Take a look at several definitions of marriage and the etymology of wedlock. The gist of things involves a union, joining, mingling, or combining of two (or more) disparate components, and the act of following through on a pledge.
Keep these broad definitions in mind throughout this post, as I delve into the controversial aspect of religion and spirit work known as godspousery, or marriage to gods or spirits. Direct from the mouth (or in this case, fingers) of one of the more infamous categories of godspouses: a Lokean godspouse.
So, what is a godspouse?
A godspouse is a human devotee who is married to a god. “God” in this context is a gender-neutral term like “deity,” since deities of any gender could conceivably be wed to humans.
Why would a god want a marriage with a human?
The concise answer is: I’m not a god, so I don’t know. But I’ll dig to what I perceive is the root of this question, which is impersonal versus personal gods.
Not everyone has a personal or close relationship with or view of deities. Even very religious people from any tradition may view deities as impersonal or at least distant, forces too large to directly interact with. That’s fine.
What’s also fine is that some others (myself included) tend to see some or all deities as personal. In this way, any kind of mutual, two-way relationship may form. Many people see gods as parents, grandparents, mentors, teachers, friends, casual business partners, and so on. In Heathenry, we even have an example in Eyrbyggja saga of Thorolf, referred to in chapter three as a “great friend of Thor”. He turns to Thor directly for advice and help when needed, as any friend might do, and Thor responds accordingly.
With the possibility of any unique relationship dynamic with a personal god, a romantic or marital dynamic is a reasonable possibility for some.
Some godspouses do not fall neatly into the scenario I’ve given, and may have married for ritual, religious, or practical reasons not involving an emotional or personal connection with the deity in question. I won’t speak on this further as it’s not my experience, but I’m aware this may also occur.
Why would someone marry a god?
The answers are infinitely diverse.
Are all oaths to gods marriages?
Not at all. While I see marriage as inherently involving an oath of some kind, not all oaths are marriages. For instance, a Kindred member of mine is oathed to Angrboda, and Angrboda has become an adopted mother to her.
Is it like marrying a human?
Maybe in some ways. There’s a huge range of experiences, from religious acts in forms not resembling human marriage, all the way to casually personal dynamics where the god and godspouse experience everyday mundanities together like any married couple. I’d guess that most fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum.
Does godspousery involve sex with gods?
Maybe, maybe not. It varies from relationship to relationship, and even when the answer is “yes,” it may depend on your definition of sex. It may look a lot different than you might imagine (i.e. energy exchange and spiritual connection without bodily involvement). Then again, it may be physical. Everyone is different.
Is this a weird, modern trend?
Not at all. Many cultures throughout history have examples of spiritual marriage for religious purposes. Fjothr gives a great overview of the history here.
The most accessible, well-known example is, of course, Catholic nuns.
Are you a godspouse?
I am. After an evolving relationship and a process of discernment and preparation, I made my formal marriage oath to Loki in the presence of my gods and ancestors on November 1, 2017, at the age of 28.
Isn’t it arrogant? Doesn’t it make it seem like godspouses are special compared to other followers?
Not at all. Gods may love godspouse devotees differently than a devotee with a different dynamic (such as god’s child, god’s friend, god’s student) but in my experience there is no comparison.
I would be horrified, for instance, if anyone were to suggest I was more beloved as Loki’s spouse than my kin who are Lokadottir, Lokason, or any of His People. That’s plainly false.
Doesn’t this deny or disrespect the deity’s spouse(s) from lore?
Not necessarily, no. Ideally, a marriage oath to a deity would be with the full, discerned blessing of any deities who are already partnered to your spouse.
In my experience, Angrboda was in fact the first one to point out the path my devotional relationship was taking, before I or even Loki acknowledged it. I have a close and tender relationship with Sigyn, as well, and she supports and understands my love for Loki. I have no need or desire to compare myself to Angrboda and Sigyn (both breathtaking and powerful gods in their own rights) in order to be wed as a human to their mutual partner.
