Of Frost and Fire

In the beginning was a gaping abyss, Ginnungagap,
but that Void dreamed, as all emptinesses do, She
dreamed a dream of love, and in her sleep was born
warmth, the spark of life, a great fire, and then
the liquid of birth and death, water frozen as ice,
Niflheim and Muspelheim, they dreamed only of you –
a being of perfection carved from primal elements,
in their dance they gave you the breath of wit, in
their kiss that melted and burned you were a child,
and you grew older as the fire grew higher, and ice
grew to tender water, layer upon layer of frost and
flame made you stronger, you were born of First Love,
before the gods ploughed the earthen dales, before
the elves made their shining home, before the dwarves
made brilliant gifts for the dwellers of Asgard,
before even the Norns let down their gray hair, you
were there, you the dancer in their tumultuous passion,
and I call you Ymir for you are a giant to me, colossal
in my mind, growing too large for my heart to contain,
and to love you is to die, be reborn in eternal dance,
for who is not frightened when their lonely universe,
the Ginnungagap in her chest, breathes life onto a
dusty heart, and the needfire awakens, blood quickens,
and Urda’s well springs up in her marrow, ices her mind,
and fire and water carve out a canyon for a perfect one
who the gods sent after prayers to wandering Mardoll
every night, giants are real, for you are Jotunblood
in my mind, a man of myth and legend, and to hold you
is to hang from Yggdrasil, and to let you in to the
beginning of my cosmos is a shy, tender task, but
my world would be nothing without you, so I will
be Audhumla and give sustenance to my altar of you,
licking salt and bleeding rivers of milky wonder,
and soon, I will ken your wanderings, but for now,
let me be your dream, be my driving force, and let
us be ice and flame, yin and yang, entwined like
Odin and Frigga, Freyr and Gerda, Loki and Sigyn,
to love a giant is easy – they eat girls, after all.

Advertisements

When Loki Found Sigyn

I sing of he who is always a guest, never truly welcome,
wanderer from the Iron Woods and Odin’s blood brother,
son of Laufey Leafy-Isle and Farbauti Lightning-Strike,
mother of Sleipnir, father of Death, Serpent, and Wolf,
consort of the ruddy-haired Angrboda, and scar-lipped,
sly tongued liar, though he is cursed to tell the truth.

I sing of Sigyn Fetter-Breaker, Victory Woman, Mother
to Narvi and Vali, Child Bride, Keeper of the Bowl
that suspends poison from touching her dear husband,
the only one that could drink down fire and quench
the burning loneliness of Loki, steadfast wife of
the hearth and wildfire, blue flower of the sea.

Loki had flown in Freyja’s falcon cloak far and wide.
No woman pleased him, not Sif’s ample hips or Freyja’s
wily ways, Odin’s mead was bitter, his longing for
someone who did not smile then turn away whenever
he entered the room – be our fool, Loki, be our
friend, then we will spit your name like a curse.

Who in the Nine Kingdoms did not despise him when
his trickery caught the best of him? He laughed
through the pain of sewn lips and flytings, even
Odin could not ken the depths of his madness, it
ate away at Loki like acid that would someday drip
from Skadi’s snakes, but that was centuries away.

Loki was still young, still a wanderer, Angrboda
was fierce, yes, and he was proud of Hela, Fenrir,
and Jormungandr, but to have an etin-bride far
away in Jotunheim left his Asgardian bed cold
when rain pelted like hail and the girls and
boys had tired of his amusements, they said he
slept with anything that could move, horse or
hag, but truly, Loki did not want to be alone
when the darkness came, and silence reigned.

Fire fears the dark, and Loki wanted kindling.

And then past the edge of the Worlds, at Urda’s
Well, Loki saw a young woman picking cornflowers.
She had hair like wood, a body like a beautiful
supple violin, and her smile lit up the mountains.

Was she As or Van? Jotun or Alf? Human, maybe?
It is lost to time. But she sang, and she would
offer the flowers to the well, they are her magic,
you see – they broke Loki’s chains in the end, for
Sigyn is the Fetter Breaker, and do you really think
anyone else in Asgard but she who held the bowl
could set Loki free from his torments?

