There I was, minding my own business. I was listening to a speaker give their presentation and share some of the wealth of knowledge they have. To be honest, I am not sure which class it was. All the classes at our retreat were exceptional and each one offered plenty of nuggets. (Nuggets are what I call those lovely bits of information that make an impact on me. And if one pays attention, these nuggets are everywhere!) The whole weekend was really kind of a blur and seems to have blended nicely together. Not a complaint. At all.
I think the comment was said off hand, in part of a conversation. The word seemed to hang in the air. It lit up while dangling there, all in bright neon before whacking me between the eyes. I spent a lot my time off and on over the rest of the Retreat rolling it around in my head. The word, ‘Sacrifice’. Ping!
Do you ever get those? That ‘thing’ that happens, that you know you need to pay attention to? Or act on? This may come as a massive surprise to some of y’all, but I am not a subtle person. So, it seems because of that, I get those not so subtle ‘hints’. I call them pings. ‘THIS RIGHT HERE YOU NEED TO PAY ATTENTION TO!’ or ‘IT WOULD BE A GOOD IDEA IF YOU DID THIS THING’ I also refer to these as ‘polite suggestions’. Have you ever seen the movie Boondock Saints? The first one. The court scene where Connor says ‘These are not polite suggestions. These are codes of behavior, and those of you that ignore them will pay the dearest cost.’
I digress. I’m chewing over this word, sacrifice. And I am thinking to myself, what MORE can I do? I am almost done with the book She 'suggested' I write, I mentor for the Veterans Treatment Court (VTC), I facilitate a five-month course on the Morrigan, I teach metal magic, I start and end each day in devotion, all these things and more are done in service to Her, what more can I possibly do? Sacrifice.
With the start of my work with the VTC, the agreement between Her and me was that I would abstain from adult beverages while serving as a mentor. That was close to 4 years ago. Not gonna' lie, there are days I really miss it. I do give Irish Whiskey as an offering at Her shrine at the Smithy. Not a temptation. Not a sacrifice.
My personal alcoholic drink of choice is Scotch. Single malt particularly. Talisker precisely. And when I returned home from the Morrigan’s Call Retreat, it showed up again. Sacrifice. I spent a few days with it. Yup, sacrifice. I told my Beloved about it and the response was, ‘Wow, now that’s something’. So, it was decided.
Now I needed two things. One, Talisker. I know me and up to this point, have not kept it in the house. Easy enough to get it at the ABC store though. The other, a vessel I think worthy to hold it. The easy choice would be some form of metal. This, however, was not going to be easy. It couldn’t be what I already have. I needed to make something fitting. Lo and behold I happen to have a few scrap pieces of black walnut around from another project She ‘suggested’. (Are you seeing a theme yet?)
I am not a woodworker. By any definition. And by the way, how does one make something out of wood to hold a wee dram? With what I had? After spending a few days with this challenge, I came up with this idea. I reckon it’s a shot glass, made from black walnut, and I am pleased with it.
You may be asking yourself by now, what does this have to do with blacksmithing? I have only mentioned metal twice so far. In my view, in my world, it has everything to do with it. My Work is not separate from me. There is not a 'magical smith me,' a 'priest me' and a 'mundane me'. I am just me. How I live is how I live. In my metal work I have the same process. I feel into the Work. I listen to what I am told. I am an active participant in the 'polite suggestions'. I am open to change and a variety of ideas. And I do the Work. Eventually, have no doubt. To answer the topic question, Sacrifice or Offering, I think it is one, until it becomes the other. At least in my experience. I would answer it with Yes. What are your thoughts?
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