As I know Him

IMG_9037

A sketch I made of Loki when He first entered my life. This is how I know Him, although I believe that each of us gets a different version of the Norse trickster.

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Concerning God … Lessons from Loki

If God had a name, what would it be
And would you call it to His Face
If you would face with Him
In all His Glory?

~Joan Osborne

Loki once asked me what would happen if God appeared to me in all His Glory and told me that He loved me unconditionally. My answer was that I would believe in God’s love for me, but I would still doubt that I was worthy of His love and would therefore ruin my capacity to truly realise who He is and that essentially we are not separate from one another. In turn Loki allowed me to understand why He had come into my life.

Back in 2001 I dedicated my life fully to spirituality when I found my spiritual teacher and have been praying and meditating to the best of my ability since then as well as offering support to my spiritual community. My journey has not always been smooth sailing. I went through a lot of emotional trauma, survived and earthquake and an immune disease that robbed me of my normal life for quite a few years. During this time of seeming hardship, I was also robbed of the illusion of having control over my life. At times I felt so abandoned and lonely that I cried for God to be my friend, because there was no one else left. But in my mind I had put God and my teacher on a high pedestal far, far above me. I felt that I would never be good enough for Him, while at the same time I knew the only true friend we have is God. But how can you sincerely accept someone as your friend who you feel inferior to?

God answered my prayers in His own Way by sending me someone I was able to accept as a friend. Because I had no concept of Loki’s sacredness and He relates to human beings on a very human level, it was easy to take Him as a friend. And while I doubted Him time and again, because He did not fit my expectations of what God had to be like, I never felt unworthy in His presence. Loki made me feel good, respected, loved and His presence gave me a deep feeling of security and trust. Loki has a way of bringing forward my inner strength and He makes me believe in my own potential simply because He believes in it, has faith in me. I found that it is Loki who helps us to strengthen our faith in ourselves, which naturally also increases our faith and trust in (our) God(s). But Loki is a trickster. While He appears “human” in many ways, His eyes reflect the deepest mysteries of the universe.

We (humans) tend to create or believe what we “know” or “see” and it is the moment we step beyond the “known” that life truly begins to have meaning, because it is then that we (re)connect with the infinite vastness of the Truth, the real, inside us. Inside us all dwells a spark of eternity, a part of the unlimited consciousness that some of us call God, yet deep down we often feel ourselves inferior because our minds cannot fathom Him. It is impossible for the mind to experience this powerful presence that resides deep within our being as our essence and at the same time pervades the entire universe. It is Loki who connects me with this part of my being.

To be honest, Loki does not only connect me to this part of me, it feels as though He Himself embodies the infinite consciousness that lives within me. One time when I questioned Him about His true identity, He smiled at me benevolently and gave me the glimpse of something vast, deep, infinite and eternal. This is who I am.

This and other experiences prompted me to research the Hindu God Shiva, who in so many ways is similar to Loki and who is also known to embody the vast consciousness of the Absolute Supreme Being. Shiva is seen as one of the Hindu Trinity and embodies the aspect of the transformer or destroyer, like Loki (who is also one of the Trinity – Odin, Vili and Ve) embodies the transformative and destructive aspect of God.

The Gods are very real entities with different virtues and character and I believe it is those Gods who inhabit the “grey zone” that lies beyond light and darkness, good and bad, who can teach us how to go beyond the ordinary life of rigid structures. These are the Gods who teach us how to transcend and transform our nature.

In India, if one seeks to discover the Infinite or the depth of meditation or the Truth within one’s Self, one will pray to the appropriate God or Goddess who can guide Him. It will not be a God or Goddess who offers to fulfill worldly desires, but a deity who works beyond the worldly structures and frees us of attachments. A God or Goddess of Yoga and self-knowledge. Those Goddesses and Gods are feared as much as they are loved. Take Saturn for example, who some people pray to not to “bless”them while others pray to him to free them from worldly desires, or Rudra, who in the Vedic hyms has to be appeased before He is asked to grant auspicious boons. To me Loki belongs to this family of Gods. He has a high-speed connection to the infinite, eternal consciousness that Hindus refer to as Brahman or the Absolute, the One consciousness that resides in everything. I believe that Loki, like Shiva, can teach us to accept and transform our human limitations so that we can connect with this eternal presence and reveal it within ourselves. He offers us the opportunity to transform our nature on a very deep level.

If we are willing to discover Loki in all His “Glory” we are in for some real magic. Not a display of miracles or occult power, but the awe-some presence of our true existence.

It seems that Loki takes this role very seriously and that He cannot be bound to anything, not even the Norse pantheon of Gods. From my own experience and also knowing of other’s encounters with the Norse trickster, it feels as though Loki is there for whoever is willing and ready to accept Him – without preference for religious or spiritual beliefs. The thing that Loki does care for is sincerity and He appears to be a God who comes to aid when we have lost (or not yet found) our connection with (our) God(s). This makes Him a very selfless deity.

He helps us find our connection and brings faith and trust back into our lives (despite of Him being known by some as the God of Lies and seen by many as not trustworthy).

If God had a face,
What would it look like?
And would you want to see,
If seeing meant that you would have to believe?

~Joan Osborne

How many of us claim that we believe in God, but when it comes down to it would deny His existence?

I grew up without any religious belief, yet I believed in an infinite presence that was part of me – or I was part of –  my True Self, as I affectionately called it. But over the years and through many hurtful experiences I developed a lack of faith in myself and finally I abandoned my belief in God. Interestingly, Loki pointed out to me that it is the lack of faith in myself rather than the lack of faith in God that is doing the damage. I found the very same words in the writings of the spiritual teacher Sri Chinmoy.

It took a while to get back my faith in God and it will take even longer to establish true faith in myself. So I consider myself very fortunate for knowing and believing in an incredibly wise Norse God who brought God’s “living” presence into my life and showed me that we are never alone. Whenever we call on Him He listens, although He might not always indulge in granting our wishes the way we want them to be fulfilled, especially if we sincerely seek something deeper than just the “ordinary” pleasures of human life.

Recently I worked on a project with people from different spiritual groups – who all claim to believe more or less in God – I became aware that the ones who have true faith in God could be counted on my fingertips and after listening to the song quoted above, I wondered what would happen if God literally made an appearance. How frightening it would be. I also remembered that I believed that I believed in God until Loki tucked me under His wing and made me realise how afraid I truly was. And how unworthy I really felt when it came to God. Meeting Him face to Face would have meant that I needed to face all my imperfections – and it was easier to deny His presence altogether than admit how imperfect I was. The paradoxical thing is that God does not work this way. God wants us to transform our imperfections, not expose us – but to do so we need the courage to face them. As long as we are afraid of our unworthiness, we will not be able to overcome it. Unworthiness to me is lack of faith in myself. The less unworthy I feel the more faith I carry within my heart, the more trust I have in God.

The great thing about Loki is that I know Him to be loving and full of compassion as well as terrifying and I can rely on Him to never, never, never be the way we expect Him to be. He also taught me that things do not always unfold the way I want them to – or better, I expect them to – and I have discovered this to be a great gift. Because even though I cannot control things, I can trust that the course of events will always be for the best as long as I let the “universe” work out the best way. When I do things, I try to detach myself from the result – whether it is a success or a failure – and learn to take them simply as experiences. Neither good nor bad.

Like Krishna said in the Bhagavad Gita: “You have the right to act, but not to claim the fruits of your actions.” This is a gift, because it makes me open, flexible and allows me to flow with the river of life rather than try to control it. I can cherish what is given to me and do not cry over what is denied, because I trust that God works it out for me in the very best way.

