Three Signs for the New Week (September 28, 2015)

How convenient for this to appear when I had to turn in my full-length proposal for my Playwriting workshop Monday and will have a meeting to discuss this tomorrow.

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Jotun Intro: Serpent Tribe

A non-exclusive introduction to some Jotuns (Cont’d)

Serpent

Jormundgand is a child of Loki and Angrboda. Possibly intersex and/or trans, Jormundgand often mirrors the gender of whoever is contacting Zhim and may use he / she pronouns in addition to gender neutral options. Zhe was taken from Zher home by the Aesir while young and enchanted to encircle Midgard, which is where Zher giant Serpent form can be found. Part of Zhim is in the ocean of Jotunheim, but Zhe typically uses a humanoid form to communicate and interact with Others in Jotunheim, as Zher Serpent form cannot leave the water. Zhe is the leader of the Salt Bleached Bones Clan and a skilled ancestor worker for the intersex and trans dead.

Nidhogg is the offspring of a Dragon or Serpent affiliated and Snow affiliated couple from the time before Jotuns and Elves split. She gnaws at the rot on the root of Yggdrasil and keeps the World Tree clean, traveling back and forth between Niflheim and Helheim. Lessons on the benefits and necessity of carrion-eaters, waste-eaters, recyclers, and composters to keep that which is dead and rotting from building up and harming those who are still alive seem to be Her typical area of expertise. Along those lines, She may be able to assist with certain cleansings, banishings, or parts of shadow work in which you feed Her some rotten part / thing to reduce the likelihood of it growing back or spreading.

The Bones of Prey

Autumnal Equinox – the Bones of Prey. The Bones of Prey honors all Prey species and those who give their life so that others may live with some sort of sacrifice by the priest of each Tribe / Family.

The specifics vary based on the Tribe – Prey shape shifter Tribes are more inclined towards animal sacrifice, Predator shape shifter Tribes often go with blood offerings from eligible Tribe members, and other Tribes aim for representing that which feeds them (Family of Fire honors trees and plant life, Tribes tied to precipitation (including the Family of Snow and Ice) honor the ocean as the source of their water, Tree Tribe honors the sun, etc.).

The priests, representatives / helpers, and Dignitaries of each Tribe gather at the Henge (a sacred site near the Capital where Realm-wide events are held) and perform the sacrifices / honorings in pairs (ideally, the Consumer (ex. Fire) and Consumee (ex. Tree)). Observers from the Tribes may attend and watch, but they typically go every X years rather than attending yearly (unless they live close to the Capital).

For those who can’t attend in person, a development occurred to allow an equivalent of televising. Jotuns can then gather in designated locations within their territory / Realm (in the case of the Family of Fire from Muspelheim and the Family of Snow and Ice from Niflheim) to see the events at the Henge.

A ceremonial fight occurs between a Wolf (Angrboda) and a Hare (from the Vanir Tribe) to honor the hunt and sacrifice between Predator and Prey. Final blessings are incorporated into this dance of sorts, which ends the sacrificial portion. The rest of this day revolves around eating with family and giving thanks (families or Tribes may have preferred methods – floating candles, leaf boats, lit lanterns, tying things to trees, etc.).

For those who attend the ceremony at the Henge, a feast occurs there. The Hare representative is served first, then Angrboda, and then everyone else. Dignitaries, priests, and assistants typically have a large table to themselves with variable seating and tables for others due to the unpredictability of how many will show up. Servers keep food on the primary table stocked, but the average attendee will visit the buffet where common food across the Tribes can be found as well as Tribe and Realm specific food.

