I haven’t forgotten.
(Warning: Language is NSFW and the lyrics are printed on the screen.)
I haven’t forgotten.
(Warning: Language is NSFW and the lyrics are printed on the screen.)
In the last few months, I’ve stirred up some dust for poking at Loki’s mortal wives – even though I count some of their number as my nearest and dearest friends. I encouraged readers to write about their own relationships with Him, especially if these relationships were not spousal.
Time to put my money in my flapping maw, I guess.
One of the biggest misgivings I had about answering Loki’s call – even though I had already surrendered to Him as His servant – was that I was not happy about His claim of being my “father”.
As a Christian apostate, I had spent too many years of my life desperately trying to relate to God as a cosmic Daddy. It never worked for me, and as I got more involved in my particular flavor of Protestant faith (United Methodist), I was lucky to find others who weren’t so quick to assume God-the-Masculine. It was just becoming the new vogue to refer to God as either “She”, or gender neutral words. This was much more in line with how I experienced God, and that feeling grew moreso in my first forays into Paganism, at the hands of Dianic Wicca, a particular kind of Wicca that is Goddess-centric (to the exclusion of a male “God” at all, or worship/mention of male deity) and wouldn’t even let men into their rituals. (Or Trans* Women either, let’s be honest.)
So just as I was getting more comfortable in my relationship to the Holy One(s), a Male Deity showed up and claimed to be my father. And not just in some metaphorical, archetypal way either – He actually detailed for me the scene at my conception, to prove He had been present, even if my (human) parents knew nothing about it. He claimed to have molded me in the womb, to be what I am today, so as to be a better shaman/spirit worker for Him.
Part of this relationship with Him was specifically engineered to help me overcome the deep wounds I had about my human father. He was a very troubled soul, nearly friendless throughout my lifetime, wrought with depression and other severe mental illnesses, as well as the results of a horrific childhood. I tried for years to come to better terms with him, especially as I became an adult and saw him for the sad man of circumstance and bad choices he really was, rather than the abusive tyrant he had been in my youth. Not that I explain away or mean to make excuses for the fucked up things he did to me and my siblings (and my mother too), but I understand much more where those dysfunctions came from. When I first learned of his death in 2007, I honestly couldn’t tell if I was sad or glad he was gone. So ambivalent my family and what little friends he had were, I was the only one brave enough to give a eulogy at his funeral, and even then I made sure to make it known that I wasn’t going to ignore or pretend that he hadn’t been an asshole to a lot of people in his day.
It’s obvious, then, why I never really felt God as a reflection of my father, which was really the only “father figure” I ever had – the only other male who served as a role model in my youth was a very fey gay man, go figure – because I could not separate the idea of my father as the self-proclaimed sovereign of my childhood household and this supposedly benevolent Being who not only never saved me from the terrors of abuse as a child, no matter how much I prayed, but who saw fit to give me a deep desire for spiritual service combined with a strong sexual attraction for gay men and lesbians. Either way you sliced it, the idea of a Holy Male (or wholly Male) never really felt right to me.
But there Loki was, not only claiming to have a hand (so to speak) in my actual conception, but now wanted me to worship Him as a child does their Father. I wasn’t having any of it.
But Loki, in his infinite patience, bore out all of my fighting and rejecting and trying to reframe our relationship in any other matter but this, until finally I came to accept my lot. And honestly, it’s more that I can totally see myself as not unlike His brood via Angrboda – a monster, not quite human, but of this world nonetheless. And this is why, friends, that I get really fucking pissed off when I call myself “monster” and you feel bound to assure me I am not. I do not see this as a bad thing, nor really a good one either, but just a thing, like being a redhead. In some ways, I see it not unlike many of the other labels I have come to accept for myself, many of them having once been epithets but now reclaimed: queer, trans, crip, fat, weirdo, geek, etc.
Then, of course, just as I started to feel comfortable with my lot, I found Loki’s mortal wives. Some of them are wonderfully nice people, fellow Lokeans that I love dearly. But just as many told me horrible things, like “If Loki really loved you, He’s marry you” or “If you’re Loki’s child, and I’m His wife, that must make me your mother-in-law in some way”, or “Why would someone *choose* to be a monster like Fenris, who is an enemy to the Aesir?” and so on. It broke the shaky confidence I had gained. I cried for months, through which Loki stayed mostly distant, waiting out the temper tantrum for what it was. I felt ugly, abandoned, unworthy, unloved, because He did not choose me for a wife, but instead a child. It made me feel condenscended to (from both the mortal lot as well as He), like I was fated to always be seated at the kid’s table, that no one would take me seriously as either a spirit worker or Lokean should I make my relationship with Him known.
