To Loki… or Not to Loki?

To Loki! To totally Loki!

I’ve kind of been struggling when it comes to which Gods and Goddesses to work with and get to know. It’s easy when you feel instantly drawn to a certain deity, or even when they call you out (I’m looking at you, Thor!), but what about when they don’t?

I’ve really shied away from even studying Loki, because let’s face it… Dude gets himself in a lot of trouble.  All the freakin’ time! So, maybe it’s a bit risky to invoke him, and I haven’t really been in a spot where I felt like taking a risk. But he just keeps popping up everywhere, and I started to realize that ummm… maybe I needed to stop ignoring that.

So, let’s backtrack to about a month ago.  I had this brilliant idea to make myself some pagan prayer beads. (I still haven’t perfected them yet, so I’ll post all about it when I finally finish them.) Basically, I wanted to have memorized prayers that I could chant while meditating. So, as I’m making these, I have to choose which Gods and Goddesses to pray to. I wanted to have 9 prayers since 9 is such a sacred number to the Norse. Of course, I had to put a prayer in for Thor and Frigg. I put one in for Freya. I made one for Odin. But who else should I pray to? After thinking about it for a while, I decided I needed to pray to the Gods who ruled over the aspects of my life that I wanted to work on.

One of those areas is being able to have fun. I don’t know exactly where in my great span of 30 years I lost the ability to have fun, but I did. I stress too much. I worry over things going wrong. I worry about how people see me, and I have this great fear of messing things up. Most of all, I think that adulting has made me so serious, that I forgot how to laugh. Not the chuckle-haha-that was funny kind of laugh, but the throw your head back and release pure joy kind of laugh. I have kids. I want my kids to be kids. I want them to grow up and know what joy is and how to keep it in their lives always. Yet, how can I show them if I don’t even know how to do it myself? Yep, this was definitely an area for me to improve on.

Now, what’s the first thing you think of when you think of Loki? (Okay, well right after you remind yourself that Tom Hiddleston is an actor, and Marvel Loki is not the real Loki…) I think Trickster. Prankster. I see a parallel with Coyote in some Native stories. The Loki in the Eddas does his own thing, and takes quite a bit of delight in tricking the other Gods. Yeah it gets him in trouble more often than not, but he certainly marches to his own drum and enjoys being himself. Loki never worries about someone’s perception of him and doesn’t take himself too seriously. Sounds just like the kind of God I need right about now, huh?

So I added him to my prayers, asking him to help me not be so serious all the time.  I don’t say these prayers everyday (though, maybe I should…), but I have meditated on them a few times in the last month. And you know what… out of all 9 Gods I pray to, Loki was the one who replied.

The past week for me has been amazing! I have been the happiest I think I have been since I married my husband! It all started with a trip to get donuts….

My family has one car. One car and six people. One car, six people, and three different households. Which means, we spend a lot of time in the car getting people to work, school, or to whichever parent’s house they need to be at. So, on this particular morning, I’m dropping Hubs off at work, but I have an hour to kill before the kids need to be at school. What do kids need in the morning… breakfast! And what is the best breakfast in the world? DONUTS!!! So, off we trek to get donuts at the store. We are pumped cuz DONUTS and this song comes on the radio. Shimmer by Fuel. (Now, I’m young enough that I seriously thought that Hemorrhage was Fuel’s first song, so keep in mind that I wasn’t musically aware when Shimmer was blaring on the radio nonstop. I was listening to Foreigner with my Dad.) I’d only heard this song a handful of times, but I LOVE IT!!! And, it just so happens that my amazing sister hooked me up with unlimited AppleMusic… so I could download said song I hadn’t thought of in years! And the world (or at least me and the baby) rejoiced! We got our donuts, dropped off the school kids, and proceeded to blare Shimmer nonstop at the loudest volume possible for the next 3 days. I don’t know what happened in that moment that I heard this song, but I just went full out joy mode.

For the next 3 days, I listened to songs I hadn’t heard in forever. I cleaned my house. I worked on projects. My bestie came to visit with Starbucks. I went to a Foreigner concert with my Husband, Mother in Law, and Brother. Lots of fun stuff happened, but mostly lots of little things brought me true joy.

I realized, as I was dancing the Seizure at the concert not caring at all how ridiculous I looked, that this was Loki. Loki was working behind the scenes, helping me to let go of all the anxieties and just feel the joy in the music. He was helping me to stop and really appreciate the things in my life that I had been over looking.

