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…