Tag Archives: gods

Serendipity and Wyrd

Serendipities have been on my mind lately, and actually have been since I moved to Arizona. Things align in ways that seem random and coincidental, but I don’t and never have believed in coincidences. 

My graduate classes often have books/authors/themes that overlap with each other that are then also somehow connected to the classes I am assigned to for my work as a TA. 

Talks that I attend by visiting scholars or small informal gatherings I attend somehow lead me to information I wouldn’t otherwise have about my current research projects – small moments that interweave in a complex way. 

As an example, I read a book for my borderlands history seminar entitled Floating Coast: An Environmental History of the Bering Strait by Bathsheba Demuth, where she used as her methodology an indigenous one I only recognized because I took an American Indigenous Studies seminar on Indigenous methodologies. Floating Coast was the book I ended up assigned to discuss, even though the book itself deals with the Arctic and I’m an Atlantic historian focused on the Caribbean. 

I wanted to lead the discussion for Sharika D. Crawford’s book, The Last Turtlemen of the Caribbean: Waterscapes of Labor, Conservation, and Boundary Making, due to my research interests, but a classmate beat me to the signup for that book, so I had to choose another one. Floating Coast was that book. And, of course, since it wasn’t my first choice, I wasn’t thrilled about it – at first. 

But I read Floating Coast in a very deep way, seeing in it the Indigenous methodologies I had previously learned about, as well as the complex abstractions of temporal imaginaries and the cyclical exchange and transfer of energy. I found myself glad that I was the one assigned to lead the discussion because I knew none of my classmates had any training in Indigenous methodologies and would most likely not see as deeply beneath the surface of the narrative. 

An exceptionally well-received and well-reviewed book, we managed to find it one critical weakness that none of the reviewers had gleaned – the lack of a discussion of the Indigenous politics of the Bering strait in favor of a discussion of the competing temporal ideologies between U.S. capitalism and Soviet socialism – both seeking to create a potential future in the present through the exploitation of limited ecological resources. Both failed to contend with the reality of ecological time, and ecological time prevailed. Ecological time always does.

Of course, that also caused me to think about time and how it is conceptualized through the Norse worldview, a time that weaves the past and present together and does not imagine a future of any sort. What is present now is all we have, and it is here because of the actions taken by those who have come before us – human and non-human. 

That, in turn, has led me to the consideration of serendipities present in my life and the working out of wyrd in my life in complex ways that I can never see because my view of wyrd is very narrow and limited. I can take small steps back and see some of those more complex patterns on occasion, but those are rare moments and I still can’t grasp the full pattern my life weaves in the fabric of wyrd. 

Take, for example, my decision to attend a small luncheon and talk with a visiting professor, Allyson B. Brantley, the author of Brewing a Boycott: How a Grassroots Coalition Fought Coors and Remade American Consumer Activism. Both the time period and geographic area are technically outside my field of study, but socio-political protest movements are interesting to me. Especially right now, as I’m working on a research paper about 19th-century Spain and how Spiritism, in the space of 50 years (it was born in 1848 in New York) had become a critical political opponent of the Catholic Church in Spain by the 1900s.

Spiritism, known more often as Spiritualism in the United States, may seem like an odd research choice for a Pagan scholar. Except it isn’t, once you realize that many of the concepts about mediumship and spirit possession trace directly back to Spiritism. I actually started out wanting to research Espiritismo because it is, today, considered an Afro-Cuban religion and is prominent in both Cuba and Puerto Rico.  

It has been really intriguing, over the course of this project, to see how Spiritualism started in New York, traveled to England and then to France where it became systemized as Spiritism by Allan Kardec. It is Kardecism (Kardec Spiritism) that traveled into Spain and from Spain into the Caribbean. Some scholars have asserted Spiritism played a prominent role in the 1898 Spanish-American War, which is what I wanted to learn more about.

However, due to time constraints and travel restrictions, visiting Caribbean archives was out of the question, so I turned my attention to how Spiritism became such a strong socio-political movement in Spain. I chose that direction because in 1861, Barcelona church and city officials sanctioned the burning of 300 French Spiritist publications in an auto de fé. By 1868, Barcelona was the seat of Spanish Spiritism. Such a drastic turnaround made me curious, of course, and the sources I have consulted thus far suggest that the Catholic Church saw Spiritism and Freemasonry as two its strongest opponents (and often referred to them as satanic). 

