Group Lokean Letter sent to The Wild Hunt, Not Published

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Signed:

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


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


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

Denise Bowen

Wyrd Dottir

Rev. Eric R. Roberts

Gangler is Grove

Richard Norris

Justin Nichols

Ki Lokean aka Ki Brosius aka Ki Brightly

Jessica Marcione

B. A. McNeely

Ode of 3 Pagans and Cat

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

Loki_taunts_Bragi

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

####

Advertisements

Rabbit, Rabbit

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


Oh, the Irony…

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

But Wait! There’s MORE!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alas.

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

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

Loki! Loki! (For luck.)

####

I’ve Eaten My Own Burnt Heart and Given Birth

To witches, no less. (Be not afraid, this is a writer’s metaphor, not “Lokean drama”…)

Oh, are you there? Pardon me while I decompress in public after the wild joy ride of National Novel Writing Month, which was certainly already intense enough. Just try producing a coherant stream of 50,000 words in one month! Those who have done this know what I mean! It can either leave you feeling like an Awesome God or Godette of Literary Potency or like a limp dishrag, or a bit of both.

But then all that Karl Seigfried Lokiphobia controversy gummed up this last week’s literary flow! I chose to engage though, and I’m glad I did! I became enraged! I made new friends! I shared moments of gleeful mirth! (And I have so much more to say on that topic, but later for that!)

First, a musical interlude. Wild One, Iggy Pop, ’cause I am literally dancing with joy and relief. (Did I ever tell you that story about that time I ended up on stage with the guy at San Francisco’s Old Waldorf, wearing a bright magenta space dress and hood and gold snakeskin boots? Or the time I drove a silly girlfriend of my brother’s over to the Miyako Hotel so she could try to sell him some… stuff…that’s now legal in California? Well, another time. Later for that.)

12028868_10207112939609087_3486118964918588213_o
Me back in the day. Punk wearable artist. About the same time as I ended up on stage with Iggy Pop. Photo by Jaen Anderson, published in Slick Magazine.

Oh my dear heavens, I am decompressing sumthin’ awful! But stay with me. This blog actually has a point.

I’ve mentioned before that this book I’m working on, The Witching Work of the Guild of Ornamental Hermits, is the second in a trilogy. The first, The Dire Deeds of the Guild of Ornamental Hermits, is set in the Puna district of Hawai’i Island (south of Hilo). The volcanic goddess, Pele, was very much behind the scenes in the book and in my life. I was living in her country when I started writing the first novel, and was learning to offer the chant Aia la O Pele. I actually pledged to read the entire first draft aloud to her, as an offering. I was on her land so it seemed only fair. And those nineteen months of exile were the loneliest and most depressing of my life. I felt so far from my children and the San Francisco Bay Area, my home. The book provided my most consistent cheer and focus.

Indeed, I was writing from my own burnt heart at that point–newly divorced and lonely as hell, surrounded by a nightly cacophony of coqui frogs chirping incessantly for sex— so what else could I do but birth a sassy community of witches and Elves nestled in an imagined intentional community deep in the Puna jungle? I was creating characters that I wanted to know, and Hermitville, place I wished I could live in. And just as the practice of magic entered the lives of my post-midlife crisis characters, so magic also entered mine.

Even back here in California I continued to read the first draft aloud to Tutu Pele. The book provided closure to the life I lived–as a junior Baba Yaga in my jungle house on stilts, surrounded by coconuts, hibiscus, wild orchids, feral pigs, and unleashed pit bulls. My characters also began to say their good-byes to the home they’d known for so long.

Pele_by_David_Howard_Hitchcock,_c._1929
Pele, by David Howard Hitchcock, c. 1929. Public domain.

Now Pele is known as a sometimes “difficult” goddess, commanding great respect. In fact, seven months after I left Pahoa, the Leilani Estates eruption (May 3, 2018) began to take out acres of land and forest preserves, houses, the Wai’opae tidepools, the Ahalanui warm pond, the Hawaiian language charter school,  roads, and more–creating a massive crisis for the people of  that impoverished area. The massive lava flows continued for months. And yet the people in Puna remained proud of Pele and they rallied around each other with aloha, in a way that (now looking on from a distant shore) I envied.

