As acclaimed by Galina Krasskova, July is Honor Loki Month, and I think this is a very good thing indeed. I’m not a Heathen personally, but I know a number of them, and I’m interested in many of the gods from that general area of the world, though my experiences with them thus far have been limited. However, amongst that limited experience, Loki has been somewhat prominent. Over the next seven days, I’ll be posting a poem that honors Loki or one of his kin, or possibly some others among the Norse deities who have a connection to the “dog-days” (whether traditionally or just in my own view). More on that in a moment…
When I first heard about July being a month to honor Loki (independent of the reasons “why” this whole thing came about…though I do think it’s a good thing that it did!–on which there are varying views…see among them Steven T. Abell’s), I had a thought: the “dog-days” start in late July, and given that Loki seems to be associated with fire, as well as with a number of canine or lupine figures, why not honor him late in the month when the dog-days start, and honor a variety of the Norse divine wolf and dog figures during the same time? That seemed to make some sense…
While I’ve read a bit here and there academically about Loki and co., I wanted to do some research into them that wasn’t “just academic,” so I got a hold of Galina Krasskova’s edited anthology Feeding the Flame: A Devotional to Loki and His Family (which I highly recommend!), and found something out from close to the moment when I first started reading it: Loki actually does have a connection to the star Sirius in Iceland, which is called Lokabrenna there! So, my own initial inspirations on the matter turned out to be true! Hmm…
And, a while back, the Oracle of Polydeukion mentioned to me that in the first week of July, my dreams would be particularly important to pay attention to, and during that time, the only divine presence that seemed to be at all involved was–yep, you guessed it–Loki! He never appeared directly, but I suspect that he may have been manipulating some things from behind the scenes, and I very clearly could feel someone that seemed to be him “off-stage” during much of it. I mentioned this a bit earlier this month.
So, what I’d like to do for the next seven days is to honor Loki or one of his kin (or other Norse dog- or wolf-figures), on days that I think are appropriate to each, and I’d also like to share ways in which Loki has been involved in my life as a polytheist in various ways over time. As this is the first such post, I’ll tell you a bit about my first impressions and knowledge of Loki.
[But first, can I just say that it's so damn hard to find pictures on Loki on the internet these days that aren't influenced by Tom Hiddleston from the Thor and Avengers films? Not that he's bad to look at or anything, but still...one always hopes for better. If "Antinous" became the name of a hot blond muscle-bound WWE wrestler, I suppose I'd be pretty screwed...but anyway...!?!]
While I had been aware of the Greek gods (and the Egyptian ones) since a relatively young age, I didn’t know there were “other” polytheistic cultures until I was in the fifth grade, when during our library periods we were taught about mythology by the librarian, Mrs. Lancaster (who I will always treasure for what she taught us). It was the first time that any teacher/authority figure in my life addressed sex in a manner that was age-appropriate and “not made a big deal of” when we were talking about folklore and, if I recall correctly, the story of Lady Godiva came up. We did a unit on mythology generally speaking, but the options were pretty limited at that point: Greek and Norse, really. I had gone through much of what was on offer for the Greeks, and so I decided to launch into the Norse, and there was this lovely book that had retellings of various Norse myths in it that I read through with some confusion but a great deal of interest. And, though I had heard of Thor previously (because of the Marvel comic), I had not really heard of any of the other gods. Odin seemed interesting, but Loki seemed a bit more interesting, I think–it was amazing to me how much he was “saving the day” in some stories, but in others was the total “bad guy.” Character complexity…wow! What better being in the entire universe to introduce this concept to a child than Loki, wouldn’t you say?
So, for that reason, Loki was one of the first gods of any culture that really made an impression on me that was deep–a distinction he holds along with Hephaistos from the Greeks and Anubis from the Egyptians. I think he’s in good company in that regard…
Today is the beginning of the dog-days, and it also happens to be Wednesday, which is by its Anglo-Saxon roots “Woden’s Day,” and thus a day sacred to Odin. It’s often said, so I’m told, that one must toast Loki with Odin, and Odin with Loki, and as a result the poem I’ve given below alludes to some of Odin’s story as well, and I hope that both gods are hailed as a result of my efforts today and in the week to come.
I’ll give you my poem for the day below, but I’d also like to give you the image by Grace Palmer of Loki from The Giants Tarot (and she also did the image on the front of Feeding the Flame, which is the Lovers card from that deck), which I think most fits what I’d like to think of as Loki–he’s just so damn cute!
Hail to you of the far-off red eye
shining brightly in the steam of summer nights.
They say that He of the One Eye
gave his other for wisdom at a well.
Hail to you of both eyes brilliant,
for you were wise enough to keep two eyes.
It is the redness of keen vision,
the knowing squint, the wink of recognition.
It is the crimson strain of sleepless nights
and the irritation of poisonous eye-drops.
It is the scarlet-hued rouge powder
of one who knows the lives of many genders.
It is the bloodshot head-rush of laughter
that brings a blush to every cheek.
It is the hot-headed rage, sparking conflagrations
that boils, ready to explode, whenever…
Fire like the pulsing thrum of the earth,
blood like lava, smolders in your stare.
A flame as unpredictable and molten
erupts at the touch of your hand or gaze.
It is the inferno-tongue of your two eyes
at so great a distance that flashes such fire
across the expanse of space and nine worlds,
to appear singular, o divine and devious one–Loki, hail to you!
Hail to Loki, and to his blood-brother Odin, on this day!