Magic for Settler Colonists

Prelude: A definition of settler colonialism.

My Introduction

It is appropriate to begin with a self-introduction and a brief genealogy. It is a courtesy.

I am Amy Rebecca Marsh. I come from a long line of settler colonists on Turtle Island. My mother is Chloe Alexa Milne and my father (deceased) was Richard Edgar Marsh. I was born in Mesa, Arizona but grew up in San Diego (here is a timeline for indigenous people of San Diego). Coronado was my home for most of my early childhood. It was once an island. Then we moved to La Jolla. A house I lived in, across from La Jolla Cove, was later torn down. I heard a native burial was discovered there as a result.

Eventually I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area. My two children were born there. I lived there for many years before I realized it was an Ohlone place and that the bay was surrounded by numerous sacred shellmounds and the remains of shellmounds.

I have also lived in the Hawaiian islands. When I was four (1959-60), I lived for several months on O’ahu, in the Waikiki Ahupua’a of Honolulu, on Lipe’epe’e Street near the Ala Wai Canal. From January 2016 to September 2017, I was living in the Maku’u Ahupua’a (Pahoa, Puna District) on Moku o Keawe (Hawai’i island). O’ahu and Hawai’i islands are part of the unlawfully occupied Hawaiian Kingdom.

I currently live in Lake County, California, on Pomo land, not far from the Elem Indian Colony, on the continent known as Turtle Island. Personally, I feel like a child of the Pacific Rim. Genealogically and historically, I have come understand my settler colonist status.

AncestryDNAStory-Amy-180318-2My own genealogical research has revealed ancestors who are English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh, French, German, and Spanish. My genetic test results are overwhelmingly English and “British Isles,” with some Iberian Penninsula, Finnish and Scandinavian. Many of my American ancestors were among the earliest European colonists. Two of my confirmed ancestors were Mayflower passengers (Richard and Elizabeth Warren) and were most likely complicit in the massacres of indigenous people that form the hidden story of the American Thanksgiving Holiday. I am sure that other ancestors must have owned slaves and that some profited in the north from trading southern cotton. A few of my later ancestors, the Swifts, were abolitionists and had their homes burned down for being so outspoken. I can point to them with pride. The others? Not so much. Who knows what cruelties they accomplished, with pious words on their lips?

My Magical “Genealogy” Doesn’t Match My Physical Genealogy

Given the above, I have no idea why my most extraordinary, spontaneous, magical and spiritual experiences happened in and around Hawai’i. I have no genealogical connection at all, though my father and maternal grandfather were both familiar with the Pacific Ocean and at least somewhat appreciative of its many peoples and cultures. My grandfather was devastated by witnessing the atomic test at Bikini Atoll (from the deck of a Navy ship) and died of a radiation-caused brain tumor years later. My father sailed all over the Pacific, dodging child support. He lived in Guam for awhile. I do know that.

And I have always loved islands…

But none of the above explains why Maui and Hawai’i islands were among my most important spiritual catalysts and teachers from 2000-2017, as well as the source of some very painful lessons, including lessons pertaining to my status as a settler colonist. It would have been much easier for me (and for others around me) if my spiritual “groove” had remained congruent with my ancestry and cultural background. But then, I wouldn’t have had this ongoing learning.

I’ll write about those Hawai’i experiences some other time. This blog post concerns the necessity of acknowledging settler colonist status and issues while engaged in the neopagan spirituality, including the pursuit of magic (which may or may not include a devotional relationship with foreign gods and spirits). This isn’t about being “PC.” It’s about understanding the true nature of our histories, our genealogies, and our continued impact on the lands and peoples we’ve displaced. It’s a precursor to partaking in a grand healing of our Earth and our relationships with other living beings–the most important magical work we can do.

Things I Am Still Learning and Sometimes Still Forget

• Wait to be invited or at least be a good guest. Check your privileges.

The accident of birth and family placed me in California. There’s not much I can do about that. However, when I moved to Hawai’i, I was there to be with my former partner, a part-Hawaiian activist. I thought he had invited me to come and that we would finally make a life together on the same land mass. When the love affair soured, I had no excuse for being there. I moved back to California.

But before I moved to here Lake County, no native person said to me, “Hey, Amy Marsh, we’d like you to live here on our land.” However, I am here nevertheless. That’s a feature of my settler-colonist and capitalist privilege. I can make those decisions and ignore the important protocols and courtesy of asking permission and waiting to be invited.

So I must be a good (uninvited) guest instead. What does a good guest do? A good guest is respectful of his/her/their/zir hosts. A good guest is not greedy or rude. A good guest tries to figure out the rules of the house or the place, and to follow them. A good guest does not trash the premises or steal. A good guest takes no for an answer. A good guest will bring food to share. Those are basics.

Magical actions: In lieu of actual spoken permission, ask for guidance and use divinations to gauge level of permission. If you can, ask someone else to perform the divination for you, just so your ego doesn’t intrude. Remember that religions which prosletize and convert (often violently) have also claimed divine guidance, so beware of wishful thinking and misinterpretation.

• In addition to being a good guest, don’t invade and/or desecrate indigenous sacred places.

