Uncrossable Boundaries

“You have been chewing on this for more than four weeks now. Just do Me a favour: spit it out already!”
— Loki, in my mind (paraphrased)

This is one of those posts that I find hard to write; it is also, fortunately or not, necessary that I write it. It became so at the latest when Loki started rolling His eyes at my antics. I’m writing this in critical response to Del’s post “We can learn a lot from things that annoy us, or what I figured out about the proliferation of Loki’s wives online“. It shoud be said, however, that Del’s is not the only post that prompted me in this. In fact, this should be seen as a collective response to a series of highly problematic  posts by experienced spirit workers lately, and I am only responding to Del’s specifically, because it coincides rather well, and ironically, with the main point I wish to make, but I’ll return to that later.

For now, why do I find those posts above problematic? If they had been just plain nonsense, it would be easy to disregard them and move on. The problem is not that the posts themselves make no valid points, quite to the contrary: the problem paradoxically lies in the fact that they do contribute in a positive way to the respective situations they address, on the objective level. Those objectives are the “proliferation of Loki’s wives” in Del’s case, and the apparent need for “external validation” of one’s mystic experience in Galina Krasskova’s and Sannion’s. All the posts I linked make very good points on their respective topics.

What unites them is this: all of them are vocally critical of recent developments in online communities: the greater pagan community, the tumblr pagan community specifically, or, as the case may be, the Lokean community.

What makes them problematic is the effect that they have on the level above pure objective—the meta or structural level. What all the above posts fail to address is the underlying structural problem in all those online communities. In fact, all they do on a structural level is exacerbate the existing problem, which is:

The obvious rift that runs through the very heart of the community (the communities).

The communities are torn. There are those who have decades of experience as spirit workers on their backs, or work as scholars, sometimes both. And on the other side, there are those who are new to all the world of mystic experience, of communion with Deities, and of loving Them and devoting themselves to their Gods and Goddesses (but let’s face it: the problem is centered around Lokeans, and as a Lokean I am speaking, and will therefore drop the plural in communities, and the references to other Deities).

This bifurcation of the landscape, metaphorically speaking, is a fact that few in their right minds will argue. And what Del’s, Galina’s and Sannion’s posts do, as a side-effect maybe (although I am not so sure of that generally speaking), is to not only perpetuate that rift, but to widen it unnecessarily to boot.

Because what they each fail to see is that there are those of us who are “newbie Lokeans” on the one hand, and yet offer down-to earth perspectives, who know exactly how tenuous and dicey the whole freaky “godphone” business is, who are fighting tooth and nails not to be put into a mental drawer, never to be seen again. We do exist, and we are out here without a network to speak of, but wanting, and possibly needing to be heard.

So why in response to Del’s post, specifically? Because Del demands of those with little experience (yet) to put their perspective as newbies out there, to blog about how the godphone is not working (of course, on the objective level one might point out that there is an underlying assumption in that, which is that the godphone of others, i.e., newbies, is defunct by default). To blog about struggles and the little, baby steps that are made down our individual spiritual paths. Oh, and let’s not forget about the setbacks.

The irony in this part of his post is: a couple of weeks back, I blogged about exactly the same topic: flaky godphones, communities breaking apart over a sudden influx of channelling services, confirmation bias, even flat-out invention of fiction running rampant, etc. I explicitly pointed out the group dynamics that leads to new people seeking other newbies’ advice, and that ultimately motivates them to offer theirs to others. True, I did so without being deliberately antagonistic, and hence, perhaps, less interesting to read, but… the thing is, Del for one, did read and posted a long and thought-provoking comment on it, too (thank you again!).

So, by demanding we do what he knew I had already done a couple of weeks ago (and I am damn sure I am not the only one, either!), Del’s post implicitly denies the existence of such middle ground. It paints the community as one of “the elders and wise and experienced ones” on one side of the line, and “the fluffy, over-excited, overly excitable newbies” on the other, with no middle ground whatsoever. And this is a system where boundaries are not permeable. Because I cannot navigate this boundary if I do not even exist, and this non-existence is implied by the many, many rants of elders who cast all of us newbies in the role of immature youngsters in one grand swoop.

In Del’s defence (against myself, oh dear), I have to add: he’s not extremely condescending about it. Del writes about the community critically—and as I pointed out before, realistically and with good cause, on an objective level—without stooping to mockingly mimicking what he imagines newbies’ thoughts to be, or even to name-calling. It’s unnecessary: everybody knows that there are problems in the community, and one does not need to avail oneself of ad-hominem attacks.

