I start today’s posts by continuing with the series honoring Loki and his various kin and some friends as part of my celebration of the dies caniculares or “dog-days” of summer with some figures that you might find unusual, about whom I’ll explain in a moment. First, I’d like to continue my narrative of some of my own interest in and encounters with Loki.
Something that I’ve been working on for several years now (and probably will be working on for several more years) is a graphic novel script featuring Antinous, which is called (for reasons I won’t get into at the present moment, though I alluded to them here) The Bus Station. The overall plot arc of it, the “chapter divisions,” as it were, and the themes are pretty well established; but the individual scenes have yet to be written in most cases. Some aspects of plot and such are still up-for-grabs and could change drastically, but I suspect it will all flow pretty well according to plan at this stage. However, as a result of some of the things that have occurred this month, there has been a major plot change in the form of an addition that I had not originally planned.
One section of The Bus Station is called “Study Abroad,” and in it, Antinous goes on a kind of “world tour” of various locations that his cultus never reached in reality (or, if it did, we don’t have any record of it at present), and some of these are quite certainly not places that his ancient historical cultus reached. Just before returning from his journey and re-joining Hermes for the remainder of his tour of the afterlife and various other adventures, the last place Antinous visits in his travels is Yggdrasil, which he descends to meet with Freyr, who also happens to be hanging out with Baldr. They “get to know each other” in various ways, and then Loki comes in and causes some trouble. They treat him rather harshly, and just as he’s about to cause further trouble, Odin comes in and breaks things up, sends Loki on his way, and lends Antinous Sleipnir, guided by Hermodr, to return to the eponymous “Bus Station.” And, so we think, that’s the last we’ll see of Loki in that story. Or is it?
No, it isn’t–this is Loki we’re talking about here, after all!
[I'll try not to ruin the entire plot with what happens after this...not that many of you would care if I did anyway, but still...one does like to keep some suspense around these things!]
Loki is rather attracted to Antinous (a relatively common reaction to him in general, and in the plot of The Bus Station in particular!), and gets upset and jealous when the other Norse boys get to have fun with him and he doesn’t. However, that doesn’t stop him from making the best of an opportunity later on in the story, in the chapter which follows. After a series of very bad experiences, Antinous has a few moments of doubt about a great many things, and goes off to find Attis, deciding that the best way to alleviate his difficulties is to become a gallus. Very happily, Attis leads him through the process and the ritual of becoming a gallus (i.e. self-emasculation), and just like in the actual ritual, Antinous throws his severed genitals to the crowd. And, a certain sly Norse deity is there to catch them and take them away…
In the immediate aftermath of this, Antinous realizes that he’s not really meant to be a gallus, and that however much he respects and understands gender variance, self-emasculation is not the answer to his own problems with phallic aggression. When he understands this, suddenly he “gets everything back,” as it were, and goes on his merry way. Attis, of course, tries to do the same, but can’t, and is sad for a moment, but then returns to being his usual fabulous divine Archigallus self.
Loki, in the meantime, uses those severed genitals of Antinous to give birth to…well, something that no one ever expected, and which is the sort of “last enemy” that Antinous has to face at a certain point in his journey before he fully realizes his divinity and steps willingly into his god-hood.
Now, here’s the part I wasn’t expecting, and which wasn’t in the original script.
In the aftermath of the above, Antinous still has a few (divine) people to see, things to do, places to go, to make everything as right as possible in his neck of the divine world before departing on the Boat of Millions of Years. One of the things he does is to go and see Loki and Sigyn in the cave, and to see what Loki has gone through all of these years–Antinous is a great deity for seeing both, or more often all (as there are rarely only two), sides of an issue. I’ll not reveal at this point what it is he does while he’s there, but he does something to make friends with and endear himself to Loki and his kin in the process.
And, you can speculate and wonder about that as much as you like in the meantime!
While I am very happy to honor Loki and his kin for this week, I’ve noted before (and it is obvious to most people) that the Norse gods aren’t my main pantheon, and I’m not a Heathen in any meaningful fashion. I am giving Loki and friends the priority on the days of this month in which they are the only gods to be honored for the day, but not on those days in which there are other, more long-standing deities or customs that I observe. And, as all of this is falling within the general time period of the “dog-days,” and I’ve been observing that period of time as important in various manners for almost a decade, the ways in which different themes cross-over with the overriding and overarching periods is an important thing to keep in mind, at least as far as I am concerned. So, that has caused me, in planning this week of devotions, to have a particular focus in who and what I have chosen to address and to praise.
As mentioned in this series’ first post, Loki is associated in Iceland with Sirius, the dog-star, which has its heliacal rising around this time of year. The mythology of Sirius is always intertwined with canid figures, and with canid imagery, and largely accounts for the reason that this period of time each year is called the “dog-days.” As Loki seems to have a fire association, and is very connected to several different wolf figures in Norse myth, it seems appropriate to link him with that general, larger body of lore and mythological association. In talking of Narvi and Váli, one aspect of that werewolf-related lore has already been addressed; but, as I also mentioned in yesterday’s post, there are a lot of holes in the lore–some of which may not seem that important to some people (now or in the past), but which might be of interest to modern people, like myself. And what do poets do if not fill in the holes in extant myth where there is opportunity for a good story?
It is in that light that I offer the poems I am offering today. As the first post in this series was–completely by chance due to when the dies caniculares start, according to my calendar–on a Wednesday, usually a day for hailing Odin, we now come to Saturday, which I learned via Feeding the Flame is a day associated with Loki. (And this I find interesting, as “Saturn’s Day” in India, for example, is a potentially baleful day, and one prays to Hanuman to avert its ill effects…!) So, in a kind of switcheroo, I honored Loki on Wednesday, and thus today I’ll honor Odin, but only by way of tangents, in a certain sense, because today’s poem is to Odin’s two wolves, Geri and Freki. I praise the owner by praising the wolves themselves, though, and various others too in the course of it. So, see what you think!
The Greedy Ones
Hail to the One-Eyed Old Man, Aesir’s king
and rider on the eight-legged steed, greatest of horses,
sworn brother of the son of Laufey, husband of Sigyn and Angrboda.
Who are the two seated on Valhalla’s floor
under the table, at the feet of the High One’s seat?
Two who are eager for every scrap from that famed board.
Who are the two who run at the hooves of Sleipnir,
whose eight horse-shod legs echo their own eight swift paws?
Two who are the steadfast sentries of the Eagle-Head All-Father.
I will not say the names of the two Greedy Ones
until I have recounted their heritage and high birth
and the deeds of he who trained them truly.
They were the get of the great grey wolf, fierce son of Angrboda
upon the hound-bitch of Helheim, door-guard of Loki’s daughter,
and the Scar-Lipped Sly One trained them with his own hands.
As a gift of friendship to his bench-mate and blood-brother
the son of Laufey presented the two well-bred, well-trained whelps
to the Hanged and Hooded Grey Beard, father of hosts.
Well-fed are they, kept sated with morsels from the plate
of he who only drinks wine from a fair-fashioned horn
though their appetite for the fallen on the field is without lessening.
Who are the two of grey and black streaks in their strides,
swift under the flight of Hugin and Munin in the skies above?
Geri and Freki, wolves of Odin, trained grandsons of Loki–hail to all!
Hail to Geri and Freki, and to Odin, and to Sleipnir, and to Loki and his wife Angrboda!