It’s not just corporations and government agencies who invade and desecrate–new agers and hippies just as likely to do this. An example: In 2015, the Winnemem Wintu Tribe had to order members of the Rainbow Family to evacuate from Mount Shasta, a sacred mountain.


Quote from the “Cease & Desist Order …written by Chief Caleen Sisk, chief and spiritual leader of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe:”

“THERE IS NO PLACE IN OUR INDIGENOUS TERRITORIES FOR RAINBOW FAMILY ACTIVITIES, AND YOU ARE ORDERED TO NOT TO RETURN TO MT. SHASTA FOR FUTURE RAINBOW FAMILY GATHERINGS,” WRITES CHIEF SISK. “BY HOLDING SUCH LARGE GROUP ENCAMPMENTS AND GATHERINGS IN ECOLOGICALLY AND CULTURALLY SENSITIVE AREAS, YOU ARE CAUSING HARMFUL IMPACTS THAT CANNOT BE UNDONE BY EVEN THE MOST FASTIDIOUS CLEAN UP,” CHIEF SISK CONTINUES.


[See this article from The Sustainable Thought Box about the footprint of Rainbow Family gatherings.]

In Hawai’i where signs saying “kapu” (keep out, taboo) warn tresspassers away from private and/or sacred places, I have known tantra practitioners and other “spiritual” types who think they are entitled to ignore these signs because of their own “spiritual” claims or intentions. Please don’t do this. If you need to take over someone’s space in order to pray or do ceremony, go find a church or a park bench.

Magical actions: Cast a spell on yourself so that you never, ever violate native wishes in this way. (I’m only half-kidding.) Ask your guides and gods to help you stay observant and respectful.

• Don’t make assumptions.

Just like I couldn’t assume that every native Hawaiian person I met was a devotee of Pele (because many are Christian), or that they would be delighted to hear how I was personally interpreting their culture (I hate to tell you how long it took me to understand the latter!), back here in Lake County I had better not make any assumptions either.

Recently I was at a gathering of local activists and cultural people (one of the few I’ve attended) and ended up speaking with a young native man from this area. A fellow neopagan joined the conversation and proceeded to draw equivalencies between what we do as neopagans and what he presumed the Indian man did (a man who after all could have been a practicing Christian or engaged with some other religion). It was a cringe-worthy moment. The young man listened politely, as he had to me, yet I was uncomfortably aware of the many white assumptions revealed in this conversation, particularly the assumption that indigenous people share “one culture” or that all are engaged in earth-centered spirituality, and that we (non-natives) can know all about it based on a few adjectives or descriptors (which happen to be the ones that we choose). The other neopagan meant well and was speaking from an impulse to create a feeling of solidarity, however I am not sure if that result was achieved.

Alas. Assumptions can create micro-aggressive impacts, even if we don’t mean harm. Remember that.

And would I have liked being on the receiving end of assumptions about my spirituality? What if I mentioned my Norse gods and goddesses and others immediately assumed I was a Neo-nazi? (There are Norse pagan Neo-nazis, sadly.) Plus, to anyone on the outside, white American culture is extraordinarily violent. We (meaning white people) don’t notice because we swim in this violence, like fish in water. It could be a quite reasonable assumption, as voting stats indicate that plenty of older white women in America are racist and reactionary in their politics.

Magical actions: Listen and be humble. That can yield magic results.

• Introduce yourself and vow to do no harm.

By this, I mean a verbal introduction given to the local land spirits and ancestors, in ritual or when making offerings, as well as to people (if called to do so in a semi-formal way or in a ritual setting). The genealogy above is probably too long for most purposes, but I went into some detail just for the sake of giving an example.

Magical actions: Use a simple introduction when making offerings to local wights and ancestors. I love Aidan Wachter’s language in his book, Six Ways–Approaches and Entries for Practical Magic: “may there be peace between us for all of our days.”

Also, avoid trying to copy anything you think might be an indigenous ritual for offerings. It’s likely to be an appropriation (see below) and you won’t know the proper protocols anyway. Just put out the food and/or drink and say a few words of greeting and well-wishing.

• Vow to do good, unobtrusively.

Find some form of community service or engage in environmental action that will benefit the land and people. Be a good caretaker of the place where you live. Give money to indigenous causes. If you’re white, try very hard to not center yourself in any allyship or activism you take on. Do the job and then get out of the way. (That’s a very hard lesson. Don’t get discouraged. Keep learning.)

Magical actions: If you don’t have one already, craft a ritual for self-forgiveness for when you make a mistake. Also have forgiveness rituals to help ease conflicts with other people. Make sure to keep yourself grounded and do a lot of self-care when in service to others.

• Know some local and ancestral history. 

In the U.S., we live on blood-soaked ground. Understand that the violence causes multi-generational harm (to all involved) and that while we ourselves maybe didn’t “do anything,” we have privileges and patterns that resulted (directly or indirectly) from those violent acts. Those who are native and indigenous to the places where we reside certainly still feel the results of what happened. We, white settler-colonists in particular, are potentially still dangerous, even if it’s just our ignorance now that makes us so.

