A Month for Loki: Post VI

It’s the end of July, which means that the Month for Loki project is over. Of course this isn’t the last you’ll hear about my dear Patron; oh no, don’t you worry. I have a strong feeling that as I reinvent myself yet a-fucking-gain He won’t be far from my heart.

I wanted to take a moment before it ends and talk about one more aspect of my relationship with Loki. See, if you go looking in the blog-o-sphere, whatever the hell that is, most of the Lokean blogs you’ll find are from female-sexed (although probably gender-bent in some way) godspouses. It just seems to be what Loki likes the most. This is not to say I haven’t met male Lokeans, or people who relate to Loki in ways other than godspousery, but that’s the primary mode you find on the Internet.

I’m not one of those. See, Loki and I relate as Father-child. He has made it abundantly clear to me that I am a Jotun-blooded monster, akin to Fenris, Jormangand, and Hel. He has told me intimate details about my mother’s vagina as his way of proving that he was present when my birth parents got busy. What’s interesting is that I was an unplanned pregnancy, or at least that’s how the story goes. My mother and birth father’s early relationship is very much shrouded in mystery; we know there are two marriage licenses with different dates on them, and when I had my abortion my mother confided that she had done the same thing. My birth father told me once that he had advocated for my abortion, but you know, he was a dick.

When Loki revealed his relationship to me, I wasn’t pleased. I mean, I was happy we had some form of connection, but I had lived the first third of my life with a Father-God figure watching over my shoulder, waiting for my every little sin to condemn me to Hell. One of the reasons I had embraced Paganism was to escape Our Father Who Art In The Sky. I believed that Gods were imminent – here, on this planet, in some form or another – not living off in some distant cloud-filled fairy land. I believed that the Gods could love us in a variety of ways, not just as unevolved little children who would never be fully adult in Their eyes. But as time went on, and I learned more about my spirit-siblings, I came to accept it.

Then I met other Lokeans. The first Lokean I met was a female godspouse. She quickly informed me that if Loki truly loved me, He would marry me. I looked at her like she had three heads, but deep inside I had a fairly large faithquake. Was this true? Why does he see other devotees in that way, but yet again somehow I am infantilized, treated like a child, delegated to the kiddie’s table? Maybe my spirit work wasn’t as important, so I didn’t need the prestige that comes with being a spouse. Maybe Loki didn’t find me attractive enough, so it was better to relegate me to “monster” rather than “lover?

It was a pretty bad time.

So I went to Loki. Over the years, he and I have had this conversation more than twice. I honestly don’t know why there are so many Lokean godspouses, other than it makes him happy. But I’ve come to accept that my relationship with him is strong, deep, and vitally important. I don’t know if I would have the kind of signal clarity that I do (I am known for having pretty spot-on clarity, not just with Loki, but in general), because I have that blood in my veins. I am better able to do the Work that I do, which is different than most godspouses, because of that connection. And Loki is not a Big Infallible Father looking over my shoulder doling out demerits: sometimes he’s the Dad who throws you a beer after a hard day’s work and watches the game with you; sometimes he’s the Father who you can call when you car breaks down on the side of the highway; sometimes he’s the Pops that introduces you to all his friends with pride, which in turn gives you a leg up in the Work that you do. Now, I would never call Loki “Pops” to his face, but you get the idea.

I’m surrounded by godspouses and consorts in the spirit work community in which I hang. Somehow I thought when I started experiencing God sex, that eventually someOne would snap me up and I could be one of the cool kids. But it’s clear to me that’s not my path. I would be lying to myself, to my clients, and to my Gods if I tried to force it. I mean, there are Gods who are willing to take Godspouses sorta willy-nilly, as long as the human is ready to make some serious commitments to them. I could do that. But it would derail me from my wyrd in a serious way, and my life seems to flow better when I follow my wyrd.

I mean, there’s also the whole, “I gave Loki the reigns to my life” thing, and at this point, my relationship with him is set in stone. My devotional relationship to him exists outside of any comparison to anyone else’s – it is between He and I, and the people who benefit from the results of that relationship – my clients, my colleagues, the communities I serve.

Hail Loki, Father of Lies and of Monsters.
Hail Loki, whose biggest punishment was the death of his children.
Hail Loki, who loves those who are hard to love.
Hail Loki, who sees into the heart, rather than on the skin.
Hail Loki, who literally made me who I am today.

Hurt and Transition

Things are in transition. Well, for a Lokean, that’s practically a state of being. But right now, there’s a tangible transition afoot. I’m not pleased about this, and I’m not even sure I want to post this entry. There’s a lot of shame, hurt, anger, and frustration behind these seemingly calm looking words on a page. I’m a writer, though, and I deal best with situations when I can put words to them, quantify them in a way, communicate them to someone else. It is like a cathartic purge of all the buildup of emotions that otherwise are hard to release.

If you came here looking for juicy details or personal attacks, you’re in the wrong place.

The hard truth here is that I am divorcing my husband. We have been married for almost seven years, and together for almost ten. This was my choice, my action (or more properly, reaction), this is me owning my life, my heart, my right to a relationship on the terms I ask for.

