Who She Is – a new chapter in the Work

I’ve debated a bunch over how much to talk about my personal practice and about whether or not such a thing is even all that helpful. I have come to value and enjoy my privacy a great deal; it’s a way to keep myself safe and sane. It’s absolutely surreal to have in-person conversations with strangers regarding something I wrote online. I’s weird enough when it’s local friends talking about the Facebook post I made about a soup recipe; when it’s about emotionally-heavy spiritual issues it can be even harder to deal with. I often imagine myself having conversations with strangers and judging my level of disclosure based on my imagined comfort.

All this is to say that I’ve thought quite a bit about this particular subject and how to talk about it and if I should at all. Ultimately I feel that this information whose time has come and I’d like to help boost its signal as it emerges from intangible dimensions.

Like I’ve said before, the feminine Loki isn’t a different entity. She’s entirely herself, entirely Loki; She is as central, as “default” a form as Her masculine side. That He’s the face most people encounter is His own choice and doesn’t reflect that one aspect is more fundamental or authentic. As to why He seems to favor a masculine expression one needs only glance at the extant lore; His actions as a feminine being are consistently derided and spoken of in highly negative terms.

(This last part is perhaps especially relevant to those who understand the Lokester as a damaged, injured, or fragmented Power. Much of His trauma is situated in Her. She’s not damaged, per se, but She is a site of contested identity and value; one can interpret His reticence as a way of protecting this vulnerable and volatile self.)

Getting to know Her is, perhaps, predicated upon a willingness to accept Him precisely as He is. Though I think many of His worshipers would say that yes, they accept Him precisely as He is, this kind of radical acceptance isn’t limited to a comfort with, say, holding as equal both the worldbreaker and magician aspects of His personality. This kind of acceptance also encompasses patience with His absences, His distractions, and His variable moods. Acceptance of His nature is demonstrated by, for instance, genuine and wholehearted acknowledgement of His multitude of partners and lovers. (One doesn’t have to like them all on a personal level but acknowledging the reality of, or the potential reality of, these relationships without obstacle-level jealousy is an expression of one’s acceptance of Him.) The same goes for His myriad worshipers. Personal fondness or even agreement isn’t necessary; acknowledging the reality of another worshiper’s practice and emotional experience is.

There is also a level of personal strength that must be developed while learning to accept Him as He is. One has to learn to count on personal intuition, experience, and problem solving ability in order to approach acceptance. After all, authentic acceptance is probably impossible to achieve unless you trust yourself first. Otherwise there’s nothing but second-guessing and anxiety. (I’ve been there; I know what it’s like.)

No; accepting Him fully isn’t easy. I’ve encountered a lot of shadow work as I’ve striven for greater levels of acceptance. I still have much work to do.

Of course, there’s no formula to convincing Himself to appear as a feminine being. She does so at Her pleasure, to whom and when She wishes, for Her own private reasons. Though I’ve been aware of Her for a long time, it wasn’t until just a couple years ago that She became a regular fixture in my spiritual life and I’ve been a Loki worshiper for nearly 15 years. Though I hope you don’t have to wait quite so long to make Her lovely acquaintance (and if my efforts and others’ to draw Her more fully into this world are successful, you won’t!), there was a lot of work I had to do on myself first. I also had to complete various other work I was doing with other Powers.

Wait – what was that little parenthetical statement? Yes, it’s true. I do sincerely feel that the work I’m doing in my own practice and that I hope to inspire in yours makes Her more accessible to those who love Her. I hope to give Her a greater foothold here to make Herself known. The surge in open expressions of Loki veneration in the last five years or so might have various cultural drivers but there is a spiritual component to this, too. Loki worship has been going on since at least the mid 90’s and no doubt happened before then, too. (And people say we have no history!) All that is paying off in greater accessibility of this delightful Power.

So how to get started? I’ll talk more about this soon. In the meantime, here’s a collection of colors that I strongly associate with Her specifically. Imagine a bright, brilliant sunset with lots of coppery oranges, mauve pinks, and silky purples. There’s Her. Lots of vivid light somehow limned with deepening shadows. herself

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Something for Her

Talking about Her is hard.

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Not long after I was married my friend Beth sent me a little package with a copy of her first book, a little note, and some product samples from Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab. Black Phoenix, or BPAL to their fans, is a perfume manufacturer with a strong aesthetic character. I tried one of the sample – Fenris Wolf – and discovered a sense world I didn’t know existed. For as long as I can remember I’ve been sensitive to smells, especially vinyls and the synthetic perfumes used in personal care products. I’d given up on personal scent products as being bottled alcoholic candy flower migraines. This perfume was different. It was good. It was more than good; it was like a little piece of artwork in a bottle.

