Last night, I went to Taco Bell with one of my best friends. The conversation we had was pretty interesting, as we went from discussing the Book of Swords series by Fred Saberhagen to the ALS walk he is helping his romantic interest organize. We also discussed his friend’s decision to purchase a Shiba Inu and the complications that has brought due to some unforeseen anger issues. Finally, our conversation turned to Loki and the Lokean groups on Facebook.
I was expressing my frustration with some of the spin-offs from Loki’s Wyrdlings that seem predisposed to trash-talking fellow Lokeans. Those really bother me because it seems immature and disrespectful to me to trash-talk fellow Lokeans who are simply at different places in their practice. In the Wyrdlings group, I have tried to cultivate an atmosphere that is welcoming to everyone, from beginner to advanced, and that’s never been an easy task.
I understand that some of the more advanced practitioners, myself included, sometimes feel frustrated by questions that beginners ask because we’ve already resolved those issues. But the truth is, we were all beginners at some point, and now that we can answer those questions, shouldn’t we? Not all of us – in fact, very few of us – had mentors that we could ask those questions of, so we had to carve out the path we walk in a very clumsy, messy way. Now that we’ve carved those paths, however, we have an opportunity to make it easier for those who follow in our footsteps to find their way to Loki.
I’d much rather celebrate the community that has emerged over the past few years and appreciate that there are so many new Lokeans than indulge in the frustration and exasperation that some of the beginner level questions can cause. I’d rather answer the same beginner’s question a thousand times to a thousand new Lokeans than to scoff at them and tell them they should already have the answer figured out. Elitism is never pretty, no matter where it shows up, and it is never kind.
One of the other things that bothers me about some of these new groups is that they claim to present a space to discuss the darker aspects of Loki. They claim to acknowledge that Loki is more than love and light, to avoid the fluffy side, and to essentially discuss the reality that Loki is a complex god that can be as cruel as he is kind.
That bothers me mostly because the Wyrdlings group has always allowed for a discussion of all of Loki’s aspects, from the cruelest to the kindest and everything in-between. I’ve always posted my new blogs to the Wyrdlings group, and I’ve discussed Loki’s Worldbreaker aspect in detail. I’ve definitely talked about how Loki is not always kind – a broken oath to him, from stories I’ve heard, often results in a person’s being driven insane. I’ve talked about how a person who is unable to handle Loki’s energetic signature may find themselves slowly going crazy, dealing with a divinely induced psychosis.
Those conversations have never been off-limits in the Wyrdlings group, so it surprises me that there are people who think that they are. It also worries me that there are groups who are trying to avoid anything they consider too “kind” or “fluffy” because Loki is a complex god with many, many facets. He can be cruel but he can also be kind. To focus on one side of Loki is to ignore the other sides, and that seems dangerous to me. People are free to do what they want, of course, but it seems unwise to focus on one side of Loki and ignore the others. It seems unwise to do that with any god, if I’m honest.
That conversation eventually turned to the pictures of Loki that I’ve seen in various groups, and there was one that stuck in my memory that I showed my friend. It was a black and white sketch of Loki crammed inside a box. On the outside of the box, the phrase “human expectations” was written. In Loki’s speech bubble, there was this comment: “You realize I don’t fit in this, right?”
That drawing serves as a poignant reminder that Loki is a god complex to the point that He defies human expectations. He doesn’t fit in a box, no matter how much we might want to fit him into one. The gods deserve to be seen as they are instead of how we want them to be, but that’s a very hard thing to do – we cannot ever see all of the gods. They have too many sides.
What we can do, however, is acknowledge that we don’t have all the answers. Those of us more experienced can remind ourselves that we have a responsibility to be humble before the gods we serve, as we will always be beginners in their eyes. We can never know them to the point we can know another human, so to judge others for the relationships they hold or don’t hold with Loki is elitist and absurd.
I’m certainly not going to judge anyone for the relationships with the gods they honor, even if I don’t understand them. I am, however, going to judge the people who are judging those relationships. What right do you have to tell another person that the relationship they have with their god is wrong, immature, unfounded, or unrealistic?
Instead of condemning the relationships others have with their gods, maybe you should try focusing on developing the relationships you hold with yours. Every relationship looks different. Every interaction is unique. Sometimes, the gods speak to us directly in ritual, through godphones, through dreams, or through divination. Sometimes, the gods don’t speak to us at all, and we give them offerings anyway.
Because every interaction with a god is a privilege and a pleasure, even when those interactions are sometimes terrifying. We give offerings to the gods in gratitude for everything that they have already done for us – they gave us the world we live in and the lives we hold. Should we really go around expecting more than that?
I’ve experienced the gods first-hand, but it’s not because I asked them to show up or to add anything more to my life. Every instance where a god has interacted with me, it has been a privileged moment, a special moment in my life that I will always hold close to me. To me, they are moments where I know that the gods care – that they have always cared – about those who follow them.