He cheated on me. Not once, but several times. Yes, it is absolutely possible to cheat when you’re poly. I mean, part of what I don’t understand about what happened is that I’m a fairly permissive poly partner, as far as they go. I have one real rule: tell me. If you meet a hot guy in a bar and you got his digits, tell me, even if you’re not sure you’re ever going to call. If you get an email from a friend who confides that they might be interested in a little more, tell me, even if your answer is going to be no. If you get propositioned for a little hanky panky, give me a call and let me know. That’s all. I have never said “no”. I have said, “Do you think this is a good idea?” or “I don’t care for this person, but as long as I don’t have to be their friend, okay” or “I think they have ulterior motives, so watch out for that”, but unless memory fails me completely, I have never once denied him something that he wanted, even when I really wanted to.

It started early on. I remember we had only been together a short while, and a mutual friend felt compelled to inform me that they had been having intimate conversations via the phone, and that it had progressed to the “I love you” stage. I didn’t even know they were talking outside of group social situations. But then, I chalked it up to poly inexperience, because he had never been in a poly relationship before. We processed it at length, and came up with a better script for the next time it should happen.

But the script never manifested. Over and over again, I’d find out from other people that he had been doing things we’d agreed were off limits, or just a bad idea. He engaged in activities and neglected to tell me, once while I was lying sick in bed only a few hundred yards away.

I loved him. It’s the stupid thing you hear from people all the time, but it was the truth. I really wanted the relationship to work, because other than this fault I really liked him and wanted to be a part of his life. I loved him through the mistakes and the betrayal. Hell, I even let myself fall in love with him knowing that his first marriage ended for the exact same reason (he cheated on her, too). I let myself believe in redemption, in his seemingly genuine desire to live life with honor and integrity. I mean, he’s a Tyr’s man, a self-defined “guardian”. Of course I wanted to believe him.

I loved him so much that as my life began to deteriorate, I still compromised for him. When I was no longer able to climb the stairs in our home on a regular basis, I moved into the 10’x10′ room downstairs and made due; my pleas to move to a more accessible location were met with agreement at first, but then apathy/procrastination took over and he did the minimum he could so he could point to it and say, “But I did that one thing!”

I’ve done a lot of covering for him. Things he’s said and done, or more often, said and not done, I danced for the proverbial cameras so no one would notice. When friends voiced their concerns to me, I smiled wide and told them everything was okay. Meanwhile, I begged him for counseling, either for himself or for us together, or both. I begged him to take his health more seriously, so he could get his seizures under control. I begged him. A lot.

I will beg no more.

I don’t know how things will play out. The wounds are fresh, the situation raw. I’m investigating options, talking to legal folks, and figuring out how to walk out of here with my dignity intact. My biggest fear is that I look the fool. People have been telling me for years that I am too forgiving, that I compromised too much, that I went to incredible lengths to keep things together. And yet, his unfaithfulness was public. It happened where people could see. Almost every time, it was a witness who came to me and informed me of what happened.

So things are in transition. I don’t have any answers, and I’m not really feeling like I want to process this with anyone I’m not already talking to. I just needed to get this out in the open, air the dirty laundry a bit so it can stop stinking up my brain.

Reblogged: Prepping for the Astral

Another World 101: Prepping for the Astral, a blog post by The Rose Bell

A lot of people, especially those interested in experiencing spirit work or relationships with Gods, ask me about Astral journeying. I found this entry randomly, but I feel strongly that it has good recommendations of daily mundane things one can do to help fully experience life on other planes. Basically, the thrust is, you have to fully experience life here, first. Learn to be observant of the plane you’re on, and when things start to warp and shift, you’ll be ready to notice the little things that clue you in that you’re on the way.

Month for Loki: V

Loki was patient with me. I have a lot of tattoos, and several of them are spiritual in nature. But I did not have one for him, and he had made it clear to me that had to be remedied soon. I put it off for a very long time: I had a pretty ambitious one that I would need a good chunk of time and money for, and those things never manifested.

Then I found myself in a situation of sorts. There was a Lokean on the Internet who was saying and doing things that, frankly, I found deeply insulting and embarrassing. Not just for me, some random Lokean, but for Loki himself. It doesn’t matter what was said, or why, for this story. Let’s just say that there was a forum full of people who had come to the conclusion, based solely on this person’s writings, that spirit work in general, and Lokean spirit work in specific, was a crock of shit.

One day, this forum found my other blog, Dying for a Diagnosis. I got a surge of hits from said forum, so of course I clicked on the link to find out what caused their interest. Basically, since DfaD was on the blogroll of this other person, they had decided that my blog was now also worthy of mockery and sarcastic gawking.

I really didn’t know how to feel about it. I mean, I put it out there, and people have every right to take what I read however they will, including reading it for sport. I sought out the advice of several spirit-worker bloggers on how I should respond, if at all.

The first thing I did was add this page to my blog: OMGLOLWTFBBQ. It basically said that I had no problem with people reading my blog for sport or amusement, as that would be hypocritical of me to think otherwise, as there are other blogs written in earnest that I find hilarious. (Christian head-of-household, anyone?) But that wasn’t enough for Loki. He felt that his name and his people had been besmirched, and at the very least I had to make it clear to the people in the forum that this other blogger did not speak for all spirit workers, Lokeans, godspouses, or really anyone else.