Where do you think she poured the leftover venom but
onto Loki’s chains, rusting them century by century
until her now broken husband was free, she stayed
sane for him, for their dead children, for All.

But that was a far away wyrd, and Loki wooed her
with the simple promise: I will make you my bride.
I will love you as the wildfire loves the forest.
I will devour all your fears and fructify soil, I
will give you my tongue, for I have no sword, and
please, oh please Sigyn, let me but hold you, for
I am so lonely amongst friends, so tearful behind
my smile, and your kindness is something that will
save me in the depths of my insanity, you will be
my answer to all the cruelties of a hard life, in
the end, I will have done it all for you, my wife.

And Sigyn held him, and comforted him, and she said
I will love you and bake you sweet bread, I will bear
you sweet boys that will never reach adulthood, but
we will love them nonetheless, in your kitchen I will
sing, I will hang the ceiling with flax and flowers,
I will spin and sew you clothes and secrets, I will
be your bride, sweet Loki, for I see past your silver
tongue a man whose heart is broken, and it will take
an eternity to mend, but I am water, I fit into your
cracks, I will whet your fire and ground you, husband.

And their love was the strongest of Asgard, and their
trials were the cruelest of all invention, but still
they love, and still Loki protects his humans with
utter warmth, wit, and humor, and still Sigyn lets
no hungry mortals come to her table, still she tends
wounds you didn’t even know existed, and they welcome
the outcasts, the mad, the wild who do not belong,
for in the hall of the Madman and the Fetter Breaker,
no one cries for long, and happiness plays like songs.

On the Gentleness of Loki

Loki has always seemed like a family man to me – loving husband of Sigyn, fiery consort of Angrboda, father (and mother) to Narvi, Vali, Jormungand, Hela, Fenrir, and Sleipnir and even some troll women.  He has always treated me like an adoptive daughter, or his favorite niece, and is nothing but endless warm campfires, electric energy, and wild, playful divinity.  As Lodur, he gave the first humans vitality, that very spark of life that gives us spirit, and we invoke him, his blood-brother Odin, and the swan-god Hoenir at every blot – Odin, Vili, Ve, sung in harmony until the energy builds and the sacred is separated from the profane.

I first learned of Loki as a child from Norse mythology books – a wily red-haired trickster that got the gods into trouble, but also gave them their greatest gifts – Gugnir, Mjolnir, Gullinbristi.  Having been a pagan since the age of 7, and before that not really self-aware enough to think beyond myself spiritually, I never had the so-called Christian baggage many Heathens seem to have about Loki, equating him to some kind of Norse Satan, whereas the Loki in Ragnarok could equally be Utgard-Loki or even Logi depending on your translation.  No, to me, Loki, though Jotun-blooded, is firmly Aesir in alignment, most often spotted in the company of Odin or his bosom adventuring friend Thor.  He is the champion of the outcasts, of those that dare to speak the truth, of the mentally ill, of wise men and women that walk backwards, upside-down through society.  In him I found a kindred soul.  Within the palace of his spirit, I am home.

I went through a HUGE Loki phase at age 16, long before the Marvel movies (which by the way, he is not at all like Tom Hiddleston) and the green-eyed flame haired trickster soon made himself apparent in visitations alongside Samael, whether that be in dive bars throughout the worlds, at gyms for the Greek pantheon where he would challenge Athena to a bench press contest, Apollo to discus, or Artemis to crossbow shooting, and party after party where he and Sam would drink… and drink… and drink… and drink… joke… play pranks… drink some more.

From the instant I met Loki, I was besotted.  He was tender, compassionate, yet still a trickster, a prankster, a jokester, the zero-sum fool and jester all at once, happy to help out a mortal girl and give sage life advice.  He rarely asked for anything in offerings, maybe just some Skittles or a crazily frosted cupcake, to be included in my writings, to reflect upon the sacrifices he and his family made for Asgard.  He is all about duty, in his own way, and you will rarely find anyone wiser than Odin’s silvertongued brother.

