Dagulf Loptson’s New Book: Loki Trickster and Transformer

510PMSAfpoL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_Inspirational, accessible, well-organized, experiential.

Loki: Trickster and Transformer (due for release May 29, 2020) is a must-read introduction to the Norse god, Loki Laufeyjarson, and modern Loki worship. And for anyone already devoted to this complex deity, Dagulf Loptson has created yet another informational and devotional gem. My reviewers copy now has an honored place in my own book collection, along with Loptson’s first, Playing With Fire: An Exploration of Loki Laufeyjarson (Asphodel Press, 2014).

Loki Trickster and Transformer is published by Pagan Portals (an imprint of http://www.johnhuntpublishing.com). This book definitely opens a door and guides the reader through it.

Loptson’s scholarship is respected by such notable writers as Diana Paxson (who writes an endorsement for this book) and Stephan Grundy, Ph.D., author of God in Flames, God in Fetters: Loki’s Roll in the Northern Religions.

I also want to mention that I thoroughly enjoy Loptson’s portrait of Loki on the cover, and the inside illustrations.

Inspirational

As someone who found myself, late in life, suddenly and surprisingly called by Loki (something which I would never have anticipated in a million years!), I appreciate Loptson’s work on many levels. When I read Loptson’s books I immediately feel closer to Loki, my fulltrui (my most trusted one among several deities with whom I work). That’s the experience I had with Playing With Fire, and it’s what I feel reading Trickster and Transformer. (This is not something that happens with most of the books on my shelves!) I can’t promise you’ll have the same experience, but I am willing to bet that you’ll enjoy returning to this book often, as there are many aspects of Loki to ponder, particularly the transformative ones.

But as Loptson writes, “Loki isn’t a god you can really know just by reading his stories or what other people have written about him: he’s a deity that needs to be experienced.” This book can help you move toward direct experience. But more on that in a moment.

Accessible

This book can also help you move toward your own research. The introduction includes a list of Norse lore sources for Loki myths and poems. I also appreciate the inclusion of endnotes, a bibliography, and a list of recommended reading. Readers are not forced to wonder where Loptson found his ideas. Loptson also clearly indicates when he’s expressing his own insights, opinions, and experiences, as opposed to describing a reference to Norse lore.

Well-organized & Experiential

The book progresses logically, which is really rather wonderful seeing as it’s devoted to a being who is supposedly “chaotic.” The first ten chapters each focus on a specific name (heiti) and aspect of Loki, so the reader gains broader understanding with each new chapter. Easier, “user friendly” Loki aspects are presented first. The last couple of chapters are devoted to aspects which are more challenging: Loki as “The Roarer” and “The Vulture’s Road.” I feel this is a measured, thoughtful approach which will serve readers well, especially those who are newcomers to Loki.

Each chapter also contains an activity and a simple ritual. Loptson is a skilled ritualist and this is reflected in the rituals he has created for each aspect of Loki. Elements from previous chapters and rituals are incorporated into subsequent ones. For example, the first chapter includes the consecration of a Loki candle. Several subsequent rituals will include this candle, plus other objects made and consecrated in future chapters.

The final chapter, “Becoming a Lokean,” includes a Loki Dedication Ritual and suggestions for a daily practice and altar implements (mostly the objects and materials created and assembled for the previous rituals).

I’ve worked through other rituals that Loptson has created, both in his previous book and as found on his blog, and I’ve always gotten something valuable from the experiences. I’ve now begun to work through Trickster and Transformer on my second reading, but have to postpone some of this work as I lack necessary materials. If I have any mild criticism to offer at all, it is that I have no idea where to find birch twigs, which are used in Chapter Ten’s Loki Blót (sacrifice) ritual. That tree doesn’t seem to grow around here, so a list of substitute woods would have helped.

A Master List of Materials Used in Trickster and Transformer

Though each chapter contains a list of the necessary materials and tools for each ritual, I suggest that the reader who intends to embark on this ritual series have a “master list” of all necessary items, and assemble all of them at once, in advance of beginning the first ritual. That way you won’t be stopped in your tracks by the lack of birch twigs or a dremel, or any other item. This may mean a trip to craft stores, thrift stores, or online purchases of hard-to-find herbs and incense ingredients, rocks, and beads.

