Dude, I Call Lokiphobia! Check Your Bully Pulpit.

Yesterday I woke up perplexed and annoyed. Today I woke up pissed. Maybe it was that nightmare of the horse falling from out of the sky, missing one leg (who knows what this means?) and that part later where I had to flee with a frightened family to a place of numerous birds in cages and eerily pleasant people behind the counter, checking us in.

All I know is that I deeply resent the psuedo-Satanic Panic import of Karl Seigfried’s Wild Hunt opinion piece, “Loki in the White House.” Yesterday I didn’t even want to write his name, today I think it’s important to do so. Because I think his intentions are to further ostracize–and demonize–a group of religious people already existing in the margins of neopaganism: Lokeans and those who Hail Loki, among other deities.

Two days ago, I never knew this guy existed. But I understand from another Lokean that at one point he wrote a denunciation of racism. I haven’t seen this article or essay myself, because I haven’t gone looking for it, but assuming this is true, why is it that a person who is seemingly capable of speaking out against the negative impacts of prejudice and systemic racism can then turn around and deliberately weaponize his own prejudices by whipping up resentment against a group of religious practitioners, equating their deity with a sort of “satanic” purpose and intent (e.g. Ragnarok)? Don’t all decent people deplore the ugliness and hatred of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia and the like?

I invite you to read more about Satanic Panic here. There are parallels to what Seigfried is doing.

Seigfried’s Call to Action

I’m going to quote again the “call to action” at the end of Seigfried’s diatribe, a little more fully than I did yesterday. Let’s examine what he says. Here’s the last two paragraphs. I am inserting brackets and numbers, to make this easier.


[Beginning of Quote] By examining Loki in the light of Trump, we can realize that there is a way to understand the mythic figure as [1] neither a “Christian influenced” Satan inserted into the lore, nor a [2] misunderstood anti-hero who should be elevated to a [3] near monotheistic pinnacle of devotion. Instead, he can be seen as [4] a figure who represents the worst aspects in ourselves, who embodies all that is harmful to a community of positive intent. [5] Trump shows us the real-world results of an objectifier of women, a betrayer of community, an opposer of law, and a bringer of chaos being set loose to work his will upon the world. [6] Is this really what we want? [7] I believe that the idea of Loki as the bound giant who finally breaks free to destroy the world is [8] the root element of his character. [9] I suggest that maybe we should support those who seek to bind the beast [10] rather than cheer on his rampage.

Finally, I would like to make the simple request that, following this article, [11] lovers of Loki and partisans of the president [12] refrain from making death threats against me. I know that these are two figures who inspire passionate devotion, but I think it is possible to have differences of opinion without threatening lives and livelihood. [13] Thank you for rejecting fundamentalism. [End of Quote]


Before I begin to break down these statements, line by line, keep in mind that elaborate sociological theories exist which describe the manifold ways in which those who hold themselves up as representing a “norm” always need a group of “deviants” to “other.” It’s essential to be able to point to “Those guys over there, they’re responsible for our problems! Not us! We couldn’t possibly make any mistakes! We’re good, we’re normal!

That’s why in 45’s Reign of Error we have an upsurge in public hate against Muslims, immigrants, people of color, trans and gender variant people, LGBQ folks, women, etc. Twump exploited this human failing from the very beginning, effectively demonizing Hilary Clinton (not my fave either, but c’mon!). He organized his supporters around a common enemy (an uppity woman and her followers) and held himself up as their savior.

You can’t boost your status with an implied victory unless you have a threat and an enemy. Gosh, just like what Seigfried is doing in his article! He’s going to save us from all those deviant Lokeans who want twump to bring on Ragnarok! Frankly, Seigfried’s taken more than one page from the playbook of the presidential figure he purports to abhor.


So, let’s calmly pick apart those last two paragraphs, shall we? Seigfried’s content is in italics. My comments are in bold. The paragraphs begin with:

By examining Loki in the light of Trump, we can realize that there is a way to understand the mythic figure as

[1] neither a “Christian influenced” Satan inserted into the lore, nor a…

Seigfried asks us to set aside all consideration of academic and popular discussions of the impact of Christian writers and thought on Norse lore in general, and Loki in particular. He wants us to just ignore all that scholarship. It gets in the way of his pitch. Here’s a little clue: “Christian influenced” is in quotes, but no source for that phrase is cited. He wants the quotes to undermine the influence of that descriptive phrase.

