It’s been very quiet on this blog for a very long time — so quiet in fact, that I have been asked whether Loki and I are still “with one another”. That made me smile, and I was glad. We are indeed “with one another”.
There were several reasons for my radio silence, such as it were — among others, the completion and submission of my PhD thesis one month ago. After that, I did want to take up blogging again, but I couldn’t. Although I had topics to write about piling up higher and higher, none of those topics seemed to want to jump my bones. And what’s more, there was still this… issue. The issue this blog post is going to be about, namely my un-baptism. This post is more a kind of field report than anything else, much less a universal manual. It can’t be, anyway, for the mere reason that technically, the purpose of un-baptism, cannot even exist.
In March 1998, almost exactly 16 years ago, I was baptised Lutheran/Protestant and confirmed. I was, at that point, 16 years old. My reasons that led me to take that step were pretty dim-witted — as I was in love with a person who worked with the Protestant church and was bent on emulating that person in many aspects. Now, the fact of the matter is, that in the “upstairs department”, no one cares for what reasons you get baptised; it creates a binding — and all the more so if, as in my case, the baptism takes place after the baptised-in-spe has reached the age of… “religious maturity” (the German language has an adjective “religionsmündig” which literally describes the state after a coming-of-age with respect to manifesting one’s own religious choices).
In all Christian faith groups that I know of, baptism is a sacrament, i.e., a visible sign of entering into, or partaking of, a divine reality. Like all sacraments, baptism is inviolate. In particular and somewhat simplified, baptism means the entry of the baptised into the fellowship of God (the Christian one), i.e., the community of those allowed to partake of the gift of redemption from (Original) Sin. This baptism cannot be undone by anything or anyone.
During the past two years, I would sometimes catch myself pondering the momentous nature of the decision I made back then. A couple of people I was in contact with sought to allay my unease by taking the standpoint that “it may not have taken, really” because I “only recently came into [my] ‘true religion'”. As well-meaning as they were, I couldn’t help but feel that this attitude seemed a little optimistic, and more than a little opportunistic to me. And although it should take a year for the problem to resurface, time was going to show I was right in that assessment.
During the last two months while I was completing my PhD thesis, my relationship with Loki was intense, and very close. An incident that had the makings to put that relationship to some serious test, led to it growing even stronger than before.
As I closed in on the final submission of my PhD thesis, things became quieter, which didn’t worry me over much. I struggled and I found it unfortunate, as time was something that I would, for the time being, have in spades. But the fact is that you just cannot “summon” the Gods. Effectively, I needn’t have stressed over it, as after only a few days of silence, Loki popped up with a Big One (no, not what you’re thinking).
He asked that I make a statement of intent regarding something, out loud and in a very specific, formal and formulaic manner; somehow I managed to weasel out of Him (more like He let me, really) that He wanted to render me an opportunity to be un-baptised. That evening, I learned a couple of things about Him that touched me deeply.
Had He not done what He did — and no, I don’t know what exactly it was — It would not have been possible for me to dissolve the binding through the sacrament of baptism. It was only through His action that I was given the opportunity to un-baptise myself. I think the best way to describe the situation is as a room that Loki had unlocked from the outside; but to open the door and walk out was something I needed to do myself.
This made me realise how deeply I was truly bound by my baptism. Unknowingly maybe, and for silly reasons, but bound nevertheless. Because the thought of actually going through with this parting was anything but easy. Now I know that it actually mattered to the God of the Christians — at least in His person as Jesus Christ. I think that was the most harrowing realisation for me: that I would reject Him as a Deity, and that it would affect Him.
In a very emotional phone-call with a friend, during which I did what I seldom do, namely losing a lot of hydration by way of my eyes, and generally presenting a pitiful display, I finally, fully realised all that.
Of course the whole thing also scared me a little. Leaving the fellowship of God isn’t a walk in the park, and if it is, you’re probably doing it wrong. But, in addition to that bad feeling, I also kind of — well, that sounds stupid now — but I didn’t want to go looking for trouble. And most certainly I didn’t want to snub Anyone. It was, and still is, really saddening that the first time I came into actual contact with Jesus Christ would signify my leaving Him. As a Deity, He is still reachable for me — but I do not belong with Him anymore.
After that, for a whole long while, nothing happened at all. My un-baptism was on the table, and through the help of my friend I gained an understanding how I might manage all of that ritually. But for a while there, nothing at all happened — or rather, I got temporarily caught up in an unhealthy situation that pushed all of that rather impressively onto the back burner. So far back that a clear, quite firm plan how and when to proceed, came to nothing.
Loki didn’t comment, and let me do my thing. I knew that He didn’t like that “unhealthy situation”, but of course, I “always know everything best” *divine eye-roll*. But after all, He has got more than enough time, and two petty little weeks more or less weren’t going to hurt.
Last week, finally, the time came. I didn’t want to continue postponing it indefinitely, because while Loki may have a lot of time, this applies to me to a much smaller degree. I came to get a feeling of ‘get a move on, will ya?’ — I’m sure everybody who ever had a deadline anywhere will be able to relate.
I don’t want to go into the details of the ritual itself. The way I had scripted it allowed for interaction/intervention from Deities at several points; in particular, the process of breaking the bond itself was divided into single sentences/steps that included a part of contemplation and intervention by Deities, if present. Both Loki and Christ were there, although Loki kept very much in the background — which was important and good. After all, the ritual was primarily designed in gratitude to and in parting from Jesus as a way-companion and way-keeper.
In the run-up, I was nervous that I would do it wrong, that nothing would happen, that the Gods would interfere, that the Gods would not interfere, that I would be none the wiser, after.
In the end, I need not have worried. The steps of breaking the bond itself, and the presence of the Deities were distinctly felt; and a fire in a flowerpot made an impression meriting an honourable mention.
The fire that I had planned for burning a piece of fabric, decided to act up and burn about a metre high — which was definitely too much for my living room. Ashes were flying about; it was very warm, and my “fire-let” was showing no inclination to grow any smaller. To the contrary, there were spurts and significant emission of smoke, although I was using pure cotton. At some point I decided that I had quite enough, since I also started worrying that someone might call the fire brigade — and due to my ritual garb, I can guarantee that would have become a story the fire-men tell their grandchildren. So, I poured water into the fire, which resulted in a lot of hissing and spitting, and even more smoke, but in the end, the fire had to go.
Note to future self: cotton twill burns very well. Teacandle wax as an accelerator likewise works very well. Grime is black. Loki likes to troll His people. (Somehow that sounds like it could come directly from one of the rune poems).
During the subsequent inofficial part of the evening, Loki was very close, and I was in a deeper trance that I didn’t induce intentionally (and only became aware of when I returned to “normal”). It was really nice; W/we celebrated together… and the most beautiful part of the night was Loki’s reaction when I said, “here I am”.
Perhaps the most stunning thing was that I instantly felt different. I couldn’t even answer the question, “different how?”. Words like “empty”, “light”, “free”, or similar, don’t fit in any case. It was and remains much more subtle than that, and will probably elude words indefinitely.
And finally, something I’m only beginning to explore is how my connection to Loki changed — because that, too, is no longer the same. Ever since Sunday night, I’m more… tuned into Him (I’m sorry for this use of wishy-washy language!!), and that is making me very vulnerable right now. Things that concern Him touch me differently than just a week ago, and I am finding it difficult to deal with.
I received gifts from Him, things that turned up just at the right moment and were almost ridiculously cheap to obtain. I’m smitten.
He is such an amazing guy.