Bloodlines, Marvel and the path to Loki

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.

As a child I loved reading myths and legends, tales of magic, giants, dragons, heroes, princesses and villains, Gods and Goddesses. One I remember in particular is my mum’s own childhood book – a Jackanory book of Icelandic tales. It included the story of how Thor and Loki dressed as Freyja and her handmaiden to retrieve Mjollnir. Odin and Sleipnir were also in there.
Over time I ‘moved on’ to Tolkien, Harry Potter and historical fiction (yes, in that order), but my love for mythology remained. In fact my appreciation and fascination with it only grew, as my various GCSE and A-Level art projects can attest. I read mostly about the Egyptians but the Celtic tales also captured my imagination.

In my early 20s I researched a number of different spiritual paths, but was always drawn back to the Gods and Goddesses rather than ritual. I’d found the general idea of Paganism to be a better fit than anything else, so started reading more about it. My main focus has always been the Egyptians – since I was eight they have held my heart strong and fast – but I liked the musicality of the Celtic tales, and I love Celtic and Norse design.
I fell in love with longships when I visited the Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde when staying with Danish family, and I fell in love with Copenhagen. I was ten when I first visited, and I have been back twice since, though unfortunately not in the last few years for health reasons. I feel at home among the Danish people, even if I don’t understand the language. It’s in my blood. My maternal grandmother was Danish, and I live in Lincolnshire in the UK, a county that was part of the Danelaw. It was here that an old charm, “one for God, one for Wod and one for Lok” originates.

In 2012 I saw the Thor movie on TV. I enjoy superhero movies (the X-Men and Iron Man are my favourites), so even though it looked silly I gave it a go. Yes, it was silly in places (perhaps even irreverent to some) but a little strand pulled at my memory. I remembered the book of Icelandic tales my mum has and read it again but it wasn’t enough. I downloaded as many interpretations of Norse tales as I could find on my Kindle, and then eventually braved The Eddas, and later the beginning of the Gesta Danorum.
It felt like a piece of me just clicked into place, like I was rediscovering the religion of my ancestors. Throughout it all the brightest strand that sung from the pages was Loki. This was not the Loki of Marvel; this was a multifaceted Being who stood out in a way I couldn’t describe. The more I read the more questions I had, and slowly a quest began to unfold. But everything became one massive messy tangle in my brain and I pretty much gave up. Brain tangles plus brain fog aren’t a good mix.

By this point I had started saying prayers to the Egyptian Deities I love so much, finally accepting I was (in broad terms) a Pagan. By chance I came across a book on Asatru in the local library, and if you know our local libraries you will know this book was completely out of place. But there it was, and it opened a window on to the Northern Tradition. Like a number of authors this one expressed the view that Loki should be avoided at all costs and shouldn’t be worshipped. I felt rather offended on Loki’s behalf, but I wasn’t part of the Northern Tradition – my Gods were the Egyptians! – so I just continued as I had been. By this point I had realised that my love for the Deities went beyond the enjoyment of their stories; it was the Deities Themselves that called to me.

Then one night in 2014, months after reading the book on Asatru, Loki made Himself known to me as a golden-bright mist and a very awe-ful presence. For several days all I kept ‘finding’ were articles, pictures and mentions of the God Loki. Suffice to say the Asatru book’s warnings rang in my head. I couldn’t just ignore this flurry of ‘Loki’ however, so I looked online and came across books by devotional Polytheists devoted to Him, and realised I could be wary but I didn’t need to be so afraid. I also came to realise this is what I am: a devotional Polytheist.

After accepting Loki into my life my other devotional practices also grew and developed. Whole new ways of honouring and relating to the Deities opened up for me. I have also been opened up to the wonders of my Beloveds Sigyn and Hella, who I may not have known if not for Loki.
This whole journey has not been an easy one, and I’ve struggled as my health’s deteriorated, but my love and intention to honour the Deities with integrity, and in the way I live my life, has only grown.

That film reconnected me with my heritage and led me on a journey to what has become my bedrock. When all else has fallen apart around me I am back at that purest expression – honouring and praying to Them, doing what I love: devotion.
All because of a Marvel movie.

By the way, if anyone can recommend a book on Pop Culture Paganism please let me know because I would like to try to understand better that path, even if it’s not one I follow.

Loki and Sigyn: facilitators for deep healing and Shadow integration

Loki and Sigyn by Michelle, Northern Tamarisk

If Sigyn is the Goddess of holding space (see previous post) perhaps Loki is the one who takes our hand and let’s us know it’s safe to open up. He is the one who encourages us to express our most vulnerable selves. All the while Sigyn holds the bowl, catching any poison and throwing it away. Together They are the ones who support us through the deepest levels of healing.

If there was ever a Deity suited to helping us heal our own Shadow it is Loki – He who knows His own, Who loves all His children; knows how to love the seemingly unlovable. He is also the one who calls out hypocrisy and the Shadows of the Gods Themselves. He is the one who helps us heal our deepest wounds.
When we are in our own caves, bound by things once dear to us, upon rocks of our own shame, Loki is there with us. He knows the agony, the torment, on a whole other level. But knowing the cave as He does He can help us through our own time in the Underworld. When our own Shadows, our own repressed selves, drip down onto us, tearing us apart, He is there. 

