Paths into the Hearts of His Own

I am going to talk about how I first became aware of Loki’s influence in my life, and, as an associated topic, the myriads of ways we, as His devotees, worshippers—in a word: His people—can offer Him into our hearts.

I am not going to talk Loki’s aspects in depth, although of course the topic of aspects cannot be entirely separated from the topic of connecting to Himself. To provide an example of what I mean by “aspect”: in many of the most popular mystic sources available online or in print, we see Loki as “the Trickster“, and in arguably even more, we see Him as “the Breaker of Worlds“. These concepts—Trickster, Worldbreaker—are aspects of Loki in that He might show Himself as almost entirely one of them; however, they do not represent Loki Himself, in His full, complex divine “whole-ness”. When I ask Him how to address Him, He tells me that I am to use His name or the title I have for Him; other people have corroborated this telling me about their personal experience, that He is irritated by being referred to as, in this specific case, “Breaker of Worlds”.

The concept of Loki’s aspects is entirely a construct by human minds that attempts to package the whole Being into understandable, possibly explicable, but unequivocally smaller parts. As such, to the scholar’s mind it serves its purpose well. But to the mystic, it can be a hindrance: in referring to Loki as His aspect we close ourselves to His entirety. We harden ourselves against those parts of Him that we do not understand or are unable to reconcile with what we’re experiencing at the time.

The Gods take what we offer Them—if the only way we can see Loki is as an entirely destructive force, then this is how He will make Himself known. I like the imagery of a path into one’s heart, offered to a Deity to enter, visit temporarily, take up residence, or as the case may be, ownership. Quite often, we find that this initial offering corresponds more or less to one of those aspects. But bear in mind that they are only constructs; at the end of the day, they’re not real.

It has been iterated and reiterated that Loki can connect to those marginalised by society; those suffering from mental illness; those who have had traumatic experiences in their past; those outside the gender norms. Those are, if you wish, the Lokean stereotypes (if such a thing ever existed) you will encounter in written pieces by Lokean mystics.

I believe this to be true. I also believe it to be an unnecessary corset that may even lead to people turning away from what could be their unique, fulfilling, living spiritual or religious path. Case in point, in the beginning, I used to feel out of place whenever I would talk to people, or read some of the big name pagans online, for exactly that reason. In terms of all the criteria I listed above, I do not really fit the “Lokean template”—sure enough, there are some events in my life that, if I were pressed, I could probably be persuaded to classify as a form of trauma, or marginalisation, or what have you. This thought used to drive me into fits of worry of the sort “how can Loki be interested in me if I’m not like that?” I have my own stubbornness and my mostly healthy self esteem—and maybe the odd talking-to by Someone—to thank for the fact that I didn’t give up.

It would have been my loss, to a degree that I find truly horrifying. What if I’m not alone in this? What if the next person will start trying to fit themselves into the perceived Lokean “norm”, twisting themselves into something they are not? Way to start a devotional relationship with a Deity known for ruthlessly tearing off the masks we use to hide behind. What if they give up entirely? Is there really anything that can describe a loss of that magnitude?

I was lucky. I’m a skeptic, and used to questioning assumptions, and I did question the completeness of those criteria. I’m also, as I said, stubborn like fuck. And probably my greatest luck in all this was that my first mystic revelation had already happened when the doubts started—in my heart, I knew He was there. On a subconscious level, I knew my life had been “touched by Deity”, as I told a trusted friend in those early days.

So what had happened? I had taken a look at my life so far and noticed all the different versions of myself that I had been. I noticed the extreme—disconcerting for people around me—changes I had gone through at various times of my history. To the point that I have been accused of “not having a personality”. The person who said this to me was witness to one of my radical turning points and her accusation referred to the profoundness with which those changes occurred. To give you an idea, I changed the way I spoke, my handwriting, my hobbies, my greater goals in life [although this later turned out to be a way of dealing with something else entirely, but that’s a different story]. What this person did not understand was that these kinds of radical redefinitions of myself are an integral part of my personality.

There is an inherent flexibility, a resourcefulness that comes with those, for lack of a less conspicuous word, shifts. I have been able to learn how to play several musical instruments, how to ballroom dance, how to play volleyball, how to play football. I have been able to teach myself to speak English in a way that not even native speakers will recognise my foreign-ness. I have learned the basics of quantum physics [although I have to admit I have forgotten most of that]. I have built a schedule of running regularly, and lost it again. I have learned about the origins of piracy. I have learned all there is to know about Italian opera in the eighteenth century, in all its beauty and ugliness [although that, too, turned out to be about something else than just a “shift”]. I have learned to speak conversational Italian within 3 weeks.

