Dver wrote a great post about a way to look at relationships with the Gods which gave me lots of food for thought.
You see, I’ve been going through a bit of a weird emotional patch.
I’ve been feeling disconnected from everything.
When I read of how Dver writes of her relationships with Gods in regards to her devotional practice, what I found interesting is that she generally splits them into two groups: Gods whom she loves and she works with closely/offers to regularly — and Gods whom she loves simply for Their existence.
“There are some gods I love – have loved for decades, even – and have never had a single, personal, direct experience with. I don’t know if I’m on Their radar at all. I don’t need to be. It’s enough to know Them even a little bit, and to honor Them. I don’t ask Them for anything, typically. Maybe I just keep an image of Them somewhere, make an offering now and then, read Their stories, and appreciate Their existence. That’s all it needs to be.”
Interestingly, this concept intertwines with a discussion of ego – and how removing oneself from the equation of love was liberating, as love given with the desire for reciprocation was simply ego…and how to love simply for the basis of loving because of the other’s existence was the most profound sort of love, and therefore the sort of love to be sought when speaking of the Gods, i.e the Gods should be loved without the (ego’s) expectation of reciprocation or interaction.
But by the same token, Dver admits to believing that the Gods that she serves daily in her practice do love her in Their way (as love is at its core and is understood to be an energetic act directed towards another/what is outside of the self) but that to serve in exchange for being loved is neither her goal nor her intent.
And I found that profoundly helpful as I navigate my feelings about Loki and Odin today: up until that moment of understanding, I would have said that what is going on with me is that They both feel like old friends that I haven’t seen or interacted with in a while.
Or as the Hávamál would say, I have allowed weeds and high grass to grow over the path to my friends’ home:
…if you have a friend,
and you trust him,
go and visit him often.
Weeds and high grass
will grow on a path
that nobody travels.
Stanza 119, trans. by Jackson Crawford
So, in that regard, I’ve been feeling guilty and sad.
So I asked myself, what would it feel like to love them without any expectation of Their presence or interaction?
Which leads me to this other personal bit: a new Lokean in one of my groups is asking how one can become so close to Loki that He would ‘show up’ without being called on/summoned?
Several folks responded that Loki shows up for them only when He isn’t being sought out, and that it was a well-known secret that Gods do show up if you think of Them enough, and Loki especially; Loki will eventually show up… the keyword being eventually.
As for me, I am going to work on loving Them simply for being/existing and see how that goes.
I’m not adverse to simply being the devotee for a while. And I think about
Let it flow out of you unimpeded.
And I will be there.
And you will know.
Here we are.
Another July for some Lokeans to celebrate Loki, to honor Loki.
Oddly enough, there’s a new show out on cable TV’s Disney+ this month featuring Loki as its central character.
If it were so, it would be the strangest kind, for it is not as if the rest of the world could have known that Lokeans might celebrate Loki in July.
And granted, this new show is based upon the Loki of Marvel (comic book) Universe rather than the Loki of Norse mythology, and yet, I cannot shake this sense of deja-vu.
You see, this new show has caused yet another influx of folks on the Internet, curious to find out more about Loki as a God in the Norse pantheon.
So why the deja-vu? You might be surprised to know that there was a similar influx of folks seeking to join – or otherwise create – online Heathen groups because Marvel Studios’ film, Thor had hit theaters during the summer of 2011.
And that’s how it all began for a lot of folks – myself included! – back in the summer of 2011. Perhaps it was that influx of the Loki-curious that led to the inadvertent creation of ‘July for Loki’ in 2012 in the first place*
What I do recall about that summer in 2012 was how annoyed a lot of Heathen folks were, looking down upon the ‘newbies’ – who were inspired to look into the Norse pantheon by watching Thor– and how arguments arose over the the lack of legitimacy of Marvel vs. academic sources. (And, in regards to Loki, lest we forget, the renewed interest in Loki became a point of contention in existing groups such as the Troth and Asatru Fellowship.)
