Are you interested in the Norse God Loki? Then this guide is for you!
Loki is a well-known god in Nordic mythology. He is widely regarded as the god of mischief, trickery, and mayhem.
Some accounts indicate that he is not a true god, per se. Rather, he is half-man, half-giant who sneaked his way into Asgard, the realm of the Aesir gods.
According to Norse mythology, Loki caused more disruption and mischief than he did anything else.
His antics and mischief endeared him to the ancient Celts, who lauded him for the fun and amusement he brought into their lives.
There are some occasional good things that Loki does. However, his main intention is not to do good but to deal with problems in mischievous ways.
His style of doing things ends up causing more problems and mayhem.
It is believed that Loki’s antics will eventually lead to Ragnarok, the end of the cosmos as we know it.
Loki’s Family, Powers, and Duties
It is believed that Loki is an only child. In his lifetime, he sires many children with his consort, the goddess Sigyn, and with the giantess Angrboda.
Both Sigyn (Friend of Victory) and the giantess Angrboda (Boding or Aguish) are destined to play important roles during the apocalyptic ending of the cosmos (Ragnarok).
With Sigyn, Loki has one son, the giant Nafri (also known as Nari or Jotuun). He has a further 3 children with Angrboda.
Legend has it that one of his children Jormungandr, has a serpent-like grip on the world, with his tail wrapped around it.
Ragnarok will start when this serpent lets go of his tail, thus leading to a cataclysm of events that will mark the end of the world and of the cosmos.
By being an agent of fun, chaos, and amusement; Loki is gradually driving the world towards Ragnarok.
Loki was well known for shape-shifting into animals to escape retribution and to achieve his objectives.
His combination of masterful trickery provides comic relief in an otherwise tough Celtic world.
Examples of Myths Showing Loki’s Mischief
#1 – The Death of Balder
Balder, the son of Odin and half-brother to Thor, is the epitome of kindness and generosity. He was the god of love, peace, and purity.
His handsomeness had no equal in the divine and physical realms. He was highly regarded for his kindheartedness and mercy.
Although all gods are believed to be immortal, a prophecy had it that Balder would one day die.
In a bid to avoid his death, his mother (the goddess Frigg) visited all the forces in the Universe and made them promise not to harm her son, Balder.
However, she forgot to seek the allegiance of mistletoe, thinking that it was too small to portend any real danger to her son.
This was a fatal oversight on Frigg’s part. Soon, Loki got to hear of it. He did not waste any time in carving an arrow out of mistletoe.
Loki handed the arrow to Balder’s half-brother, Hoor, and teased him into shooting the arrow towards Balder.
Hoor took up the challenge in the belief that Balder was indestructible. The arrow pierced Balder’s heart, and he was pronounced dead.
#2 – Messing with Thor’s Wife
Thor prided himself in having one of the most beautiful wives in Asgard. His wife, Sif, was the goddess of the Earth and harvest.
She had the most beautiful golden hair that was reputed to flow down her back flawlessly, something that Thor would never tire of bragging about.
Bored and looking to do some mischief, Loki decided to cut off Sif’s golden locks. He sneaked up on her, snipped the golden Locks, and went about displaying them everywhere he went.
Obviously, this did not amuse Thor, the god of Thunder. He roared and threatened to crush Loki. Afraid for his life, Loki offered to make amends.
He descended to earth and sought out the services of dwarves who were well known for their superb workmanship.
The dwarves made a headdress of golden hair, which Loki offered to Sif to appease her. Luckily for him, she accepted the replacement without a hassle.
#3 – Creation of Thor’s Hammer (Mjollnir)
Loki is depicted as one god who clearly liked playing pranks on Thor. This is quite interesting considering that the two are not brothers.
Thor owed his hammer to Loki’s mischief and efforts.
Myth has it that Loki taunted two dwarves, Brokkr and Eitri (the sons of Ivaldi) that they could not amount to much in life.
He had managed to collect Sif’s golden locks and other treasures, and he thus felt entitled to all bragging rights.
The dwarves Brokkr and Eitri felt slighted by Loki’s insinuation, and they said that they could come up with the most amazing of creations.
To spur them on, Loki offered his head as collateral should he lose the bet.