(Maybe now you can see why I get so fucking angry when Lokeans come to me having been told similar things – the gas over Loki only really loving His wives being among them – because not only does it fucking hurt, not only is it not even remotely true, but because I’ve known more than one who have turned from Loki completely, feeling that if He did not want them for a spouse, they would find a different God who would take them as such.)
Part of my journey with Loki is to learn about being a non-asshole Father, but even more deeply as I started my transition, how to be a non-asshole man. Unfortunately, as many formerly abused children do, I have dated some pretty fucked up individuals in my day, hoping to find some sort of Daddy replacement, only to get wounded all over again. It has been difficult for me to figure out what kind of man I am, or want to be, because there aren’t many role models I’ve had access to in an intimate enough manner (not meaning “fucking”, but as in “understanding all aspects of them”) that have panned out. I think my picker has gotten better as I grow older, but it still needs some WD-40 from time to time.
It has also been about being the underdog, the minority voice fighting to be heard, to be respected. In the past few years, some have told me they see me as an Elder, and knowing how hard I’ve had to fight to be taken seriously (both in general and as a Lokean), I find a deep honor in that. I don’t know if I’m ready to take on that mantel quite yet, so for now I’m happy to be a Pope (which I will write about soon).
So that is my relationship to Loki, as well as I can tell it today. He is my Dad, and His blood runs through my veins as surely as my mortal parents do. I have learned to see my human father as a three dimensional human being, rather than just “the bad guy”, and I have learned to cultivate the aspects of masculinity that suit me, and to remember not to emulate the aspects that don’t, even if I might pass more as a man if I did.
Hail the son of Laufey, nestled at the teat of Jotunheim, upbrought by the Giants of the Earth.
Hail the young wanderer, naught but a sack on his back and a dog nipping at his heels!
Hail the love-struck of Angrboda, the doe-eyed at the feet of the wolf-mother; winning love through teeth and blood! Hail the reluctant bride, hard won through her fierce independence and her dislike of trifling odes of love! Hail her strong protection over her heartsworn, even after he drifted astray!
Hail the young father of monsters: who continued to breed and to welcome their much-needed and much-heeded existence in all the Worlds! Hail his most-hated children – Jormungand, the anger and passion that rides the waves! Hail Fenris, the heat and meat on this most earthen place! Hail Hel, who holds between and betwixt her half-fleshen hands the hallowed halls of the common dead! Hail to my brethren: all of the children of Loki who walk the monstrous path!
Hail to Odin’s companion, bloodsworn brothers who tasted the fruits of masculinity and femininity alike! Taking trusted enemy in hand, leaving enmity to the winds of luck and the waters of friendship (and mayhaps love?)! Hail to the road-weary twins upon their mighty return to Asgard!
Hail to the King’s Jester; not in motley clad jovialry, but always there with the hard-spoken truth and the answer none other would dare suggest! Hail to the solver of all problems – even if you ne’er agree to his solutions! Hail to the rescuer of Molinir; to the eagle-winged saver of blessed apples; to the Mare who won a much-needed Wall!
Hail to the many-wedded Lover! Hail to He who won the heart of the innocent Sigyn! Hail to the husband who can be as gentle with His love as He is harsh; but also Hail to His unfaltering oaths of devotion and steadfastness (if not monogamy?)! Hail to the Eternal Well of Passion, which He shares without hesitation or fear!
Hail to the Tester of Truths! When anyone speaks that “none may harm”, He will always find the catch in the clause! Hail to the reaper of Mistletoe, to the one who gives Balder his righteous and holy saga! Hail to the one unafraid to put His mask on the roles none dare play, yet must be done!
Hail to the Speaker of Hard Truths! Hail to the hardy heart, ready to remind each and sundry that none are made wholly without fault, not even the Aesir! Hail to the warmer of the mortal hearths, who ties our clay-meld miens to the tales of the Holy Ones! Hail to one who brings voice to the things we truly must hear, even if we never ask it spoken to us! Hail to the harsh mirror, who reminds us that the journey is more important that the destination! Hail to He who can name His own faults as quickly as He does anyone else!
