LokiFest CA Moving Forward

UNDER CONSTRUCTION LokiFestGood news! We have provisional approval from the Lakeport City Council to hold the public portion of LokiFest in Library Park, Lakeport CA, on August 10th! I have to jump through a few more bureaucratic hoops, but it’s probably going to be okay.

I’m also working on setting up the online portion via zoom.us either day before or perhaps the Sunday after.

There will aso be a private Lokean/pagan gathering for rituals, presentations, and community discussion on August 9th. Email me at feypride at yahoo.com if you are interested.

The event is timed to roughly coincide with (1) the rising of Lokabreanna (Sirius) and the “dog days of summer” and (2) the release of Loki’s Torch anthology. The submission period for this publication is just about over–ends May 31st.

Sub Flyer Loki's Torch Cover 2.

 

Witchery & Modern Paganism: Decolonization, Racism, and More

Resource list. No commentary from me.

If you’ve come across blogs with similar critiques, content, and perspective that you think I should include in this list, please let me know in the comments section. Thanks! And big thanks to the writers below.

Barber, Shannon. Black Magic, Black Skin: Decolonizing White Witchcraft. Ravishly. Oct. 23, 2017.

Branner, Cyndi. Dismantling the Widespread White Advantage in Witchcraft. Patheos. (Mar. 27, 2019).

Ferguson, D.F. The Unbearable Whiteness of Being Pagan: Some Observations on White Fragility in Esoteric Spiritual MovementsWhite feminist Paganism and the colonization of Heaven and Earth. Black Youth Project (Nov. 27, 2018).

Helrune, Seo. Whiteness is the Witchcraft Killer. Seohelrune.com. (July 21, 2018)

Magdalene, Misha. The Unbearable Whiteness of Being Pagan: Some Observations on White Fragility in Esoteric Spiritual Movements. Patheos. (Mar. 29, 2019).

Smith, Ryan. Tearing Off the Mask: Revealing the Gulf Between Fascist Spirituality and Pagan PracticeOn Black Wings. May 8, 2019.

Washuta, Elissa. White Witchery. Guernica (Feb. 19, 2019).

Hopefully more to come.

Popoki
Popoki – My badass black cat on white rug. I justed wanted her to be in this blog post.

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V. Spectrosexuality Survey: Intimate Partners, Physical Sex

Question Five begins to collect specific responses about spectrosexual experiences and god/spirit spouses. I begin asking about current intimate partners, both spirit and human. By using the words “intimate relationships” instead of “sexual relationhips,” the question was intentionally broadened to include emotional intimacy and partnerships that aren’t physically sexual (physical sensations for human beings can occur whether the partners are spirit or human). I did not want to exclude people who identify as asexual, demisexual, or any of the other subcategories of asexuality. (Please see AVEN – the Asexuality Visibility and Education Network for more info.)


Data_Q5_190318

Before I get to the twenty-four “other” comments, I notice that there could be some unintentional overlap between the first three answer choices. That is, some people could have answered all of the first three. I should have written “only one or more human partners,” “only one or more god/spirit partners,” and “currently both human and god/spirit partners” to avoid unintentional overlap. That’s a flaw. I’ll be taking a look at the individual responses to see how much overlap there is.

I’ll also be checking to see how many people who say they are god/spirit spouses or consorts overlap with “both human and god/spirit partners.” But that’s a future blog.

Selections From the “Other” Responses

Notice how the respondents address such issues as monogamy, non-monogamy, dating, various sexual or asexual orientations, and disclosure to human partners.

Both Human and Spirit Relationships

“Cis-hetero with a marriage to a cis-hertero husband….but a strong presence of Loki within our sexual intimacy.”

“I used to have a partner with whom we used to channel each other’s gods. It sometimes included getting intimate too. Now, my husband isn’t into such things but I do suspect he has been taken over a few times…. it’s not a regular thing however and seems to be completely random.”

“My physical partner and I are physically intimate. I have had a few sexual interactions with deities.”

“God spouse, plus human partner. Human partner is unaware of God spouse.”

“I have a human partner-my husband. I don’t know how to class my experiences with god/spirit partners: apart from one real life experience where I felt an interaction with a deity, all the others have been in the realm of ‘fantasy.'”

“I have a wife and I am occasionally intimate with Loki.”

Spirit Relationships

“I’m asexual as far as physical people go but it doesn’t seem to apply as strongly with spirit partners.”

“I have had sexual encounters with spirits, but none currently and none that I would label as a true partnership.”

