All posts by Kyaza

I’m 27, female, and live in Todd, North Carolina. I have a cat, Lovey, who has been my companion for eight years. She is a sweetheart who loves to cuddle, curl up around my feet, and make it impossible for me to go to sleep by stealing one of my pillows for herself. I published my first novel at 15 and I’ve been writing ever since. I owe that novel to Nanowrimo, a 30-day writing challenge to write 50,000 words. Because of that, I stepped up as the Boone, North Carolina, Municipal Liaison for the non-profit organization (Nanowrimo, at one point known as the Office of Letters and Light) in 2012, and I will continue to act as the ML for the region until I transfer to UNC Chapel Hill. I began attending Caldwell Community College in the summer of 2014, and I am working on a 2-year Associate of Arts Degree. When I transfer, I will be majoring in Linguistics. My main interest in the linguistic field is second language acquisition, and I have yet to meet a language that does not fascinate me. In 2013, I published another novel I wrote during Nanowrimo, and did so via Smashwords. As a self-published author, I believe that Smashwords is a much better platform than CreateSpace or Lulu, and I will continue to use them in the future.

Confronting Racism in Heathenry

In a Facebook thread, I came across someone asking who the gods reject and how we know that the gods reject them. He also asked if the gods accept offerings from those with white supremacist ideologies and whether those people can be considered Heathen given Heathen literature, mythology, and history. Basically, he wanted to know who determines this since we don’t have a supreme Heathen authority the way that Catholics have the Pope.

Honestly, I think he answered his own question – given our literature, mythology, and history, as Heathens, we are obligated to stand against racism. The history of Heathenry in the United States is not a pretty one, and it is something we must fight against so that we can improve it going forward.

The first Heathen organization in the United States was created in 1974 by Stephen McNallen, who headed the Asatru Folk Assembly until 2016 when it was taken over by Flavel. The Asatru Folk Assembly is listed as a hate group by the Southern Law Poverty Center. Rightfully so – it is due to McNallen, Flavel, and their volk’s rampant racism that Declaration 127 emerged.

Declaration 127 (http://www.declaration127.com/) is a firm stance taken against those who would use Heathenry to promote racism and other forms of hatred. It has led to groups like Heathens Against Hate being formed, and the most inclusive Heathen organization (and the only large inclusive one), the Troth, often issues statements against violence committed by white supremacists and raises funds to donate to charities that combat hatred.

The reality is that there is a history of racism in Heathenry, and, as Heathens, we are obligated to face that fact unflinchingly and then do something to fix it. We cannot prevent what has already happened, but we can definitely do something in the present to combat white supremacy.

As to the question of literature and mythology, many white supremacists have tried to use our lore to justify race-based hatred. That has always been warped and twisted logic, however, as nothing in the lore justifies racism.

White supremacists will look at the tribes of the gods and say that because the Aesir and Vanir so often fight against the Jotnar that it indicates a race-based problem. They forget that Odin, the chief of the Norse gods, is half-Jotun. Loki, who is included among the Aesir, is full-blooded Jotunn. The Aesir and Vanir gods intermarry with the Jotnar at a fairly frequent rate.

On top of that, the tribes of the gods are like familial clans – they aren’t races. The gods are gods, and gods can all take on whatever shape they need to for the purposes they serve; the very idea of racist gods is an extreme perversion of theology.

The question as to whether the gods take offerings from white supremacists is a harder one to answer – or rather, one with an answer that any anti-racist would find difficult to handle. The gods themselves are not human; they are not necessarily going to involve themselves in the politics of humans. They are not here to solve our problems for us; they are not here to get involved in human problems. It is very possible and probable that the gods take offerings from people of all sorts of violent ideologies – that, however, can be said of all gods.

There are white supremacists in all religions; white supremacy is a rising global threat; it is most prominently seen in the United States because the U.S. was founded on the tenets of white supremacy. That said, however, white supremacist terrorism is the most concerning rising global threat; it is on par with the threat of Islamic radicalism.

