Loki’s face!

068069My_Loki

I took two photos of light reflected on the TV screen  (from the window),  which looks like a face in half shadow.  It bears a striking resemblance to my Loki art doll!  Upon close examination,  one can see an eye at the top,  and the line of a mouth at the bottom.

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Unnecessary Conflict

One reason I am a solitary Pagan,  is just for the simple fact that there is so much excessive conflict regarding practices and opinions,  that I prefer one-on-one communication,  or just small groups of friends/acquaintances.  I was recently appointed co-administrator to a friend’s Lokean Facebook community,  and there presently seems to be a virtual reenactment of the  “Lokasenna”  in Snorri Sturluson’s Poetic Eddas  (in which Loki and the other Gods/Goddesses are engaged in a heated argument).

Granted,  we are all individuals,  which means that absolutely no one will ever perceive anything in a precise manner.  It’s fine to not agree with a topic,  and to go into detail why;  what is unacceptable to me,  is getting too personal,  insulting,  and making attempts to shove one’s ideology down other’s throats.  Have I openly addressed the current issue in this Lokean group?  Yes.  I can’t please everyone;  I can only be firm,  but fair.  One lesson to be learned from the traditional Lokasenna tale:  If you criticize someone,  expect to be called out on your own faults;  that seems to be exactly what I had to do with the combatants in the group.

On the surface,  Loki’s role in Lokasenna seems to involve nothing more than aggravating the other Divinities in his company  (he even showed up at their party uninvited),  but to look beyond that,  he reveals what he perceives as hypocrisy and unfairness.  No one is perfect,  not all views are alike,  and be aware that not everyone is blameless when casting blame.  That’s the wonder of Loki:  No matter how tangled situations become,  there’s still a lesson somewhere for me;  a method to madness.

I always strive to accept differences.  If I dislike something,  or disagree with someone,  I will not rush to judgment.  I am aware that not everyone is like me,  but that’s the point.  We’re all different.  Common ground can establish some balance,  and as long as one is not deliberately hurting oneself or others,  there is no problem,  unless someone makes it so.  I do not deny that some people may not take matters seriously,  but I find it deplorable to categorize absolutely everyone who fits an opposing view to one’s own;  in doing so,  the innocent are punished with the guilty.

It’s simply in my nature to be a solitary Pagan.  I will never isolate myself,  but I am not overly fond of large group situations.  I’m willing to occasionally venture out of my comfort zone,  but I must always remain true to myself.

Encompassing The Elements

The Norse God Loki is traditionally associated with fire,  and he certainly has fiery qualities.  I myself seem to have an affinity for the air element  (which involves intellect and creativity),  so where does Loki’s fire fit in?  There is more than meets the eye.  No element is completely pure.  Parts of other elements may be found in a core element.

An alternate name for Loki is  “Lopt”,  or  “Loptr”,  which is basically translated from Old Norse,  meaning  “lofty”.  This in itself signifies an airy quality.  Air is friendly to fire,  which needs oxygen to thrive and strengthen.  Air encompasses qualities of all the elements  (it literally goes through anything,  and is therefore,  unlimited):  It permeates the surface of the earth,  water falls from the sky  (clouds themselves are made of water or ice;  there is also some oxygen in water,  as indicated in the scientific formula,  H2O:  Two hydrogen atoms,  one oxygen),  and fire needs to  “breathe”  air.  A most compelling link between air and fire,  is the fact that lightning is essentially fire from the sky.

Air and fire go hand-in-hand,  and of all the elements’  possible alliances,  this pairing seems to be the greatest.  It would not be incorrect to assign Loki to the fire element,  but in my personal experience,  he has a potent air quality.  Could his core  (primary)  element be air?  If so,  this would definitely give him an unlimited power source with all the elements.  Regardless of whatever element affinity a Loki devotee possesses,  his fiery quality remains intact.  In my case,  an air affinity bolsters Loki’s fire power  (also of note,  both air and fire are associated with healing and creative energy).  The wonder of Loki is his versatility.  It matters not if someone has a tie to earth,  water,  fire or air;  we all have a place with this Divinity,  should we choose his path.

There are striking similarities between Loki and the airy spirit character Ariel,  in William Shakespeare’s fantasy play,  “The Tempest”.  Though clearly identified as an air elemental,  Ariel displays a potent fire quality.  Regarding his first appearance in the story,  he recounts to the sorcerer Prospero,  how he assumed the form of fire:  “I flamed amazement.  Sometimes,  I’d divide and burn in many places”.  In this instance,  Ariel merely cast an illusion,  to trick Prospero’s enemies;  disguise or not,  the form of fire is significant,  and it seems that Shakespeare himself understood the close relationship between air and fire.  Ariel sometimes shape-shifted into female forms  (e.g.,  a sea nymph and Harpy),  and has been depicted as both a male and female character on stage over time,  which is another parallel between this fascinating character and Loki:  Androgyny.

