“The “devil” is a mask worn by a spirit that is intimately involved in ever y detail of our daily lives, from our dreams, to our computers, our cars, our languages, our industries, our secret hopes and
fears, and countless other things. He lurks there, just out of sight, observing the world he created. He is well known by our deceased friends and relatives, for it is his light that greets them when all other lights have faded. Devil? Only to the extent that we trouble ourselves to fight with him, and with the basic reality of our everyday lives — the Truth about ourselves.”
-Robin Artisson, The Horn of Evenwood
Sounds like Loki, doesn’t it? I’ve always had a fairly high amount of comfort with Left-Hand Paths and their associated Deities, so the notion of Loki being one of the Powers that will answer to “Devil,” or “Auld Hornie” or whatever is not a huge shock to me. (though, not the only one, there’s an invocation in Artisson’s book, “Staring eye of the Old Man, King at the Crossroads…” that sounds terribly Odin-esque, particularly when later it refers to Him and the souls of the dead.)
However, there’s also this thing called Heathenry, which tends to give me a headache when it comes to likening Loki to the Devil. Heathenry, Heathenry, Heathenry… you and your hatred of Loki and your likening Him to the Devil without understanding that the Devil was a vilification of Pagan Gods in in the first damn place. Yes, even the Mideast ones, not just European Deities.
Since Cunning Craft is all about
that bass, i mean Divine Jotunn Ass reclaiming of power by reclaiming the symbols that Xtians perverted and made “evil” in the name of destroying Pagan Gods and traditions, Heathenry probably ought to be kissing Devil Loki on both cheeks (ha!) but I think we all know that Protestant ‘Merican baggage is not so easy to shed. All of this is made more relevant to me by the fact that I’ve said more than once that while Paganism has done a good job of reclaiming the Goddess(es), the God is still associated with the Xtian God, which does no favors to anyone – most people associate male Deity with anger, violence, nonconsensual sex, and conversely, being sexless. Male power and virility and freedom are just as fucked as women’s, but in different ways.
Anyway, that’s an ongoing thing with me. At this point, Loki still answers to Loki, and hasn’t asked me to call Him anything else. But holy moley He does want me to study this stuff, and while I’m finding a fair amount of knew that, knew that, knew that too, there’s enough head asplodey stuff that ties into personal doxa…
For example, Elphame (or Elfhame…or Alfheim) is recounted over and over in so many cunning folk accounts, with many of the people recounting taking a King or Queen of Elfhame as their Familiar and oftentimes Spouse or Lover. Of those who have an Elfhame Regent Familiar, the Cunning Folk is a Consort or Co-Regent.
Elfhame is often referred to as the Realm of the Dead, as in both Elves/Fae and ancestors reside there. This means a couple things to me, that both seem true due to the wibbly wobbly timey wimey nature of mythic time:
1. Freyja’s the Lady Vanadis, and the Disir are Hers – since the Disir are elevated female ancestors, and She is Their Queen, that leads us to Freyr, Who is…
2. Lord of Alfheim, and the Alfar, who some think are the elevated male ancestors, and counterpart to the Disir. The Lore says that He was given Alfheim as a milk-tooth gift, but it doesn’t say by Whom.
3. Which leads me to my own doxa regarding the matter, based on how I’ve seen denizens of Alfheim treat Him: Odin. Last year, when I was given my own Court, He was present for the coronation and it was He Who put the crown on my head (and Pop did Loki). Why would anyone in Alfheim care if Odin were not an important personage, and not just in the way that one gives deference to a King of another realm? There’s also the fact that they seem to have a lot of affection for Him. It almost reminds me of how Canada is still part of the commonwealth of England; at least in my Court, we’re kind of a commonwealth of both Vanaheim and Asgard. Either that, or perhaps Odin still pitches in as King when Freyr is “asleep” in winter. IDK because wibbly wobbly godly wodly timey wimey WTF-y?
So the link between the Dead and the Alfar/Elves runs pretty damn deep, and I’m sure I’ll have more thinky thoughts on this as time goes on.
So what about other bantered about Deities? Herne, Cernunnos, Pan, Freyr or some other aspect of Him? I’ve seen Freyr look like this, particularly during Hunt Season:
And while we were talking, I was awed, because this particular version of Him was so very ancient, I wondered, people didn’t even farm when You looked like this?
But are you Someone Else when You’re this? Cernunnos? Pan? Surely no one called You Ingvi Frey then?
I am Myself, and I am Your Father.
Now, I’m generally a hard polytheist, and so the way that I can brain that experience is that Deities grow and change over time (yay process theology) and that depending on when you hit Someone in mythic time, which sure as shit ain’t linear, XDeity might look archetypal, and maybe They are/were then wibbly wobbly timey wimey godly wodly.
The upshot of this is that the most helpful advice I can offer is to take Them as They come to you, so long as They’re a helpful Spirit.
tagging lokiwtf, limnaia, perpetualclosetcase, bethirstyqueerheart