What makes terrorism so terrifying is the understanding that yes, there are Islamic radicals but that doesn’t make all Muslims terrorists. And yes, there are white supremacist terrorists, but that doesn’t make all white people terrorists either. The terrifying thing, though, is that terrorist acts serve to induce fear in targeted populations of those who *might* be a terrorist.

Turning back to Heathen lore, none of the gods I honor are ones that I can readily associate with supremacist ideology. This is, of course, just the way I see the gods, and people can and will see the gods in different ways. I always speak only from my own experience and vantage point, and I do not ever claim to speak for the gods. I just want to make that clear.

Odin is a god that wanders the world, seeking knowledge wherever it can be found. Racists often stop seeking knowledge and turn a blind eye to new truths. Odin never does that- he always seeks to know more. Would he accept an offering from a white supremacist? Probably, if he feels that the person can offer him knowledge he doesn’t already have or if doing so aids him in his quest to prevent the end of the world. Odin does what he does for self-gain that is meant to serve the world as a whole, and he has done and will continue to do things that humans find grievously offensive in order to prevent Ragnarok. He is very much an ends justify the means type of god, and that can be hard to digest.

That said, Odin is also a god that enjoys inciting war for the sake of war. It may very well be part of his intention to have the anti-racist Heathens fighting against the racist Heathens. I know that the war I feel called to fight against white supremacy is one that Odin issued to me – I am confident that the aspect of Odin I honor is firmly against any type of ideology that promotes hatred and thereby reduces the chance at gaining knowledge that can then be transmuted into wisdom. I will personally only associate with Odins-people who view Odin this way because I strongly advocate against hatred. To me, hatred for the sake of hatred is the most vile expression of humanity’s penchant for depravity.

The next god I honor is Loki, and I feel like I can say with a large degree of confidence that Loki abhors those who hate others without cause. His devotees, Lokeans, are very often comprised of social minorities and misunderstood individuals. To hate someone for an identity they hold is anathema to who Loki has shown himself to be. In my experience with Loki, he gets upset when people judge other people for arbitrary reasons. In fact, I would say Loki is probably one of the *best* gods among the Norse gods to invite to the fight against white supremacy. He understands what it is like to be hated without cause, and it is difficult to imagine Loki ever standing on the side of white supremacists due to his own backstory.

Freyr is a god of frith and peace, but he is also known as the field marshal of the gods. He is the god who will fight to ensure that peace happens. White supremacists threaten frith; they work to undermine peace in society, and they bring weapons into spaces where innocent people are just trying to live their lives. In the lore that we have about Freyr, he is one of the gods most easily riled to anger when peace is shattered – bringing weapons into his temples tended to result in an explosion of anger towards those who threatened his sacred spaces. Freyr is a god of sacral kingship, and he embodies everything good that is possible for a ruler to hold within them. He will protect his people even from himself. When it comes to the fight against white supremacists, Freyr is a powerful ally to have.

Tyr is a god of justice and honor, and he will sacrifice even himself to maintain the order of the world. When Fenrir threatened the gods, it was only Tyr who had the courage to step forward and do what needed to be done, even though Fenrir was his best friend. Tyr understands better than some of the other gods how hard it is to severe a relationship with a close friend due to the danger they pose to the world. It is hard to imagine Tyr willing to back white supremacists in this fight, as he is the god who allowed his relationship with his best friend to be severed for the good of the whole. He is a god that will easily sacrifice one for the sake of the many and place the good of all over the good of a few. White supremacists are a minority, threatened by the rising reality of a multicultural world – this is and has been true of most terrorist groups. They are comprised of the few fighting against the many. Tyr, then, is also a powerful ally to have in the fight against white supremacists.

There are many more gods and many more ways to interpret the stories, though most of the interpretations will demonstrate that the gods themselves have no reason to be found on the side of white supremacists.

Heathen lore and mythology is firmly opposed to the ideologies espoused by white supremacists – it doesn’t take much reading to figure that out.

The unfortunate and painful reality, however, is that people are notoriously bad at interpreting myth in an accurate way and incredibly good at twisting lore to suit their own purposes. No matter the religion at hand, that has always held true – Christians twist things they read in the Bible to suit their own political purposes. They aren’t the only ones – there are religious adherents in all faiths that do that, and Heathenry is no exception.