For those unaware of the history of modern Paganism/western esotericism, the Golden Dawn had strong ties to Freemasonry, and Freemasonry had strong ties to Spiritism, which in turn had strong ties to the occult. What is really interesting in doing this research is that I am also gleaning information about the slow emergence of modern Paganism, even if that’s not currently the main focus of my research.

So, to go back to serendipity, it was at this small luncheon that someone suggested – when they heard what my research was – that I should consider making it public via either a podcast or as a pitch for a talk. Her suggestion made me consider the paper in a new light and think about what value it might have as a conference presentation. 

Between the luncheon and the talk, I ran into a fellow graduate student who gave me references that may be useful for later research and reminded me of an upcoming dissertation defense about the folk appropriation of Santa Muerte from Catholicism throughout he southwestern United States, which I’m sure will be fascinating. 

So, how does all this relate to wyrd? These are small moments of serendipity, small ripples that connect in ways I cannot fully see. But though my sight is limited, I get the feeling that the connections are present, that there’s an unseen pattern that my presence is weaving in the world. A pattern that I contribute to in meaningful ways when I make decisions that may seem trivial and meaningless on the surface but may be unlocking the potential for a wider variety of patterns for the Norns to use to weave the web of wyrd.

Wyrd is both fixed and mutable, as there are points that can never be changed – a person’s birth and death are fixed points along the weave, but almost everything in-between can be changed. Wyrd conceptually refutes the idea of a dichotomy of free will versus determinism, allowing for the co-existence of both free will and determinism. Some moments cannot be changed, but the amount of fixed points in someone’s life is often directly correlated with how their ancestors lived and the choices their ancestors made. This is because, from the perspective of the Old Norse, we are all our ancestors in a single form- we inherent all their deeds, good and bad. Our opportunities and obstacles are a direct result of the actions taken by our ancestors, who we embody in the present.

Regardless of how many fixed points a person may have in their wyrd, there are always moments of choice. That doesn’t mean, of course, that we can always recognize those moments. Decisions that seem small and insignificant can catalyze a series of events that result in global disasters; conversely, decisions that seem critical can turn out to be insignificant. That is somewhat of a truism within history. Many small things can lead to global phenomena while one big thing may end up, in the scheme of things, not mattering much at all. Historians often chase after an understanding of why things happened at X instead of Y, when Y seemed to be more likely to cause the event that X orchestrated. Life is complicated, people are complex, and wyrd is a mystery that we will never solve.

However, it is good to keep in mind that every decision we make in life has the potential to create a ripple that echoes, regardless of how small it may seem. Sometimes, just replying to an email can catalyze a series of events that, while we may not be directly involved in, only became possible because we chose to reply to it. Small things matter, and they often matter in invisible ways. As a friend once reminded me, we are never truly able to see the impact that we ourselves have on the world around us.

We can never see the impact our words truly have on someone else, can never know what words that someone else will hear us say that they will internalize – in good or bad ways – and we can never know the full impact we make on the world with any decision we make. If we could see further than we can, we would, most likely, be paralyzed with fear. And a life lived in stasis is not a life at all. Such a life is anathema to the Norse cosmos, which takes as its core dichotomy dynamic movement and stagnation.

Being unable to see the potential far-reaching effects of our words and our actions is a blessing in a cosmos ruled by a dichotomy of change and stagnation, a blessing that allows us to live freely but also forces us to contend with the illusion that we make no impact on the world around us. We all impact the world in ways we will never see, catalyze events and moments in the lives of those around us in ways we can never truly understand. This is, I think, both the greatest blessing and the greatest misfortune that we hold.

A joint endeavor

Although I haven’t written much in the last year, mostly due to the stress of living in a disease ravaged world, I haven’t stopped honoring the gods or practicing magic.

In fact, in the last year, I’ve done a lot more magic. I have even ventured into the Etsy world and opened a metaphysical shop: http://www.theknottyoccultist.com

I moved to Phoenix, Arizona to start a PhD program and while I’ve been here, I’ve become more proactive with my magic largely because I left behind my group of Pagan friends in NC.

