Tag Archives: change

30-Day Devotional for Loki: Day 24

Question: What is a time that Loki has helped you? 

A few months back, there was a lot of unrest in the online Lokean community. People kept quitting Loki’s Wyrdlings and going to other groups and/or forming their own out of the frustrations they felt. There were a lot of admins who stepped down or quit because they felt Loki’s Wyrdlings was either not a serious enough space or there were too many people who embraced Marvel Loki as an aspect of Loki. I respected their decisions because people come in and out of communities fairly regularly; things change.

That doesn’t mean I found it an easy transition. I had to look for five people who I felt would be able to feel the shoes of the people who had left, at least in terms of the role they had played. That wasn’t an easy job, and the group isn’t perfect today (perfection is over-rated) but it is stable, functioning well, and it continues to attract new Lokeans. The group is the cornerstone of the work Loki asked me to do for him, so it is a relief to me that it is functioning again in a way that makes me feel glad to be part of it.

Because during the transition, I didn’t find it easy. It was one of the hardest challenges of my life to stay committed to the group and not walk away, throw my hands up in frustration, and just give up. I started to resent the group, and I hated myself for resenting something I had helped build – especially when it is something that I helped build out of my devotion to Loki. It felt an awful like I was resenting him, and I hated the way that felt because I didn’t want to resent him.

I didn’t know what else to do, so I turned to a friend who is capable of horsing Loki and asked him if he would talk to Loki and see if he would be willing to do that and talk through my friend and help me figure out where to go and what to do with the Loki’s Wyrdlings group. My friend had that conversation, and Loki agreed to horse him, and we had a face-to-face conversation.

*Note: I do not recommend doing this without training. Horsing a god is a very powerful, very dangerous technique, and you need very high levels of training to do this at all.* 

In that conversation, I told Loki everything that was on my mind regarding the group and the way that I was feeling about it. He never got upset with me, and he carefully considered everything I said. He essentially told me that groups change, people leave, and that the people who were meant to be in the group would find their way there. He also told me he never intended the group to be able to hold all of his devotees, as we are all vastly different. He explained to me that people see different faces of the gods, and different people are able to handle more faces than others (some less).

The depth of his kindness never fails to amaze me. Because even as I was telling him about the resentment the rapid changes in the group were causing me, he was telling me to find another focus for a while and to let the group take care of itself. There was never any indication I should desert the group or give up on – just take a step back and let the situation handle itself.

It was, in a way, an important lesson in understanding how liminality flows. Change happens, regardless of what we do, and we can flow with it or we can try to prevent it. Change, however, cannot be stopped, so trying to “fix” something doesn’t work – it just brings resentment. Letting change work its own way through the world, however, lets new life grow and gives rise to wonders.

Loki helped me see things in a new way, and that is a gift I will always treasure. He showed me how to step back enough to let change take its course, and then step forward again when things stabilize. The Loki’s Wyrdlings of today is vastly different from the Wyrdlings of three years ago, but it is still a vibrant, thriving Lokean community. All thanks to Loki.

Loki as Thresholder: Loki opens doors, but we walk through them

Thresholds are liminal spaces that exist between two spaces. A threshold can be as simple as the one between two rooms in your house or as complex as the boundary between two worlds. No matter how simple or complex a threshold is, they are liminal spaces.

Liminal spaces are the “in-between” of everything that exists. This is the area where Loki draws his power. He is a god of liminality, and he can always be found in the in-between spaces.

Thresholds, however, are not meant to be dwelled in. We don’t live in our doorways, after all. Doorways, like thresholds, are meant to be used as crossing points from one place to another.

Threshold magic is also some of the most dangerous, as it is impossible to control liminality. Conducting rituals in a liminal space typically means you are allowing wyrd to take over and determine the outcome, no matter what the desired outcome is that you hold. It can be terrifying, and it is not a type of magic that should be practiced by everyone. Giving yourself over to wyrd is difficult to do, as we all, to some degree, want to maintain control over our lives and not feel subjected to whims that are not our own. It takes a lot of trust that we generally don’t inherently have towards the unknown.

