You go about your life, like every day, every week, every month. And suddenly, this wonderful thing happens. You realise that a lot of your creative processes have become centered around that thing; that you think about that thing all day long; that you fantasise about that thing. That that thing has become a source of meaning, of energy. In a word, that you have fallen in love. Then, you realise that there are other people who’re equally in love with that thing, and instead of causing jealousy and envy, that thing becomes a source of community. You end up wanting to talk about that thing, and actually talking about that thing, nonstop. You might even end up making life-altering decisions due to that thing, you most certainly do end up making life-shaping decisions.
Sound familiar? I bet it does.
I experienced it when I fell head-first into Harry Potter fandom (“let’s face it, the books are all about Severus Snape!”) ten years ago. Before—minus the community aspect—I had felt it multiple times, as well as after that. About King Arthur’s legend, and especially Lancelot. About Robin Hood. About Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. About Disney’s “the Lion King”. About Nintendo’s “Super Mario”. About Star Trek, and Mister Spock, and Jean-Luc Picard. About Formula 1 driver Michael Schumacher. About the Lord of the Rings. About Doctor Who, Torchwood, Pirates of the Caribbean, German National Football coach Jogi Löw. Doctor Who again. The Aven—
—hold that frame.
I’m not going to state any disclaimers, since you are going to believe what you’re going to believe anyway.
The point of listing all those fandoms is to illustrate that I have a history with fandom. I have a history, as I pointed out here, with diving headfirst into things—with all the radical changes to myself, my outlook, my activities, that that may entail.
Fast forward a couple of… well, days really, I start falling in love all over again. And this time—
—hold that frame again.
Instead of a disclaimer, I’m putting a claimer here, and I dare you to challenge it. I fell in love with a God. A God, Who happened to have caught my attention through fandom, and that other character with the same name. Other than the name, there is little similarity though. I’m not going to go into theological issues with respect to the pop culture aspect in this post. As far as theology and the notion of Divinity is concerned, I’m on the hard polytheism end of the spectrum, but that’s only marginally relevant to the story of how I fell in love with Loki.
—and this time, I fell hard. Even by my standards.
The story of how Loki came into my life doesn’t read like all that much of an adventure. At least not if one gives credit to all those other stories one gets to read. There are a lot of commonalities, and one of those that turned up in my story was that everybody around me was moving so damn fast. And in the beginning, I tried to keep up. Then, people started to write about how they got married to Him, to developed abilities to channel Him; about conceiving and even begetting children by Him. It all sounded so easy, and quite frankly, I began to wonder about the apparent ease, and the validity of the foundation upon which these life-changing decisions were made. I cannot say what part Loki has had in any of those events, nor can I say what He thinks of it. But what I saw was people who made vows, life-oaths, or “just” oaths in general, with no outward sign of hesitation or doubt. After knowing Him no longer than I did. Oh, of course, there were numerous claims to past-lives-early-childhood-imaginary-friend-was-Loki-all-along-and-so-on-<insert-reason-why-this-is-not-completely-insane-here>. But in this life, consciously? None of the people I knew then, knew Him for more than a year.
A couple of people from that time I still hear from (some of whom I consider good friends). But most of them, I have no contact with anymore. There’s a reason for that, namely for the most part that I left.
Because the longer I watched the spectacle unfold, the more I became aware that it would never, ever work that way for me. I knew that before I swore any oaths, or made any vows, or even made just a “formal commitment” of any sorts (a term with which I connected nothing at that point, but that has changed), before I proactively did anything that would bind me irrevocably, I needed to be absolutely sure.
I needed to be sure that this wasn’t just a phase, just a fad that everybody else was following, too. To this day, I have an impressive collection of indicators that this is something more, something completely Other than what I was familiar with, and yet still I haven’t bound myself. What I dared to do was to undergo an initiation on His request, and under His guidance. There are of course strings attached to that. It was an initiation, after all—the end of something, the beginning of something of a different nature. There were no witnesses. There certainly were no elders or priests or… thingamajig. The purpose of the ritual, of the initiation was something I proposed to Loki when He asked me for a commitment, and something He added to and modified from that initial proposal. It’s complicated and personal, and most people would probably think it wasn’t a big deal at all. They’re entitled their opinions.
The point is: before anything “really serious” happens, I need to be sure this is not one of my fandom things. And one way to do this, is to take it slow. I cannot stress enough the importance taking it slow has for me, in my relationship to Loki. I was worried at first: even the people who thought they were moving slowly, were moving faster than me by orders of magnitude. I was worried that Loki might not agree to that and force me to make a decision. My worries were misplaced. I spoke with Him, over the course of many, many hours of prayer, and explained why I was asking for that, and He agreed. I am moving slow, so that I may be sure in the end, that fandom is not what this is. I have had so many fandom things, and durability is certainly one major criterion by which to discriminate.
Most of my so-called fandom things lasted less than a year. Harry Potter lasted a little less than 3. The Mozart thing has stuck, I’m still a great fan btw… but that doesn’t count. For my own sake, and nothing else, I do not engage in any kind of fandom at the moment, except some SPN on the side. For my own sake, not because I think I would look stupid or be judged, or not taken seriously.
My life is currently the arena of an experiment of what happens if religious amounts of devotion are given to an actual God. It is also the arena of a show called “discernment is a long-term thing”.
And it is the arena of the story of an agnostic atheist who became a theist and fell for Loki of the Norse God fame. At least, that is what I hope with all my heart.