Magical actions: I highly recommend Daniel Foor’s book, Ancestral Medicine, to help heal our ancestral lineages. Many of our ancestors participated in and/or were harmed by numerous atrocities. Foor’s method helps the more recent dead to heal and change (yes, it’s possible!) with the assistance of your own ancient, truly well ancestors. Please see his website for more information and for many free informational lectures. I engage with my ancestors every day, according to this work. It’s really helped in a lot of ways.

Forgiveness rituals might come in handy here too. But depending on your experience, beware of taking too much on. And don’t talk about what you do–it could be triggering or taken the wrong way by others. Act from the heart but keep this work private.

• Stop polluting.

One of the dangerous things about us, as consumer settler-colonists, is that we cheerfully consume resources and pollute air, water, and soil everywhere we go and with almost everything we buy. We make hardships for all living things. This is one way that our ignorance makes us dangerous.

Magical actions: Create rituals for blessing and forgiving harmful plastics and other consumer products. Do what you can to take care of the spiritual ecosystem as well as the worldly one.

• Don’t appropriate spiritual practices, symbols, and objects from indigenous cultures.

Unfortunately, a lot of “new age” and neopagan people have done this. Those of us who grew up in the 60s and 70s were also avid appropriators. Now the conversation about cultural appropriation is evolving and becoming increasingly nuanced and sophisticated.  The line between appreciation and appropriation is not as clear as you might think. If in doubt, don’t. If you’re not in doubt, question yourself more deeply, just in case you should be in doubt. Absolutely refrain from making money off anything that commodifies a native practice or object. Don’t give money or promotion to non-native people who do this. There’s lots to say on this subject and some of the hard lessons I’ve learned (and still learn) fall in this area. Be guided by the wishes and priorities of the native people.

Magical Actions: Critique your rituals, tools, etc. to make adjustments as necessary. Begin to replace appropriated elements with ones which are more authentic to your own heritage and cultures.

If you have been trained in a tradition outside your own culture, continue to pay attention to guidance from your teachers about what you may and may not do with what you’ve learned.

• Learn to Ask Permission.

As neopagan settler colonists, we may be bringing in work with spirits and deities who could be as invasive as we are. Will they be good guests too? Do the local ancestors and land wights feel okay about your spirit guides, gods, and demons? Do they agree to allow and support your spiritual path? What can you do to ask permission to gather substances and/or to create rituals? How can you do what you do without insulting or harming local spirits? What kind of containment and agreements can you put in place?

Magical Actions: Again, divination, offerings, respectful engagement with local ancestors and land spirits, letting your own spirit community know how to be a good guest too. Create and maintain relationships of trust with the unseen as well as the seen.

In Closing

There’s a lot required of us when we begin to cultivate spirit relationships and work in magical realms. I hope this collection of thoughts encourages others to add an understanding of settler colonist status and issues to their practices.

PD.GertBuschmann-Juliasetsdkpictlightpot

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Loki Quake!

Last week poison dripped from a poison pen and we Lokeans all felt it. And shook! And now you all felt it too. Thank you all for reading the Lokean Group Letter to The Wild Hunt on this and other blogs, and for commenting, signing, reblogging, and writing your own rebuttal articles.

It’s ironic, but we’ve come together more as a community since Karl Siegfried compared Loki Laufeyjarson to the current U.S. president. And Loki is definitely the talk of the town.


Liz Heffner put it very well in a comment in the Loki’s Wyrdlings Facebook group:

“Much as I detest _that_ article in TWH…I am appreciating some of the after effects upon the wider Lokean community.

We’re never going to march with one step, uniform and fading-to-gray in homogeneity. No. We will always be externally or internally vibrant, diverse, breathtakingly spectacular in all our large ways or small, subtle or grandiose. Quite likely it is that no two of us will be the same. We won’t always agree. We are not each other’s echo chamber.

But! We are now coming together and forging more visible connections. We are finding new like-minded souls and the sense of community is stronger than ever.

We are not burned by this fire. We are forged by it.

Well played, Loki. Well played.”


Loke,_Fenriswolf_und_MidgardschlangeSo all this last week, behind the scenes we were emailing, commenting on social media, drafting that letter, commiserating, sharing, forging alliances, and organizing! We also shared wonderful sick humor to metabolize the poison, such as watching Karl Siegfried in an episode of Ancient Aliens. (Glad to give you a plug, hon, since you’ve done so much for us.) And writing a parody of the Lokasenna was good for my soul, if not my reputation.

Here are some of the specific positive results

• The Lokean Group Letter, which was sent to The Wild Hunt but not published by them, has had over 2,000 views on this blog alone. The readers are from over thirty different countries. Other bloggers have republished the letter, and I presume they are seeing a lot of traffic as well. Also, some people have asked us to add their names to the letter, as posted on the blogs.

• Ky Greene’s wonderful rebuttal column, The Lokean Community–What We Really Look Like, was published in The Wild Hunt on Dec. 2nd. It describes our community accurately and well.

• In addition to publishing Ky’s column, TWH added a statement acknowledging the controversy, as well as a link to the Lokean Group letter, to the top of Seigfried’s article.

• Several other people have written rebuttal blogs, published elsewhere. (See below.)

• Membership in Loki’s Wyrdlings Facebook group has mushroomed.

