Loki, Shiva, Shakti and Emotions

“Just as space, direction and form are revealed
by the flame of a candle or the rays of the sun,
similarly Shiva is revealed by the medium of Shakti.”

Verse from the Vijnana Bhairava Tantra

It seems that the traditions and practices of Yoga, especially those that are devoted to the energy of Kundalini and the power of Shakti (both synonyms for the Inner Fire) inherently accompany Loki’s teachings. And because the Norse Trickster has revealed Himself to me as the silent vastness of the universe, as well as the intense, raging fire that consumes everything in its grasp, I believe Him to be the same consciousness that Hindus call Shiva. Those who have encountered Shiva will find Him beautifully paradoxical as He does embody both stillness and intensity, peace and destruction. According to Tantric traditions, Shiva is the  all-pervading consciousness and His power is Shakti. While they seem to be two separate beings (male and female), they are really two sides of the same coin, because consciousness remains inert without energy, and Shakti (power) turns destructive without consciousness.

So, at the core of everything lies One conscious energy that is beyond polarities and houses both male and female aspects. The One energy/consciousness weaves itself through the fabric of the entire universe, through our bodies, minds, vital energy, hearts, all-through nature – basically through all things manifest and unmanifest. It dwells in everything from the smallest particle to the vast expanse of the universe. In essence, there is no difference between ourselves and, for example, a tree or an ant. This knowledge is what spiritual scriptures call the Truth. And we ourselves embody this Truth. When we embrace the Truth we will be able to view ourselves and the world in a more accepting, more compassionate way. We will be able to accept and value ourselves and others. But if one can realise the Truth, not only understand or embrace it, one has made a conscious step beyond duality, towards liberation. Loki is very eager to teach this Truth, if one is willing to learn.

Loki likes to break us. Well, He really breaks our ego and our self-proclaimed fetters, but He also breaks into our subconscious and digs up all the things that we so desperately tried to bury in oblivion. Bringing these things to light can break us, because they hold the potential to drive us into addiction, even criminal activity and insanity. (Maybe, that is why the Norse Trickster is not the most trusted of Gods.) This was utterly confusing for me in the beginning, the chaos and havoc that Loki’s presence seemed to cause in my life. Loki seemed lawless, selfish and He seemed to know no boundaries. Untameable, uncontrollable, unpredictable … and yet He made me feel safe.

After a while, I discovered that most things He provoked were emotional issues. Stuck emotions, false emotions, intense emotions. Fear, insecurity, shame, guilt, powerlessness, were later joined by anger and fury. And as chaotic as it can be when this beautiful God enters our life, He offers us an opportunity to transform our lower emotions into something higher. No surprise that Shiva performs a similar role. 

Shiva is the main God in the Yoga of Tantra. He is seen as the One consciousness that pervades the universe. Tantric practices frequently work with emotions and recognition of the One, non-dual consciousness is the key for remaining balanced, and transforming negative emotions into a source of power. Pleasures, joys, pain, aches, sores, can all be felt as one powerful energy – the energy of Shakti – if we accept this energy and allow it to dwell inside us, we can reveal the pure consciousness that lies beneath it and thus beneath every intense emotion.

When the fire of desire arises, when anger arises, when confusion arises, when we are full of hatred. What can we do? We can recognise that the energy of Shakti (I see it as Loki’s uncontrollable, highly combustible side) is arising in a particularly powerful state as this emotion. Intense emotions are an intense expression of (Shakti’s) power. If we can learn to turn ourselves inward when overcome by a strong emotion, instead of being washed away by it, if we choose to focus on the centre of the emotion, accept it, feel it and recognise it, those energies will not agitate the mind, but instead resolve into a vast, powerful feeling of peace. We are basically riding the emotion like a wave, into a higher (or deeper) consciousness, instead of being dumped by it.

It is all about awareness. Becoming aware of the sensation a strong emotion causes in our body, feeling its movement, the effect it has on our physical – by focusing our mind on the inner sensations – we eventually become aware of the pure power behind it. At this point, the power does not express itself in a destructive way anymore, but rather feeds us with its intrinsic energy. Awareness needs practice of course, and in Tantric tradition there are several meditation techniques that focus on this by re-calling an event that triggered an intense emotion and then learning to use our “felt-sense” to explore the emotion in our body. I found these meditations exceedingly useful, because this practice helps me to shift the dense energy of a negative emotions.

Shakti or power is also known as our inner Fire. Finding, befriending and focusing on the inner fire can take us into a higher state by expanding our consciousness. 

Loki’s presence used to be unbearably intense for me, and just the other day I asked Him what happened that nowadays He seems so “calm”. He gave me one of His famous chuckles and a moment later I understood that He had not calmed down, but I had opened up to accept the intensity of His energy into my life, and started to channel it in different ways instead of being overwhelmed by it. The sacred feminine power or Shakti, our inner fire or Kundalini, manifests itself in many forms and since I relate to personal Gods/Goddesses more easily than an abstract concept, Loki introduced me to the Hindu Pantheon of Tantric Goddesses. Some of them awe-inspiring, fierce and frightening – take Mother Kali for example, or Chinnamasta, the headless Goddess of Transformation – while others are manifestations of other-wordly beauty and love, like the Goddess Tripura Sundari. It is most illumining to explore the Goddesses energies. 

Over the past weeks I have been immersing myself in painting – my favourite subject being Shiva – in all His different aspects. I have had the good fortune to encounter not only Loki but also Shiva and Rudra on a personal level, and even though I know them to be of one source, they chose to appear in their separate aspects to teach me certain things. Rudra appeared as a powerful warrior, full of light and splendour, fierce and fearless. Shiva blessed me as the ever-tranquil meditator, imperturbable, protective and patient. Loki is the one I relate to as my friend – so He is mostly light-hearted, cheeky, affectionate and loving but also very serious when it comes to teaching me. Each God helped me to understand the others better, and over time the three have more and more blended into One. So when I speak of Loki, I actually do not exclude Shiva and Rudra (and Agni).

As I recently stood in a Shiva temple in Nepal, blessed by the presence of the awe-inspiring God, I felt as though I was standing amidst Loki’s home, cradled by His love, showered with His affection and embraced by an intense peacefulness. It filled my heart with joy and gratitude to know that my beloved companion and friend, the God of Transformation, is revered with such devotion and love in the beautiful country of Nepal.

I know Loki to embody all aspects – the fierce, fearless warrior, the wise yogi, the unperturbed meditator – immersed in self-forgetfulness, the protective guardian, the wild fire, the raging storm, the brilliant mind, the jester, the affectionate friend, the sweet lover and the vast, infinite and eternal Consciousness that cradles my soul.

