@coldalbion / coldalbion.tumblr.com

Sorcery & Storytelling by a (Crippled) Bearded Frothing Madman. Elder Millennial old enough to remember when you didn't tell the internet your age. ++Nazis Are Distinctly Unwelcome++

Odin as Help-bringer

The first charm I know is unknown to rulers Or any of human kind; Help it is named, for help it can give In hours of sorrow and anguish - The Havamal

The Old Man is a bastard. Let me say that at the outset; he’ll twist things to his advantage always. There’s a reason he backs heroes and gets them killed, there’s a reason he’s blood-brothers with Loki and gets thralls killed so he can gain access to Gunnlodh’s chamber deep within the mountain. He has his own agenda, something just as vast and terrible as he is.

I’ve said before that he understands the dark times, that he’ll teach you to see the light in the depths, just as he sees with an empty eye. And this help he brings, it’s not a ‘human’ easing. It’s something else, a strangeness that moves a different way, within and beyond what we consider human, but never being bound or defined by it.

It’s unknown to rulers - which is to say it has little to do with so-called traditional exercises of power; an odd, asocial kind of negative capability which exists beyond systems of thought or structure. In a sense, it’s the shadow which is only spotted when the light is blocked, the ice which exists only because of fire - cold is, after all, measured in terms of temperature, is it not?

It’s an indefinable quality, a particular ever-shifting shape which exists as the endless, inevitable alternative process of Being.

shadow (v.) Middle English schadowen, Kentish ssedwi, from late Old English sceadwian “to protect as with covering wings” (also see overshadow), from the root of shadow (n.). Similar formation in Old Saxon skadoian, Dutch schaduwen, Old High Germanscatewen, German (über)schatten. From mid-14c. as “provide shade;” late 14c. as “cast a shadow over” (literal and figurative), from early 15c. as “darken” (in illustration, etc.). Meaning “to follow like a shadow” is from c.1600 in an isolated instance; not attested again until 1872. Related: Shadowed; shadowing.
shadow (n.) Old English sceadwe, sceaduwe “the effect of interception of sunlight, dark image cast by someone or something when interposed between an object and a source of light,” oblique cases (“to the,” “from the,” “of the,” “in the”) of sceadu (see shade (n.)).Shadow is to shade (n.) as meadow is to mead (n.2). Similar formation in Old Saxon skado, Middle Dutch schaeduwe, Dutch schaduw, Old High German scato, German schatten, Gothic skadus “shadow, shade”
shade (n.) Middle English schade, Kentish ssed, from late Old English scead “partial darkness; shelter, protection,” also partly from sceadu “shade, shadow, darkness; shady place, arbor, protection from glare or heat,” both from Proto-Germanic *skadwaz (cognates: Old Saxon skado, Middle Dutch scade, Dutch schaduw, Old High German scato, German Schatten, Gothic skadus), from PIE *skot-wo-, from root *skot- “dark, shade” (cognates: Greek skotos “darkness, gloom,” Albanian kot “darkness,” Old Irish scath, Old Welshscod, Breton squeut “darkness,” Gaelic sgath “shade, shadow, shelter”). 
 .sciamachy (n.) “fighting with shadows, shadow-boxing” 1620s, from Greek skiamakhia “shadow-fighting, a sham fight” but perhaps literally “fighting in the shade” (i.e., in school; ancient teachers taught in shaded public places such as porches and groves), from skia “shade, shadow” (see shine (v.)) + makhe “battle” (see -machy).  shine (v.) Old English scinan “shed light, be radiant, be resplendent, iluminate,” of persons, “be conspicuous” (class I strong verb; past tense scan, past participle scinen), from Proto-Germanic *skinan (cognates: Old Saxon and Old High German skinan, Old Norse and Old Frisian skina, Dutch schijnen, German scheinen, Gothic skeinan “to shine, appear”), from PIE root *skai- (2) “to gleam, shine, flicker” (cognates: Sanskrit chaya “brilliance, luster; shadow,” Greek skia “shade,” Old Church Slavonic sinati “to flash up, shine,” Albanian he “shadow”). Transitive meaning “to black (boots)” is from 1610s. Related: Shined (in the shoe polish sense), otherwise shone; shining. -machy word-forming element meaning “battle, war, contest,” from Latinized form of Greek -makhia, from makhe “a battle, fight,” related to makhesthai “to fight,” from PIE root *magh- (2) “to fight.” magic (n.) late 14c., “art of influencing events and producing marvels using hidden natural forces,” from Old French magique “magic, magical,” from Late Latin magice “sorcery, magic,” from Greek magike (presumably with tekhne “art”), fem. of magikos “magical,” from magos “one of the members of the learned and priestly class,” from Old Persian magush, possibly from PIE *magh- (1) “to be able, to have power” (see machine). Transferred sense of “legerdemain, optical illusion, etc.” is from 1811. Displaced Old English wiccecræft (see witch); also drycræft, from dry “magician,” from Irish drui “priest, magician” (see druid). 
might (n.) Old English miht, earlier mæht “might, bodily strength, power, authority, ability,” from Proto-Germanic *makhti- (cognates: Old Norse mattr, Old Frisian, Middle Dutch, Dutch macht, Old High German maht, German Macht, Gothic mahts), Germanic suffixed form of PIE root *magh- (1) “be able, have power” (see may (v.)). 

