Fire and Fluff

There is something I am noticing within our little Lokean community, and it is a trend that is more than slightly distressing. A growing tendency towards the “Us vs. Them” mentality in our own community! I mean truthfully as Lokeans we have always been on the fringe of Heathenry at large for a multitude of reasons. But we are so very prejudiced against in enough areas because of who we choose to follow, we are going to turn on each other? Over what?

What it comes down to is on one hand you have those that deal and see the aspects of Loki that are kind, loving, and caring due to the fact He was/is the scapegoat, the outsider, the abused. That Loki is a Father/Mother figure and a Deity that will welcome anyone, no matter how strange, or broken, or “other” you are. And these are the traits these people will pick up and try to emulate along with the trickster nature and, BOOM! The Flame Haired Trickster that is up to mischief and has a hand to hold, a story to tell as you drift off to sleep, loves all things cute and shiny and uses change to bring about the positive.

On the other hand, you have those followers that walk with the darker Loki, the one bound and screaming. The Deity driven to madness from grief over the loss of almost everything He loved except for ever faithful Sigyn. The shapeshifting World-Breaker that will bring about the twilight of everything and the end times. The cunning one who is the Chaos Bringer, who destroys without a second thought. A very Dark being that would bring fire and blood, free his children to devour it all.

I would like to point out that one, these two points of view are called extremes. And that is when we start walking in dangerous territory for our faith, as it will cause us to go after each other and all those prejudices will hold true as we all go down in flames of our own making. Two, we are discussing an ancient and Primal being that depending on where you look could have very well been one of the first beings to exist. The penultimate shapeshifter who is all and more. If you begin to even think there are only those two aspects not only are you wrong, you are beyond foolish.

To dare to speak on behalf or for a Deity is folly at best. With Loki? Well it is downright dumb. Because to speak on their behalf, you claim to know their mind and will. With the Father/Mother of Monsters, you may know AN aspect, or even a few. But none of us could truly begin to fathom such immense knowledge, and if you think otherwise that’s ok. That is the arrogance of humanity coming to the surface.

I walk with the darker aspects. They are what called to me. The Loki I follow can be both kind and cruel in equal measure. He is the One that will do what is needed, not what is honorable, not what is pretty, or always ugly, but what is needed. He is a Teacher, who guides me forward and a reason to do so. I don’t have a God-phone. I am not a spouse. I am a devotee. I am no different at the bottom of it all than any of you reading this. I am Lokean. We are Lokean. And we are here, together despite the aspect we follow.

Academia, Lore, and UPG all aside we fight amongst ourselves because we are human and petty creatures. We are small and long for the briefest touch or glimpse of the greater things, and for whatever the reason Loki called to us and we answered. I couldn’t care less if your first encounter was through Tom Hiddleston and the MCU, you read the lore. You read the stories and have begun to develop UPG. You have accepted Loki’s offer and have willingly shared of your Wyrd with Him and through him his children.

I can say this with certainty. Ego has no place on the Trickster’s path unless you are willing to be the lesson for others. (Loki’s lips are just one example of this) So if you cannot accept that He can be different things to different people than you don’t accept his capacity as the shapeshifter. Just sayin’ maybe what YOU think is Loki isn’t. And yes there are exceptions. There will always be those to use Loki and His tales as a reason to be an ass. To act out and use the excuse “Loki made me do it!” which personally disgusts me.

We, together, need to get past our egos and get it together folks. Especially now with what is looming in the united states. Lokeans are coming forward like never before in my life along with Jotunar/Rokkatru (I personally like the term Rokkatru, those True to the Rokkr, the Gods of the Twilight which just happens to be where I see my path FYI). Why? I can only guess. But we have to get our collective shit together.

Some are scared of the darker aspects. Good, you should be. But acknowledge them as part of the whole. Some scoff at the lighter aspects. Don’t, for without them there would be no laughter or passions. So acknowledge the whole. Not even going to touch on the whole Chaos/Entropy thing right now, personal rant type of thing.