My return to California shifted my focus from studying Hawaiian culture to continuing my studies of Western magic. I felt a strong call to begin working with my ancestors. And I began to feel my way into the Norse pantheon. I began with Frey, then Freya and Gerda.  Loki was not on my conscious radar then, though looking back I see his influence in my life, going back decades. I wish I’d known then what I “know” now!

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

And then, bam. He began tugging at my attention during a bitter crisis. Suddenly Loki and trickster references were everywhere, from pop culture to things I was stumbling across in my reading. Really very present, even in my astrological chart. This was much more up close and personal than even my fleeting “encounters” with Pele, who up to then had provided the most nearly “real” spiritual experiences of my life. (Someday I might write about those too–a story for another time.) As a result, I began serious, daily, devotional practices and reading. I probably was a little too quick to oath myself to Loki, but it seemed right at the time and I have no regrets. I do realize now that it was a bit of a hasty, newbie thing to do.

Given all this–and the fact that I started NaNoWriMo month with two Dagulf Loptson Loki rituals (here and here)–I should not have been surprised when Loki jumped right into the start of my second book, dominating the first few pages and now driving much of the story line. He’s right there, a fictionalized version named Lucky LaFey, along with my characters, the mortal “Hermits” and the Elves of The Realm. They’ve set up a new Hermitville right here in Lake County and have a new supernatural villain to defeat. I’d originally imagined a different plot line with this second book, but what’s happening now fits beautifully. It’s much stronger than my original plot concept.

In fact, last night, I took a deep breath, on the day before the close of NaNoWriMo, and because I was about to write a chapter from Loki’s perspective, in his first-person voice, I asked for some contribution from him, to come through me into the chapter. I wanted to get it right, you see. I felt that this was somewhat edgy–I’ve never taken such a step, so I took care to set time limits and “boundaries,” not knowing what to expect.

What happened was, the chapter flowed. What had been stuck now moved. There was no dramatic channeling or “horsing” or anything of that nature. But I felt close to him and wrote from the inside out with that feeling. He was/is my active muse.

And yes, I read the whole of the first book to him, aloud, and now I’m reading my draft of the second. It’s a satisfying sort of offering to make.

Loki As Muse

“Loki as Muse” doesn’t get nearly as much attention as he should. Someone should create an encyclopedia of this god’s cultural, creative, literary, and musical impact. From the old surviving Norse lore, where Loki drives a lot of the stories, to modern opera, movies, comics, visual art, fiction (including fan), costume design, pop music, and more. An encyclopedia would be a brilliant project, actually!

Since entering “Loki Land” I’ve been so impressed with high quality artwork, crafts, and writing–from blogs to books. And of course I enjoy Marvel Loki, which is a witty twist on the traditional mythology (even if it is fairly distorted).

I find myself less and less aligned with statements that equate Loki with “chaos” (as in the popular sense of meaningless, destructive disarray). I’m not saying he’s never chaotic, negative, or “too much,” but that there also seems to be a bandwidth that I would describe as “catalytic” and transformational instead. It may be that artists and creative souls are more “at home” with Loki, as they may be more used to playing in realms of quick connections, influences, passions, and intellectual and spiritual epiphanies. With Loki, stuff swirls, dances, glances, and recombines.

In other words, along with the other roles that Loki plays in my life (adopted ancestor, teacher, patron deity), Loki-as-muse is positive, challenging, and hella fun. And he gives me courage to write and birth magic from my own burnt heart. Hail Loki!

Finally, here’s my #NaNoWinner2018 certificate, just because I want to boast a little. As you might have guessed, this book will end up as an offering to him, just as the first book will have a dedication to Tutu Pele.

Oh, and that “birthing witches” thing I said? Aside from my twelve fictional, magic-wielding “Hermits,” one of my kids is actually a witch. My other is more of an entheogens fan though. Who knows what he’ll get up to later on?

NaNo-2018-Winner-Certificate

 

####

 

 

 

Dude, I Call Lokiphobia! Check Your Bully Pulpit.

