Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Odd Occurrence

Usually I don't let my train of thoughts get too out of hand. The random thoughts that pop in my head aren't too random and I know where they come from.

Today Grendal and I were milling about our room when we both heard a bird outside. I stop to listen and Grendal has an odd smile on his face.  I tell him I've never heard that particular call before. He informs me we have a hawk in the yard.  He hurries downstairs while I grad a light jacket and some sandals so we can sneak a peek at our guest.  By the time we get out the hawk is gone and the little birds are tweeting and the squirrels are back searching for food.

Grendal is, of course, a little disappointed that we didn't get to see it so we start heading back in.  My mind, for some reason, jumps to crows and I think 'I always see two.'  Now, this just causes me to halt all form of thought in my little head.  Where did that come from?  Yes, I do see crows often and they always seem to come about when something is upsetting me or if I need some eye candy in the trees(odd I know). Crows have always been comforting for some reason and I just love watching them.

I know it isn't too far fetched to think of Odin and his two birds(I know they're ravens rather then crows), Huginn and Muninn, especially since I've been going on a bit of a Norse binge.  Yet, that couldn't be right.  If my brain is bringing up some recent stuff I've been reading I should be having random thoughts about hobbits and the Illuminati/Free Masons(Dan Brown's stuff can be entertaining). So where did this thought about crows come from? Grendal and I have talked about them either.

As hard as is it for me to mention it(don't ask why), I think someone may have been trying to reach out to me.  Well, just gotta keep an open mind, yes?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Here Comes the Rain Again

While I do love winter and the blankets of snow and chilly weather, the two good things about spring and summer are the flowers and the storms.  On Ostara there was a lovely storm and right now there is another one!  Some of my fondest memories are of storms.  Yes, I used to get scared when they got bad and still do(major fear of tornadoes!) but for the most part they're calming.  The thrumming of heavy rain, the wind, and, most of all, the thunder and lightening.

Georgia has some of the best storms in my memory.  We lived on an Air Force base and it was actually rather dull where we were.  The best thing there was the wooded area behind the house, which was a conglomeration of backyards of a large block of houses.  This place had a dried up stream that would fill up with a heavy rain and enough trees to play hide-and-seek when need be.  We lived at the top of Hill Street which was obviously a hill.  There were a few times the rain got bad and there was flooding but we were lucky enough not to be in danger.

During the thunder storms I would sit under the carport with my father and just watch the lightening.  I don't remember the conversations we had but I believe they had to do with science and nature, which was appropriate.  A few summer storms my sisters and I actually ran into the down pour and played around.  Bare feet and sundresses that quickly got way too heavy.  The only bad thing about playing in a summer storm is going into a house that has the A/C going.  Talk about chilly!

Well this storm tonight has been special.  Some cases of heavy falls and big gusts of wind.  I told Grendal I had the urge to run around outside but I wasn't.  He asked me why and I told him I'd get cold, plus I didn't want my inner child to win.  Grendal told me to go ahead, we have towels and its rather cozy inside.  That was enough for me.  I slipped on my sandals and hurried outside.  Yeah, cold rain isn't as fun as the rain from the middle of summer but I still enjoyed it.

An odd thing happened and it my just be a coincidence but it was thrilling to me.  I stood there, eyes closed and face turned skyward, and enjoyed the rain.  All I could think was that this was so rejuvenating.  The moment those thoughts were, well, thought there was a huge flash of lightening(the kind that makes it seem like its noon) and a deep roll of thunder.  I kind of took that as a 'your welcome' from my storm God of a patron.  :)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Aw Man

No super-moon viewing for me last night.  It was all thanks to cloud cover.  On the 'bright' side I woke up to the sound of rain and thunder. :)  Don't know if I should be thanking Ba'al or Thor right now, though I'm leaning more towards Ba'al.  What a nice way to kick off the season!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Dirty Fingers

Today was a fun little day.  We were doing a belated celebration for the Grendal's brother's birthday.  Grendal's eldest niece was over, which is always a delight.  The two of us have a problem with young kids.  I get frustrated very easily and don't like the whole diaper thing, and Grendal can't really touch them with out feeling physically ill(don't know why).  Ri(who is 5 I believe), though, seemed to be an exception; Grendal was able to pick her up at the age of 3 and feel just fine.  Since Ri is past the whole potty training time I'm good too, lol.  She is always happy to see the two of us and loves Grendal to death.  Its only around Ri and my youngest niece that I ever really feel maternal, which is odd.  The second oldest niece of Grendal's is the same age as my youngest niece, yet I can't really tolerate her.  I don't know why.  The youngest of Grendal's nieces isn't 2 yet and that's not a good age for either of us.

