I started taking myself seriously as a Heathen blogger about four years ago, with my February 2018 post “The Geology of Ragnarok.” I don’t know for sure if I still stand by that post, especially now knowing that Fimbulvintr probably described a volcanic winter rather than an ice age, but it did show the very early inklings of a Heathen practice that would strongly emphasize the carbon cycle–and the disruption thereof.
When I made my pledge and then started taking myself more seriously as a Heathen, in general, I spent more time with the text than the emotional aspect. And then, as an admin in a Lokean group and trying to handle that relentless shitshow, being curious about the thought processes and motivations for why they kept fucking happening. This is probably where I started to have a recognizable niche, because these posts performed ridiculously well and one of my search term hits is “tumblr Loki Lokeans.” Ironically, most of the teachable moments came specifically from the Facebook group. If I was critiquing behavior on Tumblr, it was probably limited to spongecakegate, astral babies, or I was using it for window dressing.
For some reason, the founder of that group referred to my blog as “useful,” which to me reflects a frightening lack of self awareness. Which is the number one most annoying behavioral tendency I’ve seen in Lokean groups.
As I took up an interest in anarchist theory–or maybe began to recognize I was sort of on the way there anyway, and decided to actively cultivate that outcome–I fancied myself an essayist for a minute or two. My writings about Heathenry became more longform, more critical, more interested in making a case for how Heathenry might create a freer, safer world–but mostly tearing into it for the way it was failing to do so because “inclusive” Heathenry would rather rest on its laurels.
This is the number one reason that Heathens and anarchists both annoy me, which is a nuisance, because I am still a Heathen anarchist. It turns out “you’re doing it wrong, you’re not the boss of me” is a pretty reliable tendency in both categories and it’s a small wonder they overlap.
Why even blog about Heathenry?
I can’t shut up. I love to complain, way too much. Maybe it’s a culture thing I picked up from my family. Talk about the plight of a distant cousin over some Yuenglings. Talk about the most terrible thing you saw on the news, over some Yuenglings. Bitch and moan. Yuenglings optional.
Usually I would have a can of seltzer nearby while writing, anyway.
But I also grew up getting yelled at for complaining a lot, and I don’t know if it was unfair judgement of a really sad kid (because I was a really sad kid) or if I really was that whiny. So when I feel the urge to complain, I reflexively try to connect it to a broader context, as if I am trying to justify why I take issue. I know, rationally, that I can just not like things, or behaviors, or people. But as you might imagine, I’m on the defensive by default.
And often, the behavior that troubles me is maybe normalized in the particular setting where it’s showing up, but it’s just so goddamn unhealthy and obnoxious that I don’t feel like I can get away with simply Not Liking It. If the behavior is driving clever and promising people away, if it’s exhausting, if it enables oppression, if it doesn’t help anyone but the person misbehaving, it’s bad behavior.
So I try to make my complaining…helpful. And it seems, by and large, that people have found those kinds of posts helpful. Which is nice to know.
But it got really tiresome after a while. And so, even when I had the time, I was constantly getting stuck on posts. I have no shortage of ideas, I have 55 drafts at the time of this writing (which naturally includes this post). But I couldn’t finish one to save my life. I felt like I had lost the ability to stick to the expectations that I had created. I figured that either what I did publish would be overlooked (a realistic fear, because that repeatedly happens), or it was at risk of being nitpicked at. I felt like I had peaked. And maybe I have, because changing the blog name certainly didn’t do me any favors.
Once or twice I would dig out an old post that I felt didn’t fit, and would publish it anyway because it was still ready to go, and at least it was something. And it doesn’t feel great because I have gotten accustomed to taking myself seriously. Which is a little weird for a Lokean.
Although I do wonder now and then if I still can or should call myself a Lokean. While Loki is officially one of my primary deities, and he’s the only one I have any active sworn responsibilities to…I do very little. And I mean, very little. I am technically in violation of my pledge more often than not because I can hardly claim to be helping my community or pursuing ordination to the best of my ability. I am, however, being very good about making sure my shrines are cleaned off once a month. Because if I don’t, they will collect dust for months.
The thing about the pledge is it was kind of like having a baby to save a marriage. (Not an actual marriage, by the way. I am not a godspouse.) I was slacking really badly at the time that I made it, and I thought it might help light a fire under my ass. And I was right, initially. I threw myself hardcore into lore research and various volunteer opportunities. That’s a big part of why the nature of my blog shifted the way it did.
And then I very predictably got unfocused again. I initially typed “lazy,” but this was in the context of The Plague coinciding with me starting a steady job, which became a steady but horribly destabilizing job. The worst period of my life was age 16, but the first year of covid is a very close second. I am not “lazy” for becoming unproductive under these circumstances. But it did mean that my level of compliance dropped sharply.
I want to believe that it’s been politely overlooked, given the various situations. But it has become one more thing I tell myself I’m not doing well enough.
And anyway, my practice has expanded to the point that Loki is still central but definitely does not enjoy the degree of emphasis that he was probably accustomed to.
I keep announcing that I want to be less serious, as if this is an effective way to talk myself into it (it is not!), and my therapist has been trying to urge me to loosen up to the best of my ability for three years. And it’s not like I haven’t made progress, but it’s not like I’m making the progress that I would like to make, either.
I feel like almost every paragraph here starts with “I.” Something that I find terribly embarrassing. Maybe unreasonably so. If I’m the person who makes all the content (and I am), and if this blog was always supposed to be about my practice and my opinions and values (and it is), I might have to reach the conclusion that it’s only reasonable if I focus on myself and admit to doing it.
Speaking of being self-centered, you’ll notice that there’s a Ko-Fi button at the bottom of most posts now. This links to my tip jar. In addition to blogging, I also write rituals for the public, which takes time and sometimes money. Tips help me justify the fact that I do this.