I am writing this knowing full well what kind of position I am putting myself in. The point is, we exist. There are those in the community who’re not blind or addicted to drama, who are taking very good care of themselves with respect to interacting with Deity, and who can and are willing to offer their perspective to those close to them in therms of “newness”. But, we also have our own minds, we post in places such as tumblr, and we will not spend our online time sucking up and paying lip service to those with more experience in hopes of getting heard.

I have never tried to “keep up”, as Del said, with “the Raven Kalderas and Elizabeth Vongvisiths of the world”. I see no reason why I would even try to do that, in either case, albeit for different reasons.

I will never be anyone’s mouthpiece, and if it loses me friends, then so be it. But it must be said that I would much rather see less exclusion, less rigid boundaries; I would wish that I, and those in similar situations to mine, will be heard. We have perspective to contribute, as was ultimately implicitly proven by the fact that my earlier post contained exactly the perspective that Del demanded to be put out there.

It already is.

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About Myriad

Myriad Hallaug Lokadís
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15 Responses to Uncrossable Boundaries

  1. fjothr says:

    Mm, yeah, I’ve noticed the same sort of erasing – or lack of acknowledgement, I suppose would be more accurate – of people in the middle ground who are new but neither dangerous or “too fluffy.” It seems like the only new-person experiences that get highlighted are either those that serve as Bad Examples, or those who are writing things that support the older folks’ biases. I hadn’t thought about that in the terms you’ve described here, as creating uncrossable boundaries, by effectively erasing the people who actually exist there. Liminality, what?

    • It just struck me as absolutely ironic. Also, the choice of words might have been inspired by a certain work by Lewis Hyde that we probably are both familiar with. Thank you for commenting here, I appreciate it. A lot.

      • fjothr says:

        Heh – my memory for written works is often kind of poor, actually.

        It is ironic – one of a number of ironic and/or double-standard or Catch-22 kinds of behaviors, and expectations for behavior, that I keep seeing repeated that drive me up the wall.

    • You’re not the only one driven to distraction by this kind of behaviour, believe me. (I mean, apart from the fact that I just spent hours composing a post about it, and then another hour translating it into German!!!) ;-)

  2. Alex says:

    All communities have rifts, though. That’s a characteristic of communities. I don’t think you can assign one person the power of creating a deeper rift–that’s giving them way more credit than they deserve and assigning them too much power and is taking yourself and the responsibility of your own voice out of the equation. Del isn’t ignoring the people who are already doing what he’s talking about, he’s putting the spyglass on the issues that are affecting the people who are doing what he’s talking about. Just because he responded to your post doesn’t mean he’s ignoring you or belittling your opinion or saying he’s never seen someone talking about their journeys as he illustrates. Instead, he is illustrating the larger phenomenon of what is going on in the internet-world. Pointing out that you wrote a blog post and thusly he is ignoring the fact that people outside of what he is talking about is kind of head-scratching to me.I feel like if you read it as there only being two sides, then you are missing the point. He is explicitly talking about the middle ground and how more people need to embrace it.

    I think you touch on a huge fear in the various pagan communities–that of being ‘put in the mental drawer’. It’s a fear because it is sometimes true and we don’t want to admit that, yes, we are sometimes crazy. What Del’s post does is touch on that fear and that’s where I feel the biggest reactions come from. Everyone is running around grabbing their asses wondering if it’s them that Del is talking about–and for good reason. If we can’t look critically at our practices and delineate what we have come up with on our own versus what we might have read somewhere and adopted, how are we participating in our own personal growth. I think your wish for less rigid boundaries and more open-ness is well-meaning and admirable and helpful. I also think rigid boundaries and mores and attitudes exist for very helpful reasons–because we can do it wrong, because we don’t always get it right, and because, while our experiences are our own and perfectly valid, they may not be based in what the reality of the universe is–sometimes we ARE crazy and it IS a manifestation of our our mental processes. That’s where what Del is saying comes in–we, as practitioners or devotees, need time to discern this and good discernment takes years, which translates into experience.

    • I see the point you’re making, especially in the second part of your comment. I would like to point out that I’m not a timid person; I’m not afraid to be put into one of those mental drawers—I’m very aware, and have been since I started posting on any platform, that I am being put there, and I have decided to fight back. You are right about the importance of that delineation, of course! In fact, I would like to add this: there is nothing wrong with trial and error in the vast majority of the cases; heck, I’ve been wrong before, and will be again. What really helps, though, or would help if it were out there, would be strategies to avoid being horrifically wrong, even with a less then perfect signal clarity. This could be as simple as the advice to “hold onto your ideas lightly”—something I’ve seen come up especially concerning the work with Tricksters (and although I am really not so sure how well Loki fits that moniker, I think that’s not part of this discussion…). I have been applying that particular strategy, and it has served me well, even though or especially because I have a lot of interference on my godphone.