One awesome thing about Ri is her love of playing outside.  Grendal and I were very much the nature lovers growing up and we still are.  So I ventured into the yard while Grendal and the other men worked on one of the cars.  Grendal's mother and sister were watching his nieces(yeah, no male grandkids).  Ri and the other two were playing around, mostly in the dirt.  That side of yard had been torn up by the county so that the street could have water and 'proper' sewage.  The tree line was completely demolished and there isn't a thing growing.  Honestly it looks hideous.

So while the kids are playing I go poking around in the dirt and start finding some interesting rocks.  Nothing spectacular, just ones with 'sparkles,' oddly shaped ones, some with holes, and some nice pebbles that had kind of a milky look to them.  It didn't take long for Ri to notice what I was doing.  I showed her the rocks I was placing on the trunk of a fallen tree and soon she was looking for her own rocks.  She now has a nice group of rocks she wishes to clean and then put in her room as decorations.

One of the reasons why I think Ri seems to adore Grendal and I is the fact that we're a loving couple.  Ri's parents are divorced and it wasn't a happy one.  Her mother is unstable at times and appears to be chronic liar, making things hard for a growing child.  Coming here she sees the stability of a happy family and that relationships can be good.  I also think Grendal's brother finds it odd that I get maternal with Ri.  I play with her, I let her sit in my lap when I'm flipping through books on faeries(gotta love Froud's work!), and I tend to her when I can.  Grendal and I hold her hands when we go out, swinging her around and what not.  Grendal throws her over his shoulder and gives her piggy back rides.  If we were suddenly given Ri as a child I think things would be a happy one.

If I ever have a child, I want her to be like Ri.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Pagan Blog Prompt: St. Patrick's Day

Ah, St. Patrick's Day - a day for pinching people not wearing green, drinking lots of green beer, eating corned beef with cabbage and potatoes....

But do you know why we even have this day? What's the story behind "saint" Patrick? How does it relate to us Pagans?

Explore this topic with a little research, then share your knowledge with the rest of us :) You might be surprised what you find.... 

 Growing up I didn't know the specifics of the day. Just that I needed to wear green to avoid the pinching that would occur. Growing up the green got less and less.  It went from shirts, to ribbons to buttons, to me saying "I have enough green in my eyes, leave me alone."  I do have some Irish blood in me, and I believe I used that as an excuse for not wearing green either.  Since I'm not much of a drinker, the whole getting smashed bit doesn't appeal to me.

I do know that St. Patrick was never actually given sainthood by the Pope, but we've been celebrating theday for so long I doubt its going to change.

I will say that I don't really celebrate this day any more.  Why?  Well, because of the whole snake-pagan thing.  Yes, there are no actual snakes in Ireland, not after the last ice age.  The druids had snake tattoos, thus running the snakes of the island was pretty much kicking the druids off the island.  It irked me so I just didn't bother with the day any more.  I do try and cook some Irish food to celebrate that part of my lineage, and with Grendal's family being very much the Irish family I can't help it any more.

One person some where said that on St. Patty's day they don't drink to the man's memory but more to his death, and the fact that those 'pesky snakes' have returned.

All in all, just another day. Happy celebrating to those who do so.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Surprised Me Too

Grendal and I don't have access to cable in our place and after months without it I don't know why I ever enjoyed it.  Scratch that, yes I do!  My favorite channels are History Channel, Discovery Channel, TLC, SyFy, and NatGeo.  I honestly can't get enough of those 'educational' channels.  My father and I watch shows on the military and wars, as well as anything to do with ancient civilizations and the occult(we LOVE watching things on 2012).  We don't bond over much but it is our love of odd knowledge that brings us together.  He told me about the book Chariots of the Gods after I talked him about the show Ancient Aliens, and how one of the authors was on the episode.  My father also told me about people working at Area 51, even though it doesn't exist but it moved somewhere else and the military is still closely guarding the place.  Yeah, my father is a well of information and I love every bit of it.