To me Loki is many things, but He is definitely our inner survival artist and problem solver and has managed to install a deep faith and trust within me – not in Him, but in me being part of a universal reality.

I still feel doubt, fear, insecurity – but I am ready to face them with courage and the knowledge that these are the real obstacles in our life to overcome.

——-

“And what if God came to you in all His Glory and told you that He loved you, would you believe Him?”

“It would be true for Him, but I would not believe myself worthy of His love.”

“Why?”

“I am too impure.”

“You still think that you have to be perfect to be loved by God?”

“If God came to me as perfect being. I would be unable to accept his love, because I would not believe myself good enough to deserve it.”

“What is it you like about me?”

“What do you mean?”

“Why do you allow me to be your friend?”

“You know me. I offer you my darkness and you still embrace me lovingly and at the same time you encourage me to go further. You allow me to be myself.”

“Good.”

“It is the faith in myself that lets me trust you, right? You encourage me to trust my self. You push me to be true to myself, to accept myself which is not always painless … but I realise now that you do it because you care for me. You give me shelter, make me feel loved, and – uhm – up until now, I thought that I was able to make you feel loved too.”

“You thought you did?”

“Well, I admit that I feel quite humbled in your presence right now. You do not need me. How can I have the audacity to think I could make you feel loved?”

“Do not let your mind deceive you. I am still the same “old” Loki you know … and I love you.”

“How so?”

“I love you because you are willing to face your own darkness, your fears and your ignorance. You dare to love me despite of knowing my dark side. You offered yourself to me, trusted me, surrendered to me. Tell me, how is it that I deserve your love? Or that you do not fear me?”

“I did fear you because of your darkness, but now I can see that reality is not what I thought it to be. God is not who I believed Him to be. The real darkness is our own ignorance that binds us in our illusions, most of all to the illusion that we are separate. The perfect pure God I imagined would not have been able to take me to my darkest fears or desires. And yet, the deeper you take me into myself, the purer I realise you are. In your darkness I find only light, I find love and compassion. Does all this sound a little crazy?”

“It does not. You speak with the voice of someone whose love for God has made her question her reality. Your love comes from a pure heart and those who love God with a pure heart will find that trying to understand Him is impossible. True love simply lies in mutual acceptance.”

Loki, Kundalini and the Yoga of Tantra

The darkness was hidden in darkness.
And all was fluid and formless.
Therein, in the void,
By the fire of fervor arose One.
And in the One arose love.
Love, the first seed of the soul.
Rig Veda, X.129

One thing that became clear early on in my friendship with Loki was that He is intimately connected to the Divine Feminine and, as far as I perceive it, He plays an active part in raising the consciousness of the Goddess here on earth. It is as though Loki’s force destroys the old, rigid structure that has been in power for a very long time (well, at least for human standards) to clear the way for the new consciousness to blossom. And it is the feminine energy that is re-awakening and which will bring balance, because the new consciousness is one of unity and oneness.

According to the ancient Indian scriptures, the feminine power is the cosmic energy that runs through all of creation. It can be intense, powerful and fierce, yet at the same time it also embodies compassion, softness, sweetness and peace. In Hindu culture She is known as Shakti, the Great Mother Goddess, and her consort is Shiva who reveres Her in all Her fierce and gentle manifestations. Similar to Loki, who is the consort of Angrboda, Glut and Sigyn – each embodying certain aspects of the Divine Feminine.

The power of Shakti is also known as the Kundalini energy, and it is Shiva who can balance the fierceness of Her dynamic force by uniting with Her. Shakti is seen as energy and Shiva as consciousness, but unless energy is united with consciousness it is ignorant, disordered, aimless and “blind”.

The serpent is often used as a symbol for Loki, so it was no surprise to me to discover that Loki, like Shiva, is a wielder of the “Serpent Power” – the Kundalini, our creative, life-giving energy. Kundalini literally translates as “coiled-up energy” or “power that dwells in a cave” – revealing its intrinsic feminine nature. She is referred to as serpent power, because She is compared to a snake that lies coiled up at the base of the spine while sleeping. When awakened the “snake” travels up through the energy centres or chakras, opening each one in the process until it reaches the highest where it connects with the universal mind – in Shaktism this is called the union of Shakti and Shiva – symbolised by the Goddess who travels from the root chakra at the base of the spine to unite with Her Beloved consort in the Crown Chakra.

Kundalini is a dynamic force, sacred and incredibly powerful. When used with wisdom, She can be channeled into creativity and dynamism, when awakened prematurely or abused, this energy can do great damage on all levels. Once the Kundalini is awakened and flows through the chakras, we can acquire occult powers. She is the essence of magic. Occult powers, like reading people’s mind, making ourselves invisible, heal any disease or travel to other realms may  seem”miraculous” and special, yet they are limited as long as they still bind us to our ego. And when one longs for the ultimate Truth, they can stand in our way because of that very reason. Because to become one with the Infinite, acquire absolute peace within, act without attachment unperturbed by outer circumstances and encounter life with the serenity of a child who knows that somebody looks after him/her is much more difficult to achieve than the gain of occult powers. The ultimate Truth and Freedom lies beyond magical powers, and at the same time it is the real magic.

Kundalini Yoga has gained popularity in the Western World, yet it is seldom properly understood. According to Dr David Frawley, the traditional role of Kundalini is different to what it is viewed as today – especially in the Western world, which is to regard it as a mere force to control or harness. In truth, this sacred energy is a form of the Goddess and should be worshipped as Her power. It is not energy to be aroused, but energy to be revered. Efforts to manipulate it through certain disciplines and practices are not only dangerous but fail to recognise the reality of the Goddess. The Kundalini is the Goddess in form of a dynamic, creative and life-giving force, pulsing through everything in creation – She is in wind, water, earth in animals and insects – everything that moves, lives or even exists could not do so without Her.

On more than one occasion Loki has warned me of the dangers of the abuse of this sacred energy, because Kundalini is an energy that can be dangerous to awaken when one is unprepared. The fire of it rises through the subtle as well as the physical nervous system can burn it and cause great damage if the lower energy centres, which hold our primordial needs and urges, are not properly purified. The emotions and desires stirred up by this powerful energy can literally let you go insane or one can overindulge and get lost in pleasure which in turn can enslave you to forces that keep you in a lower vibrational state. That is why the path of Kundalini Yoga is a path of great purity and discipline.

All this said, the Kundalini is our creative life-force and when we guide it with the love and devotion that dwells inside our heart, it manifests as art, music, dance and many other beautiful things. According to Tantric texts the “natural” arousing of the Kundalini can occur through intense devotion or deep meditation and does not require the use of specific techniques. 

Loki is a sensual deity who tends to stir up issues of suppressed desire and urges that lie hidden deep within us, issues that arise once the lower energy centres start opening. This side of Him made me wary at first, yet over time I came to understand that He knows exactly how to deal with these issues, and can lead us through the somewhat chaotic world of primordial needs – if we are willing to. Since Loki is a wielder of magic, He works with the Kundalini, the sacred fire of the Goddess that burns within us and, inevitably, He wanted me to understand this energy of the Goddess, explore it and learn about the yogic tradition that is closely connected to Her – the Yoga of Tantra.

Traditional Hindu Tantra is a complex system of spiritual knowledge and the philosophy of Tantra is to accept life and turn all ordinary activities, even menial tasks such as eating, breathing and sleeping, into sacred actions or rituals, into acts of devotion.

