Statement regarding Karl Siegfrieds article

This letter was submitted to The Wild Hunt weekend editor on Nov. 30th and declined Dec. 1. Feel free to copy and paste this letter in its entirety, along with signatures, and share as you will on your own blogs and social media.   I’ve made one minor edit as I’m not devoted to Loki but agree with it in principle.

A Lokean Group Response to Karl Seigfried’s “Loki in the White House”

We are concerned about the religious bigotry and intolerance against our community and religious practices, as conveyed in Karl E.H. Seigfried’s recent column “Loki in the White House,” The Wild Hunt, Nov. 24, 2018.

Those who cultivate a relationship with the Norse god, Loki, are a minority among neopagans. Our individual practices are eclectic, nondogmatic, and individualistic.
By equating Loki with certain cherry-picked actions of the current president of the United States, Seigfried suggests that we who cultivate a relationship with Loki do not understand our own god, our own spirituality, and our community, and what we should understand is that our god is evil. This is no better than an evangelical Christian telling pagans that our lack of understanding about Jesus and our own gods is leading us to worship demons. This is not only condescending but also inappropriate for an interfaith chaplain.

While we are individually and collectively offended by Karl E. H. Seigfried’s comparison of Loki to the current president of the United States, we understand his right to his opinion, no matter how ill-founded it may seem to us. However Seigfried’s article crossed an important line from eccentric opinion to bigotry.

What concerns us most of all are Seigfried’s final two paragraphs, which are essentially “a call to action” to discriminate and further marginalize all who hail Loki in their religious and devotional practices, whether in a polytheistic or monotheistic context. The opinions he presents in those closing paragraphs are that Loki is bad, therefore we who hail Loki are also bad and undeserving of support.

“Lokiphobia” is a word we wish we did not need to coin, and yet many members of our spiritual and religious community have been dealing with prejudice for years. In Heathen circles, many people who hail Loki have been excluded, bullied, and threatened. We can supply examples of this claim if needed. So it is particularly dangerous to fan the flames of such paranoia and bigotry against an outlier group when things are already so volatile nationally and worldwide.

To be clear, Lokiphobia, in the context of neopaganism, is discrimination against the religious practices and beliefs of people who hail Loki and/or identify as Lokeans (or a similar description). We, the authors, (1) call out Lokiphobia in Seigfried’s column and (2) insist upon respectful, interfaith dialogue in public forums and events where we and our faith are referenced, discussed, or questioned.

While we understand that the Wild Hunt is a platform for many different spiritual views, this article has crossed the line from being an opinion piece to promoting religious discrimination and the expulsion of an already vulnerable subgroup within Heathenry. Many of us are women, LGBTQIA, have disabilities, or hold other identities that on the whole have made us targets within the larger Heathen community which has consistently held much more traditionally conservative views. For our own safety and well-being we are requesting that Seigfried either amend the portions of his article that are a direct cry for the expulsion of Loki worship or that the Wild Hunt remove the article entirely.

To do otherwise is to sanction discrimination against a religious minority.

Where as in the past Loki devotees have largely been disorganized and kept mostly to ourselves, we’re no longer willing to keep quiet and suffer discrimination and verbal abuse in the name of “different opinions.” We have reached a tipping point where we refuse to continue being a punching bag for the American Heathen community’s frustrations or used as villains in its own paranoid fantasies. We hope that in the name of true inclusivity you will choose to be our allies instead of contributing to years of unnecessary division. This has never just been about how  people feel about Loki: this is about how people choose to treat other people.