So yes, my love of informative tv shows, no matter how odd and possibly misinformed, knows no bounds.  There was a series called Clash of the Gods that quickly grabbed my attention.  They were to take myths and talk about them and show the real life similarities.  I was excited!  Their first episode was about Zeus and while I may not like him, the show was rather interesting and had some tidbits I didn't know.  Sadly this was also around the time that we got rid of cable.  I couldn't see myself going to my parents' house to watch the show because it takes 30 minutes to get there.  So it just fell to the side until I could get a copy of it.  I was happy!  They had an episode on Hades, Medusa, Thor, and even the tale of Beowulf!  It took a little convincing but I got Grendal to watch some with me.

Tonight we had watched the Beowulf and Thor episode.  Its been a while since either of us read the tale of Beowulf but things seemed off.  The people on the show REALLY wanted to tie the story into some christian allegory.  O_o  Apparently Grendal(uh, the character) represented the Pagans, so when Beowulf killed him it was a metaphor for the ending of the Pagan beliefs.  What?  I must've missed that during my read through.  I highly doubt that during the story's oral tradition that the story tellers wanted to bring down the Pagans.  Not to mention they seemed to royally screw up the meaning of the word Pagan.

We brushed off our misgivings about that episode and continued on to the episode about Thor.  Now, I think I need to say something before I continue.  Grendal isn't a Pagan or a Wiccan.  He's more of a polytheistic-agnostic....or something.  He came up with a decent word.  Anyway, if Grendal ever did settle into the realm of Pagan worship and picked a pantheon, he would quickly pick up the Norse pantheon.  He studies the Norse tales, enough to hold lengthy conversations, and even has a pendant with Mjöllnir on it.  To our friends Grendal is known as the viking or the Norseman.

Anywho, Grendal went into this episode a little nervous.  Things started out fine, though my first gripe was the "actor's" lack of a beard.  The narrator couldn't decide on whether or not to call the jötunn giants or ogres, referred to Loki as Thor's servant, and completely screwed up the trials of Útgarða/Skrymir.  What got us was the story of Ragnarok.  Grendal and I never read the complete 'tale' of Ragnarok but we know what it is: essentially the end of the Norse pantheon.  It had always bothered me that the Norse pantheon had a tale of their own demise, seeing how none of the other pantheons in the world seem to have them(please correct me if I'm wrong).  The show went through the gist of Ragnarok, of coursing focusing on Thor since he was the episode's star, but then it took a christian bend that Grendal and I hadn't expected.

Through out the episode Grendal was constantly flipping through a book I bought him called 'Norse Mythology: A Guide to the Gods, Heroes, Rituals, and Beliefs' by John Lindow.  When they started talking about Ragnarok he quickly read it and made a surprised sound.  I asked him what was up and he just told me to watch, he wanted to see something.

Here is what the book says, which is pretty much what the episode said in an odd, round about way:

But Ragnarok has two parts, and the second involves rebirth.  the earth arises from the sea, and a new generation of gods inhabits it.  They have reminiscences of their forebears and some mysterious gaming pieces that link them to what went before.  Hod and Baldr are there, reconciled, and Hoenir too has survived the conflagration, for he "chooses lot-sticks," that is, he performs some sort of ritual activity.  According to the Hauksbok redaction of the poem, "the powerful one" then comes, and this looks like a reference to the christian deity.

Snorri paraphrases these verses and adds a few details, of which the most salient is the presence of Odin's sons Vidar and Vali and Thor's sons Magni and Modi, who will possess Thor's hammer Mjöllnir, in the new world that follows Ragnarok.  Snorri also, following Vafthrudnismal, says the humans will survive into the new world, through Lif and Lifthrasir.

I knew about Baldr and a few of the other gods surviving but I was shocked about the whole human race pulling through thanks to a man and a woman.  The show pointed out the similarities to Genesis in the Bible and even referred to Ragnarok and the Norse mythology as the prequel to the Old Testament.  WHAT?  I was shocked and, honestly, rather pissed.

