Mischief Maker. Bringer of Gifts. Lie Smith. Truth Teller. Sly One. Sigyn’s Worry. Sigyn’s Joy. Himself. Like the rest of the Northern gods, Loki is many things to many people, and all things to some people. He’s a liminal being, one of the more complicated and divisive creatures flitting about. In the stories of our ancestors, he’s responsible for the gods’ greatest treasures, but he’s also responsible for their downfall. He’s descended from giants, an honorary Aes, bound to Odhinn by oath of blood brotherhood, assigned the role of demon or devil by Christians during conversion. He’s hotly debated in heathen communities among those who see him as an evil figure and others who feel that he is one of the more compassionate and loving of the Northern gods. He’s a Trickster, a Shapeshifter, many things to many people. He fulfills whatever role that’s required, does what’s needed, and faces the consequences each and every time. He’s a source of laughter, hard truth, and more than a bit of chaos.
In short, he’s a twerp.
I didn’t grow up in a Christian household, so I’ve never really given the concepts of absolute good and absolute evil much thought. So I’ve personally never perceived Loki as a demonic figure to be feared. He’s always been a friend, a comforting presence who never fails to inspire big goofy stupid grins. He’s a god who knows what it is to suffer (and mind you, the Loki of whom I speak, the suffering to which I allude, is based on Norse!Loki, not Marvel!Loki. Hiddleston is cute and all, and moments in his performance definitely smack of Loki-Loki, but he ain’t my Fox-Brat). The grief and agony he has suffered in the mythology makes him compassionate and utterly adoring of those who stand by him. Long ago, so long ago, his wife Sigyn taught me that he’s worth loving: she watched as their children were killed in retaliation for his words and actions, watched her husband be bound up with the entrails of one of their sons, and instead of leaving him and scorning him like the rest, she stayed with him. She stayed in that awful cave, sat beside him and held a bowl over his face to catch the venom dripping from the snake poised above his eyes. It was her choice to do so. She loved him. She still does. So even though he has a bad rep, that doesn’t change the fact that he was brought into the fold by the Allfather himself, that One Eyed Bastard who held intimate knowledge of the prophecies and oathed himself to blood brotherhood with Loki anyway. Loki has value, and he is worthy of love because he offers love, in his own strange ways.
I mean, he’s still an obnoxious little jerk with a perverted sense of humor, but he’s a ridiculously lovable little jerk.
Chaos is a term associated with Himself, and it definitely applies to my life. I don’t invite drama into my life, it just happens, and it happens in spades. I do my damndest to just keep my head down and mind my own damn business, but that seems to be an invitation for random other business to intrude and throw things into– you guessed it! — chaos. Chaos and fuckery abound. The situations I deal with are so absurd, that I HAVE to laugh; they’re so stupid, so unbelievable, there is no other logical response but to laugh hysterically once the shock has worn off.
Chaos isn’t necessarily a bad thing itself – everyone thinks it simply means destruction, but the thing is, when outdated modes of thought and complacency creep in, then all growth stops, and it’s imperative to chip away at whatever is keeping one back from becoming better. There’s a reason the adage “you can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs” is so timeless: in order to make something new and better, you have to break down and destroy the obstacles around it. And I’ve noticed in my own life that whenever I become too comfortable or too complacent, the universe says “NOPE!” and decides that making an omelette isn’t good enough – these broken eggs need to be scrambled, pureed, deconstructed into a masterpiece of molecular gastronomy. But it works out in the end. I’m good at adapting to new situations, and I’ve always been a bit of an opportunistic little beast. Change doesn’t scare me, and when it comes down to it, chaos represents infinite possibility. When chaos creeps into your life, it gives you the chance to be whoever you want, forge whatever path you desire. It can be a clean slate to start over if that’s what you need.
So it’s been established that Loki has been present and active in my life for a very, very long time. I’ve always acknowledged it, everyone else in my life has known it and witnessed it for themselves over the years, and now I’ve accepted that he is my main man. So why? Why me? What the fuck does he want with me? Do you know how terrifying it is when you’re approached and asked to dedicate yourself to someone, especially a god? Remember when I said I was smacked with an entire forest’s worth of cosmic clue-by-4s after the Loki blot at ECT? He asked me, quite bluntly (because I guess he was tired of how oblivious I’d been all these years), to commit to him fully. He was tired of mincing words, and he was getting tired of waiting. He wasn’t pushy, he’s always been patient, and he didn’t demand anything. He simply asked me, in no uncertain term, to be his.
