Why Loki Exists (Not Your Standard Arguments)

Why Loki Exists (Not Your Standard Arguments)

Loki is a bit of an enigma when it comes to the Northern pantheon. No god causes such turmoil among Heathens when it comes to our gods. Did Loki really exist in the pantheon? Was he worshiped? Was he a creation of Snorri? It’s almost as if the trickster intentionally caused this entire debate–which would suit him just fine.  Read more of this premium content for just $1 and gain access to all my premium content.

Why Loki as a Chaos God is One of the Most Powerful Gods in Your Life

Why Loki as a Chaos God is One of the Most Powerful Gods in Your Life

As a follower of Tyr, I have a grudging respect for Loki.  So much so that I even have a place for him on my altar. Loki as a chaos god shows up constantly in my life — and probably your life, too.  And despite all the naysayers claiming that no one ever worshiped Loki, I suspect ancient Heathens did acknowledge him at blots and other religious functions.  And I believe that people did worship him as much as other gods.  Let me explain why.

Loki’s Bad Rap

Loki as a chaos god has without a doubt gotten a bad rap from the whole death of Baldr thing and leading the forces of chaos at Ragnarok. The fact that he had monstrous children with Angrboda seems to confirm it too. Both Fenrir and Jörmungandr are indeed dangerous beasts. Hel, while her followers would argue against her being a monster, some Heathens certainly considered at least frightening, if not a demon-like creature. Seeing a woman half skeleton and half flesh is, after all, pretty creepy in most contexts.

Loki as a Catalyst for Change

That aside, Loki is the gods’ catalyst for change.  He plays tricks on them — some tricks not so nice — but in the end, most of his behavior benefits the gods.  Cutting Sif’s hair is a prime example.  First, you have to wonder what Loki was doing in Sif’s bedroom (something mentioned in Loki’s Flyting). Once the gods caught Loki, he not only repaired the damage by giving Sif new hair, but gained other treasures for the gods.

Loki is the prime mover and shaker in Asgard.  If he did not constantly get into trouble, the Aesir and Vanir would have stagnated.  They wouldn’t have gotten Asgard for free.  Odin would not have Slepnir. The gods wouldn’t have Skadi within their midst.  Thor would not have Mjöllnir, Freyr wouldn’t have Skíðblaðnir and Gullin-börsti, and Odin would not have Gungnir and Draupnir.

Loki as a Malicious God

Loki shows his malicious side both in the death of Baldr and in Lokasenna (Loki’s Flyting). It’s interesting that he isn’t bound because he caused Baldr’s death, but because he insulted the gods and goddesses at a feast.  As an aside, does anyone else see a disparity here?  Sure, he kills Aegir’s servant, but that’s not why his children are killed and he’s tied up with a venomous snake dripping poison overhead. Granted, the punishment may be for all his troublemaking and this might be the last straw, but seriously?

Loki is punished because he speaks the truth, albeit twisted to hurt.  But sometimes the truth hurts, and it shows the foibles and failings of even the mightiest of gods.  So, even though his actions aren’t justifiable, it fits perfectly for Loki as a chaos god.

Is Loki Good or Bad?

At this stage, you may be wondering if Loki is good or bad.  If you take the simplistic route, you look at everything bad Loki has done.  Loki killed Baldr through Hodur.  He disallowed Baldr to return to Asgard.  He sired three creatures which will bring about Ragnarok. Loki then killed Aegir’s servant and insulted the gods.  The list goes on and on.

If you’re a Lokean, you might argue that Loki has done good things as mentioned in this post above. You might point out how the Fenrir was set up and that Ragnarok happens because the gods’ actions caused it. Furthermore, you might point out that the Aesir and Vanir brought Ragnarok on them because they threw Loki’s children under the proverbial bus.

So, which side is right?

Loki as a Chaos God

Actually, both sides are right and wrong at the same time.  The reason is that Loki is a complex being, although obviously a chaos god and a trickster.  He is the archetypal trickster who metes out both good and bad through his love of causing chaos wherever he goes. He takes joy in shedding light where everyone else wants the situation in the dark, and he hates the status quo, whether it is good or bad.  He stirs the pot, because that’s what he does.  Even if the pot suits everyone else, it tastes bland to him.

