Poem:  I Am

I finished writing this poem today and present it here for thoughts.  I am quite fond of it, although some people have read it and been uncomfortable with its expressions.

The poem speaks to my life.  I am coming to the end of a significant amount of Shadow work, and this is a celebration of that.  I have reclaimed and am healing shards of my soul, embraced many of my issues and wrestled with personal demons.  I feel like now I come from a place of power that was meant for me, if only I dared to come this far.

Perhaps that is why this poem makes people so uncomfortable.

 

 

I Am

I am the uncomfortable silence,
I am the calm before the storm.
A friend may partake in my peace
While the foe shall hear no alarm.

I am sister-wife of The Mad,
I am the daughter of Gangleri.
A friend shall enjoy my aid,
While the foe fearful of my company.

I am she who rests in nightmares,
I dance where others dare creep.
Do not think that I am defenseless
Attack me, and pain you shall reap

Is there still a question of my loyalty?
Do I still belong in the house I dwell?
Oh I assure you, the wolf within is quite content,
Yet ever willing to come out of my shell

Feeling Connections

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

~ Howard Thurman

 

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Over the year that I have been working with Loki, Sigyn and Odin, I have found a happiness that I never thought was possible within religion.  In all of my years as a practicing Christian, I never felt the Christian God the way I feel the ones that I am working with now.  Yes, the Christian God felt alive to me, but I didn’t “feel” like one of “his” children.  Even when I was doing other pagan and Wiccan practices, I never felt so close to the Gods as I do now.  The more devotional things I do for Odin, Sigyn and Loki, the more I feel and hear them.

I wonder if in today’s constant strife regarding the role of religion if this is something that we are lacking.  We see a lot of posts about how and what people think about their Gods, their practice and what other people should or shouldn’t do, but we aren’t seeing many posts about how we FEEL about our Gods.  Perhaps if we looked at how we feel about our Gods, and in turn how they feel about us, we wouldn’t have as much argument.  It doesn’t matter how we find our own ways to get there, but in the end, if you are content with your practice and feel the connections to the Gods, then that connection can be a starting point to reach out to other religions.

My connections to my Gods make me feel alive.  They soothe my soul and make me feel whole.  Odin helps me to understand that I do not know everything, and that I have a long road to get to the level of understanding that I want to be at.  He recognizes that I have value in who I am and in what I do, and that I’m not afraid of going outside that which I know in order to get something done, especially in his honor.

My connection to Loki is one that is very hard to describe.  I feel his passion and fire within me, and that has gotten me through rough times, especially when I am having a hard time with my chronic pain.  Loki also helps me learn to accept all of myself.  This includes those pieces of me that I feel are less than desirable.  I’m allowed to be angry, I’m allowed to dislike things.  But I am also allowed to recognize those feelings but that I don’t have to DO anything about them.  I can let things go as they may; I don’t have to make everything right for everyone, or even for myself.  And while I am not constantly on the lookout for the rug to be pulled out from under me in some aspect of my life, I recognize that it may happen.  And when it does, I am enough to do whatever it is that is needed to make the best out of the situation.

Sigyn is a much deeper lady than anyone gives her credit for.  To know her is to know that there are other aspects of her that she does not show to many.  She is the consoler, but she also does not let people shirk their duties because of their pain.  She asks of you to do what it is you can, to find the limit and work to it, then to recognize that that is enough.  Some days those limits are higher than others.  Sometimes they are much lower.  Either way, that is OK.  She also teaches that once you have met the limit, Rest for your body and for your soul is always necessary.   She is the champion of us who have chronic illness, a lady of quiet wisdom and strength, and a child of wonder and awe.  She is someone you must sit with for a time as she must know you before she opens herself to you.

Some readers may also remember that I am the holder of a medicine pipe of Native American traditions.  This relationship too has been solidified over the year.  I am not as afraid as I once was of the power that likes within the sumac and pipestone.  Instead, I recognize that its purpose is to help heal and teach those who are within its influence.  Ceremonies with the pipe are not things that happen often, but when they do, they will need to be done very carefully and purposefully.  And even when the pipe is in its bags, proper respect is still expected.  I find myself still giving offerings to it whenever I feel it is necessary.  Finally, the pipe doesn’t have to be out to speak.  It will speak to whomever it needs to, whenever the time is right.

