Title: Iduna and the Magic Apples
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Title: Iduna and the Magic Apples
In my last article I proposed to discuss an expression of Loki which tries to avoid the pitfall of declaring to be either for or against this complex and provocative figure. Unfortunately this will entail a bit of self-promotion on my part, because I intend to present and discuss the lyrics to a musical release called Loki Bound, which was released by Milam Records earlier in 2012. Loki Bound was performed by Greed & Rapacity, a band of which I am one half.
Loki Bound is a one-song 30-minute funeral doom metal descent into Loki’s stream of consciousness during his imprisonment by the Aesir, the primary Norse pantheon, for misdeeds real and (possibly) imagined. He lies chained by his son’s intestines to a deeply buried boulder, while a serpent drips venom upon him. His loyal wife, Sigyn, catches the poison in a cup, but when she goes to empty the cup, the poison falls on Loki’s skin. His agonized convulsions are the root of earthquakes, and it is fair to say that Loki is a deity of psychological tectonics....
One of the key foundations of modern (and ancient) Paganism is also one of the most contentious. We find it very hard to talk about, it seems, and yet it's fairly key to many people's personal practice. When I've talked about it in the past, it almost seems like I'm breaking a taboo, with the words themselves being 'dirty' or embarrassing. And yet, learning from my passionate and heartfelt Heathen friends, that embarrassment is itself disrespectful, dishonourable and, ultimately, rather foolish.
Who are your Gods and Goddesses? What does Deity mean to you, and how does it influence and affect your Paganism? From the Platonic 'ultimate Male/Female' images (tallying with 'All Gods/Goddesses are One') to the pantheistic, international eclectic transference of pretty much any deity with any other no matter where you yourself live, talking about Deity is a tricky business. Especially because ultimately, nobody can really tell you you're wrong. Or right. Except, perhaps, those Gods themselves.
The Judgement of Paris (Classical)
How is it with Loki? In a previous article I proposed that “part of the challenge [of life] is learning to be comfortable with the discomfort of uncertainty.” And then I suggested that this challenge is connected to Loki. What did I mean by that?
Loki is a classic shadow figure – the bearer of everything disowned and rejected. He stands out as a challenge and a dare to each of us – can we accept the destructiveness, the chaos, within ourselves? Or do we deny it and blame it on some external figure or figures?...
As she untangles the thorny differences between self and other , Annamaria has also become an active participant in her day-to-day activities. A true child of the Occupy Wall Street era, she has mastered civil disobedience at an early age. No longer does she submit passively to the indignities of diapering: instead, she puts her barrel rolling skills to good use. Should an escape spin fail, she has learned how to unfasten the velcro straps which keep the hated Pampers affixed to her behind. A fist balled in a sleeve can slow down the whole process of putting on a shirt: a foot to the face or to a more tender region expresses her displeasure with those adorable little bell bottoms.
A major part of the maturation process is learning to submit to authority. You take turns. You stand in line. You raise your hand before you speak. You show the man with the badge your license, title and vehicle registration. You give the boss your quarterly report. You never pass on a double yellow line or park in a handicapped space without the proper placard. We could not have a complex society - or any kind of society, really - without hierarchies and rules of conduct.
Heresy is not a polytheistic concept, at least not in the way that I – tongue in cheek, of course---imply with the title of this new blog. The word comes from the Greek and means "to choose," in other words, to choose how one is going to worship, to choose what to believe, to choose not to limit one's spiritual choices by the fetters of contaminated lore, to choose to live a life steeped in the exaltation of devotion. I guess those are some pretty dangerous choices given how vociferously so many contemporary Heathens tend to respond. Hence, the title of my blog, because to the mainstream of American Heathenry, I am a heretic, and proudly so. Allow me to embrace the term; I've been called worse, after all.
Why, you might ask, is heresy not part of the polytheistic worldview? Well, polytheism is a religious worldview steeped in a magnificent, often mind-boggling diversity. There is no one right and true way to believe. There are more Deities than one can name. Nor is devotion determined by orthodoxy of belief in polytheistic religions, but by experience. It's all very praxis oriented. There are our ancestral traditions, practices passed down through the generations and then there is the freedom of practice inherent in a body of religions comprised of an endless number of Gods, Goddesses, and cultus. Heresy didn't become an issue until new religions like Christianity began imposing a rigid dogma on its adherents. Suddenly, the very diversity that enriched polytheistic religions became threatening to the new world order. Suddenly, one could choose wrongly and suddenly choice became suspect.