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.

6/22/14

Walking Forward.

Waning Rose Moon (25 days)
Sign: Taurus
Weather: Mild, fair skies
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I have started the process of my part of this dance that Freyr and I are engaged in. Yesterday, I made a point of spending time on things I enjoyed and being social with friends. Today, I took time to attend to working on improving my health. I feel a touch foolish doing these things as devotional activities but as a fellow Lokean pointed out, devotional activities are things that are supposed to improve us.

I have been doing a lot more writing relating to my psychological difficulties. As this has been challenging for me to do, I feel a little less uncomfortable offering it up to Freyr. He had told me to write and did not tell me what to write. While I try to do the happier, more erotic writing for him, the daily grind of my therapy journaling has been making up the bulk of what I have been writing.

I felt his presence very strongly yesterday afternoon as I was driving out to Buffalo and back home. On the way there, it was just a very companionable presence. It was as though we were literally just taking a drive together and enjoying the countryside. On the way home, he spoke to me. I was told how I needed to stop censoring myself in my writing and to continue making my health a priority. He also expressed that when I was engaged in devotional activity for him, that he wanted my hair to be unbound.

It was a little bit awkward when he stated that. I have my prohibition from Dea to cover my hair around people who would potentially disrespect me. I'm not sure how I am going to observe that and manage to fulfill this new task from Freyr. It feels a bit awkward to have my hair unbound beneath the tichels that I wear. I wonder if this means I should start using a different style of headcovering now.

6/16/14

What on Earth do I think I am doing?

Waning Rose Moon (19 days old)
Sign: Aquarius
Weather: humid, seasonably warm,
partly cloudy
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I think I've lost my blessed mind. I feel like perhaps this business of Freyr being interested in me as a potential spouse might actually be something I am called towards. The thing that had the scales tip in that favor was how he was constantly present over the last few days when I was dealing with a hypomanic episode. Freyr was quietly there helping me not to go on a mad cleaning binge in the middle of the night and restrain my wilder impulses. The thing that was amusingly ironic was that the fertility deity quietly but firmly said 'no, you're not healthy enough for it.' when I batted out there the possibility of some form of an intimate encounter between him and I.

People make fertility deities out to be up for sex of any flavor at all times and anytime. Freyr and his firm denial the other night showed me this stereotype is not the case. I'm not sure what this business means, though. It occurs to me that it has been approximately two years now that he has been 'courting' me. I find myself stumbling along feeling terribly confused more often then not.

Where Dea made things clear and the work she set before me is such that I can proceed with some sense of knowing what in Hel's name I am doing, this thing between Freyr and I confuses me. I am finding that confusion to be a frightening place. I struggle with my disability and find Freyr patiently standing at my side through it all. I struggle with anxiety over things like how to manage finances, and Freyr is quietly reassuring me that things will indeed get better as time goes on. While he has not scolded me, he has called me to task when I let my anxiety and fears get the better of me.

On the whole, he has been a loving, compassionate, and helpful presence in my life. It seems notable that Loki regularly prods me to get over my self-consciousness with regards to Freyr. I pray to them on a regular basis, though much of my prayer to Freyr is a mumbling 'um, hi. thank you for being here for me.' because I get tongue-tied. It is very frustrating when the words just fail me and he is so very ... attentive to what I want to say.

The interesting thing is, I think he knows what I try to say and is willing to let me struggle with how to say it because it's better for me to get the words out rather then just rely on his greater knowledge of the situation. I'm not going to go so far as to say that I am a godspouse. Freyr and Loki generally laugh at me when I say I don't know enough to be one. I haven't pledged myself to Freyr in that fashion. My fear of failure to meet what ever duties come with that kind of oath is what stops me. Freyr is of the opinion that I'll get over it soon enough.

Little things like random stalks of wheat growing next to the mailbox where there was only grass before and a Viceroy butterfly flitting about my head tells me that he is with me. I try to keep up with my little offerings and efforts. It doesn't feel like enough. I feel like I'm attempting to tread water where I can't reach the bottom. It is a very unnerving feeling. I catch myself fearing that all of this will be too much and that I am perhaps losing my mind. And then the gods nudge reminders that all of this truly is real into my path.

6/4/14

Herbalism: Vanilla Tincture.

Waxing Rose Moon (6 days old)
Sign: Virgo
Weather: Fair skies, mildly humid
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It has been too long since I have posted in here. To get back into the habit, I am posting the recipe for the vanilla tincture that I made recently. I have used it as the base of a perfume, for which I'll give the recipe later. It is probably one of the easiest things I have made in ages. I learned how to do this from my Mom, who had the instructions in one of her recipe books.

Magically speaking, this tincture can make an excellent component in love spells, as vanilla is an aphrodisiac. It can also be useful in home blessing spells, for vanilla is a spice associated with sweetness and positive energy. The tincture is one that can be drunk and otherwise consumed in food. It can be used in place of vanilla extract in recipes, the ratio is 1:1.

To prepare the tincture, one must first acquire a bottle of high proof alcohol. I use a 1 liter bottle of vodka. I then take a vanilla pod and split it in half. I do not scrape the seeds out but I will break the pod up into several pieces. These are then placed into the bottle of alcohol. The tincture is then allowed to infuse for at least two weeks. Once the tincture has turned a rich golden color, it is ready for use. Transfer the tincture to another clean bottle for storage, making sure it is well labeled and stored away from light or heat.

If one has access to amber colored bottles, it is good to use them for storing tinctures and other preparations because the tinted glass will reduce the effect that light has upon the chemical compounds of the tincture. It acts like a pair of sunglasses on the bottle. Light will break up the compounds in the tincture, making it less effective as time goes on and it is exposed.