***I am currently going back through old works Ive posted, updating and correcting them, etc.***
Norse God: Loki
If ever you have the desire to spark controversy and heated debate in the heathen community, ask whether or not Loki should be honored in rituals and workings. I can assure you the results that follow are always interesting. Some Theodish traditionalists refuse to even utter Lokis name, and it is against their norm to ever allow his name to be mentioned in their halls. Others argue the dual-nature of Loki, and that he brings gifts as well as troubles. Nonetheless, Loki is one of my personal favorites. I tend to think Snorris translation of the Prose Edda paints Loki to be very evil, while I see him as neither good nor bad. I think his actions are more mischievous, like that of a school-child playing around, than they are wicked and filled with ill intent.
Snorri describes him as The son of the giant, Farbauti. His mother is named Laufey. Farbauti (who is called Cruel Striker) was said to have struck Lokis mother, Laufey (leafy isle) with a lightning bolt, and from this Loki was born. ((Due to this, I *personally* tend to associate Loki as being associated to fire (to clarify, however, not a fire god)). He has two brothers, Byleister and Helblindi. Many who work with Loki associate him as being a jotun (giant-kind), though I must point out that in lore Loki is never called a giant specifically (though he is called Son of a Giant- as several other Gods are, due to there being jotunblood in most (if not nearly all) bloodlines).
He is said to be a very handsome God in appearance. Many people report seeing him with red-hair (from which he earned the kenning Flame-hair) though in the lore it does not mention his hair color, and he is often reported to appear in a variety of ways. Loki is a shapeshifter, and thus changing form is not uncommon for him.
Many people immediately think of Loki as the Trickster God. To be fair, Loki does often portray himself as a trickster- especially through many of the myths. However, Loki is moreso a God of Chaos, Change, Transformation (etc) than anything (as many who work with him have experienced). Loki is also sometimes called/thought of as a God of Initiation. What is meant by that is that there is a tendency for those who work with Loki to be introduced to other deities, his family, his kind, and passed off to others. Loki is a god of many faces and many aspects. As GrumpyLokeanElder says: Loki takes whatever opening you give Him. What I mean by this is: if you can only picture Loki as a childish prankster gone manic on a sugar rush, Hell take that opening and probably turn up like that so He can reach you. If you can only imagine Loki as horrible Norse Satan Baldr-killer  who brings misfortune and makes stuff get broken or sets things on fire? Thats the only opening youve given Him, and Hell take it if He needs or wants to.
- A note: Calling any Norse deity, including Loki, the God of __ is an oversimplification and can be misleading. It suggests that they had singular roles they fulfilled within the lore. Many of the Gods fulfill many roles, and thus go beyond that.
Some confuse Loki to being the son of Odin and brother to Thor. This is a Marvel concept, and does not accurate represent his relation with either. Odin and Loki were not related, and had instead sworn blood brotherhood with each other- as they were close. Loki once said: Odin! Dost thou remember when we in early days blended our blood together? When to taste beer thou didst constantly refuse unless to both twas offered? (Saemunds Edda).
Loki, at one point in time, had relations with a giantess known as Angrboda. These two had three children who were considered to be monsters by the rest of the Gods (gaining Loki the kenning: Father of Monsters). First was his daughter, Hel, who became a Goddess of Death. Second was the Midgard snake, Jormungandr. Third was the gigantic wolf, Fenris. Not long after they were born, the other Gods feared for their own safety and took them away. Loki eventually came to be with Sigyn. She bore two sons: Narve and Vali. Sigyn proved to be very devoted to Loki and remained faithful to him throughout all the trouble he went through.
Also... Long story, but Loki gave birth to an eight-legged horse named Sleipnir. So theres that.
Loki in the Myths
Many of Lokis deeds are strange: they tend to involve a problem that was created by Loki, or some petty annoyance to the Gods, but in making reparation, he tends to bring benefits and good things to the other Gods. Some examples: Once Loki took Sis, Thors wife, hair and left her bald. Since her hair was one of the Goddesses favorite things, Thor became outraged. However, Loki promised to make up for this and he did. He traveled, and replaced her hair with something even better and more radiant than before. On top of that, he brings Freyr a magick ship, Odin a spear, and Thor a hammer.
