He asked two days after Christmas, and I was momentarily perplexed. But only momentarily:
. . .
He asked in July, barely two weeks after I’d realized He was real.
It was a song that came up when I randomly shuffled my music collection.
While He’d made it clear previously that He was interested in a non-platonic relationship, it was a song with a title that blatantly referred to something very serious, and I looked at it with something like horror and astonishment and said, “NOOOOOO. You cannot be serious! We only just met! Not that I object to the relationship we have now, but I really do not ever want to be married again! I don’t want to be anyone’s wife – uh, no offense . . . Look, I’ve had some bad experiences, I have a lot of baggage around this. Assuming that what happened was even a message and not coincidence, which I DOUBT. . . . But if You are serious, it is going to have to be a LONG COURTSHIP.”
He never felt like a stranger, though. He felt like someone I’d known and loved a long time ago, like a childhood friend I’d lost touch with, but was immediately more than just “comfortable” with when we get back in touch. He fit. And that mild “something missing” feeling I’d had as long as I could remember, that I put down to being incapable of ever truly being happy, that had vanished sometime after I started reaching out to Him.
That song came up again that month, in what felt like a pointed way, but may have been my imagination, and I gave it a dirty look and dismissed it as probable coincidence.
I felt a weird impulse to buy a ring at a craft fair, because I was serious about this devotion thing, right, it would be a good way to represent it . . . ? I told myself to cool down, this had just started, and wondered if He was nudging me. I considered telling Him that, if He was serious about this ring, He’d need to make a ring pretty much appear. Then I realized just Who I was thinking about challenging this way (the story about replacing Sif’s hair leaped to mind), and thought “OH SHIT NO, NEVER give Loki a challenge like that!” and hoped He hadn’t somehow overheard my thoughts.
I was fairly comfortable with the sexual relationship, and with the fact that it felt like a Serious Relationship, already, but I had some issues really trusting Him. Every man I’d been involved with had violated my trust in some way, and yes, Loki wasn’t a man, but He was male, He wanted to get into my pants . . . and it wasn’t like He was known for respecting boundaries. What was I getting into?
I did a tarot spread one evening to try and get some insight into the overall situation. There was only one negative card, and it said, “You fear getting hurt again.” Yes, well.
I laid down to meditate with that in the back of my mind, and without warning, I got mentally sledgehammered with just how deep that hurt went, how long it had been there, between my ex-husband and some lesser problems with later boyfriends, and cultural baggage about how you can’t trust men, not if you’re a woman, and I burst into massive tears. I don’t know how long I laid there bawling, but it had been years and years since I’d cried like that.
Not long after that, I realized I no longer had a problem trusting Loki in that regard.
He asked again.
Another song, another really unmistakably clear last couple of lines. More than once. “NOPE,” I said, “This is NOT happening, it cannot be a Message,” and tried to dismiss the fact that I got some odd physical sensations right along with it.
It was probably just early-stage infatuation that made me think I wanted a relationship like that. Just because I’d read about other people having this sort of thing happen didn’t mean I was correct to read it like this, right?
In August I went to an experienced diviner to find out if this really was Loki, and to get answers about several other things. He said, “Just because you’re boinking Him doesn’t mean you have to marry Him.”
Well, yeah, I certainly hope not!
The cards said it really was Loki, but “He’s not saying what He’s up to. Hmm . . . He likes you!”
I thought, “That was not the l-word He used two nights ago,” but said nothing, and thought how “love” means different things to gods and mortals anyway.
The diviner pulled a couple other cards and said, “Well, you’re not destined to be His spouse,” and for some reason I thought, “That’s . . . not quite . . . Is the wording important? What if I -want- to? And all these things . . . Oh. Well. But . . .”
I left with answers about my mundane life that made me really sad, and information about other deities I needed to talk to that confused me, and with relief that I could finally trust this was Who I thought it was.
I asked another diviner some other questions, asking but not asking what I really wanted to know, and she came back with something that looked like career-related direction from Him.
I did some divination on that to try and get more clarity on that.
The cards said, “You think this is about your career,” which meant that something else was going on.
I felt a growing sense of pressure, and I started to feel panicked.
