MAY LOKI BE BOUND
By Heimgest CG
We have recently celebrated the festival of Balder (Midsummer) and no doubt many of us have contemplated the myths pertaining to Balder the Bright as part of our reverences and learningís.
Obviously the figure of ``Loki`` looms like a malignant smog in the myths concerning Balder as it is by Loki's energy that the Bright One is seemingly slain -- important to remember though that Balder rises anew after the Ragnarok. We shall get to that important realisation near the close of this article. First however it is probably timely to consider Loki as there is so much harmful confusion surrounding this entity. Now while it could be true to say that all the Gods / Goddesses have aspects which can be seen as `confusing` or `enigmatic`, in the main such misunderstandings or inaccessibility is not directly harmful. It is not desirable and does impede our upward evolution, but it does not usually have such baneful consequences or such immediate problems as the misunderstanding of Loki brings. Indeed the misunderstanding of this figure and the energy of it is as prime reason why experience/access to other God Forces is often confused, for as we shall see, Lokiís energy inhibits true perception and knowing.
Within the Odinist / Asatru community as a whole, there is often a rampant misunderstanding and false perception of Loki. At its worst some would claim to be on the ``Lokian path``, some offer blot to this force or pay honour. To be blunt the ignorance displayed in doing such is staggering and to compound it, such individuals invariably think they are actually very clever. They chase further ignorance believing it wisdom, but such is the nature of the Loki energy, it deludes.
Though these individuals are a distinct minority, there is a far greater number who while not honouring Loki as such are still very unclear on what Loki symbolises; hence with the best of intentions, some may sign letters to kinsfolk with such legends as ``May Loki Provide Laughter on Your Way``. Now obviously such is not intended as an offence but in actual fact it could be viewed as something of a curse or a wish of ill fortune. Ultimately any ``laughter`` Loki seems to provide will turn out sooner or later, to be false laughter, beneath such mirth will be suffering.
Now, I think it right to make it clear that such antics as hailing Loki etc. are not acceptable within the OR. But we should of course consider the foe and how such misconceptions have arisen.
As we know, our myths are accessible on many levels, so there are various ways they can be appreciated and accessed. However what is vital to bear in mind is that our mythology, in fact all mythology is not literal truth but symbolic expression of primal realities. The Circle of Ostara Odinic Mythology for The 21st Century (a highly recommended work) makes this point crystal clear. So whatever level we are looking at or accessing, we must realise that they are symbolic and ways by which we may learn to see and understand essential realities and therefore progress. In this article, as was done in an earlier one on Balder, I am dealing with a profound level whereby the myth cycle illuminates a path to higher awareness, Odin Consciousness, a path each and every sentient being is on. There is of course much, which hampers this, and all such impediments can ultimately be traced to ``Loki`` and the energy of Loki, his attributes etc. A clear example is in fact itself the ``literalist`` tendency some adopt in approaching the myths, and actually this tendency is far more widespread than may be imagined. It may be that this ``literalist tendency `` is selective, but it is still damaging to the individuals progress and the movement as a whole. I shall explain a little more about this selective literalism. I have never yet actually met an adult who literally believes, for example, that Thor is a huge fellow with a big red beard who flies across the sky in a chariot drawn by a couple of gravity defying goats, or who literally believe a couple of gigantic ``wolves in space`` are chasing the celestial orbs in an attempt to make a snack of them. On such things people readily realise these are symbolic. However I have met some who literally believe Odin is a fellow with a grey beard, a big hat and literally missing an eye. In fact I have recently answered a question sent to another organisation on this very subject. The questioner was concerned that some illustrations of Odin show him with the ``wrong eye`` missing and he wanted to know why such incorrect depictions were allowed as they were wrong, its his left eye that was missing and he wanted some sort of statement on this. So clearly here is a fellow, probably a sincere enough man, but who literally believes Odin is a one eyed being. Now this, when looked at, may seem to be a very extreme example, but really it isnít, there are plenty of people who seem to really believe this literalism. There are many such examples. Apart from anything else, this selective literalism is wholly illogical, if someone rejects the flying goats theory but accepts the literally one-eyed Allfather and such, how is that logical. Now this is not the article to deal with the ins and outs of perception and manifestation, divine or other, of different levels of reality as such, but we should consider, in our appreciation of what Loki is and why the Rite are utterly opposed to this entity, why this literalist tendency exists, so we may better dissolve it.
