On a Whim: Loki’s Way

Over the last couple months, Loki has become more insistent that I follow him properly. Or improperly, since he’s not exactly known for his conventionality.

Granted, most people think of Loki as dangerous and/or scary, but he isn’t. He’s more like the kid who pulls the fire alarm just to see what it does, and, in the process, manages to create school-wide panic. There’s no real cruelty in his actions, just a childlike wonder. At least, this is the side you see of him when you trust that he’s not evil.

The truth is, Loki has been hurt by the gods, by his family, in a way that few Heathens acknowledge. Perhaps that is the reason so many misfits are drawn to him. I understand him because my family has hurt me more than anyone else in my life, despite everything I’ve done to try and keep things from falling apart. And, considering human lives pale in comparison to the lives that gods lead, I can’t be surprised by the sadness Loki feels.

The story in the Lokabrenna, about him crashing the feast, gets taken the wrong way, and the majority of people side against Loki. But, reading that story carefully, it’s easy to see the bitterness Loki feels about being denied an invitation to the feast, and how that results in his acidic wit coming out to play. He’s deeply hurt, and his harsh words reflect the depth of the pain he feels.

There are tons of arguments out there for why Loki is the god of chaos, of fire, even of rain (that one I don’t get), but the way I understand him best is as the god of change. And being the god of change means he cannot help the disruptive influence he has – change is insidious that way. So, when the other gods refuse to invite him to the feast, they refuse him because of the very thing that defines him – his personality, his inability to not cause change.

When viewing the Lokabrenna from that angle, Loki’s nature becomes clear. He isn’t evil or someone to be feared – he’s actually rather eager to make friends with those who can see him for who he is. Because despite all the hurt he’s been caused, he still believes that there are people out there who will love him for who he is. So is it really any wonder that misfits are the ones most drawn to him? After all, us misfits are the ones who understand what that feels like.

Being able to understand Loki doesn’t make him easy to follow, not by any means. He is the god of change, so following him means that you have to be able to deal with a lot of change. He cannot help changing situations, and a lot of people end up resenting him and turn from his path because they cannot deal with the type of change he introduces into a person’s life.

Some weeks are more intense than others, and I’ll give an example by relating the week I’ve had so far:

Sunday, I got into an argument with a guild member on World of Warcraft that lasted 45 minutes about why I should change the raiding schedule to fit his schedule, even though doing so would not be beneficial for the other 9 people in the raid.

Monday: I left my house to go to the ESL Class (I help out with it on my campus; runs 10am -12pm on Mondays), got stuck behind a horse trailer before I got to town, got to town and got stuck behind an Appalcart (bus), got through town and got stuck in the middle of road clean-up. Ended up being 30 minutes late to the class, but that’s a small price to pay in the overall scheme of things.

Tuesday: After my English class, I was supposed to go to Developmental Psychology, but I was having trouble with the teacher all semester due to his overbearing, condescending attitude. On a whim, I decided to consult an Academic Adviser about the situation, and, despite holding a solid A in the class, I dropped the class.

That night, when I left the ESL class (runs from 6-8pm on Tuesday nights), it was raining pretty hard outside. I don’t have the best headlights, I live about 15 miles out of town, and there’s no good place to pull off the road until 13 miles into the trip. I wasn’t driving fast, due to not being able to see properly, and I slowed way down at the two passing zones on the road to encourage people to go by me. Some people did, but this one guy refused to pass me, no matter what.

When I got to the fire department – the one good place to pull off the road – to let the guy go by, he pulled in behind me, got out of his car, and started walking toward me. I’ve seen enough horror movies (and know enough about human rage) to know that I didn’t want to stick around, so while he was walking toward me, I peeled out of the parking lot and drove the 2 miles to my house. I have to go through two gates to get through my house (my neighbor owns the land beneath our property, and he uses the land for his cattle), so the whole time this was happening, I was terrified out of my mind that the guy was following me.

And when I got to the top of my driveway, a car pulled in at the bottom, and, since it was pitch dark, I didn’t know who it was. So I got my stuff and threw myself out of my car, ran inside my house, locked both the doors, and grabbed one of my escrima sticks (used in Kali, an open-handed mixed martial art), and waited. The person coming up the driveway ended up being my dad, but, given the situation, I knew I hadn’t acted irrationally.

In fact, when I mentioned the incident to a co-worker on Wednesday, she asked me why I hadn’t called the cops. The truth is, doing that never even occurred to me because I can defend myself, there was one assailant, and well, I don’t trust other people to handle my problems.

Wednesday: Not much happened Wednesday – I have this hunch it’s Loki’s day off because Odin was definitely around. I say definitely because it’s only when Odin’s presence is the strongest in my life that I start thinking in rhyme. Nearly every thought I had that day was in poetic form. The only time Loki showed up was during my History class, where my Monsters paper was due. We had an assignment to write about four monstrous criminals from the past and determine whether they were fact or fiction. The instructor said he had one girl who was bothered by the material, then another woman spoke up and said that the assignment had bothered her to because the criminals had committed such horrific, graphic crimes. She said that she didn’t understand the point of the assignment, that she felt it was too graphic, and so she didn’t put much effort into the paper.

As an Empath, who is extremely disturbed by violence, I had no problem with the paper because I was taught it is imperative for an Empath to understand what people are capable of in order to properly understand them. Understanding why someone is willing to go so far is more important than that they go so far – the motive is what matters. So, after she said that, I felt compelled to speak up – Loki had a huge influence on the paper I wrote because he directed me to source after source that demonstrated the innocence of nearly every one of the “monsters.” I told the instructor, in front of the entire class (so she would hear the words) that I didn’t feel he should change the assignment or give extra options just because people need to learn the truth about the world and what others are capable of in extreme situations.

Thursday: I got in an argument with my English teacher about the points she took off an assignment. She requires students write at a 10th grade level – I turned in a paper written at a 15.7 grade level, and she took off points because I chose to use the word “done” and used “as” where she would have used “because.” As a published author, I know when “as” can be used as a stand-in for “because” (rare, but it does happen), and “done,” while not the strongest verb, was the appropriate one for the sentence I used it in. Taking off points for word choice is NOT objective grading, and that pissed me off more than I can properly express here.

Thursday night, I talked to the officers in my guild and we decided to remove the person who caused problems on Sunday. He apologized, asked for a second chance, so we demoted him instead. Unsurprisingly, less than an hour later, he left the guild on his own accord. However, I managed to recruit a boomkin, and the guild overall has plans to deal with the loss of that member once the expansion drops.

Friday: I did math homework, worked on leveling my monk, and then decided to make food. What I originally planned to make was rice and broccoli, but Loki decided he wanted me to make something weird. Still cooked the rice and broccoli, but salt, garlic salt, pepper, Parmesan cheese, and AI sauce got added to the mix. Surprisingly, it turned out to be delicious, and I have the first recipe I can claim as uniquely my own (with Loki’s help, of course!).

Today, I have a writing workshop to run, so we’ll see how that goes. But, as you can probably tell from reading this (if you make it all the way through!), Loki’s path is full of twists and turns and plot holes, so if you can’t handle a lot of change in your life, don’t waste your time, or Loki’s, trying to follow him down it.