12/29/14

Letters to Loki # 6 - Have you seen my marbles?

Hey there Sly Fox,

It has been a wild ride over the last week. My mood has pretty much been all over the map. I'm still a little hypomanic but I think I'll actually get more then 4 hours of sleep tonight. The kids have been excited as all get out over their new LeapPad tablets. Beloved's parents bought them for 'em for Christmas. We set them up today and I've got to say, if I had known this was the key to getting them to stop pestering each other, I would have found a way to acquire them sooner.

I am relieved to report that the fingerless gloves I was concerned about actually did fit Beloved. I get nervous making stuff for him because I always tend to judge things a size too small. I was amused when you declared the pumpkin spice candle that Beloved gave me to be yours. I restrained the giggle but it was a bit of work. Now it seems to me that this candle is burning down faster then it should be by any rights. It makes me wonder if you have a hand in it.

I'm happy that you and Sigyn liked the snowflake ornaments that I made. I do agree with you, the one I made for you shouldn't be blocked out to look like a proper snowflake because it's pretty flipping awesome in it's pseudo-neuron look right now. I ran out of time and thread to make more for the others, but I was told that the desire to give the gift counted more then the gift itself.

In the midst of my hypomania, I have cleaned the house, put all the laundry away, entertained the kids, and gotten a bunch of writing done (despite my shortened attention span right now). My brain is starting to slow down some. I slept a little longer last night then I did the night before. I was up again around 5 but it's better then being up at 4 with only 3 hours of sleep. I'm trying to burn off some of that extra energy and I have been using it on my new kick spindle. The thing shimmies a little bit when I get it going real fast but that's my only complaint.  I haven't much spun up yet on it.

I did some carding earlier today. After I finish this batch of raspberry red merino-bamboo fiber, I'll get to the blue dyed wool. I think it's Bluefaced Leicester wool, but I'm not sure. The idea of that does make me giggle, however. I'd say more but I'm kinda having difficulty stringing thoughts together. I'll catch up with you later.

12/22/14

Letters to Loki #5 - Blessed Solstice!

Hey there Flamehair,

First things first, I want to say thank you to you for helping me not freak out when I went out and was social this weekend. With how much I have been struggling with even going out of the house, the help that I got in getting out the door, to the party, being there, and back home is deeply appreciated. I know I said thank you a few times now, but it was something absolutely huge and I can't really think of any other way to express my gratitude.

I also want to thank you for nudging things into our path that helped take some of the financial pressure off of us over the last week or so. Some things may have been minor nuisances that turned into big problems if it wasn't for that bit of help. And I am hopeful that we may be turning a proverbial corner with the end of the year in sight. A big part of that progress has come by way of your assistance, even when I was admittedly being a stubborn fool and refusing to ask for help.

I feel a little silly saying this, but I am finding myself a bit disappointed that there isn't snow on the ground right now. I never thought I would say those words but I have a few times now. It isn't so much that I want snow so that everything looks 'just right' for the holidays and more that I want my boys to get a chance to play in some before they go back to school in about two weeks. The cloudy skies kinda gets my hopes up and then nothing happens.

If Snowmageddon happens over the next little while, I wouldn't complain too much. I like the idea of Beloved having the day off to spend with us while the kids are on break from school. He's been having an awful hard time over the last half year. I keep asking him if there's anything I can do to help but there doesn't seem to be much beyond what I do to keep the house running and minding the kids. Of late, I've been thinking I should try doing readings on Keen again but I'm having a hard time getting past the waves of anxiety that roll over me at that thought.

The kids are getting excited for Christmas. While we don't celebrate it here, their grandparents do and people at school tend to hype up the idea. That said, they're also looking forward to a visit from Odin. My eldest keeps asking if he can see Sleipnir. The idea of a 'magic horsie' apparently has charmed him even more then the thought of flying reindeer. I figured you'd be pleased to hear that. I'm thinking that on the 24th, we'll toss a handful of oats out for Sleipnir. Other kids are throwing 'reindeer food' and I think that Sleipnir could use something to snack on too. After all, we're going to be putting out some cookies for Odin (the kids insisted on this).

I've something I'm going to make for you. I think you'll like it. While thread crochet is not my strongest suit, I suspect that this project will be forgiving enough for my perfectionism. I tried to find the candle wicks so that I could make one for Sigyn but the blasted things vanished on me. Then the wax I was going to use went missing. It makes me suspect that my craft room is one step away from gaining sentience and demanding food. I am, however, flexible and going to put my efforts into something else equally pleasant for her. Because she has a fondness for butterflies, I'm going to whip up something based off of that. To say the least, I will be kept busy over the next few days.

Thank you again for being so awesome. You are wonderful and I love you.

12/19/14

Amazement and ramblings.

Waning Frost Moon (Age: 27 days)
Sign: Scorpio
Weather: seasonably cold, cloudy
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

So, I saw this post and my jaw hit the floor. I literally could not move for a few moments because I was stunned with amazement. After Rose and her circle (coven doesn't feel the right word, and neither does circle but I'm still to shocked to 'brain' right now) had taken me into their arms and done a powerful spell to address my fertility issues, Hlif appeared to me in a dream. She was holding an infant in one arm and a toddler by the hand.

She looked exactly as she does in this card. She said nothing, but put the infant in my arms and then had the toddler take my hand. The age gap between the children was three years. The infant was asleep, but the toddler had the same brilliant blue eyes that Snuggle Bug has. Several months later, my eldest son (aka Cuddle Bear) was conceived. Did I mention that the infant appeared to be a few months old when she placed him in my arms?

I forgot about that dream until I saw Galina's post about the new Hlif prayer card available for purchase. Then I saw the image of Hlif and the whole thing came flooding back to me.

I sat down at the computer to post some snark about one of my recently absent spiritual companions when I checked posts on Wordpress and saw that. It kinda overrode what I was initially thinking. My 'guide' Eathan's asshattery, however, has taken the edge off that shock. I have several 'guides' though I think spirit companion is a better term. One of them presents as a young man (approximately 17 years old, caucasian with red hair and your sterotypical high school football player's build) and he goes by the name Eathan. For the last half year, Eathan had been quiet and then I realized it wasn't that he was quiet but rather that he had gone off somewhere.

Now, I didn't think much of the matter. My spirit companions come and go by their own will. Over the last half year, I had been rather caught up in other stuff (well, closer to a year but anyways...) and I figured if they weren't actively poking me to make their presence known that they were either about and observing or off somewhere doing their own thing. For all I knew, one of them may have negotiated terms of incarnation. Now, who is it that I would have put money on that last concept? If you guessed Eathan, you are right. For a while, he was trying to talk me into allowing him to incarnate through me.

And by 'a while' I mean for several years. Stargazer at one point got sick of his attempts to have her ferry his side of the conversation for a few months which lead to her and him having words. That was when Eathan decided that she was the greatest thing to walk the earth and he basically attempted to woo her. Which he did with all the awkwardness of a young adult who didn't realize that the object of his affection was entirely indifferent to him and didn't realize that there were distinct challenges to being in a relationship where only one of you is corporeal. To say the least, Stargazer bore his efforts with the patience of a saint and enough snark to fill an Olympic sized swimming pool. Since Stargazer has transitioned from life into afterlife (shuffled off the mortal coil/died/etc. I still haven't found a comfortable way to say that my best friend is deceased.), Eathan decided to make the attempt to court her again.

When he vanished off of my proverbial radar, I figured one of three things happened.

1. Stargazer smacked him into another realm of existence for irritating her.
2. Eathan negotiated incarnation with someone and was on his way into this world.
3. He found someone else to moon over and was currently engaged in that.

Since his return this afternoon, he has done the following:

1. Insisted that all homemade bread is good bread, even if I say the loaf came out badly.
2. Declared that one is permitted to slurp the liquid portion of beef stew because it is not soup.
3. Done a bad imitation of Loki. (It was so bad that Lopt facepalmed and literally said "go away, kid, you bother me."
4. Annoyed my other spiritual companions to the point where they have vacated the premises for the moment.
5. Put out the candle I had burning on my altar (because he wanted to see if I would notice and if he could do it).

So, all in all, Eathan is back and being his typical self. This makes me wonder how things are going to go over the next little while. Eathan hasn't exactly been introduced to Freyr. If he manages to annoy Loki to the point where Loki decides he's going to go away for a little while, just how irritated is he going to make Freyr?

I also wonder if having Eathan back means that my life may be returning to some semblance of 'normal'. For a while now, things were pretty quiet on the psychic level. Enough so that I wasn't sure if something had changed within myself and I was having difficulties with my gifts. Now, however, I think the 'silence' is going to be filled up with Eathan causing mischief and the others trying to get a handle on him. I may find myself having to bind him to a rock and stick him in 'timeout' (aka the sock drawer) again if he gets too bad. I really don't want to have to do that, though. Last time it was really aggravating to hear him every time I opened the sock drawer.

12/16/14

Ramblings about Dreams

Waning Frost Moon (Age: 24 days)
Sign: Libra
Weather: Warm, humid, cloudy
(90% of last week's snow melted)
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
It's been a little while but I still seem to be improving in the mental state department. The migraine last night persisted somewhat into the morning, necessitating a nap to get rid of the pain. As I slept, I dreamed that Freyr sat me down at this large wooden table. It looked like a trestle table made out of some sort of hardwood. The boards that made up the table top were wide and a dark color that spoke of years (if not longer) of use. The table itself was long enough to seat thirty people. We were sitting at the head of the table. Or should I say, I was sitting at the head of the table and Freyr was standing beside me, leaning against the table.

