There are a few particular things that have cropped up again and again in my devotional practice with Loki over the years, and I thought I’d write about one of these today, involving mirrors.
Almost from the beginning, whether it be in meditations, dreams or visuals, Loki has always directed me to consider mirrors, and the concept of mirrors.
At first, I was confused, wracking my brain for what it could mean – these visuals of mirrors, references to mirrors and all these literal and metaphorical meanings associated with mirrors.
And it got me to thinking about posts I’ve made in the past regarding the various angles I’ve considered when faced with a visual or a reference to mirrors…and it amazes me now to think of all of the layered paths that this one thing has led me to.
In the beginning, I thought Loki was making some sort of commentary about appearances, and perhaps, self-love…maybe even conceit.
But then as time went on, I began to wonder if the reference to mirrors was Loki indicating the importance of self-work.
And then, there’s the term, mirroring – which can be understood as a form of body language – born of the human desire to ‘cognitively sync’ with others – on an unconscious level. (But there’s another layer to mirroring which is done on a conscious level by those seek to engage/teach/engender desired behavior while generating empathy and connection, by therapists, teachers, and salespeople.)
And then, I came across this concept – of what you expect is what you will receive – by way of the Bhagavad Gita. A helpful tidbit of information to be sure, but even more so on another level, as this particular bit can be found in the fourth chapter, eleventh verse – an amusing coincidence that I came across the 411 (information!) quite by chance in a religious text that was unfamiliar to me at that time, and suddenly I was making the connection to how the Gods can act as mirrors.
With that reference, and what followed was to discover myself being re-directed to a mystic path, complete with nudges toward Rumi
and Pema Chödrön:
which re-iterated the message that we are reflections of the Gods, as well as the Gods can be reflections of us, and sometimes how we are caught gazing into each others’ eyes, or perhaps dancing, but more often than not, caught up in the illusion of separation from Them, if not downright rejection of Their messages to us.
But what do I know? Loki has a thing with mirrors, I suppose.
But I’m not the only one who sees this connection, as a fellow member of a Lokean group shared this observation:
“I wanted to understand why so many saw hatred, rage, evil in Loki. I didn’t understand how His reputation could be so different from what I personally experienced. The message I received back is that Loki is a mirror. Many of the gods are, but Him especially. The reason some get back hatred and fear is because they give Him hatred and fear.
But when you give Him love and laughter, He sends it back and magnifies it. So the love that you feel coming from Him, the kind that brings tears to the eyes, is a reflection of the beauty of your own heart.”
And finally, the surprise (which should not surprise me now) that I came across the other day…while searching for something else entirely.
I was looking for the references to the Spegilmynd – as it is the basis for a powerful runic sigil that mirrors negative energy sent against oneself and reflects it back to the sender:
And I stumbled upon this definition on Glosbe, an online Icelandic dictionary service:
Spegilmynd (Icelandic) noun – “mirror, reflection, echo”
and the provided contextual example was a portion of an Icelandic prayer:
(Icelandic) “Það er bæn mín og blessun að þegar þið virðið fyrir ykkur eigin spegilmynd, munuð þið sjá handan ófullkomleikans og sjálfsefans og greina hver þið sannlega eruð: Dýrðlegir synir og dætur almáttugs Guðir.“
(Trans. English) “It is my prayer and blessing that when you look at your reflection, you will be able to see beyond imperfections and self-doubts and recognize who you truly are: glorious sons and daughters of the Almighty Gods.”
It’s funny how these concepts circle around again and again.
It was well after midnight and I was hungry.
While I don’t know what it was that I wanted, I went to the refrigerator anyway.
When I opened the drawer beneath the produce drawer, I caught a whiff of the musky scent of….old blood.
That’s all I could think of – blood – meaty, dark, metallic.
Rummaging through the contents of the drawer I found the source of the smell beneath the poly bag of oranges, a few applesauce snack cups, and a half-eaten Hershey’s chocolate bar.
That scent was coming from a bag containing a cold loose lump of something…meat?
I peered into the bag to see a double Ziploc bag, with a date scrawled in black Sharpie marker.
Chicken hearts, to be exact, wrapped in beige butcher’s paper.
I held the bag in my hands, looking at the date in disbelief.
Two weeks ago, possibly three – had it been that long ago?
While the expiration date hadn’t passed, I realized I had forgotten.
Those hearts were meant to be an offering to Them.
I thought back to the day that I had written out the ritual that was to include them as an offering….but judging by the scent of them, I doubted that they would be acceptable offering now.
I stood at the counter, feeling the slow pang of remorse joining the insistent rumble of my stomach.
Empty. You must be empty…
I felt empty.
Half-heartedly, I peeled an orange, meticulously removing the pith as I considered the packet of hearts laying on the counter.
The orange was ripe and sweet, a delicious leftover from Yule.
As I stood at the counter, eating the orange, I thought about my father.
I thought about how, when I was a child, he’d told me that at one time, to be able to eat an orange at Yuletide was an especial treat – it was a gift and a luxury in itself to be able to enjoy an orange in the winter-time.
‘Oranges were expensive in December. Even from Florida,’ he’d said.
To eat an orange in December was a big deal.
I smile inwardly at the fact that I live in Florida nowadays…where, as one might imagine, oranges are plentiful and pretty much available year-round.
However, it occurs to me how often certain things can be taken for granted, especially when they are always available.
But the fact that oranges are always available doesn’t make them any less sweet.
Then, with the taste of oranges still on my tongue, my mind wandered back towards Them, and thoughts on gifts and offerings to Them.
I looked at the packet of chicken hearts, recalling the special trip I’d made to get them, and the particular ritual I’d written to offer them.