In a way, working with Loki is similar to doing threshold magic. Because he is a god of liminality, it is impossible to know what aspect he will show you on any given day. The fact that he is also a shapeshifter doubles the uncertainty, and that pretty much means there’s no guarantee what form he will take.

In my experience with him, he generally takes on his more renowned human form with red hair and green eyes. But I have also seen him appear as a black widow, a black dog, a falcon, a butterfly, and as other human forms. I have never seen him appear as Marvel Loki, as I have a pretty strong distaste towards viewing him in that way.

That distaste originates from the fact that Tom Hiddleston is an actor portraying a role, and while he may be portraying Loki, he is 100% human, which means he cannot actually be Loki. There’s no reason for me to see Tom Hiddleston and go “omg, that’s Loki.” From my perspective, that’s absolutely ridiculous because Hiddleston is human and Loki is 100% deity.

Do I believe Loki can take on the guise of Hiddleston? Absolutely. Loki is a god, and deities can assume any form they want to. It seems to be a trait inherent to deity – assuming the forms that work best to get our attention.

So why do so many people seem to be stuck on the image of Loki as Tom Hiddleston? Honestly, I think this happens because people get stuck on the threshold.

From my perspective, when Loki appears to someone as Tom Hiddleston, it is more because he is opening the only door he can find into that person’s life. If it is the only way he can get someone’s attention, and he feels the need to get their attention, he is probably going to open that door and step through it.

Doors, however, open in two directions. If we refuse to step through the door he opens, we learn nothing about him except that he exists. Those who see nothing but the Loki of Marvel learn only an aspect Loki used to gain their attention. They are not stepping through the door that Loki is opening to learn more about him.

By not stepping through the door, they never learn the real depths that lurk within the god. Maybe they get glimpses, but unless they step through the door, they ignore the glimpses they get.

It is well-known and understood that the best way to gain knowledge about the gods is to research them. Read the myths and stories associated with them. Find the patterns that consistently arise in their interactions with others. Learn to distinguish and discern so that you can trust the personal experiences and UPGs that you have.

Loki is a god of thresholds and liminality. He can and will stay in the in-between spaces. He is a catalyzer of change, not change itself. He may open the door, but we are the ones who have to make the choice to walk through them.

After all, we don’t live in the in-between.

That means we have to make a choice. We can continue to stay on the path we’re on, or we can choose to walk down the new path Loki opens up to us. Change is almost always for the better, but it is almost never comfortable or easy.

So, if you are the kind of Lokean who only sees Loki as Tom Hiddleston, ask yourself if you are willing to go further. Read the myths. Learn the lore. Explore the differences. Get comfortable with the difficult and darker aspects of Loki. Learn to embrace ambiguity and the unknown.

If you want to know Loki, you have to get to know him. Getting to know anyone, god or human, means learning things about them that you might not like. Even our closest human friends are flawed – that doesn’t mean we don’t love them.

If you are the kind of person who refuses to engage with the myths, ask yourself why. What are you afraid you might learn? What truths are you afraid to confront about Loki and/or about yourself?

Loki is a loving and compassionate deity, but that does not make him safe. He is a god of liminality, and liminal spaces are inherently chaotic and dangerous. To expect otherwise is to delude yourself.

We cannot live in the threshold, but we can certainly hold awe for the gods like Loki who not only live in liminal spaces but draw their power from them.

The Change Loki Wreaks

Loki can bring cataclysmic change into the lives of those who follow him, and that may be the hardest aspect of Loki to deal with, especially for those who are unprepared for what exactly that can mean.

In the Loki’s Wyrdlings Facebook group I run with Karlesha Silverros, a member asked what happens after Loki introduces cataclysmic change into a person’s life and whether Loki stays around to provide comfort and soothing during the change.

In my experience, Loki only introduces change to that degree when there are truths inside a person they have refused to acknowledge for too long. The hardest work we will ever do with Loki is learning to face ourselves. I’d say if Loki had a single piece of advice to give to everyone who follows him, it would simply be the old Greek tenet of “Know thyself.”

