The trickster god
Posted by Fredsvenn on September 8, 2015
Enki – Hermes – Mercury – Odin – Lugus – Loke
Water is a reference to the flow of the collective unconsciousness – that which creates realities in which we learn through experience and emotions. Water Deities refers to Gods and Goddesses who allegedly came from the sea of consciousness to create a biogenetic program that goes back to the beginning and is about to end. Most deities arrived from the sky (higher frequency) —> moving into the sea to create, then left, usually saying they would return one day.
This has it’s resemblance to several other mythological beings:
Oannes (Babylon), Dagon (Philistine), Proteus, Nereus and Poseidon (Greece), Neptune (Roman), Vishnu (India), Fuxi (China)
Enki (Sumerian: EN.KI(G)) is a god in Sumerian mythology, later known as Ea in Akkadian and Babylonian mythology. He was originally patron god of the city of Eridu, but later the influence of his cult spread throughout Mesopotamia and to the Canaanites, Hittites and Hurrians.
The main temple to Enki is called E-abzu, meaning “abzu temple” (also E-en-gur-a, meaning “house of the subterranean waters”), a ziggurat temple surrounded by Euphratean marshlands near the ancient Persian Gulf coastline at Eridu. He was the keeper of the divine powers called Me, the gifts of civilization. He is often shown with the horned crown of divinity dressed in the skin of a carp.
Enki was the deity of crafts (gašam); mischief; water, seawater, lakewater (a, aba, ab), intelligence (gestú, literally “ear”) and creation (Nudimmud: nu, likeness, dim mud, make beer). His image is a double-helix snake, or the Caduceus, sometimes confused with the Rod of Asclepius used to symbolize medicine.
Enki was associated with the southern band of constellations called stars of Ea, but also with the constellation AŠ-IKU, the Field (Square of Pegasus). Beginning around the second millennium BCE, he was sometimes referred to in writing by the numeric ideogram for “40,” occasionally referred to as his “sacred number.”
The planet Mercury, associated with Babylonian Nabu (the son of Marduk) was in Sumerian times, identified with Enki. His symbols included a goat and a fish, which later combined into a single beast, the goat Capricorn, recognised as the Zodiacal constellation Capricornus.
Ningishzida (sum: nin-g̃iš-zid-da), a Mesopotamian deity of the underworld, is the earliest known symbol of snakes twining around an axial rod. His name in Sumerian is translated as “lord of the good tree” by Thorkild Jacobsen.
It predates the Caduceus of Hermes, the Rod of Asclepius and the biblical Nehushtan of Moses, a bronze serpent on a pole which God told Moses to erect to protect the Israelites who saw it from dying from the bites of the “fiery serpents” which God had sent to punish them for speaking against God and Moses, by more than a millennium. One Greek myth on origin of the caduceus is part of the story of Tieresias, who found two snakes copulating and killed the female with his staff.
Although Wadjet, “the Green One”, the serpent goddess of Lower Egypt from the Pre-dynastic period demonstrates the earliest known representation of a single serpent entwined around a pole – in this case a papyrus reed (refer to first glyph): Wadjet Hieroglyph.
In Sumerian mythology, he appears in Adapa’s myth as one of the two guardians of Anu’s celestial palace, alongside Dumuzi. He was sometimes depicted as a serpent with a human head. The Adapa myth mentions Ningizzida and Tammuz (or Dumuzi) and refers to the serpent god as male.
Lagash had a temple dedicated to Ningishzida, and Gudea, patesi of Lagash in the 21st century BC (short chronology), was one of his devotees. In the Louvre, there is a famous green steatite vase carved for King Gudea of Lagash, dedicated by its inscription: “To the god Ningiszida, his god Gudea, Ensi (governor) of Lagash, for the prolongation of his life, has dedicated this”.
Ningishzida is sometimes the son of Ninazu, a god of the underworld, and of healing, and Ningiridda, even though the myth Ningishzidda’s journey to the netherworld suggests he is the son of Ereshkigal. Following an inscription found at Lagash, he was the son of Anu, the heavens.
