Tag Archives: honor

This is How I Rant

I’m incredibly angry, which is a typical reaction to coming across an article that insists that Loki doesn’t exist. The article I’m talking about can be found in the Vor Tru magazine, volume 97, on page 17, and was written by Kollr Logmather, the allsherjargothi of the Asatru Alliance.

Loki is called a “fabrication.” Now, I obviously have several issues with this, but the most important issue to address is the fact that there are people out there who say Loki was made up by Christians in order to make conversion easier.

Except if you think about that argument using even an iota of intelligence, it’s easy to see the flaws in it. I mean, Loki didn’t need to be “made up” in order to scare Pagans into converting to Christianity when they were being threatened with death if they failed to convert. There was no need to invent another nemesis when Satan is supposed to be the embodiment of pure evil. That theory is, in a word, ridiculous.

I’m not usually dismissive of other people’s views, but I can’t abide the disrespect directed towards Loki. I get irritated by the people who claim Loki is the equivalent of a Norse Satan, but at least I can understand where they are coming from. At least I can catch a glimpse of their perspective and understand that they are simply unable to understand Loki’s real nature. What I can’t understand – what I don’t want to try to understand, if I’m being honest – are those who try to claim that Loki doesn’t exist.

That’s like saying Odin doesn’t exist. Any real polytheist – and yes, I’m drawing lines in the sand here – will acknowledge the existence of all the Gods in all pantheons. That’s what it means to be a polytheist. If someone is going to follow a polytheistic faith, it’s kinda imperative that they are actually polytheists. Just because you don’t like a god doesn’t give you the right to claim that god doesn’t exist.

Especially when there are enough people in the “Loki cult” who have interacted with Loki to discredit the statement that Loki is a fabrication. If you can’t tell by now, I’m incredibly pissed off. I didn’t realize how anti-Loki the Asatru Alliance was before I ordered a one-year subscription to Vor Tru (luckily it’s only 4 issues). If I had know their stance on Loki before I ordered the subscription, I wouldn’t have ordered it – that’s the bare minimum of respect I feel is required for the Gods that I honor.

Once I came across that article, I was so disgusted that I couldn’t even finish reading the magazine. I was unimpressed with Vor Tru before I got to that article, so all the article did was piss me off and give me the material for this post. I can give you a list for why Vor Tru is a terrible publication: terrible grammar, no depth to any of the articles, no quoted research or references, all the articles highlight opinions rather than facts, and so on. That, to me, is the hallmark of an unprofessional publication. That it is supposed to be the reflection of the face of the Asatru Alliance pisses me off because reputation matters.

Most people will brush off the idea of reputation, but reputation is incredibly important. Your reputation is, to some degree, where your honor comes from. Your integrity is what builds your reputation, and the two of them together is what determines your honor. And, in my opinion, the Vor Tru magazine lacks integrity. If the magazine that is supposed to be the reflection of the Asatru Alliance lacks integrity, then it tells me the Asatru Alliance lacks integrity, and it makes me very, very glad that I never chose to join that organization.

In contrast, the Asatru Community, which I am a part of, immediately took action against those who offered insult to the Lokean group (and, by the way, in case anyone is unclear on this little tidbit, an insult offered to a God’s worshipers is an insult offered to the God being worshiped) in order to uphold the bylaws of the organization.

Let me reiterate – if the article in question had been professional, I wouldn’t be this irate. If there had been references to actual research and a professional presentation, I wouldn’t be completely pissed off. But when there are people writing for Vor Tru who make it a point to point out that they are “real” Heathens instead of “posers like the Facebook Heathens,” I can’t be silent. Actually, I refuse to be silent.

I don’t care what you believe, but I hate those people who are ignorant enough to think that it is okay to elevate themselves because they believe the “right way.” And that’s what it really comes down to, in the end. If you’re going around telling people that they should and shouldn’t worship certain Gods or that they aren’t “real Heathens,” what you are doing is proudly and arrogantly standing up on a podium and saying the equivalent of a, “Nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah, I’m right and you’re wrong, and that makes me the best.” And, to all those people out there doing that, this is me saying fuck off.