      I would also like to (briefly) comment on participation in one’s own personal growth: in my experience, this has been going hand-in-hand with proceeding down “that road”. I would become intensely suspicious if my personal growth stopped being influenced by myself, and started being entirely determined by others, be that humans or Gods.

      Regarding the first part of your comment: I am aware that the argument I made has a weakness in that I accuse Del of deliberately ignoring things that are in his event horizon. Indeed, that’s a wee bit on the empowering side, whereas what I’m actually intending to do is to empower myself. I will point out though, that I have not given a single person—Del in this case—the sole responsibility, and most emphatically not the responsibility for my voicing my concerns. I will say though, that it is always easy to act from an established position. If you have the luxury of this, then there is in fact additional responsibility. We—this hypothetical group of middle ground newbies—cannot do this on our own because there is an established culture of exclusion going on. I think that Del knows a hell of a lot about the stuff he writes, and that’s why his is not the only post I wanted to cite as an example for this exclusion. In practical terms: why bemoan the fact that there is no middle ground rather than point towards the places where it actually takes place? Not especially me personally, although that would certainly be nice, but more on a “general principle” of the thing…

      ETA: edited for logically broken sentence… sorry!

  3. Del says:

    I think you make a very important and incredibly valid point. I know many of these sorts of folks – the ones who are taking the slow, considered path, and who are aware of where they are in theor own personal development, whether than be the person who just started pursuing a mmore spiritual life six weeks ago, or who have been working for a few years and have definitely surpassed “newbie” (I fucking hate that word, and readers will notice that I was super-thesaurus-writer when expressing that concept) but haven’t quite reached a place where “elder” or what-have-you applies. (Although most people I know who seem to fall into that category, like the author of the Grumpy Lokean Elder blog, have a hard time seeing *themselves* that way). Hell, I don’t use the word “elder”, nor do I ever claim that I am wholly perfect and wise in my dealings with either clients *or* the Gods.

    Part of my difficulty, though, is something I tried to address in that post, but it seems to get disregarded because of the sardonic tone I used as a hook to get people to read it. (And that worked, as it is now the highest stat in one day post.) The problem is a somewhat universal one, one that I hear about in any community that deals directly in peer education. Although we use terms like “101” and “201” to describe levels of difficulty/accomplishment when we write or teach material, there’s no standard by which one can meausre oneself accurately ready and able to approach the more advanced techniques and concepts. I call this the “what’s a Goddess” issue, after the following anecdote:

    Raven Kaldera was teaching a fairly advanced class on pathwalking (doing astral travel by overlaying the astral on earthly terrain, so the body is actually going on the same or similar journey as the soul). The class description made it pretty clear to me, and those I asked afterwards, that this was definitely an advanced level class, and made assumptions one would know the basics on astral travel (at least intellectually, if not practically). It wasn’t *closed* to newcomers, as it is also a wonderful story to hear, even if you aren’t ready or even believe in the concepts it talks about.

    Halfway through the class, an older woman raised her hand and asked, very gently but obviously puzzled, “I’m sorry, I guess I just don’t understand.” Raven encouraged her to share her confusion, and she replied, “What’s a Goddess?”

    Now, there are techniques one can employ when one encounters such a thing in person, or if someone actually voices something that implies that they just aren’t at a level where they have a firm grasp on the basics in order to engage with the material. But online, where most people feel terribly insecure asking questions that may portray themselves as being a “noob”, those kinds of comments and questions go unasked. My “Godphone” post was inspired when someone on Facebook went on a tear on how irreverant and inaccurate that term was, and how we should all stop using it. It conveyed the fact that she neither comprehended, or knew, that it is a slang invented by a cadre of spirit workers many years ago, when we were desperately trying to come up with an ecumenical shorthand for two-way communication with the Gods. She didn,t get that it was never meant to be an academic phrase, but mostly just a joking way to put a complex series of abilities and practices into a word that would make it easier for people to understand.

    So back to the point I feel some people missed with my post: I’d really *love* to get into deeper, harder, more advanced techniques and theories on my blog. I’d invite discussions of what I would consider the 201 and 301 levels of shamanic techniques and spiritual belief. But in the current atmosphere, where so many younger (and sometimes the less experienced, regardless of age) bloggers are mining my posts and the posts of my colleagues, looking for ways to seem and feel more “advanced” than they really are, the result is tangible. It is actually happening. People are being harmed in physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual ways. It’s like the guy who tries anal play for the first time by sticking something he ought not to up his bum. He’s now terrified to call 911 or go to his local emergency room, but without professional intervention the issue is only going to get worse. I personally get at least two or three emails a month from people who have been harmed by a inexperienced diviner or channeler or other shamanic service provider, ashamed to admit they chose this inexperienced person because they were cheaper, or available via chat the moment they felt the need, or who convinced them that they knew what they were doing.

