Let’s overshare, shall we? I got some unwelcome news the other day–though it wasn’t exactly a surprise–and sadly, I doubt my sojourn at an Adventist hospital will be anything like the video below. No medical staff in TERF bangs and black leather lab coats. No long-haired singing surgeons. And though the one I’ve got promised me two small tattoos on the inside of my colon, I doubt I’ll be sporting a teensy skull and crossbones in my “anatomy, anatomy… ”
Shucks. My own body is sooooo not “Zydrate” cool. And unlike the character of Amber Sweet in Repo! The Genetic Opera, I won’t be getting anything as simple as an eyelash transplant. Truth be told, I’ve got two different sets of surgical events coming up in my near future. The question at the moment is whether they can be done on the same day by two separate surgeons or not.
But there’s actually a point to this blog post–I’m not just sobbing into a witchy cup of herbal tea.
Surgery as a Liminal Space Challenge
If I have to go through this (and it appears that I do), I want more than the best possible outcome for my old lady body. I want my steel tempered and my temper adamant. I want my Will ‘o the Witch firmly in place, and a surfeit of crispy, creamy offerings tossed to the Guardians of all Thresholds, well in advance. I want to hallow the hospital ground and make like an earnest animist with the spirits of surgical instruments. And even though the Adventist god is not one of mine, I’ll offer respect there too. Pre-surgery hypnosis? That’s on my list. As of this moment, I am in training.
In the next couple of days I’ll be creating a program based on physical, magical, mental, and spiritual steps I can take to prevail in this liminal space challenge. I’m not boasting here–I’m scared and I don’t want to be. I figure if I can approach preparation, surgery, and recovery with everything I’ve learned in my life to date, I can replace that fear with proactive, powerful mindsets and actions. I may fall short of the bad-ass triumph I imagine today, but I’ll certainly be much better off doing this than approaching my wyrd passively, as a “patient.”
So I’ll reaquainting myself with certain books in my library, such as Jason Miller’s The Elements of Spellcrafting and Aidan Wachter’s Six Ways.
Miller’s book contains a method for enchanting not just the larger goal (“a successful surgery and recovery”) but also every single step along the way. He writes:
“How enchantable is your body? How enchantable are your habits? How enchantable is your environment? These are questions to ask when we are doing healing magic. Magic, energy healing, and alternative medicine all help, but they are not going to rewrite your DNA, replace your gut bacteria, or remove the need for effort and change on your part” (pp. 40-41).
Exactly. Words to live by.
As for Wachter’s book, lots and lots of ways to work with the unseen beings and energies of what he calls “The Field.” I’ll be looking to this book (and others) for ways to court and nurture alliances, remove inner and outer obstacles to success and healing, and ways to call in the logistics and support help I’m going to need–that kind of thing.
Other practices that I’ll fold into this will include Ho’oponopono (the real kind), medical self-hypnosis, wards against fragrance and chemical exposures while in the hospital, enchantments for transportation and the highways, blessings and protections for my cats while I’m away, and so on.
Asking the Spirit World for Help
As I’ve said often, I’m a polytheist. I have some wonderful deities that I honor on an almost daily basis (sometimes I miss a day). And I work with and honor my ancestors and make offerings to the local wights. I probably need to get with the wights over there near the hospital, to ask them for safe harbor and safe passage. And there will be a lot of consultation and divination throughout.
There’s a lot to do. I also have to figure out medicare in the middle of all this.
But I do have time to over-prepare. After this blog I won’t be saying much more than what I’ve written today. I believe in secrecy during magic, in cultivating a quiet and determined mind. But I write this blog today because there may be the start of a roadmap here for someone else facing surgery or medical procedures.
The most important element is to approach each surgery as a liminal challenge, a rite of passage, and as an opportunity to “level up.” I expect to be even more of a bad-ass after this, with a much improved quality of life.
“May there be peace between us for all of our days.”
“Mundane,” in the sense of boring or dull, is not a word one usually associates with Loki. But today’s topic asks us if there are “any mundane practices that are associated with this deity?” Mundane in this sense means “earthly” rather than spiritual.
But I am so not down with this binary: “earthly” vs. “spiritual.” I don’t experience the world in this way. Probably it comes from doing entheogens and reading occult books in my formative teen years. Or maybe I was just always a weird kid, turning rapidly now into a weird old lady. In other words, I am quarreling with the premise behind this question.