Do I wish to re-visit those arguments? Personally, that’s not what I’m doing here.
I don’t begrudge folks who watch MCU’s Loki/Avengers for wanting to know more about the Norse deities by reading the Norse myths on their own time. What concerns me is when people fail to differentiate between the Marvel comic book characters and the Norse deities, or worse, consider themselves on par with academic scholars because they’ve read the MCU comic books.
(Besides, if you wanted my opinion, I’d be more apt to suggest reading D’Aulaire’s Norse Mythology than Journey into Mystery #85 for a basic introduction to Loki. But what do I know?)
*I just find it delightful to see ‘July for Loki’ come full circle; another influx of new Lokeans re-invigorating the Pagan/Heathen communities ten years after the last one.
But what’s different in 2021 is that there are so many more books out there about Loki.
Here are some of my favorites:
Loki For You: Getting to Know the God of Mischief, T. Sheil and A. Sheil, Milihistriot Quarterly, Freehold, New Jersey, 2008
Playing with Fire: An Exploration of Loki Laufeyjarson, Dagulf Loptson, Asphodel Press, Hubbardston, MA, 2014
Pagan Portals: Loki Trickster and Transformer, Dagulf Loptson, Moon Books/John Hunt Publishing, Washington, USA. 2020
Worshipping Loki: A Short Introduction, Silence Maestas, 2015.
God in Flames, God in Fetters: Loki’s Role in the Northern Religions, Stephan Grundy, Troth, Incorporated, 2015.
A lovely poem about Loki by Sophie Oberlander:
by Sophie Oberlander
“I never sought You.
Those places deep within my heart were far too burned and scarred
To let You in, hard like misshapen stone.
Or so I thought. But I gave much
The first time I hung on that Tree.
Not enough, by far, but just enough to shatter that wall of stone
The barest fragment breaking free.
I heard Your whisper, but turned aside my face
You could not be speaking to me.
I felt Your gentle touch cradling my wounded spirit
As You cradled Odin,
His body bloodied, His spirit on fire beneath that Tree
Long before I climbed its branches.
Was it through Your laughter that You taught me to love You?
Or through the tenderness of Your caress?
I have seen a face of You that few bother to see.
I have felt Your burning passion, gentle and tender beneath the Tree.
Brother, Lover, Friend,
No image of God quite prepared me for You.
You eased away my terror with Your wicked cavorting,
Making a broken child laugh by playing the fool.
I have seen Sigyn’s quiet contentment,
And the love behind Your games.
I no longer understand the trepidation in which others call Your name.
I have seen Your other face too,
When You took me to Your daughter’s realm.
I have seen You, locked in ecstasy,
Summoning up Her wards and wights for me.
My heart’s stone did not so much break
As melt beneath Your flame.
I have tasted Your rage, Your fury at my hurt,
Reveled in the darkest glee
With which You opened the gates of Niflheim to defend me.
No one told me how much You cherish Your children.
I have seen You, Trickster, weeping in anguish
Every one of Your children’s’ wounds piercing Your heart.
And I have seen You in battle, Odin’s equal,
Though Yours a far darker art.
I have heard Your song,
Far sweeter than I ever knew it could be,
As You took my hand, and led me from that Tree.
If it Your stories I cherish most, as we walk Bifrost bridge,
Dancing patterns amongst the stars.
You placed my hands upon the web, and taught me songs to weave.
As I hung for Asgard, through You, for Hella’s realm I reached.
I know how You are feared, or mocked, or thought long bound.
But I know too, it was Your hand guiding me
Through my darkest despair and pain.
And how can I fear Your deepest love,
When it is the freedom of my heart I’ve gained?
Loki, now it is Your burning that I seek.
Let us mingle songs beneath the Tree,
For I adore the flame you have ignited in me.”
Welcome to the month of July!
Let’s get the party started, shall we?
So I’ve been spending a lot of time working on products for my shop, which requires me to indulge in my favorite embroidery addictions.
