Faces of Loki 2: Truth-speaker and Oath-keeper

In continuing the series on the faces and aspects of Loki, I would like to address an all too common misconception that is adamantly thrown at Lokeans by those who oppose him being worshipped or followed. This is the idea of Loki being a liar and “Oath-breaker”. Most Lokeans can tell you, not from opinions and love for their patron, but from study of the lore and him, that Loki is actually the opposite of those two terms. Because despite common opinion, Loki is the truth-speaker, and oath-keeper. Often more so than most others. One thing that most of us Lokeans can agree on is that Loki’s number one rule is self-truth. And he uses the chaos, and hard times, and many other methods, to make us see and accept our own inner-truth even if it’s painful, so that we can grow and change the way we need to. And he often reveals others’ truths as well when they’ve been hidden too long. One of the greatest examples of this is that famous feast where he tells all the other gods secrets and wrong doings. And yet, the main reference people bring up when they say Loki is a liar, is in Lokasenna during the flyting when Freya said he was a liar. But they forget, however, that she said that after he had revealed her secrets and others. And you don’t have to follow any spiritual path to know that when someone has their secret wrongs revealed, their first response is usually “That’s a LIE !!”. So, in this context, that isn’t a reliable example. The next reference people give to claim Loki a liar, is having his lips sewn shut. However, this was not because of lying. This was because of his tricky tongue, and his cunning after talking himself out of losing his head. But Loki did not tell a lie in this story. He had told the dwarfs there would be a competition in Asgard to see who made the best gifts for the gods. He just didn’t tell them it was his idea to have the competition and that he just came up with it. But still, there was in fact, a competition in Asgard to see who made the best gifts. So though he withheld some information, he did not actually lie. And leading up to this event ( the cutting of Sif’s hair) when Thor threatened to break all his bones, heal him and break them again, Loki knew there was no use claiming that he didn’t do it. So he didn’t lie even then when he was facing double death. Of all the times one could lie, I believe facing that kind of harm is what most people see as an acceptable excuse. And yet he didn’t. This can also be viewed as one of those cases of forcing one to face their own self-truths and fears. After all, cutting off Sif’s hair revealed that she truly believed Thor would not love her without that feature. So here, in all of this, we have examples of no lies, but revealing truth. And in all the lore, the one and only case we have of Loki clearly telling an actual lie, is when he lured Idun beyond the walls of Asgard by telling her he saw a tree that had apples comparable to hers. And yet, this was only done because of his standard of not breaking oaths.

As a refresher, we’ve mentioned this case in the first Faces of Loki entry. Loki tried to tell Thiassi no, and that he would not/could not get the apples for him. Thiassi, knowing the sacredness of an oath (which was common for the Norse) would not let Loki go until he gave his oath to bring Idun out of Asgard for him. In most versions of this tale, this oath was the only way Loki could save his own life. So this one lie he told, was told in order to keep an oath he made under threat of harm or even death. Again, who wouldn’t say whatever they could to get out of a hostage situation? But, Loki won’t break an oath. This could also be again a reflection on Idun’s own inner-thoughts. It was her disbelief that any apples could be as good as hers that got her to follow along. And oddly enough, when people claim that Loki is an oath-breaker, and you ask them how they know that, their reference again goes back to the sewn lips and him weaseling out of an oath. But that wasn’t an oath. That was a wager, a bet. It was not an oath. And if we want to be technical about it, the only connection we have to Loki and a broken oath, is when he pointed out that Odin was breaking his oath by attending feast at a table where Loki was not welcome. And whenever Loki was sent to do some job or fix something for the other gods, he actually did it. He didn’t even have to oath first, he just went and did what he said he would do. Then, of course, the many times they used Loki and his cunning as a way to get out of or fix their own agreements.  Remember Sleipnir? Thor’s wedding dress? The goat? The point is, once again, these ideas about Loki being evil, or bad, are commonly taught, but not actually shown in the myths. In the case of the lying oath-breaker, the myths actually show the opposite. And part of learning the various aspects of who a deity is, is unlearning what they are not. He is not a liar or an oath-breaker. He is actually the opposite. Truth-Speaker and Oath-keeper.

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