Appropriation: Worship Like You Stole It

Okay. Appropriation. I want to have a discussion, and here’s a thought I seem to always have when the topic comes up. As an American, everything I have is appropriated. I have not a single thing that I can claim as unique cultural heritage found only in my birth land that belongs to “my people”. The language I use-English, is an obvious place to begin. I learned Spanish. I’m not Latina. Therefore, by the broad scope of appropriation, I’ve just bungled. English itself is a mash up of other languages. I use it every day and I don’t bother giving a wit about the words that aren’t English. I don’t know the history of the words and I use them with impunity. I speak therefore I appropriate. I guess you can argue that my ancestors, or at least some of them, brought the language along with them, but some of my ancestors didn’t speak English, it was forced on them. So, am I now practicing some strange form of forced appropriation? Is there a term for that?

I’m not Native American, or at least not ONLY Native American (I believe I would be about 1/8 native American. My Great Grandmother was the ancestor in question.), so if I try to immerse myself in that culture I wasn’t raised in it can be considered appropriation. I haven’t, but I like learning about it, and I’ve occasionally thought I’d like to use some terms here or there in my spiritual practice, though I don’t out of shear laziness. It takes more time to explain something unusual than use common lexicon. I use sage-sage bundles, which are native American in origin, without knowing much about the traditional use for them. I don’t feel bad about it and I don’t know that most pagans would. I rather think of it as a tool l’ve acquired that works. Should I research it? Probably. Nothing but good would come of it. However, I’m extremely thankful for the people who came before me and realized Sage was awesome.

Because of my mixed genetic background I can say I feel free to work with any number of deities, but I wasn’t really raised in any of the backgrounds they “come from”, such as the Norse pantheon I work with now. I’m not part of the Asatru bandwagon that thinks we should only work with deities we’re blood tuned for (*cough*racisist undertones*cough* Excuse me.), but then isn’t that what the abhorrence of appropriation is all about? Don’t raid other people’s cultures for your own benefit, willy nilly. I wonder how America’s Buddhists feel about this? Either it’s okay for me to research and come to something respectfully and use it in my practice or work with deities that want to work with me, or it isn’t.

For example, most Americans almost look on Greek and Roman mythology as our own. It’s very intrinsic to our culture, at least educationally, yet, it isn’t ours. Is it appropriation if Persephone wants to work with me (I’m not Greek) if She’s decided to work with me? In some ways the entire idea of appropriation spiritually is just farcical. Some aspects of appropriation seem to negate the idea of free will on behalf of deities or the fact that some ideas simply don’t exist in other cultures. Isn’t making up new words for an idea, such as two spirit people for example, more disrespectful than simply using the original term? I realize bigender is more academic, but there was already a name for that. Maybe I’m just being a jackass and maybe I just don’t get it, but much like the rest of American culture, spiritually, there just isn’t anything unique that I can lay claim to without “appropriating”.  We don’t have many things that are uniquely our own aside from Phili cheese steaks, the Liberty Bell, and arguably, pop culture deities that originate in the States. Voodoo, I suppose, but wouldn’t that still be appropriation? Thoughts? Should I just let this go? I think that people who come from countries with their own deities and cultures get more hung up on appropriation than Americans do, in general, because of this stuff.

Americans don’t have anything that we haven’t stolen.

Satanists are Pagans Too

SatanistsandLokeans

This meme was fueled by a discussion on a widely used pagan forum about whether or not to give a booth to Satanists …because they’re Satanists and “not pagan”. Excuse me? When did that happen?

And Satanists are generally no more disruptive than other Pagans at events. I’ve seen many a drunken, naked participant, especially at week long camping circles.

I mean, I know it might not be a popular idea, but I can’t think of anything so opposed to Christianity, as Satanists are. If they are squarely in the Abrahamic paradigm, which many Satanists are not, even then shouldn’t we welcome them? They’re worshipping a different god than the Christians, and that, really, is all it seems to take to shelter under the umbrella of Paganism. That’s not even getting into the discussion of Luciferianism and the Satanists that don’t accept the Abrahamic paradigm. The ones who go, NOPE, these gods existed before the bible and the bible got it wrong. (I’m kind of in that camp, since genesis talks about a council of gods making the world if you read it in Hebrew and understand the different nuances of the word forms.)