Loki’s Courage

Most of the time, when Pagans/Heathens discuss Loki, they end up calling Him a coward or accuse Him from running away from a fight. The lore doesn’t support that, but it does show Loki’s cunning. Gnosis also fails to support the idea of a cowardly Loki.

In the aftermath of the Aesir-Vanir war, when the wall around Asgard had to be rebuilt, it was Loki who lured the horse away from the wall to prevent the giant from completing the wall and claiming Freyja as his bride.

Loki could have chosen a different approach. He could have killed the horse or lamed it, but instead He chose to assume the form of a mare and lead the horse away through temptation. Granted, considering the way Loki thinks, He may not have even considered laming the horse or killing it, as He doesn’t naturally go out of his way to injure or harm other living beings.

Instead, Loki assumed the shape of a mare and ended up mating with the horse and giving birth to Sleipnir, Odin’s 8-legged horse. It’s easy to see Loki working as a catalyst here because there is no greater catalyst than the womb. To put that in perspective – a woman can house an infant in her womb for nine months, but that woman will not be able to control, in full, the person that child becomes after it is born.

When Loki kidnaps Idun because the giant Thjazi traps him on a rocky island, Loki agrees. Some people view this as desperation, as a “Loki will do anything to save His own skin,” type of scenario. While that may be true to a point, Loki also bears very strong grudges against those who wrong Him or force Him into corners.

The way I’ve always viewed Loki’s kidnapping of Idun is as the fulfillment of His word – He agrees to Thjazi’s request. But after Loki is free of the island, He does what He needs to do in order to get Idun back and also manages to kill the giant in the process – the debt is paid and Loki gets His revenge.

While Loki is often seen as a God lacking honor, He is, perhaps, one of the most honorable (despite being the most mischievous). He never breaks His oaths, and He always admits to the actions He takes and He always sets things right again. A lot of Loki’s mistakes end up being to the benefit of the other Gods, as some of the most powerful tools the Gods possess wouldn’t be within Their possession without Loki. Those tools include Sleipnir, Gungnir, Draupnir, Skidbladnir, and Mjollnir, amongst others.

Where Loki’s courage is seen most clearly is perhaps in the way He acts as a catalyst for Balder’s death. It would be easy to see Loki as the villain here because Balder is the God of the Sun and is a peaceful deity. This story is the #1 reason that Loki is often painted as the Norse “devil,” even though that is far from the role He actually plays.

I’ve seen multiple interpretations of the story of Balder’s death, and it’s not a subject Loki seems to be willing to talk too much about. There is no real animosity between Loki and Balder, but there is a lot of sorrow in Loki regarding that incident.

The only stories I’ve seen that could perhaps explain the sorrow I sense from Loki about Balder’s death include the interpretation that shows Loki acting to kill Balder in order to keep Him safe from the other Gods who are constantly throwing weapons at Him as a source of entertainment (in short, Loki acts to put Balder out of His misery). The other interpretation I’ve seen is Loki acting to kill Balder because Balder has a dangerous duality that, if unleashed, could destroy the world and bring about Ragnarok.

There are so many interpretations of Balder’s death that it’s hard to know which one is the most accurate, and, like I said, Loki doesn’t seem to be too keen on sharing. I do, however, get the sense that there’s a lot more to that story than the lore portrays.

Now, you might be wondering how exactly Loki can be seen as courageous, but Loki is one of the most courageous of all the Gods – I won’t say most courageous, as that title belongs to Tyr (for good reason). But Loki is definitely high on that scale.

The reason I say that is because Loki always admits when He’s done something wrong or when He’s played a prank (I’m not sure Loki considers any of His actions “wrong”). He always owns up. That’s a type of courage that we can all learn from.

