“Yes, ma’am”, part 3

The closet altar is dark, with a large electric beeswax candle flickering seductively in the center. Freya and Odin sit perched on either side, with tokens for the Vanir, the ancestors, my fylgia and other helpers, and Yggdrasil set in place around them. I lean over the top of the altar and gently rest my neck and chin on one of the antlers perched there. I inhale deeply. The smells of honey, beeswax, honey whiskey, sugar, and chocolate meet my nose. The whiskey has been out for almost two days now, and is starting to smell a bit musky, but I’ll leave it out until tomorrow. No sense in rushing it. It’s not for me, after all.

(The honey whiskey had originally been bought for my ancestors–that’s what they used to get in California, before I moved. This time, however, with Odin (and therefore Loki) being honored along with Freya on the same altar, the Blood Brothers decided to abscond with the Jack–and they are going through it mighty quickly, I have to say. I’ve already had the finances talk with all of Them, which boils down to, “If you want good liquor, and frequently, make sure that I have the money for it.” Luckily my ancestors are a pretty easy-going bunch, and are just as happy with beer or cider. And everybody seems to love the smell of honey.)

So, I’m here in the Midwest. I was shocked when I realized that I’d have to move, and pretty emotionally wrung out by the time the move actually happened. The drive out here is pretty much a blur (luckily we got out here right before the winter weather kicked in) and the settling down period was lost in a blur of holiday visits and work projects. Now the holidays are over, and people at work are all back from their various vacations. I’ve gotten involved in program meetings out here and started making connections with the local pagan community. Even my new health insurance kicked in (and already the ACA is kicking the ass of California’s state-run health insurance). So, life has officially re-started. Here I am. After three days in a row of double-digit negative temperatures.

So, how are things going? Freya had a complex agenda when She sent me out here. I only know part of it and half of what I think I know will inevitably turn out to be wrong, but there are a few areas of my life that I can take a pretty good guess at:

Family. I have seen 90% of all of my close family members (5% were unavailable during the holidays and the other 5% have died in the last five years–though one is now near and dear as an Ancestor.) I haven’t that much family in such a short about of time since I graduated high school, for crying out loud. I’ve always been an in-between child–I’m the oldest grandchild on my Mom’s side of the family and the second-to-youngest grandchild on my Dad’s side of the family, so, no matter what family we’re with, I don’t have many people my age. Now I can hold conversations and interest with the cousins who are fifteen years older than me with kids in college as well as with my cousins who are just out of college themselves, and I did so willingly, and with relatively little effort. I watch them all really closely–who has my Mom’s facial expressions? Who walks like my dear departed grandfather? And more importantly, which of them looks like me? What piece am I filling in on this family tree?

My last visit home I discovered the power of taking pictures of old photos will my iPhone. The quality is as good as, if not better than, we get when we scan them. So far, I was able to grab a bunch of 70s photos from my aunt’s wedding album and some of my Dad’s old Vietnam and family photos. I even came across my Dad’s birth certificate (no birth time recorded, unfortunately–what were they thinking back then!? slackers) which I promptly snapped as well. Pretty much any time I come across a piece of family memorabilia, I save it to my phone or my computer somehow. And so, family memories remain preserved. I wish I could do the same with what I hear–my Mom and Dad will bust out with a new piece of family lore pretty much daily–“You know, we said so-and-so died of a heart attack, but he was actually an alcoholic”; and “Did you know your great-grandmother was married twice?” and “Your great-uncles and great-grandfather were all amazing craftsmen–they would build anything out of wood.” Who knew? It’s not like my sister and I haven’t been asking my parents for this kind of info for years, but it just never comes out under direct questioning; it comes out at the dinner table while talking about the local game and the sales at Macy’s. You can’t force this kind of data-retrieval and you can’t replicate it, which is part of the reason I am living with them here, now. (And also part of why I am traveling to Scandinavia in a few months.) It’s both heartwarming and completely frustrating when anything new comes up.

Spirituality. Well, there are no Heathens here from what I can see, so I’m hanging out with Druids (not a big stretch, honestly) and visiting a fascinating variety of my hometown’s New-Age, pagan/hippy-ish hybrids, not the least of which because they are occurring in my hometown. (My hometown has more Christian churches per capita than any place else in the state.) I’m looking forward to meeting even more new people and trying out the various Pagan gatherings that the Midwest hosts (yes, Jason; I’ve got ConVocation on the books already, though it may be a stretch getting there so soon after PCon).

The Land. Flat plains; lush, damp river valleys: how I have missed you. You, with your four full seasons and deciduous forests complete with oak, maple, and buckeye. Your white snow and bare trees, stubby dead cornfields and, above all, water. I sat in my car one evening last week in a local park that overlooks one of my favorite childhood places: Sinnisippi Gardens. Ah 🙂 The greenhouse, the duck pond, the flower clock, the white Roman columns, the bike path, and, flowing gently behind it all, the river. My river. (If you look closely at its banks, you will see “Cara’s River (TM)” inscribed every hundred yards or so. True story.) I just sat there in my car, rapt, getting high off of the fact that I was now back in my hometown and living in a place where I could go see that area any time I want to, for absolutely no reason at all. My land. As I sat there I imagined I could feel 18 years worth of deposited (mostly) happiness flowing back into me. It was a high like few I’ve ever experienced, and I hope it doesn’t go away any time soon. (Though the -30 wind chill can go away now.) But, dude–I knew I was an earth sign, and that I missed my land something fierce, but nothing really prepared me for that kind of reaction. I’m really fascinated to see how it will grow and change.