Actually there are many reasons and we cannot deal now with them all, but a couple of important ones. I was talking of this subject to the Mustard Imp recently, and it was her opinion that a big part of this is due to a kind of continued Judeo Christian influence or `mind set` which has become ingrained among many after the centuries of Judeo Xtian oppression. This indeed seems a very likely factor.
For centuries the most virulent form of the Xtian creed, which infested and subjugated our folk lands, insisted on a literal acceptance of their mythology as expressed in their Bible. Any who offered a more enlightened interpretation were harshly dealt with. Those who rejected it altogether executed if their views were known. So powerful was the Judeo Xtian apparatus for suppression at one point, that even men of learning were cowed by it. Medicine and the sciences deteriorated to superstition as they could not be seen to offend this literalism of Biblical truth, the Politically Correct doctrines of the time, as now, took absolutely no heed of truth at all, but relentlessly and ruthlessly forced their perverted ideology onto the population. If highly educated and intelligent people were forced to go along with this virulent literalism, it is not surprising that the simple folk, those who were more concerned with day to day survival and who had little, if any spare time for philosophising, would in time assimilate the pervading view. Even in the mid 20th century, challenging the Adam and Eve Xtian creation myth as not being an actual literal fact was liable to prosecution. So maybe now it is not too surprising that though many have rejected the actual judeo Xtian creed, the mind set to accept myths as literal truths still has an effect on many. Some at a conscious and direct level and others at a more sub conscious level.
Now the Odinic reawakening is beginning, it is important that this literalist tendency does not take a strong root in the Odinic community. While the Rite is not overly concerned with how other groups may choose to operate, we at least will provide an elevated approach for those ready to take such as befits us as the Vanguard of the Odinist resurgence.
There may be some who will think that this is not really a problem or worth concern, in fact it is, especially when the sources from which this literalist tendency draws are considered.
Firstly most of the surviving mythology was recorded in written form at a time when few really understood the inner wisdom of our ancestral faith. The ``Viking age``, like it or not, was in no way a Golden Age for our religion, in fact it was a low point and dubiously so. Had it been a Golden Age, then our natural religion and spiritual path could not possibly have been subjugated without the near total extermination of our racial organism. But vicious and bestially cruel though the Judeo Xtian suppressors were, often the actual ``dirty work`` was conducted by corrupted elements of our own folk group, recruited to conduct the terror regime. For example, it was not ``alien hordes `` who carried out the ``witch burnings``, it was not a Semitic warlord who tricked then slaughtered the Odinic Saxon aristocracy but a corrupted member of our own folk organism, indeed a man saturated in the noxious ``Loki`` energy. So obviously in these times, sufficient numbers of our folk and especially those of influence and power, had already drifted so far from understanding the nature of reality as expressed in the arcane myths of our folk unit, that they were ripe for corruption. Such cannot happen in a Golden Age.
We should also realise that part of the process of subjugation (unless rapid genocide is the chosen way) involves the undermining of peoples belief, love, trust and confidence in their Deities. An incoming creed will almost always do this, and the Judeo Stains did it very well. What they could not physically destroy, they corrupted and subverted.
Some Gods and Goddesses were so entrenched in the peopleís hearts and mind that memory or belief in them could not be eradicated, so instead those who recorded the ``myths`` doctored them to suit the new masters and the new creed. These propagandists stripped the deities of their true divine natures, thus Thor, beloved of the people, champion against ill and crusher of illusion was demoted in tales to being a drunken oaf, easily outwitted, a caricature. The Divine force of joyful love, Freya, was turned into a kind of voluptuous slut. The AllFather, Odin, portrayed as a treacherous demon, a liar and betrayer. Odin, the force of pure discipline and will to Holiness, dragged to this level. In some instances the Divine Ones were not even depicted as being divine at all, but a wandering gang of lying, cheating runaway Trojan nobles.
Others who recorded the myths, who had little if any belief in the gods and little understanding, treated the myths as a mere source material for entertaining tales, in other words they were not even written for any purpose but entertainment. This is acknowledged by most of the academic writers on the subject. Some supposed ``myths`` are not even part (albeit it corrupted) of the myth hoard at all, but as said, purely written for entertainment though drawing on the mythic imagery in the same way as Monty Pythons Life of Brian draws on judeo Xtian imagery, or fantasy games draw on various mythos. And so the gods and goddesses are defiled to become a kind of ``cosmic soap opera``, humanised and degraded. What a colourful cast of characters, and Loki of course is the ``bad boy`` of this soap, the Dirty Den (to borrow from a UK soap opera Eastenders) of Asgard. And isnít the ``bad boy`` so often a little attractive at the same time.