But there really is no such thing as “mundane” in the “vs. spiritual” sense. Every single friggin’ atom of everything is chock full ‘o divinity, we just don’t always perceive it. (Yes, as a wee lass, I admit I was reading Aldous Huxley’s Doors of Perception…) So the gleaming stainless steel bowls about to receive my cats’ morning rations–those marvels of form and function–could potentially reveal their suchness and numinosity at any given moment, and my world would be unmade.
It wouldn’t be the first time, either. And for me, the potential deliverance of liminal perception and experience, intrinsic to all things, is where Loki dwells. It’s his promise. (He’s not unique in promising this particular thing, of course.)
So when we consciously and intentionally engage in spiritual practices we reflect acknowledge of this. We’re not transforming offerings into sacred objects for deity consumption, we’re acknowledging the sacredness they already have through the act of offering. A “sweets to the sweet” sort of thing. It’s yours anyway, so take it!
I’m yours anyway, so… Surrendering the small stuff. Making room for the numinous.
Of course, we humans dwell overmuch in the mundane as in “Booooring! The cats need to be fed, same old, same old. Fuck, what am I going to wear to work? Why won’t he put the toilet seat back down after he uses it?” That kind of thing. But dwell overmuch in the numinous and you’re one for the looney bin–or rather, these days–the cruel streets or one of those brand new concentration camps.
The balance. One foot in one world (sparkles!) and one foot in the other (meh), except it’s really you doing/being both at once, both feet connected to the rest of your body of electro-magnetic energies and minerals, dancing in the in-between and both. Not wave or particle, but both at once.
So the cure for the boredom that ails you is to wake up to the sparkles (or the horrors, sometimes) that are always there. Just add Loki! (Or any other deity.) You’re guaranteed an experience of something that just might blow your socks off and give you a reason to laugh, or at least feel something other than ennui.
Not looking forward to this year’s dreadfully difficult Thanksgiving Dinner with relatives? Just add Loki! (And duck…because that dish of cranberry sauce might go airborne.)
I could go on, but I’m sure you get the idea. Zest is obtainable. Possibilities are endless.
In this spirit, I offer a link to a google drive page of Ariel Gatoga’s lectures. If you scroll to the second roll from the bottom you’ll find my favorite, A Charmed Life (6/2/17). The message is: “Be a witch. Charm your wallet. Charm your shoes. Charm everything you have and do. All the time. Why not?”
As far as we know, there were no old Norse traditions around holidays or worship of Loki. That doesn’t mean there weren’t any–much lore has been lost. It just means we don’t know. So what follows are completely modern inventions.
Loki as a god of liminal space/time may very well enjoy sunrise and sunset, but I haven’t personally encountered anyone yet who sets aside these times of day for Loki. It’s not a bad idea though.
Many people do weekly observances for Loki on Saturday, but in my case, first he wanted Tuesday and then he wanted Sunday as his “special day.” I don’t know why.
April Fool’s Day, April 1st
I don’t personally use this day to celebrate Loki as I don’t see him as “a fool” (quite the opposite) but others enjoy this day. And here’s a delightful song for it.
In the Northern Hemisphere, the heliacal (morning) rising of Sirius ushers in the “Dog Days” of Summer. This usually takes place late July or early August. Lokabrenna is a Nordic name for Sirius, the brightest star in the sky. It means something like “Loki’s Torch.” This year, in the Northern Hemisphere, the date of Lokabrenna’s first morning appearance is calculated as occuring on August 14th. I found the following information on this site. Here’s the relevant paragraph:
“During August, as Mercury makes a morning appearance, brilliant Sirius, the sky’s brightest star, makes its first morning (heliacal) rising just before sunrise. For the latitude on the diagram, about 41.7 degrees, this is August 14, 2019. For locations farther south, this occurs days earlier and later for latitudes farther north.”
[Note: 41.7 degrees is near the California/Oregon border.]
Somehow it seems appropriate that the date is ambiguous and based on when people first read and reacted to a certain Tumblr post, dated September 4, 2012.
I read about this day on the Lokean Welcoming Committee blog and if I remember correctly, it apparently started via an innocent Tumblr post about offering Loki a storebought sponge cake, with strawberries and whippped cream. Then someone took great umbrage, claiming this was an inappropriate offering (too storebought, too modern, whatever!). Then many other people said, “F— that! You can offer whatever you want and whatever you think Loki wants.” Voila! Loki Spongecake Day was born. I wish I could find the post where I first read about it, because it was a great telling of the story and I remember the phrase about turning this fracas into a holiday, “because that’s how Lokeans roll” or something to that effect.
