All Their Voices

Words and thoughts in devotion to the Divine


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Not a poem, but a personal interlude

The first contact that I had with Loki *that I am aware of* happened back in…2007? 2008? Around the same time I joined the Troth. One of the members of the Kindred I belonged to at the time suggested holding a Loki ritual, where each of us sacrificed/destroyed something from an old part of our life that still brought us pain.


We did it; what I got rid of was a thin, tiny silver ring that my first husband had bought for me. The abusive one.


That was really the start of my healing from that marriage. I do not forget what my ex did to me, at this point, and I don’t forgive, but these days I am no longer in a blinding rage every time I think of him, nor is the PTSD quite so bad. (I was very, very broken; it isn’t completely gone, and I doubt it ever will be, but…it’s ebbing, bit by bit).


Shortly after that was when Odin began to move into my life like a tsunami washing over a seashore. The signs were everywhere, and he was very persistent. It took a few years, but I acknowledged after some time that He owned me.


Then in 2013 my second/then-current marriage fell apart. My ex would never tell me why he demanded a divorce, only that he ‘had changed’, but these days, I think it might have had something to do with what I found out a couple years later, that he was seeing a girl on the side who was the same age as his son from his first marriage. She was 19, which means that, since he and I had been together for 14 years, she had been in kindergarten when he and I first met.


I got through it. These days, I don’t know if I could say how, other than one day at a time. I thought about killing myself, a lot. But I didn’t. (I won’t say I didn’t try, though. I just didn’t succeed.)


But here’s the thing: almost from the first, I suspected that a god had had a hand in the dissolution of my marriage. Specifically, I thought one had assisted in its breakup, at the least, because they felt, in some way, it was bad for me. And you know what? It was. I know a lot of things now I didn’t know then, when I was still stupid in love and didn’t care.


At the time, I suspected it was Odin who did the breaking up. I belonged to him, after all. It made sense that he would take steps to protect what was his.


But Loki is not called ‘Worldbreaker’ for nothing. I never would have ended that marriage on my own; I didn’t even see the need for it. I would have continued in that…mess forever, if allowed.


These days, at the least, I suspect that, if it wasn’t Loki on his own, it was him and Odin together.


There’s been a lot of change in my life over the last year and a half to two years. After four years of trying to scrape by on starvation wages in Indiana–and only managing thanks to the generosity of some of the best friends in the world, who gave me a helping hand when I needed it most–I moved to New York, and things have been better here. Not perfect. Not even great. But better, and working on making things better still.


Since accepting that Odin owned me, when asked, I have never been a Nokean. I gave offerings to Loki every time I offered to Odin, because the two are blood brothers, and that’s what it says in the lore that we have that Odin wants. But when asked, I was always very careful to say that I was not a Lokean. I didn’t hate him; I wasn’t afraid of him like some boogeyman (though admittedly I was properly cautious–as I am of EVERY god–because after all, they are GODS, and can destroy our worlds), but I was carefully respectful.


However, Loki has been coming on a lot stronger in the last…year or so?–and I think my times of saying “I’m not a Lokean” are at an end. I hear him in my head–not constantly, but very, very often–and he has helped me work through a number of things that I was having problems with. He is master of coincidental saves. To keep denying him after all the healing and growth he’s helped me with would be the greatest of ingratitude.


This is somewhat demonstrated by how much more I hear his voice, which manifests as all the new poetry I’ve been writing for him. As the title of my first poetry collection–Listening for Their Voices–suggests, I have always indicated that the poems I come up with are not really my own creations, but more of simply listening to their voices and writing down–as elegantly as I’m capable of–what I hear. He has been very conversational, and thus, inspirational, of late.


Can I be a Lokean that is also owned by Odin? I don’t know. Given the issues that lie between them, that’s a question I can’t answer on my own. I’ll turn to divination for an answer, from a seer I know and trust well. I don’t know how clear the answers I get will be–not because of the diviner, but because divination lends itself to multiple interpretations and can be ambiguous, just as prophecy and dreams (which it shares some similarities to) can be.
But regardless of the answers, or who (if either of them) was involved, my days of keeping Loki at arms’ length are over. It’s a shitty way to treat a friend, and he has been that and so much more to me.


