I’m going to get a lot of shit for this, and only partially because I really do see and experience Loki almost exactly as Tom Hiddleston portrays him. But not quite.
It’s impossible to talk about Loki without including disclaimers every few sentences. And I think that’s where the polarization occurs – you either land on Team Loki or Team Everyone Else. And then when you are Loki, you find yourself in the most frustrating spot of all. The middle.
Let me give you the background on Loki and why a lot of very traditional Norse practitioners would come for my head for writing this.
Though his exact lineage has been debated on for quite a long time, it’s been accepted by now that for all intents and purposes, Loki is part of the Norse family and pantheon, like it or not. Loki, like Eris in the Greek family and Coyote in some Native North American families, is one of the trickster gods. He isn’t implicitly benevolent and he isn’t completely evil, either. There have been many times where he thought what would be a great prank turned out to be quite terrible, and not as reversible as he expected (like cutting of Sif’s hair and trying to pass off Idunna as payment for his various misdeeds.) But there was one occurrence that drew the line, and I understand it.
Loki killed Baldr, the only son of Odin and Frigga, though he did not think the trick would lead to death. Real death. Loki was overcome with jealousy with how much everyone else loved Baldr, and Loki, well, not so much. I have recounted the story of my brother Baldr before, here.
Naturally, the rest of the gods imprisoned Loki for a very long time for what he did. He knows he deserved it. Some people think he’s still chained in a cave, but I know that isn’t true. It was only a matter of time until the shapeshifter figured out how to get out. Loki is out and about on his own terms now, and the rest of the gods know it. Perhaps enough time has passed, and the prophecy of Baldr leading the new generation post-Ragnarok has softened the blow a bit. Frigga will not speak of Loki. And everyone else in Asgard knows better.
Through it all, though, I have felt very connected to Loki. When I first started to feel it, I tried to fight it away. Shut it down. There was no way I was as incredibly nihilistic and chaotic and mind-bogglingly neutral as Loki. But Loki isn’t like that all the time, either. The whole thing about him is that he is…and he isn’t.
I know for a fact had he been born under our stars, Loki would have been a Gemini. My sign. The twins. The duality of nature. The good, the bad, the light, the dark. All at the same time. People feel safe when things are predictable. People like things that are neat and orderly where they can have expectations. Society’s preferences for these things were slammed down onto my head as a child and oh, did I try so hard to do what would make the people around me happy. But it came at a cost.
My stomach would knot over itself in worry. I looked at myself over and over, nitpicking any imperfection and shaming myself for things I didn’t do right. I clearly remember a girl from my third grade class. Her name was Brianna. She had really pretty, straight, long blonde hair and blue eyes. The thing I admired most about her was how organized she was. She always had everything our teachers required of us, neatly tucked in a folder.
I was messy. Disorganized. I would lose important papers and leave books in my locker that I needed to do homework later. And I was miserable. I wanted to be organized. I wanted to have everything that anyone would ever need from me. I wanted to be like Brianna. I wanted to be perfect and clean and normal.
It wasn’t until my reckoning with my own nature, brought on by a visit from Loki himself, did I start to begrudgingly accept that maybe, just maybe…my true nature simply cannot allow for order and perfection.
I’ve been reading Care of the Soul by Thomas Moore recently, and early on in the book he talks about shadow quite a bit, having been influenced by Carl Jung’s work (like most of us in this field, I think.) It was on a particularly sensitive day for me that one paragraph brought tears to my eyes:
"Care of the soul begins with the observance of how the soul manifests itself and how it operates. We can't care for the soul unless we are familiar with its ways. Observance is a word from ritual and religion. It means to watch out for but also to keep and honor, as in the observance of a holiday. The -serv- in observance originally referred to tending sheep. Observing the soul, we keep an eye on its sheep, on whatever is wandering and grazing - the latest addiction, a striking dream, or a troubling mood...for example, if I see my responsibility to myself, to a friend, or to a patient in therapy as observing and respecting what the soul presents, I won't try to take things away in the name of health. It's remarkable how often people think they will be better off without the things that bother them. "I need to get rid of this tendency of mine," a person will say. "Help me get rid of these feelings of inferiority and my smoking and my bad marriage." If, as a therapist, I did what I was told, I'd be taking things away from people all day long. But I don't try to eradicate problems. I try not to imagine my role to be that of the exterminator. Rather, I try to give what is problematical back to the person in a way that shows its necessity, even its value."
