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Finding Freyja

Original digital painting by Connla Freyjason (working under the pseudonym “The Warrior”), April, 2016. Available as wall art via clicking this link.

 

Every Friday, without fail, I pour blot to Freyja. I began this weekly ritual in April of 2016, after She came to me in a dream, and claimed me as Her own. Those first few weeks, I knew Her only as “Freyja, Queen of Cats”; a gentle presence, not unlike the huge felines who pull Her chariot, or even our own family cat, Kili, who could creep into a room quite unnoticed, yet fill the entire place with reverberating love, and passion that was quick to rise, sometimes even baring claws. With my whole heart, I poured a sweet red wine blend for Her, and I spoke the few kennings I knew, as well as the one She had, in fact, taught me: “Freyja, Queen of Cats”. And then I poured out my heart to Her. Every Friday, without fail.

On the twenty-seventh of February in 2017, I finally realized that I should take the plunge, and dedicate myself to the service She had already chosen for me. Two nights prior, I had participated in a Dark Moon Ritual at Enchanted Shop in Salem, Massachusetts, led by Priestess Renee Des Anges. During the meditation portion of that ritual, I was gifted a bind rune by The Lady: Algiz, Sowilo, Wunjo.

Algiz is a warrior’s rune. I wouldn’t fully understand the depth of Her gifting it me until two months later, when it finally dawned on me the form in which She had first chosen to visit: Valfreyja. For several years, I worked under the pen name “The Warrior” as an artist; my Beloved, Suzanne, in fact calls me “Her Warrior” as a pet-name. So it’s quite appropriate that Freyja first made Herself known to me as Valfreyja; it’s not Her fault that I’m more than a little slow on the uptake! Algiz is also the rune repeated on the Helm of Awe, a galdrastafir to which I have been heavily drawn from the first moment I saw one over a year ago. It is a rune of protection. It is also a rune of friendship with the gods, and of communication with Higher Powers. Message received.

Sowilo is a rune of promise, strength, warmth, and joy. It is the sun melting the snow with the promise of Spring; success, when we think all hope has otherwise been lost. These are the very things She had come to be to me over the course of the preceding year: when things were at their absolute darkest, Freyja always was there. And She reminded me to hope; She reminded me constantly that I am an artist, and that the Way of the Artist has never been easy, but has always been worthwhile. Message received.

Wunjo is as close as a rune can come to true bliss; a rune of “happily ever afters”. It is a rune of fulfillment, but it is also a rune of bonds forged: the bond of a friend to a friend; of lover to lover; of Goddess to Dedicant. It brings transformations of the best kind; the kind where one stops feeling like an outsider and becomes a part of something greater than themselves. Message received.

It was time; She had told me so. Now the question became: how does one “perform” a dedication to a Deity in the Norse Tradition? I had no clue. Certainly, I had read about others who had done so—Cara Freyasdaughter had written some wonderful articles on the topic at Huginn’s Heathen Hof—and I knew that there was a certain measure of “contractual deal making” that took place within a ritual context when “finally taking the plunge” with a Norse Deity, but that was pretty much the extent of my knowledge on the subject, apart from my previous experience as a Welsh Druid. Still, I wasn’t exactly “going in blind”: I had, after all, spent the last year getting to know Her better, both in a ritual setting (during our Friday blot), and in a research capacity. So I did what I almost always do with everything that I’m passionate about in my life: I jumped in with both feet.

Rather than use a simple white candle as I normally do when creating sacred space, I chose a lavender chime candle from my “stash”, and with my ritual dagger, I carved upon it the bind rune which She had given me. I then placed it in the small holder which I keep within the cast iron cauldron (which I also use as my hlaut-boll) on my altar, and set about creating sacred space. It isn’t often anymore that I do the full rite before my altar: as I’ve said before, I’ve called sacred space into being so many times in that area that it’s practically a permanently liminal space. But that night, I felt driven to do so. She told me to do it; and I did as I was told.

How do you know when the gods are telling you to do something? Sometimes it may come as it does when any physical person tells you to do something: in the form of an audible voice. Other times, like that night, it may come in the form of a burning need. Suddenly, you feel driven to do something, with every fiber of your being, often to the point of actually feeling physically ill if that thing is not done. That night was like that: if I had not called the space with the full rite, I knew instantly that I was going to suffer for not having done. There would be a definite headache. There might also be nausea. So I went for it. Like I said: I did as I was told.

I centered myself. I laid the fence—every movement purposeful and driven. And then I lit the lavender candle which I had inscribed with the bind-rune, and I stared deeply into it, letting my mind go blank as one typically does with candle-scrying. And She stood there, in the flame. I saw Her again, as I had that night a year past, in my dreams. And I apologized for being “a little bit slow” mentally, and then I told Her what She already knew:

I belong to you.

