Loki, The Norse God of Mischief, Trickery, and Illusion
“So? This isn’t the first time the world has come to an end. And it won’t be the last either.”Loki
The great trickster god of the Norse pantheon, Loki was a devious deity known for his many schemes and deceptions. While certainly cunning, he was also crafty, malicious, selfish, arrogant, and a sore loser. The tales also portray him as a playful, albeit sometimes helpful, coward who was always irreverent and nihilistic.
Most importantly, he was talented. A shapeshifter, Loki’s forms were as varied as the motives for his mischief, which included wealth, women, irony, and the sheer pleasure of demonstrating his abilities. He could take any form, and was most renowned among the gods for the use of his magic in this sense. In particular, he was greatest of all the gods perhaps of all time at shapeshifting, illusion, and invisibility. He used these skills to revel in the constant defiance of what were considered acceptable standards in society. According to Loki, the gods were “not to be worshipped, but ignored, to be overcome, or mocked.” He had a flair for the dramatic, the comedic, the artistic and the ironic.
When wit and wile are the weapons of choice
With Loki, appearances were never what they seemed. While Loki’s antics frequently embroiled the gods in sticky situations, his tricks often rescued them from troubled times as well. To this end, Loki was neither supportive for nor outright against the gods. He was neither good nor evil, and was instead to be a partisan of disorder itself, a figure who tested boundaries and challenged conventions. His chaotic inconsistency reminded the gods that the boundaries between good and evil were far more tenuous than they suspected. He constantly charmed or won over the gods to his side as often as he angered them.
Loki’s chief attributes were his wit and wile. He seldom engaged in physical combat, and as such carried no known weapons. He also lacked any well-attested charms, garments, or vehicles. Although the connection is unknown, the brightest star in the sky, Sirius, was called “Lokabrenna” by the Nordic and Icelandic people. The name meant “burning by Loki”, or “Loki’s torch”. Speaking to his great renown came from his mind and illusions.
A tangle in the Pattern and tangles must be cut out
For the centuries that Norse mythology has been a subject of study, scholars have been unable to explain the meaning of Loki’s name in any convincing way. Most have simply thrown their hands up and declared the meaning of his name to be unknown and probably unknowable. Recently, however, the philologist Eldar Heide solved this puzzle. In his research into Nordic folklore from periods more recent than the Viking Age, Heide noticed that Loki often appears in contexts that liken him to a knot on a thread. In fact, in later Icelandic usage, the common noun loki even means “knot” or “tangle.” Heide concluded that Loki is the “tangle” in the otherwise straight thread of the pattern and is the fatal flaw that ultimately brings about the demise of the gods.
The tangle or knot that is his soul in the pattern manifests at times of great change as if the pattern is weaving so fast, the threads tangle on themselves, and must be addressed in order for the pattern to resume its weaving. Notably, Loki’s biological father is himself from another Age.
The Myth of Loki: When you literally become your father
Loki was conceived in the 1st Age. His mother was Zephyr Lelantos, the heir of a great and ancient Atharim family whose firstborn was destined to bring an end to the gods. His father was Jaxen Marveet, who bartered away his firstborn on a boon to the Aelfinn, unknowing or not caring that Zephyr was with child at the time. This means that Loki is the reincarnated soul of himself as Jaxen as well as his own biological son.
Zephyr’s baby was born within the realm of the Finns before his mother was returned to earth. The child was given to Odin on a quest for knowledge, who carried the baby back to Asgard, where he ruled as the leader of the Norse pantheon of gods. He raised the child as his own blood-brother during the 6th Age.
The end of the world
One of his greatest moments of infamy was that he was responsible for the death of Baldr, the beloved son of Odin and god of light and purity. Baldr dreamt his own prophetic death and his parents extracted oaths from all living beings that none would harm their son, but Loki, in an attempt to prove a point about mortality, kindly demonstrated the absurdity of such a claim that nobody can escape death. Loki tricked Baldr’s blind brother, Hodr, into throwing a spear made of mistletoe at Baldr, which killed him. This caused great grief and anger among the gods and triggered the chain of events that ultimately led to Ragnarök.
Loki’s treacherous behavior and cunning nature also made him a potential threat to the stability and order to the realm of the gods. When Loki stole the golden apples of immortality from the goddess Idun it caused the gods to age and weaken. Odin was particularly furious with this act, as it put the entire community of gods at risk. He further instigated the conflict between the gods and the giants, all of which ultimately led to the final battle of Ragnarök.
