- Religion and Philosophy»
- Paganism & Witchcraft
Dancing With The Divine Fool
Trickster, Fool, Teacher, Guide
Dancing With Tricksters
A lot of us came into paganism from religions where taking the teachings literally was most likely pounded into our skulls. So, coming into the Norse tales, for example, it’s easy to get the wrong impression of our Gods. Especially if we don’t realize that our tales were written down after centuries of Christianity transforming the culture. We just don’t know what the original tales were, and we often forget they were just that, tales.
Although it is not my circus, nor my monkeys, I don’t like seeing people miss out on our Gods because the tales make Thor look like a hulking, stupid brute with anger management problems, where the real Thor is pretty chillax and a happy God, and Odin isn’t a shifty one-eyed schemer. We won’t even get into what folks have to say about Loki, as that bit keeps mysteriously deleting itself. Nor are the rest unworthy Gods, but that is the general opinion people who have never bothered working with Them get.
This article isn’t meant to scold people for doing it. Well, maybe a little, but mostly to point out that when we move beyond dogma, the Gods have so much more to offer us. So why not step beyond the tales and interact with our Gods to see what They are really like? And who better to lead us away than the Fool or Trickster? So let’s follow the Fool and see where He leads.
As always, all writing and photography are my original work. If quoting or borrowing for Internet use credit where credit is due and a link back are appreciated. All videos are used for educational and informational use only. If you own the copyright and want additional credit and links or something removed, please let me know.
Seeing Beyond the Rumors
The bad reputation the Gods (choose your pantheon) have online and in some books is simply breathtaking. It seems like everyone with an ax to grind has something spiteful to say about each of Them. And while we are all certainly free to draw out own conclusions from the stories, that is what they are there for, they are not a baseball bat to beat any pagan who doesn’t agree with us to death with.
Being a Lokean I can’t believe how many people, usually people who don’t even take Him seriously as a God, are willing to fight to the death for a bit of dogma that didn’t exist until someone wrote it online. Seriously? I frankly don’t care what anyone does or does not believe about Him, but I strongly dislike people who pop up where they weren’t even invited to attack other views. Seriously, who let them in?
And by doing this destructive behavior, they only hamper another pagan’s chance to grow and walk with the Gods, which is why I dislike it so much. Everyone has a right to their own beliefs, but we also have a right to grow beyond them when we realize we are using them as weapons. We also have the right to keep quiet when we realize that deep down, we only want to be right.
By actually working with the Gods we find They are the least concerned about what stories we believe. They want us, They want love, they want interaction, no dogma required. So why not let the Gods lead you into how they want you to view Them? It can’t hurt and there is no punishment awaiting those who don’t have a death grip on a bit of dogma. The Fool of course, is the enemy of dogma.
In the case of Loki, believe the story of His wrangling or not, it is His sacred duty to show up and punch the sacred beliefs full of holes where they no longer have value. It is not a malicious act, but the clearing out of dead, stagnant and dying energy to bring in vitality. Not that it turned out too well in His case, but I personally feel the tales at that point were overtly Christian, and as Loki Himself has said repeatedly: “What if We were laughing?”
Rev. Don's Vlog - Trickster
Wait! What Is Dogma?
Dogma is any set of beliefs handed down as true and beyond question that you better believe in, or else. The problem with dogma is that it also leads to punishment or banishment of those who don’t go along with the beliefs as literally true. Dogmatic beliefs often foster the belief a place of punishment for those who fail to adhere to them and often encourage hatred and intolerance of different belief systems.
Dogma differs from simple belief in that if let go of, the whole system crumbles. Cats love dogs, it rains jelly beans and the whole Universe spins into chaos. Not really, but followers are taught that it will. Trickster or mischief-making gods like Loki tend to dislike dogma as it puts Gods in tiny boxes filled with ticky-tacky nonsense that no one else may dare question.
Ask questions, explore. You should think for yourself as a pagan. Don’t be rude, obviously, or poke fun at beliefs you don’t hold, but explore.
All Things Always
What Happens When We Let Go Of Dogma?
Well, firstly, the earth won’t open and swallow us whole. Thor will not strike us dead with lightning and Odin will not send avenging Valkyries after us. Our Gods don’t set us up to fail, they set us up to thrive. No, seriously, they do. Odin isn’t waiting to paddle us when we die, Hel is not a jailer, nor is any pantheon out there really all that big on smiting folks.
When we let go of dogma we reach the Gods in the way they want to be reached. And I can say this from experience. I am a bit of a dunderhead, so of course when I first started learning I believed all sorts of fool nonsense about the Gods. Most of which wasn’t true, but as long as I held those beliefs, it acted like a filter in our interactions.