Yesterday I woke up perplexed and annoyed. Today I woke up pissed. Maybe it was that nightmare of the horse falling from out of the sky, missing one leg (who knows what this means?) and that part later where I had to flee with a frightened family to a place of numerous birds in cages and eerily pleasant people behind the counter, checking us in.

All I know is that I deeply resent the psuedo-Satanic Panic import of Karl Seigfried’s Wild Hunt opinion piece, “Loki in the White House.” Yesterday I didn’t even want to write his name, today I think it’s important to do so. Because I think his intentions are to further ostracize–and demonize–a group of religious people already existing in the margins of neopaganism: Lokeans and those who Hail Loki, among other deities.

Two days ago, I never knew this guy existed. But I understand from another Lokean that at one point he wrote a denunciation of racism. I haven’t seen this article or essay myself, because I haven’t gone looking for it, but assuming this is true, why is it that a person who is seemingly capable of speaking out against the negative impacts of prejudice and systemic racism can then turn around and deliberately weaponize his own prejudices by whipping up resentment against a group of religious practitioners, equating their deity with a sort of “satanic” purpose and intent (e.g. Ragnarok)? Don’t all decent people deplore the ugliness and hatred of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia and the like?

I invite you to read more about Satanic Panic here. There are parallels to what Seigfried is doing.

Seigfried’s Call to Action

I’m going to quote again the “call to action” at the end of Seigfried’s diatribe, a little more fully than I did yesterday. Let’s examine what he says. Here’s the last two paragraphs. I am inserting brackets and numbers, to make this easier.


[Beginning of Quote] By examining Loki in the light of Trump, we can realize that there is a way to understand the mythic figure as [1] neither a “Christian influenced” Satan inserted into the lore, nor a [2] misunderstood anti-hero who should be elevated to a [3] near monotheistic pinnacle of devotion. Instead, he can be seen as [4] a figure who represents the worst aspects in ourselves, who embodies all that is harmful to a community of positive intent. [5] Trump shows us the real-world results of an objectifier of women, a betrayer of community, an opposer of law, and a bringer of chaos being set loose to work his will upon the world. [6] Is this really what we want? [7] I believe that the idea of Loki as the bound giant who finally breaks free to destroy the world is [8] the root element of his character. [9] I suggest that maybe we should support those who seek to bind the beast [10] rather than cheer on his rampage.

Finally, I would like to make the simple request that, following this article, [11] lovers of Loki and partisans of the president [12] refrain from making death threats against me. I know that these are two figures who inspire passionate devotion, but I think it is possible to have differences of opinion without threatening lives and livelihood. [13] Thank you for rejecting fundamentalism. [End of Quote]


Before I begin to break down these statements, line by line, keep in mind that elaborate sociological theories exist which describe the manifold ways in which those who hold themselves up as representing a “norm” always need a group of “deviants” to “other.” It’s essential to be able to point to “Those guys over there, they’re responsible for our problems! Not us! We couldn’t possibly make any mistakes! We’re good, we’re normal!

That’s why in 45’s Reign of Error we have an upsurge in public hate against Muslims, immigrants, people of color, trans and gender variant people, LGBQ folks, women, etc. Twump exploited this human failing from the very beginning, effectively demonizing Hilary Clinton (not my fave either, but c’mon!). He organized his supporters around a common enemy (an uppity woman and her followers) and held himself up as their savior.

You can’t boost your status with an implied victory unless you have a threat and an enemy. Gosh, just like what Seigfried is doing in his article! He’s going to save us from all those deviant Lokeans who want twump to bring on Ragnarok! Frankly, Seigfried’s taken more than one page from the playbook of the presidential figure he purports to abhor.


So, let’s calmly pick apart those last two paragraphs, shall we? Seigfried’s content is in italics. My comments are in bold. The paragraphs begin with:

By examining Loki in the light of Trump, we can realize that there is a way to understand the mythic figure as

[1] neither a “Christian influenced” Satan inserted into the lore, nor a…

Seigfried asks us to set aside all consideration of academic and popular discussions of the impact of Christian writers and thought on Norse lore in general, and Loki in particular. He wants us to just ignore all that scholarship. It gets in the way of his pitch. Here’s a little clue: “Christian influenced” is in quotes, but no source for that phrase is cited. He wants the quotes to undermine the influence of that descriptive phrase.

