Art Post: Freyr of the Vanir

Freyr of the Vanir by EjLowell

Holy crap it’s been a while. Sorry about that, guys. Nothing bad happened this time – nothing on the order of soul-close-friends dying, anyway – I just haven’t had much to talk about. Life’s been happening and I’ve been doing a lot of thinking. Might update soon.

A personal (I guess??) piece for Ingvi-Frey, lord of peace and good seasons. and pants I mean plants. Whenever the sunflowers and tiger lilies start blooming I think of him, and I haven’t done an art for him in a while.

I went out for an impromptu picnic with my lovely Moose man the other day and it was just so peaceful and warm, birds were chatting and bumble bees kept checking in to say hello (and scare the crap out of me), and all I could think of was, “this is Frey. This is what he’s all about. Peace and laughter and loving moments shared with friends and family.” We sat under a tree which is actually two trees twisted up together and surrounded by a bed of clover. It was hot as heck out, as summer on the front range tends to be, but it was so… Frey. I wish I could take that feeling and distill it, stick it into a bottle, and wear it forever. Give it to those who need it more than me.

Hi, btw, for those of you who don’t know I am actually rather devoted to this particular deity. He stands for so much that I try to stand for, that I try to be. He represents a version of masculinity that I deeply admire – giving without being pushy, protective without being possessive, friendly without being obnoxious, strong without feeling the need to prove it or show it off, respectful and kind toward all people – and working on this piece for him lit me up from the moment I started sketching it. I don’t do lineless art very often; it just takes so long to do, so I tend to reserve it for special pieces. This is in thanks to him for all of the things that have been going well lately, all of the crap I’ve been trying to sort out emotionally and mentally, all of the courage I’ve found whilst digging in the depths of hopelessness, and hope that I might actually have the wherewithal to follow the paths I can’t help but stare at from a distance because I’ve been so scared of being judged for taking them.

That got a little weird but I hope someone finds some peace in the picture, at least. Peace and Good Seasons to ya’ll.

Aside: And guess what just happened while I was getting ready to post this? A friend asked for help. Spiritual help. That. Was. WHAT?! I still get flabbergasted when shit like this happens!!

YouTube Pagan Challenge Week 08

Hello, friends!

Official Matron announcement: not who you might expect. Also, my current phrase of the day is now, “an abundance of Loki.” Also, also, look!! You can see the blond streaks in my hair in this video! 😀 Not dyed, actually natural.

YT Pagan Challenge

Givesthanking and My Thing With Food

TW: I don’t know if any of you reading my blog struggle with eating disorders but in case anyone reading this does, I mention a lot of personal food/eating issues later on in this post, so if that makes anyone uncomfortable(dunno if it would) just letting you know that that’s there. I haven’t ever been diagnosed with an eating disorder so, I wouldn’t know, but I’m putting a warning up in case it’s a touchy subject. It happens.

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Hello my friends!

It’s turkey day/givesthanking/Thanksgiving in the US. There are a lot of political reasons why I hate it, and a lot of personal reasons that I love it, and that’s all I’m going to say about that.

It’s been a quiet few weeks in my personal life, thankfully. After the crazy month or so I’ve had it’s been nice to be able to sit back, finish a book in record(for me) time, draw for my friends, and generally get my grounding back under me. The whole thing that I went on a rant about a few weeks back regarding “there’s a season for everything” ended up with one person showing up, which means I’m pretty much right on that account. It’s still a pain, but I’m starting to think it’s because I like my chair too much. My mother has been doing much better lately as well. I think my dad must have finished his NaNoWriMo book as well because the two of them have been puttering around on the family Minecraft server for the first time in a long time. She’s being going through a rough couple of years, so whenever she gets a bit of a break and can relax, I’m happy for her.

On the Other side of the fence, apparently Frey has decided to introduce me properly to his family. I’ve met Freya before, briefly, but it’s nice to see her in her less terrifying aspect. More on that later. Njord came by completely unannounced but quietly, and the only reason I even knew was because I smelled brine. Which, for someone who lives in Colorado, is rather unusual. He seems to approve of me, and I like him well enough too. He’s laid-back, like his son, but with a bit more of a mature presence. He inspires in me the same calm awe I feel around any large body of water(which, I’ve been to two in this lifetime. Lake Erie and the Atlantic Ocean) and that’s something I can definitely appreciate.

