It’s Loki Day, Bitches. Take a Sticker.

Like others who are passionate about Tricksters in mythology and religion, April Fool’s Day is my High Holy Day. So much so, that I always want to schedule the day off for observance, but can’t because I’ve usually been out sick around that time (don’t get me started on seasonal allergies, or the surgeries I’ve had the last few years). This year, of course, I was away for a week traipsing around Iceland, though PA has welcomed me back with sinus issues of a truly hellish nature. I of course am doubling down on my constant complaints that I’m allergic to PA and should move to Reykjavik.

Anyway, I made an offering to Loki this morning as I headed out to work, and upon our arrival, my coworker/friend/co-conspirator surprised me with a packet of chibi fox stickers she’d ordered from Wish. Thus, a new tradition began: I laid them out all nicely on a black background and every colleague to walk past my desk was greeted with a chipper, “Happy Loki Day! Would you like to celebrate with a fox sticker in honor of the Trickster?” Poster child for professionalism in the workplace: that’s me!

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Pilgrimage to Iceland

In the weeks leading up to my trip to Iceland, I couldn’t stop thinking about Neil Gaiman’s American Gods. It’s been my favorite book ever since an amazing friend loaned it to me in the fall of 2001, and it was heavy on my mind as I prepared for my excursion to the glaciers and the lagoons. For those who aren’t familiar with it, it muses about the effect that America has on the gods of the old world. It tells tales of immigrants who brave the colonies and the young new country, and the gods and spirits they brought with them. In the modern era, the focus is on a war between these Americanized old gods and the new gods created by society: Media, Technology, etc.

The epilogue stood out in my mind these last few weeks: after the war, the protagonist Shadow goes to Iceland. While in America, he knew Wednesday; in the old world, he meets Odhinn. It’s a powerful and poignant scene in which the reader gets to see the disparity between a god who has changed and adapted to a new world and new society and the old god, the original being, the god of the mythos who still draws power from his native soil.

The month before the trip, my mom asked me what I was looking forward to the most: the Blue Lagoon, glacier hiking, ice cave exploration, wandering around Reykjavik? No, I was most eager for the feel of the land itself. I grew up in West Germany, and my childhood was spent traveling around western and northern Europe. The land feels heavy there, weighted with history and ghosts and inhuman spirits, while in the United States, the land feels a bit sterile, if not jumbled and confused. Thankfully, my mom knew exactly what I was talking about; she’d started traveling when she was in high school, and the first time she went to France, she noticed the difference in the air and the land and became obsessed with it, chasing it every time she traveled. I warned her, my formerly Catholic mother, that this trip would really bring out the crazy obsessed heathen in me. This was akin to a journey to Mecca for me. She reassured me that she figured as much when she suggested the trip in the first place. She’s used to crazy heathen talk as she’s been listening to it for longer than I’ve been alive. My grandfather was heathen, as was my father, to a degree. She made sure I grew up knowing the myths and folklore of my paternal family, and she has always embraced my spiritual path, even though she doesn’t practice herself. I think she was a little curious about what she’d experience or witness in Iceland.

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Oh, Okay Then. . .

This marks my descent into stranger territories, which oughta be good because I haven’t exactly been trying to pass myself off as a stable, normal, well-adjusted creature in the first place. I mean, Lokian nun on the path to becoming a Gyðja, etc etc. I’m pretty normal for a religious nut, but, you know. Borderline fanatical AF.

I’ve written before that Loki has expressed attraction and interest due to my energy, whatever the fuck that means. The other week, I had a sit down with him and asked Himself about it. His response? “Bitch, you’re a witch. Learn to focus yourself.”

Hmmmm?

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To Love Him is to Love Her

Anyone who’s read the lore knows that Loki doesn’t travel alone. The myths and sagas are full of tales of Odhinn and Loki or Thorr and Loki or all three wandering around together. I’ve written before that during my time as an Odhinnswoman, I never had one-on-one experiences with Ol’ One Eye since Loki was always lurking around, watching, poking, waiting. Now that I’m dedicated to Himself, I know what it’s like to get solo time with a deity; he certainly enjoys spending time with me, whether it’s providing wry commentary on what I’m doing when I’m out or about or just settling in for some companionship, coffee, and cigarettes. He comes and goes, and his presence is always welcomed. As I’ve said before, he’s a neat dude to have around.

