Tag Archives: Spirits

Devotional Work

We have been talking about prayer beads.

A long time back, Freyr specified the number of beads he wanted me to use, and I found stones that would be ideal, and have generally only been waiting for a time when I could afford to purchase the materials and assemble it.

I have been interested in making prayer beads for other people for a long time, but have similarly been restricted by finances. It’s also occurred to me that many people who buy prayer beads have absolutely no idea what to do with them or how to use them, so it might be good to write prayers, adorations, or other devotions to gods and spirits I may make sets for in the future, so that I will have them on hand.

In addition to needing to work out the prayers for my own set.

I would like to write a much longer post about prayer, but recovery from the car accident is slow, and I am feeling very stressed and very thin.

Today while I was resting, I worked with the spirits of the trees living on this section of land and the spirits of the land itself — many of which were not clearly defined entities who were completely separated into something easily understandable. I felt myself sinking deep into the ground and felt the earth around me, and I knew that I had been guilty of being prideful and hubristic without realizing it, without having realized I’d created some sort of chain of being and placed myself on it above other things — that I was, in truth, the same as the microbes in the soil and served a similar purpose.

Healing the land and healing myself are likely connected. As are all of these meditative thoughts about devotion and prayer and walking through a land to bless it.

Toward Spring

I feel the spring, though there is no reason for it: there will be five inches of snow tomorrow, and more of it on Wednesday. I feel it in the ground, the trees, the life around me. Straining upward, reaching for the longer days and the warmer nights.

He is nearer, in a way I find difficult to describe, but I feel it in the same way I feel the land around me. Awake and reaching upward, uncovering the sun from its bank of slate grey cloth, inviting it to caress the land again.

And it does.

And in response, the sap ceases its sluggish repose, and the bulbs in the ground stir themselves, and the animals will soon dream themselves awake.

Rearranging the altars

It’s a fairly common thing to color the water used in Buddhist offerings with saffron. Saffron is, of course, very expensive, and I haven’t been able to afford it, but V. bought me some while we were in the spice aisle at the store. I will make the saffron water when I can and start using it in daily offerings.

We had previously been to the dollar store, where we found an assortment of things that we thought would be good for the altars. Small wooden boxes, moss, stones, glass bowls and vases. I’ve wanted to make something for Freyr for a long time, because I don’t have much for him: really only a dark brown clay pig, aside from my jewellery.

Hela told Brand to rearrange the order that things are in, in terms of the shelves, which is reasonable and convenient. I need more room to use the offering bowls more effectively.

I will make something for Freyr and incorporate the pieces of the trees in the yard that offered themselves into the area. He is so intertwined with nature/land spirits for me that it seems like the right thing to do.

We bought a Christmas cactus, as well. Being past its flowering season, it was heavily marked down and in good condition. They blossom so beautifully.

Meeting the trees.

I briefly spoke to the two evergreens in the yard early this morning when I went to take out the trash and the recycling. It snowed a little last night and was very cold.

One of them felt very old and there were several places on the trunk where the sap had bled out, resembling candle wax. It is next to the fence and the garage. It told me to take a piece of it, so I felt along one of the lower branches until I found something that felt right and broke it off. I was regretting having no thumbnails, but perhaps because of the cold, it broke very neatly.

The other is much younger and of a different species. It is the one that has been annoyed that I hadn’t properly said hello or spent time with it. When the wall of the building next door collapsed, I don’t know how the tree managed to avoid getting severely damaged, but it looks like it was fine.

It was still huffy but not in a bad mood — more like posturing, I suppose, at this point, because it had gotten what it wanted. On the ground, there was a piece that had three branches of needles, which it said I could have. I had to pry it out of the snow a little bit, but it doesn’t look like that damaged it. I could not stay long because my hands were very cold without gloves, and it is not shaped in a way that I could reach the trunk to touch it, like I generally would, but I touched some of the branches.

The older tree feels very masculine. It reminds me of an old veteran. The younger one, I’m not sure how to describe… it also feels male, but certainly younger. Almost like a young teenager, or one of my relatives when he was ten or eleven, and a little old for his age.

We will be having another winter storm tomorrow and Friday, both here and in New York City, so I am going to end up trying to clamber to appointments through 5+” of snow in the city, and have needed to arrange my travel dates to leave today and come back on Saturday. There will be 9-12″ of snow here. Since I cannot help shovel, I am worried about the car, since the city will tow any car that won’t move when they decide to plow. The landlord said he would help if we were out of town, but I haven’t been able to get ahold of him yet.

And I am very tired, very much not in the physical state to travel or to spend two days slogging through the snow and then traveling more. I fell asleep sitting up last night after I laid out this year’s runes. I have no idea what they even are — V. took a picture of them for me — and only remember that Raido fell out of the bag and into my lap, then showed up again, and that I pulled kenaz for December, but it fell out of my hand and back into the bag. I woke up around six, I suppose. I don’t know when I fell asleep. V. tried to get me to come to bed when he took the picture of the runes and as far as I know, the only thing I managed to do was put the runes back into the bag, and completely passed back out here. I think I got up and got into the bed around 4:45. I very clearly need more rest.

