Oh look, another blog by another Lokian/Lokean/Loki-nutcase. How refreshing, how novel. Before I took the plunge to join my voice to the chorus of Loki-misfits scuffling about, I thought about some of the best advice I’ve ever heard for writers. I had the privilege many years ago to meet Neil Gaiman at my alma mater. During the Q&A following the reading, someone wanted to know how they could be inspired to write when all of the stories in the world have already been told. Mr. Gaiman responded, “Yes, all the stories have been told, but no one can tell them the way you can.”
So, I’ll tell my story. It may be familiar, but my voice is not. There’s a lot of Loki-folk singing his praises, but have you ever heard a trio of foxes chiming in? Stay tuned, you will.
All my life, all three and a half decades of it, I’ve been obsessed with foxes. This fanaticism may or may not have inspired a prominent and beloved member of the eastern US heathen community to introduce me at East Coast Thing ’18 as “a mortician who’s actually three foxes in a trench coat.” As such, I’ve always had a proclivity for a certain Nordic mischief maker. But, in trying so hard to coordinate a bunch of foxes into passing as human, I tend to be pretty damn oblivious to things that are absurdly obvious to everyone else around me. That’s where most of the humor in my life comes into play. If there’s anything at which I excel, it’s exasperating the people and gods who are doomed to cross my path.
Case in point: though I grew up in a heatheny household, the daughter of a first generation Norwegian-American who served in the armed forces and of a brilliant badass woman with a love of folklore, I didn’t really begin my devotion to the Norse gods until I was around 18 years of age. When I finally started paying attention, I focused on Odhinn and Freyja, because of course I did. I was an Army brat who grew up on the glory of Valhalla and praising the battle dead. They were who I was supposed to cultivate relationships with, right? Duh.
Sorry, just had a gigglefit. Ah, to be so young and so dumb.
Anyone with even a passing familiarity with the myths knows that Loki and Odhinn are very much intertwined, and it can be a feat to try to work with one without the other. I never really had one-on-one dealings with Ol’ One Eye as the Sly One was usually lurking about close by, watching, fidgeting, waiting. I figured it was because Odhinn himself demanded that whenever a drink be given to him, one must also be offered to his blood-oathed brother.
Heh. Heheheheheh. Young and dumb, young and dumb.
For nearly 20 years, I identified as an Odhinnswoman with a strong Lokian streak. I always emphasized the Lokian streak bit. Couldn’t help it – I just had a ridiculous penchant for that twerp. But I was an Odhinnswoman, dammit! VALHALLA! WOOOO! Loki’s neat, he’s good company, BUT PUT VALKNUTS ON ALL THE THINGS!
Fun side story: When I was 6, my mom gave me a copy of “Norwegian Folk Tales,” which is more or less the Nordic version of the Brothers Grimm (which, incidentally, was the very first book my parents ever gave me. It was the complete and unabridged version. I was 6 months old. Best book EVER). The book was illustrated by folk artists who were renowned and treasured in Norway, and the image on the title page grabbed me the moment I saw it. A fox, perched in a wreath, wearing the biggest, most jovial shit-eating grin you can imagine. I knew immediately it would be my first tattoo. Mom said absolutely not. So of course, I got it inked when I was 19, and I’ve called it my Loki-fox all this time.
And you thought I was joking about being oblivious. It’s okay. I can’t stand me sometimes either.
So. Heathens reading this have likely heard of East Coast Thing, and have probably attended it. For those not in the know, it’s an international gathering of those with a passion and/or dedication to the pre-Christian Scandinavian and Teutonic religion. Or, as I call it, Heathen Summer Camp. It’s been a growing event for 20 years, and for 18 years I desperately wanted to go. I never could for various reasons, but things fell into place this year and I was able to attend for the very first time. When I got there, I learned that it was the first year Loki was actually truly welcomed. He’s a bit of a divisive figure in heathenry, but he had his own Ve in the Ve Stead this year, and I ended up spending the vast majority of my time there. I even missed the 20th anniversary celebration concert because of a 3 hour long blot that a very dear friend and I held for Himself. It was quite the marathon of vodka and conversation and harassing my beloved Loki-doki while gnawing on Laffy Taffy, and it was a time of tremendous epiphany and self reflection.
It was immediately following this blot that He finally broke through my formerly impenetrable Derptastical Armor of Extreme Obliviousness. The energy from the ritual was still strong, and it followed me back to my cabin. You’ve heard of being hit with a Cosmic Clue-by-4? I was bombarded with a whole forest’s worth of cosmic smackdown. I was stunned, but still stubborn, always stubborn, because I needed some time to Think. I needed to be sure I wasn’t making shit up.
The next night, I was part of a small, private honoring of the Allfather at his Ve, which is a story that deserves its own space as it sparked a conversation that I would never have believed transpired if I hadn’t been a part of it myself. Seriously the stuff of legend: infinitely impossible events conspired with impeccable timing, and there was a bone marrow-quivering moment that reminded everyone present that Our Gods Are Not Subtle Beings. But before that happened, it was in this circle of 9 around the Odhinn Ve that The Old Man himself caught my attention and smirked as if to say, “We’ve fucked with him long enough. He’s yours, and he’s been waiting for you. Go to him.”
So that was that. Guess what? I’m not an Odhinnswoman with a strong Lokian streak. Did you figure that out yet? You’re far more observant and intelligent than I. Because I was quite literally the Last One to Know that I’m one of Loki’s people. The only surprise from my friends came at the fact I didn’t realize it sooner. They all thought I was already Lokian. Even a Catholic friend of mine looked at me like I was a bloody idiot and said, “I never knew why you called yourself an Odhinnswhatever, it didn’t make sense. I’ve never heard you talk about Odhinn. You’ve only ever talked about Loki.”
How fucking dense am I that even Catholics knew that Loki was My Main Man before I did? Pretty dense. Dense enough that I legit don’t like to be around bodies of water. I’ll sink straight to the bottom and never resurface.
So I had a few Sit Downs with O He of The Fiery Hair And Ever-Present Smirk and “listened” to him huff and puff and cry out, “FINALLY! DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW LONG I’VE WAITED?! ANY CLUE HOW HARD I’VE WORKED? GAAHHHHH! . . . Oh, and Hi.” Hindsight makes it fantastically easy to see the obvious and ever-present clues and hints and neon signs he’d been hurling at me all these years. And since then, I’ve been awestruck by the peace and feeling that Things Are As They Should Be. The relief is palpable, the knowing that I’ve finally figured out not only exactly where I belong, but what my purpose truly is. But that will be left to another day. Spoiler: my purpose is nothing huge or grand, it just is, and it makes sense, and it brings me joy.
Not that it’s been a fluffy little dream life since then. Big, Huge, Giant, Awful Things have happened in my life recently, which I’ll certainly get into at some point. This past week has been a steady stream of “What the fuck. What the fuck. What the fuck. Are you fucking serious? What the FUCK?!” I’m certainly being pushed to some very forboding edges, hideous ugly cliffs crumbling above roiling oceans of water. And remember: I’m dense, too dense to float. But you know what’s bizarre and utterly Trickstery? I’m too dense to float, but I’m not too dense to fly.
I hope that my voice blends well with the rest of the bloggers out there. It can be a tricky thing to get three foxes to bark in harmony, but Tricky, it seems, is what I deal with best.