A more modern comparison to Loki  may be made with the character Jareth,  from Jim Henson’s 1986 fantasy feature,  “Labyrinth”.  This entertaining film has garnered new generations of fans in recent years.  I theorize that Jareth is an air elemental,  due to his shape-shifting ability  (notably into the form of a white owl),  that he can literally appear and vanish at will into thin air,  and cast his voice over the wind  (he did so in one scene,  while warning his dwarf servant,  Hoggle).  Though not obvious,  there were fiery qualities surrounding Jareth:   A storm with intense lightning was present when he first appeared,  and many torches were lit in his castle,  with a dragon motif on the stone walls.  Loki is sometimes called a God of the Underworld;  Jareth lives in an underworld himself  (a song in the movie soundtrack is called  “Underground”).  Loki is also associated with resurrection;  interestingly,  Jareth had a vulture perched in a giant ornamental crown over his throne  (likely just to provide a somber mood for the character’s otherwise lonely existence,  but was nonetheless a potent symbol of death).

My name,  Stacy  (derived from the name Anastasia),  translates from a Greek word for  “renewal of spring”,  or  “resurrection”.  Considering how many drastic changes my life has endured,  it certainly fits my bond with Loki!  I admit to a great love for the mythological bird,  the Phoenix,  which consumes itself in fire,  then rises anew from its own ashes.  This glorious symbol of resurrection is a direct combination of air and fire  (being a bird,  which is airy,  burning itself in flames).  The Phoenix fits my own name,  and I have every reason to associate it with Loki.

As my wise friend Tess told me some years ago about Loki,  “He can be anything you want him to.”  Indeed,  he is many things.  To me,  he is primarily air,  but also fire,  and not restricted from the other elements.

A Solitary Path

Regardless of my eclectic tendencies,  I have always preferred being a solitary Pagan.  This does not imply that I am an anti-social loner  (trust me,  I love having friends);  I simply feel more at ease handling rituals and spells on my own.  I retain a natural curiosity for others’  perspectives,  and find that I can even learn from those with whom I disagree  (in the sense that it teaches me more about my own beliefs).  I keep an open mind,  and enjoy learning new things.  I go mostly by instinct;  does it mesh well with my energy and feelings?  If so,  it works for me,  and I’ve learned something new.

On a personal note,  I did not have a strong formal education;  as with my art,  I am primarily self-taught  (and continue to study whatever interests or benefits me).  My depression is rooted in my childhood  (having been raised in an extremely dysfunctional household),  and due to it coming to a head at age 15,  I had to receive professional help,  and never went back to school  (I was not enrolled in high school).  I secured my G.E.D.  in 1994,  at the age of 19.  My life did not drastically improve during this time,  but at least I was on a road to some recovery.

Education remains important,  whether or not a formal institution is involved.  I see a part of myself in Miranda,  from William Shakespeare’s play,  “The Tempest”;  she was raised in exile on an island with her father,  Prospero,  who himself devoted all of his time to studying ritual and spell work.  Though clearly  “home-schooled”,  Miranda garnered incredible knowledge and insight.  Kind and innocent,  yet,  this girl was not a doormat for anyone!  She knew how to assert herself  (holding her own against her father’s brutish servant,  Caliban,  and even challenging her trusted father,  when coming to the defense of Prince Ferdinand,  who finds his way to Prospero’s island).   I keep a childlike spirit within me,  yet feel protective of those I care for  (I lack the brawn to defend others,  but my assertion and devotion are strength enough).  I do my best to offer myself the same courtesy.

In early 1993,  I rediscovered a fantasy film from my childhood,  “Labyrinth”  (which debuted in theaters in the summer of 1986;  I never saw it on the big screen,  but on cable television a year later).  I was intrigued with the film upon first viewing it,  but at the age of 17-and-a-half,  it fascinated me even more.  Singer/actor David Bowie played a sly Fae Lord,  specifically a  “Goblin King”,  who resided in a castle at the center of a great maze  (hence the movie title).  Though meant to be a villain,  the handsome character Jareth retained sympathetic qualities  (loneliness and misunderstanding)  with which I could strongly relate.  His other qualities further captivated me:  Shape-shifting  (specifically into the form of a white owl),  scrying into crystal balls,  and his uncanny ability to appear and disappear at will.  There were so many things about this persona that awakened great feelings within me.

