Though my intent is to write every day, sometimes I struggle to write about certain topics.
And this topic – and its array of sub-topics – is one of them.
How important is ritual? How important are offerings?
How – or why – would anyone do any of this? How important is it to do any of this?
And then, this article came across my feed this morning, and I immediately thought to share it.
Because this part especially, hit me hard:
“Have you ever heard about people who accomplish amazing things, and been jealous? I know I have. There are many ways to be successful. I’m not the prettiest, not the smartest, and definitely not the most talented or luckiest. But the one thing I have always been is as stubborn as the day is long – not in some petty way (mostly), but in the kind of way that makes me get up when life knocks me down.
I’m not the fair-haired hero. I’ve never been the chosen one. I’m that other guy. My power isn’t born of charm or good looks. I was born to wear a t-shirt that says, “it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog.”(1)
We live in a cynical age where our fair-haired heroes have revealed themselves as paper cutouts, our leaders have sold themselves to the highest bidder, and the world gets less friendly every day. We wake up and go through the motions and wonder if there’s a damn thing we can do about it.
And you know what? There is.”
Because, much like Christopher Drysdale, I too, am as stubborn as the day is long.
And yes, I have been jealous of the success of others.
And yes, I have realized that I am not special nor am I particularly disciplined all of the time.
I have wished that my week could be stripped of Tuesday nights and Wednesday mornings, because sometimes, what I am doing is not easy nor is it particularly rewarding…
But then it is.
And when it is rewarding…when I look back at the trajectory of my Tuesday nights and Wednesday mornings
That is when I realize that that is the essence of why I do what I do, and why it is important that I keep doing.
You want the carrot…you gotta be stubborn.
You gotta chase the stick.
Being Wednesday, I wanted to share my ever-evolving playlist for Them:
One Thing – Finger Eleven
Monster – Starset
Lifeline – Thousand Foot Krutch
Everything You Want – Vertical Horizon
Outside – Staind
Bury Me With My Guns On – Bobaflex
Songs that I’ve written about previously:
Come With me Now – The Kongoes
Push It – Garbage
Misery – Soul Asylum
Love You Madly – Cake
Schism – Tool
Sail – AWOL Nation
For the past few years, this song was on my Loki playlist.
But lately, I have come to realize that this song could easily be evocative of both of Them.
Now I don’t know so much about kissing
but I do know that I have
(at one time or another)
sat across the table from either of Them
wishing I could run.
That being said
Then I might as well accept that I have gone a bit mad, eh?
Because I do want to love Them madly.
(Perhaps ‘madly’ might be the only way one could love Them.)
As well Perfect Drug is starting to have Blood Bros overtones too…
Welcome to the first day of July!*
So here I am again, facing another July with an ever-evolving devotional practice that includes Loki… and Odin.
To that end, a week or so ago, I ordered a pair of gorgeous prayer cards from Wyrd Curiosities on Etsy so you can imagine my delight when they were delivered this morning — just in time for the first of the month:
While Wyrd Curiosities sells several different prayer cards for Loki, I’d chosen this particular one mostly because it features Grace Palmer’s beautiful artwork as well as including one of my favorite prayers to Loki, written by F. Arismendi:
As well, I was delighted to see that the two cards I’d purchased were enclosed within a gorgeous notecard created by Dionysian Artist, featuring another stunning portrayal of Loki by Wayne McMillan…so that was an unexpected but pleasant surprise ❤
*As you may know, many Lokeans around the country celebrate the month of July by writing; that’s 30 days of devotional posts for Loki.
(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.
This blog is not dead.
However, my devotional practice has definitely changed, as nearly six months ago, I started working with Odin too:
(Altar figures (l-r) Loki, Odin, ceramic, by artisan Dmitriy Kushnir from The Slavic Way on Etsy)
But maybe I am not.
As it has occurred to me that perhaps what I believe to be Odin could be simply another face of Loki….
But damned if it doesn’t feel different.
Some of my long-time readers have begun to notice that my devotional practices seem to have shifted a bit.
A major feature of this surprising change has manifested in that while I still work primarily with Loki, I have begun some major work with Odin.
(Yes. Believe me, no one was more surprised than I was concerning that change – trust me on that.)
The bulk of this work – regarding runes, astral travel, and energy movement – often occurs somewhere within the liminal hours, especially as Tuesday bleeds into Wednesday….
Which lately, has led me to have some rather restless nights, full of much sleep interruption.
Despite how I feel about that, it is the way it has been for the past several weeks now.