What had happened was that I read Wayland Skallagrimsson’s essay about Loki, and for now hopefully obvious reasons, this passage stood out to me:

Loki’s nature is amorphous, chaotic, capricious, ever-changing. Loki is whatever the circumstances he finds himself in allow him or require him to be. The Lokian who emulates his or her god in this fashion is uniquely well-suited to the path of mysticism. Embracing true Loki-nature is equivalent to a supremely forceful nonabiding. The Lokian who does this cannot remain, in thoughts or emotions, anywhere, for the nature of chaos is change. The mystic will be whirled about, his or her fortunes and nature changed from each moment to the next.

(But please, read the entire essay if you haven’t already. It’s one of the best balanced written pieces from the perspective of a mystic that is out there).

This coincidence—co-incidence, literally—of myself taking stock of myself, of my vague awareness that something was happening to me on one side, and my “happening upon” (to steal a phrase from Homer) this piece of writing on the other, was what prompted my first mystic revelation. This particular capriciousness was what I first connected to, it was how Loki found His way into my heart. [And ironically enough, this is also why I’m stuck on the oh-so-slow path with Him].

So I am asking you, dear reader: is my experience any less valid? Am I less of a Lokean for being mentally more or less stable, for not suffering from PTSD, for being in full acceptance of my weird sexuality and gender identity, as opposed to struggling with it? Hint: NO, I am not.

And neither is she who is a jokester, who brings laughter to grey, stiff, earnest people, at her own expense*. Neither is he who is a magician, who takes his fate into his own hands by use of magic. Neither, is, of course, the shaman whose crisis has him teetering on the edge of insanity, or maybe she’s already on that side of it. Neither is the mother who lost her children, or the father who cares for them deeply. Neither is the person who has been betrayed by those they love. Neither is that one guy who went and chose his family because for some reason, he wanted or needed to get out. Neither is she who accepts and embraces the fact that morality is versatile.

They’re all there, and more, so many more. I think it is necessary to promote the full range of possibilities in which we can offer Loki a path into our hearts. Because otherwise, things will start to resemble each other more than what is good, more than what is true. We are seeing it happen, right now, all across the community.

So what if you’re different? So what, really? How you connect to a Deity depends as much on you as it depends on Them. And believe me, They can be resourceful. And Loki? You can bet your backside He’s as resourceful as They come.

*I know someone like this. She’s a delight to be around; she does not identify as a Lokean, but I know for a fact that He likes and favours her, even though she has some (unnecessary) beef with Him on my behalf, but again, different story…

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About Myriad

Myriad Hallaug Lokadís
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15 Responses to Paths into the Hearts of His Own

  1. This was so very encouraging to read. Thank you. :)

  2. Raven says:

    My experience is one of being one of the one’s who suffers upon which He has had compassion- but I WILL say your experience is every bit as valid as anyone else’s. Loki is a versatile God who appreciates cleverness, curiosity, and flexibility.

    Some of us are forced into these characteristics by a harsh world, some people are blessed without the curse; I do not want Loki pigeon-holed any more than you do. But I am happy to see a variety of authors writing on our personal experiences- and so far, none of us seem to be contradicting each other. I believe for you, you impressed Him… not an easy feat by any means. For me, He gave me a task to see how far I would follow it- and the task itself damaged me. However, damage can be looked at in another way: without a seed being cracked open by the warmth of the sun, it can never grow into a living plant and eventually blossom. Damage can be an open doorway to a higher existence, or a pit to fall into, it all depends on which direction you choose to look at it.

    In the end, really, we will tend to find we are all more similar in our personality characteristics than we are different; it appears Lokians have a penchant for intelligent writing, multiple hobbies, adaptability, and high intelligence. I can’t think of better company to keep- regardless of how each one of us came upon these traits to define ourselves.

    • Myriad says:

      I thought for a while how to answer your comment… and then things happened and I forgot that I still wanted to do that *facepalm*

      At any rate… I think you raise an important point: Loki doesn’t do pigeon-holing. There’s a lot of ways to experience the Divine, and I think we each do in the way that fits us best. Therefore, your way is every bit as valid and true as my way (and vice versa). I’m hesitant to declare written accounts invalid, even when I read accounts of people’s experience, and I cannot help but think they’re making it up, or at the very least adding flourish and ornamentation. Even if I cannot help but doubt that that person is even talking about the same Deity. I know that their experience would not be meaningful for me, but I do not know that it’s not authentic or real, apart from that.