Observing the Bones of Prey:

  • Traveling or journeying to the Capital in order to attend astrally may be possible. It may be possible to attend a televised event and family celebration, if you have a relationship with Someone that warrants this inclusion.
  • Honoring Prey with a sacrifice of your own – food, drink, blood offering, or something else you work out as appropriate.
  • Sharing a meal with Someone (whether blood Family, chosen Family, or an Ally in the Realm) in a fashion appropriate for you and Them.
  • Lighting a candle or otherwise giving an offering to Angrboda and the Hare Tribe of Vanaheim, as representatives of the Predator and Prey.
  • Dancing, tai chi, or a movement based offering to reflect the dance of Prey and Predator being honored.
  • Recreating a means of giving thanks in Midgard.

Jotun Intro: Wolf Tribe

A non-exclusive introduction to some Jotuns

This list will go in order of the Tribes listed previously to have some semblance of order, and not because it is giving priority to certain Jotuns over Others.

Wolf

Angrboda is the leader of the Ironwood Clan (a representative of all the Clans, if the Ironwood Clan is broken down into further Clans) and the representative of the Wolf Tribe, particularly in holy rites calling on a Wolf. Prior to the Silent Winter, She primarily stuck to Clan and Tribe dealings rather than getting involved with affairs of the other Realms.

As the most fit to travel and the most diplomatically skilled at the time, She was the ambassador to Vanaheim in the process of healing the land after the Silent Winter. Angrboda stepped into the role of ambassador and diplomat for Vanaheim and Asgard and also became the ceremonial representative for Jotunheim in holy rites.

While not officially sworn in as the leader of Jotunheim, Angrboda is frequently seen as the face of leadership and the de facto leader. She coordinates all holy rites, acts as a skilled priest in the rites involved, and organizes all of the ambassadors, Dignitaries, and diplomats Who represent Jotunheim in various Realms.

Fenrir is a son of Angrboda and Loki and considered a high ranking Jotun within the Wolf Tribe. As a cub, He was taken to Asgard where the Aesir attempted to train Him to become one of the wolf-guards. His official wolf form was Bound to temper the Chaos and Destruction He is capable of, and He may be found in a cave in Niflheim in this way. However, more self-controlled forms (whether wolf or humanoid) can interact with Others. He often helps those on Midgard and fellow Wolf Jotuns (or Anyone else Who asks for His help) with banishings, cleansings, and the like (having particularly skilled magic in this area).

Hati is one of Fenrir’s sons. For attempting to stop His father’s Binding, He was captured by the Aesir and charged with making sure that Mani continues to guide the moon across the sky in a timely manner. After centuries of interacting with Mani’s Void-of-course Face (exhibiting at least one mental illness, though the combination differs depending on the person being shown this Face), Hati is particularly skilled with assisting those in recovery or trying to manage their mental illness(es).

Skoll is another of Fenrir’s sons. For aiding His brother in attempting to stop His father’s Binding, He was captured by the Aesir and charged with making sure that Sunna continues to guide the sun across the sky in a timely manner. Sunna is very work oriented and punctual, so Skoll often can multitask or handle matters elsewhere before returning to Her. He frequently carries messages for politicians, ambassadors, diplomats, and the like between Realms, and He often assists in keeping an eye on Someone for Wolf Tribe and looking for Vali.

Vali is a son of Loki and Sigyn. He was not born with the ability to shift into a wolf form, but after being magically transformed into a wolf by Odin, He has struggled with erratic and poor control over mentally shifting. When in a calm, fully present frame of mind, Vali can often be found with Fenrir, Angrboda, and the rest of the Wolf Tribe. When in a stressed, ‘shifted’ frame of mind, Vali often hides in the Ironwood until the episode passes. Though He is distantly related to Jotuns in the Tribe and not a Wolf-shifter Himself, Many in the Tribe treat Him like family.

Gleipnir’s Ingredients (iii)

Order and taking inspiration from the ritual Chaining Fenris: A Ritual to Bind the Inner Beast, the third ingredient: Spittle of a bird.

The third thing on the list is the spittle of a bird. Regardless of what the myths say, birds have spittle … and so do you. This sacred energy of a bird’s mouth says that you should talk, should speak, should tell stories about your monster. Even if you cannot allow it to use your mouth, you can tell its tales, and show that it is appreciated.