Grendal and I did some talking and came to our own conclusions.  Now, the book doesn't really tell how old the Norse beliefs are via artifacts but it does mention that in 1000 b.c.e. some rock carvings were made that could have had a religious purpose.  My point, though, is that the christianisation of the area didn't really get underway until about 1000 c.e.  This means that the Prose Edda, the go-to for Norse mythology and written in the 13th century, was constructed when christianity already took up residence.  Churches were built over old temples before which made Grendal and I wonder if it wasn't too far fetched to create a bridge, story wise, to have people go from Pagans to Christians.  There has been no other reference to "the powerful one" that Grendal can find.  As for the Lif and Lifthrasir, I find it just odd.  Yes, in the beginning of Norse mythology Ask and Embla (Ash and Elm) are the first humans, but they were found washed up on a beach(or possibly created by the dwarves) by Odin, Vili, and Ve and given life/what was needed to live.  You can't really point to the Bible on that one because, hell, it sounds similar to the Hawai'ian creation myth.

So yeah, Grendal and I are a bit perturbed by the whole thing and firmly believe that Ragnarok was either completely created to bring people to the 'new religion' or modified to do so.  I guess it also doesn't help that the show made it sound like becoming christian brought peace to the world and made everything better.  :|

Okay.....enough of my ranting.  Despite the OBVIOUS christian bend Clash of the Gods has the show is enjoyable.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Some Spring Cleaning

Well, its been a difficult week. The day after my last post Grendal had the difficult job of explaining to his mother that it was Lucky's time to leave us.  Lucky was still trying to get up and move but his periods of sleep were getting longer and longer.  It was troubling Grendal and myself.  So that afternoon just about the entire family went to the vet to say our final goodbyes.  Everyone was in tears.  I couldn't stay in the room to watch the procedure, despite the fact that I was planning on going into the veterinary field.  I have to say I was having flashbacks of sorts to when my family went to the vet to say farewell to our boxer, Ali'i.  In a sense he was the brother I never had.  My farther took it the hardest since they were the best of friends.  Honestly, when I looked at Grendal that day I couldn't help but think of what my father went through.  It always hits me hard when I see grown men cry.  I guess its because I've always seen men with stone faces, smiles, and the general 'man' look about them.

When we got home we cleaned up.  It was hard because the cleaning consisted of ridding the house of Lucky's belongings.  Grendal put his foot down, not wanting to get rid of Lucky's harness, his collar, or his favorite toy.  I can understand it but it seemed like his parents were confused.  Hell, Grendal went through the garbage to get the toy and its sitting beside the altar right now.  Tinker, my Main Coone, seems to be rather lost as well.  She and Lucky were friends.  We caught them curled up next to each other a few times and she even sat beside him for a few hours during his last week.  Their method of play was Tinker would play chicken and encourage him to chase her through the house.  She would also knock over the smaller trash can near the computer and he'd nose through it looking for stuff. In the end the decision was hard but we all agree that it was for the best.  Lucky is in a better place and free of the pain that he had been in.

We've been getting back into the mix of 'normal' life.  Grendal and I have been cleaning the upstairs which is where we live.  We managed to move some of his parents' things from a bookshelf and, after months in boxes, just about all of our books/comics/manga/reading material are out in the open!  This makes me happy because not only are my pagan books within grabbing distance but we got rid of 3 boxes.  That means more space!!  The place doesn't look as tiny and we can stretch out a bit more.  Now I can catch up on my reading.

I know the change of seasons is drawing close and I'm not too sure what to do.  There are some Pagans in the area and I've met with a group, but I got an odd feeling when Grendal and I sat in on their social gathering.  They're trying to do some good in the community and push aside some stereotypes and bad mojo from the few groups in town, which is wonderful.  What was odd was it felt like I was that geeky kid in high school trying to sit at the cool kids' table.  :\  I felt like I was being judged a bit and I was totally out of the loop when they started talking about old stuff.  I was missing the inside jokes in a way.  So while there are Pagan groups they don't really hold big to-dos and I can afford going out to the Chicago area to do some of the cool stuff.  I've thought about looking into some of the things that happen in Wisconsin, since the border is a stone's throw away from the backyard, but I just haven't gotten around to it. Blarg.  I know I don't need to go out and meet other Pagans but I've always been interested in joining in and seeing what everything was about.