Sigh. And now off to bed early so my Mom and I can get up early to head out to the closest Trader Joe’s, an hour and a half away. Love you, Chicago!

“Ithaca”, by Constantine P. Cavafy

One of my favorite poems about life, the journey, and coming home. By modern Greek author Constantine Cavafy. Based on the travels of Odysseus.

Ithaka

When you set out for Ithaka
ask that your way be long,
full of adventure, full of instruction.
The Laistrygonians and the Cyclops,
angry Poseidon – do not fear them:
such as these you will never find
as long as your thought is lofty, as long as a rare
emotion touch your spirit and your body.
The Laistrygonians and the Cyclops,
angry Poseidon – you will not meet them
unless you carry them in your soul,
unless your soul raise them up before you.

Ask that your way be long.
At many a Summer dawn to enter
with what gratitude, with what joy –
ports seen for the first time;
to stop at Phoenician trading centres,
and to buy good merchandise,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
and sensuous perfumes of every kind,
sensuous perfumes as lavishly as you can;
to visit many Egyptian cities,
to gather stores of knowledge from the learned.

Have Ithaka always in your mind.
Your arrival there is what you are destined for.
But don’t hurry the journey in the slightest.
Better it last for years,
so that when you reach the island you are old,
rich with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to give you wealth.
Ithaka gave you a splendid journey.
Without her you would not have set out.
She hasn’t anything left to give you.

And if you find her poor, Ithaka hasn’t deceived you.
So wise you have become, of such experience,
that already you’ll have understood what these Ithakas mean.

Freya gratitude: Thanksgiving 2014

Freya is a gift-giver; it is always a good idea to remember the gifts that She has given me.

Gifts from my Lady:

1. My family, and the healing relationships therein. Support and love from them.

2. My recovery

3. My love for myself

4. My relationships with the many beautiful, interesting, spiritual, creative, and otherwise awesome people in my life

5. Seeing beauty in the world, when I choose to open my eyes and see it

6. Hope–that tomorrow will be even better than today

7. The ability to help others and do good in the world

8. The ability to connect with my Lady in a way that many others can’t

9. The opportunity to worship and honor those deities, spirits, and ancestors when and how I want

10. A loving, healthy cat with me, and a good fostering situation for my red-haired tomcat

11. A job. It was clearly a gift from her, and because of it I have money and flexibility.

12. Technology. I do love my gadgets.

13. My health.

14. Community, in every sense of the word.

Heilsa Freya!

Chrysalizing

My cold is mostly over. I’d picked out and purchased some new furniture for my room. Tonight’s job was to integrate the new furniture and to unpack the last ten or so boxes. So I did.

As I did, I kept being reminded of old goals, and I had to struggle to let them go. Not in a bad way, mind you. I just had repeatedly stop myself from starting in on any of my projects, both in progress and planned. It kind of went like this:

Continue reading

More November Miscellany

In no particular order:

Hanging out with a friend when I was floating around in November gave me a chance to have a girls night in–watching Sherlock and painting our nails. Mine were five different colors (one per nail), pink through dark red, with clear gold glitter overcoat. Yeah, baby. Sparkly umbre.

The Midwest is still green in mid-November. WTF? Some trees are even budding again. Poor things; they’ll fall off with the first freeze. The rest of this week will be in the low 20s, so I shouldn’t complain too much.

I realized as I set up my Freya altar last night that She wanted different things on it. Now it has dark colors and the Odin altar is right next to it. I have to admit that they do look good together. (Of course, that could be because my current image of Him is the one I call the “Fabi-Odin”, because he’s fabulous like Fabio.) I think this phase of my development will put me in contact with a different side of Her. Something older, more primal and autumn-ish, possibly focused on ancestors and such. Maybe seidh stuff; definitely rune stuff. Less with the gold glowiness, hearts, and lovelovelove! side of my Lady that I had been getting so much of this past year.

My cat, the one who braved the cross-country trip with me, was quite a trooper. Relatively little meowing and no accidents, either in the car or in the hotel rooms. What a good boy! Though now he’s in hiding from my parents’ two dogs, poor guy. I find it amusing that the cat I ended up taking with me on this dark side of the year descent is named in honor of one of the Egyptian gods of the underworld, Anubis. (That’s “Noobie”, to his friends.)

I’ve been fighting off a head cold since I landed in my hometown last week. Colds are annoying enough to begin with, but when I’m sick, my mood can go from moderately optimistic to existentialist in five minutes flat (*hack* “What does it all mean, really?” *cough*). Bah.

Had some interesting stuff come up with Ullr and Odin right before I left town. Will post more about it later. Suffice it to say that Ullr’s out and about more than I had realized, and apparently He’s more than just the god of hunting on skis.

The falcon has landed…

With lots of love and support and sad people left behind.

———-

When you get to Asheville
Send me an email
Tell me how you’re doing
How its treating you
Did you find a new job
Did you find a new love
Is it everything that
You were dreaming of

Oooh, if it don’t work out
Oooh, if it don’t work out
Oooh, you can turn around
And come on back to me
You can come on home to me

Everything’s the same here
We had to sew up Goldie’s ear
She must have got into a fight
Somewhere in the night
She won’t sleep in the house now
She just listens for the sound
Of your old eighty-four Ford
Coming down the road

Oooh, if it don’t work out
Oooh, if it don’t work out
Oooh, you can turn around
And come on back to me
Come on back to me
You can come on home to me

When you get to Asheville
Send me an email
Let me know that you still
Think about me