I don't really remember what the room looked like but I remember that it was warm and spacious. I some how knew that the weather outside of the building was bitterly cold, despite the fact that it was daylight. I just knew that there was snow on the ground and ice hanging from the trees outside, though I couldn't see out any windows, for the windows had curtains drawn across them and they were shuttered. I was sitting at the table dressed in the same horribly casual clothes that I have been wearing today (old sweats and an over sized sweater) and feeling like I didn't belong and that I was under dressed. Which was a bit silly as Freyr was dressed in jeans, a flannel, and hiking boots.

He didn't tell me to stay seated but I could tell by the look in his eye that he didn't want me to get up and wander off (though sitting in that seat made me *extremely* uncomfortable). Just as I was reaching the point where I couldn't stand it any longer, he finally said something. What he said was really simple, but pretty much everything I've been struggling with for the last few days, "Stay in your body." Now, it may sound strange to say that I have been struggling to stay 'embodied' but it has been part of what I've been dealing with because of my c-PTSD. Even in my dreams, I tend to disassociate myself from my physical sensations and play third party observer.

I really didn't want to do it. I felt over exposed and vulnerable. It didn't matter that it was a dream, that we were alone, or that the place we were in was safe. I still really wanted to 'check out' because of how unsafe I felt. As I was struggling with this, Freyr knelt down beside the chair and put his hands over mine. Where I had only vaguely felt the sensations of my clothes and sitting in the chair earlier, when his hands covered mine, it was as real as if it were happening when I was awake. A part of me screamed that I needed to pull my hands away from his and to push away the sensations. I sat there shaking from the effort it took not to do that.

After what felt like forever, he half stood up and leaned forward to kiss me on the forehead. Then I found myself in a different dream where I was struggling to make pancakes for a literal army. I kept getting angrier and angrier with each fouled up pancake. I was at the point of being ready to have a mini-meltdown over it when Loki walked in and took over the task of making pancakes. Again, I was struggling with the whole staying 'in' my body. Again, Freyr was there. In this one, he was standing behind me. He wrapped his arms around me and just held me. I woke up with the sensation of being held and the confusing thought that I needed to make chocolate chip pancakes properly to really be worthy of anything.

I didn't give the dreams any thought until I read the last paragraph of this post. When I read it, I had the curious sensation of feeling like the world was reeling for a moment, for I could nearly swear it was something that Freyr had said to me at some point over the last several days word for word. I've been struggling with my dissociative symptoms for a little while now. With that comes the feeling like I don't matter, which makes me more prone to dissociate. It's a pretty vicious cycle.

I'm pretty sure that Freyr is going to keep working with me on this dissociation business. It's been the main symptom of trouble (aside from the nonsense that goes with bipolar and a touch of seasonal affective disorder). A part of me is scared that I'm not up for this. But I'm just going to do my best to stay body aware and stuff over the holidays (despite the stress). I may not feel like I'm worth it but Freyr is of the opinion that I am. (Probably with a laundry list of others, starting with Stargazer, to be honest.) We'll see what tonight's dreams bring me. At least it wasn't nightmares last night. That is progress right there.

12/15/14

Letters to Loki #4 (untitled)

Hey there Sly One,

I am just spinning my wheels right now. This headache is making it kinda hard to think coherently right now. It's been a fairly busy day today. I am so thankful that Beloved got his holiday bonus and that the mother-in-law randomly gave us some cash. It helped to take what was turning into an awful situation and made it something bearable. Beloved is fairly sure that if we play our cards right, we can make our first payment of rent to the new landlord on time. That would be a very good thing. I don't want to start that off with a bad impression.

I was really anxious earlier in the day before Beloved told me about his bonus and putting it all in the bank. I put that anxiety to work cleaning and baking. I was going to make cookies but I wound up making a huge loaf of bread. I was surprised that you didn't want any. I guess the coffee and that apple beverage was more in line with what you were interested in today. I still don't think that apple beverage came out quite right. I'm going to try adding more apples in next time. I suspect that my apple-water ratio was too light on the apples. I may also go with a different kind of apple, like a Granny Smith.

If I can manage it, I might even be able to get the stuff to taste like apple pie. Speaking of apple pie, I found a recipe for 'apple pie moonshine' (where the moonshine is replaced with vodka). I am totally going to get the stuff and try it out next month. I keep hearing about Fireball whiskey and I'm considering getting a bottle. The other thing I am considering is getting a bottle of whiskey and infusing cinnamon in it myself. The reports that Fireball has antifreeze in it makes me a little uncomfortable with the thought of getting it.

I still have that bottle of peach-cinnamon liqueur in the fridge. Since I don't have a pie scented candle for you right now, I figured pie flavored booze would be a good stand in. The only thing stopping me from making a pie is the fact that I really have no idea how to make a pie crust from scratch, all of my attempts have been inedible. I don't want to subject you to that. Maybe I'll be able to find a way to manage to get a pie crust on the shopping list next Saturday. I've got pretty much everything except the crust to make pumpkin pie. I know how much you love that stuff.

I found my oil warmer today. If I can locate the nice scented oil, I'll try to do that up for you tomorrow. I put that stuff in a safe place and now I can't seem to locate it. This seems to be a habit of mine. It makes me question if putting things in a safe place is a good idea because I can't locate them until half a year later, if not longer.

I'm almost finished spinning the blue-green merino-silk blend. I was thinking about making something for Sigyn with it. I'm just not sure what I can do with that small amount of thread. I still need to ply the stuff, which makes the yardage go down significantly. I was thinking maybe attempting to make something lace but I honestly am stumped on what to make. Any suggestions would be appreciated. It's been too long since I've made something for her. I really want to do something special because she is pretty wonderful and deserves special things.

Speaking of wonderful, Freyr's been super affectionate today. When I wasn't stammering, I was torn between delight and the urge to hide. You'll be pleased, I resisted that urge (not that it would have worked out too well, anyways). When I am in a good mental space, I feel awed and amazed. Most of all, loved. And Freyr seems to agree with you that one can never have too much love in their life. He's been pointing out all these fantastic little details that I just kept missing over the last few weeks. For all the challenges that are in front of me, there are a lot of really fantastic things. One of them is you and your love and friendship.

Thank you for being in my corner, even when I am paranoid, whiny, and miserable. Thank you really doesn't begin to express it, but it's all I can come up with right now while my head feels like it's trying to decide if it is going to explode or not. Give my love to Sigyn. I hope that you two get to do something special over the next little while. You both deserve it.

12/12/14

Writer's Cramp & Stuff

Waning Frost Moon (Age: 20 Days)
Sign: Virgo
Weather: Seasonably cold, several inches of
snow on the ground, cloudy
~*~*~*~*~*~
I am thankful for the fact that Freyr kicked my butt into doing my writing today. I think I got more accomplished today then I have all week. I am pretty sure he was the reason why I was still up and moving about in the morning after Beloved went off to work, rather then collapsing on the couch and sleeping until eleven o'clock in the morning. I've been doing a lot of handwriting today. The typing is something of a relief.

I don't know how many words per minute I am writing but I think I managed about six pages in this notebook. It has been grueling work to write this manuscript. It is nonfiction and that makes things all that much harder. Add to it that I am reaching into my past and sorting out things with respect to past trauma, and it just gets a bit more difficult. It was, however, a welcome distraction from my current anxiety. I forgot how even writing about bad things helps me to step away from present worries.

Our financial life got interesting over the past few weeks. The car needed some work, there was the last of the holiday shopping last week, and some insanity with the former landlord that resulted in money being particularly tight. Thankfully, Beloved gets paid today. That will help things enormously. I don't know how things are going to go with the new landlord. I am hoping that it will be better then they had been with the one we had before. I am, however, a little nervous. 

The big snowfall that was projected for yesterday wasn't as bad as they had predicted. Still, I thought it would have been helpful if the parking lot was plowed. It wasn't. I am doing my best not to worry that this is a sign of things to come, but I confess I am a little nervous. I poured all of that nervous energy into my therapy journal today because I had to cancel my therapy session (car getting worked on and all). Freyr sat with me as I was writing. It helped because I kinda felt alone and upset at the time.

He's telling me that I can negotiate some concessions from the other gods with respect to offerings over the next few months as we try to rebuild a bit of a financial cushion. I feel sad that I am in this position. I felt badly about what I had been giving as offerings before now, to be honest. I felt like they weren't good enough. Commercially made candles and such just feels wrong to me. Loki, however, has revoked my snob privileges and told me that I shouldn't kick myself about the fact that I can't give them fancy beeswax candles and stuff.

Advent has thus far been interesting. I think I mentioned earlier this week that my in-laws randomly gave us a Yule tree. The timing of it kinda had me suspicious because earlier that day, I was feeling a bit sad about our lack of a 'real' tree. I'm pretty sure that Dea had a hand in our receiving a tree that was the perfect size to go in our living room and the timing of its arrival. The kids are getting excited about the idea of Odin coming on Yule. I am considering how to introduce them to Dea, as my eldest has taken a keen interest in the statuettes of Dea that I have on the altar.

