Yesterday’s devotional topic pertained to Loki’s geneaology and family groupings. Today’s topic is: “other related deities and entities associated with this deity.” I engage with some deities outside the Norse pantheon and I’m beginning to notice a trend: fire, magic, sexuality, pleasure, creativity… So my “associations” in this blog will be very personal, based on my own practices. It’s a sort of personal, spiritual genealogy.
Water Meets Fire
There was a time in my life where I had numerous dreams of fire burning under water. They had a profound effect on me and when someone told me that such dreams represent creativity, I thought, “cool.” I bring this up because astrologically I’m very watery, but I seem to be drawn to fire deities. (And I’m very creative. Very.)
Even when I don’t know at first that a deity is associated with fire, it comes up. In my life, Celtic Brigit/Brigid/Bride is a good example of this. According to the Wikipedia article, she is associated with the hearth (like Loki) and “high rising flame.” She is also a goddess of smithcraft. Loki too has associations with the hearth and the forge fire.
Brigit is a goddess of poetry as well and therefore presumbably capable of verbal pyrotechnics, like Loki.
Brigit is new to my life. She first arrived as a goddess who was important some ancestors in my father’s mother’s lineage and so I began to honor her as such. (I relate to the pagan Brigit far more than to “St. Brigid” version.) I can’t say I’m deeply engaged with her yet but she’s part of my (almost) daily practice. I’m looking forward to going deeper.
Before Loki announced himself in my life, I had spontaneous “encounters” with Pele, the “volcano goddess” of Hawai’i. These stories are “chickenskin” and if I chose to tell them now, they would sound improbable. I felt/feel great awe and reverence for Pele. I felt like a flyspeck, frankly, in my first spontaneous encounter with her.
Like Loki, Pele’s name gets bandied about and commercialized, sometimes very inappropriately by (usually white) people who don’t understand that–among other things–she is an ancestral goddess and has living descendents! People call her “Tutu” (grandmother) for a reason!
The video below is a Pele chant and hula performed by Hālau O Kekuhi. The kumu (teachers) of this very renowned hula school are direct descendents of Pele and they hold her traditions strongly.
My experiences with Pele were interesting and spanned a period of fifteen years or so. There weren’t many encounters, but I always acknowledged her, and when I lived in the Puna district of Hawai’i Island (which is very much her turf), I made offerings at a little stone ‘ahu on the property. It is such a mistake to ignore or disrespect her while on her land, but I was motivated by love and reverence, not fear. The ‘ahu was graced by a lava bomb on loan. (The lava bomb is now known as Kukauakahi and travels around the islands in care of various people.) Here is one of the Pele chants I was working on learning. I don’t know it by heart yet.
So in my spiritual life, how do I connect Hawai’i’s Pele with the Norse god, Loki? Primarily in the strong feelings of reverence and love that I feel toward both, as well as their substantial impact on my life. But both have generated fascination and many stories in their respective cultures and are sometimes portrayed as having “difficult” personalities. They are not always benign or kind. Both are associated with volcanic places (and I am drawn to volcanic spots as well). Both are associated with destruction and renewal, and I am also (Pheonix-like) very familiar with these processes in my own life. Like Loki, Pele also has a somewhat tumultuous family and personal life. Another reason I relate… Now, remember, these are characteristics cherry-picked and compared in this context to show my own resonance with certain aspects of them, NOT an effort to make superficial cultural comparisons. Both deities are much too complex for any simplistic descriptions or comparisons.
In some ways, Pele is even responsible for my coming to the Norse pantheon, and thus to Loki. She gave me a kind of spiritual kick in the ‘okole as well as a literal imperative to leave the island: “You’ve hung out over here long enough.” [My partner at the time was a Kanaka Maoli elder and he was the reason I’d moved there. Things were not going well. That lava bomb had a message for me.] “Now, get with the gods of your ancestors.” What could I say but “yes, ma’am” and move back to California?
FYI: I really liked a blog by “neptune’sdolphins” on the Divine Multiplicity site, “How Gods Recruit Their Followers.” This blog also mentioned how they sometimes show you the door after a time.