Even then, I collaborated with Blue Huntington, a two-headed doctor (Hoodoo), and with her recipes and my crafting skills, we’ve created stock for my Etsy shop that is unique and beneficial. All of our herbal products are fully charged with the intent they are meant to serve, and I use what I make in my day-to-day life as well (especially the travel charms).

The name for the shop was inspired by Loki (Knotty is obviously a play on naughty!) Loki is also a god of knot magic, and I do a lot of knot magic. Most of my items incorporate knotwork of some sort, and I have specific amulets and talismans that are knotwork imbued with strong intentional magic (I watched one of my spiritual focus talismans trip someone into a trance as soon as they touched it).

So the shop I’m running on Etsy is a joint endeavor with my Hoodoo rootworker partner, a Pagan out here who makes beautiful handmade journals, and the gods.

I’m planning on writing more here now that I’ve finally found a bit of a groove after a cross-country move, and I’m hoping all of you will support me by continuing to read my blog and by supporting my Etsy shop.

Confronting Racism in Heathenry

In a Facebook thread, I came across someone asking who the gods reject and how we know that the gods reject them. He also asked if the gods accept offerings from those with white supremacist ideologies and whether those people can be considered Heathen given Heathen literature, mythology, and history. Basically, he wanted to know who determines this since we don’t have a supreme Heathen authority the way that Catholics have the Pope.

Honestly, I think he answered his own question – given our literature, mythology, and history, as Heathens, we are obligated to stand against racism. The history of Heathenry in the United States is not a pretty one, and it is something we must fight against so that we can improve it going forward.

The first Heathen organization in the United States was created in 1974 by Stephen McNallen, who headed the Asatru Folk Assembly until 2016 when it was taken over by Flavel. The Asatru Folk Assembly is listed as a hate group by the Southern Law Poverty Center. Rightfully so – it is due to McNallen, Flavel, and their volk’s rampant racism that Declaration 127 emerged.

Declaration 127 (http://www.declaration127.com/) is a firm stance taken against those who would use Heathenry to promote racism and other forms of hatred. It has led to groups like Heathens Against Hate being formed, and the most inclusive Heathen organization (and the only large inclusive one), the Troth, often issues statements against violence committed by white supremacists and raises funds to donate to charities that combat hatred.

The reality is that there is a history of racism in Heathenry, and, as Heathens, we are obligated to face that fact unflinchingly and then do something to fix it. We cannot prevent what has already happened, but we can definitely do something in the present to combat white supremacy.

As to the question of literature and mythology, many white supremacists have tried to use our lore to justify race-based hatred. That has always been warped and twisted logic, however, as nothing in the lore justifies racism.

White supremacists will look at the tribes of the gods and say that because the Aesir and Vanir so often fight against the Jotnar that it indicates a race-based problem. They forget that Odin, the chief of the Norse gods, is half-Jotun. Loki, who is included among the Aesir, is full-blooded Jotunn. The Aesir and Vanir gods intermarry with the Jotnar at a fairly frequent rate.

On top of that, the tribes of the gods are like familial clans – they aren’t races. The gods are gods, and gods can all take on whatever shape they need to for the purposes they serve; the very idea of racist gods is an extreme perversion of theology.

The question as to whether the gods take offerings from white supremacists is a harder one to answer – or rather, one with an answer that any anti-racist would find difficult to handle. The gods themselves are not human; they are not necessarily going to involve themselves in the politics of humans. They are not here to solve our problems for us; they are not here to get involved in human problems. It is very possible and probable that the gods take offerings from people of all sorts of violent ideologies – that, however, can be said of all gods.

There are white supremacists in all religions; white supremacy is a rising global threat; it is most prominently seen in the United States because the U.S. was founded on the tenets of white supremacy. That said, however, white supremacist terrorism is the most concerning rising global threat; it is on par with the threat of Islamic radicalism.

What makes terrorism so terrifying is the understanding that yes, there are Islamic radicals but that doesn’t make all Muslims terrorists. And yes, there are white supremacist terrorists, but that doesn’t make all white people terrorists either. The terrifying thing, though, is that terrorist acts serve to induce fear in targeted populations of those who *might* be a terrorist.