Do you see the harm such perception of our myths creates?? Yet these are the sources the ``literalists`` gaze to. They gaze at a soap opera and absorb it.
An overtly negative consequence of this can be seen in people excusing their own negativities by claiming to emulate the Gods. I have seriously heard people excuse blatant lies and betrayal claiming they ``follow Odin``; I have heard uncouth, boorish and ignorant behaviour excused as emulating Thor. And in all this, it is in reality, Loki whose energy dominates.
Now it may seem that we have drifted a little from the main thrust of this article: a clearer perception of Loki, yet in fact, such is the pervasiveness of this energy that it has been alluded to throughout, for Loki represents illusion, Loki is the power of illusion. Illusion is that which prevents our correct perception of the nature of reality and therefore keeps us from the attainment of higher awareness, the Odin Consciousness.
Now remember at this level of our mythic teaching we are concerned with here, we are realising the myth cycle as a way of understanding ourselves, understanding `reality` and as a way of following an illuminated path to the great illumination. A wisdom path set down in allegorical format at the time of the last ``Golden Age`` of our folk organism (see earlier ORB for Cycles of Time article which details these ages more fully).
Our mighty forebears of this time were highly evolved beings, truly realised `Weros` and their wisdom and understanding is something we are again slowly journeying towards. Against the way stands Loki /illusion and all that springs from it. We can compare Loki with the figure of Maya from the ancient Aryan teachings. Illusion is such an insidious and pervasive enemy and it is always negative. At times it may not appear to be directly harmful, the ``sensations`` it produces may even seem to be `enjoyable` or may delude one into believing they are acting positively, such is the potency of the delusions the Loki energy brings. For though it may appear to afford pleasure at times, while seeming to be proof of our ``freedom``, it in fact keeps us chained and prevents us experiencing the divine bliss. A happy slave or a slave who doesnít even realise he is a slave, is still a slave and denied the full glory of true freedom. Lokiís energy keeps us from attaining Odin Consciousness and as such even if we do seem to experience ``little joys`` we trade that for the divine joy. It is a counterfeit ``pleasure``, and much in any case does not even appear to be remotely pleasant. It is this energy, which stimulates our nervous systems and imperfect perceptions to chase after the `desires` they generate. Much suffering to others and ourselves results.
Everywhere the Loki energy pervades, until at our Ragnarok this energy is purged and we attain Odin Consciousness.
The nature of Loki is further emphasised by his ``offspring``. Today these are usually given as Fenris the monstrous wolf, Jormungandr the World Serpent, Hel and Sleipnir
Now I do not believe that in our earliest and most pure folk myths Hel and Sleipnir (or their counterparts) were considered as among ``Lokiís brood``, but I will need to undertake more work in this area before I can present an article dealing with that specifically. But for the purposes of this article they will be included in this list of ``offspring``, however even in doing so a clear difference between them and the first two will be discerned. The first two are clearly negative. Let us first consider the Fenris Wolf.
In some ways, Fenris could be considered as being more obviously dangerous to the Gods than Loki, certainly there is not so much ambiguity, but again the source of this threat is Loki. At the level we are detailing here, Fenris personifies the `false ego` or `little self` which constantly works to keep us from our `great self`, it seeks to devour the higher consciousness we journey and strive to attain. Indeed this little self is a child of illusion. In the mythology it may appear strange that this beast is not slain before he has grown to his dangerous size but instead he is brought into Asgarth. This shows us how hard it actually is to `slay` the false ego, how it is constantly with us, pulling at us, attempting to devour our higher consciousness (or the potential for attaining that). Even those who have extreme self discipline and conduct intense spiritual practices will still be dogged by this ``wolf` and must always check on its ravening. It may also be a little puzzling that the only thing found to bind him was a chain forged by the dark elves. The dark elves themselves symbolise negative traits, be they uncontrolled sensual desires, material desires etc, but paradoxically it is these very things which spring from illusion which ``bind`` or dictate to the false ego. We see in the mythology that untamed and loose this monster is a direct threat to the Odin principle, Higher awareness, and needs be destroyed before full realisation of the Odin consciousness is attained. And what is a big fear in doing this? That by overcoming this little self we loose all sense of ourselves, this is an illusion of course as the great self is then revealed and experienced, but illusion is powerful and sires a ferocious ``wolf``.