“I am not currently seeing anyone other than Loki. I don’t have much of a desire to date humans right now, but if someone who was right for me came along, I would not reject them because of my relationship with Loki.”

“Spirits usually get ‘daydreams’ of various focus/attention, or dedicated sex toys.”

“My relationship with Loki was not initially sexual, but became so over a period of time. I’m of the opinion that it is more natural for relationships with the Divine to have some sexual aspects than not, since sexuality is an essential part of how we perceive the universe, and of the creation of new life. Based on my own historical studies it appears to me that sexual relationships with gods were more normal than abnormal in the pre-Abrahamic world, but that the Abrahamic faiths scrubbed any and all sexual references from religious theology and ceremony.”

“I have ongoing intimate relationships with a number of spirits, currently these are sexually intimate…I know it is possible to be sexually intimate with spirits.”

“My tradition was initiated by the sex with the Devil-Witchfather as many Scottish Trads are.”

“All my life I have been in touch with spirits. At times I am overcome with their sexuality in my sleep.”

“In the past, I have had romantic non-sexual, non-romantic sexual, and romantic sexual relationships with spirit partners. At the time, I was ‘exclusive’ to my spirit partners and did not have simultaneous human partnerships, whether romantically, sexually, or both.”

Gods or Spirit Spousery

“I have an interesting experience with godspousery. Loki has told me we’ve been married for a very long time, and I could do with that information what I will. He expected nothing from me. At first I was uncomfortable with the idea of being a godspouse because I did not fully understand it. I warmed up to the idea as time went on.”

“Married to a deity; functionally monogamous for 14 yrs.”

“I am married. But I’m celibate physically. I no longer have sex with my husband.”

“I’m a Thor spouse. Thor is the only person I’m committed to right now and I don’t have any physical people I’m committed to, but I am dipping back in the dating scene.”

Discomfort with Spirit Intimacy

In a later question, a few people reported non-consensual experiences with a deity or spirit. This response to Question Five shows how one person is not happy to be sexually  pursued by a god:

“Herne/Cernunnos claimed me as one of his consorts. I’m not entirely sure what it means, but he tends to bring a very sexual energy with him when he appears to me. I’ve taken to using a protective barrier against it because I’m not comfortable with it and I’m not willing to commit to a relationship like that with a spiritual being. He seems to think I’ll come around eventually, but I’m just not seeing it anytime soon.”

Beyond Sleep Paralysis

Only one person mentioned being “overcome by [spirit] sexuality” in their sleep. This is the only comment that resembles the classic incubus and succubus narrative (now thought to be caused by sleep paralysis). (However in a later question some respondents do mention dreams.)

Most of the other responses to this question indicate a conscious state of mind, or at least conscious thought regarding intimate spirit relationships or encounters.

Stay tuned for Question Six.

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Loki’s Torch Seeking Submissions!

So hey! A few of us got together and decided to make a thing of beauty–a nice, thick, hunky volume of Loki Lore! We are seeking both general and scholastic writing, fiction, poems, artwork, recipes, rituals, and craft tips. Length from one to ten pages.

Just don’t send something with footnotes or we’ll send it back to you for revisionendnotes only.

Everything you need to know is on the flyer. Deadline for submissions below. We’re looking to have a 100-page publication, obtainable via print on demand. Looking forward to seeing your work!

Sub Flyer Loki's Torch Cover 2.

 

 

IV. Spectrosexuality Survey: Neopagan Practices

The Neopagan Spectrosexuality and God/Spirit Spouse survey (March 5-March 19) asked respondents to describe some or all of their spiritual orientation and practices. Of course the umbrella term, “neopagan,” is impossibly large and sometimes controversial. When thinking about how to phrase Question Four, I reviewed a Down at the Crossroads interview with John Beckett from about two years ago. His “big tent” take on paganism (aka neopaganism) asked listeners to imagine the kinds of people who attend PantheaCon. I decided to err on the side of the “big tent” rather than list dozens of specific religious and magical  traditions and risk upsetting people by leaving things out.

So the question contains a few general categories. Respondents could check as many as they liked. The “other” comment box invited respondents to be more specific or to include things which were left out of the general categories. The Question Four illustration below indicates twenty-two respondents left comments in the “other” box. But there are actually fifty-three. More on the qualitative responses in a minute.

Neopagan vs Pagan

I have adopted the use of “neopaganism” over “paganism” in a large part due to the distinctions described in Sara Anne Lawless’s blog post, “For Sale: Neopaganism: As Is.”  She writes:

“The words ‘paganism’ and ‘pagan’ are used by the rest of the English speaking world mainly in reference to ancient polytheistic pagan cultures, such as Greece and Rome…”

“Neopaganism is an umbrella descriptor term for the paths falling within it…It is not a path or religion in and of itself.”

