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.

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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