The first week of August, I drove across the state the long way to visit my parents. The trip was notable for several specific spiritual reasons, including that, when I got back, I got a strong nudge to NOT do my usual altar-tending work – and the week following, I was told to cease it all until further notice.
I felt a little discomfited by these two incidents; didn’t quite trust I was getting the message clear – it would be just too convenient, you know, to get an hour or two back every weekend? But it really was the case. I’ve maintained weekly offerings to the house wight, as well as kept tending to a couple of non-deity spirits, but all the deities, and the main land wight altar, I’ve barely touched. (With the exception of Loki; my daily devotional actions haven’t changed.)
Since the first week or two, though, I have found I haven’t missed my weekly ritual of dusting the altars on schedule to be dusted, hailing Everyone, and then making offerings, always nervous that Someone might have something to say, and oh gods sometimes it’s several of Them. (It’s never been bad, I just feel horribly on the spot.)
So, things have been relatively quiet on the deity front. With the exception of Loki, with Whom things have carried on pretty much as usual. And there’ve been some new spirits I attend to. And a couple of others deities have dropped in for particular reasons, too, but on the whole things have been quiet.
And it’s been nice. Really, really, really nice. As much as I did enjoy and feel good about the weekly ritual, I don’t miss it – I particularly don’t miss the feeling of that looming ahead on my schedule, something to be taken into account when planning my weekend.
I have no idea how long I’ll be “on leave” – I don’t know if someday I’ll get a poke to start things up again, or if They’re going to wait and see what I do about things (I’m going to wait, ’cause I was told “until further notice,” so, you know, Someone can send me a message), or if this is the new normal, and perhaps the local spirits will take a more prominent role (though I have not tended the local goddess’ altar, either; that also feels off-limits right now).
I also decided that, since I’m already on a bit of a break, and because I wanted to, to take a couple weeks off from my nightly rune study. That has also been freaking amazing. Not because of the amount of time it takes, but because it was just one less “to-do” item I had to remember to take care of every. single. fucking. day.
I’ve also done a number of very mundane-oriented things in the last couple months aimed at this whole “rest” concept, which have been really great, and I am suspicious that now that I am feeling rested and relaxed, now is when I’m getting itchy, restless, to start slowly amping some things up more with the local spirits.
While the altar work has not been going on, I’ve gotten a little more understanding (a tiny bit) about what some of the local spirits expect of me. One of the local genius loci and I have developed a mild working relationship related to the literal place this spirit inhabits/represents. I feel like I’m being eased into this whole role, though sometimes the information comes without a lot of comfort to pad it out: the spirit referred to me as “wife” the last time we spoke, which . . . I wasn’t too pleased with; that term has a lot of weight for me, and being told it’s sort of part of the picture with being seen as “queen,” and not what I think it means, wasn’t terribly reassuring at the time. Some clarification of what the spirit wants and expects from the relationship has calmed some of my nerves, though.
I started taking a class about local medicinal plants; it has a very strong “learning through meditation” component, in which we try to contact the spirit of the plant, and gain insight into how it works through that, in addition to some more straightforward medicinal information. I don’t know how many of the plants we will be working with will be plants I want to get to know beyond the extent of the class, but the first one we met is definitely on the list.
That combined with mulling over my role with the land spirits now has me eying the layout of the living room and wondering how and where I can fit in a large altar space for the local spirits, how I might need to move some of the Norse altars, how fucking extensively I’m going to have to rearrange everything, dammit . . . and I think I want to incorporate a fountain into it, because water is so important, and and and.
Adding to my sense that this needs to be a thing is the way my current land spirit altar has felt kind of off for several weeks. Like it’s not really alive, or something. I think the objects on it are all okay, but the space is not . . . needed. I haven’t been tending it, since I’m on leave from that, but none of the other altars feel devoid of energy.
So I suspect sometime in the next few weeks, I’m going to have to deal with the altar situations.
And then there’s Loki.
Last month, I was trolling through my early months of posting on Tumblr, and noticed that almost none of the images I reblogged back then that reminded me of Loki really do anything for me any more. They don’t really “feel” like Him. I haven’t used any images as part of my devotional practice for over a year, with the exception of one on my phone’s screen – and at some point this summer, that started to feel like it needed to be swapped out. It didn’t really feel like Him any more, either.
He’s changed the appearance(s) He uses with me on several major occasions, often in conjunction with major changes in our relationship (as well as very short-term appearance changes for lesser events, or for entertainment value, I have no idea at times). Right now I am not even sure what His current “preferred” appearance is; He hasn’t been projecting it as strongly as He often has, or I’m not paying enough attention, or possibly both.
Sometime earlier this year, some new imagery crossed my path, and caused at first a kind of minor reaction because I saw Him in it, in a way I wasn’t used to, and then it came back again, and it was a more major thing, though I didn’t immediately understand all the implications. Some of this must have coincided with an encounter with Him at the end of the spring that more or less blew my sense of reality apart for a few days, because since then, this particular image/set of images has really been some of the predominant imagery that works for me in terms of representing Him.
During and in the wake of that, some things about Him, and how I feel about Him (and about what part of me feels that way? it’s a weird thing), and things about the relationship suddenly became much more there, overwhelmingly so at times, though it took me the rest of the summer for more of the picture to click into place. (And I suspect they’re not done clicking into place; I don’t feel like I have a good handle on this, just a more complete picture.)
At any rate. New imagery pointing at these things, which have never not been there, I just wasn’t aware of them. Or rather, I was, I just didn’t know what I was looking at (almost literally: one of His standard appearances, that He’s consistently switched to on occasion from the look-of-the-season, I finally clued into what I was seeing. I think).
He’s usually used appearance changes to signify other things, and since late spring, He’s been more present in this other guise – not so much visually, though, it’s much more a feeling than how He looks – and I am not certain if He’s ever actually used the likeness that crossed my screen and gave me fits, though there are some similarities.
It has been very strange, relating to Him this way – or rather, knowing that’s what is going on. It’s been the absolute opposite of bad, though, even when it has been hard.
. . . I’m out of words. Every time I’ve tried to write something about this, I’ve ended up going in circles, or trying to get there with metaphor, and it all fails, utterly; I can’t even put it in words to myself. None of them are big enough. I used to have words that worked to describe how I felt about Him. And now –
I changed the background on my phone and I can barely look at it because I get overwhelmed.
He asked, and I replied that of course I would marry Him again; He then cautioned me that I had no idea was I was getting into – He’d eat me alive. A joke. It would have been a failure of a warning anyway: I would drown myself in His depths every day if it were possible.