I flipped over another card. And another, which said, “What you fear is: Heart,” and I shakily acknowledged that was true, that was so so true that was the crux of everything wasn’t it, and the pressure built even more and I really did not want to flip over the next card, because it was “What is really going on here; what the real goal is,” and it was the equivalent of the 2 of Cups, and the words printed on it said Spiritual Union, and the pulses of YES/PAY ATTENTION/THIS IS GOOD energy I felt from Loki flattened me to the floor.
After about 15 minutes, I’d stopped twitching and felt I could get into a chair again, shakily thinking, “But what does that mean??”
I’d think it meant marriage, but there was that professional divination, and He’d never actually asked, and maybe I only kept interpreting things this way because I’d read about other people marrying deities, and maybe because I wanted it to be true, which was crazy because we’d only just met, it was stupid and foolish to want something like that so early on, had I learned nothing from my past? This was delusional and ridiculous, and surely if it were true it would be more obvious.
There were a couple of meditations where I saw Him hand me a ring. One of them I completely denied. The other was less ignorable. I took the little box (I knew what was in it without opening it, it was an inexorable truth and I felt like I couldn’t breathe), and opened it, and took the ring out, and tucked it gently into His shirt pocket and said, “Maybe You should just hold onto that for a while yet.”
At the end of August, He asked me to wear a ring.
He made my left index finger feel as though I had just removed a ring – that sense of “thing there but not there.” I had worn a ring there, for many years. Before I left for college, almost 20 years previously, a just-a-friend – who I’d been in love with, but he hadn’t felt the same way (years later I looked back and said, “OH”) – had given me a delicate gold ring, he put it on that finger, and I wore it until just some months earlier, when a minor mishap had bent it and I’d stopped wearing it.
He wanted me to wear a ring. Oh gods oh gods oh no. Yes, that finger had no connotations of commitment, it was just-a-friend, but it was still a ring and rings imply commitment, panic panic panic.
I said I would – of course I would, I loved Him, I was totally devoted to Him, I already knew that I wanted to oath myself to Him (why hadn’t He asked yet?? maybe I wasn’t really His . . . ) – but I freaked. Out. I sat down and stared at nothing.
I could not get out of the frozen panic, I couldn’t unwind the thoughts to their base and uproot the real problem. I decided to ask Him for help pulling myself out of this – He was good at helping people sort their issues out, right? Besides, He’d mashed this button, He must want me to work on it, He could bloody well help.
In meditation, I asked. I visualized holding my hand up, with that finger extended, what is this about?? Explain, please.
He sat down, hands moving – it looked like He was playing cat’s cradle. I could see the cord now, thin and gold. (Most things He held in meditation were gold in color; I saw/see no major significance in that.)
Okay, I can remember how to play, at least a bit. I sat down and took the string onto my hands. He reached out – and in a sudden swift movement, He took them, wrapped them around my wrists, and pulled me to Him, and He was intense and fierce.
Mine/I want you bound to Me.
He just as quickly released me; my hands fell to my sides, the cords dissolved, I saw ripples of gold moving across my body.
I was horrified, I brushed my hands down myself to wipe off the gold ripples. “No, take it off, I don’t want to be bound! I don’t want to be trapped – yes, these may be bindings of love, but these things turn into chains!”
Maybe He didn’t mean He wanted me bound to me – maybe what He was showing me that trusting someone – as I’d casually sat down to play an innocent game of cat’s cradle – meant you’d wind up being bound. Trapped.
He looked at me, and He looked – disappointed? . . . Rejected?
I paused my ranting and reconsidered. Maybe not all bonds will end up being heavy chains. Maybe I was reading too much negativity into this.
Later in the meditation, He took my hand, and raised it to kiss my fingers, and He was so gentle and so . . . hesitant in some way that I didn’t want to acknowledge what I was seeing.
I agreed, again, to find a ring and wear it, as a sign of trust, and gratitude, and . . . and I had to force myself to say “love,” though I’d told Him many times before that I loved Him.
He tried to help, but the frozen panic remained. I went out to find a ring anyway. I had no luck, but as I was about to get home, I thought about a store right in my neighborhood – might as well give it a shot. As soon as I walked in and saw the rings under the counter, I knew they were right.
It was a simple band of stainless steel, handmade, slightly crude looking. Nothing dramatic happened when I hesitantly put it on outside the store. I left it on His altar at night.
