Tag Archives: devotion

Review of Dagulf Loptson’s “Loki: Trickster and Transformer”

Within the Lokean community, there are few people who generate as much excitement as Dagulf Loptson, who gave Lokeans their first book about Loki in 2015, Playing With Fire: An Exploration of Loki Laufeyjarson. Many practiced Lokeans today started on their spiritual road with Loki using Playing With Fire as a guiding light in their relationship with Loki. In the years since that book was published, a need within the Lokean community emerged for a solid foundational framework for creating a devotional relationship with Loki. In 2020, Dagulf Loptson’s new book, Loki: Trickster and Transformer, promises to do just that.

At 84 pages, it is at first uncertain whether the book will live up to this goal. By the third page, however, it is clear that this thin book is written in an accessible way yet also packed with scholarly density. Loptson starts by outlining the book, a decision that simultaneously serves to outline the way to develop a spiritual practice with Loki.

Each of the first ten chapters explores a different heiti, or poetic byname, of Loki and includes a specific magical or devotional technique for practitioners to follow. Loptson encourages readers interested in working with Loki to invest at least a week to work through each chapter so that they can develop a strong understanding of each heiti.

Loptson also does his due diligence by providing a warning for anyone new to devotional practice to a deity like Loki, who is an agent of change and can thus act in unpredictable and terrifying ways. For people who are wavering on the brink of working with Loki or not, Loptson suggests they ask themselves whether they are ready for change. Though the question is seemingly simple, there is a lot of complexity that goes into answering such a question.

In addition to cautioning people about the inherent unpredictability of working with Loki, Loptson also provides a list of sources that contain the myths and stories where Loki plays a prominent role. This list includes the Poetic and Prose Eddas, the History of the Danes, the Saga of the Volsungs, Sorli’s Tale, Lokka Tattur, and Loke in the Older Tradition. While the majority of these sources are ancient by today’s standards, the last is a modern article written by the Danish scholar Axel Olrik in 1909.

Throughout the book, Loptson makes solid use of his sources without cluttering it with unwieldy footnotes, which often prove to be the bane of academically sourced Pagan titles. He instead relies on endnotes, a bibliography, and a recommended reading list. This reading list includes Lewis Hyde’s book, Trickster Makes This World: Mischief, Myth, and Art, which is admittedly one of the best books on comparative mythology that I have ever had the pleasure to read, so it gave me great pleasure to see it referenced in Loptson’s new book.

Another aspect of Loki: Trickster and Transformer that I found highly enjoyable was the well-organized internal structure of every chapter. The first ten chapters begin with a short synopsis of a myth, and that myth always references the origin of Loki’s byname that is featured within that chapter. After the myth, Loptson provides some scholarly and personal insights into the myth before ending the chapter with a devotional or magical practice that is described in detail.

The first chapter focuses on Loki’s byname, Loptr, and ends with the opportunity to create a ritual candle to Loki. It is here that Loptson first notes that Scandinavian magic often contains a blood element, as runes and staves are often anointed with a drop of blood to empower them. He cautions readers at this point that he will mention blood magic again and then offers alternatives for those who cannot use blood for whatever personal reasons or reservations they may hold. Loptson makes no apologies for suggesting using blood from the first ritual and in several others, and that, in my mind, is one of the strengths of this book. Far too often, Pagan authors shy away from even discussing the concept of blood magic, so it is refreshing to see it discussed so frankly.

In the second chapter, the focus is on the heiti Vé, and it ends with the opportunity to create Loki-specific incense – more appropriately referred to as recels – and to use it to perform a purifying ritual. While I highly appreciate the included formula, it is not one that I will ever be able to use myself, as I have several significant allergies to many herbs and am sensitive to smoke. It is hard to say what kind of purification item could be made in lieu of recels for people with allergies and sensitivities like mine, though it would be nice to have an idea.

