Loki - Norse God of Mischief 😈

Loki - Trickster God of the Norse Pantheon

Many of us are familiar with Tom Hiddleston’s portrayal of Loki in Marvel’s enterprise. Few of us are familiar with Loki the God, though, and he has much more to offer than being “Thor’s brother”. In fact, he is not related to Thor by blood at all! Though not all sources agree, some sources say he is the son of Fárbauti (a jötunn) and Laufey (sometimes mentioned as a goddess).

Who is Loki?

In the Prose Edda by Snorri Sturlson, Loki is described as being mean-spirited and mischievous.

Also numbered among the Æsir is he whom some call the mischief-monger of the Æsir, and the first father of falsehoods, and blemish of all gods and men: he is named Loki or Loptr, son of Fárbauti the giant; his mother was Laufey or Nál; his brothers are Býleistr and Helblindi. Loki is beautiful and comely to look upon, evil in spirit., very fickle in habit. He surpassed other men in that wisdom which is called ‘sleight,’ and had artifices for all occasions; he would ever bring the Æsir into great hardships, and then get them out with crafty counsel. His wife was called Sigyn, their son Nari or Narfi.

Loki’s Children

Like many Gods, Loki has many children with a few different partners. First, he has a son with Sigyn, his wife. Their son’s name is Nari or Narfi. He also has three children with Angrboda, the giantess. These children are Fenris-Wolf, Jörmungandr (the world serpent), and Hel (Goddess of Neflheim). He also has another child, Sleipner, Odin’s eight-legged horse. This is an interesting child of Loki because, well, Loki is a shapeshifter! He can change his shape to suit his needs, and it just so happened that Loki had shifted into a mare and was impregnated by a stallion called Svadilfare. The story is long, but it goes something like this.

There was a jötunn doing work for the Gods, and in return, he was promised to be married to Freyja. All the work was almost completed in the timeframe given, so the Gods got together to figure out who had told the builder he could have the help of his horse, Svadilfar. See, this was not a regular horse. No, this horse was capable of lifting boulders twice the size of men. If this builder were to receive his wages (the marriage to Freyja), it would plunge the air and the heavens in darkness by taking away the sun and the moon, giving them instead to Jotunheim.

The Gods figured out that Loki was to blame and immediately began to “lay hands on him”. Loki, in his fear at their threats of death, promised that he would find a way to make sure the jötunn did not receive his payment (the marriage to Freyja). Loki then came up with a plan.

Loki went to the builder on the last day of his contract, but not as himself. Instead, he went disguised as a mare and distracted Svadilfare. The stallion got loose and chased the mare (Loki) into the woods, as fast as they could go. The builder was angry and scared, so he took off running after his horse but could not catch them. He ran all night, neglecting his work in search of his horse.

Since the work was not complete in the timeframe given, the Gods did not honor their oath and instead called upon Thor. Not being one to like the jötunn, Thor gave the builder his payment but in the form of a cracked skull and a trip to Neflheim. A while later, the mare gave birth to a gray foal with eight feet. It is said that this horse, Sleipnir, is the greatest horse among gods and men.

– My interpretation of the story in the Prose Eddas.

If you work with the runes in any capacity, Loki is associated with the Younger Futhark rune of Bjarkan. We can see this connection in the Norwegian rune poem shown here.


Younger Futhark Rune: Bjarkan

Old Norse:

Bjarkan er laufgrønster líma;
Loki bar flærða tíma.

Modern English:

Birch has the greenest leaves of any shrub;
Loki was fortunate in his deceit.

It is said that the deceit mentioned here is a reference to Loki’s role in Balder’s death. Speaking of Balder…

The Death of Balder

Balder was one of Odin’s sons, and he was a favorite among the gods. It is said that he was beautiful and just – and he was also immune to just about everything. The Gods would often amuse themselves by throwing things at Balder, knowing full well that nothing could hurt him. There was, however, one thing that could kill Balder – mistletoe. Loki being Loki, deceived the blind god Höd into throwing mistletoe at Balder and killing him. When the story is retold, it does seem like the sort of trick a mischievous child would play!

Loki was disturbed by all the gaiety and decided to do something about it, so in disguise as a disgusting old hag, he went to Frigg while she was at Fensalir taking a break from the festivities. What was going on at Gladsheim, he asked her. She said it was a celebration of the god Balder. Loki-in-disguise asked why, then, were people throwing weapons at him? Frigg explained about the promises she’d exacted. Loki kept at her asking questions until she finally revealed that there was one thing she hadn’t asked because she thought it too small and inconsequential. That one thing was mistletoe.