[2] misunderstood anti-hero who should be elevated to a…

This is a dig at modern Lokeans. It implies that his understanding should trump ours as religious practitioners. (Pun intended.)

[3] near monotheistic pinnacle of devotion. Instead, he can be seen as…

A generalization which serves to polarize public opinion among polytheistic neopagans because now we’re not just Lokeans, we’re (gasp!) monotheistic Lokeans–and devoted to boot! The subtext is: “What wouldn’t such deviants do on behalf of their one true god? Save us from such zealots! Circle the wagons! Hide the women and children!”

You may think I’m exaggerating, but I am not. Because it gets worse.

FYI, this monotheistic thing? This is also a blatant untruth. There are plenty of people who hail Loki, among many other deities and ancestors (and not just Norse ones either), and there are also those who are more focused on Loki than on other deities, and there are some who actually refer to themselves as Lokeans or some other related term and yet may or may not focus exclusively on Loki. So what?

[4] a figure who represents the worst aspects in ourselves, who embodies all that is harmful to a community of positive intent.

So here’s the Big D Demonization, right here. After making a very threadbare case by linking Loki with 45 through cherry-picked comparisons, Seigfried just flat out states that Loki is everything that is bad. This implies that his followers are unfit for a “community of positive intent.” The subtext is: “Cast them out, I say!”

The sad, sad irony is that I’ve found more positive intent, kindness, and patient, ethical acceptance among the groups of online Lokeans that I am getting to know, than almost anywhere else. And my experience with the vibrant essence of the being who has identified him/her/zirself as “Loki” has been quite positive and multi-layered. 

I think this is what unnerves Seigfried, actually, that many of us are having actual mystic and religious experiences with a larger being. It’s not just a bunch of us sitting around with Marvel Loki dolls imagining “UPG”–stuff really happens. 

I’d also like to point out that there seems to be a rather large percentage of female, LGBQIA, and trans and gender diverse people who are Loki devotees–as opposed to cis-het men–and that Seigfried is leading a charge to marginalize those who are already marginalized due to these statuses, in addition to already being shunned as Lokeans. Is he going after the white supremacists who wear Thor hammers, those who are truly 45’s supporters and who would like nothing better than to nuke brown people in other countries, thereby bringing on a semblance of Ragnarok? No! Seigfried’s a bully. He’s going after those he perceives as weak and unorganized. 

(And we are unorganized, compared to other neopagan groups. But I don’t believe we are weak.)

[5] Trump shows us the real-world results of an objectifier of women, a betrayer of community, an opposer of law, and a bringer of chaos being set loose to work his will upon the world.

Yeah. But twump is what happens when you combine white, male, upper class privilege with immense greed and lack of ethics, total unconcern for anyone else, politicians beholden to corporations, rigged elections, and probable collusion with Russia. And let’s not forget systemic racism, misogyny and rape culture, trans and homophobia, Islamophobia, grudges against immigrants, etc. Then acknowledge that most of our media are owned by a handful of companies and that 45 was given “star quality” by CBS.

Loki has absolutely NOTHING to do with the present state of our eroding, so-called democracy. We brought this on ourselves.

[6] Is this really what we want?

Here’s where Siegfried becomes as sly as the deity he purports to despise. He asks the question. Because we want to be part of that “community of positive intent” that Seigfried references, we answer: 

“Wow, no, gosh, we don’t want all that! Eww, no! Take it away! It’s the fault of a faulty god! Let’s blame him! And his followers!

Seigfried weaves his false equation, Loki=Trump, and then asks us if we really want this shit-fuck stack based on centuries of racism, chattel slavery, genocide of native peoples, and the immense cluelessness of white people who persist in clutching their privileges about themselves to ward off the ultimate reckoning for their deeds (not just their ancestors’s deeds)…our deeds, our collective failures to address any of this in an effective way). 

See? There’s no need to do any hard work examining our own privileges and deeply entrenched prejudices, no need to be organizing against this stuff in any real way. It’s all the fault of that Norse Satan. He did it. Not us.  

