New Normal, Nithing, and Necrophilia

So if that title didn’t get your attention I am rather surprised. What follow is purely personal, and not taken from any sources anywhere else. And consider this the standard CW/TW for content.

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So, that should be far enough to keep accidental notice of the writing, and if the pic didn’t put you off, welcome! Keep reading and I hope that maybe it will make someone else feel not as alone as I do. If the pic turned you on, well I don’t kink-shame.

The title pretty much sums up life at the moment I think. While I can’t speak for everyone, I can for myself and isn’t that what this is for? A running journal in the life of a Lokean? So dear readers here we go.

Rage. Anger. Irritation. Depression. Worthlessness. Laughter. Self-Hate and Loathing. Overpowering Love. Mundane Living. Dying Slowly. Paranoia. Just a few of the themes in my life lately. As a disabled vet and a person that isn’t a fan of people in general (Get off my lawn before I set you on fire!), I tended to Hermit myself anyway. So what everyone is calling the “New Normal” I am actually loving it. Limited people in stores? A 6 foot personal bubble? Fuck yes! I am having an easier time being in public places than I have in a long time! I’ve been social distancing for a while so for me this change isn’t that great of a thing.

The stumble is at home. Family challenges to put it mildly, enough so that I am nearly ready to declare one of my own blood as Nithing because of something they did. Yes the state got involved, yes we have had visitation from CPS (Child Protective Services), and yes said blood is no longer anywhere near. The damage however is done and my youngest daughter is safe. I know all this. My oldest child has even decided that she wants to stay with us! So the logic sides of me are overjoyed with this complete feeling.

What I witnessed being done with my toddler by another family member I cannot move past, cannot let go. Love and Hate are twisting inside me and being pulled by Rage. It took place in my home, the sanctuary for everyone. And as a Father I failed my toddler and the other family member. I have been a heartbeat away from declaring them Nithing and yet I cannot bring myself to do it. I am supposed to be able to protect my family, keep them safe. And this happened under my roof, on my watch. Trust was instantly gone, replaced by a white hot anger that felt like burning ice in my veins. What am I supposed to feel? How do I react to what I witnessed? It is burned in my memory and I won’t be forgetting any time soon. The threat to my toddler was removed from my home in less than 24 hours and taken literal states away.

It has caused a mental domino effect and triggered my own paranoia and hyper awareness so that my PTSD and depression have come roaring back. Anxiety is running rampant and I do whatever I can just to not think, it hurts so deeply. I have failed and nothing can change that. I failed to protect, to properly nurture, to be a father. Parents out there can understand what I’m talking about. Mundane life has me spinning and feeling like I just took a K.O. blow to the soul. I… I feel dead inside, questioning how anyone can care for me after that failure. Feels as if these people are loving a corpse, a shambling dead thing that can only go through the motions. I have turned as numb as I can just to function.

I know, I know, you have to face things. When I do I am going to be an absolute mess and will need to be cared for, something that just simply cannot be done for the welfare of hearth and home and family. Too much to be done as yet. I mean, I have been assigned a therapist, and they are very good. Still, the inner void continues to grow. And this time it is growing quickly.

As a Lokean how do I cope, how do I deal with the turmoil? I trust in my path. I seek guidance from my Patron and hope for some comfort in my beliefs. I read the Lokasenna and look for guidance through His trials. The Havamal offers some mantras that offer some comfort. Yet, like you, I am mortal and not a Divine Being. I am flawed and broken, often driven by emotions for better or worse. I have even begun to question my worth as a devotee to Loki, are my failures too great and will I be cast out? My body is a broken machine that can never be fixed. My mind and heart are once again cast to the four winds. What isn’t empty is filled with doubt and rage and loss. I’m writing at the behest of a beloved friend and sister, otherwise I would be keeping this to myself. I am NOT looking for pity or anything like it. I do NOT want charity. I put these words down in the hope of lifting a tiny bit of weight. My amazing wife stands with me, my daughters… well toddler and a teenager. Yet all 3 are still giving me love and support that I feel I do not deserve, that they are trying to animate a dead man.