His wife is Azimua, one of the eight deities born to relieve the illness of Enki, and also Geshtinanna, the sister of Dumuzi, while his sister is Amashilama. In some texts Ningishzida is said to be female, which means “Nin” would then refer to Lady, which is mostly how the word is used by the Sumerians. He or she was one of the ancestors of Gilgamesh.
In Germanic mythology, Odin (from Old Norse Óðinn) is a widely attested god. In Norse mythology, whence most surviving information about the god stems, Odin is associated with healing, death, royalty, the gallows, knowledge, battle, sorcery, poetry, frenzy, and the runic alphabet, and is the husband of the goddess Frigg.
Several plants were named after Freyja, such as Freyja’s tears and Freyja’s hair (Polygala vulgaris), but during the process of Christianization, the name of the goddess was replaced with that of the Virgin Mary. Several plants were named after Freyja, such as Freyja’s tears and Freyja’s hair (Polygala vulgaris), but during the process of Christianization, the name of the goddess was replaced with that of the Virgin Mary.
In wider Germanic mythology and paganism, Odin was known in Old English as Wóden, in Old Saxon as Wōden, and in Old High German as Wuotan or Wodan, all stemming from the reconstructed Proto-Germanic theonym *wōđanaz.
Odin has been a frequent subject of study in Germanic studies and numerous theories surround the god. Some of these focus on Odin’s particular relation to other figures, such as that Freyja’s husband Óðr appears to be something of an etymological doublet of the god, whereas the goddess Frigg, Odin’s wife, is in many ways similar to Freyja, and that Odin has a particular relation to the figure of Loki.
The weekday name Wednesday derives from Old English. Cognate terms are found in other Germanic languages, such as Old High German wōdnesdæg, Middle Low German wōdensdach (Dutch Woensdag), and Old Norse Óðinsdagr (Danish, Norwegian and Swedish Onsdag).
All of these terms derive from Proto-Germanic *Wodensdag, itself a Germanic interpretation of Latin Dies Mercurii (“Day of Mercury”). However, in Old High German, the name derived from Odin’s was replaced by a translation of Church Latin media hebdomas (‘middle of the week’) hence modern German Mittwoch.
Romans associated Mercury with the Germanic god Wotan, by interpretatio Romana; 1st-century Roman writer Tacitus identifies him as the chief god of the Germanic peoples.
When they described the gods of Celtic and Germanic tribes, rather than considering them separate deities, the Romans interpreted them as local manifestations or aspects of their own gods, a cultural trait called the interpretatio Romana.
Mercury in particular was reported as becoming extremely popular among the nations the Roman Empire conquered; Julius Caesar wrote of Mercury being the most popular god in Britain and Gaul, regarded as the inventor of all the arts.
This is probably because in the Roman syncretism, Mercury was equated with the Celtic god Lugus, and in this aspect was commonly accompanied by the Celtic goddess Rosmerta.
The earliest records of the Germanic peoples were recorded by the Romans, and in these works Odin is frequently referred to as the Roman god Mercury. The first clear example of this occurs in the Roman historian Tacitus’s late 1st-century work Germania, where, writing about the religion of the Suebi (a confederation of Germanic peoples), he comments that “among the gods Mercury is the one they principally worship.
They regard it as a religious duty to offer to him, on fixed days, human as well as other sacrificial victims. Hercules and Mars they appease by animal offerings of the permitted kind” and adds that a portion of the Suebi also venerate “Isis”. In this instance, Tacitus refers to the god Odin as “Mercury”, Thor as “Hercules”, and Týr as “Mars”, and the identity of the “Isis” of the Suebi has been debated.
Lugus was a deity of the Celtic pantheon. His name is rarely directly attested in inscriptions, but his importance can be inferred from place names and ethnonyms, and his nature and attributes are deduced from the distinctive iconography of Gallo-Roman inscriptions to Mercury, who is widely believed to have been identified with Lugus, and from the quasi-mythological narratives involving his later cognates, Irish Lugh Lámhfhada (Lugh of the Long Arm) and Welsh Lleu Llaw Gyffes (Lleu of the Skillful Hand).
Although Lugus may originally have been a deity of light or the sun (though this is disputed), similar to the Roman Apollo, his importance as a god of trade made him more comparable to Mercury, and Apollo was instead equated with the Celtic deity Belenus.