We are Lokean. We are different. We are the agents of change. We are the “other”. And to have an us vs them mentality is like siblings fighting, so don’t be surprised when you get put in a corner. Or set on fire.

HAIL LOKI, IN ALL FORMS!

Observations and Ramblings VIII

Been a while since I have done one of these. You see I’ve been particularly selfish as late and working on my own spiritual path. And yes, while that has eaten up a lot of my Blog lately, I won’t apologize for it. This is what is needed for me. When I write it is a form of meditation to me, allowing me to see deeper into the subject I’m writing about. I suppose I could go back to keeping a journal, but for some reason Papa Flamehair wants me to keep this blog.

This is where I come to this particular one. I do an O and R blog when I see or realize something and it gets stuck in my head like a badger in a barrel. To point, what is considered selfishness. You see, often when we go to do any form of self-care there are inevitably those that will call us selfish. Say that we are taking time away from them or from organizations we are a part of. We’re being selfish is we don’t let them help.

The problem I’ve noticed is when part of that self-care becomes removing poison and toxic sources from our live whether it is a situation or a person. There will always be those when you do this that will be pissed that you dare to step away, they NEED you. No, they NEED what you do FOR them. Or if you dare to speak up for yourself and say “No More”, then you are being an asshole. And by Loki if you dare speak Truth and become the mirror? Then all of a sudden you are manipulative, gaslighting, narcissistic, an abuser, a predator. You are labeled Villain.

Now, dear reader, understand that this isn’t the case with everyone in your life. No, there are those who are family or phamily that are right there to support you in that need for self-care asking, “How can I help?”. I myself am blessed by an amazing, supportive, beautiful, brilliant, badass wife. I have my Tribe. I have my virtual Phamily, people I have never ever met in person. And many of you have these things as well, whether you realize it or not.

You must understand that if self-care is equal to selfish, than there are a lot of parallels that can be drawn from that. An asthmatic that need to sit on a long walk is being selfish. A diabetic is selfish for taking the time to take their insulin. A suicidal person is selfish for being attention seekers. A cancer patient is selfish for needing chemotherapy. It is just a short jump from one to another.

So often I am told “I don’t have time” in response to the question of self-care. Hel, I was horrible about saying it and still do too often. I think that is one of the reasons Loki set this journey before me. To take care of myself on a spiritual level, which I am finding is helping my mental/emotional wellness as a side effect. I have completed the 8 Days (which I recommend for any Lokean, whether you have followed Him for 2 decades or 2 days). I have been through the first Ordeal. I am fairly sure that I have aquired all I need for the crafts that was set before me (save for some rams horns). But I am not going to rush through this. I will take my time.

I am continuing my ink therapy on June 3rd with a bind rune made out of Loki’s name and designed by Dagulf Loptson (yes I have permission from the creator). I have also decided that going down my entire spine will be various symbols, Loki’s name at the top, then the Compass, and the symbol of Wyrd. The rest yet to be revealed.

I consider all this as self-care for me. No, I am not giving up time with my family or putting us in financial danger. Thus I am able to go forward on my journey and with self care.

Going forward I hope that this reminds you, reader, that you DO NOT have to put up with anyone else’s toxins or venom. You have every right to say I’m done and walk away. The repercussions might be painful and hurtful, but in the long run you are better for it. You have support, known or not.

So be selfish. Take care of yourself. As a Lokean I know that my Patron walks with me and approves. So I will wear the title of Villain with pride.

Be True to Yourself

8 Days of Loki: Day 8

Red for Day 8, appropriate.

Fuck. Best way I can put it. I am and have been many things, but with the challenge of this day there are many things I hadn’t realized. The task was simple enough it seemed. That right there should have been my first warning as simple and Loki, well gas and match.

Today was a guided meditation, and to be able to do it I recorded myself reading the guides part and then with ear buds laid down in a room with a single candle as light, the one in the photo above, made myself comfortable, and began to play back the recording. Even though I had JUST read it through, I was not expecting the experience I had.