This is the power-that-is-not-power; the facility with the quality which abrogates the known;  it removes & annuls & attacks the thing we have been taught and have come to believe as implicit reality.

We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns – the ones we don’t know we don’t know ” - Donald Rumsfeld.

Zizek points out there are also  the unknown knowns - those things which we intentionally refuse to acknowledge.

These are the Old Man’s bread and butter - the terrible things, the unacknowledged darknesses hidden in the brightest lights, and the massively contrary brightness found within the darkest places.

The help he brings is the help learnt by nine nights of suffering; his inescapable, inevitable binding and wounding upon Yggdrasil, the sacrifice of his eye, the ‘gelding’ of himself as he went amongst witches as Jalkr.

The unspeakable truths uttered by Loki in the Lokasenna, which even Frigg would keep buried; the oathbreaking, which for our ancestors was tantamount to undermining the fabric of society - all these things has Odin done.

There in the shadows he stands, with his thirst for knowledge, for Gnosis; a yawning hungry maw, as hungry as the wolf that he knows will devour him. There he stands, wings spread, to cover us protectively with their shadow.

His help comes from the knowing-there-is-no-escape and turning even that to his advantage. By doing that, he violates even the idea that any deployment of conventional power merely perpetuates the pre-existing frame and context.

His help says: leave what you know, and come follow me. His help says: we shall wander forever, together, and you shall never go back to what you were.

His help says: when you come to the place you thought of as home, it shall be as a stranger, and you shall see it all, in every way, anew.

Reborn, reconfigured; strange in shape and form  and casting a long shadow, the knots and lines of force and oppression which were laid upon you will no longer bind you. Instead, you will have plumbed them with an awful, glorious depth, and returned - singing songs of wisdom all the while.

 But ask, friends. Ask truly, and from the core of you, from the beat of your heart, with every fibre and sinew. Ask like that, and you may very well see the Old Man smile like the sun. Because when you ask, that’s when you realise that this help has always been with you, waiting to be noticed, to be discovered.

And if you never asked? That doesn’t matter. Remember - the help he brings is unknown to any of human kind.  

Unknown unknowns and unknown knowns

Time is short, the end is nigh, and the wolf is always hungry. You have only the whole of eternity to play with, after all. 


“So what’s your alternative?” people say, as if that’s logic. We don’t have to have an alternative, that’s not how critique works. We may do, and if we do, you’re welcome, but if we don’t that no more invalidates our hate for this, for what is, than does that of a serf for her lord, her flail-backed insistence that this must end, whether or not she accompanies it with a blueprint for free wage labor.” ― China Miéville, Three Moments of an Explosion

Well, all good things must come to an end and my holiday is over… I was able to update the shop with the last new items I showed you a bit. All these new headdresses are now available in the shop. I hope you like the colours!

Some "helpful" reviews, in case anyone is on the fence about watching The Sandman:

Here’s the thing. For everyone whining that they made the Sandman TV adaptation ‘extra gay for no reason.’

