Why I Schedule Devotional Work

Executive dysfunction sucks.

You can spend the entire day working and yet get nothing done. Either you work doggedly with no progress on a singular thing you keep drifting away from, or you get literally everything else done, but with nothing crossed off your actual to-do list to make you feel accomplished despite your clean house.

Case in point, while writing this post I made dinner, emptied the dish rack, painted my nails and then saw my post outline and kicked myself.

And then kept painting my nails, while being upset with myself, as if this was going to change anything.

I was diagnosed pretty early in the game with ADHD. If not much else, it helped me sit with that information long enough that I’m able to be at least a little self-compassionate about it.

However, this doesn’t stop me from getting frustrated if I’ve taken the steps to prevent getting sidetracked, and if I’ve tried to be disciplined (though I’ve got some contrarian ideas about discipline), and I still haven’t achieved what seems like it should be a simple task. Or, if I’ve wasted time trying to finish that task at the expense of other things I could have done.

If left to my own devices, I am not very good at figuring out how the Important/Urgent/Not Important/Not Urgent matrix looks with my life neatly sorted into it. I know perfectly well that “I don’t have to write that down, I’ll remember it” is a ridiculous lie, and I do it anyway. I spend more time overthinking how to optimize daily tasks instead of just getting them done.

Overthinking, for the record, is neither important nor urgent. But my anxiety doesn’t agree, and my ADHD means I don’t catch it and redirect like I ideally would.

The overlapping brain problems are definitely a factor in my struggle to get things done.

I have a limited tolerance for things being out of place in communal areas, I am constantly forgetful and easily sidetracked, and I have to strike a balance between compensating for that forgetfulness and learning to just leave things alone so I don’t start developing new compulsions. Everything from remembering to put lip balm in my pockets before leaving the house to keeping up with dishes to somehow singlehandedly halting the climate crisis (…well) feels equally pressing without a set schedule.

Overwhelm is immanent without structure. It’s also immanent if there’s too much of it.

When I see people share what their devotional practice looks like, the visible and easy to spot examples are often on a spontaneous basis, spurred by ecstatic experience or spiritual contact, or scheduled daily devotionals.

Logically, there’s a quiet spectrum between these two. A blend of spontaneous and regimented. Something more frequent than getting god-poked, and less frequent than a daily task.

But I don’t hear about them very often. Again, an abundance of logical explanations exist. Whatever is more common kind of goes without saying. We don’t announce every trip to the grocery store, or every time we hit the ATM, or every trip to go fetch the mail. They don’t stand out. So what isn’t typical is going to stand out when we talk about it online.

But that does have an effect on people. Media, which absolutely includes social media, influences and helps shape our concepts of what is normal.

As someone who ended up being a lot more blockheaded than I initially thought when I started doing the whole Heathenry thing, and as someone who has never considered myself particularly good at getting things done, sometimes it does get to me. Hitting the 5-year mark of starting to work with Loki back in September 2017, I felt like I wasn’t doing enough. That absolutely influenced the decision to formally create an obligation, because when asked about my motivations, my answer is almost always, “to light a fire under my ass.”

Which was true! I had these big lofty goals of turning my religious values and practices towards making the world suck less, like ritual protest and prison ministry. I had sat down and laid out all of the steps involved in making this happen. And then I proceeded to get nothing but networking done.

And while projects are often a weak spot, I also really just can not do daily devotionals considering how often I forget very basic things like eating something, anything, before dinner. So daily or weekly tasks were out of the question. I touched on this, though not in great detail, in my post on things to consider before making sworn agreements with gods.

So when I made my pledge, I agreed to both projects and a few regular tasks. One of them was altar cleaning at least once a month. Didn’t matter when in the month. Didn’t matter how many times in the month. The frequency just had to be greater than zero. In practice, that often means moot day is altar-cleaning day, or during months I don’t go to moot it ends up being the very last day of the month.

I do, very often, put it off and then scramble. Just like with writing fortnightly blog posts.

But, having something where the obligation only exists once every few weeks means I have predictable boundaries around when I actually have to do something, and therefore have an easier time prioritizing. I am not constantly carrying a running list of tasks in my head, or spewing it into Workflowy and then trying to figure out how to sort tasks into their larger projects, or what to pull for my daily to-do list.

Rather, it becomes “this is the task, this is the deadline.” There is much less room for overwhelm.