    I worry,ndeeply, that if I were to write a guide to learning how to open oneself to possession, as an example, or how to remove harmful negative energy from a person in psychological pain – two things I am both very good at and frequently sought after for – that the “What’s A Goddess?” lady will read them. Not only might they attempt to do it themselves when they aren’t ready or have the presrequisite experience (and especially if they *think* they do), but now they have the terms and phraseology so as to convince someone else that they can provide this service to them.

    Part of the solution to this issue, something I’m writing about in the upcoming book, is that there is just a necessary limit to what you can learn from reading books, blogs, and attending classes. Many of the advanced techniques I’ve learned, I’ve worked one on one or in small groups to hone. And before someone says, “But no potential mentors live anywhere near me! How can I do that?”, I have to make a serious and kinda asshole-like point.

    There comes a time where you have to decide how much you feel called to do these things, and how much you’re willing to invest to do them well.

    No one accepts the excuse, “There aren’t any marine biologists in my land-locked village, so it must be totally okay to learn everything from books and videos, and people should accept me as being just as qualified as someone who went to a seaside college or university to learn marine biology!” In many, many other professions that hold the same level of risk or potential harm, you reach a point where you’re going to have to invest real money, real time, and real sacrifice to be good at what you do. Again, I go back to the anaolgy of my hook suspension experience; I traveled all over the country, many times at my own expense, as part of my apprenticeship. People continue to demand that I teach them in a single session – because somehow, paying for one trip to my small Maryland suburb is all they’re willing to invest to learn something that can potentially harm or kill a person if done incorrectly. And they get really mad, livid even, when I inform them that I only take on apprentices who are willing to make the same commitment I did to learn the material.

    The same is true of shamanic skills. I paid a lot of money to study one on one with Voudou mambos and hougans to learn how they “do” possession. I freqently travel to Raven’s farm, which is a 13 hour drive for me, when I want or need something from him that must be done in person. I have paid hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, for classes in both divination and ritual construction. And the truly sad part is, I frequently share all this knowlege for the price of a meal, as long as the person is willing to come to me to me to learn it. And yet, I can’t count how many people refuse to make that simple investment; who will give me a thousand reasons why they can’t make a single airplane/train/bus ride to my house for a weekend or so.

    And I truly believe that these skills should not be unavailable just because others don’t have the same support or resources I was blessed with when I was (and am still) learning these techniques so I could offer them to those in need. There are many others out there, who run weekend retreats or entire “schools of mystery”, who are happy to charge you a thousand dollars or more to learn some of these things. So I am doing my level best, often to my own physical and financial detriment, to make them as available as I can. More than one person has suggested to me that I would be living a very different life, financially, if I charged even a reasonable amount for what I often five away for free. But I grew up on welfare, and am now on a fixed income, and I strongly believe (and in some cases, am charged by my Gods, especially Baphomet), not to make financial barriers to the knowlege. In many ways, I am currently struggling, because the book I’m working on will include unpublished essays (simply so people who read my blog aren’t paying for stuff they’ve already read for free) that could be very useful to people who may not be able to even afford the piddly amount I end up charging for the book. But I have to draw a line somewhere; a spirit worker or shaman who starves to death, or who can’t afford the health care they need, is good to no one.

    So there’s my quandary. I feel like my rock is that I can’t write about advanced techniques without the tangible and known potential for harm; and my hard place is that the only way I have at my disposal to both ensure that a person is invested enough, and serious enough, to step into these services is to charge money…which makes it difficult for many to access. It’s also not a jump to say that many people who decide to make spiritual pursuits their lifelong focus is because other, more stable and lucrative vocations, are unavailable to them in one way or another.

    Thank you for this post. It’s given me a lot to think about, and more to write about. :)

    • Dear Del,

      I think it’s time that I name you officially the grand master of elaborate commenting. Seriously though, thank you for that loooong comment—it helps me understand your point of view better. I also want to thank you for deciding to engage me on my turf, if you know what I mean. It’s not a matter of course, and I appreciate it. (And I share your distaste for the word “newbie”; need to try harder to find a suitable circumlocution).

      Maybe a part of the problem is that, at the same time, too many and too few people are there who are willing to take on that responsibility of being a community’s goto source of advice. I don’t know, seeing how I’ve been part of it for less than a year.

      I used to think that it’s a problem of people being intimidated by people like, well, you and your peers; I mean c’mon, that’s what happened to me, and I’m really not easily intimidated. Today, though, I am no longer sure about that: I’ve been given feedback along the lines of “TL;DR” a number of times, so I guess at least part of it is people’s laziness, too. Unwillingness to go and do some homework/reading/whatever that isn’t going to result in instant gratification… maybe?