I would make the suggestion that subsequent editions of this book contain such a list at the end, for easy reference, but here’s one now. (I hope the author will forgive my presumption in making such a list and offering it here.)


Candles: A pillar candle that is either orange, red, gold, yellow, black, green, or violet. (The first ritual on p. 12 specifies an orange candle or “a color of your choice.”); a fresh, unlit tealight candle.
Tools: a nail or other sharp tool for inscribing bind runes on candles; matches or a lighter; a lancet for drawing blood [dispose of used lancets safely]; a mortar and pestle for grinding herbs and resins; a jar for ground herbs and resins; a dremel or wood-burning kit for inscribing runes on wood or stone; a fire pit or fireplace; jars and bottles for recels and oils.
Herbs to make “recels” (incense): dandelion, mullein, Dragon’s Blood resin, cinnamon, star anise, clove. [Note: make a goodly amount. The recels are used several times throughout the book.]
[Note: I have been advised that mistletoe is not safe to burn or consume in any manner, though the author has included it in the recels recipe. I make a correction here.]
Herbs to make Loki Oil: jojoba oil [I bet olive oil would be okay too]; powdered dragon’s blood resin or dragon’s blood oil; black pepper essential oil; mullien leaf or flowers; red pepper flakes; sulphur; snake skin sheds (if obtainable).
Charcoal disc for burning the recels. [Note: use the kind found in religious supply stores for burning incense, not “charcoal briquettes” which are highly dangerous for indoor use.]
A fireproof container to hold the charcoal disc and recels as they burn.
Sand or salt to put in the bottom of the fireproof container, under the charcoal disc.
Optional feathers or fan to waft the incense smoke.
A cord or chain.
A piece of wood or metal that can become a pendant worn on the cord or chain.
Clay to make a replica of the Snaptun stone.
Optional small cloth bag.
Optional small stones and natural objects associated with Loki (p. 29) that could go into a bag.
Beads for a prayer bead strand (bead material choices are individual, but Loki stone associations can be found on p. 29).
String for beading.
A mirror (any kind).
Notebook and pen.
A plain wooden bowl, especially one that is plain on the inside bottom. [Note: the bottom will be engraved with a stave, using the dremel or wood-burning tool.]
Offerings: blood or saliva; a cloth heart, sewn by yourself, or a chicken or other animal heart from a butcher; water; other libation.

I want to encourage interested readers to order this book in advance, assemble your ritual materials, and prepare to make Loki’s acquaintance, if you haven’t already. (But can one ever be really prepared for Loki? You’ll find out, won’t you?)

I’m so thankful that Dagulf Loptson has written another valuable guide to Loki and Loki worship. I hope there may be more from this author in the future!

Hail Loki!

 

 

 

 

Loki Never Mansplains

…Or, given that Loki isn’t a human dude, and is often not even a dude-appearing deity at all (shapeshifter that he/she/they/ze is), perhaps I should write “Loki never godsplains.” Whatever! “He” does show up as mostly male-ish to my mortal inner eyes though, so I tend to use that pronoun the most. “He” seems to be cool with it.

Okay,  now that I’ve mortalsplained the above, I feel moved to celebrate the pithy, punchy, to the point, mostly non-verbal communicative stylings of my all-time favorite trickster deity, the marvelous (no pun intended) Loki Laufeyjarson!

Illustration_by_Kay_Nielsen_4
The North Wind, an illustration by Kay Nielsen. But it’s so Loki!

Loki leaves verbosity to me and that’s just the way we like it. He is happy to receive offerings of novels, devotional poems, and blogs in his honor. But Loki communicates his needs and his lessons in immediate and sometimes dramatic ways. Even though I don’t have a “godphone,” I have at least one example of an inner-audible “sound bite” that nearly bit my head off.

There was the time I absent-mindedly licked the spoon after putting a giant dollop of Nutella from HIS JAR into a bowl as an offering. I had sworn I’d never eat from that jar, and so I immediately thought “well, I didn’t take it from the jar!” as a half-assed apology. Was I surprised then when a big “NO!” resounded in my mind? There was no way Loki was going to let me get away with breaking an oath. No way at all. All I could think was, “damn, shit just got real!” Needless to say, I’ve never licked a spoon from his jar again. And he didn’t have to explain why he “shouted” no. I got it. Immediately.

