Cue up your favorite song. I said it was a party! Then click the banner link below to get your copy of Loki’s Torch, officially published today, August 1st, just in time for Lokabrenna (Sirius rising and the “Dog Days of Summer.”)
Update: By the way, in case you were wondering. Here’s a message from Ky Greene regarding the financial aspect of this ALL VOLUNTEER PROJECT: “Everyone who contributed got a free PDF. We only make $5 off every sale, which we are saving to be able to fund other events/products for the Lokean community as a whole. The rest of the proceeds go to MagCloud for their printing service. Since it’s a print-on-demand service, people are paying the printers.”
This question makes me grin. Today’s 30 Days of Deity Devotion query is “any interesting or unusual UPG to share?” About Loki? OMFG! When is personal Loki gnosis not interesting or unusual?
I began this blog a few months before Loki arrived on the scene with unmistakable flair and “glorious purpose” (snurk!), quickly taking center stage in my daily devotions. Like so many other Lokeans, I now feel he’s been with me all along–at least since the time that teenage me used felt pens to draw cows on large marshmellows, then scattered them all over La Jolla Cove Park so that people would understand that marshmellows are NOT vegetarian. (As a newbie vegetable person, I was upset that tiny ones melting in hot chocolate were no longer an option…) (This is an issue that no longer concerns me…)
So, not only did Loki take over my spiritual focus, he also began to dominate this blog. The great thing about Loki is that he’s a never-ending source of inspiration. I do have lots of unusual “unverified personal gnosis”–great heaping gobs of it–and I’ve been (over)sharing like mad this last year. (What people think no longer concerns me…)
Here are my five offerings of past gnosis, concerning Loki and epigenetics, positive pyschology, communication theory, environmental health, and tantra (in reverse chronological order).
It’s the 28th day of my Thirty Days of Devotion and the topic is “something you wish you knew about this deity but don’t currently.”
Well…these larger subtle-bodied beings we refer to as deities, are essentially mysterious to us. That might have more to do with our limitations rather than their desire to be opaque and so this question makes me realize I don’t even know what it is that I don’t know that I wish I knew.
But if I have any question at all about the roles that these various beings have or have had in my life, it’s “why them (in particular) and why me (in particular)?” In other words, I don’t just have this question about my patron, the Norse Loki Laufeyjarson, I have this question about others I’ve worked with, or who have approached me.
An Unexpected Knock on the Door
For example, a few days before July 14th, when the Kia’i (Protectors) were on Mauna Kea to do ceremony at Pu’uhonua o Pu’u Huluhulu and establish their encampment in their sacred place of refuge, the Celtic goddess known as The Morrigan was tapping at my psyche (not for the first time). She is a battle goddess known as the “Great Queen” in Ireland. So I spent a couple of days with a book I have, and some websites, just to see if I should follow up with her. The Morrigan is known for having a fierce interest in social justice issues and I can feel drawn to her on that account. But part of me still felt hesitant. For one thing, I already have a deep, fairly time-consuming commitment to a super-intense being: Loki Laufeyjarson. When I checked in with Loki about The Morrigan, the sense I got was, “I’m not opposed, but just take your time so you know what you’d be getting into.” When I did a pendulum divination with The Morrigan and told her that I was oathed Loki, she drew back a little–odd how I could feel that–and then there was this kind of sense of “oh, well, maybe a limited contract then.” However, I have no idea what that contract might have entailed.
But then I heard what was happening on the Mauna. I have a long history of (mostly long-distance) allyship with the fight against telescope desecration, and I felt an immediate urge to do what I could to help, even from afar (signal-boosting, blogging, etc.). It was obvious this was not the right time to “get to know” The Morrigan, as her ways of handling conflict are so very different from Kapu Aloha. I could not bring her energy with me if I engaged with this matter. And so I drew back from connecting more with The Morrigan.
But Loki, intense as he is, was fine with my sudden deep plunge into service, once again, with the deities of Hawai’i. I was “standing with Poliahu” and though she hadn’t called me directly, it was important to have that sense of “standing with” her in order to stand with her people. I know this can sound a little mad, but it’s just how it is. And then, after several days of active focus on Mauna Kea, Loki reeled me back,not to prevent any more activity on behalf of Mauna Kea, but to now have me “stand with” him, or to stand with this issue from within standing with him, in solidarity with Mauna Kea, its people and its deities, as a Lokean. Again, it is hard to explain these nuances and I am feeling my way into them.
Loki, who stands for family as well as justice, seems to resonate with this issue of protecting Mauna Kea (personal gnosis). At the very least, he encourages my engagement with it (not that he could actually stop me–he knows I’ve got a prior commitment here).
