Borrowed words: Lost by David Wagoner

L O S T

Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here.
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this space around you.
If you leave it, you may come back again,
saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two bushes are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You surely are lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.

– David Wagoner

I love this poem so much, and I can’t really explain why. I first read it many years ago, as I was spending a lot of time on pagan forums on the internett, searching for all things magic and mysterious, and hoping that the world indeed would contain of more than meets the eye. I was struggling with my very secular surroundings, and was carrying this naive and childish (secret) wish for the world to truly be magical. This poem contributed to my understanding of the world as a magical place, for those who knows where to look. 🙂

My house is my home is my shelter

Hi!

How are you today…?
I am sitting at home, feeling a bit courageous actually. Next to me I have a cup of coffee with milk. The house is quiet. Completely quiet…. This is what I fear. What I have been afraid of for some time now. Alone at home. And I am facing it. In my nightmare they weather is worse. It is dark and raining. But today the sun is shining, so I get a milder version. Still, I am facing it.

What caused this fear? I used to love being at home. I used to hide from the world at home. I used to spend hours and hours alone on my bed deep into books about paganism, Steiner philosophy, Harry Potter, Jane Austen, Margaret Atwood or Freud. You name it, I would have been interested in spending a day alone with that book almost no matter what. Or with a bundle of yarn in my lap, knitting needles in my hands while listening to some nice music. Almost any kind of music. With a few exceptions I am just generally very interested in all kind of music. I love it, and I listen and listen and dream about being part of it. Playing it, singing it, being able to somehow use music as an expression of myself.

Something happened when I was ill this year. I was so ill, for so long. I was tested in almost every way you can imagine, but all test results were fine. I was healthy. But I was not. So I was scared. And I was lonely, being so worn down and nauseas all the time that I could not leave the house. I could hardly leave the bed. Day after day I longed for when my family would come home and fill the house with life. Because, as my husband once said; when I was ill I sort of just vanished. I could hardly muster up the energy to answer a question. I just existed, sort of. I have to say right away, that it was nothing serious. It just felt serious. It seems like I have SIBO and because of that fructose malabsorption. In other words, I suddenly got super sensitive to fructose, sucrose, lactose, fructans and so on, so almost everything I ate would give me a reaction. I feel better now, but there is a lot of food I need to avoid.

I have not loved our house. We bought it, but I did not like it. For years and years I have struggled with it. We could not afford anything else, living on one income with small children. But I could not settle with it either. When we had visitors I would always put an extra good note on random comments about our house. The comments were usually something nice, but I would feel like it wasn’t. A comment such as “You have sort of a working house” would to me feel like “Your house is not nice”, even if it was ment as “Your family is so creative”. A comment like “Wow, entering your living space is like an epiphany of light!” would to me mean “Your hallway is so dark and narrow”, and if someone would comment a rearranging of furnitures as pretty, I would assume they thought it used to look bad. All of this came, of course, from me not liking my house in the first place. I wanted to like it, because we had lived there for some time. Our children was born there. They grew up there. It was important to me to connect emotionally to that place.

But in stead of trying to make it into something I would like, I just felt bad. If you add Instagrams perfect homes to the mix as well, you can perhaps imagine me sulking in the sofa while scrolling through cottage-like dream homes situated in a fairy forest, and feeling bad. I tried to do things that would make me like the house. I tried to decorate it in different ways, I tried to tell myself how cool a 50s house can look, tried to embrace the retro interior styling that is so popular, and that would fit the house very well. I tried to move things around, I tried to paint walls, I tried so much change all the time to see what could make it better. How could I make this space into something I would be proud of? Something I would feel comfortable in? Something that would feel ‘right’? I think at one point I changed so much and so often that I would not be able to tell wether a change was good or not. The house was just a flow of change all the time. But when I got ill, everything stopped.

While being ill, I somehow started to view my house even worse. I felt captured. It was becoming a prison. I could not leave, and the place that I had such complicated feelings for, started to make me feel scared, or uneasy might be the right word. I did not want to be alone there anymore. As I got better I started to make myself really busy so that I would not have to be alone at home. I wanted to be with my family, I wanted to have friends over, but when they would leave for school and work, so would I. No matter what.

I struggle with this. I have always been such a homebody, I know that this is not me. I need to change how I feel about my house. My home. But how do I do that? I don’t know. But I am starting by spending time here. Alone. And I try to really notice how that makes me feel. And why. And I try to shift how I think about the time I was ill. My house was not my prison. It was my shelter. It kept me safe while I was weak. I need to focus on that, and keep telling myself that. This house is my home. This home is my shelter.

