Today, Monday, July 22, the sun enters Leo. And finally I am seeing some signs of support for the Mauna Kea Kia’i (protectors) from people in some parts of the neopagan communities.
So, here’s some good news:
The Troth just issued an open letter to Governor Ige of Hawai’i, expressing support for the preservation of Mauna Kea from desecration, and for the struggle of the Kia’i to protect it. I am proud to be a member of this inclusive heathenry organization.
And I just came across this post from Marc, on the blog, Of Axe and Plow, calling for “the wider pagan community” to show support for Mauna Kea and the protectors. It’s a great read!
Saturday Breaking News: Hawaiian Homelands agency and the governor reportedly want remove (forcibly) the Kia’i–also access to Mauna Kea is completely denied to all Hawaiians, in violation of the state’s constitution. (Unlawful restrictions have been in place for a long time, actually.)
Update: 642 astronomers have signed the letter protesting the arrest and potential use of force against the kupuna on Mauna Kea. Link here.
The Kia’i (Protectors) of Mauna Kea have established a Pu’uhonua (sacred place of refuge) at Pu’u Huluhulu, across from the Mauna Kea access road. Yesterday the governor of Hawai’i flew to Hilo and met with Hawai’i County mayor, Harry Kim. He did not go to Pu’u Huluhulu and the access road to Mauna Kea to see anything for himself. Instead, he held a press conference of lies and false rumors, designed to discredit the Kia’i and to portray them as lawless, careless, and even criminal. It’s a common racist trope, is it not? This trope is often lobbed at Kanaka Maoli (“native Hawaiians”), whether or not there is even a shred of truth in any given situation.
An additional insult is expressed in the governor’s dissing of the Pu’uhonua itself, and how it–and all the people with it–are held and cared for. This callous insult reveals the depth of Ige’s ignorance and disregard of all matters connected to the Kanaka Maoli and their ‘aina and cultural practices. Sadly, he is not alone in this.
Here is a video of the Kia’i rebuttal to Ige’s lies, in a press conference of their own. It is riveting and thorough. The first speaker is Kaho’okahi Kanuha, who refutes the governor’s lies point by point.
Background: Kapu Aloha and Pu’uhonua
Before I get more into the content of the press conference, I want say more about the concept of a pu’uhonua. The Hawaiian Dictionary (Hawaiian-English/English-Hawaiian) defines pu’uhonua as “(1) Place of refuge, sanctuary, asylum, place of peace and safety” (M.K. Pukui, S.H. Elbert, 1971). Hawai’i island has at least two historical places of refuge, one at Puʻuhonua o Hōnaunau (now a park) and the other was in Waipio Valley on the north-east side of the island, the site of the Paka`alana Heiau. These are highly sacred places.
In 2018, during the months-long lava flow in Puna, the local community established a pu’uhonua to help those affected by the disaster. While this flow was happening, I spent hours watching live feeds and videos from the island, including footage of people volunteering at this site, and was immensely impressed by the expert community organizing and heart-felt generosity of the entire operation. These same deft community organizing skills are obvious today at Pu’u Huluhulu, where the sacred practice of Kapu Aloha is also foundational. Kapu Aloha encompasses a commitment to peaceful, non-violent action but is so much more. (FYI- Kapu Aloha and organizing skills were also foundational and evident during the long Kia’i encampment on Mauna Kea in 2015-2016, where some of the Kia’i did endure arrests and other acts of aggression and disrespect.)
Here is an article dated July 11, 2019 which contains a press release from HULI (Hawaiʻi Unity and Liberation Institute) and provides a glimpse into how and why keeping Kapu Aloha is intrinsic to the protection of sacred Mauna Kea.
In other words, before stepping into sacred places or ceremonies, you have to get your own self right, internalize the feelings of sacredness and awe, dedicate yourself to appropriate behavior. That’s how it’s done–in almost every spiritual tradition in the world. And the Kia’i are unwavering in their commitments to such traditions.
Puʻu Huluhulu is on Hawaiian Homes Trust Lands and is home to an ahu or alter that was erected in 1999 by the Royal Order of Kamehameha I, a royal society established over 150 years ago by Kamehameha V. This ahu, that sits right at the base of the mauna, was built as a safe place so that kupuna or elders who could not make the trek up to the summit but wanted to acknowledge the mauna in their own way in a sacred space could do so. Puʻu Huluhulu therefore makes for a very relevant and appropriate space for this puʻuhonua and this was at the core of the collaborative efforts that took place today between the kiaʻi and members of the Royal Order.
