Loki’s Lost Children

Beautiful, heartbreaking poem.

All Their Voices

Nobody ever asks me if I loved them.

When people talk about my children, they mention

the mount Odin gained from me,

the serpent that encircles the world,

the daughter who rules over the dead,

and the wolf that will devour my blood-brother

when all things end.

Very rarely do they think of those other children I sired,

laying with love in the arms of my wife,

begetting two sons within her body,

watching them grow up strong and swift and sound.

When they are mentioned, in learned debates,

it is only as an afterthought:

“He was bound with the entrails of one of his sons,

who was torn apart by the other,

after that one was transformed into a wolf.”

Never more than that.

No one talks about me watching the babes

slide from my beloved’s body,

wet with the fluids that they floated in,

watching them take their…

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Why Can’t We Be Friends?

Many of us went through a phase wherein we were angry toward Christians and we believed certain historical inaccuracies were fact. The latter can include taking things out of context. The former can result in having a hateful attitude toward people just because they identify as Christian. Being part of a minority religion or spirituality is tough. History is filled with atrocities. These are facts. These are also affected by one another. However, I urge Pagans and witches to take a moment to breathe and take a closer look before going down the path of righteous anger. Being disrespectful toward others who may mean well and who may even be willing to learn does no good.

I don’t write this to convince anyone to “turn the other cheek”. I am one who believes in standing up for oneself and speaking truth. “Harm none, unless they fuck with me and those I care for” is my preferred rule. I am also one who, admittedly, still struggles with a mistrust of Christians I don’t know well. So, why would I want my fellow Pagans and witches to be kind to Christians? After all, there are still cases of people who lose jobs and lose custody of their children for being Pagan or practicing witchcraft. We are ridiculed, harassed and have even been killed for not being Christian. In the United States, such discrimination is illegal and the worst of it appears to be less common. But it does happen. On top of that, Pagan traditions were stolen and co-opted for Christian holidays. Actually, that last “fact” isn’t quite so black and white. While many were forced into Christianity, there is such a thing as syncretism and that did play a huge role in many modern traditions.
Yes, we do have a right to be angry sometimes. When injustices happen, we have every right to scream and curse and demand justice. When the truth is hidden, we have every right to reveal it. That does not mean being disrespectful to someone based only on their religion.

This can also extend to other groups within the Pagan community. Some of us are looked down upon for honoring certain deities. Lokeans are getting shit on by other Heathens and Pagans because of misconceptions about, not only us, but our god! As if we don’t get enough misunderstanding and ridicule from people outside the Pagan community.

My point is, as the title says: Why can’t we be friends? No. Not even that, to be honest. Why can’t we at least be respectful? Stand up for yourself and others when needed, speak the truth. That’s what the Lokean community is doing right now in light of a recent article that painted us and Loki in a bad light. But, treat others how you’d like to be treated and be willing to give individuals a chance if they haven’t already fucked up.

To take this a step further, I want to include the importance of community. Most of those I notice who hold such resentment are either newer Pagans or they aren’t part of a community. Even being a lurker within the online communities (locally-based and otherwise) can help one feel less alone and help to educate them.
At some point, we eventually learn that many (if not all) of the “witches” killed during the “Burning Times” were actually Christians, our traditions were blended by the very ancestors to whom they originally belonged, and there is only pain if we allow ourselves to stagnate with hatred. Following discussions from within the Pagan community can help to clear up many of the misconceptions that new Pagans may have, as well as point all of us in the directions of what we need to fight for.

Group Lokean Letter the Wild Hunt Declined to Publish

LadyOfTheLake

This letter was submitted to The Wild Hunt weekend editor on Nov. 30th and declined Dec. 1. Feel free to copy and paste this letter in its entirety, along with signatures, and share as you will on your own blogs and social media. Update! See Ky Greene’s Lokean Community article here!

A Lokean Group Response to Karl Seigfried’s “Loki in the White House”

We are concerned about the religious bigotry and intolerance against our community and religious practices, as conveyed in Karl E.H. Seigfried’s recent column “Loki in the White House,” The Wild Hunt, Nov. 24, 2018.

Those who cultivate a relationship with the Norse god, Loki, are a minority among neopagans. Our individual practices are eclectic, nondogmatic, and individualistic.
By equating Loki with certain cherry-picked actions of the current president of the United States, Seigfried suggests that we who cultivate a relationship with Loki do not understand our…

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Parenting With Anxiety.

