30-Day Devotional for Loki: Day Six

Question: Who are the other deities and/or entities related to Loki?

At first glance, this question seems almost jarringly like the one from day five, but I am going to take a more cross-cultural approach to it to prevent repeating myself.

I’ll start with the entities related to Loki from the Norse pantheon – the Jotuns and the trolls. He is, of course, a full-blooded frost giant, which gives him a strong connection to the Jotnar. That is one of the reasons so many people in the Heathen community struggle to work with him, as the Jotnar often fight against the Aesir.

It’s important to remember, however, that most of the gods themselves have Jotnar blood – Odin himself is half-Jotun, so there are some pretty complex family dynamics at play between the Aesir and the Jotnar. Let’s not pretend that it’s as clear cut as Aesir and Vanir = good while Jotnar = evil. That’s an overly simplified dichotomy, which doesn’t fit with either the ancient worldview of the Norse or the modern-day understanding of complexity held by most polytheists.

Outside of the Jotnar, there are a few other entities to which Loki bears relation. It is said that he ate the heart of a witch woman, and the result of that was him becoming the mother of all ogres, trolls, and witches. That’s quite a collection. Loki is a very creative god, whether you look at him through his guise as a fire deity or his guise as the mother of witches. (As an aside, I’m not switching pronouns because I still utilize “him” as a neutral article in English, as it originally began. I think it allows for more clarity in writing than constantly switching pronouns, but that’s wholly my own opinion).

Moving on to cross-cultural deities, the ones I have chosen are similar to Loki in the functions that they fulfill within their pantheons. They are not just stand-ins for Loki, as they are their own individual deities with their own agencies and agendas. These are just gods that are reminiscent of Loki in different ways.

First, there is Prometheus, a god of fire from the Hellenic pantheon. He is said to have given fire to man, and there may be myths of Loki lost to time that are similar. Both of these gods are daring and cunning, so it is fairly easy to see the parallels.

There is also Coyote, who can be seen as an even fuller trickster deity than Loki, and it may be that the two of them converse and Loki learns from Coyote. They may both learn from each other, which makes for a pretty interesting visual!

Another trickster spirit that reminds me a lot of Loki is Eshu (aka Elegba), an Orisha of the Yoruba religion. He is also a trickster, and some of his stories are pretty amusing. One of the most memorable is that there were two men who saw a stranger with a hat walking down the lines of their property. The first man insisted that the hat was red, the second that the hat was blue, and this nearly caused the two neighbors to come to blows. The reality of the situation was that Eshu was the stranger wearing a hat that was red on one side and blue on the other, so the value of the story is the knowledge that perspectives change depending on which side of the hat you can see. (I’ve only heard this story a couple times, so some of the details may be a bit off, but the point of it remains the same).

While there are Pagans who do not like to view any of the Abrahamic gods (and yes, there are many more than one) as belonging anywhere near Paganism, the truth is that the Abrahamic gods belong to their own pantheon – the Canaanite pantheon. That suggests that Lucifer originally served as their trickster deity until time passed, and he became seen as the ultimate evil.

Many people do not want to see an association between Loki and Lucifer because of the extreme difficultly modern-day Heathens have seeing past the dichotomy of good and evil and painting Loki as an evil god (which, by the way, is impossible – gods cannot be evil; that doesn’t even make sense).

While I do not see a large connection between the two of them, other than the fact that Loki and Lucifer seem to get along, there is the fact that both of them are light-bringers in their own ways. After all, Lucifer’s name means light-bringer, and it alludes to an ancient past where he wasn’t simply portrayed as the devil.

Loki’s illumination is that of knowledge, and that is a trait shared. Lucifer brought knowledge to humans – Loki does the same. Except, in the Norse pantheon, knowledge and wisdom are highly sought after and respected, and that affords Loki a position of honor that Lucifer has not been granted in eons.

I’m aware that such a connection is uncomfortable for many Heathens and many Lokeans, due to the difficulties Lokeans face because of how people label Loki as an evil god. Like I said before, however, the gods are not evil – they cannot be, as it is anathema to the nature of the divine to be evil. Evil, after all, is a human construct, not a divine one.

There are plenty of other gods and entities related to Loki, but I think I’ll stop there for today – after all, there’s plenty of information to digest and consider.

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