Encounters with Loki

Here is a story about a particular person’s encounter with Loki, who in turn told them a story.

My encounters with Loki tend to take place in the same mindspace – a tavern, a dark one with walls and furniture made from logs and crude wood. A candle burns on the table between me and the cloaked figure, his face obscured, who sits with his back to the darkest, shadiest corner of the room as usual.

I’m very, very uncomfortable with Loki’s presence. More than I care to be. Not that he’s ever given me anything than exactly what I need, but he reminds me of the Game Master of a roleplaying game. He throws the dice that saves us from, or plunge us right into, the chaos. At the same time, he’s that shady figure you can find in the taverns of most games of D&D – you know, that guy who gives you all the really shady quests, the ones with the most danger and the greatest rewards? I think that’s why Lokis presence makes me squirm in a bad way. (That, and a few reasons I can’t pinpoint.) He often needs to hold me there to make me listen, despite my stirring curiosity to listen to pretty much everything this guy has to say.

This time, he ask a simple question. “Would you like to hear a story?”
I can barely see his face, but I can feel his eyes burn right into me. I squirm on my chair. I’m torn between a desire to hear it, and the voice that whispers it’s a setup, there will be a price, this is a terrible idea and I should decline. In the end, I reluctantly admit that I’m curious as hell to hear it, and the teeth of the grinning God glows white in the candlelight as the short tale begins.

“Once, a fire appeared on the sky. A great ball of burning light, it was neither the sun the moon nor any star – or perhaps it was all these things, but either way it burned in its own right, fixed in its position and thus illuminating both the night and day.

People called it a miracle. Indeed it burned with just enough warmth to comfort all within it; it was neither too hot or too bright. It stayed there for many months, and people came from far to see it. One such person was a shepherds boy who traveled there alone, knowing he just had to se this fire with his own eyes and feel it on his skin. And as he arrived, indeed it was all these things that people had said that it was; and it filled him with a great joy.

But people of cloth and staff and wand had already gathered there, priests who argued loudly about whose Gods had sent this precious miracle. All believed fiercely that it was theirs, denying the ridiculous claims of the others; they argued, preached and worshiped in the light of the fire. The boy wanted to know the answer for himself, so he did what was most obvious to him; he asked the fire itself what it was.

“Aha!” the fire replied and burned a bit brighter. The priests were too busy arguing to realize that their miracle spoke. “How curious that a child such as yourself should ask while none of these fine seekers around you did. But I can’t answer you. You see, I am your heart, so you need to answer it yourself. What am I?”

The child thought in silence for a moment. “You are a great fire.” he said. “People see your glow in the darkness and come for light and warmth, and you give it without judgement. Even the squabblers who’d claim you for themselves bathes in your presence, great fire. Not even the closed hearts are denied light. You’re a beacon, and a guiding light, and a great comfort to us.”

Once the boy had spoken, the fire suddenly disappeared from the sky. The priests fell to their knees in their fears of abandonment, and prayed and begged for their divine miracle to return. But it never did, and they slowly left the site in defeat. But the boy left in a great joy. He became a great hero, and then a great king – because he had, without a doubt, all of this fire in his heart. He was a beacon to his people, a guiding light in his wisdom, and a great comfort to a sundered kingdom.”

I sat in thought for a moment after hearing it. I realized I’d been too engrossed in the story to remember to stay worried. Even if I couldn’t quite come to terms with the cloaked god, I had to admit he was a magnificent storyteller. Then, he laughed.
“Well, you wanted a story! Now go post it already. Go on, go on, go post it!”

And so I was no longer in the tavern. I sat in my bed, my laptop still resting in my lap, and I begun to write a story I would’ve never written on my own.

Unverified Personal Whatsis?

This piece was written with the intention of being a sort of introduction to the UPG section of the Loki’s Wyrdlings Course Creation Panel. Since it turned into something rather “blog-worthy”, I thought I would simply post it. Thank you for reading and enjoy!