On the whole, I feel like I'm not up to the task of teaching them about spirituality. Freyr tells me that I'll be fine. Loki grins and says he's got lots of ideas I can try (which almost always makes me wary because his ideas that are tossed out when he has that gleam in his eye usually turn ridiculous pretty fast). Dea just smiles benevolently. I think I'm just going to have to trust the gods to put the right words in my mouth when it comes to having these conversations. The boys are old enough now that they're getting interested in the spiritual aspect of the world.

12/9/14

Letters to Loki # 3

Hail He who is best loved by the Lady of Victory,

I am torn between wanting the holiday season to just be over right now and grudgingly enjoying it. I have two things left to make and then I'll be on to the wrapping phase of Yule gifts. The kids have been bouncing around alternating between excited chatterings about Santa and talking about what they hope Odin is bringing them for Yule. I am envious of their glee. I can't seem to find it in me to be excited over this because I'm worrying about grown up stuff, like the damn bills and what not.

We now have a Yule tree. We're going to be decorating it this afternoon. I am hopeful that the kids will behave fairly well about the tree this year. It is as though we have two cats who stare at the shiny object and decide they must murder it. I am hoping that they'll resist the urge to get into ALL of the ornaments long enough for the tree to be up and pretty for a little while.

I feel a little guilty listening to Christian carols. I just enjoy some of them a great deal. My two favorites are God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen and We Three Kings. I kinda wish there were some pagan yule carols that had the same delightful sound to them. As a former choir geek, I kinda miss being able to sing these wonderful things and the soaring sensation of having my voice as part of a larger body that was singing.

It makes me sad that the financial difficulties are getting in the way of some of the nicer offerings I wanted to make. I wanted to get some lovely candles and some shiny things for you and the others. Unfortunately, I am stuck getting the inexpensive things from the big box store. If the money crunch gets any more intense, I may have to forgo scented candles and just burn tea lights for you.

A part of me says I should attempt doing readings on Keen again. Honestly, however, I am afraid to try it. I don't really know what I'm doing when it comes to marketing. I don't really do a good job interacting with unfamiliar people. The last reading I did on Keen didn't go that well and the one before it was pretty bad (for me). I am somewhat gunshy on that front. I don't know what to do. I hung up my hat when it came to Etsy. I realized that I wasn't producing enough material fast enough to justify that project. And I encountered the whole marketing thing that made me so anxious I was feeling pretty sick.

It is looking like I may not get my student loan debt forgiven. I don't know where we're going to find the funds to manage that and everything else. I am trying really hard not to perseverate over money. It was just really rough to check the bank account today and discover that we had much less then I anticipated. I was talking with my new psychiatrist about how I get really anxious over money stuff before I start getting depressed. She said I should keep an eye on that.

I don't know if my anxiety about money right now is because of the fact that things are financially challenging or if it is my sliding into a depressive episode. I really don't want to deal with a depressive episode right now. I have stuff I want to do and places I want to go. I get so angry at the mood swings. More should I say, with the depressive episodes. I am at a loss for what to do about the depressive episodes and how they suck the life right out of me.

I have started work on putting together a little kit to help me when things get really bad but I feel kinda foolish for doing it. I know that I should put my pride on the backburner for the time being and just focus on what gets results. I still find myself thinking that other people don't need this kind of supports for functioning. My therapist is of the mind that this line of thinking is partly the result of my not having enough social interaction. She's probably right. I have no idea how to resolve that.

I seem to be running into creative walls each time I turn around these last few days. It's really frustrating. If you could point me in a direction where I'm not going to hit the walls of this proverbial maze I'm in, that'd be great. Because it feels really stupid to be stumbling around like this over daily things.

My last few letters have been really cranky and depressed. I apologize for that. I started out intending for this to be happier and then it devolved. I won't delete it but I wanted to end with an apology for this negative tone. I know that if I force happiness it's just going to be a bad result. So, I'm keeping things real. But I feel kinda guilty for the down cast feelings and bitchiness. I'll be making cookies later. I'll give you the first of the batch. I know you love chocolate.

12/7/14

Crossposting: In Memoriam

This is not the first time I have had to mercy kill an animal. Like the first time (almost two years ago a baby bird fell out of a nest and broke its wing), I did my best to make sure that the creature suffered as little as possible. In Swimmer's case, it was a fatal dose of a fishy anesthetic (clove oil, if you ever need to use it). In the birds, it was breaking its little neck. In both cases, I felt horrible about doing it.

I passionately love life. Even when I am suicidally depressed, I still have a deep love of life. The act of ending another life grieves me. I have had times where I seriously considered going vegan because of how much it bothers me that other lives must end so that I may live. But, unlike the case of life feeding on life to survive, the act of extinguishing the life of another creature with no benefit to myself feels dirty.

Galina Krasskrova spoke of miasma a little while back. She mentioned something about how dead bodies are sources of that contagion. I can whole heartedly agree with this proposition and I can state, first hand, that the instant life leaves the body miasma is present. Lingering illness has its own miasmic qualities. In the case of Swimmers 2.0, the miasma of his illness and death had me feeling deeply disturbed and filthy.

Spiritually cleansing helped some with that, as did utterly scouring and cleansing the tank. Still, it took me a little over a week to right myself after that. Swimmers was a typical betta fish. Some people would say that I'm too soft hearted for being as disturbed by the fact that I had to kill him as I was. I am fairly certain that feisty little fish has progressed onto another life. If the way he met his death is any indication of how his next life is going to be, Swimmers in his next incarnation will be a force to be reckoned with.

For my part, I'm going to do my best to honor his memory by making sure that his replacement (a white betta named Ghost) lives a long life. Aside from that, I think it is going to take a while for me to again have warm fuzzy feelings towards the scent of cloves.
Original Post Here.

12/6/14

Dreams of Freyr

Full Frost Moon (Age: 15 days)
Sign: Gemini
Weather: Partly cloudy, seasonably cold,
no snow on the ground
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
Over the last several weeks, I've been having dreams of Freyr when I'm not having nightmares. He has also had a hand in ripping me out of my nightmares. A few nights ago, I dreamed that I was on a vast plain. Snow lay thick and it was very quiet. As I stood there and shivered, I wondered why I was there. Then, behind me, I heard the sound of hoofbeats.

I turned to find Freyr leading a coal black horse towards me. His expression was solemn as he approached me. He took my hand and put the reins for that horse into it. He told me that I had to master the beast. I responded that I didn't know how to ride and this earned me a droll look. Apparently having physical knowledge of how to ride and the ability to do so in dreams is not directly related. I felt something of a fool for that.

He helped me mount this horse and immediately it began to toss its head and stamp the ground, where it had been calm, if not docile under his hand. I attempted to talk to the horse, but it only grew more agitated as I did so. Freyr told me that the horse could smell my fear and that I needed to master myself if I was going to gain control of the horse. That was about when it reared and I was thrown off into the snow. This was repeated several times.

The fourth time I hit the ground I was so upset that I was starting to cry. I didn't want to be crying. I rather loathe the experience and have a special hatred for crying in front of people who mean a lot to me. Unlike the other times where I had burst into tears with him, Freyr did not put his arms around me and tell me it was going to be ok.

Instead, he watched me as I forced myself to my feet and struggled between crying and anger. I walked over to the horse and he moved to help me mount. I walked in front of the horse and took hold of the bridle. As I pulled the horse's face towards mine, the horse started to lift its head again. I jerked hard downward on the bridal and the horse's nostrils flared. I told the horse to stop being a dick. It blinked its brown eyes at me. I'm not sure if it understood what I was saying or not.

Freyr helped me mount the horse again. As it tossed its head and started to rear, I pulled hard on the reins, forcing that dark head back to the right. The horse moved back a pace but it didn't rear up. I let up some of the pressure on the reins and the horse started to walk forward. Suspicious that I was about to be thrown off again, I gripped the mane in my hands. This was a good thing because it bucked.

Somehow, I managed to stay mounted. The horse then stopped fighting me. It simply stood there as I let go of the mane and took the reins in my right hand. I looked over at Freyr to ask what I was supposed to do next when the dream melted away and I found myself plunged into a nightmare.

Unlike the other nightmares, this one didn't completely paralyze me with terror. I'm starting to think that black horse was the nightmares. Perhaps this means that I am beginning to regain control over my dreams. I suppose I can only hope.

12/1/14

Letters to Loki # 2: Keeping the Shield up.

Hail Loptr,

Thanksgiving was exhausting. I am quite thankful for my loving family by marriage. I'm thankful for the health and well being of my family. I'm thankful that Beloved had the day off from work and the day after. Most of all, I'm thankful for Ativan. Seriously, the chemist who invented that was a freaking genius. I made it most of the way through that gathering with out freaking out because of it.

I wish I could say that I'm doing better then I was last week. I don't know if I am, to be perfectly honest. Still, I'm keeping my proverbial shield up and pushing forward. I've been good about making sure I do my writing in my therapy journal, even though I think I'd prefer to deal with that wound-drain business when I had my appendix out. At least that was done and over with after a few weeks. This stuff just seems to keep going and going. It's like the Energizer bunny of doom or something.