I was terrified. I was pretty damn certain they were going to laugh me out of town. I took a week to compose my first post, because there was a good chance it would also be my last. I did my best to set the record straight, that my faith looks nothing like this other bloggers, but that if they wanted to read my blog for sport, I would be less of a Lokean if I tried to stop them.

And something incredible happened. They welcomed me with open arms. They started asking questions about things mentioned or said in this other blog, about how they were represented by this author and how they actually manifested for many others. I fielded questions about godspousery, spirit work, talking with the dead, hospitality, and most of all Loki. I earned their respect for being a well thought out, incisively spoken person who obviously had years of experience and lots of colleagues for whom this was a very serious devotional act. This bloomed over time, and I became one of the gang. When my friend Jon lay in the hospital dying, they sent me well wishes and prayed for him. When I struggled with health stuff, they made things up to amuse me.

Even more importantly, they reached out to me. Several wrote me privately about their own faith struggles. I got a few clients, and many hired me to divine for them. Even one, an avowed atheist, questioned his stance a little. Good things were afoot, and it became clear that I was sent there only tangentially because of this other blogger; I was sent there because I was needed, in a way.

One of the goofs of the forum is that members who are artists posted funny pictures to accompany or augment our discussions. One in specific would post these adorable chibi-like demon babies. (Why demon babies is a story for another day.) And I knew, then and there, that Loki had found a tattoo that wasn’t big and consuming. (He still wants another one, but this one will do for now.) I contacted the artist with my concept, and she was flattered that I wanted to mark myself permanently with her work.

While I waited for the final drawing to reach my inbox, I thought long and hard about what the tattoo represented to me. I didn’t want it to be full of the energy of this blogger and their incredibly embarrassing writings. I didn’t want it to be about internet voyeurism and sarcasm. So I prayed to Loki, since he was the one who picked it out, and I got an unambiguous answer.

“You stood up for me. You told my truth to people not disposed to listen. You did what I’ve always wanted you to do; to stand as a reminder that Lokean can have honor, can be reliable, can be contributing members of a community. Too many Lokeans use my name to excuse terrible behavior, or blame every pitfall for me. Not you. You thank me for your blessings, not curse me for your failures. When I ask difficult things of you, you take them on with gusto, proud to be doing my work. And even when I ask you for things that you would rather eat poop than do, you trust in my plan and do it anyway. This tattoo is a testament to that.”

Today, it also being close to the close for the Month for Loki, was the day. It helped that my boyfriend was also getting a tattoo for his God (his story can be found here: http://www.rockofeye.wordpress.com) so I had company.

Capt Gordon of Time Bomb Tattoos starting my ink

Almost done with the outline…

What was great about this experience was that I hadn’t had a tattoo in many years. Being

alternately sick and poor does that to you. I was ready for it to be very painful, as I was out of practice. But as the first line was drawn in my skin, I took a deep breath and found it tolerable. I told my boyfriend, “I think it says something that the chronic pain I feel every day is much more severe than this tattoo.” I smiled. I winced from time to time, but only once did I actually cry out. It was a very serene experience. But I didn’t feel Loki’s presence, or get any messages from him.

Once we got home, I sat on the stoop to get a few minutes to myself. That’s when Loki came to me. He didn’t say anything specific, but I felt  him beam me full of pride, for both the work that lead up to the ink, as well as me going through with getting it done. Then I got a deep sense of gratitude, not just for this, but for something else I did earlier that day for him. He was just thankful he had me to do these things, to represent him, to be a beacon of light for him.

That’s my Loki tattoo story. Hail Loki.

Original artwork by Lisa Yarost. This image is copyrighted.

The finished product.

God Sex

I get asked this question a lot. “How does a human have sex with a God/spirit?” Although I am not in a marital relationship with a Deity, I do have sex with Gods as part of my devotional work. Heck, Loki once made me have sex with Ratatosk (yes, a squirrel; I was a squirrel at the time, it’s a long story) so I could learn how to slip through the grooves of the World tree like He does.

First, I should make it clear that not everyone is meant, built, chosen, or fated to have this sort of relationship with Deity, and having it doesn’t make one better, cooler, more connected, or more important to that Deity. As Loki seems to be taking more and more spouses, I often get chided for not being chosen for this sort of relationship with Him, but really, I’m okay with that. And no, I’ve never had sex with Him. That would be…weird.

Anyway, let me explain how sexual devotions happen. These are from my personal experiences, as well as sharing notes with others who engage in this practice. I do not claim to be the World Expert On God Sex, so if you have other, different experiences, please feel free to share them in the comments. If you’d rather be anonymous, you can email me and I’ll post them myself.

There are four ways I’ve had sex with Deity.

