Just keep burning

A brief summary of how my current bout of shadow work has been going (it will theoretically last from this past autumnal equinox to this coming spring equinox). I’ve had to do some stove touching in order to learn some things, and I know not everyone wants to read about that. If you’ve read the last two posts (Five of Cups and February Full Moon), you pretty know the gist.

Mentions: self-injury, being afraid of ODing, drinking, and vomiting.

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A Day of Tinkering

The Twisted Rope

When everything came to Be during the very First Time, everyone agreed that everything was perfect and in its proper place. Time flowed perfectly and the holidays and seasoned synced in perfect harmony. The gods reveled in how everything aligned so well for them. Their world and existence centered around ma’at and Zep Tepi, and this allowed them to keep their world in harmony with seasons, holidays and mythical time all working together in a circular fashion.

However, the humans lived in a place where try as they may, Zep Tepi could only be enacted and recreated for short amounts of time. As the era of humans began to sprawl forever in one direction, they found that time progressed further and further away from Zepi Tepi. Their calendars and seasons became unaligned and everything started to become chaotic for them.

As the calendar and seasons slowly drifted further and further…

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February Full Moon

Possible names include: Snow, Hunger, and Trapper’s Moon. Mani indicated that He would like me to use “Hunger”, though I make no guarantee He’d want someone else to do the same. The following is a piece of sacred fiction.

. . .

“Look”, someone points, “The moon’s so bright tonight”. The group looks up at the sky, a faint smear of clouds doing nothing to hide the almost full circle. Mani glances down at their World, “They’re not going to be full until tomorrow night”.

Hati sniffs the air, shakes his head, and continues walking, “They must not be smelling what they’re drinking”.

“They’re just celebrating and being festive. Not all parties happen under Sunna’s watch”.

A peal of laughter floats up to the two, and the horses twitch their ears. Hati sniffs the air again, “Desperation with just a hint of hunger”.

“How can you smell that they’re hungry?”

“It’s in their voice, the laughter. They’re hungry for something, but I bet they’re looking in the wrong place”.

“What does hunger even smell like?”

“Sherbert. Everclear. Whatever’s in that drink down there.”

Mani waved his hand through the surrounding clouds and let a small wispy collection coalesce in his hand. It shone in the moonlight, mirror-esque, and flashed down to the party below. A human was struggling to stand, laughing uncontrollably.

“Oh, we know them, Hati”.

“It’s not a rowdy blot, is it?”

“No, one of our college students”, Mani held the cloud mirror down for Hati to see. The wolf shook his head, “They’re testing their inner Wolf. If they stop at two cups, they won’t feel it in the morning”.

“I’m pretty sure that’s their third”.

“Look at their eyes”, Mani swirled his fingers around the edges until he could only see the human’s eyes in the mirror, “You should see the point where Wolf tries to protect them”.

Mani squinted as a black blur swept behind their eyes, not quite within the humans’ realm of sight, “Yup, blacked out”.

“We should check back when the veil lifts. Wolf should keep them relatively safe”.

Mani set the cloud mirror next to him in the wagon, and they rode on along the starry path. Occasionally he glanced down at it – “They’re rolling on the concrete and laughing non-stop”, “Someone called for EMS”, “Oh dear, they told someone they wanted to die”.

Hati shifted uncertainly in his gait, “How long have they been at the hospital?”

“Close to two hours now. Their body’s forcing everything out, and that’s not going to happen quickly”.

Mani flashed the cloud mirror to Hati, who grimaced slightly, “Those humans are lucky they can’t see all that black, sludgy crap”.

Mani shrugged, “It’s never fun to watch someone bring up munrþoka – the chunks of sadness stuck in the depression, the anger, the worthlessness. I don’t envy Nidhogg in that, but I don’t think the humans feel lucky”.

A small voice came through the mirror, “I’m sorry – this isn’t the Opening you guys wanted to have – I just wanted to feel – ”

Hati whined slightly, “Can’t you smell the hunger?”

Mani shook his head, glancing to his left at the edgy wolf, “I can keep things under control if you want to visit them”.

Hati jumped from between the clouds and down to Midgard, walking briskly after the car leaving the hospital. He followed the small group inside and waited until the human had been situated on a couch to approach them, “Little one?”

The human shifted slightly as a friend took their boots off, already starting to fall asleep.

“Don’t eat yourself to feel full, okay?”, Hati nudged their head, “You can’t hurt yourself to fill the void”.

They were already in a deep, alcohol induced sleep. Hati sighed and rested his chin on their shoulder for a moment or two, “Feel better in the morning, Little Wolf”.

Weekly Writing 2.8.16

Five of Cups

The cup is too flimsy to hold the blade and the hydrogen peroxide spills. Drinking the Captain Pepsi (not enough Pepsi to kill the rum) a little too quickly, shuddering and almost knocking the cup over. The bottle of pills falls off the microwave when you close the door, a splash of red appearing on the counter, and an inner voice wonders if that’s too many.

The cup of water sits off to the side. Dab it against the cuts, warm and stinging. Chase away the dehydration that’ll reverberate against your skull in the morning, and drown that feeling of disappointment at already being so sober. (How much will it take to find that slaphappy point again?) Your body hasn’t quite forgiven the water for bringing the pills earlier, but you have to drink something (don’t think about how bad not even being able to keep water down might be).

An empty cup that doubles as a bowl sits on the windowsill in the morning light. You made it through the 2 AM thoughts (knowing it’s so much harder to break skin than you thought), crawled into bed at 3 AM sober (knowing you can drink casually), woke up at midnight (wondering how to apologize to your liver without lying that you’re sorry).

You open a can of soup, the plans for the day fizzling into uncertainty beyond eating. Even with the pain, the fear, the cowardice, the past is clearer than the future (carried in your scars, your body). You touched the metaphorical stove, and all that’s left is to take the lessons with you.

The Missing Spoke in the Wheel

There is no Jotun equivalent to the Lights of the Winter Storm (Feb 2nd), as winter is often still as harsh as ever and not going to ease up until spring comes. The Vanir in the Realms often gather in the Capital to observe Lights of the Winter Storm with candle lighting, offerings and prayers, and a small feast. Jotun spouses and family typically show up, and the event is often open to the public as long attendees are respectful during the proceedings. Depending on how harsh the winter is, Dignitaries and ambassadors are the only Ones allowed to travel outside the Realm, so traveling from Jotunheim to Vanaheim to observe Lights of the Winter Storm isn’t always guaranteed.

For those of us in Midgard

  • Sharing a meal with Someone (whether blood Family, chosen Family, or an Ally in the Realm) in a fashion appropriate for you and Them. This can be a simple meal, or you could opt for some sort of ‘treat’.
  • Lighting a candle and saying a prayer for fire to return to the world (addressing Sunna or another member of the Family of Fire).
  • If able, continuing sharing food and drink and lighting a candle once a week [typically started at Gnawed Bones].
  • Traveling or journeying to the Capital in order to attend the Lights of the Winter Storm observance astrally may be possible. Alternatively, you may observe it in Midgard or (if appropriate) travel to Vanaheim to do so.