      And if it isn’t? Well, so what? That wouldn’t be my problem then, would it?

      Thank you for… well, your compliment in there. I’m not sure how much I might have impressed Him, to be honest… it seems, ah, a bit impossible because how do you impress a God? I’ll say though, through my specific approach, I’m used to work with the kind of erratic, intense energy that resembles His own. I’m used to feeling the sharpness of change when it occurs—not brutal, but still unrelenting and wanting to be engaged. It has helped me lose some, if not most of my fear of change. I’ve become familiar with it over time… paradoxically, if you think about it :)

  3. fjothr says:

    Ha, I’ve also had odd moments of feeling the “odd one out” for not fitting into a lot of Lokean stereotypes, but by the time I realized there -were- those common themes with many of His people, it was beyond obvious that He was real, and He was undeniably interested in me, and I could see a few reasons why that might be true, so it was very easy to look at all that ironically in terms of “being something of an outsider within a group of outsiders.” Not that anyone is likely to ever describe Loki (or probably any deity) as being opposed to variety, regardless.

    • My dear, you’re wonderful (which I hope you know). As for myself, I started reading blogs -way- too early. I knew too little to be that sure of myself, and the whole thing was a bit overwhelming. I have had a difficult start of it due to that fact, and I just hope to share things that some people will recognise.

      I’ve never quite seen it in terms of being “an outsider in a group of outsiders”, but I do see the aptness of it, of course. Of course it turns the whole concept of “minority” on its head. Quite ironic, really, if you think about it :)

      As for “undeniability”, and “beyond obvious”: Do you mean in the mathematical, logical sense? I still have a hard time believing those words if people tell me that. I find it especially hard to accept those words in their literal sense in a religious context; that’s probably because I think that faith (sureness in the absence of proof) is a fundamental tenet of religious experience…. I’m a bit envious, to be honest, of your ability to feel “undeniably” and “beyond obvious”. I could probably manage (and have done so) “beyond obvious”. But “undeniable”? It seems to be so elusive that I can feel it for some brief, transient moment… and the next, it’s gone, and it’s all “faith muscle”.

      • fjothr says:

        Well . . .

        I have a degree in math, and too many years living with a person whose approach is Science Is the One True God, if There’s No Falsifiability It Is Worthless, Oh the Poor String Theorists Are Delusional and a Tragedy of Modern Physics, which has left me with a few mental scars where that sort of thing is concerned. ;) And I have always simply refused to accept that the only acceptable way to know something is through cold, clinical, “logical” methods. I’ve had too many useful dreams in my past, and intuitive insights that predated Gods Everywhere. And I’ve been trained to design buildings (and other things), which process requires certain kinds of intuitive insights that you can only justify after you already know “This is a good solution.” And that’s all it is: post-rationalization. Sometimes you can derive a solution in a straightforward way, but sometimes you can only say “why” this solution works after you discover it IS a solution.

        Anyway, where Loki was concerned: I just -knew- these things were true the way I suddenly -knew- many years previously that I was polyamorous, and years later that I’m attracted to women, and etc. He responded to me, and the response was pretty blatantly “yes I’m interested in you,” and things fitting that kind of statement kept happening, and they fit no other experience I had ever had. And there were omens. And the suspiciously not-random random music. There was just too much, all at once. My only other choice was to try and convince myself my own brain had spontaneously learned how to generate a whole lot of weird physical phenomena, and I knew if I tried to go that route of explanation, I would have spun myself into a really bad mental state, because I’ve tried ignoring and fighting similar sorts of inner knowing in the past, and it was Not Pretty.

        There’s no way to put a nice tidy cold clean clinical scientific wrapper around that kind of thing: the evidence I had from my own experience was all I needed, and no other answer even felt right, although when it came to “is this really Who I think it is?” getting some divination did calm my paranoia that I was being deceived by Something Else. So I can’t “prove” it in a way that will please some scientist – so what? It’s accepted as true within the framework which accepts these things CAN be true as a part of its, well, axioms, I suppose, and Science shows no signs of being open-minded enough to do that. (I like science, it’s very very useful, but its fundamentalist approach to understanding reality has irritated me for years, and I only see my irritation getting worse now.)