I told him I’d think about it.
I needed time to process what was going on. I needed to reflect on things, figure out if this was actually happening or if I was making shit up, if I was delusional, losing touch with reality, swept up with the energy and impact of being at ECT. I know this sounds psychotic to those of you who either don’t have this kind of direct relationship with deities, or who haven’t experienced something so direct and blunt. Trust me, even I know how crazy it seems to have such straightforward communication like this. It’s absurd, and it requires a lot of discussion and internal examination to unpack this sort of thing. Am I psychotic? How can I differentiate between my own thoughts and communication from the gods? I love my religion, and I love my gods, but I don’t jump into things, I don’t take things lightly. I over-analyze everything in my life, including responses and signs from the gods. And for this, something as big as what Loki had requested at ECT, I went to a diviner for help in clarifying what the fuck was going on.
I am incredibly fortunate to count among my friends a very skilled psychic and card reader. A few weeks after ECT, I reached out to her and told her I needed her help. I didn’t tell her what was going on, I said nothing about what was on my mind, nothing about ECT, nothing. I shuffled the cards, she turned them over. The very first words out of her mouth: “You’ve been offered the chance at complete ecstasy. Why are you hesitating to accept the proposal?”
I threw my hands up and rolled my eyes. “OKAY!” I huffed. “I guess that answers it! I’m not making shit up, fine, I accept, whatever.”
She blinked at me. Smirked a little. And kept going with the reading.
Once I returned home, I stomped over to the altar I’d constructed for Loki upon my return from ECT. “So. What do you want with me?”
Your energy. Not in a sucking-it-out kinda way, but in a making-life-joyful kinda way.
My dedication to Loki makes me a conduit for his energy, and it’s my understanding that he’s drawn to me because my energy/spirit/whatever is so similar to his, is so compatible with his. He told me I make people happy, that my attitude and humor and way of interacting with people puts smiles on their faces, lightens the weight on their shoulders in such an angry, rude, self-absorbed world. He reminded me of the arrangement conferences I’ve had with families, people who show up to the funeral home in shock and in tears, and the way I’ve inspired them to smile and laugh and share stories about their beloved deceased. It’s a knack I’ve always had, something that colleagues have commented on: I’ve been told that half the time, it sounds like I’m hosting a party in the arrangement rooms. I can help people cope with the burden of grief and anger and fear by reminding them of the happier moments, lighten the load with the relief of a smile, ease the tension in their muscles with a laugh. And hopefully, they can share a smile, good memory, or even just a bit of kindness with someone else. Compassion and a smile, a laugh in the midst of the fury of negativity: that’s what Loki is, and that’s all he asks. And since it’s a philosophy I’ve always practiced, it’s not nearly as big and scary and demanding as it would seem to be a conduit for his energy, to devote myself to him. It’s something I’m happy to do, and something I’m proud to do. And throughout it all, the feeling of love and joy from him are overwhelming. Lots of warm fuzzies from that weirdo.
Compassion. A smile. A laugh. It doesn’t take much to help people around you. You don’t have to change the world. Just change someone’s mood for the better, and it will spread. None of us live in a vacuum, every little gesture and word impacts those around us. So in the midst of chaos, try to spread a little joy. It’s such an easy thing to do, and it can make all the difference to the person at whom you smile.
That’s not to say he’s not a pain in the ass. He’s a trickster, and he’s got a bizarre sense of humor, still throws himself (and me) into strange situations. Lucky for me, my sense of humor is just as fucking weird, so when he thinks he’s worked me over good, I take it and throw it right back in his smirking face. He’s a twerp (a term I’ve stolen from a wonderful friend who is very much beloved to Loki), but for all of the controversy surrounding him, he’s a good guy to have around.
Your mileage may vary, of course. He’s tricky that way.
But then, so am I.