The first is masturbation with intent. This may or may not include the devotee physically manipulating their own genitals; those who can perceive energy through the sensation of touch may feel their Partner touching them. Many I’ve spoken to usually incorporate typical masturbatory techniques, and most have toys dedicated to specific Deities. (This may help the devotee differentiate God sex from just rubbing one out, when they use a God Dick or Cunt.) This may or may not include a fantasy or vision of their Partner’s presence, or the Partner being energetically present. What’s nice about this option is that you can do it even if you can’t sense the God in question – you can offer your arousal or orgasm to a God/dess as an offering, if you’re pretty sure they’re open to that sort of thing. (It is not advised to offer orgasmic energy to Goddess of Virtue, Virginity, etc…trust me on this one.) To the observer, it would look like someone masturbating with or without their own hands.

The second is astral sex. This is when the devotee enters into a deep trance state and energetically leaves the body to join their Partner in some other realm (Asgard, the Underworld, Cleveland, The Summerlands, etc). Obviously, this requires the devotee to have this skill, and it is one that someone can develop over time. This may or may not include the physical body feeling sensation. To the observer, it would look like someone meditating, or having a sexy dream.

The third is by use of a stand-in. This is when a human partner acts as a surrogate for the Deity in question, but is still fully a human. Everyone, including the Deity, should be in full knowledge that this is what is occurring. (Some sex magicians disagree with me on this point, and feel that you can use someone without their knowledge for this sort of thing, but as someone who thinks highly of consent, I feel it is important and ethical for everyone involved to know what’s going on.) I do this often when I engage in Sacred Whore work – since I can’t touch my Deities on a regular basis, I will go into sacred space and offer my touch to other humans, while dedicating the act to my Gods. This can be done with a person you are in a pre-existing relationship with, as long as you remember to also fuck outside of this practice. Actually, I encourage those in relationships to go this route, rather than the fourth, as it seems to work out better for couples in the long run. To an observer, it would look like two or more people having sex.

The fourth, and the most rare, is finding someone who is willing to become possessed by the Deity and allow their body to be used for sexual acts. The difference between this and the third option is that in this case, the owner of the body is likely not fully present mentally/psychologically when the sex occurs. I know that when I act as a horse for this sort of work, I do not retain memories of the event, or have vague ones, like through a fog. I highly discourage the use of someone you’re in any sort of relationship with, even if that relationship is not sexual, because it’s easy for people to confuse the body with the inhabitant – that is, the devotee may see me as a living representative of their Deity, rather than Del-the-guy-who-watches-reality-tv-and-eats-a-lot-of-bacon. It can also cause issues when the God uses the horse’s voice to say things, or the body to do things, that upset the devotee – the devotee may get angry or question the horse’s ability, or accuse the horse of “faking it” in order to influence the devotee’s relationship with that Deity (especially if there’s any jealousy or other ill feelings between the devotee and the horse). I also discourage using the same horse more than a few times, as it is very difficult for a typical human to have sex with the same body over and over again and not feel some form of bond with them. It’s a tricky business, which is why it is, and should be, a rare occurrence, rather than the norm. To the observer, it would look like two people having sex, while one of them is acting differently than they ordinarily do, and is being called by a different name.

Like I stated in the beginning, I am not stating that this is the Definitive Guide of God Sex Tee Em. But I feel this is a good primer for those who find the practice foreign, odd, or interesting. As most mainstream religions enforce a more parental relationship with Deity, it may seem unusual to relate to Deity in this way, but I have met many Pagans for whom this is part of their regular devotional work, and/or a deep part of how they connect with their Gods. Again, I am open to comments, questions, personal stories, etc, in the comments; if you want to remain anonymous, you can email me at awesome.del at gmail.com and I will post them without your name.

Event Report: Trans*Camp*Out

Event Report
TransCampOut: Longfork, WV
FetLife Group

Quick note: As I’ve said before, I am a traveling sex/kink/spirituality educator, and one of the reasons I started this blog was so I could write about my experiences at various events. This just happens to be the first event I’m writing a report for; there will be more in the future. I can’t promise to write one for every event I attend, but I will try.

First of all, the facts: TransCampOut is a small to medium sized event held at a rustic gay men’s campground in rural West Virginia. Conceived by the leather group La Fraternitie De Loup-Garou, a backpatch club for transmasculine leather people, it is now run by a small staff of dedicated people from all over the country. It’s primary target demographic is transmasculine persons, but is open to people of all genders and orientations.

I have to be honest. I attended this event two years ago and had a less-than-stellar experience. Last year, I was supposed to attend but got sick at the last minute and had to cancel. I was a little surprised that they approached me to return after a no-show, but I very much appreciated being given a second chance. It was being run by different people with a different style of organizing, so I decided to give the event another try.

Overall, I had a really good time. The atmosphere promoted a freedom for people who usually have to hide their bodies for fear of hate or undue judgment; and not just for trans* identified people. I saw all sorts of body types and histories walking around in various states of undress, and no one blinked an eye. Everyone present had an optimistic attitude and an eager, friendly demeanor. You could sit down just about anywhere and people would strike up a conversation with you (and sometimes you’d find yourself in a heady conversation about serious things and it was good!). The organizers busted their asses to provide a meaningful experience, were easy to approach/talk to about event needs, and were actually involved in the event – you could find them attending classes, eating meals, and playing along side everyone else. I never noticed how often organizers tend to corral themselves away at events – I mean, I’m sure they’re super busy with lots to attend to, but finding time to experience the thing they’ve created helps them to better understand the average attendee’s experience, and that is something I definitely noticed with this event.

