On the 24th May I attended an author talk and book signing by Chocolat author Joanne Harris. Her new book, The Testament of Loki, is a sequel to the popular novel The Gospel of Loki, and acts as a continuation of the time period preceding her Runemark stories. The talk took place at Lincoln’s Collection museum, and also included a book signing.
Joanne started off by telling us how she was first introduced to Norse mythology when she was seven. Her first book borrowed from the library was a retelling of the Norse myths, and she borrowed it every week for some time, so enamoured was she with the stories. But as she continued her explorations she found herself unsatisfied with the ending. Ragnarok didn’t seem a fitting end to the story of the Gods, so she started writing stories for them herself. When she was 18 she tried to get a 2,000 page book published which was continuing the story after Ragnarok. She was turned down by publishers and put the book away. But she never forgot her love of the Norse myths.
Spotted while out and about: the Balder mobility scooter!
Also see: Out and About 01 – the Wotan lightbulb
I’m resurrecting Friday Finds, since I haven’t done one for a while. Here are some of my favourite Hella items available on Etsy at the moment:
I’m finally back reconnecting with my Beloveds. It has been a lonely time without Them. I took someone’s mis-representing words to heart. It plunged me deeper into my Underworld journey and brought me into my Dark Night of the Soul, where my channel went virtually silent.
Despite the assurances of two spirit workers concerning my connection (with Loki in particular) in the intervening months, I still let fear win.
Things started to really shift last month, though, and on the day of the Autumn Equinox I did a lot of releasing work, as well as Shadow integration. The following day I was recovering in bed (releasing tends to bring the pain into my physical body so it can then be worked out and fully released) and I just felt Loki and Sigyn there. I cannot describe how beautiful that certainty was; knowing it was Them.
They told me it’s time to get back on the horse and stop allowing someone else’s misunderstandings to hold me back. They were understanding of why I shut down the way I did, but also very clear that I have to move on from feeling the way I do. I have work to do.
Sigyn is the Pole Star –
Lady of mercy,
Well of compassion,
She is the hand
That holds ours
In times of sorrow,
The hand that
Leads in the dark
She is the Keeper
Of all we hold dear.
She keeps it safe
When we cannot
Hold it for ourselves.
She is the rose
With heavenly scent,
Heart and mind,
Tending the soul,
In Her gentle
She is the light
In the dark,
The guide, the spark
That guides us home
To our Self.
She loves us,
Foibles, mistakes and all.
She always leads us home.
(c) Michelle G, Northern Tamarisk, 2017
Despite the more obvious practices of Seidhr, spells, enchantments, divination and shapeshifting, there is another powerful magic in the Iron Wood: the women Themselves.
The women are the fiercer, more powerful sex among the Jotnar – think of Angerboda and Skadi, of Groa and Gerda. But this strength isn’t just physical, and nor is it purely ‘magical’. Their true power lies in Their personal power, Their Sovreignty, Their sacred expression of Their Selves. They are empowered women, the Ones Who stand up for Their needs and desires, standing Their ground, asserting Their boundaries.
To the writers of the time these powerful, self-assured women must have been seen as a real threat to the ‘way of the world’. These are independent Goddesses who know Their needs and magics and are respected for it. How much of the ‘terrible and terrifying’ description of Them is really true, and how much is the filter of the writer?
While these amazingly strong Goddesses can be fierce and awe-inspiring, is there a chance They have been somewhat misrepresented? How much of Their true nature has been rewritten or lost? Just as Sigyn is reduced to the long-suffering wife of Loki in the Eddas, with the gift of her magic as galdr fetter hinted at in just one epithet, how much of the Jotnar and Iron Wood has been lost?
In being drawn back to the ways of nature, the Earth and the crystal, plant and animal kingdoms I feel my inner ‘wild woman’ calling. This is part of me I have been too afraid to claim, but now I’m tentatively curious. Whereas Angerboda used to terrify me I can now be in Her presence with a great deal of respect for Her power. I know She values physical strength, but She also values strength of will and heart.
