|Posted on Monday, July 26, 2004 - 08:28 pm: |
Here's an excerpt from an essay I'm working on now.
When Odin dies on the World Ash, he speaks the following lines: I know I hung on the windswept Tree through nine days and nights. I was stuck with a spear and given to Odin, myself given to myself. Well, who caused Odin's spear to be made? Loki. Who gave Odin his horse, the funeral bier made flesh, the horse one rides to death? Loki. Both Loki and Odin can change shapes, both Loki and Odin know the mysteries of death... for while Odin gives himself to himself, to death, ruled by Hel the dead queen, who is Hel's father? Loki. Loki is the way into death and the maker of death itself, Loki provides the spear, the horse, and even the dark lady herself. When one looks at the long list of Loki's offenses against the gods, it becomes harder and harder to understand why the gods should tolerate him for as long as they do... even counterbalanced by his services to them. Half the time he only aids them in cleaning up messes he himself caused! And yet, they tolerate him anyway. And this doesn't even address the strange relationship between Loki and Utgard-Loki, a giant who tricks Thor repeatedly... and if this weird item isn't enough for you, we can then consider how Loki would eventually be bound beneath the earth by the Aesir and Vanir for his role in helping bring about the death of Balder and preventing his rebirth by refusing to cry for him... and this binding of Loki, complete with the snakes dripping venom in his face, is similar to a motif preserved in the Caucasus region of a giant bound to a mountain, an image similar to that of Prometheus of the greeks, bringer of fire (and Loki has often been compared/conflated with fire under its name of Logi, considered in part a god of fire) and clever titan, tricker of man and god alike. Furthermore, unlike Odin or any other god, not only does Loki serve to repeatedly trick the dvergar and in one instant even tricking a very giant engaged in the construction of Asgard's walls (this incident, involving taking the shape of a mare and luring away the giant's horse, not only led to the conception and birth of Odin's horse Sleipnir, who as we have seen is death's bier, but it also shows us again that the gods of Asgard have no smith and no mason. They do not know the secret of construction as the giants and the dvergar do... they cannot build anything) but Loki goes one step further than that: Loki himself builds the magic weapon Laevateinn, doing what no other god can do. The gods are such poor craftsmen that when the god Aegir of the oceans tells Thor to find him a cauldron to brew beer for a divine feast, they must steal it from a giant, Hymir the father of Tyr. (For those seeking a linkage between the dvergar and the cyclopses and hundred-handed ones, the lay of Hymir is fascinating for appearances of beings like Tyr's grandmother, a beast with nine hundred heads. It also contains the tale of Thor's pretense as Veur and his attempt to catch the Midgard Serpent while fishing, an old story in new clothes.) Not even wise Mimir, whose head whispers wisdom to Odin from its resting place in the well, whose death cause Odin to cast his spear Gungnir at the Vanir and brought about the Aesir/Vanir war which resulted in the Aesir victory and the fall of the Vanir... of the eventual absorption of the twins Freyr and Freyja into the pantheon of the gods. Not even Odin himself can make. Only those children of the Jotun, the dvergar... only the mighty Jotun themselves... and only Loki, shapeshifter, shadow of Odin, fire chosen, liar, tempter, and somehow akin to foul deceiver Utgard, only Loki can make out of the mighty gods of Asgard. Only Loki can make, only Loki can cause to be made. Why should this be? What is Loki, that he should be the spearmaker and the father of the horse, that his loins shall produce death for Asgard in the form of the Fenris Wolf and the Midgard Serpent, death for all men in the form of Hel, death and rebirth for Odin via his terrible swift eight-legged steed (the bier made flesh) and his spear, Gungnir that never misses, death for Balder and a bar for resurrection, and when freed from the earth death once again in the form of Ragnarok itself, as it shall be Loki who steers the ship that shall bring the giants across the seas to the place of final battle, Loki who leads the way to Virdgirthir, the field of final battle.
I have no idea where this is leading exactly, something to do with dwarfs as golems, maybe, but it's something weird and freaky and I'll let you know when the whole thing is up.
|Posted on Tuesday, July 27, 2004 - 02:51 am: |
It finally ended up somewhere:
|Posted on Tuesday, July 27, 2004 - 04:51 pm: |
I really enjoyed your essay. You really captured Loki's essence and your musings on Ymir, as well as your Graham-Hancock-ian suggestions of biotechnology and crashed starships; cool stuff.
You got me thinking about Loki's nature. Maybe he is the Norse man sneaking himself into the pantheon.
This was a wonderful read- you made the blood and guts and fire very poetic.
Oftentimes those who analyze neglect to synthesize, but certainly not you. And you entertain as well. Thanks for the read!
|Posted on Wednesday, July 28, 2004 - 09:18 am: |
This is me blushing.
Seriously, thanks. Appreciate the kind words. Even if my gratitude is always awkwardly expressed, it's sincere.