Wednesday, January 15, 2014

More Sayings from The a Wisdom of Loki

Not sure if I'm gonna actually use this one or not, but for the life of me, I can't come up with anything else to post today. So here goes:

"For his crimes, Loki was tied to the World-Tree, overhung with a serpent, and venom was made to drip into his eyes.  What were his crimes?  He insulted his father, seduced his brother's wife, and fathered a serpent and a wolf; yes, he did all of these things and many more besides. 

"But his true crime was simpler: he challenged the established order of things.  He sought change in a land that hated and feared it."

I'm starting to think of Loki as a kind of fantasy Socialist agitator/revolutionary.  His is the theology of folks looking for a reason to overturn the established order, usually for selfish reasons. He champions the underdog and takes pains to point out the hipocracy in the establishment, but he (and by extension, his priests) do so for their own personal and professional gain. 

Of course, Loki would argue that the established order also acts for its own gain, that he is merely doing what others are doing, but as an outsider--and thus a villain. And in fairness, an even half-way close reading of the Norse mythology bears this out, at least in part. Certainly, the Norse gods that we think of as "good" were a hard-drinking, fractious lot who were easily provoked to violence. There's not half the heroism in the Norse myths as there is in the Greek in my opinion. 

I should note, too, that the actually mythology of Loki is a bit different than this. Yes, he does wind up tied to the World-Tree as I said, but the reasons were a little different and often contradictory. My thought here was that Loki's priests, writing about their patron, would take liberties with the truth as per their patron's teachings. 

Anyway, the more I read about this, the less I like the way that Loki gets portrayed in the comics and movies. I mean, he's a convenient and threatening villain, don't get me wrong, and that's fine. But they haven't gone to much effort to show his side of the story, and in the Norse myths, it's clear that there's something to his side. The essential moral ambiguity of these tales is definitely part of the appeal. 

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