A year ago I made pacts with these Gods that I would renew within a year and a day so long as they still wanted me, and I still felt comfortable with them.  Now I recognize that the connections that I have made with them will last much, much longer.  And I am absolutely OK with this.  It feels so nice to finally find a home.  It just took me throwing out some of the things that others taught and feeling my way through my own truth.

Perhaps speaking about these connections will help others speak about their own feelings regarding their relationships with the Gods.  Perhaps they will think on how they feel, and recognize that we all have a common starting point; the joy and comfort the Gods bring as well as the continuous lessons that we receive on a day to day basis.  I don’t expect this post to change all that.  But it might get some people thinking at least about expressing their own connections to divinity.  And even if it doesn’t, I’m still happy at the fact that I can express the relationships that I have had a hand in making for myself.

Photo from Deviant Art.

Dealing With Negative Emotions

I used to think that negative emotions were flaws.  When I got angry, I used to think that it meant that there was something wrong with me.

There is a great example of this going on right now, and it’s the reason why I started writing this post.  Right now at my work, I’m dealing with associates loitering at my desk.  You see, my work area butts up against a very popular manager’s office.  He is a good man, but he also is manager of one of the busiest departments in the company.  So he frequently has people that need to speak with him….MANY people that need to speak with him.  And frequently this means there is a line of people waiting their turn to talk to said manager.  Some of those people waiting in said line loiter around my work area, look at my work screen, check out what I am doing work-wise and get really nosy.

It gets irritating.  And I’m realizing more and more that it’s OK that I feel that way.  More importantly, it’s OK when I get angry about it.

One concept that is preached in some new age movements is the concept that if someone or something bothers you to the point of anger, it means there is an area within you that needs work.  Further, the person that is bothering you is doing you a favor by showing you a weakness within yourself.

This is a concept that I’ve struggled with this concept for a long time.  Like other new age concepts I have found a grain of truth to this, however, taken into extreme, this concept ends up hurting the person who tries to obey it each and every time they have a negative emotion.

The practice of seeking out what bothers you about an issue is good when you are dealing with some things, especially some of the issues that are out there today.  I firmly believe that lots of the emotion tied to issues today are because there are too many people out there that don’t deal with their own issues.  Sometimes it’s because they realize subconsciously that position they have is based on faulty thought, instead it’s a stance that they just ‘feel’ is right without looking at the real evidence for or against the issue.  Maybe the issue just hits too close to home to a traumatic event for the person that they need to deal with before they can have a clear head about the issue.  Whatever the cause, I believe our task when this happens is to investigate further, figure out the root cause of that emotion, and learn to deal with our own personal baggage so that we can see the more clearly.

Saying that, I do believe there are things that must be vetted prior to doing this work on sensitive issues.  First, you need to be in a position of safety to deal with those issues that might be related to a traumatic event.  And second, you need to know when to stop.

I didn’t know when to stop.

If I was upset about the weather, I considered it my flaw.  I considered it a flaw if I got mad because I had to re-explain something to someone at work for the 3rd time because they refused to listen the first two.  I considered it a flaw if I was angry at someone for interrupting me when I was deep in the middle of very highly detailed work.  I forgot those things were OK; and that I am only human.

As humans, we will never be perfect.  We will never be without flaws, no matter how much we push forward and deal with our baggage.  We will never be able to always say the right things.  We will never be able to always handle every emotion that we have.  We can work to do what we can with those emotions, but we need to realize that we are never going to stop having the occasional negative emotion, and that is OK.  I had to allow that for myself.

Once I realized that, it became much easier to realize how much I truly was beating myself up because I couldn’t control each and every emotion that I had.  I had done my work (and still do it when I realize there is something I can fix), but that doesn’t mean that I can’t be pissed at the non-management schmuck who decides to be nosy and see if I’m really doing the work that I am paid to do, or if I’m just playing on Facebook or cruising the internet.

The other thing I realized is that anger can be awesome when you need to harness energy.  I’ve done it training for races already, where I get mad and push through that last mile before I quit.  And I’m learning to do it with my fibromyalgia as well.  Sometimes you just need to get mad in order to get through the flare that hits during the work day.

I’m still playing with this, but I have to say it finally feels good to allow myself to feel the so called ‘negative’ emotions.  They are a part of me, and since I have accepted that I have felt more genuine than I have in years. Moreover, since this realization, I’ve been able to dismiss that which I do not need a lot easier as well and look forward to where else this realization will take me.

