Of Loki, Lokeans, and Bass Guitars Part 1

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I’ve been thinking of adding on some posts inspired by the whole “valkyrie babes” posting, but while musing about that I came across “that shit Loki do,” namely in the form of Lokeans raging at Karl Seigfried who in turn was raging at Trump. This isn’t the first time I’ve heard about Seigfried’s article, and I had thought about doing some posting about it, but wandered off because I had more interesting things to do. But, now, I figure I might as well throw my thoughts in, much like an Australian jumping in to shitpost during a fight on 4chan.

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So before we get into it, I do want to say one thing that might, just might be relevant to all this. Seigfried is most famous for his Norse Mythology Blog, and for the fact he has a doctorate. The caviot to this, if I remember correctly, is that his Doctorate is actually in playing bass guitar, not norse mythology. He doesn’t always make this exactly clear, and I’ve talked to some who feel he allows people to assume his doctorate has to do with Norse subjects rather than music. If I’m remembering correctly. This is not to slight his degree, but keep in mind while you read this.

The other thing is that a group of Lokeans sent a letter to the Wild Hunt in response to the post by Seigfried asking either for its removal or edits to reflect the “truth” of Lokean believes and practices, which the Wild Hunt refused to do (either removing, editing, or even publishing the letter) so the letter got published elsewhere and I may end up commenting on that as well. The Wild Hunt justified this as “we believe the article clearly indicates it is only Seigfried’s beliefs” (which is debatable if the Lokeans felt so strongly about it) and by publishing a different article by a Lokean (which I may look at as well).

With that laid down, let’s start looking at “Loki in the White House.

The seeress of the Old Norse prophecy poem Völuspá (“the seeress’s prophecy”) calls him “an evil-loving figure.” The goddess Freyja calls him a doer of “ugly, hateful deeds,” and her brother Freyr calls him a “smith of evil.” The 13th-century Icelandic antiquarian Snorri Sturluson calls him “evil of character.” Modern-day academic Rudolf Simek calls him “the most negative character among the Germanic gods.”

For a thousand years, poets and scholars have seen Loki as a troubling figure who brings harm to the community of which he is a part. Today, there are many lovers of Norse mythology and practitioners of Pagan religions who view him as a positive figure, and even one deserving of veneration and worship.

Okay, so far, so good. I’m not going to get into the details of it, but on the off chance someone who has no idea about Norse mythology, here’s a basic tl:dr about Loki. He gets into shit, and then generally gets himself out of shit in the most dickish way possible, but he was generally tolerated by the other Norse Gods because he was a) Odin’s blood brother and b) usually the Aesir got the better end of the dicking and it was their enemies who ended up being completely screwed. This lasted right up until the death of Baldr.

The giant debate about the Death of Baldr is this. Was it an act of pure, evil kinslaying (one of the worse crimes for Norsefolk) or what is a horrible but necessary act because Frigg and Odin were literally threatening to undo the weave of fate by preventing Baldr from dying like he was supposed to. Most heathens, being literalists who don’t into metaphysics see only Loki’s crimes and call him evil. Most Lokeans being idealists who don’t into metaphysics see Loki as a tragic figure who champions the outcasts and never grasp the concept he might have been trying to save everyone. To call Loki a “satanic figure” is not inaccurate, as he does tend to serve the same purpose Satan does in Christian mythology, evil incarnate or rebellious champion of the little guy against tyrannical forces.

But let us be completely honest here, Loki is a jerk and an asshole, it’s just also a matter of him being a pretty funny guy so long as you’re not the one he’s being an asshole to. I’m sure we all know about people like that.

Karl does his own explaining of Loki, but my tl:dr is better than his so screw that. He then gets to this:

My own approach to Loki, however, is quite different. I believe in a theology that turns to the ancient myths for guidance, first attempting to understand them in their original context and then bringing them into our own cultural moment.