So, here is clear, precise communication from the Kia’i and everything has been done “right and proper.” At least by the Kia’i. And that’s the whole point–those who are pushing for the desecration of Mauna Kea through the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT), are mired in lies and deception. They are profoundly not right, and profoundly not proper.
Does Ige not understand how very serious these sacred places and practices are to the Kia’i? He underestimates the Kia’i, and Kanaka in general, every step of the way. A local guy, born and raised in Hawai’i, the son of “ethnic Japanese Americans of Okinawan descent” (Wikipedia), you’d think he’d know better. Even I, over here in California, can listen to videos and live streams from the Kia’i, and thus can understand at least something of the serious need for respect of these traditions. Why can’t a local governor, with staff and a budget, be better informed and far more truthful and respectful?
Back to the Kia’i Press Conference, July 19, 2019
The Chancellor of the Royal Order of Kamehameha is the second speaker to refute the governor’s press statements. He express his dismay that the governor would lie about drugs and alcohol at Pu’u Huluhula as the Royal Order is playing a 24/7 role in monitoring the safety, security, and appropriateness of behavior at the Pu’uhonua. (I am sorry, I have been trying to find the Chancellor’s name.)
The third speaker is Kumu Hula Paul Neves, also of the Royal Order of Kamehameha. He recounts the story of Ige’s 2015 visit to Mauna Kea, the visit I alluded to in a previous blog. (I had heard it soon after it happened, from Ku Ching, who along with Kumu Neves and one other person, graciously extended the courtesy of taking the governor to pray on the mountain, as requested). After detailing this history, Kumu Neves called strongly for the governor to apologize for slandering the Kia’i, including the ‘opio (youth) and kupuna (elders), and to apologize “to all Hawai’i.” This account, in my opinion, underscores the governor’s inability to “get it right” even when his own previous experiences on the Mauna could have prevented subsequent falsehoods.
Dr. Noenoe Wong-Wilson, one of the kupuna of Mauna Kea, was the fourth speaker. She said that due to the governor’s actions that the kia’i are “still under threat by law enforcement” and that access to Mauna Kea is still denied to the cultural practitioners. Imagine someone blocking the entrance to your church or temple, indefinitely. That’s what it’s like for the Kia’i and other cultural practitioners. And while Ige said he will not ask for additional National Guard (300 are already there), but Dr. Wong-Wilson said that the Kia’i “live in constant fear that they will be assaulted by law enforcement” (many have been flown from other islands). Dr. Wong-Wilson also points out that the governor and other public officials are harrassing companies which supply porta-potties and have not allowed one to be placed near to where the kupuna sit, many of whom use canes and wheelchairs. (Twelve are located across the road, and are paid for by the Kia’i, and are cleaned twice a day.)
FYI: In case you missed it, Gov. Ige declared a “state of emergency” on Thursday and requested the help of the National Guard to deal with a popular, peaceful, non-violent community action which so far has consisted of camping out, volunteering with chores, singing, playing music, doing hula, eating, talking, and enjoying fellowship. Usually states of emergency are reserved for hurricanes and earthquakes… In this case, the “emergency” concerns private corporate interests barging in on Kanaka land via a sub-lease! A friggin’ sublease that shouldn’t even exist, legally. Grrr… Okay, ’nuff said!
A fifth woman, whose name I sadly don’t know also, also pointed out that the state agencies are “quick to build bathroom facilities for the visitor industry” while “their own people, the residents…that descend from this land, the rightful owners of these lands, we have to ask our own government to provide us with bathroom facilities so that we can take care of our kupuna… shame, shame on you!” Dr. Wong-Wilson added that the Kia’i are not asking for the public to pay for the porta-potties–they are bearing the cost and just want to be able to place one closer to where the kupuna are spending their time. Dr. Wong-Wilson also pointed out that the Kia’i have complied with every single health and safety request made by the authorities but when they made this request for an additional “lua” (toilet) for the kupuna, it was denied.
