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Illustrated Guide to Mythology

Loki


Loki is the god of trickery, deceit, and shape-shifting. His appearance is often creepy and spider-like, and he is usually depicted with a fishing net or a knot.

Loki
Loki

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Loki was the son of Fárbauti, a giant, and Laufey, a woman of unspecified divinity. He was married to Sigyn, but he had many affairs, including one with a giantess named Angrböda which produced three horrific offspring: Hel, the goddess of the underworld; Jörmungand, the giant sea serpent; and Fenrir, the horrific wolf. Loki was a shape-shifter, which he was constantly using trickery to deceive those around him and cause trouble.

When Baldur told Frigg that he had been having premonitions of his death, she went out to everyone and everything in the world to get their assurances that they would not harm her son. Loki learned, however, that she had not asked mistletoe. He fashioned a spear from mistletoe, and then when he tricked Hodr into throwing it at Baldur, it killed him instantly. Then, when Frigg and Odin were trying to rescue Baldur from Hel, he turned himself into a giantess and refused to weep at Baldur’s plight, not allowing Baldur to be returned to the world until Ragnarök.

Loki played a critical role in keeping the giant Thrym from becoming suspicious of Thor disguised as Freya so that Thor could get to the marriage ceremony and retrieve his hammer, which Thrym had stolen. When Thrym became suspicious of how much Thor was eating, or the fiery red eyes behind the veil, Loki explained that Freya hadn’t eaten or slept in a week, keeping Thor’s disguise intact until he could get his hammer and kill all of the giants in attendance at the wedding.

Sif was Thor’s wife and well-known for her gorgeous golden hair. Loki snuck into her room one night and cut it all off. After Thor threatened to kill Loki, Loki went to the dwarves and had them fashion a golden wig which became her most well-known accessory.

Loki shape-shifted into a mare and became impregnated by a stallion, creating the race of eight-legged horses called Sleipnir. The Sleipnir becomes the main mode of transportation for gods such as Odin and other shamans.

Loki was eventually locked in a cave with his wife Sigyn while a snake dripped venom on his face until Ragnarök because of his role in preventing Baldur’s return to earth. He tried to shape-shift into a salmon and swim away to safety, but Thor caught him in a net and dragged him to the cave, tying him up with his son Narfi’s entrails.

Loki Quick Reference

Parents

Fárbauti and Laufey


Domain / Power

  • trickery
  • deceit
  • shape-shifting

Symbols

  • fishing net
  • net
  • spider-like body

Notable Myths

  • Death of Baldur
  • Creation of the Sleipnir
  • Loki cuts Sif’s hair

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