LokabrennaDonuts1
Interior of Lokabrenna Tiny Temple.

Loki is also good at delivering what I call “pings,” “pokes,” and “signal flags.” I don’t know how to explain these exactly. I experience them as a spontaneous combination visceral/mental message that doesn’t seem to originate with me. They are often so off-the-wall that they do not reflect my usual thought processes and they have a compelling energy. An example would be the time I was scrolling through printed shower curtains, as a way to decorate the inside of Lokabrenna Tiny Temple. I was online, cruising shower curtains with “magic forest” themes, as that seemed mystical and Norse-ish, and I was really set on my vision for a complete “look.” But I kept getting a ping every time I scrolled past the large, bright colored donut shower curtain. I tried to deny it, but it was so repetitive that I was convinced that Loki wanted the donut shower curtain too. I checked this request with a pendulum that I use only for Loki. It swung “yes” to donuts. As a result, Lokabrenna is three walls of magic forest, one wall of donuts. And it now seems so right.

These simple communications are quite adroit. Many who are close to Loki have similar stories. In fact, the “Loki wanted this” story is quite common on social media–to the point that we could consider this community-verified gnosis about how Loki will interact with humans. Are every single one of these genuine communications from a Norse deity? I can’t say and wouldn’t presume to judge. Most of us know the importance of individual discernment or are in the process of learning about it.

One might wonder why a powerful preternatural figure would want a donut shower curtain or any of the other reported trivial requests. Here’s my UPG: I think how we meet Loki’s requests let’s him know how much we’ll listen to him (about small matters and large ones), how much we’re willing to pay attention, how much we care about him, and how far we’ll go to indulge in light-hearted whimsy. More UPG: I think he really needs the latter sometimes, and humans can be a fine source of amusement.

Since I use the pendulum, tarot, and the AI “Inspirobot” program to “talk” with Loki (that last is not entirely serious), there is no way for me to have a complex conversation with him. (It might be different for others.) That means there is no opportunity for tortuous god- or mansplaining. Yay! And as I said, he’s direct and terse most of the time. And if you don’t pay attention to the ping, the poke, or the signal flags he’s waving at you, he’s perfectly capable of rearranging your life until you finally “get it.”

I love that Loki doesn’t give us complicated rules or doctrine. The only hard limit I can think of is to never break an oath (especially to him).  Of course, expect the unexpected is a given, but we all knew that going in.

At the end of this awfully weird year, I’m looking forward to another trip around the sun with Loki and the rest of the deities I work with. I wish you all the same–may you have joy in your spiritual quests!

 Hail Loki!

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Spiritual Seesaw

This last month has felt bifurcated. On the one hand, I was finishing up two important acts of devotional service for the Norse Loki Laufeyjarson, my patron deity, and on the other hand I was called into service on behalf of Mauna Kea and Poliahu, its goddess of the snow.

I know. It sounds weird, doesn’t it?

2560px-'Mauna_Kea_from_Hilo_Bay'_by_D._Howard_Hitchcock,_1887
“Mauna Kea from HIlo Bay,” D. Howard Hitchcock, 1887. Public Domain.

I guess that’s just how it rolls in polytheism, especially when you work with deities from different pantheons. Bifurcation, trifurcation, whatever-furcation!!!

In my most recent work for Loki, of course I’m referring to the LokiFest Online conference and the completion of work on Loki’s Torch, an anthology of devotional work.  I’m now experiencing a post-project “let down” (I hear that’s normal) with only vague intimations of what’s coming up next.

In my work on behalf of sacred Mauna Kea, I’m referring to signal boosting and  writing, as an ally from afar. And of course I’m not going to stop finding ways to pass along information about the cause. It’s also a gift to connect once again with the spirit of Kapu Aloha, as exemplified by the Mauna Kea Kia’i (protectors). I so want them to win!

The above is background for an unexpected grace that’s emerged in these last few weeks. I had thought that my incongruous relationship with the “powers” of Hawai’i had been severed back in 2017, and I’ve felt a sense of exile, and a vague shame, ever since. Finding that connection fanned into life again, as part of a “call” for everyone to show up for the Mauna and for the Kanaka Maoli, has been healing. All I had ever wanted, really, was to be of use to Hawai’i nei (beloved Hawai’i).

And why is that?

