I live in the snowy depths of the North. I love Winter. Every year it arrives, blowing and roaring, or silent and gentle, to fill me with chills and mental acuity. Nothing jogs my mind quite like a frigid winter day. Winter makes fires seem cheerier, hot cocoa more pleasant, and soups of all kinds a must have. I love to go out for a few hours and come home to my cozy little nook. Skiing is a must do activity each winter, and nothing makes eating, sleeping, and warming yourself by a fire more satisfying than a day out on a snow pelted mountain, the sun hiding behind a blanket of gray, frost filled clouds.
Last night I sent up a Hail to Lady Skadi and Jack Frost while doing a mental happy dance and I immediately felt…well, bad. Yes, absolutely horrid.
I felt like I was cheating on Loki?
Why? Oh, I agonized on this for a good long while, and why it was stupid, but I couldn’t shake the feeling. Why?
Well, it may be because Loki has come to me in the guise of Jack Frost before, but I’m not sure on that one entirely. Loki made good use out of the guise of Peter Pan with me, so sometimes it is hard to say when and where Himself actually entered my personal picture. Last February, after a mighty shove from Himself, is the first time I copped to “hard polytheism” and began to think of the Gods as truly separate entities and not different faces of ONE male spirit, as it were. Aspecting versus…well, true beings in their own right, though that isn’t necessarily true either. This subject is as jumbled for me as it is for a lot of pagans, and to some degree I don’t think finding a solid answer to the Aspects vs. The Gods question is entirely necessary or even helpful, but that is the fodder for a different article. I always thought of certain deities as Themselves, perhaps the ones that I actually had contact with, like Athena and Artemis. I’ve never worried much about worshipping historical figures either, as I spent some time in meditation and worship with Alexander the Great while I spent the latter half of my teen years studying history and the classics.
I love some of the same things about Loki and Jack Frost-mainly Their childlike joyful sides, but Jack Frost is more carefree than Loki in a lot of ways. Less serious. He doesn’t seem to have as much duty weighing him down. He seems entirely lacking that dangerous, dark side that I sometimes see boiling under the surface with my interactions with Himself. This is stupid too-for winter kills as surely as anything does, and Jack Frost is a face for Winter.
Jack Frost may be, for me, what one might consider a Pop Culture deity. Most of what I believe about him was shaped in my childhood through modern mythos and reaffirmed through the limited interactions I’ve had with him. I usually think about him most the first month of winter when snow is shiny and new for me. Jack Frost is the deity of the dawn of winter in my mind. I’m okay with that, really, when it comes down to it because our modern story telling isn’t any less valid than historical myth in some ways, so long as it isn’t a distortion on ACTUAL myth that already exists.
It was completely natural for me to Hail Lady Skadi and Jack Frost while I lit some incense for them and delighted in the snow gently wafting down outside my window pane.
But then, back to the guilt. Why did I feel guilty? I think this has to do with mortal hang ups and the way I view friendship and love and relationships in general. I’m pretty sure, intellectually speaking, that Loki doesn’t give two fucks that I offered incense to Jack Frost and Skadi, but I have taken to viewing him as something more elevated than a Best Friend, even though I refer to him as my Sweetest Friend. I have enough love in my heart to Hail more than one God.
What I’m getting out of all of this is I’ve solidly internalized some of the worst aspects of the culture I grew up in. The whole, one jealous god, idea following hard on the heels of “you can only love one other person completely”, which is bullshit and bunk. Loki CAN be jealous, but I don’t think this is one of those instances, and as I’ve had pointed out to me recently, jealousy is a symptom not a problem anyway. Loki seems to want my TIME more than anything else, something perfectly reasonable for my Friend to request of me.
As I examine my life I see that my guilt-at not having enough time or love to go around-has limited me to an extremely small, exclusive rather than inclusive, group of people in my life. My immediate family and 2 best friends receive the bulk of my time. My local pagan group and select extended family receive the rest of it, and Loki has dibs on at least an hour or more (usually) of my free time each day. Guilt has ruled my life, and I know from whence it originates. My bible thumping upbringing.
This guilt isn’t something that comes from the Gods or Loki, it is something that swirls around in my brain and heart and is my own making. As such, I am looking to squish it myself. Guilt and fear go hand in hand for me. I feel guilty usually when I am afraid. Afraid of losing something. Afraid of being looked down on.
I feel guilty when I am a step away from fear.
I feel I need to banish this guilt from existence because it isn’t helpful to my practice. As such, for the next month while I will be honoring my Fulltrui first and foremost I am going to make certain to leave offerings and honor my ancestors and any other appropriate deities each day as well. I need to get rid of this feeling somehow and this seems like a good course of action.
Hail Loki! And of course, Hail Lady Skadi and Jackie Frost!