Speaking directly about certain things defies socialization about what is ‘appropriate’, ‘reasonable’, and ‘expected’. However, I’ve mostly found that the written word and the mental safeguards that a reader can put up about ‘just how true or literal’ something should be works around this.

Poetry, fictional prose, plays – these are what I’ve typically turned to in order to explore certain areas and relieve the pressure from others. There are all kinds of means of expression, and this is where some people really turn to creative endeavors and/or the fine arts in order to have the work space they allow themselves to have in order to think these things over and let these thoughts out in some format.

Tribes and Families

Tribes or Families or Clans or…?

The subject of what Tribes are in Jotunheim and what They may wish to call Themselves is a prime example of each Tribe being large enough to present to us humans differently. The following is how I currently understand these terms.

Tribe – term used to describe a grouping of related Jotun Who have a particular elemental affiliation or animal form as Their default (though magic and practice can result in many forms being possible, one form is related to birth heritage and the easiest and/or most natural to utilize). This term is most often used by politicians, government workers, ambassadors, and by priests in formal rites; it is often used when talking to outsiders, and it is used when the representatives of each grouping consult with lawmakers and other government people. Other terms are used within the Tribe – Unkindness (Talons), Sleuth (Bear), Run (Scales), Nest (Serpent), Pack (Wolf).

Family – term used to describe the related groupings of Jotuns affiliated with Fire in Muspelheim (They will refer to Themselves as a Flame) and Snow / Ice in Niflheim (They will refer to Themselves as Snowflakes or Icicles). The Family of Fire and the Family of Snow and Ice are phrases originally used by these groupings, and They prefer to use them unless government protocol requires the use of ‘Tribe’. The idea of being a Family with many families within that coincides with this term has influenced the Tribes in Jotunheim, though not all refer to Their Tribes as Families (limited to Elemental Tribes related to these Families).

Recognized Tribes include: Wolf, Serpent, Bear, Talons, Scales, Ocean (Family of Waves), Mountain (Family of Mountains), Tree (Family of Roots), Lightning (Family of Electricity), Fire (Family of Fire), and Snow / Ice (Family of Snow and Ice).

Clan – term used to describe groupings of Jotuns (often related) with a particular elemental affiliation or animal form as Their default Who do not use the term ‘Tribe’. These groupings are often below a certain population level and claim affiliation with a parental Tribe in order to be represented in government proceedings. A Clan also typically owns and controls a smaller section of land than a Tribe, or They may be the smaller family groupings below the term Tribe for a particular grouping and purposefully split up the land attributed to the Tribe. Some Clans are more comfortable interacting with humans and outsiders than Others, so a visit to the Capital to check records may be the only way to know that a Clan exists within the Realm.

Recognized Clans include:

  • Wolf Tribe affiliated
    • Ironwood – whether 9 or some other number are seen as individual Clans of the Ironwood differs, depending on Who is talking and who is being talked to, but an overall Clan for the Ironwood is recognized.
  • Serpent Tribe affiliated
    • Salt Bleached Bones – ancestor work is the primary focus of its members.
    • Rattler – skilled in drumming, singing, and music / vocal based magic (often including galdr) who provide services during holy day rites, funerals, weddings, and any occasion that calls for music and singing.
  • Talons Tribe affiliated
    • Raven – skilled diviners with Clan specific divination methods; often sought out for services by those outside the Talons Tribe for specific topics.
      • Due to the high visibility and majority of Raven affiliated Jotuns, many associate the Talons Tribe with being a Raven Tribe. Outside of government paperwork, the semantics barely matter, and even other Jotuns think there is a Raven Tribe instead of a Talons Tribe.
    • Owl – skilled night-time hunters and game butchers; members often also focus on acknowledging the sacrifices of all Prey (outside of the holy days for this).
    • Vulture – priests trained in the handling of dead bodies and burial methods appropriate for all means of death (‘straw death’, contagious illness, non-contagious illness, etc.); often sought out by all Jotuns for funeral preparations and funerary rites.
  • Family of Fire affiliated
    • Lava – Mountain / Fire lineage Who return to Muspelheim; work is closely tied to the land (influence tectonic plates) and volcanoes. Often helpful with anger management and regulating emotions in a therapist equivalent role for the Tribe.
    • Desert – Mountain / Fire / Serpent lineage Who return to Muspelheim; specifics of work is very initiate bound, but often appears related to Rattler work (drumming, singing, music / vocal based magic, galdr, etc.).
  • Family of Snow and Ice affiliated
    • Wind – Fire / Snow / Talons [often Raven] lineage Who return to Niflheim; skilled diviners with Clan specific divination methods that share some similarities with Raven methods but also contain methods of Their own. They are often sought out for divination services by all of the Snow / Ice Tribe.

