Ascetic Lokean

Lokean Asceticism

For the last two years I haven’t had a bed. My children have a bed because toddler beds aren’t expensive, but my husband and I have been bunking on the floor. At first the floor was hard and I couldn’t get a good night’s sleep. Every night was a battle with my body, tossing and turning, bitching and moaning. The first few weeks after we moved (I pushed the move because Loki was shrieking NOW, NOW, NOW at me about it) we were sleeping on the hardwood floor of what is now our living room. We decided to move to one of the carpeted rooms to add some padding. Then we found some old blankets when we started to get everything unpacked, and that’s what we’ve been sleeping on ever since.

I’m actually comfortable sleeping on the floor now. It’s not the best, but I can have a good night’s sleep. We’ve added pillows over time and it’s kind of like sleeping in an old depiction of a harem room.

I do a lot of writing these days, which is what Loki encourages in me. I have a natural talent with words and he nourishes it. It hasn’t made me rich yet, and honestly I’m not sure it ever will, but my art is my life.

I don’t have nice clothing. I have two pairs of jeans and a rotating tee shirt collection full of comic book characters and kitchy sayings I layer with plain long sleeved tees in the winter. I have a pile of fluffy socks as a concession to the frozen northlands we live in.

I don’t need nice clothing to write in. I need clothing to survive in. I don’t need to be toasty warm to write because if I am I get sleepy and drowsy, and I’m under a caffeine ban, so that’s not good. I’m actually at optimum mental awareness when I’m a bit colder than I would prefer, since I would prefer to be wrapped up in a fleece cocoon when the weather dips below fifty degrees.

We spend most of our money on food because we try to fuel our bodies as healthfully as possible on a budget. Fresh fruit and vegetables cost money, even when I’m as thrifty as possible about where I buy them.

Loki has been on me not to eat certain things from the beginning, and trips to my doctor confirm every time that He’s had a valid point. The foodstyle he wants from me is very basic, holistic, and not purchased. He prefers things made from my own hands for both Himself and me, even though He enjoys candies, but He doesn’t demand them from me the way He did at the beginning. He has shifted His requests to more homey things as I’ve become comfortable with Him. He’s become as much a member of my household as my husband and children. My husband talks to Him now. I catch Him chatting with Loki sometimes after I’ve gone to bed, and he sheepishly says They have things to talk about. Food is home and Loki’s say in it has been nothing but good for us.

I don’t buy new things. I don’t buy things I don’t need. The bulk of my purchases are for my children, to ensure they have the clothing they need, books to learn from, toys to play with, and generally they don’t feel the sting of our lifestyle the way I do. I try to take care of my family and loved ones first.

Is that ascetism? On the surface my life has been paired down greatly, at least in material goods, in following requests and demands from Loki Himself, in His insistence that I follow my own dreams as well. Living sparsely has turned out to make me happier than I ever have been. It turns out when you have no money to spend you don’t worry about spending it. When you have no money to spend material goods beyond those linked to survival don’t have a pull on you any longer. If we need something, really need it, the money seems to pop up.

I think more for myself now.

Asceticism leads to disconnection from materialism and mainstream ideals which are intimately connected to THINGS and WANTING THEM and often unhealthy, and in that way Loki has lead me to an ideal I’d only read about and topically investigated as part of other religions. Buddhist monks weren’t even allowed to beg meals beyond the one for the day they were living, and they lead poor lives of fulfillment.

I’ve been leading a form of ascetic monasticism for Loki for about two years and I didn’t even see it. No, I’m not celibate, so I’m not what those from a Christian background would consider a monk in that manner, but I tend Loki’s altar, I try to live my life to make Him, myself, and my family proud, and I write stories that He sometimes has a hand in inspiring and influencing while trying to keep my spiritual life rich and open to new experiences. Every day I interact with the Gods I work with. Every day I read some new spot of lore or hear some new idea whether I’m trying to or not.

I’m an Ascetic Lokean by Loki’s design.

I’ve often joked with myself about Loki being the God of Thrift, but maybe, just maybe, He’s a god who has an Ascetic path to His fabulous center.

…Yeah, just blew my own mind today. Thank you, Loki, my Sweetest Friend.

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Loooki, Juxtaposition

I’ve listened to native Icelandic speakers say Loki’s name online probably …well, more than the average person would consider healthy. He didn’t prompt me to do this, it was something I took into my own head to go about. Sometimes I practice though…and when I practice?

He notices that.

I’m not sure He likes it because I’m saying it the “right” way (not that he dislikes my accent, I’ve been assured), or if it’s simply that in the end it becomes a chant of His name.

Say MY NAME.

Yeah…

So, this morning I was practicing saying His name. Frustratingly, I can’t ever get my tongue to match up with what my brain tells me is proper. I was in the bath and not particularly paying much attention. I became aware of His energy, lounging there, sitting on my toilet, watching me say His name.

Singularly the strangest juxtaposition of the mundane and spirit world I’ve ever directly experienced.

Hail Loki, The God Who Makes Himself at Home Anywhere.

Making Relationship Available

“The Powers tend to respond to relationship. They will align themselves into position relative to how we approach. If we expect them to be hostile and violent, they usually will be. After all, there’s little motivation to reveal yourself as anything different when a person has already decided they know everything they need to about you.”