To give what is special and what’s best is all well and good, yes…
…and yet, I’d put off too long in the offering them, hadn’t I?
What good are they now that I waited too long?
What was I waiting for?
I don’t know.
The chicken hearts were for a special occasion ritual for late December…that, unfortunately, I hadn’t followed through on actually doing.
And indeed, what good is a ritual that one doesn’t do?
What good are intentions without follow through?
It occurred to me that I could have given Them a ritual in December and offered Them something else.
Anything else given with mindful intent would have served in the place of…not doing and not offering anything at all.
Heck, I could have offered Them oranges in December.
I reflected upon what I have offered and what I have taken for granted the past year, every year, any year.
I learn. I forget.
I noticed the sharp aroma of orange peel lingered on my fingers, as I dropped the handful of peels and the hearts into the garbage disposal.
I shall do better.
I resolve to be more mindful of myself and the gifts given to me
And I resolve to become more mindful of Them and in my offerings to Them.
I want to believe this is the sort of kindness I could practice, as I have been wrangling with words all day concerning a particularly thorny issue involving the limits of my compassion towards others.
Ah, fuck it…the limits of my compassion towards a particular individual.
So here’s yet another chain of days wherein I am left contemplating the line between being compassionate and being naive.
3am on YouTube:
As it is with most people, I thought this song was about a romantic relationship.
But when this acoustic version of ‘3am’ came across my suggested YouTube feed today, I actually assumed it was going to be ‘3am (Breathe)’ by Ana Nalick.
Instead, I was surprised to see Rob Thomas at the piano, informing his audience that it was actually meant to be a song about his mother. And he continued on about how when he was 12 years old, his mother was dying of cancer.
Upon hearing that, I suddenly burst into tears.
Not that my mother is dying of cancer, mind you, but I am estranged from her (for reasons which many of my longtime readers may be aware –but I don’t feel like repeating the long and sordid story of our toxic relationship right now….)
Though suffice to say, I sometimes find myself uselessly mourning for the relationship we did not have.
Related to this, I have been dreaming of my father – who did die of cancer – 10 years ago as of last month.
I have been dreaming of him a lot lately…and in every dream, he has come to me asking for me to make amends with my mother.
And of course, sometimes I cry about that too. As much as I would like to oblige my father, I am a stubborn bastard just as much as my mother is. As well, while I know that what is wrong between us could likely have been fixed long ago if one of us could relent, I am tired of being the only one who relents …over and over.
You see, my mother is one of those people who can never admit to the wrongness of her behavior, and so it is unfortunate that she has continued to insist that she has ‘never done anything wrong.’
Thus I haven’t any contact with her since 2009.
And so here I am.
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.
“You took my hand and drew me to your side, made me sit on the high seat before all men, till I became timid, unable to stir and walk my own way; doubting and debating at every step lest I should tread upon any thorn of their disfavour.
I am freed at last!
The blow has come, the drum of insult sounded, my seat is laid low in the dust.
My paths are open before me.
My wings are full of the desire of the sky.
I go to join the shooting stars of midnight, to plunge into the profound shadow.
I am like the storm-driven cloud of summer that, having cast off its crown of gold, hangs as a sword the thunderbolt upon a chain of lightning.
In desperate joy I run upon the dusty path of the despised; I draw near to your final welcome.
The child finds its mother when it leaves her womb.
When I am parted from you, thrown out from your household, I am free to see your face.
– from FRUIT GATHERING, by Rabindranath Tagore (May 1861 ~ August 1941)
[Translated from Bengali to English by Rabindranath Tagore]
Published in 1916
And suddenly…I understood.
So I was finally catching up on Doctor Who this past Sunday, when the 12th Doctor (Peter Capaldi) from the Christmas 2016 episode, The Return of Doctor Mysterio, has this exchange with a young boy named Grant who asks the Doctor who he is:
YOUNG GRANT: Who are you?
DOCTOR: The Doctor.
YOUNG GRANT: Yeah, but who are you?
DOCTOR: The Doctor.
YOUNG GRANT: Which one, though? There’s lots of doctors.
DOCTOR: The one. I’m the main one. The original. I started it. They’re all based on me. Now everyone who wants to sound clever calls themselves Doctor. Bandwagon!
YOUNG GRANT: In a comic book, you know what you’d be called? Doctor Mysterio.
DOCTOR: Oh, I like that. Doctor Mysterio! I’ll have that. Nearly ready.
But it is this line that first caught me off guard:
YOUNG GRANT: What is it?
DOCTOR: Well, in terms that you would understand? Sorry, there aren’t any. It’s a, it’s a, it’s a, it’s a time-distortion equaliser thingy.
YOUNG GRANT: A what?
DOCTOR: Well, there’s been a lot of localised disruption here in New York, so, er, my fault, actually. Hopefully this will make it all calm down.
YOUNG GRANT: I don’t understand.
DOCTOR: Do you know what a lightning conductor is?
YOUNG GRANT: Yeah.
DOCTOR: Well, it’s not like that.
I hate to get all Pop-Paganism on y’all, but this particular Doctor evokes so much of the essence of Them for me that I am continually being thrown off guard by those sorts of random side comments. Especially when I find myself wondering what the heck They mean…because there is so much about Them, what They do and what They want that I have gotten to the point that I am beginning to wonder if it will ever make sense.
But as Madeline L’Engle wrote:
It’s kind of funny that the word “learned” is used here, since what she’s learned is that you can’t know everything.
Instead of learning as gaining knowledge, here it’s recognizing a lack of knowledge.
Today I made an offering to Loki
and received this odd little bit of synchronicity:
From Gravity Falls’ Mabel, of all places.
Point taken, Sir. ❤
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…