I’m just lucky he loves us broken ones so much.

(Postscript: My belief for so many years that Odin was behind the end of my marriage was, in large part, the driving force behind my continued discomfort with Odin, and inability to completely trust him. It’s why I still haven’t taken an oath to him as fulltrui. Even if the marriage was bad for me, I loved my husband, and I was griefstricken at losing him. And honestly, I’ve never found it all that easy to trust people in the first place, not since my first marriage, and the betrayal by a couple of friends.

But contemplating that it might have been Loki who ended it…I don’t feel the same anger and mistrust. And I don’t know why.)

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Worldbreaker

Even writing this is a risk, I know.

It could be seen as an invitation,

expressly to him.

But aren’t all gods worldbreakers,

if they want to be?

When they need to be?

Some of them are just better known

for wearing that face.

I hear his whisper, soft and sibilant,

down near the bottom of my consciousness:

‘Think what you will, what you must.

No, I am not nice.

No, I am not safe.

I am not a cutesy child’s cartoon character,

no matter how some may paint me.

But what I do is necessary.

It is important.”

If not for him, we would stagnate

in our own inertia forever.

We do so love the status quo, don’t we,

even when it is killing us?

We fear that if we move, if we act to change things,

what we end up with may be worse,

even when what we already have

is so bad that we might as well

be dead already.

When he steps in, eyes narrowed,

scarred mouth grim,

his resolve steeled to change what we will not,

we know there will be tears.

We shake in dread at the mere thought

of what havoc he might wreak,

what things he will bring tumbling down

around our heads.

But when the wreckage settles,

when the smoke clears,

We have change,

whether we wanted it or not.

Because even when we don’t want it,

we need it.

When we don’t want it is when

we need it most of all.

Then he leaves us to rebuild,

not always without help,

but sometimes–

when we have to learn to stand

on our own two feet for a change,

when we have coasted along for too long.

I don’t welcome that side of him any more

than anyone would;

I’ve seen my world shattered

too many times to count already:

loved ones dying,

marriages ending,

lost jobs,

homes disappearing before I could blink.

I survived them all.

And it’s not right to blame him for what he does;

if we had the resolve, the courage to change things ourselves,

he wouldn’t have to do it for us.

Nonetheless, it’s hard to take.

All I ask, then,

if the time comes again to make my world collapse,

so that a new and better one might be born,

forgive me if I tremble in terror and anticipation of what you do,

and I ask you lend me the tiniest bit of your strength

so I might survive it once again.

I trust you to know what’s best for me,

because you know I never do.


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Dedicated

Hail,

lady of the lifelong secret;

You who whispered words to

the God of Poetry that said:

“I am Yours.”

Golden were the apples you placed

upon His shrine;

none who knew you, not family, not friends,

knew of your hidden devotion;

they thought your faith

and your worship only for

the desert god,

not He whose name and face had been

all but forgotten for centuries;

but to Bragi, wordsmith,

songmaster, skald,

you poured out your poems, songs, and prayers,

leaving the fruit His wife Idunn bore

to the Aesir and Vanir

as further offering to Him.

All your life, you paid homage to Him

in His own coin,

that which He liked best,

and only now, when you have passed beyond

to the hall of the poetry-maker,

Odin’s son,

do those who were closest to you

–and those who did not know you at all–

learn of the depth of your reverence and devotion to Him.

Therefore, sing, o skalds!

Praise her whose name we may never know,

but whose deeds shine bright as Sunna’s rays,

no longer hidden by stormclouds.

Sing, o skalds, for a life spent

in silent and secret adoration,

pour out mead in her memory,

she who sits among the bards and sages of the oldest times,

in the presence of He whom she honored.

Sing, o skalds, in honored awe

of one who gave us an example to emulate:

may we ever be as pious, as dedicated,

and as virtuous as Bragi’s most faithful.


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By the Sea

In the end, she chose me

because my feet were the prettiest

(to be honest, it had been awhile since fair Baldr,

who she really wanted, had trimmed his toenails);

it’s not a man’s feet that a woman looks at in bed,

nor what another man looks for, either.

So the mighty huntress was stuck with me,

and don’t think she was happy with that, you bet.