[7] I believe that the idea of Loki as the bound giant who finally breaks free to destroy the world is…

Again, remember, this is Seigfried’s “belief,” and it discards not only all the other attributes of Loki that can be found in the the lore but also disregards the lived experiences of contemporary neopagans who have Loki in their lives. But Seigfried wants you to believe that HIS belief and perceptions have far more value than that of the religious practitioners actually engaged with Loki.

[8] the root element of his character.

This guy just won’t give up, will he? I actually don’t care that he believes as he does. He’s welcome to whatever. What I do care about is that he is turning a popular neopagan platform into a bully pulpit to portray a particular god as a dangerous being, and his followers as not only unworthy of consideration and also as an active threat to others.

[9] I suggest that maybe we should support those who seek to bind the beast

Meaning him of course. He wants to be your champion against bad, bad Loki and the bad, bad Lokeans. That’s one hell of a bondage fantasy, Seigfried!

[10] rather than cheer on his rampage.

Meaning those of us that he deems as unworthy of support because we worship (among others) a god that he doesn’t like. 

Also, I don’t know any Lokeans who are cheering on 45 and his policies. Not a one.

[11] Finally, I would like to make the simple request that, following this article,

Actually, there’s a lot to unpack in this supposedly “simple request.” Siegfreid invites us to join with him–“following the article”–thereby slipping in the suggestion that we are following him now when we do as he asks.

[12] lovers of Loki and partisans of the president

Once again hammering home that false equivalency.

[13] refrain from making death threats against me. I know that these are two figures who inspire passionate devotion, but I think it is possible to have differences of opinion without threatening lives and livelihood.

The implication that Lokeans and those who hail Loki would actually make death threats is a staggering statement. I can scarcely imagine the self-centeredness, the hubris, of a man who would imply such a thing. He aches to be a martyr, so that he can prove how worthy he is to be our champion, or some other self-serving agenda.

And again, he continues the false equivalency. Can someone please tell this guy that “correlation does not equal causation?” Thanks ever so.

And by the way, did you notice the amazing plethora of tags at the end of his article? This guy is on a crusade and he wants search engines to be his bitch. He’s tagged everything from J.R.R. Tolkien to rape. He is clearly desperate for readership and followers. Here’s his tags:


Culture, Paganism, Perspectives, Politics #MeToo, 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, abduction, Access Hollywood, allegory, apocalypse, applicability, Asatru, Asgard, Attorney General, Baldr, Bill Zanker, border, Brett Kavanaugh, chaos, chaos magick, China, Christianity, Christine Blasey Ford, CIA, comic books, community, conspiracy theories, death threats, deicide, diversity, divorce, Donald Trump, duality, Edda, Eric Trump, family separation, fandom, FBI, Fenrir, Freyja, Freyr, Fundamentalism, Geirröd, genocide, George W. Bush, Germanic mythology, giants, goddesses, gods, Hatice Sengiz, Heathenry, Heimdall, Hel, henotheism, History of the Danes, Idunn, Iran, Ivana Trump, Ivanka Trump, J.R.R. Tolkien, Jack Kirby, Jamal Khashoggi, Jeffrey Kaplan, Joanne Harris, John Roberts, Jörmungandr, Jr., Justice Department, Kim Jong Un, Laufey, LGBTQ, Lokasenna, Loki, Loki Laufeyjarson, Mar-a-Lago, Matthew Whitaker, Mexico, millenarianism, Mjolnir, Mohammed bin Salman, monotheism, murder, Nazi Germany, nepotism, new religious movements, norse mythology, North Korea, nuclear war, Old Norse, Paganism, Paul Ricoeur, Poetic Edda, polytheism, prophecy, psychoanalysis, Radical Religion in America, ragnarok, rape, Reykjavik, ritual, Robert Mueller, Roland Paris, Rudolf Simek, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Saxo Grammaticus, Seeress, sexual assault, sexual harassment, Sif, Skáldskaparmál, slut shaming, Snorri Sturluson, society, Stan Lee, Steny Hoyer, thanksgiving, The Lord of the Rings, theology, Think Big, Thjazi, Thor, Thor’s hammer, Tom Hiddleston, transgender, Trump, Trump Tower, Twitter, University of Ottawa, Völuspá, White House, Wicca, witch hunt, World Serpent

[14] Thank you for rejecting fundamentalism.

This last is a whopper! In what way have followers of Loki ever espoused any form of fundamentalism? We’re the oddest, most eclectic lot I can imagine. Our forms of worship and engagement are quite, quite diverse. 