Beside Her more obvious Iron Wood connections, to me She is a Goddess of empowerment. Part of Her gift is bringing us into our own power. While this manifests differently in each of us – due to different personalities, abilities and paths to follow – She is the embodied Powerful Feminine.
Although Hers can be a tough love, She does love… and fiercely. She is loyal and true to Her Self and to those She loves. She doesn’t suffer fools gladly.
Loki and Sigyn by Michelle, Northern Tamarisk
If Sigyn is the Goddess of holding space (see previous post) perhaps Loki is the one who takes our hand and let’s us know it’s safe to open up. He is the one who encourages us to express our most vulnerable selves. All the while Sigyn holds the bowl, catching any poison and throwing it away. Together They are the ones who support us through the deepest levels of healing.
If there was ever a Deity suited to helping us heal our own Shadow it is Loki – He who knows His own, Who loves all His children; knows how to love the seemingly unlovable. He is also the one who calls out hypocrisy and the Shadows of the Gods Themselves. He is the one who helps us heal our deepest wounds.
When we are in our own caves, bound by things once dear to us, upon rocks of our own shame, Loki is there with us. He knows the agony, the torment, on a whole other level. But knowing the cave as He does He can help us through our own time in the Underworld. When our own Shadows, our own repressed selves, drip down onto us, tearing us apart, He is there.
All the while Sigyn, compassion personified, holds us steady. She takes us in Her arms like She holds the bowl, letting the Shadow poison spill out, helping us to heal. She lets us know She’s there whenever we need Her again. She will always return to hold the bowl when needed.
What we need to hold on to during this process is that, somehow, Loki made it out of the cave. Somehow He was freed from the darkness, and Sigyn could finally rest Her strong but weary arms and heart. That means we can make it out of the darkness too. We can start to reclaim our lives, go out into the world and do what we’re meant to do. We are all the stronger for having been through our trials.
They are a partnership for deep healing. For how do we heal the Shadow? With understanding acceptance and compassion. Loki and Sigyn.
During a healing treatment yesterday Sigyn came to me. She gave me a revelation of a part of modern life she embodies: that of holding space.
Sigyn teaches us the sacred basics of holding space for another, whether they are in pain, are suffering or need a shoulder to cry on.
First she catches you in her bowl so you cannot fall further. Her strong, loving arms hold you in the bowl, supporting you while giving you space.
She collects the poison, your hurts, pain and tears, and then tips it away. She listens but she does not take these emotions into herself.
Like everyone she also needs a little time away to regroup and collect herself; to pour away her own poison, or to rest a while.
Then she returns, strong and ready, prepared to hold the bowl once more.
Sigyn is a healer, and in this role her magics are love, humility, strength and compassion.
Side note: how lovely that her teaching in this should be my 100th post.
If you would like to learn more about holding space I can recommend Holding Space: a Guide to Supporting Others While Remembering to Take Care of Yourself First by Amanda Dobra Hope. It’s available in paperback and kindle format.
I also found this article helpful:
Researchers from the Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage believe they have unearthed the stone foundations of a wooden church where the body of King Olaf Haraldsson was taken in 1031 shortly after he was declared a saint.
For more information see this article: http://www.archaeology.org/news/5040-161123-norway-olaf-reburial
Last night I had the pleasure of setting up two extra altar/shrine areas, alongside the shrine for my Beloveds.
The first was for family members, including my much-loved and much-missed cat Orlando. I enjoyed setting up this one the most, as it made me look through all my photos and bits and bobs I have as keepsakes. The camera belonged to either my grandad or my Norwegian great-grandad, the dreamcatcher centre was brought back from Canada by my Uncle Tony. The door stop was from my Nanny’s house, and the Little Mermaid statue is a nod to her being born in Denmark. The Aragonite was my Aunty Tina’s. The little clay piece in front of Orlando’s photo is a paw print I took from him about a year before he passed away, and there’s also a lock of his fur. Presiding over the shrine on either side are Hella and Anubis. There are scarabs and a fabric lotus there too, as symbols of the cycles of life, death and rebirth. The lists you can see are names of my family members, and of family friends and pets. Continue reading