Recently, a friend of mine had to tell someone a harsh truth. I am kind of her backup on this work, so it is giving me much food for thought. The talk was uncomfortable, and all the repercussions of her work are not through, but it got me thinking about how one conveys this sort of delicate information, and whether or not it’s done delicately at all.
There’s a culture among Lokeans for being a little harsh. Blame it on the Lokasenna, on the type of people we are (and I said “we” for I am not excluded), whatever. But if we look at the lore, Loki very rarely breaks out His Worldbreaker persona, and as Elizabeth Vongvisith pointed out, He didn’t get away with it, if getting away with it means that there were no repercussions.
What we say, and how we say it are both crucial. Speaking of Elizabeth, she once had to convey some information to me that was very potentially upsetting. She chose her words carefully as she said what needed to be said, and it was done in a way that was both honest and respectful. It was also delivered in private, which I think is also important in terms of respecting not even just the recipient, but the community in general, lest concerns devolve into gossip. Instead of being angry with Elizabeth and her words, I developed even more respect and admiration for her. I often think of her example on the occasion that I have to deliver what might be unwelcome news.
And really, in many ways this is much more Lokean – Loki is a bridge between worlds far more often than He is a breaker of them in the Lore. You can’t link disparate cultures or worldviews by asserting that one is better than another. That is not community building or consensus – it is conquest.
And that brings me around to the policing of belief, which is a hot button issue in general, and a sore spot for me. I was a general Pagan for many years before Loki decided to up the ante on my spiritual life, but I was a very laid back one. Ceremonial Magician? AWESOME. Hard Celtic Recon? FABULOUS. Fluffly Wiccan? GROOVY.
I. don’t. care. I enjoy hearing about other Trads and other belief systems, and I believe there is merit in all of them, whether I choose to internalize any of their beliefs or practices. And that is probably why He placed me at my local UU/CUUPs group, which is equally relaxed and eclectic. We cherish our diversity, and that is a very Lokean value.
But…when Loki asks me to police belief, particularly blasphemy, I cannot tell Him no, and whatever I think intellectually as a human goes out the window, so I am left wondering how to do it in such a way that respects the individual and yet conveys what He wants said. I don’t really have an answer yet, but since He likes me thinking out loud here on the blog on occasion, I thought I’d throw the pondering out to you all, gentle readers. Disrespect and blasphemy make it hard to see straight, let alone to be civil, you know?