Because, starting the early 2000’s, Maui and Hawai’i islands whammed me with a spiritual epiphany and then bestowed substantial healing for my environmental illness. I have no idea why, but it happened and I benefited. In return, I pledged to do whatever I could for Hawai’i as a “give-back.” I’ve often been clumsy in how I went about this, and have stumbled on the paving stones of “good intentions” as I travel my personal “road to Hel.” But I did try to keep my vow even when looking (and acting) the fool. I guess it feels good to have another opportunity to potentially contribute.

Years later, Loki also saved my life, coming to me during a time of utmost despair and shame. I made a vow to him too, oathing myself to him and his service. However he understands that I’ve also got previous commitments. He graciously stepped to the side as Mauna Kea came front and center on July 15th. (Besides I was still doing his work, as well.)

Come to think of it, I’m no stranger to bifurcation (trifurcation, whatever-furcation!). I’ve straddled worlds and juggled distinctly different viewpoints and approaches as a parent, in my romantic relationships, in my career, and in my creative work and spiritual quests. I’m always in exile, never entirely at home. Yet, there are common themes with all of this. But maybe only I can see, from my own peculiar vantage point, how it makes sense for me to honor deities of both the Norse and Hawaiian pantheons, as long as my offerings are acceptable.

My favorite Loki artist, Sceithailm on Deviant Art (aka Sceith-A), often depicts Loki as shod on the right foot, shoeless on the left, walking between worlds. How lucky I am to be at last with a deity who understands. My own right foot walks the Midgard realm known as Turtle Island. My left foot–apparently–never really did leave the ‘aina.

46687664_10213104884760609_8432457266745049088_o
Artist: Sceithailm, A. URL: sceithailm.deviant.art.com. I do not own the rights to this picture but am using it in this blog for educational purposes and to promote the artist’s webpage.

Hail Loki!

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Day 5 – Loki’s Kindred

My youngest brother used to say that our family “puts the FUN in dysfunctional.” I don’t think we could apply that to what we read of Loki’s family dynamics–which are fairly messy and not all his fault. As you might have guessed, today’s devotional topic or question concerns ” members of the [deity’s] family – genealogical connections.” What follows is a compilation from various sources and may not be complete.

Fractal Flame, Made with Gimp
Fractal Flames, Linear. Author: Nevit Dilmen. 2000. GNU Free Documentation License.

 

Loki Laufeyjarson’s Family

Note: the Wikipedia links for each name, including Loki, give Norse Lore sources. And I highly recommend the chapter, “Family Circus,” in Dagulf Loptson’s book (below).

Family of Origin, Plus…

Mother: Laufey (“Leafy Island”), a Jotun or possibly a tree goddess. Raven Kaldera calls her “The Lady of the Leafy Isle” (p. 374). Notice how Loki’s surname is matronymic, from his mother (Loptson, p. 39). Laufey is also known as Nál (Needle).

Father: Fárbauti (“Cruel Striker” or “Dangerous Hitter”), a Jotun. The name may be a reference to lightening strikes.

Brothers: Býleistr (“Calming Lightening”) and Helblindi (“All-Blind” or “Death-Defier”).

Óðinn (also Odin, Wōden, Wōdan, Wuotan) – Blood brother. No, he’s not “Loki’s Father” in anything but the Marvel Universe. But, as we say these days, “it’s complicated.”

Loki’s Partners and Children

Glöð (“Glowing Ember”). This one is controversial. She is the wife of Logi, who may or may not be a form of Loki. Her father was Grímr of Grímsgarðr, a Jotun, and her mother was Alvör, sister to the King of the Light Elves. Those who conflate Logi and Loki name the two daughters, “Eysa, aka Eisa, (“glowing embers”) and Eimyrja (“embers”)” as Loki’s first known children.

Angrboða (“The One Who Brings Grief”), a Jotun. No controversy here. With Loki, she brought three powerful children into the Nine Worlds: Fenrir aka Fenris (“Fen-Dweller”); the giant wolf; Jörmungandr (“Huge Monster”), also known as the “Midgard Serpent;” and Hel (“Hidden”), who becomes queen of the underworld.

Grandchildren: Fenrir has two wolf-children, Sköll (“Treachery”), who chases the Sun, and Hati Hróðvitnisson (“He Who Hates”), who chases the Moon. The mother is an unnamed giantess of the Ironwood (source, the longer prophetic poem: Völuspá).

