July: Thirty Days of Devotional Observances
Starting today, July 1st, taking on thirty questions and thirty days of devotional focus sounds about right! Last week I wrote about needing to “course correct” my daily devotional life. I’d been overwhelmed the last few months, missing a day here and there, making excuses, letting fatigue (and some sticky emotional situations) get the better of me. I find it odd that I can let this happen even though the daily ritual of candles and poetry and prayer (to all my deities) is so nourishing and takes so little time!
Why? Why avoid doing the very things that make life so meaningful? Perhaps these periods of composting and readjustment are necessary, but I don’t like feeling like a “slacker” while it’s happening. So, spurred by Kyaza’s example, as published today in A Polytheistic Life, I’ve decided to also do the “30 Days of Devotion” exercise created some years ago by a blogger and polytheist named Arrin. (Thank you, Ky!)
This is something that anyone can do, anytime, for any deity. In this case, my focus is Loki Laufeyjarson. Perfect timing! July 11th is the anniversary of my oathing to Loki, so bookending this important milestone with several days of devotions at each end feels right. And coming right after the first official Trothmoot hailing of Loki in ten years, this also feels timely. (Sadly, I wasn’t at Trothmoot. Maybe next year?)
Today’s Question or Task: Create “a basic introduction of the deity.”
This seems like a good “back to basics” place to start. How do I presume to describe or introduce this extraordinarily complex being?
Of course I’ve done a lot of blogging about various aspects and experiences with Loki over this last year, so I could just cheat and give links! But I won’t. Those curious can search through this blog and find them in the Loki and Lokean categories.
What I really want to express at the beginning is that Loki is a deity capable of making personal connections with human beings, and of inspiring, receiving, and giving love. The more obvious elements of Loki’s persona and story–the mischief-maker and iconoclastic trickster, the fire god, the sly puzzle-solver, and the tortured, suffering, “Promethean” outcast–can overshadow the realization that Loki devotees can experience mutuality rather easily. Tenderness, loyalty, and more–these feelings can be subtle. They can be overwhelming. Whatever the strength and volume of the incoming signal, it is often nuanced and always distinct.
Based on personal gnosis, I feel that Loki has a definite agenda (though I don’t know what it is), and that it’s quite complex (so I can’t really know it). Even with all the donut jokes and offerings of cinnamon-flavored whisky, and Marvel Loki trinkets which are either coveted or scorned, there is something deadly serious at Loki’s core and our relations with him.
It might be wishful thinking, but I can’t shake the feeling that Loki is one of the most appropriate and possibly most practical deities to ramp up activity during this time of brutally immediate climate change–the consequence of our collective stupidity, greed, and hypocrisy. Loki’s capacity for exposing hypocrisy is sorely needed. What I wouldn’t give for a sort of “Lokasenna” to happen at a hoity-toity gathering of oil executives, lobbyists, and politicians! However, no deity is going to come and save us–it’s up to us to do the calling out of harsh truths. To resist.
Loki is a deity seen as a major force in the apocalyptic narrative of Ragnarok, sometimes called the “twilight of the gods.” Now we are at threshold of the twilight of humanity. None of us are innocent, all of us are complicit, even if only as consumers. Loki, deity of the liminal spaces, may wonder if we’ll be ruthless enough to critique our own part in the disasters to come, and if enough of us, a tipping point’s worth, can self-correct in time.
So he’s both a personal god and a cosmic force. And as a deity of “creative chaos,” he’s so very fractal!