For a couple of weeks, I remained frozen. I knew it was in the way, but I couldn’t stop circling around the same thoughts. I couldn’t even upset myself enough to cry over it.
I finally found the trigger through another song, which had the right kind of emotion to it (it’s a hopeful song, but it’s one of those hope-in-sadness songs). I put it on repeat, because I figured it might take a while to sort through this whole mess.
I knew I was terrified because of my past: I’d decided to marry my now-ex-husband when we’d known each other for only a few months, and we were both undergraduates. We didn’t actually marry for a couple of years, but I was committed well before that. I hadn’t wanted to go through with it, but I was committed, and maybe things would get better. We were together for 9 years, and I wanted out the whole time, I was constantly angry about how he treated me, but I couldn’t quite justify leaving – and it took me a long time to even admit I did want out. (I also didn’t realize his behavior was emotionally abusive until after we split up.)
A few years after we’d split up, I realized I never wanted to get married again. I broke up with one of my boyfriends over this. I loathed all the cultural baggage, and how could I trust someone like that again? How much time would it take with someone to know they’d be a good partner? To be rid of that last little bit of doubt I’d felt with everyone I’d dated since my ex?
And – I couldn’t even trust myself to make a good decision in that regard.
Unexpectedly, while I was crying over all of that, I realized that another thing that I was fearful over was Him. That He loved me. I’d known He did from early on, but it was during that meditation, seeing the look on His face, and knowing it, undeniably, in the way it was true.
It was appalling. Shattering. I couldn’t even go back to anything like a normal life, not when this was true; I was marked. And I didn’t want to be able to impact Him the way it seemed I could, not like that. I cried harder over this set of realizations than over my other fears.
After that big meltdown, I was no longer panicked about the ring I’d been wearing for Him, no longer quite as fearful about commitment.
In September, I did an I-Ching divination to get some sense from something He’d dropped in my mind in the middle of the night, and it said, “You mean more to friend than friend means to you,” and I said, “What? What do You want??? I’m way more comfortable with You around than a lot of new folks!” and then I remembered the scene the previous night, when I meditated, and He was distraught over some follower who wasn’t coming along quickly enough. “I’m sorry,” I’d said, “I hope she gets a clue pretty soon,” and He just looked at me like “I cannot believe you.”
. . . Oh.
I told Him I really liked reading what His mortal spouses wrote about Him, their expressions of love and devotion; He looked at me and asked, “Will you?” and I looked away and said something noncommittal because I didn’t want to acknowledge the implications.
I started getting sensations on my left ring finger. I denied they were happening. For weeks.
He let me know He wanted an oath from me, and I gladly said of course I would.
I had a meltdown to a couple of friends, because I was getting the sense that He didn’t want from the relationship what I did. One of them asked me if I had talked to Him about this – I thought I had, actually, indicated that if He ever did want any sort of marriage-equivalent, I’d consider it, but. A song came on during that conversation that told me something I wanted to hear, but I thought, “Maybe I’m reading too much into this.”
I laid it all out. I admitted, finally, to myself and to Him, that actually I did want that kind of commitment, or some kind of commitment; if it was marriage, someday, I would like that, I would be happy to be His wife, but it didn’t have to be like that.
In October, I went to a festival, and on the very last day, I finally got access to the third tray of jewelry one of the vendors had. I’d been casually looking-not-looking for a ring for my tingling left ring finger.
I spied a pretty silver filigree ring with a large red stone – it looked too small, but as I slid it on, I felt an build-up of energy in my chest, that familiar yes/encouragement/good pulse. Ooooooh, oh shit. Okay. Nerves. I guess we’re doing this thing, then?
During the same weekend, I went to a lengthy discussion/lecture about Loki, which included the presenter mentioning that one of the main characters in my hands-down favorite book was very much like Loki.
I felt like I was suddenly weighted down by a ton of . . . fate, or something inescapable. Everything felt much more real and undeniable. I had adored that character as a young teenager; I looked for him in other books, and was always disappointed when other sorcerer/wizard types were not him. Occasionally I realized I was looking for him in my relationships, looking for the dynamic he had with the protagonist, though as a *cough* mature adult, I knew that actually being in a relationship with someone like that wouldn’t be as appealing as it seemed in a work of fiction. It couldn’t squash my affection for the character, though.
