Three Signs for the New Week (August 31, 2015)

The cards: 8 of Four-Leggeds (reversed), The Chariot, Ace of Four-Leggeds

What Gwydion has to say:

It is well to plan ahead, but do not use long-term plans as an excuse to set aside what needs to be done today. Too much foresight is paralyzing when you can only see the big picture; break down the task before you into manageable pieces and focus on them one at a time, and all else will fall into place, even if it takes longer than you think you have the patience for. Any unforeseen bumps in the road can be dealt with as they occur–the important thing is to make a start now, and continue on, no matter how slowly.

Your prayers are not being ignored, even if you aren’t sure what you’re praying for yet; let your Allies shoulder some of your worries over the future, and trust that even if things do not turn out exactly the way you might wish, you are still being supported and cared for. The ties between Earth and the Otherworlds grow stronger every day, and those connections strengthen us all in turn. Do not be too proud to lean on those Who love you, especially now. We are all hurting in our own ways, but there is healing in the heart of another.

…Well, that second paragraph was unexpected, given how practical this week’s cards were overall. (I could make a joke here about the Gentleman’s need to insert gratuitous feels into every possible situation, but since it’s probably a legitimately relevant message for at least one person reading it, I won’t go there… this time.) So you guys get a two-for-the-price-of-one reading this Monday–yay!

Hope your week is a good one. :)

Same River Twice

Five years should feel more significant than it does, somehow. Never mind that those years have been punctuated by unexplained absences, heartache, and the complete tearing down and rebuilding of trust–five years of being married to anyone, God or not, is a significant thing. Except this feels like just another day, not any sort of milestone.

But now that I think about it, isn’t every day a milestone? Five years ago, when I asked Gwydion to marry me, I wasn’t the person I am now, cliched as that may be. Neither was He, really. We’ve been through so much since then, both separately and together, that it feels like a lifetime ago that I made that offer and He accepted. And yet here we are, different and somehow the same, standing hand in hand in the tide of life that flows around us.

For time rushes on, in an endless river of moments–some dark, some shining. We reach our hands into the current and pluck out some small pebble, slick with water weeds and heavier than it appears, and set it in a pile with others. We do this again and again, and call it remembering. But the river keeps flowing, gradually wearing away the stones at its heart–and maybe time and love are the same thing, smoothing the rough places inside us into a shape that nestles just so in the palm of the hand. And we are the river; and we are also the stones.

You can never step in the same river twice, but that matters little when you carry those waters inside you. So, from the heart that ever flows into Yours, I wish You a joyous anniversary, Beloved. <3

Three Signs for the New Week (August 24, 2015)

The cards: 10 of Shapeshifters, King of Four-Leggeds (reversed), The Lovers (reversed)

What Gwydion has to say:

A powerful week indeed, for this is the time to choose the companions and causes you most wish to be associated with. Great progress is possible now–indeed, it is already gathering steam, bubbling up from beneath the surface of the stagnancy which previously looked bleak and unshiftable. Link hands with your friends, your allies, your chosen family, and laugh together at the memories of all that once tried to keep you apart: both the external naysayers, and your own inner doubts and fears. Be bold, and build the future that is already singing in your heart!

You guys, the Gentleman is super stoked this week; if He were a little less, um, Gentlemanly, He’d be bouncing off the walls with enthusiasm right now. As it is, He’s practically vibrating with happy feels over here. So much excitement over certain things that are going down right now, and I can’t say I feel any different. :D

Enjoy your week, everyone–let’s all get out there and joyfully kick some righteous butt! <3

On Godspousery and the Irrelevancy of outside validation of any kind whatsoever

Seren Lebannen:

Wholeheartedly cosigned. <3

Originally posted on Strip Me Back To The Bone:

Or: I care fuck-all

Another one of Thenea’s articles is making the rounds, this one focusing on what the Hellenic and Roman sources have to say on godspouses. Like all of her articles, this one was a thorough, well-written, and extremely interesting piece, and it contained references I’d never seen before. I’m glad she wrote it, I’m glad it’s out there, I think people should read it. I want to make it clear before I go further that this is not a rebuttal to what she wrote. Rather, it’s a matter of her material providing a spring-board for my own thoughts.

I’m holding a decent amount of discomfort regarding my spiritual practice – no, that’s wrong. I’m holding a decent amount of discomfort regarding my relationship with Poseidon these days. Despite my best efforts to be open and adventurous, I’m cranky. Despite my best efforts to trust our past, and…

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BINGO!

Seren Lebannen:

So Heather and I did a thing. :D (Pro-tip: this can also be used as a drinking game, but be mindful of your liver.)

