What a long strange trip from
But I’m on my way
and I am not looking back.
“And the Bastard grant us, in our direst need, the smallest gifts: the nail of the horseshoe, the pin of the axle, the feather at the pivot point, the pebble at the mountain’s peak, the kiss in despair, the one right word. In darkness, understanding.”
— from Paladin of Souls by Lois McMaster Bujold
photo by Jim Sauchyn
~~ The Journey~~
One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
their bad advice–
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do–
determined to save
the only life you could save.~
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 Guðs.“
(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.
” In referring to Norse God Loki, Rutherford employs the term shaman-trickster….”
“The shaman is a magician in both senses of the term: one who can operate through tricks and deceit and one who can change consciousness at will. The shaman is a sorcerer but one who relates magical ability to the communal welfare as the primary objective. The shaman stocks-in-trade are the ability to fly and to become invisible. Sometimes the specialist is proficient in bi-location, the ability to appear in more than one place simultaneously. Other shamanic ‘virtues’ include a developed aptitude for heightened vigilance as well as the cultivation of multiple perspectives. But whereas sometimes these attributes are intended to be literal accomplishments, the line between the metaphorical and the actual is rarely clearly drawn.”
— Michael York
Pagan Theology: Paganism as a World Religion, New York University Press, New York, p. 41.