Gnosis Diary: Life as a Heathen

My personal experiences, including religious and spiritual experiences, community interaction, general heathenry, and modern life on my heathen path, which is Asatru.

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Novel Gnosis part 21: Lodhur and Loki

Lodhur is a name of Loki. Sort of. Or vice versa.

In the Fireverse, Honir and Lodhur were generated out of Odin to shape Midgard from Ymir’s body, reabsorbed, generated out of Odin again to shape humanity out of driftwood, reabsorbed, and finally Odin generated them a third time, and placed Lodhur in the jotun who was born vaette-Loki but who had the potential to become a god. Then Loki and Lodhur were the same being, “and then it had always been that way.” At that point, Honir was also permanently in existence outside of Odin, but he did not have a permanent physical form, so he only manifested when Odin and Loki were together. So Lodhur is both the same being as Loki and not the same. He is an aspect of Loki and is also older than Loki.

As a preface to this long entry on Loki, one of Loki's functions in myth is to replace the just ok with the superlative, or to synergize seasonal growth cycles-- the story of Sif's hair can be read either way, but either way it's a pretty transparent metaphor about reaping and harvesting wheat. But just because it's symbolic doesn't mean one can't interact with that energy as a self aware being. Loki and Odin came to me as muses while I was writing the novel, and that’s how my mind opened to admit the gods. Loki in the Fireverse is sometimes the same as the Loki in the lore, sometimes is specifically Fireverse-Loki because the story required something, sometimes is god-Loki speaking directly to me, and sometimes represents my wounded inner child who was finally healed in the end. I’ve tried to edit out as much of the latter from my list of novel gnosis as possible because that’s about me and not really about Loki.

In the Fireverse, that is, in my novel Some Say Fire, Loki is the human character's afterlife guide. He both tells her the entire heathen myth cycle and guides her from the lowest world to the highest along the way, a soul healing journey. At several points he tries to explain time to her.

On the blood brother thing: Odin has the ability to become three parts, and he has used that power three times. He generated his brothers, his wolves, and his ravens out of himself. At one point he reabsorbed his brothers, and later he went looking for a new brother. Loki competed against his biological brothers in an Ash Lad style sequence where the youngest of three brothers wins the princess, only in this case what he won was apprenticeship to a wizard. One of the tests was the guess the wizard's true name. Being able to identify Odin in disguise proved he had the potential Odin was looking for. Odin placed the spirit of his brother Ve / Lodhur into Loki. "And then it had always been that way." (That quote gets used a lot in the Fireverse. Because Odin has the ability to change the past.) That's the true meaning of the blood brother thing. He performed a blood ritual that resulted in the permanent possession by / unification with the god. (Also: one of Loki’s two brothers is Helblindi, which is also a name of Odin. This is one of the things that made it possible for Loki and Odin to transform young vaette-Loki the hearth fire spirit into Asa-Loki the embodiment of Lodhur.)

There is a scene in a cave in Some Say Fire where Odin and Loki are trying to pre-enact the fated encounter where they both know Loki will end up in the cave with the snakes, because they both know the prophecy. Their attempt doesn't work right, in the story, but that's related to story plot, and the plot isn't what matters, the plot is an excuse to get the characters into the right setting with the right objects. What matters is there is no snake. The snake is not an essential part of that story or it would have ended up in this scene too. What if it’s cave water that drips on Loki? In the story, the cave is a crystal cave in Svartalfheim with a poisonous atmosphere where only the breath of Odin can preserve the life of the bound person – initiate, magician, or in this case god. What if the original version of the story was an actual cave with dripping stalactites? Not all cave water is safe, as stone age or ice age people who lived in caves would have known. Especially if it came from a hot springs, or was associated with volcanic vents, as may be indicated by the seemingly tacked on moral of the story that Loki’s writhing supposedly causes earthquakes. Perhaps that’s not just tacked on, after all. Perhaps we are seeing a distorted version of a myth combining a bear god and a volcano god. (I’ve already explored the idea that Loki and Sigyn in the cave are a bear and butterfly hibernating, in my published paper on Sigyn. See my paper Sigyn: Butterfly Goddess in Witches & Pagans Magazine.)

Eventually the universe must contract to be recreated anew, but it's supposed to be Loki's choice when that happens. And at least in the Fireverse, he doesn't choose it until pretty much everybody else has already decided the universe they inhabit is so totally messed up the only way to fix it is Ragnarok.

Novel gnosis: spoiler alert, I'm about to give away the ending so read no further if you want to read my novel. Not only are Heimdall and Loki friends, Heimdall doesn't kill Loki at Ragnarok. Loki thinks that is what is supposed to happen because the Prophecy says so but Heimdall refuses to kill him when they meet on the field. At that point Loki thinks he's done because he has brought all the right people and objects to Asgard but he has a lot more to do. He and Thor have to work together to push the reset button on the universe. Loki survives Ragnarok and transforms into a new god for the new world.

Image: Idunna giving Loki the apple, by HLM, public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

 

 

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Erin Lale is the author of Asatru For Beginners, and the updated, longer version of her book, Asatru: A Beginner's Guide to the Heathen Path. Erin has been a gythia since 1989. She was the editor and publisher of Berserkrgangr Magazine, and is admin/ owner of the Asatru Facebook Forum. She also writes science fiction and poetry, ran for public office, is a dyer and fiber artist, was acquisitions editor at a small press, and founded the Heathen Visibility Project.

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