Where does all this self righteous Paganism come from? It reminds me far too much of the Heathens who cower from Loki because he’s “evil”. Loki’s not evil, He’s just got shit to do and He gets it done. I suspect Lucifer is the same way. I’m sure His people Adore Him, He has His Loves, and does His good deeds and bad deeds in the world just like every other entity.

Lokeans probably share a special empathy with, or would that be sympathy for, Satanists. Both of our deities get single sided stories told about them, are feared and constantly maligned, and then people are surprised when They get shitty with the occasional irreverent mortal who doesn’t expect anything better from them and calls them up anyway. That’s assuming folks even get the real Lucifer or Loki on the line. I’ll always defend Satanists because I would hope someone would take up the cause of Loki’s people in our absence.

Yoinked Traditions and Irritating Christian Family Members

Am I right in that most PAGANS know the bible better than most Christians? Maybe I’m not, but it’s starting to feel like it.

I inadvertently managed to offend a Christian family member on my facebook feed today. (Not that doing so is a phenomenally difficult thing to do, but anyway…) The entire event made me realize she had a valid point, however. It all started with a meme talking about Jeremiah 10 insinuating that Christians shouldn’t decorate “Christmas” trees because of this passage, which in actuality talks about not making idols, and I knew that, but I posted it anyway because I thought it was funny.

She brought up the point that posting this meme merely spread misinformation.

So, I won’t be doing that anymore.

I’ll be keeping my posts about appropriated holiday pageantry on point in the future-the “Christmas” tree was a yoinked Nordic tradition. The end.

Although, out of all of this I have realized I was doing something I’ve railed against in others of the Christian persuasion (read: Kirk Cameron and the laughable Kirk Cameron Saves Christmas). I did post something that I knew was misleading at best, so in the future I will only share well researched religiously related information, even when it comes down to something as innocuous as memes, and I encourage everyone else to do the same.

Tell people exactly, in excruciating detail, where their beloved “Christian” holidays come from. I don’t think they’ll like it much better, but at least you won’t be spreading half truths. I think we all have some family members who don’t appreciate knowing about Heathenry, Paganism, or history in general. Hopefully we can get through the holidays without wanting to strangle each other over the holiday turkey.

Odin’s Gift

Loki’s strawberry blond hair winked in the winter sunlight, large fluffy snowflakes catching in the strands. He hunched his lanky frame behind the smooth silver bark of the tree grinning while he molded the snowball carefully. Today was his birthday and Odin had a surprise for him, but he had one for Odin too. The snowball had to be to exact proportions. He didn’t like it when they were lumpy or oblong. They had to be perfect. His hands numbed while he waited, weapon in hand, so he gently sat the snowball aside gathering the folds of his light cloak in his hands, pulling them tight to his body. He played with his breath, watching the white cloud mist in the afternoon sunlight.

He shivered. His blue cloak was a pleasure to look at, it reminded him of his best friend’s eyes, but wasn’t doing much to keep out the weather. His mother preferred warmer climates and had never quite figured out what winter clothing should be. She simply stayed by the fire. They were only here, far in the north, because his father insisted it was safer right now, though from what Loki had not been able to figure out. He smiled when he heard boots crunching in the newly fallen snow. He’d been waiting here for over an hour so there would be no footprints. He held his breath to keep from laughing out loud. As quietly as a fairy dancing on a frosted leaf he picked up his snow ball and tensed his muscles, waiting. Waiting.

When the familiar tall form of his friend passed his hideaway, lost in contemplation as was usual for him, he almost didn’t strike. The snowflakes stuck in Odin’s black hair, shiny strands blending in with the cloak he was wearing, his strong form cutting an unhurried path through the trees, and Loki was frozen, like the rivers, like the air. Then a small smirk tugged at his lips and he let fly the perfect, round ball with a snicker. His friend heard that giggle, but when he turned and ducked he took the missile directly in the face.

“Ha! Predictable old man!” Loki hooted out another laugh, dancing in place to keep warm now that surprise wasn’t necessary. Odin growled, wiping the melting snow from his face, but it was with fond exasperation and not true anger that he pounced on his younger friend. They wrestled for a few moments, Loki not truly trying to get away, until they tumbled together in a heap on the ground. A handful of snow found its way under Loki’s shirt and he yelped and giggled while he struck out with an elbow that caught Odin in the stomach. Gasping and laughing the taller teen flopped onto his back and together they watched the sunlight dance between the snowflakes.