This point is significant as one of the governor’s attempts to discredit the Kia’i is that they are causing “sanitation problems.” In truth, government agencies are causing any problems that could conceivably exist, by refusing reasonable requests and harrassing contractors. (And hey, we could get into the human waste problem caused by astronomy personnel, and mercury contamination of the island’s aquifer, caused by industrial waste from the telescopes… but why let a little thing like inconvenient truths get in the way of Ige’s alternate reality?)
Finally, Kealoha Pisciotta, a long-time activist on behalf of the Mauna, also reminded ,
“Mr. Ige, I was on the mountain with you when you came to pray. We made ho’okupu to offer to the akua, for you. Mr. Ige, it is shame, it is shame what you have done. Na akua, they see you now just as they saw you then. The akua is watching over us. That is why we would never disgrace the pu’uhonua or anywhere here. That is the rule, And you know, you need to remember that Kapu Aloha…requires truth. And now, today, you have no truth. And therefore you have no aloha…You’re hurting our heart and you know what, governor, you grew up here, you’re our family and you know the rules and you broke it today. Pau.”
At the conclusion, Lanakila Manguilaffirmed that “the Kapu Aloha still stands. The Kapu Aloha is to maintain that we all hold ourselves in highest accord, highest conduct. No one here has ever broken that.” Lanakila also described the 24/7 traffic safety system that the Kia’i have created for people crossing the Saddle Road and for vehicles transversing it. This was to counter another “health and safety” lie told by the governor.
Thus concluded the Kia’i press statements as published via YouTube video.
A Live Stream, Video Tour of the Pu’uhonua
But wait, there’s more! Last night, I was watching a live feed of this same press conference (posted by Kāko’o Haleakalā), and so caught the subsequent commentary by Kaleikoa Ka’eo. He spoke of the nature of the leadership, volunteerism, and community spirit at the Pu’uhonua Pu’u Huluhulu. Kaleikoa is an associate professor of Hawaiian Studies, Department of Humanities, at theUH Maui College.
He was clear that the governor was not being truthful about the situation and provided numerous examples to refute Ige’s deceptions. Kaleikoa mentioned the “unsung heroes” at the Pu’uhonua–people working tirelessly to clean, cook, serve food, care for the elders, pass out water, bring hot food up to the mountain and take the trash back down. He said that community support has been “overwhelming” and a lot larger than even he had expected. He comments: “by David Ige saying those things [press conference lies] he’s really dismissing the real aloha work that’s going on in our community–and this is a community–and if you were to come here and see the support…it is amazing.” He invites anyone and everyone to come and see the leadership and unity that exists at the Pu’uhonua.
According to Kaleikoa, Ige’s claims are a “false narrative” and that Ige “doesn’t see the true humanity of who we are.” Kaleikoa pointed out that the whole TMT construction process “has really been one of making our people invisible.” Instead of acknowledging the Kanaka, whose own lands have fed and sheltered Ige’s family for at least a couple of generations, Kaleikoa says that Ige’s “eyes and his heart turn to protect the interests of foreign nationals.” Ige courts foreign power elites rather than acknowledge Kanaka Maoli as “true real human beings that still exist to this day” in their own lands. I interpret this as a mindset that allows Ige to conveniently (for him) dismiss the rights and claims of Kanaka Maoli, even those left to them in the “state” constitution.
Kaleikoa then gave a tour, showing the impressive cleanliness and streamlined nature of the entire operation. Talk about unity and leadership! Not to mention collaborative community spirit! And walking the walk… and all kinds of good things like that.
Not only are drugs and alcohol prohibited, but cigarettes are prohibited too. THAT’S how serious the Kia’i are about maintaining health and safety. The Pu’uhonua is extremely safe and sanitary, and of course family-friendly (lots of kids). There was no garbage or debris in sight. The Pu’uhonua has a system to sort and remove garbage, recyclables, and compost. I saw the traffic and pedestrian safety control methods in action, including lights, traffic monitors, etc. I think it is safe to say that this intersection is the only place in all Hawai’i that is monitored for safety 24/7. There was an array of twelve, well-maintained porta-potties, the medical tent, information tent, volunteer coordination table, coconut donation table, the Royal Order members who circulate among the Pu’uhonua, a huge amount of food, and so forth.