Deep in my mind I’ve always associated those little bottles Beth sent me with married life, with the private emotional existence I shared with My Lord. For a long time I only had a few little sample bottles (“imps” or 1/32 ounce bottles) and a few 5mL bottles (one of which was Fenris Wolf, a truly lovely, very “me” scent!). While BPAL products aren’t wildly expensive, especially considering how pricey good quality perfume can be, for a long time I had other financial priorities – rent, medicine, books. This spring I was able to place my first order in three years. I tell myself I shouldn’t be so silly about material goods, but oh my is it nice to have my smell-goods back.

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Mhairy most beloved Feminine Lord is roses and wine, incense and bronze, smokey caves and firelight. She is flash and drama, charisma itself wrapped in a sheath cocktail dress with heels. It’s hard to talk about Her without turning into a rhapsodizing schoolboy. It shouldn’t be any other way.

She is also a shy, flitting thing with a threadbare veil and bare feet. She has this rough gown and a shawl that She wears like a royal robe with little black slippers. She is happy in the sunlight and that smile – no one smiles like the High Ones and no one smiles like Her.

I gave her perfume because as my friend once told me, every woman deserves something nice. Tonight She has 13, a dry cocoa bitter wormwood scent that is conspicuous, obnoxious, and intoxicating; a wet, bloody, rosy scent that rather makes me think of Her; and something called Crossroads, a resin incense blend that will be part of my regular rotation.

These are hers and they are mine. They are tokens of how much I can never give Her – what are material goods to a Goddess? – and miniature stand-ins for things we’ll never have together.

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I’ve seen plenty of things written by people in similar positions as myself and I know intimately that sorrow that eats at their stomach and stops their breath; I know what it’s like to want that proximity, to want what we think someone else has – a dream life, a second sight, a clear line – to make up for that absence that gapes just next to you on the bus, in the movie theater, at the table, in bed. I don’t have a clear line, either. I never dream of Her. My Sight is as clouded as anyone’s. So you end up making little sites of communication, little crossroads of the heart where you and Her and They all come together to enjoy the same thing for just a moment.

These are games, just little games. I try not to see them as anything more than play because to vest them with more value is to break my heart from absence. But when I see Her smile – well, I’m willing to play another round.

(ETA: I wish I had another picture of Her. This is possibly the only one I have; it’s from a piece of art I bought, the companion piece to the work featured at the top of my blog.)

Who He Is

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A couple recent posts by friends (specifically Beth’s “What do you seek from the divine?” and Heather’s “The Pagan Experience: Gebo”) got me thinking about who Loki is to me. That’s a very complicated subject and is actually one that’s difficult to talk about. For all that He is the center of my emotional and spiritual life, He doesn’t really make an appearance in a blog that’s primarily about my emotional and spiritual life. That’s because He is part of my most private life and this blog is as public a face as I’m comfortable having – on many days it’s more public than I’m comfortable with. But as a recent tarot reading reminded me, I am not the hidden hermit scholar. Or at least, I’m not only that.

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The Loki Cord

I’ve admired my friend Beth’s handmade ritual cords for quite some time. I love fiber arts and I’ve had the pleasure to watch her skill and artistry develop for many years. I knew I wanted a custom ritual cord dedicated to Loki and I knew I wanted to take it to PantheaCon with me. I was nervous about being away from home for some long; I’m a bit reclusive and have to manage a spectrum of chronic illness symptoms and I prefer to be home when I don’t feel well. I thought that having something emotionally and spiritually meaningful with me during my trip would help and Beth was happy to work with me.

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I chose to get a custom cord instead of a premade one. The customization process includes a design consultation regarding colors and detail elements, including charms and stone beads. The cord arrived in time for me to leave and I was overjoyed to take it with me.

My cord there in the picture has been carried on airplanes, through hotels, handled by convention goers, and draped on the altar. It’s had soap, soup, water, and other stuff splashed on it. One end got singed on a candle. You can see how some of the ends are felting. Yours will naturally arrive in pristine condition but I can promise that yours, like mine, will become even more precious and beautiful with use.

This cord is very special to me. It magnifies My Lord’s presence here and when I wear it I feel like I’m being hugged on the inside. I’m so touched to have something that Beth worked hard on and her care and consideration shows at every level.

If you’d like to see Beth’s many current offerings, visit her Etsy shop; you can skip directly to her current ritual cord listings here. If you’d like to learn more about her custom ritual cords, this is the link you want.

My Life’s Top Priority

Almost fifteen years ago I gave oaths of loyalty, service, and affection to My Lord. This undertaking had more steps than I anticipated. When I first decided, “Yes, this is something I’m going to do”, He stopped me. My heart wasn’t in the right place. My motivation wasn’t right.

But isn’t this right? I asked. This is what you wanted from me. I’m just doing what you asked me to.

That was the problem and that was my very first lesson.