And here is when I am sure I am going to start having problems with this articles. As many readers know, I’m all about the faithful adoption of one’s religion, especially if it’s an old Pagan religion. One of my biggest issues throughout my entire time as a pagan/heathen has been the “carving of new words on ancient stones.” I.e. shoving modern morality and political believes into a religion that is often counter to those beliefs, and then insisting that this is an accurate or better version of the old religion. My issue with this is of course theological. The Gods created and dictated how the old worship should be, because that is what pleased them. To insist that your views are superior to the gods, your ways are superior to them, and that you know better, even though it all runs counter to what the Divine considered holy, is nothing more than the utmost disrespect and absolute heresy that should not be done, nor be tolerated. Especially since said modern insertions take absolutely nothing into account but their own egos and ignore history, morality, divinity, and any number of other factors.

I do not believe that we should reconstruct every aspect of ancient worldviews situated in a time and place of normalized slavery, entrenched homophobia, and celebrated violence. I do not believe that it is even possible to reconstruct the detailed internal worldviews of a plurality of peoples who left behind no second-level theological discourse. Today’s practitioners of Ásatrú and Heathenry belong to new religious movements that arguably began in a Reykjavík hotel on April 20, 1972. We practice modern religions, not ancient ones, and we should engage with the world in which we actually live.

Case being in fucking point. The “normalization of slavery” of course ignores the basic economics and technology level of the time. The ancients had no massive machines that could do the work of 40 men…they had to actually go out and get 40 men, and slavery then (and for the Norse) had little similar to the slavery we are all taught existed or are familiar with. To avoid going off on a tangent, let me just say that slavery back then was probably more human and compassionate that a good 30% of modern day “wage slavery” where in you have to pay for everything yourself on wages that can’t pay for crap, vs having everything provided for you in exchange for your labor. Secondly, I suspect that more people these days would have “entrenched homophobia” if they actually knew half of what the LGBT+ community is actually like. Sure, we all bought into “what happens in your own home is none of my business” but the truth is said community is overwhelmed with actions your average heathen would consider highly immoral, and I’m not just talking about the buttsex. Lying, cheating, a complete lack of loyalty, the willing transmission of lethal and incurable diseases via deception, the list goes on. And on. And ooooonnnn. And that’s just the gay guys, the lesbians are worse, and the transgender…lets just say if people knew the reality about that the streets would probably be covered in vomit.

And yes, the Norse celebrated violence. Everyone celebrates violence. Go watch your average action movie. The issue (I would guess) for Karl is that the Norse celebrated violence in defense of themselves and their people, and as we all know that is completely unacceptable. A million girls raped? Perfectly fine. Beating up the rapists? Die you racist xenophobe!!!!

That said, I am bothered by approaches to myth that brush aside any elements of ancient sources that readers don’t like or find problematic as “Christian influenced.” Academics and practitioners alike are guilty of this rhetorical turn. Too many elements of today’s version of Loki come from nineteenth-century misunderstandings (Loki as god of fire) or postmodern rewritings (Loki as the “real hero” of the Norse myths). Again, I do not deny the personal meaning that many find in Loki. I simply can’t follow them to a place where the sources of our knowledge are read in ways that sometimes seem parallel to conspiracy theorist readings of today’s news stories.

I hope we can agree to not be dominated by the surviving sources, to avoid slavishly treating them as holy writ that must be applied to our lives as commandment and law. But I also hope we can agree that it is possible to both engage with the texts as received and apply them to our modern situations: mutatis mutandis.

Which, given the absolute state of most of “today’s news stories” I really can’t blame people for not taking them seriously. I mean, when you have the New York Time’s on its own front page have a giant picture spread of the “migrant caravan” traveling on buses and trucks, and have a column next to it insisting “The migrant caravan doesn’t exist and is a lie told by Trump!!!!” You really have to fucking consider the probability that the “news” is doing nothing but lying to you on a daily basis. Much like that Anderson Cooper image where he’s waist deep in “flood waters” but it turns out he was kneeling in a ditch and everyone else was barely getting their feet wet.

So I do not blame the Lokeans for failing to trust sources known for blatantly biased and lying records. Does that mean I think the sources are wrong? No idea, but I don’t blame people for doubting them.

With this mindset in mind, I have been repeatedly struck by the similarities between the Loki myths and the Trump presidency. I am not suggesting some simplistic “Loki is bad and Trump is bad” equation, but rather positing a series of parallels that is extended with new examples on an almost daily basis – examples that I’ve been snarkily commenting on via my @NorseMythNews Twitter account. In this article, I am attempting to lay out the applicability of the mythic figure to the political figure in more detail than is possible in 280 characters.