Perhaps the knocks to the head are catching up to me. Too many explosions in my life, too many time bouncing my head off of concrete. May be I’m finally starting to really lose my mind as all Asatru I’ve known have always said would happen. But I was there. It was real, and what I saw…

I could never have guessed it. You have to understand that the meditation makes you face personal truth as any other, but this particular one I thought I knew. And I did. A very very small part. As a soldier I was ready to lay down my life, but not for glory or honor or patriotism or anything like it. I did it for my family. To protect their way of life, their lives in the future. I fought so perhaps my children didn’t have to. That was then. I would and will always lay down my life for my family.

Reader, who or what would you die for? Anything, even yourself? Do you know? No I am not trying to be an asshole (it comes naturally), I want you to really think about that for a second. To try to understand what or who you would die to keep safe.

Now I ask you this; who or what would you LIVE for? Imagine being in the worst pain you can comprehend, would you fight to live? Why? For who or what? What would you be willing to endure for your beliefs, your home, your family if it meant that they would be safe? I understand that concept now of what/who would you live for. As someone with severe chronic depression that thought has gotten me through many days. But to suffer, to bleed or burn? I saw what and who I would do all the above for.

Who or what would you, dear reader, who or what would you?

Eight full days I have done this travel. I have experienced Loki in ways both familiar and new, laughter and tears. I have experienced the most common aspects faced when dealing with Loki. I complete the eight days as I write this, looking back. And I will honestly say this: If you have been Lokean for two days or two decades I truly recommend that you do this exercise as it is more than worth it. To reach the understandings I have, the different points of view, the new angles of thought, all I can say is HAIL LOKI!

8 Days of Loki: Days 6 and 7

Day 6.

This was a day that I was to focus on that “frisky” side of Flamehair, the seducter the fire that is life. Honestly it was a challenge due to, again, self-image. I don’t see myself as seductive or enticing in an erotic way at all, despite being told the contrary. Let’s hear it for early life brain wiring, Yay…. (insert sarcasm).

Focusing on the fire that lives in all of us at the base of the spine, fueling the erotic and desire to find another, to find and give the celebration of the gift of life. Touching on the serpent that lives there, not waking it, just caressing it and feeling the type of energy it carries. Letting the energy fill my thoughts and emotions.

The next part of the day was to dance. Find music that you feel is sensual and dance to it. The music I personally chose was tribal drumming as I have always equated that to dancing around the festival fires, the light reflecting off the bodies, the thrumming beat of the drums pulsing through the dancers, bringing out more than just dance and celebration. My problem was my disabilities which severely limit mobility most days, but I committed myself to these days.

I put on the music after creating a sacred space, stripped down, and began to dance the best I was able. The blinds shut and curtains drawn to that the only light was from candles and the TV, which had the music. It was painful, and my dancing was stiff as a corpse trying to waltz. Then something happened. The beat, the sacred space started to seep into me. I wish I had better words to explain it but I don’t.

The drumming was a two hour track on YouTube, and the longer I moved the more I felt it. The fire of my blood pounding through me in time with the drums. Burning with light from divine fire. And I danced. I was the serpent coiled and waking. I was the flame that dances. My heart pounded in my chest, just another drumbeat to move to. And I don’t think I could have stopped even if I wanted to. I was aware of the pain, but it was distant and far away in that moment. I began to sweat from the dance and saw the sweat shine in the candlelight and knew the drive of life. The more I danced the better I felt in my spirit, closer to the otherside. It began to feel as I was dancing surrounded by writhing bodies.

Dance and dance, it went on and on until my physical body could take no more and I collapsed in the middle of the sacred space. Heart pounding and racing, mind racing even faster with the thoughts of how close I was. As I lay there breathing heavy and covered in sweat, I SWEAR I felt hands touching and caressing my body. Legs, torso, loins, face, arms everywhere. I gave in to the sensation, feeling so alive, savoring that gift. The gift given by Loki. And I laughed, in joy and ecstasy, I laughed.