Heathenry also seems like it is filled with more racists than other religions because inclusive Heathens confront racism and speak and act against it. The truth is that all religions are packed to the brim with racist individuals, some of whom are radical enough in their views to support or become terrorists. The only reason Heathenry seems to hold more is because inclusive Heathens confront racism head-on. The history of Heathenry’s emergence in the United States requires we confront it, change it, and make the world a better place.

It is an issue that we can’t ignore and don’t ignore the way many other religions do. So far, the white supremacists who have committed terrorist acts have not been Heathen. If they have had religious ties, it has been to radical forms of Christianity. Many of them, however, have been secular or non-religious. This is not surprising, as terrorist ideology tends to replace and crowd out all other forms of ideology. Hatred becomes the driving force; the religion of hatred consumes those who come into contact with it if they are not already shored up against such hatred through strong ideologies of their own.

I will not fall into the trap of hatred because my personal ideology is one that promotes the interconnected nature of all people and the importance of life itself. If I am ever forced into a position where I must take someone else’s life to save my own or to save the lives of others – which is the only reason I would ever act in such a way – then I will do so but I will mourn the loss and the terrible situation which forced my hand. Life itself is far too precious to throw away or steal on a whim. In sum, then, life is my ideology. Hatred is anathema to life. Thus I will stand, forever, on the side of life.

The Threat of White Supremacy

The biggest threat that the U.S. is facing today is the threat of white supremacists turned terrorists. The attack on El Paso is a reminder that we are dealing with heinous crimes against humanity, spurred by violent rhetoric and white supremacy sympathizers.

We are dealing with the after-effects of the El Paso and Dayton shootings, which are reminiscent of the Charlottesville incident and the white pride rallies that have emerged since the current administration came into power.

Because I am a historian especially versed in media impact, I am going to try and find the articles that discuss the dangers of white supremacy to hopefully help bring home how urgent this matter really is in today’s society.

I’m adding a page to this blog where you can find links to those articles. I am compiling the articles for two reasons – to demonstrate the urgency of the threat and to measure the threat as it escalates.

We are not living in safe times.

For white people who read this blog, educate yourselves. Learn more about anti-racism and how you can help in the fight against white supremacy.

To the people of color reading this blog, I stand with you. I will do everything in my power to help you in the ways that you feel are most needed. I will work to elevate the voices of those who have too often been silenced. I will stand on the front lines, where I am able, and act as a buffer against those who would harm you.

This hatred has gone on long enough. We need to stop hating each other for our differences and start looking for common ground where we can grow together in community.

I am tired of hatred, and I will stand as a bulwark against it.

This is the war Odin has called me to fight, and I will fight this war until it ends or until I am gone from this world. I do nothing in half measures, and this is the side on which I choose to stand.

Not offering thoughts and prayers

mainer74

I am not going to offer my thoughts and prayers to those mourning the twenty dead or many more injured in the El Paso shooting.  I am tired of the call for Thoughts and Prayers on the same platforms sending out the call to arms, the cry to action, to rise up and strike against the very people who are even now lying dead on the ground, innocent of any crime other than being non cis-hetero-white-Christian conservative enough to satisfy the fear mongers.

From the Pulse nightclub to Walmart in El-Paso we see the effects of these alt-right hatred spewing demagogues.  It’s not news, when the first demagogue Demosthenes of Athens, Marius or Sulla of Rome, perfected the arts of enflaming the passions of the common man against their target groups all lead to viscous acts of violence targeting those listed in their speeches for violent death.  When we see…

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LokiFest Conference

LokiFest is an online conference organized by Amy Marsh, who is part of the production team for Loki’s Torch. It is a 5-day event running from tomorrow, August 5th, to Friday, August 9th from 6pm – 9pm EST (schedule is listed in PST as she lives on the West Coast).

On August 8th, I will be giving a presentation entitled The Importance of Discernment and the Danger of Imposters. I will be discussing what exactly discernment is, how to apply its practice in your life, and how to recognize and deal with imposter spirits when they show up.

