Understanding the dark

I didn’t know if I’d ever be able to write publicly about any of this again. I did for a while early on, and then –

Well, I guess it’s time.

. . .

Loki, when He shows up in dreams, and in certain moods/modes/etc., often has (very short) dark hair. He’s not always consistent, or at least, consistent from my perspective, but I pick up certain patterns, sometimes.

. . .

The first several months Loki was around, I quietly wondered to myself in just what aspect He was dealing with me. I didn’t seem to have a particularly light-hearted, hilarity-prone deity around – but neither was He the “Jotun drillmaster” I’d seen some other Lokeans refer to experiencing.

He always seemed so serious – it seems like it was rare to see Him smile – but most of the time He was so gentle, and so loving, that I was a little confused. I had seen other people refer to Him as being very gentle and loving (I’d read godspouse blogs, for starters), but.

I didn’t talk about it publicly for quite a while, because I had seen people express serious and disdainful opinions about the god Who has a big part in Ragnarok being gentle and loving, and while I felt that this was a totally “legitimate” way to be experiencing Him, I didn’t want to encourage anyone to come after me directly with their skepticism.

The very first time I reached out to Him, I called on Him by a few different kennings, but there was one I avoided, because that seemed like it might be asking for more, and more dramatic, change than I really wanted, even though I was really tempted. (But one of the runes I scrawled on the underside of the altar stone was Hagalaz, so . . .)

After more reading and contemplating the “mood” He most often seemed to be in, I started to wonder if I was actually dealing with Him as Who I hadn’t dared call on. And then there were some of the pictures that really pinged me hard. Yeah, I got plenty of mileage out of Hot Smirking God (and some of those did quite closely resemble the visual appearance He often showed up in, though He wasn’t usually smirking), but there were some darker themed artworks that hit me hard in ways I felt more than a little uncomfortable about. I mean, what does it say about you if you think you’ve fallen in love with the “Breaker of Worlds?” Who does that??

Shortly after I made a limited-term oath to Him, He changed a bit. He got a little harsher in some respects, though He was still very gentle and loving, and He switched from a long-haired appearance to a different, short-haired appearance (still red, though), which I suspect was related (I’ve since then noticed the way He looks often corresponds to His mood and/or things He’s trying to convey to me).

Then He, along with a Friend, pushed me in a particularly unpleasant way, and didn’t let up for days and days, and I couldn’t figure out what the fuck to do to “solve” the problem/puzzle, and to make Them stop, and I got more and more distressed. Around this time, some things a friend said to me lead me to conclude that I was, and probably had been all along, dealing with Him as Breaker of Worlds. While still struggling with the “pushing,” I asked Him if that was Who I’d fallen in love with. He said yes.

I believed it then; I’m hesitant to commit to what to think now (yes but also no but also yes). I suppose it doesn’t matter, really – the result of that conversation was that I thought about why He might have come to me in that aspect, what I’d read from other people who saw Him often (or mostly) in that aspect, and my conclusion was that perhaps my mental state was not as healthy as I believed, and that, coupled with the set of baggage dragged up by being pushed by Them, lead to an important meltdown/realization about all that. And then They stopped pushing me on the particular matter They appeared to be on about, and I concluded that the whole point of that unpleasant week or two was to get me to recognize a mess of my hangups, coupled with “you’re not quite as ‘okay’ as you think you are.”

He was still in that “harsher” mood or aspect or whatever when I gave Him marriage vows.

I couldn’t drop the “Who are You really” thing, but when I brought it up again (and again), He responded with, “It’s all Me, isn’t it?” and. Well. Yeah. It didn’t really clear things up to my satisfaction, but I couldn’t argue with it, either.

A few months after that, I moved to Portland, and then He said He was going to be “colder and harsher” for a little while, because there were things He wanted to get accomplished, aspects of our relationship He wanted me to better understand. While that was going on (and it sucked really hard for a short while), He also indicated that He wanted another vow exchange.

