*dusts off devotional jewelry*

Our foundation is still in place – a devotional power dynamic, no major changes to the dynamic itself, Sigyn’s still my Primary, still wants weekly holding of the bowl, stills wants weekly written pieces, and such. I haven’t shared my 30 Days of Devotion posts here yet, but I mention in one that She hinted at godspousery being a future thing (like not soon in terms of the future). It’s still in the future, but some of the specifics around it have changed.

I’m more disinterested and squicked by sex than I thought when She first brought this up, though I’m pretty sure it’s been a gradual shift more so than being in denial the entire time. My Deities have generally been faster on picking up on this than I, since They’ve stopped asking for sexual offerings for a fair while (well, the Two Who even showed interest in this stopped). This means that Horsing and having a Midgard ceremony (complete with consummation) is no longer necessary. There’s nothing wrong with having a Horsed Midgard ceremony without consummation, but I can personally save time, energy, and expenses by focusing more on my private ceremonies if I forgo this option.

I have a feeling that the freeing up of the Horsed ceremony expenses may result in custom pieces that I hadn’t been given a heads up on, but I don’t necessarily need to know those specifics right now. While I’m hoping to touch on collars / devotional jewelry in a separate post, I have a feeling that a noticeable (more related to right now) change will have to do with those. I initially wasn’t sure why She wanted such a variety of day collars (a piece of jewelry that carries the dynamic connotation of a collar without being explicitly obvious to others), but I think I may be finding out.

One is more suited to daily wear, including while working and going to school, and another one can work as a special occasion daily wear option (it may not be suitable for the demands of working in the E-shop for 4 hours every day, but wearing it to Opening may work, for example). I have a necklace from Beth that can work for special occasions as well, though I think it may be more often reserved for shrine wear (on holy days and while holding the bowl).

I technically do have a collar for m’Lady, but I’m careful about who I wear it around (though I suspect I will find it easier once I’m away from family and starting fresh in a new place with co-workers who haven’t experienced me primarily without it). Wearing it before going through the official acceptance of m’Lady’s devotional D/s offer isn’t against any rules I have or anything, but I also may find it easier to wear it more often after the Collaring ceremony just based on mental shifts around that.

Mani’s Void-of-course Face

As I mentioned in the intro post, I have a devotional power dynamic with Him, and He still wants that to remain. Rather than there being any large upheavals, there seems to be tweaking to how we already interact. He’s been shifting to a more ace Face (catching on far more quickly than I that I’m disinterested and squicked by sex). While I can still share info about, for, and offerings specific to His Void-of-course Face, He has realized that He needs to take our needs into account. I don’t know about others, but for me, Void-of-course results in varying degrees of depression and sometimes eating disorder related brainweasels.

From what I’ve been able to divine, He can show different mental illnesses in different degrees of comorbidity to different individuals (so for someone out there, He may have schizophrenia, or bipolar disorder, or both, or some other combination). This past winter I experienced the worst escalation of depression I’ve had to date (seasonal depression with fall / winter onset, and each year has progressively escalated, but this past winter seriously fucking escalated).

He had been hoping that I could interact more with His Void-of-course Face but realized while watching me this winter that I can’t interact to the extent that He had been hoping. We would trigger each other too much and feed off of each other in terms of the brainweasel “thought loops” and altered thinking instead of helping to break them. It relates to why He was so upset with me during that time and for awhile afterwards.

On one hand, He knew I couldn’t control just how bad things got. On the other hand, He had been wanting so badly for me to be able to help this particular Face that it didn’t seem fair that I couldn’t handle interacting with Anyone at all. On another hand, He could see that things weren’t going to go well and couldn’t understand why I didn’t try to get help sooner. And on another hand, He knows that part of brainweasels playing around in your mind is that you can’t see how bad things are getting.

That’s the primary change (as of writing this). I have posts queued up for Him on His sideblog shrine (corresponding primarily to the dates of the lunar phases) all the way through my fall semester back on campus. For now, that’s the main devotional activity I have in mind for Him. Between school’s usual decline in what I do, the expected increase in how busy I’m going to be in my last year of undergrad, the devotional trial period (related to the Infernal Five) and most Others backing off the New Relationship Energy, and needing to adjust to a management plan so that I don’t go through another really fucking bad winter, I’m probably not going to have the time or energy to do anything else, really. (Definitely not a permanent stance, though, and we will get back to something like we had before with more frequent irl stuff.)