“I got you.”

“Brat,” Odin laughed.

“But I did.”

“Yes.” Odin’s smile was wide and for a moment Loki was lost in it, lost flying in his sky eyes, lost in the happiness of being near his friend. Then he shivered, and his body reminded him that he was lying on the icy ground.  Odin frowned, and squinted at his friend.

“I thought you had changed your mind about going with me. I didn’t think it was like you to miss a chance to hear the poets. You can’t go with me like that,” he frowned tugging on Loki’s cloak. “Our journey will take several hours.”

“Like what?” Loki asked sitting up. He felt offended, but he wasn’t quite sure why. He pushed a lock of his hair behind his ear, hands shaking with the cold and something else. He didn’t like it when he disappointed Odin, but he wasn’t even sure what he’d done.

Odin sighed and stood. He knew that look. Loki was gearing up to be obstinate. “It wasn’t a reprimand. I am thinking of your wellbeing. Take this,” he said pulling off his cloak, tossing in onto Loki’s head. He laughed and pulled it off, hair sticking out like he’d been standing in a strong wind.

“No,” he said trying to hand it back, but Odin winked and stepped away, hands behind his back.

“Why?”

“It’s yours.”

“So are you. You are my friend.” Loki looked on with interest as Odin’s cheeks tinted redder than they had been with the cold as he turned on his heel to cut a path through the forest.

“Oh, well…Thank you.” Loki said, rushing to keep up, but he still didn’t put the cloak around his shoulders. Odin’s long legs ate up the distance and Loki had a moment of envy. He’d grown recently, but Odin was still taller. He was beginning to suspect he’d always be shorter. Watching Odin, Loki felt …warm, inside, deep in his gut, as he clutched the soft cloth close.

“I have another. We’ll go back to camp,” Odin said dismissively, but Loki stopped with a grunt, tugging on Odin’s black shirt, tangling his fingers tight into the material to stop him.

“No, if I do my Mother will make me stay.” Odin raised his eyebrows and Loki shrugged with a slow smile. It wasn’t the first time he’d run off when he wasn’t supposed to in order to spend an evening at Odin’s side.

“Here,” the taller youth said crowding into Loki’s space, pulling the cloak from his chilled fingers. He whirled the cloak around, placing it back onto his own shoulders while Loki looked on impressed by his friend’s grace. Odin held out a strong arm and when Loki hesitated, stepped into the smaller man draping a careful arm around his shoulders. “Walk next to me then. It’s big enough for two.”

Loki wasn’t sure what to do with himself as they started to walk. Warmth radiated between their moving bodies and Odin seemed to know where they were going, like he always seemed to-even when he did not-and Loki relaxed, wrapping his own arm around Odin’s waist, wiggling his fingers between his wide belt and the shirt so they could stay warm. Odin smelled of campfire and pipe smoke and pine. As they walked Odin’s black hair, long enough to brush Loki’s cheek, fluttered and tickled him until he laughed. With an exaggerated scowl Odin stopped to pull it out of the way tying it with a leather thong at his neck. Loki was more in the way than not, but he didn’t want to move away from Odin’s heat, so he stood there, pressed to his side.

“Thank you,” he said quietly while his friend readjusted his cloak around them. Odin nodded and smiled that small, mysterious smile he got sometimes, the one that made his face softer, and his eyes less serious.

“Hospitality is a kindness for all involved,” he replied gruffly as they walked through the forest onto a well-used path. He looked away from Loki, gazing into the distance. Loki leaned around Odin to look that direction too, but didn’t see anything interesting. He shrugged and leaned into the curl of his friend’s arm, trusting him to take them where they should be.

Helping Others

My first boyfriend was a witch I met online. I had a dear friend that I shared a lot of my time and life with when I wasn’t working or in school, but we weren’t “official” (my very nuanced teenaged lexicon at work) and even though I was happy with him there was something that rang a bit hollow about what we were doing, probably because I knew he was doing a lot of other someones and I wasn’t ever going to be included in those adventures. We were in more of an open relationship, he didn’t particularly care whom I spent my time with so long as I still spent some of it with him, so I wanted something that I thought was real. And for me I internalized real to be the cultural norm of a single committed relationship even though that didn’t seem like something that had ever made anyone else in my life happy. I thought, why not give it a shot?