Ah, the landlord rung the doorbell to tell us the neighbors were moving and ask if we’d move the car up a few spaces so they’d have more room for the truck, so I was able to talk to him and give  him the spare key. Maybe I can panic a little less.

Non-human friends.

I woke with a vicious migraine yesterday and spent a while leaning against V., who was working on hammering out the general anatomy and proportions of a species of being we all know several of, and Brand and I would like to have pictures of some of them, but can’t draw as well as V. can. We all know a fairly wide variety of types of people, who are often bipedal, but often put together very, very differently from each other (a digitigrade stance is slightly more common than a plantigrade stance, but that is about it). There are some mild similarities between some of them — enough so that the mental image can get a little garbled, and hence the collective hammering. Mainly about legs.

Brand suggested, “What about a cat leg, if you made it able to actually function upright?” and that was more or less the ticket, here, to start working out the right shape.

It was nice. These people we love so much, and have never had any real visual reference for, and no matter how clear one’s elsewhere vision is, it’s never perfect. I’ve always had a tremendously difficult time seeing their legs, perhaps because my human brain such as it is, could not latch on to any frame of reference for them other than ones that were incorrect, and so, because I knew it wasn’t right, I just didn’t see anything, in particular.

Tree spirit.

(Written on 11/10/13, while we had no internet access)

One of the times I went to the stream that I like in the forest [in Alfheimr] and sat down on the rocks along the bank, one of the tree spirits came to talk to me. He was thin and rather old, with moss and lichen patterning his bark. He sat down beside me and stretched out his legs, which took root and burrowed down under the edge of the stream.

He asked me who I thought I was.

“No one,” I said, startled.

Coming into their forest all of the time, disturbing the birds, sitting on things.

I continued to look at the water and thought about Freyr bringing me there more than once, and our wedding, where woven willow branches were put on my head and I was given an assortment of jewellery which seems to have only been worn by rather important people. It occurred to me that ‘no one’ was a stupid answer, because I was not no one.

“Freyr put a crown on my head,” I said slowly.

Did he.

“Yes. A lot of people came.”

What do you think that means.

“I’m not entirely sure yet.”

Do you think it means that you can come in here and do whatever you want.

I thought about the various implications of said crown and what people who wear such things usually do, and what I do and have done, and said, rather cautiously, “I can come here whenever I want. He told me that I could and he is the incontrovertible lord of the realm. I have always been very respectful of all of you.”

So you don’t intend to be another pompous little shit.

“No. Whether or not he married me, or whatever rights he has bestowed upon me, I don’t have the right to behave badly. No one does.”

Mm.

He leaned back on his elbows, which similarly rooted into the ground, and over the next several minutes, faded into an oddly-shaped tree that seemed no more animated than the very wide and solid tree to my left.

I felt strange.

The wind, feminine, curled around my ear and brushed through my hair, humming, glid over the back of my neck and spiraled up into the large tree, twining through its branches and sending them shivering. I had the image of a sensuous, well-curved woman, with full, deep red lips. The sky was very blue and there were wispy clouds, being unraveled by the wind in the high atmosphere. It was a cool day, but not too cold.

My clothes have turned into wool, with a lot of dark green shades, and boots showed up one day.

I am far from understanding what I am, and what I am meant to do. But being awkward, or ashamed/embarrassed that he placed me in a powerful position, simply because I have a low opinion of myself, is counterproductive and not a little insulting toward him.

I find myself playing with the antler pendant I purchased from Dver. Wondering if, in some years, I will wear it down smooth or wear it away with my worried rubbing.

9/11

Tomorrow never stops seeming like a day that has detached itself from the timestream and remains outside of it, one foot aside, leaving a jarring hole like missing a step in the dark — as vertiginous and horrifying, full of animal visions of twisted bones and broken spines.

It “gets better.” The city “moves on.”

Signs about the missing, then PTSD, then sickness, then cancer disappear. Then there are no signs at all, except sometimes you stumble across a mural to a group of people, to firefighters, to all of them.

The victims’ families have become something of an embarrassment: they demand tribute every year to the fallen, demand that something be done, demand that it not get brushed under the rug of tourism and shining up the public perception of the city as Safe again.

It’s going to be in the upper 90s tomorrow, after days of pleasant weather. It’s going to be incredibly oppressive.

I’ll be at home, meditating on peace, making an offering to the dead, and an offering to the spirit and spirits of the city, themselves wounded grievously and much ignored. Maybe I will turn my practice to tonglen, and take their suffering, and give them love, empathy, acknowledgement. I see you.

I hear you.

And I am so very sorry.