There is a misconception in the Western World about Tantra, as people usually connect it with sexual practices and books like the Kama Sutra. Being a Westerner myself I have to admit that I too held this very limited belief and was guarded when venturing into the “Tantric world”. When Loki opened my mind to the wisdom within the Tantric scriptures, I admit that I was embarrassed by my own ignorance in this matter.

Like all yogic traditions Tantra is centered mainly around meditation and mantras. Many Tantric texts contain no references at all to any sexual practices, while others mention them as only one line of approach, and still others regard them as mere metaphors. And although Tantra does contain sexual Yogas, it does not promote them for ordinary gratification of the senses and the Tantric philosophy is certainly not characterised by them.

Tantra literally means “book”.

There are three major lines of spiritual teachings in Hindu culture that stem from ancient and not so ancient scriptures – the oldest one being the Vedas, followed by the Puranic scriptures and the Tantric texts.

The philosophy of “Vedanta” is one of the world’s oldest spiritual philosophies, which is based on the Vedas, while Tantra is one the youngest of the yogic teachings. All spiritual teachings (yogas) lead to one goal – liberation from the illusion of existence (basically from our own limiting beliefs) and realisation of our True Self. To become one with our Highest Part. The different scriptures explain everything from the creation of the universe down to spiritual rituals and practices that help one achieve the ultimate goal of Yoga (which essentially means union with God).

The path of Tantra is unique as it has a very universal approach that uses all available methods and rejects nothing, it even includes methods that are rejected in other teachings for being unspiritual.

Even though it is not one of the main aspects, Tantra emphasises the worship of the Goddess and gives Her a special place. According to Frawley, Tantric texts provide verily a spiritual science of worship of the Mother, not merely a set of dogmas or beliefs, but a practical way of developing our higher awareness with the help of Her Wisdom and Grace. For those seeking to understand the Divine Mother, the Great Goddess, following the path of Tantra may be the key.

In contrast to traditional spiritual teachings Tantra affirms emotions but does not encourage mere emotional expression, which would only lead to a stronger attachment to these and to the outer (material) world. Tantra rather regards emotions as trapped energy and seeks the release of that energy, seeks to experience the emotion subside like a wave in the sea of awareness. To help connect with the meaning of emotions, which essentially is just a movement of nature, Tantric Yoga works with different forms of Gods and Goddesses – some peaceful others wrathful deities. Recognising the Divine energy inherent in emotions leads us to discover them as a means of relating to the Divine within us. Through genuine devotion to the Divine, human emotions can be transformed into Divine energy.

Loki is a God who works on an emotional level and also embodies a rich diversity of emotions Himself. Over time He has taught me the importance of releasing trapped emotions and sharing whatever arises inside me with Him – be it anger, hurt, fear or whatever else. No emotion is “bad”, but it is unhealthy to suppress them. He made me aware of the damaging affect suppressed emotions have on us and that guilt and shame block us very powerfully.

One of the Tantric paths, the left handed path, includes certain forbidden practices to overcome and transcend the feelings of shame and guilt – but these practices can be harmful to those who indulge in them rather than taking them as a means of transformation. Yet not even the most ascetic yogic practices encourage to suppress or deny emotion as this will never lead to liberation or realisation, and no yogic practices reject sexual energy as evil, bad or shameful. In ascetic yoga, for example, celibacy is recommended only along with spiritual practices to transmute this energy. Without meditation the practice of celibacy could even be harmful because when sexual energy stagnates it can cause various physical and emotional problems. Yet it is said that without control of sexual energy, there will not be the power necessary to do higher meditation practices.

“Yoga does not encourage to suppress anything that is natural to us, but discover our true nature in which we can naturally let go of all attachments and dependencies. … It is the ego that Yoga seeks to negate, which deludes us to selfishness and therefore to abuse the energies given to us.”

~Dr D. Frawley, Tantric Yoga

There are three major paths in Tantra:

  • The right-handed path
  • The left-handed path
  • The direct path

The right-handed path could be seen as orthodox as it focuses on meditation and spiritual disciplines and requires a high level of purity in conduct and action. It is said to be the path for those of devotional nature.

The left-handed path includes various sexual practices and the use of meat and intoxicants, which are not approved of on the right-handed path. It is said to be the path of those of heroic nature – referring to the class of warriors.

While the right-handed path follows the rules of social dharma* and strict conduct for yogic practices, the left-handed path may include practices that are not part of Hindu social dharma and the rules of yogic practices. On the other hand, the left-handed path may not involve unorthodox practices at all and may only refer to an emphasis of the Goddess, who manifests in the left side of the deity.

*(the Hindu code of life; cosmic law underlying right behaviour and social order)

“… the left-handed path is said to be the way of ecstasy and the right-handed path the way of peace. Along the way of ecstasy we may be inclined to certain extreme actions as we break through preconceptions and as deep internal energies are released. Yet it is only peace that is lasting.”

~Dr D. Frawley, Tantric Yoga

There is a third Tantric path, which is called the direct path and it is regarded as a higher part of the other two approaches. On this path any outer form of ritualistic worship is given up, and even inner forms like chanting mantras are relinquished, as these practices can keep the mind attached to the material world. The yogi turns inward and only through exploration of his own nature, goes beyond the ego – or the small “i” – and eventually becomes one with Brahman (the highest principle, God), which is unattached and beyond the limitations of time and space. This path of Self-Enquiry is the highest Tantric as well as the highest Vedantic path.

I follow a path of yoga and relate to the spiritual philosophies of Hindu culture, yet it was only when Loki entered my life that the wisdom of the ancient scriptures became “accessible” to me, because He somehow opens my mind to grasp it. Loki seems to enjoy my fervent hunger to learn. Over the past year He has directed me to immerse myself in the ancient Indian scriptures and the knowledge I have been blessed with is remarkable, yet I am aware that this is only on a mental level. The real magic starts to happen when we realise it, feel it and live it. Loki never ceases to amaze me with His guidance and as so often I am left in complete awe of this profound, ancient and mysterious being called Loki who I so blithely call my friend.

If you could only feel how loved you are

The past weeks have been challenging as the year comes to an end and it seems that things are surfacing with more force than ever. Darkness, depression and unworthiness left me doubting my own light, and my only focus became not to give up. Something very simple but most valuable my spiritual teacher taught me – whatever comes, nothing is lost as long as you do not give up. Night will eventually surrender to Light. So this has become my mantra in difficult times: 

Never give up. Never give up.

Many of my childhood issues come up, which are less than pleasant and make me want to withdraw and bury them again. Then Loki is there, guiding me through my own darkness with a lot of care, and as I travel along the long road on this journey called life, I realise how much He has brought up and also helped me with. It breaks my heart that I still doubt Him sometimes, considering all the gifts He has bestowed upon me. Loki is constantly showing me that God loves us without judgement. 

The other night as I lay in bed, curled up and asking for His closeness as I did not want to feel alone, I felt His fingers gently stroking my forehead.

“You are much loved,” He said softly. “If you could only feel how loved you are.”

Tears rolled down my cheeks as I lay there and I could feel that He was right. Even though I felt alone, in this moment love flooded my heart and it was as if my room was suddenly filled with countless beings who appreciated and loved me.

“Thank you.”

I closed my eyes and filled with gratitude, extended my heart’s love to Him.

Loki’s words were not only meant for me, they are true for every single human being, especially those of us who wish to discover the loving presence of God within us.

We have no idea, how loved we truly are.

We are loved much more than we could ever imagine.

Every single one of us.