Narvi (Older Face)

I primarily talked about what I do for Narvi’s Younger Face in my intro post because it seems to make more sense with the least amount of explaining. I mean, just how complicated can reading a story and ‘tucking’ Him and Vali in for the night (metaphorically speaking) be? The ages of how old Narvi and Vali seem to be with Their Younger  Faces shift, but They’re typically pre-pubescent.

Narvi’s Older Face has always been a little confusing. Because He suddenly uses visual avatars that are my age (20s), and He has this thing for strawberries (wanting an edible offering including them or a post of a recipe shared on a monthly basis), and He’s had this oddly flirtatious vibe about Him. It’s not sexual, and it’s not 110% for sure flirting, and there’s just this suspicious part of me squinting like ‘you’re definitely related to Loki’.

At least that’s how I’ve so far interacted with Narvi’s Older Face, but there’s a reason I do yearly updates on what I do and how I interact with Everyone (it keeps changing). So far, the main shift is that the Older Face has less of a QP vibe [queerplatonic (or quasi- if you’re not comfortable using queer] and seems more aro [glossary link for aro and arospec terms].

*actively ignores some of the glossary because I’m not interested in why some of those seem to make a helluva lot of sense* Other than the aro vibe, the only other change is that the strawberry offering once a month is being tweaked to only occurring from July to November (when the Older Face is the main One; from His death until His cycle Restart on Dec 1st).

*stares at Loki’s shrine in silence*

I wasn’t expecting much of an update for Loki, honestly. A combination of factors have lead a fair amount of Deities I interact with to “go on Vacation” until I’m done with my last year of undergrad (the school year is always busy, but it being my last year will make it even busier than usual), and Loki was the first to share that He was doing this.

On the heels of Odin turning a new Face to me, and in remembering the ritual idea to invite Deities, Spirits, Powers, etc to show a new side / aspect / Face mentioned here, I’m a bit suspicious of Loki gearing up to turn a new Face to me. I’ve interacted with Him briefly with ties to Mardi Gras (rather than April Fool’s), as One of several Powers connected to lightning (and sparks / electricity), with foxy connections, and I’ve interacted with Him in terms of certain acting exercises (it may be surprising for some, but I have had theatrical connections with Loki).

I’ve never been one to seek out Loki as World-Breaker, and I’m reasonably sure part of it has been a sorta-response to some praising the World-Breaker Face Loki turns to them as one of their ‘cruel gods’. The Faces that the Gods turn to us are primarily between us and Them, so on one hand I don’t care. On another hand, I don’t necessarily want a cruel god (or a cruel Face rather). I can be chewed up and spit out by non-cruel Faces, I can submit to and serve non-cruel Faces, I can find blood, tears, and pain without seeking out a cruel Face, and I can seek out cruelty easily enough in my Realm without purposefully seeking it out in my Deities.

I’m not saying they can’t or shouldn’t praise the Faces they interact with, and there isn’t anything inherently “wrong” with cruel Faces of Deities. It’s just never been my cup of tea, y’know? However, sometimes Deities turn a Face to you that you’re not expecting. Right now, I’m pretty sure it’s just a case of Someone liking a pop culture face, but I found myself putting a few Harley Quinn posts in Loki’s tag recently with the distinct suspicion of this being a World-Breaker Face.

*laughs into the void* So, apparently I’m not wrong. Loki is turning a Harley Quinn-esque World-Breaker Face to me at the moment.

Hela

By and large, what I put in my intro post still stands. I primarily honor my dead (bio and trans) and try to not be a dick to others as what I do for Hela. However, there have been updates and changes, particularly after this past winter when I “walked the Hel-road” as I described in the update for Baldur (I thought I’d have a post on the seasonal depression up already, but my Deities wanted the intros and updates first; I find the idea of walking the Hel-road to be a workable metaphor for just how serious things got).