Other presenters include Amy Marsh, Dagulf Loptson, Diana Paxson, and Silence Maestas. You can find more information here: LokiFest Schedule and Presenter Bios

Loki’s Torch Available Now!

Loki's Torch, Vol. 1, 2019

By Ky Greene

102 pages, published 7/31/2019

Loki’s Torch is the first annual edition of a collection of Lokean works that includes poetry, artwork, scholastic essays, rituals, and more.

 

Digital Cost: $7.10
Hardcopy Cost: $26.40 (includes a free copy of the digital version)

This collection features multiple full-color spreads and a wide variety of devotional work. It is the first in a new annual Loki-devotional series.

Want to Be Part of a New Knowledge Community?

Over at Divine Multiplicity (https://divinemultiplicity.com/become-a-columnist/), we are looking for more writers to become part of our multi-trad polytheist knowledge community.

We are currently seeking practitioners with at least 2+ years of experience in the following traditions:

Hellenismos
Roman Reconstructionism
Celtic Reconstructionism and/or Druidry
Slavic Reconstructionism
Mexicayotl Polytheists
Polytheistic Wicca
Traditional African Polytheistic Religions
Any Eastern Polytheistic Religions (esp. theistic Buddhism)
Abrahamic Polytheists
(Others not covered or mentioned are also welcome)

What we already have covered by columnists includes:
Heathenry
Kemeticism
Hinduism
Christianity (Henotheism in Catholicism)
Mesopotamian

If you are interested in contributing, please reach out to us. All that we ask of our authors is that they commit to publishing one blog post a month with a length of between 500-1500 words.

Also, if you know of someone who might be interested, please send them this information and/or reblog this post. We have 12 writers currently and are looking to grow this diverse and inclusive Polytheist community.

30-Day Devotional for Loki: Day 30

Question: Do you have any suggestions for others just starting to learn about Loki? 

The best suggestion I can give to anyone interested in learning about a particular deity is to advise them to read the myths and try to see the story through that vantage point. So, in this case, a person would read the myths and view Loki as the main character, no matter how minor his role, and try and discern the potential motives behind his actions.

Trying to figure out the why behind a god’s actions in the myths is a great first step to really start to understand what kind of god you’re dealing with. Loki is constantly solving problems in the myths, which indicates he’s a quick and innovative thinker. He also really understands other people’s motivations, which allows his cunning to really shine through.

When you’re reading the myths, try to ignore the biases of authors who paint the gods in a particular light. If someone calls a god evil or spiteful, decide for yourself through examining the myths via the lens of that god’s character if that is actually justified or not. Most of the time, bias in myth is not justified – it’s just that the person who wrote the retelling of the myth let their bias sink in. Most myth writers aren’t versed in deep mythical interpretation; they retell the myths because they enjoy the stories and do not necessarily understand or appreciate the deeper religious implications.

Once you are comfortable with the myths and have examined a few of them through Loki’s eyes (as close as humans can get, of course), then decide if you think he’s a god that you want to approach. If the answer to that question is yes, then approach him with an offering and give him a libation and tell him that you are interested in learning more from him and experiencing what he is like firsthand.

If you really want to butter him up and get him interested in seeing what you have to offer, I’d suggest an offering of something chocolate (cinnamon raisin chocolate bread to be precise) and some fireball whiskey. In my experience, those are two things he pretty much never turns down, and if you show up with both, he is more than likely going to show up just to receive the offerings.

One of the most common mistakes I see people make is that they approach a god before they have done any research into them – by research, I mean reading the myths in the manner I have described – and then get upset when that god doesn’t show up or ends up not giving them what they have asked to receive. That is really a dual mistake – it’s not a good idea to approach a god you don’t know and be like, “Hey, could you give me this really important thing?” It’s the equivalent of going up to a stranger on the street and being like, “Hey, can you give me five grand?” It’s that level of rude.

The first time you approach a god, it should be more like going to a new neighbor’s house where you bring a housewarming gift and get to know the person in the first conversation. Subsequent offerings are like going to the neighbor’s house with cookies on every visit, so that they know you enjoy their company but also want to provide them with something that allows them to enjoy your company. That’s how a reciprocal relationship is forged, and that is how you build up a good relationship with the gods – offerings at every visit. Asking the gods for more than just conversation and experience comes way later, after you have established a relationship.