• The Troth issued a membership survey to discover if Loki should be hailed once again at Trothmoot. (Results and decisions to be announced sometime in January, I believe.)

10:28 Lokabrenna Dedication
Lokabrenna Tiny Temple altar, on the day I formally dedicated it.

• And some of us are having discussions of further ways to organize and nurture our religious community as we’re individually and collectively tired of discrimination and disrespect from so many in neopagan and heathen communities.

I feel so blessed to be part of this community of Lokeans, Loki wellwishers, and allies. It’s lovely. I feel I made several new friends this last week. I feel so privileged to be able to say openly: Loki is my patron god. I’ve got others, but he’s the closest and dearest to me.

Hail Loki!


Rebuttal Blogs and Columns–In Progress

I am sure there are more. I will add them as I find them. Please add to comments section if you know of ones I’ve missed. Thanks!

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


Lokean Blogs and Resources–In Progress

I will add as I find more. Please add to comments section if you have suggestions. Thanks.

Dagulf Loptson, Loki Cult (blog)

Kyaza, A Polytheistic Life (blog)

Amber Drake, Fire and Ink (blog)

Bat Bruja (blog)

John Mainer, Mainer74 (blog)

Moonrouge — glorious Loki artwork.

Loki’s Wyrdlings on WordPress

Loki’s Wyrdlings on Facebook

Loki University (online course, associated with Loki’s Wyrdlings)

Lokean Collective on Facebook

Lokean Welcoming Committee on Tumblr


 

Group Lokean Letter sent to The Wild Hunt, Not Published

This letter was submitted to The Wild Hunt weekend editor on Nov. 30th. TWH declined to amend the article as requested (their response was Dec. 1). Feel free to copy and paste this letter in its entirety, along with signatures, and share as you will on your own blogs and social media. Update! See Ky Greene’s Lokean Community article here!

[Dec. 6 Apology] And here I have to apologize for originally writing that TWH “declined” to publish the letter. I stand corrected. In writing, they declined to amend Seigfried’s article. But, please note, they also did not publish the letter, which they could have done, especially as it was signed by so many people.

A Lokean Group Response to Karl Seigfried’s “Loki in the White House”

We are concerned about the religious bigotry and intolerance against our community and religious practices, as conveyed in Karl E.H. Seigfried’s recent column “Loki in the White House,” The Wild Hunt, Nov. 24, 2018.

Those who cultivate a relationship with the Norse god, Loki, are a minority among neopagans. Our individual practices are eclectic, nondogmatic, and individualistic.
By equating Loki with certain cherry-picked actions of the current president of the United States, Seigfried suggests that we who cultivate a relationship with Loki do not understand our own god, our own spirituality, and our community, and what we should understand is that our god is evil. This is no better than an evangelical Christian telling pagans that our lack of understanding about Jesus and our own gods is leading us to worship demons. This is not only condescending but also inappropriate for an interfaith chaplain.

While we are individually and collectively offended by Karl E. H. Seigfried’s comparison of Loki to the current president of the United States, we understand his right to his opinion, no matter how ill-founded it may seem to us. However Seigfried’s article crossed an important line from eccentric opinion to bigotry.

What concerns us most of all are Seigfried’s final two paragraphs, which are essentially “a call to action” to discriminate and further marginalize all who hail Loki in their religious and devotional practices, whether in a polytheistic or monotheistic context. The opinions he presents in those closing paragraphs are that Loki is bad, therefore we who hail Loki are also bad and undeserving of support.

“Lokiphobia” is a word we wish we did not need to coin, and yet many members of our spiritual and religious community have been dealing with prejudice for years. In Heathen circles, many people who hail Loki have been excluded, bullied, and threatened. We can supply examples of this claim if needed. So it is particularly dangerous to fan the flames of such paranoia and bigotry against an outlier group when things are already so volatile nationally and worldwide.

To be clear, Lokiphobia, in the context of neopaganism, is discrimination against the religious practices and beliefs of people who hail Loki and/or identify as Lokeans (or a similar description). We, the authors, (1) call out Lokiphobia in Seigfried’s column and (2) insist upon respectful, interfaith dialogue in public forums and events where we and our faith are referenced, discussed, or questioned.

While we understand that the Wild Hunt is a platform for many different spiritual views, this article has crossed the line from being an opinion piece to promoting religious discrimination and the expulsion of an already vulnerable subgroup within Heathenry. Many of us are women, LGBTQIA, have disabilities, or hold other identities that on the whole have made us targets within the larger Heathen community which has consistently held much more traditionally conservative views. For our own safety and well-being we are requesting that Seigfried either amend the portions of his article that are a direct cry for the expulsion of Loki worship or that the Wild Hunt remove the article entirely.

To do otherwise is to sanction discrimination against a religious minority.

Where as in the past we as Loki devotees have largely been disorganized and kept mostly to ourselves, we’re no longer willing to keep quiet and suffer discrimination and verbal abuse in the name of “different opinions.” We have reached a tipping point where we refuse to continue being a punching bag for the American Heathen community’s frustrations or used as villains in its own paranoid fantasies. We hope that in the name of true inclusivity you will choose to be our allies instead of contributing to years of unnecessary division. This has never just been about how  people feel about Loki: this is about how people choose to treat other people.

