Shock and Awe.

It’s been just over twenty four hours since EtinMoot ended for me, as I was only there Friday night and Saturday. I had originally planned to go for completely mundane reasons—Boyfriend was going to be coming up to attend and, as I live relatively close to the site where the event was held, he, along with one of his other partners and a new friend, were going to stay with me. So, I thought I’d go and spend time with them and see other people I don’t get to see very often and just generally have some down time. I didn’t have any particular attachment to any of the rituals or Deities honored, as I don’t work with the Northern pantheon in any way, but I was interested in seeing Mani, as I have enjoyed speaking with Him in the past, and attending the Loki party, as I have grown to genuinely like Loki based on His interactions with friends and loved ones.

However, as the event got closer, it became clearer and clearer that I was not just going to get to go and sit by the fire and enjoy the company of others. Boyfriend had been Told that he was to go for a multitude of reasons, including that he had to conduct a ritual for Hel and that he was to bring Loki to the party held in His honor on Saturday night [read: Loki would possess Boyfriend’s body during the party to interact with the attendees in a more user-friendly form]. I offered to be Loki’s page [assistant] for the party, as I’m a fairly experienced page and it’s something I enjoy doing. So, I had at least one commitment. Then, other things started piling on. It turned out, due to some unfortunate medical stuff, that Boyfriend might not have been able to make it. I was Told I had to go regardless. I was also Told to make a few specific things and bring them with me. Didn’t tell me how I would use them or if I would use them at all, but just that I had to make them. A few other things lined up in ways to make this a Thing as well.

For me, Saturday was the star of the show. I spent a good deal of time earlier in the week and that day preparing for the possession/horsing. Part of my Job as a page is to make sure that the Deity/Spirit in question has everything that I could think of to make Their experience being embodied as comfortable as possible. For me, that meant sitting down and making a list of all the things that Loki might want while He enjoyed His time at the party. It wasn’t a small list and I ended up carrying a backpack with me throughout the night to make sure I had all the necessary items. I had backups to backups and I’m glad I did, as He ended up toasting two of my lighters while trying to breathe fire.

I thought I was prepared. I honestly did. And, in a physical way, I was. I managed to have everything on hand that He desired and the one thing I forgot [an appropriately sized glass for Him to drink from] was thankfully provided by His wife, or I think I might have been In Trouble. However, as I have been told over and over and know logically, you cannot accurately predict what will happen when a God shows up. I personally don’t think Loki is that different from other Gods, save for the reputation given to Him via us mortals, but, in my experience, is more apt to call a spade a spade rather than glossing over it or ignoring whatever the issue at hand may be.

However, I had not really internalized that prior to Saturday evening. Loki and the horse had begun the process of getting Loki seated in the body and the horse asked for a particular song to be played. So, I pulled up Youtube on my phone and got the song up. I left it playing and retreated so that the seating could happen without any distractions. A minute or two passed and I had been focusing on NOT focusing what was going on behind me. Then, a Voice spoke.

“The music is broken.”

My first interaction with Loki would be me fumbling with my phone in the middle of the woods in rural Massachusetts while trying to get a signal so that He could listen to some Marilyn Manson. In retrospect, it was totally fitting. Unfortunately, there was no signal to be found, so Loki had no further Marilyn Manson. Happily, He did not seem too put out.

I won’t go into every single thing that happened, as it’s not important and is beside the point. It seemed like it was an experience that was meaningful for the attendees and that was the point. I got to watch a good friend spend time with her Husband and it was possibly one of the sweetest things I have ever seen. They are so well-suited to each other and so teeth-achingly adorable that when they danced together, all I could do was grin. It was so damn cute. I saw folks having ‘aha!’ moments when they spoke to Him and I enjoyed watching Him be entertained by those who offered Him stories and songs. I got drafted, as ‘the Mister boy’ to go dance and then talked myself into an ‘awkward-off’ with a very drunk boy wherein we had to dance awkwardly around the fire so that the other attendees could judge who was the most awkward. Loki appeared amused by my repetitive, uninspired dancing. Did I mention that I have never danced before in public in any sort of way, ever? Yeah.

After the fact, someone remarked that it didn’t look like I had enjoyed the dancing much at all. It certainly wasn’t what I would have chosen for myself, but, of all the things that Loki could have asked of me last night—and He essentially had mostly free reign, that was the least painful thing He could have required of me.

