Month for Loki

July, I learned, is the month for Loki.  Celebrate him.  Venerate him.  Swear at him.  Make him laugh.  Feed him.  Listen to his jokes.  But listen harder when he’s quiet.

What makes all of July sacred to him?  Well, the small bit of searching I’ve done is because of the star Sirius.  This star burns brightly in the night sky and ushers in the oppressive heat of summer.  Many equate Loki with fire, so it being bright and hot and overwhelming makes sense.    Also, Sirius was known as the Lokabrenna in some Scandinavian countries furthering the association.  Lokabrenna itself seems to mean a myriad of different things, or so the internet tells me.  I’ve found sites that say it means Loki’s brand, Loki’s torch, or burning done by Loki.  This a modern practice and I don’t know how old or young it it… I started it last year when I finally decided to stop ignoring all the signs Loki was throwing in my path.

Heh.

So, what am I doing for Loki for the month of July?

I’m part of a facebook group and we’re answering a question a day about Loki.  I’m also adding a little piece to my daily devotional.  It doesn’t have a name yet and was influenced my many sources, some known and some unknown.

My daily devotional to Loki (take 1):

Loki, God with the sly and scarred smile
In the sweltering summer night
Your star burns like a firebrand illuminating my way
With gratitude, I light this incense in your honor.
Hail Loki –
Trickster who sheds chaos like water
in order to reveal hard truths.
Hail Loki –
Change-bringer, tale-teller, shape-shifter,
Creator and destroyer.
Hail Loki –
The catalyst who stirs my life
to keep me from stagnation.
Walk with me,
as I travel down wild new roads
for you are the hidden way
a thorned path around and through.

Advertisements

Distraction and Self Interest

I’ve been away.  Partially due to depression.  Partially due to apathy.  And, in part, because I find it so very hard to stay on my path. Why?  I don’t know.  I wish I did.

But earlier this month I got off my ass and I am trying to get my witchy-self together yet again.  Today I decided to read about Loki.  Because why not?
Followed by the idea to write about the musings in my brain.  So I sat down at my computer and fiddled with everything but writing.  Distraction is my friend.  Oooo… shiny!

The article was talking about the aftermath of Loki killing Baldr, how he went back (more than once) to taunt the gods until he finally spills the beans and admits to his role in the whole caper.  Even then, he’s protected by guesting laws and the other immortal’s not wanting to spill blood in their feast hall.

And here my mind took its first side-step.  Their feast hall.  Highlighting Loki’s outlier nature. And I realized even though nominally that glittering throng accepts Loki he is still not a part.  Different.  The odd man out.  And part of me wonders, is it because they don’t want him or does Loki’s own difference chafe at him and like sand in an oyster is he gritty to cause discomfort? Thus forcing those gods to experience some of what he does.

Later it tells how Loki a catalyst and many times his shenanigans result in great gains for the other gods.  Sometimes the show is for Loki’s amusement.  Sometimes his antics are lessons which hurt and aren’t easily dismissed or forgotten.  But in this instance, this singular instance, Loki seems to forget himself and act out of unrelenting spite.  His notion of self-preservation and working in his own best interest lie forgotten.  His wrath and malice twist and become the goal itself.

The author says: “The result no longer served practical self interest or a greater strategy and cause the instigator to lose control of the situation.”*

And I said YES, I’ve been there.  I struggle with that upon a daily basis, in not allowing my anger to self-sabotage myself and drag me down.  I see my husband allowing that to happen to himself to where he’s lost three jobs.
Instead I eat my anger and hatred, I direct it within and not without.  But that poisons me, feeds the depression and apathy and keeps me stagnant.  Afraid.  Alone in a roomful of people.

I’m not saying you can learn a great lesson here, just that this was an ah-ha moment for me. Society has rules in place for a reason.  Loki can’t seem to control his outsiderness, with keen and cutting words he draws the ire of the other gods by telling them exactly what he thinks of them.  He exposes their flaws, dredging up embarrassing truths and telling bold lies.  With his brutal forthrightness Loki shows how deception can be a good thing, for with just a little discretion Loki might well fit in with the other gods.

I know the bitterness, spite, and anger that reside within my own heart.  I keep those emotions hidden.  Safe.  Cradled beneath my rib-cage.  Yet the one thing everyone at work says about me is how nice I am; how kind, considerate, and caring.  When I hear those words I want to laugh at how false they are because I am self-centered and self absorbed but I sure do put on a good show.

How does that influence my witch-self?  I’d be lying if I said I had discovered all the ins and outs of that.  My best guess at the moment is it is part of my problem.  I find it hard to stay on the path because hearing what others think of me undermines my faith in myself.

So what do I do with this knowledge?  I dunno.  I guess I plaster on a smile and try to understand why others see me that way.  Or maybe I should become a sharp tongued harridan and follow in Loki’s footsteps.  Although I’m not sure anyone would follow me under the earth and keep the venom from dripping in my eyes.  So maybe being a sweetly smiling liar is better.  (Well, laugh!)


*  That quote was taken from here: Bitter Lessons, Loki in Life and Lore

Woods and Witches

Last night I wandered no the woods near my house, something I’ve missed doing while living on the other side of the state.   Since we’ve moved ‘home’ I haven’t done this as much as I’d like, something I plan on changing. 

