Tag Archives: Offerings

Fibro Flare

I’ll not do a F is for Fibro Flare PBP post, but I’m having a rather bad one. The very cold weather and 20″ of snow we had around the weekend kept up with another inch or two of snow, and we had icicles longer than my arm hanging from the roof by our kitchen window.

When I went out yesterday to get my ride to the train station, I slipped on a large patch of ice and fell on my back. Then I had to walk around NYC all day carrying a very heavy bag: I decided to buy wine from Trader Joe’s, because the TJ here does not have a wine store, and TJ sells very good wine at obscene prices; I picked up five bottles of red for about $20, and got a bottle of ice wine as an anniversary gift for V and Brand, which was itself $20.

Ice wine is made is extremely small quantities and it is mind-blowing. I am sure Freyr and Freya will both love it passionately and I think Eir also will. So would Sigyn, undoubtably. If you are very close to Sigyn or Freya, it might be worth looking into. It can be ordered online, and you can ask around at local wine shops.

I didn’t know that V strongly prefers white wine. I don’t know where I gathered the idea that, like the two of us, he preferred red, especially when the only wine I can ever remember him buying has been white (he typically purchased sake, because there was a convenient shop with an excellent selection when we lived in the city).

There’s a place that will do local delivery for only $5. And they have mead, which I have none of here!

Solstice.

Yesterday was a very bad day — I am scraping through the bottom of the mental health barrel — and we were not able to do what we had wanted for the solstice and mother’s night. But, barring a convenient Stonehenge (where it was raining and very dark, anyway) or Science, the exact solstice is difficult to determine and wanders each year, so I hoped shifting the majority of things to today would be all right.

We lit tealights for the important goddesses and women in our lives, as well as some who were very important to people we loved. Some were slightly generalized: Buddhist tradition says that the numberless sentient beings are all our mothers, and they have all been our children, at some point in time. We ended up with fourteen candles. Had some people not been grouped together, I think we might have gone through half the box. I felt terribly serious about it; I have never had a mother, and I have seen how the loss of his mother has torn B. apart and how much it hurts R., whose wife she was.

I was adopted by Brand’s mother, Auðhelga, and so was B.

Inadvertently (it was largely to do with emotional and physical exhaustion and what I could handle cooking), I made cream of rice for dinner, which is a comfort food (in the form of cream of wheat, which none of us can eat, now, but I’ve forgotten what the difference in taste was and so have they) for Brand and V., because their grandmothers made it for them all of the time.

I also made Freyr’s tea, because I was fortunate enough to find unfiltered raw honey at the grocery, which is the only sort of honey that he and some of my spirits are very willing to have put in things for them. He asked me in the beginning to eat a little raw honey every day, and I have not been able to do it because I haven’t had the food stamp space for a while now. It’s very good to be able to share his tea again.

It rained the past two days and it will rain all day tomorrow, and my shoes have holes in them. Nerthus asked me to go stand on the ground barefoot — it’s actually warmer right this second than it will be tomorrow (the high is rapidly dropping from the upper fifties to the mid twenties), but I am so very tired. And I want to bring something to the pine in the back yard. I am not entirely sure how to accomplish this without looking insane to the landlords. My logical reason for being in the backyard is taking the trash out. Perhaps I can ask V. to hold the offering cup for me since I am stronger than he is, as far as the trash is concerned (this is not saying much, to be honest: whereas he has lost all of his muscle tone to cfs, I’ve kept some because I’ve had to carry home groceries and so on).

I have flipflops, which will be less troublesome than my shoes with holes in them, for the purpose of standing on the ground (though one could argue I am always standing on the ground in those shoes…!).

I will try to get some sort of feel for what the pine would like out of the tea that we have.

Autumn and winter are the only times of the year that I feel especially comfortable, so the solstice is not about lengthening days and the passing of winter for me.

It is about the moon in an ice cold clear sky, shining on a field of snow.

It is about a moment of absolute silence filled with such shattering clarity that the only thing you can do is stare in wonder.

It is about a void that is anything but empty.

A Month for Freyr: Bread and Honey

By necessity, the extent of what I had planned to do for our wedding has been trimmed back severely; however, we will still bake bread, and we will eat it with raw honey.

It must be the simplest thing, though bread for celiacs is never simple or cheap, that anyone can do as an offering, as a devotion, as a way of connecting. Even if the bread is store-bought. If it’s not pre-sliced, it probably works a little better, but he is ever understanding and rarely picky. The heart is what matters.