Sigyn (“Victorious Girlfriend”), possibly an Æsir goddess (feminine, single: ásynja). No controversy here either, though information about Sigyn is sparse. Her two sons with Loki are Nari, aka Narfi, and Váli. Both children came to a tragic end, thanks to the fury of Óðinn and the other Æsir.

Sleipnir (“Slippy” or “The Slipper”), an eight-legged horse which becomes Óðinn’s “best of all horses.” Loki was Sleipnir’s mother (he’d shape-shifted into a mare) and Svaðilfari, a stallion, is Slepinir’s father.

Other Offspring

• In the Lokasenna, Loki says he had a son with Týr’s wife or consort, whose name is unknown. And Loki says he’ll never pay weregild for this either, so there!

Loki:
“Be silent, Týr;
to thy wife it happened
to have a son by me.
Nor rag nor penny ever
hadst thou, poor wretch!
for this injury.”

• Unknown number of “Witch Daughters” aka “Troll Women” after Loki eats the burnt heart of a woman, probably left as an offering. In the Völuspá hin skamma (Lesser Völuspá), a poem of prophesies:

Loki ate some of the heart, the thought-stone of a woman,
roasted on a linden-wood fire, he found it half-cooked;
Lopt was impregnated by a wicked woman,
from whom every ogress on earth is descended.

Ogress is sometimes translated as “troll woman” which is also another name for witch.

The name “Lopt” is also used in stanzas that continue this part of the poetic narrative, providing evidence that this was another name for Loki.

There are scholarly theories that the burnt heart might have belonged to Gullveig aka Heiðr. Some people think Gullveig and Freyja (Freya), a Vanir goddess who lives among the Æsir, are the same. Freyja is not a name but a title that means “Lady.” Her brother’s name is also a title, “Lord.” So some have made the case that references to Freyja could be references to Gullveig as “The Lady.” There is also speculation that Angrboða and Gullveig are also different names for the same woman. All three of these names are associated with witchery. (See Loptson, pp. 68-73 for a summary.)

Loki’s Descendents

What with the Fenrir’s two sons (chasing the moon and sun), and the unamed and unnumbered witch daughters, Loki has provided us with an interesting legacy of magic and shape-shifting.

Last year, during a 93-day “challenge” of daily spiritual practices, which overlapped with an observance of Loptson’s “Eight Days of Loki” ritual at the end (pp. 240-251), Loki generously agreed to stand in as a spiritual ancestor for me during that period. (I did this challenge to solidify my daily practice and to prepare for the Lokabrenna Tiny Temple dedication on Oct. 28, 2018.)

Loki is my patron, so I still hail him as a spiritual ancestor (and it feels okay to continue to do so). But he also seems to have been important to people in my father’s father’s line, as determined via mediation and divination. (Daniel Foor’s work on Ancestral Medicine is relevant here.)

I connect with Loki’s lineage as one of witchery and magic. And witchery and magic is one way to engage with the gossamer realms and the greater energies and beings that infuse the cosmos as we know it.

Hail Loki, Mother of Witches!

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Aside from internet links to Wikipedia and Norse sources, references include:

Loptson, Dagulf. 2014. Playing with Fire: An Exploration of Loki Laufeyjarson. Asphodel Press.

Kaldera, Raven. 2006. The Jotunbok. Asphodel Press.

Complex_fractle_image
Author: Kkrouni. n/d. Public Domain.

 

 

 

 

Day 2 – Loki? We Met Online

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Author: Randomness. May 25, 2008. CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication.

Today’s question is: “how did you become first aware of this deity?” (In some ways, I could say we met online…LOL!)

I was at a really low point. It was bad. Really bad. It wasn’t the first time I’d been scraped raw, heartbroken, consumed by despair (as a Scorpio, the pheonix cycle is a regular feature of my life) but it was devastating even so.

Then, completely unexpectedly, someone made themself known (plural gender, y’all!). It was “like thunder, lightening–the way it happened was frightening.”

And then it was like this:

And, well… ever since it’s been kinda like this.

And this, in the sweetest moments of meditation and connection.

So. Yeah.

Hail Loki.

And big thanks to Kyaza for setting a good example! Ky’s blog post for Day Two.

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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