I mean there’s nothing quite like Hela sending Mordgud and then dropping by Herself to get the message across that no, things are not okay, and you need to pay attention to how bad things have gotten. While I previously didn’t really apply the label ‘devotional relationship’ to how I interacted with Hela, I’ve wound up with a minor devotional relationship due to needing to make sure I don’t walk the Hel-road again. I’m not sure how else to describe it than coming back with the smell of Helheim, but walking the Hel-road once makes it easier to walk it again.

I have correspondences for Hela in terms of the Dark moon and Full moon because a devotional activity is reblogging and posting in alignment with those correspondences on those lunar phases. I must admit that I’m not sure how it helps to keep the boundary between Midgard and Helheim clear, but that’s the answer I’ve gotten from Hela [divination can wind with confusing answers sometimes] as to why I need to do this.

In addition to this, She was the One to bring up the idea of wearing something to help keep me in my Realm. I have my eye on a Raido pendant, which Hela and Mordgud have approved of, because this rune has been used to protect travel between the Worlds. Hela was also the One to suggest wearing a Mjolnir (Thor’s Hammer) and consciously accepting being under His Protection. Some spend a great deal of time blurring the boundaries between the Worlds, but my goal is to keep the boundary clear and keeping me firmly in this World.

Adding in some more Aesir

Sif

I must admit that I didn’t really know very much about Her until I read the chapter on Her in Visions of Vanaheim (pg 120 – 127). She just hadn’t been mentioned a lot, but I have been given clearance to interact with Her to help in bridge-building (it seems that the Aesir with Vanic connections are the easiest to connect with right now). For now, I’m to say a prayer to Her on the 3rd of the month during “the harvest season” (from Lights of the Phoenix to Lights of Remembrance, or from the summer solstice until 10.31). She’s confirmed the use of Sister Goldenhair by Ari (from Her northernpaganism.org shrine).

Idunna

As with Sif, I’ve been given clearance to interact with Idunna in order to help with bridge-building. While She does have a chapter in Visions of Vanaheim (pg 128 – 134), I was first introduced through a devotional for Idunna and Bragi (Her husband) called Skalded Apples. I intended to introduce myself to Bragi, since I’m a writer who has spent some time with poetry and writing it (Bragi respectfully declined citing incompatibility). Idunna would also like me to say a prayer to Her on the 5th of each month during “the harvest season” (from Lights of the Phoenix to Lights of Remembrance, or from the summer solstice until 10.31). She’s confirmed the use of “Iduna’s Apple Tree” by Michael Schütz (pg 18 of the devotional).

Frigga

While I knew earlier in this summer that Sif and Idunna were going to be added in on bridge-building reasons, I’m only finding out this round of updating Who I interact with and how that I’ve been given clearance to interact with Frigga. It’s a bit hard to get details right now, but Sovereignty and learning how to be a bridge for m’Lady will be involved (I’ll have lessons and potentially assignments, but it’s not neatly in the shadow work category). I’m sure I’ll find more out as I need to.

Nanna & Hoder

Update for Nanna

I mentioned in Her intro post that I primarily only interact with Her Hat through the depression [management] prayer set, and I can continue to do so. When it comes to trying to figure out how Nanna plays into the upg that Baldur is a consort of Hela’s, the best answer I have right now is that it’s like the idea of having someone in the city and someone in the country. Nanna’s marriage fills a particular role, but it’s more of a contractual marriage that isn’t solely based the participants being monogamous. She’s well suited for some sort of assistant role in Helheim, so Neither One really regrets having Helheim commitments. Hat interaction is the most that’s going to happen, though.

Update for Hoder

I mentioned in His intro post that I primarily interact through the depression [management] prayer set, and I can continue to do so. As with Nanna, this Hat interaction will be the extent of what I do for Him. Because there are so many variations on how Baldur died, I think Hoder was and was not involved depending on the version that applies in your practice. In my practice, I think He did know that Loki was orchestrating Baldur’s death and that He was likely to die as well in the aftermath; Hoder volunteered to help because He knew that He had some sort of role / job in Helheim that He needed to do. I don’t think Nanna or Hoder mind that I interact with Them through these certain Hats, but I think They’re not big on interacting otherwise because They’re busy doing these other Jobs in Helheim.

