In regards to the Norse God Loki, it seems that there are two strict sides in modern Paganism: Marvel Universe, and Nordic Tradition. I say, why should there be such boundaries? A Pagan friend once remarked that “Pop culture is the folklore/mythology of our time”. Granted, the Marvel comics and films are not accurate depictions of what is considered “traditional” in the Norse Pantheon, but they are, nonetheless, inspired by them.
Snorri Sturluson’s Poetic and Prose Eddas were most likely biased (considering his stoical Christian roots), and merely based on fragmented Nordic traditional poems and tales; though aspects of the Norse Divinities are there, they are largely based on speculation and imagination. If the Eddas can be enjoyed as entertainment (though they are not fully historically accurate), then I find no harm in taking an interest in modern pop culture interpretations.
I am not implying that one’s belief system must lack serious responsibility; there should be a sense of play and open-mindedness, especially when bonding with the Trickster God Loki. In my personal experience, he has encouraged me to find humor in everything possible. An almost childlike quality leaves one open to new challenges and natural curiosity. If my inner child has affinities for fictional characters, Loki will play along (being the proverbial shape-shifter). He has no “set” form, so he will take on many guises.
This being said, I have noticed a tendency for pop culture fandoms to be rife with difficult, even disturbed people (particularly on the Internet). In 2002, I was part of an online discussion forum for a fantasy film I loved since childhood, which had enjoyed a pop culture “cult revival”. All was fine on the forum for the two years I had been on, until an unstable fan showed up, and went so far as to stalk me online for a while, merely because I disagreed with her behavior on the forum. Fortunately, the situation went away on its own (especially after I left the forum), but it caused me a great deal of distress and distrust; to this day, I am extra cautious on any form of social media.
Though there is no harm in emotional attachment to favorite characters in of itself (and using them to communicate with Patron/Patroness Deities), it is important to not allow oneself to become too attached. Loki is an entity in his own right, and his guises are merely tools. For those who have had negative experiences with Lokeans relying on the modern Marvel image of Loki, it may simply be a case of extreme pop culture fandom getting mixed up with religion. Not everyone is unstable, or just seeking attention; I am a Marvel fan myself, and know that my dear Patron is more than a mere image (no matter what form he takes). It is a case of being careful, as with anything else.
Loki has communicated with me via many images in my life, and I’m sure he will continue to do so for the rest of it. As long as I remain true to myself, and love him for what he is, he’ll gladly play along with any form I fancy. He is a God of balance, not mere chaos; if he is a catalyst for change (including extreme life upheavals), he can also restore order, and set things right. My zodiacal sign is Libra, which is symbolized by a balance (scales); this, coupled with my artistic nature, make me a classic person born under this sign. The more my bond with Loki strengthens, the greater my compatibility with him seems.
Marvel Loki (in both the classic “Thor” comics, modern films and television series) is clearly depicted as a villain, which would seem to contradict his role as a Patron Deity. Villains are capable of giving cautionary tales, however; Marvel Loki’s role as Trickster is still valid. Even as a classic villain, Marvel Loki is a catalyst for change, issues challenges, and instills discipline in his adversaries. There is also a sympathetic quality to this pop culture figure: He is an outcast, feeling scorned and unappreciated. I myself have felt this way much of my life, and in my bond with Loki, have found ways to overcome many obstacles. It matters not if he is cast as a villain; I find much love in my Patron, and a better understanding of myself.
Chaos needs to be addressed to establish balance. I love the images I use for Loki (past and present), but I know to maintain harmony between these chosen tools, and my beloved guardian Patron. There is something valuable in traditional tales, and modern ones, which is another form of balance.