“What is UPG?”

UPG stands for Unverified Personal Gnosis. Which is sort of a modernized term for what can also be referred to as “personal revelation” or even “epiphany”.

Wikipedia defines UPG as: “The phenomenological concept that an individual’s spiritual insights (or gnosis) may be valid for them without being generalizable to the experience of others.”
The term primarily became popularized by those who practice polytheism in a modern age and don’t necessarily have any sort of “map” for spiritual practice. Since my personal focus and experience has been primarily the Norse Pantheon, I will be using this belief system as example.
The Ancient Scandinavian peoples primarily taught spirituality through lifestyle and word of mouth, so not much was physically recorded to begin with. Their beliefs just “were”. On top of that, what little recorded text that survives today happens to be written as poetical metaphor.
Amidst all the potential room for error in interpreting such text; from language translation, dialect and possible “slang”, to vast cultural and chronological differences…not to mention sifting through the various agendas of respected scholars offering said interpretation, etc., etc., etc…it is no surprise that many modern Heathens are quite frustrated. Without the assistance of time travel, we may never know the bulk of what Ancient Scandinavians (among other peoples) actually believed and practiced.

That being said, UPG should not be confused with scholarly and/or historical interpretation of Norse culture and religion based upon ancient text and artifacts. Let’s keep the “P” in UPG.

As a side note, and this is my opinion of course, there is also no other way to truly get to know the gods on an individual basis. Sure, the text that exists will give us a snapshot of some of their personality traits…but if we wish to build a relationship with a given deity, we need to go within and connect with them on a more personal and intimate level. Ergo, UPG.

“How does UPG work?”

Well, there are potentially countless methods in which an individual can come up with their very own unverified personal gnosis/gnoses. In fact, the very nature of this practice means there is no right or wrong way.

Some methods include, but are not limited to:
– Meditation and trance states.
– Dreams and visions (Lucid dreams in particular).
– “Altered” states (Often through the use of psychedelic substances).
– The Clair-Senses (To be covered in more detail below).
– Spiritual “Horsing” and/or “Channeling” (Also to be covered in more detail below).
– Messages through spirit animals, guides and symbols.
– Synchronicity and/or Wyrd.
– Personal interpretation or message garnered through research and reading ancient or even modern text.
– Something as simple as a strong “intuitive feeling”.

“…Clair-Senses?”

Well, I’m sure most of you have at least heard of the term “Clairvoyant”. The Clair-Senses are basically names for heightened and/or psychic sensitivities. Here are a few of the most commonly employed for UPG:
Clairvoyant – “Clear Vision”; A person who receives and recognizes psychic imagery within their mind’s eye.
Clairaudience – “Clear Audio”; A person who perceives extrasensory sounds, including but not limited to dialog.
Clairempathy – “Clear Emotion”; A person who can psychically perceive the emotional state of another person, animal, supernatural being, or even a place, etc.
(For a more complete list, see the link provided in my references.)

“Okay, so how about “Horsing”?”

I am often hesitant to discuss this topic, because not only is it a controversial discipline one should not enter into lightly…but much like meditation and lucid dreaming, it is notoriously difficult to do and typically takes a great deal of dedicated practice and discipline. If one wishes to utilize a shortcut…well, I can not recommend any “legal” recourse in which to do so.

Ultimately, “Horsing” is akin to “Channeling”. When one opens up their mind and oftentimes even their body to the supernatural world, essentially providing a vessel in which another being is able to possess.
With the use of “Channeling” a deity or spirit may be invoked within you, typically allowing you to communicate for them or carry out their wishes, but you are (usually) also able to maintain your own free will.
“Horsing” however, (AKA “God-Possession”) is a practice in which the entity is able to take partial or even full control of a human vessel. Hence the terminology; the god or wight pretty much “rides” your mortal form, sort of like a metaphorical “horse”. How much control you have in these situations is usually at the mercy of the individual entity you are carrying/hosting. Which leads me to another risk besides potentially losing your free will…a big mistake a lot of beginners make is assuming that they can control who or what, enters their minds and/or bodies.
Horsing, and even sometimes Channeling is a singular experience that is both intoxicating and highly addicting. Overindulgence is potentially very dangerous (particularly to mental and emotional well-being), so it is crucial to combine it with regular meditation and other balancing practices to keep yourself grounded.

