I can’t lie: some of us old, crotchety spirit workers and godspouses find a lot of the blogs from new Loki’s wives kind of annoying.
It’s not a nice or kind thing to say, but it’s true. I find myself in at least three or four conversations a week where someone – a Lokean, a Godspouse, a Spirit Worker, or just some random person with too much time on their hands, reading Tumblr – comes to me to gripe, ask mean questions about, or even just to point and laugh at some Loki’s Spouses’ blog.
For starters, it gets under many craws (including my own) that so many of these starry-eyed lovers are young, cisgender women. It has been pointed out in many different ways how this is potentially damaging to the efforts to see Lokeans taken more seriously by the greater Heathen/Asatru, and even the larger Pagan demographic. When it’s all titters about hot Loki sex and dinner dates on the astral plane, we kinda look like a bunch of Twilight fans. It makes me nauseous, and I’m not alone. As one of my Jobs from Loki is to be the speaker of hard truths, I’m stepping out into the potential (who am I kidding?) line of fire by stating this plainly. But it’s true.
I’m involved in a few online Lokean haunts, and the issues manifest there, too. I’ve seen more than one discussion group dissolve when it’s descended upon by this new wave of Loki’s wives, who rave about getting a God’s affection and attention, but bemoan that they don’t seem to be manifesting the Kewl Powerz that some of us grouchy spirit workers write about, like “Godphones” and “Possession”. They seem to have come to some conclusion that we got some sort of “welcome to Spirit Work” package by UPGPS (The Unverified Personal Gnosis Postal System) that included our very own Godphone and User’s Guide. If you read this blog, or any of the others written by us grumpy old timers, we’ve been collectively holding forth for the last few months on the many, many ways that this is just not so. But somehow, it’s not getting through, as we’re still feeling grouchy and still getting emails and reading empassioned journals about how unfair it all is.
More frightening than that, is the amount of Loki’s wives who claim to have this abilities, and offer them as services to others (sometimes for a price), who have only been “doing this” for six months, a year, a few years. To be fair, sometimes that’s how it really happens, someone developing a new shamanic ability in a very short amount of time. But just because one can do something, often doesn’t mean that they should, and in the considered opinion of the grampas and grannies out there, this is one of those times. Speaking from my own experience, I was hearing the voices of Gods since I was a teenager, but I never even spoke about it, much less offered to do it on someone else’s behalf (God or mortal alike), until my late 20′s, a good ten years later.
Some of this annoyance is directly related to that. I’m sure you can think of something you do well – knitting, playing an instrument, throwing a flogger – that you consider yourself pretty damn good at. This did not immediately translate into the idea that you should teach others how to, nor did it create some sort of cosmic obligation to educate, either. Not all oboe players have what it takes to teach someone else to oboe, and not all of them are playing in professional symphonies. They just play because they’re good at it.
Unsurprisingly, with the uptick of people offering these services online, there has been a directly related uptick in clients running to us crones and crags because they got horked, or lead astray, or even more depressing, made big giant life decisions (like oathing themselves to Loki) because it was easier (and maybe cheaper) to ask one of these newly minted possessory workers or channelers for their services. I know that when I got started, I was eager to do shamanic stuff, for cheap or free, merely because it was a huge ego stroke for people to know I could, and being afforded opportunities to do it in a way where others would know about it. Since many of these newbies are interfacing with each other online, they get the immediate social cache of channeling a God for a fellow blogger and having that blogger share that newbie’s name/URL along with the message they received. It’s a scary Ouroboros, a cycle hard to break from, because one the recipient sees how the channeler is treated, they’re only going to feel even more inclined to offer services they may still be coming to understanding, much less good at.
We, as humans and as spirit workers, also have to remember that we have biases, filters, lenses through which we interpret the information we glean. I have a colleague who is *wonderful* if you’re working with Odin, but if you’re still unsure who is Knocking on your head, they interpret every male Deity as being Odin, and if it’s female, it must be Freyja (as if there were no other pantheons, much less Norse Gods and Goddesses)! I don’t know where this deluge of Loki’s wives started, but I have a strong suspicion (that is slowly becoming a theory, based on my own client work) that this is part of this Ouroboros I mentioned earlier – since Jan is married to Loki, and is new at this whole Godphone thing, when someone approaches her who may or may not also be trying to understand their own relationship with Loki, she will necessarily filter whatever information she gets through her own experience, and announce that Loki wants to marry this other person, too. Why not? Jan is still in a honeymoon phase where being married to Loki is a wonderful, inspiring thing, and she wants to share that feeling with as many people as possible, so they will all feel this bliss.