These comics were published around the same time (1988) that Section 28 came into effect in Britain - a truly dystopian law that forbade “the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship” or any kind of ‘promotion’ of homosexuality by any local authorities - it was deliberately vague in order to empower bigots and scare advocates.

This is the context in which Sandman was published. And it was still - beautifully, wonderfully and deliberately - queer as fuck.

They have not changed any character’s sexuality in the show. All they have done is honour them, in a time where it could not be more important to do so. When laws like section 28 are on the rise once more.

Sandman is a story about expectation and legacy and family. It’s a rejection of grand narratives and false ideals. It’s about confronting the darkest parts of the world to find the truest version of yourself.

Of course queer people are carrying this story. We always have.

I'd just done a comic, with Bryan Talbot and Mark Buckingham, for the Artists Against Rampant Government Homophobia (AARGH!) fundraising comic.

From 35 years away it could have been a whole lot better, but yes. This was the world we were making Sandman in...

It is important to note that Section 28 was only repealed in 2003. I was just starting my final year of undergrad. To repeat: As of this posting, it was repealed 19 years ago next month.

International Cat Day 2022

Today, August 8, is International Cat Day! In celebration of our feline friends, we’re sharing this lovely wood engraving of a Siamese cat by English wood engraver Chris Daunt. The wood engraving was made for a new book by David Blamires titled When in Doubt, Wash! and printed on the publication announcement for the book from Incline Press

The back of the publication announcement features a poem by English poet Christina Rossetti (1830-1894) titled “On the Death of a Cat: A Friend of Mine Aged Ten Years and a Half” and an image printed in yellow of a cat wearing a bow chasing a ball of yarn. The poem is credited as having been “Printed by Thomas Mouser at his Catnip Press”—cute! 

Also included here are my two cats, Smudge and Beez. They bring so much  joy to my life (not to mention fluff and cuteness) and I hope you have cats (or other pets!) in your life who do the same! 

Now go pet a cat! 

View another post starring Smudge!

– Alice, Special Collections Department Manager


I miss Jason

Honestly, that scale actually makes perfect sense, especially for a sixty person dance crew. You want people who are really good at what they do, but not who will attempt to stand out and affect the cohesion of the group. Too fresh and not fresh enough are both negative qualities. And Jason is just saying that an 8 represents the ideal amount. That’s actually pretty deep, and suggests a collectivist instinct in him.

And yes, that means that Jason is effectively saying that Michael is too smart for his own good, to his detriment.

It's fun reading writers who clearly grew up in suburban/urban environments as someone who grew up on a farm because they're always like "oh it was so creepy, woods at night, eerily breathtaking, something was living in there..." and it's like yeah that'll be the deer.



the trouble is humans are literally structured to find “a wizard did it” a more plausible explanation than things just happening by accident for no reason.

How dare a wizard make humans think like this

My review of Hermetic Spirituality and the Historical Imagination is now up

Been working on this the last couple of weeks - now up at Paralibrum. It was fun to work on and may annoy some folks. Hope you, and they, enjoy it.

"For this was not about magicians “gaining power” in conventional modern senses, but ritual specialists (priests) creating conditions for those involved to be able to apprehend the gods, and in that apprehension, be “lifted” from the contouring and structures of ordinary existence. Nor should it be assumed that the “lifting” necessarily implies a spatial hierarchy as perhaps our modern language might suggest. It is quite simply then, creating “set and setting” for the gods to engage. That kyphi or the respective incense might have acted in concert with the nervous system to enhance the experience is not some sort of gotcha to suggest everyone was high and therefore the experience was merelychemically induced. Quite to the contrary, because, as Hanegraaff suggests, “Alterations of consciousness result in altered states of knowledge.” (p.3) To meet and have congress with the gods was the point – and in doing so be acted-upon. Thus, it is about acquaintance, understanding, rather than description. So how are we to understand what those involved experienced? Hanegraaff suggests that we do so by considering that the gods reveal themselves to those involved, and it is by that divine appearance, by presence, that the body and soul are revealed themselves, and reconstituted and purified. It is not that the body, or the matter itself is corrupt or evil per se, rather that it has to be treated-with/by-divinity, which comes through the re-cognition of the faculty of imagination. The faculty of imagination, as related to nous, is fundamental to the actuality of existence. It is not some poor, deluded, dreamy mooncalf of a distant cousin, but the faculty and power of the gods themselves. "


[Image description: a series of images of Ethan Hawke sitting in a room with wooden walls, fairy lights, a guitar, and various out of focus images on the walls. He says:

“Most people don’t spend a lot of time thinking about poetry, right? They have a life to live, and they’re not that concerned with Allen Ginsberg’s poems or anybody’s poems!