I did a bit of research and found out that Loki seems to like really sickly sweet stuff. So, with that in mind, I spent Sunday going through incense at the mall to find the most disgustingly sweet smelling one that I could. I bought several sticks, came home and lit one on my altar. I said a prayer of thanks to Loki, telling him how good it felt to be truly joyful. And, cuz I have kids who always need their momma… I walked away.  The incense went out! I came back, lit it again, and spent a bit more time thinking about the lesson Loki was teaching me. And… I walked away for the incense to finishing burning. But instead, it went out.  I told my husband how disappointed I was that it seemed we had gotten some bad incense. “Or maybe Loki is just fucking with you,” he says to me. What?!?! Omg, of course he is… cuz that is exactly how Loki would let you know he got your message! So, again I lit the incense, and thanked Loki for letting me know he was still listening, and FINALLY that thing burnt completely to the end.

The most ironic thing about all of this? I realized the day after that I had been honoring Loki on April Fool’s Day! The Gods work in mysterious (and rather amusing) ways!

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It’s been a year… Oops!

Well, see how amazing I am at keeping a blog? I really understand the meaning of suspense, so I decided to keep ya’ll in the dark for a whole year!

Okay, so really, I just got busy with life and lost the drive to write about what I was doing. It happens. I don’t know how I will do with writing in the future, but for now, let’s catch up? How does that sound?

Wow, has it been a year. So many things have been happening in our home. We were moving, and then we didn’t. And then we were moving again…. aaannnddd we didn’t, lol! We’ve been through unemployment, opening a business, and now closing said business. (Consistency is not my strength, can you tell?) The kids have gotten older and crazier, and if the baby (who is now 3) learns how to push just one more of my buttons, I’m going to go hide out in the Himalaya’s for a year where no one can find me! In all seriousness, though, my kids are amazing me and I love them to death. My husband and I are getting ready to celebrate 4 years of marriage, and I’m still amazingly happy and in love with that hunk of a man!

Spiritually, I have done nothing but grow and grow over the past year. Ironically enough, this blog helped me connect to one of my friends who I had no idea was witchy as well! Together, we have taken classes, worked on projects, and just delved into our spirituality. It’s done a lot to reaffirm my path in life, and remind me that even though I feel like I’m drowning in the depths of the unknown, I really do have a clue what I am doing.

It’s my hope that in the next few posts I make, I can talk a bit about the different lessons I have learned over the past year. And hopefully, I will stick with writing!

The Sound of Silence

It’s interesting that this month’s topic for the Pagan Blog Project is “To be Silent”. There has been torment in me over what to be silent about and when to make my voice heard. On top of that, I am obsessed (and I do mean OBSESSED) with Disturbed’s cover of “The Sound of Silence.” Obsessed!

It’s hard as a pagan to know when to keep your mouth shut. For a very long time, I kept my mouth shut about everything. I didn’t tell anyone I was pagan, or if I did, there wasn’t a lot of details. Over time, I have talked more, but the fear of being discriminated against kept me from being too open. I told very few people about my connection to the gods or how I did spell work. And it’s kind of a really sad thing, isn’t it. On one hand, I want to protect myself by being quiet about what it is I believe, since it isn’t the mainstream religion. However, how will I ever gain acceptance by being silent and in the shadows?

As I have mentioned before, one of the reasons for this blog was to fill a void. I rarely see pagan blogs. I know now where to find more of them, but it was very hard at first. I know there are local communities of witches around here, but I can’t find them. It’s very disheartening when you are looking for guidance or friendship. So, sometimes, I wish witches were just a little bit more vocal. I wish they were more approachable. But I can’t blame them for staying in the shadows when I do the same thing.

Words are powerful. We give a little bit of ourselves away when we speak. Once those thoughts are formed into words, anyone can hear them. It isn’t just me in my head. And sadly, a good portion of the world doesn’t feel the same way I do about trying to stay positive and letting go of negativity. Heck, sometimes I can’t even keep with it! That energy in our words can be twisted, manipulated, and changed into something we didn’t mean. Think about it. How many times have your words been taken the wrong way? When we speak about our beliefs, this can happen, too. Do we really want that to be on our conscience? So maybe, it’s better to keep silent.