Now, Freya has decided that I need a bit of help. I agree with her. Being a trans-man, I have done probably too many things to distance myself from my own feminine aspect, which is still rather strong in the sense that I am a creator and take great pleasure in “giving life” to ideas and brainchildren. Freya, instead of tackling this issue head-on like I would, has decided to come in through the window and sneak up on it. She’s started with The Thing I have with food.

Food and I have a complicated relationship that I still haven’t quite sorted out, but there’s a heck-ton of guilt wrapped up in the package that stems from a childhood of mixed messages involving eating at certain times, only certain things, and for the love of Pete, Erik, why don’t you ever finish your dinner? As a kid I had a pretty finicky appetite. I wouldn’t eat red meat, rice, or peas(which, for some reason both of those things make my mouth feel funny and I still dunno why) or anything which, in its final form, looked muddy. I liked bright colored foods like corn, asparagus, broccoli and cheese, pasta(especially spaghetti and lasagna), eggs, beans, and poultry(which, my dad tried to fool me into eating pork once or twice by saying it was chicken but for some reason I could still tell it wasn’t). My dad pretty much only cooked with “gray” foods, and I understand why now, since half of my immediate family has dietary issues that need to be taken into account, but as a kid I didn’t really get that. I also wasn’t really the best at words until I was in high school or thereabouts, so I didn’t really know how to phrase things like, “can we have broccoli tonight?” or “I really like the grilled chicken, could you make that more often?” or even, “pasta has a lot of nutrients that I actually need because I’m pretty darn underweight, so, can we possibly have pasta that won’t make Mom’s guts act up?” I ended up just saying I didn’t like whatever was on my plate at the time and then getting yelled at or heavily sighed at because I wasn’t eating everything and my parents were both frustrated at my lack of communication and concerned for my health.

Several years later and I’m supposed to be an adult. Food is still an issue with me. That, and relaxing. I’m not, before you ask, ridiculously underweight. I’m a few pounds below where I’d like to be but I have enough mass for some sweet muscles. It’s all good. I make myself eat, even though I don’t really like to. Having Bran around, who likes going out places and getting food together, has helped in that regard, but I still see eating, subconsciously anyway, as something…I don’t know, shameful. There’s a weird mix of, “I know I need this to survive,” and “I don’t feel like I deserve this,” that spins around in my hind-brain whenever I contemplate getting something to eat. Generally it ends with me just getting up, telling my brain to shut up, and making a sandwich or something. Then I go back to my room, sit down, turn on a video, and try to ignore the weird mix of guilt and weirdness in my head while I eat. I feel weird even talking about it, so you know. (Also I hate the sound of chewing, but that’s a completely separate issue.)

So, Freya decided last night that we needed to start with pie. Pecan pie. My dad brought home a couple of pies yesterday, one of which(the pecan) is half-gone already because there isn’t ever enough pie in the house. Anyway. Went out, saw the pie, and Freya just kinda popped in like she does, pointed at it, and said, “Get a piece. Imma learn you a few things, darling. Don’t argue with me.” She had me sit down not in my desk chair but on my bed, and actually pay attention to the fact that I was eating something delicious and enjoyable. I did put on a couple of Jacksepticeye’s videos because that man is the embodiment of caffeine and happiness, so, hearing a voice I recognized in the background while doing something pretty unusual for me helped. As did the constant, “See? It’s okay to eat, and it’s okay to smile about it,” from Freya. It’s a bit strange how something so seemingly simple could be so effective. I mean, it wasn’t a miracle cure, I’m not going to suddenly love food over night, but it was surprisingly nice to sit and have a “girly moment” with Her and to be told it’s okay. I guess I’ve still got a truckload and a half of baggage to sort out.

With all that said, I am thankful for so much. I recognize that I take a lot of things for granted, and sometimes complain where I have no reason to, everyone does, but I try to be grateful whenever I can. I’m especially thankful that I’m surrounded by people who love and care about me, and think I’m worth it even if I don’t. I’m thankful for The Friends, even though they drive me up the wall sometimes. I’m thankful for my gifts, and for the people, places, and things that inspire me to use them. I’m thankful for my F/families, though mostly disorderly and pretty darn strange, I know t/They’ve all got my back. For Val, my blood-brother, Jenny, my little sister, and Freya, who seems to think she’ll be my sister-in-law someday. For Frey and Bran. For Thor, Njord, and my dad. For Sigyn, my mother, and my wonderfully Scottish step-grandmother. For Odin, Loki, and my grandfather. For the family I never got to meet. For my Tribe, even those of you I’ve never met in person. I’m thankful also for this amazing, beautiful, tragic, and ever-changing world I live in. For this Universe that I’m able to be a part of. For life. For lessons learned. For Love. Beyond anything I am thankful for Love.

