Tag Archives: polytheist

Story-Teller

I am quiet, almost silent
As I contemplate the scale
Of all the worlds around me-
Oh, what stories I could tell!

I could perhaps regale you
With a trial I once endured
I could tell you of the shackles
My captors skillfully procured

I could share with you the horror,
The despair of loved ones lost
I could talk about the agony
Grief demands as its due cost

I am quiet, almost silent
As I contemplate the scale
Of all the worlds around me-
Oh, what stories I could tell!

There are many painful stories
That I might choose to tell
But pain can be addictive-
only laughter breaks its spell

So perhaps instead of quaking
With the agony that I feel
I’ll skim the surface of my stories
Find the one that most appeals

I am quiet, almost silent
As I contemplate the scale
Of all the worlds around me-
Oh, what stories I could tell!

I may perhaps regale you
With a time I spoke too true
Before I knew that honesty
Was respected by so few

I could tell you of the moment
That I saw friends’ faces change
When I shared their hidden motives
In a heated interchange

I am quiet, almost silent
As I contemplate the scale
Of all the worlds around me-
Oh, what stories I could tell!

There are many honest stories
That I might choose to tell
But truth can be quite violent
Unless laughter breaks its spell

So perhaps instead of shooting
Arrows made of honest words
I will rummage through my stories
Find the one that’s most absurd

I am quiet, almost silent
As I contemplate the scale
Of all the worlds around me-
Oh, what stories I could tell!

I might perhaps regale you
With a time I went disguised
As a bridesmaid to a wedding
In a plot that I devised

I could relay to you the horror
the giant wore upon his face
As he realized that his bride
Had been thoroughly replaced

I am quiet, almost silent
As I contemplate the scale
Of all the worlds around me-
Oh, what stories I could tell!

There are many funny stories
That I might choose to tell
But even laughter has a limit,
Even mirth can be dispelled

So perhaps instead of pulling
Pranks that aren’t quite jokes
I will remind you of a maxim
That has never been a hoax

All the stories that you know
And all the ones you don’t
Are all truth and lies together,
Bits of reality uncloaked

I am quiet, almost silent
As I contemplate the scale
Of all the worlds around me-
Oh, what stories I could tell!

This is a song I wrote for Loki for an indie album me and a friend are working on putting together. I’m not going to point out the allusions to the myths here, but anyone who has read the Norse myths should recognize the stories hinted at.

Halloween Sale

http://www.theknottyoccultist.com

I previously mentioned that I had started an Etsy metaphysical supplies store with a friend. We’re offering a discount through the end of the month. I’d love for those of you who follow me here to try out some of our products and let me know what you think.

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.

Adjusting to a New Reality

Note: This is long, and it is my attempt to respond to Beckett’s call in his article, “Letter to my Fellow Pagan Priests in this Time of Isolation and Uncertainty,” to be more vulnerable.


I remember sitting down to dinner with two of my friends sometime in mid-January, and we were discussing the earthquakes in Puerto Rico and how something like that had not happened in a century. We also discussed other historical storms. At one point, we talked about how the only thing that hadn’t yet happened was a global pandemic…as the last one had happened over 100 years ago.

That conversation still haunts me because it almost seemed to predict the situation we are facing now, with the Covid19 pandemic. The rational part of my mind knows that a conversation like that between friends cannot actually cause a global trauma to occur; the CPTSD that I live with every day makes me feel guilt and shame for even having the conversation because it tells me that somehow the conversation turned speculation into reality. That’s obviously impossible, but the trauma disorder twists my emotions into irrational and incoherent knots.

On top of that, when the virus hit NC near the beginning of March, I was at home dealing with allergic bronchitis that had turned into bacterial pneumonia. I spent nearly a week and a half feeling like I was going to die – I had to go into the doctor’s office for a nebulizer treatment, was prescribed Levaquin, Prednisone, and Albuterol (inhaler) – and that was the week before my university’s scheduled spring break.

When I had halfway recovered, I spent the entirety of that original spring break writing the rest of my thesis (which I am now revising). By the time that was done, I was still dealing with a terrible cough from the bronchitis-pneumonia and my school had announced a second spring break and a complete switch to online classes for the rest of the semester.