Now for the reason I wrote this blog to begin with:

As it pertains to the Loki’s Wyrdlings Course Creation Panel, I expect this particular section to be extremely open, as is the nature of UPG. I also strongly encourage everyone to contribute (but only if you want to, that is).
For the record:
There is no right or wrong answers, let alone questions.
There are no right or wrong beliefs, let alone methods.
The only aspect that I feel may potentially require management, is making sure that this portion of the course stays that way. No ridicule. No disrespect. No criticism whatsoever, unless it is specifically requested and constructive. The key is to keep it personal, but don’t take it personally.
We are all on our own individual paths, and what the gods decide to impart to each of us is tailor fit to that particular path. Even if another person has a UPG that is vastly different or even contradictory to what you believe, it should not be seen as a threat to the validity of either idea. Sometimes a UPG is much like a security blanket. Whether it is truth or fiction, that person may ‘need’ that belief in order to keep going. Also, if disillusionment is meant to take place, it must take place in it’s own time. We are not here to tear one another down…we’re here (I hope) to help build each other up.

Another disturbing trend I’ve noticed in Heathenry today is a sort of rampant jealousy and competition. This trend seems particularly glaring within the Lokean community….and this troubles me. We Lokeans get enough disregard and abuse from the overall Heathen society already (let alone the world). We don’t need it from our peers as well. So, just give each other a break and remember – Loki loves his followers, to disrespect them is also to disrespect him.
Incidentally I just wrote quite a bit on this topic, but I think it’s better reserved for another blog, another time. 

One last thing to keep in mind: “There is no spoon”. 😉
None of us knows what the truth is. In fact I suspect that part of our experience on this plane of existence is simply choosing which lies we believe in order to help us to sleep at night.

References and other information: 

For those of you interested in Meditation, be it learning how or improving your skills, here is an article that I found very helpful:
http://www.chopra.com/articles/7-myths-of-meditation

A little more information on Lucid Dreaming:
http://steinbock.org/writings/4-steps-to-conscious-dreaming/

For more general information on UPG:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unverified_personal_gnosis

http://www.witchipedia.com/def:unverified-personal-gnosis

The Clair-Senses:
http://www.quantumpossibilities.biz/clairs.htm

Horsing/Channeling:
http://www.northernshamanism.org/horsing-the-gods-of-the-northern-tradition.html

https://books.google.com/books?id=IT6BFEq7AnIC&pg=PA68&lpg=PA68&dq=Horsing+the+gods&source=bl&ots=9xnyr66hZN&sig=xeKM6oEjnXibyYyxIe5C1K-9278&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj__b2jur7UAhVL0YMKHRGLBvkQ6AEIUTAH#v=onepage&q=Horsing%20the%20gods&f=false

 

 

 

 

Loki’s Wyrdlings #4 – Contributor: Kyaza

If you have artwork or poetry about Loki that you’d like to see added to the website, please email it to lokiswyrdlings@gmail.com

If you’d like to be a contributor to the blog, send an email to lokiswyrdlings@gmail.com and we’ll get you set up as an author for the site.

If there are other resources you’d like to see on the website, please let us know, and we’ll do what we can to get them incorporated.

This is a communal website, and we’d like to make sure everyone is able to find the Lokean resources they need through it.

Loki’s Wyrdlings #3 – Contributor: Kyaza

Loki is a god of the liminal. He is found in the spaces between moments, between changes, between this breath and the next. He is the moment between life and death, between this heartbeat and the next. For that reason, he is one of the few gods who are impossible to pin down.