Honestly, I have never, ever seen a large gathering (from several hundreds to over two thousand) managed with so much efficiency, love, dedication, consideration, and over-all community spirit. As a disaster prep geek, who took Community Emergency Response Training (CERT) twice–the second time in Kea’au (2016)–this footage made me want to weep with joy. I know–I know–that this kind of skill set and attitude is in short supply in most communities here on the continent.
On a personal note, I have followed the Mauna Kea/Stop TMT issues for well over a decade, thanks to a long-term partnership (now ended) with one of original Kia’i, a kupuna involved in the court cases that halted work on the TMT, time and time again. Thanks to this relationship, I had an intimate “ring-side seat” even though I was thousands of miles away most of the time. I have been well schooled and well informed, and because I also use my own eyes and ears, I have seen how Kanaka Maoli rights and interests–and humanity–have been on the chopping block since day one of the TMT debacle. And though I’ve since broken up with the man involved, I never broke up with the Mauna. Back in California, I’ve still kept my antenna up for developments. My heart has been with this struggle for a long, long time. And so it is in that spirit that I am blogging and signal boosting at this time.
And hey, apparently TMT project manager, Gary Sanders, is perfectly willing to build the durn thing in the Canary Islands instead. Won’t you politely give him a call at (626)395-2997 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and let him know–again, politely–that Kanaka Maoli and many in the rest of the world would be so happy if the telescope didn’t desecrate Mauna Kea.
Please help. Read, signal boost, write letters, send money for bail for the kupuna who were arrested. Whatever you can! Thank you!
Today Mercury goes retro in my Ninth House of writing and publishing (waaaah!) and the Moon is in Pisces, in a transit that also opposes my Venus, according to today’s Astrodient prediction. This transit is termed “indiscriminate affection” and is described thusly:
“This influence can lead to rather indiscriminate affection, because your desire to love someone overrules your normal sense of discretion. This is not especially dangerous, although a certain amount of discretion is still desirable.”
In other words, it’s a PERFECT day to blog without restraint (or discretion) on today’s topic: “what quality or qualities of this god do you most admire? What quality or qualities of them do you find the most troubling?”
Caution: This transit also pertains to “Erotic desires. Are you feeling emotional at the moment but don’t know what to do about it?” (Well, I wasn’t until I read this and started thinking about it…)
Loki Laufeyjarson! The qualities I admire? For simplicity’s sake, I’ll use “he/his” as I generally do experience him in that gendered way. However, I’m just now coming to connect with other gendered aspects, which is great. I am sure it is my programming that has limited me up to now.
Let’s take a personal gnosis plunge. Ready?
First of all–I like that Loki’s here, here with me for the long haul (which, seeing as I’m about to reach medicare age, isn’t all that long…). That doesn’t mean I always feel him hanging about or being all bad boy and tricksy as some people report (and that’s fine, by the way–I kind of envy those folks), but that I know he has my back.
I admire Loki for his willingness to “speak truth to power.” For his intelligence and insightful ability to dismantle hypocrisy. For his unholy glee and madcap humor (yes, I do get to experience the light side now and then). For his intrinsic creative force and ability to spark it in mere humans. For his honor and resolve, no matter how weird his wyrd. For the kindness and tenderness he can sometimes show to his families, as a parent and as a lover. For his beguiling appetites for… whatever! For being “close up and personal.” In short, for being a complex subtle being who isn’t afraid to mix it up a little with troubled humanity here in Midgard.
I admire Loki’s hidden agenda. I don’t know what it is, but I sense it as part of his function as a catalyst of creative chaos and transformation. He’s not raw chaos (usually), he’s strategic, even when looking as if he’s got no impulse control whatsover.
I love his complexity. I love being challenged by Loki, learning from him.
I admire his shape and gender-shifting versatility. His curiosity. His restlessness.
Loki is a good listener as well as a master of direct communication (including barbed witticisms). I admire that too. And if he’s displeased, it’s a clear “no, don’t do that” or “no, I don’t want that.” He’s never passive-aggressive. He asks pointed questions to trigger learning rather than ‘splaining, as I mentioned above.
I admire Loki’s generosity. I benefit from it. He makes his “template of transformation” available. You have only to ask, then to work hard to understand and absorb it.