Loki can be almost demonic when he is looking for vengeance, due to whatever slight he sees, real or imagined.  Ragnarok is as much his doing as anything else.  Why?  Because it is change.  It will destroy what was and will replace it with something else.

Capricious beyond belief, this consummate troublemaker is one that can’t leave well enough alone. He is happy to hand out good and bad, as long as it suits him.  With that kind of behavior, you have to wonder if he’s worth bothering with, but ignoring him is the worst thing you can do.  He’ll make it a point to stir up trouble.

Not Evil, Just Misunderstood

Oddly enough, I’ve discovered that if you stay on good terms with Loki, he will aid you whenever he can. But his aid is often fraught with chaos, and your life will take a turn toward the surreal should you decide to make him your primary god. It has been my and others’ experience that Loki will help you when he can, but chaos will linger with you as a type of payment.  For every good thing, you may have a bad thing happen.  In most cases, Loki will help you, but don’t be surprised is there is a catch.  (With most of the Northern gods, there is always a catch somewhere.)

My god, Tyr, is pretty much the opposite of Loki.  Where Loki is a force of chaos, Tyr is a god of law.  It’s interesting because Tyr recognizes that while they are opposites, you can’t have one without the other.  Tyr was the only god who took care of Fenrir and paid the sacrifice of his hand to the wolf when the gods decided that Fenrir must be bound. Like Loki, Fenrir is a force of chaos.  You can’t have law without chaos.

Did Our Ancestors Worship Loki?

The question of whether our ancestors worshiped Loki is somewhat academic.  We don’t have archaeological proof that Loki was worshiped, but then, we don’t have a lot of evidence that certain goddesses such as Eostre existed either.  We can speculate that Tyr’s consort was Zisa, but there isn’t really anything that backs it up.

I suspect that because Loki was considered one of the Aesir, he was worshiped in some fashion.  After all, many kings traced their lineage back to Jotunn, so Rokkatru isn’t far off from that.  At the very least, I suspect that he wasn’t ignored so that he wouldn’t cause trouble.

Isn’t Loki Still Tied to the Rock with a Serpent Overhead?

How can we have people worshiping Loki and Fenrir when both are bound up?  This is an interesting point, and I have four possible suppositions as to how Loki and Fenrir can exist bound and yet unbound.  Here are my four possible conclusions:

  1. The Loki killing Baldr, the Lokasenna, and the binding of Fenrir stories are prophetic and have not come to pass.  (Unlikely)
  2. The stories are metaphors for things that have happened already and when talking about binding, it may suggest a controlling of power — or in Tyr’s case, a loss of power — rather than an actual physical binding.
  3. Ragnarok has already happened at least once.  That means that our gods exist, but in newer forms.
  4. The gods are many faceted and capable of being in several places at once.  This, oddly enough, works when you consider quantum theory.  So, Loki may be tied to a rock in one place and free in another.  (Yeah, quantum theory is fucked up.)

Seeing as I’ve had dealings with the god of chaos, I can say that he is very much around.  Plus, we have plenty of chaos in our world — binding him did no good on that score.

Why Loki is a Powerful God

Why is Loki a powerful god?  Think about it.  He controls chaos and randomness. Without him, the universe would not work the way it does.  When things happen by chance — good or bad — that is the domain of Loki.  When we think about suddenly finding money on the road while walking, or missing a bus or plane because something held you up, or getting in a car accident when you were not at fault, that’s Loki working in your life.

Loki is the god of entropy as well.  That means that as chaos and randomness continues, so order breaks down.  That is, in essence, what many scientists predict will happen to our universe as it ends.  It goes cold as it dies as everything breaks apart.  A powerful god, to be sure.

A Poem to Loki

I found this on the Interwebs and thought I’d share it with you.  Not my work, but I do have permission to use it.

Full Cycle

The cave is dark, as the one where he bested Andvari.
The gold he got freed the Aesir from bonds.
Now he lies fettered himself.
He remembers

Pranks and jests
– dangerous, granted –
Showing them life
without masquerade of youth,
or jewels, or hair.
Drip.

They took his gifts
but they never learned
his secrets of change
and looking at unpleasant truths.
Drip. The bowl fills.