A Story of Death and Rebirth

ginnungagap_by_mirovia-d4napoz

The night started like any other normal night.  As night fell, I retired to my bedroom in order to prepare for sleep.  However, upon lying down I felt the gentle ‘pull’ on my spirit.  The Gods had other plans in mind for me than simply roaming around within the dream world.    Tonight would be instead a journey to the realms of spirit in order to learn another lesson.  I quickly made the necessary preparations and prepared to go where I was lead.

Upon closing my eyes I found myself staring at a funeral pyre that was yet to be lit.  There were no tears from the others watching with me.  Instead, the sense in the air was that something powerful was about to happen.  No one was here to mourn.  Instead, they were here to witness rebirth.

Once I recognized that important difference, I felt the wood on my back as I found myself lying down on top of the pyre, chained there so that I could not move.  I frantically searched through my mind, and looked over at the other version of myself still staring at the pyre.

‘This can’t be right’ I thought, panic starting to set in.  Frantically I tried to pull my spirit away, but it was no use.  I was tied to the pile of wood very well.  Nonetheless, I continued to struggle

‘This is meant to be’ I heard a male voice say. The voice calmed my fears some, so I stopped struggling.

It was then that I saw a spectator light the wood at my feet.

In the physical world fire burns quickly.  I’ve heard fire doubles in size every four seconds.  But here, it felt like it took forever to catch.  Finally, I could feel it close in on my feet and legs.  The sensation was nothing like I had never felt before.  Thankfully, there was no pain, but that didn’t mean the destruction of the fire was lessened any.  I looked down and watched as the skin of my arms started to blister and be burned away exposing the muscle and bone underneath.  The flames lapped at my torso, and again I watched the blistering and burning of my skin.  In moments I was looking down at my ribs and could see my organs aflame through the bone.  I tried to breathe but flames instead entered my nose and mouth.  I could feel them as they burned away the nasal tissue and found their way into my lungs.

The flames got hotter then, and my bones started to burn away.  By now I could no longer see as my eyes were turned to dust.  But I could still feel the flame and it’s power burning my body away.  And as the dust started to accumulate I realized that no longer was I the body that had burned, but instead I was the flame.  I opened my new eyes and realized I was born again a giantess.  All around me was the world of fire as I walked.  I felt the destruction of the flame and knew that I would in time I would destroy everything.  I would be the one to set everything on fire.  I was drunk with the power of destruction and death, loving every moment that I controlled that power.

Then I knew it was time to transform again, and I started to feel a slight chill.  It started to become harder to move forward and I realized the power of the fire was retreating into me as the outside of my body started to chill and turn blue from cold.  Quickly my environment changed from fire to one of ice and snow.  Finally I could no longer moved and I feared I would be stuck within the block of Ice I had become forever.

It was then I saw Loki walking toward me.  The fire god was not in human form, but rather a walking ball of flame.  Lovingly he embraced the block of ice I had become and I felt myself melting back into my human form. Yet, even though I looked the same as I did before the journey started, I felt very much transformed.

I heard the male voice speak again.  ‘You will go through this transformation again and again until you give up all that you do not need and allow it to be burned away.  How many times you must endure the flame is up to you.

And then, just as abruptly as it came, the journey ended, and I awoke in my own bed, my husband sleeping next to me.

The next day I did feel different.  I cannot put my finger on the specifics, but I know that the journey changed me to my core.  I no longer fear  that which I once did.  And if that fear does come back I immediately see and feel the flames on my body.  I know them now as a reminder of what it was I endured, and a signal to know that I am attempting to carry something once again I do not need any longer.

This is a transformation that I have been deeply grateful for.  Although it scared me, it was one that was needed, and had I known it was coming, I probably wouldn’t have had the guts to lay on that funeral pyre myself.  I know it happened the way that it needed to.  However next time I may have to make the choice to burn in flame myself.

Photo by Mirovia from Deviant Art

Finding Pagan Music

One of the things that I have noticed over the years is that Pagan music seems to be hard to find.  However, there are many artists out there whose music has pagan overtones, and with ITunes, Amazon’s music service and many other music services out there, new and old music is finding its way back into rituals, prayer work, and just to listen to when you need some extra energy.

Here is a list of artists you might not have heard of, or perhaps had never thought about  in a pagan light before.