There are so many lessons I’ve learned from my ardent, devoted research on him, his devotee’s writings, interacting with him personally for close to ten years, and just generally soaking up any information about him like a Loki sponge.  The biggest lesson, though, is that you never know what struggle someone else is going through, so always, always, be compassionate.  Be grace.  Be gentle.  Most recently, his lesson has been to care for the homeless.  He comes to me as a hobo, as a wild man, as a homeless veteran, living off the land and city streets, Lokabrenna seen from the gutter.

I have never met his Breaker of Worlds aspect, but there is madness behind even the kindest moment with him.  The kind of pain I’ve felt at losing control of everything you’ve held dear – your very sanity itself – and in that loss we are kin.  In the loss of control, in the Ragnarok rage, to destroy all those that have harmed you, we are the same.  Whether or not Ragnarok is real, a metaphor, already happened – I don’t care.  Loki is bound and free, sly and honest, Asgard’s greatest ally and greatest foe, Jotun and Aesir, innangard and utgard.  Holy and unholy.

But above all, he is a hero.  My hero.  Friend of my heart and dear guide on the twists and turns of a many times uncertain life.

Loki the Storyteller

He is a witch-pyre inferno, crackling green flames,
rich as loam, feels like home, his skin like sage,
god of outcasts and wanderers, home in the stars,
following Milky Way trails to a harbor in fjords,
Loki is a father foremost, and a jester by day,
but by night he’s a storyteller, silver and jade,
scar mouth, he lights up the hall with his songs
and each of us feels at ease, at peace, in his arms
raconteur cloak spun of woman’s beard, crows, alms.

The Lay of the (Spiritual) Land

So if you are a reader of my blog, you might wonder – what is Allie?  Is she crazy? (Probably)  Is she an eclectic pagan?  An angel fanatic or shitposter about demons?  Why does she write so many angsty poems about archangels?

Trust me, I’m confused too.  I’ve been pagan since I was 7 and started out as the elementary school version of a Hellenic (prayed to Hermes in traffic, Athena for tests, Pan for longer recesses).  Still, I was connected to the angels starting at seven, and had known Samael since I was two (the idiot’s my first memory – 2 1/2 year old Allie crying in a crib as red-eyed Barney Samael rings her with mutilated ghost children and says I LOVE YOU in a voice like pure evil distilled down to clanging chains and screams of the Damned)  I didn’t watch Barney for a week.  Anyways, when I was seven I started dreaming about who I later learned was Ariel, Samael-Nergal, Uriel, and Metatron.  There were tons of other characters that I later learned were actual demons or angels, like the demon “Bane” (Eff you, Bune) and Ragnar the Space Viking Demon, who was also another thinly disguised Samael.

Anyways, so in elementary school I considered myself a pagan – the only one in the world, I thought, before I discovered the Internet, which took about until I was ten – and mainly worshiped the Greek gods.  When I learned I couldn’t be the Messiah in Sunday school because I was a girl and couldn’t be a priest I decided the Abrahamic faiths were evil and sexist and that God was a mean grumpy old man.  I was also terrified of Satan.  Deathly terrified.  Now I just think he’s a turd.  Anyways, despite constant dreams of angels and demons, I thought they were just my characters, nothing more.  Uriel was my protective older sister, Ariel was my prankster brother, Samael was the bad babysitter that took me to archdemon councils and hid me under the table with a bag of chips and book to keep me occupied, and Metatron just gave me healthy snacks and tea and told me to behave and do my homework.

The Hellenics, while nice, didn’t stick.  God knows I tried to trade in Samael for Athena about a bajillion times in middle and high school.  In middle school I entered my fairy-vampire phase and devoured everything I could about Celtic mythology, but still, that didn’t fit, despite Manannan being a badass.  I devoured books on world mythology and was eclectic as hell, all while ignoring Michael and Samael and Beelzebub and all the rest of the Abrahamics until I was 18, when I begrudgingly accepted their existence outside of my self-insert urban fantasy novels, after I started a Samael roleplay blog for creative writing purposes and had all these pagans and Satanists coming to me thinking I was channeling Samael or believed in him or whatever.  Misha was one of them, now his godspouse, and we’ve been best friends since I was in high school.

