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.

Black Moon A Risin’

So I know this is almost a week after the fact, and truth be told I’m writing this in order to honestly distract myself from another subject which will most likely be the next blog.

So. I know, I know a great number of people argued over the actual new moon, yada yada yada. I don’t care. You have your opinion, awesome. Now the way I chose to see it, it was the second Full Dark moon of the month and thereby a Black Moon. And to me, at least, this would be a sacred time for anyone on the LHP so I decided that I would honor my Patron and the Rökkr that night.

To be honest it didn’t quite go as planned. I am married to a Freya’s Woman and adore her. So when I realized that she wanted to come along and bring the child with, my plans had to change. I was still able to bless my altar sword and sanctify it to Loki and the Rökkr, but due to the change of logistics other things will have to wait until another day when I feel particularly connected to the Rökkr and LHP.

Now, you may be asking at this point why the fuck am I even posting about this experience or lack thereof? You see folks one thing I have learned about the Rökkr and being Lokean is how important Tribe is, and Tribe starts with the family you choose. No, I didn’t get to do everything I wanted to do. In return I watched my wife dance with lights at the edge of a spring, my daughter laughing and chasing her all under a gentle summer rain.

Pitch black night, storms overhead, and the sounds of pure laughter ringing off stone walls. As a follower of a Trickster and Primal Deities what could have been better than pure raw REAL emotion, all in the moment and unplanned. I thought about the aspects after and while I was thinking of blood and flesh and fire, there was the other side of the primal side as well. The infectious pure joy of a child. The ability of an adult to truly let go and be in the moment outside of their comfort zone. After the dedication of the sword, and the blessings upon it, I gathered my things, put them away, and joined in the laughter.

The Black Moon gave us the shadows we needed to let go, to truly be in the now if only for a moment for my wife. There were many blessings that night, in many forms. So what if my plans went sideways? It was an amazing evening of spirit and adventure where the three of us connected. People forget that there are positive things to be found in the dark as well as the light.

In the dark we are free to let go. Free to be who/what our truest natures are without judgement. You are hidden, shrouded from prying eyes and uniformed judgements. Solitary seekers can find great knowledge of both the self and the worlds there, but take with you those in your heart. There in that ever present black you will get to know the truth of them.

I have seen the largest masculine men break from fear in the complete dark of a forest. And this Black Moon I saw a toddler so brave she would have taken the hand of the Fey and brought them to meet us. I have seen darkness and silence cleanse a soul like no amount of light ever could. I’ve witnessed it break minds and souls.

And for us that night? The eldritch energies abounded around us in so many ways. In that absolute dark was joy and beauty and power. So take what you will from this writing. If you were expecting some grand revelation of wisdom, or sharing of esoteric secrets; well sorry, not sorry. This is what I was blessed with. And it was wonderful.

Hail Loki! Hail the Rökkr!

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: 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.

Possibilities

So many in our age from scholars to Brosatru have made statements that indicate the belief that Ginnungagap is a void, that which swallows everything. They want to think of it like the Nothing from Neverending Story (if you don’t know the reference I feel sorry for you). A black unfathomable hole that would swallow everything if it could. An outlook, I feel and think, that is perhaps subconsciously motivated by the instinctual fear of the unknown.

And yet, it was from Ginnungagap that all realms would eventually come to be. It is not a void, an endless space. It is pure and absolute creation without form or structure. It is the chaos which gave life to the spark from Niflheim and Muspelheim thus was Ymir created. Dig deep enough into the lore and you find that Ginnungagap is Chaos. Primal Creation. That from which all life sprung. Endless potential. But why is it always thought of as a black void? I have given that more than a little thought, and I think that perhaps I have an answer. An answer that any high school science or art teacher can give you. When you take all colors of the spectrum and mix them together you get black. Black, deep and endless. Black is not the lack of color, but the result of EVERY color.

As mortals we are at the mercy of our natural rhythms that come from millennium of evolution, and yet we are one of the MOST adaptable species on this planet, on this plane. As we have progressed we have quit trying to tap into that primal source and have only been utilizing one or two things. We are meant to evolve and change, but does that mean we forget the other parts that make us? Yes our intelligence has grown, and so has our greed. Our compassion as a species has withered. Where once the natural world had a certain harmony with us, this is no longer the case. And spirituality? Only really within the past few generations have people started to question and become seekers again.