The dwarves got working; forging metal to make their creation. To deter them, Loki turned into a gnat and started biting the dwarves as they worked.
The dwarves maintained their focus on their work; nothing could seem to derail them.
As one of them lowered the iron into the fire, Loki bit his eye and managed to distract him from accomplishing the task.
The product that came out had a shorter handle than was intended. When it was presented before the gods, they unilaterally agreed that that was the best creation they had ever seen.
The Ivaldi brothers were quick to lay claim to Loki’s head. To avoid decapitation, the sly Loki slithered away from the gathering.
He managed to dodge the dwarves and renege on the deal.
#4 – Ruining of Aegir’s Feast
Aegir, the ocean giant, was throwing a feast in honor of all the gods of Aesir. He appointed two of his servants, Fimafeng and Eldir, to tend to the needs of the deities.
The two servants did so well at their work that all the gods heaped praises on them. This got Loki jealous, and he decided to kill Fimafeng.
The other gods were extremely angry with him and they drove him out of the feast.
Before long, Loki wormed his way back into the hall. But, instead of keeping quiet and showing remorse, he decided to spice the party up even further.
He descended on all the gods present with verbal insults. None was spared his tongue-lashing. He called Odin a heretic and his wife Frigg a whore.
He referred to Thor as a coward, Tyr a cuckold, and Freya an incestuous witch.
Thor, who was not at the feast at the time, got wind of what was happening and quickly came over ready to deal with Loki.
On sensing danger, Loki changed into a salmon and quickly slid into a river to escape Thor’s wrath.
#5 – Tricking the Master Builder
A giant and a master builder offered to build a protective wall around Asgard, the home of the aesir gods.
He wanted to be given the Moon, the Sun, and the goddess Freya in payment.
The gods bought this idea because they actually needed that wall. However, because they did not want to lose Freya, they gave the giant a tight schedule.
He has to complete the wall by the first day of summer. In their minds, the gods knew it was impossible to complete this task in the given time.
The master-builder agreed to these terms and started work immediately, backed by his trusted stallion Svadilfari.
The wall was nearing completion as the first day of summer approached. The gods knew that something had to be done to slow down – or altogether sabotage – the giant’s work.
Enter Loki, the god of mischief.
He was tasked by the gods to distract the giant so that they don’t lose the goddess Freya. Loki shape-shifted into a mare and lured the stallion Svadilfari away from her master.
Their elopement resulted in the birth of Sleipnir, the 8-legged horse that came to be the property of Odin.
The giant discovered that he had been tricked and decided to wage war on the gods. He was soon crushed by the mighty Thor.
Loki is Imprisoned
Loki’s antics and mischief got into everyone’s nerves. The gods had had enough of him and they decided to lock him away.
Loki got wind of their plans and decided to flee Asgard. He built a 4-doored house on top of a mountain so that he could see the gods approaching from whichever direction.
During the day, he shape-shifted into a salmon to keep safe. At night, he made a net with which he caught fish for his food.
Odin saw through his clever trick and decided to lead the gods in search of Loki. On seeing the gods approach, Loki quickly turned into a salmon in a bid to get away.
This did not fool Odin who quickly caught him and firmly held him to the ground. After much writing and thrashing, Loki was finally bound in chains to three huge boulders.
A poisonous snake was placed on the rock above him to prevent his escape. Poison from the snake would drip onto Loki’s face, and every drop that hit Loki’s face would make him shake and shudder.
This would cause massive earthquakes as far away as Midgard, the home of humans.
His wife, Sygn, held a bowl to catch the poison. She would only move out of his presence to empty the bowl when it was full.
Legend has it that Loki and sygn will remain in this state until the end of time.
Loki will be able to free himself when Ragnarok begins – when he will join forces with the giants to destroy the universe.
Alongside Odin and Thor, Loki is one of the most famous and recognizable Norse gods. He has also become a highly appreciated entity in modern times.
Loki the god of mischief features prominently in modern sculptures, paintings, songs, poems, and novels. He is depicted as a god who enjoys mischief and devious deceptions.
In Norse mythology, Loki helped and disrupted the other deities in equal measure. No one could say where his allegiances truly lay.
Loki, the Nordic god of mischief, cannot be said to be good or bad. He just loves spreading chaos laced with humor and lots of fun.