Hail to the Mourner of the Innocent! He who sheds few tears, but emotes an ocean for his twice-torn seed! Hail to the Helpless Witness, who looks at His bride wracked with loss but does not turn away or leave! Hail to the Mason of Eternal Strength, who does not break nor bow when His sons Narvi and Vali pay a too-hefty price for His tongue! Hail to the Ocean of Tears that the souls of His children ever sail, for wont of a boat!
Hail to the Tortured and Hanged Man! Hail to the one held by sorrow and entrail! Hail to the Brave Countenance of Acceptance, who lies Himself down to be bound with the offal of His loin! Hail to The Constitution of Self, that withstands such harshness as is His role to play!
Hail the Breaker of Worlds! Hail the tsunami of wroth held within His mighty breast! Hail the Dancer in the Lands of Madness, whose surrender is a strength instead of a weakness! Hail to the Piper of the Mad, the one unafraid to suffer through his mind’s betrayal and yet show the greatness that lies in that path! Hail to the Maelstrom Intoward, who lies in wait for the appointed hour, lest He rend the Tree before its time!
Hail to the Tester of Gods! To the Martyr of Truth! Hail He who gives His blood once again so that the story of Man and God is told! Hail to the God forgot, or thrice-cursed, or hidden in the hearts of men, whose name years to be heard alongside his brethren Aesir! Hail to the Patient, who gathers a flock mighty in number, no matter that some spit upon His name and countenance! Hail to the Shepard of the Mad, the Forgot, the Lowly, the Twisted, the Meek, the Queer, the rounded pegs pounded upon square holes!
Hail to ye, my fellows in arms, that chose to recognize Him in these Dog Days! Hail to ye, who tell His mighty tales, who sing His praises admist the jeers, who refuse to stay silent but ring the ears of the Hubristic with your cries of worship! Hail to ye, whose right action calls out against the tide of man! Hail to all of ye, whether Loki be your Man-o-Arms or your Least-Trusted-Ally; as long as you accept His place in the Stars, who toast Him in your halls – and especially ye who toast Him where He is least bidden – I hail ye heartily, and open my home to you always!
Hail to Loki! May the Month For Loki begin!
I apologize if this essay seems a little off the cuff; ironically, I just learned that March 31st is the International Day of Transgender Visibility, and I felt compelled to write a little something about it, because I think it’s a really good thing to celebrate and educate about.
First of all, if it hasn’t been made abundantly clear: I am transgender.
For me, this means I was born with a vulva, vagina, ovaries and a uterus, and was thusly raised with the concept that I was female; meanwhile, I struggled internally with this “diagnosis” until I later realized that biology is not destiny. The reason many transgender activists have added the “*” to the shorthand “trans*” is because there are many ways the prefix trans (which means “to cross over”) is used by gender variant people: transsexual, transgressive, transcendent, etc. I think these apply to me in one way or another. Indulge me as I share a bit of my gender journey with you. Get a cup of tea, coffee, or a hot toddy (which sounds lovely on this brisk rainy evening) and see this in the context of my “story”. Although these things are true, they are also woven together specifically to make a point.
I often talk about that my mother was not only intuitively convinced that I was male while she was pregnant, but the doctors did some sort of test (she doesn’t remember, and it was a long time ago) to tell her I was male. They had picked out a male name (Sean, which I would have totally loved as a name regardless, but they ended up giving it to my younger brother) and had done the sorts of things you do when expecting a boy. When I was born, it was such a surprise for my parents that my “girl name” was chosen during the first few days of my life, as they poured over baby name books and made lists of names they liked. My first and middle names, including the middle name I kept when I legally changed my name to Del, were the only two they both had on their lists. So even from the moment of birth, the fact that I was female was somewhat of a surprise to the world. I have been strongly tempted, in the last few years, to pursue this medically; to get my DNA tested to see if I am Intersex in some way. I have had doctors posit this as an explanation to some of my issues with menstruation and pregnancy, which is not a typical diagnosis to discuss with a patient, so I’ve done a significant amount of research about Intersex conditions, and sometimes I’ve told people I am Intersex. My mother goes back and forth between telling me I am, and telling me there’s no way I am, so I don’t know if this “test” had told her anything more specific about my gender. I seem to have a functional female reproductive system, as I’ve been pregnant twice, but that’s not necessarily an indication of not being Intersex.
