Worshiping Loki is exactly what it claims to be: a short introduction. More booklet rather than book proper, the material is succinct and to the point. The introduction starts off by summing up the rather ridiculous approach many take toward Loki in American heathenry (I’ve witnessed the people spitting at His name, at heathen gatherings that Maestas refers to), and continues (with remarkably little snark, I must add – I’m not sure I’d be so restrained) from there to highlight the various struggles that modern polytheists face. We don’t have a rich tradition to draw on, for example. We have to make religion happen for ourselves, and many of us have little to no experience in that, as we’re starting out. Add to that, Loki is – by either His own reputation, or by the reputation afforded to Him by how people speak of Him or treat Him – or avoid Him like the plague – rather formidable, and that any interest one might perceive on His part can cause a wide range of reactions that one might not know how to handle.
Maestas tackles the questions of “Why Loki” and, maybe more importantly, “Why Me?” in a way that I wish had been put into words in such this way ages ago. Instead of having people tell you that – let’s use Odin as an example – can’t possibly be interested in you, because you are not a king (yes, people have said that), Maestas points out: ‘Polytheism accepts that the Powers have their own wills, desires, and agendas. This means that they have the potential to come and go as they please, with their own reasons for doing so. In a polytheist world view, a deity, spirit, or other Power choosing to spend time with you isn’t very out of the ordinary.’ (emphasis mine). This sentence alone made this booklet worth the purchase, as far as I’m concerned. He goes on to mention that the motivation is ultimately unnecessary to understand – the relationship is what matters. Building it, honoring it, allowing for it to be.
Maestas covers the basics of shrine or altar making, the benefits of having one, and the many modifications that can be made, based on environment and various needs. Essentially: having a space set up can be beneficial, but it need not be elaborate, and it need not be permanent, if one’s circumstances do not allow for it. The concept of hospitality – a virtue in many traditions, and one that I’d argue is the most important – is covered. Having Loki over to your house is like having a friend over for coffee. Especially as you are starting out, you want to make them welcome. Your space need not be immaculate (thankfully, or my gods would never stop by!) but offer them the best of what you have. Maybe your book cases are dusty, but dust off the shrine space. Maybe you’ve got stacks of dishes in the sink, but make sure their dishes are clean. Maybe laundry day was a few days ago and you still haven’t gotten around to doing the wash, but take the time to make yourself presentable. If all you have to offer is water, offer them water. Share, and share your best. Don’t be ashamed of what you have, but also don’t half-ass it.
Offering suggestions are provided, along with a brief discussion on the use of ritual, and the benefits of regular devotion. Maestas also discusses discernment in a way that I do not see many polytheists speaking of it. Generally, the topic seems to go more toward “Is X deity really who they say they are, are they really asking me this thing?” “Is Y Power really hanging around me so much, do They really care about the minutiae of my life?” I’ve seen people write a bit about why discernment might be important, but not so much about how to discern on your own without relying on the experiences of others – which is problematic to me, in that, yes, such information can be useful, but should never be the foundation of your devotional relationship. An example from my own experience might be:
Is Poseidon really asking me to adopt a veiling practice? Why would He do that? Does He really care about such a mundane part of my life? Is this desire coming from within me, instead, and if so, how much of a difference does that make, really?
It is not for anyone else to say what is or is not possible in your relationship with any particular Power, and this is something Worshiping Loki really drives home – and it is why I love this booklet so much. If the gods are capable of interacting with us (and as polytheists, don’t we believe that they are?) then what you receive as guidance from Loki – in his wants, in his preferences, in his demands – is just as valid as what a long-time worshiper might receive, even if they are seemingly opposite things.
In brief, direct language, Maestas drives home the fact that our devotional practices are ours to create. This booklet centers on Loki, but it really could have been written about Anyone. Between his no-nonsense treatment of doubting one’s worthiness, his treatment of discernment, and the inclusion of material on Loki Herself, this booklet is a gem for any polytheist just starting out, and is, I sincerely hope, a sign of great things to come from him.
The book is available via his Etsy store, in print, and both e-books and audio books are in the process, as of this writing.
[Jolene Dawe is a polytheist devoted to Poseidon and Odin. She is the author of Treasures from the Deep, a collection of Poseidon’s myths retold, and The Fairy Queen of Spencer’s Butte and Other Tales. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her partner, a small horde of cats, one small dog, and three spunky spinning wheels. You can find her online at http://thesaturatedpage.wordpress.com%5D.]