So, do you know the lyrics to “The Sound of Silence”? If not, I highly suggest looking them up. The song (as I interpret it) tells a story of a man who is depressed because of a dream. The dream showed him thousands of people moving throughout their lives without making their voices heard. The man tries to get them to speak up for themselves, but they ignore him. Because no one speaks up, their lives don’t improve.

But what does this mean to me? I hear every day about something that breaks my heart. I’m seeing people spouting religious freedom to suppress the rights of others. I see people who try desperately to make their lives better, and can’t because our society won’t let them. I see pain, so much pain. If I chose to remain silent, nothing will ever get better. I might have a little voice, but I should use it. In a spiritual sense, I feel like I should be more vocal. I should be getting out there and meeting other witches. I should be sharing my experiences, so that someone like me might find the guidance they are looking for.

Silence is just as powerful as words. It keeps us safe, and there are times when safe is more important than anything else. However, as with all things, there needs to be a balance. So, maybe it’s time to use the voice I have.

How Making a Shawl Brought Me to Frigga

I have had an urge for probably a good month or so, to sit down and crochet a shawl. Not just any shawl, though. An epic shawl. A mystical shawl. One worthy of a witch.

Even when I write it, it just sounds weird. How do you make an epic shawl? Honestly, I don’t know. I just know that it must be black, kind of lacy, and it absolutely must be floor length. Above all else, it must be floor length!

So, about now you should be wondering where I am going with this. And to be honest, even I don’t really know for sure. What I do know, is that this whole shawl compulsion has led me to discovering and connecting with another goddess, Frigga.

For a while now, I have been trying to open myself up to the gods. For me, this isn’t easy. Mainly it’s due to me being so full of anxiety and a lack of confidence. I hear a voice or I get some strange idea or thought out of nowhere. Everything in my life experience has conditioned me to see these things as signs of being crazy, or to just shrug it off. However, my first instinct is to pay attention to it.  A friend of mine (we will call him R) had to remind me that this could be the gods talking to me. He reminds me (a lot actually) that I need to trust my instincts. As a result, I am not so quick to dismiss quirky thoughts or occurrences as being nothing.

This leads me back into the shawl. I had to make this. I wanted it. I needed it. But why? Just because I liked the idea? Maybe, but I took the route that maybe I was being spoken to. After all, I have been crocheting pretty obsessively for about 5 years now. I have made dozens of shawls in that time. I certainly don’t need another. So, why was I so stuck on the idea of making one?

 I started researching. What I found was a rather large expanse of information on Frigga. Frigga is Odin’s wife. She is known for her foreknowledge. She is also known for wool craft! Wool craft!! Crochet and knitting would definitely fall under wool craft!!! I continued reading little snippets on the internet about her. The connections kept piling up. What got me most about all of the things associated with Frigga, was that she is a wife and mother first and foremost. In one story, she goes from living thing to living thing, begging them not to harm her child. She is a valued partner to Odin. She both sends off warriors to battle, and greets them on their return. She is (for a lack of a better way to say it) a divine homemaker, making the world (her home) peaceful and efficient, and spreading her love and protection. Who better for me to connect with?!

I started my shawl. The further I work into it, the more I start to understand about Frigga. It’s almost a meditation, where every stitch brings me closer to her.  I feel her guiding me to see. I don’t think it is so much to see the future, but to see all angles of everything around me. It is said that she sees much, but says little. From what I’ve gathered, most people think that is a reference to her seeing the future, but not saying much about it. I think it goes beyond that. I think she sees everything. She may say, “I see a bird.” But I think she is seeing the bird, the sky, the blades of grass, the wind, the energy flowing from one thing to the next, to the next, and so on throughout time. And as my shawl gets longer, I see more. I sense more. I have always been pretty observant of energies, but now they swirl around me, throwing me off guard. I sit there, with the edges of my vision going hazy. I’m not seeing the future, but I can feel the energy surrounding me. My head is heavy with it. It buzzes, and it feels ancient. My own energy that has been so tightly bound in me for so long, is slowly seeping out of my fingertips. The yarn in my hands feels slightly off, as if it is all wrong (I am using acrylic yarn), but it moves through my fingers like butter. My stitches rarely falter. I feel empowered by it.

I don’t know much about Frigga. I have barely scratched the surface. But I feel a kindred spirit, and it excites me. The only drawback is that all of these energies are wearing me out!