Rübekeil suggests that Lugus was a triune god, comprising Esus, Toutatis and Taranis, the three chief deities mentioned by Lucan (who, at the same time, makes no mention of Lugus), and that pre-Proto-Germanic tribes in contact with the Celts (possibly the Chatti) moulded aspects of Lugus into the Germanic god Wōdanaz i.e. that Gaulish Mercury gave rise to Germanic Mercury.
Gaulish Mercury is associated with triplism: sometimes he has three faces, sometimes three phalluses, which may explain the plural dedications. In Celtic areas, Mercury was sometimes portrayed with three heads or faces, and at Tongeren, Belgium, a statuette of Mercury with three phalli was found, with the extra two protruding from his head and replacing his nose; this was probably because the number 3 was considered magical, making such statues good luck and fertility charms.
Julius Caesar in his De Bello Gallico identified six gods worshipped in Gaul, by the usual conventions of interpretatio romana giving the names of their nearest Roman equivalents rather than their Gaulish names. He said that “Mercury” was the god most revered in Gaul, describing him as patron of trade and commerce, protector of travellers, and the inventor of all the arts.
The iconography of Gaulish Mercury includes birds, particularly ravens and the cock, now the emblem of France; horses; the tree of life; dogs or wolves; a pair of snakes (cf Hermes’s Caduceus); mistletoe; shoes (one of the dedications to the Lugoves was made by a shoemakers’ guild; Lugus’s Welsh counterpart Lleu (or Llew) Llaw Gyffes is described in the Welsh Triads as one of the “three golden shoemakers of the island of Britain”); and bags of money. He is often armed with a spear.
He is frequently accompanied by his consort Rosmerta (“great provider”), who bears the ritual drink with which kingship was conferred (in Roman mythology). Unlike the Roman Mercury, who is always a youth, Gaulish Mercury is occasionally also represented as an old man.
The exact etymology of Lugus is unknown and contested. The Proto-Celtic root of the name, *lug-, is generally believed to have been derived from one of several different Proto-Indo-European roots, such as *leug- “black”, *leuǵ- “to break”, and *leugʰ- “to swear an oath”, It was once thought that the root may be derived from Proto-Indo-European *leuk- “to shine”, but there are difficulties with this etymology and few modern scholars accept it as being possible (notably because Proto-Indo-European *-k- never produced Proto-Celtic *-g-).
Mercury is a major Roman god, being one of the Dii Consentes within the ancient Roman pantheon. He is the patron god of financial gain, commerce, eloquence (and thus poetry), messages/communication (including divination), travelers, boundaries, luck, trickery and thieves; he is also the guide of souls to the underworld. He was considered the son of Maia and Jupiter in Roman mythology.
His name is possibly related to the Latin word merx (“merchandise”; compare merchant, commerce, etc.), mercari (to trade), and merces (wages); another possible connection is the Proto-Indo-European root merĝ- for “boundary, border” (cf. Old English “mearc”, Old Norse “mark” and Latin “margō”) and Greek οὖρος (by analogy of Arctūrus/Ἀρκτοῦρος), as the “keeper of boundaries,” referring to his role as bridge between the upper and lower worlds.
Mercury has influenced the name of many things in a variety of scientific fields, such as the planet Mercury, and the element mercury. The word mercurial is commonly used to refer to something or someone erratic, volatile or unstable, derived from Mercury’s swift flights from place to place. He is often depicted holding the caduceus in his left hand.
In his earliest forms, he appears to have been related to the Etruscan deity Turms, both of which share characteristics with the Greek god Hermes.
Hermes is an Olympian god in Greek religion and mythology, the son of Zeus and the Pleiad Maia. He is the second youngest of the Olympian gods. He is the protector and patron of herdsmen, thieves, oratory and wit, literature and poetry, athletics and sports, invention and trade, roads, boundaries and travellers.
He is a god of transitions and boundaries. He is quick and cunning, and moves freely between the worlds of the mortal and divine, as an emissary and messenger of the gods, intercessor between mortals and the divine, and conductor of souls into the afterlife.