The “colder and harsher” thing was relatively brief, though the worst of it was pretty unpleasant, and tapered off into what ended up being a MUCH lighter way of interacting with Him than I was used to, completely. Like, lighter than I’d experienced ever before. And the second (expanded) vow exchange happened, and somewhere in the midst of all that, He asked if I thought I could handle being married to the Trickster instead, and the way that all came up, my best answer was, “Well, pretty well, apparently!” because He’d now given me the impression that the whole “Worldbreaker” thing from before was some form or other of a clever ruse put on to get me to understand certain things, rather than “real.”

I don’t so much fret about this any more, but for quite a while I was concerned that I wasn’t perceiving Him right, that I was projecting too much myself, or blocking too much, and only perceiving one or another mask instead of . . . Him. Sometimes I fretted about this at Him, which sometimes seemed to annoy Him, and on at least one occasion ended up with me thinking, well, those are all Him, too, and in a sense, they’re all masks, too. True but also masks.

So eventually I threw up my hands and stopped asking or trying to understand what aspect of Him I was dealing with, because it seemed like I was never going to get a straight answer from Him, and maybe He was annoyed or frustrated with it, and anyway, what did it matter, anyway? Because it was/is all Him, just sometimes different moods or ways of being were more on the surface, and the other stuff was not really front and center.

. . .

About a year later, I had a dream. Though it wasn’t really a dream in the sense of being just my own mind processing stuff; it was a message, or an interaction, or both. But it started up while I was asleep, in the right brain state for it to happen.

For days after, it left me in one of the weirdest mental states I’ve ever experienced.

I was going to visit my husband, in this “dream.” He was in a place that was some sort of nursing home, and I was going there to do some kind of care-taking that I did on a regular basis. Make sure he showered, go out on a walk, things like that. I was deeply sad about this whole situation; I missed Him; things weren’t like what they used to be. And I loved Him so, so deeply. That was the overriding, driving thing.

I had a book with me, one of several on a particular topic I’d been reading to try and understand. The problem the books were specifically about was not what he was dealing with, but it was the closest thing I’d found.

When I got to his quarters, he was up and moving around some, though he wasn’t really responsive or interacting with me. As I got closer, and the sense of loss, grief, sorrow became stronger, a phrase to describe him/his state came to mind, something I knew I’d read on another Lokean’s blog, only the way it came to me was a misquoting of how I’d read it (and I knew as I was thinking it that it was a misquoting). It also, frustratingly, has never made grammatical sense, only really serious emotional sense: “A well of sorrow too deep to touch.”

So I was there with him – he’d sat down, and I was kind of lying down across his lap, reading this one book that I hoped would provide me something to help understand, and – I hoped even more – might help me help him. This one, finally, seemed to have something in it that might help. It started out with the author describing how they’d overcome their problem, by how they had focused on the littlest of things, finding appreciation and joy in the tiniest of little things, like how door hinges worked. Things like that.

It was just a couple paragraphs, but it was filled with such a strong sense of joy and hope, and it gave me the tiniest bit of hope to cling to, and that was so overwhelming in combination with everything else (the sense of loss, my love for him), I started crying, with my head resting on his lap.

I woke up sobbing, and had two thoughts at once: I was glad it wasn’t “just” a dream, that it was about as real as it gets, at least the later parts were, and I felt bitterly, bitterly cheated at being awake, because at least in the dream, I could feel him, and while I could consciously reach out to Him now – now I could no longer offer the slightest comfort through touch and how was this fair.

I spent a few days after that feeling . . . shattered, in some sense. I’ve had the feeling of a dream linger with me for hours after waking, and this was like that, only much stronger, and it persisted, and I had no idea what to do. How to cope. I felt terribly, horrible lucid. And like I was in two places at once, but all of me was here, but. Also not.