        I found lots of blogs early on, too; I was on Tumblr shortly before I really understood He -was- poking at me. But I guess somehow I didn’t pick up on the Lokean stereotypes that strongly? I guess by the time I really saw some strong themes emerge, I had accepted that for whatever reason, He -was- interested in hanging around and trying to communicate. And anyway, I do fit them to a certain degree, I think my first awkward post on Tumblr went into some of that, just not to the same extent as a lot of folks.

  4. Elizabeth says:

    How do people define the term “Breaker of Worlds”? Because I may have been one of the people who originated that kenning, and I know what I meant by it at the time, but from what I’ve been able to pick up here and there, I am not at all sure that others are talking about the same side of Loki when they use that phrase.

    • Im really glad you say this… I’ve been thinking about this question, too… and so many people who say they work with/worship/relate to Loki primarily as “Breaker of Worlds” seem to be talking about so many different things. Like, for instance, I get the impression (might be wrong as I don’t know him personally) that Del sometimes interacts with Someone gone far, far beyond reason, Who is really, *really* dangerous. And then other people I know have a constructive, mutually beneficial relationship with Loki as “Breaker of Worlds”, where they seek Him out specifically as such. My own (yeah… I have one too) relation to this aspect of His is complicated, and while beneficial, I would probably not seek Him out like that.

      Also, please don’t take my post as criticism of you (fwiw, I didn’t know you’re “responsible” for the term), or of the concept of aspects as such. I just feel that people who don’t have a lot of experience tend to want to somehow “classify” their experiences as belonging to a “Trickster” or “Worldbreaker”, sometimes maybe a “Bound”, uhm, category. I feel awkward using all those terms *blush*. (and I think “Trickster” might be even less well-understood than Breaker of Worlds…)

      • Elizabeth says:

        No worries. I didn’t take your post as criticism, but you know what? Even if it had been, there’s nothing wrong with that. I wouldn’t write for public consumption if I was afraid of people saying what they think about what I write, and after some of the stuff that’s been said about me online, I have had to grow a thick skin :P

        I too started using “Breaker of Worlds” to refer to that aspect that Del comes into contact with — the side of Loki that’s cruel, raging, and nearly consumed by madness, and my theory is that it’s a result of being imprisoned in the cavern and seeing His innocent loved ones suffer and die. I don’t use that term to invoke Loki unless I’m prepared for Him to show up in that guise, and I don’t interact with Him like that personally. In fact, He’s sort of against it, since that’s not what He wants of me. But I’m hardly an arbiter of what terms or kennings people use to talk about Loki, and I suspect that common usage probably trumps first usage — and I honestly don’t recall if it was me, Del, or someone else who started that.

    • And maybe one last thought on this: perhaps, in the beginning we find it easy to distinguish between different aspects. They’re distinct in a way that they slowly cease to be the better we learn to know a Deity? As we gain understanding of Them (well, within the limitations of our mortal perspective)… I really don’t know. (Also, don’t know where I’m going with this thought, will have to think about that some more)

      • Elizabeth says:

        I view it as learning to recognize and love the different faces we all show to those around us. People are different with their kids than they are with their lovers, their longtime friends, their co-workers, their neighbors, and the ability to “chameleonize” in that respect doesn’t, IMO, indicate a lack of integrity — more an awareness of the situation, the people, and the needs of same. So I see Loki’s showing of different sides of Himself to different people as the same sort of thing. And just as we’re ultimately always who we are no matter who we’re with, it’s the same with gods. It’s just that They are so much bigger and there’s so much more of each one of Them ;)

    • fjothr says:

      I’ve been struggling to write something up on this on my own blog, because it’s a term I find odd to use, even though that is how He told me He had been with me for several months, because I’m not seeing insane and raging over here. Anguished, at times, but generally – more like someone who’d been through something awful and had survived and could help people cope with their own shit, which seems to be the side of Loki that some other people see and also call “Breaker of Worlds”. When I talked to Him about that – a week, maybe two, after the “so this is how I’ve been here. . . ” conversation, first He made a face when I used the term at all, and when I said I could see why it wasn’t perhaps the most accurate, He said I should just call Him Loki. Okay, fine. (And yet He has, again, responded favorably to my using that term again on occasion while I’ve been trying to sort out all the reasons why -this- side of Him is the side I maybe? seem to see most often.)

      I’ve mostly been assuming that aspects are still fairly “big,” and that there’s a lot of variation within each – I can easily imagine different people getting very different experiences with Loki as Trickster. Either that or our labels aren’t finely grained enough ;)

  5. Pingback: Worship and Fandom: my View | Weaving the Net

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