I worry about what I'm going to do over the holidays. I feel like the stuff I have done thus far is insufficient. I'm pretty sure that it is my delusions of worthlessness kicking in. I've been catching myself stumbling over that one a lot over the last several days. It makes me a bit disgusted. Of all the things to be delusional over, it has to be how wretched I am. It is terribly unpleasant and I rather hate it. My anxiety has been rather high over the last week (hence my taking Ativan before visiting the in-laws, which usually doesn't faze me).

Going to the laundromat yesterday was pure torment. I literally lack the words to adequately express my gratitude for your encouragement. Having you sitting with me and pointing out how all the people in there were just minding their own business and didn't even notice me helped me as much as the Ativan did. I see my psychiatrist this week. I think I will do as you have strongly urged and discuss how my mood has dropped and my anxiety has been increasing.

I am a little nervous because this is going to be a new psychiatrist. That old fear that they're not going to believe me or discredit everything I have to say as being manufactured by a diseased brain is already bothering me. I feel really uncomfortable with the idea that I am going to have to request a renewal of the Ativan prescription. I'm almost out and I have discovered the hard way that I can't sleep with out it right now.

Sleep and I are now on speaking terms again. I suppose this is an improvement. Most of last week, I kept waking up in the middle of the night and being awake for about half the night. The nightmares, however, haven't stopped. Even with the medications, I still have a rough memory of them and what I do recall makes me shudder. It's made writing in my therapy journal a real fun experience. (See, my sarcasm is still intact, I'm going to be ok!)

I have been doing like you encouraged me and writing Freyr more. I'll admit it, you were right. He wasn't disgusted or horrified by what I had to say. My vulnerability did not repulse him, as I was so afraid of happening. I felt weirded out by how compassionate and concerned he was. Of course, I still get weirded out when Beloved does that too. I don't know if I'm ever going to get used to someone responding to my 'weakness' with positive things. I look at it and it feels like something is wrong with the universe. Like I'm watching the sun rise in the west rather then the east, kind of wrong.

I suppose, however, I should work on getting used to that kind of thing. Weird is your forte. And positive weirdness seems to be a more effective mindfuck then negative weirdness. Oh, speaking of weird, what was up with messing with that dryer? I put in 60 min worth of quarters and then suddenly I had 99 min? Seriously, dude, that had me concerned that I was going to have my stuff light on fire or something. Thankfully, the dryers there don't lock shut after you put your change in and I was able to get my laundry out. Pranking me to lighten the situation is ok, but please don't lead me to suspect that something is going to burst into flame because of it.

I'm still looking for that blue butterfly pin you told me to find for Sigyn. I think I may have to take a trip up to the city to find it. But I will locate it by Yule. If I have to, I'll make it. Let me know if there are other things you want me to find/make for people. My project list is actually fairly short right now.

11/28/14

Ranting Re: Commercialism

First Quarter Frost Moon (Age: 5 days)
Sign: Aquarius
Weather: Cold, clear skies & 
snow on the ground
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
It's that time of year where I rant about commercialism. I'm not going to do the 'keep Christ in Christmas' thing or say that commercialism is bad. This year, that rant is for my other blog. No, my rant today is the way that people sacrifice their human connections for the sake of stuff. Commercialism sort of contributes to the problem that this creates, but it is a symptom of the true ailment, not the cause.

If you look at the events over the last several years, you find there is a lot in the news about how people are getting treated as subhuman. Racism, sexism, and transphobia have been popping up a lot on my Facebook feed. People try to push the ugliness of these problems aside. One of the ways they do it is to buy stuff or throw money at the problem. Buying stuff is like eating chocolate. It has a temporary effect of boosting the mood but too much of it is bad for you. 

Throwing money at the problem is like putting a bandaid on an injury. For some injuries, the bandaid works really well. For a lot more, it is ineffective if not contributing to the problem. Commercialism encourages us to take the approach that buying things or throwing money at a problem will solve it. It's a pretty lie that I have seen too many people buy into. (Pun for the win!) It doesn't solve the problems like racism because it doesn't really address it. It only addresses the symptoms.

It's the holiday season and a lot of people are going to be struggling, just like they do any other time of the year. It seems like only during the holiday season people want to be compassionate to others because it is some how going to magically improve their conditions for the rest of the year. Compassion that is practiced for one month is not true compassion for others. It is a shallow behavior that is intended to assuage the conscience of the person who is doing the 'giving'.

Yeah, it's Black Friday. Everybody and their cousin are out shopping right now. The Salvation Army are out with their kettles and bells. Stores have partnered with food pantries to raise funds. There's a fair amount of money flying around right now and a good portion of it is landing in the charity sector. It isn't going to be enough to sustain those charities for the whole year. And there are some charities where only a small percentage of your donation actually gets to the people it is supposed to help.

This year, do something different. Make your charity giving into a year long event. You may not be able to give a big sum of money all the time. You can, however, volunteer your free time to help out at the local soup kitchen a few times a month. If you're crafty, you can make hats, mittens, socks, and blankets for the homeless. And if giving money is the only way you can contribute, you can skip that cup of coffee for a few days every week to donate that little bit to the local battered women's shelter. There are more ways you can help then you realize.

Yes, give and be generous during the holiday season. But don't let it only happen during the holidays. Make it a year round thing and actually help your community. It's another way to embody that Wiccan maxim of 'perfect love and trust'. Or the famous golden rule. Or building frith within your community. There are so many ways to describe the idea that I'm trying to get to here.

In case you're wondering, I've been making hats for the local hospital's NICU and I've started on things for the homeless. Right now I've got a few scarves and several pairs of slippers.

11/24/14

Freyr vs depression round whatever.

Waxing Frost Moon (Age: 2 days)
Sign: Capricorn
Weather: Unseasonably warm, rainy with
localized flooding
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
Somewhere in my frenzy of research, I read somewhere that Freyr's gift is the thing that gets us out of bed when we're ready to give up on everything and the spark of life that keeps pushing us forward no matter how badly we're injured. He's clearly had a hand in my life for a long while then. Being depressed, I have a hard time feeling his presence.

The day before the mixed episode started last week, I felt a hand running through my hair. It's always been a gesture that has soothed and comforted me. I think that was him. I've been struggling today. I keep trying, though, because there's just this force deep inside me that keeps pushing me forward. It's why I haven't just deleted the novel that I'm writing even though I feel like every word of it is garbage. It's why I ate lunch today when I just felt like forgoing food because I wasn't in the mood for it. Honestly, it is why I'm blogging here right now.

I think Freyr is what is pushing me forward when the depression is pulling me down like quicksand. It helps to see that he is with me even when I feel utterly worthless. I'm not saying that this push to keep moving forward is all him, but I think he is a big part of it. I'm thankful for his presence. It helps to know that he's in my corner even when I can't feel him there.

Letters to Loki # 1: Reboot.

Dear Loki,

I am at a loss for what to write today. I'm on the downward side of a mixed episode and that has me feeling pretty bad about everything. I almost didn't do this post because of it. I am trying to not be so anxious and downhearted but it's been pretty hard.

I didn't sleep well last night. I thought that I would sleep ok with out the Ativan because I wasn't in that hypomanic/mixed episode state. My nightmares and my anxiety, however, reminded me what I have been taking that stuff to fall asleep for the last few weeks. I'm so sick and tired of being sick and tired. My therapist says I am making progress and that in the grand scheme of things my mood is much more stable. I don't exactly feel like that is the case.

NaNoWriMo has been a mixed bag this year. I made word count last week. But I am no where near the end of my story. Today's efforts at writing were less then stellar. Quite frankly, I feel deeply dissatisfied with it and I am tempted to just throw in the towel on the whole project. I'm near 60K words and I'm just aimlessly lost. I keep looking at my plot map and looking at what I've written and feeling despair. I'm about halfway through my plot map but I had some major side trips that did boost my word count but left me less then thrilled with the project.

I am feeling highly frustrated with the kids right now. I know they're excited for the coming vacation. I know that they can't exactly help being squirrely with it. The misbehavior, tantrums, and just loudness of it all is grating on my nerves and it has me extra cranky. I look at it all and wonder what I'm doing wrong. I don't know what to do to get them to scream less in the apartment. I don't know how to get them to pick up their toys on a semi-regular basis. I feel like I'm doing this parenting thing wrong and that I'm a sub-par mother.

I am pretty sure that my mood being off is coloring my perspective on everything. I wish that my medication made me happier. The anti-depressants don't make me happy like the stupid ads suggest they do. They just make me not give a flying fuck about being depressed and make me numb. I hate those stupid ads. I see all those people with their perfect teeth and their plastic smiles and it makes me want to break things. It makes me kinda glad that I don't watch television.

From what I hear, ads for stuff like that is pretty frequent. Not quite as frequent as the erectile dysfunction pills, but depression and mental health seems to be a lower priority then if a man can get a hardon by society. I suppose I am a bit bitter. I look at stuff on Facebook and it makes me feel a queer combination of anger and depression. Not quite like a mixed episode but that's the closest thing I can think of right now to describe the feeling. The regular posts about misogyny and sexual assault make me sick. To a limited extent, they remind me of what I've lived through and kinda makes things a little worse.

The stuff about police brutality and politicians playing fast and loose with people's rights makes me want to start screaming at the computer and throw a brick through a window. The stuff about people abusing others and animals provoke that kind of feeling too. And then there's just the sheer mass of hatred that I keep seeing. I am thankful that I see it indirectly for the most part. But there's so much of it that it makes me feel some distress for the state of humanity and future generations.

