Community Altar for June 2018: Loki, the Father

June 17, 2018 | Filed Under Community Altar | No Comments

Since June is the month we celebrate Father’s Day here in the US, this month’s community altar celebrates Loki in his role of Father.

Community Altar June 2018

Community Altar June 2018. See end of post for image credits.

If you’ve read the myths, you know that Loki has children. Many children. He is also portrayed as a protector of children, especially in the Loka Táttur. This delightful Tumblr post explores Loki’s affection for children of all kinds, whether or not they are directly his.

The children pictured above:
Sleipnir: the child of Loki’s dalliance with Svadilfari, the stallion. (Technically, Loki is Sleipnir’s mother, but this is also Pride month, so let’s celebrate gender fluidity as well!)
Jormundgand, Hel, and Fenris, children from his marriage to Angrboda. Angrboda is in the background.
Einmyria and Eisa, daughters from his marriage to Glut.
Narvi and Vali, sons from his marriage to Sigyn.

Loki had no real relationship with Farbauti, his biological father, for reasons not explained in the myths. Surt, the ruler of Muspelheim, gave shelter to Laufey, Loki’s mother, and she gave birth to Loki in Muspelheim, and Surt was his foster-father for many years. This would partly explain Loki’s devotion to his own children—both that he would want to do right by them and that he would follow Surt’s example, and also to try to make up for the lack of parenting from his own father. This is a common pattern; my grandfather was estranged from his family, so my father grew up without his own father, and it made him highly conscious of being present for us and trying to be the best parent he could, to make sure we did not experience the loss he did as a child.

While it’s easy to think of Loki only as a Trickster, and to call on him when we need cleverness to get out of a tight spot, or eloquence to make a good impression, we can call on him as a Father figure to fill those emotional needs, just as we can call on any of the fathers in myth.

Hail, Loki!
Father of beloved children,
Father of deep magic,
Father of difficult truths,
Father of sweetest lies.

Hail, Loki, and hail the fathers!
Fathers of blood,
Fathers of affinity,
Fathers of choice,
Help me to properly honor the fathers in my life.

Hail, Loki!
Son of absent Farbauti,
Missing a father you did not know,
Help me to heal my own hurts
With the fathers in my life.

Hail, Loki!
Foster-son of Surt,
Wild fire youth, learning wisdom and wiles,
Help me to learn wisely and well
From the fathers in my life.

Hail, Loki!
Loving father of magical children,
Adoring, proud, gentle, and strong,
Help me to feel such love for myself
When I am small and tired.

Hail, Loki!
Father and friend,
Wild and wise,
Provocateur and healer,
Help me to properly honor the fathers in my life.

“Sure,” I hear you say, “that’s great if you had a good dad. But my dad was absent/terrible/abusive, and I don’t want to honor him.” You do not have to honor someone who has done you such harm. In such a case, focus your energies on healing yourself, and letting go of the toxic emotions connecting you to that person and that relationship.

You can instead choose to honor other kinds of fathers in your life: an uncle, a mentor, a teacher, a writer or artist whose work inspires you—anyone who fills a fatherly role, however small, can be honored for their positive influence in your life.

Image Credits
Top image: “Kissed by Fire”, Paige Carpenter. The piece is not currently on her site, so you can see a larger version of the artwork here.
Children images, left to right:
Sleipnir image: Icelandic rock carving
“Loki’s Brood” by Emil Doepler, 1905, featuring Jormundgand, Hela, and Fenris. Angrboda is seated in the cave at the far back of the painting.
“Brown and Red Hair Sisters”, Claudia Tremblay
“Two Boys, an Illustration for ‘Daisy’ by Hans Christian Andersen”, Illustrated London News, Volume XLIII, December 19, 1863

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