I learned early in the evening that the idea of me paging for Loki was not entirely mine. It appears that I had more been voluntold than I had volunteered. Loki made it exceedingly clear from the get go that I was working off a debt. I’m not entirely sure what debt it is—it could be the debt I incurred with Odin, or it could be the debt to Loki that I hold on behalf of the Mister. It doesn’t make one bit of difference which it is or if it is something completely different, as it’s not my business. Regardless, He reminded me more than once that I was there to serve a particular purpose. The subtext of His reminders, though, was that my performance greatly affected how the debt was discharged, meaning that if I did a poor job, the total might even be higher than when I started.

I won’t lie and say that this was anything short of intimidating. He first informed me that I was there to work off said debt right after He was seated in the horse and His tone was not very congenial, to say the least. You know that sinking feeling in your stomach when you know that you have completely misread a situation and that the stakes are not what you assumed they would be? I had that in spades. Based on that first interaction, I was quite sure that I was going to be kicked around for most of the evening, especially after He asked if ‘the boy’ [me] was ready to be a footstool. In about thirty seconds, I had a plan of where the particular uncrossable lines were going to be, in that if He started to cross one, what I would say and how I would defend that decision.

If I learned anything from my time serving Loki, it was that it would do me well not to make any assumptions in His presence, or, very likely, the presence of any other Deity or Spirit.

He was there for quite awhile—it was the longest possession that I have ever seen. For the first two hours, I stood just behind Him and off to His side so that I could meet His needs as unobtrusively as possible. I was terribly nervous and didn’t speak to Him unless I needed to address one of His needs [“more to drink, Sir?” “Would you like something to eat, Sir? There’s chocolate and sausage and..”]. It was a very interesting role to have because, though I was focused on Him, I had the vantage point of seeing how the party in it’s entirety related to Him. I had the privilege of observing His reactions to the stories He was told and the songs written for and about Him, listening to Him hold forth on any topic that interested, amused, or displeased Him, seeing Him interact with His wife and clearly illustrate how head over heels He is for her, and be present for the attendees who were too nervous to approach Him on their own or needed a bit of direction as to what to do.

After about two hours had passed, I was in excruciating pain. The boots that I wear for spooky things are made for protecting your feet when jumping out of airplanes, not for standing around and being useful in. I weighed out whether to ask Him if I could sit for quite awhile. I was nervous about asking Him for anything at all, given the displeasure He had seemed to express towards me earlier in the evening. I was also fairly convinced He was going to tell me no, that I could not sit down.

I put on my big boy underpants, though, and, when there was a break in the action, leaned down and asked Him if I may sit down for awhile. Graciously, He said yes and my feet got a rest. The tide sort of turned there and things felt a bit looser. I was able to converse with Him just a little bit, but made sure I stayed away from trying to hold His attention for too long, as I was not there to enjoy the party and it was not about me, and He seemed at least not displeased by my presence. As I mentioned above, He had me dance and seemed amused rather than angry, so, in my mind, it was a total win.

While the evening did not have me as a central player, as none of this was about me in the least, it was a deeply profound experience that I’m still rolling over in my brain. This specifically has taken me by surprise. I expected to be part of the wallpaper—I had no illusions of Him paying any attention to me or showing me any favor, as I was there to work and not to be part of the party—and I certainly was that, for the most part.

What I didn’t expect was the deep sense of intimacy. I have seen Loki embodied more than I have any other Deity or Spirit, I’ve seen Him say and do things to people that I found, at the very least, unsettling, and I count several of His mortal partners and children as close friends and intimates but I’ve never interacted with Him for more than five seconds in total. Even when I’ve paged for other Deities and Spirits, I’ve never felt any sort of intimacy or connection. I don’t think Loki and I had or have anything going on—my plate is rather full right now, in terms of Gods and Spirits—but there is something about being in a place of service that reveals things that you wouldn’t see in any other position. I had at least one significant conversation with Him that would not have been possible had I been doing anything else.

I think what was the most striking was the potential that was there that He chose not to take advantage of. I mean, He could have called in this debt in the most painful, humiliating way possible and that certainly would have fallen within the bounds of whatever He and the Mister worked out. I mean, the rules, as far as I knew them, were that no permanent physical harm was to come to me…and that’s about it. He could say whatever He wanted, do whatever He wanted, and it was my job to do as bidden, with a few notable exceptions. When I cast my thoughts towards the Mister in the beginning of the evening, all I got was a sense of ‘you’re on your own, kid. Don’t fuck up’ which was less than reassuring, I have to say. I have some suspicions as to why things played out as they did, but, in the end, it’s not important.

