The Origin of Loki

“Loki is very handsome. He is plausible, convincing, likable, and far away the wiliest subtle and shrewd of all the inhabitants of Asgard.” ~ Neil Gaiman Norse Mythology 

“More ink has been spilled on Loki than any other figure in Norse Myth.” ~ Garbriel Turville- Petre

In this except I will give a brief summary of the origin of Loki, who He is, as well as various kennings and names for Him. Again, this is all gathered from various texts as well as my own UPG. If anything, this God has taught me how to shed any preconceived notions about everything so please read this with an understanding these are just the basics. I feel it is necessary to provide this merely as an introduction. Who Loki is to anyone, is sometimes simply, to be determined.

Loki Laufeyjarson is the son of the giant Farbauti or “cruel striker” and Laufey, or “null” which translates to needle. Little is known of His parentage. Although if you dig around you may find some notes that support Laufey is another representation of the “birch goddess” and interestingly enough one of the first things Loki asked me to do was to honor the birch tree, a very sacred symbol. I will dig a little deeper into Loki’s family in a separate post. I have discovered Loki is a VERY family-oriented deity, a surprising and endearing quality of this God.

He is the blood brother to Odin and as Lodur the full brother to Odin and Hoenir. I will be exploring Loki in the aspect of Lodur in another post as well. Loki has three children with the giantess Angrboda, the goddess of the underworld, Hel, Jorgumundr or the Great Serpent, and Fenrir Wolf. His wife is the goddess Sigyn, another name for “victory” and with Her He has two children, Narvi and Vali.

His relationship with the Gods is complicated. In the lore He is always dancing between being good or evil, His role is to maintain transformation and order among the Aesir and our world, always shifting, and always changing to what is required to be. I believe there is no evil in Loki, just what is deemed necessary to fix the problem at hand, or sometimes to create a new one in order to bring about necessary change. in 1835 Jacob Grimm produced a major theory that Loki is a God of fire which can be arguably supported by His association with the hearthstone, the Snaptun stone. There are many associations of Loki also with water in the myth such as when He transformed into a seal and a salmon.

Loki’s first mention is in the Snorri’s Prose Edda in the book Gylfaginning, chapter 20 where He is described as a cunning, ambiguous trickster figure. I would suggest to anyone interested in Loki or any of the Norse deities to read the Prose and Poetic Edda. Jackson Crawford is my personal favorite for translations. You will quickly come to find the lore would be far less interesting without Loki.

We will be exploring some of the more elusive tales about Him in monthly blog posts.

The origin of Loki’s name is much debated. I knew Him first as His other popular name, “Lopt” which translates to “lofty one.” This could be a kenning for Loki’s ability in the lore to travel through the sky with special shoes, hence another kenning “Sky Treader.” There is also much debate on Loki being “Lodur,” the mysterious god that makes up the trio of Odin and Hoenir during the creator of humans. Lodur is the giver of blood, Lita, and the color of life during creation. Due to the complexity of this comparison and my personal feeling Loki IS Lo∂ur, I will delve into this in a separate post as well.

Other possible origins of Loki’s name are the less widely known explanation given by Anne Birgitta Rooth who attempted to connect Loki’s name to Old Swedish “lokke“, spider. Dagulf Loptson also mentions in their book, Playing With Fire, an Exploration of Loki Laufeyjarson,  that they believe there is a connection with the Indo-European root word “leuk” which means “light.” I feel that they are both appropriate connections given that Loki is known by some as the “Light Bringer” one who sheds light on truth as well as the spider who weaves. In later Icelandic usage the word Loki means “Knot” or to tangle which yet again, makes sense considering how often Loki tends to entangle the gods up in His stratagems concerning the lore.

In conclusion, regardless of His origin, the lore and our world would be far less interesting without Him. He is the unquiet thought that rolls blissfully off our tongues and the gleeful maddening glee in our hearts and minds.


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