I was fifteen and desperately searching for anyone of a like mind. I lived in a conservative area where most people thought I was some sort of hippy, and I let them, so that put me out of the running for most of the local boys. Their parents would not appreciate them bringing home anyone but a sweet, fundie girl. I met my boyfriend, the first person to ever take an extended interest in me that wasn’t someone I’d known my entire life, on a site popular among people of the craft at that time. He was Wiccan, or claimed to be, though we never had a discussion about paganism or witch craft after we met up in real life. When we talked online exchanging e-mails and ever more deeper personal information he told me he was 17. Then we started exchanging lively and interesting phone calls. He had a great voice, a quick wit, and a dirty mind. I loved it. I was in love.

As an added bonus he lived nearby and he had a car.

I was insanely, nervously excited about him until I opened my front door and realized he wasn’t 17. The person on the other side of my door was a man, not a boy on the verge of manhood. Then I was just nervous, but he was the same quick witted smooth talker I’d had on the phone, and he told me he didn’t want to frighten me off with the age difference since he enjoyed talking to me so much. He said he was 21. That night I slept with him and it was fun and all right, but after the blankets cooled and he’d taken himself home something wasn’t right there either. I still wasn’t happy. This man said he wanted to be my boyfriend and I wasn’t happy with it even though that’s everything I thought I always wanted. I just wanted to be one of those normal girls with a boyfriend. I wanted to have one part of the crazy life I was living line up with the concept of teen girl hood. Topically, he was everything I wanted. He was a Wiccan. He was old enough that he had a car and money to spend on me. He was cute. But something didn’t feel right to me. Just. Didn’t. Feel. Right.

I’ve since learned my lesson when that happens. Warning bells are to be heeded.

I ignored the feeling. Ignored it completely even though it would niggle here and there. He would borrow money from me occasionally for gas, something I thought was reasonable since I didn’t have a car yet and he would drive us around. Then he just wanted to borrow money to borrow money, which really meant I was just giving him money. Then one night when we were in bed together, or maybe it was in the back seat of his car I don’t clearly recall, I started asking about his tattoos.

They were prison tattoos. Oh, yes, he’d forgotten to clue me into that part of his life.

Yeah, I found that out and didn’t run and hide. Everyone has had their bad days. By this point I’d actually had my own run ins with the law, had been on probation. I was willing to let it go.

Several months later while I was trying to convince my heart that I should love this man, this clever and entertaining man I was sharing myself with, I found out he was living with a woman. Now, when I found that out, by this time I was sixteen and considered myself more of a woman of the world, so I almost put the kibosh on the whole thing, but really, I thought, they must not be happy if he’s spending all of his free time with me, so I didn’t. I figured time would play out the end of the other relationship. I was still seeing my other guy, so what did it matter?

I found out almost nine months after I started dating him that he had a kid. I didn’t tell anyone about it. I didn’t tell anyone about my relationship at all really, other than my closest friends, and my not boyfriend was upset, but only mildly, so I kept on. I think I wanted someone to be upset on my behalf after everything started going belly up. I think I wanted my first shot at love to work out, be real, be what I wanted. Be something solid I could count on.

Eventually, I found out he was 30. He slipped up, gave me enough clues, and then couldn’t wiggle out of divulging his actual age. He didn’t look 30, and that wouldn’t even be that big a deal for me except he, in the end, did use my youth and stupidity against me for a great many things. At one point I went with him to a city over 100 miles away from my home after I did some fancy footwork with half truths to my father, and he wasn’t going to take me home again. I was gone for almost two weeks during the summer. He didn’t want to let me go. He wasn’t violent, but I could see everything going that direction. I finally threatened to call the police and left the apartment pleading with friends to come get me to bring me home. I never told my father about all of this because I didn’t want to be berated for being an idiot. I also never heard from my “boyfriend” again.

I carried this around with me. I’d started out with trust issues, but this first relationship shoved my baggage chock full of it making every other person who has tried to be with me deal with it at least a little, which isn’t fair, but is a fact. It effected me profoundly and for life.