Signed:

Dagulf Loptson
Ky Greene
Amy Marsh
KveldúlfR Hagan Gundarsson (Dr. Stephan Grundy, Ph.D., Norse Studies)
Aiyana Assata Amare Ashen
Terra Akhert
Tara Aparicio
Carrie Bertwistle
Susa Morgan Black
Marina Boccuzzi
Lauren Buhr
Sara Cochran
Moira Hawthorne Copeland
Heathir Dhomhnaill
Amber Drake
Kriselda Gray
Ailim Hazel
Elizabeth Hefner
Alex Iannelli
Mischa Kvashninenkoff
Jennifer Lesko
Roxana García Liotta
Michelle Lord
Tom Mayernik
Jude Melvin
Lindsay Moose
Katherine Morgan
Draca Nightweb
Tahni Nikitins
Katie Oden
Lillian Sara Pink
Jenna Porterfield
Denise Marie Radcliffe
Logan Riley
Emily Sabin
Olivia Sweat
Tedri Liudan Thorne
Kyra Pandora Weaver
Lindsay Wiles


More people have asked for their names to be added at the copy of the above letter posted at A Polytheistic Life


By request in comments section or via social media, these names have been added to this blog.

Denise Bowen

Wyrd Dottir

Rev. Eric R. Roberts

Gangler is Grove

Richard Norris

Justin Nichols

Ki Lokean aka Ki Brosius aka Ki Brightly

Jessica Marcione

B. A. McNeely

Ode of 3 Pagans and Cat

And a statement of support from Saga Press in the comments section below.

Loki_taunts_Bragi

Here is the link to The Wild Hunt’s commentary about the controversy, posted above the original article with links to Ky Greene’s Lokean Community article and to this letter.

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Rabbit, Rabbit

No, I don’t wake up the first of every month saying this. I’ve heard about it, of course: a superstition to bring luck in the next month. But I do pay attention to auspicious signs and portents.

This morning (December 1st), my waking up to The Troth membership opinion survey regarding the hailing of Loki at Troth events was indeed auspicious. The hailing of Loki is controversial within the organization, which apparently consists largely of U.S. membership. I have heard that similiar organizations in other countries find this controversy puzzling and unnecessary.

The survey results will not produce a binding vote, but might help influence the organizational leadership’s position on this topic. Currently, Loki is banned from Troth events (a form of religious discrimination we call Lokiphobia.)

There were three options: (1) continue the ban on hailing Loki at Troth events; (2) no ban at all, so that Loki could be hailed at any time; and (3) a compromise position that would allow one hailing of Loki in the main event, with separate bowls and drinking vessels for Loki-hailers and abstainers, presumably for spiritual “hygiene.”

An aside: the one thing I do wish the survey had included was a second question as to how many people in The Troth membership do hail Loki at all, ever. I think this could have been very interesting indeed, as it would provide numerical information as to allies and practitioners as well as abstainers.

For those who don’t know, The Troth is an organization that promotes inclusive Heathenry (as opposed to all the white supremacists running around with Norse runes tattoo’d on their biceps). The stated policy of inclusivity is why I joined, even though I don’t describe myself as “heathen” per se at this point. Here’s a key portion of their policy statement:


From The Troth website: “We are deeply proud of our indigenous Northern European religious, cultural, and historical heritages. We welcome all people, whatever their religious, cultural, or ancestral background, physical ability, gender identity, or sexual orientation, who have developed or wish to develop a relationship with our Gods and Goddesses, and would like to know more about Asatru or other forms of Heathenry. Together, our members practice the moral principles followed by our noble predecessors, including: Boldness, Truth, Honor, Troth, Self-Rule, Hospitality, Industry, Self-Reliance, Steadfastness, Equality, Strength, Wisdom, Generosity, and Family Responsibility.”


Oh, the Irony…

…that such spiritual hygiene should be given such attention when there are a few other  more essential topics the organization could address more robustly.

For example, Jeremy Baer, a  Redesman for The Troth, just blogged his opinion on the divisiveness of the Loki/not Loki controversy and pointed to what he sees as the greater challenge for inclusivity in The Troth and heathenry in general: racists and “Nazi scum.” Baer writes:


Baer writes: “Whether it is on the domestic front in North America, or courting potential allies in Europe, the Troth does itself a strategic disadvantage in actively alienating devotees of Laufeyson. Most Lokeans I have met, because of who they are and Who called them, are natural anti-fascists who would stand against the racialist scourge.”

(Note: Baer uses “Laufeyson” as Loki’s “last name” instead of the more correct “Laufeyjarson.”)

8c066f7adfb283497f5ba5fa7bce66df
Pride Loki” artwork (based on “Marvel Loki”) by DKettchen.

Yeah, gotta agree on that. We Lokeans also seem to be more supportive of LGBTQIA+ and disability issues and many of us exist in marginalized spaces as a result of our own lives and identities.

(I’d personally love to see a survey on that, including the kinds of activism we’re engaged in outside of heathen and neopagan topics.)