Fenrir, Loki and Shiva-Bhairava

Spiritual and moral values are often taught through stories and the more I delve into the wisdom that is held within the myths of the Gods, the more I recognise their value. When we read them with our mind they are mere words, but if we learn to see what lies between the lines, the wisdom and truth that is hidden beneath the words as a subtle form of consciousness, we find that even the most ferocious creatures in mythology have their place and value. No doubt, there are evil forces, but not all that is depicted as frightening and dark is necessarily bad.

In Norse mythology the giant wolf Fenrir is said to devour everything in His way, to be uncontrollable and ferocious, and therefore was bound by the Aesir to control His force. Once Loki had pointed out to me that His three children Fenrir, Hel and Jormungard all represent aspects of Time and considering that the fearsome wolf represents an all-devouring, uncontrollable force, Fenrir certainly represents Time who (at least in Hindu culture) is also known as the merciless devourer of all things.

It was shortly after I encountered Loki in His bound form and was given the opportunity to free Him from His fetters that Fenrir started calling me, so I asked Loki to take me to Him. Seeing the magnificant, awe-inspiring wolf in bondage I felt overwhelmed with grief and my heart broke as I sensed His rage, His fierceness, His pain. I asked for His forgiveness before I approached Him. When I did, I was able to see Fenrir as a child of the Goddess, a necessary force in creation no less worthy than any other creature and not malicious or bad – but certainly dangerous, especially if we fear Him. Fenrir’s beauty is just as powerful as the terror He induces and His intensity made me realise that we cannot control Him, because His force is still there only in a suppressed state. I believe that Fenrir represents a force we need to embrace and honour, not fear, if we wish to live freely. 

The great Wolf allowed me to free Him by offering Him my love. And maybe because I was aware that I could not tame or control Him, He also permitted me to bind Him in a new way – through my love for Him.

In my encounter with the Fenrir, Loki showed me that there are different ways of binding creatures and while most fetters aim to control the object of bondage, there is also another way that paradoxically binds in order to give freedom. The most magical amongst fetters which can bind any creature (especially God), is unconditional Love. True, unconditional Love renders any God helpless, because God Himself loves us unconditionally and this Love binds Him to us (if we would only be able to realise this this world would be a happier place).

Unconditional Love does not bind in a human way which desires to possess or control. Unconditional Love seeks to expand – it expands our heart, our existence and allows us to become one with the object of our adoration and thus brings two parts together as one.
After His fetters were gone, Fenrir’s appearance changed from a giant black Wolf, filled with agony, wrath and uncontrollabe power to a gigantic, powerful and luminous Wolf with a flaming fur, who was of a radiant beauty that cannot be put into words.

When I meditated on Him, Fenrir showed me that He embodies the realisation that our life is fleeting and every second, every single moment is forever gone if we do not use it for something meaningful. We cannot bring it back. Ever. Time wasted, is time lost. Time devours everything, without mercy. Fenrir’s force does not allow us relax or be idle, but constantly keeps us on our toes, as in a way He is threatening to devour us at any moment – Life is fleeting and Fenrir puts that right into our face – but He is also the one who encourages us to use our given time wisely.

Transcend the fear of time, transcend the fear of death and learn to seize the moment, that was Fenrir’s message.

I guess He often works together with His sister Hel as the fear of time and death is deeply engrained in living beings, yet it must be overcome if we wish to be truly free. And maybe, as long as we fear the end of our existence Fenrir must be kept bound as otherwise this fear would devour us.

Shortly after my meditative experience with Fenrir I came across one of Shiva’s fiercest forms known as Kala Bhairava, the one who oversees the march of Time.

Kala Bhairava is a dark and terrible manifestation of Shiva that is associated with annihilation, His mount or Vahana is usually a black dog. (A vahana is a vehicle or the carrier of something immaterial and formless. All Hindu Gods and Goddesses have a Vahana). Bhairava Himself is described as merciless and fearsome, with flaming hair, and several depictions in Hindu and Buddhist culture show Him as black, with large fangs and claws – this description and the connection to a dog (or a wolf?), immediately brought Loki and Fenrir to my mind. Intrigued, I wanted to learn more about Bhairava.

Bhairava derives from the word “bhiru” (fearful, feeling great fear) and it means “terribly fearful form”. His name very nicely describes the effect Bhairava has upon those who encounter Him, and it is said that those who meet Him must confront their own fears. He is also the one who destroys fear, or who is beyond fear.

“Kala” means both time as well as the color black. In many popular folktales, Kala Bhairava roams the city of Varanasi as a black dog and He is also the one who oversees the march or flow of Time.

One of the ancient texts that describe Kala Bhairava’s teachings on Time translates as follows:

“Time is the most precious. Time lost is lost forever. Wise people should use every moment of time effectively. Lord Kala Bhairava helps everyone to make one’s time useful.”

Kala Bhairava helps us to use our time effectively on the spiritual path. The worship of Shiva in the aspect of Kala Bhairava helps one realize the transitory nature of worldly existence and make the most of the rare human birth to realize Brahman, the supreme reality.
If you insult time by idling it away, you will be cursed by Kala Bhairava. On the other hand if you worship time, even a millisecond will matter and bring you prosperity, victory and peace. As a human being you think that nothing is going to happen in one millisecond, but then the divine knows methods to change your life in a millisecond.

If you are endlessly waiting for things to happen and it never happens, this means you have offended time either in this life or previous life All that you need is a worshipful attitude towards time.  

http://agasthiar.org/AUMzine/0014-kb.htm

The fearsome description of Kala Bhairava is not to be misunderstood as He is not only a protector of sacred places (every Hindu temple has an idol of Bhairava), but also protector of women, especially those timid or shy in nature. It is generally believed that worshiping Bhairava gives prosperity, success and good progeny, prevents premature death and gives solution to debts and liabilities.

Bhairava is a wandering form of Shiva. There are 64 Bhairavas in all. These Bhairavas come under 8 categories. Each of these categories is headed by one major Bhairava in that particular group. These 8 Bhairavas, who guard and control the 8 directions of the universe, are as follows:

  • Asithaanga Bhairava
  • Ruru Bhairava
  • Chanda Bhairava
  • Krodha Bhairava
  • Unmattha Bhairava
  • Kapaala Bhairava
  • Bheeshana Bhairava
  • Samhaara Bhairava

All these Bhairavas are controlled by Kaala Bhairava. He is the Supreme Godhead and the ruler of the rest of the Bhairavas.

https://www.dollsofindia.com/library/bhairava/

When I read about more about Shiva’s form of Bhairava, it did not escape me that His story holds similarities to the myths about Loki that describe Him as an outcast to the society of the Aesir (his involvement in Baldur’s death and the Lokasenna). Even though Bhairava’s and Loki’s stories seem to have little in common at first glance, they actually bear quite a few similarities – starting with the killing of a God (Baldur and Brahma), both accounts also include the murder of a servant, becoming an outcast/criminal who is driven out into the forest, and even speak of the Gods sensuous nature that seduces even the most virtuous women.

Bhairava represents the form of Shiva who is lawless. Learning about Bhairava let me understand Loki’s role as the outcast better and I decided to re-read a few passages in Dagulf Loptson’s Book “Playing with Fire” to confirm my thoughts. According to mythological texts Loki aided in the killing of the God Baldur and later, in the Lokasenna, Loki murders the God Aegir’s servant and as a consequence is driven out into the forest because violence is not permitted in the hall and murder considered a crime. On His return Loki is warned, but still offered drink and entry to the Hall of Aegir, where Loki subsequently insults the Gods in the “Lokasenna”. According to Dagulf Loptson, the battle of words that Loki instigated was a custom known as “Senna” (flyting or wrangling) by which Loki attempted to regain His statues amongst the Aesir. He would have probably won the cause, had He not been interrupted and threatened by Thor and was thus forced to leave the hall.