There are at least four major characteristics shared by Loki Laufeyjarson and Donald J. Trump. Do the other gods of Norse mythology have negative qualities? Yes, they do indeed exhibit them at times. Loki, however, embodies them as no other deity does.

And I can’t help but feel this is going to be both hilarious and painful. Look, I’m not going to say Karl’s work is all shit, he’s had some good stuff, but frankly I have the distinct impression that he’s got little to no idea about what Loki or Trump are really like. And this is going to be a shit show of trying to make two things he doesn’t understand look like each other when they’re not.

Objectifier of women

Loki is quite willing to place women in harm’s way in order to help himself. In the first myth recounted in Snorri Sturluson’s Skáldskaparmál (“the language of poetry”), Loki wins his freedom from the giant Thjazi by luring the goddess Idunn out of Asgard and into the woods, where she is abducted by the giant and made a prisoner in his home. Loki makes no mention to the gods of his role in the abduction of the goddess and only agrees to help free her after his actions are discovered by the godly community and he is “threatened with death or torture.”

Case in fucking point! On top of which, Karl is literally twisting the myth to suit his own purposes. Nothing in this myth is about objectifying women, much less Loki doing so. Tl:dr, Loki gets his ass caught by Thjazi who wants the apples of immortality. Idunn is literally the only person who can collect them so he needs her. So he tells Loki “Get me her or I kill you” and Loki, being the bloody narcissist that he is, says “okay!”

It has nothing to do with Idunn’s gender. That is completely incidental to immortal apples, losing them, and the Aesir threatening to kick Loki to death for getting them killed! NONE OF THIS IS ABOUT THE OBJECTIFICATION OF WOMEN!!!!!!

Trump has shown a similar disregard for the safety of women who stand in the way of his objectives. After Dr. Christine Blasey Ford made detailed allegations of sexual assault against Judge Brett Kavanaugh, and following his own escalating statements questioning Ford’s integrity, the president made intensely inflammatory remarks about her at a campaign rally attended by thousands and broadcast widely in the media. After openly ridiculing her testimony, he called those who supported her “really evil people.” Due to the “continuous stream of death threats” Ford and her family continue to receive, she has still not been able to return to her home. Like Loki, Trump doesn’t seem bothered by what happens to the women he places in harm’s way; all that matters are his own goals.

And this is the example he gives of Trump objectifying women? The fuck? This literally had nothing to do with objectifying women either. Yes, Trump questioned the validity of Ford’s testimony, because said testimony was literally “I think it was him, but I can’t be sure. I think it happened at this house, but I don’t remember. I think it happened on this date, or maybe it was that date. And it was him. Or was it him and three friends?” Hell, she literally lied under oath about how many doors her house had! Her testimony had more plot holes than your average episode of BBC’s Sherlock! As for the people behind her being evil, they intentionally leaked her story and her personal details even after promising her they wouldn’t? As for the allegations themselves, they were completely withdrawn by Ford after the confirmation and no criminal charges were brought up, because after SEVEN FBI INVESTIGATIONS KAVVY WAS STILL CLEAN AS PUREL!!!!

Also in Skáldskaparmál, Snorri tells the tale of Loki cutting off all the hair of the goddess Sif. The assault may be referenced in the poem Lokasenna, in which Loki brags of cuckolding Thor by sleeping with his wife and calls himself “malevolent.” The supposedly anti-Loki Snorri downgrades the motivation for the shaving to “love of mischief.” If the two sources connecting Loki and Sif are indeed related, then the act of shearing can be seen as a trophy-taking designed to mark Loki’s sexual humiliation of Thor. Sif herself is merely an object in Loki’s attack on Thor’s masculinity.