I admire Loki’s ability to be accepting of all kinds of people while at the same time being perfectly willing to offer a deft kick to the patoosis, as needed.
I trust him in all ways, but not like a fool. He likes me to keep my mind sharp and my eyes open.
And I adore feeling his energy when he’s “around.” I love his readiness to be delighted.
Sometimes I consider the above with a trace of wistfulness. Loki has inadvertantly spoiled me for other manifestations of masculinity (not that Loki’s always “masculine”). He never “mansplains” or “godsplains.” I wish I could meet a human love with even a 100th portion of Loki’s qualities. It would be nice to grow old(er) with one or two such people, especially if they also shared my faith. That’s one of the problems with spending too much time with the divine. You get used to a certain expansiveness and depth. It makes you “nice” in the old sense of the word–particular, choosy.
Qualities I don’t admire? There really aren’t many. At one point I was troubled by slut shaming in the Lokasenna. And I get the sense that Loki can be malicious at times, but only when really pushed, and even then, not for very long. Based on what I know of the lore (and I am still learning), he is far less cruel to others than others have been to him.
As for Loki’s involvment in “the Death of Baldr,” I don’t trust Snorri Sturluson’s Prose Edda version of Baldr’s death. It’s not the only one. In older versions, Loki is not involved at all, or if he is, he’s most likely acting on behalf of Baldr’s father (Odin) in a sacred rite that ensures Baldr’s return after Ragnarok. I also don’t trust Snorri’s front- and back-end prose additions to Lokasenna (which is an anonymous human composition). They are too pat.
Loki is above all a keeper of certain mysteries. He’s a guardian at the threshold, a deity of all kinds of crossroads. Human lore and literature, whether ancient or modern, is a reflection of human attempts to explain or chronicle the bits of cosmic mysteries we are able to perceive, all based ultimately on someone’s personal gnosis. I feel Snorri had an literary agenda that overrode any sense he may have had of touching on “mysteries.” He was not a mystic, nor did he have a mystic’s intuition.
As for Ragnarok, meh. What we humans are doing to our planet and its climate is more real, devastating, and disturbing than any mythic account of the world’s end. For all I know, we ARE in Ragnarok right now, and from where I sit, I don’t see Loki as an agent of this destruction. In fact, I think he’d rather we wised up and did something about it while we still can. This wasn’t what he wanted for the descendants of Ask and Embla. Or for cats and wolves either.
Maunakea tees from http://www.hifinest.com. with 100% of proceeds to go to HULI for frontline efforts of Maunakea PROTECTORS.
This is urgent. I appeal to my national and international readership on behalf of Mauna Kea.
In the spirit of solidarity and signal boosting for the Kia’i (Protectors) of Mauna Kea on Hawai’i Island, I want to share several resources for those who want to learn more and/or help from afar. The protection of Mauna Kea is a deeply emotional, cultural, spiritual, long-term justice struggle for the Kanaka Maoli (native Hawaiians). The struggle to protect this mountain from desecration and environmental destruction has been going on for decades. Decades.
I’m not posting ’cause this is a hot, new issue about to go viral on social media. This is not a new cause for me. As an ally, I’ve been peripherally involved in supporting the protection of Mauna Kea for at least sixteen years. (However my story is not important, except to me.)
Right now, our focus should be solely on the Kia’i and what we can do to assist them, and the Mauna, the sacred mountain. Here is footage of some of the arrests of thirty or so elders today.
I’ll paraphrase what one of the Kia’i said on camera today: Mauna Kea is the piko, the center, right now. What happens there matters, more than you can know. Here are some things you can do and learn, which would be helpful.
Resources and Things You Can Do
First, Kapu Aloha. Learn what you can about Kapu Aloha and do your best to stay within that during your activism. Here’s a “101” video from ʻŌiwi TV that will inspire you. As a settler-colonist ally used to entitled and confrontational action (Berkeley-style), I have to say this is one of the most difficult things I’ve had to continue to learn. And I’m not “there” yet. But Kapu Aloha is essential and it is demanded in the sacred struggle to protect the sacred Mauna. How you do something matters as well as what you do.
Learn what the issues are. KAHEA-the Hawaiian Environmental Alliance has several pages of important background. You could start here, with Sacred Summits.
