Regarding Loki, Part 3 – Flyte of the Concord

In Part 2, I strongly implied that I was going to be comparing Loki against the other gods of the Norse pantheon.  It was my intent to reveal the hypocrisy in certain sects within Heathenry by simply demonstrating how we could use a similar bias and cast any of our gods in a negative light.  It was intended to be a flyting of conservative delusions; a field guide to the pretensions and hubris of those who use poor research to justify what they already wish to believe.

My intentions were good, but I recently realized that I was being an asshole.

To castigate the divine as a means to prove mundane stupidity is, no matter the intention, stupidity itself.  It was a self-serving, self-righteous, and selfish act…and when that realization hit home?  It proved the mother of an even more upsetting epiphany.

I was setting myself up to act exactly like the people I was trying to fight.  All the faux scholars?  All of the wannabe Klingon/Samurai Thorsman?  All of the “intellectuals” who don’t know how to read old Norse, but insist that everyone else needs to in order to make commentary on anything of import?  All of the overly folkish sorts who don’t want any voice in the crowd except the ones that agree with their own opinions?  In my attempt to counter that dross, I was about to take a plunge into the very same stagnation.  I would have hurt the very religious tolerance and equilibrium I was trying to defend and maintain, and my article would have ended up as the same sort of pretentious tripe that I am so staunchly against.

How do any of you manage these opinions?  These attacks?  This hate?  I just existed on the outskirts of it for a moment, and I found it exhausting; I have no idea where you people find the energy.

So let us shift our course, and allow me to be plain here; when you violently deny Loki?  You slander both him and those who worship him without thought. Not only that, you insult Thor (his frequent companion in adventures), Odin (oath-brother and also a companion in various adventures), Slepnir (Odin’s horse), Mjolnir and Gungnir(the greatest weapons of the gods, who he was the patron of),  Freya (he saved her from being married to a Giant), the moon and sun (whom he saved from being the possession of giants), and Skathi (who was pacified by Loki; her father’s murderer).  Even worse, I see that many pronounce these statements with a purposeful exclusions of lore and history as it suits the speaker.

So that is our gods, our folk, and our lore; all battered and badgered with a single stroke.  Is this really what you want?  Is this the truth that you seek?  The religion that your viewpoint creates, in isolation, is one where speculative spirituality must be reigned in by scholarly zealotry…and in history, we see zealotry turns from harsh words to closed fists quite quickly.  Do you want a faith where if the concept isn’t a hundred years old, it must take a majority of it’s material from an equally venerable stance to even be considered relevant?  Where the very notions of personal interpretation and change are seen as attacks, instead of a natural part of religious and social growth?

The Wotanists are often called the Westboro Baptists of our faith; the metaphor has a pretty well worn history.  I’m not sure how much I like the practice of metaphoring ourselves in parody of the Christian faiths.  Yet, here we are, where the obvious correlation is to call these peudo-intellectuals a metaphorical version of Catholicism.  To draw the correlation between parallal lines of semantically obsessed old men, who have more concerns for the letter of our faith then the spirit of it.

Even that comparison is too complementary; at least the Catholics have enough material to work from.  They have entire libraries of scripture, commentary, and philosophy that speaks of their faith.  They have enough material from which to build a “solo scriptorum” framework…and while it’s not for me?  If that speaks to the inner soul, then I welcome them to it.

What we have, however, is a handful of worn documents, transcribed by monks with moralistic conceits and beliefs that cast a stark contract from those of the culture they were writing about.  Is that something we all grasp, or are you only allowed to remind people of that I you can read Norwegian?

I hear a lot of people dismissing the ideas and writing of others; the standard insult is accusing people of trying to be the first “Asa-Pope”.  Come on, be honest; you’re only envious that someone is paying attention to their point of view and not yours.  When I hear the accusation of someone trying to be the chosen leader, I don’t usually hear concern or irritation; I hear envy.

So, instead of saying something worthy of paying attention to?  You build strawmen out of ad hominems, and attack them like any “true” Scotsman would.  It’s all bluff and bluster, because I don’t think you even care about being right anymore; you’re just want people who disagree with you to be wrong.  It seems that some of you no longer care about strong research, backing well written points; it’s about a binary lynch mob, directed toward any opinion that is disliked or said by someone disliked.

I haven’t been blessed with hate-mail of my own yet, but I’ve seen some of the stuff that is out there.  Let me be frank, for one moment, and say that such childish bickering weakens us all.  That is no statement made for a flyte; every one of us ends up looking like children.  Gods, wasn’t this the reason so many of you have said you left Christiandom?  To be rid of pointless egotism and infighting?  Please tell me you didn’t leave all that self-serving braggadocio you complained about, simply on the merit that it wasn’t the stuff that you had personally created/

When I offered a close friend a look at this article in an early state, their advice was to end on a positive note.  At first, I wasn’t sure of how I might achieve this; I felt spitefully sour, angrily acidic, and terribly tired.  However, I recalled reading Gronbech, and feeling moved.  Thusly, I turned to The Culture of Teutons, looking for some solace.  I was not disappointed.

