Tag: Loki (Page 2 of 2)

The Theft of Idun’s Apples

idun's applesVERY EARLY ONE SUMMER MORNING, Odin, Loki and Honir crossed into Midgard, happy in one another’s company, and in- tent upon exploring some part of the earth not already known to them.

In the pale blue, almost pale green light that gives an edge to everything, the three friends crossed a desolate reach of grit, patrolled only by the winds. Before men in Midgard had stirred and woken, the gods were striding over scrubby, undulating ground. Then they tramped round a great mass of spiky, dead, dark rock, and headed for the summit of a conical mountain.

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Loki’s Children and the Binding of Fenrir

binding of fenrirTHE MOTHER OF SLEIPNIR was also the father of three appalling children. Not content with his faithful wife Sigyn, Loki sometimes took off for Jotunheim; the long-legged god hurried east and spent days and nights on end with the giantess Angrboda.

Loki and Angrboda had three monstrous offspring. The eldest was the wolf Fenrir; the second was Jormungand, greatest of serpents; and the third was a daughter called Hel. Even in a crowd of a thousand women, Hel’s looks were quite likely to single her out : her face and neck and shoulders and breasts and arms and back, they were all pink; but from her hips down, every inch of Hers skin looked decayed and greenish-black.

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The Building of Asgard’s Wall

Building Asgards WallLong after the Golden Age, it was still very early in the cycle of time. And long after the war between the Aesir and the Vanir, the wall around Asgard that the Vanir had razed with their battle-magic remained a ring of rubble, deserted, the home of eagles and ravens.

The gods were anxious that the wall should be rebuilt, so that Asgard would be safe from evil-doers, but none were eager to take the heavy burden of rebuilding on their own shoulders. This is how matters stood for some time until, one day, a solitary figure on horseback cantered over the trembling rainbow, and was stopped by the watchman Heimdall.

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Norse Mythology: A Brief Synopsis

According to Norse mythology, the beginning of life was fire and ice, with the existence of only two worlds: Muspelheim and Niflheim. When the warm air of Muspelheim hit the cold ice of Niflheim, the jötunn Ymir and the icy cow Audhumla were created. Ymir’s foot bred a son and a man and a woman emerged from his armpits, making Ymir the progenitor of the Jotun. Whilst Ymir slept, the intense heat from Muspelheim made him sweat, and he sweated out Surtr, a jötunn of fire. Later Ymir woke and drank Audhumbla’s milk. Whilst he drank, the cow Audhumbla licked on a salt stone. On the first day after this a man’s hair appeared on the stone, on the second day a head and on the third day an entire man emerged from the stone. His name was Búri and with an unknown jötunn female he fathered Bor, the father of the three gods Odin, Vili and Ve.

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Loki

Loki, the Trickster, challenges the structure and order of the Gods which is necessary in bringing about needed change. In the Prose Edda Snorri Sturluson writes that Loki:

is handsome and fair of face, but has an evil disposition and is very changeable of mood. He excelled all men in the art of cunning, and he always cheats. He was continually involving the Aesir in great difficulties and he often helped them out again by guile.

loki

Neither an Aesir or a Vanir, he is the son of two giants and yet the foster-brother of Odin. Loki embodies the ambiguous and darkening relationship between the gods and the giants. He is dynamic and unpredictable and because of that he is both the catalyst in many of the myths and the most fascinating character in the entire mythology. Without the exciting, unstable, flawed figure Loki, there would be no change in the fixed order of things, no quickening pulse, and no Ragnarok.

He is responsible for a wager with a giant which puts Freyja into peril (Myth 3) but by changing both shape and sex (characteristics he has in common with Odin) he bails her out. In Myth 10 he shears Sif’s hair which is more mischievous than evil, but he makes amends in the end. In Myth 8 his deceit leads to the loss of the golden apples of youth… but he retrieves them again. He helps the Gods and gets them out of predicaments, but spawns the worst monsters ever seen on the face of the Earth: Fenrir, Jormungand, the Midgard Wyrm. His other children include the goddess Hel (Hella, Holle), and Sleipnir, Odin’s 8-legged horse.

It is now generally accepted that he is not a late invention of the Norse poets but an ancient figure descended from a common Indo-European prototype and as such, Loki’s origins are particularly complex. He has been compared to a number of European and other mythological figures, most notably the Trickster of Native American mythology.

Loki

As the myths play out, the playful Loki gives way to a cruel predator, hostile to the gods. He not only guides the mistletoe dart that kills Balder but stands in his way on his return from Hel (the citadel of Niflheim). His accusations against the gods at Aegir’s feast (Myth 30) are vicious. He is an agent of destruction causing earthquakes. And when he breaks loose at Ragnarok, Loki reveals his true colors; he is no less evil than his three appalling children, the serpent Jormungand, the wolf Fenrir and the half-dead, half-alive Hel (Myth 7), and he leads the giants and monsters into battle against the gods and heros.

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