It is when we forget to acknowledge the deepest truths of our inner self that Loki introduces truly chaotic levels of change, as he is rather intolerant of people hiding from themselves. A simple acknowledgment that you do lie to yourself about certain things can go a long way in mitigating the level of chaos, as it suggests a willingness to come to terms with the truth of your own life.

From my perspective, I’d say a person who comes to Loki and sees a cataclysmic change in a small period of time is a person who has lied to themselves, repressed their feelings, and put themselves last in their own lives for far longer than they realize. It is easy to delude ourselves into believing that we are happy with the lives we’re leading, but the gods, and Loki especially, see the truths we refuse to admit to ourselves.

This is why so many people stay in relationships they know are unhealthy far past the time they should have pulled out. It is why people stay at jobs that go nowhere, refusing to chase the dreams they hold dearest to them because it’s safer to risk nothing than to chase a dream and fail – yet the most rewarding of those two options is to chase the dream. Whether you fail or succeed matters far less than the effort you put forth to realize your dreams. It is why people who are often discouraged in academics drop out of school so often rather than pursuing the opportunity to prove the people around them wrong.

Loki, as Lothur, gave us passion. To see us fail to utilize that – what else would he be compelled to do but introduce change to see the gift he gave us put to use?

From my perspective, the best way to be close with Loki is to be real with yourself, to be honest about your dreams, and to pursue them with as much passion as you can bring forth.

As for the other question asked, about being comforted during a change that Loki has introduced, why would he comfort someone over an action he has taken? Loki generally has reasons for the things he does, as all gods do, and to ask him to comfort us over change he has brought to us is, from my perspective, a bit insulting. It is like asking a fire to be supportive of the fact that you’re too hot sitting next to it.

Our gods aren’t safe, and inviting Loki into your life automatically means inviting the potential for a cataclysmic level of change in every aspect of your life.

The changes he brings are always for the better, assuming that you are able to make yourself face up to the truths you’ve denied for too long. We live in a society that doesn’t really encourage self-reflection or self-knowledge, and it is an essential skill to develop if you plan to work with any god, but it is doubly essential if you wish to work with Loki.

I reiterate – our gods are not safe.

Loki – A Few Perceptions

In my experience, Loki is a god with many forms.

He acts to break illusions and sometimes to mold them. He shifts shapes to suit his needs, like all trickster deities. He crosses boundaries yet enforces them.

He is the heart of the hearth-fire, the liminal connection between the human world and the world of the gods.

He is a fierce protector of children and of all those who stand on the fringes – of social groups or society as a whole.

He enacts change, sometimes to a cataclysmic level.

He is an exacting god in that he will not allow you to hide from your deepest truths, the most unsettling aspects of your own psyche – he forces you to face yourself or run the risk of going mad.

He is not a safe god, and yet he is a god full of laughter and joy and beauty.

He is awe-inspiring, as all gods are.

He teaches you to see from perspectives vastly different than your own, to care for other people and other beings with a depth of compassion few of us ever realize.

He teaches you how to accept people for who they are, to see past their flaws – to see the way the flaws you perceive in another person is really what makes them the most beautiful.

And that is just part of the way I perceive him. It is not what everyone perceives of him, of course, as deities have far more aspects than a single person will ever be able to comprehend, let alone perceive.

Now, I leave you with this question: How do you perceive Loki, and how has he most impacted your life?

Forging New Paths

If you follow my blog, then it is likely that you are already familiar with the fact that I follow a multitude of paths, each inspired by different Gods. While I highly respect all the Gods, I have forged close bonds with Odin, Loki, Tyr, Freyr, Freyja, and Sigyn over the last few years.

However, it seems like the closer I get to these Gods, the more I find myself drawn into the other realms to help with certain situations. I’ve met Njord and Ran and helped them with a certain project in Vanaheim. I’ve heard others describe Odin as a stern and severe character, but He pales in comparison to Njord. Ran seems to be more of the stern grandmother type, too. Perhaps it is the fact that both of them are sea deities and Odin is a sky deity. I can really only speculate. So I am slowly developing a relationship with Njord and Ran while helping with Their project (which I’m really not at liberty to discuss, so I apologize for the vagueness here).