For the first time in quite a while I felt very old desires rise to the surface, aching for release, to share that feeling, that ecstasy. I could barely walk and all I wanted was to touch hot flesh and be touched. To celebrate life!

It is that fire, divine and blessed fire, that was gifted to use by Lodur/Loki that drives us to seek connection of flesh, of spirit.

Orange for day 7.

This day was about perceptions and reality and bringing change to these things. Not only for myself but for the world around me. There were many suggestions and ways to do this in “Playing With Fire“, and while I did take one of them I put my own twist on it.

You see, on this day I had my wife with me as I had to go to St. Louis to the VA Hospital to get a steroid shot in my knee. While in the waiting room I had a pen a sticky pad and began writing. I wrote a few large pages to plant in various locations and took and tore some into strips with simple words on them. The first I used, was on my Doctor. While he wasn’t looking I slipped one of the strips in his pocket. I left a note on a chair in the front lobby asking people to please not sit there due to an experiment in quantum phase shifting.

And that is how the day went, except I had my daughter start taking the little strips of compliment or wisdom to strangers (I was watching closely of course). Left notes on car windows, posts, and bathroom doors. Things that would cause most people to stop and go “WTF?”. But also make them think, take them out of their normal daily paradigm. Doing this and watching reactions I was able to witness perceptions change. A normal day suddenly took on a bit of joy or mystery or laughter.

That evening I had to get out of my own way of thinking, so I put myself in the minds of what it was like for my parents as I was growing up. For my Father who worked 10 hour days for over 30 years. A love of hunting and fishing, good with his hands. Exhausted at the end of everyday he came home, so tired as to have little to no energy left for interaction with a hyper child. But every Friday that old popcorn maker would come out, and we would have fresh made popcorn and Star Trek, it didn’t matter how angry or tired he was, there would be popcorn.

For my Mom, well, that is much more difficult. Dementia (undiagnosed) for years, always on the phone, always angry. Willing to beat their child for making to much noise while fixing food. Giving more time to her “organizations” or some such that they became more important then her than her own child. Forgetting said child’s birthday and beating him for being upset and reminding her (at 9pm).

These made me glad for my own perceptions in so very many ways. When I look at the night sky without light pollution and can see stars I can see so much more. I can see diamonds scattered by some divine hand. I can see holes poked in the fabric of space. I can see in my minds eye each star with is own set of planets, mystery upon mystery. I sit and look at a forest and I see a chance of a home and discovery. In public places I get reminded far too often just how much I can’t stand most of humanity.

But I was shown not only is the perception of the world entirely dependent upon the viewer, but it can be altered in a single moment.

And change is wrought.

8 Days of Loki: Day 5

Day 5, yellow candle

So. Yeah. This one was really rather difficult for me personally as it would be I’m certain for many others.

Day 5, to be truthful I’m not even sure how to begin with this one. The idea here was to choose a personal Taboo, explore it, and then break it. Now of course I’m over simplifying the process as I am not going to take away from the source of this process, Dagulf Loptson who created the 8 Days.

It took me some time, as throughout my life I have been fortunate enough or unlucky enough (situationally dependent) to have explored not only societal taboos, but many personal ones that I inherited. By that I mean through the area and environment were I grew up in rural Missouri. Men had their place and women theirs and crossing the two, well that just wasn’t done. Needless to say, I wasn’t the most popular person growing up.

By this time I had few personal taboos left, and a few of those are a HARD NO level between Loki and myself. But that still left a few and so it was down to sorting through those and what could be done in a single day. Which pretty much left one, and I could feel the smirk from the altar. My first words were “Dammit” followed by “Fuck”. Because that one taboo for me was actually one of the worst. Being seen naked, bare and vulnerable, by other people.