This also applies in another direction – because Godspousery is most being discussed in relation to the Norse pantheon, many people assume that if a God/dess is pursuing a mortal for marriage, it must be a Norse one. In addition, since so many Norse Godspouses are married to either Loki or Odin, it’s practically a safe bet to assume that this pursuer is one of them. And conversely, if someone is feeling that they are being pursued, because searching for “God Spouses” brings up all these blogs of Loki’s wives, that it must be Loki. Meanwhile, people who are sure it is not Loki, or who are not cisgender women, or who are being pursued for some sort of Relationship by a same-sex Deity, find these blogs and convince themselves that they’re deluded, and stop exploring this potentiality.
So I’ve explained in (great) detail how this proliferation of Loki’s wives online is causes ill to many; how, then, did I come to the conclusion that there is something to be learned from this, and turned towards the betterment of Pagans and Spirit Workers everywhere?
Tell your story. Tell your story even if you’re still figuring it all out. Admit you don’t have a God phone. Write a blog that’s all about how hard it is for you to meditate. Write about how it makes you feel when you feel chosen by some other path, especially if that path makes you feel lonely, different, radioactive, frustrated, depressed. Talk openly about how all this talk of spirit work makes you feel lesser because you weren’t chosen for that. Create a Tumblr for people who don’t hear the Gods, and encourage each other to create and stick to devotional work in spite of that. If we, us non-Loki’s-wives, can learn anything from this new development, it’s that sharing our honest personal experiences will draw like to like.
It’s not easy, being a homesteader. At first, you’ll feel like no one is reading your words, and your stat count makes you cry. You’ll feel isolated and alone. But two things will be happening at the same time:
1. You’ll get better at describing and detailing your own story and experiences. Many of the Big Name Bloggers out there were doodlin’ away for years before they wrote that one post that went viral. I was writing Dying For A Diagnosis for over a year before I started writing this blog, and it still took me six months before Hearing the Gods and God Sex went viral, and many of you first learned about me from those posts, (or maybe one of the Month for Loki posts); I needed that year of blogging experience to fully grasp how to write a viral post, as well as to hone my writing to a place where people would enjoy reading it. I frequently hear the compliment, “I don’t generally read blogs, but I love what you write!”, which is probably why I got the book deal.
It was the same thing, becoming a sex/kink educator. I’ve been teaching adults about sex for over a decade, and I’m just now starting to gain some recognition (and money) for doing it. There were plenty of times I was incensed that educators that knew less than me, or weren’t as engaging, or had a narrower range of classes were getting more gigs (and money) than I was – because they had a book, or used to do porn, or had a podcast – until I realized how much grunt work they had to do to be where they are. It was different grunt work, but it was still unglamorous and difficult (and financially crappy).
But the way I got here, is by being unafraid to find my truth, and sometimes that process was and is very public. I’m really an introvert, so sometimes sharing the dirt and shit of my life (on my blogs, on Facebook, whatever) is hard for me. I feel alone, or worse, like I’m highlighting what a stupid fuckup I really am. But the more I did these things, the more people found it resonated with them, and the more attention (and money) I got. And I know even I’m not where I want to be yet – I have a lot of plans this year to start moving forward with more financially lucrative ways of doing what I’m already doing (like the books), and I’m going to be writing and sharing the sausage making of that process, too.
The reason you feel alone, or worse, are willing to accept a more popular answer to your own spiritual questions – is because you’re waiting for your braver twin to come forward and start doing this stuff. You’re the answer you’re waiting for, to borrow a hackneyed hippy philosophy.
2. By having the courage to stand up and talk about some stuff publicly, you’ll also learn what to keep to your damn self. The more I teach classes on sexuality, the more I treasure what parts of it are personal. Same with my spiritual shite; I write about a lot of it, but in the same vein, I write about very little of it. The P in UPG is there for a reason – my relationship with my Gods is Personal, and I learned (sometimes the hard way) that the Internet hordes are only going to mock and belittle you for putting it all out there; I tell people often the difference between blogging and journalling is that blogs are written for a greater audience than just you. Granted, your personal life might just be salacious enough to gain some readers, but if it’s at all wacky like mine, you’ll gain twice as many spectators as witnesses. Spectators just sit back and watch, and look for the mistakes and holes and other places where they can feel superior; they’re disengaged from the real emotions and experiences that lie beneath the words. My old livejournal (no link, Google fiends) had a lot of followers/readers, but people really only commented on shit they felt superior about. You want witnesses, people who are engaged and moved by what you say (so much so that they reblog or share it on social media, thus relieving your angst about your stats); the best way I’ve found to finding witnesses is to look for the underlying universal (or widely relatable) truths in your story. People may not fully understand my specific issues with having an undiagnosed chronic condition, but they can totally relate to chronic pain, insomnia, and what it’s like to be in the hospital. They may not share the same spiritual path as you, but they might be in desperate need of the wisdom you’ve gleaned from an ordeal or other devotional work. Even if your words are about a specific Deity, there may be others who worship or work with the same or even a similar God that will inspire them in their own interactions with Them.