Later that month I got around to doing some divination to find out what He wanted in the oath. I’d gotten some good advice which included asking, among other things, what aspect Loki would be approaching me with – like, more human-like, or a higher-level aspect?
I laid out the cards, and the overall summary was –
He wanted me to be His student.
. . .
There was nothing of love in the cards.
I asked about the aspect thing; the answer was somewhere between “higher-level” and “human-like,” but it was definitely not the “most human-like.” I was distressed. I decided to ask about how He’d been here all along.
He answered the same way.
Between the “be My student” bit and the aspect thing, I lost it. I cried for days.
I thought everything I’d experienced, I had misinterpreted. Maybe He’d only given me the impression He loved me in a romantic way because it was a useful way to convey that He did love me – of course I knew “love” is not the same thing to a god as a human – so maybe all these gentle loving gestures, the apparent passion, all this was just like a game of charades. I rarely got words in my head from Him, it was all visuals, and energetic feedback, and random music.
Maybe it was me that was the problem; I’m not good with people; maybe I had no fucking idea what “human-like” even was, and that’s why I thought there was more here than apparently there was.
Maybe He was just taking advantage of my love for Him to get me where He wanted me to be, which was to be His student.
Well, that wasn’t such a terrible thing, really, even if this was a higher-level kind of love.
I did more divination to ask if He wanted a life oath, or if this was to be a short-term thing, and while I was tearily shuffling to ask about this student oath, the cards jammed up, one literally popping out of the deck and flipping over, landing face up – The Lovers. I laughed a bit – ha ha, maybe someday, right – and finished the real spread, which confirmed the non-permanence of the student oath.
In November, I got some of the details of the oath business confirmed via another person’s divination. She said, about the “higher level” thing, “I’m getting a sort of ‘Odin’s Sorceror’ feel, so not really higher higher-level, just maybe more strategic?”
I went through with it, of course. I was really nervous. Yes, it was only for a year, but still. I’d asked what He was offering in return, but how could I even tell if He’d given me His oath? I had tarot cards, and what I pulled seemed to indicate it happened, but what if I was wrong, what if this divination thing doesn’t even work?
Once I’d realized the “student” thing was what He wanted, I’d felt really awkward with the way our relationship had been sexually intimate – if He was human, keeping that going, with Him as my “teacher,” that would be really questionable. But . . . He wasn’t human, He was a god, there’s already a massive power imbalance, so . . . maybe it wouldn’t be a problem. And maybe “Odin’s Sorcerer” would still have some interest in a little . . . something . . . on the side, right?
I’d backed off some while I was sorting through all this, but I missed the connection we’d had, so I made an attempt to open up, apologizing for having withdrawn. He reassured me that it was okay, really, seriously, you do not have to apologize, I’m not angry, it’s okay.
So things were good. They felt back to normal. I was comfortable with how they were. I knew where things stood. (Every Lokean reading this is laughing/cringing now.)
About a week after giving Him that oath, as I was leaving meditation one night, He said, for the first time in words,”Marry me?” and I said “Yes, I have to go now,” and proceeded to leave, thinking, “That was curious. I didn’t feel anything. No panic, no worry, no great Yay!, and also no energetics from Him. . . . Maybe that didn’t really happen? Hmm, we’ll see,” and shrugged and went on with my day.
Then that song came up again. The first one. I chuckled a bit, and started to say, “Oh, come on now,” but something stopped me and I just asked, “Are You proposing to me?” and I felt that yes/encouragement/keep going pulse in my chest, over and over and over.
Of course I said “yes,” though maybe it was more like “Yay! Of course I will!” Of course.
At the end of that week, one of my mortal partners ended our relationship, for she had sorted out who she was meant to be with . . . Odd coincidence, that. It was 10 years to the date since my then-husband and I had called it quits.
She agreed that the silver filigree ring did, in fact, kind of look like an engagement ring.
He convinced me to buy a nasty-smelling candle with a ring buried in it. It has a purple stone, and sits on His altar.
