There’s a distinct downside to having grown up outside of the heathen community at large: it wasn’t until I was a young adult starting to lurk around the edges that I knew of any of the racist undertones and supporters that plague said community. As mentioned time and time again here, I was privileged to be raised on military bases overseas, in diverse communities, by parents who had no tolerance for bigotry. Because I was abroad, in the era before the internet, in a family that kept the gods close but didn’t know of others who shared belief in those gods, I was oblivious to the early stages of heathen community building in the US. Of course, as the community grew and strengthened, it split and reformed and split again as racism became apparent in a number of early leaders. Organizations had to redefine themselves after ousting the bigots in their midst, and new books and resources had to be compiled and published as certain authors aligned themselves with unsavory groups.
Even though I’ve been heathen for well over 30 years (save, of course, the 4 year experiment with Christianity), I’m still getting acclimated with the community at large, and still being shocked by discoveries of racism and racist-sympathizers with some authors. As there’s very few books published about devotion to Loki and Sigyn, I used one of Galina Krasskova’s prayers in the blót I led for Sigyn at ECT this past year. I even recommended her book about honoring Sigyn because there’s really nothing else out there. Even online, most of the prayers to her are written by Krasskova. Oops.
Just the other month, I learned that Galina Krasskova is aligned with racist heathens. She’s defended them, she’s a sympathizer, and she’s also buddy-buddy with people who are transphobic and dangerous. In the last 2 months, I’ve read about serious allegations of predation and abuse she’s committed, and I’m really regretting the recommendation I made for her book on Sigyn. It’s a good book and her poetry/prayers are lovely, but I’ll not be using them again. I just cannot separate the author from those verses. It was truly a shocking experience reading her personal blog- her voice is so much harsher than that in her early works, and she comes off as disturbingly cruel and narrow minded. That’s the voice I hear now when I think of her, and the voice that would bleed into the words I read in praise of Sigyn should I use that book again.
So I’ll just have to do something I’ve been meaning to do for years: write my own. If I’m to continue bringing Sigyn back to my community’s consciousness, I should really be doing it with my own words anyway. I’m a writer by hobby, have been since I was a teen, though my attempts at any sort of verse are few. If nothing else, it should be an interesting exercise: I’ve never really used poetry as prayer in my own practice because my interactions with the gods are daily and casual. When I’m compelled to do a more formal offering, I still don’t use written scripts because it would feel as stilted and out-of-place as reading soliloquies at a dinner party I’m hosting for friends. That said, my growing involvement with the regional community (that is, the community beyond my own kindred) has left me wanting to write something a little more structured for use by others/when I’m leading blóts. As I grow in the community itself, my devotions will influence others, and for all of those who have messaged me about how to honor Loki and Sigyn and shared with me pictures of bowls they’ve put on their altars in honor of Sigyn, I’d like to be able to offer a lovely verse or two for our beloved Trickster and his Bride.
It’s a strange shift, realizing I have a growing (but very welcome) responsibility to represent Loki and Sigyn in the community. I’m so used to just living my faith, and for so long it’s been inseparable from everything I do that it’s tricky to look at my own habits and say, “Now how do I help others to develop this kind of relationship when they ask?” Right now, I struggle trying to explain because it’s like trying to explain how to breathe. My relationship with the gods is a normal, natural thing. However, sometimes we need to examine our breathing, concentrate on it, feel each inhale and exhale in its entirety. It helps to reset the mind, refocus on things that are taken for granted, examine just what it is we’re doing from new angles.
And so I’ll write. I’ll compose. I’ll push beyond my comfort levels with prose to play with rhythm and meter to craft praise to those I love so dearly. I’ll be Sigyn’s Vé keeper at ECT again and again, for as long as the community will let me, which means I’ll be holding more public blóts for her. I can’t use Krasskova’s writing again to set the tone, because her voice has become something I’ll not welcome in such a sacred place. Doesn’t mean my words will be better, but the intent behind them will be. I want everyone to be welcome at Sigyn’s altar, so long as they mean no harm to anyone. After all, Loki has long been an outcast in the community, and she’s never left his side. The two of them define inclusivity and loyalty. I can’t possibly do either of them right by quoting someone who defends bigotry and xenophobia.
I’m akin to a nun in my devotions to Loki. But with Sigyn, my role is a bit more public. It’s time for me to design and compose blóts for her for use in groups. I’m extremely fond of the format I used at ECT, per her suggestion to pass a bowl of mead rather than a horn, so that each sip and toast lessened the weight and the whole process relieved her arms of the burden for a little while. I just need to write my own prayer for the beginning of the blót to ensure the proper tone and energy is set to still the mind and shift everyone’s focus from the mundane world to that of the gods.
Loki, too, is very much owed some verses of my own creation. That, I think, is obvious.
It’s a bit intimidating, but it’s an undertaking I’ll gladly perform. Sigyn deserves it, Loki deserves it, and the members of my community who have looked to me for guidance and advice deserve it. If I’m to suggest prayers to use in the early stages of building relationships, I need to be able to offer something that isn’t tainted by the echo of intolerance.
And so I’ll write.