In practical terms, what does this mean to my practice and my activism? Let me see if I can break it down.
Devotions: Since July 15th or so there’s been a candle on my altar to represent Poliahu and Mauna Kea. And it feels pono (correct, appropriate) to once again chant E Homai as an offering to Hawai’i, to the Mauna, and to honor the work of the Kia’i. My first kumu hula (hula teacher) told me it was always appropriate to offer ka leo, the voice in a prayer or chant. E Homai is my prayer. That chant, and E Laka E, have always had a strong place in my heart.
Decolonizing Paganism: I sense that it’s important to decolonize neopaganism in order to stand appropriately in solidarity, via an inter-faith perspective as well as a human justice one. I’ve been looking at these issues already in witchery and neopaganism, but I cannot congratulate myself on being very advanced. There’s a lot of layers to this deeply planted onion. Loki, as a deity who habitually punctures hypocrisy, seems to require this kind of inner and outer work.
Back to the Lore: I also feel moved to examine the Norse lore again, for stories about Loki which speak to me of challenges to injustice and hypocrisy. Loki bound on the mountain with the entrails of one of his children, while his wife Sigyn holds the bowl to capture snake venom, resonates with me here. Perhaps the hypocrisy and cruelty of the Aesir, when confronted by Loki’s truth-telling, leads me to compare them with the pro-TMT guys. But I think there are deeper meanings than that.
Complementary Values: A general task might be to compare Hawaiian values and those held by neopagan Heathens and others in the “big tent” of modern paganism. Neopagans might find commonality in areas of animism, earth-centered spirituality, polytheism, traditions of hospitality and frith, working with ancestors, keeping oaths and acting in an honorable manner, making offerings to nurture relationships with deities and spirits, and so on.
Things to Avoid: What would be totally inappropriate (IMHO) is anything like sorcery curses on TMT, or the kind of gleeful political trolling that I so adore from The Satanic Temple when directed at U.S. government officials.
No–the imperative for this issue is to be in Kapu Aloha, out of respect for the Kia’i, who absolutely know better than anybody what is needed and what is appropriate. Those of us who are not part of the Lahui (Kanaka Maoli community) MUST take their lead and directions and respect their wishes to the utmost, in spite of any clever ideas we might have to the contrary. It’s not Berkeley over there. And it took me longer than I like to admit to figure that out.
Restraint and Curiosity: Loki, the King of Clever, who got himself into trouble one too many times by mouthing off, is actually quite good at counseling restraint in this case. However, he seems to encourage my curiousity for uncovering some of the hidden machinations surrounding the approval and promotion of the Thirty Meter Telescope. This kind of factual investigation, aimed at the foreign authorities and capitalists who want to control Hawai’i’s resources, is perfectly appropriate as long as it is done with restraint and professionalism.
For me, activism has always been part of my spiritual path and vice versa. The questions I have for and about Loki–and other deities–are tied to my wyrd. That I should have such strong ties to Hawai’i, including mystical experiences, has always been a mystery. That I am one of Loki’s “children” is another. But I am not likely to have the answers until I pass from this world. All I can do is roll with what I’m given to do, here in Midgard.
You know, being a polytheist is even weirder than it sounds! There I was, solidly in the middle of my Thirty Days of Devotion to Loki–something many Lokeans do in July–when I was switched over, like a train on tracks, to an intense focus on Mauna Kea, plunged back into service to a pantheon I thought had released me. But this isn’t the first time something from Hawai’i has claimed me abruptly, and I guess it won’t be the last.
It’s been immensely healing this last week to have been been of some small use to the Kia’i (protectors) of Mauna Kea: sharing and signal boosting on social media, writing, blogging, and doing some amateur sleuthing. In addition, I’m back in touch with people and a community I always adored–the activists of Hawai’i nei–and so it’s all quite inspiring.
But today, just as I finished my latest blog post on the adverse impact of the TMT project, Loki quietly reeled me back. “Ssshhhhh,” he seemed to say, “you’ve done what you needed to do, for the moment. Now rest, come back to me, realign yourself with your daily practice. Come back to your deities and your ancestors. And when you’ve got more to do and write, I’ll be with you.”
It felt lovely. It felt like coming home from a strenuous business trip. I began to take care of myself. I actually cooked food for lunch (instead of living on chips, ice cream, and artichoke tapinade as I did yesterday) and took a nap. Ahhhhhhh…
Who knew that Loki could be such a gentle advocate for grounding and balance?
Today is Day 26 of my Thirty Days practice. Let’s catch up.
Here’s what I did the last few days.
Day 21: “Music that makes you think of this deity.”
