(Part of this is a rewriting of a previous post that can be found here. I have updated my writing on Loki and added some on Aphrodite.)
Loki started out Calling me quietly. His name would come into my head, especially in times of difficulty or when I felt lost, with a compulsion to look Him up and learn more. I would read a few stories or websites, and then dismiss it as something I didn’t need to pursue. This went on for several years, each Call a little louder than the last. It culminated in early 2013 at ConVocation, when I felt the urge to attend a workshop on Loki and Trickster. The feeling that I got during that workshop was akin to the way you feel upon getting the solution to a tough riddle or puzzle, one that has bothered you for years. I had been looking at Him all wrong, and once I got the angle right, everything seemed obvious. My whole life, which always felt like one long series of extremely unusual events, was just preparation for serving Him openly and directly.
That very weekend, I acknowledged Loki’s Call and accepted Him as my patron. The next twelve months were a period of reflection, introspection, and revelation for me as I worked through His charge to Know Myself. I learned to see my life and my self through a new lens, one cleaned of the foggy filter of perfectionism and trying to fit in. I learned to see all the intricate ways the randomness in my life is connected, how so many chance things have converged on my path. I spent time studying both the religion and culture of my ancestors, in an attempt to better connect with this god of my ancestors. I even took on teaching a class on the Vikings in our homeschool co-op, forcing me to delve deeper to stay a step ahead of my students (often at 1 a.m. the night before the next class).
Essentially a year and a day passed, and I found myself again being nudged by Loki. Except with Loki it doesn’t really come as a nudge; it comes as spilled drinks and broken cigarettes, random jukeboxes and fritzy elevators, machines that don’t work, stumbles, power outages, loud noises in the silence. I can be dense sometimes, but I did finally realize He was trying to get my attention, so I asked a close friend to do a reading for me to shed some more light. The impression that I took away from that complicated reading was that the first year was analogous to my postulancy with Loki, my year of learning and thinking and looking around through these new eyes. “Now,” He said, “it’s time to step it up, move forward.” There is no time with Him for sitting around letting the same old same old go on every day.
It was a hard place to be in. I am already in a fringe religion, and here I was being Called upon by an even fringier god to light my torch for Him in this world, to stop observing from the sidelines and be that agent for change, be the one to shake things up, be the one to be loud and proud. This was not a request that I abandon my path toward priesthood in the Craft, but rather that I take a step up in working for Him and owning His patronage in my dealings with the world. I had a strong feeling that an Oath was wanted, but I wasn’t ready for it yet. I knew how serious an Oath was with the Norse gods, with any gods really. I knew that anything could happen once that Oath was given.
I did smaller things for a while. I wrote a prayer for Him and added it to my daily devotions. I started studying my ancestral crafts, making them also a part of my daily practice (and how “lucky” for me to finally find something to use as a nalbinding needle the very weekend I got that nudge!). I bought lottery tickets for my altar. I kept my mind open to His voice and paid attention when I noticed it, heeding nudges as simple and silly as, “Let your hair down,” or a little bigger like, “Bring your music back and share it with the world.” The negative nudges mostly stopped (except the trouble with machinery) and positive ones started to flow again, the serendipitous encounters, the chance findings of lost or needed things.
It took a couple of years, years of further upheaval in my life, both mundane and magickal, but I finally took the Oath in 2016. I swore to be His now and always, and marked myself with a tattoo in a place where I see it every day, so that I will never forget. I am Loki’s boundary priestess. It is part of my Great Work, to be that reminder to others of things unseen, things overlooked, assumptions too quickly made, processes that need tweaking, bugs in the system. Knowing this helps. I still live in that stream of craziness, but most of the time I can remember that I’m still just doing my job as Loki’s priestess, whether pointing out the holes in a first aid system by having actual panic attacks at a festival, or pointing out the holes in an educational system by having kids that don’t fit into government boxes.
Now I am also working with Aphrodite. She came to me through a certain turn of events, and She was much more forceful about announcing Her presence. When I look back at my life, though, again I can see a place for Her, a void that She has come to help fill and smooth over, a way She can help make my life a little more healthy and whole.
I see myself getting distracted while writing this. Working with Her is going to touch on things I’ve been skirting my entire life. She scares me. Her energy and power scare me, I’ve felt them and it still scares me.
I know about as much about Aphrodite as I did about Loki when I first acknowledged His Call. I know the myths. I’ve called upon her for spells. I worked more closely with her for a few weeks here and there. I’ll be working with Her as closely as I work with Loki for the next year or so, and I expect to learn much, much more.
Aphrodite is love, and sex, and passion, and sensuality, and lust. These are all things that I have believed in since I hit puberty, things that I advocate for. I identify as bisexual and polyamorous. I believe strongly in the logistical benefits of having more than two adults in a household, especially a large family with lots of children. I’ve always loved the concept of a line marriage. I don’t believe that my love for person A is in any way diminished by my love for person B, whether I’m talking about loving other adults or the love I have for my own children.
And I always wanted to be Maureen when I grew up, wanted to be that woman with enough sex drive for two or three women instead of barely enough for a quarter, who was never too tired or too sick, who didn’t actually get headaches from orgasms or have GI problems that made her too shy to let anybody near her or partially dislocate her hips during sex. I kept waiting for it. I heard somewhere when I was twenty or so that a woman’s sex drive peaks in her 30’s, so I thought, yay, once I get to my thirties it’ll happen! Yeah, that ship’s sailed and never even saw the fucking port.
When Aphrodite came for me, She hit me harder than Loki ever did. It was like getting bowled over by a sexual tidal wave. No other analogy comes close. It felt a little like going crazy, like some other personality had moved into my head and altered my drives. And this happened before I ever called on Her for working, before I had any clue that I was to be Hers for the foreseable future. And like Loki, when I realized what was happening, it was like solving a riddle, and everything suddenly made sense.
And I was scared. So scared that I haven’t invoked Her for months. She’s kept a place on my altar, and a place in my rituals, but real work and communion? That feeling of being taken over still scares me. And yet, like I said, I can see this void, a longing in my heart that I know she will fill.
Right now, I feel a bit like I did before pledging to Loki. I felt then like I was standing on the edge of a cliff, and I was being asked to jump off. It takes so much courage to take that leap, and I don’t think it gets any easier the more times I do it. I’ll jump. I’ll jump off the cliffs into the deep blue water, and dive deep, and take a long, long cruise with Aphrodite. And then in a year or two, perhaps I’ll look back and see how silly it was to be scared, and how low that cliff really was.