Day 19: How Do I Love Thee, Loki?

Today Mercury goes retro in my Ninth House of writing and publishing (waaaah!) and the Moon is in Pisces, in a transit that also opposes my Venus, according to today’s Astrodient prediction. This transit is termed “indiscriminate affection” and is described thusly:

“This influence can lead to rather indiscriminate affection, because your desire to love someone overrules your normal sense of discretion. This is not especially dangerous, although a certain amount of discretion is still desirable.” 

In other words, it’s a PERFECT day to blog without restraint (or discretion) on today’s topic: “what quality or qualities of this god do you most admire? What quality or qualities of them do you find the most troubling?”

Caution: This transit also pertains to “Erotic desires. Are you feeling emotional at the moment but don’t know what to do about it?” (Well, I wasn’t until I read this and started thinking about it…)
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Author to come. Public Domain.

Loki Laufeyjarson! The qualities I admire? For simplicity’s sake, I’ll use “he/his” as I generally do experience him in that gendered way. However, I’m just now coming to connect with other gendered aspects, which is great. I am sure it is my programming that has limited me up to now.

Let’s take a personal gnosis plunge. Ready?

First of all–I like that Loki’s here, here with me for the long haul (which, seeing as I’m about to reach medicare age, isn’t all that long…). That doesn’t mean I always feel him hanging about or being all bad boy and tricksy as some people report (and that’s fine, by the way–I kind of envy those folks), but that I know he has my back.

I admire Loki for his willingness to “speak truth to power.” For his intelligence and insightful ability to dismantle hypocrisy. For his unholy glee and madcap humor (yes, I do get to experience the light side now and then). For his intrinsic creative force and ability to spark it in mere humans. For his honor and resolve, no matter how weird his wyrd. For the kindness and tenderness he can sometimes show to his families, as a parent and as a lover. For his beguiling appetites for… whatever! For being “close up and personal.” In short, for being a complex subtle being who isn’t afraid to mix it up a little with troubled humanity here in Midgard.

I admire Loki’s hidden agenda. I don’t know what it is, but I sense it as part of his function as a catalyst of creative chaos and transformation. He’s not raw chaos (usually), he’s strategic, even when looking as if he’s got no impulse control whatsover.

I love his complexity. I love being challenged by Loki, learning from him.

I admire his shape and gender-shifting versatility. His curiosity. His restlessness.

Loki is a good listener as well as a master of direct communication (including barbed witticisms). I admire that too. And if he’s displeased, it’s a clear “no, don’t do that” or “no, I don’t want that.” He’s never passive-aggressive. He asks pointed questions to trigger learning rather than ‘splaining, as I mentioned above.

I admire Loki’s generosity. I benefit from it. He makes his “template of transformation” available. You have only to ask, then to work hard to understand and absorb it.

I admire Loki’s ability to be accepting of all kinds of people while at the same time being perfectly willing to offer a deft kick to the patoosis, as needed.

I trust him in all ways, but not like a fool. He likes me to keep my mind sharp and my eyes open.

And I adore feeling his energy when he’s “around.” I love his readiness to be delighted.

Sometimes I consider the above with a trace of wistfulness. Loki has inadvertantly spoiled me for other manifestations of masculinity (not that Loki’s always “masculine”). He never “mansplains” or “godsplains.” I wish I could meet a human love with even a 100th portion of Loki’s qualities. It would be nice to grow old(er) with one or two such people, especially if they also shared my faith. That’s one of the problems with spending too much time with the divine. You get used to a certain expansiveness and depth. It makes you “nice” in the old sense of the word–particular, choosy.

Qualities I don’t admire? There really aren’t many. At one point I was troubled by slut shaming in the Lokasenna. And I get the sense that Loki can be malicious at times, but only when really pushed, and even then, not for very long. Based on what I know of the lore (and I am still learning), he is far less cruel to others than others have been to him.

As for Loki’s involvment in “the Death of Baldr,” I don’t trust Snorri Sturluson’s Prose Edda version of Baldr’s death. It’s not the only one. In older versions, Loki is not involved at all, or if he is, he’s most likely acting on behalf of Baldr’s father (Odin) in a sacred rite that ensures Baldr’s return after Ragnarok. I also don’t trust Snorri’s front- and back-end prose additions to Lokasenna (which is an anonymous human composition). They are too pat.

