"I don’t honor Loki, but…"
I’ve been watching the last few discussions about this issue without getting involved because, frankly, I’m really tired of it. I feel like I’m saying the same thing again and again, and often to people who aren’t going to listen. However, I did see this question popping up several times and I thought it was worth discussing.
“Personally I don’t make offerings to Loki.”
This is absolutely 100% okay! Everyone is going to feel drawn to certain Deities more than others and religious practice is a profoundly personal choice. There are plenty of fine reasons someone might not honor Loki specifically, including:
- I just don’t feel very close to Him. We’re a polytheistic religion with many different Gods and Goddesses. It makes perfect sense why people would build strong relationships with some more than others. Thinking back to my own practice, I’ve only toasted/prayed to/made offerings for about two thirds of the Deities in the Icelandic heathen tradition, and even less if you take away all those Gods and Goddesses I honor exclusively on holidays! Just like people, there will be some Gods who you know very distantly, some who are your acquaintances, and others to whom you feel free spilling your heart. Sometimes the Gods and Goddesses who “call” to you make logical sense and can be easily explained, and sometimes they cannot.
- I don’t want/need the energy He embodies in my own life in any significant way. Again, this is fine. As long as you aren’t completely denying the value of a particular God, it’s perfectly reasonable to feel this way. I feel this way about certain Deities, too. I am asexual and aromantic, so I don’t go for the love/fertility Deities except on harvest holidays. I don’t think I’ve ever made a specific offering to Týr or Forseti because I haven’t seen the need in my life to build a strong relationship with Them. Again, this goes back to the fact that everyone has a different situation. Loki’s energy is chaotic (though not singularly chaotic by any means!) and maybe your life is chaotic enough without giving Loki an in. This is all understandable.
Acknowledging that you personally would rather build bonds with other Deities for your own reasons is great. Denying Loki’s God role or place in the world order, shutting Him out without compromise, or, even worse, judging or denying those people who honor Him is not.
Here are just a few of the terrible reasons and attitudes I have seen since coming into the heathen community:
- LOKI ISN’T A GOD !!!1!!1!one!!one!! (Thank you hangedwoman for that!) Aside from the possible evidence of Loki outside of The Eddas that often gets passed over (see here) there’s also the fact that Loki is enn talðr með ásum where literally the only difference is Him being talðr (counted/reckoned/declared) rather than simply being. Keep in mind that the verb here (er) is in present tense while the Gylfaginning speaks of Baldr’s death in the past. Loki is still being numbered among the Aesir in spite of His punishment. Even without this evidence, the “Loki isn’t a God” thing makes literally no sense. What is a God? Would a non-God be able to outsmart the Gods? It’s disrespectful to the rest of the Deities to claim that the one who pulls the wool over Their eyes so many times is of less than God status…
- There’s no point in honoring a God of trickery or destruction. Really? Without these forces, how would we ever progress? The natural world needs destruction to maintain a stable ecosystem. So many of life’s most enjoyable occurrences depend on serendipity, happenstance, and even some measure of chaos. According the Hegel, a challenging antithesis is necessary for progress to occur. This claim is quite different from my second acceptable reason in that there, you are making the claim for yourself, your own life, and current circumstances. Here you are completely denying the value of a God who played a vital role in many of our myths. All Gods are necessary even if They are not immediately necessary to you.
- I would NEVER honor Loki because (insert absolutist or judgmental reason here). As the saying goes, never say never. You may just find yourself in some situation down the road where Loki is just the Deity you need, and if you have closed that door completely…well, it’s never a good idea to go out of your way to get Gods on your bad side! Most of of these people claim that Loki is so terrible that He doesn’t deserve any praise or respect. First of all, you don’t know better than the Gods. You just don’t. Our religion allows us to stand with dignity rather than groveling, but that doesn’t put you on the same level as Them. Second, I think it’s perfectly fine to disagree with something one of the Deities does in the myths because it conflicts with your own personal ethics. For example, I’m not too fond of Freyja sleeping with the dwarves for jewelry because it is not in line with my own personal standards. But just as I wouldn’t say shamey things about a human who does this, so would I definitely not say them about a Deity. You can personally disagree with a particular action without condemning the other party.
- I don’t want anything to do with those who worship Loki because they are probably terrible people. As much as the other claims are theologically problematic, this one is even worse. Which God someone feels closest to tells you literally nothing about that person. Some people worship Loki because they relate to Him. Some, like me, worship Loki because He is more like our opposite. Assuming that all Lokispeople are liars/frith breakers/destructive influences/whatever trait you’ve pinned on Loki this week is like assuming that all Freyjaspeople are nymphos or all Thorspeople have massive temper tantrums. People are people. You’ll like some and you won’t like others, but making assumptions about someone based solely on their relationship with a particular God is very unfair. Another companion argument to this one is the idea of “not wanting to mix wyrd with someone who has Loki in their life,” used most often to exclude Lokispeople from kindreds. Okay, there are a lot of people in Heathenism you should be more concerned about mixing wyrd with than the entire group of Lokispeople. There are heathens who embezzle funds from their parents, frame people in crimes, beat their spouses, sexually harass, spread lies about groups with which they disagree, not to mention the vast array of racists, misogynists, and queerphobes. Worry about the people you have seen committing these acts, not the ones you assume will commit these acts. For a group that is so high on us being “our deeds,” there are a lot of people being judged for things they never did.
What I am trying to say is that religion is a choice, and who you personally honor is your business. Nobody should be forced to make personal offerings to Loki, and any Loki devotee who tries this is equally wrong. Almost all of the Ásatrúar I know have never made personal offerings to Loki, and they are, for the most part, perfectly reasonable and great people. One’s relationship with Deities is a choice that isn’t in need of justification or explanation. But when you turn against those who worship Loki and try to invalidate their practice, you are wrong. Likewise, acting as if you have the power and insight to condemn and shut down any one of the Gods is the worst kind of hubris. It is one thing to prefer other Gods; it is another to try to throw one away completely (particularly one known to be a mischief maker! Sheesh!).
Ásatrúar are a diverse bunch. Some of us connect with Freyja, some of us connect with Odin, and some of us connect with Loki. We all have a role to play, and that variety keeps a healthy balance in the community. All of the Gods are being honored; the connection between us and Them is strengthened.
Loki Laufeyjar sonr
Norse bjd, holy shit.
Whoa, whoa whoa.
AHHHHHHH MYTH LOKI OMFG THIS IS AMAZING
and I really rarely freak out over other people’s dolls but jfc this is glorious
Holy shit I seriously thought this was cosplay at first. BEAUTIFUL.
Because people are still complaining about Marvel shipping.
Here, have some Thor and Loki to spread the queer all over this “big manly viking religion.”
The Lay of Thrym will never not be the best thing ever.