This is where I can be myself, where my family can be who they are. This is where we meet, where we eat, make things, rest, argue, love, play, laugh, cry. This is where we live. This house is my home. This home is my shelter.

2020, you suck

Hello!

How are you?
It’s been a while. I have not felt like writing in this little space of mine, because life sort of happened… I got sick. I still am, sort of. But I am doing ok. I am getting better. But I am glad the year of 2020 is going towards an end. I need that. I think most of needs that.

Being ill has changed me somehow, like it sometimes does to people. I was in really bad shape for a month during December 2018, and then from January to June 2020. I stayed home almost all the time, and in bed. If I was lucky, I could go for a sort and slow walk around where I live, but not much more. I didn’t have the energy. I was so nauseas all the time, and ‘everything’ made it worse. Even my childrens voices made me nauseas. Now that I am feeling better and sort of know why I was ill, I have started to not wanting to be at home, and not wanting to be alone. That is very strange, and very unlike me, but because I spent all my time alone and just waiting for another day to pass, to maybe get better the next day, doing anything that might slightly resemble that, makes me feel bad. So I have spent the last couple of months trying to stay busy. I know that it is not how I really am. I know that it is not really a good way for me to deal with this. I know that this ‘change’ comes from me not being myself, but from me being scared of getting ill again. The feeling of my house being like a prison still sort of cling on, even though I am feeling well most of the time, and can go wherever I want.

I guess I am doing the good old running away from myself and my issues. I need to deal with them. I have to be able to like my house again. Preferably love it. I have to like spending time with myself, enjoying being alone from time to time. Because that is who I was, and I think that is who I still am, and what is healthy for me in the long run. I need to heal, mentally. Not just physically. I just don’t know how to do that right now. Whenever I stay home alone I get so upset. I just don’t like being here, and I am not sure how to change things so that I do. I know that doing yoga would help me. Perhaps not in starting to love my house, but in getting some peace of mind, and in my healing process. And meditation. Along with a few other things as well. But how to get started…? It is so easy to just keep staying busy, and whenever I have some spare time, make sure I spend it with someone else…

I know I will figure this out, eventually, but right now it feels too difficult to start.

November knitting plans

Hello.

I am sitting by the fireplace today, warming up after a walk. It is cold outside, winter is definitely here, except for snow. But the ground feels hard under my feet when I walk. It is getting ready, along with everything else in nature, for the big sleep.

I want to write a bit about knitting today. I have three projects on the needles, and also some plans that still is just a vague idea. I have started a Riddari Sweater. I made one last fall, and although I was very happy with the choice of yarn (Lett Lopi) and the colours, I made it too big to fit myself. I gave it as a gift to a dear friend, and I hope it brings joy and warmth. Now I will try making almost the same sweater all over again, a wee bit smaller this time.

In the first sweater I changed the sleeves and the neckband from what the pattern said. This time I am thinking to make it according to the pattern (although I usually somehow end up changing something…) The yarn and colours I have chosen are the same as last time (because I love the combination so much) but I will change what colour I am using where (just a bit).

I’ve just started this Riddari sweater.

I am also making socks for my partner, and trying to make a checkered pattern, for the first time. I think it is going pretty well, although I had pictured to colours looking a bit different together than what they do. BUT he doesn’t really care about that as long as the socks are warm. Apparently I am just to much of a perfectionist… 🙂 The yarn is new to me. A combination of 80% wool and 20% nylon that I was recommended to chose for socks at the yarn store. At this point I am not sure how I feel about it. It feels like knitting with cotton, something I never enjoy. But I have decided to wait and see the result before I make up my mind about it.

Hum… Not completely sure about these socks… (or my effort when taking this picture :p )

A long time ago (about it seven months?) I started a sweater in a nice orange alpaca yarn that I had laying around. At first I thought I was going to make it in one colour, but I have changed my mind and decided to have some sort of pattern at the yoke. But the body and sleeves are knitted together in raglan, so I am thinking hard about what sort of pattern would look nice. I would like to use Selburose or something similar (that is a traditional Norwegian pattern) using white yarn, and perhaps an acanthus swath (Link for knitted jackets with acanthus swath in the pattern) or something else that would frame the Selbu Rose in a nice way. I am not sure how to make this fit into the decreases, though. Hum… I will have to think about while I finish knitting the Riddari and the socks.

