I have had an awful migraine today. It’s different enough from the ones I usually get that my normal meds haven’t touched the pain. I have been trying to sleep, but it’s more like trying to will myself into unconsciousness so that I can stop feeling pain for a while.
One of my partners rubbed my head for a while and made sure that my shoulders hadn’t dislocated while I wasn’t focusing on them (good news: not so far). I put a song on repeat that always helps my head pain and gently put in my earbuds even though sometimes they also hurt my ears and I closed my eyes against the dim light and I tried to rest.
The song is Traust by Heilung and the lyrics are in Old Norse (I think, I don’t speak Old Norse so I can’t be sure). According to this translation page, the name in English is Trust.
There is something about the rhythm and the way the singing is itself many instruments. It’s not music with lyrics. It’s music. There is one voice that stands out a little to me after so many hundreds of times that I’ve listened to it; it threads out a careful harmony and leads my ear to a place of more peace. It’s not the main singing voice, but one of the group making up the deep harmony that carries the song to the place it will go.
Eiris sazun idisi, sazun hera duoder;
Suma hapt heptidun, suma heri lezidun
Suma clubodun umbi cuoniouuidi:
Insprinc haptbandun, invar vigandun
Once sat women, they sat here, then there.
Some fastened bonds, some impeded an army,
Some unraveled fetters:
Escape the bonds, flee the enemy!
I think it’s a song about the old magics of protection and binding and releasing, of cursing and blessing. I think it’s a song about remembering the stories that make us who we are. I think it’s a song about the people among us who are willing to confront risk in order to protect those under their care. I think it’s a song about trusting our gods and the wisdom and the magic they gave us.
It’s a song stitched together with charms and words from different important writings.
When I listen to this song, I feel safe. Even in my pain. I am safe.
There aren’t very many things that help me feel like I’m going to be okay when I am in so much pain.
A cloth that’s been drenched in cold water, wrung out, and folded over my eyes — so the weight and the cold can seep into my head.
Cool fingers on my too-hot skin.
A dark room to lie in.
Water to pour into my mouth even when it hurts to swallow.
My ‘migraine cocktail’ made of OTC meds that I always have on hand.
This song, over and over and over and over again.
These things are my medicine, a kind of magic, a way to make space for healing when it can arrive.
I find it ironic that when light and sound feel like daggers of pain, I can hear this song and notice that it lives in a space in my body that is somehow available for it, even when my own voice is too loud and audible phone notifications make me feel sick to my stomach.
Maybe not all magic is meant to be understood.
I wish you pain-free moments in this pain-filled world. I wish you a deep enough breath. I wish for you a hair’s-breadth of safety. I wish for you a brief knowing that you are loved.