Today is the 22nd of April. It’s my oldest and dearest friends birthday. It is also the New Moon and a day for rituals. I still feel His presence and that is both comforting and frightening right now. Tonight I mark and tie myself to the land here, make offering to the Wights, and more. Perhaps how it goes will be my next entry.

Iron and Blood

Like the title? I do. To me it conjures images of ancient battles and the cries of war before it became corrupted even more.

Of people, men and women and dual spirited, who lived hard and rough lives. Surviving with skill and cooperation, laughing and loving, knowing that life was truly a fragile thing. Taking little for granted finding the joy and sorrow and fighting for every moment. These are the ancestors, not just the ones folks like to claim.

That famous person you can claim blood to or with? Awesome. But what about your great great great grandparents who farmed and fought and survived? Do you know their names? Do you think of them? Without those simple members who lived none of us would be here. And I often think of them, their strength to just simply carry on.

Now before this goes any further I suppose I should offer a TW/CW of some kind, but fuck it. Either stop reading now, or deal with it.

Because now let’s move to this age, this time. Humanity has become more parasite than symbiote living not for each other but for the individual. We are soon to be a dying species and most of the members are either too apathetic to care or too stupid to know better (flat-earthers I’m looking at you).

We let hate get out of hand, turning on the different. I could go on and on about all the possibilities of that, but I’m going to focus on a single thing. The overwhelming change in humanity that is the tsunami of depression that spreads over us like a plague. Such things have been around for years, but like a cancer it has grown and spread almost as if we are all drinking from the same poisoned water source that warped our genetic makeup and we spread it to the next generation. In the United States alone there are twelve year olds commiting suicide! Teens on such heavy drugs that they are being committed to mental institutions, adults who take their own lives and their own families saying, “We had no idea”.

Some of us are strong, led lives that were forged in trauma and abuse, been through hellscapes so many couldn’t fathom. At least that’s what is said. We stand and we face the day, few knowing the iron was forged in blood. That wisdom comes from experience yes, but madness as well. Pain is both the result and constant companion for those who led/lead such lives. And when you look now the signs are everywhere, “Get Help, Talk to Someone, We’re Here”. So many slogans, so many re-posting the meme’s, so many fucking promises. Yet those death numbers continue to rise.

Why doesn’t a person with thoughts speak up? Seek out help? Hmmmm… let’s ponder this for a moment. Could be a generation thing. Up to and including most of Gen X, you handled it on your own. Guys especially because showing that type of emotion was weakness so you learned to bury it deep, shut down emotionally. In some families they would beat you for such thoughts, to toughen you up. You suck it up and do what you have to. Gods forgive if it were found out by the students in school that a person was not only different but having problems, it became a mixture of blood,water, and sharks.

Now there’s this “No Tolerance” policy on bullying in many different schools, but guess what? It’s a joke to placate the parents and does absolutely nothing for the students except cause the bullies to escalate when they get their “punishment”. Which by the way is to apologize and write a paper on proper behaviour. I wish I was joking, as I have looked into multiple schools in multiple states, and this is the policy with little deviance.

Every day is a battle for these people folks. Every. FUCKING. Day. Yes, medications, therapy, and other techniques add weapons to the armory but in the long run it is the individual who has to keep fighting every day. So when you ask why don’t they just talk? Because a past of ridicule, being ignored, told that they were a being a burden or problem. I can hear so many now, “I would never…”, well guess what? Your body posture, tone, and everything else often say it for you.

Iron is our armor. Forged in blood. Blood that to often is our own. So is it any wonder that after battling for so long and so hard that so many fail? They fight on alone in their minds. Platitudes, hopes, prayers are nice and just fucking useless. Sometimes you have to actually do something and show that you are there for them.

Sometimes… it doesn’t matter. The demons win and the battle is lost. The pain can no longer be withstood. So, yes Karen, it was all about you when you didn’t even spend 3 minutes speaking to them, they did it just to hurt you or for attention. Fuck you.

Sometimes all you hear is goodbye. Sometimes you hear nothing at all. Sometimes? There’s another morning.

Fire, Smoke, and Steel

Photo by: Earthfirearts@gmail.com

The turning of the year and I found myself ill. Stomach and body angry and full of pain, cause unknown. Yet deep down I think that I knew.

