Loki, the Flame Haired, Scar-Lipped mischief maker of the North, is a hotly (heh) debated figure in American heathenry. This isn’t about the controversy, though. There’s plenty of opportunity to delve into that and examine it from various angles later. No, this is a celebration of the shifting attitudes towards Himself (and the origin of my kindred’s official Ritual Fire Extinguisher, which is an actual part of our ritual kit). Before our 2019 Midsummer celebration, I was welcomed in an unexpectedly emotional ceremony before the public arrived. I wasn’t the only one welcomed by the kindred: the doors were opened for Loki, too.
Readers from A Loki Kinda Life might recall the events that transpired the night the kindred invited me to join. Since then, I’d (jokingly, kind of) given them plenty of “outs” in case they’d changed their minds about letting one of Loki’s Little Lunatics in. They’re a stubborn bunch, though, and they repeatedly insisted they wanted me. Huh. At least they knew what they’re getting themselves into. I mean, they’ve known me for many, many years, and I’m not shy in my adoration of Himself.
Over the years, I very respectfully followed their “don’t toast Loki in sumbel, no offerings to him at blót, keep him out of ritual” rule, because I’m hardly about to tell people what to do in their own house. Besides, I genuinely admired everyone present and understood their past experiences with the Trickster and his followers weren’t the best. In any case, for the longest time I was a stubborn Odhinnswoman, who just accepted Loki’s constant presence as part of the terms of hanging with Ol’ One Eye. I’d pour Loki a drink when I poured one for Grimnir per lore declarations, and I’d give Loki treats on my own time, but a kindred being Nokian wasn’t a deal breaker for me. A little sad, since I’ve always had a liking for the twerp, and he’d always been good to me, but I understood. He’s not for everyone. I just made up for it upon my return home from kindred events.
Of course, in the last few years, the members of my kindred have started to slowly soften their stance regarding Himself. Their friendship with me and with another (more awesome) Lokean in the region helped them to understand him better and lessen the fear associated with him. When they invited me to join in an official capacity, they all agreed that they would open up ritual to include Loki. Of course, if you recall, I asked them a few times, “Heh, uh, are you sure? Like, really sure?” Each time they said yes, and then the votive exploded. Mazel tov!
That night was the first night I toasted Loki in a kindred sumbel, and the first night I didn’t have to give him a “makeup” offering upon my return home. I still did make an offering when I went home that night, but it wasn’t a “sorry you were excluded, I still love you” deal, it was a celebratory “yay you! Now please don’t make them regret it” deal.
On the Saturday of my kindred-ening, I packed up some of my favorite items from my Loki vé and proudly placed them on the kindred altar for my welcome ceremony. I was already giddy about everything, and seeing things so precious to us sitting with items so precious to the rest of the kindred and their fulltruis sparked extraordinary elation. It sparked Loki, too. As I snapped a pic of the altar, I heard G mutter, “Well that’s not supposed to happen.” We all look over to see him standing next to the tiki torch that was closest to the altar, hands on his hips, shaking his head. The entire thing was aflame, top to bottom, burning a nice little patch into the grass.
Not a single one of us was even slightly surprised. Instead, we all dissolved into laughter and hailed Loki, because of course. The altar was set, he had arrived, and he was ready to break open the mead. But before that could happen, we made the unanimous decision to officially incorporate a Ritual Fire Extinguisher into the kindred gear.
There were nearly a dozen tiki torches ringing G’s yard. They’re lit every time we gather. There was absolutely no coincidence that the one next to the altar spontaneously combusted the moment we finished setting up. And the sound of everyone’s laughter was nothing short of pure magic – it was the moment I knew for sure that my brothers and sisters were truly welcoming Loki into the fold.
When we held sumbel later with everyone else, it was the greatest honor as the newest member to open with a toast to Loki. As I held the horn, I echoed what I’d said earlier, when it was just the kindred:
To my beloved Loki, Truth-Forcer, World-Breaker. My world has certainly been broken, time and again. My family has been broken. My body has been broken, and my heart has been broken. But thanks to Loki, my soul has never broken. He has never left my side, he is truly the most compassionate. And I am more grateful than anyone can know that my brothers and sisters accept me, and welcome him. It’s because of them that I am so thrilled and so humbled to raise this horn with you and say . . . HAIL LOKI!
There’s still resistance in the community at large, but our adored little twerp is finally getting to be with his family and his friends at ritual. We are starting to sing for him, we are coming together as a community to share our gratitude and our mead, make our offerings, and welcome the blessings and lessons he has to offer. And, of course, to laugh at his antics. Exploding votives, tiki torches gone wild. . . all good fun, so long as no one gets hurt.
And to my kindred: I cannot possibly be more grateful and indebted to you for welcoming Himself when you welcomed me. You, my long time friends and new brothers and sisters, have done great things, and continue to do so, and I don’t know that I could ever love you any more than I already do. Hail the community!