Have a good weekend, everyone.

A Little Bit of Happy

Hello, my friends!

I don’t often talk about my father. Not because we don’t get along, we get along just fine, but I never quite know what’s up with him. He’s rather quiet, he’s a writer, and sits in the basement writing a lot of the time. There are a few issues that I have with my mother that I’ve never been quite sure of his opinion on, but I’ve never really asked. He kinda scares me sometimes. I get my berserk-ness in part from him, though he’s a stoic and is really good at not Hulking out and getting all smashy at everything. A while ago he asked me to design a logo for one of the ships in his series. I did, I actually designed two, and he/his fans liked my original design better than what he asked for. The book it’s used in came out last Wednesday while I wasn’t looking and I’ve been reading it for most of the day.

One of those issues I mentioned is my trans-ness. Continue reading

On the “Disney Ride”

Hello, my friends!

Public service announcement: If Someone puts you on what many people like to call, “the Disney Ride,” don’t feel bad.

The “Disney Ride” is basically an idealized simulation of what Someplace is like, without actually being there. Sometimes it’s created by Someone trying to keep a person out of trouble, among other reasons, sometimes it’s created by the person’s own mind for whatever reason. Most of the time, people who are on “the ride” don’t realize it, at least in my experience, and especially if they’ve never been to That Place before.

I’ve been Told, in no uncertain terms, that the first time I went back to Vanaheim, I was actually on the Disney Ride. It was Frey’s fault, but he did it for good reason. I didn’t remember or know enough about it to be anywhere near respectful, and I was asking questions that I shouldn’t have been asking. I’m not actually mad about this. In hindsight I was being a nosy brat and probably shouldn’t have been poking around in the first place. I’ve been back a few times since, and I know I wasn’t on the ride then, which was why I asked. The first time back after my little dream, I was actually summoned there, and wasn’t allowed to make record of what happened. People seemed a bit…colder. Harsher, perhaps. Less willing to deal with anything off-putting I said or did. I know why they are all a little skeptical of me, and have been since the beginning, which is also part of the reason why Frey didn’t allow me into Actual Vanaheim until the relevant parties could have a chat at my expense, and I’d learned a little bit more about the history of the realm. Which was why I now know why almost everyone looks at me funny Over There, and also why Val told me the wrong tribe(though, not entirely) when he came back after however long. He didn’t trust me either.

So, some of the stuff I learned in that dream was correct, and some of it was actually bullshit. My Name was correct (though They tend to call me whatever they want; for instance, Odin still calls me Arnbjorn even though I haven’t been that-me in a thousand years or thereabouts), Frey naming himself as my patron was correct(and he had a bit of A Moment when I asked him if that was bollocks as well), and I think the part about me being Salmon tribe was correct.. The jury is still out on whether or not I was actually in two tribes, I sorta doubt it, but the rest was utter crap. I would go into all the reasons, but if you read it and know anything about Vanaheim, and how people get around Vanaheim, you’ll recognize how much of it is just… ridiculous. Like I said though, I ain’t even mad! I find it kinda funny, actually, that I could have gotten the place so wrong and not realized it until later.

However, as far as I’ve asked and been able to tell, that is the only time I’ve been on the ride, thus far, except for when I was younger and trying to stick my nose in where it didn’t need to be. So my meeting with Hyndla actually happened, though some of the stuff she said probably got lost or skewed in translation. Loki taking me hiking around Other-Midgard and Jotunnheim actually happened. A slew of other experiences that I haven’t written down for propriety’s sake actually happened. Which is rather a gratifying thing, since I’ve gotten to that point again in life where I’m going, “okay, weirdshit is weird. Am I going crazy?” and getting definitive “no’s” from the powers that be. Which, to be honest, is terrifying.

Moral of the story, don’t feel bad if you get sent to dream land while trying to get Somewhere. It’s usually for a very good reason.

Also, don’t try to walk into Vanaheim with anything Odin gave you. Including tattoos. Especially tattoos. Unless you’ve been invited for some reason.