In addition to Loki, the holiday celebrates a smart and snarky defiance of convention.
Significant Personal Dates
Many Loki devotees and enthusiasts celebrate anniversaries of oathing and/or godspousing as well as other dates that mark a special time with Loki.
Today, July 11th is my anniversary of oathing and asking Loki to be my patron deity.
October 28th will mark the first anniversary of the Lokabrenna Tiny Temple dedication.
People may also celebrate special holidays for various members of Loki’s family, but I haven’t covered that here.
Traditional offerings or those a devotee chooses via intuition and “personal gnosis”–that’s our devotional topic for today. Others are blogging on this topic, of course, and Kyaza’s blog for Day 10 presents an array of modern choices beyond the usual cinnamon-flavored goodies that I and others offer to Loki. Ky mentions “intangibles” too, such as community service, which are as legit as donuts and not so likely to attract ants.
As far as days of yore, no one knows if Loki was given offerings. However, people may have toasted him with mead…so…there’s that.
I’m a fan of the series, Sense8. And though I have many favorite scenes, I have a special fondness for the ones of Kala Dandekar talking to Ganesh while offering really tasty plates of food. These scenes epitomize a loving and personal relationship between a devotee and a deity.
But why make offerings in the first place? Doesn’t it just mean a bunch of food is going to waste? Well… offerings are a way of cultivating and deepening relationships, of course. And they don’t have to be edible.
Here’s what some of my favorite magic authors have to say:
Aidan Wachter writes that “much like bringing your guy chocolates, we bring the Spirits and Powers offerings with the intention to make them happy, and with luck, to have them look more favorably upon us” (Six Ways–Approaches & Entries for Practical Magic, p. 79).
In The Elements of Spellcrafting–21 Keys to Successful Sorcery, Jason Miller talks about simple offerings as “gumball magic”–put something in, get something out (p. 81). He goes into greater depth with regard to researching folklore and history to understand which traditional offerings are appropriate for a particular spirit or deity. You don’t want to offer something inappropriate, no matter how heartfelt! He also says it’s good to make it a habit to make regular offerings, just ’cause. Again, this enables you to cultivate a relationship. Disposing of offerings also requires some care and thought. I recommend the chapter in his book which addresses these topics (pp. 81-91).
And for those who are new to the process of developing relationships with deities and spirits, I highly recommend Misha Magdalene’s Outside the Charmed Circle–Exploring Gender and Sexuality in Magical Practice, especially the chapter “On Negotiating Consent With the Gods. The book won’t be out until January 2020, but I was privileged to read an online copy, courtesy of the author. It’s SO GOOD! Preorder it!
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.
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.
A moment ago I typed “what are Loki’s mysteries?” as the title of this blog. The question brought tears to my eyes, along with an inner shiver. My breathing even changed as I typed those words. You know that feeling on the edge of a cliff? It was just a little like that, but subtle. I decided to re-write the title.
Beyond, behind, underneath, and through the veils of everything that’s been written or portrayed about this potent being, or what I think about him, that’s where I want to go. Yes, I’m attached to my framed Skeith-A portrait of Loki, to my weekly purchase of sacred donut offerings, to the daily cup of cinnamon and honey tea placed on the altar… I’m attached to this blog and to writing about Loki. I’m attached to the work I’m about to do on Loki’s Torch (the anthology). I’m deeply entrenched in making LokiFest CA happen–both the online “conference” and the local park street fair. Daily ritual, devotion, and service have formed a great deal of what’s meaningful in my life this last year.
But this morning I noticed that the gingerbread house that I made for Loki last Yule is crumbling in all this summer heat. It’s been on the altar all this time. I tried white glue to reattach the sugar squiggles and candies, and it was fairly futile, and so I was also aware of a lesson: nothing stays the same, no matter how much we–or even a god!–may love and enjoy such trifles.
And I’m aware of the passage of time. I’m 64. I don’t have much of it left. And so as serious as I think I’ve been this last year, it’s time to get really serious and step up my game by stepping away from my preconceptions and patterns. I think… I’m really writing with much more surety than I actually have. Right now, I’m between, and I think my Lokean readers can smile at that. We’ve all been there. A lot.