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On Joanne M. Harris – The Gospel of Loki

Recently, one of my friends in the blogger-world (I call her a friend because she has been very supportive and we share our love for the Trickster) – anyway, she went to the book signing of Joanne M Harris’ new book and wrote about it on her site. (Read it here: https://northerntamarisk.wordpress.com/2018/05/26/joanne-harris-book-talk-signing-the-testament-of-loki/)

“The Testament of Loki” is the sequel to “The Gospel of Loki”, which I originally had intended to buy, but then discarded the idea after reading an excerpt of the book and not liking it very much. I felt that it did not portray Loki “accurately”. As I read the blog on the book signing I got curious about how much Loki really had His creative little hands in all this, and what ensued was a light-hearted discussion with said God that ended with me stubbornly thinking, “Well, if You want me to read it, You will have to find a way to get that book to me, because I am not going to buy it.” What can I say – challenging the Trickster is always worthwhile … and usually you’re in for a surprise … fortunately I love surprises. So, when I found a gift wrapped parcel on top of my locker at work three days later, I could not help but laugh out loud, when I discovered that a friend had decided to gift me both of Joanne M Harris’ books.

“Ok, fine. I will read it, Loki!” I could sense His sweet (and exceedingly self-satisfied) smirk as He leaned over my shoulder and whispered, “Told you so.”

I admit that even though I still do not agree with many things in the “Gospel of Loki”, I found it – from start to finish – drenched with Loki’s humour as well as His innocent charm. Maybe it is because I know the Trickster personally, that parts of the book elicited the odd chuckle and sometimes made me laugh out loud on a full subway, which earned me some rather bemused looks from my fellow passengers. I especially enjoyed the second book because the story is more “free-form” and houses some interesting ideas and theories. The laughter the book brought into my life was probably the reason why Loki wanted me to read it in the first place, because it has been a challenging time for me and a good laugh always helps to lighten the heart.

Being the God of Mischief, Loki loves to make people laugh, and it seems that He manifested this aspect of His nature quite nicely in those books. And yet again, resourceful God that He is, He has found a way to sneak into countless people’s lives and hearts. Out of sheer curiosity I asked Him.

“So, why do you go for quantity, not quality when reaching out to people?”

“Too complicated.”

“Too complicated?”

“I don’t judge, I just need to connect. Those who wish to know me in depth will find their way.”

“But You are so complex! Would an accurate description of Your character not be more useful? Would people not take You more – seriously?”

“Where would be the fun in that? And what is “accurate” anyway? Why confine myself?”

“Fine, but still -“

“You claim to know me and yet you judge my ways?”

Well, ouch, yes, He did have a point there.

“Just trying to understand You?” I offered, which earned me an affectionate smirk.

“You will never understand me. Use your heart, that is how you will get to know me.”

 

“The best teachers are those
who show you where to look,
but don’t tell you what to see.”

Alexandra K. Trenfor

PTSD, Loki and Healing Trauma

rivershiva

Salutations to Him who resides
in the spiritual heart centre
as Omkara,
On whom the Yogis ceaselessly meditate,
Who grants all desires and
also liberation to His devotees.
Salutations to that Shiva
who is represented by the syllable
Aum.

(Shiva Shadakshara Stotram)

 

A life-threatening event unleashes our deepest, primordial fears and automatically puts our system into survival mode. If this kind of event is not processed properly, we suffer from trauma. 

I have read the odd article speaking about Loki’s ability to help with healing trauma. In my own life, this rings very true, because Loki appeared when I acknowledged that I suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and He has helped me on many levels with this. The Norse God of Chaos does not only have the capacity to cause the latter, He also seems to have an innate ability to make one feel the very opposite – that is to say, secure and safe. For me this was maybe the first and very important step in healing, because PTSD fills you with a sense of insecurity on all levels and with utter helplessness. Loki offered me security. But creating a safe place to heal in is not the only requirement Loki fulfils to qualify as an excellent trauma therapist.

About seven years ago, I experienced a devastating earthquake that destroyed the very city I called my home, killed people I knew and left ten thousands without power, water and housing for months. As my world crumbled around me, many things inside me broke open — but since I was unwilling and maybe unable to face it all, I eventually suffered a complete breakdown of my immune system and ended up confined to bed for months. It left me in a state of constant exhaustion and unable to work for three years. Even so, it took quite a few years to realise that I suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, and it was not until my friendship with the “Breaker of Worlds” that I realised what was happening – my old structure (or world) had been broken so that I could build a new one.

Trauma is a physical reality, not just a mental or emotional state. It is as complex and paradoxical as the Norse Trickster Himself, because the physical effect of trauma is a suppression and simultaneous hyperarousal of our sympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for the fight-or-flight-response. In fact, trauma arises when we can neither fight nor flee, and are left with the only other option – to freeze. While this freezing looks like a complete shut down, the nervous system actually remains in the highly aroused state of fight-and-flight the whole time. It is comparable to having one foot on the accelerator while slamming the other on the brakes. This can be the key to survival for an animal, because when a predator lets go of the now seemingly unconscious prey, said prey can instantly come out of “freeze” and take off to safer grounds. 

While animals have an instinctive way to reset their nervous system from survival-stress mode back to normal by shaking and shivering, humans have unlearnt to do this, because of the rational part of our brain. We tend to think rather than act instinctively. “Pull yourself together.” “Toughen up.” “Be strong.” “Just endure it.” “Don’t be such a wimp.” How many times have we heard this? Or told it to ourselves? This is what can imprison us in a traumatic state, because it can overwrite the instinctive response and therefore the reset from fight/flight/freeze. Consequently, if the nervous system is not reset after an overwhelming situation, we get stuck in “freeze”. Trauma can lead to a number of symptoms, including extreme fatigue, hypersensitivity, muscle pain, allergies, nervous system disorders, depression, psychosis – to name just a few -and this is generally known as PTSD. 

About a year ago, I had a intense bout of PTSD and felt so sick that I had to stay home for a few weeks. I admit that back then I blamed Loki for my misery, because He had started to work on me “hands on” by pulling energies out of my system, cleansing my own energies and feeding parts of me with His light. I feared that whatever He did had triggered my relapse. Loki never tried to convince me otherwise, but during this time I experienced a side of Loki that left me utterly enchanted. Shiva is also known as the God of intoxication – I know now why – no words can really describe the intensity of His love. Loki had made me aware of His connection to Shiva, but this was the first time I experienced Him this way and, needless to say, Loki showed me that He was actually not harming, but helping me.

