Gnosis Diary: Life as a Heathen

My personal experiences, including religious and spiritual experiences, community interaction, general heathenry, and modern life on my heathen path, which is Asatru.

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On Lodhur and Loki

Lodhur is the original third brother in the trinity Odhinn / Honir / Lodhur. This triple god form appears in the Lore in two major places: when the brothers sculpt the world out of the slain giant Ymir, and when the brothers sculpt humans out of driftwood trees. Both of these are major acts of creation described as sculpting life from a dead form. 

When the Lore relates stories about Odin and his brothers going on adventures together, the name of the third brother becomes Loki. It is clear that Lodhur and Loki are the same god. But they are very different aspects of the same god. 

To me, Lodhur seems generally remote from humans, but will appear under special circumstances, like many other gods. On the other hand, Loki is very close to humanity in general and to his favorite humans in particular. He often sticks around just to enjoy himself. 

The line between them is clear when I'm speaking with them directly, because I have come to be able to identify the voice and feeling I associate with them. However, I know they are one, in some ineffable way. I don't have to understand it; I'm a human. I will never truly understand, and that's OK. Religious mysteries are not the kind of mysteries that are meant to be solved. 

It's also clear to me, both from the way the Lore is recounted and from my own novel gnosis that I received while writing a novel Some Say Fire, based in what I call the Fireverse, that Odin and his brothers are also one, in some way I cannot truly comprehend. That's the mystery I see portrayed in the Valknut: three points, times three, for a total of nine, that mystical number. I think that's the reason the Valknut has been so widely adopted as an Odin symbol by modern Asatruers* and Heathens. To me, they are a tripartite god, who is both one and also separate. I interact with Odin, Honir, Lodhur, Loki, and sometimes Marvel-Loki, as separate beings with their own personalities and appearances. 

In the Fireverse, Odin has the ability to generate exobrains out of himself. His splits himself into three, three times. He generates his two brothers, his two wolves, and his two ravens. I think that's the way it worked in the real world too. 

Also in the Fireverse, Loki had a separate existence at first, as vaette-Loki, son of Laufey and Farbauti. Then through a contest against his two older brothers, Ash Lad style, Loki won the place of Odin's wizard apprentice, best friend, and brother. Then Odin placed the spirit of Lodhur in Loki. From then on Loki was Asa-Loki, and Lodhur and Loki were the same god.

I think that is similar to how it worked in the real world too, although the details in the novel were of course influenced by what the story was trying to do. (See my posts about the Fireverse from when I was writing it. The short version is: the novel became a vehicle for healing me, and the journey of the main human character and everything she hears from the gods is influenced by that. Many of the details of the plot and characters were about that rather than about the way the gods actually are.) 

So, Loki is one with Lodhur. And Lodhur is part of and one with Odin. It works in the other direction too, right? Aspects of Odin such as Grimnir are one with Odin. And aspects of Loki are one with Loki. 

Since Marvel-Loki made his entrance on the big screen, there has been a controversy in Asatru and Heathenry over whether Marvel-Loki is an aspect of Loki. It's clear Marvel-Loki was generated by mass adoration by the fans. That would surely make him a tulpa or egregore, yes? Except, it's also clear that Marvel-Loki leads people to Asa-Loki. It's clear to me that they flow into each other in my interactions with them, especially at first when I first started writing Some Say Fire (although Fireverse-Loki is nothing like Marvel-Loki. Fireverse-Loki has literal flaming hair, not just red in color but actually on fire all the time. His voice is high like a youth's and speaks to me with the same accent as me, an American West Coast / Midwest Radio Voice.) 

It's not only my gnosis that they flow into each other the same way Lodhur and Lodhur flow into each other. I'm not the only one who noticed real life Loki and Marvel-Loki sharing memories and personalities with each other the way two aspects of the same god can do. Many other people have noticed this. Many other people, for years now, have considered Marvel-Loki to be an aspect of real world Loki. These people are from many traditions, including Asatru, other Heathen faiths, Pagan, Lokean, Polytheist, Eclectic, Wiccan, and others. The way these gods / this god interact(s) with their / his followers is remarkably similar across different faiths.

