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.
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.