In some myths, he is a trickster and outwits other gods for his own satisfaction or for the sake of humankind. His attributes and symbols include the herma, the rooster, the tortoise, purse or pouch, winged sandals and winged cap. His main symbol is the Greek kerykeion or Latin caduceus which consisted of two snakes wrapped around a winged staff.
In the Roman adaptation of the Greek pantheon (interpretatio romana), Hermes is identified with the Roman god Mercury, who, though inherited from the Etruscans, developed many similar characteristics, such as being the patron of commerce.
It is suggested that Hermes is cognate of the Vedic Sarama, a mythological being referred to as the dog of the gods, or Deva-shuni. Early Rig-Vedic works do not depict Sarama as canine, but later Vedic mythologies and interpretations usually do. She is described as the mother of all dogs, and in particular of the two four-eyed brindle dogs of the god Yama, a god of death, and dogs are given the matronymic Sarameya (“offspring of Sarama”). One scripture further describes Sarama as the mother of all wild animals.
Orientalist Max Müller suggests that the word Sarama may mean “the runner”, with the stem originating from the Sanskrit root sar (“to go”), but he is unable to account for the second part of the name, ama. Professor Monier-Williams translates Sarama as “the fleet one”.
The etymological treatise Nirukta by Yaska mentions that Sarama derives her name from her quick movement. Mahidhara, a commentator of the Vajasaneyi Samhita, states that Sarama is “she who entertains (remante) the gods”. More broadly, Sarama has also come to mean any female dog.
There are two epithets for Sarama in the original Rig Veda. Firstly, she is described as supadi, which means “having good feet”, “fair-footed” or “quick”, an epithet only used for Sarama in the text. Her other epithet is subhaga – “the fortunate one”, or “the beloved one” – a common epithet of the Ushas, the Dawn. Sarama’s other name Deva-shuni means “divine bitch” or “bitch of the gods”.
Sirius is the brightest star (in fact, a star system) in the Earth’s night sky. With a visual apparent magnitude of −1.46, it is almost twice as bright as Canopus, the next brightest star. The most commonly used proper name of this star comes from the Latin Sīrius, from the Ancient Greek Σείριος (Seirios, “glowing” or “scorcher”), although the Greek word itself may have been imported from elsewhere before the Archaic period, one authority suggesting a link with the Egyptian god Osiris.
The name’s earliest recorded use dates from the 7th century BC in Hesiod’s poetic work Works and Days. Sirius has over 50 other designations and names attached to it. In Geoffrey Chaucer’s essay Treatise on the Astrolabe, it bears the name Alhabor, and is depicted by a hound’s head. This name is widely used on medieval astrolabes from Western Europe.
In Sanskrit it is known as Mrgavyadha “deer hunter”, or Lubdhaka “hunter”. As Mrgavyadha, the star represents Rudra (Shiva). The star is referred as Makarajyoti in Malayalam and has religious significance to the pilgrim center Sabarimala.
In Scandinavia, the star has been known as Lokabrenna (“burning done by Loki”, or “Loki’s torch”). In the astrology of the Middle Ages Sirius was a Behenian fixed star, associated with beryl and juniper.
Many cultures have historically attached special significance to Sirius, particularly in relation to dogs. Indeed, Sirius is also known colloquially as the “Dog Star”, reflecting its prominence in its constellation, Canis Major (“Greater Dog”). The heliacal rising of Sirius marked the flooding of the Nile in Ancient Egypt and the “dog days” of summer for the ancient Greeks.
It was classically depicted as Orion’s dog. The Ancient Greeks thought that Sirius’s emanations could affect dogs adversely, making them behave abnormally during the “dog days,” the hottest days of the summer. The Romans knew these days as dies caniculares, and the star Sirius was called Canicula, “little dog.” The excessive panting of dogs in hot weather was thought to place them at risk of desiccation and disease. In extreme cases, a foaming dog might have rabies, which could infect and kill humans whom they had bitten.
Sirius, known in ancient Egypt as Sopdet (Greek: Σῶθις Sothis), the deification of Sothis, a star considered by almost all Egyptologists to be Sirius, is recorded in the earliest astronomical records.
