Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Starting with Structure

Part of taking care of oneself means taking care of the spiritual side. I've been neglecting that element of self-care in favour of ones involving more instant gratification lately, but I really think it's an element I should be focussing on quite strongly at the moment.

I don't know if I mentioned it last time - I think I did - but I've been in need of some structure or guidance. I don't think I can find it wholesale from anywhere else, but that doesn't mean I can't use some of the same tools others use to help me find my own personal way. On the Path in the Woods I have paused. I'm prodding the ground ahead of me with a staff, to help me find my way. I look to each side, and down, though I still look up to the sky more often than not, but for guidance this time - Sowilo, the sun, the stars, the compass. Judging the next step.

So it has to be a day-by-day thing. Today I might read something and write some notes, tomorrow meditate on something specific... I don't even know what I'll do or when I'll do it, to be honest. But I need to plan ahead, even just a day ahead, instead of blundering along and getting nowhere fast.

It's funny.... Well. Let me start again. I need accountability with things that need to be done on the regular, or I forget and let them fall by the wayside. I often think I'll jump on some forum or tumblr and update some sort of public record for that accountability - people are expecting me to do it. I always fail, and I fail because I'll do the task but I can't be bothered updating the diary. It's adding an extra (and frequently tedious) step onto something I'm likely to procrastinate from anyways. Pretty soon I quit with the record-keeping altogether and it's not too long after that that the rest of the task also gets neglected.

But here I am, doing it all over again. Except, not a record, this time. Record-keeping always seems fine when I start it but soon it's unutterably boring and I can't keep it up. It's a shame, too, because I like the idea of looking back at however's long worth of records and seeing change or improvement. This time I want to do something more formless. I want to come on here a couple of times a week (instead of a couple of times a month!) to talk about some of the thoughts I've had or things I've read or done. As on the Path, I'm only feeling ahead a step or two before I take it; I'm building my structure as I go. It could grow or collapse or take on a wholly other form.

So here's today. Well, the above is today also, but - I was walking my puppy (have I mentioned my puppy? I have a puppy. He's a mix of two herding breeds so he's a barker but very smart. He's asleep on my bed right now) and we walked somewhere I used to live as a child. I crouched down and it was exactly as I had remembered it - and suddenly the air seemed more still and more dew-heavy, and there was a pleasant scent I couldn't identify... maybe flowers from someone's garden, or the damp wood of the fence. It smelt like... not precisely like life in general terms, or fertility or anything vibrant, but the cool peace of things being quietly alive. I could have been transported back in time, it was so like the days I remember as a child. Like a pocket-universe where things don't change.

I commissioned a piece from Witches' Cauldron Creations a little while ago and when I asked for what I wanted, I tried to invoke that same sort of feel of heavy stillness. Deep green forests and heavy grey skies and a hint of nostalgia, but crisp air instead of warm. The same scents of moisture.

Here, I still have the message I wrote to the artist, Morgandria, about it:
I'd like something, not "ritual garb" as such, but something celebratory. Something to wear on festival days. If you feel like making something Nordic and slightly stormy, let me know. My mind is full of iron and steel, swords and spears, grey skies and green woods and soot-blackened hearths.
Part of it was working with Teiwaz and Berkana, the rune of Tyr and that of the birch, steel and green. Part of it was reading the Eddas. And part of it was playing Skyrim, in the sort of vague way where all you do is run around looking at scenery and building houses. Skyrim has, for me, a heavy layer of melancholy tinged with nostalgia. Maybe it's the music. I don't really know what it is. There's probably a German word for it. No... actually, the Portuguese "saudade" might be more accurate. A sort of fatalistic sense of sorrow; a longing for something one cannot get back.

And I felt a little of that today. We grow up and we change and, gods, it was so much easier as a child, when the weight of the world and life's expectations didn't crush you further into the dirt with each exhalation. And there I was with the grey sky overhead threatening to rain, and the green hedge to one side and the wooden fence to the other, crouched down and seeing everything exactly the same as it had been, and it felt wrong to straighten and be tall again, and so much has changed, and everything's much more sad now than it was. Saudade.

Not that I ordered it to make me sad. The necklace, I mean. I don't think it will make me sad. It's to  celebrate all those things, and the Gods, and the world. Not sadly, but not cheerfully either. Things I don't remember, but at the same time I feel as if I almost do... things that feel important, like the smell of steel and rainy days in the mountains.

I'll post pictures when it arrives.

Also at some point I'll answer your emails. I'm avoiding it at the moment because I feel heavily guilty for neglecting them for so long, resulting in me neglecting them for even longer which is not helpful but there we are. I'll get to it.

PS it's too hot here. I need to move to Reykjavik or something.


  1. Oh, I really hope it arrives there soon....I always get anxious when it's been a while and it hasn't arrived...

    1. Well, it has such a long way to go! :) Never fear. I'm sure it will arrive soon.