Changebringer

Hail Loki Changebringer, Hail to the Father of Strife,
Hail to the Healer Who breaks the bone to set it clean.
Hail to the One Who peels away the Shoulds and Coulds,
The One Who burned me down to the bones,
and then licked me clean.
Hail Father of Lies, for You are the truest One I know.
Hail to Him that will tread in places others fear to go.
Take away my masks, and give me back Myself.
Hail Loki Gift-Giver, because of You I am hale and whole.
Take me as Your offering; it is the only thing I have
Worthy enough for You.

Racism, Rape Culture, and Pagan Events

Originally posted on Pagan Activist:

3210478_xl–Shauna Aura Knight

Having just taught workshops at three of the big four Pagan conferences, and having attended a number of large Pagan festivals, I wanted to offer a bit of context for how some of these larger events have handled issues of social justice. While these events don’t represent the entire Pagan community, they do reflect issues and trends that ripple out to Pagans across the globe.

I’ve noticed a definite contrast in how specific events/communities are dealing with issues of racism, rape culture, harassment, cultural appropriation, transphobia, and other related issues. Some communities and events are actively embracing dialogue, and others don’t address these issues at all.

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the Pagan Experience: Gebo

Prompt:“What do you seek from the Divine? How is that reflected in the mundane? Where do you find your place of synthesis?”

I’m participating in the Pagan Experience as time and interest allow me. This is one of those prompts that inspires all kinds of thinky thoughts, because my understanding and experiences with this have changed as I’ve gone on in my relationship with Loki and Others, mainly Freyja and Freyr.

The facet of a Deity that each of us interacts with is a little different; I work a lot with Gift-Giver Loki, and so when someone asks me what I get out of my relationship with Him, my answer is: a LOT. I try not to abuse that – I’m a big believer in tackling a problem or issue at the mundane end as well as at a magical or spiritual level. Or as Silence Maestas put it in his post on this subject,

“I’d make a love pie and do a love spell. There’s nothing wrong with addressing a problem with multiple strategies to best leverage their respective advantages.”

At the start of Our relationship, I was often flummoxed when He would tell me to ask Him for things, because my only answer was, “I just want You.”

I’ve since gotten better at articulating things that I want or need from Him, and I know it gives Him pleasure to give gifts, so I don’t feel badly about asking anymore, but the fact remains – He is, of Himself, the most precious gift I could ever ask for; Loki is my Beloved, my heart’s desire, my passion, my joy, my darkest fantasy, and most fevered ecstasy.

If I got nothing but that out of my relationship with Loki, it would be more than enough. Or as Silence (again) eloquently put it,

“Relationship is not outcome. Relationship is not ends-oriented. Relationship is process, experience, the present moment.”

ruminations on leadership

I was chatting with a local pal recently about some shadow work we were doing, and it flowed into talking about leadership and alienation – that being a leader or seen as one in a community can be incredibly alienating because in our culture, there’s an Otherness to being the leader. It’s like being a parent – effective parenting isn’t about being a child’s friend, when they’re a child, anyway – once they’re an adult it’s okay and even a good thing, if you’ve had a healthy relationship.

But…should it be like a parental relationship? Should we be working on a different model? Because burnout happens to leaders often enough that people leave, they stop participating, they stop interacting, because no one ministers to them when they hurt *, and no one steps up for fear of stepping on toes, rocking the boat, etc.

I feel the need at this point to state that my friend and I were talking solely about local stuff, so please don’t infer that we were shittalking anyone on the Internet. We weren’t; this was about our local community, and even then, we weren’t picking on anyone locally either. This is a pattern that happens, and it’s unhealthy, and so we were talking about how to keep that pattern from repeating.

I can’t speak for everyone who’s been inadvertently sucked into a leadership position, but I can tell you that the things that I find troubling are the notions that perfection should be a Thing – putting aside the thought that perfection is arbitrary as fuck – it tends to make me less personable and less inclined to let people near me. I don’t think this is actually something that Loki wants or ever wanted for me. I’m not perfect, and there are no perfect leaders. There absolutely are leaders or teachers who are not right for me, or not right for you – that’s not a ding on any given leader/teacher, that’s just how it is. There is a difference between people who fuck up occasionally and people who engage in troubling behaviors often, or who repeat the same mistake over and over; then it’s time for an intervention, or if the person isn’t amenable to aid, removing a toxic person from your life.