The grains of the land, the sun, the work, tending, tilling, hoping, waiting, harvesting, milling. Fields rippling in the wind.

(“Fields of Gold” unintentionally starts playing in my head.)

The bread mix and other things it needs, minus eggs, and the raw honey were ordered from Amazon, because I don’t seem to have half of my insurance anymore and the reason I would’ve gone downtown on Tuesday seems to be moot. Also, not having to carry all of it is a distinct bonus.

It will be good to resume the habit of eating raw honey every day, as he would like me to do.

The honey we’ve had has been called “raw” but it is filtered and looks like any other sort of honey, and I feel distrustful of it in terms of fulfilling his request.

I used to cook with sourwood honey when I lived in the south, and there is no source for sourwood up here (you can order it online, but I don’t know if anyone sells it raw), and when I told the man at the honey stand about my love of sourwood, he and the woman both gushed about it. I left with a large container of buckwheat honey, which has a depth and richness that is reminiscent of sourwood, and is overall very, very good. I will eat wildflower and clover honey if I have no other choice, but my preferences lie in the direction of things that are less overwhelmingly sweet.

I tasted honey made from tea trees, which is very expensive and was purchased for medicinal use for someone (facial application after electrolysis treatments), and thought it was intriguing in flavor, but the price point — goodness. Still, if some money lies around, it would be good to have on hand for medicinal purposes.

Making this bread for him, with him, and eating it together… that will be what binds us.

There will be fancy everything elsewhere, with his family. I think I may port my marriage cord over with me, so that we can use it where we both have a corporeal substance, and let his father have the honor of tying it.

Here, I may wind it about my wrist and hand, and the offering bread, the marriage bread.

I have, in recent days, been feeling softer and quieter. Both heavy and ungrounded. As if I am seeping into something, or vice versa. My chest aches over my heart. There is so little room inside the human body for a heart that is trying to become a mountain, a woodland, a lake.

There is a great deal of receptivity in the softness. Whatever is becoming me, or whatever I am becoming, the assent is total, and I drift slowly into a silent place that is like a grotto at the bottom of the ocean. Tide moves unstoppably. There is no argument in me against any of it; I accept it completely. Shifted by currents, and the vast oceans of the sea sweeping through me.

Awareness: Indoor Air Pollution From Burning Incense

It seems like common sense that breathing most incense smoke might not be good for you and that opening a window, especially if you’re smudging, might be a good idea, but I don’t think people are aware that it affects them as badly as cigarette smoke does — I certainly wasn’t — and that burning incense on charcoal is much worse than burning incense sticks or cones.

Adding to the concern is that charcoal briquettes frequently are used to ignite and burn the incense. That adds significantly to potentially harmful levels of carbon monoxide and other pollutants, they noted.

While it doesn’t seem to contribute to lung cancer, it does contribute to other respiratory tract cancers, which is worrisome.

And while we’re on the topic, our old friend paraffin wax, which makes up the majority of candles made and burned, as well as all of the 7 day or novena-style candles on the market, is also bad for you.

My Buddhist tradition advocates burning incense and candles daily as offerings, and while I would love to use only beeswax candles (I do for Freyr, at least), I use standard paraffin tealights for the daily offerings because they’re what I can afford.

I’ve been looking into the cost of making my own soy candles, or using oil lamps instead, but things have been hectic. If we move somewhere where we cannot have cats, likely I will buy some oil lamps that keep the oil enclosed.

In the summer, where we live, I can only burn and light things in this room, which is unbearable without a fan on, and the fan affects the candles enough that I tend not to use them unless I have to (such as for Brand’s wedding).

Stick incense where I can burn only a small amount of it at a time is what I generally prefer, because this space is small and it doesn’t take much, either to be a good offering or to perfume/cleanse a room.

As an alternative to smudging that is very effective, nonetheless, is using a spray made with the essential oil of sage. I can attest to its ability to clear all sorts of gunk from a room.

Best Laid

Today, I was meant to receive a delivery of medicine and I was supposed to go to an appointment, after which, I would go to the store to buy the things to make gluten-free bread, and come home. (I’d also meant to get a couple of days of groceries, because I had to get my food stamps card replaced, and they took their sweet time.)

None of that happened.