And then my promises to Her—the conditions of my service to Her—flowed out of me, not in some makeshift version of a legalese contract, but in poetry:

I am the
Walker Between The Worlds;
I am the Raven
On the wing,
And I sing the
Song without the
Words,
For I have no
Voice to bring.
Yet still with this
Voice
That is
Mine-not-mine,
I raise that
Voice
And sing.

All elements and words, Connla Freyjason for Iaconagraphy. Digital painting featured at center is available on a host of products at Red Bubble, via clicking this link.

My “adventures in galdr” began the very next day, and I’ve been on that song-filled journey ever since. She chose me to be Her servant; I take no titles for myself, except those She might give to me in future. It doesn’t seem to matter at all to Her that my singing voice is very much like that of the raven that is my fylgja: I squawk to the glory of the gods now on a regular basis! And I know that each time I do, I am doing right. Singing for Her fills me up as few things ever have.

I’m glad I finally “bought a clue”. I’m glad I finally found Freyja. I’m glad She took the time to find me.

 

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Ignorance Ain’t Bliss….

How often do you feel ignored?  Do you steadily feel like you’re putting all your energy and passions out there, but that everyone–including the Universe itself–is turning a deaf ear and a blind eye in your direction? I used to feel that way more often than I’d like to admit, until I finally realized that the person ultimately ignoring me the most was me!

That’s right; I was ignoring me even more than all those other people I was trying to get through to and the Universe (The All; Deity), combined!  Sound nuts? I mean, how do you ignore yourself?  Even when nobody else is paying you any attention, you listen to you, right?  Don’t you? Or do you just sit around and wallow in the fact that nobody’s listening?

A couple of years ago, I had this “master plan” for artistic “world-domination”:  I had my shops at Cafepress (they’re still there), and I set up a brand new shop at Red Bubble (because the way Cafepress figures royalties just wasn’t cutting it; nor did they provide the artistic freedom I required), and I submitted two book covers to a site called The Book Cover Designer (where aspiring authors can come purchase cover art for their books).  In addition to that, I also started the ball rolling for literary “world-domination”, by publishing two novellas with Smashwords.  I set up my original professional Facebook page (now defunct; I’ll get to that in a minute), and I started pushing everything I was offering with everything I had.  Two people actually listened to all of this by continually liking, sharing, and pushing my business (those two people are still with me, and I’m eternally grateful for them). No one else came to the party–neither lifelong friends nor family members bought a damn thing. I was crushed, not only financially, but emotionally, mentally, and spiritually (hence that page now being defunct).

In 2014, I decided to try it all again. I set up this blog, and I set up a Twitter account, and I set up a brand new Facebook page, and I linked everything together.  I revamped my webpages. I made more and more art; I worked on a new novel (which is still coming, y’all!).  I started entering contests at art places (and lost all of them).  I began to spend on average 18 hours a day, trying to make texture sets and things I could sell to subsidize my income (and sold none of them). I would do a blog post every time something new hit my shops, and then post that like crazy on Facebook, and once again, those same two people listened, but once again, they were pretty much the only ones. Meanwhile, I drove everyone around me bugnuts crazy with my demand for silence and my workaholic work schedule while sales continued to plummet, and I remained broke as bedbugs.

In September of 2015, I was officially at breaking point.  I sat down and finally did something that I had never thought to do before: I listened to myself!  Instead of sitting around and continuing to wallow in my misery–which was not only financial, but also mental, emotional, and spiritual by this point because I felt like I had very few people in this world I could truly count on–I looked inwards and up for the first time, instead of outwards and down.  And my life suddenly began to change!

How do you listen to yourself?

Start by asking “what actually makes me tick”.  What drives you? What are you so passionate about that no matter how shitty things get, that one thing still causes you to get out of bed in the morning and face the day?  What fires you up?

For me, everything came down to my spirituality.  No matter what road I’ve walked in this mundane world–and no matter how fraught with misery that road has ever been–I’ve always been able to keep going because of my faith.  Now, that might not be your primary driving force–your driving force might be model horses, or cooking, or family–but whatever it is, you desperately need to find it, and define it.  Art was not my driving force. Writing was not my driving force.  The thing driving both of those aspects of my life, and everything else in my life was my quest for not only spiritual meaning, but for bringing that meaning into other people’s lives.  So I began my journey as a Professional Tarot Reader, and I got ordained.  I changed the focus of this blog to reflect that, and since doing so, not only am I listening to me, but so are other people!