What I see most frequently in the world around me is that people are afraid to be wrong. People are afraid to make mistakes, or, when those mistakes are made, they are afraid to own their mistakes. But if we live our lives in the fear of making mistakes, then we stop truly living. Life is all about embracing our fear of doing things wrong, but doing them anyway.

I’ll never forget when I first learned to play the viola, my orchestra director explained to my class that the top mistake string musicians make is to try to hide their mistakes. He told us that if we made mistakes, to make them proudly and loudly, as if the mistake was an intentional sound. That’s the type of courage Loki has, and that’s the type of courage we all need.

Of all the Gods, it is perhaps Loki, in all of His facets, that is the closest to humanity. Loki is, in my experience, the easiest God to connect to, and I think that has a lot to do with how human He can seem. It is, often, far too easy to forget that He is, in fact, a God, and thus worthy of respect and admiration.

Honor: My Interpretation

Here’s my second essay on the Nine Noble Virtues, the one on Honor.


Honor is probably the most difficult of all of the virtues to define because it is such an intangible idea. Socrates said “The greatest way to live with honor in this world is to be what we pretend to be,” and I think that captures honor – the way I understand it – pretty well.

Every society has its own view of morality, and staying true to the moral code or ethical code is generally perceived as being honorable. But I think that honor is more than that – I think it has to be more than that, as the moral code our society embraces is not always one I view as being honorable.

For me, being honorable is equivalent to being trustworthy and worthy of the respect you gain through your own efforts. It is an essential quality of life, and I think if you replace the word “honor” with “respect” the idea becomes a little easier to grasp. Respect is something we earn through our deeds – as is honor. And to defend the reputation we gain after establishing that respect is required if we wish to maintain that respect.

But we all wear a mask. We all pretend to be something – a particular quality, perhaps, like honest, or trustworthy. And it may start out as pretense, or as an exercise to try and better ourselves. The pursuit of self-improvement is an honorable one, and, if we maintain the pretense long enough, it starts to become our truth. The idea that we can “fake it til we make it,” seems like a cop-out, but it isn’t.

Like any muscle must be worked in order to keep it from atrophying, we must work our moral muscles as well. If we wish to be honest people, then we must practice being honest. If we wish to be kind, then we must practice being kind. If we wish to be noble, then we must practice being noble. Our species is one that learns by mimicking others.

If we grow up watching others steal, then we admire thievery and seek to establish ourselves as thieves. If we grow up watching others lie, then we admire deceit and seek to establish ourselves as great manipulators. But if we grow up watching others be honest, then we learn to admire honesty and seek to establish ourselves as truth-tellers. If we grow up watching others be kind, then we learn to admire kindness, and seek to establish ourselves as compassionate.

Honor, therefore, is a very personal thing. What I view as an honorable act may seem dishonorable to someone else because we had vastly different learning experiences growing up, and thus value different actions. For example, a person who has developed a reputation as a great thief will put his honor on the line for a great heist – if he fails, then his reputation (and thus his honor) is destroyed, but if he succeeds, he becomes even more of a legend. For a great detective, catching such a thief will allow him to maintain his honor, but failing to do so will destroy his reputation.

So honor is different for every person – we all view morality in different lights. On my part, I admire great teachers, and I aim to become a great teacher myself, after obtaining the necessary education. But I’ve already started to build a reputation as a good teacher because I teach my classmates when they need help, and I’ve established a trust with them. I can easily lose that trust if I fail to adhere to my own understanding of what makes a teacher a good one.

And that’s an important fact about honor – it can be gained, maintained, and lost easily. It takes effort to maintain a good reputation, and if a person’s not willing to put in the work required to create a good reputation or maintain it after it’s achieved, then the honor is lost. Respect is lost. And once you lose someone’s respect, part of your honor is destroyed, and there’s no real way to repair that rift.