The following is taken from my diary:

I experienced Him in a trance-like state, eyes half closed, gazing into the Beyond. So incredibly beautiful, tranquil and pure. His gaze teaches the deepest secrets of the universe and my heart longs for nothing else but to melt with Him. Become one with Him. He has become Shiva* – auspicious, benevolent.
I cry, because the yearning in my heart is so painful. I cry, because my love for Him is so desperate. I cry, because His Love for me is so deep.
I loose myself when I think of Him. I am lost when I behold Him.
Everything dissolves and all there is left is – Him.
I worshipped Him with flowers, milk and honey, and He pulled me onto His Lap, gazing at me gently. I felt His light rising up from the base of my spine, a golden energy traveling upwards, until it touched an area of my brain at the back of my skull. “The reptile needs to be illumined.” He stated empathically, while I felt His light vibrating in the back of my head.

Curiously, yet not surprising, I later found out that the part of our brain close to the base of the skull, is referred to as the “reptilian brain”, and it happens to be the part that controls our instinctive processes – like fight, flight and freeze. Loki was indeed helping me heal trauma. The months that followed this experience were a time of great healing. While Loki works with me on inner levels, He did push me to find a therapist specialised in Somatic Trauma Therapy, which works on resetting the nervous system.

To those who may suffer from trauma, I recommend looking into Peter Levine’s books and therapy. It has helped me greatly, and is most enlightening material – if you are desperate to find a way out of the dark pitch of trauma.

Trauma leads us to dissociate parts of ourself, leaving us feeling split and abandoned, maybe this is why we are unable to “pull ourselves together” and cope with life. Trauma is often the cause of confused and repressed emotions, severe depression and the fear to feel anything in general. As a trickster deity, Loki works with our emotions. He makes us face those very things we cannot or do not want to look at to eventually help us break free from these prisons. Loki taught me that all emotions are valid, and should rather be accepted than judged. The fire that burns inside us as life-energy, strength and power, can express itself in various ways which can either be dynamic or destructive. Since in trauma this very powerful energy is being throttled (or frozen), it tends to turn against us and consume us in a destructive way. There are ways to release this stuck energy, that manifests in aggressive emotions, that neither hurt us or others. For healing, it is essential to acknowledge these emotions and  allow them to dissipate.

Traumatic experiences shake the foundations of our beliefs about safety,
and shatter our assumptions of trust.”
~David Baldwin’s Trauma Information Pages

Trustworthy and authentic relationships are at the heart of trauma recovery – starting with the relationship we have with ourselves.

As much as we might long for loving support from around us, I am afraid it will never come unless we learn to befriend and love ourselves. More than anything, Loki has been a true friend to me, knowing me intimately with all my highest heights and darkest depths. He has been a guardian who shelters me and a dear friend who believes in me. His faith in me is rather astounding, and He seems to offer me in abundance all those things I fail to offer myself. Befriending, accepting and loving Loki means befriending, accepting and loving myself.

Healing trauma is about claiming back power – personal power in form of inner strength, courage, trust, peace and love. These are gifts I earned from my friendship with Loki.

Self compassion is another important tool in trauma recovery, as it allows us to open our hearts and minds, which helped me to step out of my perfectionism and lower the extremely high expectations I had in myself, that had led to me constantly criticising myself. Never being good enough. Which leads to another important role Loki plays when it comes to healing trauma, because the God of Mischief works with our inner child. Our innermost, basic, instincts and emotions. Most trauma actually origins in our childhood and as long as our inner child feels lost, abandoned or unloved, we will feel stuck. Criticism and self-hatred hurt and frighten our inner child, and it is Loki who is there to protect and cradle this child inside us, to make it feel loved and valued, because Loki gives us exactly what we need to change.

Ever since the Norse Trickster graced my life with His presence, I know the sweet feeling of compassion. Compassion, not pity. Feeling compassion is the beginning of experiencing ourselves as worthy of kindness, and perhaps the most important outcome of self-compassion is the increased capacity to care for others. We become more aware that everyone is in the same boat, struggling with similar things. Compassion is extremely powerful as it encompasses the qualities of kindness, forgiveness, empathy, lack of judgement, acceptance, care, concern and love, and probably countless more. It signifies not only understanding, but complete oneness with the “suffering” of the other person.

By offering me His compassion, by accepting me with all my imperfections, by loving me despite of my flaws, by not judging me, by having faith in me and endless patience, Loki showed me what I need most to heal. 

http://www.somaticexperiencing.at/peter-a-levine/

https://www.soundstrue.com/store/healing-trauma-4188.html

https://www.helpguide.org/articles/ptsd-trauma/coping-with-emotional-and-psychological-trauma.htm

http://trauma-recovery.ca/recovery/self-compassion/

Interesing to note here is that the Marvel Universe version of the Trickster, even though he does not portray Loki as I know Him, does embody the side of us that has been traumatised, hurt, betrayed, deceived – and while he seems to be a villan, he really is a victim. And while he should be hated and abhorred, he has become one of the most loved characters. Just like us, he yearns for love, acceptance, compassion, forgiveness, and he is unable to admit it because he is so trapped in his own drama. So, maybe the “real” Mister Mischief is holding a mirror up for us. Showing us the drama many of us are trapped in, and also what we need to heal – Love, acceptance, compassion, forgiveness. Looks like Loki, in true trickster fashion, has sneakily found a way to reach out to countless human beings who are now willingly offering Him their love.

Makes you wonder? About His intentions, yes?

I see this kind of thing as a “group therapy session”. Really, what better way of advertising could a God (and skilled trauma therapist) find, if He wishes to reach out to millions of “clients”? Loki’s role is to show us what is going wrong on this planet and to get us out of our limited way of perceiving things. He has been known to apply unusual methods, that is why He is quite likely the most interesting and eccentric character amongst the Gods. … And often the most amusing.

 

Loki

God of Chaos, Change, Compassion, Freedom and Transformation.

Trickster and Celebrity.

 

Would you expect any less of Him?

 

*Shiva or siva means auspicious

Maya, Bondage and Freedom

Thank you India,
Thank you Terror,
Thank you Disillusionment
Thank you Nothingness,
Thank you Clarity,
Thank you, thank you, Silence.

~Alanis Morisette

The essence of my journey with Loki is freedom. The freedom from limited beliefs that bind me to a limited view of life. The freedom of choice. The freedom to believe in myself. The freedom to be myself. The freedom to remember my true Self. This is a freedom that lies far beyond any outer freedom, beyond even the freedom that the Gods enjoy. I believe human beings to be unique in this respect, as we have the capacity to not only remember our own divinity, but also manifest it right here in this world.