Frozen Toes, Unstuck Heels

A low fire sitting on a pile of ashes. A charred curlique from a wood carving sits in the forefront. Two screws that held the original carving together are visible just behind.

Sometimes discipline means giving up.

I was lucky that when I officially broke things off with a partner of nine years that the pubmoot was only a few hours later, meaning I had a healthy distraction.

Every moot has a discussion topic, and November’s was discipline. Specifically, what that meant for us.

Most people had the definitions one would expect. Stick to committments. Follow through on promises. Do things you would rather not do, so you get to benefit from the desired outcome.

And that last definition of discipline is exactly why I argued that giving up qualifies. I was making commitments and staying with them long after it became obvious that they wouldn’t pay off, in the vain hope that enough commitment would finally get me the results I wanted.

Never mind that, even if I got what I wanted in the form of cohabitation, the accumulated and unresolved frustrations would have seeped in. The marriage I dreamed about would have only locked me in with those frustrations.

When adherence to the letter runs counter to the spirit, the disciplined thing to do is catch yourself, recognize the dead end and change course.

The time wasn’t wasted because I left. It was wasted because I stayed.

Ewicher Yeeger Sege of 2018 is when I started to realize that the relationship I was clinging to had no future, and even if it did I no longer wanted it.

Three weeks later, I finally made the phone call. We agreed, amicably, that it was sad but a relief.

And I wandered, dazed, from a bedroom that seemed suddenly too cluttered and too empty, to a car, to a pub, to the warm arms of friends.

In the story of Ewicher Yeeger (which you can read here), the Deitsch settlers cleared out trees to open up farmland, only to find out that the soil wasn’t going to suit that purpose. Drought further ruined their prospects of growing food and dried out the soil. When rain finally came, it washed the seeds away. The process of clearing the land of vegetation drove out wildlife that they otherwise could have hunted for survival. And then winter came early, cutting off the chance to flee somewhere else and then, potentially, do it all over again.

Recognizing that they were at the end of their rope, they resorted to making offerings of what little they still had left in the hopes of avoiding starvation.

Ewicher Yeeger brought the Hunt through, with all its noise and fury, and the settlers came out in the morning to a valley full of deer and rabbit–meat and fur that would get them through the winter. A little bit of mercy, and a chance to approach the next growing season more responsibly.

I didn’t put it all together until June, when Rob and I took the scenic route to my house after another pub moot. He mentioned that he suspected Ewicher Yeeger had a role in my reaching out to my local Heathen community about 18 months prior. I had always compared my entry into the scene to falling down the well, and I also figured it was mostly Loki who did that nudging, plus my own stubbornness.

But, Rob explained, I’d been living in my own Allemaengel up until very recently. I had spent most of my life feeling deprived or trapped in some way in my interpersonal relationships. It was once I decided I was willing to risk change, not certain I would get the desired result, that game was driven in and the valley became livable. I gained access to a community that actively welcomed me, supported me and recognized what I had to offer.

I had lost a lot by virtue of simply going through life and constantly smashing bad choices up against bad luck, hoping I’d get sparks.

But that rapidly shifted once I was ready to give up a little more, giving up smarter rather than giving up harder. Resisting change didn’t work. Letting life happen to me didn’t work. But the temporary pain of offering hay and cloth, or a difficult conversation and the loss of a lover, or walking a mile down a road with no shoulder in the cold and dark because there were places to be and people to meet, were all rewarded handsomely.

As another friend of the kindred pointed out, Ewicher Yeeger is a god of second chances, but only when you’re ready to admit there’s a problem. Only when you’re ready to do something different. Those who dig in their heels, escalate their commitment, and sink more resources into a lost cause without being open to changing course aren’t able to benefit from what he can offer them.

He is a death deity in a very literal sense, but as his myth shows he has a lifegiving aspect, and folk tradition in practice suggests this is how he’s best known. And death doesn’t have to be literal. In practice, in modern-day paganism, it’s almost never literal anyway. What I’ve understood as my experience with him is about metaphorical death–life transitions, painful change, and shifts in perspective. Letting something end so something else can start.

Perhaps a god of people ready to start living.

Rachel, Jack and Loki Too

If you haven’t seen the “Rachel, Jack and Ashley Too” episode of Black Mirror (S5E3), then the next few paragraphs contain vague spoilers.