Donate to a Legal Defense Fund. As I mentioned above, this morning about 30 or so kupuna (elders) were arrested by police. More arrests are sure to follow. Give to the Mauna Kea Legal Defense Fund which is operated by KAHEA–the Hawaiian Environmental Alliance, an excellent group.
§711-1107 Desecration. (1) A person commits the offense of desecration if the person intentionally desecrates:
(a) Any public monument or structure;
(b) A place of worship or burial; or
(c) In a public place the national flag or any other object of veneration by a substantial segment of the public.
(2) “Desecrate” means defacing, damaging, polluting, or otherwise physically mistreating in a way that the defendant knows will outrage the sensibilities of persons likely to observe or discover the defendant’s action.
(3) Any person convicted of committing the offense of desecration shall be sentenced to a term of imprisonment of not more than one year, a fine of not more than $10,000, or both. [L 1972, c 9, pt of §1; gen ch 1993; am L 2002, c 198, §1]
For example, #21 says: “Educate yourself and educate others. Learn about colonialism and settler colonialism so that you can recognize their tactics and call them out.” This is very important for those of us who are allies, but not Kanaka. We need to call ourselves out, whenever possible. It’s not easy. I’ve got over sixteen years worth of mistakes to learn from.
Follow Emalani Case’s Blog. And go ahead, read both the entries above. Seriously. You’ll learn so much.
Learn the historical, political, and land use facts of Hawai’i, which provides the context of the struggle re: The Hawaiian Kingdom Blog. You could start with this one pertaining to the destruction of Mauna Kea’s summit which has already taken place.
Learn the words to the chorus of this song, at least:Kū Haʻaheo E Kuʻu Hawaiʻi by Kumu (teacher) Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu. Go to http://kanaeokana.net/portfolio-items/ku-haaheo-e-kuu-hawaii/
Use social media to stay up to date. Right now, the situation is changing moment by moment, day by day. You might want to check out some of the Facebook groups, like this one.
Wear the message that Mauna Kea is sacred. Here’s one link.
Finally, help me Signal Boost! Share any or all of the links above–or even this blog. “Likes” and shares will help get the word out. We need to get the info out and active. Let’s help each other to reach a mass tipping point in stopping the desecration that is so deeply hurtful to na Kanaka Maoli.
I will add more to this post as I find more links. For now, I hope this gets you started. Thank you so much for your interest and your help.
I might be answering this question through the murk of my own social anxiety issues, but my first thought reading this question was, “according to the lore, Loki’s been through a shit show with the other gods.” Sure, there are tales of rollicking adventures (amorous ones too) and a fair share of drunken comradery, but also an awful lot of truly dreadful manipulation and worse–much of it directed at Loki, mind you.
However I have to keep in mind that only a fragment of the old Norse lore survives and that there were probably many more stories, now lost forever. Some of those stories could have modifed how we currently view Loki’s relationships to other deities, at least those within the Norse pantheon.
A Polytheist with a Patron
As Loki is my patron, I consider his guidance and direction as having extra weight in my spiritual life, so keep that in mind as I relate the following. Also what follows is entirely based on personal gnosis, as there is no old lore that I know of that can tell us how Loki interacts with deities and spirits from other spiritual/cultural pantheons.
In addition to Loki, I mainly honor Freyr, Freya, and Gerda in the Norse pantheon. But since I don’t stick strictly to Norse deities, sometimes things feel a little confusimg. At times I have a vague sense of discomfort–a “I hope they all like each other” feeling– when I view the collection of candles on my altar and think about who each candle represents. And since Loki gets the lion’s share of attention in my life, I hope the others don’t feel neglected.
I do recognize that I’m not responsible for how these folks interact with each other, and how they carry on their relationships. Nor do I understand enough about what those interactions are, at any given moment of (non-linear) time. Still, I have “feelings.”
For example: At times I’ve gotten the feeling Freya isn’t all that into me as a devotee. She was on my altar before Loki, and I sometimes wonder if she resents how he’s taken precedence. I may need to follow up on that, though the last time I checked in (via pendulum), she was okay with having a place in my devotions. I have a fondness for Freya, but also experience a lack of closeness that actually predated Loki’s arrival. In this case, are my feelings due to Freya’s response to me as a devotee, or to Loki, or both?