      As for “What’s a Goddess”: you’re right—I didn’t originally catch that in your post; I mean, going back it’s all there, obviously. Figures how one’s perception can change though, but anyway, back to the issue. I understand the point you’re making. I think I might have to apologise if it seemed like I was trying to gloss over the tangible results of the problematic situation in the community. That was not my intention. (I also admire that you’re offering your services at more than reasonable prices, btw. If/when the time comes for me to seek someone out, I’ll keep you in mind if you don’t mind). But back to the main issue, which was (correct me if I’m wrong) that you do want to write about more in-depth topics but feel it is too dangerous, what with the playing with fire that’s already going on as it is.

      So, here’s a somewhat stupid (but maybe not, on second thought) suggestion:

      What you said in your comment reminded me a bit of the situation with online fanfiction archives (no, seriously, hear me out first and then start laughing if it’s still ridiculous!). On one hand, those archives are meant to be open, easily accesible platforms to which everyone is invited to contribute (within reason—i.e., some minimal requirements of grammatical correctness, etc.). This is exactly the case with spirit worker blogs and spiritual communities, e.g., Lokeans. Of course there are those who advocate a more closed (invitation only, or by whatever process restricted) system. But mostly, contributors are happy to post on generally open platforms, and it’s the generally open platforms that have prevailed (largely).

      On the other hand, while openness is desired, there is also the undeniable fact that very often, fan works include topics that are unsuitable for minors, or otherwise liable to cause undesirable reactions. For these reasons, all of the archives I know of use an elaborate warning and rating system. The system does not restrict access: if you’re underage and “lie” to the server about your age, you’ll still be able to view adult content. Same goes for the warnings: if you know you can’t stand the thought of, whatever, anal penetration, or torture, or take your pick, and you still click on a work that contains it? It’s all on you.

      The thing is: although there is no technical framework enforcing only “authorised” access, the system works. People are aware of what they’re about to view, and they decide according to that. I think that implementing a system like that would be helpful. If you marked your post according to some spirit worker rating system (that would need to be understood, of course!), it would enable you to point out: watch it, this is an advanced topic, proceed with caution. Seriously, think about it. I think it would help at least a little in that it would support awareness of how spooky-foo those things really are.

      The Godphone issue is one example: when I started out, I did not at first know what that concept entailed, nor that you could actively make an effort to foster yours. I think that at least some of those people “god-phoning” all over the place are at least as unaware as I was, with the perhaps pivotal difference that I knew I didn’t know anything. If someone doesn’t have the benefit of that knowledge, then they will be presented with a picture suggesting it’s all easy. They’ll look for signs that the same thing is happening to them, and they will find them [confirmation bias, yadda yadda and all that jazz].

      Coming to think about it: I’d like a system like that. I could look at the 101 and maybe the 201, but skip the 301 stuff because no use reading that, like, at all, if I’m still working on a regular meditation practice (and might be perfectly content doing only that!).

      So there. Suggestion made. Hope you’re not dying with laughter or something :) [although, if your are, then cool, I made someone laugh real hard!]

      You also touch on another issue and that’s dedication to a path, or… well basically the question “in how deep shit am I really”. To be honest, I’ve had quite the discussion with Loki about that. I’ve sacrificed a professional career as a singer (although that is only part of the the truth) in favour of something steady (I’m a computer scientist). And there was this point at which I was suddenly faced with the very real possibility (and I’m unsure whether I’ve seen the last of that, but for the moment it’s quiet on that front) that I might have to give that up for my pursuit of communion with, well, Loki. As I said, there was some arguing involved, so I’m aware that this decision is something that must be made, one way or another.

      I think, sometimes… people are led to believe there is a competition or something going on. How? No idea. There’s this whole implicit ordering system going on that somehow, a godslave is worth more than a… whatchamacallthem, who is worth more than a simple devotee. A lot of this is caused by the fact that everybody, for some reason, wants to be a spirit worker. So if then, someone like Galina says that most spirit workers she knows are godslaves, then this sort of elevates that kind of relationship with the Gods into the position of something to aspire to. If some thing A is correlated to some thing B, and A is something “everybody” wants, then “everybody” will also look to have B, and create a (possibly skewed or even imagined) value in B. (The underlying logical fallacy, of course, is that correlation is not cause).

      To tell the truth, at the moment I’m not even actively pursuing anything but my own devotional practice. Which, at this point, is entirely for my own benefit and, if I’m to believe what I think Loki is telling me, His. So yeah. Questions of serving a community? They’re not on the table at this point. I’m not a spirit worker, much less a shaman. I’m a mystic on her very first couple of steps down who knows where, who sometimes gets a push towards doing something. Like posting this one.