Turning back to Heathen lore, none of the gods I honor are ones that I can readily associate with supremacist ideology. This is, of course, just the way I see the gods, and people can and will see the gods in different ways. I always speak only from my own experience and vantage point, and I do not ever claim to speak for the gods. I just want to make that clear.

Odin is a god that wanders the world, seeking knowledge wherever it can be found. Racists often stop seeking knowledge and turn a blind eye to new truths. Odin never does that- he always seeks to know more. Would he accept an offering from a white supremacist? Probably, if he feels that the person can offer him knowledge he doesn’t already have or if doing so aids him in his quest to prevent the end of the world. Odin does what he does for self-gain that is meant to serve the world as a whole, and he has done and will continue to do things that humans find grievously offensive in order to prevent Ragnarok. He is very much an ends justify the means type of god, and that can be hard to digest.

That said, Odin is also a god that enjoys inciting war for the sake of war. It may very well be part of his intention to have the anti-racist Heathens fighting against the racist Heathens. I know that the war I feel called to fight against white supremacy is one that Odin issued to me – I am confident that the aspect of Odin I honor is firmly against any type of ideology that promotes hatred and thereby reduces the chance at gaining knowledge that can then be transmuted into wisdom. I will personally only associate with Odins-people who view Odin this way because I strongly advocate against hatred. To me, hatred for the sake of hatred is the most vile expression of humanity’s penchant for depravity.

The next god I honor is Loki, and I feel like I can say with a large degree of confidence that Loki abhors those who hate others without cause. His devotees, Lokeans, are very often comprised of social minorities and misunderstood individuals. To hate someone for an identity they hold is anathema to who Loki has shown himself to be. In my experience with Loki, he gets upset when people judge other people for arbitrary reasons. In fact, I would say Loki is probably one of the *best* gods among the Norse gods to invite to the fight against white supremacy. He understands what it is like to be hated without cause, and it is difficult to imagine Loki ever standing on the side of white supremacists due to his own backstory.

Freyr is a god of frith and peace, but he is also known as the field marshal of the gods. He is the god who will fight to ensure that peace happens. White supremacists threaten frith; they work to undermine peace in society, and they bring weapons into spaces where innocent people are just trying to live their lives. In the lore that we have about Freyr, he is one of the gods most easily riled to anger when peace is shattered – bringing weapons into his temples tended to result in an explosion of anger towards those who threatened his sacred spaces. Freyr is a god of sacral kingship, and he embodies everything good that is possible for a ruler to hold within them. He will protect his people even from himself. When it comes to the fight against white supremacists, Freyr is a powerful ally to have.

Tyr is a god of justice and honor, and he will sacrifice even himself to maintain the order of the world. When Fenrir threatened the gods, it was only Tyr who had the courage to step forward and do what needed to be done, even though Fenrir was his best friend. Tyr understands better than some of the other gods how hard it is to severe a relationship with a close friend due to the danger they pose to the world. It is hard to imagine Tyr willing to back white supremacists in this fight, as he is the god who allowed his relationship with his best friend to be severed for the good of the whole. He is a god that will easily sacrifice one for the sake of the many and place the good of all over the good of a few. White supremacists are a minority, threatened by the rising reality of a multicultural world – this is and has been true of most terrorist groups. They are comprised of the few fighting against the many. Tyr, then, is also a powerful ally to have in the fight against white supremacists.

There are many more gods and many more ways to interpret the stories, though most of the interpretations will demonstrate that the gods themselves have no reason to be found on the side of white supremacists.

Heathen lore and mythology is firmly opposed to the ideologies espoused by white supremacists – it doesn’t take much reading to figure that out.

The unfortunate and painful reality, however, is that people are notoriously bad at interpreting myth in an accurate way and incredibly good at twisting lore to suit their own purposes. No matter the religion at hand, that has always held true – Christians twist things they read in the Bible to suit their own political purposes. They aren’t the only ones – there are religious adherents in all faiths that do that, and Heathenry is no exception.