To be unclothed in a non-intimate way and to be seen was something that caused my anxiety to go through the roof, and the vomit to rise. “This will do fine”, I heard/felt in the back of my mind, in my spirit. You see in my reflection what I see is not what others see. Call it whatever you wish, but my body to me is just wrong. Not like I’m in the wrong body (mostly), but just… horrid. From my face to my feet, the only part of myself that I even semi-like are my eyes. And the thought of people I knew, people I only knew online seeing me, all of me? Panic. Fear. Anxiety. To be laughed at for who I am, to be judged by what I look like, to be reviled.

Now I know some of you who have interacted with me are shaking your heads going “No, that can’t be right”. Guess again darling. Hence why I do not do naked. I’m ashamed of my body and the way I look. Don’t give me pity for this, I am stating fact to explain my personal taboo and nothing more. But how to break it? That was the next step. And then I realized that I had a way. A photo shoot, artistic and simple. I had a DSLR camera that had a timer and a stand for it.

I would take these shots of myself, upload them to a site I knew would be safe for the content (and check ages), then share the link. I got the equipment together and set up, got it all ready. I shaved my face and took a shower. And then I did it. I just did it, didn’t think about what I was doing, just did it. Then it was over, I was done. Photos saved on camera and ready to upload.

Before I did this step, I called my wife. I talked with her at length as I was beyond nervous and freaking out. Talked to her about the link, the site, and everything. I wanted, no I NEEDED to have her approval as not only my wife but my partner in all things. I was going to be putting myself really out there. It may have an effect on her as well and felt she should have a voice in this process. As always she was beyond understanding and supportive. So there was the green light.

I uploaded the images, checked, cropped, removed the ones out of focus or just over all crappy (was going with the opinions of another on that one), and then loaded them onto the site. I then put the link onto social media, sat back and waited for the humiliation and disgust to come in. Only… it didn’t. There wasn’t a lot of comments, but the ones I received were very positive and kind.

Our personal taboos are just than; personal. For personal reasons. This was a boost to my confidence. Another person may break a personal taboo and have a humbling experience. Someone else may do it and have the taboo reinforced. But what I learned for myself was that some of the taboos I hold are useless and without merit. There only by fear and/or a bad experience or two. I have severed myself from the pains of my past, and these taboos are the last ropes holding me there.

When you, dear reader, are ready to break your own taboo I offer this suggestion. Jump. Run and jump with both feet.

And for those that are curious, the photo set can be found at my Deviant Art. Just follow the link.

8 Days of Loki: Day 4

So as some may or may not have guessed, each of these blogs are a day behind. For example, today is actually Day 5 for me and as such I will be attempting to do that throughout the day (working these days as a stay-at-home Dad with a toddler in tow can be a trick all on its own). The way it strikes me is that I can’t write about the experience until I have it, sooo…

Green for Day 4

Today was about reliving and finding Joy, childlike and pure. Remembering, reflecting, and reliving parts of your childhood that brought you such great joy. Then having found/rediscovered that remembering to carry it with you in the days to come.

I feel the need to preface what comes next with a few statements. First, I am not seeking, nor do I want pity. Second I am writing facts to illustrate the challenge of this day for me. My own childhood was NOT a happy one. From as far as I have memory I had fleeting moments of joy, but the rest? Well I will only go with the term “unpleasant” and leave it at that. Some of the joyous memories I do have are exploring the woods nearby, snowball fights with good friends, climbing trees with my first crush/love. Hiding in the giant Forsythia bushes that were like forts. Reading books by a tiny little creek. Discovering tabletop RPGs. Joys few and far between whose memory I hoard closer that a dragon with gold.

Move to present day, decades later and the development of chronic mental illnesses, various traumas, and other factors that have led me to the need of certain medications in order to control that which would run wild and have certain negative side effects, some of which could be permanent. Now, I have to take these meds, but they too have a certain effect. Many emotions are either dulled or are just unable to be felt. Joy, true joy, is one of the things that is nearly impossible to feel. So how was I supposed to go about this day, this challenge?