Seven months after I’d left, Pele sent lava coursing through the Puna district. This lasted for several months and the flow obliterated the places I’d loved the most in that part of the island. [Click here for an animated map of the lava flow.] The house where I’d been living was in the Hawaiian Shores/Hawaiian Beaches area. As you can see by the map, this area is just a few miles from the “northern lobe” on the map. Because of that kick in the ‘okole, I left the island ahead of this catastrophe. As a person with asthma, the sulphur fumes would have done me in. (Some of my windows were only screens, no glass.) So, mahalo nui, Tutu! (Big thanks!)
I don’t actively honor Pele here, though I still love her. I live in very close proximity to another volcano, Mt. Konocti, which is currently dormant but still listed as a “high threat” volcano. It just doesn’t seem wise to address such energies directly here, especially in a “newbie” and clueless way. And I don’t feel the need to intrude in the protocols or trespass on the relationship the local indigenous people have with Konocti. I have a very strong feeling it is not wise for me to engage beyond a daily thanks to the mountain and the lake for being here.
Loki, though, is not a “volcano god,” so it’s okay to be here with him, doing my daily practices. As a settler-colonist with a woodshed turned into a temple space, the spirits here are kind of “meh” when I asked permission. Like, what I’ve got is personal, and small potatoes, and less invasive than some of the other stuff plopped down on this land. Whatever!
So I guess that the last comparison I’ll make is that both deities prompt me, in different ways, to examine my status as a “I don’t really belong here or there” settler-colonist. Pele guided me to show active appreciation of the ‘aina (the land) she built from lava. Loki, as a nomadic, liminal god who doesn’t seem to “fit” completely in any one place, also holds a message for me.
So I take pains to greet and thank the indigenous ancestors here, on a daily basis, and assure them that I want to be a good visitor. And I greet and thank my own physical ancestors who have brought me to this place. And to stay right with the land here, I make offerings to the local wights: “May there be peace between us for all of our days.”
Goetic Amy is a fire spirit and fallen angel. At present, I have only a weekly offering relationship with this spirit and have not called on Amy for anything. Amy seems to be deeply intellectual and studious. I could probably call on him/her for help with learning or for making better use of the learning I have.
But for now I just kind of say “Hello. This is for you. Respect. May there be peace, etc…” (Like Loki, Amy is not only fiery but also said to be handsome and alluring, no matter what gender is presented).
Loki and Freya. There is so much to say about their associations with forms of magic, but I just can’t go into it now. I guess all I can say is that I look to them as teachers.
Sexuality and Pleasure
Loki, Freya, Freyr, Bastet. Need I say more? (Uh, yeah, I guess I can!)
For me, Loki has a “sacred sexuality” vibe to him (as well as a strongly carnal aspect that many people encounter). I am checking out what happens if I relate to him as a form of “tantric hero” and partner via meditation and breathing patterns.
Freya’s sexual passion is a key aspect of hers (and I love her for it). (Frankly, I had a hard time with the “slut-shaming” in the Lokasenna.)
Freyr is a “death and rebirth” god who helps assure nature’s fertility, but his robust carnality is also something that some devotees experience and enjoy. Freyr and Freya both are wonderful gods for a sexologist to worship.
Bastet is a pleasure-loving sensualist. She loves song, dance, luxury, and cats. She reminds me to take time to enjoy physical pleasures–but I am not listening to her enough. [Note to self: Listen!]
And in the past I’ve been drawn to Shiva, but haven’t ever been an active devotee. I’ve connected with the “idea” of him, mostly via neo-tantra learning.
Creativity often accompanies or is sparked by destruction and traumatic change. As I mentioned above, both Loki and Pele are associated with this process and both have inspired many stories,poems (chants), and songs in their cultures. (I consider Loki as a consummate muse.)
Bastet is a goddess of music.
I mentioned earlier that Brigit is a goddess of poetry.
And Finally, the Trickster
Yes, I adore the trickster aspect of Loki. I strongly resonate with it. Uranus has a lot of influence in my astrological chart. But I am not personally drawn to other trickster deities. If so, I would probably have tried to connect more with Maui, the demi-god trickster of the Pacific.
There just isn’t anyone else in my spiritual life who radiates this quality. In my spiritual life, Loki has this category all to himself.