You see, my mind and life had been occupied for over a month by the needs of the mundane world and of family. Daily devotional had slipped to every few days, to once a week. The spirit, my spirit was lacking the nourishment that it needed and that helps my body stay healthy. A lesson I should have learned long ago, but I am rather dumb at times and can get wrapped up in only what’s in front of me. Forgetting to care for the Self in process of caring for others even when it’s detrimental to health.

So it was that just days after the New Year I heard the calling from my altar, a pull that had nothing to do with the physical. It needs be said that when it comes to distractions my home is pretty good for it, especially of an evening. A four year old daughter, my wife, and a seven month old / fifty pound pupper and that isn’t even including all the electronics, the noise from living in an apartment complex, etc. and so on. So to feel the pull during that time while not unusual, was too strong to ignore.

My body was weakened to the point of taking all I had to just stand and walk from room to room. Yet the… prodding that was pushing me also gave me strength to stand and do what I felt was needed. I gathered candles for the altar, new incense, and tidied it up. I closed the door to the bedroom (where my altar is), lit the candles, the incense, and laid my hand upon the altar while bowing my head.

The sensation was immediate. It was as a starving man set before a banquet; a ravenous wolf finding a lone and wounded stag. A host of emotions flooded over me at once; shame, guilt, love, acceptance, and mild irritation to name a few. With it all came instructions to take up my personal blade (not my ceremonial) and to lay down in bed, the blade upon my chest, and let myself go.

I took up the steel, stripped down, and climbed into bed holding the blade on my chest over my heart. Beginning four-fold breathing, it wasn’t long before I was elsewhere. Where I do not know. It was a black void and felt as if my body was floating there, no pulling or urging, just floating. I let go of expectations, of hopes and fears, placing myself entirely in that moment with every ounce of will I had left. It was then that I realized a few things. First was that the Void wasn’t at all black, but it was all things, all colors swirling together constantly, blending and moving so that all that could be seen was the culmination of what we see as black. Second, I wasn’t alone in that place. There was a sentience there among and in all the colors and black and shadows. There was my beloved Patron, only hidden from view by a veil as thick as a silk sheet. It felt that if I but reached out and drew aside a curtain I could see anything, go anywhere.

The blade was still with me and glowed with it’s own inner light and had a warmth to it that had nothing to do with the fires with which I had made offering to Loki and the Rökkr. It was a light and warmth that comes from Tribe, of a gift given out of love, of a bond unbroken. It was a person symbol not only of protection, but of family as strange as it may sound for a blade. What makes it all the more “funny” is it was a gift from neither Rökkatru nor Heathen, but from perhaps the most peaceful man I have ever known that walks the Buddhist path and his son. The worth and meaning in this piece of worked steel is beyond words to me, and was reflected in that place.

There was a song there. Wordless and whispered that was felt more than heard, and I knew it to be Ancestors, entities not truly forgotten but lost to history and time. That song was beautiful and while a touch sad carried with it pride, the pride of defiance and survival. It echoed in and through me, I could feel the smile of my Patron even through that veil.

What that place was, where I found myself I do not know with any certainty. There was an echoing fear there that I did not know, couldn’t recognize except to know that it wasn’t my own.

That void was parted in front of me as a simple curtain pulled aside and an old woman stood there. Six foot tall and thin in her raggedy simple brown dress. I could smell the musk of both dogs and wolves (trust me, wolf musk is hard to forget) as she held the “curtain” open and yawned as if she just woke up. Hair unbound and white as snow, skin wrinkled with age, but golden eyes bright and crisp even though they were still drowsy. She looked to me, up and down, and only said “One: About time, but come back later. Takes old folks time to really wake up you ass. Two: You make some pretty babies.”

WTF? Ok…

Before I could respond, my four year old was shaking me asking me if I was asleep in a quiet little voice. My eyes opened to look into her bright blues.

I might have a very low self-image/opinion, but damn my littles are pretty cute. They can be absolute monsters, but they are cute.