I reconnected with people I have met before and only see at events like this one, and I also met some new people that I felt a strong connection with. My FetLife friend’s list has definitely swollen after CampOut. My classes were very well attended, and I even got to co-teach with a stranger for the first time! (My BDSM For Bigger Bodies class was scheduled opposite Dave’s Food Play class, and after comparing outlines we realized there was signficant cross-over, so we chose to combine and teach together to great success!) The hook ritual, Into the Deep, was an outrageous success, especially for a hook team that was thrown together last minute.

The things I enjoyed most about this event:

  • The classes: There were a wide variety of classes for everyone, including intermediate and advanced classes. There was a great mix of lectures, demos, and hands-on experiences. The instructors were knowlegable and approachable.
  • The social scene: People were very friendly, and eager to get to know new people. This is a good event to attend solo – as long as you’re willing to strike up a conversation, you’ll likely find people to talk to and hang out with, if not play with or fuck. I met some great people and had some wonderful conversations.
  • The dollar auction: I admit, this is the only event I’ve attended that holds one of these, so in my mind the two have become linked. The concept is that they put an item up for auction, and every bid is one dollar. When you bid, your dollar is added to the pot and taken away from you. The last person to bid wins the item. So although you may have only paid a dollar or two to get said item, the event raises much more from all of your competitors. It’s great fun and I got some amazing items for very cheap.
  • The general feel: It was very welcoming, and open, and accepting. There was a rule in place to not assume pronouns, and I saw more than one attendee standing up for another and reminding people of that rule. (As I was with my service tiger, whose chosen pronoun is “it”, this was very handy, even when we had to correct people.) People of all body types could feel free to wander around in whatever state of dress they felt comfortable with, without fear of judgment. It was relaxed, and flexible, and slow-paced. I liked that a lot.

This is not to say there were no negatives, but both of them were somewhat outside of the organizers’ control. The first was the weather. For an event where most of the attendees are staying in tents and the roads are unpaved and ungraveled, we were hammered with rain. It was bad enough that several attendees left prematurely, their tents having been soaked. The roads to get around camp became dangerous and sometimes impassable (we were lucky to have brought a Range Rover that thrives on challenges like this, but others, who had brought sedans and hybrids, weren’t so lucky). The power went out for a while, although after Fusion I think I’ve learned how to handle that with style. It was hard to predict when you could be outside for a period of time, as the storms kept coming with varying intensity.

The other, more serious challenge for me, was the campground itself. I was staying in a cabin at the top of the hill – a very steep hill that makes the hill at Ramblewood look like child’s play – and the event was at the bottom of the hill. In between were the bathrooms – yes, there was no bathroom in my cabin, so if I awoke in the middle of the night I had to find someone to drive me to the bathroom, since it was not a walkable distance for Dels. Or if I wanted a quick trip in between classes, my options were bushes or a camping toilet someone blessedly thought to bring. But as someone with very limited mobility and chronic pain issues, this was not a friendly campground in the slightest. I get that the event organizers feel nostalgic about it (it’s been using this campground for years) and that there’s something to be said for a transmasculine-focused event happening at a campground that is otherwise restricted for gay men. But the tent field needs serious upgrading (I heard a rumor we’re the only event who still uses it), the roads need to be safer to traverse in foul weather, and there needs to be full bathrooms available to disabled patrons that don’t require long distances.

The only event-related complaint I had was the food. The event had promised to provide food for the attendees and presenters, and frequently there was either very small portions or not enough for everyone present. Because I’m on a strict diet, I brought my own food to supplement, but we ended up either making our own food, going off site, or eating at the small campground-run cafe the entire event (except for one breakfast). If you decide to go to this event, you should bring your own food, and think of the food provided as a supplement. You’ll thank me for it.

I want to be abundantly clear – the event was awesome, and I had a really wonderful time. It was the location I had serious issues with. I used to be a ‘roughing it’ type of guy, but not so much in my current state of health, and so all the mud and the walking around and the peeing in bushes is just not my thing anymore.

I would highly recommend this event for able-bodied trans* people of all genders as a safe place to explore your body and it’s turn ons. I would even recommend this event for SO’s of gender-transgressive people, because there’s a lot of support for you there as well. It’s great for kinksters and leatherpeople of all levels of experience – the classes ran the gamut from the beginner to the advanced. If you enjoy tent camping in the woods, and want the feel of the old time gay leather runs, this event can fulfill that need, regardless of your gender.

A Month for Loki: Post IV

This is a bit of a rant, rather than a well-reasoned post. I am full of vim and vinegar (to mix metaphors) and I can’t seem to continue until I get this off my chest. So I apologize if this isn’t the most well-worded, nicest Month for Loki posts you’ve read.

No I don’t.