Quite literally the answer was in front of me. If I couldn’t feel them for myself I would experience them through a surrogate, as I had for a while. Plus this would help give me the motivation to get out of the house. Understand I despise leaving my house and find MOST of humanity repulsive. However, I am the Daddy of a very curious and energetic toddler who has some of the most infectious laughter and joy.

So I achieved the goal of yesterday through her, through her joy of even the smallest things. We fed ducks at a local lake near a shaded playground. We found a creek to explore and rocks to throw. People to talk to about schools and playgrounds and trading parent tips all while the children raced and laughed and played. Mine discovered the baby (8 months) that was there with Mom and Brother and was just taken. She would run back to the baby every ten minutes or so just to say Hi.

The children she played with, a pack of about half a dozen, were all backgrounds and ethnicities. There was no hate. No being left out. All were equal unless you were “it”. Laughter so pure filled the air, screeches of joy and of happiness.

For breakfast we had horribly sugary cereal and lunch was McDonald’s that we took to the park to enjoy. We came home and dinner was spaghetti, nice and messy. After we had ice cream sicles (caramel, YUM!) and just chilled out watching Duck Tales. The day was filled with many smiles and hugs and kisses.

While I personally have a difficult time with feeling most emotions (I can, they have just become very dulled and gray), my daughter doesn’t. She feels everything so passionately and without filter. The wind blows strongly and she revels in the feeling as she runs against it. She loves the sound and feel of rain. Every flower MUST be smelled. Swings are a chance to fly, and slides are things of wonder. She isn’t perfect, she can try my last nerve and then dance on it. She is a walking mess, and can be a monster. She is also my little Bug, my silly goblin.

Childlike joy Loki? I have a child to share it with me. Everyday.

8 Days of Loki: Day 3

Blue for Day 3

So this was honestly a rather rough day for me. I will usually let the candles burn all the way down as I go about my day, but due to the need to leave and face humanity, I had to extinguish it. But throughout my day I contemplated what the day was to be about.

Financially I am not a rich man. In truth due to mental and physical state may never be, unless I hit the Lotto. Really not likely that out of the seven dollars left to me at the moment I gave two to a man with a dog at the bottom of a highway exit in St. Louis, and the other five is being saved to take my little one to McDonalds. If I have easy access to money I will tend to spend it on others and myself. Why? Because I love the look of joy on the face of people I love, giving an unexpected surprise. Their happiness is infectious. Same reason I do things just to do them. I don’t care if anyone ever notices I did it or if it was even done, and no I am not going to give examples.

Oh, but the wealth I have in other ways. I am married to a woman that has time and again stood by me and weathered so very many storms. Rarely will I refer to her as my wife, because she is my partner. And my life is richer for her being in it and for her love.

I am so very rich because I have children who love me. I have a teenage daughter (my eldest) who trusts me and will tell me almost anything. My son has just entered his teens and is still willing to give his Dad a hug in public. And the Overlord may be a Mommy’s girl, I still get random kisses just because. Hugs and “I love you Daddy” before she runs off on another adventure.

I would be rich for these things alone, things that so many do not have. I have healthcare (as much of a joke as it can be at times), I have transportation, a stable roof for my family and food for our table. All of these are the immediate and tangible.

For decades have had my faith and have almost never doubted that Loki is in my life along with the other Goddesses and Gods. It’s just that Flamehair is first and foremost to me. Hence why I don’t get a mid-life crisis, I get a spiritual journey. Sigh. I would really like a motorcycle. But it is also the reason that I am doing what I’m doing, with the 8 Days of Loki being a part of it. For those the are curious the 8 Days are laid out in Dagulf Loptson’s book, “Playing With Fire” and is beyond an excellent read. Yes I’m a bit of a fanboy.

I will admit that most of Day 3 for me was spent in a great deal of frustration as I had to fight with the Veterans Administration and arrogant doctors that knew all they need to know without even really speaking to me, getting treated like a number. As an american, our health care can cause people to die while waiting, so that I was able to get anything accomplished at all was an achievement I was rather proud of, plus it gave me some fuel.