It is important to note that being Intersex does not preclude being trans*. In fact, many Intersex children have their genitals mutilated (because “making a hole is easier than making a pole”) and raised female; only to be tormented with feelings they were raised the wrong gender, and transitioning as adults. There are also cases of Intersex children being raised male, only to transition to female as adults. In my heart, I really wish we could just accept that Intersexuality happens as often as 1 in 100 births, and stop forcing parents and children to choose blue or pink when obviously nature is creating us in many more than two, easily distinguishable, somehow completely opposite, genders. I’m even hesitant to support raising a genitally disambiguous child (that is, one who is born with complete and intact “female” or “male” genitalia) as though their gender is a predetermined, set thing. As more and more parents are accepting their children’s self-determined gender identity, and there are even medical doctors and facilities treating trans* kids with both puberty-blocking medications, as well as administering hormones of the child’s preferred gender so they go through the “right” puberty instead. I just mention my own experiences with both having shades of intimations that I may be Intersex, as well as my own intuitions, as part of my gender journey.
Regardless, I was raised and socialized female. This means that when I showed any interest or aptitude in things that our culture deigns to be “for boys”, my parents diligently reprogrammed me to like “girl things”. I have a strong memory of stealing my brother’s football, as he was barely a toddler and had no interest in the thing, and taking it down the block to play with the neighborhood boys. One of my parents seized it, wrote my brother’s name on it in big letters, and the next time I “borrowed” it I was punished.
Likewise, I was inundated with “girl things”. My mother decided I should be a child model/actress, and that world was very invested in hyper feminization; girls had to be “girly girls”. So my hair was kept in pigtails and I was subjected to a lot of dresses and skirts, which I very much hated and never felt comfortable in.
Even with all this, I never really had the coherent and complete thought that “I was born in the wrong body” or that “I should have been born a boy”. More, I was very confused and depressed that there were these things I wanted to do, be, and wear that were off limits for a reason I couldn’t understand. I have never, nor do I really even now, understand why we gender our children’s experience so emphatically. I once bought a newborn female-sexed child a small flannel shirt and courteroy pants, specifically because I knew their mother was going to be swamped in pink and frills. She balked at first, thinking I had made a mistake. Later, she wrote me to tell me it was her child’s favorite outfit.
As I grew older, the conflict was intensified when I realized that my childhood daydreams of having a wife and raising children wasn’t biologically or socially acceptable. As the sexualization of “girls vs boys” became more clear, I did everything I could to hide from these games. Some of my therapists have posited that I started gaining weight around the onset of puberty specifically because I was afraid of being seen as a “girl” when it came to crushes, dating, and eventually sex; first of all, I obviously have issues with the idea that being fat means that you’re no longer either a girl or a sexual being, but I did spend many a thinking session about whether I was trying to purposefully exclude myself from the proto-sex games of my peers by emphasizing my unattractiveness. In addition to gaining weight, I also did not wear clothes that made me feel attractive or sexual; I hid in oversized tee shirts and baggy pants. This was further complicated by the fact that I was very poor, and did not get a lot of choice when it came to clothing – I got whatever my parents could afford, and often that meant whatever was my size at the local Salvation Army.
I eventually realized what a lesbian was, and as I grew into an adult I felt I had to model my presentation and appearance so as to include the “secret clues” that would let other gay women know I was “one of them”. Almost immediately, I was informed that I was a butch, and was encouraged to cut off my long red hair so I would fit in. It wasn’t hard to accept otherwise, as I was still wearing “men’s” or “unisex” clothing more often than not, and this was also during the time when “grunge” was popular. The difference was, there was a way that women wore plaid flannel shirts, cargo jeans, and workboots that did not lose their femininity; whereas once I started cutting my hair short, I was sometimes confused for a young man.
Secretly, I didn’t mind. I had many of my first romantic and sexual experiences with gay men, which looking back makes a ton of sense (since I now identify as a queer man), but then was a road to ruin. I was both having my heart broken over and over again as the gay men found cisgender men to date and left me; and feeding my ego on being the woman that got these avowed homosexuals into bed. It was a push me-pull you that took me many years to break; I tried to only date bisexual men, but it turned out that both men who told me they were “bi” turned out to mean “I only fuck and date girls, but if a cute boy wanted to give me head, I woudn’t say no”.