Heathenry also seems like it is filled with more racists than other religions because inclusive Heathens confront racism and speak and act against it. The truth is that all religions are packed to the brim with racist individuals, some of whom are radical enough in their views to support or become terrorists. The only reason Heathenry seems to hold more is because inclusive Heathens confront racism head-on. The history of Heathenry’s emergence in the United States requires we confront it, change it, and make the world a better place.

It is an issue that we can’t ignore and don’t ignore the way many other religions do. So far, the white supremacists who have committed terrorist acts have not been Heathen. If they have had religious ties, it has been to radical forms of Christianity. Many of them, however, have been secular or non-religious. This is not surprising, as terrorist ideology tends to replace and crowd out all other forms of ideology. Hatred becomes the driving force; the religion of hatred consumes those who come into contact with it if they are not already shored up against such hatred through strong ideologies of their own.

I will not fall into the trap of hatred because my personal ideology is one that promotes the interconnected nature of all people and the importance of life itself. If I am ever forced into a position where I must take someone else’s life to save my own or to save the lives of others – which is the only reason I would ever act in such a way – then I will do so but I will mourn the loss and the terrible situation which forced my hand. Life itself is far too precious to throw away or steal on a whim. In sum, then, life is my ideology. Hatred is anathema to life. Thus I will stand, forever, on the side of life.

LokiFest Conference

LokiFest is an online conference organized by Amy Marsh, who is part of the production team for Loki’s Torch. It is a 5-day event running from tomorrow, August 5th, to Friday, August 9th from 6pm – 9pm EST (schedule is listed in PST as she lives on the West Coast).

On August 8th, I will be giving a presentation entitled The Importance of Discernment and the Danger of Imposters. I will be discussing what exactly discernment is, how to apply its practice in your life, and how to recognize and deal with imposter spirits when they show up.

Other presenters include Amy Marsh, Dagulf Loptson, Diana Paxson, and Silence Maestas. You can find more information here: LokiFest Schedule and Presenter Bios

Loki’s Torch Available Now!

Loki's Torch, Vol. 1, 2019

By Ky Greene

102 pages, published 7/31/2019

Loki’s Torch is the first annual edition of a collection of Lokean works that includes poetry, artwork, scholastic essays, rituals, and more.

 

Digital Cost: $7.10
Hardcopy Cost: $26.40 (includes a free copy of the digital version)

This collection features multiple full-color spreads and a wide variety of devotional work. It is the first in a new annual Loki-devotional series.

Want to Be Part of a New Knowledge Community?

Over at Divine Multiplicity (https://divinemultiplicity.com/become-a-columnist/), we are looking for more writers to become part of our multi-trad polytheist knowledge community.

We are currently seeking practitioners with at least 2+ years of experience in the following traditions:

Hellenismos
Roman Reconstructionism
Celtic Reconstructionism and/or Druidry
Slavic Reconstructionism
Mexicayotl Polytheists
Polytheistic Wicca
Traditional African Polytheistic Religions
Any Eastern Polytheistic Religions (esp. theistic Buddhism)
Abrahamic Polytheists
(Others not covered or mentioned are also welcome)

What we already have covered by columnists includes:
Heathenry
Kemeticism
Hinduism
Christianity (Henotheism in Catholicism)
Mesopotamian

If you are interested in contributing, please reach out to us. All that we ask of our authors is that they commit to publishing one blog post a month with a length of between 500-1500 words.

Also, if you know of someone who might be interested, please send them this information and/or reblog this post. We have 12 writers currently and are looking to grow this diverse and inclusive Polytheist community.

30-Day Devotional for Loki: Day 21

Question: What music makes you think of Loki? 

I actually have a couple of playlists full of music that make me think of Loki, but just linking to those lists seems almost like an answer that is too-easy and requires no thought. So, instead of doing that, I’m going to post a few of the songs and explain why I find them relevant.

For me, this song is perfect to describe the kind of people that Loki tends to be interested in – those who don’t fit in, the ones who exist on the fringes. All of the Lokeans I have ever met are misfits in their own lives, in one way or another, and that is, oddly, something that allows us to come together in our worship of Loki.

This song, for me, is a reflection of the way Loki stands beside us even when he comes to us in his Worldbreaker aspect. He reminds us that we have the strength to get to where we want to be, even if that means walking alone through the crowds of people that surround us. He is the one waiting for us to get there, though, and he is the one who helps us find the strength to walk down his path.