So yeah, with Ostara right around the corner I'll probably do what I usually do: make a nice meal for my family, light some incense, and put out some offerings.  Now, more cleaning!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Battered and Bruised

I guess a good way to start this post off is with some poor humor: I now know what it feels like to be punched in the neck.  Oh, this may be long and rambling but I need to just lay this out for my own mental well being.  Alrighty, serious face on now.
This past Saturday Grendal's Siberian Husky, Lucky, had a stroke.  He's turning 10 this year and he is Grendal's buddy. When it happened everyone freaked out; Lucky was thrashing, vomiting, pushing himself in circles on the ground, and could not stand.  We found an emergency Vet Clinic and took him.  The Vet there said all it was, was vertigo.  Dogs Lucky's age get it so it isn't anything abnormal.  We left him at the clinic overnight, much to everyone's dismay(spent more money then we honestly had, but he's family member).  Grendal was pretty heartbroken.  Lucky had only been away once before and that was when he was neutered.  This was also the rare time I say Grendal in tears.  He was fearing for his friend's life and rightfully so.

We brought Lucky home Sunday morning, figuring that being around his family and getting some decent attention would help.  Grendal keeps turning to me for information and suggestions since I just about finished my training as a veterinary technician(had to stop due to lack of money and horrible teachers).  This was out of my realm but I knew enough to keep Lucky comfortable and to make sure he didn't hurt himself.  He's been in the middle of the living room ever since, on a plastic sheet, blankets, and puppy training pads.  Lucky's entire right side is almost useless.  He can twitch his legs but he has no sensation.  Grendal and I have tickled his feet, pinch his legs, and pulled out the fur he would be shedding and there was no facial reaction and no reaction of a skin twitch when we messed with the fur.
Grendal is also the only one strong enough to handle Lucky.  The dog is 85lbs of dead weight right now.  It takes two people to pick him up and move him.  We need one person to hold Lucky still while the other one lifts his rear to remove soiled training pads.  When Lucky decides to flail and try to move we have to calm him before he slams his head into the ground.  Grendal can stop him with one hand, Grendal's father can seem to calm him with his voice and holding him, I have to use both hands to hold his legs and even my lay my entire body across him at times, and Grendal's mother is unable to stop him at all.
In my attempts to keep Lucky calm and from injury, I have to use my entire body(like I said).  Lucky has slammed his head into my chest twice and once in the neck.  I've been kicked and scratched during his flails.  When I was struck in the neck I had Lucky in an odd bear hug and tumbled backwards onto a bowl that had been used to contain food, bruising my left arm terribly.
Its obvious that our sleeping habits have taken a major hit.  Lucky needs someone with him 24/7.  Due to the stress and lack of proper food, Grendal's immune system has taken a hit and so has mine, and he has strained his back.  Our eating habits have taken a nose dive(Grendal thinks I've lost weight) and even our hygiene hasn't been the best.  I've been unable to do laundry since we've been cleaning Lucky's bedding and no one has really left the house.
There has been no recreational moments for anyone in this home.  Grendal and I don't have much of a social life to begin with.  We're home bodies but every Friday and Sunday we get together with our friends to play games and socialize.  Everyone understood when we canceled Sunday; a good chunk of our human companions are parents to furry children.  Now, though, it seems that we won't be able to see any of them for another week.  Grendal and I are going stir-crazy.  We haven't really communicated with people online or even through our video games online.
Grendal has come to terms with the likelihood of having to put Lucky down.  So have I, his father, and even his elder sister.  His mother, though, is standing firm and clinging to every thing as a show of improvement.  Lucky has improved since he's come home.  He can eat solid food(a bland diet), he can drink on his own, he can 'sit' with his good side, and he is lucid.  Sadly there are some unexplainable blood spots appearing, he pushed his head against my foot and almost instantly fell a sleep(twice!), and he has hurt himself trying to stand since he could not move his feet into the proper positions or put weight on them.
Grendal's mother is pushing to keep him at least until Monday, and wants to see what progress he has.  She can't explain what amount and type of progress will make her happy.  Grendal and I are both thinking that she'll take any progress and run with it, claiming he's getting better.  We can't take much more of this.  The three of us who are unemployed can't get jobs with Lucky int his condition.  These things take months before the dog can be back to semblance of normalcy, which I know I can't handle.  Grendal is nearing his breaking point and his father is teetering as well.  Grendal's mother, the one who hasn't dealt with him as much as the others, hasn't seen the bad and hasn't put nearly as much time into this, and it fine.
We have a tough road ahead.   

Grendal and Lucky, '09