Until… Their father dies, they go to a funeral, you lose a child, somebody breaks your heart, they don’t love you anymore. And all of a sudden, you’re desperate for making sense out of this life. ‘Has anybody ever felt this bad before? How did they come out of this cloud?’

Or the inverse - something great. You meet somebody and your heart explodes! You love them so much you can’t even see straight! You know, you’re dizzy! ‘Did anybody feel like this before? What is happening to me?’

And that’s when art’s not a luxury, it’s a sustenance. You need it.”

/End of description.]


imagine the most meanspirited, unlikeable, rude, bitter, self centered, negative person you can think of. not a rapist, not a murderer, not an abuser. just a charmless, tactless, dyed in the wool asshole you wouldn't want to spend two seconds with. now assume they get sick, not with the flu, but with a long term, serious illness that limits their ability to provide for themself. a society in which that person is left to die alone because nobody likes them on a personal level is a failed society.


and the thing is, no matter how likeable or charming or cute you are, peoples' patience runs out. the friends who drop everything to rush you to the ER the first time you shit blood tell you to stop being so tmi the fourteenth time. people might give you a couch to crash on the first week after your shitty ex kicks you out, but by week eight, you better have another place to stay. people run out of time, patience, money, compassion, energy. there needs to be an impersonal option, a real safety net that isn't going to dump you when you become inconvenient

For the record by the way

I don't even use queer as a primary identifer for myself, but I'm a bisexual man who's part of the queer community and love many of my queer-identifying and otherwise-identifying friends. I may not like the word faggot or fag being applied to me, but if other people want to joyfully proclaim themselves as that, I will always defend their right to do that. Why? Because my discomfort is mine, and I've deliberately worked to make sure that my discomfort does not overwhelm their joyous affirmation. I still flinch inwardly if it's said unexpectedly, but I know that's on me. Years ago it would make me retreat from non hetero normative spaces if it was brought up, because of my own experiences. But then? I realised that the ones who hate us want us to retreat from each other, to be picked off, be isolated. So I tried to work on my reactions. I brought it up in therapy. And eventually, I can smile when they say it, and affirm them as they do it. And no, I'm not saying people should put themselves in spaces that may be harmful to their mental health. What I am saying is, solidarity beats being alone any day. Find the others. Because sometimes, by admitting your pain is a personal thing, and there are bigger concerns, is the first step to ameliorating your own suffering.

Anonymous asked:

the implication that not wanting to be called a slur makes people just as bad as the people screaming the slur at them

Is this ask meant to achieve something? I only ask because I'm aware there's a distinction between not wanting to be personally called a thing, and insisting that nobody use it at all, despite it being used by literally millions of people as a label they love and enjoy - which has been used to political good for the whole community for over 30 years, as well as providing an academic framework for people inside and outside the community to understand themselves better. Are you aware of that distinction, anon? Are you aware that telling people they can't use it as a whole, (rather than just about you personally) appears to be directly stopping people who are not straight in accessing information because LGBTQIA+ topics are somehow immoral and/or inherently sexual? And that this means they are somehow "unsuitable" for the general public? So the algorithms and other powers that be decide it can't be mentioned? Are you aware say, of the "Don't Say Gay" bill in the US? Would it be better in your eyes if it were "Don't Say Queer", hmmm? I don't know who you are, anon, or where you're from, or how old you are but I'm deeply confused why you even sent this ask, because the thing is? I too had queer and gay slung at me with physical violence that required stitches when I was younger. The "safe" word here, was not safe for me. Is still not safe in some contexts in 2022. Telling people "you are wrong and impure in your practice and existence" is distinct from saying "Hey, I don't like this personally, could you not use it around me because reasons, but I will defend your right to live and express yourself as you will". The first is puritanical bullshit. The second is how you build solidarity