For Loki

I’ve written in an earlier post how Loki came into my life and I’ve also written a little about how my patterns of devotion have been changing.  Saturday has become the day I devote time and thought to Loki.  Last Saturday I received an email that led to me writing something for Loki.  This Saturday I feel I should post what I wrote on my own blog.  The photo is of the candle burning on my altar for Loki as I write this post.

Words from my heart

Loki, you came unlooked for, unasked for into my life.
Bound one, your challenge forced me to face my bindings.
Shifter of forms, you lead me to change.
I honor You!

Burning one, you scare me still!
I don’t know what you see in me,
Why I interest you,
But I know you come calling.

Calling in the darkness
Shining in the silence
Mystery and Mischief

I honor You! I praise you!
I’ve even come to love you.
You, the disreputable friend!

The one that speaks truths no-one else will face
The one bringing joy in the madness
The one whose pain we turn away from
The one who forces us to see
The one who scares us in the night
The one who holds us when we cry
The one who gives us the blade with which to cut our bindings
If…

If we have the courage to turn and take it
If we choose to try.

Uninvited, unexpected, uncomfortable,
Yet welcomed, honored, praised and loved!

 

Patterns of Devotion

I have written in the past about my deepening devotional practices. Today I wish to share with you how my devotions have changed.

I used to honour my ancestors at the dark moon, Maponos on Sundays and, Brigantia, Epona Rigantona and An Cailleach around the full moon.

Then I joined a flame tending cill with Clann Bhride and began flame tending in honour of Brigantia every twenty days.

I can’t even remember exactly when after that point that other things began to change but at some stage I began to honour Epona Rigantona each week on a Friday. I chose a Friday because Epona is my beloved and Fridays in the past have been linked to deities of love (see Wikipedia Names of the days of the week if you are interested).

It felt good to be honouring Epona each Friday so I decided to start honoring An Cailleach on a Saturday. I was now honouring different deities on Friday, Saturday and Sunday plus every twenty days flame tending in honour of Brigantia.

Then Loki came into my life.

I used to consider myself to be solely a Brythonic Polytheist.

Then Loki came into my life!

That bit bears repeating.  Loki brought change with Him.  I wasn’t looking for Sleipnir’s Dam and I didn’t expect or invite Her (at least not to start with) but for some reason best known to the Bound One, He decided to bring Her changes to me.

One of those changes was that I started to include Loki in my weekly devotions.  At first I tried slotting Him in on Thursdays but that didn’t feel right. So I switched to Saturdays, prompted in part by something I had read that suggested Saturdays had been linked to Loki in the past.  I can’t remember exactly what that was now but I switched days and it felt much better.

But it didn’t feel right honouring An Cailleach on the same day so after a bit of thought I decided to move honouring Her to Mondays.  There are aspects in some of the lore which I believe indicate ties to the moon for An Cailleach so this seemed to fit well.

For a couple of moons I tried to keep the lunar links I had made as well but that became a bit confusing as I ended up trying to honour two different deities on one day.  For me that became confusing and I felt I wasn’t doing justice to my devotions to either deity when the days linked into full moon cycles.  I decided drop the full moon devotions in favour of the weekly ones for a moon or two to see how it felt and I’ve kept that change.

So now I honour different deities on four days of the week and another every twenty days. I’m also no longer solely honouring Brythonic deities.  At first I thought maybe Loki would be in my life for a set purpose and then maybe wander off but at the moment it feel much more like the Sky-treader is here to stay.  The current pattern feels good with one exception and that’s the ancestors.

In dropping the full moon devotions I found I began to lose touch with the lunar cycle and the pattern of honouring my ancestors at the dark moon began to slip as well.  I still have my ancestral shrine area and still think of varying ancestors at different times but the more ritualised devotions have fallen away.  I’m still not sure if I need to start on a weekly basis for honouring my ancestors or try and restore the dark moon practice.  I think maybe moving to a weekly based practice would work out best, if so I have my choice of Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday currently free of other devotions. Maybe Wednesday as that day has links to deities of communication.

My journey with devotional practices has not been a swift one but one that has gradually altered to a more frequent family of devotional practices.  And I know that I am still changing and that my practices will also continue to change.

Musings about Brigantia and Loki

I’ve written elsewhere about being a flame tender with Clann Bhride which means every twenty days I light a flame and look after it for twenty four hours as a devotional act.  During my last flame tending I found myself thinking about both Brigantia and Loki both of whom have fire symbology.