Loki is above all a keeper of certain mysteries. He’s a guardian at the threshold, a deity of all kinds of crossroads. Human lore and literature, whether ancient or modern, is a reflection of human attempts to explain or chronicle the bits of cosmic mysteries we are able to perceive, all based ultimately on someone’s personal gnosis. I feel Snorri had an literary agenda that overrode any sense he may have had of touching on “mysteries.” He was not a mystic, nor did he have a mystic’s intuition.

As for Ragnarok, meh. What we humans are doing to our planet and its climate is more real, devastating, and disturbing than any mythic account of the world’s end. For all I know, we ARE in Ragnarok right now, and from where I sit, I don’t see Loki as an agent of this destruction. In fact, I think he’d rather we wised up and did something about it while we still can. This wasn’t what he wanted for the descendants of Ask and Embla. Or for cats and wolves either.

Hail Loki! With all my love, respect, and trust.

Day 14: In a Word, Donuts

Dough-Donut-Lemon-Ginger

Today’s “Thirty Days of Devotion” topic asks if there’s a difference between ancient and modern worship of Loki. The answer is a resounding, artisan-grease infused, sprinkle-spattered “YES!”

So far, archaelogical records do not show that the Old Norse had anything resembling the cholesterol-crunching goodie we today know as “the donut.” Cane sugar arrived in Europe by the 1100s, making inadvertant contemporaries of Snorri Sturluson and a key donut ingredient. However, it was incredibly expensive, known as “white gold”, and until the 18th-19th centuries was reserved for the very rich. Simple folk offering baby teeth to Loki via the hearth-fire could not have known that the future held a far more delectable and acceptable offering, one whose very shape invoked the World-Encircling Jormungandr and whose endless variety echoes the consumate shape-shifting of the great snake’s Dad.

Furthermore, two donuts, side by side, approximate the symbol of eternity. Ponder that if you will! And that shape with a hole in the middle is as good as a hag stone for some. (Sadly, they seldom last as long.)


Fun fact: For a long time, Sweden consumed much less sugar than the rest of Europe. Sweden then began to produce beet sugar and so sugar consumption–and tooth decay–skyrocketed. Not so Fun Fact: Researchers then performed tooth decay sugar experiments on mental patients without their consent.

Though a skilled confectioner can spin “white gold” as fine as Sif’s hair, Scandinavia was slow to catch onto sugar. And the rest of Europe was slow to catch on to Norse mythology. However, by the 19th century, suddenly everyone was hot for both. How can we not detect the hand of Loki in this?

Think of it this way: increasing popularity of Norse Myths means more popularity for Loki, which means that in a period of rising sugar consumption, Loki gains more followers who can be prompted to make offerings of sugary goodness (and fewer baby teeth). Quite elegant, if you ask me!

Of course, one might argue that “correlation does not imply causation,” but that’s if one reckons without the influence of the divine. In the words of the immortal Gollum, “we wonders.”

However, well into the 19th century (and possibly beyond), most cane sugar was produced with slave labor, which we all know now included not just “labor” but also torture, murder, rape, imprisonment, tearing families apart, etc. I ask myself if Loki would have been so fond of his surgary sweets, had he known their cost in human lives?

Though we’re now reinventing our donuts as “paleo” or sugar and gluten-free, and can deplore the brutal history of past sugar production, it’s worth asking ourselves if we can also examine some of the other entitlements of modern neo-paganism and Western consumerism. Can we consider such factors as the labor exploitation and environmental damage that occurs in the mining and trade of our “healing crystals”? [<—Read this!] Can we offer goodies made from ingredients sourced from “fair trade” farmers? Can we question ways in which we might still be complicit in cultural appropriation or resource exploitation, without knowing it?

So this isn’t just a blog about donuts, or how modern Loki worship differs from way back when (we don’t even know if Loki was “worshipped” per se), it’s a blog about how Loki worship can continue to evolve, based on our climate-catastrophic times. It’s a blog about examining how our devotional and magical practices and consumption habits can be changed, one by one, to reflect the actual realities of the worlds around us, enabling us to do as little harm as possible in the pursuit of our spiritual practices.

I’ve been guilty of buying supermarket donuts for Loki. It’s a quick fix for offerings and I don’t have much money. But based on what I’ve just written and how I can’t “unsee it,” I may need to change my offerings. And I need to talk with Loki about this.