Since Loki is not one who is bound by rules, moral or mental boundaries – or any kind of limiting constructs – He makes an avid teacher, well versed in the topic of freedom. One could even call Him an authority on the subject. Those of you who know Loki’s background may think – wait a minute – how can someone teach about freedom, when He Himself lies bound in a cave until the end of time? Well, if you ever had to teach anything to anyone you will have noticed that it is impossible to teach what you yourself know nothing about. We can truly teach only that which we know or have experienced ourselves. So, naturally, a God of Freedom (or liberation?) would have to know what it is like to be bound, trapped or imprisoned. There is another interesting aspect of Loki’s bound form, and that is Him showing us in His paradoxical way that essentially there is no such thing as bondage. To those who have encountered the Norse Trickster, Loki seems to appear in two forms – as a God bound in a cave, as well as a God who roams about freely, travelling the realms, very much “alive and kicking”. This reminds me that we (human beings) are effectively doing the same thing – we are spiritual beings, “bound” in a dense body, believing in and identifying with all the limitations, pain and restrictions that come with it, while, essentially we are unlimited and free. We just live in the illusion of being separate from our Source, our True Self.

In Hinduism this is called Maya, the concept of the illusion of existence. Illusion in this case refers to the fact that we identify with our limitations and forget who we really are. In Shaivism (the branch of Hinduism that revers Shiva as the Highest God), Shiva represents pure, all-pervading consciousness, while Shakti is dynamic force. Without Shakti, Shiva is unable to act, without Shiva, Shakti is a destructive power. (Depictions of the Goddess Kali show their relationship beautifully). Shiva and Shakti are the first and highest principles of duality.

Maya is an aspect of Shakti, who veils the pure consciousness of Shiva within everything that is created. Maya allows Shiva to suppress His own powers, and She is employed to conceal the all-pervading consciousness in the manifested forms, thus, in the case of human beings, She leads us to forget our own divinity. Shiva is at once the Lord and wielder of Maya, yet at the same time He is Her perfect slave, because without Her, creation as it is would not be possible. Intriguing, as Loki is also a master of illusions (or deluding others) and therefore it is no surprise that He also is a God who mercilessly destroys them by breaking them. Paradoxically, it seems that Loki can lead us to either to ignorance and Chaos or to Liberation. Whatever we are ready and willing to receive, I guess.

So, Maya is the force responsible for the delusion of souls. The soul is a pure spark of the eternal, infinite and absolute consciousness and in order to forget this, Maya subjects us to ignorance. Paradoxically, ignorance is the cause of delusion and also in a way its product. They feed upon each other and keep the souls bound to their limited existence. Under Maya’s influence, souls act contrary to their true nature and suffer from an endless chain of cause and effect (karma).

Delusion manifests in several ways as beings

  1. develop false notions of self
  2. develop attachment through senses with sense objects
  3. become selfish and egoistic
  4. fail to discriminate between truth and falsehood
  5. suffer from the limitations of time and space

There are different planes of consciousness in the manifest universe, and, according to Shaivism, on the highest planes we find five principles of consciousness manifested as:

  1. pure consciousness (chit-shakti),
  2. bliss (ananda-shakti),
  3. will power (iccha-shakti),
  4. pure knowledge (jnana-shakti) and
  5. dynamic power, the power of action (kriya-shakti)

According to Shaivism, Shiva unleashes these five powers in the beginning of creation and withdraws them back into Himself at the time of dissolution – in between He employs these energies for the purposes of creation, preservation, destruction or transformation, concealment and revelation.

On the lower planes of manifestation which are veiled and obscured by Maya, these same principles manifest as:

  1. Kaala (time)
    cause of limitations in the experience of absoluteness, unity, eternity and infinity
  2. Raga (emotion, passion)
    cause for limitations in the experience of joy, love and sense of being
  3. Niyati (space)
    causes limitations in the execution and manifestation of will
  4. Vidya (knowledge)
    causes limitations in knowledge
  5. Kala (power, capacity, skill)
    causes limitations in manifestation and action

While creation is a cyclic event, and we will all eventually dissolve back into and merge with the Absolute consciousness at the end of creation, we were also given the freedom of choice. The choice to remain in a delusional state, or to return to the state of pure consciousness. We need not wait until it happens on a universal scale at the end of a cycle, because by becoming aware of the veil of Maya and shedding our illusions and limitations, we will remember our True Self. We can choose to stay in bondage, or to set ourselves free.

I have encountered Loki as the God bound in the cave and must admit it was a most painful and sad experience to see Him lying there. His brilliance, His power, His beauty stifled. Loki was like a spark in the darkness, a spark denied to shine. I found Him burdened with pain and grief. He suffered unbearably, His only relief being Sigyn at His side, ever loving, devoted and compassionate. I had the privilege to free the bound God. To be honest, I had no choice but to free Him, because I could not bear the pain, and I discovered that the fetters that bind this mighty, untameable God dissolve easily under the touch of unconditional love and devotion.

Freeing Loki from His fetters, meant liberating part of myself. To me He represents the bondage of our True Self, the Infinite Consciousness that is “captured” in a finite, material existence, and by freeing Him I acknowledged my own limitations. My heart broke seeing the suffering of the bound God, and it made me willing – no, it made me desperate to share His burden, to relieve Him from the pain. I realised that it was my own negative emotions, my own pain and limiting beliefs, that kept me trapped in my own painful little reality that were manifested in the constrained God before me. Loki reminded me that He is but a mirror of our own imperfections. Our state of being. I opened my heart and poured my love into Him, willing to accept the pain that comes with being vulnerable, and when the chains dissolved under my touch, Loki showed me that this is the only way to true freedom. To love and accept. Love. The ancient love that dwells inside the depths of our very being, our heart. Our heart is the gateway to the deepest secrets of the universe, and love is the key to unlock them. Love. The essence of Divinity.

“A human being is a part of the whole, called by us the ‘Universe’, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separate from the rest – a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but the striving for such achievement is in itself a part of the liberation and a foundation for inner security.”

– Albert Einstein, New York Post, 28 November 1972

 

We have forgotten who we really are.

How about remembering our divinity?

 

Read more on Maya and Shaivism here:

http://www.saivism.net/articles/maya.asp

April Fool’s Day

It’s amazing how you
Can speak right to my heart.
Without saying a word
You can light up the dark.

Try as I may, I could never explain
What I hear when you don’t say a thing.

The smile on your face
Lets me know that you need me.
There’s a truth in your eyes
Saying you’ll never leave me.
The touch of your hand says you’ll catch me wherever I fall.
You say it best when you say nothing at all.

~Ronan Keating

Since the first day of April is considered by some as a day to honour Loki, I thought I might just briefly write a little “thank you” note for Him.

Personally, I do not have a special day to honour Loki, but I had Him show up and ask me to dedicate my time to Him a couple of times during the year, and the days fell on Summer and Winter Solstice, which makes sense to me as both are festivals of Light and Darkness. I also honour Him on Mahashivaratri, as I consider Loki and Shiva to embody the transformative aspect of God. Dagulf Loptson mentions the 16th December, another festival of Light, as a day one could honour Loki on. Others connect Loki to the hottest days of Summer, when the star Sirius (Lokabrenna) is high in the sky.