Forgive me for my bad recollection, but I kinda remember Sif doing something to humiliate Loki before he cut off all her hair. I don’t have my books in front of me at the moment, but if my memory is correct then that would make the hair cutting an act of revenge on Sif, not an attack on Thor (who I don’t recall Loki having an issue with at the time of the incident). And if it was a case of “cuckholding” then Karl is completely ignoring Sif’s agency in the matter, because “cuckholding” implies consensual sex, as opposed to rape. In which case it is Karl objectifying women, not Loki, in this situation, by turning Sif into an object rather than a woman with agency.

Nice going, Karl.

In her sworn divorce deposition, Ivana Trump describes a 1990 assault that occurred after she had recommended the plastic surgeon that performed a “scalp reduction” procedure on her then-husband Donald Trump. According to her sworn deposition, the real estate mogul was angered that the surgical attempt to reduce a bald spot was so painful. In fury, he ripped out a handful of Ivana’s hair before raping her and – the next morning – mocking her own pain. As with Loki, there is the idea of violating a woman’s bodily integrity as a way of gaining revenge for perceived wrongs from a man with whom she is associated. Loki is really aiming his fury at Thor when he assaults Sif, and Trump is thinking of the doctor when he violates his wife.

Cool story bro, now do you have anything to back it up? First off, it’s a well known (if never talked about) fact that women during divorces will lie their asses off about how evil their husbands are. I’m not saying Ivana is lying, but I kinda recall hearing somewhere she’d recanted some of the stuff about Trump being abusive. Could this have happened? Anything is possible, but Karl here is trying to link Loki cuckholding Thor with Sif’s willing actions and then Loki making a mockery of her to…what, rape? Also, if this story is true, Trump wouldn’t have been objectifying Ivana in that situation, he would have been getting revenge against a person who used their agency to do him harm… I’m not condoning rape by any means, but let’s call a spade a spade and not an orange.

The assaults on Idunn and Sif are not the only mythological instances of Loki attacking women. In the poem Lokasenna (“Loki’s quarrel”), he publicly makes gross sexual insults against all of the goddesses who dare to speak out at a feast. Whether their words are conciliatory or confrontational, he responds by telling them to shut up and accuses them of being sluts. (This is one of the key places in the source material that makes me wonder how modern women can find Loki so attractive.)

Again, Karl, that is not objectification. That is not “reducing women to objects” that is literally listing shit they’ve supposedly done. With their own agency. Like, if Karl is to be believed, Sif cheating on Thor, and likely Freya engaging in dwarf orgies that look like something out of a Japanese gang bang porno.

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As for why women find this attractive, Karl reveals he knows nothing about modern women and what they actually find attractive.

Trump has been likewise fierce in his public responses to the twenty-one women who have accused him of sexual harassment or assault. Despite the infamous Access Hollywood tape in which he brags about sexually assaulting multiple women, Trump has repeatedly denied even knowing those who have come forward, claimed they are “taking money to make up stories,” accused them of being political operatives, insisted that they are liars “looking to get some free publicity,” and threatened to sue them. It is just as difficult for me to personally see Loki as a deity who should be venerated by Pagan women as it is to understand Trump as a candidate who was seen by forty-one percent of American women as the best choice in the last presidential election. It’s also hard to take the president seriously when he claims to have zero tolerance for any invasion of a woman’s personal space.

Okay, that Access Hollywood tape wasn’t about him bragging about assaulting women. That was him literally bragging that women throw themselves at him and let him do whatever he wants. I’m sure that is a completely alien experience to Karl and thus he cannot grasp such a reality, but it is objectively true. Women will absolutely throw themselves at men of power, and given the fact that Trump was a fucking Chad in his youth, it’s not hard to believe.

And that’s not even getting into the reality that there are plenty of women who will make false claims of sexual assault. Presently, a number of colleges are being sued over this very fact, and the situation with Ford kinda shows, it can reach the highest levels of power. Responding aggressively to these things is only logical. Few things can destroy a man’s life like an accusation of rape or sexual assault, and even if those accusations are proven blatantly false, there is generally no recovery for the man, no legal recourse for him, and absolutely no consequences for the woman/women involved.

Right, so that’s where I’m going to rap it up for this post, we’ll carry on with Karl’s mess in part 2. Frankly, given that’s he’s already twisted four different examples to suit is means when they had little to nothing to do with his point, I’m not very hopeful for the rest of it.

 

 

Hela Bless

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