Wednesday’s subtly layered lesson
(Warning: heavily cross-referenced, possible TL;DR)
I woke up with “Kiss This” by the Struts stuck in my head this morning.
As it seems to be a song about a breakup (especially the chorus), I was concerned.
I went to bed last night feeling both sorry and jealous; I know I was not in a good mindset upon falling asleep. I tell myself that it is just that. (I hadn’t meant to go to bed, but I must have dozed off while I was meditating, as I dimly recall repeating ‘I’m sorry’ like a mantra…but what’s rather odd is that I remember feeling guilty and ashamed but I don’t know exactly what had happened to trigger those feelings.)
At any rate, here I am.
It is Wednesday.
And as it is with a lot of Wednesdays lately, I’ve been feeling disconnected from Odin, and so I think about what I could do today to connect with Him. And so begins that weekly process of self-examination of whether or not Odin is blocking me or if I am (somehow still) blocking Him.
Therefore I search myself inwardly for feelings of anger and denial, for distrust and skepticism. It’s as if I am opening up a box of feelings and I am obsessively running my fingers over what I find inside.
Perhaps this is the source of last night’s apologies as I ruminate over the past and over all of the ways in which I had insisted I wanted no part of Odin.
I wanted no part of Him.
There it is.
You see, several months ago, it occurred to me: Loki is ‘a part’ of Him, whether literally or figuratively, as Loki is His blood-brother:
9. Remember, Othin, | in olden days
That we both our blood have mixed;
Then didst thou promise | no ale to pour,
Unless it were brought for us both.
Therefore, to deny Odin is to deny Loki, isn’t it?
To offer to Loki and not offer to Odin makes the offering incomplete.
And yet, for years, I did just that.
During those meditations wherein I’d first attempted to connect to Loki, often, I would sense another presence along with Loki… and I’d send it away.
As well, a few times in dream-space, Loki would ask me:
Do you like Odin?
Would you work with Him?
But, in response to that question, like a child, I would shut down, sometimes almost to the point of throwing a tantrum.
I’d flatly refuse the suggestion – sometimes becoming angry and dismissive:
No. I don’t want to work with Odin.
I won’t work with Odin.
Tell Him to go away.
(Perhaps this is yet another thing that I need to let go of, more shadow work for me to do.)
Hel, I’ll admit that there was a time when I would become angry with Loki for even suggesting such a thing… insisting that I didn’t want to hear Him even say Odin’s name.
Now how ironic is that?
Considering how there are many Asatru who refuse to say Loki’s name – much less hail Him along with their much-beloved All-father – and yet there I was, doing the exact same thing, saying:
You are welcome; He is not.
Can one honor Loki without honoring Odin?
Well, I certainly thought I could.
What a hypocrite I had been!
But I suppose that it wasn’t always that way:
In 2010 or so, in the beginnings of my devotional practice, I did make tentative offerings to Odin… and yet I remember sensing His refusal.
Even back in those early days, I had vivid repetitive dreams wherein Loki would visit me, and more often than not, He was accompanied by Odin.
Several years later on, Loki suggested that Odin and I should talk, but then Loki would leave, as if it had been His intent all along…and yet, upon being left behind, Odin spoke very little to me. As well, He would refuse all of my offers of hospitality – which left me feeling awkward and socially anxious.
As well, during that time, I was prone to terrifying nightmares, where I found myself feeling forced to interact with Odin anyway (such as detailed here, here, and here) and yet whenever I would show fear or emotionally shut down, only then would Loki come forward to ‘rescue’ me (such as in this shapeshifting guided meditation here.)
But now I look at these past experiences, and I can’t help but wonder: Why are Loki and Odin always together? Are Odin and Loki one and the same God?
Or perhaps, are They so closely intertwined that They might as well be?
While I know that They are not interchangeable, perhaps in my denial towards Odin, I have denied Loki.
So, in a show of good faith and trust, I recently made space on my altar for both of Them:
Ich liebe euch beide
Now the work becomes to live that belief.
To accept both of Them, to love both of Them.
They are not interchangeable…
And yet, one of my greatest fears was that feeling of being seen as and being treated as ‘interchangeable.’
I suppose that I still do, as it is one of the things that hurt me the most when I think back upon what happened with Local Other Lokean (LOL), or whenever I consider myself in reference to my experiences with her.
Especially when Loki seemed to begin to make requests of me that mirrored specific requests that LOL often claimed that He’d made of her, regarding
serving the community through seidhr
writing a book of personal experience and practices.
Why, I had whinged, Was this all just because we share the same name?
And again, I will admit that I reacted to Him with a ridiculously self-righteous tantrum:
She and I might have the same name but we are not interchangeable.
But just as I had once refused to consider working with Odin, I refused His requests and ignored any suggestions of working in any role remotely resembling a role that I’d come to associate with LOL…
Meanwhile, He went responded by reminding me of how
Separation is an illusion. It is the creation of useless categories. Window-dressing. Manufactured restrictions.
The only thing you are doing now is making excuses.
(Well I will admit I did make excuses, refusing to listen and to do.)
This was yet another situation that showcased my obvious hypocrisy.
I was allowing myself to be triggered by all the same concepts with which He’d allegedly hounded LOL.
Well, it’s not even the concepts as much as how discussing these concepts brought up associations to LOL’s presence in my mind.
I was triggered that Loki always seemed to be surreptitiously referencing LOL in Our conversations. I was offended that He’d treat me as interchangeable with LOL, and so I reacted from that place of offense rather than to look more intently at His actual request, which highlights a sort of inevitable parallel too:
Welcome Odin as you would welcome Me.
And yet, there I was also being offended by Odin’s presence in Our conversations, and though I didn’t realize what was going on….
But it was that exact feeling of angry offense.
Perhaps these two things are not connected, but I sit here feeling horrified that it would appear that I had spent years denying ‘a part’ of Loki by denying Odin….
(cue melodramatic pandoramancy here)
And suddenly realizing that I have recently moved through a rather layered lesson in denial:
Perhaps the ‘Odin’ I have been rejecting is another face of Loki’s.
Or perhaps They really are ‘two sides of the same coin’ and denying Odin is denying Loki.
What I asked of her, I ask of you.
By avoiding mental associations [with LOL], you are denying your own gifts.
And in that, I know Loki to be relentless:
Do you see the layers?
There is your work.
Now do it.