This made sense to me so I have revised my language use accordingly, though I understand these categories can also be controversial. (I’ve done the same with “tantra” and “neotantra.”)


 

Data_Q4_190318


Spirit Sex is Not Just a Lokean “Thing”

Many of the survey respondents reported working in several different types of traditions and with more than one pantheon or type of spiritual being.

Though the invitation to participate in the survey went mainly to members of Lokean and Heathen Facebook groups, you can see from the photo above that there is a lot of variety in traditions. Keep in mind that this survey focused specifically on people who have experienced “sexual” or “energetic” intimacy with a spirit or a god. These experiences range from a single, spontaneous incident all the way to ongoing relationships (e.g. god/spirit spousery). Some people seek out such experiences and for others, “it” just happened.

This is also not a scientific sample. Aside from posting in my blog, I deliberately did not post survey announcements in some social media groups due to my perception that certain groups had a higher level of “trolls” or because they were groups I had recently joined. Posting an announcement would have felt intrusive to me, as I was not yet a known participant in that particular community. I have no doubt that I could have gotten many more respondents from other groups if I’d overcome feelings of reluctance.

I’ll be comparing overlapping practices in a future blog.

Selections From the Comments Section

Because some of the comments were very specific and contain information that could lead someone to identify a respondent, I am not posting the comments in their entirety.  I will quote snippets instead, to preserve privacy and confidentiality.


Here are quotes from a number of respondents:

“I’m Lokean, and I’m not restricted to a purely Heathen path.”

“I’m very eclectic, acting more based on personal experience and instinct than on established traditions.”

“Practice Demonolatry…”

“My practices involve mainly divination and meditation.”

“As far as a label goes, the closest would be ‘Rökkrtru.'”

“Buddhist Hawaiian.”

“HIndu.”

“Homebrewed and eclectic.”

“Anderson Feri.” 

“I’m a rather new Lokean who was visited one night by the God of Chaos and taken by storm.”

“Heathen/Pagan with Celtic influence.”

“Gardnerian.”

“Chaos Magick.”

“Devotional polytheism mainly according to the Northern Tradition.”

“Traditional Witch.”

“Animist.”

“Shamanic.”

“Hoodoo & folk magick.”

“…also work with the Kemetic pantheon and am working on learning Hermetic magic.”


 

As you can see by the above, many of the respondents to this survey work in a variety of

traditions and with many pantheons and spirits. The phenomenon of spirit intimacy is
not limited to “Loki fan-girls on Tumblr,” as so many people say.
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Standing Against Bigotry and Hate

Even in some pagan and heathen circles, Lokeans are said to be “outcasts”–partly because our gender-bending, trickster deity has a bad reputation as spun in Christianized lore–and perhaps also because Lokeans themselves tend to be a diverse bunch. While this may limit our social acceptance overall, it also makes our god, Loki, less likely to be co-opted by Neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups. As a shape-shifter, Loki has been a salmon, a mare, and who knows what else. He’s fathered and mothered children. In humanoid shape, I assume he’s not limited to a white skin or “Nordic” features*, though he’s mostly depicted that way. In other words, he is just too fey, too queer, and not close enough to the butch, cis, heteronormative, patriarchal stereotype that’s so very dear to the Neo-Nazi/white supremacist heart.

This “Pride Loki” artwork (based on “Marvel Loki”) by DKettchen conveys so much to me. Here’s the link to DKettchen’s Tumblr post. (There is a statement on the post that seems to indicate it is okay to use this image.)

40119779_10214041457843100_6617463899170013184_n

Now in the last few weeks (when I wasn’t worried about my house burning up in CA’s Ranch Fire), I’ve been basking in just this kind of rainbow-colored bliss of devotional adoration, getting to know this newest addition to my eclectic, polytheistic “family.” However yesterday I stumbled across this August 17, 2017 blog by Lokavinr. It’s called What the Heathen Community Needs to Know. Lokavinr concludes:


“So you want to worship the heathen gods and not be a racist? Don’t spread the idea that white culture is endangered. Don’t act like heritage should be instantly divorced from the hate it fed for centuries. Don’t put frith over calling out goddamn Nazis. And think real hard about the groups, people, and beliefs you are standing beside. Because even if you aren’t out there driving your car into protesters or using a religion to actively recruit people to the racist far-right, if you look the other way, if you care more about the heathen community’s reputation or your right to wear a symbol without “being mistaken as a Nazi” than the real, tangible oppression PoC, Jewish people, Muslims, and the LGBT community face in this country, then there’s blood on your hands, too.”