So, why am I talking about it now? I’m less concerned about the statutory rape that went on, ’cause the gods know I was extremely willing on the sex front, but taking advantage of young people? You bet that pisses me off, especially in retrospect now that I’ve hit the same age that this man was. I would never in a million years think to do what he did to a young person. I wouldn’t want to. There’s a large potential for young people or people just new to the community (often one and the same) to be taken advantage of by other, often elders-well intentioned or ill intentioned. I would like to think of a way to create safe guards for young people in the community-the larger pagan community and the Heathen community-or even just the world at large.

It seems to me that one good way to do this would be to educate, tell stories like mine, not to frighten people, but simply to make them aware that there are bad people out there, even in the smaller enclave of life that constitutes the pagan community. I would like it if there were more physical touchstones, safe places people could go when they needed help in the pagan community. Maybe more public Covensteads? Places with trusted, vetted, community members manning posts so that when someone knocks on their door they can readily offer solid help. And of course, it would be helpful if our young people felt comfortable going to outsiders for help as well. As a young person in the ’90’s there is no way that I would have felt comfortable telling this story to the police. I would have immediately felt like I would have been judged for being a pagan, being different, brought the entire misadventure on myself for going outside the proscribed norms of society. Depending on where a person lived today I still think that might be the case. I am thinking very earnestly of setting up some sort of pagan help net, something to help catch people before they hit the real world head first, here in my local community, and I would ask that anyone who might find themselves in a similar position to be helpful in other communities to brainstorm and come up with one good goal or activity they could create to help youngsters, or anyone really, who might find themselves having these types of problems. How can we help young people negotiate the world more effectively without frightening them?

Tortured Artist Syndrome

The other day I read an article that talked about what I like to term “tortured artist syndrome.” I dislike the idea that all artists must live tortured miserable lives to produce good art. In a way it almost makes art seem shallow like it isn’t a vital part of dynamic living, which isn’t the case at all. Art IS my life. Creating-with words or color-is necessary to my ability to function. If I don’t create I am miserable. I literally have experienced the opposite of tortured artist syndrome. I am a tortured citizen of mundania when I do nothing but live my life day to day not letting loose all of the ideas that flood my mind while I’m say…doing the dishes or driving to the grocery store. Whether I do anything with them or not the ideas are there. They build up. They have to get free somehow. I literally write stories in my mind even when I don’t write them down, and then they’re lost. Not every story floating in my head is fantastic, but sometimes I get one that just won’t quit and that one has to find the paper or drive me crazy till it does.

Where does this idea that art must be fueled by misery come from? Okay, there are probably great historical answers available about the origins of the idea, but I really think a large chunk of it comes from the fact that to live and breathe art of any variety many artists have made the choice to sacrifice, live poor, for their art. The very idea of being Bohemian-basically throwing it all away to submerge yourself into the poor life of an artist, living a life full of creativity and love come what may, is a great representation of this. To be an artist is to be poor, and to be poor is to deal with far greater stressors than someone who has chosen a different more profitable trek in life. And to consciously be poor? To know by your actions that unless your art really takes off you will always be poor and potentially die with only the satisfaction that you lived a creative life? I think, when it gets hard and the dark patches come, say when you find yourself sleeping on a floor for year or three or when you find yourself juggling meals with survival in mind while you’re buying pens and paper…that’s when the idea of a tortured artist becomes a reality.

Some of our most beloved artists lived life this way. Monet did. The difference? While he was living with other artists and begging money from family so he could spend just one more year painting, just one more year fighting for recognition before he would cave-give up-go into the family business-he was in a society that seemed to value art more than we do now in many ways. Even though it wasn’t something his family supported-the painting-Monet was living in a time when patronizing the arts was at least a relevant concept. There is very little support for the arts here in our place and time. The idea of funding an artist-supporting an artist-being a patron of the arts- is far more foreign than it was in the past, and the whole idea of the tortured artist was around a hundred years ago. Two even.

So, I don’t think we really have tortured artists, we have an exceptionally poor creative class, and often times they turn to alcohol and other drugs to self medicate away the irritations of being poor, not because they are creative types and all creative types are this way. The image of Hemmingway drinking himself into a stupor while he wrote is one that people love to fawn over, but being an alcoholic isn’t a necessary factor in being a writer. The poor creative class shares every other problem of poverty-lack of medical care, often lack of decent food, lack of options, and quite commonly high student loan debt. I think that might also add to the “torture” of current artists. Creative people have frequently been to college and someone who has made the choice to try to make it on their art may be underemployed to try to give themselves the most vital piece of the creativity puzzle. Time.