Kindred – a term used to refer to a town, city, village, hamlet, etc. with a particular Tribe in the majority, and often within the Tribe’s territory. May or may not include closest family relations (parents, siblings, aunts or uncles, grandparents, etc.), and may or may not have a hall with the equivalent of a town leader depending on the size. Kindreds that are large enough to be equated with towns and cities often have a designated location to watch televised events.

Love notes from Freya, 4/19/15

Silver and Gold

A marriage is what you make of it. It can be a marriage of convenience; a marriage of romantic love; a marriage for children; a marriage for career advancement. A marriage for society; a marriage for you, personally. There are many reasons to get married. Choose which one you like best, and follow your heart. It matters not which one you choose; only that you choose.

Relationship advice, from Freya. My sense is that her version of “Marriage” and our modern American one is different. I got the sense for channeling her note today that she was talking about something not entirely unlike a business venture–two people entering into an intimate, long-term partnership which is mutually beneficial;”romance” not being the central concept, in many cases.

Though Freya is a goddess of love, and I will never present her as not having that essential quality, it’s good to note that what…

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Attack of the Anxiety Brainweasels

tl;dr version then the full version that I wrote while trying to process things and do some google-fu.

So, I was just doing reasonably normal things on the Fire Howling (it didn’t really differ from what I said would happen, though I didn’t need to go to the production meeting or design presentation indicated by question marks on the initial list). Below the cut, I literally needed to go through the symptoms manifesting in order to connect them all to one another.

This entire thing started at 12:55, went through my 12:55 – 2:45 class, went through the 3 – 5 Shop hours, went through the production meeting from 5 – 6, and didn’t really end until 7. I had no idea how to describe what had just gone on for six hours. (Which meant that someone asking at one point if I was alright wasn’t actually helpful because I had no idea what to say.)

Shout out to Google. Panic attack versus an anxiety attack [here]. A less symptom heavy, quick glance at differentiating [here]. Derealization explanation [here]. This just in – 10/10 would not recommend having an anxiety attack. Below the cut, I also talk about being reminded of different coping mechanisms that aren’t healthy and I’ve been working on not encouraging. (Talk of self-injury in the form of scratching and digging fingernails into skin; talk of smoking.)

Overall, this was a shitty (though 100% unplanned and unintentional) way to end the Fire Howling. It’s a very noticeable reminder that my brainweasels aren’t entirely limited to depression, and I have some hybrid of depression and anxiety. Because those motherfucking brainweasels had a ball, man. I need to do a drop-in and psychiatric consultation, so my brainweasels are managed better and don’t get six hours to do whatever the fuck they want to do.

Cut due to length and not wanting to fuck with someone’s head by getting them stuck in my inner dialogue / narrative (yes, that is a thing that can happen).