I talked over wedding dates with Him – I wanted to wait until the spring, when I’d be on the other coast. He seemed to agree to a date in May. I filed that away as something to do confirmation divination on, later; I couldn’t recall the specific date, anyway. I had plenty of time for that.
I knew the next ring would be gold; I’d felt some tingling sensations on my right ring finger. I felt no strong urge to go find it yet – why would I?
Late in November, or early December, He had me call up a Friend of His, and the two of Them gave me some very quick and rough “This is what being married to a god is about” lessons. I started wearing my hair in a braid, to try and remind myself to behave in a manner befitting the mortal spouse of a deity in public, but that I could “let my hair down” in private. I figured I should start thinking about what this all meant, it would give me several months before it became real.
Two days after Christmas, He asked.
Right after dinner; I could sort of See Him there, on the couch – this had been happening a lot in recent weeks. I was getting a lot more words in my head, too, and He’d just said, “Marry Me?”
“Well, yeah,” I said, and then “Oh. OH! You mean tonight!”
And at that point, I had no objections, other than “everyone knows you should never marry anyone without knowing them for a while,” and of course everyone knows that six months is just not long enough. Would you marry a human being you’d only known that long? That’s a terrible idea! Fuck, I basically did that, once, I knew the truth in that.
But I had no doubts, none at all. There was no tiny voice inside of me saying, “oh, no, you really don’t want this, please reconsider,” no feeling of doubt. And people said, “Trust your gods,” and what was I going to go with – fitting human standards, or going with what He asked, with what felt right?
I did some hasty divination to confirm I’d heard that right, that I understood what He was asking, and threw together a hasty ritual. I felt like I ought to do more than recite my oath – you only get married once, right? I felt bad for having not put more thought into how to do this whole ritual, even though I knew nothing was required other than exchanging vows.
So I took a bath, and dressed up, and lit a candle and made some offerings, and said what I wanted to say, and He said a very few, very precious words, and it was done.
For quite a long time, I only told one or two people what had happened, because I felt like a bad example.
It had only been 6 months, and while I could see why He asked to marry then – to prove I could trust myself, to prove I could trust Him, to see that history may repeat itself, only better, things are different now, as well as to put pressure on me in other regards – it was awfully soon, and those all sound like justifications, right?
So much for May. I never had done any confirmatory divination on that, maybe I’d misheard/misunderstood.
In February, He sent me out to find the gold ring, which unlike the first two, was a highly polished, not hand-made, piece of jewelry, with a pattern of hearts and X shapes on it. I have no idea if other people read it as a wedding ring or not. I found Him one with a large, pink heart-shaped stone.
In March, I moved to Portland, and other things about the relationship started to become more clear. I’d learned other things in the months preceding, but my last few months in Boston had felt like kind of a holding pattern while I packed up my life and cut more ties.
. . .
In early May . . . He asked.
He showed me He was going to put me through some hard times, told me He’d be colder and harsher than I was used to, but at the end, after things eased up, we would understand better what our responsibilities were to each other; “Do you accept My proposal?”
. . . Uh. Another exchange of vows? The process sounded daunting, but of course.
A week later, shortly after I woke up, He asked me to lie down to meditate and said, “Give Me your hand.”
I held my hand out.
” . . . ”
“Give Me your hand.”
. . . Oh! You mean NOW.
I hadn’t even had breakfast, let alone worked out what the vows were supposed to be! (. . So much for not having that May wedding after all. Well played.)
This time I cast runes. A lot. My arm kept twitching from His excitement. The words – mine, His – were much more detailed this time. I might have cried.
He’d indicated I’d be sent out to find another ring, and I asked if I could Him another too. His has an opal, framed with two heart-shaped intensely blue stones.
The fourth ring I wear is, like the first one, stainless steel; I wear it on my right index finger. Unlike the first, it is not somewhat rough and handmade, it is machined and highly polished.
. . .
It’s been an eventful year since last December. When I look back at everything He did to get me there (a thousand more details omitted) it kind of blows my mind. Since then, I’ve moved back to my home state, spent 6 months without any work (which sucked) but plenty of mental stuff to sort through, both harder and easier than dealing with my commitment fears, got pulled deeper into other spiritual directions – and He’s asked a few times since then, asked if I have any regrets, and I’ve always said, “No, I’d do it all again, do You even need to ask?”