Loki has a bad reputation. When Snorri wrote the Eddas, he could only conceptualize religion as having some sort of clear morality – there is good, and there is evil. Those that he saw as being “good”, like Odin, were venerated, and those that he saw as being “not good”, like Loki, were demonized. It’s practically peer-corroborated gnosis at this point that Odin isn’t only a wise old man who sacrificed himself for knowledge; a lot of us have seen and interacted with Odin in his face as a frat boy who likes to get drunk with Loki and dance with the hot people-of-all-genders. And most Odinist spirit workers I’ve met would agree with me, that Odin is not as comparable to Jesus as Snorri tries to make him out to be.

The same goes for Loki. Snorri saw a God venerated for being cunning, quick-witted, and able to see outside the box to find answers, and Snorri decided that Loki was equitable to the Christian Satan. If you notice, there isn’t a disciple of Christ who is known for those traits, either. They’re just not traits that the Christian Church wants to encourage in their followers. So it made perfect sense to paint Loki with a Satan-colored brush.

There’s been actual academic work done to prove that some of the tales Snorri wrote down were changed so as to better create this black/white morality within the Eddas. There’s open debate as to whether Loki actually played the role in Ragnorok that the Eddas portray, as there seems to be other accounts (not UPG, but other folk tales) where he is noticeably absent. There’s even been some debate as to the content of the Lokasenna as well.

But I don’t need to be telling you, if you’re reading a “Month for Loki” post, that Loki has a bad rap. The whole impetus for this project stems from the implication that simply toasting Loki during a grand moot somehow threatens frith in a way no one has yet to explain. Get that – just bringing his name up is a divisive thing.

Here’s why I’m ranty about this today: I believe very strongly, like, at the core of my being, that one of the things all Lokeans are called to do is to serve as representatives of Him. We must be held to a higher standard, because there is honor, and morality, and intelligence, and trustworthiness in those he chooses. Granted, I’d be blind if I said there aren’t people, either on the Internet or in real life, who do assholic things and use Loki as their shit-shield; that is, to be a troll and then blame Loki for it. There are those that automatically blame Loki when anything bad or unplanned or accidental happens to them. Heathens tend to blame Loki for bad weather, for their relationships coming to an end, and anything else that makes them feel bad or uncomfortable or challenged. In a way, they’re not entirely wrong – Loki is a God of creative, productive destruction, and so oftentimes He is called in when something needs to be changed. However, just because you stubbed your toe or your lover cheated on you does not mean that Loki is to blame.

So as a representative of Loki on Midgard, it’s my onus to prove that one can hail Loki and not be a jerk. That I do have a strong sense of morals and ethics, and that they aren’t that much different than an Odin’s person, or a Freya’s person, or even a Skadi’s person. There are people who think that if I show interest in something, it means I’m there to ruin it, or run it into the ground. That’s just not true; there are many things I have brought me and my Loki’s energy to that have flourished and grown.

But that’s because I work hard at it. I am aware that I represent a not-very-well-liked God, and that in the beginning I’m going to have to prove that I’ll live up to my word. That I’ll take the high road if the high road is the right way to go. That I won’t just steal whatever I need, but ask for it respectfully, or better yet, earn my right to have it.

There are just so many people who claim kinship with Loki who embarrass me. Who use him as a means to an end; either to take advantage of the good graces of the social circle that exists between Lokeans, or to excuse terribly rude and unprovoked behavior by claiming that “Loki made me do it.”

I ask you, then: What do you do to bring a good reputation to the Gods you serve? In what ways are you aware that what you do and say reflects upon those you claim kinship with (whether they be Gods, or your communities, or your families-of-choice, etc)? What have you changed about yourself in order to bring better glory to those you love?

Thank you for reading my little rant. I actually do feel a little better. Part of what I’m struggling with here is personal: I’m way behind on a lot of Work, and I feel like I’m falling into the assumptions that people make about people like me – disabled people, spirit workers, Lokeans, etc. That I’m being flighty, or taking on more than I can handle, or not living up to my obligations because I don’t care. The real truth is, I just have so much on my plate right now, I’m moving a little slower than normal. But I have to keep reminding myself that I’m plugging away as best I can, but at the same time making sure that my basic needs are met before I start trying to help others.

Upcoming Apperances Summer/Fall 2012

I figured I’d take a break from the Month of Loki posts to let you guys know about some of the presenting/teaching gigs I have coming up in the next few months.

For those of you who only know me through this blog, I should explain that I am an adult educator who travels nationally teaching about a wide variety of topics, mostly focused on spirituality, sacred sex, kink/BDSM/Leather, and LGBT/queer identity.

In a few days, I’m off to the wilds of rural West Virginia for Trans Camp Out. I’ll be teaching BDSM For Bigger Bodies, Needleplay as SM, and Kink Spirituality. I’m also facilitating a body modification ritual (focused mostly on energy/hook pulls) called Into the Deep. Reg is already closed for this event, but I’ll be sure to let you know how it goes.