Why did you marry Loki?
The short answer: because I wanted to.
My experience of the divine in the case of Loki involved, in human terms, falling in love. I could elaborate on why I fell in love for several paragraphs, or I could state that the feeling is ultimately inexplicable. Why do some humans experience romantic feelings when interacting with some but not all other people? Why do I, as a human, spiritually experience some deities as a sensation of non-romantic love (family love, love for a child, love for a parent, love for a mentor, friendship love, or even respect but distance), and others as a sensation of romantic love? There’s no logical way to pinpoint this feeling for anyone. It exists subjectively.
For me, the romantic sensation I feel for Loki is inextricable from religious devotion as well as the desire to tie my spiritual energy and my wyrd to Loki with a formal oath, with eyes wide open to the potential consequences, as well as to Loki’s flaws. For me, this oath is a formal commitment and energetic connection I carry with me everywhere I go and in everything I do. For me, it comes with certain ritual commitments, as well as a commitment to self-knowledge and change via certain Lokean lessons. It also gives me access to a state of connection and mutual unconditional love, which I find spiritually and emotionally satisfying.
For me, it differs from my typical relationships with humans (beyond the obvious matter of physical bodies), because it involves my religious beliefs, feelings of worship, and existential questions about the creation of my life and my eventual afterlife. In this way, it’s not the same concept as sharing my life with a human spouse. However, in a broader sense of the word, “marriage” still fits.
How did you know that Loki wanted to marry you?
In my earliest communication with Angrboda, she called me something. It wasn’t quite in words, in that funny astral way of things, but it roughly translated to “aww, so you’re Loki’s small, breakable, newest mortal wife? *head pats*” to which my response was “uh huh… wait, what?”
I forgot about it for a while, but over time, as my bond with Loki deepened and I witnessed more and more of his aspects, our mutual feelings became clear.
Prior to my wedding to Loki in this lifetime, I carried a lot of baggage about marriage: from my biological family’s toxic facades of marriages, from unhealthy social messages, from historical lessons about brides as property, from the capitalism of mainstream wedding planning, from oppressive governments picking and choosing which marriages to acknowledge, from my experience growing up queer and Catholic. I decided what marriage meant and that I would never want any part of it. In true Loki fashion, as soon as I expressed to a Kindred member that I planned to stay as Loki’s consort indefinitely and not become a godspouse? Loki set off to break apart my preconceived notions, to redefine, expand, and change my mind.
It obviously worked. I married him out of my free will, because with a fresh perspective, I realized it was what I truly wanted and needed.
In practical terms, I knew he wanted to marry me via the regular ways I already communicate with gods and spirits. This includes: divination tools, dreams, being hit over the head with coincidences and signs, music, art, and detailed communication about it with him and other gods and spirits during rituals and trance work. I also discussed it thoroughly with my Kindred members, and with divination, asked for the opinions of each of my main ancestors, who all gave their blessings.
Is Loki the only god people marry or consort to?
Not at all. Within my personal connections alone, I’m friends with someone who’s been Baldr’s consort for years, a different friend is consort to Freyja, and yet another to Freyr.
Outside of Heathenry, many religions around the world have examples of human-deity marriages, as mentioned above.
Loki, huh? So you just want to hook up with Tom Hiddleston?
I’m a lesbian. Also, nope. No interest.
Lesbian? With Loki? How does that…?
Lesbian is a human identity referring to my love for and exclusive romantic interest in human women. Gods are not human, and in my opinion, spiritual experiences often transcend human labels. (For example, even some conservative Christians acknowledge men they presume straight as Brides of Christ.)
That said, as attested in lore, Loki is fluid in gender expression, and referred to as a man and as a woman (as well as shapeshifted forms like salmon and mare). In modern human terms (UPG), I believe appropriate labels for Loki can include trans, non-binary, gender fluid, and queer, with an identity that is sometimes “woman,” regardless of how his “body” appears at any given time.