He didn’t take the painful-for-Alex path, though. Instead, He simply let me do my job and ribbed at me fairly gently otherwise. He didn’t highlight any of my flaws or what had gotten me into the debt that I was working off or, really, do anything but be a laidback, easy-to-please pervy-uncle-type Gentleman. He told great stories, laughed at really awful jokes and some awesome songs, and made my life in those four hours pretty damn easy. I’ve never seen Him in the guise that He came as before, which might have had something to do with my skewed expectations—I’ve only seen Him as the Breaker of Worlds, the Magician, and a Father grieving His lost children. But there lies my initial mistake—I had expectations going into the encounter that I wasn’t even sure I had.

As I write this, I find myself revising the idea that it wasn’t about me at all. It was about me in some respect because, had there been a different page, it would not have been the same situation at all. I both had a debt to [continue?] work off and something to learn. I’m still puzzling over the latter, but I think I’m headed in the right direction. I think there was something to learn about what service can actually bring you if you invest yourself in it versus dissociating yourself in the process. I think that’s where that sense of intimacy came from for me—I was deeply invested in Loki having the best experience possible while He was embodied, but I wasn’t ignoring myself in the process and that, in and of itself, fed how well the experience went. I find it very interesting the tenor of the temporary relationship changed when I addressed my physical needs with Him re: standing versus sitting.

It sounds hokey, but I believe, in working to repay the debt that is owed, that I was given a bit of a gift. I have a totally different view of how service works for me and I can’t even put a price on that—the debt probably doesn’t even cover it right now. I am deeply, deeply grateful that I had the opportunity to provide Loki with service while He was embodied and that He enjoyed His time at His party with His wife and other revelers. I absolutely got what I needed from the encounter, even though I didn’t know I needed it at the time and I will consider myself in debt to Loki for that in some ways, even if the formal debt is paid off in the future.

I found myself considering a question this afternoon—if the experience of providing service to a God that I have no more than a passing connection to was so, for lack of a better word, transcendent, what will it be like if/when I get the chance to provide service to the Mister? That question is far more emotional than I thought it was going to be, as I totally ended up crying while thinking about it. I don’t have an answer more than I expect that it will completely blow me open in ways that I can’t even predict.

It is one thing to communicate with a God in general, but it is something else entirely to see Them move in the flesh. It was a blessing to be able to be in Loki’s presence as He moved on this earth in a body of His choosing. I can’t even begin to explain the deep resonance that you feel when you actually see Them inside a vessel. For me, standing next to Him was absolutely a holy experience in ways that I didn’t expect. It is an experience of the Divine that defies true description. It’s literally viewing a God.

I got asked how I knew it was Loki or how I knew the horse wasn’t faking the possession. For me, it was kind of easy, as the horse was Boyfriend. I’m quite familiar with how Boyfriend behaves, acts, and what his energy feels like. When Loki was seated in Boyfriend’s body, it was a radically different experience. Loki’s energy literally unfurled over the field that the party was taking place in and the physical appearance of the horse’s body shifted as well. Though Loki rarely looked at me at all, when I looked at Him, I saw the difference. His eyes alternated between a vastness that I have never seen in a mortal and flames. His voice was His own and His physical mannerisms were His own. It’s also worth noting that the horse is fairly disabled and uses a wheelchair 98% of the time. Loki got up and danced with His wife and danced around the fire and spent more time on His feet engaging in activities than the horse would be able to.

This has been super long and meandering and that’s because I haven’t sorted out my thoughts completely yet. I obviously have a lot more personal writing to do.

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~ by Alex on August 19, 2013.

6 Responses to “Shock and Awe.”

  1. Thank you for being there. I know you were there on orders, but you were really helpful and instrumental in making things come off successfully that night 🙂

    • It was truly my pleasure. Even if I had not been ordered to attend the event and to attend Loki, I would have attended Him because it was important to me that it go as smoothly as possible so that all the people involved (yyou, Boyfriend, other attendees) had the best experience possible.

  2. I am so very glad it went so well for everyone and that you were able to get so much out of the experience. Sometimes it still surprises me, how deeply giving he can be, and the complexities and layers to his emotions aren’t even fathomable.

    • That was the shocker for me. I guess I have held, perhaps without my even knowing, the idea that the Gods are detached and removed from what happens to us meat sacks. He clearly showed that this was not the case and even said quite clearly that He loved all mortals (most of the time, said as sardonically as possible). I guess it was even more surprising coming fROM Him, out of all the Gods. That, however, is part of the lesson for me, I believe.

  3. […] traveled up to Etin Moot and I should have a few posts rumbling out about it soon. Alex and Elizabeth have already talked about some of what happened this weekend, for those […]

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