And if it takes going back to throwing the humblest of offerings into a fire, or placing a simple flat cake on an altar, so be it.

On the other hand, I’m a fan of Loki Spongecake Day and the reasons behind it–so everyone else, offer what you will! I won’t be judgy.

Hail Loki!

(This thirty-day devotional format is based on a list developed by someone named Arrin, known as “a Gaulish polytheist.” It can be used for any deity.)

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Fractal Fire. Author: Stevo-88. May 21, 2007. Public Domain.

Day 1 – Thirty Days of Devotion for Loki

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“Fractal Face of Beauty.” Author: Randomness, May 29, 2008. Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication.

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!

Hail Loki!

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Public Service: Climate Change Reversal Resources

As a public service, here are a few resources from your friendly neighborhood Eco-Lokean. Be sure to scroll down to the end for solar cooker info and “hay box” thermal cooker how-to links.

DRAWDOWN

Drawdown.org is a research-based initiative created in part by Paul Hawken. From the website, here is a definition: “Drawdown is the point at which levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere stop climbing and then steadily decline, ultimately reversing global warming.”

Here are the 100 research-determined solutions from the website. Each solution has a link to an in-depth explanation and a ranking. You can also access a PDF of the Summary of Solutions by Overall Rank.

List from DrawDown.org

You can also order the Drawdown, the book, via IndieBound, a community of local, independent bookstores.


FINNISH RENEWABLE ENERGY STUDY

Corbley, McKinley. April 22, 2019. Researchers Create ‘First-of-its-Kind’ Roadmap for Saving Earth From Climate Change Years Before 2050 Deadline. GoodNewsNetwork.com.

Below is the link to the report mentioned in the above article:

The authors dedicated this report:

“To Greta Thunberg and to the whole #FridaysForFuture movement, for your relentless courage for the preservation of our planet, and a better future for us all.”

Ram M., Bogdanov D., Aghahosseini A., Gulagi A., Oyewo A.S., Child M., Caldera U., Sadovskaia K., Farfan J., Barbosa LSNS., Fasihi M., Khalili S., Dalheimer B., Gruber G., Traber T., De Caluwe F., Fell H.-J., Breyer C. Global Energy System based on 100% Renewable Energy – Power, Heat, Transport and Desalination Sectors. Study by Lappeenranta University of Technology and Energy Watch Group, Lappeenranta, Berlin, March 2019.
ISBN: 978-952-335-339-8
ISSN-L: 2243-3376
ISSN: 2243-3376
Lappeenranta University of Technology Research Reports 91. ISSN: 2243-3376 Lappeenranta 2019

From the Executive Summary: 

“A global transition to 100% renewable energy across all sectors – power, heat, transport and desalination before 2050 is feasible1. Existing renewable energy potential and technologies, including storage, is capable of generating a secure energy supply at every hour throughout the year. The sustainable energy system is more efficient and cost effective than the existing system, which is based primarily on fossil fuels and nuclear. A global renewable transition is the only sustainable option for the energy sector, and is compatible with the internationally adopted Paris Agreement. The energy transition is not a question of technical feasibility or economic viability, but one of political will.”

And:

“Global energy-related greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced to zero by 2050, or sooner, across all energy sectors
• Annual global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the energy sector decline steadily through the transition from approximately 30 GtCO2eq in 2015 to zero by 2050 (see Figure KF-4). The remaining cumulative greenhouse gas emissions are approximately 422 GtCO2eq from 2018 to 2050. Energy-related GHG emissions account for more than 60% of total global GHG emissions in 2015.
• In contrast to popular claims, a deep decarbonisation of the power and heat sectors is possible by 2030. The transport sector will lag behind, with a massive decline of greenhouse gas emissions from 2030 to 2050 (see Figure KF-4).”


SOLAR COOKING

Developed to assist people in imporverished countries, I predict that home solar cooking will also become increasingly important in “developed” countries as a primary and emergency cooking and water purification technique.

From the Solar Cookers International website:

“One solar cooker preserves more than 1 ton of wood every year.

“Using no-emission solar energy to cook and make drinking water safe improves health, builds resilient families, breaks the cycle of poverty, boosts local economies, empowers women and children, and helps achieve all 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).”