There is also a bit of truth to the idea that the less you ask for, the more you receive when you do actually need to ask for help. I make it a point not to ask Loki for much help, and I do that mostly out of respect and partially because I know that not asking him for help with everyday stuff makes it more likely for him to be willing to help with the really big stuff – like the intercession he was willing to make with the Morrigan that I mentioned yesterday.

I highly suggest solving as many problems you can on your own or with ancestral or wight help before ever turning to the divine. Not because the gods won’t want to help but because the gods are the only ones that can help when a situation spirals out of control.

That said, there are many ways to approach learning about a god. You can read articles and books that discuss them in a more scholastic way if that is your inclination. You can read the myths. You can talk to other people who work with the god you’re curious about and learn more about the types of people who are generally drawn to work with that god. The best way, in my experience, however, is to read the myths and then approach the deity with offerings when you’re ready.

After all, polytheistic religions are living religions. Our gods are very much alive, approachable, and present. The best way to get to know a god is to get to know them directly. Our religions are based on reciprocal relationships, so when we talk to the gods, they listen, and they talk to us so that we may listen. We give offerings so they may give us all good things, so that we, in turn, can give to them again. It is a neverending cycle of exchange, and that makes honoring the gods a beautiful experience.

30-Day Devotional for Loki: Day 29

Question: Do you have any unusual or interesting UPG with Loki? 

I like this question because I have so many choices for stories to share. Like I said in my last post, most of the information we have about Loki today comes from personal gnosis. He is a god very close to humanity, so he tends to be around more than the other gods, in my experience.

Many of the unusual experiences I have had with Loki have come from times where he has horsed one of my friends. That friend is trained to handle divine possession, and, at least in my local circle, he seems to be the person that Loki prefers to horse. I have a working theory that it is because my friend emits a vibrational signal that is closer to the wavelength that Loki operates on than the rest of us.

Quite a few people in my local community are trained to handle divine possession, as we live in one of the oldest mountain ranges in the world. The ancient status of those mountains translates directly into how active the spirit world is here, and it is dangerous for those who are sensitive to spirits to go around untrained in this area. As an example of this, a new woman moved into my neighborhood recently, and it is not an accident that when the two of us met, I learned that she had a decent amount of spiritual strength but no training to keep her safe from spirits. Her apartment was mired in miasma, and an entity came through an unlocked mirror and tried to attack me while I was there. This type of occurrence is incredibly common in this area, so the experienced practitioners here tend to make it a habit to teach those with the strength to be attractive to malignant spirits how to defend themselves against them.

That was a bit of a tangent, but I want to emphasize the fact that I live in an area where encountering and dealing with spirits, the gods included, is just a normal part of life. In the Pagan groups in this area, most people have had direct experience with the gods and many of them are trained in divine possession techniques. That is directly related to how active the spirit world is here, due to the age of the mountain range. It is unusual to find many experienced practitioners in one area, as we tend to be spread thinly across the country and the globe. We are all aware of how strange it is, and we have all often remarked on how weird it is that this area tends to draw experienced spiritworkers almost magnetically towards it.

My experience living here is one of the reasons I so strongly advocate for stronger discernment; I’ve seen first-hand what happens when it isn’t utilized, and the results are often negative and far-reaching in their impact. Entering into rituals unprepared for the consequences can also have far-reaching implications, and that’s where this particular UPG with Loki starts. That said, it also involves the Morrigan.

One of the Pagans here, a Kemetic practitioner who also works with Loki (who blames me for Loki coming into his life) attended a ritual to the Morrigan that John Beckett facilitated during his visit two years ago. The ritual itself was pretty intense, and it was particularly intense for the aforementioned practitioner who, after the ritual was done and Beckett was back in Texas, found himself practically stalked by the Morrigan.

