Next installment of reflections on the Norse Gods in the modern world inspired by @tricksterinthehedges
The easiest rule to remember when looking for Loki is that if there are children or those ostracized he’s not far behind. The hardest rule to remember when looking for Loki is that he refuses to be boxed into predictable patterns that aren’t his own making.
Loki can be found living on the streets with those abandoned, shunned, and forgotten. They’ve been lost to the world and are beginning to lose themselves. They’re all on the streets for an array of reasons, but it all comes down to being viewed as inhuman to others. They are LGBTQ+ kids kicked out of their home and disowned by family. They are the mentally and physically disabled - some born and others created from wars - that the world has determine do not offer a valuable place in society. They have been left to rot.
He scavenges alongside them, bracing the fierce uncaring of the world. He sits on street corners in the high heat of summer, fighting sunstroke and heat exhaustion. He curls up under bridges and in alleys during the low chill of winter, fighting frostbite and gnawing hunger. Sometimes he fills a truck full of food, water, clothes, and toiletries. He’s stuffed the necessities in hiking backpacks that he hands out to everyone he sees. He returns the spit and hatred sent their way. He protests for them. He fights in the government, demanding funding for shelters, demanding respect, demanding that they be seen as the victims of the society around them assigning a low value to their existence and NOT their intrinsic worth.
For young men of color, he walks the streets with them. Keeping their mind sharp and tongue quick. They shouldn’t need it, but they do. He’s seen one too many cops charge forward bull-headed, believing the man in front of him is a savage beast that poses a threat. Fire licks his skin as he once again has to help a child resort to smooth talking and keeping to the shadows to simply survive in his neighborhood from those meant to protect him.
Lawyers like to think he’s on their side. But in truth, he likes working against them. Tripping them up, throwing curveballs, testing their wit, humbling their god-complex. He knows manipulation of truth; it is his craft. But something rubs him the wrong way about humans using it to obstruct rather than elucidate. Though, he has seen Legally Blonde, and he thinks that if more were like Elle Woods and Emmett he would happily be their patron.
Loki’s a favored substitute teacher. The classroom rules that enforce organization are scrapped. Chaos reigns. More than a few teachers passing in the hall have expressed worry and skepticism about his efficiency and efficacy. He laughs and waves a hand. “Kids learn in chaos and experience.” It’s how they make sense of the world. It’s how they learn to survive, to create, to thrive. All required assignments are always done in record time, and then more is accomplished. Perhaps they spent the day dissecting the field mouse someone found a recess, but they made more connections to the inner workings of the world than they had before. Students walk away with wild tales of what they learned - in truth most of them are new ways to prank siblings, parents, and other such pesky figures of authority. Some seemingly throwaway comment he made in passing returns to them 15 years later in life and helps them make sense of the swirling storm of adulthood and the world. More than a couple of his young students have gone on to become teachers in their own right who respect the chaos and creation of the learning experience.
He’s the bane of college students’ existence, though. He exists as the one professor you want to strangle because he refuses to give you a straight answer. He pokes. He prods. He flips the question back on you. He argues any side with ease. He is fond of being deemed “The Devil’s Advocate” because it means he’s got you engaged and thinking. His students struggle to get his approval. They struggle to see his way. But that’s the thing. He doesn’t have one way to see something. He sees through, around, above, and under. He pushes you to do the same.
At the end of the day, he knows all destruction and upheavel he’s accomplished has to be done. It’s the natural order and makes way for creation. He is the raging forest and brush fires from both natural and man-made causes. Everyone happily gives him blame and credit for those, but they fail to still find him in the smoldering ashes rejuvenating the soil, letting the new generation take root in fertile soil. They fail to still find him in the raging social action that sweeps through local government to ensure protections and preventions against such devastation happening again. They see seem him in the natural disasters and fall-out, but fail to see him helping with the construction of the foundations for a new city with higher dreams as they work to overcome and build on this pain. They fail to see him in the innovation that follows.
He spends time with his daughter in children’s hospitals, watching them fight for life against their body’s self-destruction. He sees his children in them. He sees the pain and anguish and strength in the face death. He works to bring laughter and joy, however momentary it is. He doesn’t leave until he’s visited every child and brought a smile to each face.
He spends time in the prisons and jails. He volunteers to teach classes. He keeps addicts honest. Sometimes he becomes a probation officer and the odd counselor. More than once he’s gotten in trouble for questionable methods, but he gets results. He forces people to address the darkest parts of themselves. They embrace or run away. They give in or strive against. Whichever they chose, he doesn’t necessarily care either way. He just cares that they know and acknowledge it. Things still fall apart in the darkness. It’s best to shine a light on them and be aware of where the breaks and holes are. Frequently, it’s those on the outside of the bars who need this lesson more.
He wanders with those lost in the wilds, those who hiked too far or whose car broke down. He keeps them vigilant and aware of the threats surrounding them. He inspires their resourcefulness. This is new terrain. This is wild terrain. Civility won’t bring survival. He encourages the animalistic instincts to come out.
He helps people fight for what they want.
He helps acceptance of selfishness. Sometimes it’s what you need to survive. Sometimes you need it to live. Sometimes it’s just fun.
The only constant he has is with one-to-one relationships. He never presents or acts just the same to two people. But he’ll stay true to who he is to you. He’s fluid, but always who he is. The moon goes through phases but is still the moon. Elements change states of matter but still remain as their element, such as water to ice to vapor. No one has managed to catch his core self, but it settles in the center of his bones and thrums in his veins. Many have ideas. Many have found commonalities. Many believe they do, but they are too quick to judge and pick and choose and force the pieces. Sometimes you may catch a glimpse flicker in his eye; an ember of the doused fire inside.
Angrboda accepts his core, but has never quite understood it. She’s been known to turn a blind eye to the extent of his creative powers. Sigyn loves and understands his changing nature and his part of bringing rebirth through death, but every now and then a haze crosses his eyes, the corner of his lips crinkles, and a new dynamic she has never witness comes through. She has found that to understand she must know that he’ll never be stagnant.
But, when the world sleeps and monsters prowl, he takes time to be still. He watches the stars turn in the sky around him. He listens to the wind curl and embrace the world; it stops to say hi and play with his hair for a moment, offering a caress before it carries on. He feels the earth thrum underneath his soles and thinks on the future he is fated to live. He’s never cared for predictability, and if they think it will end the way they say, they clearly have never met him. He vows as the night fades to mingle with day that he will take charge of himself. That’s what he centers around.