How do you define a god that is, by definition, indefinable? How do you put a boundary around a liminal space which is, by definition, boundless? No definition, no boundary, no limit – these things cannot hold Loki. When he is bound, he is bound by choice, not by necessity.

He is chaos wrapped in fine chains of control of his own making – he is the chaos which must exist for order to be born. He is the one who sets the boundaries yet transgresses them in a moment. He slides between truth and illusion as if there were no separation between them at all, and yet he draws the fine line that exists between them.

His very nature leads towards the understanding of him as deceitful, trickery, up to no good – and yet, he is the one who shatters the illusions, who dares to point out truths too hard for others to bear, to offer solutions to problems no one else seems capable of solving, who dares to set things right.

He is not a safe god, but then again, there are no safe gods – there are no safe humans, either. He is perhaps more dangerous than most, as he exists in-between moments, in-between changes and transitions. There is nothing we fear more than change – for it is in the moment of change that we must confront our own ignorance. When something happens to shatter our plans, suddenly we are faced with the vast gulf of the future as it spreads out before us, and it is easy to turn away from that gulf and spiral down into the chasm of despair. To step into that unknown future, to make a choice to face the changes coming instead of fleeing from them- that is what it means to embrace Loki.

Loki’s Wyrdlings #2: Contributor: Terra Akhert

Loki can be a very hard god but He is so worth it. He is an individual so sometimes He is all smiles and laughter. Other times He is deep and thoughtful. Sometimes, He is Worldbreaker in all His terribleness. He frightens us, shaking the ground under our feet and tearing at the illusions we have built up about ourselves. He smiles as He rips apart our walls, not because he is sadistic or evil but because He genuinely cares about us and He knows it is for the best. After the deed is done we shake with relief because we have seen divine fury strike out around us, rending and gutting our self doubt. We have seen the fires of Muspelheim reach out to devour that which we had for so long devour our very minds. Memories, doubts about ourselves, irrational fears, they all melt and twist in FlameHair’s fire, till we rise out the other side, stronger and more sure of ourselves.

Loki can be a hard god because He points out our flaws, not to be mean but to show us that no one is perfect. We must work on ourselves but we must not be deluded into thinking we will ever reach some arbitrary benchmark of perfection. Loki wants us to grow as people but He also wants us to love ourselves how we are because if we are constantly waiting until we are good enough to love then we will never love ourselves. We are already good enough to love and loved all the more because we try.

This is why Loki can be a hard god, He genuinely cares about us as individuals.

–Terra

(This is the sole Property of Terra Akhert and may not be reproduced in part or in whole without express written permission of the author 2017).

Loki’s Wyrdlings #1 – Contributor: Kyaza

Our Facebook group has surpassed 200 members, which is amazing. When we created the group, I don’t think any of us expected to reach so many Lokeans, fringe Heathens, fringe Pagans, and other non-mainstream people. When we first got started, I used to question whether or not such a group was as badly needed as it seemed to be – I no longer ask myself that question.

Lokeans and fringe Pagans all need a space to come to feel like they can belong somewhere without us feeling forced to try and make space for ourselves in groups that don’t understand why we honor Loki, or why we don’t practice our religion/spirituality in more traditional Pagan modalities.

Now that we have the numbers to do so, it’s time to turn our attention to educating other Heathens, other Pagans, about Loki and different modalities of religious practice to demonstrate that our paths, too, are valid. We are currently in the process of developing a correspondence course about Loki to help eradicate some of the misunderstandings about a god who has touched many of our lives. And we may develop other correspondence courses in the future.

Additionally, we’ve created this website – and if you’re interested in being an author or contributor to this communal blog, please email lokiswyrdlings@gmail.com so that we can make that happen. As long as respect is maintained, any blog post about Loki, non-mainstream Pagan happenings, and/or individual spiritual/religious paths – all content is welcome.