You see part of yesterday was to create something using a talent you have or would care to develop. I write. Gods know that my toddler draws better than me and a crow can sing better. A while I have been accused of having a silver tongue, I love writing. I just need to do it more and more and more in order to hone my skill.

Anyway, I wrote a very short story called Vengeance. I purposefully put myself in a distracting environment to challenge myself, and I wrote. I created a story based on nothing but my experiences and my own mind, which when finished I printed out and put on my Altar. I then posted it to some social media to get some feedback and may even place it in a few more.

I realized just how rich I truly am. Thank you Loki.

8 Days of Loki: Day 2

Day 2, Black

So here was the one I was both dreading and looking forward to. The day to contemplate Death and it’s meaning. What and how it does and has it’s place in the cycle of all things. I was to meditate and think on all these things. I was to visit a graveyard and sit among the dead, feeling if there is a weight to the place. If there were anything to feel for me, or if just thoughts would come to me.

So I found a small family cemetery, where I could be undisturbed. I made offering at the gates before entering, spoke a prayer of thanks and permission, and stepped across that threshold. You see, so often in Western society Death is one of the big taboos, something not to talk about or discuss. Cemeteries frightening places where zombie, or ghosts, or worse lurk thereby reinforcing the idea to stay away and stay out unless you have specific business there. But when I crossed that threshold the only weight I felt was that of attention and curiosity. Oh I had no doubt there were a few spirits there, just as I had no doubt they were nearly grateful for the visit.

I walked among the stones, speaking to the names and introducing myself. Two were soldiers whom I stood at attention and saluted as one veteran to another. Took the time to clear off some of the headstones. It was a beautiful plot of land surrounded by wood and field. The only thing that personally bothered me was that the road was so very close and the vehicle noise was a bit of a distraction. I also got a distinct impression that it was a welcome thing from at least on direction and when I focused on that feeling it was a way of watching the world change.

One thing that did bother me was nothing spiritual but entirely mundane. Some of the oldest markers had been broken. Whether through the elements of vandalism I couldn’t tell and I found one that had been replaced with a new thicker stone of red granite. I know this because I found the shattered original on the edge near the woodlands. But just one more reason for me to dislike humanity, desecration is worse than vandalism. I can’t even fathom why a person would be moved to such an act.

After walking the small grounds I found a comfortable seat at the base of an old cedar. I closed my eyes and did my best to just feel, to imagine what it would be like to be a resident in this place. I heard birdsong, and traffic, and cattle. Not far away I heard the sounds of children at play. There were animals in the brush and the trees. I found I was rather comfortable there among the resting place of the ancestors. While the flesh beneath fed the Earth, and most spirits there having moved on, I still didn’t feel alone, and I felt like I was smiled upon after a while.

My plans for the time of my passing doesn’t involve the ground or internment. Perhaps a plaque will be set up for me, perhaps not. In just a few short generations I may be completely forgotten my mortal minds. Surprisingly, I found myself ok with that. I am working to build some things that if… no, WHEN they are accomplished will far outlive me or my name and bring joy and safety to many.

And the life that was evident there, even if I were buried and reclaimed by the earth, I know I wouldn’t be alone. The fauna of even that small place was evident everywhere, from bird’s nests to deer tracks. Someone had even placed a live capture trap, for what I can only guess is a burrower, but it was the fact of whoever it was had decided to live catch instead of poison or kill snare. Even without daily human visits, the ancestors weren’t alone.

Deer that had come to visit and left behind a little something.

Death is change. From one state to another it is change and thereby Loki will have a hand in it, just a Lodur gave mankind the blush of health and the color of the Divines. For those on our path, Hel should only be feared by the truly wicked (Nazis, I hope you like pineapples. Bonus points if you get the reference.) She can be just as kind as cold, as loving as wicked.

