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Del, You Big Meanie! Why are you picking on cis gender women?

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.

“Dear Del,

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

About Del

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

12 responses to “Del, You Big Meanie! Why are you picking on cis gender women?

  1. Stephanie ⋅

    I didn’t feel like you were being mean to anyone, but then, while I’m a cis gender woman, I don’t consider myself to be a godspouse. I’m Babalon’s bitch, to be certain, but that’s a different kettle of fish.

  2. Alex

    I love this. I don’t believe you were picking on anyone and I suspect that those who felt picked on perhaps found your post hitting a little too close to home. I am a transmasculine consort of a male God and I have to say that it can get absolutely suffocating to be beaten with the idea that a spouse or a consort is by default female. What seems to be missing is exactly what you suggest people take action on–information in their FAQs and writings on being a godspouse that are inclusive, because the Gods and Spirits are not exclusive. I think that a lot of times, those who identify as both cisgender female and a godspouse don’t always think about those of us who don’t fit that mold–it’s a kind of privilege when your relationship fits into a category that is so well established. When you bring Tumblr into it, I find it almost absurd–people trip over themselves to be non-racist, to call out trans*phobia and cultural appropriation but miss the big glaring privilege associated with their gender identity and chosen relationship dynamic. I desperately wish that more male, transgender, and genderqueer spouses of Gods and Spirits would speak up, but it’s completely understandable that they don’t. I’m not-so-secretly hoping that your post pulls some of them out of the closet.

    • Del

      Me, too. I mean, like I said in the post, I’m not a spouse, but I’ve done my fair share of short-term consorting (which makes me feel and sound like a God-sex-worker…hmm maybe I need to write about that!) and even in that category I feel like there aren’t a lot of vocal or well-read blogs that address that at all. I know when I teach spiritual sex techniques like offering the energy of masturbation to a God or Goddess, I almost always get some dude who is already doing that, but I can’t seem to find anyone willing to admit it on the Internet.

      • Alex

        I think ‘casual’ [I hate this term because it implies it lacks importance, but I can’t think of a better one right now] sex with Gods needs to be talked about. I think there’s a lot of baggage surrounding the idea that because you have sex with Someone, it automatically means you’re in a relationship with Them. I wonder sometimes if that’s why there are so many godspouses all of a sudden–maybe They’re just being, um, active…

      • Lusi

        “I think there’s a lot of baggage surrounding the idea that because you have sex with Someone, it automatically means you’re in a relationship with Them.”
        ___

        Funny… Somehow I grew up with the assumption that sexual energy was “just another type” of energy that one could offer to a deity or spirit, no obligation implied or inferred. From what I remember with reading about some forms of tribal spirituality, sexual spirit encounter ranks up there with with dismembering-and-rebuilding as a Completely Dispassionate And Non-Personal Form Of Spirit Initiation. o.0

        I’ve had sexual contact with a few different Gods; I never assumed that equalled the start of, or a change in direction for, a relationship. Heck, outside of Himself, none of it was even romantic… More like mixing business with pleasure, perhaps.

  3. extralizard13 ⋅

    Eh, I’m with Alex and Stephanie. You didn’t insult. This is actually immensely important and, even for me, it hit close to home, but that’s just it: I LIKE it when that happens. It means I need to reconcile with some things. Funny enough, you posted this after I had been getting that “Dammit, I think I’m His godspouse” thing again (a pool I’ve been dipping my toe in for the last eight months; I keep getting signs for yes and no, and like I said in my reply to yours, because of the unethical readings I’ve had, the proliferation of godspouses in a lot of the community, it’s messed me up even further; I had gotten to the point where, twice a week, I had been asking Loki what I am, to the point that He purely stopped answering; because of all this, I cannot know for certain what is and what isn’t what *I* want, what I *pretend* exists, versus what *is*). I’ve gotten, admittedly, into a discernment loop. I still don’t know entirely what it is. Our relationship, to note, isn’t based from sex (that is: I didn’t say “Oh, I must be one, because we have had it,” actually, the main reason He has pushed me on to researching sex, god sex, and general issues or themes in it is that I am so *uncomfortable* with it, and that is a wall that needs to be torn down; I’ve always found certain things like genitalia and dildos funny, but I never was comfortable with SEX, but that part of my practice is actually not at all “yay fun yay,” but has led to immense meltdowns). The reason why I THINK I may be one is, firstly, from my experiences with Him (before I even ran into the major community; there was an understanding that I was now HIS.) The way I live now feels very priest-like: running a public altar, my apartment dedicated to Him, worshiping him daily, etc. Of course, because of the proliferation of godspouses, especially from only one flavor of person, really becomes problematic, because I don’t know what a non-godspouse, non-godslave devotion or Norse polytheist life looks like. I tried hunting it down, but I didn’t get too far, to be honest. I wanted to know what just a typical, common no-strings-attached worship looked like. I may be wrong in all of my wonderings if I’m a godspouse or not because I’m not getting any sort of understanding of what a non-godspouse devotion is life. The only thing that has been helpful is that I am NOT a godspouse to Hel, and I have worked with her infrequently so far, and I have found it much less intensive than in working with Loki. The relationships are different, and yet, at the same time, they are different gods. It could just be that that is how it is: Loki more intensive, while Hel being less (at least for my relationship, that is).