I’m super duper excited about my participation in Dark Odyssey Summer Camp. This year, they’re trying to bring a little nostalgia to the “Summer Camp” experience by having some classes that you’d find at any kid’s camp, but with an adult twist. In that vein, I’m going to be playing the part of the “Drama” teacher, which oddly enough, I was a drama teacher at a private summer camp once upon a time. One class will focus on how to apply the foundations of improv to kink play/scenes. Another will be a more traditional improv class, which will create a team for Whose Kink Is It Anyway, an actual improv-troupe performance. But have no fear, I’ll also be teaching a needle play class, if all this goofing around isn’t your…kink.

I am planning on attending and/or possibly teaching at Dark Moon Rising, a pagan BDSM event in Western Mass. (Note: the link goes to last year’s page. This year’s dates are Sept 28-30.)

In October, I’ll be at two awesome events – the first being Black Rose, the hotel event hosted by the DC BDSM organization of the same name. A few weeks later, I’ll be co-leading a Loki intensive at Nine Worlds Festival with Elizabeth Vongvisith. Nine Worlds is a family-friendly Northern Tradition gathering at a lovely campground in Northern Maryland. I may also show up at Queer Invasion, a play party in Hartford, CT, but that’s still in the maybe column.

I’ve got some gigs in the hopper for November, but they aren’t confirmed yet. I’ll start some rumors that I may be found at The Geeky Kink Event II and Brimstone III, but I can’t be entirely certain.

I’m still available for spirituality, kink/BDSM/Leather, or LGBT events, especially over the winter. If you’re an event organizer, feel free to email me at awesome.del at gmail.com if you’d like to see a class list. And if you’re attending an event and think it would be nifty to have me present there, tell the organizers. You’d be surprised how many gigs I’ve landed because someone told an event producer that they really wanted my classes at their event.

It’s worth noting that I also teach classes to small groups of people – I just need my travel and accommodations catered to. So if you wanted to gather together your friends and have me come teach in your living room, that’s a distinct possibility.

Hope to see/meet some of you lovely readers soon!

A Month For Loki: Post III

Loki and Mental Health

A lot of people over the years have asked me how my devotional relationship with Loki manifests as working with the mentally ill.

There are many ‘faces’ of Loki. As we experience the Lore, we see him in many guises: sometimes he’s the carefree sly man, doing as he pleases rather than what is expected. Other times we see him as the person who thinks outside of the box, especially when it comes to solving the Aesir’s problems. We see him as the sacred observer/outsider. We see him as the leader of the forces of destruction at Ragnorok.

The Loki I deal with – the face I see most often – is the Loki after he’s been punished for the Lokasenna. He’s been forced to witness the death of Narvi and Vali, and been tied to a rock with the entrails. He’s been through enough torture that his grip on reality is thin at best. He’s angry, and hurt, and sad, and betrayed, and he can’t make sense of what has happened to him. And his torment doesn’t end; he gets to experience constant reminders that those he loved betrayed him every time Sigyn’s bowl runs full.

It’s the God-gone-insane that I see, that I love, that I serve. It’s the one who’s lost his sense of groundedness, and things that seem real to everyone else has come into question. Up sure feels like down, and in like out. It’s a reaction to his circumstances, but it’s also triggered from deep within. It may have always resided there, and it took something of this magnitude to make it manifest.

I’ve struggled with mental health issues my entire life. Both lineages I represent are riddled with people who have been institutionalized; and all of my parent’s children (including myself) have had our trip(s) to the locked wards. I started fairly young – I had some early childhood trauma that broke me, very similarly to the way Loki was broken by the Aesir. Things were done to me and around me that made my young mind feel as though the truth was all a lie – people you were supposed to trust would do bad things to you, people you were supposed to turn to for safety would, in fact, hurt you instead.

I have a lot of mental and emotional problems that remain to this day. I struggle with depression and anxiety often. I have a personality disorder, which I believe to be a direct result of my disordered and sometimes abusive upbringing. I suffer from extreme disassociation at times. In the right situation, I can fly into an unpredictable rage. I sometimes hallucinate (and I see this as being distinctly different than seeing/hearing Gods; they feel very different to me).

When I first thought about going into spiritual service to community, one of the issues I faced was my reputation of being mentally ill. It got thrown into my face a lot when I first got involved in the larger Pagan community. I started a small discussion group/munch for Pagans and somehow this made me the target for a lot of public insult and commentary, especially as my first marriage dissolved and I became much more symptomatic of my illnesses which lead to me being hospitalized.

It was in the hospital that time, in 2000, that I first encountered Loki. I didn’t know who he was; in a lot of ways, I assumed he was a hallucination. I was in a very restricted lockdown ward where I wasn’t allowed such things as shoelaces or real silverware. I also spent a lot of time alone with my thoughts, because I wasn’t allowed a cd player. (Basically, I could read, or I could journal while supervised, as pencils/pens were also on the ban list.) One night, as I lay in my bed trying to fall asleep, I had this waking vision.

A young redheaded man stood before me. He looked about my age at the time (26). He was thin but not waifish. He had a sense of ruggedness about him, as though he had been through some stuff. He had no shirt on, but a pair of tight red jeans and black boots. He leaned against the doorjamb of my room, smiling roguishly. He said, “I could make this all better, you know.”

“Uh huh.” I muttered. I figured he was a figment of my illness, and I just continued meditating he’d go away.