There are many pieces of music I associate with Loki, and his many moods and aspects. But here’s one piece of music, Sign of the Times, that I overplayed in the first days of “getting to know” Loki, which caused him to disappear the CD from my car until I promised to not play it too often. I couldn’t find it for two weeks, then I was driving one day and said out loud, “Hey Loki, how do you do it? Do you really disappear things or just make it so we can’t see them?” I asked the question and then bam, the CD bumped against my feet while I was driving. Honestly, I’d looked everywhere. Three or four times!
I love this song. The video is somewhat ridiculous, though…
Day 22: “A quote, a poem, or piece of writing that you think this deity resonates strongly with.”
Hmmm. A quote that Loki might resonate with? How about this one from John Water’s Polyester?
Lulu: I never wanted to use macramé to kill!
Day 23: “Your own composition – a piece of writing about or for this deity.”
I’ve written so much for and about Loki. Most of the blogs on this website, for example. But here are the limericks I’ve written for him. And Loki’s Torch-A Lokean Collection is coming out on August 1st! It contains a couple of pieces of mine.
Day 25: “A time when this deity has refused to help.”
I don’t think I’ve experienced an outright refusal. There are times when it’s clear he’s doing something else, or the problem is not in his purview, or he’d rather I handle it.
Today, Day 26: How has your relationship with this deity changed over time?
How hasn’t it changed?! I am not prepared to unpack this right now. But I am pondering it. The biggest surprise was when the “god spouse” option arose (it happened after dedicating Lokabrenna Tiny Temple).
So, there. I’m caught up. Now to do my temporarily interrupted daily practice: lighting candles, reading poems, giving thanks…
“Mundane,” in the sense of boring or dull, is not a word one usually associates with Loki. But today’s topic asks us if there are “any mundane practices that are associated with this deity?” Mundane in this sense means “earthly” rather than spiritual.
But I am so not down with this binary: “earthly” vs. “spiritual.” I don’t experience the world in this way. Probably it comes from doing entheogens and reading occult books in my formative teen years. Or maybe I was just always a weird kid, turning rapidly now into a weird old lady. In other words, I am quarreling with the premise behind this question.
But there really is no such thing as “mundane” in the “vs. spiritual” sense. Every single friggin’ atom of everything is chock full ‘o divinity, we just don’t always perceive it. (Yes, as a wee lass, I admit I was reading Aldous Huxley’s Doors of Perception…) So the gleaming stainless steel bowls about to receive my cats’ morning rations–those marvels of form and function–could potentially reveal their suchness and numinosity at any given moment, and my world would be unmade.
It wouldn’t be the first time, either. And for me, the potential deliverance of liminal perception and experience, intrinsic to all things, is where Loki dwells. It’s his promise. (He’s not unique in promising this particular thing, of course.)
So when we consciously and intentionally engage in spiritual practices we reflect acknowledge of this. We’re not transforming offerings into sacred objects for deity consumption, we’re acknowledging the sacredness they already have through the act of offering. A “sweets to the sweet” sort of thing. It’s yours anyway, so take it!
I’m yours anyway, so… Surrendering the small stuff. Making room for the numinous.
Of course, we humans dwell overmuch in the mundane as in “Booooring! The cats need to be fed, same old, same old. Fuck, what am I going to wear to work? Why won’t he put the toilet seat back down after he uses it?” That kind of thing. But dwell overmuch in the numinous and you’re one for the looney bin–or rather, these days–the cruel streets or one of those brand new concentration camps.
The balance. One foot in one world (sparkles!) and one foot in the other (meh), except it’s really you doing/being both at once, both feet connected to the rest of your body of electro-magnetic energies and minerals, dancing in the in-between and both. Not wave or particle, but both at once.
So the cure for the boredom that ails you is to wake up to the sparkles (or the horrors, sometimes) that are always there. Just add Loki! (Or any other deity.) You’re guaranteed an experience of something that just might blow your socks off and give you a reason to laugh, or at least feel something other than ennui.
Not looking forward to this year’s dreadfully difficult Thanksgiving Dinner with relatives? Just add Loki! (And duck…because that dish of cranberry sauce might go airborne.)
I could go on, but I’m sure you get the idea. Zest is obtainable. Possibilities are endless.
In this spirit, I offer a link to a google drive page of Ariel Gatoga’s lectures. If you scroll to the second roll from the bottom you’ll find my favorite, A Charmed Life (6/2/17). The message is: “Be a witch. Charm your wallet. Charm your shoes. Charm everything you have and do. All the time. Why not?”
As far as we know, there were no old Norse traditions around holidays or worship of Loki. That doesn’t mean there weren’t any–much lore has been lost. It just means we don’t know. So what follows are completely modern inventions.