“Rachel, Jack and Ashley Too” was the story of a pop star straining against being turned into a commodity. Except a whole ton of technology has to be involved in this, because it’s Black Mirror. One of these high-tech commodities was a robot toy named Ashley Too, which holds conversations, sings and dances to Ashley O songs, and spouts a bunch of inspirational pre-recorded phrases. Basically, a way for superfans to have their own little personal Ashleys.

When Ashley stopped voluntarily producing, she was put into a coma by her manager, leaving behind a consciousness uploaded into a ton of mass-produced machines, and a bunch of songs translated from brainwaves and carefully filtered through some chirpy demon vocaloid.

Because, apparently, going full Zechariah Sitchin but then putting in a firewall (or something?) was more cost-effective.

An adoring fan and her sister hacked her toy robot, basically liberated that digitized consciousness, liberated the real Ashley, exposed the evil manager, and everyone lived happily ever after except, sorta, for Rachel.

Wikipedia has a far more thorough synopsis.

When I was watching this episode, I thought a lot about the conversations I and another friend would have every time the typical weirdness would go down in a Lokean group we helped moderate. Or, tried to moderate. We were undermined a lot.

A theme we would hit upon fairly regularly was that we seemed to be dealing with a very different Loki than a lot of the more outspoken types were.

The Loki described in many of these posts was very one-dimensional. Suspiciously convenient in how annoying, or involved, or loving or helpful he was. Always available, always clearly recognizable, flawless visuals and audio, always somehow exactly what the poster wanted. Everything is beautiful and nothing hurts.

Yes, even when they’re getting pranked or driven up the wall, because people derive gratification from the aesthetics of hardship.

Our pet theory was that, assuming it was an external entity and not just their imaginations, these people were dealing with a very well-fed thought form. Ashley Too was a dumbed-down product that provided access to a beloved figure like Ashley O, without any of the threats involved in genuine interaction like incompatibility, rejection or pesky little boundaries. These people were talking about a Loki Too, basically.

Irrespective of whether people were interacting with some kind of egregore, or if they were all simply allowing their imaginations to align, they related to Loki as an instrument to get their needs met. He’s commodified. He’s a sanitized product with all the rough edges sanded off, and simplified to this lazy idea of some red-headed iron woobie, who likes to relentlessly prank everyone and endlessly tolerate being blamed for it, because trickster.

That’s not how it works. And even the trickster label is an oversimplification. They get pigeonholed as villains, or “chaos,” or whatever is most convenient for the audience at that particular moment. Every so often I will come across very simplistic assumptions based on Loki being variable. “He’s whatever he needs to be,” and “well, he’s a shapeshifter,” may be true. But they also miss the point entirely when we are talking about people projecting their own desires onto a god.

Which happens a lot.

But, why did it so often happen that whatever Loki allegedly needed to be somehow lined up so perfectly with what people, very obviously reaching out for attention, needed him to be? How does someone like Loki become a cosmic vending machine that you can just endlessly take from, without any regard for reciprocation, or compensation, or autonomy? How does Loki become a product for consumption?

I don’t think it’s coincidence that literal products based on the gods have been rather popular for the past eight years, and Loki just so happened to have a spike in popularity that fits in that timeline.

Not every Lokean is in this for Hiddles. Obviously. But we can’t pretend like these two things don’t have a definite correlation, and probably a causative correlation. And quite frankly, if people lack the discernment skills to tell the difference between “Marvel is involved” (what I am saying) and “you’re not a real Heathen” (what I’m not saying), then I’m no longer interested in their bruised egos.

The simple fact is that the suits and desk-jockeys at Marvel headquarters are not your friends.

They do not care about you, or your gods, or your practice, or your dreams, or your amusing anecdotes, or your UPG. They want your money.

They want your fics and your fanart and your fandom fights and your Marvel Loki figurines on your shrine, because they’re free advertising. They profit off of your emotional responses and your defensiveness.

When we allow our gods to be simplified and packaged for sale, we are allowing them to be forgotten as fully-formed personalities. We allow them to be stripped of their individualities, their complexities, and our ability to think of them as entire entities. We allow our gods to disappear into a list of attributes and correspondences and listicles of the top five most fucked up incidents in Norse Mythology.

We allow our gods to become objects.