How they put everything
they could not deal with
out of sight, or life:
Ymir. The giants. His Ironwood-get.
Drip.

They could not face death.
Even some humans did better.
The bowl fills to the brim,
surface taut as a bowstring-
Drip.
Poison flows
Balder´s blood
rushing
tears of nine worlds
gushing
the stream where they caught him
Snake spit burns
like Asgard´s curses,
not this!

Tormented, he strains
to break bonds
with prophecy´s force
Midgard trembles
– maybe this time? –
Sigyn hurries
Will she return…?
Relief.
Now it´s just the cave, and the darkness,
and three stones cutting his back,
and the memories they share.

Drip.
A tear Sigyn sheds.

— Full Cycle Poem © 2007 Michaela Macha. This work (entitled Full Cycle) by Michaela Macha (www.odins-gift.com) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives License.

How to Perform a Salt Purification Ritual

How to Perform a Salt Purification Ritual

“I think I might have problems with wights,” I told one wight expert about issues at my barn. Never mind that I’m strongly agnostic about wights, and never mind that I don’t believe in magic. I was at wit’s end when it came to my goats getting sick and dying. I had one necropsy performed on a dead kid which proved nothing except that I had a very healthy, dead kid. The expert recommended that I perform a salt purification ritual to rid the barn of negative influences.

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More Valuable than Gold, Salt Shaped Civilizations and Magic

More Valuable than Gold, Salt Shaped Civilizations and Magic

In ancient times, there were few commodities more precious than salt.  Yes, salt.  If you remember your high school history lessons, you know that the Roman legions got paid in salt, hence the word, “salary.”  But why was salt  so important, how did it affect our northern ancestors, and what is the history behind salt?

Yes, I got busy and did some research on salt.  I thought I’d share what I discovered.

Why Salt was so Important

The history behind salt is actually pretty interesting.  Salt is still an indispensable commodity for life. In the past it was used for preserving food, medicines, the processing of leather, mummification, and smelting metals. Livestock required salt as a supplement, so anyone who had livestock that couldn’t forage, would need to provide salt to keep their herds healthy.  It was used in magic, religious, and purification rituals.  And, of course, it was used to season food. In the Middle Ages, salt was actually considered a “spice,” rather than a mineral.

It seems odd that something we take for granted today — and are told that we get too much of — was so valuable then.  This is because salt needed to be mined or extracted, and there were only a few ways to get salt, comparatively speaking.  You either mined it by hand, or you set up some sort of evaporative system that enabled you to get the salt from sea water or salt water springs.  The further inland you were, the less access you had to salt, unless you discovered a salt deposit and mined it.

The Oldest Town Discovered in Europe was a Salt Mine

Roman salt mining tool

Before the wheel was invented, nearly seven thousand years ago, people were mining salt in northwest Bulgaria.  They lived near salt water springs and boiled the salt water in kilns to distill the salt, itself.  The workers would then bake the salt into bricks. They traded those bricks with local tribes for precious items, like gold.

Even though these people had no carts or wheels, they managed to build high rock walls to protect their investment.  They were rich with gold; archaeologists have found 3000 gold artifacts in the area.  This town, known as Provadia-Solnitsata, had about 350 inhabitants.  350 very wealthy inhabitants who lived in two-story homes and a gated community.  Some things never change.

Salt Mining in Austria and Poland

The Last Supper carved from salt

According to the Hallein Salt Mine’s website, salt mining has been going on for 7000 years there.  Mined by neolithic Celtic peoples, salt was valuable to them as well. Prehistoric salt mining on the Dürrnberg began in the 6th century BC, rivaling the town Provadia-Solnitsata in age.  My guess is that as people learned to harvest salt, there was a “salt rush,” akin to a gold rush.  People who got in on the mining probably fared pretty well, comparatively speaking.  Archaeologists have uncovered gold, amber, and coral objects, suggesting that the Celts were trading their salt for valuable items from other areas.

In Poland, the people have mined salt since the 13th century from the Wieliczka and Bochnia Royal Salt Mines.  They’re kind of cool, having even an underground Christian chapel composed entirely of salt.

So What About Salt in Norse Mythology?