Signed:

Scott Mohnkern

Dagulf Loptson
Ky Greene
Amy Marsh
KveldúlfR Hagan Gundarsson (Dr. Stephan Grundy, Ph.D., Norse Studies)
Aiyana Assata Amare Ashen
Terra Akhert
Tara Aparicio
Carrie Bertwistle
Susa Morgan Black
Marina Boccuzzi
Lauren Buhr
Sara Cochran
Moira Hawthorne Copeland
Heathir Dhomhnaill
Amber Drake
Kriselda Gray
Ailim Hazel
Elizabeth Hefner
Alex Iannelli
Mischa Kvashninenkoff
Jennifer Lesko
Roxana García Liotta
Michelle Lord
Tom Mayernik
Jude Melvin
Lindsay Moose
Katherine Morgan
Draca Nightweb
Tahni Nikitins
Katie Oden
Lillian Sara Pink
Jenna Porterfield
Denise Marie Radcliffe
Logan Riley
Emily Sabin
Olivia Sweat
Tedri Liudan Thorne
Kyra Pandora Weaver
Lindsay Wiles

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Classes and booth at Frederick Pagan Pride Day

Just received notification that I’ll be teaching Introduction to Bind Runes at Frederick Pagan Pride Day, as well as running my own merchant booth where I’ll be selling books, and doing readings.

Frederick Pagan Pride day is in Frederick, MD on September 15th, 2018.   Additional details are available via their web site.

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Making a Rune Set

Making a Rune Set

Make your own rune set can improve the feeling of your readings and give a “close personal tie” with your rune set. While many people choose to use purchased runes for their castings or runes that were given to them, as you progress you may decide that you want to take this additional step.

Making a rune set can be as simple or complex as you want it to be. It can be extremely ritualized or more informal, depending upon your circumstances. What follows is a foundation upon which you can build your own process for creating runes.

Materials

Wood is the most common material used by people when they create their rune sets. Trees give us a sense of life and tie us to the earth. They remind us of Yggdrasil, and also the sacrifice Odin made by hanging on the tree to gain the knowledge of the runes.  

The branch of a fruit tree, such as apple, pine, or yew is typically used for runes but virtually any wood will do.  Some makers claim that to use “dead wood” (wood already fallen) from the tree is inappropriate for runes, however I think that’s a personal choice. The important thing is that your choice of wood resonates for you.  This can range from going out into the woods and cutting down a branch of a tree that you find particularly meaningful (making sure to give thanks along the way), to going to your local art supply store and purchasing wood disks.

There are other materials as well. From glass beads to stones to metal any material that you can mark on is sufficient.  Ultimately you are likely to find a material that works well for you.   Just remember that with whatever material you’re going to make, you will need to be able to mark it.

Marking

Next you need to find a way to put the runes on your set. As with materials, it’s largely a matter of personal preference, both from a practical standpoint, and a spiritual standpoint.

Fine point sharpees are the easiest, and will mark on almost any material. We’re also all used to writing with a pen, so it’s easy. You can also use an exacto knife or a wood burning tool. A Dremel tool also works well.  I’ve even done a set of shot glass runes and used the chemicals for glass etching.

One thing to watch out for is I don’t recommend you use anything that’s water soluble to mark on your runes.   Whether it be watercolor paint or latex paint, the chance that your runes would get wet (and thus ruin them) makes water soluble marking materials as probably inappropriate.   Its not that this causes a spiritual problem, its that it presents a practical one.

Consecration Fluid

Traditionally one consecrates a set of runes by “staining” them with a life fluid. This is normally blood, however also could be saliva, semen, or urine. You’ll need to either provide this fluid when you ritually consecrate the runes, or you’ll need to collect and store it for use in ritual.

About blood collection and safe practices- In modern society the extraction of blood raises a significant number of safety issues, both to yourself (through disease and infection) or to others. If you’re going to use blood, and store it before hand, you’ll want to contact a friend with medical expertise that has blood collection and storage vials. Typically a blood storage vial has a small amount of heprin in it to keep it from clotting.

 Other Materials

You’ll need a saw if you’re cutting a branch and sandpaper if you’re working with rough wood. You’ll want Linseed oil or varnish for final treatment, and a bag to store them in.

The question of linseed oil or varnish is one worth spending some time thinking about. Linseed oil is viewed as “more natural” while varnish can give you the ability to give your wood certain colors.