And the point of this post is not necessarily to have the “right” answer to Pagan leadership. I hope it stimulates thought, both about the types of masks we don for leadership and whether or not they are healthy for ourselves and others.

* I feel the need to mention that when I lost my father last year, I only had one person who volunteered to sit with me when I cried, and that person doesn’t get nearly enough credit for how awesome they are. I love you. <3

Of Healthy Thought Forms and FhqwhGods.

Originally posted on Magick From Scratch:

Sometimes, we have deities, even within the pantheon we most often work with, who we just can’t get along with. Sometimes these relationships can get downright hostile. In this article, I am going to talk a little bit about how mythology and thought forms impact our relationships with deities, and how that process can potentially go wrong.

Thought forms are a normal and natural part of interacting with deities and always have been. They form the link between the divine beings we call and our imaginations. Gods cannot, no matter how much they might like to (especially if their names are Apollon) carry on long term relationships with mortals without a basic imaginative interface.

Think about it. What earthly reason would, for example, the embodiment of natural order and law need to have an hairless ape form factor? How does the innate ability to do persistence running and being able to…

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Polytheism gets hard when you touch it

I have twelve main gods: the Trickster, the Mad God, the Huntress, the Lover, the Lord of the Deeps, the Mother of Monsters, the Lightbringer, the Dragon, the Lady of the Ways, the Good Land, the Raven Queen and the Phantom Queen.

The way I see my gods is a bit weird. It’s not hard polytheism, but it’s not exactly soft polytheism, either.

I relate first and foremost to them as Archetypal Beings, whom I refer to with titles, then as individual cultural deities after that. I say I’m married to Loki and Morpheus, but it’s a kind of a convenient shorthand. I’m married to the Trickster and the Mad God. Loki and Morpheus are names they will respond to. There are other names they’ll respond to, as well, but each name brings a different facet to the forefront.

via I’m really not a hard polytheist. | Mud and Lightning.

This is a post by a member of my kindred, and while I’ll admit bias because they’re a friend, I think their whole entry is worth reading. It does elicit the thinky thoughts in me; some of my adventures in hard polytheism aren’t as hard as you might think, and of course, I wondered why? I’m undecided but I have a couple trains of thought (and I reserve the right to change my mind given new information…or whatever else Loki throws at me).

Loki answers to Loki; it’s what He calls Himself and so that’s the name I use for Him. That’s a simple, pragmatic thing – if He wanted to be named Someone Else I’d flail but I’d brain it and deal with it, eventually.

But, and there’s always a but – there’s a lot of Loki. There’s the Loki known in the Lore, but we all know that the Lore that was canonized left out a LOT – not just about Himself but about many of our Gods, and most especially our Goddesses, many of Whom all we have left are names and not what They did. Is Frigga, Whose name means “Beloved” really a name or a title? We have no Lore to answer that. And refusing to venture out side of the written Lore is to deny Them a seat at the table, and to treat Them as if They are unworthy of worship.

Deities change and grow over time, and it’s my doxa that you can run into a Deity in various states because for Them, time is not linear, and so the Loki Who just met Odin is a very different Loki than the One trapped in the cave. I’m gonna get a little more woo now and say that I’ve met a Loki who is/was whatever the Vanir and Jotuns were back before They split (yeah I know, not in the Lore, no fucks givens because Vanatruar PCPG) – I didn’t get a name for the people, they were just The People. That’s doubly fascinating to me because there are a crapton of depictions of Himself with pointed ears; when we see Him that way, is it because He wants show that this is where He is in mythic time? Maybe. And because of timey wimey things like this, that may be why sometimes we Someone Who is very archetypal.

Maybe.

Because I also know this: there’s a lot of Loki. More than I can perceive and understand, and so if someone’s perception of Him is dramatically different than mine, it’s just as valid. I get hard polytheist Loki, most of the time, but the more archetypal form of Him that I do see, I’d say isn’t even Trickster, it’s more Wild God. And if that’s not brain breaky enough, I’ve seen Freyr be the Wild God too, but Freyr’s Wild God feels different than Loki’s, so maybe even in the archetypal, there’s still something individualist. Maybe.

So, does that mean that the Wild God is an aspect of Loki or that Loki’s a particular version of the Wild God? Is it a mask that They wear to teach or teach us?

No clue, y’all. And yanno what?

dean_i_dont_careTL;DR Soft polytheism turns hard when you touch it, at least if you’re me.