This got me to thinking, thinking about many things. About how I was blessed with essentially a large family though not all are blood. About how my own bloodlines and ancestory have an influence on who I am, who my children are. About the trials that I have faced and my eldest child is now beginning to face. It may me look at my parents and the lineages that I come from, wondering how many of my ancestors faced the same trials. Were they thought mad? How did they make it through? Now, we have drugs to help provide what the brain cannot however even 60 years ago between the cultures, ideals, and lack of understanding so many went untreated.

How many who are schizophrenic or bipolar are not only that way because of the way they are wired, but because of a connection to the “Other”? In the United States hearing voices gets you locked up and drugged into zombie oblivion. Yet in tribal communities you are cared for and even respected as hearing the ancestors or the spirits of the land. You don’t get “treatment”, you get training. Medicine Men, Wise Women, Shamans, Herb Women, Oracles, Seers, and so many more names.

My family line, my blood, is strong with this gift and curse. I remembered the stories my own Mother would tell of the family. Saw and read the journals of others long gone. Letters. Mementos. It sometimes takes me a while to get to a conclusion, but I tend to get there eventually and I think I am close to something. Just not sure what.

I do know that I have been not just ignoring a part of myself. I’ve been outright neglecting those needs. Just as the body needs nourishment, so too does the heart, mind, and soul. Some of those aspects inside me where being starved and the rest react to it. When one walks the Rökkr path you can only go so long before they take notice, and at least for me risk of offense. Worse, they start “checking on” you, see what you haven’t been doing and remind you of what your obligations are. For some of us. So I will be going back to my devotions. If even just a moment before I go to bed in order to say thank you for the gifts I’ve been given, the blessings I have received, and those strengths I have found on this path.

I know, so damn esoteric right? That’s a different post, sorry.

This Lokean’s view of Loki

A really well thought out view.

Lokea's Thought Corner

Who is Loki? – the flexible and un-owned

Anywhere you discuss Loki, you will find many different views on who and what Loki is, and what he stands for. Different views, and ideas, and relationships with Loki is understandable and valid. Unfortunately, many people try to force their version of what Loki is on others, or mock them for not seeing him the same way they do. Even more unfortunate, is the number of people in the Lokean community that do the same thing to fellow Lokeans. And often times based solely on their own view as opposed to any mythological reference. So, who and what is Loki? Before discussing some of the many things Loki is, let me quickly discuss what he is not. First and foremost, Loki is not only ONE thing or attribute, and has many faces. He is not “evil”. He is not only pranks and…

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Life, Hope, Loki, and Other Four-Letter Words

Well. Been a bit. Life has been busy and hectic here, to the point that some parts have been getting put on the back burner and really shouldn’t.

Life happens. Shit happens. It happens to each and every one of us at different times and in different ways, but it happens. We take the hits as they come and we do our best to roll with it. Hey, part of being Heathen right? Standing and showing our strength to keep going? It’s certainly sounds noble and Heathenish. Yet I’m not Heathen, not really. I’m Lokean and I am Rokkatru. I am also mortal and as such am prone to the entire spectrum of emotions with faces for each mood and thus reflecting the shape-shifter that I kneel before.

You want me to bury my pain? Fuck off. Swim the river of tears or drown in it. I shouldn’t give voice to my anger? Suck it. I will howl my rage to the moon if I so choose. The love and hope I feel should be kept down? I will laugh as I dance over your bones.

For months now I personally have been riding waves of emotion, setting my spirituality aside for personal reason. And that is as unhealthy for me as if I were to stop eating. But I REFUSE to think any of my Gods or Goddesses would want me to suppress any emotion that I have, that burn within my breast. Emotion is the primal in each of us trying to be free. Deny it and you deny all those who came before, so be stoic and unfeeling to the world outside your circle. You say being a Heathen, I say being afraid of yourself.

I can already hear the cries across the interwebs of “I feel! I’m not afraid to show emotion!”, and that’s fine. Everyone is different. However, let me tell you this so listen close, you just might learn something. That random person you see, silently weeping in public? Yeah the one who so many would think of as weak or a loser? I see a soul in pain that is so strong that they aren’t scared to be perceived as weak.