Salt was apparently crucial enough to talk about in our own creation myths.  Auðhumbla, the primeval cow, licked the rime from where the cold and heat came together.  This salt rime created Buri, the first god, and nourished Auðhumbla, even though we know full well today that there are no calories in salt.  But maybe the Norse figured it was a magic rime, or the cow needed nothing else.

Stories of How the Sea Became Salty

Like many cultures which relied on the sea, the Norse had their own just-so stories that described how the sea became salty.  In the Skáldskarpamál and the Poetic Edda, Grottasöngr, that is, the Song of Grotti, tells a story how King Frodi of Denmark purchased two giant woman slaves named Fenja and Menja to grind the magic millstones, known as Grotti.  These millstones were so large that ordinary men could not use them.  Frodi had the women grind out peace and prosperity for his people, but he forbade them to rest.  The women then ground out an army that overthrew Frodi and the Viking leader, Mysing, took the millstones and the women on his ship.  He ordered the

Fenja and Menja

m use the mill and grind, but when the two women became tired, he forbade them to stop.  They became angry and began to grind salt.  They ground so much salt, that they sank the ship. The place where they purportedly sank is a whirlpool where below they grind salt to this day.

Salt in the Viking Era

Despite having a lot of salt water surrounding Norway, Sweden, and Finland salt was very expensive in the northmost countries and nearly nonexistent in Iceland. The Norse were more likely to use pickling, drying, smoking, and fermenting to preserve foods rather than salting them.  The further south you went, the more likely you’d see salt as a method of preservation. In Denmark and England, you’d see more foods preserved in salt than you would in the northernmost lands.  That’s not to say the Norse weren’t aware of salt and didn’t use it, but the further north you went, the more expensive it was.

Salt in Religious Ceremonies and Magic

Not surprisingly, when you realize how important salt was, our ancestors used salt in religious ceremonies and magic.  Because of it’s antibacterial properties, our ancestors used salt in purification rituals and other types of magic.  In my next post, I’ll cover some of those magical uses and maybe give you some ways to use salt in your own rituals.

 

 

 

Four Ways to Make Easter Not Suck

Four Ways to Make Easter Not Suck

Easter has never been my favorite time, largely because it’s a Christian holiday that is pretty much a celebration of their death-cult god. Even when I was growing up, other than getting Easter baskets with lots of yummy chocolate, all I remember is having to get dressed up and go to church and afterwards a brunch that was maybe okay.  (Never mind the fact that ham was the main dish, ahem…in honor of Freyr.)

Sure, we can quibble whether Eostre was really an Anglo-Saxon goddess or not, but it really doesn’t matter much if you’re a solitary Heathen among Christians.  Sure, you can go through the motions and celebrate the season with family, but I’ve come up with some interesting ways to make Easter not suck.

Make Easter a Celebration to Freyr, Freyja, and Eostre


Okay, maybe Eostre existed in Anglo-Saxon lore, and maybe she didn’t.  That’s okay.  We know Freyr and Freyja exist and we can use Easter as a time to celebrate the gods and goddesses of spring.  That means creating yummy meals, doing blots, and celebrating like it’s a time to celebrate — that is, the beginning of new life.

Have a roast pig dish, crack open a bottle of mead, and celebrate the spring.  Got Christians in your family?  Well, how would they know this is for our gods and not theirs?

This past Yule, I didn’t get my Christmas cookies made, so I figure now is as good of time as any to make roll out cookies. Luckily I have more than just Christmas shapes.  In fact, one of my sisters gave me a Star Wars cookie cutter set, because nothing says Christmas like Star Wars.  So, I figure Easter is as good as any for cookies that I can enjoy. (ETA: Munching on them right now.)

Go Have Fun While the Christians are in Church

Look, not everything in the United States shuts down on Easter (I can’t say that with certainty in other countries), so why not catch that movie you’ve wanted to see, go to the attractions that are normally mobbed other times of the year, or plan doing something that is just plain fun while the Christians are getting the megadose of guilt in church?  Look, just because they’re insistent on getting all formal to impress other people in church doesn’t mean we have to sit around and mope.  Celebrate Easter with a favorite movie, meal, or go outdoors and enjoy nature.