Goddess Worship Doesn’t Replace Feminist Praxis

There’s an assumption that pagan faiths tend to be more feminist than Christianity.

A lot of us also like to pretend that sub-cultures, such as the pagan community, are less misogynistic. Because if we’re questioning one or two societal beliefs, the rest fall like dominoes, right?

Except they don’t.

The overwhelming majority of pagans were raised either in specifically Christian households, or in secular households where the culture was distinctly Christian in character. If you live in basically any “western” country, that means you. You get time off for Christian holidays by default. The social mores you are expected to comply with are mostly of Christian origin. Your surprised utterances namedrop Jesus.

You are culturally Christian, and you carry Christian ideas into your paganism if you don’t examine them and pick them apart.

Similarly, you grow up in a patriarchy. You live in a society where men have decision-making power that is disproportionate to their actual needs and membership in the population. Ideas about men and women make appeals to a meaningless biological authority (and this is to say nothing about trans and/or non-binary people; patriarchy doesn’t consider them). Women are considered simply less capable, less intelligent, less rational, less trustworthy–less worthy, in general. Your angry utterances compare women to depersonalized body parts and dogs.

And pagan communities are not going to be an exception to this because, as religions full of converts, full of people raised in culturally Christian kyriarchy, we have been receiving that kind of training since we were born. It does not disappear without deliberate effort, and it definitely doesn’t disappear overnight.

The presence of a capital-G-Goddess, or a multitude of goddesses, would seemingly point to a collection of religious traditions in which women are valued. Women are more likely to have leadership roles in pagan communities, certainly, and we have a strong historical precedent for it in the traditions we’re trying to revive in modern paganism. It’d be out of line for me to say that’s not at least a little better than Christianity.

But if the existence of goddesses and gythjas was going to eliminate misogyny, don’t you think Heathens, who have more goddesses than gods, would have been the most feminist-y feminists to ever femin-exist?

And they’re not. A lot of those goddesses are known solely from a list of names. And if anything, we’re probably considered particularly misogynistic by pagan standards, which has a lot to do with the two centuries of our mythology being used and corrupted by the pan-Germanists. And the Theosophists. And the nationalists. And the Literal Fucking Nazis.

And this ties directly into the idea of woman-as-resource, woman-as-object, woman-as-weapon, woman-as-poison. Mentalities in which women are both a threat and a resource to be controlled and contained.

Because Christianity doesn’t have a monopoly on being used as an instrument of hegemony, either.

But misogyny isn’t always that overt, that aggro, that in your face. Sometimes it’s subtle–if only because we are only trained to recognize and push back on the obvious, allegedly-abolished misogyny.

Your goddess-worship might not only be a distraction from the task of ending misogyny, but also a vehicle for misogyny.

Which seems impossible, at first glance. It’s very logical to argue that by recognizing the authority of a woman, you hold a mentality that women are worth listening to and taking instruction from.

But there is a very common mentality in people who want Feminist Ally Brownie Points without having to really change anything, who repeat certain ideas as if they were magical incantations. They respect women. Why, in fact, women are better! Smarter! More competent and capable! Except this role-reversal simply flips the script instead of addressing the underlying dynamics–which is that one class of person must be suppressed so that another class of person can flourish. And it also fails to acknowledge how misogyny pushes women to adapt by exceeding the standards that men are expected to meet, instead chalking it up to an inherent trait of being a woman.

Which is gender-essentialist bullshit, by the way, and only further entrenches the dynamic because it frames the goodness of women in terms of instrumentality.

Your worship is not worth a good goddess-damn if you do not relate to human women as people.

We will probably be in better shape if we give up all hope of a better past, especially when that hope manifests as nostalgia for some golden age of singular goddess-worship that never existed.

What we don’t have to do is try to dress it up in ways that make it palatable to beliefs and sensibilities we have in the present. We cannot make something empowering, let alone liberating, without recognizing the limitations of our source material and that it’s a product of the culture from which it originated.

Obviously, pagan traditions have much to offer, and plenty of potential for good works. “Protest is prayer” is a whole damn thing for me. It just doesn’t behoove us to act like the paganism is the work, or a proxy for the work, when the human work on human problems isn’t also being done.