What does any of this have to do with Loki? A great deal, for just imagine if He were to be ashamed to be thought of as weak. Can you? The gifts he has given not only to the Aesir but to mankind as well. To show his pain if front of others, including beloved Lady Sigyn. To be laughed at, ridiculed, used as the scapegoat and still he returns. Glutton for punishment? Not really, but the one that sees the need and does it. The one that stands and says, yes I did it and I will fix it. The one to fix it even when He wasn’t the one to fuck it up.

Life. Hope. Loki. Emotions. All tied together in a beautiful knot with so many other things that it is almost painful to contemplate. So the next time you meet the Laughing Lokean, join their laughter. Next time you see someone in tears, join them quietly. When someone is so angry, howl with them. If you are brave enough.

I Ain’t Dead Yet!

As so very many of us know life can and does get insanely stupid at times, often when we’re far from prepared for it. Well dear readers, you guessed it. Happened to me. A Lokean of all people, right?

I’m not going to go into details as I don’t have all the information at this time, but let’s just say I could almost swear I heard even Hella head-desk. It has been certainly interesting, but on the up side this past weekend was a MUCH needed getaway for the wife and I. Nope, no pagan fest this time. We let our inner geek fly and went to Archon 43. We stayed in a… HOTEL! Gasp! For shame! What kind of Rokkatru are you? One that likes indoor plumbing and climate control, thank you very much.

So what does this have to do with a more or less spiritual blog? Because it fed my mundane joys. The people were also wonderful, so much less judgemental that people at festivals have been recently. Between you and I dearies, I am sick of the ever-loving Witch Wars that seem to constantly take place. It slides is like a shadow every where in the pagan community, everything from disagreements on UPG (Unverified Personal Gnosis) to sexual predation.

At the con, due to my mental issues, I was afraid I was not going to be able to do it. But on the first trek around the event, my wife was by my side, holding my hand and more than willing to step outside with me if I needed to.

Now I know at least a few of you know about cons. For me, I was able to enjoy, even going so far as to be alone because I was in costume. When in costume I was someone else, it wasn’t me, and for a little while I could be in a different skin and not my PTSD/Anxiety/(list goes here) self. I was a homeless undead, an Unseelie assassin, a steampunk captain, and a Lokean shamanist. And each had their own background, save the last, and I could be me again, touch that part of myself that was tucked away for so long.

At pagan events I couldn’t do that because I was either dealing with my issues or on staff. For years now I’ve had work-cations, volunteering my time and staying so busy that after it was done I was actually MORE exhausted than when I got there. Granted, I felt a great deal of pride and a certain type of fulfillment from the work yet it was still work. Before that is was years of fire performance. Lokean fire performer, big shock I know.

Anyway there is a point to this rambling. We are creatures that spend most of our lives in mundane ways and doing mundane things day in and out. Pagans, Heathens, Wiccans, Druids, Rokkatru, and all the others go to the Pagan gatherings and often save up all year to do so. Supporting fellow pagans in crafting, sharing and learning, stepping outside the mundane. It nourishes and replenishes the soul, reconnects that primal heart back to whatever is a part of your path. Then back to mundania we go, often with teary goodbyes as we drive away not wanting to leave.

Yet for the spiritual, events like a Sci Fi/Fantasy Convention can renew a different part of the soul for some of us. A part that is childlike and too often is buried under layers of embarrassment, shame, or because we have heard too often how mundane things we love are stupid. Fandoms, you know exactly what I mean. Attendance means you can be your other selves. Try on a new skin. I had forgotten that feeling. And if shapeshifting like that isn’t honoring Loki, well, let’s just say I think it does and leave it there.

Also without doubt, there is magic at such places/events. Magic of dreams and creativity abounds and is there to be touched, danced in, knowledge shared. Panels to speak on everything from “Is Star Trek Going Downhill” to “The Afterlife”. Go to a room party, but be aware of the theme trust me. Sit with a stranger and talk about the shared wonder of a common fandom.

It doesn’t even have to be a Con. It could be a SCA (Society of Creative Anachronism) event, a cosplay contest, anime con, and so many more. Even concerts and carnivals, sideshows and circuses! I dare you to go to a burlesque show or a Vaudevillian theatre. When was the last time you saw an illusionist in person?