Ullr and Mani have also become more prominent in my life. Ullr is perhaps the oldest deity of the Norse pantheon; He certainly feels ancient, and His patience seems unending. Ullr seems to have His hands in everything – rather than being a deity of a particular element, He strikes me as a deity of guidance. Essentially, I get the sense that He is sort of a compass type of deity – a God you turn to when you aren’t really sure what comes next on your path.

Mani, the God of the Moon, seems to be a God of very deep emotion and He seems exceedingly kind and full of melancholy. I was drawn to Him through some of the artwork I’ve seen, and His aura pulled at me. He is very similar to Loki except that Mani feels more like the deep currents of the ocean (which makes sense, since the moon does control the ebb and flow of the ocean tides) and Loki feels like lava erupting from a volcano. I feel like They complement each other well, and I get the sense that there is some history between Them.

Loki is still very much active in my life. In some ways, though, it feels like Loki is less active than He used to be, but I think it’s really just that I have adjusted to the way life changes constantly for me because of His influence. My sister and her boyfriend moved back home (Loki is the reason they moved out originally, so I am confident that the reason they are back is because Loki thinks I can handle them being around now). My job is shifting too – not only am I working as an administrative assistant at my college but I am also now working as a Spanish tutor.

I think what I am personally having trouble embracing is the stable nature of my life right now. Part of me keeps waiting for things to turn into chaos – a state I’m used to dealing with – while the rest of me is content. I think that Mani and Ullr in particular have come into my life at this point because They can help me understand how to deal with life when it isn’t completely chaotic. I’m sure it seems strange that I am more at ease when chaos defines my life than when it doesn’t, but I think that’s one of the reasons I can walk Loki’s path without feeling like my life is being torn apart.

Wyrd

Wyrd is a very complex concept, and I’m sure that I can’t do it justice within the space of a single blog post. In a way, it is the concept of fate, but a fate broken into distinct parts. There’s hamingja, or personal fate, and orlog, which is a communal fate, and then there’s wyrd itself – which I would say is the intertwining of personal and communal fate.

Hamingja, in a way, can be thought of as a person’s luck. The hamingja you possess is responsible for the good and bad things that happen in your life – at least to a certain extent. Everyone is born with a different amount of good hamingja and bad hamingja, and it can be thought of as a very complex version of luck.

What I find fascinating about hamingja is that our actions can increase or decrease the amount we have, but we never really know what the state of our hamingja is. When a lot of good things are happening in our lives, it’s a good bet that we are using up our good hamingja. And when bad things are happening, we happen to be drawing from the reserves of our bad hamingja.

While we can increase our hamingja – for better or worse, through our actions – I think there is a finite amount of hamingja, and when we completely deplete our hamingja, that is when death occurs.

Another facet of hamingja that I personally find interesting is that a person can experience negative events, drawing from the reserve of bad hamingja, without ever having done anything immoral. For me, this answers the question of why bad things happen to good people, and vice versa.

I feel that this answers the question of why some people grow up in abusive households and others don’t. I think that those who go through difficult childhoods are drawing from their bad hamingja reserves early on in life, so that they can draw almost solely from their good hamingja pools in later years.

Of course, this is just how I personally believe that haminja operates, but I feel it makes the most sense when viewing time and fate as a circular or spiral pattern rather than as a linear one. If time spirals back in on and around itself, then fate, and the components of fate (like haminja) should work in the same fashion as time.

Now, there is another aspect to wyrd, and that is communal fate, and it is sometimes referred to as orlog. This refers to the way a community’s fate is shared. The best example I can think of is the recent flooding in South Carolina. Each of the communities affected by the flooding were affected by the orlog of the community.

In the same way an individual can increase good and bad hamingja, I believe it is possible for a community to increase good and bad orlog. The actions of a community create the orlog of that community, and each individual of the community is affected by the communal fate when good things happen as well as when bad things happen.