Every parent who tries to stay involved with their child’s school functions knows the hectic atmosphere of a school event. The cacophony of 50+ students (if not hundreds), plus their parents is far from a calming event. For somebody whose anxiety can be triggered by loud noises or hearing multiple people speaking all at once, it can be an incredibly unpleasant experience. Yet, as parents, we often do things for our children despite how difficult it can be. We can’t quite help it.

There are many things in parenting that can be difficult on an anxious parent. Many of these things are spoken of often. Many new mothers constantly check to make sure their baby is still breathing at night. We worry about how our child is doing while staying the night at someone else’s home. Parents are often afraid their child will get hurt when learning to ride a bike or play a sport. It’s completely normal to have worries and fears where our children are concerned. When they cause us to behave in irrational ways, as is wont to happen when anxiety is involved, these normal worries and fears can cause a problem.

Good parenting includes being able to differentiate between irrational anxiety and legitimate concerns. Yes, anxiety is legitimate. But the reasons it tells us to worry about aren’t always so. My baby was going to breathe just the same even if I got sleep while she did. While I do make sure that I know the parents/ guardians of whoever my child is having a sleepover with, I do let her go when schedules allow and I don’t constantly call to check on her. I encourage my daughter to ride a bike and, if I can afford the classes, will encourage her to take up sports that she can get hurt in.
With my own experience with anxiety, I know that there are times when I will become irrationally worried that something bad will happen to the babysitter (usually a grandmother) and my child will be left alone. I have had nightmares concerning my child that made me second guess leaving her for any period of time. As in any situation, it’s important to not let the anxiety take the reigns in our decision making. We can not prevent our children from going out into the world, nor can we always have the luxury to stay home from work.

Even when the anxious parent is able to ignore that voice in our subconscious that tells us Bad Thing might happen to our child, we still have the anxiety poking at us from other directions. This brings us back to that aforementioned school event.
Depending on the level of anxiety one is experiencing, it can either be a mildly unpleasant experience or it could feel terrifying. Sometimes you don’t know what you’re going to get. In the case of the school event, any given person’s response can range from being unaffected by the noise to needing to leave. If a parent chooses to go to one of these events, they most likely didn’t want to miss it to begin with and needing to leave for any reason can bring about guilt. So there’s the choice: Do I suck it up and hope the panic/ anxiety attack doesn’t worse, or do I step outside and risk missing out?
As parents, we often do things for our children even when it’s difficult for us. As parents with mental health problems, we will push through them for our children as much as possible.

People Don’t Always Want To Know

I recently saw a quote accredited to Terry Pratchet: “Ordinary fortune-tellers tell you what you want to happen; witches tell you what’s going to happen whether you like it or not. Strangely, witches tend to be more accurate but less popular.”
It is said that the women in my family have “Feelings”; we just happen to know things sometimes without any good explanation and we sometimes dream of things to come. I believe this is fact, based on my own experiences with clairvoyance and prophetic dreams. Most of the women in my family would never call herself a witch. It’s a mostly Christian family, with a smattering of us who are either non-religious or (in my case, at least) pagan. In any case, I feel the quote applies well regardless of the label used.
There are people who say they believe in psychics, but they’re only interested when they seek them out and often only if it’s something they want to hear. If you’re somebody who has a Gift for Knowing, you may feel it your duty at times to speak up when something might go wrong. At the same time, it’s looked down upon and can come across as rude. People usually, understandably, don’t appreciate unwanted advice. And, nobody wants bad news or even to unexpectedly get their hopes up for something that may not have cemented into reality just yet. We have to be careful with how or when we tell someone something that’s not based on hard evidence.

Here I will share a few personal examples:

1. A young woman very close to me was getting ready to move out of state with her boyfriend. The only thing she had told me at that point is that she was pregnant. Meanwhile, I had a dream with strong symbolism telling me that she would suffer a difficult betrayal after making a life-changing decision. Sort of a “bitten by someone you trust” sort of deal. This was one of those dreams that you immediately know isn’t just a run of the mill dream. Because she was so important to me and she knew about our family’s Gifts, I made the decision to tell her about the dream. That same day, she told me of her plans and I figured out more specifically what the warning was about. I gave her my thoughts on her decision, but informed her that I will support whatever decision she made. She followed through and the future I predicted came to be. She was returned home with her baby and was out in a less than easy living situation. Thankfully, the trouble passed as they do and things got better for her.