Or do what we do, and go rabbit hunting.  “Hey, it’s the Easter bunny!”  Blam!

Sleep In

It’s Sunday, and unless you have to work on Easter, just sleep in and relax.  Nobody is telling you to get up for the crack of dawn sunrise service.  Look, you’ll probably be doing that on Winter Solstice and Summer Solstice, so why bother for a day that has no meaning to you?

Do Some Eostre Egg Dyeing and Hiding

If you feel the need to enjoy the holiday, why not hard boil some eggs and use natural dyes to color them?  Here are recipes which teach you how to make natural colored dyes easily.  If you do put on an Eostre egg hunt, be sure to count the number of eggs you hid. otherwise a few days later you’ll find the egg with your nose.

I am certain there are other things you can do to make Easter more enjoyable.  Let me know what you do.

Five Reasons Why Heathens Should Not Own Goats

Five Reasons Why Heathens Should Not Own Goats

After another exhausting day of handling baby goats, I’ve decided that any Heathen who gets goats isn’t right in the head (including myself). For this reason, I submit the Five Reasons Why Heathens Should Not Own Goats. Ready? Let’s begin… [Read More of this Premium Content, and Unlock All My Premium Content, for Just $1]

Just Kidding (or How to Spend Your Days without Sleep)

Just Kidding (or How to Spend Your Days without Sleep)

Ah, the Heathen life.  The Rational Heathen has goats, which means spring kids, and the insanity that brings. If they all had lived, I would’ve had ten Kids on the Block. Yeah, bad pun, deal with it.  Right now, I’m down to seven and as bad as having a 30 percent attrition rate is, it beats out the really bad year when I lost all the kids due to various aliments.

I Hate Spring, and Here’s Why

Here in the Northern Rockies, the weather is typical spring.  In other words, the weather sucks to pull goat babies out of the butts of pregnant doe goats. Temperatures dip below 20 degrees Fahrenheit at night and the days can soar as high as 40 or 50 degrees.  And it alternately rains and snows.  And melts.  And makes everything muddy. And I mean everything.  It sucks, especially for newborn goats who really have no defense against the weather.  So, even though it is Freyr’s season, it is a real pain in the ass for someone like me who has livestock.  I’ve been spending most of my time awake and going down to the barn every two to four hours to check on the does.  So, it means long nights.

Kid Train

Around here it’s been guess and by golly when they actually were bred.  That’s my own fault because I got a new goat buck who was just a kid.  So, I left him with the does so I could be sure they would be bred.  All this winter, I watched the does balloon with babies and waited.  One of my best goats had twins, only to have them succumb to pneumonia.  Then, the kid train started.  I had four does deliver in two days.  Eight kids total.

One didn’t survive despite my ministrations. It happens, but I take it personally every time.  No idea what killed him.  If we had decent goat vets out here, I’d consider a necropsy, but the last necropsy told me that I had a healthy, dead kid.  True story, that.

It’s Not Easy

Right now, I have seven kids with a couple being somewhat sketchy because they had bacteria infections.  I’m treating them will all the medication I can muster.  Kids born during mud season are just about guaranteed to have some illness.  What’s more, I have one who is a quarter of the size of the others and who has a birth defect that a kid last year had.  Same mom.

The mom doe goat in question is about as disappointing as they come. Her first kid was born with two long back legs and died within a day.  The second kid from last season had a fused toe joint that curled the hoof under the leg that made him very lame.  He survived only to die of bloat. The little doeling is a runt and has one leg where the toe joint has somewhat curled and is twisted a bit.  Two different unrelated bucks; same doe.  To make matters worse, I can’t milk that doe because she is wild in temperament despite the handling, and she drinks off herself.  She also drinks off her mom.

So today, we slaughtered the doe goat and butchered her for meat.  Not what I would prefer, but either you make it in my herd or you don’t.  I can’t afford another pet goat, especially one with a bad temperament.  Her kids, if they survive, won’t be bred.  Since their father was a cashmere buck, I’ll be keeping them for fiber (wool).

