not justice. Karma is the universe giving you opportunities to alter your vibration. Do with that what you will.”

How this relates to my present situation is that I have wondered for quite a while now why I keep getting thrown into situations wherein I keep finding myself feeling echoes of the past – people I’ve hurt, people that have hurt me, and the corresponding situations that I would rather not think about.

Perhaps in focusing on the pain of what I’ve been through, I am constantly re-opening the wounds rather than doing anything to heal them.

Perhaps this is what brought Him to me:  my latest spiritual work – in working with the God that I Had Promised Myself that I Would Never Work With – I have been forced to confront all the reasons why I had refused to work with Him for so long.

I began to see that the only way to move forward was to confront the lesson that kept being presented to me over and over in seeing His face, and the echoes of that premise: If you expect a monster, you will get a monster.

Yes, He is still capable of being a monster.

But the only way to move forward in my spiritual practice is to engage with Him.

And I am engaging with Him.

The only way out is to go through.

 

In whatever manner they approach Me…

So I realize that I have not written in a while.

I feel badly about this, despite the reality that I am beholden to no one, and yet, I have been meaning to write something.  There is a folder on my laptop that is contains at least a dozen half-finished posts- and several completed ones- and yet I still haven’t posted anything in a while.

  • I actually finished that post on polyamory.
  • And there’s a post that I’ve been verbally wrangling with for months concerning cultural beliefs on head-shaving, shame, and adultery, that has had all its references, checked and double-checked…and yet I don’t feel comfortable posting that one, either, because it contains elements that corroborate several personal UPG experiences.  I feel both vindicated and terrified by the concepts that have arisen from that.
  • And devotional tattoos!  A lovely 2,258 words on devotional tattoos that was railroaded into a major overhaul re-write by the latest research (as in anthropological research presented as recently as October 2015) on the historical accuracy of the use of woad.
  • And then there’s Odin.  Ah, Odin – the Blood Brother of my Beloved – and the wordless story that comes to me through a stream of beautifully rendered charcoal pencil sketches that I haven’t even drawn yet* – that involve the World Tree, no ordinary man, and a very curious creature who stumbled into apothesis.

*sigh*

~~~

But what I do end up wanting write about is this rather simple concept that my friend Stormwise mentioned to me over six months ago, regarding how the Gods can act as mirrors, and this premise is found in the Bhagavadgita, of all places, Chapter 4, verse 11:

In whatever way people surrender unto me, I reciprocate with them accordingly. Everyone follows my path, knowingly or unknowingly, O son of Pritha.

Another translation:

With whatever motive people worship Me, I fulfill their desires accordingly. People worship Me with different motives. (4.11)

And this little bit of Chapter 4 stands out to me in that this is the very thing that I am trying to accept.

That the Gods will come to you in the manner that you have come to Them.  If you approach Them full of fear, then They shall come to you in a manner that inspires fear.  Many years ago, I struggled to repress the fear and uncertainty that I felt towards the facets of Them that I felt that I was experiencing.

And Their response -which was often visual at that time – was rather cryptic:

If you are looking for monsters, you will certainly find Us.

It seems such a basic aspect of manifestation that I found myself feeling rather foolish, especially in regards to Odin.

Of course, He was a monster, because I was expecting a monster.  If I learned anything, it was that it scarcely concerned Him if I was afraid of Him or disliked Him.  He had some business to do, and I had some things to learn.

Well, I learned.

~~~~

* Yes.  I can’t get these images out of my head.  I feel compelled to draw them out…and yet, my artistic skills aren’t as well-developed as I would hope.  At first, I thought the story was a rather simple rendition of the lore…until the storyline took on an unexpected turn that featured some rather adult-themes during several meditations later. :-/

 

 

A surprisingly recurrent theme.

I’m happy to report that, unlike past years, my Christmas/Yule holidays were surprisingly pleasant.

Usually the Yuletide season is both physically and emotionally difficult for me, as I have been usually prone to depression and physical illness in the final months of the year.

But not this year.