I frequently view him as my goddess and wife, or as my gender-neutral deity and spouse, despite using he/him pronouns for him most often.
But aren’t most Lokean godspouses teenage Marvel fangirls?
First of all, godspouses can be any gender, and I believe personally that in most cases, only adults should be making the life-changing act of an oath, such as a marriage oath.
Second, arguments that insult “fangirls” for emotionality tend to be based in misogyny.
Third, this is a tired stereotype. Let this poor stereotype take a nap already, please. This person exists far less frequently than detractors would like to believe, if they even exist at all. Sure, there are fans who profess love and marital desires for Marvel Loki or his actor, without an awareness of Norse polytheism, as in any fandom, but I’ve never personally seen one approach Lokean godspousery. Sure, there are Lokean godspouses who originally became aware of Norse polytheism via Marvel movies, but I’ve never seen cause to doubt their genuine devotion.
But I’ve met real people claiming to be “godspouses” who are just fantasizing thanks to fandom!
If that’s true (a big skeptical “if” for the reasons above), all right. So what? For actual pre-teen and teen children, I trust in Loki’s care and respect for children, if he chooses to intervene at all. He’s more than capable of handling the situation age-appropriately and with empathy.
For adults, I leave that, too, in his capable hands. Yes, consent in deity relationships works both ways, and yes, it’s inappropriate to try and coerce a god to marry you (this mindset I have seen, though only once). In my experience, however, Loki is amazing at eradicating self-deception, and if in fact this is happening, he’ll make that clear one way or another… and probably have an awful lot of trickster fun along the way.
I believe policing respectability by trying to silence any non-oppressive outliers like a rare few who may be non-spiritually fandom-obsessed or lacking in discernment is a waste of my time, and not my call to make. Most people who think all godspouses are “crazy” have a different philosophical framework all together, typically one that rejects mysticism wholecloth. Trying to prove serious discernment and the genuineness of my mystical experiences to skeptical strangers by insulting those who appear more flighty, emotional, or imaginative (or stereotypically younger or more feminine) seems absolutely pointless to me, and probably causes more harm than good.
Speaking of mysticism… how do you know it’s not just in your head?
Ignoring what I see as a false dichotomy between “in the head” and “real”… I don’t know! No one has unquestionable proof, and that’s true of any religious or spiritual beliefs.
For me, it comes down to a balance between practical discernment, healthy doubt, trust, and belief. My religious views have been formed by feelings and senses, shared personal gnosis, divination, trance work including things I didn’t want to hear and wouldn’t have thought to tell myself, things that surprised and startled me, eerie coincidences… you name it. And I still doubt. I get the sense Loki is deeply amused by my lack of object permanence: it takes me about 15 minutes after dramatic synchronicities and divine omens for me to start questioning again. Maybe less.
But my spirituality is also something I choose, openly and willingly, just as I believe the gods chose me. I make the choice every day to trust, stay determined, stick to my commitment, and embrace my intuition.
Ultimately, though, questioning isn’t a bad thing. Skepticism is a pretty Lokean trait if I say so myself.
What about human partners?
Many godspouses have relationships with human partners too, while others prefer not to or have oathed not to. Different traditions may have different requirements.
How does godspousery differ from priesthood?
This is a matter of opinion that varies between and within traditions. To me, as of right now, here’s my personal take on the matter. I am training for clergy work as a gythia, and that role (priesthood) is a public one, serving my communities via religious duties.
My role as a godspouse is a private one, and the duties I’ve oathed to within that role are not necessarily for public consumption or directly for the benefit of the whole community, but for myself and my god.
Loki has made it very clear, no matter my day job, no matter if I become a clergyperson or not, he is my spouse, part of me, and will be with me the rest of my life and afterwards. That, to me, is the difference.
I’m sure I missed something, but I hope this provides a decent overview! Feel free to comment with more questions, or your own experiences.