    Then again, your post also helped me think: pointing out the differences in gender and sex. I happen to be demisexual, and through most of my life, primarily on the asexual side. Sex is immensely uncomfortable for me, and the fact that so many of Loki’s godspouses that I ran into, originally, were VERY sexually inclined, this hit a rift. Not only am I not cisgendered, I’m also not highly sexually interested. That’s actually really important for me to keep in mine during my discernment. I need to remember those facts.

  4. I think being actively inclusive in one’s speech is a very good suggestion to begin making that person, and others in his situation, feel more comfortable around “us other crazy Lokeans”. Honestly, I don’t know any Lokean worth their salt that would assume Loki doesn’t like men “that way”, or trans* people, or women as a woman, or… basically any of the categories you mentioned above. Plus “rocks and trees”, never forget the rocks and trees! 😉

    So, yes. I believe that’s a very good suggestion. It requires circumspection on the parts of those who do write blog entries about their sexual (and/or romantic) experiences with Loki, or other Gods or Goddesses. I see that happening less than I think would be good, overall. It’s easier to just write the first thing that goes through one’s mind, without any filters whatsoever, and to leave the feeling “left out” or “butthurt” in the problematic sphere of the receiver (i.e., reader).

    But the additional effort it takes to step out of one’s own shoes for a moment and think about the effect of one’s words on other people, I think is worth taking. It makes me thoughtful, that this kind of consideration is often (not always, please don’t get me wrong!) undervalued particularly by those who identify as “shit-stirrers”. I firmly believe that you can be both a stirrer of feces, i.e., speak the hard truths, *and* consider the negative side effects of what you’re doing.

    I would go as far as to say: someone is a better (more efficient) shit-stirrer if they make themselves aware of *ALL* the consequences of their actions, both the intended and the collateral.

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  6. fjothr ⋅

    I think you really missed the points about sexism that I and other ciswomen were trying to make, but I’m just done there.

    It’s funny to see Tumblr brought into this again as a problem – the first bunch of Lokeans I got to know was through Tumblr, and I felt like the outlier, as someone who was cisgendered (though if you look at -all- Lokeans on Tumblr, ciswomen are probably the largest group – I wouldn’t assume though, that just because someone uses female pronouns or pictures that they identify as a woman). But people don’t always make their gender obvious in the posts they write – on any blogging platform. I’ve been misgendered, and I’ve seen other people make public statements about how they were not Loki’s “wife,” people should stop calling them that, they were using “spouse” quite intentionally for gender identity reasons.

    I’ve reblogged others’ requests for not-ciswoman consorts and spouses to speak up, but I don’t know how many of the people who read my blog who fit that category have responded (I know there are at least 4, one who is in a relationship with a female deity). I don’t feel comfortable going to the requesters with a list of URLs, especially when people reading are various degrees of out about their gender and/or relationship status, and even if they are totally out, they may not want to be mentioned as a potential resource.

    I know another problem with looking for people on Tumblr is that someone’s blog may only be 10% spiritual posts, and 90% fandom; it’s a lot easier to find and read godspouse blogs on WordPress and other blogging sites, and I’ve definitely gotten the impression that there are very few consorts/spouses writing on those platforms who are other than ciswomen. :\ But since most of the serious blogs I found seemed to be written by ciswomen, this actually gave me the opposite problem from the people who don’t fit that mold: I thought I was surely delusional to think that I was being asked to be in this role, because I’d read about it, right?, so I was only seeing what I “expected” to see, seeing what fit a pattern, and something else must surely be going on. I spent months in denial and said nothing must to anybody experienced, figuring I’d be dismissed as just another delusional fangirl, because that’s what all the experienced people were saying publicly about people like me. But with enough clue-by-fours over time, whether it fits a publicly known pattern or not, it became unignorable.

    Regardless of all that, I think the point you made about people being more inclusive in their FAQs or resource pages is a good one.

  7. Wendyy

    Ah Del, you hit them right in the privlege they didn’t realize they had. I remember the first time I got hit in the privlege; it hurts. You either grow or you cling to it.

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