“HAY BOX” AKA THERMAL COOKER

How to use much less energy for cooking. How to make one. The man who did this video also mentions his “rocket stove,” which he demonstrates in another video.

Here’s another thermal cooker “how to” video.


 

Loki: Proving the Poison

The fragrance industry, known to be irresponsible, has dared to name a toxic fragrance after Loki, a deity whose lore includes a horrific story of his sufferings from poison. Apparently independent perfumers on Etsy are following suit. Sigh… As a Lokean and as a person with environmental illness, I’m thoroughly appalled. My UPG? Loki, the arch foe of hypocrisy, would not be a fan of any of this.

Loki's Torment

For an ecological and spiritual take on this, see My Gods Are Fragrance Free.

And if you’re not convinced that fragrance chemicals equal poison, here’s some science. These are just a few of the studies and articles out there.


Fragrance and Essential Oil Toxicity: Recent Articles and Studies

List Under Construction. Check back often for new articles and studies. 


Early Articles, Information

Wallace, L., W. Nelson, E. Pellizzari, J. Raymer, AND K. Thomas. Identification of polar volatile organic compounds in consumer products and common microenvironments. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, D.C., EPA/600/D-91/074 (NTIS PB91182865), 1991.

Wallace, L. Human exposure to volatile organic pollutants: Implications for indoor air studiesAnnual Review of Energy and the Environment, 2001 26:1, 269-301

Kendall, J. Health Risks from Perfume: The Most Common Chemicals Found in Thirty-One Fragrance Products by a 1991 EPA Study. 1995. [Flyer based on Wallace, L. 1991 EPA study above and material safety data sheets.]

Wilcox, P.P. Addendum to Julia Kendall’s flyer, above. 1995.


More Recent Studies

Steinemann, AC. National Prevalence and Effects of Multiple Chemical Sensitivities. Journal of Environmental and Occupational Medicine, Feb. 16, 2018. doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000001272

[Quote from abstract] “Results: Among the population, 12.8% report medically diagnosed MCS and 25.9% report chemical sensitivity. Of those with MCS, 86.2% experience health problems, such as migraine headaches, when exposed to fragranced consumer products; 71.0% are asthmatic; 70.3% cannot access places that use fragranced products such as air fresheners; and 60.7% lost workdays or a job in the past year due to fragranced products in the workplace.” 

Steinemann AC, et al. Fragranced consumer products: Chemicals emitted, ingredients unlisted. Environmental Impact Assessment Review, 2010. doi:10.1016/j.eiar.2010.08.002

Steinemann, A.C. Fragranced consumer products and undisclosed ingredients. Environmental Impact Assessment Review 29(1):32-38 · January 2009.
doi: 10.1016/j.eiar.2008.05.002

[Quote from Abstract]  “Fragranced consumer products—such as air fresheners, laundry supplies, personal care products, and cleaners—are widely used in homes, businesses, institutions, and public places. While prevalent, these products can contain chemicals that are not disclosed to the public through product labels or material safety data sheets (MSDSs). What are some of these chemicals and what limits their disclosure? This article investigates these questions, and brings new pieces of evidence to the science, health, and policy puzzle. Results from a regulatory analysis, coupled with a chemical analysis of six best-selling products (three air fresheners and three laundry supplies), provide several findings. First, no law in the U.S. requires disclosure of all chemical ingredients in consumer products or in fragrances. Second, in these six products, nearly 100 volatile organic compounds (VOCs) were identified, but none of the VOCs were listed on any product label, and one was listed on one MSDS. Third, of these identified VOCs, ten are regulated as toxic or hazardous under federal laws, with three (acetaldehyde, chloromethane, and 1,4-dioxane) classified as Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPs). Results point to a need for improved understanding of product constituents and mechanisms between exposures and effects.”


Public Health Advocacy Reports

Chemicals of Concern: Fragrance. Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.[Long list of study references at end of article.]

Not Too Pretty–Phthalates, Beauty Products& the FDA. Environmental Working Group. July 8, 2002. [Long list of study references at the end of article. Download PDF of entire report.]


General Articles

The Addictive Power of Toxic Perfumes and Colognes, John P. Thomas, Health Impact News, May 29, 2019.

