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 she loves and she works with them 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.
Nine in Norse Mythology, from Wikipedia:
“Loki is big on the concept of “negative capability,” which John Keats defines as, “when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason.” Namely, that a poet must remain open to all ideas, to all identities–even to the point of obliterating one stable identity–if that poet is to remain truly creative. Basically: embrace uncertainty, because it leads to change, and change is generative and inherently creative.“
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.
July is here and for some Lokeans, this month is devoted to Loki.
Here are some basic ideas for devotional activities to honor Loki.
Though this list is by no means comprehensive, I am sharing in hopes that it may be helpful for those looking for inspiration:
~ Loki is a fantastic story-teller and He is not called Silvertongue for nothing! Write a blog entry, a poem, or a short story.
~ Some devotees associate Loki with fire. If you do, light a candle for Him, and think a moment about how Loki has kindled a flame in your life.
~ Loki is a God of the Body, a God who appreciates all of the ways that a body can experience joy. If you can, take some time to enjoy living in your body, by dancing, singing, or exercising, and dedicate that activity to Him.
~ Do something out of your comfort zone – push yourself to do something new – even if it’s only once. Be open to adventure. Be open to change.
~ Loki is a God of the hearth. Cook up that new recipe or bake Him something from scratch, and offer to share it with Him.
~ Loki is a God of Luck and chance: Play the Lotto/buy a scratch ticket.
~ As a Jotun, Loki is a God of nature. Go for a walk. Enjoy the outdoors – even if it’s the short walk to your car. Or plant some flowers and dedicate them to Him.
~ Loki is a God of Laughter – Watch a comedy, share a joke, play – laugh!
~ Loki is a God of Getting Sh*t Done. Do a necessary but thankless task – and dedicate it to Him.
~ Loki is a Parent Who loves children. If you can, take some time to play with kids. Or think about (or do) something you’d enjoyed as a kid. Recapture that sense of wonder and fun.
~ Loki is a God of growth and change. What has changed in your life since you ‘met’ Loki? Find a photo of yourself from before you met or began working with Loki. See the differences as proof that you can change, grow, and learn. Celebrate how far you’ve come!
~ Loki is a God of Many Faces. How does He/She appear to you? If you can, draw, paint or sculpt a likeness of Him/Her, or simply create a digital image in Photoshop or Paint.
~ Loki is a God who values Truth, and encourages us to be true to ourselves. What is something that is true of you? Speak your truth, even if your voice wavers. Stand up for yourself and for what you believe in.
~ Loki is a God of Otherness, Outcasts and Outsiders. Just as you honor Loki when you stand up for yourself, you honor Him by standing up for others too. Go to a protest, stand up to bullies, and be an ally to those who struggle to be heard/find acceptance.
These are just a few suggestions for things that you can do to celebrate Loki this July…and remember: Don’t feel like you gotta do something *every* day!
Just take some time this month to enjoy Loki….and enjoy yourself