However, in the Loki Wyrdlings facebook group, several people have pointed out that Baer seems dismissive and glosses over the problems of inclusivity that we Lokeans face, and that this must be addressed before unity can be achieved. Also, it’s been pointed out that as grown-ups, we can work on more than one issue, say, addressing internal prejudice against Loki practitioners as well as cultural appropriation and misuse of Norse religions by white supremacists.

But Wait! There’s MORE!

BlkPinkmcs_logo
From a hat sold by the Environmental Health Network of CA, http://www.ehnca.org. I was a board member and president back in the 90s.

But, Lokean as I am, I want to throw another issue into the “hygienic” mix, that of disability accommodation, particularly with regard to those who have the invisible disabilties of multiple chemical sensitivity and environmental illnesses and respiratory ailments (such as asthma) that are triggered and worsened by the exposure to airborne toxins such as fragrances, scented personal care products, candles, incense, pesticides, paints, etc. Such people, at least the ones who have recovered somewhat from previous toxic exposures, generally do pretty well at maintaining their health and stamina as long as such products are excluded from gatherings and public spaces. I hear the Trothmoot this year is taking place on the West Coast. I would enjoy experiencing such a thing, just once in my life, and to be able to go home from it in relatively healthy shape.

Most people with conditions such as mine are socially isolated and many are longing to participate in faith and spiritual communities, including neopagan ones (heathen, Wiccan, etc.). When I moved here to Lake County, I even tried the local Unitarian Universalist church, as UU’s have a history of accepting neopagans. I had a few conversations with someone in the local leadership and decided to try attending a service. Within ten minutes I had to flee due to one person wearing a heavy dose of sandalwood essential oil. I cried all the way home.

I’ve never been to a Trothmoot, or indeed any public heathen or neopagan event except for that thing the Druids used to do in Berkeley in the park, and that only once. Reclaiming Witch Camps could be fun, but they are outdoors in the woods in the summer and I know the mosquito repellant would make attendance impossible. (I also dodge airborne toxins at health facilities, schools where I’ve taken classes, public transportation, restaurants, grocery stores, senior centers, and so on.)

Good indoor air quality, which is what people like me need in order to participate in  events and experience those stated Troth values such as Hospitality, Frith, and Self-reliance, benefits everyone in attendance. Go on over to my Why Fragrance Free page on my professional website and you’ll see links to a study published earlier this year that estimates that 1-4 Americans has some form of environmental illness now. ONE IN FOUR. That’s staggering.

From where I sit and stand, always on the outside, I’d much rather see the vast amounts of attention focused on the pros and cons of Loki worship (so, just get over it and let us hail Loki already!!!!) directed instead toward a thoughtful consideration of a ban on fragrance use at such events, as the toxicity of such products is well documented in scientific literature and numerous anecdotal accounts. (Yes, and as grownups, we can also address the problems presented by alt.right fascists and neo-nazi scum, as well as other challenges.)

Because I have no kindred beyond those I find on the internet, and no place of worship beyond my own altars and my Lokabrenna Tiny Temple, I am probably doomed to spend the rest of my life as a solitary practitioner of just about everything. I try to make peace with that, but even writing about this brings tears. When it’s not too painful, I like to imagine the cheer of bright halls where people like me (aging, disabled, kinky, Lokean) are welcome as full members of the community. I long to toast, boast, recite poetry, and look with love on my kindred. I long to rely on the “kindness of strangers” who soon become my friends. I long to stand up and do battle beyond writing these blogs.

Alas.

smallEcoMaskBut, yeah, I’m a gonna bring this up. I’m bringing it up now. I’m tossing my respirator on the ground as a gauntlet. Loki is all about pointing out hypocrisy and the hypocrisy in action against those with disabilities is every bit as damaging as other forms of exclusion.

As for Loki–I’ll leave you with the song stylings of Joan Jett, Bad reputation.

Loki! Loki! (For luck.)

####

Lokasenna Time!

Loki_taunts_Bragi

The Columnist shook his credentials and raised an outcry against Loki. There was a “Wild” ruckus in the Comments section, so Loki found the Editor without. Loki greeted him and said:

1] “Say thou, Editor,     nor before set thou

One foot forward:

What the Columnists speak of,     at their laptops sitting,

the website here within.”

Editor said:

2] “Of their credentials speak,     and of lofty deeds,

the glorious Pundits,

Of neopagan readers     who click their bait

not one speaks well of thee.”

Loki said:

3] “In I shall, though,     into the Hunter’s Hall—

fain would I hear their boasts;

brawls and bickering      I bring the goods,

their typos I shall mix with truth.”

Editor said:

4] “If thou goest     into the Hunter’s Hall,

and fain would’st hear their boasts;

if hate and mocking     they heap upon you,

be sure to Twitter me.”

Loki said:

5] If with words we war,     I and your Pundits,

then full well thou wotst,

Editor, that I    will uppermost be,

if foul of me thou fallest.”

Then went Loki within the hall, but when they who were there saw who had come in, the Pundits all were hushed.

Loki said:

6] “Thirsty cometh     to the Hunter’s Hall,

burdened with glorious purpose,

To ask the Pundits     if that anyone

would pour him the mellow mead.”

7] “Why are ye closed,     in your comments section,

Allow me not to have a word?