That said, the third chapter focuses on the byname Lóðurr, ending with the opportunity to create a wood-burned amulet that again uses blood magic. The ritual itself is a beautiful one, and I personally plan to create the suggested amulet once I can afford the materials. Wood-burning kits are not accessible price-wise, but it could be argued that saving the money for one to create an amulet like this one is a devotional act in and of itself.

Moving on, the fourth chapter focuses on the heiti In Slægi Áss, or the Cunning God, and ends with the creation of an embodiment of Loki’s image in a personal snaptun stone. Afterward, a ritual offering to Loki using the stone is suggested and a note on offerings included.

The fifth chapter centers around the byname Lundr Lævíss, the name that comes from the story of the kidnapping of Idunn. Incidentally, this is my favorite myth featuring Loki, so, unsurprisingly, this is one of my favorite chapters. It ends with the devotional act of making a set of Lokean prayer beads, which is an often under-utilized devotional practice in today’s Western polytheist community.

The sixth chapter features the heiti Lokabrenna, or Loki’s Torch, which is incidentally where the name for the devotional collection of Lokean works originated, a collection which Loptson helped produce alongside me, Amy Marsh, and Rose Moon Rouge. Due to that work, I was already predisposed to enjoy this chapter, and I absolutely loved the outdoor ritual performed under the light of Sirius, the Dog Star, as the devotional practice that concludes it.

In the seventh chapter, the focus is on the heiti Goða Dolgr, or Loki’s role as the enemy of the gods. This is where Loki’s children are discussed and a ritual for facing one’s inner demons is outlined. I am not a fan of using the term “demon” in this manner since I am a spirit-worker and am trained in exorcism techniques. The term “demon” for me immediately conjures the idea of malignant spirits, as it is where my life experiences have led me.

That said, however, Loptson does an admirable job of stating upfront that he is not using the term in this way and is instead referencing the inner parts of a person that have yet to be faced as the “demons” confronted in this particular ritual. The only other word that he could have feasibly used here would have forced a reference to shadow work and Jungian psychology, so, faced with those two choices, the term “demon” is preferable as it clearly distinguishes spiritual work from psychological work.

In the eighth chapter, Loki’s byname of Inn Bundi Áss (The Bound God) takes center stage. Here, the focus shifts slightly away from Loki onto Sigyn, as the devotional practice comes in the form of creating a blot bowl complete with a runic inscription requiring a bit of blood magic to activate. Loptson insights in this chapter about Sigyn’s origin as a goddess of libations is thought-provoking and inspiring, and he thus adds a dimension of practice for those of us who honor Sigyn alongside Loki in our daily lives. Loptson’s quiet insertion of a devotional practice for Sigyn in a book about Loki demonstrates his regard and reverence for Loki’s family and helps suggest to practitioners that a practice involving Loki necessarily involves his family.

Chapter nine focuses on the heiti Hevðrung (the Roarer), and this is the chapter in which Loptson discusses the ever-contentious myth of Baldr’s death. There are some keen insights here, which is refreshing considering how often this myth is rehashed in Heathen circles. The chapter ends with a recipe for creating Loki oil which can then be used for anointing yourself and other ritual items. An alternative for this ritual for those who are sensitive to herbs exists if you extrapolate the water blessing mentioned in the tenth chapter and use the blessed water for the anointing in place of the oil.

The tenth chapter centers on Loki’s byname, Gammleið, or Vulture Road. This deals with Loki’s ties to cremation and the funerary fire, which is a name I have rarely seen discussed or explored. There is definitely some thought-provoking insights in this chapter, and it ends with a blot to Loki replete with an outline and suggested offerings.

In the final chapter, Loptson provides a dedication ritual for those who seek something more formalized and concrete when it comes to defining their relationship with Loki. He makes a point to state upfront that no such ritual is required or needed, which I appreciate. Loptson’s inclusion of a dedication ritual is a beautiful one, as it allows people who need more structure to step into their relationship with Loki in a more formalized way. It will perhaps provide the incentive needed for those wavering on the brink of a devotional practice with Loki to take a firm step into that relationship.

