A Collection of Thoughts on the “Loki Ban”

The “ban” has been discussed a lot in the past year. A lot. The Rede was discussing how to handle it long before Seigfried’s stupid article kicked off the public part of that discourse again.

Before I go ranting and opining, let’s cover the facts of the situation.

The history of the “Loki ban” went like this:

  • Hailing Loki used to be a thing that went on, and there were no policies that limited this.
  • Around 2008, a policy was discussed that made Loki, certain Jotnar, and the Rokkr in general off-limits for hailing.
  • Around 2011, a different version of this was voted on by the Rede, which became the policy outlined in the Position Statement.
  • Around 2012, wording was updated and it was outlined in the FAQ.

Here are the problems related to the policy, which make the current discussion necessary:

  • The policy emerged after the hailing of Loki had already been a thing.
  • The policy is alienating to Lokeans and Loki-friendly members of the Troth, and it places an undue burden on Lokeans attending events to which the ban applies.
  • The policy created complications at Frith Forge, due to its taking place in Europe where Loki is generally viewed as a non-issue.

Basically, had another organization not stepped up to co-sponsor the event, the Troth’s rule on Loki would have applied to everyone in attendance. It would have been one American organization setting the standard for a multitude of other European organizations, and would have somewhat defeated the purpose of reaching out.

So, that’s the background.

Now for the fun part.

screencap of a YouTube video titled "here are my thoughts on the bullshit"

What the Anti-Loki Camp is Getting Wrong:

Mostly, the idea that lifting the ban inherently drags them into a relationship with Loki against their will.

The phrase “spiritual warfare” was used in one tweetstorm I read. Which is utterly, patently absurd.

Nobody is forcing them to hail Loki. Nobody is requiring that they participate in rituals that feature him. Nobody is forcing you to be part of the organization if you don’t like their policies. Freedom of conscience includes the freedom to leave if you find something unconscionable.

Although, by definition, it’s only unconscionable if the party with the majority of the bargaining power is making decisions that disproportionately benefit them. Criteria that, if you are paying attention, does not ring true for Lokeans because we’re a minority within Heathenry and are disproportionately disliked. Also doesn’t apply to the Troth, because it’s within the Rede’s power to flip the ban without consulting the membership, and they are choosing not to do that. Rather, they’re collecting feedback to find out how best to meet everyone’s needs.

The entire goal of this discussion and potential policy change is to accommodate everyone as well as possible.

To frame your complaints as if nobody is listening to you, or nobody cares about your feelings, even though the current policy already supports and aligns with your view, comes off as ridiculous to everyone else. To treat a ritual structure that already existed prior to the 2008 policy as something that can never be returned to doesn’t make sense.

And it comes off as needlessly petulant and dramatic. That stereotype is usually slapped on Lokeans, even though the more active participants in the Troth discussion who are Lokispeople have been consistently calm.

But I suppose I digress.

What the Pro-Loki Camp is Getting Wrong:

Not all of the Lokeans participating in this discussion are calm, and not all of them are familiar with where the Rede is coming from in approaching this issue.

One person has been snarking about the Troth not being able to “lighten the fuck up.” Which is…amusing? I guess? Considering most of the Troth people I know are pretty chill, and the Troth is not a single entity.

Bad-faith assumptions like this just come off as crazymaking. I genuinely do not understand how people can watch the same conversations I’m watching and come away with such bizarre interpretations. Acting like the Troth is just being verklempt (even though my friends who are Troth members are…not, by any measure, uptight people), or being cautious to spite you, is just out of line.

do not like the Loki ban. And yet, as a Lokean, I have never felt unwelcome among Troth folks, let alone with kindreds and events that absolutely will not deal with Loki if they have the choice. Especially ones that prioritize order as virtuous.

Loki is ultimately a helpful deity, and I’m obviously biased in his favor, but he is a pain in the ass. He will cause some kind of disorder, especially for people that don’t want to deal with him, or who don’t know how. That is an objective fact. We cannot get around it. We cannot, in good conscience, sugar coat it or just expect people to accept it without at least a little struggle.