I knew that transsexuality existed; I dated a trans* woman for over a year and did a lot of accepting and comforting to help them feel more feminine. Oddly and ironically, they ended up breaking up with me because I was too masculine for them. Later I realized it was their internalized jealousy that I had been born the way they deeply wished they had, and felt I was “squandering” it by dressing and acting masculine. I had even read Kate Bornstein’s Gender Outlaws (and that’s even the same cover as the copy I had), but somehow the idea that someone born and raised female could be a man in some form or function was lost on me. Maybe I was specifically disassociating the information because I didn’t want to admit it was something I wanted or needed? I know that it took meeting an actual transsexual man before I fully understood that it was both possible and not as terrifying as I had once thought.
For almost 15 years, I just decided that I didn’t really have a gender. Or more accurately, I didn’t deal with gender as a concept. I dated men and women (and I say it that was because the majority of my lovers were cisgender), and when I was with a lover I became whatever they wanted from me – either the soft and caring gentleman, or the demure and alluring feminine submissive, or the loud and dominant lover who could as easily fuck you in the ass with their prosthetic cock as take your fist in their vagina. I wore fairly gender neutral clothing, and stayed away from anything that required one to be a “woman” or a “man” to take part. I even ended up being invited to join a traditionally-male singing group, but didn’t accept until I learned there was a cisgender woman joining at the same time.
It all came to a head when the rest of my life did. Loki was clearing away all the things that were distracting me from being able to do and be what He needed me to, and one of them was my unresolved issues with gender and being “female”. I was slow to accept this, as there were parts of my life I knew would be negatively affected if I up and decided I was a man now. I started out by trying on the “genderqueer” label, which also fits in a way, never felt fully true to who I was. I finally met a post-transition transsexual man, which proved to me that not only do they exist, but they live full and happy lives. Many of them are socially accepted, or “pass”, as male without question. It wasn’t all sunshine and roses, but nothing in life really is.
Then Loki put it all into perspective for me, in the way He does. He very calmly but very firmly informed me:
Del, I need you to be a shapeshifter. I need you to be a guardian of the boundary, the diplomat who can dance between the sexes and facilitate communication and understanding. I need you to be able to be all things to all people. To horse Gods of any gender, to take on archetypes without limitations. In order to do that, I want you to explore masculinity, to find a balance between man and woman, a place where you are both comfortable and useful at the same time. You’re no use to me if the gender thing keeps coming up over and over again.
I decided to stand up, for the smallest inner voice inside of me screaming to be heard and acknowledged. I started by asking my friends and family to use male pronouns and referring words (dude, man, guy, etc) for me. I stopped wearing overtly feminine clothes. I started to explore who I was as a man, in lots of big and little ways. It was as much a mental health thing as it was spiritual; the more I was seen and accepted as masculine, the better I felt about my place in the world.
This year, I am starting male hormones (testosterone). I do not know how ‘far’ I plan to take my hormonal transition; my goal is to find a place where random strangers would not be entirely certain if I am a Ma’am or a Sir. I know you can’t control what effects you get from T, but my hope is that my voice will become more masculine sounding and perhaps some of my facial features. I’d love to have facial hair, but I think that’s a pipe dream, as people in my birth family aren’t very hairy at all.
This decision, to start hormones, is a deep and meaningful part of reclaiming myself after my separation. My STBX was supportive of my gender journey, up until a point. He was just radically uncomfortable with anything that would change me in a way where passing as female would no longer work. He didn’t want to have to tell his parents or coworkers that he was married to a man. He was okay with being married to a masculine female (as that is one of his fantasies, being with butch women), but was not even remotely okay with being with a feminine male. There’s nothing wrong or bad about that at all. We all have preferences and choices we make about our lives, and it’s ragingly common for relationships to end when one partner decides to transition. I’m happy he’s found lovers who better suit him, gender wise, and I’m also happy that I’m now free to explore my masculinity beyond social transition.
This is my story, my choice to become visible and knowable as a transgender person living in suburban America. A shaman and spirit worker, a Lokean shapeshifter, whose gender queerness is as intrinsic to my spiritual self as it is to my physical self. I am a lover and ally to other transgender persons from all over the gender spectrum, and speak my words and teach my classes so they can see their experiences reflected back at them when seeking spiritual or sexual information I have to share. I make sure to challenge people’s perceptions, and language, and inclusivity, to make sure they remember and accept that gender variant people are as sacred as anyone else.
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.
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.