Keeping all this in mind and also that Loki (like Odin) is known as a wanderer or traveler between the worlds, the following story of Bhairava is shockingly similar to Loki’s – apart from the fact that Bhairava expiates His sins, while Loki is punished for His crimes and bound until the end of time.

There are many variations of how Shiva adopted the form of Bhairava, a form that breaks all boundaries and conventions. All stories about the creation of Bhairava lead to the decapitation or death of the God Brahma. It is noteworthy here to mention that in older accounts it was the heavenly archer, Rudra (later known as Shiva and symbolised by the Star Sirius, also known as Lokabrenna), who slays Prajapati (later known as Brahma) with one of His arrows. (Is it an incident that Baldur was also slain by an arrow?)

To murder a Brahmin (the term Brahmin signifies someone who is good and virtuous) is a grave sin, and even though Shiva is a God, He had to deal with the consequences of his actions (and thus establish ethics and laws through His crime). In order to expiate the sin, Bhairava became a wandering beggar, carrying Brahma’s skull as His begging bowl.

To atone for the sin of severing the god Brahma’s fifth head, Shiva is said to have separated the body of Bhairava from his own and sent it to wander with the skull of Brahma in his hand, a vow that parallels the Maha-vrata (“great vow”) that a Kapali (a skull-carrier) must undertake to dispel the sin of killing a Brahmin. The expiatory wandering punishment of 12 years is also given to a Bhrunaghna sinner—a learned Brahmin who kills another of great learning and good conduct. The vow is prescribed in the Dharmashastras, a text corpus detailing ethics and conduct. The sinner should live in an isolated place and beg in only seven houses with the skull of the slain. He must use as a staff the bones of the slain and be treated by society as an outcast.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bhikshatana

It is told that Bhairava roamed the forest as an outcast and became known under the name Bhikshtana, the mendicant. Even though Bhairava’s form is often depicted as terrifying, Bhikshtana is described as youthful and beautiful, yet this does not keep Him from disregarding ethical or moral standards. Several South Indian poets also write about His sensous nature and women who encountered Him were love-smitten and so enamoured by His appearance that they followed Him. In some accounts He enticed women to give Him alms and seduced even the pure and chaste wives of forest sages (Loki seems to have a similar effect on Aesir Goddesses. In the Lokasenna He claims to have seduced nearly every Goddess in Aegir’s hall). Not surprisingly, Bhairava (like Loki) is also said to be cunning and somewhat deceptive.

On His wanderings Bhairava came to the God Vishnu’s abode, where He slayed Vishnu’s doorkeeper before entering Vishnu’s hall and approaching the God with His outstretched begging-bowl. Lord Vishnu deined His own Blood a suitable offering for Bhairava, but failed to fill the beggar’s bowl. He urged Him to go to the city of Kashi, where His sins will be expiated. And so it happened that when Bhairava finally reached the holy city of Kashi, Brahma’s skull fell off His hand and He was redeemed.

While many people believe that Bhairava is a violent form of Shiva, he is indeed a benevolent form to the sincere devotee. The noose in his upper left hand signifies the bonds we have in the world. Family, wealth, desires, and material objects are all things that bind a man to the world. As such, men and all other creatures bound to these objects and relationships are known as “pashu” or literally those bound by the noose. Being unclad, and having no possessions, Bhairava is known as “Pashupathi” or the Lord of those bound by the noose. Devotees who invoke Bhairava in their lives are blessed by him and receive his protection. In some households across India, a statue of either a dog or of Bhairava is installed in the garden or near the front door. Just as he protects the temple, he also protects the house from evil spirits and bad energy.

http://www.lotussculpture.com/blog/bhairava-shiva-protector/

Rudra, Shiva and Loki – Part 2

Rudra, Shiva and Loki – Part 2

Gods of our Time – Rudra, Shiva, Loki

I have noticed a lot of interest of readers in the post Rudra, Shiva, Agni and Loki, so I decided to write a little more about them. As the other post was based on mythological facts, this is more of my personal experience with the energy of these Gods.

In the beginning of my friendship with Loki I was puzzled by His complexity. Outwardly He had a perfectly controlled and calm demeanour, yet within Him smoldered a seething fire, simmering under the surface like a volcano and if I went even deeper I would find a vast, infinite space – peaceful, still and all-pervading. To gain trust in Him and understand Him better, Loki urged me to deepen my knowledge of Lord Shiva, and as I immersed myself in books and scriptures, I found that Loki as I knew Him embodied very similar qualities.

Even though I have experienced them as separate beings, I feel that essentially they are the same – of the same Source.

The energy or consciousness of these Gods is more present in our time, because we are living in time of change and have the opportunity to rise above polarities and experience ourselves as the spiritual beings we really are. The intense, chaotic and potentially destructive energy these deities carry, breaks old patterns and makes room for the new. As I understand it, the dynamic aspect of their nature is Prakriti or Shakti, the feminine energy in creation – but I will speak more on that later in this post. Yet it is noteworthy that we live in a time where there is a shift in consciousness, and the new consciousness that awakens is of feminine nature.

The Horned God

I believe Loki and Rudra (whose name appeared in the oldest of the Vedas, the Rig Veda, before He was known as Shiva) to be a very ancient God, who is closely connected to nature and the worship of the Mother Goddess. A God, whose worship was not accepted in Europe (to control Him He was bound under the earth until the end of the world – Loki), while in India He re-established Himself (even though it took a while to “tame” Him) in the benevolent form of Shiva.

Due to our friendship, Loki allowed to “experience” Him directly in many different aspects and forms, and much of the information I received about Him – through mediation and inner or outer experiences – was confirmed when I researched on Shiva and Rudra (and also Agni).

One day, during a walk in the forest I perceived Loki as a guardian. A friend and protector of animals and innocent creatures, especially children – Loki has a special fondness for those who suffered from hardship and abuse, or are having a hard time to fit in. He also seemed to have a strong connection and love for plants and trees and nature in general. Later when reading about Shiva/Rudra’s form of Pashupati, the Lord of animals, herder of souls, and when I saw the Pashupati seal it led me to believe that these two Gods really share a deep connection.

Unfortunately, there is little archaeological reference to Loki, but in the small village of Kirkby Stephen, England, there is a tenth-century stone with a carving on it, which is believed to be the bound Loki, depicted as a horned figure.

Not surprisingly, there is also a depiction of a horned deity on a stone in India:

The stone seal was found in the Indus valley, depicting a horned God – who is believed to be the God Shiva. The seal depicts a seated figure with possibly three heads and a horned headdress, who is surrounded by animals. He may represent a horned deity and is thought to be one of the earliest depictions of Lord Shiva or Rudra, who is associated with asceticism, and regarded as lord of the animals (Pashupati) – hence the name of the stone is Pashupati seal.

Storm and Fire

Agni, Rudra, Shiva and Loki are Fire Gods, representing different aspects of this element, yet also embrace it in its entirety. They are responsible for illumination of our ignorance and transformation of lower movements that bind us. They make us aware of our spirituality. Both Rudra and Shiva are known as Storm Gods – and considering that Loki is also known as Sky-traveler and friend of Thor, I guess we can place Him in that same family.

All four deities have terrifying apects, as well as auspicious ones and while they have the capacity to wreak havoc and bring chaos and destruction, they can also bring health, wealth, happiness and more – they can offer us liberation -true freedom from the bondage of material existence.