I do sense deep mysteries with Loki. Was there ever a long-ago mystery school that taught and maintained a tradition of Loki magic, or magic of his under some other name, some other deified persona? Or were his people only found in ones or twos or threes at most? I sense that the gatherings now, via the internet, consist of unprecedented interlocking devotional energies, but I don’t feel this clustering is particularly potentyet. Few of us are adepts, as far as I can tell. I know I’m not.
I had a dream once, when I was in my early twenties. In the dream I sat on the edge of my bed and watched all the objects in my room begin to dissolve into a fog of unassembled molecules. It frightened me. I shouted, “Stop!” and the objects began to reassemble themselves, into their familiar shapes. And then I woke. I’ve always wondered what would have happened if I’d just let the dream continue.
I know that as this “reality” continues, I myself will eventually dissolve into a smear of unassembled minerals and molecules. In the meantime, what clues can I find to the true mysteries of this deity associated with shapeshifting, fire, creative “chaos”, liminal states, and more? I’ve speculated on Loki’s “tantric” aspects and others have mentioned his connection with sex magic. I’ve also pondered Loki as a deity of epigenetic shapeshifting (among other things).
In my daily practice, I try to allow a meditative and energetic connection with his “template” for growth and transformation. It’s hard, as I have an intellectual bent and I’m easily distracted by speculation. At times I “try” too hard. I also “spectator” a lot, which is (ironically) the very thing I try to get people to NOT do during sex (in my other life as a sexologist). I’m probably one of those people who is in great need of fabulous sex, a brilliant love affair, and/or a psychedelic journey right now (all favorite activities of my formative teen years). Except for how much I love my cats in the most tender-hearted, unbearably emotional way, I’m awfully dry-minded right now, rather grim and fell. Getting OUT of my head, or at least shifting my brainwave patterns, seems to be a necessity.
Loki’s template seems more fractal than anything…
I know that question about Loki’s deeper mysteries won’t be answered by intellect, though intellect can help with discernment, later.
There’s a change coming. Changes never stop coming. The trick may be to hang-ten on the yellow line (my metaphor is drawn from bus surfing) and ride what’s coming. Or it may be to jump off the bus altogether and push through the shrubbery to something beyond.
Dear Readers, may there be peace between us for all of our days.
The night before: three of us sat down to play “Cards Against Humanity” with Loki as our “Rando Cardrissian” fourth (as per the CAH rule book). Loki ended up winning 21 rounds (but came in second). I set his winning cards aside, to laugh about them later. Then I went to bed.
As many people know, CAH calls itself “the party game for horrible people.” But this was the first time I’d played with my fave trickster. In the past, my (adult) kids and I would just blow up a balloon or a condom, drew a face on it, tape it to a chair and call it “Rando,” drawing Rando’s cards at random, just like the rule book says. But playing the game with Loki was decidedly a “leveling up” or at least a “leveling sideways.”
The next morning, in moment of near-fatal whimsy, I decided to invoke my trickster god and do a Celtic Cross divination shuffling the 21 cards that he’d won the night before. The reading, which I hoped would shed light on a troubling group situation, is weirdly appropriate…
Signifier (drawn at random): “Profoundly handicapped.”(Me: Well, Multiple Chemical Sensitivity HAS disrupted every aspect of my life…)
1. What covers me:“A micropig wearing a tiny raincoat and booties.”(Me: better that than roaches.)
2. What opposes me: “Men.”(Me: ‘Nuff said.)
3. What crowns me, the best I can arrive at:“Frolicking.” (Me: I’ll take it!)
4. What is beneath me, what I have to work with:“The wrath of Vladimir Putin.” (Me: Shucks. The Wrath of Khan would have been more fun…but, whatever!)
5. What is behind me, the influence that is passing away: “Gandhi.”(Me: With a patron deity like Loki, I suppose this is understandable.)
6. What is before me: “Harry Potter erotica.”(Me: I can hardly wait. Dibs on Snape.)
7. Me in the future:“A man on the brink of orgasm.”(Me: Will I find him on Fetlife?)
8. My environment in the future: “White-man scalps.”(Me: Could have an influence on public policy in this country. What say all of you?)
9. Hopes and fears: “The Pope.”(Me: Definitely a fear.)
10. What will come: “Getting naked and watching Nickelodean.”(Me: Netflix is more likely, but whatever. Guess that’ll be my Wednesday nights then…)