I’ve kicked up a lot of dust with my post about Loki’s wives, and regardless if it was singing my praises or cursing my name for all eternity, I’m happy about it. I’m a shit stirrer, and being the speaker of hard truths has taught me that any response is better than the whistlin’ of the wind.
But there seems to be one part of the entry that people are scratchin’ their heads over, one point that doesn’t seem like something I would ordinarily say, something that doesn’t fit with the overall point(s) I was trying to make.
Namely, “Hey Del, why did you single out cis gender women in your Ranty McRanterson post? Aren’t you, like, a gender activist?”
Let me start by quoting an email I got about six weeks ago. I have the permission of the author, as long as I don’t reveal their identity.
I’m very confused and as you’re a trans* man who works with Loki, I’m hoping you can help me figure something out.
I know, down to the marrow of my bones, that Loki and I are in love. He approached me, for reasons I’m still trying to figure out. And I was excited, and scared out of my wits. So I went online to find out what other people have done about these things, because you’ve mentioned God spouses and consorts before, so I figured I would find some.
And not one of them were anything other than female.
I know that Loki emanates from a traditional human culture, one in which homosexuality was seen as either all about severe power dynamics, or about men being lesser for choosing to have sex with other men. And there were likely very few, if any, same sex unions in Norse culture. So am I crazy? Do male Gods ever take male or otherly gendered followers? Even the few non-cis-gender women I found were all born female, or identify that way now, and I’m just a gay guy living in (somewhere in middle America), sure of my sexual orientation and my gender.
I feel very alone, and I’m really afraid if I tell anyone about my love for Loki, I will be in more danger than I already am for being out as gay *and* Pagan.”
I’d love to say that was the only email I’ve ever received of that nature, but I’d be breaking my oath as a truth teller. It isn’t always Loki, or even a Norse God; and it isn’t always a cis gender man asking the question, but the theme remains.
The overarching point of the post was that we needed to take a critical look at the current trend among spirit workers, and especially the subsect of Loki’s spouses online, and see what we can learn from it, both the positives and negatives. I am aware my tone made it hard for many to see where I was saying good things about these people, so let me try again without being quite so grumpy.
One of the really inspiring thing about the Tumblr and WordPress conclaves of Loki’s wives is that they have created a strong and findable community where spiritual paths that are considered in the very minority of Pagans and polytheists are accepted and supported without having to do a lot of “proving” that what they are experiencing is real and meaningful. If you read the stories of some of the early God spouses (Freya Aswyn was brought up in one of these discussions), you’ll see that God spouses were unilaterally treated as people who had jumped the shark when it came to spirit devotion. But they paved the way for these communities to thrive and flourish, maybe to such a place where non-spouses are seen as the odd men out.
For a while, I asked about non cis female spouses. I asked to be linked to blogs, books, and other reference material where I could send people like the dude above to let them know they’re not alone. I know they exist; I’ve met and interacted with a few of them but few of them blog about their experiences. Because they are so few, a Google search on God Spouses or the like don’t usually highlight these references. But many, many of the online safe havens for Loki’s wives show up.
Another commenter called me on belittling the teenager-crush-like behavior that many of these blogs and bulletin boards sport in droves. Although I admit, part of my derision makes me an asshole; I have been in more than one serious conversation about why Lokeans are excluded from some Heathen, Asatru, and other Norse-derived groups, and this “I had prawns at an adorable dark tavern in Jotunheim with Loki, and He was wearing the sexiest leather pants” attitude comes up. I agree, it’s not nice, fair, or right to have that held against us as somehow less serious or reverent than how others relate to their Gods; but they aren’t completely wrong either. Few other Gods, from any pantheon, have groups of followers who treat their Gods like that hot transfer student in English class with the leather jacket and the distressed jeans. I know they exist, but not in such numbers.
I don’t think this means that the Loki mooners need to shut up and go away, although I think using more discernment as to what they share about their devotional work and how it reflects on the greater community they represent, whether they like it or not, or whether they choose to be representatives or not, could be helpful to those who actually care about Loki being hailed at places like Trothmoot. I don’t belong to any of those sorts of organizations, as I do not identify as a Heathen, nor are all of the Gods I worship from the Norse pantheon. I do sometimes use the term “Northern Tradition Pagan”, but they’re specifically not only Loki-accepting, but dual-trad accepting as well.