Mental health is still looked at as a disease. Addiction as a choice. A woman’s body something to be regulated. Education dictated by those that think the world is only 2000 years old. People are dying because they can’t afford to get the care they need. Our oceans are so polluted that it is absolutely disgusting. The great wild place grow smaller every single day. And we have adults that can name each Kardashian but have no clue who won the civil war in the United States. Yup. We are really fucking advanced.

I have chosen to follow the older ways, and I mix with that lore and stories modern thought. I read into the tales and beneath the words to the emotions to the meaning found there. I read actual historic accounts (not just Vikings on the History channel) and learn about the people that lived then, how they lived, what is known of their lives.

And to any Neo-Nazi, Alt-Right, Far Right, Flag Waving Hate Mongers, Proud Boys, Wolves of Vinland, and numerous other hate groups: By all means let me see you using the symbols of my beliefs. You see the Asatru are bound by Honor. Vanatru tend toward peaceful outcomes. I, however, am Rökkatru. I am Lokean. I will TAKE back MY symbols with a flaming aluminium baseball bat (because recycling). The Nazi Party already destroyed a symbol of unity. Freedom of speech does not protect from incitement and using symbols sacred to my belief tends to incite me to violence. So by all means, march, shout your hate, scream your foul rhetoric. Don’t be surprised when you are beat down.

Because Ginnungagap. Black. Creation. Even the old Nordic folk knew the value of the heart, not the skin. Knew the value of potential and that difference added to the whole, not destroy it. Everyone want to scream about their cultures. First, ‘Murica, you don’t really have a true culture outside of holidays and persecution. The real true Americans are forced onto reservations and live often in rather sad conditions, but have HELD their culture despite trying to have it wiped out by White people.

I have chosen the path of my ancestors, because it called to my heart and felt the right place for me to be. I was called to Loki as my patron because He holds my spirit, and through him I follow the Rökkr. I am not afraid of the darkness, the twilight, the Chaos or change. Yes, it can be painful. It WILL leave scars.

And in spite of my mental demons I wake everyday. I acknowledge that each new day is one which has the potential for nearly anything to happen, and endless possibilities. You don’t have to rich to travel. You don’t NEED the latest tech, though you may WANT it. I have seen and done a great many things, and I am far far from monetarily wealthy. But when an opportunity comes, a chance arrives, there are times I can overcome my issues and force myself to take them. No, it doesn’t always work and sometime it fails in the most spectacular way. Lesson learned and a new story to tell. But the point is I do not know what each day will bring into my life. And every evening I try my best to remember to go to my altar and give thanks for the day I was given.

So. Today. Will you go outside and go for a walk, see some wildlife and be astounded by the beauty? Will you curl up and listen to rain while reading a book? Will you go to work and be miserable? Will you get a phone call with news that will leave you in tears? Will you buy a winning Lotto ticket? Will you find love? Will it be your last day on this plane? I don’t have a fucking clue, why are you asking me?

Potential. Possibility. One of the best reasons to wake up. And that thing that scares the shit out of you? That unknown factor? Chaos. Embrace it and ride the storm or sink and be swallowed. Plenty of room on this ship for those who want it.

A Non-Neurotypical Lokean

Tricksters. Often seen as fools, jesters, clowns. Or thieves, manipulators, villains. Scapegoats, teachers, guides, meat-shields. The mad genius. The lucky idiot. The wise fool. Comic relief. Tricksters.

Rarely are they seen for the what they are save by those who follow and/or study and/or work with them regularly. They are figures not to be pitied but respected. Too often I see followers of Trickster disrespected and laughed at for the patron that called to their heart and the fire inside me surges at this form of isolating. Ignored because they are the funny one, the one that is just there to get people to laugh. Modern life tells that the Trickster has taken the roll of clown, to teach lessons only by foolishly showing what NOT to do. And yes, there are times when that is true.

It has been forgotten the roll of a jester among a court. The place of the fool. You see, in royal courts these were the only ones allowed to openly mock the Gentry and the Crown. To remind them of their humanity. Often the Jester was one of the MOST trusted advisors. And was also who was turned to when a problem needed to disappear.