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Hairy Situation

Veiling is a fascinating concept, and it’s one that’s always tickled at the back of my mind. As I’ve written many times before, my time in Catholic school inspired a strange fascination with nuns, and as such I consider myself a Lokian nun, so complete is my devotion, so deep is our relationship. I’ve often joked about wearing a nun’s habit fashioned out of a fox pelt, because I’m just a little insane and weird things amuse me.

The concept of veiling has a somewhat practical appeal to me, as well. My hair is a thick, heavy mass of chaos, so much so that I wear it with the sides shaved in a death hawk style. Even with half of my hair shaved away, I’ve got more than I can control and manage. Not that I’ve got any talent whatsoever with actually styling my hair beyond a messy bun or pony tail. Of course, at work, I have to at least pretend to be careful about not being too deathhawky. Ask my boss how that’s going. He’s lucky that my hair’s too heavy/thick/long to tease up into a proper ‘hawk, and that I’m too lazy to attempt it anyway. I really, really don’t put any effort into my appearance, is what I’m getting at here. Good thing I’m just naturally cute in my potato-faced chaos.

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Oh, Rite…

In anticipation of delving into the Troth’s Clergy Program, I was reviewing my not-so-little library of lore and heatheny tomes. I found The Troth’s printing of Book of Blots, and I was perusing it, looking for ideas to use for upcoming events. It didn’t take long for me to realize why this book was forgotten in the back of a bookcase: it’s awfully formal. Like, really formal. Proper, solemn, and other adjectives. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it wasn’t jiving with me, like, at all. Which is funny since one of the things I enjoyed about Catholic school and funeral service was the super structured, ritualized nature of the Mass. The chanting, the prayers, the readings and iconography and incense; it’s soothing and lulls you into the half-sleepy state of rote participation. For some reason, however, reading the chants and prayers and formats of these published blots was unappealing. I had kind of an uneasy, nagging sensation as I skimmed through, looking for a nice turn of phrase or bit of prayer that I could incorporate into my own practice.

I found a few things that I can work with, but overall, none of it felt all that right to me. But really, that shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, least of all me. Hi, have you met me? I’m an absurdly devoted Lokian. I talk with Himself and the other gods on a regular basis, and I poke fun and tease and goof around. So do the other heathens in the kindreds I do blots with. Stiff rote prayer seems (to me) like a way to detach from the gods rather than draw them closer. But again, that could be because Loki would give me hell if I tried to be so proper.

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Sarcasm is His Language

I’m open about my beliefs, always have been. In high school, though it was a Catholic school, our mascot was the Viking. My principal got a kick out of me because I was the only Scandinavian there. “There she is!” he’d shout in the hallway. “Our actual Viking!”

“Hail Odhinn!” I’d reply, loudly.

“Stop that!” he’d say, lest one of the priests or nuns overhear me.

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Lessons from Loki

We all know the Trickster has a sweet tooth. He also likes to share. More often than not, when I buy him a donut or other snack, I end up getting double what I paid for, or the vending machine will give me wrong change, just enough to buy a second bag of Goldfish or whatever it was that caught my eye and made me think of him. Dude doesn’t like to eat alone, I guess. He’s generous, and he takes the “gift for a gift” mantra seriously. So I pretty much get to stuff my face with junk food whenever I make offerings to him, because that’s just how it works out more often than not. I’ve long since accepted it, it’s no longer a confused shock when I open the bakery bag and see that the sweets I purchased have miraculously multiplied. Fish and loaves ain’t got nothing on vanilla cream pastries.

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Follow-up to the last post. . .

Within 10 minutes of hitting “publish” on the article about the old family photographs and the recurring dreams, I got some more pictures from my cousin. The timing was impeccable, because I’d just finished writing about my grandfather keeping us close to the gods, but including the caveat that I didn’t think anyone in the family actually calling themselves Lokian or heathen (well, my grandfather called himself heathen. And I know my father was heathen). One of the new pics my cousin sent was a picture of the newly erected military headstone for my father.

Continue reading “Follow-up to the last post. . .”

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