There was a message I didn’t see from the pharmacy about the delivery, but when I tried to call them, no one at the pharmacy knew what the message had been about, because it had been from the head pharmacist, who was not in, and would not be in until tomorrow.

I need to go there on Thursday; I don’t mind if I need to pick it up in person, but I would like something concrete laid down, because running out of certain medication will be bad, to say the least. I was relying on some of it coming today, but I will survive without it.

I also need to go to the bank, because they are doing their best to avoid replacing my debit card in a simple way.

I had planned to join V at his brother’s house afterward on Thursday to house-sit for the weekend, and bring my bread and a jar of honey, and have a small moment for Freyr, without candles, because they have too many cats.

I may be bringing someone else’s bread, purchased at the store, at this rate, because I either have to choose between going there, or coming back here and baking. I don’t know what would be best. While it’s not an ordinary part of my vocabulary, everything is something of a clusterfuck at the moment.

It was suggested to me to speak to Forseti and Tyr about some of the housing mess; among other things, I was told to focus on my meditation and purifications. Because I am “not blameless in all things.”

Perhaps I should set myself up to collect my Vajrasattva recitations and make that a goal that I can actually coherently work toward that does not depend on anything more than a string of beads or a counting app to do.

Bees and Dreams and Mostly Mundane Food

It isn’t a great surprise that I sign everything that comes up regarding the health and protection of bees. I’ve been doing it for years, though it has an additional level of meaning and importance, now. Please add your name.

I dreamt about a grocery store in which there were local people with small stands selling things from their own gardens inside it, and it was regulated/protected by an ancient Buddhist sect of warriors from some place that I am not certain exists on a map. I keep losing the name of it.

In it, I was a much younger boy, probably eighteen or nineteen at the most, who was there with a girl he had a desperate crush on, and someone who was a type of father figure to him (played by Jeff Bridges in his younger Tron days). The girl was more interested (by far) in the man, but hope springs eternal. I was running through the place at the end looking for mushrooms for her, because she had talked about how much she had liked them, and I was cursing myself for a fool in a myriad of ways for forgetting how much she liked mushrooms, when the woman (who was a witch; we somehow quietly acknowledged that we both knew this) I’d purchased two “pounds” (somehow three ordinary-sized bulbs each?) of garlic from was also selling shiitakes and button mushrooms. But by the time I’d run back there from the check out counter, the people selling things had disappeared and all of their booths were completely gone. I also couldn’t find any in the ordinary produce section, and I was running out of time, because they were both impatiently waiting for me and I was holding up the line (all of this being quite typical of things I would have an incapacitating panic attack over — inconveniencing other people seems to be one of my greatest fears, as sad as that is).

I wanted to spend more time with the garlic and mushroom growing witch-woman. While this was more than likely a stress-induced brain-cleaning dream, she stood out. She was a thin woman with short steel grey hair, glasses, and a face that had done its fair share of frowning at people in its lifetime, but she was not unpleasant to talk to at all. She was a little shorter than me, but I couldn’t tell if I had something like my own height or if I were a different height in the dream, so I’d cautiously put her in the 5’6 ‘average’ height range for white women. She was looking up at me when we spoke.

I think she’d likely had to struggle to be accepted in her community (the one in the dream, if nothing else) and that had caused a great deal of frowning and a mile-wide set of defensive fortifications, with a mix of walls, moats, and razor wire. But I had accepted and respected her, as well as the very high quality and vitality of her produce from the start — there was a woman beside her also selling mushrooms which I barely glanced at. Hers were… sort of limply generic, while the witch-woman’s thrummed with life. I had a feeling that I was getting an extra bulb of garlic in each of the sets of three for free, as well. Perhaps for respecting her and her skills.

I have dreams. Prophetic dreams, and all sorts of dreams. So I cannot help wondering if this were actually someone coming to meet me in an otherwise odd circumstance. If she sounds like someone to you, please let me know in the comments?

I do not comparatively have a lot of contact with female deities and spirits (Auðhelga and Beyla are the only people I see regularly), but I would like to change that.

We seem to have caught colds from the dinner at the restaurant. Impressive immune systems, all around.

My every intention for tomorrow was to buy groceries for us and for them, but I think their meal may be delayed until I have to go out again on Tuesday. Getting groceries for the mostly-human people in the house is very important, whereas I think they will be content with beverage offerings for the time being. There is some atrocious cinnamon schnappes that none of us would drink that Loki is happy with, though I’d love to uncover his cinnamon tea; I’m sure his son would enjoy partaking of it. Freyr likes honey-lemon-ginger tea, which I must partake of and do not mind at all. Odin seems to like coffee, though I don’t know how he takes it. He’s made it rather clear that he doesn’t share, aside from potentially the taste test to ensure it’s all right.

