When I first decided to attend a Loki ritual for April Fool’s Day 2012, I was scared shitless.
Partly because of my social anxiety, and partly because I’d heard that – sometimes – these rituals could bring Him to you…
… And I’ll be honest:
I had a few nightmares that He’d reject me in some incredibly publicly humiliating way.
If not that, then I feared that everyone there would suddenly know that I didn’t belong, or something.
I felt sick to my stomach with worry and panic.
I am ashamed to admit to what I thought would happen, even now. My stomach knots up just thinking about it.
So there was the infinite battle between my self-doubt and fear, versus my desire to know, to experience the Divine.
You see, for the first year after I decided to embrace the situation I was in, I both hungered for and feared interaction with other Lokeans, as well as interaction with Loki himself.
Going to that ritual was an act of pushing myself out of a comfort zone on so many levels.
But I really felt that I had to go. I felt that I owed it to Him that I should go. It seemed to me to be exactly the sort of thing that He would want.
Well, Loki…and of course, Eleanor Roosevelt:
“We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face… we must do that which we think we cannot do.”
And when I got there, I was a wreck.
I was feeling such a bizarre mix of emotions.
To this day, I don’t know how much of it was me, how much it was possible empathic overload from those present, and how much of it was the Divine.
I felt itchy and irritable and grateful and terrified.
Everyone was so welcoming, and friendly.
But I was trying to hold myself in reserve. I felt like I was leaking my emotions all over the place.
It was as it was in my social anxiety nightmares — I felt as if everyone could sense what best could be described as my wild energy leakage (!) and that they were uncomfortable with me.
I kept checking myself:
Am I talking too much?
Am I enjoying myself?
How do I feel?
Am I acting weird? (Hell, I ‘m *feeling* weird. I am terrified. I am happy. I am confused. I feel a bit dizzy. I am uncomfortable. I am hungry. Something is poking me.** I’m having trouble focusing/listening/sitting still. OK, that *is* weird)
And so, all the while I was analyzing this incredible tangle of thoughts I was having, as I went and introduced myself.
It was exhausting and exhilarating and so very strange for me.
And I was OK.
But most importantly, I stayed and I didn’t cry or throw up or say anything too inappropriate, and I think that I came across as normal. (Well, mostly.)
I remember being nervous and uncoordinated about what to do with my hands during the invocation and hailing as we stood in the circle, but thankfully no one noticed or cared about my lack of ritual form.
I was really moved by the mask creation portion.
I still remember most of what I scribbled in my tiniest block handwriting all down each side of that face that I made for myself. I wrote:
I cannot see under the right eye of the mask. (That is my lazy eye, which really doesn’t physically see very well)
I want to see.
I am frightened.
I am nervous.
I feel unworthy
(And several other negative aspects/attributes written)
I want to move beyond this. I am blinded by these (obstacles written)
Under my left eye (my seeing eye), I wrote:
I can see.
I want to be seen.
I am grateful.
I am thankful.
(Other positive attributes written)
I want to continue to see. I want to remember/recognize these (positive aspects/attributes written) in myself and others.
In the middle of the mask, I wrote a few phrases that drew upon both left and right.
On the side of the mask that faces out, I wrote some things about myself that I allow others to see and know about me.
On the side of the mask facing in, I wrote some things that I see and know about myself that I choose to hide.
Initially I’d made the eye opening very small on the right side to represent all that I couldn’t see. After I’d finished writing, however, I cut out the edges of the right eye so that the two openings were even.
I realize now that it was sort of a wish, or a prayer for more balance between the left and the right.
The other lovely thing about the ritual was that one could choose to hold onto their mask and make an offering of it on one’s own altar at home, or the mask itself could be burned as an offering.
I liked the concept of the burning the mask as a recognition and a release – more than to hold onto it as a recognition and a reminder -of the masks that one wears.
When I burned the mask, I had trouble getting the paper to burn.
I remember that I had to push the paper quite far into the flames before it caught.
I recall looking down and wondering idly if I would have to reach so far in that my sleeve would catch fire in the process.
And, you know what happened next?
As I was pushing the paper forward, my thumb brushed – and briefly stuck to a bright orange ember, which, not surprisingly, caused me just enough pain to get me to finally let go of the paper.
I’ve got this.
As I watched the mask being consumed by the flames, I rubbed my thumb, wondering if it would blister.
But thankfully, it never did.
But if it had, I would’ve seen it as my first object lesson…of which He might have quipped:
Ah, I see that you have an inability to let go.
When I was a little girl, my Nana (a devout Irish Catholic) would try to ensure my good behavior by reminding me that God could see me always, but as you may have guessed, I wanted so desperately *not* to be seen.
Oh, if only I could run. If only I could hide …
In June 2011, I decided to stop running.
And in April 2012, I decided that I would make an effort to stop hiding.
I will admit that I still have my moments, but despite them, He is relentless.
And I am thankful for that.
I see you.
And in that, I make this grateful prayer:
Thank You for Your patience with me, Oh Relentless One.
Thank You for seeing me.
** I swear, I felt like something was poking me. THAT WAS WEIRD.