Because I consider Loki not “only” a God, but also my “best” friend and companion, I do my best to make Him part of my daily life. Yes, I have a small shrine for Him set up in my room, but this is more for me, because I like to have a special place for Him, it is not so much because He wants to be honoured this way. Loki prefers to be actively included in my life, so I keep Him with me inside my heart-pocket, as I call it, and I love to include Him in things, because He is smart, creative, funny, wise, compassionate and I find Him very helpful in general. 

Plus – Loki is always there, even when I am unaware of His Presence. This is what I like about Him, that He is not bound to rituals and festivals, but has a free spirit and prefers an intimate connection of heartfelt devotion to a ritualistic one. He keeps it simple. One of Lord Shiva’s names is Ashutosh (one who is gratified easily), and apparently you can offer Him only one leaf and He will grant your wishes in turn. He is there for everyone, rich or poor, beautiful or ugly, thief or priest. I found that Shiva does care for sincere devotion, while He does not care much for ritualistic worship. He loves it when His devotees keep Him inside their hearts and include Him in their life. Like Loki. They teach us that God is never absent. God is always there with us. At every single moment. It is us who forget or push Him away.

“I never leave you. I am always here, it is you who leaves me by hating yourself.” Loki once said to me and His words struck a chord. 

It is our own thoughts that take us away from (our) God(s) and Loki very kindly reminds me again and again of how important it is for us to realise this. The Vedic scriptures talk about “Avidya” or ignorance, the misconception of our reality, the illusion that we are separate from our Source. We live behind the veil of ignorance, in the illusion that we are individual entities, which is why we feel alone, hurt, miserable, happy, … whereas essentially we are One with each other, because we really are One with our Source.

While the Gods are more consciously connected to the Source of all there is, Loki also teaches me that we should never feel we are at their mercy. Apparently, it is woven into the fabric of our mind that there are higher or lower forces that have power over us, yet the Norse Trickster has been making it very clear to me that nobody has any power over me, unless I give it to them. Whilst it is wonderful to honour our deities on the days dedicated to them, I feel that the greatest honour we can offer Loki is to include Him in our everyday activities by applying what He teaches, and integrating the values and wisdom He bestows upon us.


One of the greatest gifts we can offer Loki is to realise that we always have the freedom of choice.

That we take responsibility for our life

and search for the Truth.

Thank you, Loki!

“When the veil of illusion is torn,
Each man sees that he loves
Only one Person,
God the Creator,
And serves only one Person,
God the creation.”

~Sri Chinmoy

Journey to the Goddess

I apologise beforehand that this is a rather lengthy article …

You see Her as black because you are far away from Her. Go near and you will find Her devoid of all color. The water of a lake appears black from a distance. Go near and take the water in your hand, and you will see that it has no color at all. … The nearer you come to God, the more you will realize that He has neither name nor form. ~Sri Ramakrishna

The Goddess of pure power is called Shakti in Hinduism, She is the universal life force that flows through all of creation. A dynamic force that is at once terrifying, destructive, creative, life-giving and life-saving. This force manifests as the Kundalini, the Mother Power, and it is Shakti’s consort, Shiva, who knows and wields this power. Adi Shakti is the energy that is at the very core of our being. She is beautiful and ugly, tender and fierce, powerful and compassionate. 

Since the dawn of earth-time the Mother as the Shakti has walked the soil along with her Divine Compeers, the Avatars. Alas, our ignorance paid no heed to her supernal Love and Grace. To the Avatars alone we built our altars. Their Shaktis remained almost concealed, and at times even ignored by humanity. Unnoticed, as it were, they appeared on the scene and unnoticed they dissapeared.
~Sri Chinmoy

It was eye-opening for me to read this because I had never really thought about it – the fact that all great Avatars (spiritual teachers who were known as direct representatives of God – like Buddha, Krishna or Christ) had revered the feminine aspect of God, Adi Shakti. Realised masters of recent times were Sri Ramakrishna, Sri Aurobindo and the contemporary Master Sri Chinmoy. These masters revered the Mother Goddess in the form of Kali – the dark Mother of Creation and Goddess of Transformation, who is fearsome in Her depicitions, but also embodies boundless Compassion. Because She is everything – Darkness as well as Light. She is the Absolute Consciousness.

Shakti is not only power, She is also the one who can grant us illumination and it is Her Force that eventually transforms our human nature into something higher and deeper.

I am fortunate that She has touched my life in multiple ways and take the liberty to share some of my first experiences with Her.

Nothing can stay hidden in darkness forever, especially if we wish to illumine it. My teacher once said that everything that needs illumination eventually comes to the fore to be transformed, but I never imagined it would be with the help of a Norse Trickster God. 

In the first months of our friendship, Loki, being the “God-who-knows-exactly-what-you-want-need-and-fear”, very skillfully brought exactly all of that to my attention. Since my biggest issue was probably my sexual-energy being suppressed and denied, I soon found myself waking up to a warm embrace in the middle of the night with thoughts and feelings surfacing that I would have rather not faced – Loki’s gentle advances brought up so many issues I could not even start counting them. When I found my spiritual teacher, I chose to focus on a life of celibacy which had worked well for the past 15 years by using meditation to purify my system, but mainly – to be frank – by leading a very busy life and distracting myself from all my subconscious needs. Yes, this had worked well until a Norse deity decided to stir up all my so nicely suppressed needs and desires, which were coupled with truckloads of guilt, shame and self-doubt. The infuriating thing was that Loki remained completely unfazed by the emotional turmoil He initiated inside me. I remember thinking, “Maybe You really are the devil after all! I can definitely see why people would believe it.” My thoughts elicited a soft chuckle from His side.

Loki brought up my most terrifying needs and greatest fears. Mostly my need to be loved, as well as my fear of it – which had led me to label my sexual-energy as “evil” and suppress it. The Norse Trickster had gently but persistently demanded His way into my heart, and even though part of me knew that I could trust Him whole-heartedly, it scared me. Spiritually I longed to be a warrior, independent and strong, yet as a simple human being I found myself yearning for someone to lean on, someone who gave me security, who would shelter, protect and love me. 