If he takes it sweetened, I don’t know the status of sugar in the house, but honey aplenty and we also have agave (and stevia, though somehow I think this would get some sort of world-shaking No).

As for cream, it’s just almond milk.

I don’t mind keeping a small amount of cream around. We all like whipping cream and it could get used up, especially if we made some minor excuse to procure maraschino cherries (Loki likes them! That’s a reason!). Or we could get soy creamer — Silk made a vanilla kind back in the early 2000s that appeased the coffee snobs around here very, very well, and I’ve still seen it on shelves. We’re not opposed to dairy, but V loves soy in all its permutations and Brand and I are almond milk people. Or at least I am, and he’s discovered his delicious it is.

We hope to begin making soy milk soon and using the leftover okara in various dishes, as its mainly fiber and protein and who couldn’t use more of that? Especially in place of rice in our standard beans with lots of garlic, red pepper, and jalapeno or habanero sauce. The added protein makes it even better for we veggie types (me).

V goes through soy milk at a rapid pace and I’ve read that you can cut down batches from $4-5 at the grocery to $1.50 or less. Plus you can make tofu, which is apparently much more delicious than anything you’ve ever tried, and then there’s the useful okara.

Honey went absolutely everywhere this morning and is still significantly present on the tv table we put this laptop on. There is a place that sells local honey that we brought home two mason jars full of. It’s listed as raw honey, but the jars were very hot when they were brought home, and I wonder if that was too warm for it to be considered raw, still, as it’s kept heated to make it liquid enough to be dispensed easily. It’s the transparent colour of most honeys. I’m used to the pale yellow opaque sort of raw honey.

I think I need to research the entire topic more. The raw honey I buy from the grocery is not local, but paid for with food stamps, which is a benefit. But local honey has its own benefits, particularly toward spring when we have tremendously unpleasant allergies.

I also need to find the time and energy to go to the greenmarket and see what sort of honey they have, these days, since the greenmarket also takes food stamps, and it is summer, and there should be lots of lovely things.

 

A month for Freyr?

Brand intends to spend the month writing about his father. On my own end, I will be out of town briefly, dealing with very stressful things, and then I have a retreat to attend, and I need to plan my wedding, write vows, figure something or other out about it all.

In an ideal situation, someone would be able to let Freyr borrow their body, but the two people I could ask are very bad at it. One is willing to try ahead of time to see if it’s possible. If not, I’m far from the first person who will be marrying a disembodied god.

I would like to plan a special meal. As it happens, where I will be upstate, there is a place that sells local raw honey very inexpensively, and we plan to get quite a bit of it. There’s a recipe for a honey liquor that will be ready in enough time, which I’m planning on doing. We need to buy a bread pan, and we can make a fresh loaf of gluten-free bread to eat warm with butter and raw honey.

What else? Since it’s summer, he loves feeding me extravagant salads. I could make a honey dressing or honey vinaigrette, and put together something using lots of different ingredients. I will be forever hunched over the cutting board, and my hands may be useless afterward, but it’s probably what I would be eating at home, along with roasted vegetables. Maybe roasted with rosemary and thyme? Trying to think of something to do with fruit. There is a vote for honey jasmine ice cream.

So, with all of this rushing around for that, I can only assume that he will be on my mind every single day in August. It seems appropriate to make it into a devotional act.

I don’t know if anyone else is interested in dedicating a month to writing about him, especially after so many people will be spending time writing about Loki in July. But I would certainly be very happy if other people decided to join me in doing it. He’s hardly unknown, and he’s completely acceptable to worship, so perhaps it isn’t as important as writing about a marginalized, misunderstood god, whose followers are demonized along with him, both because of him and because of the public perception of Lokeans, these days.

But because he’s completely acceptable, I don’t see as much writing about him. Especially not much that goes beyond “fertility god, penis, penis, penis, incest.”

Maybe the people who are drawn to him or vice versa have similar temperaments as me, and are quiet, and not prone to doing a lot in front of other people, because our relationship is so centered around the idea of home.

Thirty-one days will be difficult, but my energy does not cost money. And he is worth it.