What gets interesting is when hamingja and orlog combine. Orlog creates a shared fate, so everyone in the community experiences the same event, but hamingja is individual, so each person in the community will experience that fateful event in different ways. To use the flooding in South Carolina as an example, those with a strong pool of positive hamingja may have been caught up in the flooding but escaped without any physical harm to themselves or any property damage to speak of. On the other hand, a person pulling from their reserves of negative hamingja may have been severely injured or their property was completely destroyed. In both cases, the two people were experiencing the orlog of the communal event (the flooding), but they experienced the communal event differently due to the difference in their pools of positive and negative hamingja.

As I’m sure is obvious at this point, wyrd and its two main components are extremely abstract and complicated ideas, and this is what I have worked out for myself. Not everyone views orlog and hamingja in this way, of course, but I feel that the way I have chosen to view wyrd has given me a more solid understanding of life.

Now, the entire reason I even brought wyrd up is because of the incident that I experienced yesterday evening. As I was driving a friend home after we had eaten dinner, we were rear-ended. There was no vehicle damage, and no one was injured, and the car accident was caused by the woman being distracted by the crying of her one-year old child.

Within the framework of wyrd, there is a myriad of ways to look at this event. To create a baseline for the event, I will operate on the assumption that the impact itself was caused by negative hamingja and the lack of injury to those involved as well as the lack of vehicular damage was caused by positive hamingja. I will also view the accident as having occurred during the communal event we all know as 5:00 traffic.

The people involved were myself, my friend, the woman who hit me, and her one year old son. The impact itself could have been caused by the negative hamingja of any one of the four of us, even the one-year old boy. I could have been drawing from my negative hamingja, which caused the accident. Or, my friend, who had never been in a car accident before, may have been drawing from his negative hamingja. The woman may have been drawing from hers, or the one-year old may have been drawing from his negative pool.

The same thing could be said for the positive outcome – no bodily injury and no vehicular damage. Any one of the four of us could have been drawing from our positive hamingja in order to negate the negative hamingja that caused the accident to occur. It is in this way that the accident, which may have been an event caused by the communal occurrence of 5:00 traffic, balanced itself out through the hamingja of the four people involved – an intertwining of orlog and hamingja at work.

And this is a large part of the reason I find wyrd so fascinating. It eliminates coincidence from the playing field entirely, so it can be said that whatever is meant to happen will happen, whether we are prepared for those events or not. If we are meant to be involved in a car accident, the accident will occur (rather, I should call it an incident, considering the lack of coincidence I am speaking about). However, the outcome of these events are determined by the interaction of orlog and hamingja, so there is never any way to know for sure whether the overall outcome from an event will be positive or negative.

However, it is because we are able to increase both our individual hamingja and communal orlog through our individual and communal actions that we are able to work as wyrd-shapers, the way Odin and Loki work as wyrd-shapers.

Odin shapes wyrd by being a God of death, as He tends to choose warriors to join Him in Valhalla, and, according to the lore, He does this most often by cutting a person’s life short. In my view of hamingja, essentially what Odin does when He acts in this capacity is drain a person’s pool of hamingja more rapidly than it would drain on its own during the course of that person’s life, and that is the reason it is so dangerous to wear the Valknut and walk His path. It isn’t necessarily the case that He will choose to drain the hamingja pools of those who swear their lives to Him more rapidly, but it is a strong possibility, and it is better to avoid tempting Odin to interfere with your wyrd unless you are sure that is what you want to happen.

For my part, I am sworn to Odin, and I wear the Valknut with the full understanding of what it means to do so. I am aware that it means that Odin could choose to call me to His side sooner than I may be ready to go, but that is His choice. I don’t live my life in the fear that He will do so, however, because that would, first of all, make me a very poor warrior, as warriors need to possess the resiliency to stare death in the face when necessary.