I expect that many of the people I’m describing will happily go on doing exactly as they’ve been doing, or even start fake Tumblr accounts specific to spoof on my and others grumptastic views of them. Good. Part of what I want from all this dust-upping is for people to speak authentically about their experience, and if it’s all movie date nights and co-writing erotica, please for the love of Sleipnir don’t let some cranky redheaded old fart (me, not Loki) stop you. Running away because some asshole criticized you on the Internet is about as ludicrous as lying about shamanic abilities in order to make people think you’re awesome.
What I would like, if I may be so bold as to ask, is to take a moment to think about how you, the ones with the safe havens and popular Tumbrs, can help the guy who wrote me. Ways to be inclusive in you FAQs and advise columns to other God spouses and consorts to make sure you’re not setting a standard or assumption that one must be a certain age, sex, level of ability (in whatever), or sexual orientation in order to join your Fun Brigade. Use inclusive language when you write about your own experiences, so that people who have different plumbing can still relate. Link to people who are writing about God sex and/or relationships that aren’t heterocentric or assumptive. Remember that Loki Himself is a liminal God, and therefore isn’t always the lanky, elf-looking redhead I’ve seen way too many fan art pictures of. Heck, he fucked a male horse once, as a female horse, so who’s to say he doesn’t come in a female form to a male mortal, or has heterosexual sex with men as a woman, or homosexual sex with either men or women? Or maybe he manifests intersex genitalia and interacts with a slew of differently gendered people that way?
What makes this odd and a little uncomfortable for me, is that I am neither a Loki’s spouse or even a consort. I’ve had sex with Gods, but not Loki. Elizabeth Vongvisith used to tag posts that described sex with Loki as “Not Safe For Dels”, because as my Father I have some of the same hang ups as mortal children have about thinking about or seeing their parents engaging in long hot sessions of fuck. As a sex educator, I can at least accept that all parents, including my own (God or mortal), have sex lives – or none of us would be here – but like many offspring, I have no desire to see or hear about it, thank you very much.
But I don’t go around to the blogs and journals of Loki’s chosen and chastise them for describing the monkeyhumping that they do with Dad; in fact, specifically because of my love and service to the greater Lokean community, I suffer through quite a lot of it with grace.
One last thing, as I have to go to bed early tonight.
I’m an asshole. Just some dude who eats, and shits, and watches too much reality tv. (In fact, I’ll probably watch me some Celebrity Apprentice when I’m done writing this. Judge me!) Maybe you see me as some sort of “elder”, but please take note that I call myself a lot of things, like a grandpa and a cranky bastard and an old fart, but, like “shaman”, I really believe that a title like “elder” is one that is bestowed on you by those who recognize your work and contributions to community. So whether you invest any real meaning in my ranty pants, or dismiss me outright, is your choice. I am not now, nor will I ever, profess that I have it all figured out, that I am the sole arbiter on what spirit workers and shamans ought to be and not to be doing. Furthermore, I’m not a God spouse at all, but only know what I know from having the luck and blessing to know some really wonderful, intelligent, and well spoken ones who have deigned me as someone they can share the nitty-gritty of what it’s all about for them. I haven’t met every single God spouse, nor have I read every single entry on every single webpage written by all of them. I can only comment on trends that are remarked upon by people I trust, and what I experience in my own life. I am always, always open to be told how very wrong I am, and those who have commented on that post, or any other I’ve written or commented on will attest that I do not come out, fists ablazin’, unless you start attacking me or people I love by name or by insinuation. Otherwise, I wholeheartedly enjoy learning about the breadth and depth of spiritual expression that exists, and if that learning comes with a “Hey Doofus, read this!” as its invitation, then I accept.
There is at least one, if not more, repostes I will be writing in reaction to the crankyjock one, so don’t think this is the last you’ll hear of it. And if you read this blog for the kink stuff, there will be some good posts about that coming very soon too.
Thank you, each and every one of you, for reading, responding,debating, berating, and commenting on what I write.
“I aspire to inspire before I expire.” Unknown, possibly Manali Jan