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Loki

- by Tyr

Loki was the god of the hearth fire, the spirit of life, and lightning. Not to be confused with the horrible giant Utgard-Loki, the Loki of Asgard was a trickster, whose favor for the gods and personal amusement would waver continuously.

Loki was present in many Norse myths, and usually accompanied or was doing a deed for Thor. The companionship of these two is no mistake. Loki, who is a symbol of recreation, accompanies Thor, who works hard and earnestly. Also, Loki was identified with lightning, as Thor is identified with thunder. The Norse realized that both of these (recreation and hard work)were needed for mankind's welfare.

The giant god always does evil in an ever seductive form, and this also is symbolic of how evil is always guised behind a vial of beauty. In fact, the gods of Asgard were fooled by this, and they welcomed Loki as one of themselves. His advice was the most honored in the god's council. Sometimes, however, this was unfortunate. This is because usually the plan that Loki has made is carried out, only to further dismay of the gods.

Loki was in a number of the Norse myths, usually accompanying Thor, who went questing for his hammer in Jotun-heim, became in the confines of Utgard-Loki's castle, and who went to the giant Geirrod's house. Loki was the prankster behind the stealing of Freya's necklace, the cutting of Sif's golden hair, and the betraying of Idun to Thiassi, the great eagle.

Loki had married the giantess Glut, whose bore him two daughters. This matrimony and family made him patron god of the hearth fire, and when a fire crackled the logs the Norse children would say that Loki was beating his children. Loki also wedded with a Jotun-heim giantess Angur-boda (the anguish-boding). This marriage spawned the monsters Hel, goddess of death, Iormungandr, the Midgard Serpent, and Fenris wolf. Loki's third and most loyal wife was Sigyn, who bore him two sons; Narve and Vali.

Loki was the beacon of evil and the Norse did nought but fear him. In this regard, no temples were devoted to him, no sacrifices made in his name, and only the most nasty weeds were dubbed with the name Loki. The god was forgiven for most all of his crimes, but not death of Odin's prized son, Balder. The death of the god of light, and Loki's influence in the failure of his resurrection, proved to the Asgard gods that Loki was nothing but pure evil. However, in a banquet hosted by god of the sea, Aegir, Loki committed his last crime. Jealous of the praise given to Aegir's servant, he turned upon him and slew him wantonly. After this and a pursuit of the escaping mischief-maker, he was condemned to the bowels of the earth, where a serpent's poison dripped on him. His faithful wife Sigyn held a bowl to collect the venom, and when she had to empty it the poison fell upon the god, and he writhed in pain. This writhing is said to be producer of earthquakes. He stayed like this until the twilight of the gods, upon whence he broke free of his bonds. Upon freedom he boarded the ship Nagilfar, built from nails of humans, with the host of Muspells-heim. He steered this vessel to the field of Vigrid, place of the Ragnarok. At Ragnarok Loki locked with the god Heimdall, and both of the gods perished by the others hand.