2. My family had 3 cats, one of which was newly adopted, but all were healthy and kept indoors. One day, I had a sudden realization that one of the cats was going to die within a few months. The feeling was so strong that it terrified me. I know the intrusive thoughts that anxiety can bring don’t have the same feeling of certainty, yet I convinced myself that’s all it was. Surely enough, within a short time, one of our cats began to get sick. She was the one my husband was most attached to. I didn’t have the heart to tell him what I already knew and I stayed in a state of denial. Within a few short months, she was too sick to go on and passed away. If I had told my husband, would it have caused him more pain or would it have allowed him a chance to prepare? I don’t know. When death is involved, I’m personally not comfortable with being the one to give a heads up.

3. There have been multiple times that I knew something was “off” about somebody, that their intentions weren’t in the best interest of others. The people surrounding them are often taken up in a spell, convinced that this person is a good friend or partner. Most of the time, I decide it’s none of my business. Without proof or a strong sense of urgency, I avoid meddling. Usually, these people find out the hard way. In one instance, I did warn somebody near and dear to me to be careful about some friendships they were building. Everything seemed innocent on the surface, but there was a nagging feeling that the new friends’ intentions weren’t so. It finally came out that the person I cared for had to cut ties after finding out their “friends” were trying to manipulate them into causing irreparable damage to their other relationships. This person was hurt deeply by the betrayal of trust. The warning was not taken seriously, but sometimes people do have to learn things on their own.

What I have learned from these experiences is this: Knowing things ahead of time doesn’t always spare the pain. People have to learn things on their own and experience troubles themselves. If you tell somebody something they don’t want to hear, you risk causing damage to your relationship with them and causing them unnecessary pain. It has left me wondering what the point in knowing is. Still, we do what we can with what we have.
As always, use common sense and respect for others in your interactions. My advice is to only discuss your predictions with people who you know are okay with it. Not sure? Ask them! It can be as simple as, “Hi. I had a dream/ feeling that something is going to happen in your life. Can I discuss that with you?” If they say no, that’s their decision and it should be respected. Knowing the future does not make you responsible for it.

6 Things I Want You To Know

As a Heathen pagan and witch, I know that the majority of people around me are only marginally familiar with paganism or witchcraft. Many of these people don’t even know what “Pagan” is and they think of pop-culture witches or the devil when somebody mentions witchcraft. Let’s think of this as part “About Me”, part “Things About X”. Obviously, I am only one person. I know that I can not speak for other pagans or witches. If you know how many various traditions/ religions/ spiritual paths there are within the wider Pagan and witchcraft umbrellas, you will surely understand.

1. Why I Am Pagan
Like many others, I grew up in a Christian family. We were mainly non-denominational, but it included Bible studies in my earlier childhood and going to church. Many Christians have spoken of finding their G-d, Jesus, or a church as being like finding home or like filling a hole in their life. I never found that in the church or in prayer. Praying for salvation, whether at home or at the altar, left me with a sense of something missing. It’s a bit of a shock when you see most everyone else crying tears of joy while you feel absolutely nothing. I even went through a phase as a young teenager where-in I read the Bible, prayed every night, and tried as hard as I could to be a “good Christian”. It didn’t work.
That contrasted greatly with the experiences I have had since I started learning about Paganism. It started with a friend telling me about Wicca, which led to nature-based religion, which led to finding my sense of home. Yes, my path has changed as I’ve grown older. While I once identified as Christo-Pagan, I transitioned to eclectic-Paganism, explored Celtic polytheism, and am now Heathen (Norse paganism). This sense of belonging, of feeling that I can question things and grow within my path, are really just the beginning of why I am pagan.

2. Don’t Call Me A Wiccan
You’ve heard that old saying “All Wiccans are witches, but not all witches are Wiccan”, yes? There are still people who assume that Witchcraft = Wicca. It doesn’t. Wicca is traditionally an initiatory religion that believes in a God and Goddess. Granted, many Wiccans are now eclectic and/or practice non-initiatory traditions of Wicca. Religions/ spiritual paths adapt with people, things change. Witchcraft, on the other hand, includes many both Wiccan and non-Wiccan traditions. Appalachian Granny Magic, Hoodoo/ Voodoo, and Seidr are only a few traditions that people who identify as witches may practice.
I am a witch, but I am not Wiccan. It’s not so much offensive to me that people confuse the two, as it is just confusing. It can open up doors to people making incorrect assumptions. Take the Wiccan Rede as an example: “An it harm none, do what you will”. I believe strongly in the right to self-defense and justice in magic, even if that means cursing. Sometimes people, even within the witchcraft and paganism communities, can forget that not everybody follows the same traditions (and therefore the same “rules”) that they do.