And again, the false equivalency…

Lokiphobia as the New Satanic Panic?

What exactly is Seigfried trying to unleash here, with his frantic bid for attention to this topic? By scapegoating a scattered band of Loki enthusiasts, and dissing their god to the max, he seems to be doing his best to create an easily targeted enemy within the large tent of neopaganism and the smaller tents of Heathen, Asatru, and other Norse Traditions. Those of us who have already commented publicly on his hit piece are now flushed out and identifiable (if we weren’t before), ready to be excommunicated from that “community” he talks about (if we haven’t been already), and if we don’t behave and give up our devotions to our “Norse Satan,” perhaps roasted over the slow flame of public scorn. Meanwhile our fascist oligarchy grinds on…

This is a dangerous thing, what he’s doing. In a country where the Satanic Panic of the 80s and 90s cost many innocent people their lives, livelihood, and liberty–a panic which is still simmering in many communities across the country, including fundamentalist Christian denominations and neonazi groups–do we really need Seigfried to fan the flames of a new, trendier pseudo-Satanic target? I mentioned in my previous blog that neonazis and white supremacists are already equating Loki=Jewish=Satan. Their arguments include the fact that Loki takes his mother’s name as a surname, which is also a Jewish custom. And I am sure there are reasons even more bizarre than this, and perhaps even more bizarre than Siegfried’s comparison of Loki to 45.

That man who just shot up the temple in Pennsylvania? He flat out stated that “Jews are Satan” in one of his online profiles. That’s part of why he decided to murder everyone. What’s next, who’s next? Who is going to get their white supremacist knickers in a twist now and perhaps decide to murder Loki cosplayers or attendees at neopagan festivals, “because they are Satan?”

Believe me, I write this now and part of me says, “Don’t say it. Don’t write this. Don’t give anyone any ideas.” But those ideas are already out there, folks. And Seigfried has just given a certain class of nut job carte blanche to “prevent” whatever wacky conception of “Ragnarok” that they may hold. And remember too, a lot of people hailing Loki are already at risk due to their queerness, gender variance, or other marginalized statuses.

What Do We Need to Do?

In the larger neopagan communities, we need respectful interfaith dialogue, not hit pieces and hate. We need to understand ourselves what respectful interfaith dialogue consists of, and we need to insist upon it as rules of engagement in all forums and gatherings.

We need to call out Lokiphobia for what it is–unwarrented discrimination against a group of religious practitioners.

And among those who hail Loki, perhaps we need more self-organization, to make public statements of our values so that others know where we stand, to continue writing if that’s what we do, to do everything we can to counter the perceptions that we are somehow unworthy or lesser beings by attaching our devotion to a controversial deity.

One the one hand, we shouldn’t have to prove anything to anybody. But the gauntlet’s been thrown, and we have to not just “defend” our faith, but also through civil discourse  to communicate it, pro-actively. We cannot afford to be the targets of a public smear or a public panic, and I’m afraid that’s what Seigfried intends.

And we’re not the only ones with a controversial deity, for heaven’s sake (no pun intended)! Humanity’s history is full of them. But why us? Why now? That is my question for Seigfried and his ilk. I wanna know. What’s in it for him?

P.S. One of my kids is a Luciferian, and you can bet I’ll go to bat for those folks too.


Please also read these thoughtful rebuttals by other bloggers:

Dagulf Loptson, Loki and Trump: My Thoughts

Kyaza, Analysis of Seigfried’s Comparison of Loki and Trump

Sonya Odinsdottir, Rebuttal to Article: Loki in the White House

Sarenth Odinson, Loki is Not Trump (Neither is Odin)

John Mainer, Loki, Discord and Deep Lore


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FireSnakeTemple

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32 thoughts on “Dude, I Call Lokiphobia! Check Your Bully Pulpit.