And we don’t have the right to assume at least some Nokeans haven’t come by their opinions honestly. I am extremely up-front about the fact that I work with Loki for this reason. If people are uncomfortable around me, I want to give them enough time and space to figure out the best solution.

Is a lot of the Lokaphobia a result of Christian baggage and not looking at the myths in context? Yeah. But I’ve met people with direct bad experiences. It’s not my place to lecture them on how to feel. It is not my place to insist that other people deal with me and my god just because I want to be included.

Other people have boundaries.

And on top of all this, what I am seeing is an organization that has worked hard for my community, realizing there is a problem with their policy, and reaching out to us Lokeans to try and make things work. Meanwhile, I see several Lokeans smacking the olive branch away because it isn’t to an exact standard. The Rede is willing to remove the ban. But we are not the only people they can take into consideration. It’s their job to make decisions that benefit the entire membership of the Troth as much as possible.

It’s a good thing that they’re taking it seriously.

Where I Stand:

There are three options available in the Troth’s survey, that the Rede will use to evaluate how to proceed. My preferred outcome is tossing the ban entirely, but a compromise seemed most practical to me. If the ban in its current form can be refined and changed now, it stands to reason it can be refined and changed later. Part of making lasting change is setting precedents to guide later decisions. If we can’t get a complete removal of the ban, the middle-road option where we get to openly honor Loki at major Troth events is still a significant gain. Not ideal, not perfect, but significant. That still matters. That is still progress.

And it sets a precedent that, when the time is right and the general membership is ready for it, the ban can be lifted entirely.

A lot of people taking part in the anti-Loki side of this discussion are driving me up the wall with petulant whining and reactionary heel-digging. A lot of people on the Lokean side of this discussion are driving me up the wall with galaxy-brain takes comparing the Loki ban to structural oppression. We are marginalized, but we are not oppressed, and definitely not by the Troth.

No matter the outcome, somebody’s going to get pissed off. People will leave. If this is not handled carefully, either there will be no progress with the policy or it will bite every Lokean in the Troth on the ass.

I’ve probably backed the option that is going to piss everyone off equally. Not sardonic bragging. Just resignation at how ridiculous the situation has gotten.

If you are a member of the Troth and have not yet taken the survey, I urge you do to so. Even if you utterly despise Loki and the people who work with him. I want the best possible outcome, even if it’s not my preferred outcome.

I sincerely hope that other people feel the same way.

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7 thoughts on “A Collection of Thoughts on the “Loki Ban””

  1. My local Heathen group has several Troth members and are trying to tackle a Loki Policy of their own. It isn’t going as smoothly as everyone had hoped, but progress is being made in the form of compromises. So far, “absolutely no Loki at all in public blots” has won. Which is fine, I guess. The argument for it is that group blots mix wyrd with everyone and the deities being hailed. Since quite a few members are adamantly opposed to having Loki in the mix, well, no Loki in public. I can honor Him at home as I’ve always done, and my anxious friends have their safe space for spiritual activities. I’m a little disappointed, but I understand why the group prefers it this way. The last thing I want to do is make my friends feel uncomfortable just to make me happy. I’m reblogging your post, if that’s ok. 💖

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, the “mixing of wyrd” thing is why I’m so big on disclosure about my practice. I feel it’s unethical to inflict the kind of distress feeling like it got tangled against one’s will would do.

      It would be nice if public hailing of Loki were more normal here in the US, but locally I’ve found that even kindreds run by people who can’t stand Loki still allow him to be hailed. There’s also the reverse situation, with the local Urglaawe kindred, where opinions range from “uncomfortable with the god, but not you” to “totally unbothered.” but the general consensus is that Loki not be hailed–because he’s not part of the practice. Which I don’t feel alienated by, because if he’s not part of the tradition, it doesn’t make sense to drag him in.

      And reblogging is fine! 🙂 Thanks for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

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