By now I’m pretty sure you are asking what this has to do with non-neurotypicals and Loki. Well the Loki connection should be obvious and as for the other? Let’s face it folks, those who are truly “right in the head” are very unlikely to hear the call of the Trickster.

I am beginning a down slide and I know that is ok. My Patron isn’t going to demand me to get it together. He will be there as I fall into the shadowed valley, in my heart. It is partly faith that will see me through along with loved ones and modern medicine. But He is there because Flamehair knows the dark places well. To dwell in madness is to see the world through a fractured lens, one that shows different angles. One that can pierce illusions, not only about others but about ourselves.

I hear all this talk of how Loki appears to people, how he is seen. So very similar descriptions that the form has become accepted, and that in itself makes me laugh as Loki is a shapeshifter. For me he appears as he needs, not as I want. Yes, often it is an older male to me, scarred lips, deep red hair, palish skin. He wears more modern clothing, but is most often partially shadowed with a cheshire grin, at least when he shows in good times. When I am seeking certain things I see and deal with other aspects. Modern Loki is, to me, who I just described. When He comes to me as the Bound One, there is an aura of pain and rage and madness. When I see the Father, He is calmer, radiates Power and Fire, has a beard neatly trimmed. The presence of the World Breaker is both terrifying and exhilarating to me. All are seen for a reason, a purpose. And my cracked, non-neurotypical brain connects to each of them, allows me to see/feel/speak with these different aspects. Yes, they are all Loki but each a different form.

I have encountered him as a great black wolf, and a shining carapaced spider that was much larger than it needed to be. He has come to me as a woman of middle-eastern descent, but still had the red hair (that encounter is a story of its own). Cat, hound, human, and more.

Even in my deepest depressions, when I find I have a plan to finally cross the veil and the will to enact it, I stop. A whisper, a memory, or serendipity happens. Suddenly and with no reason, just enough to pull me away from that edge.

In moments of panic and anxiety, I feel warmth and in my mind hear the crackle of fire. Just that little thing allows me to reach out for help or to let out the tears to cleanse my spirit.

When my PTSD flares, be it night-terrors or flashbacks or whatever, I hear in my heart, “Ride the storm, it will end. You survived. You will survive.”

For me Loki and my being non-neurotypical make that connection of faith stronger. Yes, here in Midgard it just serves to segregate me further from the “norm” and place me in boxes with many many people and agencies. I don’t care anymore. I look around at the world and ask myself, “This is normal? I want no part.”

So Loki does all this for me, what does He get? Devotion, loyalty, and faith to start. He has set me on a journey (and it is a strange one) to learn who I am. I don’t paint it in some sugary light, I know it is so that I can serve him better, to become what I am meant to be. My mental conditions are more types than mentioned here. I have my own UPG from listening, reading between the lines, thinking for myself, believing the lore should evolve with the times, speaking with spirits and wight and Disir and what I hear on spirit walks.

And let me tell you this; the Trickster will bring you laughter and lessons, but there is always a blade at the ready somewhere. Papa Flamehair has shown me terrifying vistas during walks and talks, spoke of horrible things. He asks for steep prices at times in His patronage. I will always pay willingly, though not always without question. I am no sheep and I will not be led blindly to a slaughter, not even by a God. Nor is the God whom is my patron.

So even in my darkest hours, my faith is there. I know I will walk with my ancestors and that I will never walk in Valhalla, even if I die in battle. One day the depression and other odd brain wiring may win. But not today. Today I choose my family, my friends, and my faith. And the pain will be endured.

Even when the demon Depression is on me, I will remember the beauty of the shadow, the twilight, and the fire. And I will journey on.

The Growing Rökkatru

Rökkr. Jotun. Lokean.

These are terms that make many pagans, not just Heathens nervous. Why? Well why does someone that works with Hekate or Asmodeus make someone nervous. It is all the same reason and that is people are afraid of the dark. From the beginning of memory to many modern children we are taught to fear the dark. Stories, books, movies, and much more are based around this fact. But why? I, personally, am certainly no where near authorized to give any kind of professional opinion. Personally, I think it is because of the fact we can’t see and sight is one of the primary senses that a human relies on. Take that away and suddenly we are vulnerable. Every noise is a potential threat, the beast in the shadows waiting to tear us apart. Here’s the kicker; that isn’t always wrong.