[2] misunderstood anti-hero who should be elevated to a…

This is a dig at modern Lokeans. It implies that his understanding should trump ours as religious practitioners. (Pun intended.)

[3] near monotheistic pinnacle of devotion. Instead, he can be seen as…

A generalization which serves to polarize public opinion among polytheistic neopagans because now we’re not just Lokeans, we’re (gasp!) monotheistic Lokeans–and devoted to boot! The subtext is: “What wouldn’t such deviants do on behalf of their one true god? Save us from such zealots! Circle the wagons! Hide the women and children!”

You may think I’m exaggerating, but I am not. Because it gets worse.

FYI, this monotheistic thing? This is also a blatant untruth. There are plenty of people who hail Loki, among many other deities and ancestors (and not just Norse ones either), and there are also those who are more focused on Loki than on other deities, and there are some who actually refer to themselves as Lokeans or some other related term and yet may or may not focus exclusively on Loki. So what?

[4] a figure who represents the worst aspects in ourselves, who embodies all that is harmful to a community of positive intent.

So here’s the Big D Demonization, right here. After making a very threadbare case by linking Loki with 45 through cherry-picked comparisons, Seigfried just flat out states that Loki is everything that is bad. This implies that his followers are unfit for a “community of positive intent.” The subtext is: “Cast them out, I say!”

The sad, sad irony is that I’ve found more positive intent, kindness, and patient, ethical acceptance among the groups of online Lokeans that I am getting to know, than almost anywhere else. And my experience with the vibrant essence of the being who has identified him/her/zirself as “Loki” has been quite positive and multi-layered. 

I think this is what unnerves Seigfried, actually, that many of us are having actual mystic and religious experiences with a larger being. It’s not just a bunch of us sitting around with Marvel Loki dolls imagining “UPG”–stuff really happens. 

I’d also like to point out that there seems to be a rather large percentage of female, LGBQIA, and trans and gender diverse people who are Loki devotees–as opposed to cis-het men–and that Seigfried is leading a charge to marginalize those who are already marginalized due to these statuses, in addition to already being shunned as Lokeans. Is he going after the white supremacists who wear Thor hammers, those who are truly 45’s supporters and who would like nothing better than to nuke brown people in other countries, thereby bringing on a semblance of Ragnarok? No! Seigfried’s a bully. He’s going after those he perceives as weak and unorganized. 

(And we are unorganized, compared to other neopagan groups. But I don’t believe we are weak.)

[5] Trump shows us the real-world results of an objectifier of women, a betrayer of community, an opposer of law, and a bringer of chaos being set loose to work his will upon the world.

Yeah. But twump is what happens when you combine white, male, upper class privilege with immense greed and lack of ethics, total unconcern for anyone else, politicians beholden to corporations, rigged elections, and probable collusion with Russia. And let’s not forget systemic racism, misogyny and rape culture, trans and homophobia, Islamophobia, grudges against immigrants, etc. Then acknowledge that most of our media are owned by a handful of companies and that 45 was given “star quality” by CBS.

Loki has absolutely NOTHING to do with the present state of our eroding, so-called democracy. We brought this on ourselves.

[6] Is this really what we want?

Here’s where Siegfried becomes as sly as the deity he purports to despise. He asks the question. Because we want to be part of that “community of positive intent” that Seigfried references, we answer: 

“Wow, no, gosh, we don’t want all that! Eww, no! Take it away! It’s the fault of a faulty god! Let’s blame him! And his followers!

Seigfried weaves his false equation, Loki=Trump, and then asks us if we really want this shit-fuck stack based on centuries of racism, chattel slavery, genocide of native peoples, and the immense cluelessness of white people who persist in clutching their privileges about themselves to ward off the ultimate reckoning for their deeds (not just their ancestors’s deeds)…our deeds, our collective failures to address any of this in an effective way). 

See? There’s no need to do any hard work examining our own privileges and deeply entrenched prejudices, no need to be organizing against this stuff in any real way. It’s all the fault of that Norse Satan. He did it. Not us.  