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History: The Silent Winter

The Silent Winter

As Midgard followers converted to Christianity [weakening Midgard’s ties to other Realms], the health of Jotunheim – the land itself and its ability to provide for the Jotuns – nosedived. Insufficient harvests and drought drove many Jotuns to over-rely on hunting and took too large a chunk out of the prey populations in the Realm as it happened year after year. Some storytellers refer to these few years as the Silent Winter because many Jotuns Who found a way to survive did not wish to talk of what They had to do to accomplish this (murder and cannibalism).

Priests and diviners struggled to figure out what was going on. The points of connection between Jotunheim, Midgard, and Vanaheim that had been feeding the land had weakened to the point that the usual sacrifices and rites were no longer enough. Someone was chosen among those still strong enough and Who could behave diplomatically – Angrboda – to travel to Vanaheim for aid. It took divination, political maneuvering, and more than one session of meetings to fully address the problem and come to a solution.

The Jotuns can call on land magic and bless the land, but They are not specialists in this area of magic as the Vanir are. Additional holy days and rites would have to be added to the yearly calendar of holy days, Someone may have to act as a yearly Sacrifice, or the Vanir would need to play a more active part in healing the land. The holy calendar was similar to how it appears now (eight days), and priests were very sure that trying to schedule in additional rites and sacrifices would not be feasible (particularly when livestock and game populations needed time to recover from too much harvesting).

Many Tribes were adamantly opposed to having a yearly Sacrifice. Between fighting with the Aesir, the kidnapping and removal of three high ranking Jotun children (Fenrir, Hela, and Jormundgand), and the Bindings of Fenrir and Loki, many were under the impression that the Jotuns had sacrificed or were forced into giving up more than enough for the well-being of Everyone else. It was decided that Jotunheim would need to improve its relationship with Vanaheim, so that the land blessing of Vanaheim could trickle to Jotunheim.

This was accomplished in a few ways. Representatives of a Tribe in Vanaheim were incorporated into a few holy days to add an element of Vanic oomph to the proceedings. A Hare appears in the Bones of the Prey (autumn equinox) and the Howls of Spring (spring equinox), and a Deer appears in the Cleaning of Antlers (Aug 1st). Depending on how the health of the land and political relations are going, ambassadors and Dignitaries would need to increase the frequency of visits in order to strengthen to the connections between the Realms.

Angrboda often visits Vanaheim in the lead up to the harvest festival in Jotunheim, and due to the priority on seafood at that time of year, Njord often visits Jotunheim on behalf of the King and Queen (ceremonial roles recently passed on) on the day of. In Jotunheim, the main rite to bless the harvest happens on the Cleaning of Fishbones (summer solstice) rather than lining up exactly with the Vanic harvest blessing (Feast of the Fallen on Aug 1st). In the immediate aftermath of the Silent Winter, Frey was often asked to visit in order to very specifically bless the land and heal it.

The rules and laws on travel between the Realms were adjusted so that it was easier for Vanir to visit as tourists, as ambassadors, and to move to Jotunheim. Many Vanir who visit or run businesses do so in the Capital, but there was also an encouragement in the immediate aftermath of the Silent Winter for Jotun / Vanir couples to stay within Jotunheim for a certain amount of time rather than moving to Vanaheim. Many couples had previously opted to move so that the Vanic partner could interact with family and in the activities of the Vanic holy days more easily, so adjusting the travel laws and encouraging celebrations within Jotunheim would help.

It was around this time that the equivalent of television and broadcasting the proceedings of holy days began. Designated locations within the Tribes (extended of course to the Families in Niflheim and Muspelheim) and the Capital had the tv equivalents, so that citizens who were not attending the rites at the Henge could still participate. (These tv equivalents are reserved for broadcasting holy rites / activities and emergency messages.)

Priests who weren’t involved in the rites at the Henge would do modified rites at the designated locations, provide candles, and help to channel the energy of the citizens towards the goal of the rite. The rites in Vanaheim were broadcast as well for a year to help with the efforts of having Vanir within Jotunheim celebrating within the Realm and benefiting the land.