Having a patron god seems a bit like the “in” thing to do as a pagan these days. I don’t recall encountering the concept before a few years ago, but now it is everywhere. The idea, I think, behind having a patron god or goddess is to have a focus or a lens for viewing your life and its lessons, as well as a guide to future action and development. Some people choose their patron after much searching and seeking. Others will say their patron chose them, sometimes quite firmly.
I never expected to fall into the second camp.
I first thought of Loki a little more than two years ago, during a trip to Texas. As is usual in my life, we were in a swirl of really strange, random, unlikely events. My mother developed a very fast moving, rare cancer that almost killed her within a week, only to find out that it was the one type that could actually be cured, but then she almost died from the treatment despite being very healthy to start. My grandfather almost died at the same time. We went to Texas to visit him, and got caught in an ice storm. When we got there, we got put into a cabin that was not big enough for the nine of us (me, the kids, my mom and my brother) because the resort was actually packed in the middle of February. Then the pipes burst, and we got moved into a bigger unit…but the heater didn’t work. The temperatures during that couple of days were actually the same in Houston as they were in Lansing, Michigan! They fixed the heater…and then Kender learned how to open doors, something he had never done before, and we had our first wandering event. Kender ended up being gone for over 10 minutes, walked all the way across a parking lot (in front of a row of buildings that were the only thing between him and a lake), and was picked up by some other guests, who called security, who led me to believe when I came out and got him that they were going to have the police come.
I spent the rest of that day holed up in our unit with the shades drawn tight, terrified to leave, afraid to show my face. I had visions of the Texas authorities taking my children away for negligence. My mind was whirling, and I couldn’t understand how, over and over, these strange and bizarre things had to keep happening to me and my family. And a little voice in my head whispered, “Loki,” and I wanted to shout, “Loki, knock it off!”
I didn’t have much understanding of Loki at that time, other than a general knowledge that he was the Norse trickster god. Rather than use the name of a god I knew so little about, I decided to look him up and see who he really was. My first look was cursory, a few quick wiki readings and browsing around. I ran into the opinion that he was evil and chaos set against the general order of the gods, and I thought, I don’t want to have anything to do with this. I turned my back, and I left Him alone.
Over the next two years, I kept hearing that prompting. Loki’s name would not leave my mind. I’d never met anybody who spoke of Him as a god, or who called upon Him, and patronage never even occurred to me. When asked if I had a patron god, I thought I would settle on Athena, as the embodiment of ideals I strived for, but she never solidified into a patron. Every once in a while, my mind would suddenly focus on the Norse pantheon, and I would do intense research for a day or two. I thought I was looking into my ancestral heritage, and that may be a part of it, but I had never been that interested in my ancestors before. I had always been drawn to other cultures, not Swedish. Each trip down that path brought a little more knowledge into my head, but then it would fade and I would go back to life as usual.
Then, a few months ago, I met a devoted Lokean, and it was like something I had been seeing through a blurred lens suddenly snapped into focus. All the connections between myself and Loki suddenly lit up in my mind. All the ways I saw myself, all the pieces of my life, all the strange characteristics and occurrences, all of it suddenly seemed part of a bigger pattern. And I thought, “Oh, so this is what it is like to be hit over the head with a clue-by-4 by your patron god saying HELLO!”
As I said in the beginning, I see patronage as both a way to see and interpret yourself and your life, and a way to find guidance for future action, growth, and development. Loki provides this for me, in a way no other god has. It is a huge shift in my thinking, from constantly striving to be perfect and ideal, to sifting through my flaws and accepting them, accepting my imperfections, accepting my imperfect self as still being holy and worthy and good and capable of great things. Working with Loki has led to a greater understanding of myself, and has gotten me off the treadmill of frustration, stagnation, and despair and led me back to the path of growth and joy, of finding peace and comfort in my crazy life and nurturing my spiritual development.