What I did not realise back then was that the energy I tried to deny and suppress was the very energy that gave me life, because our sexual energy, our creative force is also our life-energy. What I did realise back then was that Loki had brought a very powerful presence into my life for the simple reason that He got me in back touch with the “magic” of my feminine side. The energy of the Divine Feminine if you want to call it that. The powerful force that once unleashed is unstoppable as it spreads through our consciousness, cleansing us of shame, guilt and old limiting beliefs thus allowing us to “flow” through life as a child of the Divine. I felt Her presence as what I can only describe as an ancient, deep and incredibly powerful entity that I wished to connect with, so I asked Loki to bring me closer to Her. What followed was an inner journey through shame, guilt, violence, death and ceaseless love and compassion. In the space of a few weeks Loki guided me to connect with the Dark Goddess He Himself revered and loved so much, and He let me see that this Goddess resides within each female human being – asleep in some, while wide awake in others.

My journey happened mostly in form of writing – Loki only knows why He chose writing to relay things to me! I used to think that visions only came to those who prayed or went into trance – for me it was, well, writing. As soon as I sat down, a different world would open up in front of me and all I had to do was commit to paper what I saw, felt and experienced. Much of it I did not understand at the time, nor did I realise the significance of my experiences and the blessings they brought.

In her deep and great love for her children she has put on the cloak of obscurity, condescended to bear the attacks and torturing influences of the Falsehood, … taken upon her the pangs and sorrows and sufferings of the creation, since it seemed that thus alone could it be lifted to the Light and Joy and Truth and eternal Life. … This is the great sacrifice called sometimes the sacrifice of Purusha, but much more deeply is the holocaust of the Prakriti, the sacrifice of the Divine Mother.”

~Sri Chinmoy (The Mother of the Golden All)

Loki inspired me to write a story – or rather I just wrote down what He showed me. The female character in the story is the Goddess, the Divine Feminine Consciousness, who has incarnated as a human being – a sacrifice She had to take in order to save Her creation. The downside of incarnating as a woman is that She cannot remember Her true identity and is subjected to ignorance just like any other human being. She endures adversities, pain, humiliation, violence and even torture throughout her life, until she meets Loki who helps her remember who she really is – the beautiful, life-giving, powerful, dark primordial Goddess – while She brings balance and healing to Him.

Only now, more than a year later, as I am writing this, am I starting to grasp how symbolic this story really is. On a bigger scale, it is the story of the deep, pure love between Loki and the Goddess or Shiva and Shakti. On a smaller (my world) scale, I realise that I have been allowed to see many faces of the Goddess (including her fierce aspects) to remember and integrate them into myself so that I can find balance. The Goddess revealed Herself to me as innocent like a child, sweet like a lover, fierce like a warrior, wise and compassionate like a mother, but also torn and broken like a human being.

When I found the paragraph above written by the spiritual master Sri Chinmoy, which talks about the sacrifice of the Goddess who suffers in creation in order to save it (thus alone could it be lifted to the Light and Joy and Truth and eternal Life), it brought me to tears because from my experience with Her I knew it to be so very true.

The name that I had intuitively chosen for the female character of the story was “Ella”, which as I found out “is of Old German origin (surprise!) and means “other, foreign”. It can also derive from the German name Alja meaning “entire”. In Hebrew Ella simply means “Goddess”.

In the story Ella encounters different teachers in different places including the mythological realms of Vanaheim, Jotunheim and Helheim. For those of you who do not know much about the Nine Realms of Norse mythology, I will give a short description of each realm visited. Because I had no idea about any of these worlds at the time Loki brought me there, I wrote down my own perception of them, adding small details later, after I had done a little research on the Nine Realms. Nevertheless, I found the descriptions of the realms astoundingly similar to what I had seen so I will include excerpts of “Ella’s story” in the following text.

Some of the places Loki took me to were wonderful, while others were dark and sometimes a bit terrifying. Each one of them revealed a particular aspect of the Goddess and with Loki’s guidance I got in touch with parts of my nature that I had forgotten – the fierce power and awesome beauty that slumbers within all females on this planet and which complements our sweetness, softness and compassion. Since I shared Ella’s experiences quite vividly I would like to introduce you to some of her (and my) teachers and the beginning of my friendship with the Goddess.

Vanaheim (Realm of the Vanir, Deities of Fertility)

They arrived on a lush meadow stretching out over gentle hills under a deep blue sky. Vanaheim was a realm of magic and agriculture, pulsing with life energy. Ella took a deep breath, inhaling the sweet and pleasantly humid air that felt so different to Earth and Asgard. What she noticed first in the new environment was the vibrance of colours – the green of the land, the blue of the sky, the flowers – everything seemed fertile and full of life. It was late spring and wildflowers dotted the pastures that stretched over the soft hills with patches of woodland nestled in between.

Shedding the shame of being female

Vanaheim is a peaceful and extremely beautiful place. Nature is abundant there and full of pulsating life-force (some may call it sexual energy) which is very tangible in this realm – you can literally pick it up in the very air you breathe. It is here that I encountered the Goddess first in the formless form of the Universal Mother – as an immensely loving and compassionate presence who, while holding me in Her embrace, took away a lot of pain I carried and She started me off on my healing journey to make peace with my own feminine energy. 

Being fertility deities, the Vanic Gods and Goddesses have a very strong connection to the Mother Goddess, so it is no surprise to me that my journey started there. Coming to Vanaheim felt like returning home. The teacher I encountered there was Anait, a fearless, slightly intimidating and strikingly beautiful Goddess who taught me about what she called female magic. She let me see that even though the power of the Goddess slumbers inside every female on earth we were “programmed” to fear it. To fear our own power. Anait asked me to give up this fear and doing so tread loose an avalanche of information that started to flood me on inner and outer levels making me question and discard many of the old beliefs I held so far.

I “received” names and words which I would research outwardly by reading books and articles, before sitting down to meditate on them. I discovered the worlds of the Toltec shamans, Shaktism and ancient Sumerian Goddesses. In my research I “accidently” came across the ancient Canaaite warrior Goddess Anat (also called Anait!) and learned some pretty interesting facts about original meanings of words like “virgin” which means effectively “a woman who claims ownership of herself” or “independent woman”, while the word “harlot” derives originally from a word for a priestess of the Goddess, denominating a sexually independent woman of high status, who offered her body in the holy act of a sacred marriage. Needless to say, I abandoned a lot of old beliefs I held while spending time with Anait and shed much of the “shame” of being female. It was Anait who made me aware that sexual energy is sacred and that the way we squander it in our society nowadays is an insult to this unique and holy energy that essentially is the Goddess and should be revered accordingly.

“In ancient times women were regarded as the mediators between the Goddess and her children (humanity) and they were thought to be able to access the power of the Goddess more easily than men, because they could more easily identify with Her. Later, when the masculine force became imbalanced by the male desire for power and control, men relegated women to a lower class, caused in part by their fear of women’s “magic” — particularly the ability to give birth and their intuitive gifts. Violence against women increased as men who felt powerless resorted to rape.

