Monthly Archives: March 2013

Loki in Freyja’s Story – one perspective

With the Teaching Team of CloudCatcher WitchCamp, I spent the month of February journeying with Loki, and examining his role in the myth of Freyja we are working at Camp. This was a strong month for me, in terms of the myth, in that I felt secrets were being revealed – exposed, maybe.

I had heard so many – rumours! – about Loki… don’t go there, bad news, can’t trust him… Then when I look at the story, all I can see is that he is the revealer of truth. He rips the veils of illusion away. Exposes others to their own actions, and forces the consequences of those actions. He’s an anarchist.

When I say this to others, I have met with further rumours, Oh, but in other stories he does worse things… but I am not in other stories, I am in this story, and the treatment of him is reminding me of how people are about the Dark Goddess – all bad news for the discomfort she creates, and no appreciation for the work that is done in the ending times/transformation.

For myself, I began the month with a very strong two day Lammas Ritual – dedicated to ripping away/scourging out my emotionalism over the ending of my relationship – not the emotions, just the – hysteria, maybe. And I felt very supported in it – by, I have to imagine, Loki – it was much less painful and awful than i had imagined it might be. It came simply. It felt surprisingly effective, afterwards. The rest of the month I felt relatively quiet, emotionally; real. Present. I thought this was his gift – coming into the present.

There’s also a piece in Demetra George’s Finding Our Way Through the Dark that I happened to read this month, that is written about the Dark Goddess, but I felt also applied to Loki –
For many people it is a very frightening thing to see ourselves stripped of our illusions and false pretensions. She forces us to look at ourselves with utter, naked honesty and makes us demand the truth of things… She is ruthless in destroying any of our life structures or relationships that are built upon a foundation of deception and disresepct… Healing arises when we can enter into our darkness, release our pain…. We can then reclaim the lost and rejected parts of ourselves and integrate them into the wholeness of our being.

I felt – Loki is operating in the NOW – without thought of history or consequences. He impels it. He is presence, and so demands others also become fully present, with truth/reality – his actions can look like manipulation, or trickery – but actually they are exposure, ripping away the veils, the secrets, the covert – we don’t like it when this happens to us, so we label it untrustworthy.

My basis for really believing this is how my month was, the grace which attended it… how in that flow of moment, of trying to be true to that I was so supported – in the difficult ritual, in the simplicity that remained, afterwards… Efficient. Ruthless. Powerful.

The last two mornings of the month I woke to a blazing sunrise – the sky was on fire, on the 27th – all red. on the 28th I woke and it was golden. The purge and the blessing. I felt he is old – older than the others in the story – cathartic and almost cthonic… not with the more human characteristics of the others in this story, more essential. a deep truth. Sere.

The Dwarves in Freyja’s Story

In the leadup to CloudCatcher WitchCamp 2013, I spent the month of January, along with the Teaching Team, delving deeply into the part the Dwarves play in this story of Freyja and her necklace.

The Dwarves made the necklace! That was my first observation, and one I think is always underplayed in any retelling. They didn’t just snap their fingers, or wave their wands, or buy the parts and put them together – they mined, they shaped, they smelted, they refined, they polished – they conceived of, designed and then created this, the most beautiful necklace ever to come into existance. Every one of those skills learnt and honed and refined to the level of Master Craftsman. All working together in harmony, to create an item of such beauty, it reflected the Goddess herself.

In this way, I think of them as human-like. For that’s what we do; maybe hoping to catch the attention of the Gods; pour ourselves into our art, poetry, ritual and dance… call the Gods to us, from longing, from love. And when they respond – when we feel them near us – we beg them for favours; just like the Dwarves did. And it is the nature of the Divine to give, to merge… and Freyja gave one of her gifts, one of the things she is known for, her love; of course she did. And that part of the story seems perfectly balanced – they had loved her enough to make this thing, and to see her truely and capture that vision in art – and she loved them enough to recognise them for it, and accept their gift and their price that to her – a Goddess – is no price.

In the story, the Dwarves are ugly, unattractive; grasping, even. I wonder if that’s how we think of humans, compared with the Gods? And yet – without them there would be no story. Without us telling stories of the Gods, making altars and poetry and ritual – where would they be? They certainly would not be so definite as a beautiful necklace, wrought of gold and jewels. And the Dwarves – they almost vanish, beside their creation. As humans do; vanish into mortality, compared with Gods. But our works – our necklaces and poems and paintings – they sometimes remain…

Freyja – a personal journey – 2013

During the month of December I worked with the Norse Goddess Freyja, in the company of the Teaching Team for CloudCatcher WitchCamp 2013. It was a month of overwhelm. Parts of Freyja’s story that especially interest me include her – transition status – how she moves between the older and new pantheons of Norse Gods (via the time-honoured method of trading class, marriage) and how she endeavors to maintain her links with the earthier, more embodied tradition she originally belonged to. I had quite an intellectual approach to her before I began this work.

The minute we began working with Freyja, I was swamped by emotion. I did have a lot going on in my life, that overlapped, certainly, with some of Freyja’s story; but this never seems to be entirely co-incidental, and I had to believe that what I was experiencing was related, in various ways, to Freyja; as well as to the stories of my own life playing out. I felt I was drowning in Freyja; that I could not even get my head up above the surface long enough to take a look at her; it was all internal, all experience, and the experience was so vast and so overwhelming all I could do was pant through it, like that breath you are supposed to use when giving birth, that little panting breath that keeps you so focused in the present your mind can’t go anywhere else.

So it was all feeling. I felt her pride, in being – selected, chosen, married into this echelon of Gods, what she would bring them, what she could offer. I caught a glimpse of her standing there, alone, between the two groups of Gods, herself the offering, herself the marriage price. I felt her frustration, bound into a contract that demanded everything from her – her teaching, magic, love – but did not begin to recognise her depths, her vibrant connection to the living earth or the nature of her soul. I felt her increasing, creeping alienation, from everything… what she had left behind and what she had married into until, one day, it all changes.

She wakes up and is bound no longer, she sets out on a journey and the journey takes her back to the earthly realms. There a necklace is revealed to her; one that has been crafted to reveal her own essence; she not only has to have the necklace, in some ways she is the necklace. Magic, of course, is needed to release it into her keeping; after all she has betrayed her essence, inadvertently, already. The magic is the magic of love, and she is the Goddess of Love; she gives it freely. But when she returns with this great emblem of her power, another betrayal awaits her. The great Revealer of Truth, the one who strips away the veils of deceit and illusion, sometimes known as the trickster, or the untrustworthy or even wicked one, Loki; reveals everything to Odin, Freyja’s husband, student in magic and lover; and between them, they steal the necklace from her…

I felt her anger, her fear – terror, almost, at the loss of this part of her self – her rage and helplessness. With her, I was held in waves of shock, that greeted me every morning in my own life, and that I could only assume in some way reflected her shock. Just when she claimed her power, it was ripped away from her; just when she had learnt who she was and how to wear that, she is denied it again. And Freyja… she will strike any bargain to regain this necklace, this self – in the story it is written as if the nights of love with the Dwarves were the hard bargain, but I think it is the second one, her deal with Odin that does return the necklace to her, but also binds her to him and his agenda that was the difficult one… and that is where I want to break with the story, and change it.