Anyways, I grew to appreciate the Abrahamic faiths – Islam, Judaism, and Christianity, and considering I was already well-versed in angelology and demonology and the Bible and apocrypha (Gnostics smoked some dope weed, yo) and had nightmares about the Book of Enoch, something else was going on around the time I was 17.

That something was Loki.

Loki showed up in my dreams, best buds with Samael, and we did dumb shit in the astral and they played pranks on me and I had to go to too many bars where they hit on spirits and served as each other’s wingmen.  Like most teenagers, I went through a HUGE Loki phase – I made a blog named after him, took the moniker lokisdattir that he had given me, and started exploring Norse mythology.  It resonated with me and I loved the gods and their antics and the Eddas and sagas.  It felt like a hole in my heart had been filled.

Loki came and went and came again, he shows up when he feels like it, and the Abrahamics were a near constant as usual, dominating my spiritual interactions.  However, I was missing the name of a spirit that had been with me since childhood: one I had described in my writings as the Green Man and having green eyes and golden hair and looking like “a Norse god in winter wear.”   Samael was jealous of my affection for this mystery spirit who I majorly platonically crushed on in middle school and high school, this Green Man who I wrote an entire novel about, complete with Odin and him searching for Freyja and the Wild Hunt led by who I later learned was Frau Holda.

Blond Norse god of the harvest and fertility whose blood fructifies the Earth, a Golden God of the North.  I had all the clues, and while I’m usually pretty smart, I’m pretty dumb when it comes to discovering the name of spirits.  I literally googled “Blond god of the north” and “Green Man of Scandinavia” and somehow, after over a decade of searching, I realized, omfg, the guy you fawned over in middle school and wrote an entire NaNoWriMo project on was Freyr.

I’d always considered the Green Man my patron god, but he took on a very familiar face, and that face was Freyr.  I finally officially met Freyr when I was 21 over the summer and he affirmed that he had been watching over me my whole life and that my life, as an environmentalist and caretaker of nature through river cleanups and biology and ecology, was a fine way to serve him.  I asked if he would be my patron god and he accepted.

I’ve been exploring heathenry since I was 17 and now, three weeks away from 24, I feel very comfortable in its framework.  I’ve devoured the myths, devotionals, blogs of devotees, and am very close to Loki, Thor, and Freyr, with a love for the likes of Nerthus, Njord, Skadi, and Idunna, with a healthy respect (AND FEAR) for Odin.  Out of all pagan traditions, heathenry most aligns with my world view and spiritual practice, with the focus on community and service and being an upstanding individual.

So, after nearly seventeen years of exploration, I’ve chosen my spiritual framework: a Heathen spiritworker.  I love the Abrahamics and am oathed to Michael and Samael, but my astral home is in Vanaheim and my ancestry and blood as a Norwegian and German and Anglo-Saxon tie me nearly completely to the Norse pantheon.  They always return to me year after year, month after month.  I’m an Abrahamic mystic, but I am a Heathen layperson that participates in blots and acts of living devotion and service to my gods.  I am not a professed Heathen, as I do not want to cut ties with the angels, demons, and other gods I know that are dear to my heart, and much of the spiritwork I’ve been called on to do is interfaith work between different pantheons.  It would be unfair to pledge myself solely to the Norse gods, so I suppose I’m eclectic in that sense that I work with other spirits, but do not worship any but the Norse.

To me, the overarching Source of all is Mother Nature, and I view the angels and demons as part of that, having never met Yahweh, but his deep love for his people, temper and mercurial nature remind me of nature at its best and worst.  Worshiping Nature as the ultimate Source of All is the only way monotheism makes sense to me, but I am far from a monotheist – I believe in Mother Nature and her children as different parts of the cosmos with individual identities and personalities.  I guess that makes me a hard polytheist.

Choosing a religious path never worked for me – the spirits that wanted my service always came to me, and me offering myself to Athena never ever worked.  I’m the rare example of someone that doesn’t get much choice in who they work with – I can love and respect other spirits of other pantheons and be inspired by them, but they are not my gods.  I’m a budding Freyrswoman, a devotee of Loki, and oathed to Michael and Samael, whatever the hell that means.

What I can choose, however, is how I practice, and I chose to honor the gods of my ancestors and the ones I most resonate with – the Norse gods.