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The Feminine Loki

Any discussion about Loki is going to bring up His parentage of Sleipnir. This particular bit of tricky business is praised by some, sneered at by others. A rather more detailed discussion about Loki will bring up the accusation made by Odin that Loki spent winters under the earth as a woman either milking cows or nursing babies. A more in depth discussion of Loki may mention that He became pregnant after eating the heart of an unnamed woman burned for unknown reasons. A quite detailed discussion of Loki will mention in passing that He’s known to have given birth to a race of ogre-like female creatures or witch women. This is why those who love Him exalt His title of Mother of Witches.

All this lore-based information collects to form a distinctly complex picture of Loki’s gendered identity. People who love and worship Him are generally familiar with His penchant for flamboyant appearance, glam-rock attitude, and occasional crossdressing. This is all part of Him. Not all of Him, not even most of Him, but it is part of Him.

I want to talk about the feminine Loki. I can’t say the female Loki because Loki is not female, no more than She is male. These two designations are simplistic categories intended to sort biological life forms (though they frequently fail to do so in any meaningful way). Not being biological in a way we understand, Loki is therefore neither male or female (or anything else in particular). I feel it’s important to emphasize that no Power is male or female (or anything else in particular). I realize I may step on some toes by making this assertion and I know that that these terms are quite central to the understanding that many people have of their Gods. Though I don’t wish to diminish that understanding, this particular belief has certainly not been kind to many people and (I feel) rather limits the ways in which we as human worshipers are willing to engage with the Powers we love. Please realize I mean no disrespect. Moving on.

The feminine Loki is not the masculine Loki in drag, not the masculine Loki’s alternative identity, not the masculine Loki’s feminine persona. She is Her own being, as distinctive a character as Her masculine face. He and She are the same creature and neither is more central or default or superior to the other. They are, however, somewhat different in personality and attitude and therefore deserve rather different approaches on our parts. I’ll talk about that at another time. First though, I want to talk about who She is.

She’s lots of things. She is a swinging hippie chick with tight jeans who kisses you hard in a field full of wildflowers and stale incense smoke. She is a pale leggy transsexual with beautiful tits. She’s a witch woman, hot and red and drenched in magick. She is an exiled queen keeping court in a cave embedded with crystals, dressed in rags and tatters because Her crimes negate Her tributes. She is an impoverished, lonely mother bent on survival at all costs. She is a tender, loving embrace to a monster who has known no family but Her.

She is mother, lover, sister, sweetheart, witch, queen, companion, heartmate, helpmeet. She is a trickster beauty, Bonnie to my Clyde. She is a bold and arresting presence, Sheila Franklin to my Claude Bukowski. She is sorcerous, Morgana le Fae to my Mordred. She is the hot red control of focused attraction, a vision in cherry red vinyl.

She is protective, loving, fierce, powerful, regal, scrappy, poor, lonely, forgotten, heavy, rich, deep, and lusty. She is red roses, fire-lit bronze, the sound of bells, the scent of incense, the rock wall of a cave, deep bioluminescence, the treasures deep beneath the earth. She is heat and pressure and the close spaces where magick is born.

She is beautiful and I love Her.

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Though my darling mylar-clad B-movie cosplay goddess is as brilliant as they come, She is also rather shy. He protects Her closely and She doesn’t come out to play with everyone (except when She does). In Her is much of the damage He carries. You have to be gentle and exceptionally loving when asking Her to visit. The best thing to do is to simply ask Him. She might show up, She might not. She might show up without even being asked (since She is Loki, after all). Offer Her light. Offer Her comfort. Offer Her a blanket and a soft place to sit. You can coax Her with compassion but be patient. Her blessed presence is shared on Her own terms. Let Her take the lead and She will show you many wonderful things.

A New Place for Loki, pt II by Dagulf Loptson

I had the opportunity to listen to a short presentation of Loki made by Dagulf during Pantheacon 2014 in the Heathen Hospitality Suite. (At least, I believe it was him. I don’t recall the name of the speaker but the perspective put forth in the following article is the same as the presentation so I’m simply drawing a conclusion.) The suite was quite crowded after the presentation so I didn’t get to speak with Dagulf though perhaps I’ll have an opportunity in the future.

The article puts forth a detailed, well-researched consideration of Loki’s fiery role in the historic Norse tradition as extrapolated by a parallel examination of the Vedic Agni. This information may help inform the practice of those working within a Norse framework and may also help to clarify the practical and beneficial role that Loki plays within it.

Due to the pointed way in which Loki doesn’t consume the bones in Snorri’s account, it is my belief that in antiquity Loki (like Agni) was regarded to be the personification of the fire of cremation and sacrifice. In Snorri’s story, Loki represents the holy fire of cremation that separates bones from flesh, which competes against Logi, who personifies the mundane wildfire that indiscriminately eats whatever is laid in its path.

Go check it out here: http://polytheist.com/orgrandr-lokean/2014/09/23/a-new-place-for-loki-part-ii/