The “Godbothered” Hairshirt

I’m seven years into this whole Heathenry thing, so I’ve encountered the “godbothered” phenomenon. I have also sat through the discernment discourse, through the admonitions to never, ever invalidate which quickly turned into never, ever express any semblance of doubt about the things people tell you…

And I’m tired. I am tired of the idea that we can’t call people out on blatant, self-serving lies–with the added veneer of helplessness and nobility. A high-fashion Heathen Hairshirt constructed of piety and narcissism.

When people go on and on and on about “the gods want this, that, these, those, and it’s so much work you guys” it almost always is finished with an unspoken, “look how special I am! The gods like me! I’m chosen and special!”

The gods want plenty of things. It doesn’t mean you have to hand them over. You’re not helpless.

I catch myself still kind of doing this, more than I would care to admit. I strolled through the same bookshop near my work, where I special-ordered an Edda translation simply because I felt like it, and then impulse-bought an ornament because it had feathers on it and a cutesy quote about “adventure!” that read to me as a wry joke, and, clearly, “Loki wants this.”

I wanted it, to go put it on Loki’s shrine. I balked a little at the fact that it was $6. I bargained with myself to justify getting it. I have zero indication that Loki was involved in this purchase at all. No weird bird sightings. No weird dreams. No suspicious inconveniences.

Just…feathers and a cute quote.

And, the fact that a quote about making every day an adventure read to me as a wry joke kind of illustrates the point. Like, yeah, Loki can and will do weird shit. The mythology is chock full of that. I am pulled out of my comfort zone on a fairly regular basis because of situations I suspect he had hand in.

It’s unhealthy, and honestly kind of ridiculous, for me to parse this as some kind of hardship. At worst, I am very inconvenienced. Usually, I benefit.

And also, anyway, Loki didn’t make me buy the damn ornament.

A lot of people in the pagan community seem to struggle with the idea that they can simply want things. And as someone who struggles with the idea that I can simply want things, I get it. As someone who has absolutely projected my own desires onto the gods, I get it.

But hanging it on the gods is when it’s time to stop.

Your willfulness, your ability to exert that willfulness, and your right to do so in the form of having even the simplest boundaries, doesn’t magically disappear just because you had some kind of godly contact. If you even had godly contact. Because in this woe-is-me-the-gods-want-something bullshit, there’s a failure to admit that maybe, just maybe, the gods aren’t that fixated on us.

They have other things to do than pester you.

This almost always boils down to simple human behavior. Wanting to be special, and happening upon a way to do it that our social groups allow. Lacking, or refusing to develop, the self-awareness that would make us stop doing this. Accountability issues, combined with an awareness that a human can be made to answer for their behavior, but a deity is an awful lot harder to pin down.

And so we get a situation where a human is very obviously out of line, but countering that behavior opens oneself up to questions of piety, ideological purity, rightness of thought and action. All of which are threatening. Nobody wants to be at the mercy of a wrathful god or kindred.

And people eager to manipulate are very aware of how many people buy into that.

When I was at Trothmoot, listening to Mindless Self Indulgence and getting drunk in the Loki ve because I didn’t want to go to the possessory rite, a dude with blatant boundary issues tried to pull “Loki wants you to go to this,” with a straight face.

“Sucks to be him, then,” I said. “Because I don’t feel like it.”

He didn’t seem like he knew what to do with that answer. He paced around the ve grumbling angrily and drinking wine for several more minutes. Eventually he went to the rite by himself, did a hilariously bad job faking possession by Loki, picked a fight because ~Loki made him do it~, I guess, and then got thrown out.

None of which surprised me.

You really can just tell a god “no,” or to come back later, or to leave you alone. There’s no guarantee they’ll respect any boundary you set. But humans aren’t any different, and we still give that advice for interpersonal issues all the time. You’re not a hapless victim of all the stupid little whims of a noncorporeal being just because they’re bigger than you. And the godbothered humblebrag doesn’t impress anyone whose opinion is actually going to matter.

Turn your hairshirt right side in.

What Heathens can (Indirectly) do About Climate Change

An estimated four million people participated in the climate strike. September 20th was the first day in months I didn’t get hit with eco-anxiety and I actually felt a certain amount of hope. Maybe Ragnarök won’t actually come yet, you know?

But there’s no getting around that even the very best case scenario is going to be rough. Beats the frighteningly likely alternative by a long shot. But where we are now is not great. And where we will be in ten years will not be an improvement.

