It’s taken a long time for me to return to Loki…
Some of it has been due to some other matters on my plate, but by and large? What else can I say? How can I say it? At this point, people who have made strong opinion on this matter aren’t willing to be wrong. Loki is their Satan, because that’s what they want him to be. I almost shelved the series indefinitely, until I recalled one of Loki’s greatest tools.
The uncomfortable truth.
So let’s take a quick look at some of percieved truths of Loki’s detractors, and see what they really look like when you stop for a second and read between the lines.
What seems to be agreed upon: Snorri Sturluson’s recounting of our myths and legends shows that Loki is an enemy of the Gods.
The uncomfortable truth: Snorri Sturluson also suggested that they weren’t gods, but mortal men who people thought of as gods. Also, that they were from Asia. Lastly, he makes such a sorry example for a Faux-Heathen Moses, the only way he could have been worse is to have also been elected the Pope.
Snorri Sturluson was not the last great Heathen skald, who wrote down the legacies of his ancestors in some final tribute to them. The Prose Edda is not a literary time capsule, containing the carefully coded secrets of our ancestors. He was not a holy man, and his life doesn’t portray him as such. He was a politician who also knew a great deal about history as written by the Christian scholars who transcribed it. He we famous in his time as a poet and statesman, and that’s about it.
If you were nice, you’d call him clever and intelligent. If you were not nice, you’d call him an opportunistic coward. Seriously, the man left his cousin on the field of battle due to a disagreement over chain of command. For someone that they treated as the writer of scripture, the man is a pretty piss poor role model. There is some evidence that he couldn’t read the runes, which makes his status as some unquestionable authority even more laughable. For the sake of the Gods, he isn’t even our faith! He is no different than any other Christian historian! Some of you go on and on about the evils of Christianity, and you take your dogma strait from a Christian scholar. It boggles the mind.
This isn’t to say that Sturluson is completely worthless, or even a bad person. He is, however, not the prophet of the Odin or the writer of the Heathen bible. We are not a revealed religion, and we do not have any reason to interpret the lore in a “solo scriptorium” sort of way. Even if our ancestors did have such a holy text, all we have is material scribed by a completely different faith that had no interest in turning our sagas and legends into anything but metaphors for their own faith.
What seems to be agreed upon: There is very little evidence of any sort of religious practice that surrounded Loki.
The Uncomfortable Truth: There isn’t a whole lot of evidence for religious practice, period. Many modern scholars don’t take the reconstruction effort surrounding the Norse pantheon seriously simply because so little has survived. We could be missing entire Deities from the Norse pantheon, and we wouldn’t even know it.
Every ancient text that you have read has been translated and/or transcribed by Christian scholars. Nothing written in any Saga or in any chapter of the Poetic Edda was recorded by someone who was a worshiper of our Gods. Even if they had been, it’s almost moot; our religion is not a revealed religion. There is no evidence that suggests that the Hammer Hollowing is anything but a modern invention, given to us by the Wiccan faith. Does anyone have that big of an issue with it? Does anyone storm out of sumble over it?
No, of course they don’t. Our religion is a living, breathing thing. If you want a holy, immutable texts…convert to a religion that has some. Our religion, by necessity, is made up of our best guesses and efforts to honor our Gods. If someone’s best guesses and efforts offend you, than that speaks volumes about the character of your person.
What seems to be agreed upon: That Loki worship is abhorrent to true Heathenry and/or Asatru.
The Uncomfortable Truth: If you actually say this out loud and mean it, you are showcasing you’re own warped priorities.
We can talk about the roots of Heathenry at length. That doesn’t change that the Heathenry faith is, in most cases, a young religion. It has roots that extended to more venerable practices, and a few of us even have traces of this via there own family traditions. Even those few of us who were brought up with a portion of spiritual heritage, however, will confess that much of our older lore has been lost. Our religion is tiny and young, and every issue that gains our collective consideration needs to be of the utmost importance.
So why is there any sort of back and forth on Loki?
Take a priority check here, folks. The path of our ancestors is under assault by racists. There are very few worship spaces worldwide, meaning the majority of us will never have the opportunity to see the inside of a Hof. Our most public figures are the ones that media can connect back to crimes and scandals. Our national organizations are split over politics, infighting, and hubris.
These are all important issues. Whether someone chooses to worship or pray to a God you don’t like is not.
You know who else castigates people who their own personal interpretation on religion? Mainstream Christianity…which a greater majority of us left because we were tired of seeing this sort of stupidity. If you denounce Loki’s worship and disregard frith and common sense in the process, you are now performing the exact same fundamentalist foolishness that you tried to get away from.
What is agreed upon: Loki is of Frost Giants lineage, thus he must be the enemy.
The Uncomfortable Truth: Take this to it’s logical conclusion, and than every single god of the Norse pantheon is the enemy of the Norse pantheon. This includes, but is not limited to, Thor, Odin, Tyr, and Baldr.
That is, of course, as long as you actually consider them Gods…and not just a few Asian warlords that our ancestors were duped into believing were Gods, as Snorri depicted. If you do consider them divine, however, almost every single divine being we have any history was born of Jotuns.
Of course, this is also a symptom of an even more bizarre problem. Are we going to demand our Gods march in for a background check before we worship them? Are we so fucking stupid that divine genetics is actually some sort of valid theological consideration? That we would think less of someone or malign them by virtue of them worshiping a genetically undesirable God? This is madness, and yet it’s only a stone’s throw away from where some of this discourse takes place.
There are better, more historically accurate arguments than I could ever voice that defend the worship of Loki. They consist of historical scholarship provided by people who have done their homework, researched the subject in other languages, and actually done something more than read the Prose Edda and call it a day. I’ve seen people bring these intelligent, well researched counter arguments to the table.
They are either ignored or told that they don’t count. They are told, in a condescending way, to go back and study the words of 12th century Christian historian if they want to see what a “real Heathen believes”.
One of these people is lying to themselves.
There is a Heathen couple that I consider very close friends. Our families hang out as often as our busy schedules will allow for, and I count them amongst my innangard. They do not worship Loki. They know I do. That is the beginning and ending of it. We respect each others differences, because we respect each other. It’s that simple. Hell, they belong to the AFA…and I’ve had a few unkind words to say in regards to that organization. I do not make the mistake of judging them as if they were the AFA, and they do not make the mistake of presuming that I speak for every person who venerates Loki.
I judge them as I judge all people; by their deeds, not by their religious convictions. I presume the first will end up speaking for the second.
Author’s Note: This article is intended to address only those people who see Loki’s worship as a problem within Heathenry. If you, personally, choose not to hail the Trickster within your own home or events? I have no issue with you; I may or may not disagree with your reasons, but it’s not my choice to make. There are others out there who think they have some right to approve or disapprove of someone’s religious beliefs. It is to these people alone that I address the above points.