I’ve recently begun exploring deeper connections in my spiritual practice with Tricksters and associated familial deities. Recent ruckus in the pages of The Wild Hunt, and subsequent discussion and turmoil among the Troth, et al, with regard to the recognition and honoring of Loki among heathens and other Nordic aligned pagan pathways introduced me as we moved beyond solstice into the new year to the explicitly Lokean community. Of course, having danced with Coyote all of my life I have always found a sympathetic resonance with Loki and other like-minded allies such as Anansi and Monkey, to name a couple. At the same time, the simple presence of an actual debate among American heathen as to whether or not it is acceptable to recognize and honor Loki’s traditional position among the Aesir or better to banish him from their (at least public) rites, baffling and offensive as it was to their European counterparts, highlighted for me yet again my primary criticism of the neo-pagan community as a whole; to wit, the frequent inability and blatant refusal to face or even approach the actual gods of our various ancestors in their true, original forms without first watering down and white-washing over any hint of uncomfortable or difficult aspects in their nature. They aren’t all sweetness and light kiddos and at times are in fact pretty fucking scary when seen clearly. This Lokean connection has led further to those honoring and actively working with the eldest, most primal portion of the Nordic Pantheon, those beings known as Jotun, the Rökkr. Alongside the Asatru and Vanitru we now see the Rökkatru taking our rightful place. Welcoming the marginalized, the outcast, the misfits, the Queer, and just plain wyrd among us dancing in the shadows at the edges of the firelight, whispering the secret wisdom of the dark and the night, we twilight people and edgewalkers are reclaiming our power and place in the natural world which the fawning servants of “light and order”, the self-proclaimed “good-guys” (who never are) have sought for millennia to to vilify and banish from our social conscience. Decolonizing our indigenous European heritage the true hearts of our ancestors beat once more among the peoples of the world, free of the fear and hatred that would usurp their voice and silence them forever if they could. In spaces such as Northern Paganism, http://www.northernpaganism.org/shrines/rokkr.html Shadowlight, http://shadowlight.gydja.com/rokkr.html now this and kindred blogs we may be heard once more.
For myself, Rökkatru feels like the piece that was missing when I explored Scandinavian traditions so many years ago. As I’ve said elsewhere, I feel a much greater, deeper resonance with the older, less formal visage of Wotan as wandering shaman, enigmatic stranger than with Odin All-Father. My path has always skirted the fringes of things, groups, categories, drawing power in the ‘Tween Places and Not-times and I’ve described myself as
“Two-Spirit Nunahe/Celt halfbreed trying to make sense of the zombie walk in the Red-Blood World. Gonzo Fae journalist posting reports from the front of the EarthChanges. EdgeWalker, RidgeRunner, ShadowDancer, DreamSinger, ShapeChanger drumming in the night. Zen haiku poet silently raving:
Never alone, yet
Uncompanioned in the Dance,
What is your Nature?”
For decades my tutelary goddess was Macha Redmane (war-goddess of Northern Ireland) who, after I left the army, forbade me to bear arms in any fashion, neither to own nor practice with them, as they had become superfluous. Further, that when her tutelage came to an end (roughly a decade ago) I would be given one single weapon as most fitting to my role and pathway. As the Lady’s Bard (a story for another telling,) the shakuhachi – zen flute and wandering monk’s weapon – is just that. My flute maker, a Ukrainian Cossack in Portland, OR even certifies his flutes as battle-ready, guaranteeing them against breakage for life!
Anyway, while I serve firstly Mater Nox, She has always instructed me to seek the tuition of some other, as appropriate to whatever stretch of my path I may be walking. (For Her part, She *really* doesn’t like to say much. . .) Until re-encountering Loki I have had little direct connection to any “masculine” deity (even Wotan is known for his drag performance. . .) but this is solidly intersectional with my increasing connection with the Queer pagan/decolonization community and the empowerment of the marginalized to incite and propel change in the narrative and voice of social justice and world-healing. In the primal nature of the Rökkr I find the actual strength and power which their Aesir children shape and wield – the gods of “social roles and forms” have never usurped the place of their wyld, wyrd parents but rather play in the fields of creative expression of that power they inherit. In the tales of their deeds amidst the halls of their elders we may perhaps see the path of apprenticeship once we recognize the source of wisdom which the real usurpers have sought to hide.
My recent choice then to seek the tuition of a patron deity among the Rökkr is precisely this mode of apprenticeship in my own spiritual development. I have always intuitively known that I would not fully come into my own power until the beginning of my “autumn years”. Now at 55, a grandparent and semi-retired due to spinal issues bordering upon disability, I am beginning a new phase in life of promoting my personal creative work – as writer, artist, musician and classical pianist – in addition to exploring the new role of “elder” while still feeling (and looking) much younger. So, Rökkatru? Yes, I feel quite comfortable, a sense of surety, in knowing where to find the mentorship needed to mentor others and eagerly anticipate the unfolding, revealing of that one. This cusp has been a long time coming.
(Soundtrack to my ramblings: Steve Roach, “Early Man”)