Even before she saw Nóatún, my sea-home, she found

little enough to like about me.

She wanted Baldr, but she might

have been satisfied with my son;

Freyr is not considered to look upon,

or share a bed with, either.

(My son and daughter weren’t thrilled with

the idea of a stepmother,

but they respected her well enough,

although she and Freyja were never going to

share any girls’ nights, no.)

But I am an old man, with grown children and a wife already;

I would not have agreed to take a second if

I found that thought a burden,

but all we did was fight.

She could not bear my home for

the shrieks of the gulls,

nor could I stand hers with the howls of the wolves.

Don’t get me wrong;

I don’t hate her, nor she, me;

we simply weren’t suited for each other.

Bu twe gave it a fair try,

then parted amicably enough.

She went on to bed Odin–

funny, they almost all do

(him and Jotun-maids, don’tcha know!)

–and had herself plenty of children,

big and strong,

and she seemed content with that.

As for me, I wager I learned something.

Having the prettiest feet is not necessarily an advantage.

Maybe I should let my toenails grow out a bit.


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The Golden

Thrice-burnt.

Thrice-pierced.

They thought to keep me down,

cast me under:

          end me,

          erase me,

           eradicate all that I was–

my magic, my power, my voice

No.

Transfixed by metal, there is blood:

the shafts of the spears dig into my breast,

dimpling the flesh, puncture the skin,

bore in, probe deep, drill, thrust, split:

           run through my chest,

           my heart,

           my breath,

           my liver and lights–

Penetrated by a forest of shafts, still I would not die.

Borne on spear-point to the pyre,

thrust into the flames,

feeling the heat melt flesh and calcine bone

rendered into ash,

still. I. rise.

Three times, they tried to kill me.

Three times, they sought to destroy me.

Thirty times three would not have succeeded.

Three hundred times three would not have sufficed.

Three million times three and still I would have risen.

You cannot kill wisdom.

You cannot kill power.

You cannot kill freedom.

There is more to me than mere meat:

I am Gold-Bright, I am Gold’s Strength, I am Gold-Drink,

and like my namesake, fire only distills me,

           concentrates me,

           improves me,

so that all impurity might be seared away,

leaving me only strength and surety.

I am wisdom and I am will,

and they could not winnow me from the world so easily.

Woe to those that thought thus.

They say I ‘corrupted’ the women–

HAH!

What you call corruption, I call education.

I shared my knowledge with them, taught them,

gave them such gifts as the Aesir knew not–

well, the men.

And when they thought me dead–

dust and dirt, dross on the embers,

I rose again,

taking a new name, a new face, a new life.

I am the brightness of the sky,

the Sun bright as gold,

my power flowing out like that light to all women,

           seeing the future,

           speaking with spirits,

           weaving our way between worlds,

and that is no gift nor power to take lightly.

Drink of the mead I offer,

the Gold-Drink that corrupts and liberates,

that frees the mind.

Drink and listen to the words I speak,

the wisdom that strikes off chains.

Drink and know the power within you,

the power that flows with the brightness of the sun,

and the heady heat of blood spilling to the ground.

Drink and know why they fear me,

why they will fear you.

Drink and know, as I teach you,

as we speak with the spirits,

that you too are part spirit,

and spirit cannot die.

Yes, you may say, no wonder they feared me.

If you knew one tiniest mote of what I knew,

those around you would fear you, too.

For Gullveig.


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Love Letter for the Lie-Smith

All Their Voices

Thank you for clearing away the deadwood in my soul;

Thank you for your tough love and your lessons,

painful as they sometimes are;

Surviving them makes me stronger,

and strong, I believe, is what you want me to be,

strong enough to survive any tragedy,

any catastrophe,

any hurt,

any trauma,

any grief.

I try not to let these torments kill the gentler parts of my soul,

and I dream often of your smile,

though I have only ever seen it in my mind.

Your bright eyes, the smell of ice and smoke,

the gleeful fire of your hair,

your deft and tricksy hands.

These words may be a love letter you do not want;

if so, I apologize, but

after all the dreams in which

you danced through my sleep,

I cannot help but feel a closeness.

Others tell me not to trust you,

that all affection on…

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