Odin therefore saw it as his duty to punish Loki for his actions, and he did so in one of the cruelest ways possible. Loki had four children. The three borne by his mistress Angrboða were already prophesied to die in Ragnarök, but his channeler-son born by his beloved wife Sigyn was only a minor deity and generally overlooked. Odin sent another of his sons, Vali, to hunt down, capture and kill Narvi as reprimand for Baldr’s demise. Meanwhile, Odin captured Loki, imprisoning him before the Allfather’s throne. Parading the desecrated body of his son, even draping his entrails across his father’s chains, was the last thing Loki endured before he was banished back to the land of the Aelfinns. Together, this was about the only thing that could truly punish Loki. Sigyn pleaded to accompany her husband, and together the two were banished out of the time of the 6th Age to the world of the Finns. The return to the realm of the snakes was an eternal punishment. There, he was chained to a rock, slowly poisoned and tortured for his emotions to the boon of the Finn’s. Sigyn was his only attendant for hundreds of years.
Ragnarök, the Atharim, and the end of the Age
Meanwhile, while hundreds of years lapsed for Loki and Sigyn, back on earth, only a short period of time passed. The tension between the mortals and gods quickly escalated, led by the Atharim seeking to overthrow and unseat the gods of Asgard. It is unknown how the giantess Skadi found them, but she knew that for the gods to be overthrown, Loki had to return to the battle. She severed his bindings and helped him escape the Aelfinn realm. When he and Sigyn returned to earth, he was pissed. It was at this point that the agent of chaos and disorder shifted into full on hatred of the gods and wanted to see them destroyed.
In the final battle, Loki led an army of giants, monsters, and the dead. His last act was to seek to destroy Bifröst, the magical road that Odin used to banish him to the Aelfinn and cut off all travel to the other realms forever. The godly guardian of the Bifröst stood to defend it, and before the gates to the realms, Loki and Heimdall fought fiercely. They each lay a fatal blow to the other, and while Heimdall died first, Loki was soon to follow.
Loki was the final channeler to die and with his final breath, the Age of Gods came to a bloody end.
Loki was attached to two women in particular. Sigyn, his wife, and his mistress, the giantess Angrboða. He was protective of his four children but especially attached to Narvi.
Sigyn: Loki’s wife and the mother of his son, Narvi. When Loki was imprisoned following the death of Baldr, Sigyn opted to accompany him on the banishment.
Narvi: The channeler son of Loki by his wife Sigyn. As revenge for the death of Baldr, Odin sent his son Vali to capture and kill Narvi. Loki was closest to this son, likely because of his children, this was the only one that he was actually around, and as a result, his body was desecrated after his death. Legend says his guts were part of Loki’s chains. He was generally a minor god in the pantheon, but his death ended Loki’s line.
Angrboða: The giantess jötunn associated with chaos and destruction. Her name translates to “she who brings grief” or “she who offers sorrow.” As Loki’s mistress, she was the mother of three of his children and was instrumental in Fenrir’s release from gleipnir.
Fenrir: The son of Loki’s by his mistress Angrboða, considered the legendary father of werewolves. He was imprisoned young by Odin out of fear of Fenrir’s place in prophecy. Loki was aware of Fenrir’s fate and consistently ‘convinced’ Tyr to trust Fenrir, in a way providing his son a friend.
Jörmungandr: The second son of Loki by his mistress Angrboða. This kid was well accepted as an actual evil monster. Far surpassing his father’s mildly villainous virtues and went off the deep end of crazy. So monstrous and evil was this guy, he was eventually depicted as the great serpent coiling around and choking the whole world. He was doom incarnate and the killer of Thor during Ragnarök. Loki made sure his son escaped the kingdom alive and afterward kept track of his son, but did not see him again until Ragnarök.
Hel: The third child and only daughter of Loki by his mistress Angrboða. She was banished to another realm early in life and Loki had little of a relationship with her.
Loki represents a tangle in the pattern of the Age. When he is born, his soul moves erratically through the passage of the Ages and stories told by the Pattern.
1st Age – His soul is born Jaxen Marveet. His unborn child by Zephyr is transported to the realm of the Aelfinn.
2nd Age – His soul is born a channeler who converts to the Shadow and is imprisoned in Shayol Ghul during the attack of the Hundred Companions. He is perfectly preserved deep inside Shayol Ghul and blessedly unaware of the passage of time.
3rd Age – He emerges from the prison of Shayol Ghul as one of the Forsaken. Yet while not overtly evil, he serves himself as an agent of chaos and moves against the other Forsaken more than the carrying out the agenda of the Dark One. Due to his chaos nature and general hatred of the other Forsaken, he aids Arikan in hunting them down.
4th Age – Although a member of the Forsaken, he survives the Last Battle and sees the 4th Age. When the Dark One is sealed in the Last Battle, the Dark One’s tethering to his soul is released. His is the only soul to see three ages as one rebirth.
6th Age – He is brought into the 6th Age by Odin, who was given the child Loki by the Aelfinn.