Hi, I’m Dagulf, and I’m a Loki devotee.
Loki? You mean that handsome comic book villain with the antelope helmet? That’s a weird thing to worship…
No! Not that one!
I first became aware of Loki as a part of my life when I was around seven years old. I encountered him first as a friendly presence in my dreams, and then as a spiritual presence in my life. As my family was very spiritually open minded (my mother being mostly spiritual/agnostic and my father being some kind of Hermetic, Gnostic Christian fusion) they encouraged me in my spiritual explorations. My father got me my first book about Norse Mythology (The Children of Odin by Willy Pogany), where I first came to hear Loki’s stories. I read and re-read the stories about Loki and his family over and over again. I would act the stories out alone in my bedroom, pretend to be Loki, and sought out any books about him that I could get my hands on. A friend of my father’s in Reno, who owned the long-since-closed metaphysical Silver Sage Bookstore, heard about my interest in Loki and ordered me a copy of Freya Aswynn’s Northern Mysteries and Magic. These early brushes with Norse Paganism set me on a path of devotion for this forgotten god who became my personal god, and it’s one that I’ve never stepped off of, though it has wound through many different terrains.
I imagine this story would have been very different if I had been having dreams and visions about Jesus or the Virgin Mary at that age. I’m sure my devotion would have earned me the support of an enormous faith community, my experiences held up as evidence of God’s love and personal intercession in our lives. But it was one of my ancestral gods who came to get me, and alas, my ancestor’s traditions had been exterminated over 1,500 years before. The gods of my ancestors were denigrated as demons long ago, and fairy tale characters after that, then comic book characters after that, until any feeling of holiness and awe that may have once surrounded them had long been extinguished. As a result, my devotion to a deity in a spiritual system that was destroyed is usually viewed by everyday people as a strange eccentricity. I was born with the call to priesthood in my heart, but unfortunately for me, it was for a god that’s no longer revered by very many. Maybe I was born in the wrong time.
And why Loki of all gods? Out of the Germanic deities he is definitely an oddity, and his role in Old Norse Religion is still a mystery to scholars and polytheists alike. I can’t even definitively prove that Loki was ever a figure of cult worship, even when his religions of origin had existed. That in particular has served as an enormous source of grief and frustration for me over the years: with his ancestral religions wiped out, I may never receive any clear validation that my god was one who was loved and honored by people before me. I suspect he was, but the accusation that he wasn’t (therefore presumably invalidating my devotion) was one I was often faced even from other Heathens and Pagans.
But that selfless love, that click of “rightness” and “completeness” that you’re supposed to feel when encountering divinity happened with Loki, in a way that I’ve never felt it for another deity. That love has carried me through many interesting places and experiences, and my understanding of who and what Loki is has grown and changed and evolved with time. Many ancient religions have talked about the idea of a soul having a personal deity that serves as the guide of their destiny. I’m sure Loki must be mine.
There is an obvious resurgence of interest in reclaiming the gods and goddesses whose religions weren’t abandoned out of dissatisfaction, but systematically beaten and murdered out of existence in a little acknowledged global genocide. Thankfully, many deities who may seem “strange” focuses of worship to the average person are receiving veneration again. My current thoughts on this ties into my own personal belief on the nature of divinity.
Beyond our cultural understanding of different gods and goddesses, beyond the images of them and understandings of them that we hold, I believe that all gods, goddesses, spirits, etc are all formed from the same void of creation that gave birth to every star, every galaxy, literally everything in the universe. This isn’t a single creative deity, so much as it is a neutral womb of creation. The surviving Norse legends called it Ginnungagap. Other traditions may have personified he/she/it as the Star Goddess, Quakoralina, Nuit, Olodumare, and many other names. I see the gods as the first children of this force of life that is all things, and therefore any deity, no matter how recently they have been worshipped, are windows into the infinity of all creation. To me, Loki isn’t just that weird god who had sex with a horse once (but yeah, that’s a thing). He’s my divine link. By pouring our love into a god as an act of devotion, we grow close enough to that god to flow into them, and beyond them, and touch that force of creation that all things emerged from. We might even touch that point within ourselves where we realize that we too are cells within the body of this infinite force of creation and destruction
Sorry! I’m floating off into space. Let’s bring it back down. Love for a god isn’t a means to an end to gain enlightenment or rewards, it is the end in itself. By finding that face of the divine that matches our life’s callings, our understanding of the world, that makes our heart beat faster, we are gifted with an inner source of personal purpose and strength that many people never get the chance to experience. Maybe if the spread of Monotheism hadn’t destroyed Loki’s culture, I would have had the guidance of elders along walking his road, and all the joys and pitfalls following the path of a sacred trickster has brought into my life. Or maybe I would have had the support of a cultus filled with other devotees to help me walk his mysteries and initiations, and reflect my love, experiences and understanding. As that is not the case, I’ve had to forge my own understanding of Loki’s mysteries, and find other like-minds along the way.
I hope to share some of those thoughts and experiences on this blog, for those who are interested, or who are walking Loki’s road with me.
To Hel with it, I’ll make my own Loki Cult.