A completely different subject, but to me just as exciting. Several years ago, while searching through old notebooks, letters and photos that belonged to one of my great-grandmothers I found a book with recipes. But one of the pages had a list over something other than ingredients. It was a page with a list of the names of the full moons. Nothing more or less. This was a very intriguing discovery to me. I have not found any more information about this in my family, so it is still a mystery to me. Maybe it meant nothing. It was just a list with information that she thought was fun to remember. But could it mean something more? I will never know, but my interest in the symbolic meaning of the full moons was aroused. I hope to write more about that some other day.

Now it is time for me to leave the computer screen and spend time with family. We are going to make som food, enjoy the heat of the fire, and maybe I will get some time to knit done during the day as well? 🙂

I hope you enjoy your day, and that you find joy and peace in this dark time of the year. ❤

Camilla

The purgatory, New Years Eve and No Man’s Land

Hello and welcome!

We are celebrating Halloween in our house for the fifth time this year, even though it is not a tradition to us, and a pagan Samhain celebration would be closer to my heart. But our kids easily pick up new ideas with big enthusiasm, and they are masters at half “force”, half lure us to embrace new impulses. Now they claim that celebrating Halloween is a tradition in our family.

I once read that the vikings believed that fog was souls from Hel (one of the realms of the dead) that came to visit the living, or to fetch souls. Unfortunately, I can’t find the source, but I like the idea. 🙂

Parents in our neighborhood or at school have pretty different approaches to the celebration. One of our neighbor takes her kids and escape from the neighborhood and into the woods, to the movies or to an old and much loved grandmother that unfortunately (or should we say luckily) does not celebrate Halloween, and happens to be so old that the kids does not bother to try and teach her.

An other neighbor invites “the whole gang” of boys and throws a Halloween party while serving things such as “clipped witch fingers” and “eyeballs”. Their garden is filled with plastic things that will scream or laugh a typical caricatures witch laugh as you walk by.

We have taken a sort of in-between position, where the kids get to decorate the house a little, dress up and go trick-or-treating. We buy candy and opens the door to whoever rings the door bell. At the same time we try our best to teach the kids about the origin of the Halloween celebration, the original traditions around the holiday that was important long before the polyester witch costumes and plastic spiders were presented as essential accessories for a successful celebration.

It is nice to have a celebration at this time of year. It is dark, cold, and wet most of the time. We are all longing for some time off school or work, and to have a bit of fun “just because” is nice enough. But I do wish for something a little more mindful, simply because I like things that are done with intention. Halloween as it is in Norway today is celebrated with the intention of shops making money. And that is not good enough for me.


Halloween is originally a catholic tradition. Norway was once a catholic nation, even though that is a long time ago. The name ‘Halloween’ derives from ‘All Hallows Eve’, the evening before All Hallows Day, which was celebrated November 1. It was created somewhere between 900 and 1000 ad. and was a catholic holiday until sometime in the 19th century.

But Halloween have roots even further back in history, to the celebration of Samhain, which was the Celtic new year celebration. The beginning of winter was considered as a very dangerous time of the year by the Celts. The barriers between the human and spirit world would break down during Samhain. The spirits could enter the world of the living, and the living could enter the spirit world and for instance see their future. The Celtc made food – and maybe human – offerings on large bonfires to appease the spirits.

In a christian context this offering was made into soul cakes or soulmass-cake and given to the poor who would go from door to door and trade a cake for a prayer for the giver, their friends or their late relatives in the purgatory. Eventually the custom disappeared and youths and children started to walk from door to door just for fun. Today my kids, among others, are playing spirits “from the other side” (a dead soldier, a pirate-ghost and a Robin Hood fox (scary for the affluent at least)), and they scoop in a massive amount of candy to “be nice” and do no harm.

The story behind the pumpkin lantern is also about a dead soul . A scammer named Jack had no respect for rules og boundaries. He fooled absolutely everyone, even the devil. So when he died he was refused access to both heaven and hell. But he did get a few glowing pieces of charcoal with him from the gates of hell when he was refused. He put them in a cabbage root. And that was how he made the lantern that now lights up all the dark places in the no man’s land he is stranded in, somewhere in the middle of heaven and hell. In the USA this cabbage root turned into a pumpkin.

Halloween is much about the positions in between. The purgatory in the catholic tradition, the Celts New Years Eve, the no man’s land in the story about Jack. We thematize the relationship between security and fear, order and chaos, life and death. It seems easier to play the paradoxes in life than to explain them rationally, like the contradiction that in facing what we fear the most, we often find foothold. A child could play the scary monster under her bed, or something else that is the scariest thing in the world. Kids need support to dramatize their most fearsome and groundbreaking experiences. Halloween is a good way to do just that 🙂

Blessed Celtic New Year and Happy Halloween and Samhain. ❤


I think nature dying can be very beautiful.