I say this all the time. Enter a work with fear and you will find something to be afraid of. Often, I wonder how many people in the Heathen community have bad experiences with Loki, my sweetest friend, simply because they expect them? He’s quite often willing to cater to an audience…

The Road, the Walker, and What Comes Next

As you probably know, various traditions within the Hindu religious complex are very near and dear to my heart. These traditions have taught and nurtured me, and played a formative role in getting me to where I am today. Before there was Kali, before I was introduced to Wicca, before I even had any witchy friends, there was Krishna. Why wouldn’t there be? He’s become a global presence precisely because He’s so darn lovable. His name means “all attractive”; He possesses all attractive qualities and attracts all intelligences towards Him.

krishna-731To use spirit work terms, Krishna has one hell of a call center. He’s got an answering service that can do just about anything. In my experience, He’s intensely difficult to actually get on the line. But really, He doesn’t need to take His own calls. As the cause of causes, He can just sit back and hang out. His…

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I Don’t Have to Believe You-You Have to Believe You

Everyone once in a while I talk to someone about Them and I don’t believe what they say.

I’m not saying their UPG is invalid or that maybe Loki didn’t do what they said He did or any other thing, but sometimes, I don’t believe them, and I suspect sometimes people don’t believe me.

And that’s okay. My experience is for me and yours is for you.

BUT, I don’t like to be lied to either and I don’t like the phenomena I’ve encountered where some people seem to think I’m LARPing (that’s gamer geek speak for Live Action Role Playing). It kind of cheapens my religious experience and is disrespectful.

Not that it changes my religious experience if others are disrespectful of it, but I try to respect others, so I’d like to hope they would respect me.

But there’s no rule saying they must. I’ve been laughed at before for being pagan. I’ve had eyebrow raises that I work with Loki. I’ve been told I’m going to hell. I don’t believe Jesus is going to rain fire down on my head either, so other people’s UPG? Yeah, no big.

I guess what this wraps back around to is that UPG is personal and we all need to embrace our own UPG and have it makes sense for us. Shared UPG is cool, but not overwhelmingly important to personal practice. I try to approach each conversation I’m involved in with an open mind though, give each person my full attention. I like being an open member of the pagan community for the most part.

So, I guess I’m going to continue being polite at all times, because that’s what others deserve, but I don’t feel compelled to believe every word of every person I speak with, and I think it would be a fool’s errand to do so.

Boiling in the Cauldron: The Mystery of the “God-Hounded”

I’ve talked about, on my blog, how I felt I was, basically, stalked by Loki for months after I had a bad experience that didn’t have to do with him precisely, but happened BECAUSE of him. I think at that time I would have done anything to make Him go away, make it ALL go away. I’m glad it never came to that and everything worked out, but a lot of spirit work is frightening, or can be. And I’ve heard of people who had extremely terrifying/terrible experiences as well. The thing is, I fall into the camp of people who would really like to believe, when the day is done, that the dieties in question weren’t the ones causing the problem. I like to believe that they were being misrepresented by a malicious spirit, or what have you. I think that’s probably not right though. Our deities have many aspects and they aren’t always pleasant. And some deities are likely not pleasant to most people based on their work. I’ve heard horrible stories of Loki, stories that don’t sync with MY Loki at all, but they are out there, and some of them must be true.

Magick From Scratch

wee_mee_centeredI’ve talked a bit, already, about misinterpreting gnosis, mishearing deities, and things we can do to increase our accuracy, or openness.

Now, however, I want to turn to what is, for me at least, an extremely uncomfortable topic. I want to talk about what happens when gnosis goes bad.

**If you have had this sort of experience, this is your trigger warning. If you have had a bad experience with a deity, or if being confronted with the possibility of this sort of thing will be distressing to you, I urge you not to read any further **

What does it mean when deities appear to be hounding, stalking, and abusing people?

First of all, yes, this does happen. People do have powerful, negative experiences of deities. I personally know at least half a dozen people who have had such persistent, negative experiences. They are otherwise sane and stable…

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Loki, The Gambling Miracle

So, for…OH, I’d say a few months now Loki has been insuring that He gets His devotionals from me (which I think are just as helpful to me as to Him).

How?

Well, with what I consider to be a Lokean miracle, perhaps dubious, but something I contend is a miracle. It makes my life better, and anything that makes my life better, yeah, I’ll clump that in with divine intervention.

Let me back up.

I’m kind of low on funds, chronically, because I’m a writer, editor, temp job worker (when absolutely necessary) and parent. (Parenting is expensive, in case you missed that.) I like to burn incense and candles for Loki, daily. You can see where the problem comes in.

About three or four months ago I was out if incense, feeling pretty low, bitching to myself on the way to the store to pick up a newspaper. When I got there I got this PUSH to go to the scratch off machines (you know, waste a dollar get a ticket to scratch off). Loki was telling me to do it, go get one, and I was arguing about wasting the money. When I actually got over there? There was a fly trapped in one of the plastic covers, and the name of the game had Fabulous in the title.

Long story short, I won enough money to get Him His incense and was really, really happy about it.

I haven’t been low enough on cash since to worry about it, but after the holidays it finally happened, and my incense stash ran out, and there I was feeling like crap about it and not even realizing how much so. I went to the store, again to get a newspaper, and there it was again. A tickle. A Loki tickle. So, I paid attention and He was telling me to go to the machines again. Now, the first time I thought might have been a fluke, and I was arguing with Him (possibly myself, I’m willing to accept that I could be a wee tad crazy, but I’m good company) and when I get there to the machine there is a holiday game with a Santa who looked suspiciously like Odin.

…2 dollars in the machine. 25 out. Loki got His incense.

So, that’s the story or my solstice miracle, and it means so much to me.

Hail Loki!