Overall, the way that the devotional practices are presented are rational choices that increase the devotional work on a practitioner slowly. The practices proceed in a logical fashion. In order, the practices include: creating a ritual candle, creating incense and purifying space, creating a devotional amulet, creating an image of Loki in the form of a snaptun stone, the creation of prayer beads, doing an outside ritual, doing internal work through facing inner “demons,” creating a blot bowl, creating anointing oil, then doing a blot to Loki. The dedication ritual is optional, but it also serves a logical procession from the blot.

Truthfully, Loptson provided me with a free advanced copy of this book in exchange for my review – which, as a Lokean, cannot be anything but honest. After all, as a Lokean, the last thing I’m going to do is lie to someone to feed their ego. It would be an affront to my relationship with Loki. In Loptson’s book, I counted an astonishing 2-3 typos in the entire book, one of which may have been inspired by Loki himself. The only other issue I had (I have a seriously hard time moving past typos, it’s a personal failing on my part) was the lack of accessibility for those with lower incomes and sensitivities to herbs and smoke. Those last two are perpetual problems within the Pagan community overall, however, and it is thus unsurprising that Loptson’s book contains them.

That said, Loptson definitely delivers on his promise to provide the framework of a functional spiritual practice with Loki. His new book, Loki: Trickster and Transformer plays a vital role in providing a much-needed resource for Lokeans already engaged in a spiritual practice with Loki and for those new to and/or considering a devotional relationship with Loki. Complete with academic insight and intuitive interpretation, this is a title that delivers on both the practical and academic side, which is an exceedingly rare and beautiful gift in the Pagan world. If you are a practicing Lokean or someone just starting out on the road with Loki, I highly recommend picking up a copy of this book when it comes out in June 2020 from Moon Books. You can preorder your copy here.

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.

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.

30-Day Devotional for Loki: Day 27

Question: What is the worst misconception about Loki that you have ever encountered? 

Of all the Norse gods, Loki is the most often maligned, so it’s rather difficult to determine which misconception is the worst. There are so many to choose from!

The most often touted one, of course, is that Loki is evil and the Norse equivalent of the Abrahamic Devil. That is a misconception derived from a fundamental misunderstanding of how myths work and an over-reliance on source material compiled by a Christian author 1000 years after Iceland converted to Christianity. This one is pretty much only touted by U.S. Heathens, and it comes from a holdover from the Protestant mindset that is embedded into the foundations of society in this country.

There are also the misconceptions within the Lokean community itself, especially those who equate Marvel Loki and Norse Loki. While it may be the case that Loki is a shapeshifter and can take on the form of Tom Riddle if he chooses to do so, he is, emphatically, not Tom Hiddleston nor is Tom Hiddleston Loki.

There are some people who conflate the two, but Tom Riddle is definitively human and Loki is definitively divine. There is no equivalence. There is a huge amount of difference between a person who understands that Loki can assume such a form if he chooses to, and those who believe that the form is inherently Loki. There is also a difference between those who enjoy the Marvel movies and those who look to the Marvel storyline as the basis for their understanding of the Norse gods.

Another misconception I have seen is that Lokeans refuse to engage or work with his Worldbreaker aspect – arguably one of his most dangerous aspects. I find that most of the Lokeans I’ve ever interacted with on a deep level have definitely encountered Loki’s Worldbreaker aspect and done the work required. For those who are not familiar with the Worldbreaker, a first encounter can be terrifying. Especially because working with this aspect when you’re not ready can threaten to drive you insane – that’s the risk of working with a god of the liminal. The in-between is not a safe place, and Loki is not a safe god. None of the gods are, but Loki is, in some ways, more dangerous than most. That danger is due to his liminality, and it takes a strong and flexible mind to be able to handle the liminality of in-between spaces.

The absolute worst misconception about Loki that I’ve ever seen, however, is that Loki is not a god but instead a literary figure dreamed up by Snorri to make the Norse myths more interesting. I came across that argument in what was supposed to be a scholastic journal – I threw it away in rage and disgust. For something that was supposed to be scholarly, the authors really had no idea what they were talking about.

