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Loki Laufeyiarson is not a God, but rather the full blooded Giant Lord of mischief who resides with the Gods of the Aesir. A son of Farbauti and Laufey, Loki is described as the "contriver of all fraud". He is blood brother to Odin.
With Glut, his first wife, Loki was the father of Einmyria ("embers") and Eisa ("spurt"). He had three children with the giantess Angerboda. These were Jormungand the sea-serpent, Fenrir the giant wolf (who is preordained to slay Odin at the time of Ragnarok) and Hella the goddess of the realm of the dead. Loki's third wife is Sigyn, one of the Asynjur.
Loki is an adept shape-shifter. He possesses the ability to change both his sex and form. As such, he represents a random factor, an unpredictable element that, combined with all the more stable forces of nature, produces unknown results.
While in the form of a mare Loki accidentally became impregnated with Odin's eight-legged horse Sleipnir by the giant horse Svadilfari ("unlucky traveler")!
Loki is a complex and cunning Giant. He is said to be quite fair in appearance, yet capricious in manner, with a heart full of chaos.
Loki is a complex character, a master of guile and deception. At times he can be sage, even kind in his wisdom; yet he can be sinister in his motives, dealing grave evil and hardship to the gods.
Look to Loki in order to understand the lesson that order is defined by chaos. That sometimes we need chaos to bring the opportunity and will to change for the better.
Loki never enjoyed a worshipful following or cult, nor was he ever offered sacrifice. While he would be given a token drink of recognition - for Odin swore that he would not drink unless Loki was also served - neither horn nor cup were lifted to him. There are no place-names which recall centers of his worship or reverence in any region of Europe.
Loki is Lord of Chaos, Chance and Change. This makes him an interesting but dangerous influence. In one piece of ancient lore, Loki arranged the murder of Baldur. When the Gods discovered Loki's involvement, they hunted him down and bound him to three rocks.
There they tied a serpent above him, the venom of which dripped onto his face. Sigyn, Loki's wife at the time, gathered the venom in a bowl. Occasionally, she had to turn away to empty the bowl. This caused the poison to drip onto Loki, who writhed in pain, thus causing earthquakes.
Eventually Loki will free himself, and lead the attack on the Gods at the end of the world: Ragnarok.
[Image: Loki as depicted on an 18th-century Icelandic manuscript]
Loki is one of the most mysterious figures among the gods. He seems to be very ancient, predating the Aesir and Vanir. He might even go back as far as the stone age as the original god of fire. If that were the case, the originally beneficial Loki would have been of giant stock. This idea has been preserved in the Northern myths, in which his parents are named as Laufey and Farbauti, both giants. Loki was credited in later times with more evil characteristics; this happend to most of the giants who were once the elder gods. Loki seems to be related to two other elemental giants or gods: Kai, whose element is air, and Hler, who has been identified as Aegir, another giant ruling the sea with his wife Ran. The element relating to Hler is of course water. All of these figures go back to the oldest Northern tradition. Loki has been credited with much evil. However, although he is a trickster and a catalyst, I condsider his evil aspects to be a Christian development. When the Christians turned Baldur into a Northern equivalent of a w "weeping jesus" figure, and saddled Odin with the characteristics of Jehova, they also needed a "devil". Thus the much maligned Loki was cast in this role. - excerpt from Northern Mysteries & Magick by Freya Aswynn.