A space on your Disqus     in your weblog give me,

or else unleash my bloggers!”

Pundit said:

8] A seat on the bench,     our banquet to share,

will this Pundit not ever give thee;

for well I wot     what Pagans at the feast

it behooves me to have.”

Loki said:

9] “Art mindful, Pundit,     how in olden days we

watched thy strain at interfaith dialogue?

Thou doest much better     amongst Ancient Astronaut

Theorists opining on alien craft.”

Pundit said:

10] “Arise then colleagues,     let the Wolf’s father

be benched at our banquet;

lest that Loki     demand a retraction

in the Hunter’s Hall.”

Then arose the Pundit and snatched a laptop away from Loki.

But before he sat, Loki hailed the Columnists:

11] “Hail to you, Pundits,      hail, Columnists,

Hail to all would-be bloggers,

but to one Pundit only,      who with you sits,

Serves grevious slander to my name.”

Pundit said:

12] “My byline art most precious,     I beseech thee, Loki,

Call off thy bitter bloggers,

Lest to pagan hosts     my wits show slowest:

beware my trump comparisons!”

Loki said:

13] “Of trump comparisons    small store, ween I,

hast, Pundit, thou to boast!

Of all the pundits     within this hall

thou are most inclined to make

assertions with no merit.”

Pundit said:

14] If without I were—     as within I am—

Hunter’s hallowed hall:

in my hands would I have     thy rep full soon

for your crimes are as of trump.”

Loki said:

15] “Thou are swift to cry trump,     but slow to examine,

Pundit, thou spurious claims;

I offer critique,     if bold thou art;

not a whit would a brave brain stay.”

A Reader said:

16] “I beg thee, Pundit,      to bear in mind

That of Odin’s kin he is:

Diss not Loki     with taunting words

in Hunter’s weblog hall.”

Loki said:

17] Right on, Reader:     of neopagans

this oft contentious lot,

rains foul words     and fouler deeds,

upon my mortal friends.”

Reader said:

18] “I tease not Loki     with taunting words

in Hunter’s weblog hall;

I but soothe Pundit     with theories crazed

lest Lokeans go to battle.”

Editor said:

19] “Ye Bloggers all     within this hall

why do ye war with words?

We knoweth well     the drag this is,

let’s love all merry things!”

Loki said:

20] “Right on, Editor     I have in mind

the way to make amends

For weregild take     the apology make

and Loki hate forswear.”

And from that day forth, all were welcome in the hall. 


Based on the “Lokasenna,” The Poetic Edda, translated by Lee M. Hollander.


Please also check out these thoughtful rebuttals:

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)


####

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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Dude! I Call Unverified Political Gnosis!

Yesterday I read a lengthy piece in a well-known pagan blog which was comprised of Unverified Political Gnosis–a rather labored comparison of Loki–a Norse god–to the current Lord of Misrule in the White House, a comparison that seemed to indicate the author’s contention that Loki is “behind” our current democratic conundrum, hand in glove with the president, you bet!

If so, I’ve got to say that’s one hell of a rigged election! Collusions with Russians and a Norse god too! Someone, please let the Mueller investigation know! But perhaps the blog author is less well versed in political science than he claims to be in mythology. He does seem to take great pains in constructing his own.

The author presented a rather unique view (to say the least), given that the president’s most ardent supporters–Red Hats, Neo-nazis, the Christian Right, and wealthy oligarchs–would be completely opposed to all the things that Loki represents to modern devotees, if they gave the trickster god and his devotees any thought at all.

Red Hats–in the absence of data from a national survey, I’ll venture to say, anecdotally, that most of Loki’s followers don’t support the president, whose destructive policies threaten civil life and liberty in this country and who takes special aim at every oppressed and at-risk minority you can mention. Red Hats may very well deem Loki and his followers as “special snowflakes” anyhow.

White Neo-nazis–because Loki is not “manly” in a cis-het way like Odin and Thor, plus, “he’s like Satan, dude, and therefore probably Jewish.” I kid you not. Upon reading somewhere that there was a period when artists were depicting Loki as Semetic for ideological reasons, I googled the phrase “Loki is Jewish.” The top two hits are neo-nazi posts affirming this very thing.

So I ask the author of “Loki in the White House” to note that Loki is not one of the Norse gods co-opted (sadly) by white supremacists. He’s too queer and they think he’s Jewish.

The White Christian Right–they’d be so bummed. They think Jesus put Trump in the White House. (FYI-speaking of deeply troubling gods, the Old Testament God’s body count in the Bible is 2,038,244 dead humans to Satan’s 10.)

White Wealthy Oligarchs–the president, though a loose cannon, is a convenient distraction (for now) as they continue to consolidate wealth and power at the expense of the 99%. Nothing in the lore (and I’m no expert, still learning) indicates to me that Loki favors such people–in fact, he takes pains to skewer them (e.g. the poem, Lokasenna).


The essay’s premise is bizarre to begin with. It consists of an apples and oranges comparision of the lore of a Norse God with the present-day actions of a mortal political figure. And though it contains a blistering recital of the current president’s egregious actions, I question the author’s motives in linking the president and his actions to the deity of a marginalized group (e.g. anyone who acknowledges Loki as an object of worship or veneration). The essay seems more interested in fanning resentment or ridicule against contemporary devotees, and perhaps creating a nice, juicy controversy, than it does anything else.