This song reflects how I imagine Loki would view the people who walk through life never questioning anything around them, content to embrace the status quo rather than ever speaking out or trying to change the world around them.

This is perhaps the best song I’ve found that reflects Loki’s Worldbreaker aspect. He comes into our lives to remake them into something better, to show us that we have a say in the way we shape our lives. Often, that means letting go of the things in our lives that aren’t serving us, even when we think they are what we need and try to cling to them. Eventually, though, we will let go of the pain we hold onto, and we start to work with Loki as he brings the fire of change into our lives.

To round it out, I’ll end with another Icon For Hire song – most of their songs are pretty Loki-like, in my opinion. This one, though, I like because there are two ways to look at this song when it comes to Loki. The first is that it encourages people to stop being afraid to act and just get out there and do something, even if it ends up being wrong. With another experience, you gain the knowledge of what works and what doesn’t in a situation because you’ve gone through enough similar ones and tried enough things that don’t work to know what will. That is Loki’s style of wisdom – experiential knowledge.

The second way of viewing this song is to think of it as Loki himself talking to those in the wider Heathen community who view him as some sort of Satanic or evil figure. This isn’t Loki speaking to them, of course, but it is amusing to imagine it that way. Sort of a “sure, you want to look at me that way and stay frozen in your life, go ahead; I’ll be over here, actually living.” To me, that’s a pretty Loki-like way to phrase things, but that comes from my personal experiences with him.

I have a lot more songs that I could add to this list – like I said, I have two playlists. You can find the first of those playlists here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLrgRUGA8GxIDiwlnafNlbeD0Er4gKiuxj  and the second one here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLCzpggNZDgRq2YBaNv9BFWLpmk4KQuz-M 

There may be a couple of songs that overlap – I have two different YouTube accounts, so videos end up added to whatever list of the account I happen to be on at the time. Anyway, enjoy the music, and let me know of other songs you think should be on my playlists for Loki.

30-Day Devotional for Loki: Day 20

Question: What art reminds you of this deity?

I sorta answered this question a few months ago, when I wrote about Loki’s Multifaceted Nature. I discussed six different aspects there – Loki as trickster, as Mother, as a god of the air (Loptr), as shaman, as Worldbreaker, and as Destroyer. He has many more, of course, so for this question, I looked for a few pieces that remind me of his other aspects.

Man with the Tattered Smile by Cinder Rose

The above image is Loki in his guise as Scarlip, a name he earned when he kept the dwarves from taking his head when he lost a bet by claiming he hadn’t promised them his neck. That led to them consenting, with great displeasure, to the sewing shut of Loki’s mouth instead.

The next image is Loki in his guise as the Bound God, which is punishment for something he has done. Snorri conflates this with the myth of Baldr’s death, but there is no scholastic evidence that the two stories were ever connected – Snorri forced a connection. Due to the myths of other European cultures (and all of them trace back to the original Indo-European mythology), it is more likely that this is a punishment Loki endures in a manner similar to Prometheus – probably for similar reasons.

Loki’s Punishment by Nathie

Loki by Natasa llincic

The above image is a great rendition of Loki, and in this art, I see Loki in his guise as a solar god, responsible for bringing the warmth necessary to cultivate growth. While he is often depicted as a god of fire, the sun itself is the embodiment of fire. It is due to his aspect as a solar god that I associate him with the summer.

That said, I also see within him his aspect as a god of water and ice, and therefore he can also be considered a god of winter. He is, perhaps, best understood as a harbinger of the seasonal changes. The ancient Norse only perceived two seasons – winter and summer – so it makes sense then that Loki would have both a summer and a winter form. The following art is the one I consider the best rendition of Loki in a winter guise.

Sacred Dance by Develv

There are many, many faces of Loki, and none of us will ever see all of them. The glimpses we do get into Lodur’s many facets are the reward we get for the work we do for and with him. To walk with any god is a privilege and an honor, more so when the god is as ancient as Loki is, and it is not an honor that I will ever take lightly.

30-Day Devotional for Loki: Day Six

Question: Who are the other deities and/or entities related to Loki?