All the while Sigyn, compassion personified, holds us steady. She takes us in Her arms like She holds the bowl, letting the Shadow poison spill out, helping us to heal. She lets us know She’s there whenever we need Her again. She will always return to hold the bowl when needed.

What we need to hold on to during this process is that, somehow, Loki made it out of the cave. Somehow He was freed from the darkness, and Sigyn could finally rest Her strong but weary arms and heart. That means we can make it out of the darkness too. We can start to reclaim our lives, go out into the world and do what we’re meant to do. We are all the stronger for having been through our trials.

They are a partnership for deep healing. For how do we heal the Shadow? With understanding acceptance and compassion. Loki and Sigyn.

Samhain 2016 -Altar/Shrine pics

Last night I had the pleasure of setting up two extra altar/shrine areas, alongside the shrine for my Beloveds.

The first was for family members, including my much-loved and much-missed cat Orlando. I enjoyed setting up this one the most, as it made me look through all my photos and bits and bobs I have as keepsakes. The camera belonged to either my grandad or my Norwegian great-grandad, the dreamcatcher centre was brought back from Canada by my Uncle Tony. The door stop was from my Nanny’s house, and the Little Mermaid statue is a nod to her being born in Denmark. The Aragonite was my Aunty Tina’s. The little clay piece in front of Orlando’s photo is a paw print I took from him about a year before he passed away, and there’s also a lock of his fur. Presiding over the shrine on either side are Hella and Anubis. There are scarabs and a fabric lotus there too, as symbols of the cycles of life, death and rebirth. The lists you can see are names of my family members, and of family friends and pets.  Continue reading

Friday Focus: The Norse-inspired Artwork of Paige Carpenter

Friday Focus: The Norse-inspired Artwork of Paige Carpenter

Paige Carpenter is an illustrator from Texas, USA, who takes her inspiration from a variety of sources. On her website it says: “She loves Norse mythology, reading, gardening, and of course, creating art.” The works that I love the most are her depictions of the Norse deities. She has a soft style to her pencil and charcoal pieces, which is particularly lovely in her beautiful depiction of Laufey holding baby Loki. Her watercolor pieces are vibrant, but have an almost velvety texture.
I cannot tell you how ridiculously excited I was when I found her depictions not only of Loki, but also Laufey and Helblindi. These two, along with Farbauti and Loki’s other siblings are so rarely depicted, and when they are they usually have a Marvel influence. It’s really refreshing to see a traditional-style illustrator showing us her view of them.

Paige’s Website: www.paigecarpenter.com

(Click on the images to be taken to the image page)

kissed-by-fire

Kissed by Fire

the-unquiet-thought

The Unquiet Thought

loki-casting-fire

Loki Casting Fire

baldrs-murderer

Baldr’s Murderer

laufey

Laufey

helblindi

Helblindi

angrboda

Angrboda

thunder-and-fire

Thunder and Fire

thor-sketch

Thor sketch

freyr

Freyr

freya

Freya

ivaldis-youngest-daughter

Ivaldi’s Youngest Daughter

jewel-glad-menglod

Jewel-Glad

Friday Finds 06

Today I am introducing PantheonSkulptur. Stina lives in Sweden and makes resin statues of the Norse Gods and goddesses, which she then gilds with brass leaf.

The Freya, Frigga, Thor, Skadi and Jord/Gerd statues have already sold, but maybe if you messaged Stina she would be able to make another.

Edit: Hella statue is now mine. Channelling Gollum: come to me my preciousss.

Freya_02Frey

FriggaOdin

ThorTyr

Jord-GerdSkadi

LokiLoki_03

HelHella

 

 

Is Loki Still Bound?

My theory suggests both yes and no. Humans have created linear time; it helps us keep things in order and it’s easier to wrap our heads around. However, time itself isn’t linear. Time is a series of cycles and can twist back and around on itself. It is like the lemniscate (the 8 having a lie-down).
Think of Doctor Who and how he travels around in the TARDIS. He isn’t constrained by Earth’s linear time and can crop up anywhere. His companions, on the other hand, experience linear time because they live in a fixed timeline on Earth. This doesn’t mean that the Doctor can’t go back or forwards in his own timeline to see them again, though. For fans of the show ‘timey wimey’ sums it up nicely. Time is linear to us because we live through it as thus; the planet is our fixed point. The Deities, who aren’t restricted to a human lifespan, physical body, or Earth timeline, will experience time differently.
In our linear lifetime Loki may be bound or free many times. He may be pals with Odin, or Asgard’s ‘public enemy number one’. He may be with Angerboda, or Sigyn, or on his own. Our lives may be linear, but Theirs are not.
Imagine we live only in 2D and They live in 3D. If you take a piece of paper it is flat and thus linear. If you make a cube from it it’s no longer linear; where does it end and where does it begin? This is where the lemniscate (the ‘lazy 8’), or the ouroboros, come in. They are perfect representations of this.
So for those of you who wonder if Loki is ‘still’ bound, perhaps right now in this linear-time moment he hasn’t even been bound yet. Some further food for thought: going by the same theory, Asgard is whole and fallen, and Ragnarok is impending and over.