It’s not like I haven’t been aware of these complexities. Years ago I read The Well of Remembrance by Ralph Metzner and felt attracted to “something” about Northern mysticism, but I still couldn’t approach Norse/Germanic deities and lore as a spiritual path because of the Nazi and Neo-Nazi use of some of these same traditions and symbols. (And it’s only gotten worse in this country since November 2016.) It wasn’t until last year, when I also began to work on ancestral lineage healing via Daniel Foor’s work (author of Ancestral Medicine), that I found I could begin working with Frey, Freya, and Gerda. (Loki is a recent arrival in my life and for some reason is much more “present” and compelling.)

These days, Daniel Foor’s work is key for me. As a teacher and ritualist, his purpose is entwined with activism for social and earth justice, and his humility and integrity have been evident in every communication I’ve ever experienced, whether in his book, online class, or Facebook posts. He directly addresses issues of settler colonialism, racism, transphobia, sexism, and more. Here is a page with some of his online interviews and talks. Check out “The Role of the Ancestors in Social and Earth Justice, November 2017.” You’ll see what I mean.

I’ve never been interested in “navel gazing.” For me, there has to be engagement with both “spiritual pursuits” and outer activism. For me, each feeds the other. I was involved with environmental health activism at the same time I was engaged with anthroposophy. I tried to bring greater social justice awareness to the tantra organization I was associated with (and eventually left). And I tried to be a decent “ally/accomplice” for the causes of sovereignty and the preservation of Mauna Kea and other sacred spaces from 2002-2017, while heavily engaged in learning about Hawaiian culture (and trying to avoid cultural appropriation). Admittedly, I’ve been more focused lately on inner work, as I’m still healing from some pretty hefty crises and major life changes in the last three years. (And, as always, I deal with the health and logistical challenges that arise from multiple chemical sensitivities and chronic fatigue.) But, Lokavinr’s blog is a call to action for anyone who is casting runes, worshipping a Northern deity, or possibly even doing Thor cosplay!

So I gladly make space in this blog for discussions, resources, and also for centering the voices of people of color on topics of race, hate, transphobia, homophobia, misogyny, spiritual colonization, etc., especially as these issues pertain to paganism and Northern European traditions. And of course, I will make sure that my Lokabrenna “tiny temple” is blatantly inclusive and emphatically anti-hate.

These are good first steps, but it’s clear I must take others.

Expect this list of resources and organizations to grow, as I will add to them as I find them.


U.S. Resources

• Anti-Defamation League Hate Symbols Database.

• Anti-Defamation League Runic Writing (racist). Many people use and study Norse runes who are not associated with hate groups. If you see Loki’s name spelled out in runes (below) be not alarmed. It is highly unlikely that this would be used for hateful purposes. Quite the contrary, due to Loki’s association with people who are queer and/or are of varied genders.

Cropped Loki RunePainting copy

Another article on runes and other white supremacist hate symbols.

Southern Poverty Law Center Hate Map.

Inclusive Heathen and Northern Tradition Organizations/Websites

Declaration 127 – International denuciation of Asatru Folk Assembly (AFA) as racist, etc. Quote from website:

“The AFA’s views do not represent our communities. We hereby declare that we do not condone hatred or discrimination carried out in the name of our religion, and will no longer associate with those who do. We will not grant the tacit approval of silence in the name of frið, to those who would use our traditions to justify prejudice on the basis of race, nationality, orientation, or gender identity.”

The Troth – an “inclusive heathenry” organization with stated policies against racism and other forms of discrimination. From their website:

“The Troth is open to all who seek to know and to honor the Gods, ancestors, and values of the Germanic Heathen traditions, regardless of gender, race, nationality, or sexual orientation. The Troth stands against any use of Germanic religion and culture to advance causes of racism, sexism, homophobia, white supremacy, or any other form of prejudice.”

Heathens Against Hate – Part of The Troth. From the page.

“Heathens Against Hate functions under the Public Relations Team, with officers appointed by the Rede from among the Heathens Against Hate membership. The group Heathens Against Hate will serve the broader Heathen community under Troth sponsorship to build cooperation amongst inclusive Heathen groups, to counter the misuse of our faith, its gods, symbols, or lore to promote racism, sexism, ableism, homophobia or any other form of willful hatred against identifiable minorities in our society.”