Trickster

Another thing they share is that all of them are known as tricksters. A trickster is a deity who is cunning, holds a great deal of secret knowledge and uses it to play tricks on others and/or crosses and often breaks social rules and disobeys conventional behaviour. Tricksters violate principles of social or natural order, playfully disrupting normal life to re-establish it on a new basis. Their actions can be cause for outrage, yet they are meant to illumine and transform outdated or wrong behaviour. Tricksters are cunning, wise, can cheat and teach by playing tricks on you, they are also known to have a potent sexuality.

While Loki is well known as a trickster, Rudra and Shiva are also tricksters par excellence. The fact that they all are considered Gods of Chaos exposes them as tricksters as well.

The potential for dynamic chaos is the metaphysical heart of the trickster.

“The (African) trickster Legba, always risks unleashing a Pandora’s box of powers. But it is only in risking such chaos that novelty is continually reborn, and the community is imagined to interact dynamically, rather than by some rigid structure.” ~Erik Davis, Trickster at the Crossroads

According to Arthur Anthony Macdonel, in the Vedas Rudra is referred to “lord of wanderers and thieves, the prowling rover, the tricking arch-trickster, the lord of pilferers, robbers, cheat, deceiver”. He is seen as an outlaw, not part of orderly society – and obviously able to stir up trouble when invoked. People invoke Him to praise His strength and His fierceness, asking Him not to “aim His arrows at them”. Rudra is a God of disease as well as “the greatest healer” – and Lord over thousands of healing herbs.

In stories of the Siva Purana, and Tantric texts – some versions of the stories tamer than others – Shiva/Rudra is spoken of as a God with potent sexuality who often acts in typical trickster fashion to test devotees or to illumine falsehood.

In the Tamil Kanda Puranum, Shiva tests the forest sages by appearing with a beautiful courtesan, Mohini, by his side. This courtesan, Daniélou explains, is actually the God Vishnu, whom Shiva has commanded to take this form (Shiva had commanded Vishnu to take on this form on an earlier occasion, in order that Shiva might seduce Vishnu). In this form of the legend, the sages abandon their austerities to follow the disguised Vishnu everywhere, whilst Shiva, as the divine Beggar, seduced the women of the sages. In this version, the sages and their wives are brought together in the forest and realise that they have been tricked by Shiva and Vishnu.

The sages summon a tiger which springs forth to attack Shiva. He kills the tiger and seizes it’s skin to use as a garment. There then came a fire, which the god made into a trident; an antelope, which he took with his left hand, and snakes, which he used to adorn his head-dress. Demons then sprang at Shiva. He calmed them with a hand-gesture, and they agreed to serve him. All the magics of the sages could not prevail against Shiva, and the sages finally agreed to practise the rites of Shiva’s cult.

The forest sages had lost sight of the goal of their austerities and rites -which is release from bondage. They have become bound up by conventions. … They are performing their rites and austerities out of a sense of lust for the power and ‘merit’ they will gain from doing so, not as a means to liberation.

They do not see that Bhairava-Shiva breaks all boundaries and conventions precisely because he is beyond them.

http://www.philhine.org.uk/writings/tt_wrathful.html

There are many stories about Shiva’s trickery and his sensual side – He is the God who can break laws and does things that are otherwise strictly forbidden – and He also takes responsibity for His actions (similar to Loki, who always pays the price for his actions).

“Bhairava is one of those paradoxical figures of Indian myth – he has broken all fetters. He has severed one of the heads of the Creator, killed the doorkeeper of Vishnu, the preserver; he dances naked, accompanied by women (and in some versions of the myth, Vishnu), and he appears as a figure of horror and ecstasy.”
In other stories, especially with His consort Parvati, Shiva displays the light-hearted and cheeky side of His trickster personality by teasing her lovingly.

Shiva is a God who allows us to think beyond social concepts and structures – but not to act out in anarchy, but to find a deeper wisdom and illumines us to see God beyond moral and social boundaries. He also prefers worship with sincere, heartfelt devotion to rigidly following of rituals.

Worship

Rudra, like Loki, was not officially worshipped and was “regarded isolated from the other Gods. When the Gods attained heaven, Rudra remained behind.”

Later, in His form of Shiva, He was granted worship, although even here He had to establish Himself by force, and in the turn of events He lost His beloved wife Sati (to me this literally means that He lost His power, respectively had to give up a dear part of Him – His Goddess – to become part of the Vedic Pantheon). The loss drove Him into leading an ascetic life and let Him withdraw into meditation – until his second wife, Parvati, comes along and awakens His fire again.

I experience Shiva, Rudra and Loki as Gods who do not care so much for idol worship, rituals and strict rules – but for sincere devotion. They prefer the devotee to pour their heart out to them, include them in their life, and share with them everything they hold dear. This can even be through arts, dance, writing, meditation or even appreciating the good in others. Every action can become an act of worship. Loki, Rudra/Shiva are very – you could say – intimate Gods. They like to be close, included and connected. Instead of worshipping them as someone high above and outside of ourselves, they ask us to feel them inside our hearts, and turn every moment of our life into an offering.

Shakti

What I struggled with in the beginning was Loki’s undeniable sexual attraction, which made me weary of His presence. I had never before connected this energy with Lord Shiva or Rudra – or God in general (maybe because in Western society the shame and guilt it brings, is rooted deeply inside us). I imagined Shiva as extremely pure, above and beyond pleasure or passion (which He actually is). It was much to my bemusement, when I found Lord Shiva to be the God of Tantra and in many ways similar to Loki. What Loki made me aware of is that this energy that I perceived as shameful, is actually our creative force. There is neither reason to fear it, nor to be ashamed of it. It is the power of Shakti, the dynamic force of the Goddess that all three Gods embody, because they are beyond duality – uniting both male and female within themselves.

The story of Sati and Shiva is heart-breaking, because in the light of my own wisdom, it is a story of Shiva loosing not only His dearest, but His power to a male-dominated culture of ritualistic worship, while Sati sacrificed herself for Him to give Him an equal place amongst the Gods. In many stories Sati is said to incinerate herself because Shiva is being insulted, yet it feels more that She (basically the Goddess-worship) was disrespected and driven out by the more controlled and structured culture of the Aryans. There was no place for the worship of the Goddess (Shakti), who was wild, powerful and uncontrollable. They had to tame Her, domesticate Her to be able to control Her.

The loss of Shakti left Shiva distraught, and He became a wanderer, an ascetic, withdrawing His senses from the world. But Shiva is a deity of balance – as long as He is stays in His ascetic aspect, His all-pervading meditation, He is unable to act in the world. It is the feminine principle of Shakti that brings Him to life. 

Shakti came back into His life as a “tamed” version of the fierce power She represents. As the Goddess Parvati she went through severe austerities to win Shiva’s heart, and became the perfect wife. And even though in some accounts it seems that Shiva is Her Lord, it is really Shakti who enchants Him and draws Him back into Her play of creation. In duality, Shiva cannot act without Shakti, yet Shakti also needs Shiva to balance her power – on a higher level they are one. Shiva and Parvati are worshipped as the perfect married couple.