For that I am grateful and I’m trying not to overthink it.

~~~~

Another aspect of this Yuletide concerned abundance of gifts that involved a particular image.

And that was Yggdrasil…the Tree of Life.

It began my purchase of prayer beads from Beth Wodandis Designs:

treeoflifebeads

I’d had my eye on these prayer beads ever since they were posted.  Perhaps it was the color scheme (I love the earth toned palette and the feel of the madre de cacao wood beads*) but I vacillated on which I preferred — the silver or the goldtone tree pendant?

As much as I’ve always felt drawn to trees – and the concept of the World Tree especially – my brain has always wrangled with the concept of working with Odin/Woden.

Perhaps it is because I am a Lokean at heart, but I cannot deny that I’ve definitely felt drawn to the Tree.  I will not deny the connections that I feel with trees symbolically and spiritually.

So, these beads arrived on December 21st.

And surprisingly, the Universe seemed to answer to my tree connections – in spades – because I then received two other gifts that specifically featured trees – if not the Tree – outright:

A large gift basket from my oldest son – a ‘gourmet picnic basket,’  no less – that featured this frame among its various contents:

treeoflifeframe

Even my son pointed out that the inclusion of this little frame seemed random, as every other item in this gourmet picnic basket** was food/beverage related.

This basket contained a pair of wine glasses, a standard-sized bottle of red wine, a small assortment of gourmet cheeses, a cheese knife, a cutting board, two plates, a box of fancy English biscuits, a package of assorted organic wheat crackers, a pound of fine dark chocolate…and what we all thought was simply an elegantly folded pair of linen napkins, tied with a ribbon.

The frame was folded within the napkins.

The basket was store-bought and obviously pre-made.

It was definitely an unexpected, if somewhat odd surprise.

~~~

Then, a relatively new acquaintance — who knows very little of my spirituality, let alone my personal preferences — gifted me with this delicate ankle bracelet

treeoflifeankle

…featuring (yet another) Tree of Life.

 

Hmmm.

~~~

*My Loki prayer beads feature palm wood beads.

**And speaking of picnic baskets, watching the BBC’s Doctor Who Christmas episode, there was a delightful reference to

I kid you not

A picnic in Asgard.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunshine Blogger Award

sunshine-award

Thanks Amber who nominated me for this award!

Here are the questions from Amber:

  • What drew you to blogging?

I have been keeping a journal – in notebook form – since I was 8 years old. (As a matter of fact, I still do write in my notebook journal nearly every day.)

In 2002, I began blogging at LiveJournal and the now-defunct OpenDiary in an attempt to keep in touch with friends that I’d made in various online (and offline) Pagan and kink communities.

  • How did you meet Loki?

This is a difficult question to answer, as it depends on how one would define ‘meeting’ Loki.

I’ve known of Loki since I was a kid, mostly due to the combination of my interests in reading world mythology, cultural lore, fairy tales and comic books.

As well, as I’ve written before, I had an imaginary/invisible friend as a child who ‘left’ me around age 9 or so.  Then I started writing – keeping a daily journal/diary, as well as writing short stories that featured several characters.  Then, around age 12, I also started drawing in an attempt to illustrate some of these stories, and there was a particular man whose face I drew a lot.

It isn’t a far stretch for me to admit that that man had been my childhood ‘invisible friend.’

But I didn’t think of my invisible friend again, until the spring of 2008, when my younger son became severely ill, and was in and out of the hospital for several months. Though my son was hardly ever alone (besides that my husband and I took turns staying overnights with him throughout each hospital stay), my 5-year-old son told me in April 2008 that a tall, friendly man would come to visit him in the hospital, and that once, the man brought his wife and two sons.  The first time that my son described this man – how he looked, what clothes he wore, even the way that he talked – I could not help but admit that this man seemed a lot like the ‘invisible friend’ that I’d had until age 9.  But I didn’t think that it could be possible. (I am still not certain if these were dreams my son had had or if these visits were brief waking-visions, but after the third visitation, my son informed me that this man had told him to tell me that of course (he) knows me because (he) was my friend a long time ago. O.o)

And I still didn’t want to admit that that could have been Loki.

That is, until mid-2011, when Loki began to visit my dreams, and actually identified Himself as such.

~~~

So, take of the above ^ as you will.

You could say that I met Loki when I was a young child.

Or you could say that I didn’t really know it was Him until 2008.

Or you could say that I didn’t want to admit that it was Him until He insisted on (re) introducing Himself to me in 2011.

 

  • How long have you been with Loki?

(See above.)

Since I was a kid, but I wasn’t really pushed to put it all together until 2011.

And even then, I didn’t officially dedicate an altar to Him until April 2012.

So what is that 3 years -4 years – officially?

Or should I say what He would likely say:  Forever, Heathir 

 

  • Do you interact with other gods than Loki? Who?

In 1997, I began to identify myself as a Celtic Pagan.  I had been studying the Celtic pantheon for a long time before, and I decided to dedicate a lot of my practice/devotion to the Morrighan, believing Her to be my patron Goddess.

But for some reason, things began to change around 2010 or so.  I had begun working on writing a book about the Morrighan, simply because I’d been studying Her in lore for years and there wasn’t a lot of discussion of Her at that time.  And though I couldn’t figure out why, the more that I attempted to gather information on the Morrighan, the more disconnected from Her I felt.