Gerda is quiet and self-contained. I don’t feel she’s that interested in having devotional attention in general, but she’s a good plant teacher for me and I appreciate her for that. I also don’t want to ignore her, as Freyr’s wife. She seems neutral about Loki.
Freyr is one of my two “non-toxic masculinity” deities. (The other, of course, is Loki.) Freyr seems bluffly chill with whatever I do and there’s no feeling of competition. Loki seems okay with Freyr as well, though I get the slight sense that he considers Freyr a little “square” or his role as a harvest fertility god may be slightly passe, given the horrendous challenges of climate change. Again, this is all personal gnosis.
So, these four Norse deities don’t seem to work together much, in my life, and I find myself approaching them separately, except for requests for general blessings from all. Of course Freya, Freyr, and Gerda also have closer family ties with each other than they do with Loki. He’s very much the outsider in that regard.
For some reason, the rest of Loki’s family are not yet “in play” in my life. I acknowledge them of course, and honor them in my heart, but I’m not yet “introduced.” (And I get a slight feeling Freya is sniffy about Sigyn, for some reason. Anyone else get that?)
Outside the Norse pantheon, there are a few others. I have have a few vague feelings about how Loki interacts with these others, or is viewed by these others, but again, it’s all personal gnosis.
I’ve been aware of Bast as a cat goddess for decades, and have felt drawn to her as a result, but it didn’t occur to me to make offerings until this year, when one of my cats was ill. Aside from cats, her emphasis on pleasure, music, and dancing is also healing to me. As for Bast and Loki, I don’t sense much going on between them, at least in the context of my practice, but I sense it would be cordial, at least. There’s a kind of “yeah, we see each other at parties” vibe.
In other cases, I’ve become interested in a deity or spirit because of some prompt from an ancestral lineage.
Ancestors in my father’s mother’s line (and another lineage) indicated a spiritual connection to Brigit/Brigid. A few months ago I began to honor her in her pagan aspect (I’m not equipped to deal with the Christianized version of St. Brigid). She seems neutral with regard to Loki and the others, somewhat set apart. I hadn’t know Brigid was associated with poetry–or fire–until I began to learn about her (I was interested to read Kyaza’s Q. 17 blog today, which reports feeling a distinct antipathy between Brigid and Loki.)
Goetic Amy–not a god but a fallen angel with an interesting CV–is someone I’ve been saying “hello” to, via a weekly offering of wine. But I have not yet “worked with” Amy in any sense. Goetic Amy seems to have been important to someone in my maternal great-grandfather’s line and that’s mainly the reason for my greetings, though there may be a situation coming up that would prompt me to ask for help from this spirit. Amy is a fire spirit who also gender-shifts, so there is a superficial similarity with Loki. However Amy seems serious, reserved, and scholarly–not a trace of “madcap” humor. With Loki and Amy I sense a mutual (distant) respect but a distinct “we move in such very different circles” vibe.
Just this last week, I was surprised by another nudge or poke from The Morrigan. This had happened before, a few years ago, but I wasn’t spiritually or emotionally ready to investigate. When this happened last week, I checked in with Loki (via pendulum) and the feeling was, “it’s cool with me, but learn everything you can before making a decision either way.” There was also a kind of “You think I’m intense? Just you wait!” feeling behind this cautionary advice.
Using a fresh pendulum in hopes of contacting The Morrigan, to show her the courtesy of acknowledging her signal, I asked her if she knew Loki was my patron. There was a kind of “Hmmm, no, actually” feeling, with a bit of a slight withdrawal in learning that Loki is paramount in my life. But that was replaced with a feeling that she “might possibly consider a limited contract or specific interaction” relationship. These words are much more definitely expressed than the actual feeling, by the way. I also got the feeling that The Morrigan’s hesitation, modifying the pendulum indications, had more to do with my being already “taken” (oathed) than a reaction to Loki in particular. I could be wrong.
(Again, I’ll be going slow and learning more before I make a decision. Lora O’Brien’s videos are invaluable. I also have Morpheus Ravenna’s The Book of the Great Queen, which I purchased a few years ago, after what I thought was the first nudge.)