The article above references the 1991 L. Wallace/EPA study. The 1995 Julia Kendall handout based on the Wallace/EPA study names the narcotic chemicals commonly added to fragrance ingredients:

(1) ETHYL ACETATE (in: after shave, cologne, perfume, shampoo, nail color, nail enamel remover, fabric softener, dishwashing liquid) – Narcotic. On EPA Hazardous Waste list; “…irritating to the eyes and respiratory tract” …”may cause headache and narcosis (stupor)” …”defatting effect on skin and may cause drying and cracking” …”may cause anemia with leukocytosis and damage to liver and kidneys” “Wash thoroughly after handling.”

(2) LINALOOL
(in: perfume, cologne, bar soap, shampoo, hand lotion, nail enamel remover, hairspray, laundry detergent, dishwashing liquid, Vaseline lotion, air fresheners, bleach powder, fabric softener, shaving cream, after shave, solid deodorant) – Narcotic. …”respiratory disturbances” … “Attracts bees.” “In animal tests: ataxic gait, reduced spontaneous motor activity and depression … development of respiratory disturbances leading to death.” …”depressed frog-heart activity.” Causes CNS disorder.

Scent of Danger: Are There Toxic Ingredients in Perfumes and Colognes? n/d. Scientific American. 

New Data Reveals One-Third of All Fragrance Chemicals Linked to Human, Environmental Harm. Women’s Voices for the Earth. Sept. 26, 2018. [Press Release.]

Is your perfume making you ill? Science finds growing evidence that the scents in chemicals and cleaning sprays are causing cancer, headaches, and harming unborn babies. DailyMail, 2/22/18.

Meyer, R. The Air Pollutants in Your Medicine Cabinet. Atlantic Monthly, Feb. 21, 2018.

More to come.

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My Gods are Fragrance-Free

What follows is imagined, an eco-parable. Gerda, a Jotun, smells only of rich soil, bruised herbs from her garden, and luscious Jotun pheromones. This was enough to dazzle the Vanir god, Freyr, from afar. His sister, Freya, adorns herself with amber jewels, but cares for her skin only with salves of honey, clear water, and powdered grains. The dry tips of her hair are moistened only with the tiniest bit of melted butter. She scorns the feckless chemistries, the unwise alchemies, of Midgard’s humans, which propel poison into every living thing. Freya has complained to Odin that dead warriors are no longer what they once were–they are now creatures with flacid muscles, except for their texting hands, and that they die now with withered sperm counts, and distortions in their DNA.

Even worse–“They (the humans) are even going after the roots of the World Tree,” she whispers, “with something called ‘Round-Up.'”

Freyr, the Corn God, nods. He dies each year for the harvest and comes back reborn, but it’s becoming apparent that the humans who once honored him for this would now rather manipulate the mysteries of the grain themselves. Perhaps an extended vacation in Vanaheim is in the runes…let the humans spend a year without him for once, prefereably after an Icelandic eruption, when ash clouds herald global famine. That’d learn ’em, he thinks, but in the next moment he backs away from such thoughts. He will serve as he has always served, all these long eons. “Perhaps Ragnarök will be a blessing after all…”

Freyr smells of rich earth too, and Gerda’s herbs and mead, and a not-unpleasant tang of godly sweat and semen. Vanir pheromones are also rather scrumptious, carrying a faint scent of apples. But humans, drunk on designer petrochemicals, can no longer detect them.

As for Ragnarök, Loki has no comment. What will be, will be, and has been–so many times. Contrary to his bad press, Loki finds no happiness in wanton destruction…but cleansing…the metabolism of poisons when all else fails…sometimes that is something to be desired. He should know. The next cycle has already unleashed forces powerful enough to bake the planet, to scour it of the unwise alchemies of the paltry, money-grubbing humans. Midgard will eventually recover (Gaia is strong) but Loki isn’t all that keen to be the trickster god of cockroaches. However, he recognizes the cosmic joke about to be played on them all. He’ll do his best to find some fragment of mirth when the time comes. But onlookers will mistake his battle grin for vengeful joy, misunderstanding the mask that hides his hot, angry tears. It was all so unnecessary! It always is! Meanwhile, cremation fires are at hand for another death of a too beautiful world. It’s Loki’s job to ensure that creation follows cremation. Somebody has to do it…

Sometimes Loki wishes Sigyn had gone in for systems change, rather than holding the bowl for him alone. He imagines he could have borne his suffering–bound with his son’s entrails and scorched by viper spittle–if he’d known she was battling the powers that be, on behalf of all sentient beings. Sigyn might have known better though, and who really is to say? Her victory might yet be won.