Look at all the things in your life that do not communicate your driving force, and get rid of them!  What are you doing, saying, or relaying (through your behavior) that goes against your driving force?  If your driving force is cooking, for example, how often do you actually sit around and complain about the mundane aspects of it, like going to the grocery store or washing dishes?  If your driving force is model horses, how often do you sit and wallow in your losses at shows, or in your lack of funds, instead of making the most of what you do have?  If your driving force is your family, how often do you sit around and wallow in the worry of that blessing, instead of celebrating the blessing?

My workaholic schedule and penchant for wallowing in the financial nightmare that was my life at the time kept me from the thing that I’m absolutely the most passionate about: my spirituality.  There was no time for me to learn more, much less teach anybody else.  Inside, I was screaming for a release from that, but outside, I just kept plugging away at the same old grind.  That’s part of what I mean, about not listening to myself.  What I was doing was patently not who I am, but it was the face I was putting out there, not only to the world, but to the very people I loved the most.  So when I finally listened to myself in September, 2015, I made the decision to get rid of all the things that were not communicating my driving force to the world:  I got rid of the flashy sales pitch, and replaced it with genuine advice and (hopefully) tidbits of wisdom.  I got rid of the workaholic schedule that allowed zero time for anything other than more and more stuff that wasn’t selling anyway.  I got rid of my tendency to very publicly complain about my financial crisis, and in the process, replaced that with an attitude of gratitude for what I do have, and came to live in a place of spiritual abundance, whether my finances were following suit or not. And, again, people are listening!

Figure out what does communicate your driving force, and persistently shout that at the world.  No matter how vulnerable it might feel at face value, put the real you out there to the world!  This is probably one of the scariest things you’ll ever attempt to do, unless you’re really into jumping out of airplanes or taking saunas in a bath of spiders, but it’s worth it! You are worth it!  Why waste time wallowing, when you could be filling the world with your exuberance–and your light–about the things that matter to you most?  If the thing you define as your driving force is keeping you stuck in a mire of misery, why are you so passionate about it in the first place? Maybe it’s time for a change.

This might seem like a strange issue for a writer and artist to have, but learning to put myself out there in my own words, the way I actually talk, and just be genuinely and authentically me, and genuinely and authentically passionate about my passions, was one of the hardest and scariest things I’ve ever had to learn to do.  I’ve been taught my whole life that if you “write in dialect”, everyone in the world is going to think you’re an idiot first, and not take you seriously second; that nobody is going to listen to that.  When one of those two people that worked so diligently to push my business first told me to “just be you, and people will respond to that”, I literally told her she was nuts!  But guess what? She wasn’t nuts (okay, well, maybe she is in some ways, but only the best ones)!  Once I began to put my passions out there in my own voice, the way I actually talk, people started listening, because they saw I wasn’t some smarmy used car sales person of art and writing, but that I am an actual person, with a genuine and authentic heart, who actually gives a crap about them, rather than just needing them to give a crap about me!  I stopped wallowing, and started bursting with exuberance–and light–about what drives me, and the response has been amazing!

Take stock of your blessings, and be actively grateful for every single one of them.  No matter how crappy your life may feel right now, there are still wonderful things in it, if you’ll just stop a second and look, and focus on those instead.  You’re still breathing if you’re reading this, and that’s a blessing!  You have internet access or a cell phone if you’re reading this; that’s a blessing, too!  You probably had breakfast this morning, and will likely have dinner tonight.  You have a roof over your head, and no matter how shabby or un-posh it may be, at least it keeps you from dying of exposure.  Your kids may drive you absolutely bug-nuts crazy, but at least you have kids, and if you’ll take a minute to think back on all the times their hugs or laughter have instantly made your life better, you’ll see that they are blessings, too.  Be actively grateful for each and every one of those things: take a little time out of every day to thank whatever Higher Power you believe in for giving you all those things because trust me, not everyone is as blessed as you are right now.

A year ago, I was miserable and living in my own self-inflicted slavery to the almighty dollar.  I completely lost sight of all the blessings in my life, turning most of them into curses instead.  I now have two lovely semi-adopted children, but both of them provided constant interruptions to my work.  I have a fantastic husband and incredibly special woman in my life, but I could never seem to have enough cash on hand to show either of them just how special they are to me, and that was a constant source of depression.  I have an amazing Mother, but her expectations of greatness for me were just one more disturbance of my personal peace; one more demand on my life.  My best friend of almost forty years was just one more distraction who constantly interrupted my flow.  Instead of living like that, I should just be actively grateful for each and everyone of them!  Guess what? Now I am!  And I’m finding it’s a lot easier to listen to myself when I’m spouting “thank you, Lord”s than when I’m constantly bitching and complaining and whining.