During the era of the Middle Kingdom, Egyptians based their calendar on the heliacal rising of Sirius, namely the day it becomes visible just before sunrise after moving far enough away from the glare of the Sun. This occurred just before the annual flooding of the Nile and the summer solstice, after a 70-day absence from the skies.
The name Sopdet means (she who is) sharp in Egyptian, a reference to the brightness of Sirius, which is the brightest star in the night sky. The hieroglyph for Sothis features a star and a triangle. In art she is depicted as a woman with a five-pointed star upon her head.
Just after Sirius has a heliacal rising in the July sky, the Nile River begins its annual flood, and so the ancient Egyptians connected the two. Consequently, Sopdet was identified as a goddess of the fertility of the soil, which was brought to it by the Nile’s flooding. This significance led the Egyptians to base their calendar on the heliacal rising of Sirius.
Sopdet is the consort of Sah, the personification of the constellation Orion, near which Sirius appears, and the god Sopdu, a god of the sky and of eastern border regions in ancient Egyptian religion, was said to be their child. According to the Pyramid Texts, Horus-Sopdu, a combination of Sopdu and the greater sky god Horus, is the offspring of Osiris-Sah and Isis-Sopdet.
These relationships parallel those of the god Osiris and his family, and Sah was linked with Osiris, Sopdet was identified with the great goddess Isis, and Sopdu with Horus, while the 70-day period symbolised the passing of Isis and Osiris through the duat (Egyptian underworld). Sopdet is in the Pyramid Texts said to be the daughter of Osiris.
In Iranian mythology, especially in Persian mythology and in Zoroastrianism, the ancient religion of Persia, Sirius appears as Tishtrya and is revered as the rain-maker divinity (Tishtar of New Persian poetry).
Beside passages in the sacred texts of the Avesta, the Avestan language Tishtrya followed by the version Tir in Middle and New Persian is also depicted in the Persian epic Shahnameh of Ferdowsi. Due to the concept of the yazatas, powers which are “worthy of worship”, Tishtrya is a divinity of rain and fertility and an antagonist of apaosha, the demon of drought. In this struggle, Tishtrya is beautifully depicted as a white horse.
In Chinese astronomy the star is known as the star of the “celestial wolf”. Farther afield, many nations among the indigenous peoples of North America also associated Sirius with canines. Several cultures also associated the star with a bow and arrows. The ancient Chinese visualized a large bow and arrow across the southern sky, formed by the constellations of Puppis and Canis Major. In this, the arrow tip is pointed at the wolf Sirius. A similar association is depicted at the Temple of Hathor in Dendera, where the goddess Satet has drawn her arrow at Hathor (Sirius). Known as “Tir”, the star was portrayed as the arrow itself in later Persian culture.
Sirius is mentioned in Surah, An-Najm (“The Star”), of the Qur’an, where it is given the name الشِّعْرَى (transliteration: aš-ši‘rā or ash-shira; the leader). The verse is: “وأنَّهُ هُوَ رَبُّ الشِّعْرَى”, “That He is the Lord of Sirius (the Mighty Star).” (An-Najm:49) Ibn Kathir said in his commentary “Ibn ‘Abbas, Mujahid, Qatada and Ibn Zayd said about Ash-Shi`ra that it is the bright star, named Mirzam Al-Jawza’ (Sirius), which a group of Arabs used to worship.” The alternate name Aschere, used by Johann Bayer, is derived from this.
In Theosophy, it is believed the Seven Stars of the Pleiades transmit the spiritual energy of the Seven Rays from the Galactic Logos to the Seven Stars of the Great Bear, then to Sirius. From there is it sent via the Sun to the god of Earth (Sanat Kumara), and finally through the seven Masters of the Seven Rays to the human race.
There is the legend of the ‘Three Kings of the Orient’ who came on Christmas to adorn the new-born God? from days of old the Three Kings were the three conspicuous stars in the belt of Orion that so easily distinguishes this notable constellation and their title was for long the Three Kings of Orion. They point almost in a direct line to the following Sirius (which) was made in the type of Christ-soul in mankind. (Sirius) is preceded by the Three Kings who anticipate its coming (rising).