My wise friend Tess would later point out the similarities between Jareth and Loki.  Though my Patron Deity has relied on many images in our communication,  it was this  “Goblin King”   image that became the catalyst for strengthening my bond to the God of Mischief.  There are also many reasons for me to surmise that Loki had used other images to reach out during my childhood;  perhaps his attempts to reach me became more vital in my late teens,  simply for the fact that I was approaching adulthood,  and still experiencing crises.

It’s wonderful how we can bond with favorite characters,  either seeing parts of ourselves in them,  or qualities we yearn for.  Intrinsically,  I believe that if a powerful affinity develops for such personae,  there is a deep spiritual reason.  My Patron Loki has connected to me through various tales and images in my lifetime,  and I am certain he will continue to guide and teach me in this manner for the rest of it.  A story specifically about Loki’s archetype  (or based on it)  need not be the only gateway of communication;  many tales  (past and present)  have much in common,  and compatible elements may always be found.  I’ve seen him in favorite fantasy films,  modern pop culture,  and classic literature.  Loki does not limit himself;  if he reaches out,  he does so with a myriad of methods.

Guilty Pleasures

fine_Loki

I am a major comic/movie/cartoon geek,  and I admit to having the hots for the latest cartoon version of Marvel Loki!  He has a lovely British accent  (which seems to suit so many fictional villains),  and he makes sarcasm extremely sexy!  I’m fond of this picture,  because he has his helmet off,  and his long black hair tossed wildly  (along with a delicious  “bitch,  please”  look on his face)!

Multiple Facets

There is likely more than one facet of any deity’s archetype.  Anyone can have his/her own personal version of a deity  (if the 1989 Depeche Mode song  “Personal Jesus”  comes to mind,  it wouldn’t exactly be far-fetched).  The core archetype ensures that primary features and personality traits are present in each facet,  but there will be enough differences to connect more closely with individual devotees.  This is similar to the concept of parallel dimensions  (various versions of the same things).

I found myself intrigued by the existence of  “god spouses”,  and wanted to learn more of what it entailed.  From what information I have gathered,  the most basic example of a god spouse,  is someone who is a mortal representation  (stand-in)  for a Divine consort.  One married to the Norse God Loki,  would be representing his Divine wife,  Sigyn.  In any Pagan practice,  a priest/priestess at least symbolically  “speaks”  for Divinities,  so it would not be unnatural to compare marriage to a Higher Power to this aspect of ritual  (not to imply that one is replacing Sigyn;  such a close bond with Loki would just place a devotee in harmony with that goddess archetype).

As with anything else,  I am certain there are many different types of Divine marriages;  some may only require a strong symbolic bond with a deity,  others may involve far deeper contact.  Considering the strong possibility that there are  “personal facets”  of any archetype,  the marriage vows involved will vary for each god spouse.  This being said,  marriage  (symbolic or more intimate)  is not the only way to show love and devotion to one’s Patron/Patroness,  just as human relationships do not always involve the same aspects.

Just as Loki can shape-shift into many things,  his means of bonding with devotees can also vary.  For those who are more intimate with the Trickster  (usually through  “astral projection”  or meditation),  it need not involve literal reproduction.  Sexual energy in itself is creative,  and can increase a loving bond.  I have heard of  “astral pregnancy”;  realities take on innumerable perspectives in the astral planes,  and there is the creation of  “thought forms”  (entities made from energy raised in the astral).  Anything is possible in alternate worlds,  so I remain open-minded  (though I have not experienced this phenomenon myself,  and am certain that even Loki knows where to draw the line in our interaction).

I previously mentioned an affinity for Celtic Paganism;  upon studying more of the Northern Path,  I find a great deal of compatibility between the two traditions.  This seems logical,  considering that Nordic people traveled far and wide,  influencing many cultures  (especially in Britain).  Though I now call myself Lokean,  I still call upon the Celtic Horse Goddess,  Epona.  As an artist,  I adore horses,  and it never ceases to amaze me how much they revolutionized cultures the world over.  Norse and Celtic tribes greatly understood the potential of horses,  for travel and battle.

One of the most interesting qualities of Epona,  is that she was adopted as a deity by the ancient Romans  (who also found their way to the British Isles).  I think of my Celtic Patroness as a muse,  due to my artistic affinity for equines.  An eclectic part of me remains,  but Loki shall always be my primary Patron.  My facet of Loki fosters my art,  and seems to enjoy horses as much as myself  (which makes sense,  as traditional tales mention his taking the form of a mare to produce Odin’s eight-legged steed,  Sleipnir;  Epona is sometimes known as the  “White Mare”,  as she herself would take the form of an equine).  Perhaps my Celtic studies were a stepping stone to the Northern Path,  and to Loki himself?