The Dream

I stood among the crowd at the end of the driveway. For being out in the middle of nowhere, there certainly were a lot of people. I didn’t recognize any of them. Where they distant cousins, maybe? I wasn’t sure, but here we all were. At my grandparent’s house. I knew full well that the only house for miles was my own. Yet here were. At least a dozen people stood, watching kids climb the very tree I climbed myself as a kid.

Wait. No. That’s wrong. We had a tire swing that hung from this tree. The branches didn’t sit low enough to climb. And the branches didn’t extend over the roof of the garage like they did now. This tree was massive. The old one was big and mature, but this one, it was different. It was enormous. And there were dozens of kids climbing in its branches.

One little girl, obviously dressed up to look like Alice in Wonderland, decided to climb all the way over to the garage. As she jumped off the tree and onto the roof, I started panicking. There was a huge dark spot right in front of her. I knew if she stepped on it, the tiles would give way and she would fall through. As if in slow motion, she took a step forward. I started screaming, watching horrified as her long, blonde curls faded into the widening hole.

I ran. I knew I couldn’t get through the garage door, but I knew how to get there from inside the house. I sprinted past my aunt, who was busy trying to get my attention. I ignored her, vaguely thinking that she looked nothing like my aunt. Mostly because my aunt has been in a wheelchair since before I was born. The slender, elegant lady trying to stop me was clearly capable of using her legs to keep her upright. In fact, other than her coloring and haircut, she looked nothing like my aunt. But there really wasn’t enough time to think about it. There was a little girl, and she was almost positively hurt.

I ran through the rooms. The normal clutter that would have made my journey tedious was gone. The old antiques were gone. Everything was decorated in red. When did that happen? I’d ask Grandma about it later.

I didn’t even try to get into the garage. The girl would have fallen into the attic. You can’t get into it from the garage. There was no door, just a square with a kind of lid that covered it. I grabbed the step ladder that Grandpa kept by the garage door, tore it open, and positioned it under the attic hole. I moved the lid and pried myself through the hole, all the while with my heart pounding. What was I going to find? Was she hurt? Dead?

As my head breeched the attic, I saw one thing.

Grandpa’s paints.

And I realized this was all a dream. Grandma and Grandpa died. Years ago. The house, it was being lived in by someone else. And I never got to paint with my Grandpa again.

Somehow, despite knowing I was dreaming, the dream kept on going. I saw the girl. Her curly hair was replaced with straight hair. Her blue eyes stared at me, questioning me as to why I was there. I asked her if she was okay. She just nodded, scooted past me, and crawled down the hole. I never saw her again.

But it wasn’t important. What was important was the paints. All the brushes, the tubes of pigment, and the well-worn palettes gleamed at me. I recognized them for the treasures they were. There was no way I could take them back down with me. I had to hide them from aunts and uncles. They would demand that they be entrusted with those things that held my Grandfather’s soul. Those articles he used to put images to his emotions. They didn’t understand that though. They saw prized possessions. They never painted with him. He never showed them how to move those very brushes along the canvas to make the colors move with anger. He never taught them the magic of layering colors so that they changed under the light. He never taught them to pour their essence into the art they created.

But he taught me. I knew what those brushes were. They were extensions of him. And I loved him. I loved him more than I ever got to tell him. Those brushes were my last piece of him. I had to save them before the evil half of my family got their hands on them and destroyed them. But how?

Spring Break Blues

It’s the first day of spring break! Gods help me!

I love my kids, and I am actually really glad to have all four of them at the same time for an entire week! But oh, the fighting, and the bickering, and the moodiness! Four kids in one house, with their routines all mixed up is just not good.  It got so bad today that at 7 pm, I was making a Starbucks run!

Today is one of those days that I have to remind myself how grateful I am. This is an amazing (literally, I cannot over state how important) lesson that I learned at our local metaphysical shop. Each month, they have a pagan class. It just so happened that the first one I went to taught me this very important lesson.

We make the world we live in.

Sounds simple right? But it isn’t. How do we make the world we live in? By our actions? By our beliefs? By making our own rules? I guess you could say it is all of these play a part, but there is one thing that makes it all work.

Our outlook.

Let me show you what I mean. Like I said earlier, today has been crap. I have all these screaming kids tearing up the house I have been trying to clean. I have a whiney baby stealing Legos from his big brother. I have two girls who are way too young to be acting like teenagers. I have a list of things to do this week that is a mile long, and it keeps getting longer. It’s just been crap.

But does it have to be crap? Do I really have to look at it that way? No, I don’t.

