Pagan’s of all flavors, even Heathen, tend to recognize the ideas of the Right and Left Hand Path. And it is a simple way to speak to the ideals of the faith you follow. But let us take a look at perceptions of these two paths.
Right Hand Paths tend toward gentler natures, soft ways, healing with Light and Love. Hope drives them forward, Life empowers them and a prevalent idea is that these types would harm none. And for my part and experience this is more than an apt description.
They are the SJW’s fighting the good fight, they are the ones you see out there, ignoring their own needs for those who have no voice. Soup kitchens, shelters, VA supporters and workers, the doctors who travel the world to use their skills. These are all Light workers and on the Right Hand Path whether they know it or not.
Those who walk with Loki and also the Right Hand Path seems like an oddity even among the oddities. But you would be surprised, immensely, by the amount of Right Hand Path who follow old Flamehair. Lokeans who use his blessings to bring someone close to suicide away from the edge. The Lokean EMT who makes the heart attack patient giggle, which causes muscle spasms that in turn help to stabilize the heart. The follower who works tirelessly during a crisis that seems to just go and go, boundless stamina until the threat is passed, then collapses and sleeps for two days. That old crone sitting in the corner with a twinkle in her eye? Godspouse for more years than you have been around and has led a life of light, joy, and laughter. Every little bit fought for and earned in the Light of Loki.
You see, to me this should come as no surprise. Loki among other things is a God of Fire. Fire gives two definite things that were blessings to the ancestors. Heat, which was life in the winter. It allowed the cooking and drying of meat and fish thus providing sustenance and again, life. The second, blessing is Light. So from at least my thoughts, Loki and the Right Hand Path have been together for as long as people have had fire.
Now the Left. That Path that the black hearted walk, causing chaos and sowing seeds of discord. Selfish and unable to be trusted, twisted by dark deeds and deals with spirits deadly and beyond nightmarish. This is about as accurate as saying all on the Right Hand are fluffy-bunny tree huggers.
The Left Hand is the Path of shadow and twilight. Yes, those of the Left walk in the darkness where old and terrible things exist. But they don’t fear. They are proponents of the other half of the cycle and do not shy away from doing what needs be done. Walkers of the Left Hand Path see truths because they dare to look and question everything, even our Deities. The Left Hand Path is dark and shadowed and beautiful. Filled with knowledge and sights terribly beautiful. They are the mortals to dance with the Unseelie in forgotten glades. It is in that place where Honor gives way to Loyalty and the Practical. Nature is wondrous and awe inspiring, but She is also red of claw and of tooth. We accept that as the Left walk to the midnight song of stars. They know of things deadly and poisonous and they know how to stop it. The Left do not shy away from doing things that must be done, no matter how distasteful.
And the Left Hand Lokeans? Oh now that’s the rub. You see, they are everywhere. They are the Lokean that is masked and inside the Supremacist movements feeding information to those that would be targets. The Protester that was just there and is suddenly gone only to come wandering back 20 minutes later? The wrecking crew sent to bulldoze a sacred Native American site suddenly find that their heavy equipment is totally useless. That woman at the funeral reminding everyone of the joys the person had and brought, bringing smiles to the grieving and softening the hurt? She walks the Left. The quiet older man just outside the circle at the moot who never speaks and on occasion is gone? He’s off beating the Hel out of that bunch of rednecks that like to break up the Blot with paintball guns. That crone who has walked on the Left side of Loki for decades, can throw a hex like a stone, has no fear to spill blood during ritual so others don’t have to, everyone know not to look in the eyes, but the children know she always has the best cookies and not to ask for more than one. She’s the one who quietly blesses babies with Loki’s cunning and perseverance.
What would surprise so many is what the Left actually does. You see, some, and speaking for myself now, work most often with Loki in the Scarlip appearance. The one bloody and filled with rage and fire and chaos. We deal with the sly and grinning One, the keeper of Mischief and will call out the Kindreds for being elitist. We bring with us destruction and chaos and change were ever we go. I have witnessed the fall of many groups due to infighting and petty bickering. From Heathen Kindreds to Wiccan Covens and Pagan Churches. “Witch Wars”. Complete collapse. And yet those of kind and strong heart will still be there, while those that carried poison and toxins seem to simply move on realizing only much later it was that toxin that destroyed what was.
Yes I walk with the Loki in the forms of Trickster, Sorcerer, Worldbreaker. My own life has been torn apart many many times and I bear the scars. Yet from the ashes I built and grew something better. I cannot speak for other Lokeans, only myself. But Papa has shown me real madness, truly broken mentally. I was hospitalized. I sought out help, got better, grew and changed. He showed me fire and how to dance with it, become one with it, and how to make it a partner. Loki the Sly rode with me in Iraq, laughing as we bounced through the desert. With strength I made it home. He destroyed abusive situations I was in and set me free when I didn’t even know until later I was being abused.
Now, here is the rub, the con, the trick whatever you wish to call it. As my friend Rev. Brian Young said, “Two hands are attached to one body”. Lokeans tend to be fluid people, so while there are the Right Hand Path and the Left Hand Path, we are all Lokeans. We know Flamehair for who he his. Fire-bring, Gift-giver, Father/Mother of Monsters, Blood Brother of Odin and Thor. The Husband of Sigyn the Patient and Angraboda, Chieftain of the Iron Wood Tribe. He is the laughter and light that leads through the darkness and he is the needed blade to the throat from the shadow. Lokeans accept our Patron in all his aspects no matter the Path we walk.
Right or Left, we are Lokean. THAT is the truth. We have given ourselves over to the Shape-shifter, oaths made and fealty given. Lives dedicated. Why? Because again we are Lokean, Right or Left, and we, like our Patron, have either always been or became outcasts. Through Loki we embrace it, know that to be different in anyway is something special. We are misfits, we the broken, the forgotten, the scapegoats. And we know the power of being Other. Shun me for who I am and I grow stronger. Because there are others out there, and we are finding each other under the banner of Loki.
We are Lokeans. We are the hands of Loki in Midgard. And we are all part of the greater whole. Be ready for our touch for it can bring joy or destruction. We are blessed and cursed by Sly Loki, for we are on the Path of the Trickster, Left or Right. We are the ones to bring lessons. To share wisdom and if that means genitalia tied to a goat to bring a smile, lesson learned. Watching someone die that deserves a Darwin Award? Lesson in what NOT to do.
To sum up, Right Hand Path or Left Hand Path, we all follow Loki.
And our hands are free…