The wise men are represented by the three stars at the waistline of the constellation Orion. They came from the east because they saw his star in the east. They were coming from the east, and saw the star in the east since the star of Bethlehem is to the east of Orion. As they drift westerly, the star of Bethlehem remains to the east.
Orion’s Belt or the Belt of Orion, also known as the Three Kings or Three Sisters, is an asterism in the constellation Orion. It consists of the three bright stars Alnitak, Alnilam and Mintaka. In Scandinavian tradition, “Orion’s belt” was known as Frigg’s Distaff (friggerock) or Freyja’s distaff, a tool used in spinning.
Orion is mentioned in the oldest surviving works of Greek literature, which probably date back to the 7th or 8th century BC, but which are the products of an oral tradition with origins several centuries earlier.
In Homer’s Iliad Orion is described as a constellation and the star Sirius is mentioned as his dog. In the Odyssey, Odysseus sees him hunting in the underworld with a bronze club, a great slayer of animals; he is also mentioned as a constellation, as the lover of the Goddess Dawn, as slain by Artemis, and as the most handsome of the earthborn. In the Works and Days of Hesiod, Orion is also a constellation that rises and sets with the sun and is used to reckon the year.
The Babylonian star catalogues of the Late Bronze Age name Orion MULSIPA.ZI.AN.NA, “The Heavenly Shepherd” or “True Shepherd of Anu” – Anu being the chief god of the heavenly realms. The Babylonian constellation was sacred to Papshukal and Ninshubur, both minor gods fulfilling the role of ‘messenger to the gods’.
Papshukal was closely associated with the figure of a walking bird on Babylonian boundary stones, and on the star map the figure of the Rooster was located below and behind the figure of the True Shepherd—both constellations represent the herald of the gods, in his bird and human forms respectively.
In ancient Egypt, the stars of Orion were regarded as a god, called Sah. Because Orion rises before Sirius, the star whose heliacal rising was the basis for the Solar Egyptian calendar, Sah was closely linked with Sopdet, the goddess who personified Sirius.
The Armenians identified their legendary patriarch and founder Hayk with Orion. Hayk is also the name of the Orion constellation in the Armenian translation of the Bible. In ancient Aram, the constellation was known as Nephîlā′, the Nephilim may have been Orion’s descendants.
The Bible mentions Orion three times, naming it “Kesil” (כסיל, literally – fool). Though, this name perhaps is etymologically connected with “Kislev”, the name for the ninth month of the Hebrew calendar (i.e. November–December), which, in turn, may derive from the Hebrew root K-S-L as in the words “kesel, kisla” (כֵּסֶל, כִּסְלָה, hope, positiveness), i.e. hope for winter rains.): Job 9:9 (“He is the maker of the Bear and Orion”), Job 38:31 (“Can you loosen Orion’s belt?”), and Amos 5:8 (“He who made the Pleiades and Orion”).
Orion’s current name derives from Greek mythology, in which Orion was a gigantic, supernaturally strong hunter of ancient times, born to Euryale, a Gorgon, and Poseidon (Neptune), god of the sea in the Graeco-Roman tradition.
One myth recounts Gaia’s rage at Orion, who dared to say that he would kill every animal on the planet. The angry goddess tried to dispatch Orion with a scorpion. This is given as the reason that the constellations of Scorpius and Orion are never in the sky at the same time.
However, Ophiuchus, the Serpent Bearer, revived Orion with an antidote. This is said to be the reason that the constellation of Ophiuchus stands midway between the Scorpion and the Hunter in the sky.
Joseph Fontenrose wrote Orion : the Myth of the Hunter and the Huntress (1981) to show Orion as the type specimen of a variety of grotesque hero. Fontenrose views him as similar to Cúchulainn, that is, stronger, larger, and more potent than ordinary men and the violent lover of the Divine Huntress; other heroes of the same type are Actaeon, Leucippus (son of Oenomaus), Cephalus, Teiresias, and Zeus as the lover of Callisto. Fontenrose also sees Eastern parallels in the figures of Aqhat, Attis, Dumuzi, Gilgamesh, Dushyanta, and Prajapati (as pursuer of Ushas).