I'd take a break from Facebook but it's my primary social outlet. If I did that, I really would have no social connections. I can't bring myself to venture out of the house and seek out like minded people. It seems like in my neighborhood there's more people who thump bibles and are elitist assholes then classically liberal minded people who are interested in finding out what other people think. I kinda hate living in the boonies where it's such a 'conservative' environment. It depresses me and makes me reluctant to socialize.

Hel, when I am at the laundromat and I listen to my neighbors talking there's so much vitrol in it that I get anxious that I may somehow be the target of it. I've had some people make some sharp comments on my headscarves. It's made wearing them hard. My psychiatrist says that part of my problem is paranoia that other people are going to hurt me. It may be a factor but there are a lot of assholes around here too. (Thank goodness that my immediate neighbors are fairly sane people.)

I wish that I had something happier to write today. It seems like all of that got sucked out of me somehow. All I've got is anxiety, depression, and anger. I hope tomorrow's better, but I'm not counting on it. Pessimism for the win, I suppose.

9/30/14

I stopped running in circles.

Waxing Hunter's moon (Age 6 days)
Sign: Sagittarius
Weather: Fair skies, exceptionally warm
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
I suppose I should make this kinda official. It's going to make some changes going forward, I'm more then certain of that. At the Equinox, I said yes to Freyr. I honestly don't know what to expect going forward. He tells me that this is a good thing because I won't have preconceived notions getting in my way. I am a touch anxious about all this. He and Loki have deemed this to be adorable, with Freyja at one point chiming in that adorable really wasn't strong enough.

I suppose it is a good sign when Freyr's sister says this is a good thing. Sigyn and Loki decided to sit me down at the kitchen table to have a very frank discussion about marriage with deities. And yes, that even included a rendition of the birds and bees. I was stammering for a good portion of my part of the conversation and looked about the color of a tomato for most of it. Still, I am going to go forward with this.

As unconventional as it might sound, I have come to love him. It's not the starry eyed infatuation kind of love. It's more like realizing that you've been in love with your best friend since 4th grade kind of thing. (Yes, that was Beloved and I, and everyone did say 'it took you long enough.') I've been feeling terribly unprepared for all of this. 

Freyr has been bubbling with delight over it all. It gives me warm fuzzies to be the reason why he has that huge grin plastered on his face. He looks so lovely when he smiles. It's been a lot of meditation, prayer, and divination for the past year (approximately). In the course of it all, Freyr keeps making clear that he wants me to be his bride. It's all a very awkward thing for me to say. 

But, that's the big news from my neck of the woods. He's been telling me that he's been planning the rites for the last year. I honestly don't know what to expect from that. Odin's been making his presence known more over the last few weeks. He was more then delighted with my accepting Freyr's proposal.

The All-Father seems to be of the mind that this will lead me farther along the path of who I am supposed to be. Some days, I wonder if he and Loki sit there and play matchmaker. One of those things where it's not the womenfolk who are nudging people towards each other but the menfolk, with all the same glee. But, what do I know, I'm not a god.

9/22/14

Joyous Mabon!

Waning Harvest Moon (Age: 27 days)
Sign: Virgo
Weather: Cool, cloudy with light breezes
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
Today is the Autumnal Equinox. I wish I could report that I celebrated Mabon with great festivities but it was just an ordinary Monday at my house. The only special things I did was collect a bouquet of flowers and bake a loaf of bread. I have been finding that the turning of the seasons has brought a good deal of a shedding of dead weight from my life.

Acting upon the deep urges to prepare for the coming Winter, I have been taking stock of my pantry and working on restocking it with supplies for hard weather. My urges to preserve food have been culinary failures recently. I'm not going to give up, however, because I am convinced that I can get at least one batch of sauerkraut going before the weather turns rough. I have also been busily at work making gifts for Yule. 

I think I'm about half finished with the list of things I have yet to make. I also have gotten back to work on my spinning. I went to the Finger Lakes Fiber Festival yesterday. While I was there, I bought a French spindle and some Icelandic sheep's wool. Like the last batch of Icelandic sheep's wool, I'm going to spin it up to make something for Freyr. 

Speaking of the god, he has been much on my mind of late. Partly because I see the waning of the greenery about me and I feel his absence like an ache. Partly because he has been walking through my dreams quite a bit. When I gave him the first slice of bread that I cut off the loaf I made, I could feel him with me. I sensed he was amused by the scraggly bouquet and appreciative of the bread. I didn't have much time to commune with him at that moment because the house was very busy with two little boys causing mischief.

It is a strange thing for Freyr to be both absent and present at the same time. If I try to figure it out, it gives me a bit of a headache. I just have to accept it as a Mystery. I've also been having dreams of Odin. The one I had last night leaves me a touch chagrined, as the All-Father sternly told me to stop pussy-footing about what Freyr is asking of me. I think it is not mere coincidence that the clasp of the necklace with the Stag on it suddenly started causing an allergic reaction (which it never did before) and I went back to the necklace with the Greenman charm. Freyr seems to prefer it on me. I got it into my head that I should switch to the Stag when the season began to turn. 

Looking back on it, I suppose it was a measure of indulgence that Freyr didn't have the cord snap or the silver rings that I had been wearing for him fall off before now. I think that my time of being headstrong has come to a close and I need to just take the plunge. When I last dreamed of Freyr, he asked me what I was so afraid of. I confessed that I was afraid of rejection and he laughed at that. (He has a beautiful laugh. It was awkward to be both thrilled to be the cause of it and embarrassed at the same time.) I was then told to tell him what I really was afraid of. 

So, I told him that I was also afraid that all of this was wish fulfillment or my losing my mind. Again, he chuckled. Then he told me that this was closer to the mark. He asked me a third time and I answered, in frustration, that I was afraid I was going to screw up. He didn't laugh at me that time. Instead, his expression turned solemn and he told me that I was being afraid of illusions. He asked me if I was tired of running from them. I didn't exactly have words to respond but somehow he knew the answer to that question was yes. Apparently my fear of not being up to the task, losing my mind, and rejection in this case are all masks of something else. 

Looking on it all now (with Loki tapping his foot and glaring at me) I suppose I have to admit, I'm afraid of this change. I have no idea what this change will bring me and that scares me. It's been about a year now since I've stopped running from Freyr long enough to just be with him. He's all gentleness and kindness. Except when he's not. But even when he's not handling me with kid gloves, he is still loving and keeping me in high regard. This terrifies me almost as much as the actuality of my impact upon my children does.

I told Freyr that I would pledge myself to him on a temporary basis back at the Vernal Equinox. He gently prodded me on the matter at the Summer Solstice. Now, I guess I have to make my decision. Loki assures me that Freyr is not playing a game here, unless it's for 'keeps'. Odin and Loki both are of the opinion that Freyr is good for me. Dea has been quiet, giving me her sphinx smile when I ask her what to do. I want to step forward into his arms, but I get frozen with fear.

I suppose it is a good thing that he's patient, though that patience is waning. I get the very clear impression, regardless of what I do, he will still be here. Loki is strongly urging me not to 'friendzone' Freyr. Stargazer's whispered to me from the other side that I really need to remember what I learned with her. In all of this, I feel like a world class idiot. I swing back and forth between feeling like an idiot for daring to think that perhaps this really is happening and feeling like an idiot for not having faith. The only constant is that I feel like an idiot. It's a rather rotten place to be, honestly.

I think that I'm upon a turning point. What ever choice I make, there is no going back. That scares me too. I suppose it is a good thing that I have the ability to knuckle down and push forward despite fear.

9/15/14

Hail to the Stag that is Slain!

Waning Harvest Moon (age:21 days)
Sign: Gemini
Weather: Cool, fair skies
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
It is my gnosis that deer are associated with Freyr. Just as Freyr is in the grain that is reaped at harvest, he is in the animals that are slaughtered for our supper. Freyr presides over harvest in all its forms. I also believe that he is associated with the deer that are taken in the hunt. 

It is my understanding that Freyr is the Stag that is slain to that the herd might escape and survive, and that the hunter may survive as well. In some respects, I suppose this view is influenced some by the story of the Buddha's incarnation as a deer. I don't think so, however, because the Stag is always slain in the season of harvest. His blood flows and nourishes the earth. In the spring, the spirit of this great Stag, enters into one of the young bucks and he rises to the fore of the herd. In autumn, the cycle is played out again.

That, however, is just my 0.02 on the matter.

9/12/14

The Frosts, Marion Zimmer Bradley, and Accounting.

I have held my piece with regards to the issues surrounding Marion Zimmer Bradley because I felt that others who were far more knowledgeable and eloquent had addressed them better then I could have. Then, just today, I learned something about the Frosts that made me feel chagrined to have considered their work useful and daring to recommend it to students I had in the past.

It has come to my attention that the Frosts had written an initiation ritual intended for family covens that involved sexual activity for pubescent children in their highly influential work The Witch's Bible. Their supporters insist that the ritual is misprinted and that the Frosts did not intend for the ritual to include children. In all kindess, I cry bullshit on that argument. This is a book that has been reprinted many, many times. Not once of those reprints had been amended to correct the supposed mistake. The Frosts have had ample time to see and correct this 'error' and have not done so.