So, in February 2012 I received a divination that pointed me in the direction of Freyja, rather than the Morrighan.

For this reason, I have always had a permanent altar for Freyja ever since.  (Not surprisingly, both Loki and Freyja have interacted with me in an extension of that same sovereignty work that I’d attempted to do with the Morrighan years before.)

As well, before officially dedicating to Loki in 2014, I had had interactions with Dionysus, Baphomet, and Cernunnos. (Dionysus still shows up once in a while, but I’ve never maintained a permanent space for Him.)

I also offer to Freyr and Odin at times, and I maintain an altar for Hela.

  • Your favourite way to relax and unwind?

I have no set favorite way to unwind.

I like to walk in the woods.

I meditate.

I write.

I draw.

I like to crochet and do embroidery, as well.

  • Name one place you’ve never been but would love to visit.

Iceland.

  • What kind of music do you like?

I love all sorts of music. I can and do enjoy listening to all different genres of music.  I don’t have a favorite genre, but in terms of radio stations, you’ll find me listening to alternative rock, such as what would be found on DC 101 when I’m in the car.

  • What kind of books do you like?

Like music, I don’t have a favorite kind of book.  I’ve been reading a lot of mythology and cultural history lately, but I like a well-written suspenseful story no matter what the genre.  I also love reading anthologies of short fiction and poetry.

  • What’s your favourite song, and why?

As I’ve said above re:music, I don’t favor any particular genre of music, so I could not ever hope to choose a definitive ‘favorite song.’

But I can tell you that I have had Chris Cornell’s ‘Nearly Forgot My Broken Heart’ as an earworm for over a week now.  When I’m not humming that song, lately, it has been either Cold War Kids’ ‘First’ or Coleman Hell’s ‘Two Heads.’

  • Cats or dogs?

While I have no problem with cats – I suppose that I like them well enough as I have three of them living with me right now – I consider myself slightly more of a ‘dog’ person.

  • Tea or coffee?

Both.  I used to drink tea exclusively, but when I started to suffer from kidney stones, my doctor suggested that I should switch to drinking coffee instead.  So I drink 1 or 2 cups of coffee a day as a replacement for all that tea that I used to drink, but I still enjoy a good cup of hot spiced chai once in a while, or a tall glass of sweet iced tea.

Today is Wednesday.

Out on my walk today, I’d been having thoughts about Mr. Wednesday.

And two songs immediately came up on shuffle from my playlist

One after the other

Both are by Fever Ray:

and

The God Phone, and the Devil in the details.

This past Saturday, I went to a local craftsperson/artisan event that was being held downtown from where I live.

Part of the reason for the event was to inspire folks to begin their holiday shopping locally, and I was happy to see that a lot of the shops along the main street were open and busy as a result of this event.

I also discovered a few (new to me) local stores that I realized that I hadn’t even known existed so close to my home.

So, as I was browsing in an antique store that I’d never thought to explore, I came across so many battered (yet  overpriced) mundane items that filled me with childhood nostalgia.

One such item was a bulky black rotary telephone that reminded me of the one that sat on the side table in my Nana’s front hall in the early 70’s.

It looked just like the one that I had been warned by my Nana was a Very Important Thing that I must never play with.

It also made a very deep, jangling ring, and I remember being a bit terrified by the look of it and the sound of it when it rang.

I vaguely recall her explanations about how this telephone was a Very Important Thing for Hearing the Voices of Those Who Are Very Far Away, so I chuckle to think of it now, but I remember being entirely convinced in my young child-mind that only God would ever call my Nana on that phone.