Spring and the Heathen

Despite my obvious dislike for the season, Heathens in the past looked forward to spring. Sure, it meant lambing, kidding, calving, and planting seeds, but what it really meant was the onslaught of winter was finally over.  I suspect that many people and livestock went into survival mode in the wintertime.  Even with winter grazing, livestock couldn’t really forage for food as they could in the spring and summer, so either had to be sold, slaughtered, or had to be fed. This meant that you could only keep the animals you could afford to feed or the land could support.  This also meant you had to keep your breeding stock and hope that the critters made it through the winter.

Spring was the return of life, and therefore the return of food for our ancestors’ livestock.  New kids, calves, and lambs meant an abundance of food for the next winter, if they survived the harsh realities of an early spring.  Livestock was typically smaller than modern day’s version, so they didn’t need near as much to eat as their modern counterparts,  but they didn’t produce as much either. I suspect the goats from the past were hardier than those we have today.  Those who didn’t survive didn’t pass on their genetic code.

Kids and the Modern Heathen

As a modern Heathen, I am slightly more self sufficient than city dwellers, living a semi-subsistence lifestyle. But even I must use modern technology to keep my animals alive during this topsy-turvey time of spring, here in a land with unpredictable weather.  We get warm and cold spells, rain and snow, and of course, wind that threatens any young creature’s life.  I look at the deer around the house and am amazed that they live as long as they do with the same weather, predators, and diseases we must endure.  It is a true testament to life that despite adversity, wildlife thrives.

I have three crates full of kids that need to be hand raised.  I have five goats who need to be milked.  I’ll get about two gallons of milk a day — enough to feed the little ones with some addition of cow juice.  I’ll also bring hay up to get them started.

A Lesson I’ve Learned

If there is a lesson to be learned by this, it is that our ancestors had hard lives.  They didn’t have the antibiotics and other medicines I have available.  They probably sweated over their livestock as much as I do, or even more, because they couldn’t just go to the store and buy a package of hamburger if it didn’t work out.  Each dead kid, each failed milker, and each failed crop put them one step closer to starvation.

It gives you an idea how far we’ve gone as a species.  Even our poorest people in first world countries fare better than that.  There are enough food pantries in my area that can prevent hunger for those who do not qualify for food stamps or SNAP benefits.  The Heathen then relied on their family and kindred to prevent starvation, but it could be a closely run thing.  So, even though I pay homage to the ancestors, quite frankly, I’ve had enough of a taste of their lifestyle to know that it’s harder than it appears.  At least I’m unlikely to starve if I lose any more kids.

 

 

Five Great Reasons for Becoming A Heathen

Five Great Reasons for Becoming A Heathen

Now that I’ve talked about five reasons for not becoming Heathen, the flip side is what are good reasons for becoming a Heathen. Naturally, there are people who may disagree with me, but I think there are good reasons for becoming a Heathen. Let’s get started… [READ THIS AND ALL PREMIUM POSTS FOR JUST $1.  SUBSCRIBE NOW!]

Five Bad Reasons for Becoming a Heathen

Five Bad Reasons for Becoming a Heathen

I ran into an interesting post on Patheos entitled 5 Bad Reasons to Become a Pagan.  It’s an interesting post, but it seems to cover more Wiccan than Heathen issues.  So, like any good Viking, I’ve raided the subject and decided to talk about the five bad reasons for becoming a Heathen.  Maybe you agree with me; maybe you don’t.  Whatever.  But here is my list.

Bad Reason #1: You Want to Join a Whites-Only (Neo-Nazi) Religion

If you’ve hung out on my blog for any length of time, you knew this would be one of the bad reasons. We don’t want white supremacists or Neo-Nazis for the simple fact that they are a foul pollutant to our religion and we do not believe what they believe.  The history of Heathen belief bears this out.

Our ancestors belief in “race” was much different than identifying with the color of one’s skin.  Instead, they discriminated on religious beliefs, class, and political alliances.  So if you were a Viking from Scandinavia who believed in the Heathen gods, you were considered a vastly different person than the Anglo-Saxon who believed in Christ, rightly or wrongly. Now, if you were from Nubia (an African country) and had dark skin, you were considered the same race as Christians who had white skin because you believed in Christ.   If you were another color, Heathens didn’t care as long as you worshiped the Heathen gods and allied yourself with the kindreds they were in. So, your allies were considered the same as you.