And those that would walk with/in/along side that darkness are often judged harshly consciously simply due to the path that their heart was called to. Rökkr was a term first coined by Abby Helasdöttir of New Zealand (as far as I can find) and has grown in use to the USA, where it is being rather dismissed by many Heathens, and nearly unheard of among other Pagans.

Now, let’s take a moment and look at something. Odinist, Odinism, Asatru, and more than a few others have been co-opted by White Supremacist groups like that AFA (Asatru Folk Alliance), Sons of Odin (USA/Canadian branch of the EU Soldiers of Odin),Wolves of Vinland, and the Wolves of Odin (whose website really should be checked out because it was bought out from under them by someone with a grand sense of humor). These people claim Odin, Thor, Tyr, and many other Aesir among their patrons. Men, women, children all are among their numbers. They have even started using the sacred Runes in their symbology, especially Othila. They have desecrated the Volknüt and the Hammer.

Rökkatru would never defile. We honor the Ancestors and walk with them everyday just as every other heathen. We know the Nine Noble Virtues (our interpretation may differ), and the lore. We know the stories and tales and some of us even know the songs. What is different are the God/Goddesses we choose to follow. The “dark” ones, those who are chaos and destruction and yadda yadda yadda. I could spend PAGES on why this just simply isn’t so, but it’s a blog, not a book (y’all have to wait for that). Let’s just leave it that for whatever reason we are drawn to the dark archetype (an good read by the way and can be found here) and follow it as truly as any follower of Thor, Odin, or Freya.

We don’t go out of our way to cause issue or strife, but we are also not afraid of it. We are the ones that would go hunting at night for the village, because we knew the real dangers. We know that most “monsters” are simply being or things that most find repulsive or don’t understand. We are willing to go where others will not, and in turn we sacrifice much along the way, just as others do. Yes our Wyrd (fate, luck, energy) is different and some would say twisted that does not make us “bad”. Do some walk in the twilight and shadow? Follow the Left Hand Path? Yup, sure do. And I’m proud to say that I am one of them.

Near where I live, in a town called Alton, there is an annual event called “Bad People Do Good Things”. Mostly it is the Underground entertainers (burlesque performers, strippers, bikers, tattooists, fire performers, geeks, body suspensionist that use the hooks through flesh method, sex positive folks, and BDSM community) just to name a few. The Red Cross LOVES them as they raise more blood donations in one day than nearly any other time of the year. They gather food for those in need including the homeless. Clothing is donated, funds raised for local charities, etc. Now before you say anything nearly all these people also volunteer throughout the year at various charities and places for those in need. Without pay. Without thanks. Without recognition. And they do it happily.

These are the same people that have no issue beating someone bloody if it is deserved, or wrestling them to the ground for authorities to arrive. These are the people that when they see injustice aren’t part of the Apathy Observers filming the incident. They are the ones to step in either directly or indirectly. They speak up.

We are well aware of how we are seen. Yet we follow our hearts into the twilight and shadows of the Northern Traditions. We are the Rökkatru and we know the monsters within and without, and with patience and understanding have made allies of them. We do what we are called upon to do by our souls. You will know us by the Thorn. And if you seek shelter we will give it, for we know what it is like to be outcast, alone, and afraid.

The question I have is, will you walk with me and meet a monster or two?

Walking With Loki

Beginnings are always hard. Even figuring out how to start this was difficult. Because beginnings mean something has changed, ended and that is painful to the one or those involved in ways that can cause deep and lasting hurt. Beginning again after the loss of a loved one. New beginnings without the help or aid of drugs or alcohol. The end of a long relationship and starting new. Change is imminent and won’t be stopped, it is as unrelenting as the ocean tides and can be as devastating to a soul as a tsunami is to land.

Loki is the Chaos-Bringer, change is one of the things as His very most core. To choose to follow him, to choose to walk the path of chaos and change among other things. Why, for the love of the Gods, why would someone choose to walk the path. Honestly I could go into the examples but it’s just easier to step outside my door and count the stars. Loki draws people for individual reasons.

