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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.

Anyway.

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.

About Del

A shaman who writes about spiritual things, but not in that namby-pamby "everything is light and fluffy" sort of way.

7 responses to “A Month for Loki: Post IV

  1. lokisdattir ⋅

    You know, of all the gods I’ve met, Loki’s got the biggest heart of them all. Time and again, I think his people and kin are here to teach about the scariest thing of all- love. Love in all its forms. Which is why so many people run away utterly horrified, because to truly love something, you must take the light with the darkness, breaking down all walls that we so artificially erect, and be left with nothing but heart.

    Loki loves ‘monsters.’ So few are strong and large-hearted enough to do that.

    The true monsters are those that cannot see the beauty in everything.

  2. Elizabeth ⋅

    “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.”

    I’ve been trying to do that too. It’s pretty hard when your first instinct is to rip someone a new asshole or to automatically go for petty revenge against one’s enemies, but it’s worth it to me NOT to live up to the bad rap that Lokeans in general have if it means that someone will read what I write and think, “Look, here’s a Lokean who isn’t all about stirring shit for its own sake; maybe they aren’t all as bad as I’ve heard.”

    It’s something I struggle with, as I am not nearly as good as I ought to be, but the struggle is in itself worthwhile.

  3. Raven ⋅

    I have long wondered how pagans and heathens can swear up and down that they do not believe in an Adversary, or a “Devil”, and yet can paint Loki with that very brush.
    Loki has always struck me as a Mirror, rather than an Adversary.

    • Del

      To be fair, Loki is not the only God who get the Devil treatment. I mean, for starters, there’s Baphomet and Set. And there are Pagans who worship Lucifer or Le Seitan in a Wiccan or Pagan way who get shat on for that, too.

      I think what it really comes down to is the idea that polytheism allows for there to be shades of grey in our Deities. That we don’t divide them by Good and Evil, Right and Wrong, but that each one has their own foibles and merits, and its’ about recognizing them in all of their faces, not just the convienent ones. I mean, Kali Ma is a great champion of women, but she also kills children. Yet, we don’t hear much about that when we invoke her at Pagan gatherings.

  4. Eric S ⋅

    Hmm, never thought Odin as Christ like, more the cold blooded king and general. Balder was the one I saw closest to the Christ image. I have always seen Odin as cold blooded and obsessed with where things are at the end. The price of knowledge and being more than middle wise. I also think he clearly uses Loki for things he needs.

    I have certainly encountered the type of Lokean you worry about. You, Elizabeth and others have shown me another side.

    • Renee ⋅

      I’m with Eric here — Odin as Christ-like? Maybe that’s why I’ve never been all that taken with the Eddas — they just don’t ring … I don’t want to say “true,” so I’ll say “right to me.”

  5. Renee, I have never seen Odin as Christ like in the Eddas.

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