Loki starts off simply poking fun and playing around: often his actions are just bothersome or annoying to the other Gods, but rarely are destructive or unable to be fixed. He tends to be a mischievous thief: hiding the treasures of the Gods, taking the necklace of Freyja, taking the apples of youth, etc. In most cases, Loki quickly makes penance for the wrongs hes made. .
The last crime Loki committed sealed his fate. He induced Hodur to throw mistletoe at Balder*. Loki knew this would kill Balder. This action greatly upset the Gods and they decided Loki was no longer allowed to remain in Asgard. In an effort to escape the sadness of these recent actions, the Gods gathered for a feast with the God of the Sea. However, Loki showed up unannounced and was told to leave. He became enraged, vilifying all the gods, and slew Funfeng, a servant to the God of the Sea.
- ** There is debate as to whether or not Loki was even involved in this, as there are sources in which Loki has nothing to do with it.
The Gods bound him and fastened a venomous serpent over his head that would drip venom into his face. However, Lokis wife, Sigyn, showed up and quickly placed a cup over his face. She faithfully sat by him and never moved, unless to dump the venom built up in the cup. When she had to do this, it was thought that the agony of the venom hitting Lokis face caused him to writhe in pain and make the mountains shake. Loki was left like this, and it is said he will be free of his bonds when Raganarok occurs*
- *Another note here: Many who work with Loki, or Norse Gods in general, have the view that these things have yet to occur, are occurring, and have already occurred simultaneously. Some call this the mythic time view of lore- expressing that deities experience time different than we do. This being the case, many who work with Loki do not view him as being bound- and simultaneously view him as being bound.
Utgard-Loki, Logi, and Loki: Confusion
There was a giant known as Utgard-Loki. Thor and his companions even went and visited this giant in Jotun-heim. Logi/Loge was the name of another entity in Norse lore, who was a spirit of personification of fire. Loki, as we know him, is neither of these entities. Some try to associate Loki as the God of Fire. As Lokavinr states: [this] comes from an etymology proposed by Jakob Grimm in Deutsche Mythologie which was an attempt to connect his name to the German word loge or flame. This etymology has been challenged extensively on linguistic as well as mythological grounds. No one knows for sure what Loki was associated with, but fire is one of many theories and one of the most contested ones at that.
Honoring and Working With Loki
Most northern races did not build temples to Loki, did not honor him nor give him sacrifices at ceremony, etc. There are still some branches of Heathenry which do not acknowledge or work with Loki, as they view him to be an enemy of the Aesir or simply enemy of the Gods. Some groups have begun to honor Loki, however. Diana Paxson says We are told in the Flyting of Loki that Odin once swore that whenever he got a drink, Loki was to have one too. So in our kindred, we compromise by pouring out a bit for Loki whenever the horn is passed for Odin...
I tend to view this as spiritual politics: people arguing over who you can and cant work with. I like GrumpyLokeanElders view on this: The short version is: the other Gods dont care and dont throw a fuss about it. Humans bring baggage into Heathenry, or interpret the surviving lore in particular ways (some of which are misconceptions). Most people who worship Loki also worship and interact with members of the Aesir and Vanir without any issues or explosions or divine smiting. I think that if the other Gods were upset, theyd be perfectly capable of making their feelings on the matter directly known. If you want to work with Loki, thats fine- do it. If you dont want to work with Loki, thats fine- dont do it.
Many people do work with Loki now. Those who do often call themselves Lokeans. There is also another branch of Heathenry, Rokkatru, which incorporates Loki into their workings and honorings as well.
If you are interested in working with Loki, you should start by making it known that you are interested. An offering is not a bad way to go about this. If later you decide to make an altar, here are some of my personal suggestions for things to include:
- Alcohol (if you are unsure as to what type- "when in doubt, mead it out").
- Candies and sweet things
- Candles (often reds are commonly used)
- Cinnamon, spices
- Something representative of his family: something with bones (Hel), snake-skin or a figurine (Jormungandr), something with wolfs fur or a figurine (Fenrir) etc etc
- Strong scented incense (dragons blood has been suggested)
- Tricky puzzles, games, fun things
Some more offering ideas can be found:
In the end, Loki is far more complex and vast than can be put into words. If you find yourself interested, you should read up on him and learn more about him.
Good Reads/Opinions on Loki
- Poetic Edda trans. by Carolyne Larrington
- Prose Edda trans. by Snorri Sturluson
- Gods and Myths of Northern Europe by H. R. Davidson
- Norse Mythology: Great Stories from the Eddas by Hamilton