He came to me for help because while he had wanted to honor the Morrigan, she was stalking him to the point that it was causing physical and energetic pain. The friend I mentioned before who acts as Loki’s horse more easily than others was present for this conversation. The three of us discussed what we wanted to do, and we ended up deciding that calling on Loki to directly communicate with the Morrigan, since he is a god that has many connections to other pantheons, would be the best course of action. After all, who better to reason with a god than another god?

The Morrigan’s presence was very clearly felt by everyone in the room, and we determined that the best way for this particular discussion to happen was to ask Loki for his willingness to horse someone and confront her more directly. There was an exchange of goods for services rendered at some point (parts of the memory are hazy, which is normal when dealing with the gods when they horse someone), and Loki was suddenly very present in the room alongside the Morrigan, though in a way that was a bit more physical than usual.

From what I can remember of what Loki told us of the conversation with the Morrigan, he did his best to explain to her that getting consent from a follower was better than forcing it, but she seemed fairly determined to not take no for an answer. From what I can remember, Loki did what he could to try and help, but the Morrigan refused to be persuaded. Gods can be as stubborn, if not more so, than people, and the Morrigan absolutely refused to budge in her pursuit of this particular practitioner (At this point, the two of them have forged a slightly more healthy relationship but it will probably always be tainted in some ways by the fact that it was built originally off of coercion).

That was an experience that told me a lot about Loki and how he views consent. He was willing to intercede with a god from an entirely different pantheon to try to convince them that it was better to obtain consent from a potential follower than to coerce them into service. Some people might point out that we had to ask him for help rather than automatically receive it, but that makes perfect sense. After all, we were asking him to step directly into the path of another god who was hell-bent on getting what she wanted. That’s a rather volatile situation to ask anyone to step into, and we definitely gave Loki a plethora of offerings in return for his willingness to put himself in a potentially dangerous situation.

That experience also belied everything that I’ve ever heard anyone say about Loki being a coward who refuses to fight or put himself in danger, who prefers to run away from problems rather than solve them. This is an ironic view, considering the myths and how often Loki puts himself in danger; it’s a pretty regular occurrence, actually. There’s nothing cowardly about him, and if he does step down, it is out of respect for the person on the other side rather than out of fear.

I’ve learned a lot about Loki through experiences like this one, and I’m aware of how amazing it is to be able to have experiences like this. I didn’t start physically encountered gods until about three years ago, and what really helped facilitate that was to eliminate from my head the ideas engendered by Protestant society. I learned to suspend my disbelief when it comes to how gods can appear to us and accept that they can, and do, walk around occasionally in human bodies. That made it a lot easier to discern when a person was actually being horsed by a god and when they were just parroting. Physically experiencing the presence of a god is not an experience that is easily forgotten.

30-Day Devotional for Loki: Day 28

Question: What is something you wish you knew about Loki but don’t currently? 

This is a question that is really difficult to answer because it is one of those meta-questions that brings into focus the reality that we simply cannot know what we do not know we have the opportunity to know.

That said, the answer that really comes to my mind for this question regarding Loki is that I would like to know more about his origins. There are scholarly speculations of course, like the ones that suggest he originated as a hearth spirit, but these are only half-baked educational guesses. The argument for his origins as a hearth spirit is a strong one, but there is no information about Loki’s background in Norse mythology that either confirms or denies the argument.

There is a shared gnosis among Lokeans that Loki is one of the oldest gods of the Norse pantheon, and that is echoed in the understanding that Lodur is one of Loki’s names – perhaps his oldest name. Even the correlation between Lodur and Loki is one based on shared gnosis, however, rather than mythological understanding or scholarly investigation. Much of the knowledge we have about Loki today comes directly from Loki himself, through lived experience.

That is a beautiful thing and also a terrifying thing. It means relying much more heavily on gnosis and personal experience – it also requires a much stronger use of discernment to ensure that the spirit you’re engaging is actually Loki and not something pretending to be Loki. There is an entire class of spirits that goes around impersonating other spirits, especially deities, in an attempt to co-opt offerings and worship for themselves and to malign and frighten the humans who misperceive them. That’s why discernment is such a critical part of any Pagan practice, especially when dealing with gods where gnosis is one of the few ways to really learn anything about them.