The second spawn of Loki or illusion is allegorically given as Jormungandr the World Serpent. A creature so vast it encircles the material world of Midgarth and holds fast unto it. Again what splendid imagery, for Jormungandr is symbolic of the material desires and unchanneled or uncontrolled vital life force we posses. Attachment to these desires and an inability to control the life energy are yet more obstacles, which hold us from attaining higher awareness and super consciousness. Illusion, our incorrect perception of the nature of reality and desire for the seeming pleasures or gains we find on the Midgarth realm of existence which illusion brings, holds us firmly to a lower level of reality than we can achieve. Interestingly the life force in early Indo European (Aryan) teachings is depicted as a serpent (kundalini). Correct control of this force or snake leads to rapid evolution, but uncontrolled it is a danger. Another fitting child for Loki is this vast serpent.
The next two Hel and Sleipnir are not in fact ``blood offspring`` at all. Hel is the Goddess who presides over the Shining realms of the `dead`, which bear her name. Indeed her very name is cognisant with Heil shining health etc. I recommend the Circle of Ostaraís Odinic Mythology for the 21st Century for a fuller appreciation of `Hel`.
Helís realm is a place of rest, learning, purification and renewal between incarnations. Once Odin consciousness is attained, the need for incarnation on Midgarth is ended (but some may return by choice to aid their folk soul and people). But until it is attained then the process of birth death rebirth etc. must continue. So we could say that because we are subject to illusion, that which prevents our attainment of higher consciousness, there exists a ``need`` for this realm of purging and renewal. It is a necessity due to illusion or a need ``born`` from illusion if you like. In that way we can easily see how a misunderstanding of Hel or a deliberate slur, could easily lead to Hel being called a child of illusion (Loki). But this Goddess cannot be regarded as a child of Loki in the way Fenris and Jormungandr are. The grotesque aspect so highly played up by some, is pretty obviously due to the Judeo Xtian influence in seeking to demonise our Holy Deities and terrify the population with the dread of death.
Sleipnir also falls into this category. Sleipnir is that vehicle which transcends all realms. Sleipnir is not bound to one but can traverse with ease all realms. This shows there is a path and a way to travel, a vehicle by which all levels of reality can be experienced but not hold us in thrall. Again, it could be said the ``need`` for such is only `born` because of illusion (Loki). But again Sleipnir is not a child of illusion in the way of the Wolf and Serpent.
Sleipnir is imaged as an eight-legged horse, and this of course has many levels of symbolism. It is interesting, though not surprising, to note that various yoga systems (practices which arose in the ancient Aryan times) have eight steps or paths and also, within Buddhism there is the concept of the eight spoked wheel and eight stepped way to enlightenment.
Again a path of overcoming illusion and attaining higher consciousness is described.
This article began with a contemplation of Balder and the significance of Loki in the Balder myths and so it is to this we return at the close. As detailed in an earlier article in ORB, at the level of meaning we are dealing with here, Balder is representative of humanity and the individual and the destiny of each individual. In the myths, Balder, the most beloved child of the Gods, is troubled by dreams of ill omen and death. At this level, these are symbolic of the fears and desires we experience due to illusion and which hold back our evolution. Frigga, the force of Divine Love, attempts to protect Balder from these harms, but it is only by our own overcoming that we truly can defeat these things. But it is this divine love which will seek to draw us on our way upwards. Loki guides Hother (Balder's brother) to commit the slaying of Balder. Hother is depicted as being ``blind`` and is symbolic of the blindness of the little ego. With no intent of harm, the blind ego is guided by illusion to do most harmful things. In a state of ``blindness` to Odin consciousness, even with no intended malice, illusion still leads to harm. Thus slain, Balder must dwell in Hel until the final overcoming of Loki and his forces of negativity at Ragnarok (the attainment of higher awareness). Once this has occurred, Balder is ``free`` and reruns in splendour, Hother too is restored to sight (that is, the blindness of illusion is gone). But until Loki is defeated, this cannot be achieved. So with us, until Loki is defeated and bound, we are unable to progress to Odin Consciousness, which is our destiny.
Clearly then you will see why Loki is not honoured by the Odinic Rite, the Rite are not deceived into seeing him as a prankster who just went too far. We do not in any way seek to toast, honour or `laugh` with this entity. Within ourselves, within our community, within all levels of reality we strive to bind Loki.
We seek to evolve, we seek the evolution of our folk organism, we seek an attainment of higher consciousness and folk consciousness.... we must therefore strive at all times to bind Loki within and without.
MAY LOKI BE BOUND
Hail The Holy Gods
Hail The Rite
Hail The New Awakening.
©2005 The Odinic Rite