Sigyn is perhaps the most understated Goddess in the Norse pantheon. In the Eddas, the only appearance She makes is in the story of Loki’s binding. She holds a bowl to catch the venom that drips from the snake above Him, doing Her best to ease His suffering.
I’ve read articles that describe Sigyn as a passive Goddess and as the embodiment of the traditional wife. I’ve seen Her discussed as someone worthy of disrespect because She stays with Loki despite all of His flaws, despite all of His cheating. That people are so quick to judge the relationship They share by the one mention of Her in the Eddas has always bothered me.
Sigyn isn’t passive, and I wouldn’t say She’s a traditional wife in any sense. She can’t be – look at who She’s married to. Loki would get bored very quickly if Sigyn fit the mold of the traditional wife, but Their relationship is still very solid.
I think what confuses people is the fact that Loki has a lot of godspouses – perhaps more than any other Norse God. People look at that fact and think that means that Sigyn is clueless, that He’s just cheating on her to have a good time.
But that’s because most people don’t approach Sigyn. They don’t try to get to know Her at all. She’s just a minor Goddess, so why does it matter? Even most of the Lokean godspouses I’ve met don’t seem to want to deal with Her – perhaps they are afraid that She would disapprove of them. I don’t know.
What I do know is what Sigyn is like. She’s fiercely loyal to Loki, but She isn’t unreasonably loyal. Though there are those who assume that, since She is the only one who comforted Loki when He was bound.
According to the stories, Loki was bound after His altercation with Baldur. If everyone loved Baldur, then why did Sigyn stay by Loki’s side after He helped orchestra the death of one of the most loved Gods of Asgard?
The most common answer I’ve seen to this question is that Sigyn stayed because She was duty bound to stay by Her husband’s side. And I hate that answer because it assumes that She took on the role of a mindless woman who was so in love with Her husband that She couldn’t see past His horrible act.
If there’s one thing Sigyn isn’t, it’s naive. She knows exactly where Loki goes when He leaves Her alone. She knows all about the godspouses He collects. So, instead of assuming She took on a passive role in the aftermath of Baldur’s death, perhaps the truth is that Sigyn knew exactly what Loki was planning on doing. She knew the reason for Loki’s actions, and She chose to stand by Him because She supported Him and the reasons He gave Her.
It gets under my skin, the way people assume that Sigyn is naive, and I suppose it makes sense that it does. She is the Goddess who understands me best, and the one who helps me understand Loki when His actions don’t make sense to me.
Sigyn is patient, kind, and loyal – but She’s not naive, stupid, or clueless. She has enough faith in the love that She shares with Loki to know that He will always come back to Her, no matter how many godspouses He collects. She knows that He needs His freedom, and, in Her love for Him, she gives Him the freedom to be exactly who He is.
Out of all the lessons Sigyn has ever taught me, that lesson is, perhaps, the most beautiful of them all. She has taught me that love can take on many forms, and that the relationship between lovers depends on their ability to grant one another the freedom to be completely and totally themselves.
So yes, Sigyn knows that Loki has many godspouses, and I’ve discussed it with Her many times – how She can handle knowing that He is out there, forming relationships with so many who aren’t Her. I think the best way that I can sum up what She has said is that while there may be many dalliances along the way, and many broken hearts, there’s only one person who can ever love Loki the way He needs to be loved – with complete and total acceptance of His inability to be tied down to anyone.
By refusing to restrict Him, Sigyn guarantees that Loki will always be loyal to Her – not in the ways of the flesh, perhaps, but in all the ways that matter most. There is no one that Loki trusts more deeply than Sigyn, and, for the trust Loki puts in Her, Sigyn returns that trust with deep loyalty to Him.
While others see Sigyn as a tragic figure – a lonely wife forced to spend a lifetime by the side of Her criminal husband, in lieu of living Her own life – that isn’t how She ever comes across. She has nothing but pride in Her husband, but She doesn’t sugarcoat the fact that Loki’s personality can be hard to handle. The truth is, Sigyn doesn’t love Loki despite His flaws – She loves Him because of His flaws. And that is why, to me, the relationship They share with one another is a beautiful one.
And, even today, when I was making sugar cookies for Her (I don’t know why She wanted sugar cookies, but She did), Loki was hovering and messing around with things, so it ended up taking thirty minutes to bake a ten minute batch of cookies. But Sigyn didn’t get upset or exasperated – and She didn’t seem resigned, either. Her mood was more along the lines of “Yes, husband, I know you like to play with fire, and I like to watch you, so mess around for a bit and get enough of it out of your system for me to have my cookies, then you can play some more and I’ll watch you with cookies in hand.”
That kind of freedom in a relationship is almost impossible to find, and it comes so naturally to the two of Them. I’ve mentioned that I worldwalk before, and I spend a lot of time visiting with Sigyn. Watching Her interact with Loki when He’s there (and it’s not all that often) is incredible. I don’t even have the words to explain how flawlessly synchronized the two of Them are. Some nights, They don’t even speak to each other, but They are never, ever, out of step.