[7] I believe that the idea of Loki as the bound giant who finally breaks free to destroy the world is…

Again, remember, this is Seigfried’s “belief,” and it discards not only all the other attributes of Loki that can be found in the the lore but also disregards the lived experiences of contemporary neopagans who have Loki in their lives. But Seigfried wants you to believe that HIS belief and perceptions have far more value than that of the religious practitioners actually engaged with Loki.

[8] the root element of his character.

This guy just won’t give up, will he? I actually don’t care that he believes as he does. He’s welcome to whatever. What I do care about is that he is turning a popular neopagan platform into a bully pulpit to portray a particular god as a dangerous being, and his followers as not only unworthy of consideration and also as an active threat to others.

[9] I suggest that maybe we should support those who seek to bind the beast

Meaning him of course. He wants to be your champion against bad, bad Loki and the bad, bad Lokeans. That’s one hell of a bondage fantasy, Seigfried!

[10] rather than cheer on his rampage.

Meaning those of us that he deems as unworthy of support because we worship (among others) a god that he doesn’t like. 

Also, I don’t know any Lokeans who are cheering on 45 and his policies. Not a one.

[11] Finally, I would like to make the simple request that, following this article,

Actually, there’s a lot to unpack in this supposedly “simple request.” Siegfreid invites us to join with him–“following the article”–thereby slipping in the suggestion that we are following him now when we do as he asks.

[12] lovers of Loki and partisans of the president

Once again hammering home that false equivalency.

[13] refrain from making death threats against me. I know that these are two figures who inspire passionate devotion, but I think it is possible to have differences of opinion without threatening lives and livelihood.

The implication that Lokeans and those who hail Loki would actually make death threats is a staggering statement. I can scarcely imagine the self-centeredness, the hubris, of a man who would imply such a thing. He aches to be a martyr, so that he can prove how worthy he is to be our champion, or some other self-serving agenda.

And again, he continues the false equivalency. Can someone please tell this guy that “correlation does not equal causation?” Thanks ever so.

And by the way, did you notice the amazing plethora of tags at the end of his article? This guy is on a crusade and he wants search engines to be his bitch. He’s tagged everything from J.R.R. Tolkien to rape. He is clearly desperate for readership and followers. Here’s his tags:


Culture, Paganism, Perspectives, Politics #MeToo, 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, abduction, Access Hollywood, allegory, apocalypse, applicability, Asatru, Asgard, Attorney General, Baldr, Bill Zanker, border, Brett Kavanaugh, chaos, chaos magick, China, Christianity, Christine Blasey Ford, CIA, comic books, community, conspiracy theories, death threats, deicide, diversity, divorce, Donald Trump, duality, Edda, Eric Trump, family separation, fandom, FBI, Fenrir, Freyja, Freyr, Fundamentalism, Geirröd, genocide, George W. Bush, Germanic mythology, giants, goddesses, gods, Hatice Sengiz, Heathenry, Heimdall, Hel, henotheism, History of the Danes, Idunn, Iran, Ivana Trump, Ivanka Trump, J.R.R. Tolkien, Jack Kirby, Jamal Khashoggi, Jeffrey Kaplan, Joanne Harris, John Roberts, Jörmungandr, Jr., Justice Department, Kim Jong Un, Laufey, LGBTQ, Lokasenna, Loki, Loki Laufeyjarson, Mar-a-Lago, Matthew Whitaker, Mexico, millenarianism, Mjolnir, Mohammed bin Salman, monotheism, murder, Nazi Germany, nepotism, new religious movements, norse mythology, North Korea, nuclear war, Old Norse, Paganism, Paul Ricoeur, Poetic Edda, polytheism, prophecy, psychoanalysis, Radical Religion in America, ragnarok, rape, Reykjavik, ritual, Robert Mueller, Roland Paris, Rudolf Simek, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Saxo Grammaticus, Seeress, sexual assault, sexual harassment, Sif, Skáldskaparmál, slut shaming, Snorri Sturluson, society, Stan Lee, Steny Hoyer, thanksgiving, The Lord of the Rings, theology, Think Big, Thjazi, Thor, Thor’s hammer, Tom Hiddleston, transgender, Trump, Trump Tower, Twitter, University of Ottawa, Völuspá, White House, Wicca, witch hunt, World Serpent

[14] Thank you for rejecting fundamentalism.