Time is vital to creativity. Time is vital to any aspect of dynamic living, and poor people overwhelmingly have less of it than people who are financially secure. I know I’m wrong and there are exceptions to every rule, but I think creative people who were able to secure proper funding for their endeavors could easily leave behind the tortured artists mystic and live the robust lives –inside our heads and out- that we really want. Yes, there are people who have depression problems and are creative or other issues, but overwhelmingly, I think the problem of the creative class, the Bohemians, the artists is one of poverty, willful or otherwise, and the best way to obliterate the tortured artist stereotype would be for art funding to come back into fashion.

Society only benefits from art, so why are there no longer art patrons? Who doesn’t like to read? Look at beautiful sculptures and paintings? Listen to gorgeous music? Why are corporations driving these essential growth arenas of public life and not private citizens?

Okay, maybe some of this is wishful thinking. Maybe some of this is just that my own life would be infinitely easier if I had a patron to fund me. And that’s true, but, the tortured artist image would become a much smaller face of the art community, even if it persisted in myth and legend, if we weren’t all struggling so much with the day to day.

Beach Meditations: Jormungandr

I woke up this morning with the idea of going to the beach to meditate thrumming in my head, and that was quickly followed by the thought-“and leave an offering for Jormungandr”. So, I woke up and went through my morning routine quickly-I woke up a full half hour before my alarm went off as well-and that’s what I did. The sun was glinting on tossing water and the sand was dimpled and soft from the rains last night. The air was so clean my nose twitched and the energy of the lake washed over me the second my foot hit the ground.

Walking out, I lit my incense and found a spot for it, and then I walked, looking out over the water and slipped into a small meditation. The first thing I realized as I walked is why Loki and Jormungandr’s energies sing so much alike to me, or at least part of why. They both hold sway over “in between places”. I grounded on the shoreline, letting my energy stretch out and around the shore, and with Lake Erie that is a vast, vast area, and felt that special kinship with Loki that grounding to in between places brings for me. While I did that the image of the World Serpent, curled lovingly around our realm hit me. Jormungandr is also a deity of in between places. He is an in between place if you follow the lore. I believe he has an intrinsic understanding of the boundaries between the realms and boundaries between time and place. He has a very, thorough understanding of the basic building blocks of the universe as a result and I believe has the ability to understand and possibly effect most of what reality is built on.

Jor is very much an aquatic deity to me-loving and living in the water for a lot of His existence and a lot of His life-depending on how literally one wants to take the lore. I believe the lore is both literal and figurative. Jor certainly isn’t anchored in one place like the tales of Atlas, at least not in spirit. I’ve spoken before about my astral temple, and how it is an island in a/the Primordial Ocean. Usually there are starry skies over my temple, never changing, but I’ve been forced into daylight often enough when Jormungandr is near, and seen him in the distance, massive body curling out of the ocean while seagulls call. So, if I had to say of which element does Jor most associate I would have to say Water, but that is just from me, and something I would choose to use as a magical association for purposes of spell work. I don’t know what the other “authorities” on the subject might think.

In contrast to my certainty that Jor isn’t tied to His body holding the boundary between the realms I’ve had some insight into why He is the way He is as far as the way He feels about life. He’s very focused on reality and dealing with problems expediently and not, as I said before, what I would term overly romantic. He’s a realist on almost every level. His body, massive, larger than the oldest tree, protects and encircles some area of the realms-whether it is exactly as we have been told in lore or not I hesitate to guess-and it is under constant assault, from beings who would like to get through to roam, and even just from animals and such. He’s gnawed at and constantly healing. He’s battered and constantly repairing. He’s constantly in pain, and He’s learned to throw it off and ignore it. Pain is a part of life and we move on in spite of it. He’s not one for lingering and wallowing in pain because pain is His constant companion in His serpentine body. Is or was. I can’t tell if He’s still performing this duty, though He might be on one level, but obviously isn’t tied to that body any longer.
Time and reality are shifty things to pin down sometimes, especially when dealing with the spirit realm and deities.

After my ruminations this morning, as I was walking along the beach before I left to go to work, I found three pieces of clear and white beach glass. I’ve never found any before, in spite of searching for many years, and so, I thank you Jormungandr for the gifts.

Hail to the World Serpent!