Frith is the state of things which exists between friends. And it means, first and foremost, reciprocal inviolability. However individual wills may clash in a conflict of kin against kin, however stubbornly individual heads may seek their own way according to their quota of wisdom, there can never be question of conflict save in the sense of thoughts and feelings working their way toward an equipoise in unity. We need have no doubt but that good kinsmen could disagree with fervour, but however the matter might stand, there could – should, must inevitably – be but one ending to it all; a settlement peaceable and making for peace – frith.  A quarrel had no lethal point.  Two kinsmen could not lift a hand one against the other. The moment a man scented kinship, he lowered his arms.

– Vilhelm Gronbech, The Culture of the Teutons

We don’t need to agree.  We simply need to get along; nothing more.  I couldn’t care less what any of you think of Loki in the privacy of your own home, at the sacred space of your own altar.  Perhaps it’s time that, some of you, afforded the same respect to the rest of the mead hall.Mead Hall

Sit by me.  Hail the gods with me.  Accept everyone at the table, so long as they accept you.  Share wisdom.  Share respect.  Share frith.  Be Heathen.  Truly Heathen.  Our gods, no matter their name, have the right to expect that much from us.  All of us.

8 thoughts on “Regarding Loki, Part 3 – Flyte of the Concord

  1. I needed this, I was about to launch into a headbutting the wall session on my blog about people’s views on Loki, it made me rethink what I want to say instead of shouting expletives, telling them that they are being stupid, and wasting valuable time on trying to convince them of these things.

    Thank you, I enjoyed what you wrote, it made me feel much better, I am glad you were able to work through your own internal conflict to an amicable (for you) ending.

  2. Myriad says:

    *starts clapping*

    Well said! You got the like for the title alone because this: (Flight of the Conchords — Freaky) is one of my favourite Loki-songs of all time. But I have to say, I agree with what you’re saying, too.

    You capture so well why I always felt weird saying/considering saying/ reading others saying things like “but Odin did [insert]”, or, “but Skadi is Jotun too” or, favourite, “but They broke Their oaths when it became apparent that the mason was a Jotun” etc.

    What really gets me, though, is that self-fulfilling prophecy argumentation that it is impossible to maintain even grith with Lokeans, because He’s the sower of discord etc, etc—after casting aspersions that you would have to be Ghandi in order not to react to. People come in, poison the atmosphere and then accuse “those Lokeans because they ruin everything”. What do you do in such a case, except try as you might to keep a civil tongue in your mouth, disengage, and continue to honour your Gods?

    • Thank you very much!

      I like punish titles, especially if I can work in a double entendre in there somewhere. I actually must confess that I didn’t see the movie, but the title worked so well (a contentious word linked to a more peaceful, contemplative one) that I couldn’t pass it up.

      What I find pretty humorous about the anti-Lokean sentiments is the subtle, often unnoticed disconnect between how many problems Lokeans actually cause versus how many problems in potentia that they are blamed for. It’s really staggering. That might be the subject of Part 4, actually. I was already considering it….but I’m on the fence because it involves telling a story that I’m not sure I’m ready to tell.

      • Myriad says:

        Never tell anything you’re not prepared to tell, and that includes people dragging whatever it is through the mud—I made a very bad experience with that once; it concerned the complex of worship, work for, serve, work with, honour etc. a Deity, and whether or not Loki wants it.

        It wasn’t pretty; I simply wasn’t prepared to deal with ridicule on such a personal level… so if you don’t feel 100% comfortable sharing your story, then don’t. I’m certainly not putting any pressure on you!

  3. My story is almost entirely mundane and, ironically, doesn’t even include Loki until the end; it’s about how I came to see Loki and his followers after the dust cleared. In either case, it’s not people’s reactions to it that I have an issue with. It was just a year of my life, and the tail end of that year took me to some very dark, very painful places.

    I don’t know if it’s “right” to tell this story…and if it is, I don’t know if I can do it the justice the story deserves.

    As for UPG and spiritual experience? My collection of such eventsis next borders non-existent. I have passion for my gods; perhaps they have some for me? In either case, someone hasn’t payed their celestial cell phone bill. I’ve had prayers answered…but there is never fanfare or anything of the sort.

    • Myriad says:

      Ah, I understand. Yeah, I have a story like that too, and like you, I’m not sure whether it’s right to tell it. Maybe sometime later.

      as for the rest of my comment, I didn’t mean UPG or mystical experience so much. but rather the way we approach our Gods. (Do we revere Them, worship Them? Do we try and keep Them at arm’s length? Do we kneel to Them or stand? And if so, why? What do They want us to do?). You don’t have to be all “woo” to have one opinion on that topic, or another; heck, I’m not “woo” by most people’s standards 😉 . And back when I talked about it, I was just expressing my attitude towards (in that case) Loki.

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