Indeed, their failure to correct the 'error' and their arguments that said work should be allowed to persist in its original form and be considered within the merits of 'tradition' lends one to believe that ritualized sexual abuse is condoned by the Frosts and that they believe such should be perpetuated within the Wiccan community.

This is absolutely not ok. Sexual abuse is one of the most heinous and insidious of crimes perpetrated against children. Abusers force children to participate in sex acts by ways of creating situations where the child sees no other choice. The children are not free agents in this activity but doing so under duress. Additionally, abusers who choose sex crimes as their method of abuse have the great impetuous of the social stigma that is attached to sexual abuse to force their victims to be quiet. This is in addition to what ever threats might be made or what mind games are played to coerce the victim to keep silent.

The use of initiatory rituals to force sexual activity of any sort upon another person is a direct violation of one of the most central tenants of Wicca, perfect love and perfect trust. The initiate trusts the initiator with their welfare as they prepare to undergo the rite. They trust the coven they are joining with their safety as well. Forcing them into sexual activity is repulsive and a violation of that trust. It also makes a mockery of that claimed 'perfect love' that the coven would say they extend towards the initiate.

Some people will claim that I am a 'lapsed' witch and that my positions on this 'traditional' initiation are a reflection of how far I have 'fallen' from the craft. I name those people fools and supporters of this kind of abusive behavior. It is possible to initiate someone into the craft with out forcing any form of sexual behavior upon them. If we look into the history of modern Wicca, we find that old Gerald Gardner was initiated by having a basin of water poured over him.

We have a responsibility to the younger generations of witches who are being raised within the Wiccan tradition (and all other pagan faiths) to secure their safety and create an environment that promotes their well being. The intersection of that which is holy, magical, and mundane should be a place of safety from the beginning. Only when the initiate has reached the age of consent and agreed to it, should sexual activity become part of magical or religious ritual.

If this position makes people declare me some sort of apostate or otherwise have forgotten my faith, then I wish them the luck of it. I will continue to maintain a position that the safety of children is more important then the pretty rituals you would devise. I don't care what your arguments are in favor of this. I reject them all and declare them to be anathema.

9/6/14

I don't get it.

Waxing Harvest Moon (Age: 12 days)
Sign: Aquarius
Weather: Cloudy, cool
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
I accept that people want to make their religious rites more efficient. At the same time, this prepackaged communion thing doesn't sit right with me. One, I'm a bit horrified by the concept of making so much ecological waste. Two, this removes the rite farther from the group who celebrates it. It may just be my paganism showing here, but I thought that the bread and wine offered were supposed to be the fruit of the community's efforts.

While not every community can make wine, bread is something that is relatively easy to make. I can accept that there are some circumstances where bread is going to be difficult to acquire. This, however, should not stop the community at large from making an effort to 'own' the rite of communion. I see the use of purchased goods for this rite as a necessity for communities where they can't produce it on their own. At the same time, this prepackaged business just comes off wrong.

I can't help but shudder at the thought of divorcing the ritual from the community and turning it into a strictly consumed product. What I have learned of the rite of communion, in Christian settings, is that the offering is something that is given from the community to the Divine. This offering is then blessed and transmogrifies into the Body and Blood of Christ. Shouldn't the offering be something the community produced?

8/30/14

Blessings of the day.

New Harvest Moon (Age: 4 days)
Sign: Scorpio
Weather: partly cloudy skies, seasonable, humid
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
In my recent depressive episode, I had a hard time seeing the blessings that surround me. As I write this, I see my children playing with my husband out in the front yard. I have a pantry and refrigerator full of food. We have clothes to wear and clean water to drink. We have a means to safely prepare our food and to dispose of the waste that we generate. When it is cold, we have warmth. When it is hot, we have an air conditioner and windows to open for a breeze.

My children are blessed with good health, as is my husband. While I am disabled, in most other ways I am healthy. My husband is thankfully employed and receives a paycheck that allows us to meet our needs, for the most part. We have a library and the wonders of the internet to bring us more knowledge then we can consume in our lives. There is music to listen to that we don't have to pay someone for or produce ourselves. We live as the very wealthy did in ages passed, if not better.

I am so deeply thankful for these things and so many more that I just can't put into words right now. My home is a place of peace and safety. The hand of Freyr has been extended over my family in kindness and shelter from the greater sorrows that afflict people around us. I lack the words to adequately express my gratitude for his blessing. Frith, harmony, health, and functional wealth all have come to us and these are blessings that I strive not to take for granted.

Hail to the Golden God! May he be ever praised and loved.

8/20/14

Wandering around in trance.

Waning Corn Moon (Age: 25 days)
Sign: Cancer
Weather: Partly cloudy, humid
~*~*~*~*~*~*~
Earlier this evening, I was chatting with Njord's Wife and I told her a bit about a trance journey I did a few nights ago. I guess it was Saturday night before I went to bed that I did a trance journey to visit Odin, as per Loki's very strong urging. I found myself in a small room with a table that was almost too big for it sitting in the center and a large chair behind it. Odin was sitting in the chair dressed in blue jeans and a blue plaid flannel shirt with the sleeves rolled up. On the table, there was a net of some kind, I think it was a fishing net, that he was working on repairing.

He looked up from his work and I suddenly got very self conscious. I basically tried to make myself completely unnoticeable, which was nonsensical because a.) you can't exactly hide from a god and b.) there was no where to hide. He looked up from his netting and said bluntly, "You have to stop this. You're better then that." I has the brilliant idea of attempting to argue that I wasn't worthy of his attention.

I stammered something about how I was just an ordinary human, a mere housewife of no consequence. Right after the words were out of my mouth, I felt a little sick with fear. I expected Odin to get angry with me for arguing with him. He surprised me. 

Odin gave an exasperated sigh, put down the netting, and gave me a stern look. He then told me to come sit down. The only chair in the room was his chair. I started to move to sit on the floor when he gave me an 'are you kidding me?' look and then patted beside himself on the chair. I went and sat down beside him. I had the curious feeling of being a little kid sitting beside a grown adult. This feeling only intensified as Odin put an arm around my shoulders and looked solemnly at me.

He then told me that I had to stop living in the past. I, being the genius I am at times, started to say that I wasn't living in the past. That was when Odin told me that all of my negative self talk was my reliving the past and that I had to stop doing it if I wanted to get any better. I felt kinda ashamed of myself when he said that. I had a hard time looking at him because of how ashamed I felt.

Then Odin gave me a bit more of a hug. He smiled at me and patted my right knee which was kinda against his. He told me that I was going to be alright and that I was loved by far more then I realized and that I had to start showing myself some of that love.

Odin exuded all of the good qualities of a father. It was as if I had all the warm memories of my Dad and Grandpa rolled into one with every other potential good experience of a parental figure at the same time. I didn't get any sense of anger or disappointment with me (which I was afraid of happening). Instead, I got the impression of pride, love, and fatherly concern. It makes me feel a bit foolish for being so afraid to approach him before now.

I also did a trance journey to visit with Mani for the first time since I was a child. I found myself in a night time grove of trees. A white chariot/cart with black windows was off on one side. Two white horses were cropping the grass nearby. Mani was sitting on the lip of a well at the center of the grove, holding a white bow in his left hand, unstrung. He smiled at me as though I was an old friend.

I apologized for not coming back to see him and he waved my apology off. He said that my pointed observance of the moon was enough when I had so much going on. He laughed when I voiced some concern and confusion at his presence when I knew that the moon was up and on its way through the sky. Again, there was amusement as my attempting to apply the logic of Midgard to deities. Mani seemed to find this adorable, as he declared it was cute of me attempting to do so and then reminding me that gods are not as limited as humans and the other occupants of Midgard.

8/17/14

Rambling update and such.

Waning Corn Moon (Age: 22 Days)
Sign: Gemini
Weather: Partly Cloudy, seasonably mild
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The last few weeks have been rather rough on me. I've been struggling with my bipolar, namely with the depressive aspect of it, for a while now. It has sapped so much of the strength out of me that it makes engaging in ritual of any sort difficult. I also have the challenge of having two little boys running wild all over the place. School starts in a little over two weeks. I am anticipating holding a small blót for the blessing of my children as they embark on a new school year.

I have been having a hard time finding time to do more then write in my prayer journal. Even that has been difficult to do. I feel as though I'm failing to meet my obligation to the gods by not engaging in active worship practices every day. I, however, have gotten the distinct impression from the gods that the one putting the onus on my shoulders is myself, not them. If anything, they have been admonishing me to be more understanding with myself and focus on doing what I can within my limitations, rather then forcing myself to do as I would if I was perfectly fine.

I have been doing regular trance journeys to just be with Freyr for a little while now. Usually, the trance journey has me meeting him in a field at the edge of a forest. We walk in the forest and I tell him about my day and what I have on my mind. He seems to be pleased with this effort. I still worry that I am engaging in fantasizing and dealing with sock puppets of my mind. Freyr's response to this concern has ranged from bemusement to mild exasperation to pity. Of the three responses, it is the pity one that upsets me.

It deeply troubles me to think that anyone, especially a deity, pities me. I have been raised to see pity as something for the weak and wretched. I try to put that life lesson to the side but it has been very challenging to do so. Freyr seems to be of the mind that I should learn to accept that pity is not a bad thing, nor is mercy, when it is directed at me.