For me, that second spring break and the week following it felt surreal. I ended up going through periods of depersonalization and derealization; it felt like the world was no longer real and I had woken up in some alternate dimension to the reality I was supposed to be in. Because of that hazy-at-the-edge feeling of the world at large, I turned to what I normally do when I feel overwhelmed – research and the consumption of information.

I read absolutely every article I could find about Covid19 for two weeks straight, often spending entire days glued to my computer just to find out more information about the virus, how it spread, who was at risk, and what to do to lessen risk. I obsessively researched information about materials and liquids that were anti-microbial; I invested in a copper salt rinse because copper is antimicrobial (and I have bad allergies).

I bought hand sanitizer for the first time in my life – I hate hand sanitizer because the alcohol in it cracks my skin – and antibacterial wipes for my car. I dug out a relatively unused can of Lysol wipes from my cleaning supplies and sanitized every surface in my apartment; I started sanitizing groceries when I brought them home. I started opening mail, throwing away the packaging, then letting the items sit for 3 days before even daring to touch them. Every time I go out, I put my hair up and I twist on hair-ties to the end of my glasses to keep them from sliding down my face so I am not tempted to touch my face.

I bought non-medical grade nitrate gloves, and I have the materials to make a cloth mask…which I will use as soon as the county where I live has over 10 cases (right now it’s under that) because I cannot breathe well and thus hate wearing masks. I have asthma, exacerbated by allergies, so masks tend to reinforce for me exactly how hard it is for me to breathe normally. I generally have to breathe through my mouth.

I paid attention to the little details in news articles about what people were hoarding, what the poorest people were having the hardest time accessing, and I went out of my way to avoid those items, despite being a food stamp beneficiary myself. I refused to become a panic buyer because I knew that buying selfishly could result in the loss of someone else’s ability to feed their children, and I absolutely did not want that on my conscience.

I purposefully limited myself to no more than 2 of anything I picked up unless it was very obviously untouched/well-stocked (like diced tomatoes; I ended up with 5 cans of those). I bought no more than 2 of any meat item even though I knew from a friend who works in the meat processing industry that the meat supply chain was definitely impacted because meat processing plants around the country were shutting down. I did the best I could to avoid canned meats, knowing first-hand that often the only kind of protein that poor children get comes in the form of Vienna sausages, Spam, and canned tuna/chicken. Any item labeled WIC, I avoided, grabbing the cheapest non-WIC alternative I could find.

I refused to use cash, and any time a store employee asked about a store card, I gave them a phone number instead of reaching for my wallet to pull it out just to minimize contact for them, as they are some of the people most at-risk. I also used the antibacterial wipes I keep in my car after the grocery trip, wiping down my hands, my car keys, my door handles, my steering wheel, my phone, my purse, and the card I used to make the purchase. Once at home, I brought the groceries in, washed my hands, sanitized the counter, and used Lysol wipes to wipe everything down and threw away all of the bags that I brought the groceries home in. Normally, I keep plastic grocery bags to use as trash bags in the bathroom; I have enough stockpiled that I am not doing that any longer.

I went to my dad’s house before the stay-at-home order was issued in NC so that I could do laundry there instead of at a shared laundry facility with the rest of the apartment complex where I live. I didn’t want the added stress of having to sanitize the laundry room every time I used it. I bought a laundry additive to help kill allergens to help reduce the potential risk for me getting a second round of allergic bronchitis…my allergies/asthma put me at a higher risk if I do contract Covid19…so lessening the impact of my allergies right now is incredibly important.

After those two weeks of obsessively consuming information about the virus and how to lessen the risk to myself, I have mostly moved away from reading the news. I got what I needed from it – what I can do to protect myself and others to the best of my ability. I am doing those things. I am washing my hands, maintaining social distancing policies, and doing everything I can when I go to a grocery store to minimize contact between myself and others. I am sanitizing my car when I get out of the store and my groceries when I get home. I am doing everything I can, and, for me, that has been enough for me to regain some sense of reality.

The world doesn’t seem hazy now; I’m not experiencing derealization and depersonalization anymore. I have, for the most part, adapted to this new reality. I am still struggling to carve out time for doing work – I have a paper on Zimbabwe to write, a movie to watch and respond to, thesis revisions to work on, and all of my work as a graduate teaching assistant to do. I actually wrote out a schedule to follow this week, and that has helped. I’ve never done well working from home (too many distractions), so I’m having to find new and inventive ways to trip myself into work mode.