Instead of advising that everyone’s spiritual path should look the same, we should all be out there having deeply meaningful spiritual lives that are also intensely personal; but sharing both the means by which you develop that personal path, and the enlightenment you receive from it, will speak much more universally to people-at-large. Jan (you remember Jan from before, right?) can be doing much more important and moving spirit work if she is showing others how she is developing her own channeling abilities, rather than just trying to gain fame and fortune by using a skill that’s only a few months old (and she also avoids the angry mobs whom she steers in the wrong direction, using a skill she doesn’t fully comprehend yet.)
I do hook suspension; it makes me a fairly sought after ordeal master, since hooks-as-ordeal was 2009′s version of being a Loki’s wife (sorta, but follow me here). Everyone thought that the best and most meaningful ordeals involved hooks. So I had a bunch of ordeal masters chasing me around, demanding that I share my skill with them, as clients were supposedly (and I highly doubt it to be true) as lesser, or “not real” ordeal masters because they didn’t do hooks.
The frank truth is, I can teach someone how to put a hook in someone else in about six hours. But my apprenticeship was three years long. This is not because it took me longer to learn how to put a hook in someone else; it was because my mentor knew that it wasn’t knowing how to hook someone that would make me a hook suspension artist good enough to claim his lineage: it was the thousands of little (and big) idiosyncratic experiences I had while working as his apprentice. I know what to do if someone bends their hooks and falls to the floor (Which, by the way, is much more likely to happen than the hooks tearing through your flesh!). I can act calmly if someone goes into shock from getting the piercings. I know, instinctually, when the issue is something I can handle, and when I need to call 911. I know, because I’ve been there and been in it when these things all happened, and now, even if I face a situation I didn’t see in my apprenticeship, I have the confidence that I can figure it out. That took more than six hours to learn.
The same obviously goes for shamanic services like channeling and possession. Not only do I know and understand the mechanics of how my body becomes possessed, but I know what to do when I realized that the Spirit is doing things with my body that I’m not okay with, or what to do if I need to eject that Spirit or face going to prison. I know these things well enough that I can articulate them to lesser-experienced “handlers”, so I can know that everyone, including me, will be safe while I am doing this. I know what my filters are, and so when I get messages from Gods that seem eerily connected to my spiritual experience, instead of assuming that my client is having the same experience, I can take a step back and say to them, “This feels like it’s coming through a personal filter, so I’m going to speak in generalities and need your help in figuring out how this applies to you.
One last note: this is for many of the newer spirit workers out there. You’re making us old grouchy spirit workers nervous. Many have shared with me that they don’t share parts of their personal stories online, lest someone else decide that you can’t be a “real” or “true” whatever-they-are unless they have the same abilities or experiences. A friend (I won’t out them) has even shared that they posted something wildly false, just to see if other spirit workers who share their particular calling would echo it – fuck it, I’ll even say it was a God Spouse – and they did. Not only was there a rush of, “OMG yes, that happened to me too!”, but it became something they judged others by: “If you haven’t experienced (this completely made up thing), then you’re not a real (role)!”
We want the freedom to write about what we do, but we’re terrified of these trends. Just the onslaught of people talking about “Godphoning” (because yes, a joke slang we made up when you were in high school is now being used as a verb) or their lack of ability to “Godphone”, makes us wary. If you were to stop contrasting and comparing yourself to what we do, we could speak more freely about it, and sharing that might actually be useful to you or people like you.
So in a nutshell (TL;DR?), just be your authentic self, as much in person as online. Share your authentic spiritual journey, and don’t spend so much time keeping up with the Raven Kalderas and Elizabeth Vongvisiths of the world. Spirituality, like sex, should be personally fulfilling and full of meaning, not a contest to see who gets the most reblogs or who has all the Kewl Powerz. We crotchety old timers (as well as the rest of the Internet) will take you much more seriously when you do.