The Celts were amongst the earliest European tribes to smelt iron, and their culture thus heavily influenced those tribes around them, particularly the Norse, Northern or Germanic tribes. Loki, Loptr, or Hveðrungr, who is a god or jötunn (or both), provides the echo of that Celtic influence on early Northern culture within the Norse mythology.
As Lugh or Lugus was one of the primary Celtic deities. Loki can be identified as the Norse view of Lugh. Loki and Lugh both have a close association with mistletoe and provide gifts to their friends. They are lightning Gods rather than Sun, Earth or Water gods and can both be associated with killing, via a thrown spear, a Sun god.
In Norse mythology, Loki is the son of Fárbauti (Old Norse: “cruel striker”) and Laufey (“full of leaves”) or Nál (“needle”). There is a possible nature mythological interpretation with lightning hitting the leaves or needles of a tree to give rise to fire. He is the brother of Helblindi (“Hel-blinder” or “All-blind”) and Býleistr (“bee-lightning”).
By the jötunn Angrboða (Old Norse “the one who brings grief” or “she-who-offers-sorrow”), Loki is the father of Hel, the wolf Fenrir, and the world serpent Jörmungandr. By his wife Sigyn (Old Norse “victorious girl-friend”), Loki is the father of Narfi and/or Nari.
The picture is confused, making it uncertain whether Nari and Narfi are the same, and how he or they relate to the father of Nótt, the personification of night, who is also sometimes called Narfi.
The name has been interpreted as meaning “narrow”, but Rudolf Simek suggests that the association with Hel and the use of the same name for Nótt’s father indicate that Narfi may have “originally [been] a demon of the dead” and that his name could be related to the Old Norse word nár, “corpse”, which gave rise to Náströnd, a place in Hel where Níðhöggr lives and chews on corpses, and Naglfar (Old Norse “nail ship”), a boat made entirely from the fingernails and toenails of the dead that during the events of Ragnarök is foretold to sail to Vígríðr, ferrying hordes that will do battle with the gods.
By the stallion Svaðilfari (Old Norse “unlucky traveler”), Loki is the mother—giving birth in the form of a mare—to the eight-legged horse Sleipnir (Old Norse “slippy” or “the slipper”). In addition, Loki is referred to as the father of Váli in the Prose Edda.
Loki’s origins and role in Norse mythology have been much debated by scholars. In 1835, Jacob Grimm was first to produce a major theory about Loki, in which he advanced the notion of Loki as a “god of fire”. In 1889, Sophus Bugge theorized Loki to be variant of Lucifer of Christian mythology, an element of Bugge’s larger effort to find a basis of Christianity in Norse mythology.
It is theorized that Loki is a typical example of a trickster figure, in mythology and in the study of folklore and religion a god, goddess, spirit, man, woman, or anthropomorphisation which exhibits a great degree of intellect or secret knowledge, and uses it to play tricks or otherwise disobey normal rules and conventional behaviour.
Tricksters are archetypal characters who appear in the myths of many different cultures. Lewis Hyde describes the Trickster as a “boundary-crosser”. The Trickster crosses both physical and often breaks societal rules. Tricksters “…violate principles of social and natural order, playfully disrupting normal life and then re-establishing it on a new basis.”
Often, the bending/breaking of rules takes the form of tricks or thievery. Tricksters can be cunning or foolish or both. The Trickster openly questions and mocks authority. They are usually male characters, and are fond of breaking rules, boasting, and playing tricks on both humans and gods.
All cultures have tales of the Trickster, a crafty creature who uses cunning to get food, steal precious possessions, or simply cause mischief. In some Greek myths Hermes plays the Trickster. He is the patron of thieves and the inventor of lying, a gift he passed on to Autolycus, who in turn passed it on to Odysseus. In Slavic folktales, the trickster and the culture hero are often combined.
Frequently the Trickster figure exhibits gender and form variability. In Norse mythology the mischief-maker is Loki, who is also a shape shifter. Loki also exhibits gender variability, in one case even becoming pregnant. He becomes a mare who later gives birth to Odin’s eight-legged horse Sleipnir. In The Trickster and the Paranormal, G.P. Hansen lists Mercury in Roman mythology, and Eshu in Yoruba mythology as examples of the Trickster archetype.