3. It Has Nothing To Do With Satan
You’ve read this far, you already saw the mention that I am not Christian. Satan/ Lucifer/ the Devil is a part of Christian mythology. (No disrespect meant – I call the lore that I believe in “mythology”, as well.) I do not believe in this being. Are there pagans and witches who do? You bet! Some are Christian or Christo-Pagan, others believe that ALL mythology is true, there are even Satanist/ Luciferians who believe in Satan/ Lucifer*. This is not true of most pagans or witches. As much as I loved The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, it’s not representative of our various beliefs. As witches, we believe in many things. Some of us believe in gods from a specific pantheon, nature spirits, and the ancestors. Some believe in nature and the inherent power within themselves. Some believe that their power derives from the Abrahamic G-d.
*It is important to add that Satanists as a general rule tend to be atheists of a sort and don’t have anything to do with literally worshipping the devil. In addition, those who do generally have moral standards that line up well with our society’s general views of right and wrong.

4. Heathenry Is Not For White Supremacists
You hear that, Neo-Nazi scum? Our gods do not belong to you! Actually, I really am saying this for everyone who may have that misconception. By “Heathenry”, I do include Asatru as an example, which has gotten a bit of a bad rep within the pagan community. Our gods are disabled, mixed-race, queer, among many other things. I already wrote post about this topic, so I’m not going to get too deep into it now. Just felt it important to reiterate: Heathenry belongs to everyone, regardless of ancestry, sexuality, gender, political views, or physical ability. You can find some amazingly diverse Heathens if you look in the right places. If you’re interested in Heathenry, but are afraid that you won’t belong because you don’t fit the “right demographic”, please know that you do belong and many of us will welcome you with open arms.

5. Loki Is Not The Heathen Satan
Really, for gods’ sakes. Loki is not some Scandinavian Devil-figure. He is a Trickster-figure, yes. He is complicated, absolutely! But, he is not some embodiment of evil! Even among the Heathen community, there are those who have this huge misconception of him. People think that having “monstrous” children and bringing about Ragnarok is so horrible. Okay, put that way… I know how it sounds. However, I believe that many Heathens are still looking through a Christianized lense that requires a point blank bad guy. Even the Eddas were written down by Christians after years of oral storytelling – it happens. It is worthwhile to remember that the other gods have done some problematic things, as well. Not only that, but one can find a connection to humanity and purpose in what we know of the gods. This includes Loki.
Loki cut Sif’s hair, but he took responsibility and tried to make it right. This resulted in his bringing back gifts that included, not only magical-growing hair made out of gold for her, but Mjolnir! He aided in ensuring that the wall around Asgard would be quickly built. Yes, even through trickery. This is how he gets shit done. Loki may not always have the best interests of others in mind as far as we can tell, but he plays a critical part in the mythology. In addition to this, need I remind anyone of Lokka Tattur? This is the Faorese ballad in which a peasant lost a bet with a giant, and asks the gods for assistance to save his son. It is Loki that succeeds in saving the peasant’s son and defeating the giant. Loki isn’t all that bad.

6. Give Me A Break With The Positivity Nonsense
All over the web, they lurk: the “love and light” New Agers. This is often prevalent within the witchcraft and paganism communities. They’ll tell you that if you think positive thoughts, good things will happen. Bad things happen because you’re not positive enough. Blah, blah, blah. I’m not saying that the idea of positivity itself is trash, but there is a point where it becomes toxic. Without going too far into detail on the negative impacts of positivity culture, I do want to clear something up: You don’t have to believe in it to be a pagan or witch! If you do take this to extremes, many people will call you a “fluffy bunny” and not take you seriously. The opposite end of the spectrum is true, as well. You don’t have to be all dark and broody to be a pagan or witch. Just be yourself! Some people are naturally more positive, others lean more toward the dark, but most of us are somewhere within the grey. That’s perfectly okay!