      ……..

      That’s it, regarding my answer to your comment. I hope you found it somewhat useful (or amusing). I found your comment useful for myself, so thanks again.

      I have to ask though: what’s your beef with cis-women? Seriously, dude. (Heck, I’m a bit of a weird case since I’ve long since accepted that I’m more androgyne than anything binary really, but then along comes Someone we both know, and relates almost exclusively to my feminine side. >.< That was somewhat hard to get my head around. But yeah, I think I'm starting to understand what it's about. Maybe.)

  4. Elizabeth says:

    I wasn’t directly addressed here, but as I was mentioned someone thought I should come have a look. So I did, and the first thing I can say is that I’m glad you’ve pointed out that there are more people out there than some of us realize who are starting to explore their own paths and who haven’t been doing unwise things in the name of fitting in, or any of the other reasons Del named. I also have to confess that being regarded as an “elder” freaks me out, as I emphatically don’t consider myself one of those, despite being chronologically older than everybody else whose names have also been coming up as elders in this discussion. (Maybe I just don’t want to admit that I’m getting old for real :P)

    And I get where you’re coming from; I myself labored away at my own blog for several years before more than a handful of people bothered to read it, and so I feel that being one of those “middle ground” people was not so long ago for me. And I’m also pretty sure nobody bothered to think of me as an “elder” until the problems with some newer Lokeans started coming up, and I lost my temper after receiving a really heartbreaking email and ranted about it.. But anyway, here’s my two cents:

    You’re probably right about people like yourself being overlooked, because you’re neither as glaringly obvious as some of the more extreme newcomers, nor as bitchy as some of the old-timers (many of whom are personal friends of mine, and I say “bitchy” with affection, there.).And I only say “probably” because I don’t know for myself whether or not that’s a fact. I don’t have a Tumblr nor do I read but two or three accounts there on a regular basis. When I’ve expressed impatience with “newbies” it’s largely because I feel annoyed on the behalf of other “newbies” who have come to me asking why they aren’t having the same kinds of dramatic experiences other people talk about, or why they aren’t “good enough” to be godspouses, because somehow they’ve got this idea that in order to worship Loki properly, you’ve got to be married to Him and/or be a spiritworker, too That idea does come from somewhere I don’t necessarily think that’s deliberate in all cases, and yeah, people looking for new info could be immediately focusing on the more “exciting” things being written and not the things which advise caution, discernment and going slow. Either way, though, it has made me sad and angry to hear some of the things people say to me about feeling inadequate and as if Loki truly doesn’t care for them or want their worship because they aren’t one of His mortal wives.

    I can imagine how I’d feel in a similar situation, but you know what else? For every one of those people, someone else has come along (wanting a reading or just to chat) who does have it together, in that they aren’t going around doing readings without having bothered to study their chosen system of divination, or “horsing” and telling people things that later turn out to be inaccurate. They know they need to work to get where they want to be, and they don’t expect me or anybody else to fix their problems for them. And while I’ve spent some time griping about the problems that I see, perhaps I just haven’t spent enough time talking about the good things I’ve seen as well, and I ought to fix that.

    I don’t make it a point to seek out Lokeans exclusively either online or off, but I’ve tried to make it a point of reading the blogs of a variety of people from all levels of experience and age, which doesn’t necessarily always correspond neatly — for instance one of the most knowledgeable people I know, lore-wise and source-wise, is almost young enough to be my kid. Maybe I should do more myself to encourage that people pay attention to these folks as well, so unless you have an issue with it, I’ll add your blog to my links list as well, and try to encourage people to seek different perspectives on what I’m personally blogging about — not just from other Lokeans, but from other godspouses, spiritworkers, and seekers at all levels of experience.

    And you know, although this makes me sound like one of those fogies who waves a cane at the damn kids on the lawn, I have to say that I sometimes envy people who’ve just been tapped by Loki, because when that happened to me? There was nothing about godspouses, online or offline. Nobody I knew had ever had that kind of immediate, direct communication with a god outside of a ritual space, and I was geographically isolated in Colorado without any sort of local community, teachers, or a mentor. Raven hadn’t written the Jotunbok, no one had ever written a devotional for Loki or any of His family, nor was there much of the material that others have written that can be seen now on Raven’s website. I didn’t dare tell the Lokeans I found online that I was married to Him, because I was pretty sure they’d laugh at me. Years passed before I even met anybody else who seemed to understand what I was talking about. But in spite of that, I can’t decide, in light of recent events, whether it would have made things easier or harder on me if I had had the sort of resources that are available. I really don’t know. I do know that Loki is incredibly patient, and if someone are meant to be His in some way, spousal or not they’ll find a way to find out exactly what that looks like whether they’ve got elders guiding them or not. ‘Cos if I can manage it, damn near anybody can.

