30-Day Devotional for Loki: Day Four

Question: What is your favorite myth/s concerning Loki?

Honestly, this is an incredibly difficult question to answer because there are no myths where Loki features that I do not enjoy. I love reading the myths and trying to imagine myself in his shoes, trying to discern the why of the actions he takes – as far as I am able to do so, of course!

I’ve talked before about how one of my all-time favorite myths is the kidnapping of Idun because it really shows how Loki turns even the worst situations to his advantage. After a forced oath to kidnap Idun, he is also tasked to retrieve her. Once he does so, he manages to force Thiazi to fly near the walls of Asgard where he falls to the ground and is forced to deal with Thor, who kills the giant.

I particularly enjoy the ending of this myth because there are elements in it that suggest the plan was one that the gods had already worked out – Thor is lying in wait, ready for Loki to appear with Idun. Gronbech argues in Culture of the Teutons that this particular myth is really an elaborate demonstration of ritual sacrifice and how it re-empowers the gods.

Kidnapped, Idun loses the ability to provide the gods with the sustenance they need, and their prowess diminishes. Once Loki retrieves her and forces Thiazi to contend with Thor, who kills him – thus creating a ritual sacrifice – Idun is then safely back beyond the walls of Asgard and the vitality of the gods is restored.

This actually demonstrates how vital a part Loki plays in the world of the gods. Sure, he is the one that originally kidnaps Idun – because he is forced to by the oath Thiazi made him swear, and his honor will not allow him to break his word – but he is also the only god that can rescue Idun and restore the natural order.

There are also hints here of a seasonal myth – Idun’s kidnapping may represent a seasonal transition from summer to winter and then back to summer with her return – and that indicates that Loki himself may have something to do with the changing seasons. He ushers out the old and brings in the new. He drives away summer to bring winter to bear, and then he takes away the winter by catalyzing the return of the summer.

The depth of this myth is the reason it continues to remain one of my all-time favorites, although the myth of Baldr’s death is a close second. The complexity of the myths engages and fascinates me, and it is difficult to choose a favorite among the numerous ones that we have concerning Loki.

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