Tasting Notes: Vanilla, Orange, and a Hint of Old Napkin

I’m calling it now: “Well, that’s not supposed to happen” is the unofficial motto of my kindred. It’s a theme that preceded my arrival to the group, and it’s been going strong with my official inclusion. It happened again, to no one’s surprise, at our Loki blot on Leap Day.

Saturday’s event was blissful, and I’m once again in awe at how incredible my kindred is and how much I love the heathens in the Northeast Community. We had a great turn out, and to my astonishment, when it came time to pass the horn, each and every person present spoke words of gratitude and praise to both Loki and Sigyn. Four days have passed at the time of this writing, and I’m still riding high on the experience and energy everyone brought. Even my super Lutheran stepfather wore a sweatshirt with a fox on it for the occasion, even though my parents just came to socialize and didn’t stick around for the main events.

Because my kindred didn’t have too much experience with Loki before I started sneaking him in, we tapped into an old group tradition and had a discussion about lore and practice before the blot. We had roughly 20 people present, so the talk was vibrant and full of eager participation, including a special guest: a prominent member of the Northeast Heathen Community joined us from Norway via video chat. Nothing like a casual little intercontinental discussion to set the tone, and bringing a new perspective and seeing it click was fucking magical.

My inner funeral director came out to play when it came time for the ritual to begin, which was bittersweet as it felt amazing to start a service and take charge of the proceedings even as it made me realize just how much I miss mortuary work. My health still isn’t allowing me to take on the schedule and physical demands of the job, but at least I can channel that energy and sense of connection via blot. And of course, just like funerals, nothing ever goes as flawlessly as designed. And, just like with funerals (or any other service/ritual), it’s still a treat to have a bit of a laugh to keep things feeling natural instead of stuffy. I had, of course, provided the necessary components of the blot, including the mead and the horn. The horn was my unofficial Loki horn, a new beast I’d purchased at ECT whose first use was actually at the Loki blot E held for us there.

I forgot to check it before handing it to G when he stepped up to bless the mead.

He spoke beautifully as he made the mead sacred, right up until he poured it into the horn. “Uhhhh,” he said as the horn filled. “That’s not supposed to happen.”

I leaned over, and to my absolute horror I saw a crumpled up Dunkin napkin unfurling in the brew, bobbing along and soaking up the precious vanilla-honey delight.

Of course it was a Dunkin napkin. No one could possibly expect anything different from the dipshit who was sipping iced coffee from a Dunkin cup (during ritual, during every damn ritual) stashed behind the altar. The idiot asshole who sources at least 80% of the Twerp’s snackrifices from Dunkin. The dope who even brought two giant bottles of Dunkin iced coffee to that very gathering to go with the Jameson Cold Brew Whiskey I’d found. So yup, if there was going to be a napkin stuffed in the bottom of the horn to make a grand and dramatic entrance in the middle of a special and highly anticipated ritual, it would be a Dunkin napkin.

(If anyone was ever inclined to throw a coin to your blogger, it would obviously be best received in form of Dunkin gift cards, wink wink.)

Good thing we’re not, as G quips, “high holy Episco-pagans.” Especially since my response was (while laughing) to just plunge my grubby paw into the horn to pluck the napkin out in front of everyone. Classy dame, I am. Good thing we’re not on the verge of a global pandemic or anything.

In any case, I’d like to share the format for the blot (minus the bits that are specific to our kindred) in case anyone would like to use it as a building block for their own. It wasn’t anything fancy, but it was (in my opinion, and in the feedback I got afterwards) impactful. I should have known that everyone present was very much into it when they all hailed Sigyn and gave her her due alongside her husband when they made their toasts.

The focus of the blot was Loki as Gift Bringer. In the lore, he’s the one whose shenanigans result in the gods gaining their greatest treasures, and Dagulf Loptson has published a brilliantly researched article discussing the idea of Loki as a god of the sacred/sacrificial fire whose role was to convey the offerings during ritual from humans to the gods. It was only fitting then, in my mind, to celebrate Loki by letting him be the one to receive gifts. There was no petition for help or blessings on his part, simply a ritual of gratitude and welcome back into the American heathen community.

We started at twilight since Loki is a liminal being and he’s easiest to find at the in-between times and in-between places. I made three separate invocations: one to all of the gods and goddesses to join us as we welcome Loki back to his rightful place among them; I called to Sigyn to have a rest as we take the bowl and replace the venom with gifts and praise; and of course, to Loki himself to witness the love and pride we have in counting him among our gods. Then the mead was blessed (and the napkin fished out – feel free to skip this part in your own rituals. Or don’t. I’m not going to police the way you do things) and the first libation poured into Sigyn’s bowl. All of the offerings people had brought had been set on the altar before we began (the picture above was taken before most folks arrived, which is why it looks so empty. Trust when I say it was overflowing), and we directed Loki’s attention to the bounty, to see the gifts that were his to enjoy. We asked that they be blessed so that he may take joy from them and be strengthened by our adoration.

Next up: drinking round! As the lore relays Odhinn’s command that any drink poured for him must also be poured for Loki, we responded in kind (and I fully cop to stealing this from E’s ECT Loki blot). One of my kinswomen is an Odhinnswoman, so we had her make the toast to Ol’ One Eye and pour the libation into Sigyn’s bowl. Then the horn made its way around the circle in standard heathen practice, each one speaking to both Loki and to Sigyn, and some genuinely beautiful things were said by each and every person there. As I wrote in one of the first entries ever on this blog, Loki is many things to many people, and it was fan-fricking-tastic to hear the different impressions and thoughts everyone had as they all culminated in a “thank you, and hail!” I was the last to receive the horn, and I was relieved to discover that the napkin hadn’t messed with the flavor of the mead, which is a hard-to-find favorite of mine boasting a sublime blend of Madagascar vanilla bean and orange zest.

As is standard, the rest of the horn’s contents were poured into Sigyn’s bowl, and everyone grabbed their offerings and headed outside to the bonfire out back. We circled around, one of my kinsmen dedicated the offerings over the sacred fire, and we threw our gifts into the flames all at once. R had brought packets of a chemical blend designed to change the color of a fire, so it was a suitably dramatic committal that held our attention for quite a long while despite the frigid temps.

And then, of course, comes the feast. Heathens take potlucks just as seriously as the rituals themselves, if not more so. At some point, sumbel happens, and the bonds of the community are made even stronger. All in all, the day (and night) went better than I’d even hoped for.

While I had serious reservations at reaching out to any of the American heathen community back in 2000 due to vehemently anti-Loki rhetoric, I’m so very glad that I took the chance before the decade was over. Not only have I made extraordinary friends and a new family, but I’ve gotten to witness firsthand the shift in perception regarding Loki: slow and subtle at first, and the galloping rush in the last 2-3 years. It’s exhilarating and hopeful, a great relief not just to other Lokians like myself but to the Twerp and his beloved Bride. He’s not demanding worship or praise, he just wants to be acknowledged and included.

Many thanks again to my kindred and to everyone who came out on Saturday to celebrate Loki and Sigyn. It was a brilliant discussion, blissful blot, and amazing night hanging out with all a’y’all (or yinze, as applicable). I couldn’t be more honored to be counted among you.

Also, you know, thanks for being understanding about the napkin. Can’t wait to see what the next, “well, that’s not supposed to happen” brings!

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