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 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.

Love and Obligation in Divine Relationship

Complete surrender of the body and extreme recklessness about it and laying it down at the altar of love is considered as the highest form of sacrifice in the world. But the Lord’s devotee has yet a higher ideal.

He considers the sacrifice of the body as the lowest form of offering the devotee can make the the Lord. The standard with which the actions of the two are to be judged is, therefore, different. In the sphere of the world it is apparent that the beloved must be convinced that the lover has genuine affection for her, while she on her part must display rank carelessness in respect of her body and abhorrence for the rules of society. If such tests are applied in the base worldly love, what finer tests must not an aspirant in the region of divine love volunteer himself for; what fiery ordeal must he not pass through; what agonies must he not patiently bear before he can cross the threshold and get entrance into the portals of that more sublime region where love reigns supreme and the pleasures of which place know no surfeiting by excess.No mathematical calculation can give its idea; no formula can explain it.

The Story of Mira Bai, by Bankey Behari; pg 21

This passage refers to, among other things, the different ways that various forms of love manifest, especially in their extremity. With regards to the forms of love referred to here as worldly (finite, mortal, passing, and similarly limited), the highest expression or evidence of dedication is regarded as sacrificing the self even unto death. For the divine lover, for the devotee attached to an affectional object not finite, mortal, or passing, the highest expression is the persistence of living. That is, the degree of love that might inspire utmost self-sacrifice is but the initial level of sacred love. All the trials facing the devotee that come after this stage – well, that’s the challenge, isn’t it?

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Guest post for Heather F: Devotional Relationships and Their Parallels With Bhakti Sadhana

I recently broke my Internet silence and shared a few thoughts regarding some recent conversation in the online polytheistic community. Though observers might suggest that experiencing a connection and/or identification with a sacred Power is a bizarre aberration of practice, it is actually an established part of multiple devotional traditions. I specifically discuss this process within the context of bhakti since that’s where my knowledge base lies.

The occurrence of a deep level of personal identification with a sacred Power is not new in paganism/polytheism and it is not new within greater scope of devotional practices. Each tradition describes it slightly differently using technology and concepts specific and relevant to that tradition. We have seen some people express this connection/identification in terms of reincarnation. This is mechanic of the polytheistic worldview relevant to the practices of the individuals, just as joining the body of Christ is relevant for Christian devotional practitioners and as entering the sacred play of Vrindavan is for Krishna bhaktas. Anyway, you can read parts one, two, and three on Heather’s blog. Who knows, maybe I’ll revisit some of these topics in a future post or video.