Religiously, I have started working with the Egyptian triad of Ptah-Sekhmet-Nefertm. Ptah is a creator god, essentially a god of architecture. Sekhmet is a goddess of war and disease, both the spreading and prevention of it. Nefertm is the god of beauty and perfume; some sources also suggest that he is a god of medicine. This triad of gods showed up for me almost as soon as Covid19 was declared a global pandemic.

Loki, of course, is as present as ever. Although not an aspect as well-known as his trickster aspect, Loki himself is a god of healing. Many Lokeans can attest to this, as he has helped many of us deal with emotionally and physically traumatic pasts. He is also a god of change, a catalyst for what lies ahead. While it is uncomfortable that the world is changing because of a pandemic, the truth is that it *is* changing. What awaits us on the other side of that is still unknown. I find that working with Loki helps me tolerate the uncertainty of what is coming more easily, and he helps me find humor even in my darkest moments.

Helping others has always helped me cope with my own traumatic past, one that was rife with being constantly told that I was a burden and unwanted. When I can help someone else, guide someone else through darkness, it lessens that gnawing uncertainty inside me that has me constantly questioning if my existence even matters. When I am able to help someone else, I gain a momentary respite and can breathe into the knowledge that I can have a positive impact on the world. That is the only legacy I need; the invisible hand of the actions I take that have helped others find their own way through the darkness. I don’t need stories told about me or worry about what will be left of me when I do pass. The knowledge that I have helped someone, somewhere, who has then been able to go forward into their own light…that’s enough for me.

I once wondered why Loki chose me to be his priest, but I no longer do. Like Loki, I often act as a catalyst. I end up in places where I am needed to create bridges across divides for other people; I show people paths that they might not otherwise consider. And then I let them make their own decisions because no one else’s path is mine to determine. Knowing that I have helped create those bridges, helped forge connections between people and groups…that’s legacy enough.

From here on out, I am available for those who need guidance from one of Loki’s chosen clergy. I have, as it were, put my own mask on first, so now I can help you with yours if you need it. It has taken time, but adjusting to change often does. You can email me at kyaza18@gmail.com or you can find me on Facebook in the Loki’s Wyrdlings group.

May luck be with you.

Kyaza

The Threat of White Supremacy

The biggest threat that the U.S. is facing today is the threat of white supremacists turned terrorists. The attack on El Paso is a reminder that we are dealing with heinous crimes against humanity, spurred by violent rhetoric and white supremacy sympathizers.

We are dealing with the after-effects of the El Paso and Dayton shootings, which are reminiscent of the Charlottesville incident and the white pride rallies that have emerged since the current administration came into power.

Because I am a historian especially versed in media impact, I am going to try and find the articles that discuss the dangers of white supremacy to hopefully help bring home how urgent this matter really is in today’s society.

I’m adding a page to this blog where you can find links to those articles. I am compiling the articles for two reasons – to demonstrate the urgency of the threat and to measure the threat as it escalates.

We are not living in safe times.

For white people who read this blog, educate yourselves. Learn more about anti-racism and how you can help in the fight against white supremacy.

To the people of color reading this blog, I stand with you. I will do everything in my power to help you in the ways that you feel are most needed. I will work to elevate the voices of those who have too often been silenced. I will stand on the front lines, where I am able, and act as a buffer against those who would harm you.

This hatred has gone on long enough. We need to stop hating each other for our differences and start looking for common ground where we can grow together in community.

I am tired of hatred, and I will stand as a bulwark against it.

This is the war Odin has called me to fight, and I will fight this war until it ends or until I am gone from this world. I do nothing in half measures, and this is the side on which I choose to stand.

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 30

Question: Do you have any suggestions for others just starting to learn about Loki? 

The best suggestion I can give to anyone interested in learning about a particular deity is to advise them to read the myths and try to see the story through that vantage point. So, in this case, a person would read the myths and view Loki as the main character, no matter how minor his role, and try and discern the potential motives behind his actions.

Trying to figure out the why behind a god’s actions in the myths is a great first step to really start to understand what kind of god you’re dealing with. Loki is constantly solving problems in the myths, which indicates he’s a quick and innovative thinker. He also really understands other people’s motivations, which allows his cunning to really shine through.

