Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

2020 Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming


  • Lee W. BaileyEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-24348-7_9074
Loki is the trickster in ancient Norse mythology – Scandinavia’s Viking traditions. His legends were preserved by the ninth- and tenth-century skalds (bards) (Fig. 1). The early main surviving texts are the Icelandic Eddas. Loki is a crafty, seductive, paradoxical, and malicious/heroic trickster among the gods. He can assume different shapes (e.g., fire, horse, or falcon). His literature is a compilation of many free-wheeling themes. We find no tidy well-crafted novel with a clear plot here. Psychologically, Loki’s myths express the multifaceted contents of the Norse collective unconscious. Any culture’s collective unconscious can easily behave like a rowdy trickster, appearing inwardly or outwardly, shifting shapes, in diverse, baffling, dreamy images, rituals, and narratives. For the Norse, Loki can be a trickster of the big, tough hard-drinking macho warriors, or a distracting, seductive mare who gives birth to an eight-legged horse. He was an archetypal handsome rascal, attentive...
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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Philosophy and ReligionIthaca CollegeIthacaUSA