Missing Loki

missedaspot

I don’t know if anyone will particularly find this interesting, but I thought I would share. For a while I’ve been having minor health problems. Nothing that is going to kill me today, but if I don’t get a handle on them they will certainly do so down the road. Or brain damage me, which is, about my worst nightmare. About a year ago (maybe less, but if feels like forever ago at this point) I was having some deep conversation with myself, and Loki, and the universe at large and He demanded I completely overhaul my diet.

He’s done this to me before, and I wasn’t happy, but did end up dumping caffeine, the sweet, dark nectar of the Gods. It was hell. It was horrid. It was hard. I felt much better.

I wasn’t eating terribly: my husband is vegetarian tending toward vegan, so I was eating with him part of the time. However, when I wasn’t with him I was eating drive through because I don’t feel like I have time to eat properly when I’m working. I was eating garbage fast food for breakfast almost every day of the week that I was working because it was so easy to get it and cheap. I was having doughnuts almost every morning too because the Krispy Kreme bin is right there beside the newspaper when I stop to pick it up. In the back of my mind I knew it wasn’t good, but I didn’t want to work harder at simply staying alive.

Plus, doughnuts are awesome. (As an aside: I eat organic at my house. I buy nothing but organic, wholesome foods for my husband and children, yet here I was eating fucking doughnuts.)

Loki told me to stop or I was essentially going to kill myself. NOW, when He exnayed caffeine for me at one point it was raising my blood pressure to extremely unhealthy heights because I’ve apparently developed a sensitivity to it. I can do de-caf for the most part, but even that can be iffy if there is too much caffeine in the decaf roast of the coffee. So, it’s best if I just avoid it.

When he started hinting around again that I needed to overhaul my diet I wasn’t happy. I went to the doctor and my blood pressure was pushing up to unhealthy ranges again and my other bloodwork wasn’t the greatest. Grumbling, I decided I would try to change things, but didn’t really want to. I resisted, doing well for a few days, fucking up for ten more. Then I went back and my blood pressure was even higher.

Loki: Cut the shit. No sugar. No salt. No dairy. No meat. No caffeine. Eat like your husband. He’s healthy. And knock this shit off. Why won’t you just do what you already know you need to do? It’s either shape up or die thanks to your genetics.

Me: You love meat!

Loki: No shit. Your body shouldn’t have it. You’ve known this for a while, but you continue.

Me: I know.

Loki: Then do it, Love. Stop being stubborn.

It’s food though. It’s a lot harder than it should be. I’m embarrassed to admit this has actually driven a wedge between myself and Loki, mainly because though I’ve done a lot to do what He wanted from me, I haven’t fully complied. I stopped buying sugary lattes all the time. I stopped buying cookies and doughnuts (for the most part.) I haven’t fully gotten on board though because it’s hard. I love that kind of food. I grew up on German food and rich, fatty farm food. We negotiated and he said I could have a day a month to eat as I chose, and I’ve still been having trouble getting there.

I recently found out my biological father has diabetes at 50, something I’ve been terrified of because my birth mother’s family also has it, and once again Loki has a point. My birth father is apparently not doing well either. That scared the shit out of me. I want to be around to do all the fun stuff with my family I’ve envisioned. I may get diabetes eventually, but I don’t want it to be because I couldn’t lay off the sweets. I want to be around to write and laugh and love. I need to try harder. He always has a point, and I’m so very ashamed that I’ve allowed this to come between us. I adore Him. I adore everything about His ecstatic, energetic, beautiful self, and I’ve been having trouble sitting with Him because I feel like an errant child.

But He doesn’t care the way I think He does. He doesn’t hate me because I’m having trouble. I’ve been tossing my human baggage His direction.

He gives a shit about me.

I have so much trouble with that concept. I’ve finally realized that I’ve been pushing Him away even as I’ve been lighting candles on His altar because of this enslavement to the food I want to continue eating when I shouldn’t. It’s insane. I’m addicted to crappy fucking food that isn’t even as good as the home cooked food I make.