This last is a whopper! In what way have followers of Loki ever espoused any form of fundamentalism? We’re the oddest, most eclectic lot I can imagine. Our forms of worship and engagement are quite, quite diverse. 

And again, the false equivalency…

Lokiphobia as the New Satanic Panic?

What exactly is Seigfried trying to unleash here, with his frantic bid for attention to this topic? By scapegoating a scattered band of Loki enthusiasts, and dissing their god to the max, he seems to be doing his best to create an easily targeted enemy within the large tent of neopaganism and the smaller tents of Heathen, Asatru, and other Norse Traditions. Those of us who have already commented publicly on his hit piece are now flushed out and identifiable (if we weren’t before), ready to be excommunicated from that “community” he talks about (if we haven’t been already), and if we don’t behave and give up our devotions to our “Norse Satan,” perhaps roasted over the slow flame of public scorn. Meanwhile our fascist oligarchy grinds on…

This is a dangerous thing, what he’s doing. In a country where the Satanic Panic of the 80s and 90s cost many innocent people their lives, livelihood, and liberty–a panic which is still simmering in many communities across the country, including fundamentalist Christian denominations and neonazi groups–do we really need Seigfried to fan the flames of a new, trendier pseudo-Satanic target? I mentioned in my previous blog that neonazis and white supremacists are already equating Loki=Jewish=Satan. Their arguments include the fact that Loki takes his mother’s name as a surname, which is also a Jewish custom. And I am sure there are reasons even more bizarre than this, and perhaps even more bizarre than Siegfried’s comparison of Loki to 45.

That man who just shot up the temple in Pennsylvania? He flat out stated that “Jews are Satan” in one of his online profiles. That’s part of why he decided to murder everyone. What’s next, who’s next? Who is going to get their white supremacist knickers in a twist now and perhaps decide to murder Loki cosplayers or attendees at neopagan festivals, “because they are Satan?”

Believe me, I write this now and part of me says, “Don’t say it. Don’t write this. Don’t give anyone any ideas.” But those ideas are already out there, folks. And Seigfried has just given a certain class of nut job carte blanche to “prevent” whatever wacky conception of “Ragnarok” that they may hold. And remember too, a lot of people hailing Loki are already at risk due to their queerness, gender variance, or other marginalized statuses.

What Do We Need to Do?

In the larger neopagan communities, we need respectful interfaith dialogue, not hit pieces and hate. We need to understand ourselves what respectful interfaith dialogue consists of, and we need to insist upon it as rules of engagement in all forums and gatherings.

We need to call out Lokiphobia for what it is–unwarrented discrimination against a group of religious practitioners.

And among those who hail Loki, perhaps we need more self-organization, to make public statements of our values so that others know where we stand, to continue writing if that’s what we do, to do everything we can to counter the perceptions that we are somehow unworthy or lesser beings by attaching our devotion to a controversial deity.

One the one hand, we shouldn’t have to prove anything to anybody. But the gauntlet’s been thrown, and we have to not just “defend” our faith, but also through civil discourse  to communicate it, pro-actively. We cannot afford to be the targets of a public smear or a public panic, and I’m afraid that’s what Seigfried intends.

And we’re not the only ones with a controversial deity, for heaven’s sake (no pun intended)! Humanity’s history is full of them. But why us? Why now? That is my question for Seigfried and his ilk. I wanna know. What’s in it for him?

P.S. One of my kids is a Luciferian, and you can bet I’ll go to bat for those folks too.


Please also read these thoughtful rebuttals by other bloggers:

Dagulf Loptson, Loki and Trump: My Thoughts

Kyaza, Analysis of Seigfried’s Comparison of Loki and Trump

Sonya Odinsdottir, Rebuttal to Article: Loki in the White House

Sarenth Odinson, Loki is Not Trump (Neither is Odin)

John Mainer, Loki, Discord and Deep Lore


.

FireSnakeTemple

####