I don’t know if there’s anything we, as common people, can concretely do for Jörð beyond giving her the love she’s entitled to, and continuing to raise the alarm on her behalf, but there’s plenty we can do for each other.

Heathenry is about the people as much as it is about the gods–if not more so. That was the idea behind the rituals we’ve been writing for trans empowerment. We identified the aspects of ritual that had psychological benefits (with some help from a trained professional who prefers to be anonymous in this whole thing), and then provided an avenue for them to help a vulnerable population.

Therapeutic ritual can honor Jörð (or Nerthus, or Erde–whatever name she has in your tradition) while providing space for humans to share their love and grief. We can hold vigils. We can collectively plant and consecrate trees. Publicly scold and raise scorn poles against oil execs.

These do not change the actual physics or economics of the situation. But those of us aware of the problem, desperate to solve it and not equipped to make massive change, are constantly carrying rage and grief and terror inside of us. It’s rendering us less able to do anything for ourselves and for each other.

Competently crafted ritual provides a safe setting in which to experience emotions that are frightening–because the situation is objectively terrifying. And the community aspect of Heathen ritual, in particular, allows us to seek and give support while we push through these feelings.

The benefit of outright feeling your feelings is that tolerance can only be built through exposure. And while adjusting is usually cautioned against, I think that’s unsound advice. This is a situation that we cannot opt out of, and constant distress means burnout. And burnout means fewer resources to improve the situation.

My therapist, when I came in asking how best to manage the anxiety, had to remind me that buying Oreos is not going to single-handedly end the world–nor is avoiding them going to save it. Even if there is a lot of non-recyclable plastic in the packaging.

Energy spent on trying to minimize impact entirely, rather than letting myself settle for informed compromises once in a while, is energy that can’t be spent on activism.

And there’s a lot of energy in a package of Oreos.

So you do what keeps you sane, you muster strength in numbers. You direct those numbers where it can work some magic.

Literally, in the case of scorn poles.

When we have this emotional need met, we’re more able to focus on one another. We can develop groups and systems of mutual material support, or get on board with existing ones. We really don’t need a specialized, purpose-built and specifically Heathen approach to this.

That second step isn’t about us, but rather about our values. It’s not about being seen as Heathens, not about the P.R., not about the reclaimed symbolism and the patching up of our reputations–all of which, frankly, I’m tired of and I think is overemphasized.

It is about half a loaf and a tipped cup. It’s about displaced people taking their chances and hoping for your hospitality. It’s about whether we believe in the things we say, or if we’re just a bunch of pretentious dicks who mistake drinking mead for a personality trait.

I am not going to tell you to find clever ways to reduce your consumption and resource footprint. These are things I do because they help me, the individual, feel better. They are legitimate choices as coping skills, because they provide both a healthy outlet and distracting challenge. As long as they’re approached sanely, they’ll keep you sane.

Rather, I will point you towards resources that cover what I’ve touched on here–how we can adapt emotionally and materially while we scramble to slow the world going headlong.


Coping With Climate Change: A walkthrough for managing the fear and uncertainty of humanity’s greatest crisis, by Ben Sayler

Mental Health and our Changing Climate: Impacts, Implications, and Guidance from the American Psychological Association. (PDF)

Mutual Aid Disaster Relief is a national organization for providing direct aid to communities affected by disaster. See if an organization near you works with MADR.

Food Not Bombs is an obvious choice, when our goal is to assist vulnerable people and build partnerships that allow for survival. Not all chapters are known to the people maintaining this site, you may have to ask around locally. Check your local anarchist bookshops or community spaces, they’ll probably know.

The Troth’s Red Hammer program provides financial support to those affected by disaster, violence and hate crimes–direct aid is a future goal of Red Hammer. Currently, they’re fundraising for people affected by Hurricane Dorian.

The Utterly Ridiculous Tale of How I Became a Lokean

Picture it: the Delaware Valley, 2012…

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It was during the roaring Marvel Cineverse Zeitgeist. I didn’t really care for Tom Hiddleston’s face, but damn if an angry scapegoated child (ugh, the horns) didn’t eventually get to me on some profound level. I also had a bad habit of reading fanfiction involving…uh. Really specific tropes. That are mythologically canon.

I’m talking about How is Horse Babby Formed.

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Fight me, you greasy bitch.

