Today’s topic is actually never far from my mind. The question is: “how does this deity stand in terms of gender and sexuality? (historical and/or UPG).” Well, Loki as a deity of liminal spaces “stands” pretty much everywhere, honestly. Consider this fractal as a map of how Loki could shape and gender-shift anytime, any place.
Reproductively, Loki has both fathered children AND birthed ’em. Yep. Sometimes he’s been Mom and sometimes he’s been Dad to some of the most powerful and challenging offspring you can name, including an eight-legged horse. Just…think…about what it takes to actually give birth to something with eight legs and hooves. Shapeshifting certainly came in handy then, I betcha.
Loki is a fabulously fertile deity. Even the consumption of a burnt heart caused him to become pregnant with an uncounted number of witchy “troll women.” This is one reason I count him as a spiritual ancestor.
Loki also gender-shifts beyond mere reproductive function. Loki is most frequently referred to as “he,” but his/her (their/zir?) female aspect is potent as well. Yesterday I had the pleasure of listening to an audio book called Worshipping Loki–A Short Introduction by Silence Maestas, available for a song on Etsy. I highly recommend it. One of the great features of this valuable book is the appendix concerning Loki’s female aspects. This contained insights which enabled me to connect meditatively with this aspect of my patron deity, in a way that I hadn’t before. I am so grateful for this!
Silence Maestas has also created a “Virtual Temple to Loki Herself” which you can find here. Maestas’s blog is called The Road, The Walker, and What Comes Next.
[Maestas will be presenting at our online LokiFest conference, a session called “Sweet Idolatry.” More info on that to come.]
Usually Loki’s gender-shifting is presented as fairly binary–either male OR female–but I don’t think Loki is limited in that way. I would love to hear from Lokeans and other Loki-friendly people who have experienced Loki as otherwise gender-diverse.
A Queer Deity
As a sexologist, if I were to sit down with Loki and take a sexual history ala Kinsey I’m betting the data would pretty much shout “pansexual” often expressed through “non-monogamy.” In the old Norse lore, Loki is shown to have quite a number and range of partners. (He is portrayed as outing quite a few in the old poem, Lokasenna.) Among modern humans, there are anecdotal accounts that are pretty much the same. You might want to check out the results of my Spectrosexuality and God-Spousing survey.
And there are rumors, of course, about the (shall we call them) “complexities” of Odin’s and Loki’s relationship. But even Frigg (Odin’s wife) would rather not know the details. In the Lokasenna, after Loki and Odin have accused each other of “unmanly” behavior, Frigg pleads for discretion in stanza 25:
“Of the deeds ye two | of old have done
Ye should make no speech among men;
Whate’er ye have done | in days gone by,
Old tales should ne’er be told.”
In Asgard, what happens under the World Tree, stays at the World Tree?
These days, Loki is cherished by many as a queer deity and champion of LGBTQIA+ people (as well as a champion deity for other categories of people who have been outcast for being “different” from the mainstream). It’s one reason why so many love him, including me.
This aspect of Loki is reflected in many modern works of art, both of Norse Loki and his “Marvel Loki” pop culture incarnations (based on Hiddleston’s portrayal of the Loki character in the Avengers movies, and the comic book “Lady Loki”).
Here are links to some examples of Loki images. One expresses the kind of male display that hyper-masculine Odin might object to–in public anyway: “Uproar’s Your Only Music” by Muirin007. The second portrays an unabashed solidarity and kinship with LGBTQIA+ people: “Pride Loki” by D.Kettchen. You can find some images of “Lady Loki” in the wikipedia entry for “Loki-Comics.”
Based on the above, and my own personal gnosis, I’d say Loki ranks among Midgard’s top sex-positive, gender variant, champion deities.
Hail Loki, in All Your Forms!