Nowadays many men are stuck playing tough roles, because they have unlearnt how to connect to their emotions, while many women learned that submission and passivity are their tickets to survival. Domesticated females often seek power through pleasing (or manipulating) men and bind them by baring children. One of the female dramas is the need for protection and security that leads to the need to bind and possess. The male drama is being trapped in their urge to protect, procreate and their greed for power. Sexual energy is not intended as a tool for power or gratifying one’s own pleasure, nor for senseless reproduction. It is a sacred energy. It brings us in touch with our feelings and on a higher level, sexual energy or Kundalini, is a quest for wholeness – the unity of the male and female inside of ourselves.

Only few women and men use this energy with reverence and responsibility in your world. And not all women are meant to be mothers. The sacred females of the past, daughters of the Great Goddess, acted as priestesses, sorceresses, prophets, wise women, and healers before they were pursued, degraded and often killed.” ~Anait

Anait also offered me the gift of equality by healing the broken feminine part within me that had been abused and corrupted (by men) and was therefore unable to trust the masculine energy. Up until then my feminine side had been feeling exceedingly weak and powerless … and I could very much relate to those female “dramas”. Being equal is not about being treated the same way or acting the way men do, neither is it about pushing one’s opinion or being tough. Equality is all about self-respect and self-love, something Loki has been ardently teaching me. Anait conveyed all that to me through the beautiful story of Ninlin and Enlil.

The story of Ninlin and Enlil

“It is said that the young God Enlil set eyes on the maiden Ninlil, and burnt with desire for her. And Ninlil liked to be courted by Enlil, the proudest of all gods, but she did not know how to value herself. Both of them were inexperienced and Enlil, being impetuous, forced himself upon her and planted his seed in her womb against her will. Ninlil, hurt beyond measure by the violence she had been subjected to, took Enlil to trial in front of the assembled Great Gods to demanded his punishment. Enlil was condemned to descend into the lower realms, but Ninlil who was bound to him by her love, descended after him to bring him back. They meet three times. Each time Enlil, who had not approached her as a tender lover, begs for her affection and learns to control himself and court her respectfully. While Ninlil, as his hardest judge, learns to see the healed man beyond the conceited young God. Love and responsibilty go hand in hand – even though Ninlil’s dream of her tender lover had been destroyed, through her descent she takes responsibility for her own incapability to value herself. On their journey through the lower realms, they learn to value and accept not only each other, but themselves and thus both rise to a new form of lovers. They will stand the hardest trials to be together as equals in the end.”

Anait also asked me to “clear” my energy residues of past romantic relationships and referred to a technique I already knew as “recapitulation” (a Toltec shaman technique). Through physical relationships we entangle our own energies with those of the other person, in this way we can be bound to each other even after the relationship has ended. Recapitulation is a good way to clear these entanglements.

The Goddess Anait is a priestess, a shaman, a sorceress, and overall an independent and incredibly strong woman. Even though She chose to appear to me in the form of Anait or Anat, an ancient Goddess of Fertility and War, I really believe Her to be the Vanir Goddess Freya who is the Norse Goddess of Beauty, Fertility and War, and leader of the Valkyries.

Jotunheim (Realm of Giants)

The air was cool and full of life. Invigorating. Gigantic trees with trunks the size of small houses reached their branches skywards, the lush foliage forming a dense canopy of leaves high above her head. She looked around and noticed a gap between the trees, where the rock extended out like a platform. Her feet had taken her towards it before she had time to think and as Ella stepped out between the shelter of the trees, her mouth dropped open in awe of the view that lay before her. The flat rock surface she stood on protruded out over a large valley. High up, wisps of clouds gathered around snow capped mountain peaks that towered above a lush green forest, a wild river meandering its way through the valley underneath. Everything here was gigantic. Gigantic, wild and powerful.

Claiming back power

Jotunheim is magnificent and powerful. Nature here is very different to Vanaheim – it is raw, wild and awe inspiring (a bit like Loki). The teacher I met here is a fearless and fierce warrior, a shaman, an independent woman, a loving mother and a strong leader and she is feared by many. Angrboda is the “Chiefess of the Nine Clans”, the tribes that live in a place called the Iron Wood. She is also the Leader and Mother of the Clan of the Wolves. While She is independent and somewhat wild, Angrboda is also a mother who loves Her children like only a mother could – unconditional – no matter how ugly, terrifying or beautiful they are and she would defend them with her life without hesitation. To me She represents the raw, primordial and fierce aspect of female energy that is deeply engrained in human beings and reveals itself as our instincts. Angrboda can help us accept and control this energy.

While the Wolf-Warrior-Goddess is sometimes dismissed as “Loki’s wife in Jotunheim”, I would probably describe Loki as Her consort, because She seems to wear the pants in their relationship (sorry, Loki). Well, I know this is not quite true either, because from what I gathered, Angrboda essentially is the wild primordial energy that Loki wields and works with. One cannot compare it to any human relationship because they are more intrinsically connected with each other than we could ever understand. Loki sent me to Angrboda to learn detachment, independence … and also to lighten Angrboda’s grief – or rather, Her heart.

The girl looked up, facing a tall, muscular woman clad in wolfskin. Her red hair was partly braided and fell down to her hips, she had a harsh, yet beautiful face and carried a half-moon shaped knife. The Goddess’ hard grey eyes pierced Ella as she rose gracefully to her feet and gave a deep bow, somewhat awestruck by this warrior Goddess who without doubt deserved her respect and reverence. The sorceress was frightening and at the same time, Ella felt strengthened and protected by her presence.

“I am Angrboda, chieftess of the nine clans of the Iron Woods. I have awaited your arrival. You come to be free from the bondage of attachment and tread the path of the warrior. What is it you will offer me in return?” Ella was taken aback. This kind of welcome was not quite what she had expected, but she recognised a teacher when she stood in front of one and the voice inside her heart knew that she had come to learn exactly what Angrboda offered. “For as long as I am here, I shall serve your people,” Ella said, “I can use bow and arrow, yield a knife and shall offer my service in hunting and defending the clan.” “Will you defend it with your life?” “With my life and my blood.” Ella heard herself say as she slipped the knife from her belt and sliced her hand, made a fist and squeezed it so that her blood dripped on the dusty soil. Angroboda seemed satisfied and nodded. The chieftess was about to turn away when Ella asked, “Will you allow me to leave when my task here is done?” Grey eyes narrowed and glared at her before the grim Goddess nodded again. Then she turned and disappeared between the huts. Fanrea, the young girl who had escorted Ella, gave her a comforting smile. “You did well”, she said, “You have her respect.”