Loki exists in stories besides the Eddas – the Lokka Tattr, for example, is a Faroese ballad that tells a story of when Loki saved a child and killed a giant in the process. There are also proverbs that suggest Loki may have originated as a hearth spirit. We don’t really know how gods come to be, so it could very well be that he started as a small hearth spirit and grew into a god. Gods do evolve, and maybe there’s a process that allows spirits to evolve into deities. We just don’t have that kind of data available to us, not being gods ourselves.

So, out of all the misconceptions I’ve ever come across, I’d say the worst two are

  1. Loki is a literary figure and not a god, created by Snorri
  2. Loki is a safe god to work with and is nothing but love and light

I’ve already discussed why both of these things are false, but I want to make something clear. Loki is not a safe god because he is a liminal being, and liminality is an inherently dangerous place. Loki is a loving god but he is also a god full of anger and rage – it depends on the aspect that you are facing.

I’ve noticed that when I work with Loki in his Lodur form, he is deeply compassionate, loving, and kind. When I work with Loki as Loki, he is chatty, sex-and-chocolate obsessed, and rather childlike in his insistence. When I work with Loki as Worldbreaker, he is piercing, unrelenting, and unwavering. When I work with Loki as Loptr, he is powerfully connective and encourages community growth and facilitating the crossing of boundaries. When I work with him as Scarlip, he is cunning and ruthless in pursuing his goals. Etc. and so on for his other aspects.

My point here is that no matter what aspect of Loki that I work with, I keep it in my mind at all times that he is always all of these things simultaneously. As a human being, I have to approach Loki through one face at a time because I cannot comprehend his vastness in its entirety, let alone at once.

There is an Egyptian saying that refers to a god as being “Lord to the limit” which means that a god encompasses the entirety of the universe all at once, and every single god bears that title. When we work with a god, we walk in their universe. That can be a rather intense realization, as it means when we do a ritual to a god we are literally restructuring the fabric of our universe by calling into focus the centrality of a named god and thus, their universe. That understanding comes from the doctrine of polycentric polytheism, and I highly encourage everyone to do their own research into that doctrine.

That said, what I am trying to get across here is this: there is no wrong aspect of Loki to work with; all of his aspects are simply parts of him working to communicate with us in the only way we are capable of understanding the divine. Few gods make as much effort to talk to us in ways we understand as Loki, and, in turn, few gods understand humanity as deeply.

It’s not surprising that there are people out there who view Loki as a safe and loving god. I would say that he is a loving god, but safe? That would be to deny Loki’s existence as a god, and I won’t do that. Unlike the so-called scholars in that journal, I have lived experience with Loki that tells me he is far from a simple literary device created by a Christian author for dramatic effect.

30-Day Devotional for Loki: Day 26

Question: How has your relationship with Loki changed over time? 

When Loki first came into my life, I was still at a stage where I was working with leftover baggage from growing up in a monotheistic culture. When he started communicating with me, he was among the first of the Norse gods (and other Pagan gods) to do so. I spent a few months thinking I was crazy because I couldn’t comprehend why a god had come to me, of all people. I was overwhelmed and conflicted, pleased that he was communicating with me but confused because I felt like I had done nothing to deserve his presence. It took me a while longer to come to the understanding that the gods show up when they want to; it has nothing to do with us being deserving or not – though it does help to be receptive to them showing up in the first place.

In many ways, the way my relationship with Loki has grown has echoed the growth of my own understanding and development of a polytheistic framework. He has coaxed me along that path so subtly that it wasn’t until I sat down to answer today’s question that I realized how true it is. He’s always been a gentle guide for me, except when I’ve asked him to push boundaries to facilitate healing, and, like I’ve said elsewhere, his kindness always astounds me.

As I grew into a firmer understanding of a polytheistic worldview and began developing my practice, my relationship with Loki went from friend to devotee, as I started giving him offerings. Over the years, I have gifted him with many things, though the ones that stand out to me as things he has enjoyed the most include orange chocolate (of any variety), cream soda mixed with Fireball whiskey, and a Rubix cube.