    • Dear Elizabeth,

      thanks for commenting; I hope you’re not angry or anything about that mention—it was a bit gratuitous, but I was making a point. That being: I’m me and not you or Raven, so why would I try and be(come) either?

      I follow your line of argument with the situation you found when you were still new to all that. I can imagine it must have been difficult, feeling like you cannot talk about being married to a God with even His followers. Then again, that is not so different today, but for very different reasons. I personally know someone who is married to Loki and is not talking about it because the situation “out there” is toxic at the moment. I also know that the person I’m talking about is not the only one who feels that way; just in this one case, I can say with confidence (if not certainty) that this person has all their wits about them, their heart right where it belongs (with Loki), and the brains to deal with bull***t accordingly. My personaly opinion: it’s a shame that this person is not out there, because they’d more likely than not be a valuable voice in the overall mix. But, at the same time, I can absolutely understand their decision… well, wish, rather, seeing how Someone might just put His foot down… I can fully understand their wish not to go there.

      I’ll have to be honest with you though: sometimes I wish I had the benefit of a completely new community. Sometimes, I do wish that none of all those people who’re part of the community were out there. Sometimes I really do wish that I’d never looked at the Jotunbok or what-have-you, because the exact same thing people complain about regarding oversharing of UPG—at the end of the day, it applies to “official” or “semi-official” sources alike: it builds pressure and expectation to make certain experiences, and it does so without people even being aware of it. I mean, the sub-conscious is called that for a reason, and some processing of information always takes place subconsciously. Meaning: if I have an experience that I consider UPG, I often doubt the whole thing, simply because I know I don’t remember everything that I’ve ever read, and because I know that part of it (if not all!) could be my mind conforming to the expectations of my subconscious.

      I have recently been “quarantined” for a couple of weeks as per His request, i.e., barred from any kind of participation, especially from “reading stuff” on most platforms. What can I say? It was difficult, but it was also very very rewarding.

      1. I know now that I actually have a devotional practice even in relative isolation. (Don’t laugh, it’s not funny having to doubt that what one’s doing might be just the product of some community)
      2. I know now that what I have with Loki can withstand at least some trials, because He didn’t spare me that.
      3. I am now a good deal more assured that He does indeed also care about—oh well, I had “love” there, and turns out that’s more accurate than “care about” so there—me.
      4. Whatever someone else says, as long as Loki is happy with what is going on, and I’m happy, it really doesn’t matter what I (or anybody else) calls it.
      5. There is no rush.
      6. to n.): not for sharing, at least right now.

      I like that fifth one a LOT. Seriously, it’s a bit of a relief after feeling that everybody is moving faster than me; of course, I’ve always known there is no rush, but… now I know. But anyway, I’m digressing horribly. All I really want to illustrate is that there is value in both situations: having “free range”, and having “go-to people who understand”.

      I would like to answer to one more point you mention—it would indeed be nice to see “oldbies” or “elders” or gaaaah, vocabulary insufficient, write about those good things you’ve seen. Because it’s getting to a point where all that is truly visible are accounts that either paint a disconcerting picture of “mainstream madness” in newly tapped Lokean worship, and like Del pointed out: it’s a self-stabilising “mainstream madness”. Or, they’re accounts that point out all that is problematic about the “mainstream madness”. I truly believe that if more people with a “let’s take a step back and look at this again in two weeks’ time” approach were visible, it would take the pressure out of it for a lot of new people out there.

      On that note, of course you can add my blog to your link list! Seriously, after the rant I’ve pulled off here, it would be a bit stupid, cowardly, and counter-productive if I said no to that. Also, thank you(!!!), and thank you for commenting, of course.

      Myriad (which is not my real name, but I’m using it for the online stuff, so if you want to refer to me by some name, please use this one?)

      • Elizabeth says:

        Thank you for your reply! I’ve linked to your blog from my own :)

        And to be honest, there are times when I wish I had a completely new community, too. Not because I hate my friends, but for other reasons much like the ones you’ve described. Being somewhat well-known in a segment of the Pagan population means constantly having people scrutinize what I say and write and having a certain number of expectations thrust at me, and I’m not really comfortable with that. That’s one of the reasons I make an effort to get to know other pagany types who aren’t Lokeans or Heathen/NTP, too — it widens my perspective a lot.

  5. Raven says:

    I commented on the exact same phenomenon occurring here in our local community; I am not a wife of Loki-I am his student, or even a niece as I am Odin’s daughter, I would be Loki’s niece by exstention. Also, even among Lokian (Lokean:)’s there are differences between us. However, the one universal unifying thlread between every single friend of Loki Laufesson’s human kindred is our cry for unification, not division- to bring the community together. We are the one’s who speak the uncomfortable truths, we are the one’s who expose prejudice and backbiting.