Odin wasn’t having any of it, nor was Thor. It took them time, but Odin proved He was a staunch friend and brother to Loki, He isn’t the enemy or a shifty old man no one can trust. He’s certainly a general, and He can be ruthless on the battlefield, but He’s not a monster. Though, like Loki, if you will only accept the dark and scary God...
Thor was just loving and happy from the get go. At first I thought I had Balder, who also comes around as Gods are pretty much Gods and can’t die, but nope, Thor is actually one cool dude and He can help you ground yourself, as can Odin. And trust me, if you are a Lokean, you need all the Norse Gods and Goddesses who like you around. Twenty four seven of the Loki show will make you coo coo for cocoa puffs.
So, find Them. Spend some time with Sigyn. Spend time getting to know Thor, or Tyr or anyone else who seems to be calling to you, and see where They lead you. And don’t worry if your experiences match mine or any one else’s. Love Them, walk with Them. They may well want something different from all of us.
Oh, and don’t get caught up in seeing Them the “right” way. They use, so far as I can tell, what They can pull from us. And so, no, you aren’t wrong or deluded because the Grand Poobah of Whomever thundered from on high that so and so looks only a certain way, or dresses a certain way or anything else.
And that goes for what language they speak and who They will work with as well. Gods don’t see color, religion or nationality. Only humans get caught up in that.
Not The Most Positive Take Of His Sacred Duties, But....
Walking Our Own Path
A lot of people would like to make paganism into something akin to the “organized” religions, especially if they get to be the leader. But from what we can see of old pagan ways, a lot of it was open to each household and individual to find the God or Goddess who called to them. Sure, there were temples that have been found and we know certain Gods loved certain groups, like Thor loving farmers, but we have no evidence that they were forced into a relationship and our Gods don’t work like that.
They might be very persistent in working with us, but we have to choose the relationship. We also have to choose how to view the relationship. Don’t let me or anyone else change how you interact with your Gods. Making Them happy should come first. Remember, there really is not right or wrong way, there is simply what works for you or doesn’t.
Celebrating The Fool and Trickster
People To Avoid If You Want To Stay Happy
I honestly believe in free will and I’m not saying the following individuals are evil. But I am saying they are on a mission to destroy your happiness because they have none themselves. Let go and let Goddess or God, you know?
Those who discount your experience as valid. I actually had to block some people on Pinterest. It’s pretty clear that these troublemakers just wanted to be right, all the time. Every time I shared a personal post they had to be rude, insulting or use it as a platform to show how they knew more, were better, or Loki admired them more. Well, isn’t that a whole sack of awesome? All it did was make me feel bad and of course that is exactly what they were after. Remember these people are very insecure. Don’t let their insecurity make you feel the same way.
More pagan than thou types. I personally don’t care how anyone views the Gods, so long as they don’t try and force it on me or get obnoxious over it. Not only will they discount your experience like the type above, but they must they prove they are more pagan than thou. No matter what you do they do it better. Walk away, do not engage. They are masters of stupid and will beat you down with experience.
Folks who judge you. Again, like the types above. But they will also hand out their ideas of where you are going. Maybe to an asylum if you are a godspouse, to hell if they don’t like your religion, or to a pagan equivalent if they don’t agree with your race, sexuality or views. Walk away, do not engage. Only our Gods speak for Themselves.
Those who force their views on you. But you knew that, right? The problem is, they don’t all use the same tactics. Some scream, some make fun of your beliefs, some just nag you to death until you surrender. Their belief system has a fatal flaw. If everyone doesn’t follow it, it will crumble. Good luck with that. No two humans in the history of ever have had carbon copy beliefs and we never will.
What are your views on dogma?
Do you think rigid structure is a good thing?
After we let go of rigid beliefs we learn to grow with our Gods. We can walk with Them on a daily basis, not fear or run from Them. And sometimes that means going away from the wrong types of pagans and finding the right ones, call it prayer or ritual, as you like, but our Gods can lead us there.
The thing to remember is that although freedom can be frightening, there is no authority to run to other than our Gods and we get to think for ourselves, it is our birthright. Our Gods love us and want us to succeed. They did not send us here to fail. They sent us here to learn and grow and become better, not perfect people.
We don’t have to achieve sainthood or avoid sin, both are alien concepts to Them. But learning to love Them is a must. And by letting go of dead and rigid structures we can do just that. The Fool, here Loki, you can choose your own, can lead us into that freedom, walking with us every step of the way.
Fools and Tricksters the world over can also help us find the right structure (not dogma) in that freedom, and what Gods or Goddesses we can best love. So take a step off the beaten path of the tales and rigid systems and explore. The Gods await you.