Ignorance ain’t bliss, but if you want other people to stop ignoring you, first you’ve got to stop ignoring yourself!  Get in there, and learn who you really are, and then put that out there to the world, no matter how scary that might be.  Nobody wants to hear you wallow, but excitement is contagious!  Your life may seem small and cruddy on the outside, but on the inside is where stuff matters, and the world in there is expansive and generous and full of infinite possibilities, if you’ll only take the time to look, and then flow with those necessary changes to put that out there, to the rest of the world.  You won’t be sorry you did! Trust me: I’m speaking from experience!

 

 

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What Can I Do For You?

That’s the phrase we all want to hear when we enter a business, right?  We want a smiling, friendly face that is eager to serve and eager to please, don’t we? We want that to not just be what they’re scripted to say, we want them to actually mean it.  Well, I mean it: What can I do for you?

I’ve been attempting to run my own business for going on two years now, accompanied on a pretty much daily basis with all the pitfalls and disappointments that come along with that process.  I have good days and bad days–I’m human, living in a very human world.  It occurred to me today that there’s one very important thing that I haven’t ever done: I’ve never asked (and effectively tried to answer) What can I do for you? So, I’m going to do that today, smiling friendly face and all, see:

A smiling photo of me: What can I do for you?
A smiling photo of me: What can I do for you?

As an Artist, I can provide you with original images, straight out of my fevered imagination, on clothing and items for your home which also make great gifts for other people–you know, those really hard to buy for people who have very strange “interest areas”, like Steampunk, or Fantasy, or Science Fiction.  Are those items as affordable as I’d like for them to be? Honestly, no. I wish I could give you this stuff a whole lot cheaper than I presently can, but unfortunately, that’s outside my scope of control at the moment. Red Bubble and Cafepress are the avenues I have to work with at present, so I try to keep things as affordable as I can within those two platforms.  What I can tell you with absolute honesty is that the quality of product you can get for the price is superior when you buy my art on those products at either venue.  I have personally bought a few of my products (or been gifted with them); I’ve actually seen these products in action and held them in my grubby little hands (or worn them on my grubby little body–hey, I’m short, like a grub!), and I’ve been amazed at the quality, and at how they show off my artwork. If you’re looking for something truly original for yourself or as a gift, please shop with me, knowing that there is an extremely grateful artist at the other end of that transaction who doesn’t even have enough words to thank you for having done so! (And that’s saying something, because I’m also a writer!)

As a Writer, I aim not only to entertain, but also to actively make people’s lives better. I’ve got a pair of novels out there wafting around in the digital world right now, as a matter of fact, and a new series coming out sometime in 2016.  My writing is here for you: written words that are never read are like toys that never get played with–incredibly sad!  I’m presently working on two new non-fiction titles that will reflect many of the concepts and ideas you guys have come to appreciate from this blog, and I will be self-publishing those as purchaseable PDFs within the next month or two. My writing is something I do for me, but it is also something that I do for you–each and every single one of you; every single word.

As a Professional Tarot Reader, I work to help you attract better things into your life by helping you embrace a brighter view of life and get rid of the negative “crap” that’s keeping you from meeting your full potential.  How in the heck does anybody (including me) accomplish that by shuffling a deck of cards, dealing out those cards, and then telling you what they mean?  Why the heck would you want to pay for such a “pile of mystical mumbo jumbo”?  A Tarot reading with me involves way more than just asking your question, and then me shuffling the deck, dealing the cards, and telling you what they mean: it involves a dialogue.  Via my dialogue with the cards, followed by my dialogue with you, we get the wheels turning so you can start a dialogue where it counts: on the inside.  Most of us go through life with an inner monologue, not an inner dialogue. You know what I’m talking about: you go through the daily with a constant soundtrack playing in your head that is a combination of your own voice and the voices of the people around you, telling you this, that, and the other thing about your Self and your Life, but how often do you actually have a conversation with you?  You may listen to your Self and others on a regular basis, but how often do you stop that chatter, and actually ask yourself the deeper questions; the questions that will lead you to a better life? That’s what I do as a Professional Tarot Reader: I get you to start having those conversations with your Self; I set that inner dialogue in motion, so you can shut off the inner monologue, and actually start doing something with your life! It’s not a “pile of mystical mumbo jumbo”; it’s a mechanism for very real change in your life.

It has taken me a lot of years and a lot of heartaches to finally arrive at a place where I love me; I want to help you love your me, too!  And that’s what I work towards every day, through my art, my writing, and my Professional Tarot Readings:  I want to share my expertise and success, so that you can become an expert at loving yourself, and be successful in your life, without having to go through all the crap that I went through!

What can I do for you? I hope I can make your life a little brighter!  So, take a chance on me, and let’s take a walk on the bright side, together!