So, while walking one of my dogs this AM, this song came up:
….as I was thinking thoughts on how it’s been going concerning working with the Two of Them, and I realized that there are several aspects to these interactions that are expressed rather well through this bit o’ pandoramancy.
They *do* seem to know just what I need
And They might just have the thing…
because They *both* know what I’d pay to feel.
And… since I’m often prone to being a touch melodramatic when I’m sleep-deprived, I have been known to ask Them to – y’know –
put me out of my misery…
The suicide king being Odin
and you know the drama queen just has to be Loki.
So I realize that I have not written in a while.
I feel badly about this, despite the reality that I am beholden to no one, and yet, I have been meaning to write something. There is a folder on my laptop that is contains at least a dozen half-finished posts- and several completed ones- and yet I still haven’t posted anything in a while.
But what I do end up wanting write about is this rather simple concept that my friend Stormwise mentioned to me over six months ago, regarding how the Gods can act as mirrors, and this premise is found in the Bhagavadgita, of all places, Chapter 4, verse 11:
In whatever way people surrender unto me, I reciprocate with them accordingly. Everyone follows my path, knowingly or unknowingly, O son of Pritha.
With whatever motive people worship Me, I fulfill their desires accordingly. People worship Me with different motives. (4.11)
And this little bit of Chapter 4 stands out to me in that this is the very thing that I am trying to accept.
That the Gods will come to you in the manner that you have come to Them. If you approach Them full of fear, then They shall come to you in a manner that inspires fear. Many years ago, I struggled to repress the fear and uncertainty that I felt towards the facets of Them that I felt that I was experiencing.
And Their response -which was often visual at that time – was rather cryptic:
If you are looking for monsters, you will certainly find Us.
It seems such a basic aspect of manifestation that I found myself feeling rather foolish, especially in regards to Odin.
Of course, He was a monster, because I was expecting a monster. If I learned anything, it was that it scarcely concerned Him if I was afraid of Him or disliked Him. He had some business to do, and I had some things to learn.
Well, I learned.
* Yes. I can’t get these images out of my head. I feel compelled to draw them out…and yet, my artistic skills aren’t as well-developed as I would hope. At first, I thought the story was a rather simple rendition of the lore…until the storyline took on an unexpected turn that featured some rather adult-themes during several meditations later.
I’m happy to report that, unlike past years, my Christmas/Yule holidays were surprisingly pleasant.
Usually the Yuletide season is both physically and emotionally difficult for me, as I have been usually prone to depression and physical illness in the final months of the year.
But not this year.
For that I am grateful and I’m trying not to overthink it.
Another aspect of this Yuletide concerned abundance of gifts that involved a particular image.
And that was Yggdrasil…the Tree of Life.
It began my purchase of prayer beads from Beth Wodandis Designs:
I’d had my eye on these prayer beads ever since they were posted. Perhaps it was the color scheme (I love the earth toned palette and the feel of the madre de cacao wood beads*) but I vacillated on which I preferred — the silver or the goldtone tree pendant?
As much as I’ve always felt drawn to trees – and the concept of the World Tree especially – my brain has always wrangled with the concept of working with Odin/Woden.
Perhaps it is because I am a Lokean at heart, but I cannot deny that I’ve definitely felt drawn to the Tree. I will not deny the connections that I feel with trees symbolically and spiritually.
So, these beads arrived on December 21st.
And surprisingly, the Universe seemed to answer to my tree connections – in spades – because I then received two other gifts that specifically featured trees – if not the Tree – outright:
A large gift basket from my oldest son – a ‘gourmet picnic basket,’ no less – that featured this frame among its various contents:
Even my son pointed out that the inclusion of this little frame seemed random, as every other item in this gourmet picnic basket** was food/beverage related.
This basket contained a pair of wine glasses, a standard-sized bottle of red wine, a small assortment of gourmet cheeses, a cheese knife, a cutting board, two plates, a box of fancy English biscuits, a package of assorted organic wheat crackers, a pound of fine dark chocolate…and what we all thought was simply an elegantly folded pair of linen napkins, tied with a ribbon.
The frame was folded within the napkins.
The basket was store-bought and obviously pre-made.
It was definitely an unexpected, if somewhat odd surprise.
Then, a relatively new acquaintance — who knows very little of my spirituality, let alone my personal preferences — gifted me with this delicate ankle bracelet
…featuring (yet another) Tree of Life.
*My Loki prayer beads feature palm wood beads.
**And speaking of picnic baskets, watching the BBC’s Doctor Who Christmas episode, there was a delightful reference to
I kid you not
A picnic in Asgard.