With all the information he needed, Loki set off to the forest to get himself a branch of mistletoe. He then returned to the festivities at Gladsheim and sought out Balder’s blind brother, Hod, god of darkness, who was in a corner because he couldn’t aim and therefore couldn’t participate in the test of Balder’s invulnerability. Loki told Hod he would help him take aim and handed Hod a piece of apparently innocuous mistletoe to throw.

Hodur was grateful and accepted the offer, so Loki steered Hod’s arm. Hod launched the branch, which caught Balder in the chest. Balder died instantly. The gods looked towards Hod and saw Loki beside him. Before they could do anything, Loki fled away.

Celebration turned to lamentation since the most beloved of the gods had died. Odin alone was aware of how disastrous this event really was for them all, for he knew that with the loss of light and truth, the end of the world, Ragnarok, was due soon.

The Death of Balder in Norse Mythology


Dorothy Hardy (fl. 1891 - 1925) - Myths of the Norsemen from the Eddas and Sagas. Londres : Harrap. Cette illustration figure en page 222.

Working with Loki

Not a lot of people are brave enough to welcome Loki into their practices, but for those who don’t mind a bit of mischievous energy, working with Loki might be a good path for you. He is clever, a trickster, and does what needs to be done no matter what. Many people also think that Loki is very misunderstood. Instead of being kind and benevolent, he tends to mirror humanity rather than divinity. Please keep in mind that these are generally Neo-Pagan correspondences and do not always align with Norse reconstruction practices or Heathenry. As always, it is my opinion that you should base your practice around your own research and interactions with the deities you are interested in.

:smiling_imp: Call on Loki for…

deception
skill
strategy
cunning
glamors

:smiling_imp: Associations of Loki…

queerness and androgyny
mischief
horses
wolves
snakes
change
transformation
endings

:smiling_imp: Offerings for Loki…

mead and ale
water or coffee
candy
peppers
things deemed “child-like”*

*This is a personal association with Loki based on my understanding of him. He seems to enjoy the more childlike activities and has a very childlike way of thinking when it comes to solving problems.


And that’s just the tip of the iceberg with Loki! I am sure there is so much more information out there about him, but this should be just enough to get you started. If you are interested in Loki, I recommend reading up on his stories, the Eddas, and seeking guidance from those that already work with or worship him.


Have you ever worked with Loki? Let your fellow coven mates know in the comments!


Sources and Further Reading


Links Shared by Others

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Despite his popularity in the media, I haven’t heard about many people working with Loki in the Craft- I think what you said here sums it up perfectly! He really is a trickster god, and would certainly be a tough deity to try to work with :sweat_smile:

Maybe for Chaos Magick? He seems like quite the unpredictable force of chaos and calamity :tornado:

This is a treasure trove of information about a really interesting deity- again, not one I’d probably ever try to work with, but a very neat one to hear and learn about! Thank you so much for putting this great resource together, @MeganB! :heart: :raised_hands:

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I haven’t worked with him, but He’s very interesting. I believe @Amaris_Bane does or did though! I think he’s a great addition for information on deities!

@BryWisteria I can see where He’d be helpful :thinking: with Chaos Magic too!

Thank you so much @MeganB!

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Thank you both, @BryWisteria & @Susurrus :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

There are actually so many people that work with Loki specifically! The word “Lokean” is a sort of title or type of Norse paganism that involves only working with or worshipping Loki. I came across a few in my research and totally forgot to add the links! I’ll add them right now :blush:

EDIT: Here they are! :tada:

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See, I’d be afraid of offending him or something and getting a trick pulled on me or something. LOL! Thanks for this information!

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haha you’re not alone, @Amethyst – I’d be the same way!

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@Susurrus, I work with Hel, who is Loki’s daughter. I have enough chaos in my life and don’t need additional added from working with him. :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

However, from what I have read and seen some of his followers say about him, I think he would be a great deity to work with if you don’t mind a little havoc in your life.

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@Amaris_Bane – That’s what I’ve heard, too! I don’t need any of that energy in my life either :no_entry_sign: :laughing:

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Ack! Sorry for the confusion @Amaris_Bane… I honestly thought you worked with Hel & Loki!

I also don’t need anymore of that energy in my life right now :rofl:

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Haha, no worries! I have contemplated working with him as a way to deal with my need for control. I can get obsessive about everything being in perfect order that when it isn’t, it is hard for me to function. But, Lilith just entered my realm so for now, I’m going to focus on those that I am already working with.

