Loki is NOT an Heathen God
Loki is NOT a Heathen God
This statement: "Getting hung up on the Abrahamic 'good vs. evil' mindset is counter productive. Good and evil weren't even concepts our ancestors subscribed to," in defense of honoring Loki demonstrates that Loki-worship is simply an anti-christian reaction and has nothing to do with heathenry. Loki is not a heathen god. He no longer is oathed to or living among the Aesir, and hasn't since ancient times, according to the primary sources of information we have on Loki, which are the poems of the Poetic Edda. While it's true Odin and Loki were once oathed blood brothers, that oath was broken once Loki admited to killing Odin's son Balder, a kinsman by oath. For this heinous act, the gods bound and tortured him. See Lokasenna, verse 9, and keep reading to the end to verify these statements.
All of the mythic events took place "in the early days", "when time was young" etc. They have long since passed. Don't be fooled because you find Loki among the gods in the stories we have. They state they are speaking of past events. Ragnarok, when Loki and his brood break free, is a future event. The source poems are clear on this if you read them. Snorri Sturluson used the same sources, when he wrote his fictional story of the human Odin and his Asia-men from the Classical City of Troy, which clearly is Christian influenced (Snorri's Prose Edda, Introduction and Gylfaginning, is consistent on this point from beginning to end). In contrast, Snorri's source, the old heathen poems of the Poetic Edda, do not speak of Christ or Biblical characters and show no verifiable signs of Christian influence. Those that claim they do can only show superficial comparisons in support of that theory. Yet, Odin hanging on Yggdrasil to obtain wisdom isn't Jesus, and Baldur being sent to Hel, isn't Jesus. Nor is Ragnarok like the Revelation of St. John in any meaningful way. When one truly compares the two, there are clearly more differences than the very superficial similarities such people point out.
In those same poetic sources, we find many things that are "good" and others that are "evil" and labeled as such. The gods give mankind the góða litr ("good-form"; Voluspa 18). Gullveig-Heid is '"ever the sweet-scent of evil people" or "evil women" (Voluspa 22). Loki eats the half-burnt heart of the "evil woman" and becomes pregnant with Fenrir (Hyndluljod 40-41). And we even have the direct statement, in the story of how Freyja obtained her necklace Brisingsamen (Sorla Thattur), that "most people are happy when Loki fares badly", Flestir urðu við þat kátir, er Loka gekk lítt til. Loki isn't considered a friend or an ally, particualry after being bound with the guts of his bastard son by Tyr's wife (Lokasenna 40) and being chained to rocks in Niflhel near his son Fenrir (as Freyr ably predicts in Lokasenna 41; Thrymskvida 13 informs us that the Vanir are prophetic).
Any attempt to recognize Loki as a god and a figure worthy of worship is simply rehashing the arguments of the 19th century Biblical School of Interpretation, which held that the Poetic Edda is based on Biblical and Classical sources that Icelanders learned from contact with the Irish in the 800s, a poorly supported theory which mainstream scholars debunked over a century ago! Yet it persists, typically among neo-pagans not familiar with the sources of their professed faith. Study our sources, there is a lot more there than contained in Snorri's Edda and the scholarship which defacto takes it as the primary source when it uses Snorri's Edda to explain his own source, the Poetic Edda. That assumes Snorri understood the poems the same way the old heathens did. Yet, he places it all in the framework and context of Roman Catholic philosophy and History. You do not find that in the Poetic Edda. And you do not find Loki outside of these two places, except in later Icelandic legendary sagas and a Faroese folk ballad. There is even debate whether Loki was a pan-Germanic figure at all, since you do not find him outside of the Scandinavian sources by that name.
So raising him to a figure representing elemental balance worthy of worship is unwarranted. Loki and his destructive brood are powerful forces of entropy, which the gods constantly battle and ultimately overcome.
- William P. Reaves, January 2022