As with all gods, it is up to each individual to decide whether to interact with Loki. Or with Odin. And it is up to each individual to decide whether to include the Marvel-Loki aspect with Loki the Heathen god. It has been many years since the controversy began, and over the years it has become clear that some people writing about Marvel-Loki are actually writing about Loki the god, and some people writing about Marvel-Loki are writing fan fiction. Both are OK. It is only important to discern between them if one wants to incorporate something one has read in one's own practice.

I generally stay away from incorporating things I read in fiction or other peoples' personal experiences in my own practice as much as I can, unless it's group gnosis I have also had myself. For example, I was one of the people who had the gnosis that Sigyn is associated with butterflies. When I encountered that idea as an account of an experience someone else had (see Shirl Sazynski's writing), I recognized it as the same as my own gnosis. Later I found that it was group gnosis accepted widely across Pagan and Heathen traditions. That was the spur to action for me to write my paper on Sigyn published in Witches & Pagans Magazine (see the citations in my paper.) So if you don't personally experience a connection with Marvel-Loki and don't want to incorporate him in your veneration of Loki, of course you don't have to. But if you do want to, of course you can. 

There is a story going around the internet, accompanied by a photo of a small action figure, of a Catholic woman who prayed to a figure of Elrond, the fictional Tolkien character, in her saint practice. This is shared as if it were a funny story, but there is no reason to laugh. If that worked for her, it's totally fine. Many people in African Diaspora Religions honor figures of saints to stand in for their own sacred beings. There are people in Urglaawe, the Heathen tradition of the Pennsylvania Deitsch, who direct worship through a statue of Mary to the goddess Zisa. There are Christians who pray to a photo of a young Obi-Wan Kenobi as Jesus. And of course, the classical paintings of Jesus are really paintings of human artists' models. As long as it works for them, there is nothing wrong with it. And for the same reason, there is nothing wrong with incorporating the Marvel-Loki symbol into one's Heathenry if one feels a connection with the god Loki thereby. 

Naturally, that gives rise to the question, what about other aspects of Marvel-Loki? Since Marvel-Loki has been portrayed as having multiple forms called variants, including an animal form, Marvel-Loki could include those other aspects, if one wishes to include them. After all, Loki the god is a shape-shifter, just like his big brother Odin. Both of them have multiple canonical forms in Heathen Lore. Both of them have assumed animal forms in the Lore. So if one wishes to include other forms, of course one can. (But not the one who specifically said she is not a Loki. Right? If one is to take the modern mythology presented by Marvel as seriously as one takes historically written mythology, one must respect the stated wishes of the beings in the story.) So, with that in mind, my illustration for this post is a digital artwork I made of Lokigator. (Not AI art.)

Modern Asatru and related religions have established three different Loki holidays. One is April 1st, a day for pranks, focusing on Loki's playful aspect. One is Saturday, because the other 6 days of the week are named for Heathen gods and Saturn isn't one, so instead of going back to the original Laugrdagr (Bath Day), some modern heathens assigned Saturday to Loki. The third one is the heliacal rising of Sirius, which usually takes place in July or August. A related movement is the new custom of assigning July for Loki. Perhaps it is appropriate that holidays for Loki arose in triplicate. 


*Asatruers is my Anglicized version of the Icelandic plural Asatruar, which I have adopted in print because it's what speakers of American English actually say out loud. 

For info on historical veneration of Loki and its modern derivatives, see Wyrd Dottir's article here: Cultic Worship to Loki – Revised & Expanded – Wyrd Designs ( 

For info on Loki as the Ash Lad, see this article: 

Image: Lokigator with Raindrops digital art by Erin Lale (not made by AI.)

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Erin Lale is the author of Asatru For Beginners, and the updated, longer version of her book, Asatru: A Beginner's Guide to the Heathen Path. Erin has been a gythia since 1989. She was the editor and publisher of Berserkrgangr Magazine, and is admin/ owner of the Asatru Facebook Forum. She also writes science fiction and poetry, ran for public office, is a dyer and fiber artist, was acquisitions editor at a small press, and founded the Heathen Visibility Project.


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