At Loki's behest, I did a trance journey to visit Odin. It was awkward. Mostly, I was the one having difficulty. Odin seemed very confused with my tendency to be so harsh with myself and yet so compassionate with others. He also seemed disappointed with the fact that this is my 'default' way to treat myself. Odin has given me some work to do and sternly demanded that I continue to give full effort on my psychotherapy and related work. 
 
Among the things that Odin has directed me to do is learn more about runes, bindrunes, and galdr. He is of the opinion that I am not fully utilizing my gifts and that I will make a great deal more progress in pretty much all areas if I focus on these things. I find it interesting that Odin has given me the directive to learn about bindrunes and Loki has nudged (if you count shoving with both hands and full force a nudge) me to resume work on sigils. I have a little notebook where I have a few things about sigils written in it. I suppose it is time for me to break that out and work on it again.

With the increasingly powerful presence of the Norse gods (mainly the Vanir and the Aesir), I am finding myself discontented with my altar. The statuettes that I used to represent the Wiccan God and Goddess (a figure of Buddha and Kwan Yin) feel completely disconnected from what I am working with now. The Kwan Yin figure sort of works for my dealings with Dea in the aspect of the Daughter but I have a statuette that resonates more strongly with that front. I want to acquire figurines or something else that can serve as a meditative focus and icon for the Norse gods but everything that I look at is terribly expensive.

I am half tempted to use some salt clay and make some figurines but I know that my skills in figure making are severely lacking. I can do the equivalent of stick figures in clay. I've tried asking the gods what I should do and they merely smile at my desire to have depictions of them and give no direction. It is somewhat upsetting for me because I am at a complete loss for how to proceed. I see figures that I like on the crafting group I'm apart of but I'm afraid to attempt to barter with the creators because they are making things that would be worth several hundreds of dollars and my little things are no where near that.

I don't know what I am going to do on that front. Loki admonishes me to be patient and that what I need will come to me. I've a prayer card for Mani. It is breathtaking and looks exactly like how he did when he appeared to me when I was a child and struggling with nightmares. I have it sitting on my altar beside a little travel shrine I made for Freyr and a glass jar with an ear of wheat in it. I am going to do my best to let the items come to me in their own time. Either the funds to acquire the figurines will come to me or something that I can use for a devotional focus will find its way to me. 
 
I'm trying not to be impatient. But I don't know what to do with the other statuettes. I have a green jade statuette of Buddha that I don't know what to do with it either. I am confident that it needs to go to a good home, I just don't know who or where it is to go.

7/31/14

A vision of Death.

Waxing Corn Moon (Age: 4 days)
Sign: Libra
Weather: Fair skies, seasonably warm
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Dramatic blog title for the win? I did have a vision recently. And said vision did involve death. It was not, however, a warning of impending doom or something like that. (I feel like I need to capitalize DOOM and put blinking lights around it or something for full effect. Anyways...) I know that what I saw was important and necessary. I just am confused as to what my role in it all is. I talked with Njordswife about it and she guesses that it may be a notice from the gods that I have some major changing to do. I don't know if that's accurate or not. We were both kinda pulling straws and trying to guess what looked almost accurate. 

I've been trying to make sense of this for a little over two weeks now. I keep coming back to the same two questions. Why was I witnessing it and what am I supposed to do with the cup full of blood? But I am getting ahead of myself. Lets first take a moment to describe the vision in its entirety. Who knows, maybe somebody who is better at this stuff then I am can tell me what I'm missing here. I'm pretty sure it's something obvious that I'm missing and once it is pointed out I'll feel like a dunce for missing it. It seems to be my track record of late.

I was standing in a field of harvested wheat with a crowd of others. Before us was a sheaf's worth of wheat waiting to be cut. To the left of the wheat stood Freyr and Nerthus/Jord (it is my understanding that Nerthus and Jord are the same and that she is his mother). I was standing towards the front of the group, who were all quite happy and in a celebratory mood. Freyr and his mother were both a bit more reserved and solemn. Skírnir was standing to my right. He was also solemn. 

He said to me that I could leave. That they wouldn't fault me for my 'modern sensibilities.' I had the distinct feeling that it was better that I stay and make it through what ever was coming, and I had my suspicions that it was some form of ritual slaying because it was the beginning of harvest. I replied that I would stay and that I understood that life feeds on life. This apparently was a good answer because Freyr smiled at that.

Skírnir guided me to the front of the group so that I was standing directly infront of Freyr. A silver cup that was engraved with scenes of the agricultural year and of the life cycle of wheat was put into my hands. I knew, somehow, that I was to hold it up. Then with out warning, Nerthus slit Freyr's throat open in a right to left gesture with a sickle. Arterial blood sprayed everywhere. A good amount of it hit me and somehow filled the cup. 

As Freyr was bleeding, he looked at me with that warm smile of approval on his face. And then... Well, it makes me feel a bit cold and creeped out to think of it, but I watched the light go out of his eyes. He collapsed to the ground and his corpse melted into the earth. Wheat sprung up where his body had been and progressed through its life cycle to ripeness in a matter of moments.

The celebrants grew louder and more excited in their song and mannerisms. Someone, I don't think it was Skírnir, clapped me on the shoulders and declared it to be a good omen that I had gotten so much blood on me. That was the last image of the vision, a tall man with straw colored hair and a very full beard with a wide grin looking at me like he was so happy he was about to burst into song.

I've been thinking about it. Freyr's blood on me brings to mind the Christian rite of baptism. And the cup of blood and wheat makes me think of the Christian rite of the Eucharist. I don't know if I am looking at this the right way, though. I don't understand why I was there to witness it. I don't understand why I was to hold the cup and catch his blood. I don't even know what I'm supposed to do with that proverbial cup.

Since that vision, I have had a few dreams of that cup. I've seen it sitting at a table with an empty plate and a broken knife. I think that would be Hel's hall. I've also seen it sitting on a stone altar that is covered with a white cloth. Beside it is a loaf of bread, a crock of butter, and a dish of honey. I know these things are connected, I just can't mange to figure out how. I don't know why I am dreaming of this cup. I am increasingly convinced if this cup doesn't exist, it needs to. It looks like a kiddush cup.

I don't know what to make of this. But it keeps rattling around in my head. And since it is Lammas eve, I might as well post this now. Fortuitous timing and all that. Oh, one other thing to note, that vision came the day that one of the farmers around here started harvesting his wheat.

7/27/14

Message recieved, Boss.

New Corn Moon (age: 1 day)
Sign: Leo
Weather: Seasonably warm, fair skies
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To use the phrasing of my larp character who is an avowed priestess of Loki, 'Message received, Boss.' I was just derping around on the interwebz when I found myself finding my way back to the same web page as a result of clicking random links. It was an upfront and obvious thing to have this thrust into my face four times by way of random links.

I had been struggling with some measure of anxiety that I was approaching this whole business of being a follower of the Northern European gods. I made the mistake of reading blogs of some other people who are practicing pagans and found myself feeling like I was coming up short. As a result, I started to perseverate and worry that I was doing all of this wrong. I sat there and questioned if the Aseir, Vanir, and Jotnar would be offended by my involvement with Dea. I then found myself running in proverbial circles, half convinced that I was obviously doing something wrong because what I am doing is so different from what a bunch of others are.

Then Loki broke out the clue-by-four and thumped me with it. (In all honesty, I am thankful that it was a gentle tap on the head this time. Maybe this means that I'm starting to 'get' it.) It is ironic because the message here was much the same as the one that I had conveyed to a dear friend who is struggling with her own spiritual path with Loki. I'm pretty sure that Loki facepalmed at my having issues over this on the immediate heels of passing that message on (in cosmic time, because the actual message incident was a few weeks ago).

The message that I came away with from that post (and I have just read it for a fifth time to confirm what I was getting out of it) was this: trust what the gods are showing you. Their resounding silence on the matter of my involvment with Dea is not condemnation. I haven't gotten any signs that suggest that they're even mildly annoyed with this weird business that I've got going on. I suppose that the gods are more magnanimous then I was willing to admit. 

I feel a bit chagrined to note that. Loki, however, doesn't tolerate self deception in his people. He even has given me a nudge in the direction of Odin and Freyr, which suggests that he doesn't want to keep me all to himself. I get the distinct impression that he is amused by my concerns that things were going to be that way between us. I've been stumbling over my own two feet and running myself around in circles of late. Loki is now pointing to me the way to get out of this metaphysical loop that I got myself stuck in.

After my prayers asking for some kind of a sign for how to start making forward progress again, I am thankful for this message. A part of me feels like the fool who couldn't see the forest for the trees but I suppose we all have times where it happens to us. Loki seems willing to let me try on the role of being his priestess via this larp character. I'm still not decided on this because I don't feel qualified for it. Honestly, I don't feel qualified for most of the stuff that the gods have put infront of me.

Loki, however, is nudging me out of the nest. I'm just going to have to take it on faith that I can fly with these proverbial wings. And if I fall, that someone will catch me. I get that there is no question of failure here beyond the failure to make the attempt. So, like I said, message received.

7/13/14

Still plugging away.

Waning Thunder Moon (age: 16 days)
Sign: Aquarius
Weather: Humid, seasonably warm
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I have nothing of note really to post this evening. I had planned to do a small ritual for the full moon and then life happened. I've been struggling with depression for a little while now. It has made it hard for me to keep up on my daily devotions and my responsibilities around the home. I pray every day to the gods but right now I just don't feel their presence. It is very discouraging to feel this way.

