I realised after writing my ‘open letter to those who have theological concerns regarding the Marvel movies and their version of Loki’ (EDIT: NOW DELETED) that, in creating such a clear definition of those of us who don’t equate Marvel’s version of the Norse Gods with the Norse Gods Themselves, I may have inadvertently seemed like I was also denouncing Pop Culture Paganism. I mentioned PCP briefly but said I couldn’t comment on it. I don’t wish people to think it’s because I’m against it, so I have added an amendment to try to make things clearer:
*Amendment – I would like to make it clear that I do not feel I can comment on Pop Culture Paganism because I don’t know enough about it. It’s not that I oppose it as a practice. I am currently reading articles by and for PCPs to try to become better informed.
As you can see, I’m trying to become better informed. I can no longer allow myself to use ignorance as an excuse.
Loki is master of the grey-zone. In the Norse myths He walks a fine line between helping and betrayal. For the most part He’s the Retriever, the Gift Giver, the genial Companion. But He is also the One Who arranged Balder’s death (if you go solely by the Eddas – in Gesta Danorum it’s purely Hoder), the One Who understands that all cycles must come to an end in order for new growth and life to begin. In order for Change to be brought about sometimes we have to learn to let go.
Loki is behind every decision for growth that involves radical change and letting go. In both the metaphysical and literal sense, some things we know and love become what keeps us from stepping into a more transformative phase of growth. To move onto the next stage we have to learn to walk without them.
Please read the full article by Kyaza/ HeathenWoman. I found it really confirmed a lot of what I’ve been learning about Loki over the last three and a half years, and also since certain things have happened this year. I have been sitting on a draft article for well over a week and Kyaza has given me the courage to look at it again and maybe post it.
Loki is a deity of connection and self-knowledge – he doesn’t allow people who honor him to lie to themselves for very long, and that is why he can be a difficult god to work with. Someone once told me that the version of Loki who shows up is the version of Loki you expect – if you expect him to be evil and ill-humored, that is what he will give you. If you expect him to be friendly and compassionate, that is what he will give you. He shows up the way you expect him to show up because he has a tendency to reflect your deepest secrets and hidden neuroses to you in such a way you cannot deny that they exist.
– On the Worship of Loki – A Facebook Discussion Response by Kyaza
Another person stated that Loki is the type to use and discard those who come to him. Up until that point, I was enjoying the back-and-forth because Loki loves to watch people argue over him (his vanity is pretty high, so any attention is good attention). While some people may have the misfortune to be used and discarded by Loki, it is typically only the people who expect that from him who will find that to be true. Loki is one of the least self-serving deities I know, and his compassion knows no bounds.
– On the Worship of Loki – A Facebook Discussion Response by Kyaza
I’m finally back reconnecting with my Beloveds. It has been a lonely time without Them. I took someone’s mis-representing words to heart. It plunged me deeper into my Underworld journey and brought me into my Dark Night of the Soul, where my channel went virtually silent.
Despite the assurances of two spirit workers concerning my connection (with Loki in particular) in the intervening months, I still let fear win.
Things started to really shift last month, though, and on the day of the Autumn Equinox I did a lot of releasing work, as well as Shadow integration. The following day I was recovering in bed (releasing tends to bring the pain into my physical body so it can then be worked out and fully released) and I just felt Loki and Sigyn there. I cannot describe how beautiful that certainty was; knowing it was Them.
They told me it’s time to get back on the horse and stop allowing someone else’s misunderstandings to hold me back. They were understanding of why I shut down the way I did, but also very clear that I have to move on from feeling the way I do. I have work to do.
Sharing the end of a poem I wrote early this morning, dedicated to Himself. In some ways Loki reminds me of elements of Shiva, with His divine dance of destruction that leads to renewal, the fire that burns away and leads to new, stronger growth.
Must fall apart
To reach the truest
Depth of heart,
And there He’ll stand,
Loki: Light Bringer.
If you have your own connection to your Deities and Inspirers, trust it. Your work with your Deities is just that – your work, your connection.
Love Them quietly. Love Them loud and proud. Love Them in little ways. Love Them in big ways. Love Them for Their distance. Love Them for Their closeness. All that matters is you love Them, you connect with Them, you honour Them in your own way.
