Nunsense, or Brace Yourself for LOTS of Parenthetical Asides

Oh, hem and haw, hem and haw. My mind has been spinning something fierce the last few weeks, primarily about clergy/priesthood within heathenry (and this started before all of the discussions within the Troth community this past week. Synchronicity!). I stated back at Yule that I was delighted about the Loki Ban being rescinded within The Troth, so I renewed my lapsed membership so I could pounce on the clergy training program. I’m currently working on the lore program prerequisites for acceptance into the clergy program, and all of this dovetails nicely with the research I’m doing re: moving to Reykjavik (to pursue a master’s degree in Old Norse Religion with the University of Iceland). I’ve written before at length about my lifelong (or nearly so) desire to be in greater service to the gods through community and service to community through the gods, and I’ve always been extremely devoted and dedicated to my gods.

To me, religion has never been a set of rubrics for worship or dogma or ritual; it’s always been the energy and force that shapes my life and influences my actions. It’s a literal way of life, impacting how I interpret and interact with the world and people around me. Excluding my brief foray into Christianity, I’ve always been aware of the different energies around me, and as I got older, I learned how to differentiate between energies and how to interact with what existed around me. Since oathing myself to Loki (and Sigyn, by proxy), their energies have been increasingly prominent, enough so that people around me tend to notice. Maybe it’s because through my oathing, I’ve provided a place for them to count among their homes, a place where they can relax and observe and snark without having to be all, like, godly, or something. Through me and with me, they can observe and interact with what interests them in Midgard, and they don’t have any pressure to do shit. They can just enjoy themselves, and chill, and take a load off or recharge or whatever. They have an intimacy and comfort level with me that Odhinn and Freyja never really had; Odhinn, throughout my life, has been a demanding mentor, and Freyja was a strong influence in my young adulthood, but started getting bit salty and scarce in my 20s when Loki was trying to elbow his way to the forefront of my attention. Basically, my relationships with the rest of the gang are more in line with a somewhat traditional concept of religion. I acknowledge them, I honor them, I make offerings and interact with them, but it’s definitely a god/dess-human relationship, mentor/mentee type of thing. Loki and Sigyn? Not so much. They make me feel like I’m living in a sitcom more often than not.

This is pretty much why I refer to myself as a Lokian nun: the dedication is absolute, and it’s an all day every day devotion. But this is where my mind starts whirring and rattling along, trying to really figure out my role in the community. Continue reading “Nunsense, or Brace Yourself for LOTS of Parenthetical Asides”

Loki Doki!

Random bit of cute for the day: I’ve mentioned before that I often address Himself as Loki-doki, to the chagrin of some. I don’t know why I started calling him that, but it became habit after the long blot at his Ve at ECT last year. As the hours went by and the bottle of vodka dwindled, I wandered back and forth between his Ve and Hel’s. “Come on, Loki-doki! I’m going to visit your daughter! Come with!” It’s a catchy little term of endearment that just slips out when I’m not even thinking about it.

Just now, on a whim, I wondered what “doki” even means, beyond being a nonsense word attached to “okey.” Evidently, there is a term out there in the great wide world that has meaning: doki doki is Japanese for the sound of a heart beating.

D’awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!

Loki is my heart, so it’s adorably appropriate that my nickname for him is a play on words for a heartbeat.

Lest this post get too cute, I’m also randomly having a mild existential crisis. The new Snapchat filter that shows you how you’d look as the opposite sex? Dude, I look better as a man than as a woman. Boy-me has a jawline, me-me is a boiled potato. I sent the pic to my mom, who simply replied, “Yup, that’s you as Gunnar Thorr. Classic square-headed Norwegian. Couldn’t look more like a viking if you tried.” Thanks, mom, for reminding me that even my name would have been cooler as a guy. So because today is being the Mondayest Monday ever to Monday, I keep bitching to Statler about how awesome my life would be if I was Gunnar and not Lea. “Gunnar would be living in Iceland. Gunnar wouldn’t have all of these health issues. Gunnar would have his pick of partners. Gunnar would Gunnar would Gunnar would.” Gunnar would have a fucking jawline. (Clearly, I’m hung up over the jawline/chin thing.) Statler is threatening to get me a “WWGD” bracelet because I won’t shut up about the hypothetical me-but-not-me. So I guess I’m just going to start making decisions based on what hypothetical dude-me would do. That’s normal and healthy, right? I’m such an amazingly well adjusted individual.

At least I unwittingly come up with adorably appropriate names for my best godfriend. Loki-doki is insisting that me-me is better than Gunnar-me. Which is true, I actually don’t have a lot of complaints about my life. It’s really just the potato-face that annoys me. Po – tay – toe.

Mood, or You’re All a Bunch of Masochists

As mentioned many times before, putting smiles on other people’s faces is my greatest joy. Loki has made it clear that he’s so keen on me because I’m a wry goof who puts people at ease and can elicit smiles and laughs more often than not. That was a surprising boon to me as a funeral director and a distinct point of pride; I’ve long lost count of the thanks families would express, telling me that I made such a terrible time much easier to cope with because I made them smile and giggle in the days that they thought they’d never be able to grin ever again. Chaos and change go hand in hand, but in the midst of it all, there’s always hope. There’s always a chance to feel joy again.

This is a bold claim for me to make at the moment. But I still hold to it.

Continue reading “Mood, or You’re All a Bunch of Masochists”

If You Give a God a Cookie. . .