I guess I’m writing this post because the struggle is real. Sometimes They ask us to do things we already know we should do. Sometimes They ask us to do things that seem ridiculous on the outside, but are perfectly legitimate because They have a longer view. And we don’t want to do it. We don’t want to do whatever they are asking because it’s HARD. Well, change isn’t easy, but Loki is a God of change. This piss ant struggle over what food I should and shouldn’t be shoving in my face capsized my entire religious practice because I didn’t want to change. I started to gradually change the way I was eating and my blood pressure has been getting steadily better. I started doing the things I should do. Then I relapsed a little, took a half a step back. Now I’m struggling forward again. But, I want it now. I spent almost an entire summer without Loki. I have been ignoring Him, and I know He hates that. I want to do things differently. Loki has been around. I’ve felt him checking on me frequently, but I haven’t been engaging.

Shame is a powerful thing.

But fuck that noise.

I’m getting healthier for myself and my family, and I feel like I can’t truly work with Them unless I’m healthy enough to delve into the energy work and that’s where I’m at with Loki. I’m trying to get healthy enough to do that with Him again.

I’m trying to think of a good way to tell a God I’m sorry.

Maybe something like this?

I’m so sorry I’ve been absent in my practice, my Sweetest Friend. I know I’ve been with you in spirit when I’ve been engaging in creating, in art, but it hasn’t been quite the same. I miss you and I’m sorry.

I’ve also missed My Sneaky Starshine, whoever you are.

And thanks, Odin, for not forcing the issue. I know you could have and you are letting me work it out on my own.

Thank you Lady Sigyn for showing me the perseverance is in my realm of control. Thank you for being Victory Woman.

Hail to the Gods!

Swooning Over Rumi

Rumi was a 13th Century Sufi Mystic. Until today, the most acquaintance I had with his work was the occasional meme on facebook. You know the type I’m talking about: there’s some sort of inspiring natural background-a fly over the Grand Canyon at sunrise perhaps, and then a poem or pronunciation about life that makes you feel smugly superior for having read it, or maybe completely insignificant. I was in Barnes and Noble, banished there by my husband to “buy a few books”, which sort of made my gut churn because we rarely have enough extra money for things like that, but right now we’re okay. So, I go and I’m aimlessly wandering around, resolving not to buy anything except maybe something for the kids—because that’s something I can justify to myself— and I get that tickle… that tickle in the back of my thought area that I generally associate with Loki, but well, maybe it was someone else. I’m not sure. I’m guessing it was probably Loki though. I find myself wandering near the Eastern Religion section when a song I deeply associate with Himself comes on the sound system (it was Take Me to Church by Hozier for anyone who cares), and I can’t take my eyes off this book of Rumi’s poetry. Then I get the shooing hand motion type urge rolling over me. The “go on, pick it up already”. Okay, okay. So I do. The first poem I flip to, of course:

In love, ask for madness

Give up reasoning, give up life

Look for dangerous adventuresI

In deserts filled with blood and fire!

Okay, thanks Loki. Yes, I’LL BUY THE DAMNED BOOK ALREADY, of course my Sweetest Friend, if you insist. I get home with it and begin to idly flip through, and as I’m reading the book—and I start with the forward because I can’t not read the forward even when it’s twenty pages of boring nonsense— I’m struck by the description of what the poems are from the scholar who was tapped to write it. They’re “intoxicated expressions of love and longing for unity with the immortal Beloved.” (Farzad, Rumi’s Little Book of Life) (Yes, beloved with a BIG B.)

…okay. Okay, so Loki (Maybe. I’m just not sure where that came from.) picked an interesting book. About four poems in it became clear that Rumi was at the very least a Beloved of a God and possibly, I would take it as far as a Godspouse. Here are a few poems that I took as support of that idea. (So, to be clear, yes, I’m talking about historical support for the idea of Godspouses, or at least devotion that is something like it outside of the Indian religious setting.)

These aremy main “proof poems” for the idea.

This first poem downright gave me chills. I so know these emotions.

All are satellites around You, the suns

And planets have entered your orbit.

Beloved, am I the seeker or the sought?

Until I am I, you are another.

There is no place for “You” and “I” in unity.

Let no feet remain that lead us to thorns

Let no heads remain that lead us to denial.

There is water flowing in the middle of the stream

And water frozen on the banks

One is swift, the other stagnant.

Be aware, swift one, or you too may freeze.

It is the sun that transforms stones into gems,

It is the sun of eternal love shining in your heart

That stirs it into service and leads it to mastery.

The king covers the falcon’s eyes so it can detach

From its own kind and gaze only at his face.