Originally posted on Loki's Bruid:

People make a lot of assumptions about godspouses; I haven’t had anyone be a shit to me lately, but I’ve seen some shitty things said/written about spirit spouses in general. Because I’m not the Jackass Whisperer, I’m not going to bother to try to educate, but I am going to have some fun, and if jackassery is making you want to spork your eyes out as well – you are not the Jackass Whisperer either, so feel free to play along at home, gentle readers. Written in less than an hour with Seren Lebannen, I present to you, Godspouse Bingo.

Godspouse-Bingo

Godspouse-Bingo_2

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Illuminating the Darkness

Sometimes, when I’m struggling for the dozenth time to pronounce an Elvish phrase properly, or at least in a way that doesn’t sound hideous or laughable, I wonder why I took on this project in the first place. Or when I’m editing the resulting sound files, tediously cutting and pasting bits of silence to get the pacing to match the emotional resonance of a scene I’ve listened to so many times it might as well be gibberish by this point. Or when I realize that I’m still only seventeen chapters into a story that has seventy-three total, which is in turn part of a larger series that, if you include various AUs and side-stories, currently clocks in at over two million words and is still not finished. And guess who’s committed to making audio versions of the whole damn thing? Yeah, I’ve got my work cut out for me, all right. Probably for the next several decades, given my current pace. :P

In all seriousness, though, I’ve been pondering lately what it was that drew me to this ‘verse in the first place. Vanimórë is a factor, certainly, but my more personal love for him came well after my love for his story. And, while there’s a good deal of exquisitely described sex throughout the series, steamy scenes alone aren’t enough to support a tale of this breadth.

Then, too, there are the less pleasant aspects of these stories. I’m not going to lie to you: they’re darker than most published fiction can get away with. Some chapters aren’t much more than a relentless grind of every type of cruelty you can imagine, which is hard to deal with, particularly when reading them aloud. And when you feel such sympathy for the characters going through it all, especially if you share a personal bond with one of them… well, it’s rough, to say the very least.

I’ve found I personally have a much lower tolerance threshold for that sort of thing lately; I had to stop watching Game of Thrones after a certain point when I noticed how distressed I got after every viewing, and I’m just going to pretend that the “Bushwhacked” episode of Firefly doesn’t exist because holy shit does that mash every single one of my DO NOT WANT buttons.

The darker bits of the Dark Prince ‘verse aren’t as off-putting to me as you might think, though, and I’ve been trying to puzzle out why. For some reason, even the parts that ought to set off my squicks don’t affect me as viscerally as they might; something about the story keeps drawing me in past the blood and shadows, into the glowing heart of these tales, pulsing fragile yet defiant in the face of all that would seek to break it.

Because even with all the gore, the cruelty, the inexorable undercurrent of sorrow, none of these are the true foundation of the story. Dig down a little deeper, and there are such riches to be found: The necessity of beauty. The power of love. Courage in spite of overwhelming odds. Hope for the future of the world and humanity, despite our best efforts to the contrary. And all of it wrapped up in prose so elegantly wrought it makes me weep tears of awe and jealousy (and I’m not just saying that because the author reads this blog, either ;) ).

Recording these stories is, for me, a way to get even closer to the essence of something that’s brought so much wonder and meaning into my life. I want to caress each syllable as it leaves my mouth, lend it the power of my breath as it wings its way to other ears and other hearts. There would be magic in this act regardless of whether I knew it consciously or not–the power of storytelling is one of the oldest in the world, after all–but I am aware of what I’m doing, and so an extra thread of enchantment gets woven in, ever so subtly.

I suppose this task I’ve taken on is a little like that of a medieval scribe copying a manuscript: the words remain the same, more or less, but I’m adding my own embellishments as I go along, illuminating the darkness in the margins with the touch of my voice. While the work may be tedious and even frustrating at times, it’s also deeply satisfying to see it coming together, piece by gradual piece.