A Month for Freyr: Byggvir and Beyla

I associate Beyla with honey, more than her other etymological possibilities. Also the color of the firelight on the wood inside the house, which is a warm yellow-brown. She is very fond of cooking and taking care of people with food. I don’t need to eat elsewhere, but it troubles her if I don’t eat twice during any full length of day time when I’m there and I know she worries and fusses about it because she cares.

They both have a mild parental view toward me — since Byggvir said he’d been with Freyr for most of Freyr’s life, it makes sense that they would be vaguely parental toward both him and his lovers who stay in his home.

Byggvir was accused of being a coward in Lokasenna, but he’s behaved protectively toward me. I associate him (for some reason) with early spring/late autumn greens, like kale, which are resistant to cold weather and a rich, dark green, and I also associate him with iron. Particularly the smell of it.

I was having a fair amount of trouble with someone when I went there once, and he took me aside and told me that if I needed someone to deal with it for me, he would take care of it.

They are an important part of my life, though I do not see them as often as I think I should. I would like to set aside some time to get to know them better.

I am weary of the lack of space I have to do anything, here. And I am wondering if a virtual space would be better, until after we’ve found new housing. It feels strange, the idea of creating  a non-physical space for them and the other people I am getting to know, but the time I spend with them is non-physical, as well.

When I was idly looking at sea shells after coming across a website about sea hearts, I got a prodding that someone would like shells. I kept thinking it was Freya, but Frigga’s name kept popping into my head. It turns out that most shells are not that expensive, so whomever would like some nicer shells, I can hopefully make it happen eventually.

I did buy plants, despite the lack of space issues, while I was at the greenmarket on Tuesday. Three varieties of sansevieria, a type of moss, a striped aloe, an unknown plant in muted autumn colors, and another unknown plant that has white veins. They were all shockingly inexpensive.

I thought that, with the space problems, and the difficulty in burning candles in the summer because of the fans, the plants could be a living altar. Freyr, and all of the plant spirits. I feel better, even crowded in here with an entire wall full of someone else’s disorganized books and more shelves above the bed with the same.

I had a collection of sansevieria about four years ago, but while I was away, only one of them survived never being watered by the person I’d asked to look after them. I also lost the collection of spider plants that I had except for one, as well. But spider plants are not usually as expensive as sansevieria and that really was a lot of money. However, at the greenmarket, I replaced two of the species I’d lost and got one I’d wanted but never had, for something like $14. Two 4″ pots and one 6″ pot. It blows my mind. Maybe it is also a wedding present!

A Month for Freyr: Alfheimr; Home

Things have been relatively calm, which is good, because I have not had it in me for very much stress. The amount of devotional things that I had wanted to do this month have been frequently put off because my health has been poor. I’ve substituted by spending more time with him at home, which has been easy due to the amount of rest my body has needed.

I know that with Loki, at least, people assume that everything is constant sex. I don’t know what people assume about spouses of Freyr, but it is also probably not as mundane as the truth can be.

He enjoys walking in the fields and the forests, the meadows, and visiting the streams, lakes, waterfalls, and rivers. This is much of what we do: we walk. The spirits of the places do not feel a need to take the form of anything, most of the time, or be visible in most traditional senses, but they are all very highly sentient and easy to feel. The places where the sun falls, where things are growing, have a feeling like a fat, happy cat laying in a sunbeam. They are well-satiated and feeling very glorious in the sun and with things on their surface growing so healthily and strong. The fields love him, and the meadows full of flowers and herbs and grasses do, too. Meadows are rather feminine, whereas fields are more masculine.

Forests have as many spirits as they do trees, it seems, though they do seem to have some that are in charge, for lack of a more appropriate term. Some of them are gruff, at least on the exterior, and suspicious of new people. But whether or not an ancient tree is looking upon me suspiciously, anything related to willows adores me. I’ve had saplings lean into my hands, and leaves rustle over my shoulders and arms. It’s very humbling, and charming at the same time.

Though it is seen as some sort of hippie foolishness, I have to wonder if there is, in fact, a very good reason to hug trees, and that is that they love people who connect with them, and express their love through touch, too. Trees on earth don’t have as much freedom of movement as trees elsewhere, so perhaps we should go to them, and lay our hands on them, embrace them, lean against them, and most of all, talk to them. It doesn’t have to be out loud; they’re perfectly capable of hearing what’s inside our heads, especially when directed toward them.

As much as it is a stereotype that elves love to live in forests, from Lord of the Rings to nearly any other story I can think of (excusing the drow of the Forgotten Realms D&D world, and so on), I can’t argue with it much: the alfar love the forests, and seem to choose them more than most other areas, though they live everywhere.

The water is as alive as anything else, and all of the stone. One of my favorite things to do is sit against a rock by a particular stream in a forest and listen to it, and the wind in the trees.

Around his home, there are many clear spaces for fields and though there are wooded areas, they are not forests, and so I’ve loved this traveling around we’ve done lately. Living in a city here, and being too ill to go the parks, it is such a gift.

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.