When you’re reading the myths, try to ignore the biases of authors who paint the gods in a particular light. If someone calls a god evil or spiteful, decide for yourself through examining the myths via the lens of that god’s character if that is actually justified or not. Most of the time, bias in myth is not justified – it’s just that the person who wrote the retelling of the myth let their bias sink in. Most myth writers aren’t versed in deep mythical interpretation; they retell the myths because they enjoy the stories and do not necessarily understand or appreciate the deeper religious implications.

Once you are comfortable with the myths and have examined a few of them through Loki’s eyes (as close as humans can get, of course), then decide if you think he’s a god that you want to approach. If the answer to that question is yes, then approach him with an offering and give him a libation and tell him that you are interested in learning more from him and experiencing what he is like firsthand.

If you really want to butter him up and get him interested in seeing what you have to offer, I’d suggest an offering of something chocolate (cinnamon raisin chocolate bread to be precise) and some fireball whiskey. In my experience, those are two things he pretty much never turns down, and if you show up with both, he is more than likely going to show up just to receive the offerings.

One of the most common mistakes I see people make is that they approach a god before they have done any research into them – by research, I mean reading the myths in the manner I have described – and then get upset when that god doesn’t show up or ends up not giving them what they have asked to receive. That is really a dual mistake – it’s not a good idea to approach a god you don’t know and be like, “Hey, could you give me this really important thing?” It’s the equivalent of going up to a stranger on the street and being like, “Hey, can you give me five grand?” It’s that level of rude.

The first time you approach a god, it should be more like going to a new neighbor’s house where you bring a housewarming gift and get to know the person in the first conversation. Subsequent offerings are like going to the neighbor’s house with cookies on every visit, so that they know you enjoy their company but also want to provide them with something that allows them to enjoy your company. That’s how a reciprocal relationship is forged, and that is how you build up a good relationship with the gods – offerings at every visit. Asking the gods for more than just conversation and experience comes way later, after you have established a relationship.

There is also a bit of truth to the idea that the less you ask for, the more you receive when you do actually need to ask for help. I make it a point not to ask Loki for much help, and I do that mostly out of respect and partially because I know that not asking him for help with everyday stuff makes it more likely for him to be willing to help with the really big stuff – like the intercession he was willing to make with the Morrigan that I mentioned yesterday.

I highly suggest solving as many problems you can on your own or with ancestral or wight help before ever turning to the divine. Not because the gods won’t want to help but because the gods are the only ones that can help when a situation spirals out of control.

That said, there are many ways to approach learning about a god. You can read articles and books that discuss them in a more scholastic way if that is your inclination. You can read the myths. You can talk to other people who work with the god you’re curious about and learn more about the types of people who are generally drawn to work with that god. The best way, in my experience, however, is to read the myths and then approach the deity with offerings when you’re ready.

After all, polytheistic religions are living religions. Our gods are very much alive, approachable, and present. The best way to get to know a god is to get to know them directly. Our religions are based on reciprocal relationships, so when we talk to the gods, they listen, and they talk to us so that we may listen. We give offerings so they may give us all good things, so that we, in turn, can give to them again. It is a neverending cycle of exchange, and that makes honoring the gods a beautiful experience.

30-Day Devotional for Loki: Day 29

Question: Do you have any unusual or interesting UPG with Loki? 

I like this question because I have so many choices for stories to share. Like I said in my last post, most of the information we have about Loki today comes from personal gnosis. He is a god very close to humanity, so he tends to be around more than the other gods, in my experience.

Many of the unusual experiences I have had with Loki have come from times where he has horsed one of my friends. That friend is trained to handle divine possession, and, at least in my local circle, he seems to be the person that Loki prefers to horse. I have a working theory that it is because my friend emits a vibrational signal that is closer to the wavelength that Loki operates on than the rest of us.

Quite a few people in my local community are trained to handle divine possession, as we live in one of the oldest mountain ranges in the world. The ancient status of those mountains translates directly into how active the spirit world is here, and it is dangerous for those who are sensitive to spirits to go around untrained in this area. As an example of this, a new woman moved into my neighborhood recently, and it is not an accident that when the two of us met, I learned that she had a decent amount of spiritual strength but no training to keep her safe from spirits. Her apartment was mired in miasma, and an entity came through an unlocked mirror and tried to attack me while I was there. This type of occurrence is incredibly common in this area, so the experienced practitioners here tend to make it a habit to teach those with the strength to be attractive to malignant spirits how to defend themselves against them.