*Praying that Loki doesn’t see this :rofl: :rofl: :crossed_fingers: :crossed_fingers:

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Ha, yea me and Loki is a no go, I don’t have time for games and he would get on my nerves. My friend knows someone who works with him and she wished they did not, LOL.

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Brave souls! It must be a very chaotic ride to work with Loki, but at least it would never be boring to work with the God of Mischief! :laughing:

Ohhh! Thanks for these- I’m going to take a peek! The welcoming committee resource sounds really interesting :eyes:

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This is a great compilation!
One quick question - where did you obtain those translations of the old Norse text?
One of the greatest challenges in reading the texts outside of the original, is the mistranslations. For example, ‘Loki bar flærða tíma’ is translated as ‘deception stopped the flow of time’. Bjark means bark, laufgrønster means leafy-green, and líma is glue which is interpreted as ‘bark is the leafy-greenest or most natural glue’. This is saying that a tough outer shell that is naturally built over time is the best way to keep things together, like ‘experience keeps one strong and solid’.
I was reading a thoroughly well-researched and overall accurate (like your extremely well-done work here) book about the Norse gods and had to stop because the mistranslations were driving me to distraction.
Loki’s punishment was well-deserved as his evil behavior was more than a little destructive.
For me, I believe the Norse gods captivate many because of their innate humanity. Like the Greek and Roman gods, they could be egotistical, bombastic, flawed, emotional, etc which is quite different from a single omnipotent, omniscient single creator god. They are highly relatable and their antics are just down-right fun!
Thanks for this wonderful and interesting presentation!

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Lilith might be a better choice than Loki.
Caveat and disclaimer - I happen to be a fan of Lilith (not the false child-stealing demon propraganda) so I am biased.
The thing with Loki is that he’s deceptive to anyone at any time and he’s seldom in control because of it. That’s why he’s more known as the trickster rather than the liar, because until the end, no one besides him knows when he was deceitful and when he was not.
So, worshipping him is like worshipping a malignant narcissist.
You’ll never be important to him.
You may have made the right choice.

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That is a very good description, lol. I have been happy with Lilith so far. And I agree, not the “baby-snatching” version. To me she is much more about empowering yourself in all areas of your life.

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Thank you, @Wysteria_Norn :hear_no_evil: I’m glad you enjoyed my post!

The translations came from Wikipedia, which cited their source as follows:

I don’t know anything about Old Norse besides that it’s considered a dead language. I’m sure, just like Old Irish, there are multiple translations out there. If you have a better one I’d be happy to include it :blush:

I definitely agree with this. It makes the Gods more relatable and less… distant? If that makes sense. I’m not sure that’s the right word to use but that’s what I’ve got for now :laughing:

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My friend told me she works with Lilith and Lilith doesn’t like Loki, LOL.

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Old Norse is not dead, really, although some may say so. It’s found in Icelandic and Faroese. Norse, like every other language, is dynamic. So it’s been ‘updated’ to two separate forms, if you will, of the common use and the academic (bókmál) form.

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Ahh, I was under the impression that Icelandic (and a few other languages) were descendants of Old Norse but not Old Norse itself. Irish is like that, in a way. Old Irish is a dead language with zero speakers today, but modern Irish (Gaeilge) as well as Manx and Scottish Gaelic are spoken today and come from Old Irish, so some of it is similar.

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I gotcha. Iceland was isolated from trade for several hundred years, so the language didn’t change much during that time period.
So, most Icelanders, Faroese, etc can read Old Norse with little difficulty.
Also, since those countries all share a common history, as evidenced by the Nordic Cross flags, the languages are very similar even now.
Many people have discussed the issue of ‘translations,’ whether it’s ancient Hebrew, Italian, etc. They will argue dialectical nuances, even down to letter placement within a word. One translator will assign a meaning, and others will disagree. This is considered, not only normal, but scholarly and vital.
However, this scholarly discourse is lacking (in my view) almost completely when it comes to the Nordic texts. Too often, mistranslations go unchallenged. For example, I was reading in one FANTASTIC book, that was exhaustively researched, that a word meant ‘hair’. The author then respectfully puzzled over the Nordic character’s hair, when it meant ‘tall.’ An additional confounder is that, given the Scandinavian sarcasm level, it could also mean that the character was short (think ‘little John’).
The entry was from a translation written over a century ago, which is telling.
Again, thanks for the post and the discourse! Always awesome :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

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