I’m happy to say that it seems to be paying off just a wee bit – as I’ve had two sales in two weeks, and two more of my upcoming embroidery projects have garnered a lot of interest – which is an exciting and welcome distraction from the emotional intensity of the last two weeks.
Since the items folks searched for most often as well as ‘liked’ most often within my shop happen to be
’embroidered altar cloths’
Thus I’ve been testing different patterns of runes, along with testing out different thread blends, stitch patterns, and a lot of sketching (because one of my favorite things about my product process is developing various ideas and incorporating new imagery for embroidering onto altar cloths.)
But as much as I have been making a lot of altar cloths for my shop, I decided to make a new altar cloth for my personal altar.
I didn’t have a concrete idea in mind, though. I hadn’t mapped anything out.
But I figured that I would come up with something.
So, beginning at the lower left corner, I started stitching a smaller version of this design:
(It’s hard to see out of a color scheme but it’s a heart entwined into a triple horn – a design I’ve come to use to represent both of Them.)
And if you know me, I like working with color blends.
It’s a little more work – but I think it’s definitely worth it.
(One shade of red, two oranges, and a yellow for Loki, and four shades of blue for Odin. )
At first, I’d only intended to stitch this design onto one corner…but it’s as if I like to make work for myself when it comes to embroidery
so I stitched it onto two corners:
Then, I sized down a particular border layout, as I wanted to test out some of my new silk thread blends, so I began embroidering
my favorite thing:
a border of Elder Futhark runes.
But a challenge arose with the fabric – a black and grey cotton tie dye – as I found myself struggling to find a color combination that would ‘show up’ against the fabric which had so much variation in color and shade.
A lot of the lighter colors appeared ‘washed out’ in the pattern, so I tried several shades of blue, lavender, and grey thread as tests:
(For example, the Ansuz (ᚨ) is a light blue thread, and the Kenaz (ᚲ) is a lavender thread, though here, they look the same, in that light. O.o)
So I picked out/undid the stitching of the lavender thread, and continued the borders in a light to medium blue.
Fehu to Jera on the left side…and Eihwaz to Othala on the right side.
So, I thought perhaps the two heart/triplehorn should
flank sixteen larger runes
– *an invitation in dark blue*-
for the central portion of the altar cloth.
But this blue looked oddly ‘sunk’ (appearing to fade/disappear) against the darker portions of the pattern:
So, as you see here, I decided to outline the darker runes with a silk blend silver thread…
and I really liked the way it looked.
I liked it so much that I don’t know what I was thinking but
– silly me! –
I wondered how long could it take to outline sixteen runes?
I love embroidering runes (really I do!) so it won’t take long, I thought.
I mean, I’ve had lots of practice, eh?
Since it took me about a half of an hour to hand-stitch the 24 runes (12 on each side)
and about twenty more minutes to stitch the sixteen runes in the center
I figured it would take me an hour
– maybe two –
to outline all of them.
Well, I am a lot slower than I thought.
It took me almost three hours to outline just those sixteen dark blue runes on this altar cloth.
(Perhaps some other day, I will outline the 24 lighter ones that border the edges at the left and the right.)
And then the next day…after walking the dogs and doing my daily routines,
I decided that this altar cloth also needed to have a design to separate *the two sets of eight runes in the center.*
That invitation which looks like this:
At first, I thought I’d just make a little twist or a swirl, but no matter what I did
It didn’t look right.
So I picked, cut, and pulled out all the threads of that little swirly circular button.
And then I decided, how about the World Tree?
I mean, I had about a 2 or 3 inch rectangle to work with, so I thought I’d stitch this, in bright green thread:
(Psst…it was harder than it looked!)
It’s so hard to make things look symmetrical after midnight.
So, again, I unraveled that design and I picked out all those long, graceful stitches
And I sat there staring at it for a bit.
But then I did another World Tree:
I thought it covered up the pulling spots nicely 🙂
Finished outlining the letters…
and as the finishing touch, I stitched a purple border around the heart/triple horns.
And here it is – my new altar cloth –
Hail Loki ❤ Hail Odin