Anyway, it was twilight after a rainstorm and the forest was dark and full of night-sounds as I wandered. There is a trail and to one side was the woods and marsh while on the other side is a highway. The two worlds are so close to each other, separated only by a thin swath of dirt and weeds. 

I felt myself poised between both halves of my life – the ancient and modern, the mundane and the magical. I’ve felt this before (I’m sure many of us have) but what made this different is that, for once, I didn’t feel torn between the two.  I was poised, balanced. 

Perhaps it last because I was in a city for so long, cut off from the large swaths of woodlands that populate my home town. Perhaps it’s because I wanted to be more ‘scholarly’, but I’d forgotten how comforting the night woods are, how connected to the land I become when I’m in them. 

I was full of night-thoughts, of how this is the connection I’ve been missing. This is what has been lacking in my practice. I’m a child of the woods, a being of earth and fire. I’ve tried to forget that, to be something I’m not.  It’s time for me to set my fingers into the loamy earth of my woods and relearn my childhood lessons. I open myself to the spirit of the forest. 

Return, o Witches, to the woods and wild. You won’t be disappointed. 

Loki and Change

Yeah, I’m still on this kick.  It probably won’t end any time soon.  I know a lot of people don’t like him but he’s gotten back into doing my daily practice AND talking to my other Gods.  Something I’ve been apathetic about for several years now.

So….

In doing research tonight I read a part that really resonated with my current situation:“Change causes both obstacles and opportunities but it rarely gives us exactly what we want; we have to work for that. Life isn’t supposed to be easy, a point often reflected in the Old Religion.”

Case in point… I applied for a similar position at a different company.  They called me and I have a phone interview tomorrow.  Am I doing this because I need to?  Or because I want to change something and this is the easiest thing?  I don’t know but after tonight you can damn sure bet I’ll be thinking about it.  Because I don’t really need to change my job, I’m slowly getting out of the department I’m in and I’m pretty sure I’ll persevere in the end.

Just.  There are times when I get, for lack of a better word, itchy.  I want to do something different, break out of the rut (real or perceived), shake things up.  And am I doing it because it’s necessary or because I can?  The article also said: “…and change for the sake of change is chaos.”   And part of me feels that would be right up Loki’s alley.

In my defense, I just started actually studying about him.  Before now it’s all been what little I remember from my long ago comparative literature classes as well as odds and ends I picked up as a child.

Maybe I’ll have an answer the next time I’m here.

Dream

Before I talk about the dream, I wanted to say that my life has been insane.  I’ve been working 50 hour weeks in a department I hate and when I get home I’m exhausted and in pain.  Not good conditions for Wrenn to pay attention to her spirituality.

Fast forward to today.

My grey cat is sitting beside me, watching me, trying to insinuate himself onto my lap.  His purr rattles my bones and yet is comforting.  I only mention said kitty because I’ve recently determined that Loki shows himself to me, from time to time, as a small grey cat.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Last night I had a dream.   The facts of something as nebulous as a dream tend to get lost pretty easily, this one is no exception.  Pertinent details have been lost between sleeping and waking, blurred and muddied by thinking about them and trying to piece it all together in my head.

What I’m certain of: Loki of the sly, crooked smile appeared in my dream.  He was agitated, perhaps unhappy.  Perhaps angry.  Definitely in a state of high emotion.  My pulse in the dream picked up, worry blanketed me.  The background swirled into hazy lines of charcoal grey and green.  Loki (maybe physically, maybe not) grabbed me and dragged me to my altar.  I don’t remember actually feeling him touch me, so I’m not sure how I ended up there.

I woke with my heart pounding in my throat and a restless need to move. I was out of bed and walking before I consciously decided to do so, then I felt silly and convinced myself to go back to sleep.

When I got up for the day the dream was still lingering, it has followed me as an almost palpable miasma.

Now, I’ve toyed with the idea of Loki since Gina found him as a patron.  I’ve avoided him.  Hid from him.  Partly because of the Marvel movies but also because there is just something about Loki that stirs something uncomfortable within me.  Loki fascinates me, in that unpredictable and scary way snakes fascinate their prey.

Deep down, I’m afraid and I hate to be wrong.  What if Loki isn’t calling me?  What untamed roads will he lead me down?  How much of myself will I uncover or lose in the process?  Am I just drawn to him for his wild nature?

I just don’t know.  I hate not knowing.  I hate feeling uncertain.  All of this pushes my buttons but I need to stop pretending I don’t see him.  Right?

Leshachikha

Lady of the Forest,
Falling, Fallen
Only to be reborn.
Harsh protectress
marking your boundaries
with dusty leaves
and offering protection
to all within.


“Leshachikha’s themes are earth, nature, harvest, birth, and protection.  Her symbols are leaves and seeds.  A Goddess who sometimes appears as a Slavic forest, a wild animal, or a leaf, Leshachikha is said to have died in October and revived around this time of spring. She fiercely protects Her lands, not taking kindly to any who abuses them. In this manner She teaches us about reciprocity and nature’s fury. Additionally, Leshachikha’s watchful aspect can be applied to our figurative lands – for example, safeguarding our homes.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

forestgoddess