Yesterday my teachers asked me how my daily devotions and my relationship with Loki were going. I never know how to answer open-ended questions like that on the spot, but they do make me think.
I didn’t have anything resembling a daily devotional practice until last year, when I received my first degree and finally opened my ears to Loki’s call. I would play at it a bit here and there, but it was never regular. It always took second place and it always fell by the wayside. I even set up an altar once when we first moved into our current house, but keeping the kids out of it and keeping it maintained proved to be too much, and it didn’t last long.
After accepting Loki’s call, I set up an altar. It’s not really an altar just to Loki, although he is featured on it and his offering glasses are there. It’s a general altar, my place to leave spells to run and have remembrances. It’s not very big, just a spot on top of my microwave, but I find that this forces me to be very mindful of what I place there and how long it stays. Clutter just can’t fit. It’s been there continuously for more than a year now, the longest I’ve ever had one in place, and it is a big enough part of my day now that I take it with me when I travel.
Last year I worked through T. Thorn Coyle’s Crafting a Daily Practice online course. The course uses one of her books to try out lots of different ideas for daily practice, including meditation, chanting, journaling, exercise, candles, and more. For a few months I worked at this, meditating daily, journaling daily, lots of things. But as before, it grew to be too much and got squeezed away. What remains is the daily recital of my prayer beads and a Hail to Loki, lighting my candle (and incense if Brian is not home), and placing offerings of food and drink.
A few months ago, I felt that tapping on my shoulder again, that knocking on my mental door from Loki. Reflection and readings seemed to indicate that it was time for something more from me, more that just an acknowledgement of His attention and a reflection on His role in my life. I began to compare myself to others around me and find myself lacking, thinking I didn’t spend enough time in worship and prayer.
I realize now that was the wrong way to look at it.
My life is full of chaos. I have a few anchors in it, like reading and having my drink and a smoke at the end of the day, that help me relax and take stock. But mostly it’s running around, from waking to sleeping, with constant distractions and emergencies. Try as I might, regularity and predictability are hard to come by. Nobody else has my life. Nobody else has my relationship to the world.
Why should I worry about how my daily practices stack up to someone else’s? My life doesn’t look like anybody else’s. My practice doesn’t have to look like anybody else’s, either.
I said earlier this year that I felt my first year of following Loki was like an appenticeship or a postulancy, a time to reflect and learn and make sure of my path. This year feels more like taking the first steps down that path. Rather than sitting quietly, I am working to get out into the world more. Rather than continuing to beat my head against the goal of routine and ticking off checklists (definition of insanity?), I am working to set life goals and work towards them, to not worry so much about all the little things (because there’s damn sure a lot of them around here).
I find myself smiling and laughing more, finding humor and joy in things a little more and getting frustrated a little less. I might laugh at something only I think or see. I switch tasks when I lose flow and focus without worrying about trying to follow a straight line from beginning to end of something.
My role is to set down new paths, to find rules of life and behavior and break them, to find boundaries and cross them. I am here to break expectations, to shatter molds.
That is my daily devotion, and I don’t find it at an altar or in front of a candle (unless I feel like it). I find it in everything I do and see, the little extra light in my day, an extra star shining at night.