Tangles and Karma

This morning when I got up, the odd light in the kitchen started flickering. It flickered for a while, and then was quiet, while still lit. Lately this seems to be his latest trick when Loki wants my attention. But then again, maybe the light bulb is going bad. Except that it still works when Loki does not want my attention. Thus my confusion. So when such moments of confusion arise, I stop what I’m doing and tune in to the spirit of things.

I noticed that the Winds were up today. The emotion carried by the Winds felt like grief. I asked the Creek Woman if someone had died, and she said yes, but again, I have no way to know if this is a neighbor, or whether the Winds are carrying the collective grief of our time. Deaths from Covid and more recently the unaccountable killings of black people by police would also certainly qualify to be carried by the Winds. Specific answers do not come in human terms when one is working with the Vettir, the Alfar, the Aesir, or the Jotun.

I keenly felt the strangeness of this day. Driving the school bus seemed down right surreal. Stop after stop no students got on the bus. Finally at my last stop, one student did board. I later learned that two students with Covid had shut down the Middle School and and all their students were on quarantine. Added to this disquiet, the paving work on the roughest areas of my main road added additional stops and starts to the normal stops and starts of the school bus run, throwing off my normal daily rhythm.

Being thrown off my rhythm offered a new twist to my day and an opportunity to work on becoming more comfortable with uncertainty. I was not alone in this: another driver had been directed off her customary run with a tree that caught on fire from an adjacent power line. Spread the ripple effect out to the firefighters and everyone caught in traffic today and the totality of the conceptual experiences of those affected by events boggles the mind. Yet this is going on all the time. Behind the scenes everything is always in movement- the Sun, the Stars, the Earth, the Moon. Movement is life, and time is the breath of God. Movement is vibration.

People don’t always see the larger implications of the movement of life, because we are so tangled by the needs, wants, and desires of the ego. When I take the time to go within to the greater reality of soul and spirit, I am more aware of other possibilities.

The strange pace of this day reminds me of a recurring thought I have been having lately of Loki as a tangler. What always amazes me is no matter how tangled situations can get, with Loki’s help, I somehow slip smoothly through. I believe the secret is staying open, ready and willing to face whatever might come up, identifying with nothing and prepared for everything.

Loki is not a process order kind of guy. He brings the Chaos into a situation through and through, yet finds the loop hole in the tangle to fall through and be on his way again. The only time I am aware of that this didn’t work so well for him was when he became a salmon to escape the combined might of the Aesir; he had woven their attention too well with his “flyting” at Aegir’s party (Poetic Edda: Lokasenna), got caught, and bound.

When I think of tangles and I think of Loki, I also think of the weaving of the Norns and their mighty efforts to oversee the Web of Wyrd. If attention is the thread of the Weave, and if attention is that with which I weave my personal Ørlög (karma) and Wyrd (fate/destiny), then I must ask myself what is holding my attention? Is my attention scattered like leaves driven before the Winds today? Or is my attention focused on my tasks or upon my goals? Or is this a time to relax my attention in the diffuse awareness of simply BEING?

Is there something I need to notice? The conscious act of simply observing is a very “Loki-esque” type of activity too. As the agent of sensory perception in human beings*, Loki often calls my attention when he wants me to notice my perceptual experience. (*See Ve-Lođur-Loki connection in Playing With Fire by Dagulf Lopton, and the story of how three God-brothers gave life to two trees in the Norse Creation Mythos). As soon as I had the thought of writing this blog, Loki’s apparent demands for attention were quiet again. I conclude that Loki as “tangler” represents a conscious force in the Universe whereby people are coerced to face themselves under many different circumstances.

Back to the work of the three great Norns: Urdr, Verđandi, and Skuld. They hold sacred space for all of our learning experiences on the Earth plane (Midgard). If the threads the Norns weave represent our attention, then perceptual experience can provide the tangle represented by Loki. How many times has perception -taken in from our sensory apparatus- led us astray having been confused by our interpretation of events that may or may not be true? Add our conceptual feelings and thoughts about events to the mix, and when people come together over anything, it is amazing that we can agree on anything at all!

The Norns oversee our experience within the flow of Time. Urd, the past, reveals the things we have learned from experience. Verđandi’s “Now” is the present moment, and our point of personal power. We cannot act in the past, nor can we act in the future. But we have the present moment in which we make decisions and choices, sometimes on the spur of the moment and sometimes after long deliberation. Our choices are not always conscious, as the experiences of the past color and condition our present. Despite this, I have found that the more conscious (aware, responsible, prepared) I can be, I can choose for my Destiny as opposed to the law of accident (random things that happen). From the present moment the potentials of the future are always flowing. This is Skuld’s providence.

A well lived life requires a certain amount of introspection and self-examination. This process seems to transform our souls as we move from task to task, and choice to choice. It makes us wise, and it makes us interesting to those who also self reflect, but perhaps boring to those who do not. I don’t know about you, dear reader, but I like being boring.

Published by susanofthenorth

Susan Hintz Epstein is an author, Rune diviner, healer, non-academic scholar, and former Methodist Lay Speaker who was called by the Runes in 2013. The time since then has been a serpentine shedding of one skin for another, as Susan's spiritual practice with the Runes and the World Tree, Yggdrasil, deepened. Susan keeps company with the Norns and other like-minded women.

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