Thursday, February 20, 2014

Be Inspired by Loki

The Liminal Trickster

Loki lays screaming in agony as she pushes again, her muscles burning from exhaustion, her womb opening up. Her breath comes short and shallow, in painful bursts.

After hours of struggle, hours of labor, Loki gives birth to an eight legged horse, the horse that will become Odin's mount, who will carry Odin both when he and Loki are brothers, and later when they are enemies, and will ultimately help to kill Loki who is her mother.

Loki could be male or female, and in both forms she/he had many strange children, massive wolves, deadly snakes, and eight legged horses.

Loki is a confusing being, one who like many trickster figures is both good and bad, creator and destroy.

To understand Loki we must understand both European Shamanism, and the neighboring Ugric people's, from whom the Norse may have borrowed many of their ideas about Loki and Odin. In fact among the Nganasan we find another mention of another Liminal being which give birth to eight legged reindeer (you can find some useful information on Nganasan spirits here). This being, like Loki gives this eight legged animal to a powerful shaman. Like Loki these liminal beings sought to help humanity.

Yet something happens between the moment that Loki gives birth to Odin's most important companion and when is captured and tortured by the other gods for a number of crimes, which eventually leads him/her to lead an army that will bring about the apocalypse. As a writer, you have a number of options here that you can choose to follow.

Ancient gods are duelsitic, that is they are their own opposites. In Greece the Virgin Goddess is the Goddess of Childbirth, in Japan the Kami of Education is also a Kami of Disasters, so it would make sense that in Scandinavian lore the god/dess of birth and fertility is also the bringer of the apocalypse. In this case, Loki would have multiple souls and a serious case of multi-personality disorder, but then again so would every god and spirit.

2-Loki is Good
In Greek Lore Zeus punished Prometheus for being kind to and helping humanity. Equally as important, the Greeks and Romans seem to have believed at times that when the Titan Kronos ruled the world life was better for humanity. In other words, Zeus didn't make humans, he lied about that after he took over. By the same token, perhaps since Loki comes from outside the systems of gods she/he is in fact, trying to defend humanity against the fickleness of the other deities, who control the narrative that humans hear.

3-Loki is bitter
Odin, Thor, and the rest of them did, many cruel and mean things, which may have made Loki bitter and dangerous.

4-Loki really is a greedy, conniving villain.
I put this last because it's been done, a lot. Perhaps, however, Loki really is a cruel deity who only cares for his own greedy ambitions.

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