    Loki is the God of Fire- Illumination-Intelligence. He is the Greatest of diplomats when the people do not wish diplomacy but would rather sharpen their internet teeth in verbal and emotional warfare for its own sake. Small minded people crave an enemy, great minded people crave peace- and the best of us all demand it without backing down, cowering, or retracting our position on account of a lack of receptiveness or popularity of our stance.

    Loki made hard-hearted Skadi laugh at the expense of his own pain. At his own expense, he became impregnated with mighty Sleipnir..
    ….and yet, it is not enough. We are not fighting other heathens, truly- I believe the problem lies in the two thousand years worth of monotheistic conditioning- where there is a clear binary of “Good” verses “Bad” that does not and has not ever existed in real life. Loki understands that every situation is a shade of grey, and we can only do the best we can with the resources available. As Lokians, we are crafty, clever, and we will NOT “Shut up” be it until our lips be sewn together to express our truth.

    Do not be discouraged, sister….for every person who scorns Loki, there are two who are brought to rethink their positions. It seems overwhelming at times the amount of negative energy that is sent our way- but remember- Every Odinsman is also of Loki Laufeysson- and it is our duty to tend that flame of recognition between the two for all to see.

    • Dear Raven,

      thank you for your supportive, kind words. I apologise for the delay in answering to your comment, but it’s better late than never I guess :)

      I don’t know what I am to Loki. I know He loves me and cares for me, even though sometimes it’s a bit tough. I have made the experience that He will make Himself felt and His displeasure known if I’m being stupid, and maybe that, too, is a way of showing me He is there and does care. But, I really cannot say what I am to Him, or whether there’s a necessity to call myself an XYZ-of-Loki in the first place. I’m feeling a bit off today, so I’m not sure I’m putting it right, but here goes: as long as it makes both Him and me happy, does it really matter? As long as I’m not conforming to anyone’s expectations but the truth as I perceive it to be—even if I’m wrong and going to stumble—as long as that’s there, I don’t know whether it’s necessary to put a label on it. I sometimes envy those who can; by which I mean: those who are perfectly clear on the way they relate to a God, as their Father, their Teacher, their Friend, and so on. My own experience is that I sometimes feel I connect to Him romantically, sometimes He is my Teacher, sometimes He is my Owner (and that’s confusing because the next moment He challenges me to treat Him inappropriately, “c’mon you know you wanna stick your tongue out at Me so DO ITTTT!”, with all the big grins and waggly eyebrows, because He knows it’s making me uncomfortable), and sometimes He does a thing where He suddenly goes ahead, doesn’t say a word and shows me He’s bleeding. (And what do you do then, I ask you, because really, I don’t know when I’ll ever get used to that).

      I definitely hear you regarding unification and all that. And I agree with you absolutely that Loki is a God of speaking well, and that includes diplomacy. It’s not limited to diplomacy—there is negotiation (c.f. heads and necks and such), sweet-talking (c.f. luring out Idunna, convincing Thrym despite Thor’s crappy acting skills), and there’s of course confrontation (c.f. Lokasenna).

      I think saying that Lokispeople in general want peace and inclusion rather than exclusion, is an oversimplification. I think there’s no such thing as a common Lokean cause—to be honest, I’ve had my share of run-ins with Lokeans who see no value being well-spoken (unless it serves their purpose), and do in fact engage in verbal emotional warfare for its own sake. Those people tend to take the stance that “Loki is the sower of discord, and the speaker of hard truths, so suck it up.” What often is forgotten is that truth is entirely a matter of perspective, and that Loki is also the God Who ends up cleaning up everybody’s mess, including His own, on a regular basis. The same people who argue they’re speaking hard truths often do not dare (or care) to look at the collateral damage they leave behind. Del in his post chose harsh words, and got a lot of flak thrown his way, but: he turns towards people arguing with him and tries to understand their perspective and cleans up after himself if there’s unintended or greater than intended damage. That’s what I call Lokean.

      There is no easy way, really. “It’s complicated” is true most of the times with Loki…

      At any rate, however, I want to thank you for your encouragement. I’m not usually timid or easily cowed by words, but that doesn’t mean I cannot be hurt by them. Your kindness is appreciated.

      • Raven says:

        You’re Welcome…. Also, keep in mind that many claim Loki as a patron not out of personal experience directly with Him, but because they think He’s “Cool”.

        Those are the people that give us the harshest blow to the reputations of Lokeans everywhere.

      • Alexis Solvey Viorsdottir says:

        @Raven
        so it is… but also… Loki IS cool ^^ (sorry, had to say that) :D :D :D :D

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