He is a Shapeshifter and as such can potentially appear in anyway he wishes to followers. But a few thing seems to always agree from lore to so many SPG’s (shared personal gnosis). He in humanoid form is green eyed and red haired with his body being fit. Beyond that His form and even the way he acts will change. It can even depend on which face a follower deals with. Are you dealing with the Sly One? The Scapegoat? The magician? The Worldbreaker? Each different, each the same. Because no matter the outer form, He is still Loki.

One of the reasons that I write this is that in a few of the groups I am a part of and share in, individuals have decided to tell other Lokeans HOW to be Lokean. My comment? If you are looking for that kind of dogma go hang out with the Roman Catholics or Baptists. You get my drift, and if you don’t, well you may be part of the issue.

Onto the more personal as to this, I have walked with Loki for over twenty years and seen my share of change, of chaos. Have had it happen too often to think about. Many times it has been… explosive when it happens and sometimes it isn’t even my fault. It can wear on a person, on their soul, because when He decides it is time for the person to change, He set the explosives. I’ve been caught in the blast, and it doesn’t get pretty.

Recently, by someone who has known me and what kind of person I am, had called me predatory due to emotions I was feeling for someone who I am aiding in Shadow Work. I took oaths, witnessed by human participants and in the name of Loki that there would be no taking advantage due to the nature of the work and the sheer vulnerability that would be opened by the work on the Shadow, and even without the oath I would NOT do something such as taking advantage of someone you is hurting.

Yes, it hurt. Yes, got angry. I won’t hide that. I went off on said individual and all because he believed in that there only was a singly way to guide and/or teach, that there is always a power differential in play. In teaching sure. In Shadow Work, it is about trust, a power dynamic. I have power in the guiding, the walker has power of their choosing. All I really do is to guide through that dark and show the doorway, while they must choose to step through and face what is on the other side. I can offer support and guidance, encouragement, and from time to time a suggestion IF requested.

I’m human. I will develop feeling for others. But to get called predatory for such, I will NOT put up with. I have faced down such challenges before, but never from someone I believed to be a friend; accused by someone I know and love, whom I have never ever shown proof of such actions. I have done my best to prove the opposite almost all the life from being on the receiving end of such behavior. This same friend I have known for a very long time, is also a Nokean as it turns out. And still I love them. They are family to me.

To walk with the Doer of Good and Evil, the Mother/Father of Monsters, the God of Mischief and Fire is a trial or faith and of resilience. To face a life filled with change and chaos, both laughter and suffering. You are often tested and the price of failure can be steep indeed, your very life exploding and causing you to start entirely over. So why follow such a Deity?

Well that, dear reader, is an easy answer. Love and devotion. Warmth and comfort. A place where you are accepted no matter what you look like or who you are, where you are judged on the strength of your heart, not your body or even your faith. A feeling that you actually matter to the God you follow, that your not someone offering up prayers on your knees to a being distant and unfathomable, but actually feeling them beside you. Still great and powerful beyond measure, but also so very close you can nearly feel their touch. Is it all in the mind, the heart? Maybe. But honestly isn’t all faiths?

I think I will go for a walk.

Priesthood of Change?

Recently on one of the social media sites that I am on a youngling asked, “How do I become a priest of Loki?” and the question has stuck with me for some reason. Perhaps while I write this it will come to light.

There were a few responses, all of them good answers, but all of them different. They ranged from “You will know when you are ready to claim the title” to boiled down “When your peers begin to refer to you as such”. Now between you and me and whoever is reading this, that latter answer scared the bejeebus out of me because of the connotations that it held for me on a personal level. Get into that later.