 

Serpentine (Serpentine Arborvitae) – Rock the Goddess

I found this album in the late 90’s.  The song “Rock the Goddess” was I think her best work.  I have also found many of the other songs on the album to be compelling, although they have a significantly different feel to them.  Her music is what I put on when I want to feel inspired and powerful.  .

I was happy to find out that this was only one of the many albums produced by Serpentine.  Many more songs are available on ITunes.  I’m still finding new gems for my collection as I go through them.

 

Gypsy – Enchantress

This album is much older.  I remember listening to it in 1992-3.  I had it on cassette back then, but in 2001 it was put onto ITunes.  I think this album has a solid place in pagan music, just for the fact that it was groundbreaking – no one had published anything like it before.  Gypsy’s music is soothing, but I find I can only listen to it so long.  Then it goes away in my collection to be pulled out another time.

 

Emerald Rose

This is a traditional Celtic group that has written a lot of pagan themed music.  One of my favorites is ‘Never Underestimate (A woman with the Goddess in her Eyes)’.  I love their music around this time of the year – it feels like their music just screams springtime and growth.

 

Inkubus Sukkubus

While I love Emerald Rose in the spring, I ADORE listening to Inkubus Sukkubus in the fall.  Their songs scream Pagan, Magick, Power and all things Gothic.  This is the type of music that I use when I’m having just too much mundanity in a day.  There have been many times that I would get in my Jeep and just blast this music for a bit of a ‘change in the scenery’ so to speak.  They have many albums with many different and hauntingly beautiful songs on them, and I think there is something for everyone here.

 

Todd Alan

This is another singer that I think has a significant place in Pagan music.  I still on occasion listen to some of his music, and every time I do, I feel the power in his words.  That is one thing that Todd is very good at doing – his songs engage you in a way that fills your spirit with song.

 

Type O Negative – October Rust

This was my favorite album from this band, and the one that started getting them some big attention in the rock music scene.  It’s actually a lot softer than their other albums, and contains two songs with significant pagan influence – ‘Be my Druidess’, which is about the Great Rite in Wiccan Tradition, and ‘Green Man’.  Unfortunately this is a band that burned out pretty quickly for many reasons, the biggest of which being Peter Steele, the Band’s lead singer and bass player, died of a heart attack six years ago.

 

Halestorm – Into the Wild Life

I just started getting into this group.  The first song I heard of theirs was ‘I am the Fire’ off their new album ‘Into the Wild Life’.  As I was already working with Loki significantly when I heard it, it’s no wonder this song grabbed me.  Since then I’ve explored more of their new album and found songs full of empowerment.  These are what I listen to when I’m on a run and don’t think I can give anymore – I let the energy of the music just flow into me and it always helps to carry me over the finish line.  I also find that one of Halestorm’s songs pop up when I’m just feeling down, depressed about something, or are just getting too fixated on a mundane issue in my life.  It’s sorta like Loki is poking at me saying ‘hey, there is more to life than this’, and I sincerely appreciate the poke.

 

Disturbed – Immortalized

This is another recent album.  And while the band doesn’t have directly pagan undertones in their music (well, they might on older albums, I just became aware of this band recently), I have found Songs like ‘The Light’ and ‘The Vengeful One’ and ‘The Brave and the Bold’ off of their album Immortalized fit a pagan tone quite nicely.  Again, these are songs I listen to for empowerment, something I don’t think we get enough of in this day and age.

Another note about this album, the song ‘Who Taught You How to Hate’ seems to fit in with the current US Presidential race very well.

 

For Ritual music, I am a fan of R. Carlos Nakai’s gorgeous flute music.  I also have songs by artists Gandalf, Deuter, George Winston and David Lanz in my ritual playlist.  These I find work well for meditation too.

Finally, I highly recommend an album called “The Prayer Cycle” by Jonathan Elias.  This is a nine part choral symphony in 12 languages.  Each movement in itself is a prayer that is powerful, strong and yet beautifully delicate in its composition.  There have been many times the album has moved me to tears with its beauty and intricacy.  If ever you feel you have lost hope, this gorgeous symphony might help to bring that back to you.

So that’s what I’m listening to right now.  I’m certain there is much more out there.  I’d love to hear what other music people are listening to as well.

My continued Lokean Journey

fire_by_todd587
Hail Loki
Stormbringer, God of Sight
Lord of fire
Bringer of the Dark
You who bring fluidity and Life, destruction and death
I hear your call
I have shown you my anguish and taken your oath
I shall dance in your fire as long as you will have me

 

Previously I posted about how I finally acknowledged that I felt like I was being called by Loki, and that I was scared as hell about it.  I wanted to share an update.

