Out of Darkness into Light

There is a snippet of writing about Freyja that I have seen in various places around the internet. It is attributed to Idunna magazine, though I unfortunately have been unable to find the name of its actual author. This writing is a bit about what it’s like to live a life full of Freyja, and I have always found that it resonates deeply with me and my experiences of her.

“She is the core of fire at the center of my being. She is the storm that washes over me in sleep. She is the heart of the dream. She is the lover of my soul. She is darkness unspeakable and light beyond bearing…I am moved into places of resistance I do not understand and then into the twin-flames of pain and transformation. She does not ask me for my leave. It is as though the world shifts around me and I find I once more face the burning. Yet she brings an unfathomable beauty to my days. She pours out joy like mead. Peace flows through my heart like water. I would never willingly be parted from her.”

These past few months–the world shifted and I faced the burning. But yesterday, I came out the other side. The sun came up and sparkled on the remnants of our unseasonable October snowstorm. And again, the joy! The joy that I could not know were it not for the burning.

Things have changed for me these past few months. I burned away some things I needed, new ties have been formed, and old ties have been strengthened.

I left my job. It has been filling me with so much negativity for the past few months that I have been unable to approach my altar. I could not face Freyja and her love of joy when I was so angry and resentful that all I could do was talk about how angry and resentful I was. And just when I couldn’t stand the resentment anymore, the first bucket of water on the fires: I got a new job out of the strangest coincidence. My sister walked past a building we walk past all the time, and the owner asked if she knew anyone he could hire to be his secretary. They hired me a couple days later. It’s not my dream job, sure. But there’s no resentment, either. I go in and I do what I’m paid to do, and I come home to my family and my life and my love of life.

The world shifted around my health as well. I’ve been having a health problem the past few months. Don’t worry, it’s nothing serious at all, but it did make some temporary aesthetic issues. And theses aesthetic issues have been killing┬áme. As much as I hate to admit it, a very large part of my self-identity is wrapped up in my appearance, and all of a sudden I felt hideous and disgusting. Twin and Gent kept assuring me that it would be alright. The problem got far worse than it should have because my doctor accidentally prescribed me a pediatric dosage for my medicine, and only a week ago when I couldn’t stand to be hideous anymore and called to ask and plead with him about how it wasn’t working, he called in the right prescription. I could not face Freyja because all I could do was sob hopelessly about my appearance and how I was sure I’d be hideous forever and ever. I have not been to a single dance class in a month and a half because I am too embarrassed that people will see. I am now seeing improvement on the proper dose of my medicine, and I’ve moved on and remembered how to take joy in my body, even when it isn’t perfect. I’m sure I’ll have another freakout or two as it continues to heal, of course. But I’m working on it.

The third major part of the burning has been the engagement. Let’s begin by noting that my family has far more than its share of drama and people who won’t speak to each other. I was terrified that my wedding would be ruined by everyone hating each other. But everyone in the family is offering to pitch in and help, and I got the nicest card with so many signatures that I just felt bathed in familial love as I never have before. I thought this engagement would weaken my familial bonds, but it has only strengthened them. Sure there will be drama in the next year as we continue to plan, but I am reminded that my family, too, has been through fires together, and come out strengthened like steel.

Gent and I had this conversation about my family yesterday afternoon, and the talk of going through fires reminded me of Freyja and how dearly I’ve missed her. My fear and anger and resentment and self-loathing have kept me so afraid to face my own shadows by sitting down to talk to her. So last night, I finished moving my altars.

Since we moved into our house a year ago, my altars have been in a temple in the basement under the stairs. It seemed a convenient place to put them. It was out of the way and easy to hide should I need to. But the easiness to hide it translated into making it easy to ignore that part of myself. My experience with paganism has taught me nothing if not that symbols have power, even unintended symbols. Having my altars in the room under the stairs, a room with no windows, no outlets, and no natural light of any kind meant to me symbolically that my religion was something to be hidden, something that would cause disaster if uncovered. And I’ve slowly pulled away. It was so easy not to go down the basement stairs into the darkness, to push my spirituality aside and just go about my day. But my body is my temple, and my temple in the basement was built to feed my spirit. My spirit darkened while my temple was darkened. I did not tend to it with light or time, and I became angry and resentful and self-loathing.

So I finished bringing my temple up into the light. Davin had an office in the brightest room in the house, but never used it because he had too many things for the small space. So he’s taken the little room under the basement stairs and my temple has been moved into the brightest room in the house. I set up my altars and I blessed the room and I sat down and I talked to Freyja about everything I’ve been going through. By letting the sun shine into my temple, it shone into me. I was able to look at the shadows that have been burning inside me for the past few months and face them. They are not gone, but I can identify them now. And then I came downstairs and had a drawing of a flower from a friend in my email box, sent while I was pouring my heart out to Freyja.

And Freyja’s Halloween gift–she poured out joy like mead and today, peace flows through my heart like water.

I would never willingly be parted from her.

How to Watch a Modern Dance Concert

Today I am building a new temple in my house. I haven’t had one since Hurricane Irene due to basement flooding/mold issues. My fiance has an office in our house that he basically uses as a storage room, so we’ve decided to put all that stuff in the basement where storage belongs so I can use the room for a temple. I’ve been getting cranky not having one. So hopefully soon I will have new altar pictures to share and maybe some insights about moving my temple from a dark and hidden basement to the room in the house that probably has the most natural light, but no heat.

In the meantime, enjoy this hilarious educational video about modern dance.