However varnish may create a coating that “seals” the runes in a way you don’t like. Spend some time thinking about it.

Creating the Slips

My experience, particularly when working with a branch, is that the process of creating the slips you are going to carve the runes on is best left to a non ritualized process. Whether you do it with a handsaw, or a table saw, or some other way, it takes awhile, and for me personally, doesn’t fit well within the ritual process.

You’ll also want to create “extras” (I recommend doing 36 slips) for mistakes. No matter how many times you do it, you’ll make a mistake.

After you’ve cut your slips, and have your materials together, it’s time to set up for ritual, and create your runes.

Rune Creation Ritual

Before you go into ritual, take a pencil and “pencil in” each rune on a slip if a pencil will mark the slips.   This will make it easier to make the runes during the creation process.   If you can’t mark on it (such as with glass), keep a few extra slips around for mistakes.  Doing this beforehand will make the actual creation process easier.

Now set aside a ritual space, and do whatever ritual you deem appropriate for your path.   I open with a hammer rite, which is simply going to one side of my space, lifting a hammer and stating:

“Hammer of Thor, Hallow and Hold This Holy Stead”

Then move to the opposite side of the space, lift the hammer, and state:

“Odin, bless me as I honor you through the creation of runes today.”

I offer a toast to Odin and place my altar items before me (a horn, and a hammer) to give my process meaning.

Now put down two cloths, one for your “blanks” and another for your finished runes.

Through whatever process you choose based upon your materials and marker, create each rune. As you’re writing or carving, entone (say) the name of the rune, or chant it. Think about the meaning of the rune, and what it means to you.  If possible, you want your rune strokes to be downward, into “the earth” (downward meaning towards the bottom of the rune), and across the grain of the wood, showing an affirmative intention to put energy into the slip.

After you’re done with the carving, place the rune on the “finished runes” cloth, and make a hammer sign over it.

Proceed onto the next rune. I recommend you go through all 24 at a setting, one aett at a time. This generally takes an hour or two if you’re doing it for your first time.

After you’ve finished your last rune, you’ll now want to consecrate them with your fluid of choice. I recommend doing this before placing the linseed oil or varnish on them, as the oil or varnish will “seal” the rune.

After you’ve consecrated each rune, galdor (entone) each rune again, as a set, pushing your personal energy into the runes:

Recite the Icelandic Rune Poem:

  • Wealth is a source of discord among kinsmen
  • and fire of the sea
  • and path of the serpent.
  • Lamentation of the clouds
  • and ruin of the hay-harvest
  • and abomination of the shepherd.
  • Torturer of women
  • and cliff-dweller
  • and husband of a giantess.
  • Aged Gautr
  • and prince of Ásgardr
  • and lord of Vallhalla.
  • Joy of the horsemen
  • and speedy journey
  • and toil of the steed.
  • Disease fatal to children
  • and painful spot
  • and abode of mortification.
  • Cold grain
  • and shower of sleet
  • and sickness of serpents.
  • Grief of the bond-maid
  • and state of oppression
  • and toilsome work.
  • Bark of rivers
  • and roof of the wave
  • and destruction of the doomed.
  • Boon to men
  • and good summer
  • and thriving crops.
  • Shield of the clouds
  • and shining ray
  • and destroyer of ice.
  • God with one hand
  • and leavings of the wolf
  • and prince of temples.
  • Leafy twig
  • and little tree
  • and fresh young shrub.
  • Delight of man
  • and augmentation of the earth
  • and adorner of ships.
  • Eddying stream
  • and broad geysir
  • and land of the fish.
  • Bent bow
  • and brittle iron
  • and giant of the arrow.

You may alternatively decide that one of the other poems sings to you.

Then you close your ritual space in whatever method you see fit.

After Ritual

After you’ve closed your ritual space, you should take the time to apply the Linseed oil or Varnish onto the runes, and let them dry. I generally recommend this is done out of space because the fumes of the runes can be problematic and you may need to take frequent breaks.

Congratulations you now have your own personal set of runes

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