I understand that this was supposed to be a somber and sobering experience, but I feel I was directed here by Loki and Hel to show the calm and peace. That with or without us life will continue and while humbling it is also, at least to me, more than a little reassuring. Tomorrow will come still after I cross the threshold. My loved ones will mourn my passing, then move on and live. My children and their children (?) will follow the same cycle as we all will. The Lokean path is filled with chances of us walking through the door and hearing, “Well that was stupid.”, and it is just as likely for us to be toothless old folks throwing Molotov Cocktails at people that won’t get off our lawn.

So remember all you beautiful beings, Death is but just another change.

8 Days of Loki: Day 1

So. I lit my white candle and closed my eyes, picturing the color of magic, the ebb and flow of it around me. How it touched absolutely everything and was quite literally in the air. I opened my eyes and spoke aloud the prayer, incantation, whatever you choose to call it. And then went about my day with thoughts of fire constantly in the back of my mind.

The white candle of Day One

To think of it as our ancestors did. More than something to cook with or to fear, to them as to many today it is a living entity of its own. By scientific terms fire shows all the signs of what we consider life. It need to eat (fuel), it requires oxygen (breath), and it seeks to propagate. But beyond that it shows those who know how to look a personality that is both playful and destructive, an entity far removed from the concerns of humanity. The Hearthfire that kept our ancestors warm and shed light is no different than the fire that devours forest and flesh with equal abandon.

Fire is flowing, ever shifting and changing. I has no set shape or form. Put your hands into flame and there is nothing to hold (I do not recommend this by the way) yet it is completely real. In many ways it is quite like it’s opposite element, water.

And the sound of fire. The crackle and low rumble of a good campfire, there is something even now that is so very comforting. Over half the memes I see about being outdoors there’s a fire of some sort. The roar of a bonfire on Beltane, calling out to souls to dance and drum. Heat that can reach and touch every part of you like a lover, but a lover with a knife at your throat. It is hope and creation and destruction, life and light and survival and screaming death all at once. SO many thing is our friend fire.

Then there is divine “fire”. The spark of life, of passion. It is said that it was Lodur that graced us with the color of life. We each carry that fire inside, the metaphysical ember that some can stoke to a forge’s heat or a bonfire’s intensity. Without this spark, there is no life. No humanity. No passion or lust or love or creativity or desire. No anger or hate or violence. You can’t have one and not the other. We mortals need that spark and when it is gone, so are we. Our flame extinguished.

And it is that very passion, that spark that allows magic to be. Not just in humanity, but in the entirety of the world. From grass to Whales, all life carries that spark. It is the energy that connects us to each other, to the world and to the energy that we have named Magic. With our divine fire we are able to reach out and believe. We can have Faith. We can touch the Magic that flows around and through us if we take the time.

For the length of memory even the element of fire has been sacred. It is these properties that many in Pagan communities celebrate, sanctifying a fire for rituals, making it sacred and then throwing offering to various Deities into it. Fire as a sacred thing can even be found in non-pagan traditions in the form of cremation, releasing the spirit to freedom and where it is meant to go. It is used in so many belief systems across the world, on nearly every continent. Fire is sacred and divine, and knows nothing of hate or love or favor. It is an element, a spirit, an entity that we can barely begin to understand yet we still work with it.

The arrogance of humanity thinks that we have tamed fire. Fire can be contained yes, but tamed? No, never. And this is an observations from not only the work done on the first day of Loki, but as a fire performer with just a few years of experience. When I dance with flame there is no other feeling in the world and the roar of that flame is like a prayer of thanks and celebration to Loki. I don’t control the fire. It is my partner. I have savored it’s kiss, and I have also known it’s angry bite. And where does the magic come in? When you dance with the flame in front of others, you bring them with you into that sacred space. For a few moments their lives are nothing but the moment, the magic. They become enchanted. They know magic.

And Loki? Yes he is a fire God, just his is the sacred fire, the fires of life and magic. He is the fire that keeps us safe in winter and the fire that drives us forward.

May your fire burn long and bright.