My youngest brother used to say that our family “puts the FUN in dysfunctional.” I don’t think we could apply that to what we read of Loki’s family dynamics–which are fairly messy and not all his fault. As you might have guessed, today’s devotional topic or question concerns ” members of the [deity’s] family – genealogical connections.” What follows is a compilation from various sources and may not be complete.
Loki Laufeyjarson’s Family
Note: the Wikipedia links for each name, including Loki, give Norse Lore sources. And I highly recommend the chapter, “Family Circus,” in Dagulf Loptson’s book (below).
Family of Origin, Plus…
Mother: Laufey (“Leafy Island”), a Jotun or possibly a tree goddess. Raven Kaldera calls her “The Lady of the Leafy Isle” (p. 374). Notice how Loki’s surname is matronymic, from his mother (Loptson, p. 39). Laufey is also known as Nál (Needle).
Father: Fárbauti (“Cruel Striker” or “Dangerous Hitter”), a Jotun. The name may be a reference to lightening strikes.
Óðinn (also Odin, Wōden, Wōdan, Wuotan) – Blood brother. No, he’s not “Loki’s Father” in anything but the Marvel Universe. But, as we say these days, “it’s complicated.”
Loki’s Partners and Children
Glöð (“Glowing Ember”). This one is controversial. She is the wife of Logi, who may or may not be a form of Loki. Her father was Grímr of Grímsgarðr, a Jotun, and her mother was Alvör, sister to the King of the Light Elves. Those who conflate Logi and Loki name the two daughters, “Eysa, aka Eisa, (“glowing embers”) and Eimyrja (“embers”)” as Loki’s first known children.
Angrboða (“The One Who Brings Grief”), a Jotun. No controversy here. With Loki, she brought three powerful children into the Nine Worlds: Fenrir aka Fenris (“Fen-Dweller”); the giant wolf; Jörmungandr (“Huge Monster”), also known as the “Midgard Serpent;” and Hel (“Hidden”), who becomes queen of the underworld.
Grandchildren: Fenrir has two wolf-children, Sköll (“Treachery”), who chases the Sun, and Hati Hróðvitnisson (“He Who Hates”), who chases the Moon. The mother is an unnamed giantess of the Ironwood (source, the longer prophetic poem: Völuspá).
Sigyn (“Victorious Girlfriend”), possibly an Æsir goddess (feminine, single: ásynja). No controversy here either, though information about Sigyn is sparse. Her two sons with Loki are Nari, aka Narfi, and Váli. Both children came to a tragic end, thanks to the fury of Óðinn and the other Æsir.
Sleipnir (“Slippy” or “The Slipper”), an eight-legged horse which becomes Óðinn’s “best of all horses.” Loki was Sleipnir’s mother (he’d shape-shifted into a mare) and Svaðilfari, a stallion, is Slepinir’s father.
• In the Lokasenna, Loki says he had a son with Týr’s wife or consort, whose name is unknown. And Loki says he’ll never pay weregild for this either, so there!
“Be silent, Týr;
to thy wife it happened
to have a son by me.
Nor rag nor penny ever
hadst thou, poor wretch!
for this injury.”
• Unknown number of “Witch Daughters” aka “Troll Women” after Loki eats the burnt heart of a woman, probably left as an offering. In the Völuspá hin skamma (Lesser Völuspá), a poem of prophesies:
Loki ate some of the heart, the thought-stone of a woman,
roasted on a linden-wood fire, he found it half-cooked;
Lopt was impregnated by a wicked woman,
from whom every ogress on earth is descended.
Ogress is sometimes translated as “troll woman” which is also another name for witch.
The name “Lopt” is also used in stanzas that continue this part of the poetic narrative, providing evidence that this was another name for Loki.
There are scholarly theories that the burnt heart might have belonged to Gullveig aka Heiðr. Some people think Gullveig and Freyja (Freya), a Vanir goddess who lives among the Æsir, are the same. Freyja is not a name but a title that means “Lady.” Her brother’s name is also a title, “Lord.” So some have made the case that references to Freyja could be references to Gullveig as “The Lady.” There is also speculation that Angrboða and Gullveig are also different names for the same woman. All three of these names are associated with witchery. (See Loptson, pp. 68-73 for a summary.)
What with the Fenrir’s two sons (chasing the moon and sun), and the unamed and unnumbered witch daughters, Loki has provided us with an interesting legacy of magic and shape-shifting.
Last year, during a 93-day “challenge” of daily spiritual practices, which overlapped with an observance of Loptson’s “Eight Days of Loki” ritual at the end (pp. 240-251), Loki generously agreed to stand in as a spiritual ancestor for me during that period. (I did this challenge to solidify my daily practice and to prepare for the Lokabrenna Tiny Temple dedication on Oct. 28, 2018.)
Loki is my patron, so I still hail him as a spiritual ancestor (and it feels okay to continue to do so). But he also seems to have been important to people in my father’s father’s line, as determined via mediation and divination. (Daniel Foor’s work on Ancestral Medicine is relevant here.)
I connect with Loki’s lineage as one of witchery and magic. And witchery and magic is one way to engage with the gossamer realms and the greater energies and beings that infuse the cosmos as we know it.
Hail Loki, Mother of Witches!
Aside from internet links to Wikipedia and Norse sources, references include:
Loptson, Dagulf. 2014. Playing with Fire: An Exploration of Loki Laufeyjarson. Asphodel Press.
Kaldera, Raven. 2006. The Jotunbok. Asphodel Press.