“Really. I’m here to make you a deal. Your life sucks, right?”

“Uh huh.”

“And you feel powerless to fix it.”

“Uh huh.”

“And you carry around a lot of brokenness from before.”

I took a deep breath and tried hard to focus on the present moment.

“I know what that’s like. I’ve been there.”

“Sure.” I snorted.

He reached at the roots of his hair just above his forehead. And the next part was very odd, and unlike any hallucination I had ever had. He pulled his face off, slowly, showing me what was underneath. There are no words to describe what I saw, really. It was Loki, a God, gone mad with grief. He had lost all hold on reality. The room itself felt slanted in that moment. This new visage was unable to do anything but scream, and scream, and scream – but not through his mouth, only in my mind. He went from being in color to being black and white. There was this large wound on his forehead, a festering, infected thing full of pus and worms, as though his very brain was rotting through his skull. His eyes were kalidoscopic, and I got physically sick from looking at this new face.

“This is the Breaker of Worlds,” the voice said calmly. “He wants to destroy everything because everything he cared about was taken from him.”

I knew, in that moment, how he felt. Over and over in my life, everything I knew to be true had come into question, and the core reality of my suicidal impulse was that I wanted to do something to show the people who cared about me how broken I was. It was why I cut, why I tried to kill myself, why I frequently went off my medication, why I was sitting in the hospital talking to a God.

He pulled his calmer, more rational face back on. “I’ve been with you since you were small,” he went on, “And I’ve watched you closely. I want you to say yes to me, [Del]. I want to show you the way to living, rather than counting the moments until death.”

I looked at him. I still felt ill and disoriented. “What do you want?”

“I want you. I want to use you. I want you to surrender. Tell me you’ll do this, and I’ll quiet your mind. I can’t take it all away, because so much of it is who you are, is why I want you. But I’ll make it so you’ll want to live, that you’ll see the goodness in it, that you’ll understand why she hasn’t just killed me.”

As I’ve said before, for years after this encounter I didn’t know who it was. This should have been a clue. And it is something I’ve thought a lot about – why doesn’t Sigyn just kill him? If he’s really suffering for all eternity, waiting for the end of days, wouldn’t the compassionate thing be to get a big rock and slam it into his head? But I digress…

“Okay.” I said, wearily. “I want it to stop. I want control over what I do. I want to be able to sit in the sun and feel good about it.”

I fell asleep after that. I had no idea what I had agreed to. But in two days, I was released from the hospital into a day program. In a year, I was off medication and my symptoms were manageable. In two years, I was pretty damn happy with life. Little did I know what my end of the bargain was going to be.

Anyway, so that’s the Loki I serve. Not the rakish fellow in the doorway, but the Loki underneath. The one that understands madness intimately, who feels the pain of melancholy and despair, the disorientation of voices and hallucinations, the frustration of compulsion, the fruitlessness of rumination. All the key behaviors and symptoms of human mental illness, he understands in a very personal way. And he knows how terrible it feels.

He feels very strongly that no human should have to suffer forever like that. That a little suffering is okay – it builds you up, gives you a sense of self, gives you something to overcome – but that living an entire life lost in your illness is too much to give. So he’s asked me to help people like that, and I try my best. Because I, too, know what it’s like.

Can’t Get Something for Nothing (Or At Least You Shouldn’t)

Kenaz Filan has a great blog post on the concept of paying for services in Paganism.

This is something I struggle with a great deal. I never want “ability to pay” to be the reason why someone can’t access my services. Instead of having set fees for things, I usually leave it open to the recipient to offer something in exchange, although I have been getting better at both making suggestions so they understand the general worth of what I offer, as well as trying to make sure I get mine before services are rendered. (Even as recently as a few months ago, I decided to go ahead and offer counseling to someone assuming that they’d pay up eventually and had to end the relationship when four sessions went by with not even a conversation about reciprocity.)

To be clear, the reason I “charge” for services is twofold. The first is that obtaining the education/ability to provide said services at the level that I operate (divination, ritual construction, hook suspension, etc) cost me money as well as time, and professionals deserve to get paid. When you hire me, you not only get my training, but also years of experience – I’ve been divining and constructing rituals for almost 20 years now. I also have some very specialized skill sets that you can’t just find in the yellow pages – in fact, I was musing to someone that I’m pretty sure I’m one of only two madness shamans I’m aware of that take counseling clients.

The second reason I expect some form of reciprocity is because these things don’t happen for free. For example, if you ask me for an ordeal, I need to arrange for the right time, place, people, props, ritual items, whatever tools I may need. Because it’s not like I just write a ritual and then it happens – almost always I’m also the orchestrator and administrator, making sure everyone’s ritual script got picked up at Kinko’s on time, and that the wine was chilled to the temperature the Goddess asked for. People balk all the time when I bring up money around energy pulls, as though hooks grow on trees.

Anyway, I’m exhausted and want to hit the hay, and mostly I want you to go read what Kenaz has to say about paying for services, because zie makes a great point how the entitlement starts to bleed over into expecting the Gods to provide everything for free. Which is a concept you’ll see again when I get back to writing Month for Loki posts.