I never expect the gods to show up. I don’t require that to happen for me to honor them. These aren’t incidents that happen all that often, and, when they do, I’m usually not expecting it at all. Loki sometimes shows up through my friend who has a standing agreement with him to allow possession and channeling, and every time it has happened, my immediate reaction has been, “Why are you here? Did I do something wrong? What do you need?” At least internally. Externally, I stammer through a greeting and try to figure out what to ask a god whose presence, even while channeled, is simply overwhelming.
The last time it happened was last night at Taco Bell, which was the first time Loki has appeared through a channeled form outside of a ritual environment in about six months. He didn’t stay for long, either – maybe three to five minutes. The whole world kinda fell to that moment though, so it felt like an eternity and an instant all at once.
I did eventually ask him why he showed up, and his response was that he was excited about the offerings I had bought him. I always give Loki offerings on Saturday, and it was approaching midnight, so that made sense to me. I asked him why he liked chocolate so much since it’s not like he needs it to survive, and his response was essentially that it engenders in him something close to what humans understand as excitement but isn’t quite that. I actually really appreciated that candor because it told me pretty clearly that Loki, at least, is a god that can translate the way that gods feel into a way that humans can understand. Even if we are always bumbling around and getting things wrong.
I also asked him what his thoughts were on the spin-off groups, and I got the equivalent of a shrug. He told me that humans have always needed smaller groups to discuss certain things and that people always fight about things. I had a sneaking suspicion that he was fine with the spin-off groups just so he could watch the conflict unfold, and when I asked him that, he answered in the affirmative. At that point, a fire truck drove by with its sirens blaring, and I could almost physically feel his attention completely swing away from me and towards the fire truck, and I said something along the lines of “You really want to chase that truck now, don’t you?” Which also got an answer in the affirmative.
I also told him I had seen people using his name to create the WWLD kind of acronyms reminiscent of the WWJD ones, except that it was more WWLB with it standing for What Would Loki Burn? His response to that was both hilarious and terrifying – “What wouldn’t I?” My response to that was “Hopefully, your followers.” Then he laughed and left to, assumingly, chase the fire truck.
For me, that is an interaction that will live on in my heart forever. It helps that my friend was with me, and he mostly remembers the possession, which helped with discernment. We discussed it afterwards in-depth because that’s one of the best ways to ensure that what we had experienced was real and not just a delusion.
That said, those aren’t experiences or interactions I expect to have with Loki. Last night, I was actually dealing with some pretty heavy depression caused by the fact that my leg was really hurting me (I have metal rods in my right leg from a bad car accident several years ago), and all I really wanted to do was lay down somewhere and cry myself to sleep with the pain of it. I was in no way in a state of mind where I felt competent or capable of dealing with a deity interaction.
Loki didn’t care about that, though, since he showed up and forcibly made my phone stop working – I was looking for a picture of him to show my friend, ironically enough. Loki essentially forced me to pay attention to him when I was literally at one of my lowest points. Once I realized he was present, I pulled myself together enough to deal with the interaction. Because I’m his priest, I will never turn Loki away when he shows up, no matter how he shows up. That’s one of the things I’m obliged to do – have the conversations with Loki he wants to have, even if I’m not in the best mindset to do so.
I’m sure there are people who read about my interactions with Loki and other gods and get jealous because they aren’t having those interactions. I hate that because I don’t share these interactions to showcase that I have them. I share these interactions to demonstrate the love I have for the gods and to demonstrate that the gods are very much alive, very much real, and very much present. I share them to remind others that the gods do care and that they are around, even in the moments we think they aren’t present. I also ask the gods before I share these interactions to determine whether or not they are interactions I should be sharing. So, I only share the interactions that the gods tell me to share. I assume they want certain things shared for certain reasons, but I’m certainly not privy to why they want some things shared and not others.
I also don’t know how to ensure that a god shows up, even when they are invited. I’d say issuing an invitation probably helps, but there’s no guarantee that a god will show up or that they will stay for the duration of whatever they are invited to. The gods have their own agency, and they do whatever they want, whenever they want.
I make a habit of asking the gods for as little as possible because they already give us so much. I give offerings to the gods out of gratitude for what they do without my asking. I rarely ever give offerings to gods in an attempt to get them to give me something else. I don’t know if that makes a difference in how or when they show up in my life. I don’t know the secrets of the gods; I’m not one of them.
All I can do is the best I can, and I do my best to expect nothing from them. Maybe that’s part of it, but that’s me groping blindly in the dark. I know, myself, that I’d far rather be present in a place where I know the person who has invited me wants nothing from me but my presence than in a place where the person who has invited me wants me simply for the skills I hold. In one situation, I would feel appreciated; in the other, I would feel used. It’s not hard to imagine that perhaps the gods would feel a similar way.
These are my speculations, and the experiences I share are ones I interpret through the lens of my own understanding. I do not expect others to agree with me or to take what I say as the truth for them to chase. In fact, I actively discourage that, as it tends to show a lack of critical thinking. I do not speak for Loki, and even the words I hear from him are ones I know get filtered through my own understanding. The aspects of Loki I interact with aren’t the only ones that exist, and I highly encourage everyone to discern the truth for themselves.