Now, as to Loki’s role in wyrd-working, He is both the god of change and of luck. In a way, He is the wyrd-god, and He helps to shape both hamingja and orlog. There are some theories that connect Loki etymologically to the word luck, and I am inclined to agree with that assessment of His personality, even if others disagree.

But even if you look at Loki as solely the god of change, rather than as the god of both change and luck, it is easy to see the way He influences wyrd. Changes in our lives are caused by events and our reactions to those events, so whether we are drawing from our positive hamingja or our negative hamingja, Loki has a hand in creating those changes.

There are other gods that are involved in the shaping of wyrd, of course, but I’ll leave discussing Them for another time, as this has already become a rather lengthy post.

Loki and Balder – Loki as the In-Between

All heathens know the story of Balder’s dream and his subsequent demise, but to make sure everyone’s on the same page, I’ll summarize. The story goes that Balder, the most beautiful of the gods, starts to have troubling dreams about his death. He tells his mother, Frigga, about the dreams, and she grows worried because Balder’s dreams are prophetic. So she travels around the world, extracting oaths from all living things not to cause harm to befall her son. Once those oaths have been extracted, the Aesir begin to throw weapons made of all types of materials at Balder, and none of the weapons harm them. This annoys Loki, who shape-shifts and learns from Frigga herself that she has not extracted an oath from mistletoe because she believed the plant to be too young. At once, Loki finds a sprig of mistletoe and goes to Hod, who isn’t participating in the festivities. When Loki asks Hod why he doesn’t throw anything at Balder, Hod’s response is that he doesn’t have anything to throw, and besides, he’s blind. So Loki gives him the mistletoe sprig, guides his hand, and Hod’s weapon causes Balder’s death.

Now, nearly every heathen interpretation I’ve read of this myth turns Loki into the bad guy. It seems like a lot of people want Loki to be evil, but I don’t think Loki is evil. I think he is an agent of change and the god of catalysts. I’ve discussed the idea of Loki as catalyst before, but I think it’s more than that. I have been reading a book called “Trickster Makes This World” by Lewis Hyde (and you should check it out, it’s fascinating), and Hyde suggests that this myth is something else entirely.

According to Hyde, Loki is trying to keep change alive, and he is annoyed by Frigga’s attempts to stop it. In a way, it becomes a battle between the conventional and the unconventional. Balder’s dreams prophesy his own death – his fate is foretold, his death is ascertained. Frigga takes it into her own hands to try and prevent that fate. She attempts to cheat death; she attempts to prevent change from happening. Loki, as the agent of change, the god who relies on accidents, happenstance, and chance in order to continue existing himself (as he could not exist outside the realm of change, being the embodiment of change), cannot let Frigga’s actions stand. So, he investigates and finds a way to re-introduce change.

This is the first interpretation of Loki’s role in the Balder story that has made perfect sense to me because it highlights two opposite forces, and Loki tends to walk the boundaries that fall between opposites. He’s a troublemaker, yet a problem solver. A god, yet a giant. An adult, yet a child. A man, yet a woman. He is the personification of the in-between. He is the rebel that fits into society just enough to not get thrown out, but he is also the god who introduces change into that society. Loki is the god that gets the wall around Asgard built, which keeps the gods safe from the giants, yet he is also the god that steals Idun and her apples away from Asgard and introduces the concept of aging to the gods.

Loki is a trickster, and tricksters aren’t inherently evil. People forget that the Eddas were written by a Christian who did not believe in the Norse gods – a man who was also trying to suggest Christianity was a better and smarter way of life and belief. When we remember that the writer of the Eddas was a Christian with his own agenda, we can see that Loki was painted as the stand-in for the Christian devil. Since we only have the Norse myths through the words of a Christian, we need to peel away the layers and find the truths that exist behind the deceits.

To do that, we need to enlist the aid of Loki, as he is the trickster who has perfected the art of the lie. Only Loki can help us see through the illusions of the world around us, as there is no one harder to deceive than the god of deceit. But to work with Loki, you need to have a sense of humor, and you need to be comfortable with ambiguity. In other words, you need to be comfortable in the grey areas of life because it is only in the in-between that Loki can be found.