Regarding Loki, Part 1

LokiI feel moved to make my own commentary on this supposed issue of Loki worship, mostly because I seem to have been cause in the middle of an argument or two.   I’ve seen people in favor of the god, people not in favor of him and able to be tactful about it, and then a few others who behaved like children desperate for a school yard outcast to gang up on.  I’m not linking the last group, because they aren’t worth the time.  Needless to say, everyone has something to say about the issue.

In all the discussions that I have witnessed, however,  I haven’t seen some of the counter arguments that I feel most effectively answer the issues being presented.  Perhaps they aren’t as obvious as I presume, so I’ve decided it’s time to speak my mind.   I presume no authority over much of anything, and I’m not going to make a big mess on credentials.  If you agree, great.  If you disagree, keep it civil and constructive…or be prepared to be ignored so hard, your future children will get picked last in gym.

Lastly, I am not condemning anyone who chooses to abstain from recognition of Loki; I simply don’t understand the muck and the mire one has to go through to acknowledge him in any sort of positive way.  I’m not a Lokean;  I make no claims of being one.  This rebuttal was constructed out of the need to expressed some points that I feel have been looked over, as well as out of respect for the flame-tongued god of the Aesir.  I have had more the one prayer answered by him, even though I never directly asked him, and I am thankful beyond measure.  The reciprocity of gifts is one of the most important traditions we have, right?

Loki is the great betrayer of the Aesir, and showing devotion towards him is acting with contempt for the Gods as a whole.  His actions can only be viewed as dishonest and dishonorable, and anyone who venerates him or his acts champions vices as virtues.

This one seems to be considered the silver bullet in the gun of arguments against Loki, so let’s just tackle it right away.  I’m going to pass on the standard counter, about Loki being falsely made out to be Viking Satan by Christian monks.  I think it’s a valid opinion, but that is well trod ground and I don’t think I can add anything to.  Further, it’s also open to debate…and I feel there is a larger, more obvious counter question that is raised here.

If you align yourself with the statement in bold, and you also wear a depiction of Mjolnir, you’re being hypocritical.  I can say the same for artistic depictions of Sleipnir, Sif’s hair, Gungnir, Frey on either a boar or a ship, or Asgard itself.   All of these things were made or improved by Loki’s actions.  Slepnir and the walls of Asgard were an outright sacrifice on his part.  Further, they were not won due to Loki repaying the gods for his folly; they were won when Loki was given the task to trick the enemies of Asgard.  To cast out Loki in his entirety is to also cast out many of the symbols of our faith, and to disregard the pieces that are inconvenient is intellectually dishonest.

To put it another way: If you get mad when Christians quote Leviticus and condemn homosexuality without recognizing the rest of the book?  Keeping Mjolnir while denouncing Loki is, broadly speaking, a similar action.

This argument does not merely extend to the trinkets that Loki acquires, but also to the social dynamics displayed by the other gods.  Their actions in the lore portray that whatever Loki may do, they have accepted him amongst their ranks.  Snorri Sturluson famously listed him as being “numbered amongst the Aesir”.  We also have the Voluspa,  which details all of Loki’s deeds before he has actually done them.  If Odin had heard of Loki’s treachery via prophecy, then it would follow that he had every reason to banish him from the halls of the Aesir.  Yet, he does not.

Everyone has so many reasons to cite their prohibition of Loki from their feasts, blots, and fainings.  I’m curious if these people have weighed their reasons against the choices and oaths of the Allfather.  The choice to include him amongst his own, as his sworn brother.  If they have, I’m curious if such a person would also discard all of the depictions of Loki’s handiwork, in order to back their rhetoric with action.

Loki’s followers are prone to bringing chaos into Heathen circles.  Just the amount of discord caused by  the debate over his worship is proof of how dangerous the practice is.

I’ve not seen enough of Heathenry to call myself an expert on common social dynamics.  From what I’ve seen, however, we certainly don’t need any help from Loki or his most devout followers to create contention or disagreements.

I would like you, the reader, to think back to any petty arguments you yourself may have seen.  Was everything proceeding with glorious firth, until some vile, Loki venerating villain swung down from the rafters?  Did just the presence of a this ne’er-do-well create such strife that an otherwise pleasant discussion turned was ruined by the singularity of chaos?  Did the milk in your fridge curdle and go sour as well?

I would suspect it did not go like that.  More often then not, Heathen arguments and dissension start with the same ingredients list most interpersonal conflicts are made up of; regular people with passionate opinions, a little too much arrogance or pride, and a split second where sympathetic wisdom is discarded in favor for acidic wit.

What I have seen and experienced is that those who are Loki sworn are seriously black sheep…but they are also talented, intelligent and clever friends….and are no more apt to start unwarranted fights then anyone else.

As a final point, Lokean Asatruar/Heathens cannot and should not be blamed for the discord caused by the discussion…or at least, no more then any other party in the discussion.  To blame them exclusively is to  invite an opportunity to be blamed for the same thing; after all, would there be an argument if someone wasn’t pushing against them?  What follows is finger pointing, blame games, and a complete disintigration of frith.

Anyone who shows veneration to Loki/Jotuns/Rokkr does not understand what Heathenry is about.

I’d like you, the reader, to consider a hypothetical situation.

Imagine that you or I went to a large, Heathen event.  East Coast Thing, perhaps.  You or I could randomly approach any number of people.  These people, selected entirely at random, could be asked what they think Heathery is about.  If you or I were to record their answers, what would the end result be?

For my part, I don’t think we’d see a consistent vision over what Heathenry and Asatru is or is not.  We are not a revealed religion.  We are not an organized religion.  We have no Bible, Koran, or Torah.  There is no supreme authority over our faith..  We came from no single region.  There is no Asapope, and I think we are the stronger for it.  Many of our traditions were passed as family traditions, with no more or less fanfare then an heirloom.

We can’t even agree on what the name of our religion is.

I recognize there are somethings that are and are not Heathen.  The Hawaiian islands, for example, don’t have much in common with the religious practices that meandered throughout present day Iceland, Norway, Sweden, the British Isles, France, and Germany.  Loki, Jotuns, and the Rokkr have a much greater connection and they clearly have a place within the faith somewhere.

How do we determine that place?  When I pick up next time, we’re going to take a look at the big R-word, and see what it could mean.