Misguided is the one who takes his gaze

Off the Beloved and turns toward another.

A food give up Christ to buy a donkey

The wise man sells his donkey to follow Christ.

Seek the light beyond the light of day and night

Beyond judgement, the light bestowed by God.

Leaving the darkness we are the moonlight

Returning to the moon, for the trust is

To Him we shall all return.

Now, of course, that is chock full of Jesus stuff, but I can read around that to see the core of the feelings there and I was deeply touched, but something a little more visceral is what convinced me that this “mystic” was a little more the brand of mystic I’m familiar with. Give me something that shows the Humanity of the Divine and the Divine in the Human and I’ll generally follow along and at least listen to what you have to say.

One day you will see me sprawled in the tavern

My turban pawned, my prayer rug stained with wine.

Intoxicated with the teasing kiss of my Beloved.

I see his curls dancing on the palm of my hand.

Rested, he is tempting me to stay awake

And fest with him till dawn.

How blessed I am that this charmer entices my spirit away from this world.

That last line got me. How many of us who have worked closely with divinity haven’t felt that way from time to time?

I was jumping around in the book, and this last poem gave me pause as it’s kind of the “mystic’s truth”.

Questioning cannot unravel the secret of truth

Nor giving away your wealth and position.

Mere words do not exalt the heart

Pain is the price that the heart has to pay.

There are so many more fantastic poems in this book. I’d like to honestly post the entire book (I rarely suggest books, but Rumi’s Little Book of Life is totally worth the buy, even if you just like good poetry.), but here’s another one that kind of slapped me upside the head.

Wordly goods and your body are like snow

Melting into nothing, but to you

The snow seems better because you doubt.

Your precious opinions thirsting for certainty

Cannot fly to the Garden of Truth.

As opinion acquires knowledge and progresses further

It begins to emanate the scent of certainty.

Fancy is born of opinion,

Vision and intuition from certainty.

Since I tasted the sweetness of the Beloved

I became a seer, my feet do not tremble,

I do not walk like the blind,

I step boldly toward my spiritual hoe.

What the Beloved whispered to the rose

Making her blossom, He said to my heart

And made it a hundred times

More beautiful.

Well, is it just me? I mean, I’m totally convinced that this mystic had some sort of extremely deep connection with his chosen divinity that seems more like an intense devotional practice that reminds me of nothing so much as Godspousery or…well, whatever the hell I do. I don’t have a good name for it. My practice is a living one, but I’m not traditionally monastic. Thoughts for another time, I suppose.

 

 

Musings on My Muse and His Bloodbrother

Where Loki goes, Odin follows, usually at a sedate pace, sometimes just to check things out because Loki does some interesting things when he’s left to his own devices. Where Odin goes, Loki stalks by his side, because Odin doesn’t usually mix it up unless it’s important. I experience Them as Loki fiercely devoted to Odin, though I think Odin is every bit as devoted to Loki-He just doesn’t wear it on his sleeve the way Loki does.

I’m convinced when working with One we usually, at least peripherally, will experience the Other. Sometimes Their energies mix together and blend and are a beautiful new thing. Sometimes working with Loki I will suddenly realize perhaps I’m talking to Odin instead, though rarely vice versa.

They’re tricky, Those Two.

Morning Sonnet for Loki

This sonnet can be used as a prayer, ritual, and spellwork if you are present in the moment and say the words with intent. I am using this prayer along with a morning offering to my Sweetest Friend.

Morning Sonnet for Loki

Hail Loki!

Lord of Love,

Keeper of my heart.

Hail to you as my day’s about to start!

Hail to you as I’m touched by the morning’s first light!

May we know Love together all day long and chase it through the night.

**I know it isn’t technically a sonnet, but I’m still calling it one.

The Pagan Experience Project Post-The Letter C

February 23, 2015

Baby, it’s cold outside. The cold is usually inspiring for me, rather than tiresome. I live in what I’ve been calling the Frozen Northlands for a few years, and I love it.

The cold does a few things for me. It allows complete attunement with my environment, which is a startling grounding experience. I tend to live in my head a lot (writer) and I’ve got an active spiritual life  that propels me to be more in tune with the unseen than the physical some days, so the cold is useful. It’s hard to ignore the cold, especially when it skates past mildly uncomfortable to something that could be deadly if you, a human, are out in it too long with your flesh exposed. Nothing slams you directly into your body like frigid air. It brings about a perfect mental clarity as well when I’m out in it, and the stars are never so clear as on a truly freezing night. The cold inspires wonder in me-wonder in the world and wonder at myself.