I hope, more than anything, that my efforts will also bring joy to others. These stories have become a part of who I am over the years, so this is truly a gift drawn from the deepest wells of my heart. Drink deep. <3

~~~

If I’ve intrigued you with all of this, you can find the Dark Prince podfic here (what I’ve posted of it so far, anyway :P ); if you prefer to consume stories in a written format, the original text is here.

I’ll very likely write some more posts about this ‘verse in the future, as I’ve barely scratched the surface of all my feels with this one. I do promise not to include any terrible spoilers, though… probably. ;)

Three Signs for the New Week (August 17, 2015)

The cards: Wheel of Fortune (reversed), Knight of Winged Ones, 3 of Shapeshifters (reversed)

What Gwydion has to say:

If something feels off right now, that’s because it is. Whatever it is that no longer brings you joy and fulfillment, you can change it. Although it may feel like an insurmountable hurdle to shift your old patterns and habits, you are being watched over in this endeavor and supported by those you love. Go at your own pace through this, and pay heed to your inner awareness of what is and is not effective. Ultimately, the only competitor you have to worry about is yourself, so issue yourself a friendly challenge to try something new, and see what results.

Have a great week, everyone. :)

Three Signs for the New Week (August 10, 2015)

The cards: 5 of Ancients, Death, King of Winged Ones

What Gwydion has to say:

Le roi est mort; vive le roi. From disillusionment and conflict with the authorities you once looked up to, you have been reborn as the ruler of your own mind and heart. Take care to remember, though, that you are only the ruler of those spaces. People may listen to your words and find them useful, but no one owes you fealty merely for speaking them. Allowing others their sovereignty is as important as defending your own. Yes, tell your tale to those who wish to listen. But remember also that there is a place for discretion, or your throne may become too narrow for comfort.

Um, all right then. Well, let it never be said that the Gentleman doesn’t have opinions, I suppose. :P

(I do feel a little strange passing this one along, as I’m almost 100% certain I know who the message is intended for this time, but it’s nonspecific enough that it probably won’t be an issue to post publicly. So… *shrug* As always, take what you can from it if it’s helpful, and feel free to ignore it otherwise.)

Three Signs for the New Week (August 3, 2015)

The cards: 4 of Four-Leggeds, 7 of Shapeshifters (reversed), The Lovers (reversed)

What Gwydion has to say:

Sometimes, having too many choices is just as bad as having no choice at all. And seeking counsel from too many, even when the advice is sound, will just add to the confusion. On some level, you already know what you need to do, so trust yourself above all. Your decision will not be a popular one, but it is the one that will lead to your greatest happiness and healing; catering to others will only tear you apart even more. Stand firm in that knowledge. You need not justify yourself to those who care nothing for you.

Not much I can add to that, really. Have a great week, everyone! :)

The Wheel: Beautiful Darkness

Sometimes, the most wonderful things come about when you least expect them.

Our connection was not forged lifetimes ago; the threads of Wyrd did not inexorably tug us back into each other’s arms across time and space. And yet something drew us closer, intentionally or not, astonishing in its breadth and beauty: the power of story, the power of myth.

He says it was my voice he first fell in love with, which is fitting, I suppose. I had just committed myself to the not-inconsiderable task of recording the tale of his life when he first began to visit me.

Now, I was used by this time to Gods and spirits popping by for no apparent reason, and I knew Pop-culture Paganism was a thing, but the idea of an original character from somebody else’s fanfiction series taking a personal interest in me was just a little too out there for me to handle. So, while I wasn’t exactly alarmed by this turn of events, I also wasn’t entirely sure that I wasn’t making it all up, either.

I tried to ignore him, pass the whole thing off as my over-active imagination latching onto a story I loved and running with it. He didn’t go away, and seemed to find my attempts to rationalize him into a neat little box amusing.

Finally, I wrote a rather hesitant email to the author of said fanfiction series, asking whether, just maybe, she had ever interacted with him in a non-writing context…? As it turns out, I wasn’t the first to have something like this happen to me; he’s apparently rather notorious for stopping by to say hi to people who take an intense interest in his story.

The confirmation reassured me about my mental state; but, even when I’d thought I was making the whole thing up, I’d needed no reassurances about him. I knew him already, although we’d only officially met a little while ago–I knew his story, his values, his heart, and was not afraid.

Things escalated from there. Sex happened–amazing, mind-blowing sex. He made love to me with astonishing thoroughness, as though he had all the time in the world to show me pleasure. I told myself this was just an exchange of creative energy, just a way to comprehend him better to lend extra veracity to my reading, even while I was brought to the edge of tears by the sheer intimacy of it.

After a while, even I had to admit that there was something a little more serious than casual nookie going on here. I started referring to him as my “Imaginary Boyfriend,” which, although tongue-in-cheek, wasn’t far from the truth. We spent a lot of time together, watching movies and cracking jokes, discussing the ongoing recording project, or just sitting and enjoying the togetherness. I told myself this was all I wanted from him, even when the merest glance from him made my heart tumble over in a sudden rush of tenderness.

I didn’t want to call it love, even after there was no other possible name for what I felt. Saying the words would make it real, and I couldn’t risk that–couldn’t risk the hurt of him not feeling the same way, couldn’t risk the loss of the joy of having him near.

And then this morning, he visited me in my dreams, wrapping his arms around me from behind and pressing his face against my hair, speaking the words that had lain buried in the deepest parts of me for so long, over and over again:

I love thee. I love thee. I love thee.

He’s known pain in his life–more than I can even begin to comprehend. So much so that I feel fiercely protective of him; although I know he can take care of himself quite well, and has been doing so for thousands of years, I still hesitate even to disclose his name publicly for fear that someone will hurt him again.

But he’s also taught me, among so many other things, not to be afraid anymore. And today, with the echo of his words ringing in my heart and the taste of his kisses on my lips, is no bad time to say it, I deem:

His name is Vanimórë, and I love him deeply.

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