My last update was pretty heavy, so I feel compelled to share a story from the other night to restore smiles to our faces. Listen up, there’s a pretty intense moral to this one.

I’ve written many a time about buying a single donut or sweet snack for Loki, and being surprised with mysterious magical free donuts and food. When I buy a donut just for myself, I’m given just the one donut. When I buy a donut for Loki, I always end up with two for the price of one. It’s always obvious that Loki wants me to sugar binge with him, and I’m always happy to comply. It’s a lovely, contented moment, sitting with him, munching on junk food and sharing a smoke. My offerings are not at all ritualistic; blots and sumbels are reserved for when I’m with my kindred or other community events. My daily devotions are really just acknowledging their presence and enjoying the companionship while snacking on things that will rot our teeth. No prayers, no chants, just hanging out with a little banter and plenty of snickering.

Wednesday night, I made the foolish mistake of refusing a cookie gift.

Continue reading “If You Give a God a Cookie. . .”

Twenty Years

I’m always laughing about how weird my life is, and my friends and colleagues enjoy whatever wackery abounds in my presence, but let’s be honest: it’s not my life that’s so odd, it’s the world itself. It’s the history I’ve lived, seeing everything change after a few strange events. I’m not that weird, I’m just responding to the absurdity around me.

I grew up in West Germany, surrounded by the remnants of and memorials to the war and the Holocaust. This was in the ’80s, during the Cold War, and we were so very close to the demarcation point. We ventured through Checkpoint Charlie and saw East Berlin; since my father believed he was James Bond, he took 6-year-old me past the “public” parts that were designed for Westerners to see, and we wandered through the parts where real Communism left its scars.

I’m old enough to remember Pan Am 103, the terrorist bombing over Lockerbie. We were supposed to be on that very flight that very day. My father was on holiday leave, and we were originally going to visit his parents in NY. After our plans were made and the flight booked, he decided he couldn’t bear dealing with his mother over Christmas, so we cancelled the second part of the flight. We flew from Frankfurt to London, and stayed in England instead.

I remember Waco, vaguely, and the Oklahoma City Bombing, watching the news and crying. I was a preteen, hormones just starting to kick in, so the tears were intense, and to this day the image of the firefighter carrying the bloody body of that little toddler breaks me in half.

I remember the first time terrorism struck the World Trade Center, the truck bomb in the lower levels in ’93. And as a young adult in college close to D.C., I sat in my friend’s dorm room and saw the second plane hit the tower in 2001. I then had to go downstairs and wake my roommate, whose father was ex-Army, active CIA, and tell her the Pentagon had been attacked. He was supposed to be there that day. Thankfully, he hadn’t yet arrived, and I held her as she wept with relief when she finally got to speak with him late that afternoon.

But with all of these flashbulb “where where you when…” moments I grew up in, the one that impacted me the most and stands out the strongest in my mind is Columbine.

Unpopular opinion: 9/11 didn’t have quite as profound an impact on me, as I grew up on military bases, I understood war and the symbolism of the targets far more easily than I did Columbine. I even remember a few of the school shootings that happened before April 1999, but they were such strange anomalies they never really registered with me. They still don’t. But Columbine… That’s the one that truly shakes me, even now. I never really spoke about how it hit me, because I never had the words. I still don’t have the words, but I’m ready to talk. I need to talk.

Continue reading “Twenty Years”

Mazel Tov!

I’m easy to describe. In fact, I can offer the perfect summation of who and what I am in two words: Chipper Idiot.

The stories I have to back this up are infinite (remind me to tell you about my adventure buying coffee with kroner in Iceland sometime), and I’m sure everyone who has ever actually spoken to me will absolutely agree with this assessment. But for now, I’m only going to share with you the most recent example, assuming I can stop laughing long enough to write it out.

Continue reading “Mazel Tov!”

The Gods, They Are A’Changin…

You know, there’s nothing as refreshing as having a good old-fashioned existential crisis at 1:30 am on a work night. Well, I exaggerate just a little; it wasn’t really a crisis, as I wasn’t doubting the veracity of beliefs or experiences or my own existence and purpose. My faith is horrifying in its strength, almost enough to make me slap myself and be all, “get a fucking grip and just try to be normal for an hour!” No, I was just mulling over the question of what came first: the gods or the stories? Have the gods always existed, or did humans create them and give them their power? It’s something I ponder a lot, and ultimately, it doesn’t matter because regardless of their origin, they exist, and they amuse me. Yes, I frustrate them because instead of the idea that humans exist to amuse the high holy beings, I tend to think they exist for my own entertainment. They’re cute when they’re frustrated. Shrill, but cute. But I digress.

Just because it doesn’t matter doesn’t mean it’s not fun to discuss.

The super fun part about all of this is the inspiration: yesterday, I fell down the rabbit hole of Snape Wifery, thanks to Reddit. For those who were blissfully unaware, I’m glad to burden you with this knowledge. Evidently, in the early Aughts, there were middle aged women who claimed to be married to Severus Snape (do I even need to explain who he is/where he’s from?). They said he existed in the astral plane, and they could channel him and have sexyfuntimes with him, and so on and so forth. He was their Master. Awesomeness all around.

Continue reading “The Gods, They Are A’Changin…”

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!

Continue reading “It’s Loki Day, Bitches. Take a Sticker.”

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.

Continue reading “Pilgrimage to Iceland”

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