That was a bit of a tangent, but I want to emphasize the fact that I live in an area where encountering and dealing with spirits, the gods included, is just a normal part of life. In the Pagan groups in this area, most people have had direct experience with the gods and many of them are trained in divine possession techniques. That is directly related to how active the spirit world is here, due to the age of the mountain range. It is unusual to find many experienced practitioners in one area, as we tend to be spread thinly across the country and the globe. We are all aware of how strange it is, and we have all often remarked on how weird it is that this area tends to draw experienced spiritworkers almost magnetically towards it.

My experience living here is one of the reasons I so strongly advocate for stronger discernment; I’ve seen first-hand what happens when it isn’t utilized, and the results are often negative and far-reaching in their impact. Entering into rituals unprepared for the consequences can also have far-reaching implications, and that’s where this particular UPG with Loki starts. That said, it also involves the Morrigan.

One of the Pagans here, a Kemetic practitioner who also works with Loki (who blames me for Loki coming into his life) attended a ritual to the Morrigan that John Beckett facilitated during his visit two years ago. The ritual itself was pretty intense, and it was particularly intense for the aforementioned practitioner who, after the ritual was done and Beckett was back in Texas, found himself practically stalked by the Morrigan.

He came to me for help because while he had wanted to honor the Morrigan, she was stalking him to the point that it was causing physical and energetic pain. The friend I mentioned before who acts as Loki’s horse more easily than others was present for this conversation. The three of us discussed what we wanted to do, and we ended up deciding that calling on Loki to directly communicate with the Morrigan, since he is a god that has many connections to other pantheons, would be the best course of action. After all, who better to reason with a god than another god?

The Morrigan’s presence was very clearly felt by everyone in the room, and we determined that the best way for this particular discussion to happen was to ask Loki for his willingness to horse someone and confront her more directly. There was an exchange of goods for services rendered at some point (parts of the memory are hazy, which is normal when dealing with the gods when they horse someone), and Loki was suddenly very present in the room alongside the Morrigan, though in a way that was a bit more physical than usual.

From what I can remember of what Loki told us of the conversation with the Morrigan, he did his best to explain to her that getting consent from a follower was better than forcing it, but she seemed fairly determined to not take no for an answer. From what I can remember, Loki did what he could to try and help, but the Morrigan refused to be persuaded. Gods can be as stubborn, if not more so, than people, and the Morrigan absolutely refused to budge in her pursuit of this particular practitioner (At this point, the two of them have forged a slightly more healthy relationship but it will probably always be tainted in some ways by the fact that it was built originally off of coercion).

That was an experience that told me a lot about Loki and how he views consent. He was willing to intercede with a god from an entirely different pantheon to try to convince them that it was better to obtain consent from a potential follower than to coerce them into service. Some people might point out that we had to ask him for help rather than automatically receive it, but that makes perfect sense. After all, we were asking him to step directly into the path of another god who was hell-bent on getting what she wanted. That’s a rather volatile situation to ask anyone to step into, and we definitely gave Loki a plethora of offerings in return for his willingness to put himself in a potentially dangerous situation.

That experience also belied everything that I’ve ever heard anyone say about Loki being a coward who refuses to fight or put himself in danger, who prefers to run away from problems rather than solve them. This is an ironic view, considering the myths and how often Loki puts himself in danger; it’s a pretty regular occurrence, actually. There’s nothing cowardly about him, and if he does step down, it is out of respect for the person on the other side rather than out of fear.

I’ve learned a lot about Loki through experiences like this one, and I’m aware of how amazing it is to be able to have experiences like this. I didn’t start physically encountered gods until about three years ago, and what really helped facilitate that was to eliminate from my head the ideas engendered by Protestant society. I learned to suspend my disbelief when it comes to how gods can appear to us and accept that they can, and do, walk around occasionally in human bodies. That made it a lot easier to discern when a person was actually being horsed by a god and when they were just parroting. Physically experiencing the presence of a god is not an experience that is easily forgotten.