I have all these screaming kids tearing up my house, but they are all here and together. Our schedules are crazy, so there is only half a day each week that all 6 of us are under one roof. This quality family time is something we really need. The whiney baby is stealing Legos, but both of the boys are learning to share with each other. My girls are acting like teenagers, but they are slowly preparing me for the battle ahead and learning to express themselves. It gives me an opportunity to learn how to effectively communicate with them before those teen years hit. Maybe I will be lucky enough that they will feel they can continue to communicate with me. It also allows me to show them better ways to express themselves, instead of screaming or whining. My list of things is getting longer, but this gives me a chance to prioritize and ask for help.

So really, today hasn’t been crap. It has been full of opportunities to improve the future. Doesn’t that just sound better? Well, that’s cuz it is better! We can chose to look at all of the bad, or we can stay positive. But the important thing to remember is that the energy we put out comes back to us. By staying positive, we are inviting positivity back into our lives.

Since that class, I have watched the difference in my family and in me. Every day (well, almost every day… ish) I write in my journal. I try to write ten things I am grateful for. If I am feeling too down or too stressed, I go back and look at them. I look at how I am viewing the world around me, and try to find the positives.  Not only have I felt happier and more energized by this, but so has my family. Yeah today is a bad day, but we are much more stress free than before. Those positives are coming back.

Here is an exercise (or spell!) I picked up from class as well. It has helped to push the negativity away from us.

My daughter and I have a jar we put our negativity in. It’s just a cheap, little mason jar I picked up at the dollar store. I have several pieces of scrap paper, and when I find that something negative is bothering me, I write it on the paper. Since my daughter is just learning to spell, she just says what’s bothering her into the jar. (It would also work to draw a picture of it.) When the jar is full, we will take it outside, open it up, and burn the contents. We will ask the universe to take this negativity away from us, and recycle it into something better that will benefit whoever it comes into contact with. I have found that just writing the bad stuff down and sealing it into the jar lightens my outlook.

Have you had a bad day, or have a problem festering? How can you find the positive in it? Maybe you are lucky, and learned this lesson well before I did! I’d love to hear your tips and tricks for staying positive! Make sure to let us know in the comments!

Grace

Have you heard of the Pagan Blog Project?

Yeah, me neither! But isn’t it awesome! Various pagan bloggers writing their ideas on the same subjects. I love it! So, of course, I want to participate as well!

For the month of March, the topic is “Moving with Grace”.

Have you ever seen me? Grace is not my forte. It’s not even in my vocabulary! So, my immediate thought was that… umm… maybe this isn’t for me.

But I shall not be deterred! One of the main reasons I chose to start this blog was to be accountable for my beliefs. Too many times, I have not only denied my beliefs, but let others talk me out of it. Too often, I have found myself saying, “You’re doing it wrong”, or “You’re clueless.” Even when my logical side stepped in to remind me that I had done the research and the soul searching that every solitary should, I still felt I was doing everything wrong.

And do you know what that is? That is the exact opposite of grace.

Think about what grace means. What do you think of when you hear the word “grace”? I think about a ballerina. (It might be because my daughter takes ballet classes that this is the first thing that comes to mind, but let’s go with it.) Dancers have a grace about them. A way of twisting and bending to bring out the beauty and intent in a piece of music. Everything flows together to create this perfect world that surrounds you. How is the dancer able to accomplish this? Of course, some dancers have a natural born talent for it. Some dancers, however, put in years of practice. They start as kids, stumbling around, trying to learn the rhythm in the music. Year after year, they learn steps and techniques. If they work hard, they learn to put it all together into one amazing dance. They flow from one step to the next. Sometimes, they don’t know what step is next, but when it comes, they move through it so fluidly and with such ease, that no one would guess they didn’t know what was coming.

I have stumbled around for so many years, trying to find my way along the path. I have struggled through the last decade with who I am, what I believe, and how I choose to live it. I learned, I practiced the steps, I taught myself the techniques, and it finally feels like I get it. Have I achieved that level of “grace” where I can dance around with ease, and know all there is to know about this life? Absolutely not! But I have reached that point where all of that learning and practice is paying off. I may never be as put together as some people. I may never stop learning the steps. (As a matter of fact, I hope I never do!) But if I stop living in the shadows and continue to grow, I will be able to greet the next step with confidence. Maybe even grace!  

It is time to turn on the music, let it hit my soul, and dance!