For so much of my life, I’ve been trying to pull and wrestle and strangle my soul to fit into the box that will make our life here easier. Be organized. Be helpful all the time. Keep things as clean as possible. Stay on track. Plan ahead. Only focus on one thing at a time. Achieve, achieve, achieve.
And I just can’t do it anymore. I’m so tired of getting angry with myself because the living room is a little messy. Or because one minute I wanted to go write lesson plans and now I want to go paint instead. Or because I dressed in pink in the morning and am wondering how strange I must seem for showing up for dinner in black. And in the darker aspects, I’m tired of trying to fight with a soul who, at its very essence, is both the beauty and the horror of chaos.
There have been a few times in my life now where everything has fallen apart, or at least felt like it. I recently had another, quieter one. I still had a stable, gentle home environment. All the bills are paid. All of my animals are well. I’m physically well. But my entire inner framework seemed to collapse in on itself. I was exhausted of my mind yelling, “Why can’t you just _______?“
I could fill in the blank with anything, but when you strip all that away, every time it comes up, what it really means is this: Why can’t you just be a different person?
While attempting to navigate this period of uncomfortable metamorphosis (because you really feel like that poor caterpillar who turns into a bowl of mush in their cocoon) someone mentioned that they had their Gene Key read. If you know anything about Human Design, it seems very similar, so I was curious to know what my genes would tell about me. I’ve done a lot of readings over the years, so I do feel like I know myself pretty well on the spiritual/etheric level (I’ve just chosen to ignore and repress some of the parts, clearly.) I find that I often access the right information at the right time when I’m in these darker places, and this was certainly a turn in the story.
Your Purpose: Gene Key 47. At a mythic level, your purpose is to bring light into places where there is no light. On a mundane level, this means you must not get stuck in any single way of being. Everything about you is changing all the time, so you had better learn to appreciate this about yourself. You can be consistent when you wish to be, but don't define yourself by your past. You are becoming more aligned with your soul's purpose, and it will consistently change you as it brings you into better alignment with that purpose, so you see - your purpose is the most consistent thing about you. Your methods and actions and feelings will keep shifting, and you may despair in what appears to be chaos to others, however, this is one of the most natural processes for you. The 47th Shadow is an access portal through which the fears of the human collective flow into waking consciousness. Very few people confront their shadow archetypes in their life. They do not want to stare down the barrel of the 47th shadow, because the deeper they look, the deeper the rabbit hole seems to go. Those who carry the 47th Key have no choice. You will always be dealing and feeling with fear, whether it's your own, or the collective's. You carry the gift of Transmutation, and if you can access and harness this, you will be able to handle the work of the 47th with ease. Beneath what left-brained scientists have misread as chaos hides one of the greatest secrets of creation. Your gift is the Royal Art - alchemy - the natural destiny of human beings who live their life totally, embracing everything and holding nothing back. It is the art of living dangerously. This does not mean that you necessarily take outer risks - the danger is to the illusion that there is anything fixed about you. The true human soul is indefinable because it is constantly surpassing all definitions. Life is not about success or failure for you - it's about turning lead into gold, helping others to take the reins of their own lives and transmuting themselves with helpful, sacred hands.
So, at the end of this little detour of my life, where am I?
I will no longer make promises, for my sake and for others.’ As we’ve all heard a thousand times, expectations only lead to disappointment, and I doubt that I share the same expectations as most people. And it kind of kills me to say that anyway – I have a very strong Virgo part of me that does feel good when things are organized…but I’ve realized now that she enjoys certain types of organization and expectations that clearly only work for her. I have specific ways of doing things that I need to acknowledge and be supportive of rather than trying to break myself to fit into other people’s boxes.
This doesn’t mean I shirk my responsibilities. I’ve chosen them, so I feel passionate about doing everything they need from me, on my own terms. However, I do feel much pickier about what I choose now, and I know that I’m going to make some people uncomfortable when I say no. I’ve avoided “no” in my vocabulary for a long time, but look where it’s gotten me.
The general consensus is to avoid Loki, but I just can’t. Loki is only really aggravating because he defies all expectations. As if being a shapeshifter wasn’t enough of a hint. I feel that the way Tom portrays him in the Disney+ series is the closest anyone has touched on what really is going on underneath the mythological archetype of the Trickster, and I see myself reflected in those internal struggles. I want to underline that this isn’t the same as those people who glorify being cHAoTiC EviL to seem edgy (you know exactly who I’m talking about.) It’s not an easy existence. I’ve spent 25 years of my life wishing that I could firmly stand on the left or the right side of the spectrum (of anything at this point) without feeling like I was choking in some way.
Now I have to figure out how to allow myself to live in the middle, where I belong.