Posted on

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.

 

Posted on

October 2016 Pixel Scrapper Blog Train: School Spirits

schoolspiritsmaindisplayHoly WOW, what a week! So first let me apologize for this not being published at 3:00PM, as planned.  We may have gotten a little carried away when we started creating this set. In fact, you could say Pixel Scrapper has created a monster!

It has been one monster of a week! Monday morning I discovered that Digital Scrapbooking Day is this coming weekend, rather than in November, as I had previously thought.  Of course, that’s like the Black Friday of Digital Papercraft, so we had to get our hineys in gear and put together some great deals for folks. That led to the creation of two entire new kits. Meanwhile, we had started running the pre-renders for School Spirits like a week ago, thinking “oh, we have plenty of time!” Well, we would have, except for the Digital Scrapbooking Day scheduling fiasco….

Hopefully while you’re here picking up this awesome set, you’ll also scope out some of our other deals and freebies, because we’ve accomplished some truly awesome stuff this week!

But, back to Blog Train….

I’ve been stewing on this set ever since the theme was finally announced. The very first thing that popped into my mind with the words “School of the Arts” was the movie Fame. Not the recent one; the original 1980s one. (Yes, I’m dating myself….)  I loved that movie!  As a longtime artist, and a nut about technical theatre, who always wished dancing was on the menu (it’s SO really not!), I may have been mildly obsessed with that film when it first came out.  Of course, more recently, there has also been Glee, which sort of attempted to rekindle the dynamics of Fame (both the film and the TV show, which I also passionately watched).  But Halloween is in October, and we are all positively Halloween obsessed up here in Massachusetts, so at the same time that I was excited about the School of the Arts theme, I was also a little bummed out that our theme wasn’t more Halloween-y.  Which is where Monster High comes in. In case you’re not familiar, it’s like a gothic child’s dream!  (No, I’m not a weirdo; I have god-children; that’s why I know this stuff.)  Oddly, that cartoon also has a lot in common with the flavor of Fame and Glee, only with monsters, ghosts, and ghoulies. Tada! I had the answer to my School of the Arts meets Halloween issue!

While I was patently lead designer on this, I decided to call our Daz guru, Daniel, in to help me out.  He really has an ethereal vision, when it comes to art (think Stephanie Pui-Mun Law), so I knew he could bring it precisely the vibe I was dreaming of: a little bit rock and roll, a little bit ghostly, and a whole lot of The Arts! (Sort of Monster High meets Hogwarts…..)

I hope y’all will not only enjoy it, but will also check out all of the expansion materials that we created for it. You can find the original kit here.  We’ve got like a gazillion Dollar Deals going on right now, and for a limited time, all of the School Spirit Expansions (PU/S4H/S4O and CU) are only $1.00, too (Sorry, Dollar Deals have ended)!

Happy Digital Scrapbooking Day a little early! Can’t wait for it to actually get here so we can rest! lol

schoolspiritsmaindisplay
You can now purchase this set here!
schoolspiritsquickpagesdisplay
Holy cow, there are quick pages, papers, and more!
schoolspiritsscatterkitdisplay
I’ll see you in our CU section!

 

(AKA The Warrior)
Posted on

A Boo-tiful Gift For Someone Special!

I’ve been needing somebody to light a fire under me to get this gift made for my someone special, and this week’s Simon Says Stamp Wednesday Challenge was just what I needed to get it done!  This week, their theme was “Gift It”, so that provided the perfect excuse to set aside the chore of cleaning my office on Saturday, and get down to business and get this done. (For the record, the office still isn’t clean…..I’ll get to it, eventually.)

We purchased this great blank foam wreath at A.C. Moore a couple of weeks ago, and I knew what I was going to do with it the moment it came off their rack:

ssmw9212016blankboo

It’s the Foam Zone Ghost Wreath, and it only cost $1.00!  What a steal, right? Now I just needed to combine it with my own Mad Lab and Poe papers, and finish it off with a little Tim Holtz Materialize paper, and it was gonna be gorgeous!

I began by carefully pulling the wreath apart at the point where the ghosts didn’t repeat in the same pattern. If you’ll look closely, you’ll see it goes ghost on bottom, ghost on top, ghost on bottom, until over there on the right. I like uniformity (don’t we all?), so that was definitely the ghost with the most need to be plucked and used as a pattern. (An exacto knife greatly helps with this process, but remember to be gentle and be careful! The only blood you want on your wreath is what might be printed on your chosen paper!)

ssmw9212016boopattern

I then used Mr. Independent Ghosty to trace patterns onto my chosen papers. (If you are more adept with an exacto knife than me, you can probably save yourself a step by simply laying the ghost on your chosen paper and cutting around him carefully with your craft knife. I didn’t like how the one I did that way turned out, so I stuck with tracing and fussy cutting.) You will be cutting five paper ghosts out of your chosen paper, and then gluing them onto the raised ghosts, like this:

ssmw9212016boocovered

Starting with the little green guy at the top and travelling clockwise, I used Mad Lab, Materialize, Poe, Materialize, and Poe.

Once everybody is “all dressed up”, it’s time to glue the wreath back together. (I strongly suggest using hot glue for this!) And then it’s time to give these little guys some personality with wiggly eyes! I used Monster Eyes from Dollar Tree.

ssmw9212016boowreathfinal2

The absolute best part of making this wreath was definitely the look on Suzanne’s (the giftee’s) face when I brought it downstairs and presented it to her. There was a lot of oohing and aahing, and once it was hung in its place on the closet door downstairs, all through the evening she had moments of pausing to look at it and saying “it’s just so pretty!” While it’s true that cut/fold/glue is my favorite thing to do, the thing I love even more is seeing Suzanne smile like that when I’ve cut/folded/glued especially for her!

ssmw9212016boowreathfinal1

ssmw9212016happyhalloween

Wish me luck!

Simon Says Stamp Wednesday Challenge Blog