Loki has a similar story concerning His wives. His first wife Angrboda (“bringer of grief” – incidentally that is exactly what Sati also brought Shiva – grief), is a fierce and fearless giantess, by some seen as malicious or as a witch. In my own experience, She is a strong, independent, uncontrollable (like Loki), fierce, powerful warrior Goddess with a large motherly heart for everyone who dares to love her sincerely. Angrboda resides in Jotunheim, the realm of the giants. Loki’s wife in Asgard, is Sigyn (very little is known about her from mythological texts), who embodies the perfect wife, with undying devotion, love and surrender to her husband … however, this does not mean that Sigyn is weak. Sigyn is Loki’s balance, just like Parvati is Shiva’s. Like Shiva and Parvati, Loki and Sigyn are often seen as the perfect couple (more often she is regarded as the perfect wife, because Loki’s reputation does not necessarily represent Him as the perfect husband. Curiously, the God who is said to have seduced pretty much every Goddess in Asgard, is married to the Goddess of Fidelity and Victory – and she accepts and loves Him.)

The seething fire that smoulders underneath Shiva/Rudra’s and Loki’s calm outer demeanour is indeed the fire of Shakti, the Goddess. They control it – or maybe not control it – but rather balance it with the vast stillness that lies underneath. Outwardly they seem to have mastered this powerful force, but inwardly, beyond duality they are one with it – embodying both the male and female principle of creation, Purusha and Prakriti. This fierce fire that is inherent to all three Gods, it is part of their nature. Shakti and Shiva/Loki/Rudra are so intimately connected to each other, that you cannot separate them.

To me Shiva, Rudra and Loki are manifestations of the masculine principle that is in perfect harmony with the feminine – they are unified, they are whole. As I understand it, their fierceness, their power and their strength is essentially the dynamic force of Shakti, and all three of them have a deep reverence for Her.

Since Shiva, Rudra and Loki all deal with the energy of the Goddess they also are Gods who would have been revered in ancient times by matriarchal systems, also by female healers, wise women and witches.

Fearlessness

I found that being blessed with their divine presence in my life, Shiva, Rudra and Loki have helped me to let go of a lot of fear. Mainly unconscious fear based in my lower chakras – and thus my view of the world changed and granted me access to a deeper wisdom. To be able to look at the Truth, and have access to it, we have to shed our fear.

They taught me to face my fears with courage, and to question fear when it arises instead of being overcome by it.

Emotions, pleasure, passion
“She (Shakti) appears in the form of dark, unpredictable drives, aggressions, and passions that enmesh the frail human soul like a boa constrictor its prey. There is no running or hiding to escape her. For this reason, her devotees try to unite her with Lord Shiva, that she might become peaceful and friendly.”

Shakti is the Kundalini, the Mother power, the creative power, life-energy, sexual energy and Shiva, Rudra and Loki are all wielders of this power – because they respect Her and love Her. Once the serpent energy of Kundalini awakens and travels upwards, it can throw our lives in chaos – especially emotionally, because it brings up all our deep-seated emotions, desires and passions so they can be purified.

“Rudra stands for all the intense feelings associated with the entire spectrum of surging emotions, ranging from piteous wail of the one weeping in excruciating pain to the terrifying thunder-clap emanating from clashing universes. It appears;”

Like most trickster deities, Loki relates to our emotions and feelings, especially on a lower level. He comes “down” and deals with our primeval urges – physical needs of security, sexual energy, desires, pleasures, emotions like anger, hatred, guilt, shame, fear, loss, grief, terror – you name it. He knows about the dangers that dwell in the hidden darkness of our being – so also does Shiva/Rudra as the Lord of Tantra.

These emotions need to be transformed if we wish to be liberated, because they bind us to the material life, to our earthly life and the “illusion” of Maya, another form of Shakti.

Illusion/maya does not mean that this world of ours is not real. Rather it refers to our bondage, our tendency to get caught up in our basic fears and needs to create attachments, thus we bind ourselves through our thoughts and deeds (karma). Sometimes Maya is referred to as a net or a noose, trapping us in it, and it is  interesting to note here is that it was apparently Loki who invented the fishing net and also has been described by some as holding a noose. Shiva/Rudra is known to be the Lord of Maya, and therefore can free us from  our self-created limitations and bondage. The journey out of “illusion” is one of letting go of old beliefs and rise beyond polarities – and Shiva, Rudra and Loki are experts on that.

The complexity of Life

Shiva, Rudra and Loki embody the complexity of life and creation, its dynamic flow as well as the stillness of Eternity. They awaken within us a love for life, a love for ourselves, acceptance of our own strength and give us the opportunity to gain liberation from bondage.

“WHAT shall we sing to Rudra, strong, most bounteous, excellently wise,
That shall be dearest to his heart?

To Rudra Lord of sacrifice, of hymns and balmy medicines,
We pray for joy and health and strength.
He shines in splendour like the Sun, refulgent as bright gold is he,
The good, the best among the Gods.” (RigVeda, XLIII, Rudra)

(Translation by Ralph T.H. Griffith)

“Rudra in the Rig-Veda Samhita is a highly complex divine character with contradictory qualities; and yet harmonizing within himself all contradictions.” https://sreenivasaraos.com/2012/09/29/the-rudras-eleven/#comments

One verse in the Rig Veda even implies that Rudra is the destroyer of evil and usherer of peace.

Rukh draavayathi, iti rudraha

(Rukh means “sorrow/misery”, draavayathi means “drive out/eliminate”, its means “that which, or the one who”)

https://sreenivasaraos.com/2012/09/29/the-rudras-eleven/#comments

“If you read through the Shiva Purana, you cannot identify Shiva as a good person or a bad person. He is everything – he is the ugliest, he is the most beautiful; he is the best and he is the worst; he is the most disciplined, he is a drunkard. Gods, demons, and all kind of creatures in the world worship him. The so-called civilisation has conveniently eliminated all those un-digestible stories about Shiva, but that is where the essence of Shiva is. Completely contradictory aspects of life have been built into the personality of Shiva. Sucha complex amalgamation of all the qualities of existence have been put into one person because if you can accept this one being, you have crossed life itself.”  ~Sadhguru, Isha Yoga Centre

Rudra, Shiva, Loki – You get whatever you signed up for

As Loki explained to me once, He appears to those who “worship” Him in the form they expect Him to, or the form they are ready to accept. He can appear fierce, cunning, full-of-trickery, brutal, enraging, fearsome, seductive, cheeky, sweet, tender-hearted, compassionate, loving – anything the person dealing with Him expects to get.

“Stella Kramrisch notes that not all who behold Shiva as the Supreme Beggar see him in quite the same way. By turns, Shiva baffles, enrages, seduces, sows confusion, and illuminates. He reveals himself to his devotee, in the shape and extent to which they are ‘ready’ to experience him.”

http://www.philhine.org.uk/writings/tt_wrathful.html

There is a famous hymn in the Vedas called the Sri Rudra Prashnaha, which addresses Shiva/Rudra in all His Glory – from terrible to beautiful. It is very special and infuses one with instant peace. You can find chants on Youtube, but the most haunting version is one of a female artist called Uma Mohan from her album “Divine Chants of Rudra”.

Find info on the Sri Rudram here:
https://xa.yimg.com/kq/groups/19272305/…/SRI_RUDRAM_with_meaning.pdf

Qualities I discovered in Loki, which I later found to be attributes of Shiva/Rudra as well:

~ Loki is a very honest God and He teaches me to speak the truth and be non-judgemental
~ He Himself is innocent of nature, not malicious, and He adores childlike innocence and sweetness
~ He encourages me to find beauty in everything, not to judge things by the way they appear to be
~ To see good in other human beings and have respect for all living creatures and Mother nature
~ He encourages me to act with detachment, neither feel good or bad about my actions but surrender them to God
~ He kindles my devotion and fills my heart with love for God
~ He demands faith – not in Him, but in the One Absolute Consciousness that is above all else
~ He breaks my ego, to alert me and open me to new ways of being
~ He helps me to deal with the primeval urges of passion, pleasure, and all intense feelings like grief, anger, lust, etc.
~ He is a Lord of the Kundalini and revers Shakti
~ He definitely has a fiery temper, although I have not experienced it myself – but I can feel it underneath

If you got all the way through this very long post  – congratulations! – I do hope you enjoyed it and thank you for reading about these beautiful Gods.

