On the Gentleness of Loki

Loki has always seemed like a family man to me – loving husband of Sigyn, fiery consort of Angrboda, father (and mother) to Narvi, Vali, Jormungand, Hela, Fenrir, and Sleipnir and even some troll women.  He has always treated me like an adoptive daughter, or his favorite niece, and is nothing but endless warm campfires, electric energy, and wild, playful divinity.  As Lodur, he gave the first humans vitality, that very spark of life that gives us spirit, and we invoke him, his blood-brother Odin, and the swan-god Hoenir at every blot – Odin, Vili, Ve, sung in harmony until the energy builds and the sacred is separated from the profane.

I first learned of Loki as a child from Norse mythology books – a wily red-haired trickster that got the gods into trouble, but also gave them their greatest gifts – Gugnir, Mjolnir, Gullinbristi.  Having been a pagan since the age of 7, and before that not really self-aware enough to think beyond myself spiritually, I never had the so-called Christian baggage many Heathens seem to have about Loki, equating him to some kind of Norse Satan, whereas the Loki in Ragnarok could equally be Utgard-Loki or even Logi depending on your translation.  No, to me, Loki, though Jotun-blooded, is firmly Aesir in alignment, most often spotted in the company of Odin or his bosom adventuring friend Thor.  He is the champion of the outcasts, of those that dare to speak the truth, of the mentally ill, of wise men and women that walk backwards, upside-down through society.  In him I found a kindred soul.  Within the palace of his spirit, I am home.

I went through a HUGE Loki phase at age 16, long before the Marvel movies (which by the way, he is not at all like Tom Hiddleston) and the green-eyed flame haired trickster soon made himself apparent in visitations alongside Samael, whether that be in dive bars throughout the worlds, at gyms for the Greek pantheon where he would challenge Athena to a bench press contest, Apollo to discus, or Artemis to crossbow shooting, and party after party where he and Sam would drink… and drink… and drink… and drink… joke… play pranks… drink some more.

From the instant I met Loki, I was besotted.  He was tender, compassionate, yet still a trickster, a prankster, a jokester, the zero-sum fool and jester all at once, happy to help out a mortal girl and give sage life advice.  He rarely asked for anything in offerings, maybe just some Skittles or a crazily frosted cupcake, to be included in my writings, to reflect upon the sacrifices he and his family made for Asgard.  He is all about duty, in his own way, and you will rarely find anyone wiser than Odin’s silvertongued brother.

There are so many lessons I’ve learned from my ardent, devoted research on him, his devotee’s writings, interacting with him personally for close to ten years, and just generally soaking up any information about him like a Loki sponge.  The biggest lesson, though, is that you never know what struggle someone else is going through, so always, always, be compassionate.  Be grace.  Be gentle.  Most recently, his lesson has been to care for the homeless.  He comes to me as a hobo, as a wild man, as a homeless veteran, living off the land and city streets, Lokabrenna seen from the gutter.

I have never met his Breaker of Worlds aspect, but there is madness behind even the kindest moment with him.  The kind of pain I’ve felt at losing control of everything you’ve held dear – your very sanity itself – and in that loss we are kin.  In the loss of control, in the Ragnarok rage, to destroy all those that have harmed you, we are the same.  Whether or not Ragnarok is real, a metaphor, already happened – I don’t care.  Loki is bound and free, sly and honest, Asgard’s greatest ally and greatest foe, Jotun and Aesir, innangard and utgard.  Holy and unholy.

But above all, he is a hero.  My hero.  Friend of my heart and dear guide on the twists and turns of a many times uncertain life.


4 thoughts on “On the Gentleness of Loki

  1. I recently rediscovered your blog and have not been disappointed with what I’m reading, be it poetry or long form like this.

    It’s heart warming to read about this gentler side of Loki. I’ve known that he has it, but when most of what I see is either him being a shit or trying to break/remake, its hard believe its there.

    • Thanks so much Kat – it’s funny, Loki always seems to come to people in the forms they least expect. I can’t imagine what makes him choose which form, only that it is often to teach lessons… or perhaps just cause some mayhem, or pressure coal into diamonds.

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