Who is Loki? – the flexible and un-owned
Anywhere you discuss Loki, you will find many different views on who and what Loki is, and what he stands for. Different views, and ideas, and relationships with Loki is understandable and valid. Unfortunately, many people try to force their version of what Loki is on others, or mock them for not seeing him the same way they do. Even more unfortunate, is the number of people in the Lokean community that do the same thing to fellow Lokeans. And often times based solely on their own view as opposed to any mythological reference. So, who and what is Loki? Before discussing some of the many things Loki is, let me quickly discuss what he is not. First and foremost, Loki is not only ONE thing or attribute, and has many faces. He is not “evil”. He is not only pranks and laughter. He is not only dark. He is not chaos for the mere sake of being a chaotic asshole “just because”. And he is not a murderer any more than any other. In fact, he is less of a murderer than many of the other gods across all pantheons, including the Aesir and Odin himself (But that’s a discussion for another time). All of these things can be seen as part of who Loki is, but he is not only any one of those. All of these “only one or the other” view points, and especially the only negative and only pranks views, are what kept me away from Loki, or even considering learning about him,for most of my life. And it is the same with many others; including the anti-Loki groups we so often get grief from. These views are why they exclude him. So it may help everyone out a bit if we stop acting out and teaching the very stereotypes we claim to hate. So now that that’s covered, who IS Loki?
The Norse God, Loki, is many things, and has many faces. One thing most everyone knows about Loki is that he is a shape-shifter. But that also applies to his many facets and traits. He can shift from one shape or trait to another as needed. That, in and of itself, should show that he is not always one way, and can appear and interact with different people in different ways for different reasons. And through that, we learn the importance of putting on whatever attitude or “mask” we need for the job or situation at hand. How many of us would lose our jobs (or worse) if everyone we met or worked with knew every bit of who we are and what we feel? Have you ever said “yes” to a boss who ask you to stay later when you really wanted to say “I did my time!”? Have you ever smiled at someone when you felt like punching them because you didn’t want the trouble? That is a form of shape-shifting from the physical, human, range of capability. And that is a lesson of Loki’s. The next thing most people associate with Loki is being a trickster. But, from a mythological and archetype standpoint, Trickster is not the same as prankster. A prank is a trick or joke at another’s expense for the sake of fun, or even spite. A trickster deity is one whose tricks serve a purpose, or teach a lesson. The trickery is a means to an end. Though Loki had many reasons to be spiteful, aside from the issue with Sif’s hair, and possibly one or two others (depending on view point), almost all of his tricks were for a reason. Almost all of those tricks were to help or save the other gods, or himself, from danger or death. And they usually ended either being better off than they were before the trick was played, or a set up for something better to come in the future. Yes, Loki did like a good prank or joke as well. But most often he was the trickster god who served a purpose with his tricks. Laughter is great, but so is cunning.
Loki does have a more loving and playful side as well. He does love a good laugh, and joke, and dancing, and passion. Even in the myths, he is a lover to quite a few both romantically and sexually. He is crafty and creative. He can be a free-spirited roamer who traveled all the 9 worlds. And he is fiercely loyal to those he feels have earned his trust. He is a father. In some older accounts of creation, he even helped make us. He is beautiful in all these things. But again, he is not just that.
The final aspect of Loki I want to mention is one that not many publicly share their dealings with, as its often personal. That aspect is the one of the world-breaker. Yes, Loki can be loving and fun, and tricky, and so many other things. But he is also the raging, chaotic, bringer of change. He will writhe, and tremble, and cause an earth-quake in our lives so strong that we have no choice but to change or suffer. And gods know I’ve been there a few times. Even before I knew it was him who would be my patron god. And it will probably happen again in the future eventually, because I am stubborn and have a hard time accepting change despite my patron being the bringer of that very thing. After all, it is him who will hit the ultimate reset button by bringing in Ragnarok. Of course change is a thing! And this too, is only one of the many faces of Loki. And I just don’t have room to list all of them.
So, why I am writing all of this? As I said, too many people see Loki as one or two of these aspects only. And then, they go and tell other Lokeans that they are wrong and not honoring the “real Loki” if they don’t see him the one way they do, or if they see him a way that one-sided person does not. And so I felt it was important to show that Loki has many faces. And just as he shape-shifts in the myths to get the job done, he shifts to different faces and interactions with all his followers. No one will have the same exact experience, because their spiritual path is their own individual path. And we need (as a community) to show that variety. Not only for each other’s sake, but so the Lokean community at large can show the anti-Loki (or bad-ass Loki only) groups that Loki is not that only one bad thing they say. Every one will have their own way. Yes, we help each other see various sides. We share our experiences as it comes to us in a variety of forms. That is very much what Loki is. But we don’t own him or the rights to say how all must follow him or view him. He is versatile and flexible. And he is whatever he feels he needs to be at any given moment. So view him as he reveals to you. And learn and grow and enjoy your connection. But do not tell anyone that they are wrong for not believing that the shape-shifting, trickster, god of change is only one way at all times with all people. Thanks for reading.