And besides, how I understood it, it seemed to me that God was definitely a Someone Not to be trifled with, as well as Someone with a Voice, from Very Far Away.

~~~~

As I was mulling over that particular memory, and clumsily trying avoid disaster as I navigated the narrow spaces between the jumbled collections of antiques and the steady stream of my fellow-browsers, I found myself inevitably being jostled toward china cabinets that lined the farthest wall.  I wasn’t the slightest bit interested in looking at shelves of dusty, gilt-edged dishes and bric-a-brac, until something caught my eye:

NorseWindGodmatchsafe

At first glance, I’d assumed that this brass match-holder (to be mounted near a fireplace) was supposed to depict the face of the Devil or an imp – and I would still say so – but upon inspection of the tag, I saw something else written there.

While I tried several times to capture a good angle that would allow a view of both the face and the tag, I couldn’t get it all within the frame.

The tag reads:

LCH

Brass “Norse Wind God”

Match Holder

$65.00

Doing more research on this piece through the Internet/Google – I went to Amazon sold lists, various antique websites, Pinterest, and eBay – this piece is listed as depicting any of several Beings: the Devil, Pan, Dionysus/Bacchus, and the Green Man.

One seller on eBay refers to it as a ‘Fire-God/Imp Match-holder.’

Another seller on an antique website refers to this face as ‘Zeus’

I was very taken aback to see ‘Norse Wind God’ however…because I know Who I thought of when I read that on the tag.

Hm.

Syncretism, anyone?

(PS: Loki seemed left out of all that reaching for description of  ‘the possible Deity’ depicted on this antique match-safe — and I found that surprising, too.)

Month for Loki Day 28: Odin’s Raven Rune Charm

I wanted to highlight the existence of this because I’m fascinated with it.
The Youtube video (as referenced at Freya’s Labyrinth) does have a particularly unusual line, referring to ‘the wolf of friendliness’ — and I especially love that metaphor.
Hel, I love the concept of this being a sort of mysterious fragment of poetry whose existence doesn’t seem to fit into any other portion of the lore.
As well, I am intrigued with the possibility (posited in the referenced introductory commentary from Sophus Bugge) that to be able to comprehend the meaning of this poem might be an initiation into the some sort of Mystery itself.
There are other translations, as seen here
But the best way that I have found to examine it, is to listen to it yourself

A connection.

Here’s the end of November, and as you may know, most of the time that I tried to write about Odin, the posts…got eaten by the interwebz.

Except for maybe, two.

Was it inevitable?  Probably.

But, I have to write about this before the end of November; before I forget.

You know, I meant to write about this the other day (Monday, November 19th) because I went to a concert at the House of Blues with my oldest kid.

It was a metal show, by the way, because we share a love for metal music, my oldest son and I.

Lamb of God was the main show, along with Hatebreed and In Flames.  The opener was an excellent band named…Sylopsis <–(something like that.  I hate to think that I can’t remember the opener band’s name exactly, but they were not listed on the bill.  That is so sad, because they were quite good.)

Now, how does this relate to Odin?  Well, others may disagree, but I’ll tell you this.   Almost as soon as I started really researching the lore — and that would be about two or three years ago — I had a lot of metal on my iPod, Lamb of God included.

And I’ve no doubt that the gods can and do try to get through to us through such ordinary channels as the music that we listen to.

Or at least, in my case, I do know that the first time that I ever heard Lamb of God’s Descending, all I could think of was… Odin.

The drums, the wavering, dark thrumming of the opening notes that launches into the lyrics sung in low, almost guttural voice, conjuring up imagery in my mind of one being bound and hung by knowledge…someone seeking what has been lost…

The visual began as a dark and powerful one, a vision of a man who hung from a great height, his arms extended, hands scrabbling for something that lay broken in pieces below him, just out of his reach.

He struggles to remain conscious, to make sense of the dizzying vision of those pieces, and I see his fingers straining to gather them up… because to touch them, to hold them in his hands would be to begin to understand them…

And this song seemed to play over and over on my iPod, almost intrusively, throughout those days.

Descending became an almost unshakeable ear-worm for me.

Hearing that song could call up the wind and the darkest clouds to surround me and haunt me and my thoughts on the sunniest day.

It was the most unsettling song, always stopping me in my tracks, and yet I would never think to click the shuffle tab to get past it every time it came up.

But anyway, that song is by Lamb of God.  A groove/thrash/dark/new metal band from Richmond, VA.  They’ve been around since 1990 or so.

And, while Descending isn’t the only song that I like by LoG — there are several more that I had become familiar with before it — Descending has become the one song that I have always, undoubtly associated with He Who  hung from the tree for nine days; He Who sacrificed Himself to Himself for wisdom and won the runes.

But sadly, I knew that Lamb of God wasn’t going to play Descending on Monday night.  Even if I’d heard that they hardly ever play it, I secretly hoped that they would.

They played other songs, of course – Walk with me in Hell, Now You’ve Got Something to Die for, Omerta, Black Label — and the crowd was a rollicking, energetic mosh pit from the front of the stage all the way back to the stairs, and my oldest son, his friends, and I, were within that mass of rough, human energy and movement for a good long hour and a half.

But I had another surprise — and it was an interesting one I might add — in lieu of hearing Descending, I noticed their bassist, instead:

This is John Campbell, bassist, and one of the original members of Lamb of God.

Doesn’t he kind of remind you of Someone?

(Gandalf, maybe? <–as my oldest son said.)

Or perhaps, the One whom Tolkien based Gandalf the Grey upon — which is actually the Old Man/ Wanderer himself.

😀