Once More, a Dream

 

… and uniforms, we all wear them. Crisp and clean, we are to look good for the camera. Look good for the public. I have to remind myself to smile and hold my back straight, to keep pretending. My gaze flickers from one person to the next, never lingering too long on those I know to be friends. Just a little while longer must we hold it together, this act of ours. Just a little while longer.

On my right side suddenly stands a woman. I know her not by name, but that matters little. She is one of us. One who has had to give up everything, had to renounce her faith and put on a mask of uniformity, just to survive. 

I see her shaking. Her lips, her arms, her entire essence, trembling. There is sweat across her brow and a look of desperation in her dark brown eyes. By my side she stands, whispering with a voice muddled by tears. 

“I can’t… I can’t do this…”

The chill of danger floods me. Too many around us, there are too many.

“Please don’t go without me,” she whispers. “I… I…”

Too many watching. I lean in, lower my head by hers, face to face as were we about to kiss. Shielding her expression from being seen. My upper lip grazes against hers as I whisper. 

“You can do this. Breathe. Don’t think. We won’t leave you.”

Just a little while longer.

 

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A Child’s Secret

A child’s mind is not the easiest thing to comprehend. Her frames of reference, her sense of logic and reason, it is something else.

 

Before I knew the runes, one came to me. To me and my cousin, who was of the same age. It was before we had begun at school, before we had learned the proper ways of modern living.

 

I don’t know where it came from. I didn’t know then either. We just knew that this, this was important. And powerful. It meant protection. It meant hope. It meant a way out for he who is trapped, and a way in for he who is locked out. We could not put to words why, but this we knew.

 

We called it Norrombergen. A name that made sense to a child’s mind, though to you it may seem strange. Norrombergen, we knew, consisted of one vertical line, splitting into three at the top. It wasn’t until many, many years later that I learned it had another name – Algiz.

 

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No one taught us. This was secret knowledge that we had stumbled on, and we told no one. For years and years, we told no one. Norrombergen was a secret, and it was ours.

 

 

 

Int’ ännu vi ber’na – Rán

I wrote a poem for Rán today. It will be read as I offer Her drops of snaps and a little package of Fisherman’s Friend. And I will plead with Her to soften the blow for all those who suffer due to the recent storm related flooding. Because as a voice called out, imploring his fellow Heathens to ask Rán for help, people would say: No. Ask Thor!

 

And yes, ask Thor, the master of storms. But let it not be said I would deny Rán, when honestly asked.

May She keep a calm sea even as storm rages above!

May Her daughters safely carry those lost back to land!

May those unescapably caught in Her nets fare well in Her halls!

 

 

 

Be safe, all!

 

Mighty Rowan, kära rönn

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Our house lies in between two big old rowan trees. You can see one of them in the picture above, in bloom as they are in the earlier days of summer. Today there are no flowers, but plenty of bright red berries.

The rowan, in Swedish is called rönn, may not be the grandest of trees – often it grows to be no more than a shrub. Nonetheless it has a mighty powerful place in folklore, ancient mythology, and yes, magic. Protective as well as runic magic, most of all. According to an old myth a rowan tree once even saved the life of Thor himself, which is no small feat.

The young leaves can be used for tea, and the berries are edible. Not particularly tasty, but edible. They are completely packed full of vitamin C, so much that three a day will cover what you need. Luckily you don’t have to eat them raw, they can be made into jelly or jam, or even wine. Or you can dry them and add a bit in bread baking, or use in your müsli or whatnot. The birds love them too, and for good reason – rowan berries, or rönnbär, makes up their most important food source in wintertime, at least up here.

One day the two mighty rowan trees by our house will wither and die. It’s alright, there are already young shoots coming up to take their place. We will take care of them, and perhaps they will take care of us.

Fasting Day 1

To say that I have a difficult relationship with food is an understatement. The truth is I have an eating disorder. Not anorexia or bulimia, which most people would assume from such a statement, but what in medicine is called UNS, unspecified. To be more exact, I am a food addict. Yes, for real.

I don’t need an excuse to eat. The urge is always there, I always want to eat, and every waking moment that I don’t is the result of a conscious decision and effort to not do it. Resisting when the urge grows stronger doesn’t just lead to me getting hungry – I panic. I cry. I beg. I tremble like a leaf. My entire existence screams at me to EAT! Even if I had a hearty lunch just two hours earlier, that doesn’t matter. Because it’s not a matter of eating to satisfy a physical hunger, it’s addiction.

How do handle an addiction, normally? You make yourself stop. You get sober, stop drinking alcohol if that’s your vice, stop taking drugs, stop gambling, stop… But you can’t stop eating. Basically I am like the alcoholic who tries to get rid of her addiction, but who has to drink a glass of wine three times a day.

Why am I telling you all this now?

Well, here’s the deal. While I can’t stop eating entirely, what I can do is fast for a few days. It’s horrendously difficult, but I can do it. I must be able to do it. It’s not to lose weight, it’s not an extreme form of dieting, it’s all about breaking addiction’s spine. It is about taking back control.

It’s been a few years since my last real fast, but now I feel it is time again. The husband is away, so I won’t have to suffer through the ordeal of seeing him cook and eat. Smelling it, hearing the sizzling of meat in a hot pan, hearing the crunch of chewing… So, now is the time.

It is morning now, and I have had a cup of tea. Day 1 of fasting. I will not eat today. I will not eat.

I’ll drink plenty though, water and tea. If it gets too bad I might allow myself fruit juice. But that’s it.

I know that many see fasting as too extreme, as potentially dangerous. But don’t worry. My body has plenty of energy stored, I’ll be fine. It’ll be difficult, but I’ll be fine. And of course I’ll stop if anything seems to threaten my health.

Commence Fasting Day 1.

Wish me luck.