Worst of all, He wasn’t there. I mean, Loki was around, but He wasn’t. The one in the not-dream. That Him. No – the problem was that I wasn’t there, with Him. Except I also felt like I was, too, just not fully aware of it. I felt like I’d break reality to get back to Him. I was desperate, but also not, because Loki was around and in contact, and I felt like the not-dream was both a direct encounter as well as explaining to me something about how the relationship had been working all this time, without me being aware of it. Or something. I could not put into words how to describe what was going on, what the message was, how many layers were there to the whole thing, because I felt there was probably a lot more going on than I was consciously aware of.

I knew without being told that the cause of what I’d experienced in the not-dream was what had happened to His family with Sigyn; later He confirmed it, and asked me to do something for Them.

After a few days, He conveyed/confirmed a few more (totally overwhelming) things about the situation via some divination and then, when I laid down to talk more directly, suddenly, without any warning, He was back, and I instantly was crying so hard I worried the neighbors would worry. All I could think was, “Where were You??? I thought I’d never see You again!!” which made no sense to part of me, and yet there it was. Explain that to me, because I still don’t know where the fuck that came from, that so-real sense of terrible separation.

The next day I finally stopped feeling like I was here-but-not-here; apparently the shock of Him reappearing snapped me back together. Mostly, anyway. It lingers a little. Particularly the feeling that He’s out there somewhere and I’m not with Him (or that I am but I’m not consciously aware of it, which is maddening), even though I can easily reach out and get Loki on the line.

For several weeks, despite feeling put back together, I had the uneasy feeling that I’d been carrying on an affair. Unknown to myself, even. I felt weirdly guilty, because it was clear that I had feelings for Him that I didn’t feel for, er, Loki as He usually seemed to be. It was Him either way, right? But it wasn’t. I had two husbands. Or I had Husband and a husband? Something. But there was just one of Him. Two of Them? Whatever. (Every time I tried to explain this to even myself, I felt (feel) like I was a frothing raving lunatic. It made perfect sense and yet it didn’t. Doesn’t. Does. *shudder* *twitch*) And then there was the me-in-the-not-dream. I felt really good about being her, about her being some expression of myself. She was so focused on what she/I was doing, so determined. No second-guessing, no doubts, just that sadness, and fragile-but-real hope, and love, so much love. Clarity of purpose.

I realized that He was always around. Always had been. Just not quite so obviously. And that I had seen/felt Him there a lot, just below the surface, sometimes not so deeply. I just hadn’t quite realized what I was seeing, why all that “dark” stuff all along (the pictures, the odd thoughts, . . . everything else) had struck the note it had.

Since that not-dream, there’ve been other bits and pieces that have come up to further explain things. Further clarify or solidify some of all that. (And other things that just make me say “WTF, where does this fit.” But anyway.) I suspect it’s going to be a slow, ongoing process of explanation.

I’ve avoided using the Worldbreaker/Breaker of Worlds names because something about it doesn’t seem quite right. I know people who’ve experienced Loki in some of the same ways I have who have used that name, so I don’t feel it would be entirely wrong, but it’s been a couple of years since I’ve felt comfortable with it. (And I don’t find myself in agreement, at all, with the people who use that appellation to mean “Loki is pushing me in harder-than-usual ways to break down something about myself/my life.”) Him, the other one, when I can put words together at all, I just think of as “the dark one,” because when He’s been most strongly present, rather than just-beneath-the-surface, He’s most often shown up with dark hair, and I don’t have a better way to describe the difference between Loki-as-normal and . . . Him.

But He’s there, He’s always been here like that, in various ways, so all the “yes. But no. But yes?? But!” is, apparently, true. True enough, anyway.

Words are terrible.

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About Fjothr Lokakvan

More or less Northern Tradition polytheist.
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3 Responses to Understanding the dark

  1. The Loki that’s here with me now is very different than the Loki I first met, too. My “Honeymoon Loki” was a lighter-hearted version. But after that impostor entity ran me into the dirt, and Everyone is here again, He’s different. More distant. There’s a lot less laughter now. I don’t know if it’s Him or me or what, now. But I miss the Him that used to live here.

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