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Sigyn holding the bowl, to keep the viper venom from dripping onto Loki.

It doesn’t take a völva prophecy to know what’s coming. Freya sheds tears. She and her daughter want to save a cat or two. Freya wants the falcons to be okay, and bees. Freyr puts in a word for boars and grains. Dogs too. Their father wants to save whales, sharks, sea turtles, guppies, and coral polyps, among others. His is a long list. Loki would like to send wolves and snakes and salmon and horses to Hel, for safekeeping. Gerda hides seeds in safe places, and waits. The souls of animals are already reluctant, but plants and fungi have not yet given up all hope. Neither has Gerda.

Loki says, “Don’t shoot the messenger (especially if I’m it!). Don’t ignore the voices of doom, of climate change, or the canary in the coal mine. Invite Cassandra onto your podcasts–she’s still got a thing or two to say! Don’t disregard the muttering sibyl, the trancing völva, or anger of witches and Jotuns.” He’d slap this message on t-shirts, even though it’s not a sound bite, in hopes that humans would pay attention, but he distrusts capitalism–particularly the kind that sells toxic petrochemical perfumes wrapped in bottles that look like Marvel Universe characters, especially his!

This last is a particularly painful mockery–big anime eyes and golden horns on keychains are one thing, but this is quite another–all those bottled endocrine disruptors ending up in the salmon, just so a few fans can pretend they have access to “his” scent.

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Product of a toxic industry making a mockery of our god, adding yet more petrochemicals to the planet and its creatures, all in the name of money.

Meanwhile the big money laughs and this makes Loki mad. “Stick to cosplay,” he mutters. “Is nothing sacred?” but he already knows the answer to that question. Rather say that nothing is so futile as the sacred, and nothing is more powerful. After all, Loki knows how to stand with two, four, eight legs, or none, in the spaces between all the worlds you could ever name. (Some say that’s why he drinks so much sometimes. He’s so sick of stupid.)

All matter is alive and aware. If we could hear it, all Midgard is screaming at us right now, “Stop it! Go back! You’re hurting us!” The Earth is our hearth. Hearth fires are lit for warmth and nourishment, not destruction. But we have forgotten this. We have forgotten to extend our hospitality (our frith) and our care to all living things. Loki-as-Lóðurr awoke the first humans with his breath, which was clean and alive and full of strength. He warmed us with his breath and gave us fire to warm our hearths. He certainly did not give us a command to go forth and pollute.

I would like to think that human beings still yearn for that first clean breath, that pure air granted to us by a being as old and as vast as a star, and that we’d do anything to get it back. Instead we diddle with gadgets, toys, herbicides, GMOs, scented candles, and guns. We’ve poisoned our Midgard and every living creature in it. Our own bodies now shit microplastics. We’ve inflicted this same diet on animals and plants. Fragrance chemicals are harming aquatic wildlife. Our reproductive systems are drenched in endocrine disruptors (like phthalates) from deli food containers, Round-Up, shampoos, and perfume. Babies are born with birth defects as a result.  Our breast milk contains countless contaminants, including an array of self-inflicted consumer toxins from such beauty products as “Loki-Master of Mischief” cologne. Soon plastic golden Marvel Loki horns from the above bottle will find their way to the Pacific Garbage patch, floating among the discarded grocery bags, to be eaten by starving whales who can no longer find enough krill. I don’t think this (below) was the kind of “mischief” Loki had in mind…

Water_pollution_due_to_domestic_garbage_at_RK_Beach_01
Water pollution due to domestic garbage at RK Beach in Visakhapatnam. Date 22 September 2013, 09:53:32. Author Adityamadhav83. Creative Commons Attribution

Is there any hope at all? Or do I just put another gaudy, food-colored donut on Loki’s altar and sigh, “fuck this shit, Worldbreaker, we’re doomed. Bring it on…”

But Loki will have none of that. He absolutely refuses to let us dodge this wyrd. He says, “Stop buying this crap, especially not in my name. Use your breath for something decent, like saving the planet, while you still can.”

“Do this,” he says without winking, “and maybe you’ll get a whiff of my pheromones…”

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LokiFest CA is a “fragrance-free” event.

NEW &amp; BEST LokiFest Flyer 4:22