Brigantia and Her sister-self Brighid have many links to fire but it seems to me that the link is to a tamed and channeled fire.  The fires of the smith, of crafting tools and artworks; the fires of inspiration burning in our minds transforming imagery and emotion into words and pictures others can see; the fires of justice wielded with fierce discipline to forge a fairer community; the fires of the healer used to brew, to warm, to comfort; the long ago fires of a home hearth bringing warmth and security to our human homes.  She is not the fire itself but the one that wields, channels and tames the fire and in turn teaches us ways to use fire.

Loki is not one that uses fire, instead he is a fire.  He does not teach how to channel the heat, how to use the energy to craft and create.  He transforms. He changes. That doesn’t mean that he can’t direct and wield fire, he can because he knows what he is and so he can choose what to burn, what to transform, whether to be a single glowing ember that waits or a burst of flame that burns.

They are beings of different cultures, Loki and Brigantia, and yet I feel that there can be harmony between them, probably not always, but enough.

Neither being can be constrained into just one aspect of their identities and I’m in no way intending to give the impression that I wish to do that. This is just what musings have come to mind at this time where fire and flame symbologies are concerned.

Where I am concerned I feel they have in some way joined forces.  I need to change but I have a fear of loosing control, I fear the untamed burning and yet I know I need to be pushed forward.

 

An introduction to Loki

Back in January I had a few coincidences with names and images connected with Loki.  I began to feel quite strongly that he was prompting me for some reason so I started investigating.

My first instinct was to to go to an internet community I have been made welcome within UK Heathenry.  My initial contacts with them were via an email list but they are now more active on Facebook.  I have always been open about the fact that I do not consider myself to be Heathen but I do feel that Heathenry is a neighboring family of paths to my own.  In spite of a range of connections with Heathens I’d never felt that any of the Heathen families of gods and other assorted beings had been that interested in me.  Now that had changed so I asked the group for pointers to good articles or blogs.  I got a range of helpful and sometimes lighthearted responses so I started reading and learning.

(This blog post began with the above paragraphs four months ago, today it finally continues)

Loki is perhaps one of the best known and yet also most mis-understood deity among the Heathen families of beings.  Part of that is no doubt due to the fact that one aspect of his complex character has been used extensively in tales ancient and modern as an instigator of all manner of usually tricky situations.  Among his most recent guises is that of the “bad guy” in recent Marvel comics and movies.  From my reading (and I’m in no way an expert on this) it seems that even in Heathen circles the mention of his name can bring about extreme reactions and often negative ones at that.  But He also seems to be a being that has a collection of devoted followers, ones that accept that he is complex and sometimes very difficult to know.

Resources I was pointed to in January that I have found particularly useful are:

Loki’s shrine at: http://www.northernpaganism.org/shrines/loki/index.html

Eldar Heide: “Loki, the Vätte, and the Ash Lad: A Study Combining Old Scandinavian and
Late Material” Viking and Medieval Scandinavia 7 (2011) pp. 63–106. 10.1484/J.VMS.1.102616 available in last proof form at:

http://eldar-heide.net/Publikasjonar%20til%20heimesida/Loke-artikkel%20til%20nettsida.pdf

And Alexa Duir’s series of fiction books that have Loki as a central character.

Things went quiet in late January on the Loki prompts and I began to feel that maybe he had chosen to provide a bit of distraction at a stressful time for some reason and that was it.  Needless to say that wasn’t it.

In early March I started getting some other odd coincidences and prompts which led to me order the first of Alexa’s books (I hadn’t until that point) and also the book “Playing with Fire: An exploration of Loki Laufeyjarson” by Dagulf Loptson available from Asphodel Press. By mid March I’d read six of Alexa’s books and then the book by Dagulf Loptson.

Also in March in a personal front I went off sick from work again with anxiety triggering yet another round of assorted meetings which in the end resulted in my dismissal from work on capability grounds.  Throughout this process Loki has been appearing from time to time in the forefront of my mind and has been a much appreciated distraction from some of the more unpleasant aspects of what has been going on.

On Thursday 21st July I received the final dismissal letter in the post. On the 20th July Dagulf Loptson had posted a new blog post at Polytheist.com called Breaking Loki’s Bonds which I didn’t see until Friday 22nd July.  This post gives information and guidance on a nine day rebirth process and reading that post felt like a personal invitation.

Later that day I gathered the things I would need for this process and the following day, Saturday 23rd July I began.  I may write more about how that process went later but essentially having now completed it I found it to be both powerful and helpful.