Between really creepy fangirls and bad fic research, though, I decided I was going to write a well-researched but absurdist fic for the purposes of trolling the fandom. I had nearly boundless options, but, because I’m a one-trick pony, I apparently just had to go and choose How is Horse Babby Formed.

Thor fought an Auntie Anne’s pretzel. Odin and Loki kinkshamed each other for a full page, as is the time-honored tradition. Beck–yes, that Beck–lived in Loki’s closet, because he liked the acoustics. Also, he had stitch-n-bitch sessions with Thor. They knitted Sleipnir a soccer jersey. Odin gave Loki a bit gag at the baby shower. It was glorious.

…and I never finished it.

In between brainstorming horrendous puns and dutifully checking the actual mythology, I had picked up an even worse habit of trolling Omegle, roleplaying as Sleipnir in the “Loki” tag and yelling “MOM IT’S ME” at every single match. This usually either made people extremely mad (mission accomplished!) or led to becoming Tumblr mutuals. (Awkward!)

I’d been aware that Ásatrú was a thing for a while, but had some serious baggage to unpack about it. I was also vaguely aware that Lokeans were a thing, but this was the week following Spongecakegate, so the Tumblr tag was…in a strange state at the time.

I definitely remember someone posting pictures of a horse penis in the tag, is what I’m saying.

Yeah.

So, in the process of Slippytrolling, on a day where my dad said out loud that he hoped I would drop my interest in Norse Mythology as soon as possible (HAH. HAHAHA.), I eventually stumbled on a real live Lokean! On the internet! I had a lot of questions. Specifically, “Why is everyone trying to bone Cosmic Hiddlesypiddles, and also, why is there horse dingus in your tag, you frickin’ weirdos?”

Turns out that had been a troll, and horse jokes were a subject of debate. Alright, so maybe these Lokeans weren’t so weird after all. I mean, as far as people who quarrel about pastry go. But foodies pick bizarre fights too, no big deal.

Omegle conversations led to me ending up on that Spongecake Chat, and after realizing this religion had a built in community where everyone was at least kind of odd, I got a boost of confidence. Kinda like what my ex said Rave culture was like when it was good, except nobody was thizzing (hopefully) or smearing Vicks on each other. I figured, fuck it, I’ll make my first offering. Loki likes sweets, right? It’s 3 am, but I’ve got some brownie mix.

This is also sort of the story of the time I almost fell into my oven in the wee hours of the morning.

Brownies were finally finished, and I suddenly realized I had no idea if this deity I was literally inviting into my kitchen was particular about them. Corner pieces? Edge pieces? Or the weird gooey middle part? I stuck out my hand, hoping some Weird Pagan Shit would happen. I got some vague vibe in favor of corner pieces, but I just plated a little bit of each and set them on the table by my laptop, since there was no altar set up yet. How do offerings even work? Do I just let the food…sit there? Someone recommend contemplatively eating them. Really, really slowly. So I did that.

I had never eaten a brownie slowly in my life. It was weird.

3AM rolled around, and upon realizing I had stayed up all night doing Weird Pagan Shit, I decided to go to bed. I stuck the remaining brownies in the fridge so other people could try them, packed up my laptop, and was in the process of stepping out of the kitchen when I heard a CD fall.

It was 2012 and I’m a bit of a Luddite. Stay with me.

The boom box was across the room from me and the CDs had been stable in their stack on top of it, I thought. But this seemed exactly like the kind of thing Loki would do, to my limited knowledge. It was one of my albums, so I picked it up to flip it over and make sure the case didn’t crack.

Tori Amos’s Little Earthquakes.

Well that’s weird, considering I was thinking about Sigyn on my way out of the room. But it wasn’t damaged, so I put the CD back on the boombox, willing it to stay in place, and headed upstairs.

And then somehow, despite Astral Babygate, and the Mjölnir Panty Raid, Ruining Polytheism and a bunch of other overblown, weird controversies that escaped my attention, I somehow stuck around for 7 whole years other than the fugue that ended with a lot of–to me–proof that the gods were very much real. And then got nudged into a positive in-person community, and rapidly expanded my practice. And then swore a whole damn pledge. And I’m not seeing any signs of stopping. Not that I am allowed to, anyway. Because pledge. But I’m not planning to, either.

Happy Heath-a-versary to me.