  1. Personally, the Lokeans and Luciferians I’ve seen and know seem like totally cool, non-crazy people who are more accepting of minorities than any of the “big” gods. If this guy was talking about the evil a\p\e\p snek, sure, I’d be on his side. But Loki is about NECESSARY change, not totalitarianism. And that’s obvious even to an outsider.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Very well written. Thank you for putting into words the thoughts of Lokeans everywhere… (Speaking only for myself, of course.)
    There is always going to be someone who believe that Loki is the Chrisitain devil. I for one, disagree, not only because I dont believe in the devil, but, because I know (opinion only) that no matter what people believe, Loki, may be mischievous and chaotic, and while many other things, is NOT evil. I know him, in my heart, and I just know…

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Brilliance. I keep meaning to write something, but everyone keeps saying what I intend to before I can. :p Pfft. And I call myself a writer. I MAY YET. But honestly, I’m a teensy bit confrontational, and I don’t think this situation calls for my usual brand of shit-stirring. There is a time and a place for it, but I don’t think this is it. I’m think I’m just going to try and amplify y’all’s more measured voices.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I’m not a Lokean, but I have seen enough crap shoveled onto you folks to make up the weekly output of a stable of Sleipnirs. If it’s not “he’s really Satan,” it’s the Asatruar who refuse to work with him because they think it’ll bring on Ragnarok. After learning that the Faroe Islands myths about him include turning to him as the court of last resort when the Aesir and Vanir refuse to help, I knew he got misrepresented in the lore by the Christians who wrote it down. And the Wild Hunt is frankly a garbage fire. Their handling of trans issues, their mangling of a beloved’s obituary, and more. Now this.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Would you be willing to publish this article or one like it on The Wild Hunt? I contacted them and they’re willing to post rebuttals to Karl Siegfried’s article.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, I probably would. I know some other people who are doing this as well. I’d probably alter the tone a bit from what I’ve written here. Or maybe I could just send my Lokasenna piece? It’s supposed to be funny. How do I go about this? And thanks for reading and commenting. All the best, Amy

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m new to all the norse stuff in general, and have no dealings with Loki (but several Lokeans, who are all delightful), but I definitely nearly rolled my eyes nearly outta my head at his request for “no death threats,” like, wow, dude thinks a whole fucking lot about himself, don’t he? And throwing anyone in the polytheist/pagan community under the bus is a whole dick move, especially with the Christian Dominionists chomping at the bit under 45’s power.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. You’re right, this is just someone pissing over marginalised people. Sadly even within the neopagan community Lokeans are more or less ostracised, and it’s kind of hard to find non-Lokean heathens who accept Loki worship as valid.

    Either we’re servants of evil, or we’re just silly Marvel!Loki fangirls; we either get demonised or dismissed, even by our own. And by “our own” I mean worshippers of the same pantheon.

    But I disagree about getting organised. In a religious context, I can’t think of a single instance where organisation has been beneficial and not resulted in abuse of power and oppression. It would also make us a bigger target. They have already decided they hate us, and they’re not gonna stop, no matter what we do. If we get together and make a stand, we’re just easier to find. Better to stay underground, do our thing, and weather the storm. Because in the end, it doesn’t matter what people think.

    What might be a good idea are decentralised networks between Lokeans so we’ve got mutual support if shit really should hit the fan. But *not* organisation on platforms. Because that would mean we’d have to introduce a set of rules that not everyone will agree on since our ideas of who Loki is and how to handle the worship aspect are all over the show (and that’s a good thing). The drama within the Lokean community is already bad enough, and going public and speaking as a group would just make that so much worse. I’m talking about “are god-spouses valid” or “is Marvel!Loki a valid way in” kinds of discourse. It’s my fear that people who connect to Loki in uncommon ways will fall by the wayside. That must not happen. Our diversity and our openness are what makes our path so valuable.

    Staying in the closet sometimes is a valid option. It sucks, but sometimes it just is. We aren’t X-tians, our god doesn’t require martyrs. He is (among other things) the god of guile, survival against all odds, and operating behind the scenes. I suggest we follow his example.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like a lot about your perspective, Owly. Thank you. I agree we don’t want people to fall by the wayside or to make rules that end up stifling people. But it’s good to have some ways to organize in order to throw shit back (when necessary) en masse. Decentralized networks that are able to mobilize from time to time? Much to ponder! And thanks for reading and commenting! All the best, Amy

      Like

  8. The very idea of anyone comparing Loki with Trump is insulting! I was in the Portland womens march protesting Trump’s attitude toward women and the LBTQ groups. Id like to see your counter argument posted too. I hope that writer dosent give the Orange One any ideas. Next thing you know, hell try to propose an anti Loki bill. That would just make Loki laugh though. And it would be time for some arts and crafts.

    Liked by 1 person

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