As Heathens, we accept that the gods call people who are of a different ethnicity than those whose ancestors have come from the Northern European lands.  We are not here to judge our gods’ choices as to whom they wish as followers. Although skin color may be an issue today, Heathens should be inclusive when it comes to following our gods.

Bad Reason #2: You Want to Worship Our Gods Because You’re a Marvel Fan

You know, it’s okay to be introduced to the Heathen gods through Marvel, but if you’re becoming a Heathen because you find Tom Hiddleston or Chris Hemsworth sexy, maybe what you’re looking for isn’t a religion but a fan club.  You shouldn’t worship Loki because you’re enamored with Hiddleston.  Believe me, you aren’t the only one coming into the Northern religions because of the movies. The rest of us who are serious are going to sigh in disgust.  We’re not a place for you to live out your fantasies when it comes to actors, so you might as well go someplace else.

The other issue is that the Marvel Thor universe is only loosely based on our mythology.  There are plenty of differences, so don’t think you’re coming into a religion that is like the movies or the comics.

Bad Reason #3: You Have a Drinking Problem and You Want to Hide It

Heathens drink mead.  A lot.  We have rites that use mead quite often.  Both the blot and the sumbel use mead, and drinking often accompanies our holidays (which are many).  That being said, Odin states the following in the Havamal (11 – 14):

11.
A better burden can no man bear
on the way than his mother wit:
and no worse provision can he carry with him
than too deep a draught of ale.

12.
Less good than they say for the sons of men
is the drinking oft of ale:
for the more they drink, the less can they think
and keep a watch o’er their wits.

13.
A bird of Unmindfulness flutters o’er ale feasts,
wiling away men’s wits:
with the feathers of that fowl I was fettered once
in the garths of Gunnlos below.

14.
Drunk was I then, I was over drunk
in that crafty Jötun’s court.
But best is an ale feast when man is able
to call back his wits at once.

 [Translation Source]

You can argue whether these are really Odin’s words transcribed, but most Heathens accept it as wisdom.  So, if you’re an alcoholic, or a borderline alcoholic, who wants to use Heathenry as an excuse to drink, go to rehab.  Seriously.  We need people who have their wits about them and not people who use Heathenry as an excuse to drink.

Bad Reason #4: You Want to Use Heathenry as an Extended Version of Cosplay

I’m probably going to step on toes here, but if you’re using Heathenry just to dress up in cool clothing and armor, swing swords and carry medieval weapons, maybe you need to either be in an reenactment group or the SCA and not a Heathen.  Certainly there are Heathens in reenactment groups and the SCA, and there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be there.  The problem is when those people don’t take their Heathen beliefs seriously.  Look, I get that there are atheist and agnostic Heathens out there, but they still take their lore seriously (maybe a little too seriously for my taste).  No, I’m not saying that you need to become a recon asshat who insists that everything be done according to their (or some Asa-pope’s) interpretation of what the ancestors did, but at least you’re interested in the archaeology, lore, Eddas, writing, and the past.

Bad Reason #5: You Want to Be a Powerful Magic User

Oh gods, here I am using the “M” word (magic) again.  (I’m fairly skeptical about magic, so bear with me on this.)  Heathenry has a limited amount of  magic — we have seidr, we have runes, we have gods and giants, we have wights and other supernatural critters, we have berserkers and ulfhednar and whatnot.  We have our own lore and magic that surrounds it.  That being said, if you’re really looking for playing with magic a lot, you need to check out other pagan beliefs, most notably, Wiccan. It’s not that most Heathens wouldn’t welcome you into the fold; it’s just that you’ll be disappointed with Heathenry because we really don’t have what you’re looking for.  Other pagan beliefs have more magical tendencies. The Heathen magic is usually communicating with wights and gods, being possessed by a supernatural entity, foretelling the future, wards, and making requests to entities in the form of blots.  I’m not saying you can’t become powerful in your own right, but in many cases, you’ll find the magic somewhat lacking.

There are other bad reasons that are valid when it comes to becoming a Heathen..  Maybe you have some thoughts on this as well?

I Hate Daylight Savings Time

I Hate Daylight Savings Time