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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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At Your Service: Business Tidbits To Change Your Life!

I was recently blessed with the gift of the Paid To Exist/Trailblazer program, and then I discovered the Fired Up And Focused Challenge (which is totally free).  Together, these two things have totally changed my life: not just my business life, mind you, my whole life!  I’m taking more self-care, and I’m actually taking breaks during the day, and when you put it all together, things are on a total upswing in my little world.  So, I’d like to take a few minutes to try to get things on an upswing in everybody else’s little world, too!

Schedule your Self-Care and Personal/Family Time first!  Face it: no matter how financially destitute you may be, or how much you love doing your job, if you screw up something with your business, there’s probably always going to be some way in which you can bounce back from that.  But if you work yourself into the ground, and ignore the people you love who are all around you, it’s going to be much harder to bounce back from that!  I love my job. I mean it: I love my job! It’s often hard for me to make myself stop working at the end of the day.  When it’s all said and done, however, until quite recently, no matter how much fun my job might be, or how passionate I might be about it, I was literally working myself into the ground. I was ignoring the things that matter the most–the things that enable me to have my job in the first place: my health, and my loved ones.  You need those multiple breaks throughout the day, and I never really realized how much I needed them until my health collapsed in on itself, and I was forced to start taking them. Don’t let yourself get to that point! Schedule in plenty of small breaks, and plenty of time to do the things you love, and be with the people you love.  You won’t regret it, and work will still be there when you come back to it, I promise!

Stop underestimating yourself!  It takes twice as long to constantly question and second-guess yourself as it does to just do the things you need to do to get yourself and your business moving.  So stop questioning and second-guessing, and just do it!  For example: I have had this nasty habit of running every single blog post by someone I love (and whose opinion I trust) before hitting publish or schedule. That took an extra ten to twenty minutes not only out of my day for every blog post I wrote, but also out of her day.  Maintaining that process where I constantly worried about “but what will people think” meant that blogging day usually took me an average of five hours, and her an average of an extra hour out of her own workday (and my blog isn’t even her job!).  Now that I’m no longer second-guessing and doubting myself, and standing on my own two feet, it takes me about two hours to get three blog posts finished (that’s a full week of blogging, y’all!).  Big difference, right?  That means I was spending, on average, three extra hours a week just sitting around doubting myself! That’s a lot of time to spend on something so crappy, wouldn’t you agree?

Find your why.  Everything is easier (and easier to muddle through) when you realize your real reason why you are doing whatever it is. As a majorly overblown example, consider childbirth: if a woman had to just go in there and pass something larger than a bowling ball without knowing the why at the end of it, few folks would sign up for that, would they? But the why outweighs the pain: a beautiful, bouncing bundle of baby.  My why is that I want to no longer feel like I don’t matter, and I want to help as many people as I possibly can stop feeling like they don’t matter along with me.  What’s your why?  Maybe it’s that you want to work fewer hours a week, and start spending time with the people who matter to you most, while still allowing all of you to live comfortably. It’s okay for your why to be something financial, so long as money’s not the sole name of your game.

Create a schedule for yourself, and live into it.  I don’t just mean a schedule for your business; I mean a schedule for your life!  That may sound like you’re chaining yourself to something, but in reality, it can set you totally free.  I don’t mean a set-in-stone schedule where you catalogue every inch of your life, moment by moment on a piece of paper, and then expect strict adherence to it. I mean create a table, with the days of the week at the top, and create blocks of activities that relate to each other, and then live into that.  For example, every morning at 9AM, I know I’m going to do my morning ritual: wake up, get awake, check on my beloved on Facebook, and then meditate with the Kuan Yin Oracle Deck (and then share that meditation on Facebook).  On Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays, I know that I will be networking, blogging, and doing marketing from 10AM til 11AM. From 12PM to 2PM every day, I will be having lunch and personal time.  From 2PM til 4PM every day, I will be broadening my mind through education (with the aforementioned ecourses, and anything else I need to learn during the week to broaden my business and my Self).  From 4PM til 5PM daily, I have my End of Day Ritual (where I wind down my workday, and wind-up “personal, family-time me”).  From 5PM til bedtime, I belong to my Family. Period–no negotiations–except on Tuesdays and Thursdays, when the Family is out of the house.  I am living into that, and my life is the most carefree it has been in a couple of years!

Shamelessly plug yourself!  If you’re ashamed to market yourself, this implies that you’re ashamed of your products or services. If you’re ashamed of what you do, who the heck is gonna want to pay you for that?  Nobody in their right mind, right?  Be proud of what you do, because what you do is part of who you are!  (And if you’re not proud of who you are, then you might want to refer back to last week’s blog posts!)

Ultimately, you are your brand.  Which means what people are buying from you is ultimately a reflection of you! This goes hand in hand with the last bit about shamelessly plugging yourself.  If yours is a multi-service business like mine (Tarot/art/e-books/ministry/e-courses), or like many of the people I work with (photography/poetry/art; reiki/photography/massage), you may be finding it hard to figure out your niche. Once you figure out that you are your brand, though, and that all the things you do are simply reflections of you, it all becomes so much easier! You might want to check out Emilie Wapnick’s site about Multipotentialites–seriously, this is another one of those things that has changed my life, so hopefully it’ll do the same for you!

Work smarter, not harder.  Find the things that will make your daily workflow easier.  If you need graphics for your blog or for Facebook or wherever (including infographics), I highly recommend using Canva. Most of their layouts and graphics are completely free, and even the paid options are only $1 a pop!  For blogging and even for web design (for those who are HTML and CSS impaired), I obviously recommend WordPress. And for webhosting, you absolutely cannot beat the prices at bluehost (they’re hosting this, right now!).  If you’re getting ready to kick off your own newsletter services, Mailchimp is  your go-to (they’re free up til 2,000 subscribers, and reasonable after that, and they’ll send you free socks at Christmas!).

And remember: I’m here to help!  I’ve been walking down this road for awhile now, and I’ve done mountains of research on marketing and just about anything else you can think of, when it comes to running your own business.  I know how to do all sorts of things, and I have a wealth of links at my disposal on a variety of topics.  I generally include whatever I’ve got that applies to you when someone comes to me for a Business Reading, so if you need a jump-off point, or if you’re feeling up-to-your-eyeballs right now, please, go check out my offerings. My heart is right here, waiting to start an internal dialogue with your heart, and get your business working for you, instead of you working for your business!