Tricksters

Hi! Sorry to those who have already read this article – it came “live” before it was edited!! … Well, I guess there is always some mischief involved when you deal with tricksters … So here is the final, edited version:

Trickster is a teacher whose lessons awaken us to who we are and allow us to explore the true purpose of our soul’s journey.
(crystallinks.com)

“Trickster is at one and the same time creator and destroyer, giver and negator, he who dupes others, and who is always duped himself … He knows neither good nor evil yet he is responsible for both. He possesses no values, moral or social, is at the mercy of his passions and appetites, yet through his actions all values come into being.”  ~ Paul Radin

Lately, Loki has lead me to immerse myself in His trickster aspect, and the research I did opened my mind to new ways of thinking. Tricksters have been around as long as human kind. They appear in mythology and folklore as gods, spirits, men, women, animals, teachers, guides or messengers, often described as mischievous in character, embodying both light and darkness, existing beyond social and moral concepts, even beyond duality. They are rule-breakers, magicians, truth-tellers, wise-fools, heroes, villains, survivors, outrageous and cunning, always moving. It seems like they do good despite of themselves, although in my own experience, tricksters are far too smart not to anticipate the outcome of things. Tricksters tempt us on purpose to look at our “dark” side, and in doing so they give us an opportunity to accept it and integrate it. Tricksters are mostly portrayed as male and are often shape shifters and many can change gender at will (which is not surprising, considering they are above and beyond duality).

In psychology the archetype of the trickster is part of the collective consciousness that shatters old paradigms and points out our rigid behavioral patterns, and pretensions.

As dubious as a trickster may appear to be, he always brings great gifts to those involved. The tricksters role is to question, not to accept blindly. He appears when things in our life that have outgrown its value, become rigid or need to be discarded, so that something new can grow. Trickster energy allows us to break out of old patterns – imposed on us by ourselves, our families, our culture or circumstances – and it opens the door to a world of limitless possibilities, but unless we learn to work with this energy its intensity has the potential to destroy us.

“… the (African) trickster Legba, always risks unleashing a Pandora’s box of powers. But it is only in risking such chaos that novelty is continually reborn, and the community is imagined to interact dynamically, rather than by some rigid structure.

The potential for dynamic chaos is the metaphysical heart of the Trickster. 

The Yoruba deity Eshu-Elegbara is a divine mediator of fate and information, a linguist, a crafty metaphysician. Eshu is a trickster not just because he fools people and creates chaos, but more profoundly because he’s always escaping the codes of the system he simultaneously reinforces.”

http://www.levity.com/figment/trickster.html

Tricksters are our light, as well as our darkness. They teach us to be flexible, to flow with life and adapt to unforeseen circumstances without feeling helpless or victimised. Another gift trickster brings is responsibility. Loki taught me how essential it is to take responsibility for my life, my thoughts, my feelings, my actions … for everything. By blaming all and sundry for our misery, we are only allowing others to have power over us and become victims or – due to the polarities we live in – we become powerful intimidators, lording it over others. Only by taking responsibility, can we escape this control/power drama, basically the drama of polarity. With responsibility goes hand in hand with acceptance. Tricksters teach us sincere acceptance of ourselves and those around us, so that we are no longer dependent on other’s energy/power, but instead rest peacefully within our own.

The Trickster is connected to our feelings and our emotional body, our second chakra, and thus also to our inner child. In most of us, our inner child might have been hurt or traumatised and usually feels scared, numb and alone. A healthy inner child is mischievous, fearless, safe and rests in the awareness that the universe is its playground. Tricksters usually radiate a very powerful sexual presence and, in duality, are connected to our lower emotions, lower chakras and all that gets us into mischief or trouble – so to say – the aggressive side of our being that deals with the lower frequency emotions, power, fate, jealousy, anger, self destruction, rage, pleasure, depression and so on. Because of this, tricksters naturally have the ability to use this energy to dissolve shame and guilt, or to heal and empower those who fell victim to sexual abuse.

Many of us are shut down emotionally. Loki explained to me that guilt, shame and embarrassment keep our emotions from flowing freely. To be receptive to the abundance of life as well as our inner wisdom we need to abandon these emotional locks, and free emotions that have been trapped underneath. So that we can feel and keep our emotional field open. It is the Trickster who cracks us open. Who teaches us how to be vulnerable. How to feel deeply. How to connect. Because only by keeping our entire being open, will we be able to grow.

Because Tricksters understand emotions and work on the emotional level, they can bring great healing for those who suffer from any kind of trauma. Loki loves working with my inner child, and it was Him who made me feel safe inwardly for the first time after I suffered from severe trauma.

Tricksters are probably the most intense yet also the most honest deities we can come across, as they confront us with those parts of our being that we attempt to control, suppress or deny. Our darkness, our ignorance, our hidden feelings, everything that could destroy that pretty mask we wear. So when a trickster shows up in your life to “annoy” you, it is time to be sincere with yourself. Allow him to strip you of your false securitys and masks to see yourself the way you are, because only then can you grow into someone new. Someone who is free from dogmas, pretense and completely authentic. Someone who can access a deeper wisdom and see the Truth of what is.

“Don’t take life too seriously. You will never get out of it alive!” ~Elbert Hubbard

Tricksters like to play, and make light of things. They enjoy to embarrass us to give us the opportunity to laugh about ourselves, because if we take life and ourselves too seriously, we get stuck and loose the magic this existence has to offer.

Another thing that tricksters encourage is the ability to work things out ourselves, to think independently – out of the square. When I ask Loki questions, He hardly ever gives a straight answer, because He wants me to think for myself, to find my own answers. I was not surprised to find this to be a trickster trait, like shown in this dialogue between the African God Shango and the Trickster-God Eshu:

At one point, Shango, the thunder god asks him, “Why don’t you speak straightforwardly?” “I never do,” Eshu responds. “I like to make people think.”  (I found this delightful, as it could verily be a conversation between Thor and Loki)

There are many tricksters out there, many of them distrusted and often described as malicious. Even though I know that tricksters can be your worst nightmare – especially if you fear them (Loki appears to people the way they expect Him to be, even brutal and violent if they believe Him so), I do feel the reason that tricksters have gained a bad reputation, might be because they remind humanity of the freedom to think and act independently, without needing to be controlled by anyone. True independence has nothing to do with financial independence or egotistical goals, true independence is the capability to use our common sense, to apply creative thinking, to find solutions – not focus on problems, to act from a deeper wisdom – not to obey dogmatic rules. True independence is to use our individual capacity for a greater good (even without being appreciated for it). All things which might not be welcomed by those in power.

The one thing that Loki is constantly drilling into me is that nobody can control me, unless I allow them to. He wants me to abandon this belief of control, but he also makes me aware that this need for control and power runs right down to the most unconscious levels of my (human) being … luckily Loki is very, very patient.

I consider myself fortunate to have my own private trickster tutor – as much as people might fear Him, loathe Him and even despise Him. I know I can trust Him.

He is always changing, yet (or maybe that is why) He is always Himself.