Yes, there is magic at such places without a doubt. Magic an old Lokean/Rokkatru has missed ever so much. Because these events evoke a truly powerful font for those willing to be open to it.

Wonder.

(Insert Catchy Title) or Screw you, brain

Well. I suppose a bit of a CW;TW is fair here. Mental health/illness/problems, suicidal thoughts/ideations, and other bits of personal whining.

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Ok, should be far enough for most previews.

One of the things that I have accepted as a Lokean is that change is a constant. In my life and in the world around me. Situations arise constantly that are changing how I interact with the world and that isn’t a bad thing. Scary for some sure, but not bad. Except when it is.

You see, for some reason that I do not know I went into a major depressive state yesterday afternoon and can’t figure out the why. While life has been far from sunshine and rainbows it has actually been rather good. My family has a place of our own, plenty of food, financially stable, just in a very good place as of right now. So why my brain shifted gears from “We’re Good! We’re Good! We’re Good!” to “We need to eat a bullet!” kinda took me by surprise.

Before anyone goes there, no I’m not fucking seeking attention. I know that I am Neurodivergent and have made peace with that. Then why am I writing this? To help myself work through it. To help others they may face the same thing and know they aren’t alone or going insane for it just happening.

Honestly I’m pissed at myself for feeling this way. What fucking reason do I have to feel like this? There is no obvious reason or trigger or event that has done anything to cause this so why? Why can’t I get my shit together and just move past it? Why is it every ten minutes has me thinking about horrible things? While the logical side of me know the answers, let me tell you folks; it sure doesn’t help the emotional side that is in charge right now. The side that wants to shuffle off into Oblivion. I won’t mind you, and as of right now I’m not in danger, at least I’m pretty sure. Been down this slide before.

What is getting me is that this time there was no obvious reason. It was sudden, hard, and upside the head. No fucking discernible reason. Let me tell you, that’s something that will fuck with you. And it isn’t just depression, oh no. Brought along it’s buddies fear and anxiety as well. I also have no idea how long those three are going to hang out either. Never do.

So what the Hel am I doing writing about this here in a public forum? What does it have to do with being Lokean or Rokkatru? What the fuck, man? Simple. There are a great many who suffer in silence. Who, like me, the moment they step out of their house slip on that perfected mask and will laugh and help and do. This I have noticed especially amongst Heathens, doubly so for Lokean and the Rokkatru. Perceived weakness and all that, even if those around us see it as a fight, we see it as being weak unable to control our own minds and feelings.

Which brings me to that whole “Ask for Help” movement. FUCK. THAT. The average person has absolutely no CLUE what is takes to ask for help, to admit that we feel the way we do because of so many reasons. Fear of judgement, of being shunned like we are contagious, of losing those we love. Shame that we aren’t strong, aren’t in control, that we feel this way in the first place. Embarrassment that will cause lies about reasons to why we can’t go out, or work, or deal with everyday life. Whether true are not we feel like failures.

Writing this, just writing this, I personally feel physically ill. Nausea, light headed, near panic, racing heart, the whole thing because I am determined to publish this. More of us, especially in the Heathen/Rokkatru community need to know that we are not alone, that there are those out here like us. We need to know that we can find a safe place to take off our masks. To shift into ourselves instead of the being that we are expected to be. And a great many of us aren’t even able to do that at our best times.

I fight this every gods-damned day, and recently have kept it at bay with a LOT of help of various forms, loved ones and community not the least among them. Some of you may be asking about that, about how to find an accepting community. I wish I could tell you how to do this, but I cannot because we are each wonderfully different. For me, I made that community. I used social media and formed a group and made a page (both of which this will be posted on).

All I can say to others out there, other Lokeans, other Rokkatru, my Tribe and people is don’t give up. Asking for help is one of the hardest things any of us will ever do, and some of us may not be able to at all. For those I hope that there are those that will ask you instead. If they do, tell them honestly how you are feeling. Please.

Now if you will excuse me I have a voice to go and argue with about some unsavory things.