At first glance, this question seems almost jarringly like the one from day five, but I am going to take a more cross-cultural approach to it to prevent repeating myself.

I’ll start with the entities related to Loki from the Norse pantheon – the Jotuns and the trolls. He is, of course, a full-blooded frost giant, which gives him a strong connection to the Jotnar. That is one of the reasons so many people in the Heathen community struggle to work with him, as the Jotnar often fight against the Aesir.

It’s important to remember, however, that most of the gods themselves have Jotnar blood – Odin himself is half-Jotun, so there are some pretty complex family dynamics at play between the Aesir and the Jotnar. Let’s not pretend that it’s as clear cut as Aesir and Vanir = good while Jotnar = evil. That’s an overly simplified dichotomy, which doesn’t fit with either the ancient worldview of the Norse or the modern-day understanding of complexity held by most polytheists.

Outside of the Jotnar, there are a few other entities to which Loki bears relation. It is said that he ate the heart of a witch woman, and the result of that was him becoming the mother of all ogres, trolls, and witches. That’s quite a collection. Loki is a very creative god, whether you look at him through his guise as a fire deity or his guise as the mother of witches. (As an aside, I’m not switching pronouns because I still utilize “him” as a neutral article in English, as it originally began. I think it allows for more clarity in writing than constantly switching pronouns, but that’s wholly my own opinion).

Moving on to cross-cultural deities, the ones I have chosen are similar to Loki in the functions that they fulfill within their pantheons. They are not just stand-ins for Loki, as they are their own individual deities with their own agencies and agendas. These are just gods that are reminiscent of Loki in different ways.

First, there is Prometheus, a god of fire from the Hellenic pantheon. He is said to have given fire to man, and there may be myths of Loki lost to time that are similar. Both of these gods are daring and cunning, so it is fairly easy to see the parallels.

There is also Coyote, who can be seen as an even fuller trickster deity than Loki, and it may be that the two of them converse and Loki learns from Coyote. They may both learn from each other, which makes for a pretty interesting visual!

Another trickster spirit that reminds me a lot of Loki is Eshu (aka Elegba), an Orisha of the Yoruba religion. He is also a trickster, and some of his stories are pretty amusing. One of the most memorable is that there were two men who saw a stranger with a hat walking down the lines of their property. The first man insisted that the hat was red, the second that the hat was blue, and this nearly caused the two neighbors to come to blows. The reality of the situation was that Eshu was the stranger wearing a hat that was red on one side and blue on the other, so the value of the story is the knowledge that perspectives change depending on which side of the hat you can see. (I’ve only heard this story a couple times, so some of the details may be a bit off, but the point of it remains the same).

While there are Pagans who do not like to view any of the Abrahamic gods (and yes, there are many more than one) as belonging anywhere near Paganism, the truth is that the Abrahamic gods belong to their own pantheon – the Canaanite pantheon. That suggests that Lucifer originally served as their trickster deity until time passed, and he became seen as the ultimate evil.

Many people do not want to see an association between Loki and Lucifer because of the extreme difficultly modern-day Heathens have seeing past the dichotomy of good and evil and painting Loki as an evil god (which, by the way, is impossible – gods cannot be evil; that doesn’t even make sense).

While I do not see a large connection between the two of them, other than the fact that Loki and Lucifer seem to get along, there is the fact that both of them are light-bringers in their own ways. After all, Lucifer’s name means light-bringer, and it alludes to an ancient past where he wasn’t simply portrayed as the devil.

Loki’s illumination is that of knowledge, and that is a trait shared. Lucifer brought knowledge to humans – Loki does the same. Except, in the Norse pantheon, knowledge and wisdom are highly sought after and respected, and that affords Loki a position of honor that Lucifer has not been granted in eons.

I’m aware that such a connection is uncomfortable for many Heathens and many Lokeans, due to the difficulties Lokeans face because of how people label Loki as an evil god. Like I said before, however, the gods are not evil – they cannot be, as it is anathema to the nature of the divine to be evil. Evil, after all, is a human construct, not a divine one.

There are plenty of other gods and entities related to Loki, but I think I’ll stop there for today – after all, there’s plenty of information to digest and consider.