I tell myself that it will pass, like it does every month, but it is still gut wrenching. I suppose the hardest part about being depressed right now is the fact that I have so very many reasons not to be depressed. The weather is nice. I have some strawberries growing in the planter that are just now getting ripe. The black raspberries are getting ripe, so I will have some to harvest very soon. Last Tuesday, I cleaned up my altar space and put down a runner that I love. I then placed out some offerings to the gods, including the first of the strawberries that are off my little plant and a cutting of mint from my prolific plant on the back deck.

It felt like a hollow gesture. A part of me says that I am just spinning my wheels when I pray or lay out offerings right now. I know it is my depression talking. It doesn't make it any easier to bear. As hard as it is to do what little I can in observances right now, I am still going to make the effort. I don't want to fall out of the habit of reaching towards the gods because it will be that much harder to resume the practice later.

6/29/14

Devotional vs theraputic writing? (and other rambling)

Waxing Buck Moon (Age: 2 days)
Sign: Leo
Weather: humid, partly cloudy,
intermittent t-storms
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So, I have been praying to Freyr a lot over the last several weeks. Every night for about a month now, maybe a little longer, before I go to sleep, I spiritwalk to him. Usually, it's just my being in his company. Sometimes, though, we talk. I've expressed to him several times the fact that I feel like I'm not doing enough for him. His responses have ranged from bemusement to something stern. When he is bemused, he ruffles my hair and comments on my being an 'over-achiever'. It's not exactly a fatherly response but I don't know how else to describe it. When he has been stern, he firmly reminds me to respect my limitations and be more reasonable with my expectations of myself.

As my moods have cycled, I find myself struggling with the writing he wants me to do. At first, I thought it was something like erotic writing that he wanted from me. That was what I was working on the first time he mentioned that he wanted me to write for him. I have been struggling to write that kind of stuff for a little while now, however. Then he said that he didn't care what I wrote so long as I did it for him. So, I decided to apply my last Camp NaNoWriMo effort to be in his honor. Due to a combination of factors, I discovered that I couldn't put in the time I wanted to on that project and I wasn't able to finish it by the end of that session. I was feeling somewhat dejected about it when he told me that it didn't matter what I wrote.

So, I started a prayer journal. Then life got busy and I made the mistake of putting it in a safe place. I didn't find it until about a month and a half later. In the meantime, I was engaged in the grueling task of doing my therapy journaling. I had days where I really just didn't want to look at the bloody book. I made myself do it. On the days where it was particularly hard for me to do, I dedicated my efforts to Freyr (who has been quietly encouraging me to push forward on all stuff focused on improving my health). As a result, however, it turned out that most of the writing that I have been doing and dedicating to Freyr has been focused on resolving past psychological trauma or managing my disability. 

I was talking with another Lokiswoman last week. I mentioned that I felt poorly that my written offerings had comprised mostly of my engaging in what a friend of mine coined as 'trauma-vomit'. My friend pointed out that the fact that I was working to improve myself and the fact that what I was doing required considerable effort made it valuable, more so then any unpleasantness might of detracted from it. I've been mulling that over for the last week. I can not say that the writing I have been doing in Freyr's honor has been easy. It has actually been really hard to do.

She pointed out that if Freyr wants to be intimately involved in my life, he wants to see all parts of it. She then reminded me that it really wasn't fair of me to try to just share the 'good' things. I felt a touch ashamed when she mentioned that. I was still reeling from this when I unearthed my prayer journal in the midst of cleaning the kitchen. (I swear, I have lost and found more things in my kitchen then anywhere else. It's like it has a bag of holding somewhere that randomly eats and disgorges things.) This morning, I sat down with my prayer journal and wrote up an entry, where I mentioned this concern that the trauma writing wasn't a fitting offering.

I was then gently, but firmly, redirected to consider the virtue of 'small things'. The abrupt sea change in topic kinda took me by surprise. As I re-read what I wrote, I discovered that there was an underlying theme beneath it. Part of it was that I was struggling with psychological stuff, again. Part of it was that every act of devotion that I take is valued, no matter how I feel about it. I think that it was quite possible that Freyr took over the pen for a few moments because there were things written down there that I didn't recall writing.

It's hard for me to keep in mind that devotional activities don't require special tools, rituals, or mood. It's rather ironic, actually, that I am struggling with this stuff after my most recent post on my other religion blog. It's hard for me because I really want to give the best of what I have and what I can do to the gods. And with how much Freyr has been showing ... attention and affection towards me, I feel like I need to do twice as well and twice as much because the stakes are higher.

I'm realizing, however, that what is driving me to push myself so hard is fear. I am beginning to accept that Freyr loves me. I don't understand it. This is different from how Loki loves me. It is more like how my husband loves me. And I am afraid that if I don't always put forth a positive and happy face, that Freyr will decide that I'm not worth loving. I feel ashamed of that fear. It speaks of distrust in Freyr. I don't want to be in this position. I don't want him to feel that I don't trust him. I don't want to be afraid of him or this... this awkward feeling that I have for him.

I dare say that I am coming to possibly love him too. It frightens me and I often question my sanity. The hardest part about all of this is that there is no physical person to sit down and talk this stuff out with. Some days I wish that I could sit down with someone who would horse Freyr for ten or fifteen minutes, so that I can get reassurance that I'm not going crazy. Of course, when ever I express my fear that I am going crazy, Loki just laughs and says cheerfully 'yer already there, kid.' I get torn between exasperation with that statement and a measure of depression. (I confess, I have flipped Loki the bird a few times when he's said that. He's either laughed at me or made a rude gesture back when I've done it. It's a gesture of affection between us. As blasphemous it might be.)

I've been reading about what other people have to say about UPG and discernment. It's reassuring to hear/read that I am on the right track. It is comforting find others having had similar experiences. And when I have gotten psychic readings from people who weren't intimately involved with the situation, I have gotten 'hits' on things that have been getting told to me by the gods. There is a mounting pile of evidence that this whole thing between Freyr and I is genuinely real, not just wish fulfillment. 

So, why do I get so anxious about it? I think it's tied to my psychological challenges. I have days where I get anxious that Beloved will get fed up with me and my issues. I have days where I feel like I can only show positive and happy things to the people who are closest to me, or they'll abandon me. (It's a particularly awful feeling when it hits with respect to the kids.) I've been struggling a lot with my psychiatric stuff. Coming to the realization that I am disabled has been really hard to bear. I wish I could say that I am moving serenely through this with peace, love, and compassion towards myself and the universe. 

The reality is, it has been ugly, hard, and exhausting. Part of the reason why I haven't been posting on here is because I get depressed and I all but give up on my writing. I also have times where I just feel sick to death with being sick. For a long while, my escape was into writing fiction. I am finding, however, that is not working for me. It seems like the only thing I can do is write stuff that some how comes back to my disability. (This post is a great example.) I also tried to escape into spiritual stuff. That escape has completely backfired. The deeper I go into my spiritual side of life, the more I find myself working on my psychiatric challenges. I think the gods are behind that. (I'm looking at you, Loki and Odin.)

I am struggling. I want to say that I am hopeful that I will come out of this experience healed and healthy. I don't know if I will be 'healed' from my disability. I just want to be able to look in the mirror and not feel so disgusted and horrified by what I see. I want to be able to go to sleep at night and not be fearful of nightmares. (The spiritwalking to be with Freyr has helped with that quite a bit. I think it's why he tolerates it so much.) I know that the way I am when I am hypomanic is not healthy. At the same time, I can't help but want to feel that optimisim and sense of boundless joy more in my life. I spend more time depressed and anxious then anything else. And, I'm sick of feeling that way.

I'm not sure what more to add right now. That's basically what's up in my neck of the woods (aside from the chaos of the kids being on summer break and us having money problems). I didn't really do anything special for Litha/Midsummer/Rosea Mundi. I spend the day enjoying my time with my family and then the evening enjoying my time with my friends. I've been burning a special rose scented candle for the gods. Loki's been more amused with the floral scented candle then annoyed with the lack of pie scented stuff. Now that the Tiger Lilies are blooming, I'll have fresh flowers for my altar and my outdoor shrine to Dea soon. I am going to take some time over the next week to clean up my altar space and make it look more 'pretty'. 

I've been looking at the pictures of other people's altars. It's like Pinterest and the pagan blogs had a baby and the result is what I have been seeing on Facebook of late. I don't know if I'll be taking a picture of it or not. I need to change some things with it, however, because it doesn't accurately reflect what I am doing now. I have commissioned a statue of Freyr from a friend of mine. (I'm paying her in handspun yarn, which she may nor may not expect. If she is reading this, I've just outed myself on this intent. LOL)

I'd like to have a statue of Loki for the altar but I can't afford to buy the ones that I've seen. I have been seriously thinking about finding a masculine Jester figure. If I could, I'd find one that looked a bit ... ominous. Because even when Loki is joking, there's that rumble of darkness behind it. Oddly enough, I find it comforting that Loki has that to him. It's like the Happy Fun Ball or something. Though, I would be the person to taunt the Happy Fun Ball and poke it with a stick. I also want something for Odin, though I'm still taking proverbial baby steps on that front.