Alongside developing my own practice, I spent a lot of time researching Heathen communities online and browsing through forums. I also started this blog, partially as a record for myself but also for my writing to help others. I learned through the internet communities I found that Loki was regarded negatively, and I hated that – especially after reading the Eddas.

Even in my first read-through of the Poetic Edda, I saw that Loki was just painfully honest and incredibly adept at solving problems. Sure, some of those problems he caused, but that’s pretty standard – think of your own lives. I’m sure there are plenty of problems you’ve had to solve that you created. In the myths, it is fairly standard for Loki to be the one figuring out the solutions to the problems, no matter how dire. He also always acts for the benefit of the gods, and that includes his actions during Ragnorak. Understanding how that is beneficial to the gods requires understanding that the Norse didn’t see this world as the only one, but as one in a continuous chain of regenerating worlds. It’s a standard creation-death-regeneration cycle.

Anyway, I hated how people had fundamentally misunderstood Loki because it seemed to me that they had simply failed to apply logic to myth interpretation. I also hated how the people who were defending Loki always seemed to do it in a way that made it seem that Loki was incapable of fighting his own battles. They painted him as a weak god, and I have known him to be a lot of things but weak and cowardly are not traits I would ascribe to him. He can and will fight his own battles.

That said, I also started noticing that the Lokeans I came across in online communities were almost always speaking with one voice, forced into a corner because they did not want to give in to more vocal Heathens who kept telling them they were wrong for worshipping Loki.

It was around that time that Loki came to me and originally asked me if I was interested in a godspouse relationship with him. I was not, nor will I ever be. He is like a weird mixture of father/brother to me, so the idea of that type of relationship with him just disturbed me. Still, I took the offer and thought about it for a long time before I finally asked him if I could serve him as a priest instead. I would have been content to remain a devotee if he had said no, but he pretty eagerly accepted that arrangement.

I’ve been working for Loki as a priest for three years now, and the first part of the work that he asked me to do for him was to create an online community for his devotees to have a place to discuss him and their practice. That’s where Loki’s Wyrdlings came from, and it is why it persists to this day. The community is centered around Loki, so there is no one there who will be harassed and told that they can’t be a real Heathen if they worship Loki or that they aren’t welcome because one of their gods is unwelcome.

Other work has sprung from that bedrock, as Loki University was directly inspired by people in Loki’s Wyrdlings who wanted a place where they could go to learn more about Loki and being a Lokean without being dismissed out of hand. Loki’s Torch, which will be an annual publication featuring a diverse array of Lokean works, came from a handful of Wyrdlings who pulled together and worked to find a way to make the Lokean community more widely accessible.

The work that Loki has me do is very community-centric, but it has very little to do with facilitating rituals or acting as spiritual counsel. Those are roles I can play (and have, when necessary), but the work I do for Him is the work I do for the Lokean community as a whole. That is why I wrote the article in the Wild Hunt to counter absurd claims about the dangers of being around Lokeans made in Siegfried’s article that compared Loki to Trump. I wrote a post here on how ludicrous that comparison was, but the more important work was correcting assumptions about Lokeans, the people who honor Loki.

What I have really learned over the course of the relationship I’ve had with Loki is that he cares deeply about those who worship him. He seems to cherish each and every Lokean, no matter what their backstory is or how they perceive him. In many ways, I think he perceives us as children he needs to protect. Sometimes, that protection comes in the form of pushing off a branch to teach us to fly, but it always comes from a deep, resounding kindness.

So, really, the only way in which my relationship with Loki has changed over the years is that it has become one that is much more intertwined with my day-to-day life. I do more and more work for him, and he continues to be present in my life. To me, his presence is more than enough reason to do the work that I do for him. I have a deep-seated reverence for the divine, and I do the best I can to avoid the all too human trap of assigning human-born concepts of right and wrong to the gods I honor, and I am grateful to be able to count Loki as one of them.