Baldur

I first ran into the idea on Nornoriel’s blog, but I’m currently having trouble tracking down the exact post to link to as a source. It relates to Baldur being a consort of Hela’s, and I didn’t really pay attention to it for several weeks (chalking it up to differences in upg). Then Baldur confirmed it as relating to how I interact with Him because it was taking me awhile to figure out why I kept associating Him with associations I had thought were just Hela’s. This does explain why He spends most of the year in Helheim with Her before His mythological cycle restarts (having cycles that restart is sort of a thing in my practice, but that doesn’t mean it has to be in anyone else’s).

In my practice, Baldur has a dream foretelling His death that is vague and quite likely steeped in enough symbolism that He doesn’t get the message that being a consort of Hela’s is in His wyrd. He’s confused and a bit afraid because He doesn’t have the answer to why He has to die, which leads to telling His parents and Frigga asking everything to not hurt Him (except for the mistletoe). I’m not sure if there’s an indication of what time of the year Baldur is killed in the Lore, but in the myth cycle in my personal practice, Baldur cannot be killed as fall gives way to winter. He realizes as the land dies around Him that there’s some sort of land health connection with Him, and that interfering with His ability to die has messed with the land’s ability to do the rebirth of spring deal.

This leads to Baldur making an arrangement with Loki to orchestrate His death because Baldur can’t kill Himself (a combination of the protective magic enacted and Others making sure that mistletoe isn’t around), which is a holy day within my practice for both of Them [occurring on the winter solstice]. On the 5th day of the 12 days of Yule, Loki does successfully orchestrate Baldur’s death [another holy day in my path]. I hold that Baldur only finds out about the consort part and the why of needing to die when He gets to Helheim. There’s some sort of combination of Hela explaining things and Baldur seeing how His presence in Helheim helps the health of that Realm’s land, and Baldur agrees to being Hela’s consort.

While wyrd and Reasons brought Them together, I do think the relationship between Baldur and Hela is a positive one and that Baldur isn’t being kept against His will or anything. Observing Baldur’s sacrifice and honoring it by sharing a meal (brought up in the intro post) is still the main thing I do for Him. For as long as my Deities think it’ll be helpful to have a depression [management] prayer set, I can still include Him in it; there’s nothing wrong with interacting more with His Hat.

Thor

As a Deity associated with storms, rain, and thunder, He still appreciates being hailed during those weather events. In a manner similar to how Frey helps the sunlight (indiscriminately shown upon everyone) to reach plants (described here), I think Thor can do something similar with the rain. While it was already in my face, I didn’t make the connection that Thor may have once been Vanic, or at least can be Vanic-compatible, until I read Visions of Vanaheim. The chapter “Thoughts on the Thunderer” (pg 176 – 179) covers how there’s a Vanic connection with Thor, and I can’t deny that it makes sense as to why He’s been the main One of the Aesir to want to stick around as I’ve been pushed more towards definitively named Vanir. There is more to Thor than just the stormy connection, and I’ve wound up being reminded of His protective Hat.

As the Protector of Midgard, I’ve ended up picking up an association that He can help to keep us here, particularly if it’s tied into personal protection. Except for a few dreams that may have featured some part of me being Elsewhere, I’m discouraged from traveling to other Realms / Worlds by the sheer inability for my hardwiring to accommodate travel. However, I’ve found that particularly in certain religious contexts describing how serious (life-threateningly serious) this past winter was in terms of my seasonal depression with ‘I walked the Hel-road’ isn’t an inappropriate metaphor. Even though it wasn’t traveling in a manner that most people mean when they talk about journeying, I have found myself needing to make sure that I stay in Midgard with some help from Thor’s Protective Hat.

(I intend to try to cover the seasonal depression in a separate post, but please, don’t assume that I’m not taking “real world” actions with this. This is something that affects me and my ability to interact with my Deities, so including a religiously significant means of coping in my overall management plan is appropriate for me.) I haven’t acquired the specific one I’ve had my eye on, and have so far received affirmative divination responses on from Thor, but I do plan on acquiring a Mjolnir (Thor’s Hammer). It will be a wearable means of protection, and I have personally significant dates relating to renewing the protection associated with it.