If you haven’t read the previous post, basically I finally acknowledged last year that he has been reaching out to me.  So, I took a temporary oath to him in order to better understand who exactly he is and why I was called.  Since then, I’ve been doing daily work with Loki.  That daily work has significantly changed my beliefs about him.  I recognize now that all I was doing was prolonging the inevitable; I am one of his devotees, and now I fully see why.

First, I’m not going to get into the rationale as to why Loki is not a ‘dark’ or ‘evil’ deity.  Plenty of people have done that and I don’t care to repeat the same arguments.  As it is, I’m certain that most people have made up their minds and that is that; they aren’t going to change it just because one more person tells them to.   But I will say that there is a significant uptick in people recognizing what a powerful and ancient deity he is regardless of his appearance in certain Marvel movies.  The knowledge of his multi-faceted purpose is making him more than just the passing fad.  (Oh, and if you ever want to truly divide a certain actor from his appearance as Loki, watch this, especially if you don’t like country music.  It will help you divide the two really well.  In fact I keep a copy of the video just to remind myself of the differences because Loki seems to love to pick on me about it.)

Loki is a true catalyst for change, something that needs to be recognized prior to starting  work with him.  When I started acknowledging him in my life, everything changed almost all at once.  That change made me search for stability, which I found within my own strength and self-worth.  I recognized that there were things that were going to be thrown at me that were not pleasant.  I also recognized that those things were going to be scary, they would make me angry and they would take me as far away from my comfort zone as I could possibly get.  But I also recognized that if I had enough faith in myself, my strength and in my abilities, I knew I could get through all of it.  I likened myself to a buoy bobbing in the water during a raging storm; rocked by the waves yet able to go over them consistently and as upright as I could possibly be.

With Loki, nothing is invisible.  In my previous post, I spoke about how he wasted no time bring up issues I had hidden deep within myself.  These things that were quickly brought to light were things that I had to deal with in order to move forward and become stronger.  Since then even more things has been brought up, especially issues that I had thought I had dealt with but not fully taken care of.  These issues ranged from being about my extended family to spirituality and religion, body image issues, sexuality and even abuse and triggers for that abuse that I had not dealt with.  Loki he pushed me to deal with each and every one of them.  Each time he did he was stern, but he always brought it up in ways I could understand and connect with.

I will note that these issues didn’t come up all at once.  I trust him to only give me what I can handle, and once I have dealt with something, he gives me something new to ponder.  In the end I recognize he helping me become a stronger, more authentic individual. Perhaps he has called me just for me to tell my story so that more people recognize him.  Or perhaps there are other reasons that he hasn’t told me.  Either way, I recognize that had he not pushed me to take a long, hard look in the mirror, I would not be as comfortable in my own body as I am today.  I would still be in many ways scared of my own thoughts and afraid to take action.  I would not be as strong as I am; I know it was me that did the work, but it was he that showed me how to do it.

I think should someone else be in the same situation that I was, the biggest thing that they will be surprised at is how multi-faceted he is.  Even now as I try to describe him I am grasping at words to explain how much he has done for me and what I have become in his honor.  He is my friend, my Lord, my confidant, my guide, my lover and much more.  I am his child, his babysitter, the straight woman to his comic, his lover, his underling, his aide and whatever else he thinks I can handle.

An excellent book on the subject is Dagulf Loptson’s “Playing with Fire: An Exploration of Loki Laufeyjarson”.  This book sums up about 95% of what I have come to understand what Loki is.  I also like his term for those worshiping Loki: a Lokean, and agree that the Rokkur term that seems to continue to float around is something that does not fit everything that Loki has shown himself to be.

It’s funny, now that I have all of that out in the open, I’m still nervous by it.  It’s the same fear as I had when I started talking about my medicine pipe a couple posts back.  There is such a stigma about Loki that even now I still have concerns about putting my oath out there to him as my fulltrui.   To me that is utterly hilarious and maddening at the same time.  It just goes to show you the power of labels I guess.

But now it’s out there.  This post is his work too.  He wants me to take responsibility; to publicly say I am his daughter, sister, lover and friend.  And I am proud to do just that.

Hail to Laufey’s son!

 

 

Above Image from Deviant Art.