But I suppose that taking a step back, there really aren’t truly many “Priests” of Loki. I mean in Heathenry there are the Gothi and Gythia (priest/priestess respectively), but more often than not they are dedicants of the Aesir with a few I have met that are followers of the Vanir. They preside over the rites of various Kindreds and at events. Larger groups have them like the Troth and the (gagging as I type) AFA. They officiate weddings, funerals, and all things in between. But who or what decides THIS person is a Gothi/Gythia? What special process do they go through? Why do we accept that they are closer to the Gods then anyone else? There is an answer. Knowledge for one. These people have studied not just read the lore usually. Another is experience, these are people that have lived the Heathen ways a good portion of their life. Lastly, dedication. You see that is the REAL difference to me. Dedication to the Gods/Goddesses. They have made and keep oaths to live their lives for the Divine. Do they really hear Them? I don’t have a clue. Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe just voices. But if they can speak with honesty and wisdom why shouldn’t they be listened to?

Now I know the Troth has a set path of learning and schooling, which is very good from all that I hear. Various 501-C3 groups have their own accredited training programs that are recognized across the states (no I won’t do your research for you). There is even the Loki University which while, small has a wonderful curriculum that leads a new Lokean well and can even teach an old dog some new tricks.

Face it folks, we never ever stop learning. Even those of us brave enough to take the title of teacher learn from each student if that teacher is wise enough to see the lesson. So live. Go base jumping. Try a kite suit (on my personal bucket list). Explore Murder World (also known as Australia) . Take a chance or a risk. Yes, you might fail. Perhaps even definitely fail. But I guarantee you learned what “NOT” to do.

Read the books, the literature, and learn the history of the culture. But make up your own damn mind. Because if you are reading this you are in some fashion connected to Loki or a Trickster, even if it is through a friend. Know what? I do not care. You decide what you believe. YOU decide who guides your spirit. Do you have a Gothi/Gythia or equivalent? Do they speak to your heart and soul? Can you feel the magics and the Divines when they lead ritual? Wonderful! By all means follow as is your wish. Learn. Grow.

But as a Lokean… do we even have those we would consider Priest(esses)? Let you in a secret. Come on, get close, I only bite if you ask. Are you listening? OK, here it is, the big secret. I. Don’t. Know. I don’t know. Honestly. Personally others have named me Gothi, Elder, Speaker, and a host of other titles (some of which aren’t appropriate for polite company). Do I take these titles to heart? No, not really, because that isn’t my perception of myself. What I do take from being called such things by others is wonderful feeling of love and respect. I may not understand why or what they see in me to name me such great things, but I choose to accept the spirit in which it was given and know those who speak it love me for who I am, not in spite of.

Yes, I took the title of Reverend some time ago through the Universal Life Church so that I could perform certain things legally such as weddings or even funerals. Why? Because I get asked. Do I charge? Damn Skippy! You are gonna feed me and maybe a place to sleep. I just bound your spirits together, gimme some pizza! But I did it in all truth because people were asking me to, and by being asked to do such a thing… I was beyond joy and love and words. And no matter the ceremony or type or setting, looking to the gathered and presenting a new couple is a spiritual experience that is love. I take that role VERY serious, and it means the world to me.

So you want to be a part of a Lokean Clerical Order? Great! Learn all you can, forge your path, and start one! Take the title and all that goes with it, the respect, the honor. But know you also take responsibility for those that give you their trust. Give you their spirit and dreams. Who come to you for guidance and in times of need for help. And know that what you do is in the name of the Mother/Father of Monsters. One who knows love and loss and trust and betrayal. And with him is a host of other spirits not known for forgiveness of enemies. You would be a Midgardian representative of a God of Fire, who warms the hearth and gives life in the coldest of nights, and let us eat of the animals that give of themselves that we may survive.

So gather your Kindred about you. Learn and give of the blessings. Learn how to console a grieving parent or child. Be ready to hold to a hard path and hold your head high as you let your deeds speak louder than words. Wed people in the traditional ways (have fun with mediation), hold funerary rituals for the departed and send them to their Hall. Hold with the High Days, and celebrate! The role of Gothi/Gythia is truly sacred and an honorable way to live for it is a life. You chose to give your life in service of the Gods and your people remember?

But also remember; DO NOT ABUSE THAT TRUST. Yes, Old Flamehair will be watching. But begin something like that? I will be watching as well. Or others like me. And we don’t take kindly to those who would use the name of Loki to bring harm to those who don’t TRULY deserve it. Taking people for money? Using your position to convince others into sex unwanted?

Well we tend to be a highly creative lot of dedicants to the Trickster.