Loki as a god of liminal space/time may very well enjoy sunrise and sunset, but I haven’t personally encountered anyone yet who sets aside these times of day for Loki. It’s not a bad idea though.
Many people do weekly observances for Loki on Saturday, but in my case, first he wanted Tuesday and then he wanted Sunday as his “special day.” I don’t know why.
April Fool’s Day, April 1st
I don’t personally use this day to celebrate Loki as I don’t see him as “a fool” (quite the opposite) but others enjoy this day. And here’s a delightful song for it.
In the Northern Hemisphere, the heliacal (morning) rising of Sirius ushers in the “Dog Days” of Summer. This usually takes place late July or early August. Lokabrenna is a Nordic name for Sirius, the brightest star in the sky. It means something like “Loki’s Torch.” This year, in the Northern Hemisphere, the date of Lokabrenna’s first morning appearance is calculated as occuring on August 14th. I found the following information on this site. Here’s the relevant paragraph:
“During August, as Mercury makes a morning appearance, brilliant Sirius, the sky’s brightest star, makes its first morning (heliacal) rising just before sunrise. For the latitude on the diagram, about 41.7 degrees, this is August 14, 2019. For locations farther south, this occurs days earlier and later for latitudes farther north.”
[Note: 41.7 degrees is near the California/Oregon border.]
Somehow it seems appropriate that the date is ambiguous and based on when people first read and reacted to a certain Tumblr post, dated September 4, 2012.
I read about this day on the Lokean Welcoming Committee blog and if I remember correctly, it apparently started via an innocent Tumblr post about offering Loki a storebought sponge cake, with strawberries and whippped cream. Then someone took great umbrage, claiming this was an inappropriate offering (too storebought, too modern, whatever!). Then many other people said, “F— that! You can offer whatever you want and whatever you think Loki wants.” Voila! Loki Spongecake Day was born. I wish I could find the post where I first read about it, because it was a great telling of the story and I remember the phrase about turning this fracas into a holiday, “because that’s how Lokeans roll” or something to that effect.
In addition to Loki, the holiday celebrates a smart and snarky defiance of convention.
Significant Personal Dates
Many Loki devotees and enthusiasts celebrate anniversaries of oathing and/or godspousing as well as other dates that mark a special time with Loki.
Today, July 11th is my anniversary of oathing and asking Loki to be my patron deity.
October 28th will mark the first anniversary of the Lokabrenna Tiny Temple dedication.
People may also celebrate special holidays for various members of Loki’s family, but I haven’t covered that here.
Traditional offerings or those a devotee chooses via intuition and “personal gnosis”–that’s our devotional topic for today. Others are blogging on this topic, of course, and Kyaza’s blog for Day 10 presents an array of modern choices beyond the usual cinnamon-flavored goodies that I and others offer to Loki. Ky mentions “intangibles” too, such as community service, which are as legit as donuts and not so likely to attract ants.
As far as days of yore, no one knows if Loki was given offerings. However, people may have toasted him with mead…so…there’s that.
I’m a fan of the series, Sense8. And though I have many favorite scenes, I have a special fondness for the ones of Kala Dandekar talking to Ganesh while offering really tasty plates of food. These scenes epitomize a loving and personal relationship between a devotee and a deity.
But why make offerings in the first place? Doesn’t it just mean a bunch of food is going to waste? Well… offerings are a way of cultivating and deepening relationships, of course. And they don’t have to be edible.
Here’s what some of my favorite magic authors have to say:
Aidan Wachter writes that “much like bringing your guy chocolates, we bring the Spirits and Powers offerings with the intention to make them happy, and with luck, to have them look more favorably upon us” (Six Ways–Approaches & Entries for Practical Magic, p. 79).
In The Elements of Spellcrafting–21 Keys to Successful Sorcery, Jason Miller talks about simple offerings as “gumball magic”–put something in, get something out (p. 81). He goes into greater depth with regard to researching folklore and history to understand which traditional offerings are appropriate for a particular spirit or deity. You don’t want to offer something inappropriate, no matter how heartfelt! He also says it’s good to make it a habit to make regular offerings, just ’cause. Again, this enables you to cultivate a relationship. Disposing of offerings also requires some care and thought. I recommend the chapter in his book which addresses these topics (pp. 81-91).
And for those who are new to the process of developing relationships with deities and spirits, I highly recommend Misha Magdalene’s Outside the Charmed Circle–Exploring Gender and Sexuality in Magical Practice, especially the chapter “On Negotiating Consent With the Gods. The book won’t be out until January 2020, but I was privileged to read an online copy, courtesy of the author. It’s SO GOOD! Preorder it!