Angrobda looks straight into your being and if She finds sincerity and courage within you, She will embrace you as Her own. Angrboda is deadly and fearsome, but she also has a motherly and somewhat “growly” affectionate side as I call it. I learnt to love Her with all my heart. 

The Warrior-Goddess conveyed to me the importance of independence and interdependence – wolves are fiercely independent individuals, while at the same time they value family and are excellent team-players. She taught me fearlessness when it comes to facing our own power and that all female creatures carry a “blade” within them, which is the power to defend themselves or their children – which can be ruthless and deadly.

Angrboda, like Loki, is one who leads us to see beyond moral concepts and human attachments. While Anait revealed to me that sexual energy is sacred, Angrboda warned me of the danger and pitfalls when it is misused.

“The desire of the flesh can bind you. Its power can consume you if you let it run loose, because it is aggressive by nature, making you greedily wish for more to satisfy your desires. But you will never find satisfaction. Greed of it will destroy you, as it is an abuse of your magic. You need to go beyond the flesh and severe the ties that bind you.” ~Angrboda

I respect and love Her deeply.

Helheim (Realm of the Dead)

A dusky sky stretched out over the apple trees she lay under. The silent breeze tore some leaves off the branches. An apple soundlessly dropped into the grass next to her. Autumn. She had forgotten it was autumn. Forgotten. Slowly the girl sat up and the first thing she noticed was that there was no sound. It was silent. It was peaceful. The meadow she had rested on stretched over a soft hill down to a river, but even though she saw the water flowing, there was no happy murmuring. And even though a breeze was gently blowing, everything was completely still.

Selfless Love and Detachment

The last realm I visited was Helheim, the realm of the dead. Beautiful in its own way, silent and tranquil, yet in some places also full of suffering. My teacher there was the Keeper of Helheim, a gracious and merciful woman – Loki’s daughter, the Goddess Hel.

Hel taught me about love. She made me see that we are creations of Eternity and all suffering is self-created and of our own choice – whether this choice is conscious or not. Detached, selfless love, and devotion to selfless action can alleviate our suffering and free us eventually. If we love without attachment, we love divinely. Divine love comes directly from the Goddess and has to flow through us freely in order to be offered properly. Love is the essence of everything. It should never be possessed, because as soon as we try to hold onto it we loose it. Love with attachment is an illusion. We need to realise that it is not ours to give and that we are merely instruments who pass it on so that it can spread. If we love with this awareness, then Love has the potential to bring life (light) into dead matter. Love can illumine and change the world.

Hel taught me about detachment, devoted service and that by acting without egotistical desire and surrendering all acts to God/Goddess we open ourself to the flow of Divine Grace.

All these were not new concepts to me, but it seemed that I finally started to internalise them.

Khaalida’s (Ella)  eyes went wide at the sight of countless bodies writhing in agony, snakes wriggling between them, oozing poison from their sleek bodies that burnt their victims skins. Something in Khaalida’s chest contracted in pain, before it expanded with indescribable compassion.

“They are here on their own accord?” she asked and the pale lady next to her nodded.

“The doors are always open. Nobody is condemned to stay. Know that you cannot help them, as they choose to stay in their suffering.”

A vast, never-ending field of corpses stretched out in front of her. Vultures circled above it, swooping down to land on the corpses and peck at their insides. They would squirm in agony, some of them were screaming. Khaalida was terrified by the noise and despondency.

“You can help me if you go and drive away the vultures.”

Khaalida’s gaze swept over the endless field of bodies. Her heart sank, but then she remembered the love the lady had for them and she nodded, wordlessly marching out onto the field, terrified by screams of pain all around her. She scared away the vultures by waving her arms and yelling at them. They scratched her with their sharp claws and pecked at her eyes. Khaalida ripped a piece of fabric from her dress and blindfolded her eyes to protect them. She learned to listen and feel while she walked around the corpses, cautious not to step on them. She could hear the wings of the giant birds soaring and sensed them when they approached, and she knew by the blood curdling screams where they had landed. Living in eternal darkness without sight, Khaalida lost track of her existence. She kept fulfilling her task, her arms bloody and in pain from fending off the vultures with their sharp beaks, and over time the girl started to be lost in the despondency of the endless suffering of the dead around her. She felt lonely and utterly forgotten. Her lady had given her a task that she did not have the strength to fulfil, one that she could not bear to do anymore. As the screams around her grew louder, she pressed her hands on her ears and sank onto her knees, tears dripping down her face. Why was there so much suffering? Would it never end? They were all free to leave. Why were they all so consumed in their own suffering? She could not do this anymore. The girl sank on the ground between the dead and wept until she was completely empty. That was when She surrendered herself to the Lady Hel.

“I am willing to do it. Please, I cannot do this myself. I need you,” she whispered and felt a breeze brushing over her skin.

Slowly she scrambled to her feet and pulled off the blindfold. There on the field of corpses stood the fair lady of the dead, gazing at her silently. Khaalida stumbled towards her. The lady reached out a hand and touched the girl’s cheek, her eyes empty, as she leaned forward and placed a kiss on Khaalida’s lips. Hel’s lips were cold, the kiss eternal and empty of everything. It felt like floating into a void, loosing – everything. Letting go of anything that ever seemed of importance. When their lips parted, Khaalida felt stronger. Hel beheld her. The girls clothes had long withered, and she stood naked, her body smeared with blood and dust of the field of the dead. The only thing she carried was a golden flower around her neck. Hel touched it lightly and then the lady of the dead embraced her.

Even though most of my experience in Helheim was with the Goddess Hel, it was here that I experienced Loki in a different form – He was the dead matter brought to life by the loving touch of the Goddess and He was the Goddess’ consort, embracing Her on a field of corpses, surrounded by shrieking vultures. He was Her consort beyond Time and Space, even beyond creation. I later discovered this to be a form of the Hindu God Shiva who, in this particular aspect, is known by the name “Mahakala”, the Lord of Time, who is the consort of Mahakali.

My visit to Helheim may have been the most unusual of all experiences, because even as I was writing it down, I felt strangely detached from myself as if I had forgotten who I was. As surreal and dark as it was, I was never afraid. And all I have for Hel is love and reverence. Whoever comes to Her realm will find Her beyond judgement and all-accepting. I call Her “the compassionate mother of souls”.

Encountering these aspects of the Goddess was important for me so that I could shed the fear of my own feminine energy – my sexual energy, creative-energy, life-energy, Kundalini or whatever you may call Her. I dearly love these Goddesses that agreed to teach me and carry a deep respect for all of them. I am aware that they really are part of me, and that I can trust them and call upon them should I ever need to.

It took several months to absorb these experiences, even more to realise their value and also, that ever since Loki had entered my life, so had undeniably the Goddess. She has revealed many of her forms to me since then and I am deeply grateful for Her Grace.