Even back in childhood I loved reading about witches and magic. A number of years ago I started researching the witch trials and Medieval magic, but most of it was so far removed from the forest and nature that I put it aside. That longing for connection remained, however, and it became a part of my spirituality. It’s why she doesn’t show much on the surface, but dig a little deeper and my Witchy nature is there. She called to me in February, but other things took over. I had a dream at the beginning of June where I discovered a powerful Witch in a tomb, and when I looked at her face she was me. I am rediscovering this part of me.
Despite the more obvious practices of Seidhr, spells, enchantments, divination and shapeshifting, there is another powerful magic in the Iron Wood: the women Themselves.
The women are the fiercer, more powerful sex among the Jotnar – think of Angerboda and Skadi, of Groa and Gerda. But this strength isn’t just physical, and nor is it purely ‘magical’. Their true power lies in Their personal power, Their Sovreignty, Their sacred expression of Their Selves. They are empowered women, the Ones Who stand up for Their needs and desires, standing Their ground, asserting Their boundaries.
To the writers of the time these powerful, self-assured women must have been seen as a real threat to the ‘way of the world’. These are independent Goddesses who know Their needs and magics and are respected for it. How much of the ‘terrible and terrifying’ description of Them is really true, and how much is the filter of the writer?
While these amazingly strong Goddesses can be fierce and awe-inspiring, is there a chance They have been somewhat misrepresented? How much of Their true nature has been rewritten or lost? Just as Sigyn is reduced to the long-suffering wife of Loki in the Eddas, with the gift of her magic as galdr fetter hinted at in just one epithet, how much of the Jotnar and Iron Wood has been lost?
In being drawn back to the ways of nature, the Earth and the crystal, plant and animal kingdoms I feel my inner ‘wild woman’ calling. This is part of me I have been too afraid to claim, but now I’m tentatively curious. Whereas Angerboda used to terrify me I can now be in Her presence with a great deal of respect for Her power. I know She values physical strength, but She also values strength of will and heart.
Beside Her more obvious Iron Wood connections, to me She is a Goddess of empowerment. Part of Her gift is bringing us into our own power. While this manifests differently in each of us – due to different personalities, abilities and paths to follow – She is the embodied Powerful Feminine.
Although Hers can be a tough love, She does love… and fiercely. She is loyal and true to Her Self and to those She loves. She doesn’t suffer fools gladly.
At Beltane cattle were often herded between two fires to cleanse them. It’s also believed the heat killed off the insects, and that the cattle were blessed by the process.
One way we could take advantage of this custom ourselves is to do a meditation asking a particular God or Goddess to safely surround and suffuse you with Their flames. You can ask for help to cleanse any negativity or release any ties that you need to let go of. Deities aren’t limited to the way Their energies and healing can work, but they may have a particular speciality you can call upon.
I would like to address something I’ve seen crop up a few times since I started my devotional journey: the disdain for, and derision of, those who came to Loki and the Northern Tradition after seeing Marvel’s Thor movie(s). I have been on the receiving end of this myself, so this is my perspective as someone who generally enjoys reading and watching other peoples’ interpretations of the Deities.
This does not mean, however, that I identify those literary or film adaptations with the Gods Themselves, and I believe this is important to stress since that is the ‘argument’ and assumption some people seem to have. I also love Stargate SG-1 but it doesn’t mean I see Apophis, Ra, Hathor or Anubis as Goa’uld. Likewise when I watch the Thor movies I do not see Loki or Thor (on the two occasions I’ve had the pleasure of being in Thor’s presence) as Tom Hiddleston and Chris Hemsworth, or as the comic book’s versions after reading comics/graphic novels.
For me there is a difference between character and Deity, just as there is between an actor and the character they play. Daniel Radcliffe is not Harry Potter, but there will always be something of Harry in him, and having played the role many people will now ‘see’ his face when reading the books. He has become synonymous with the character but he is not actually Harry Potter.
Likewise I believe a Deity can appear in the form of a character if they choose to – it may be the best way to connect with someone. There is also the question of how ‘alive’ a character is, as many writers can understand. What energy is then built up when a character becomes beloved of so many? And what about when that character is inspired (however loosely) by a Deity – do they then carry some tiny piece of the Deity’s own energy out to new readers or viewers?
But Pop Culture Paganism is another path to mine and I understand little about its workings so it is not my place to speak of its beliefs, only of my own. Instead I now move on to how a movie helped pull strands of my past into the present and gave me a Gods-filled future.