Hrafnar – Northern CA inclusive heathenry group founded by Diana L. Paxson. Here is their “Declaration of Support for Inclusive Heathenry.” Here is their “Statement in Support of Solidarity with Black Pagans and Heathens.”

Vendors Who Do Not Support Hate

[To come]

International

• “As Neo-Nazism, White Supremacy Spread, People Must Unite to Prevent Normalization of Hate”–UN Secretary‑General António Guterres’ remarks at a ceremony marking the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust, in New York, Jan. 31, 2018.

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*[Apparently the image I used in this blog post was an anti-Semitic attempt by the artist to make Loki–as the “Norse Satan”– look Jewish. I need to do more research on that, and quote a reputable source. I originally used the painting because it was in the public domain. Such portrayals are probably the topic of a whole other blog.]

My Need for Kindred and Cahooting

I’m living here alone, almost on the shore of a large lake, in a county that’s one of several scorched by the Mendocino Complex Fire (which is still raging). I was able to shelter in San Francisco for two weeks during the evacuation, in a neighborhood where I previously spent many, many years of my life. Though I was in an empty apartment and sleeping on the floor, I was happy. Every day I could leave the flat and walk down a hill and see people–whether in the Castro District or Noe Valley. I could eat, window shop, and just get my body moving and feel a part of life, of a community. I began to hunger for my daily walks, to be out, alive, and able to exchange insignificant pleasantries with people behind the counters of health food and hardware stores.

I was closer to most of my oldest and dearest friends, as well as my two grown children and my mother, and was able to see most of the people important to me in that short span of time. It was heaven.

Back here in Lake County (beautiful as it is, and with some very good neighbors), I am mostly alone. No lover, no roommate, no job, no clients, and with only a sad little scruff of a post office as a walking destination. The nearest towns are three and six miles away, and their sidewalks are barely populated. There are no brisk crowds to navigate. Barely any restaurants. No cafes for fomenting revolution or falling in love.

My isolation is also largely due to years and years of multiple chemical sensitivity and environmental illnesses (which explains the “no job, no roommate” part). I live carefully, dodging chemical toxins, including the ubiquitious scented products that are everywhere and on everybody. Outings with new friends sometimes involve that person’s habitual scented hand lotion or hair product, and I roll down the windows and try to focus on enjoying the person, ignoring my frustration at breathing and tasting the damned stuff, and having to plan for yet more “downtime” to recover from their “chemical companions.”

1280px-Johann_Heinrich_Füssli_021Sometimes, because of the constant toxic exposures, I feel like giving up on attempts to socialize, but that way is death. Suicidal thoughts have been too frequent these last few years, especially since my divorce. I won’t act on them, I know. But I suffer nonetheless.

 

So my strategies for combating loneliness and isolation have become more far-fetched and eccentric, though to me they seem quite reasonable. My pagan, polytheistic spiritual practices keep me going. I court my gods and the local wights with offerings and poems. I  talk aloud to my cats and my “most trusted” invisible friend. I work with my ancestors. I adhere to a regimen of solo tantric practices. And I keep my antenna up for anything that might provide an opportunity for actual human cahooting in spaces that might be non-toxic enough.

Last week I went to a local senior center’s “open mic” night. It was sparsely attended but welcoming. The sound system was dysfunctional. Even so, I read some of my poems. I went with a new (unscented) friend and I think we both enjoyed ourselves, at least until one of the musicians was inspired to perform a Neil Diamond medley. At that, we fled.

Perhaps my biggest desire is for what is known in pagan circles as a “kindred.” I’m actively working on creating my Lokabrenna (Loki’s Torch) “tiny temple” (the structure formerly known as the “woodshop” and fondly referred to as a “meagre palace of Midgard“). I am seeking to fill it with like-minded Northern Tradition Pagans and Inclusive Heathens who are Loki-friendly. Yep. And I’m calling in  the tarot readers, the rune casters, the tantrikas, the mystics, the occultists, and the witches too. Come one, come all (come fragrance free!). I will serve you tea and if you wanna light a candle or do a ritual, I’m down. In the tradition of hospitality that was sacred to my ancestors, I am welcoming visitors and am LGBTQI etc. friendly. I am hoping that from among these visitors (should any appear), there will emerge a closer band of boon companions, kindred for my–and our–waning years. Lake County needs this. And I need it too.

One thing I do know–I simply can’t afford to adopt any more cats. Four in the house and two in the temple are quite enough.

Are you a fellow traveller? Searching for kindred too? You can let me know right here.

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