The cold is deadly. This time of year always has me spinning my wheels in introspective ways, which is sometimes useful, sometimes not, but I almost inevitably come around to the aspect of death. I start to think about what it means to me to die, how to square with the idea that death eventually comes for us all (I’m mostly okay with it, except when I’m not), and what it might mean to become an ancestor in my line/reincarnate/both? So, the cold has me thinking about time paradox.

Weird right? I am weird, so that’s okay.

For the record, I think you can both be a member of your ancestry line and reincarnate because time is a strange, fickle bitch. Also, the Multi-verse. It’s a thing.

Anyway, the cold.

When it is particularly frigid outside I am always inspired to Hail Lady Skadi, though I don’t often during most of the year. She’s Grandmother Winter to me, and her kenning, Grandmother, also make me think about ancestry. I think the coldest times of the year make it easy to continue the ancestor veneration that seems natural to start when the veil thins around Samhain. If I have a choice in the matter, and space, I leave the ancestor altar I construct at Samhain erected until Beltane, well after the last wisps of Winter have left us.

The cold is also a direct opposite to my Beloved Friend Loki’s core-though He may NOT be a fire god (I’ll leave that to lively debate) He is a God of Passion and giving 110%, and that’s a metaphorical fire burning high and bright. Even when He’s outwardly calm His mind is always churning over something and He’s always got his fingers in about ten thousand pies. (Oh, the horrible jokes I want to make.) So, Loki’s calm is a deceptive calm, more like the calm before the storm. The deep calm of Cold Winter is a restful quality that never seems to fully take Him, at least not that I’ve witnessed. The cold allows the Earth to regroup, nature to rest, as it were, and I find that to be not only another metaphor about life and death, and the period of calm before reincarnation, but a sweet thought as well, that the world is resting now to prepare for a hard burst toward blooming later. The blanket of snow allows me to appreciate the furtive bloom of spring all the more.

So, friends, today C is for Cold, and all that I see inside of it.

I’m the Thunder, Not the Cloud

I’ve always thought it was important to be out there with what I do. Maybe this is because I’m from the generation of “overshare”, but if what has happened to me in my life can be useful to anyone else, why not share it?

When I was younger it was important to me to be a “loud proud pagan” simply because I didn’t know any other pagans. I was lost in a sea of fundamentalist Christianity. It wasn’t pretty. I spent a lot of time defending myself, and after a while I got bitter before I stopped caring all together what other people thought.

Obviously, what we do as pagans frequently touches on mysticism, which can’t be quantified by the mainstream world. If it can’t be quantified, it isn’t “real”, if it isn’t real, then it isn’t true. If it isn’t true and you claim you’re having mystical experiences, you must be crazy. Even Christians don’t quite trust their mystics to not be crazy. If you’re talking to St. Paul or Loki or Isis, there’s a fair chance others are going to think you’re crazy.

And I don’t disagree with caution. I think we should evaluate people on a case by case basis. Usually this stuff is only singularly useful anyway, but, even if you clump it into a person meditating with internally generated Jungian archetypes, it is useful to the person meditating.

When I try to keep stuff to myself I’m always about to burst with the not sharing.

So, I’ve been dithering. Some of you may have noticed I’d pulled down my blog for about two weeks. I did this in advance of a potential legal situation with my family (actually having nothing to do with my being mentally balanced or not-though I don’t doubt they would go there). I was afraid this blog and my spiritual practices would be used against me in the court system. I’ve gone from afraid to seriously pissed off that I have to be afraid: for my freedom of religion, for my freedom in general, for keeping custody of my children potentially, simply because my family is angry and would try to attack me on any front possible. I’ve even considered a pre-emptive mental evaluation just so I can have something to wave in the face of any judge or social workers who interview me.

But, I cannot live my life in fear. I’ve never been afraid of being pagan. I’ve never been afraid of being different, and if someone tries to use my spiritual work against me? Well, bring it. My children are well cared for and if I have to fight not to be pathologized because I’m a Lokean instead of a devout Christian (which is still fairly socially acceptable at this point), so be it. Loki’s path is never a quiet one.

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.