In fact, the article’s ending is disturbing and provocative:


“Finally, I would like to make the simple request that, following this article, lovers of Loki and partisans of the president 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. Thank you for rejecting fundamentalism.”


By suggesting that Lokeans (who are by and large rather sane and thoughtful people) will now threaten the author with the kind of violence more commonly documented among incels, Neo-nazi trolls, and rabid Trump supporters, the author seems to invite our consideration of him as a martyr, rather than as someone whose writing can be critiqued in a dispassionate manner.

This statement also seems unnecessarily inflammatory: “I believe that the idea of Loki as the bound giant who finally breaks free to destroy the world is the root element of his character. I suggest that maybe we should support those who seek to bind the beast rather than cheer on his rampage.” Does the author actually mean to suggest that those of us who hail Loki are cheering on the Trump tantrums and “rampages?” If so, this is very wrong.

The author also dismisses the lived experiences of contemporary people who connect with Loki as a divinity. He lists all the qualities that modern worshippers detect in their interactions with Loki, and though he acknowledges that Loki “…can be particularly important to members of LGBTQ+ communities who find deep meaning in his ancient and contemporary tales and aspects,” the author gives more weight to his own flawed pseudo-spiritual/pseudo-political meanderings than he does to the experiences and attributes of contemporary worshipers.

Please note that the current administration is brutally hostile to LGBTQIA etc. people. If there was any resonance between Loki and Trump, I’d expect such mortals would drop their god like a hot potato, sooner than you can say the word “impeach.”

Though the author takes great pains to cherry pick attributes of Trump that he can then match up with lore concerning Loki, I think this methodology is deceptive. Human history is full of troublesome deities, from many cultures and historical periods. One could probably sift through the lore of Greco-Roman gods, for example, and make similar comparisons. Using the author’s example, we could probably “prove” that Ares is in the White House. How about Moloch–he ate children and there are plenty missing from those concentration camps Trump set up for immigrant kids! Or hey, how about Caligula, the bat-shit insane ruler of Ancient Rome? He and Trump have much in common, including a love of expensive spectacle, and Caligula was even deified. Why not prove the God Caligula is in the White House? There’s even a physical resemblance!

220px-Cropped_color_calligula
The Roman Emperor Caligula–compare with pix of young D.T.

Now let’s briefly address the author’s comparison of Loki to Trump on four key areas:

“Objectifier of women”–Dude, everyone objectifies women. Back then, as well as now. You can probably say this of just about every masculine deity ever known. So I argue that the use of Loki as the perfect god to compare with the president’s propensity to grope, assault, and harass women is disingenuous at best. I’m not saying that objectification is good, or that I like it, but as a woman, it’s a fact of life that I constantly must either oppose or ignore.

FYI, the author wonders how women can even deal with Loki, due to the “slut-shaming” that takes place in the Lokasenna (mostly directed at his ex-lovers, who are refusing to acknowledge him). This has troubled me too. But as a Lokean, my UPG experience with this particular deity is actually quite egalitarian and very respectful, completely different from the “toxic masculinity” that I encounter almost everywhere else. (For the record, I also regularly offer devotions to Frey, Freya, and Gerda. Frey is also refreshingly non-toxic.) Next!

“Betrayer of community”–Actually Trump’s true community is that of wealthy, white, prejudiced people. He doesn’t seem to be betraying HIS community at all. Next!

“Opposer of Law”–We are waiting to see if criminal charges will be brought against this seated president. In the meantime, there’s a vast difference between a fascist mortal oligarch who is bending the laws for his own advantage from a position of great power and the actions of an outlier trickster like Loki. Very apples and oranges. Next!

“Bringer of Chaos”–As the Lord of Misrule, whose Reign of Error has unfortunately not been limited to only one night of the year, the president is not so much engaged in creating chaos as he is in creating his own personal fantasy of Big Brother-esque ultimate rule. And that’s control Trump’s after, not chaos.

I will leave it to others, who are better versed in lore and religious studies, to critique the article’s claims from a more scholarly vantage.

Where I Think Loki Really Is in All This Mess

If I were to detect the presence of Loki (or any other trickster god) in the current sad state of affairs, it would be in the glorious flowering of political lampooning, in the song stylings of Randy Rainbow, the Saturday Night Live sketches, the giant balloons and floats of bloated baby twump, and in every searing political cartoon that’s emerged since the election of 2016. I would detect it in Pussy Hats, witty signs held in marches, and in the recent results of the mid-term elections.

Loki, to me, is the god of resistance and a foe of hypocrisy–not a god of chaos, but a god of deep transformation.

As for the current Lord of Misrule, he’s purely a mortal phenomena–the last gasp grasp of brutal, power-hungry, greedy, racist capitalists and the result of rigged elections.

As the late, great Stan Lee used to say, “‘Nuff said.”


Please also read Dagulf Loptson’s response to the absurd article: Loki and Trump: My Thoughts. It’s on his new blog, Loki Cult.

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