Though I have released my practices with Hawaiian deities (mainly Pele) after leaving the islands in 2017, this week I am chanting and lighting a candle for Poliahu, Mauna Kea’s chief goddess, and for the Kia’i (protectors) who are actively resisting the construction of the TMT (Thirty Meter Telescope). Though Poliahu’s candle is now on my altar for the next few weeks, there is no sense at all of interaction between Poliahu and Loki, or any of the others for that matter. It’s very separate and specific, a time-limited action and show of support.
So, there you have it. My own personal gnosis about how Loki interacts with others (or doesn’t), in the context of my own practice as detected through pendulum and intuition. I feel everyone is different in detecting such affinities or antipathies, though there might be similarities in what some of us perceive. I am actually glad that these differences exist. I believe our own personalities and wyrd have a lot to do with this.
Loki is the wild child, the consummate outsider, the charming iconoclast, the “everywhere but belongs nowhere” guy, a shapeshifter, a sky walker (“you can’t catch me!”)… So today’s question seems easy to answer at first: “how do you think this deity represents the values of their pantheon and cultural origins?” Snap! “He opposes them!” And then I pause, “but not entirely.”
Personal gnosis: I see and feel Loki more as a source of revelations than a figure who represents values or even anti-values. Though he does have a narrative function as the irritant, the villain, the anti-hero, the outcast, and even as a tragic figure–he holds up a mirror to the deities. Just by being who he is and doing what he does, he can throw their hypocrisy and cruelty into stark relief. If they continue to be obtuse, he’s willing to tell them to their faces. As we observe him in action, Loki reveals often ugly truths about the others (and sometimes unpleasant things about himself). He seems to say, “Watch and learn, O Midgard!”
And yet, as a Jotun “giant” adopted into the Æsir as Odin’s blood brother, he also seems to have been complicit, collaborative, and obedient–willing to serve as a functioning member of his new family. The bonds of kinship–including “blood brotherhood”–were very important in the culture of the old lore, but Loki is often troubled by family conflict. Dagulf Loptson says it very well: “when the two sides of your family are battling each other, which side do you align yourself with in order to fulfill your family responsibilities?” (Playing with Fire, p. 14). Loki’s family values are also challenged when his children are deliberately harmed by other members of the Æsir. And no one seems to have offered him weregild, either, as seems to have been the custom for making amends. (Personal gnosis: I feel no amount of that would have made it right for Loki, anyway.)
Another “value” that seems reflected in the old Norse lore, is what Dr. Jackson Crawford calls “hyper-masculinity” in his Lokasenna video. (I do think subtitling this “truth-telling” poem as “Loki’s Locker Talk” is somewhat superficial, however.)
Crawford translates one perjorative as “sissy” and Loki and Odin trade this one back and forth in the poem. Though Odin and Thor have both taken on the clothing and identity of women at times, Loki is the one accused most often of having a versatile gender repertoire, including a more subtle and nuanced masculinity. (Gender-shifting is one reason so many Lokeans are drawn to him, including yours truly.)
Lokasenna also seems to present sexual fidelity of women as an Old Norse value, as Loki exposes love affairs of the goddesses, including their love affairs with him. Therefore, Loki would seem to be subversive of this value, rather than an upholder of it. It’s obvious some of the other gods also subvert this value–via seduction or worse–not just Loki.
There is certainly much more that could be said on this topic of “values,” but I feel constrained today by lack of time. Perhaps I’ll revisit this again when these “30 Days of Devotion” are over.
7/17/19 Update: People are no longer chained to the cattle guard, but many kupuna (elders) are now being arrested. Some are in wheelchairs.
Kia’i–Protectors–have literally chained themselves to a cattle guard in the Mauna Kea access road, and are blocking it, to prevent further desecration of the sacred mountain of Mauna Kea. The Big Island News video (link below) shows commentary by professor Kaleikoa Kaʻeo and Walter Ritte, both well known activists and cultural practitioners, as they are chained to the cattle guard. They are still there, last I heard.
Want some backround? Watch Mauna Kea: Temple Under Siege, a stunning documentary in full and for free. This tells the story of an earlier struggle to protect Mauna Kea from desecration. Many of the same people are still involved, though some have passed on. And younger activists are coming up all the time.
So for the record, I don’t just hang out with Loki and other Norse and Celtic deities, I also stand (in awe) with Poliahu and her people in this struggle, and have since the mid-2000s.