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.

Dream Diary: Adoption

Freyr, Odin, Thor, Loki, Freyja, Skadi, Idunna – the Aesir and Vanir ring me at the Midwinter Festival in Vanaheim, where I make my home in a green-and-red palace built by the twin spirits I am devoted too – the wood and stone and silk dwelling they made for me on the night of my oathing ceremony.

The grass is frosted and sparse and we are in a forested fjord – cranes fly in great Vs across the sky. I am dressed in wolf fur and a buckskin dress with silver and azure embroidery, red paint of crushed yew berry rimming my eyes, and in my hands I hold a long sword. The gods raise their voices in galdr and I drive the blade into the ground – Freyja’s is sweet and sharp, Loki’s song dances with the bonfire we circle, and Odin is deep and earthy.

The cranes cry out and we fall silent.

We share mead in a silver horn and talk of why I am there – family, haminja, orlog – my blood called to them and they came, they came, from my childhood down the years, always there. We reminisce about my journey through marsh and meadow, through volcano and cavern, through ocean and forest. The mead is sweet and tart and we pour the remnants of the horn onto the ground where I have pierced it with my sword, then sprinkle some into the fire.

“Welcome, daughter of the gods,” Freyr, the Bright and Glorious One, says with a voice like honey as he beckons me. How I once thought him an angel is not so confusing, with the gold and fortune that radiates from his skin. He places a necklace of silver and sapphires on my neck and it sparkles like sky and snow.

One by one, I embrace the gods of my Yngling ancestors – of Harald Fairhair and Ragnar Lodbrok, of Aslaug and Brunhilde and the kings of Uppsala who have passed this legacy down onto me.

Loki I hug last. “You are always welcome in my hall. All you have to do is find the door,” he says with a wink, and I laugh.

The cranes reach their roost and Njord prepares our boat. We go to spirit markets on the dark marshes and bargain in souls and wyrd with gypsies and dwarves.

Later, I bring my spirits with me to the Midwinter Festival. Samael and Loki, old friends, drink and reminisce, and Michael lets down his uptight exterior and distrust of other races and for once enjoys himself. We eat roast boar and suckling pig and hearty bread and cheese. Elven dancers perform a Vanic ceremony of season’s turning and we watch, mesmerized.

The fire grows and night creeps up, and I return to my body, the taste of mulled honey on my lips.

Hail Loki of the Wanderers

Hail Loki of the Wanderers,
scarred lips from too many secrets
begging with diamond-shine change
riding forgotten railways and clinging
to stray children to keep them warm.

Heart-Eater, Sky Treader, your highway
is dreams and your song is siren liberation
you are shepherd of outcasts, come to me
as beggar and homeless magician, shapeshifter,
wild and wonderful, I raise my horn to you.