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Tricksters
Throughout human history, there have been tales of tricksters (many of whom have found themselves eventually deified). You are likely familiar with a number of them, whether you realize it or not...Loki, Puck, Set, Cagn, Gwydion, Lugh, Robin Goodfellow, Prometheus, Iktomi, Hermes, Coyote, Crow, Raven, Fox, Spider, and various other crafty critter forms. Tricksters hold a special place in our hearts because they freely walk the thin line of moral ambiguity. While most gods and characters sway one way or the other--good or evil, light or dark, kind or cruel--tricksters dance around all of these things and laugh in the face of social expectations (and sometimes even in the face of the laws of nature).
Loki- This delightful, tragic misfit has always been a favorite of mine. In many stories, he was a child of a frost giant (j枚tunn) and a goddess. He was small and weak, by giants' standards, so the j枚tunn cast him out. When Odin happened upon Loki, he took an instant liking to him. In Loki, he found a kinship of intelligence and a hunger for knowledge. They took an oath and became blood brothers. Although the Aesir took him in as one of their own, he was still treated with cold regard by many gods and goddesses. There are conflicting accounts concerning Loki's interactions with other Aesir. In some accounts, he was a prankster who tends to fall afoul of his intended pranks, but he always strives to rectify his mistakes. In others, he is just a manipulative prick. I prefer the former because it makes more sense, from a psychological perspective. http://norse-mythology.org/sif/ Take the story of Loki cutting Sif's hair, for example. If he were just doing it to be spiteful, then he wouldn't attempt to make amends. But if it were meant to be an innocent prank that incited far more of a reaction than intended, it seems logical that he would do everything he could to demonstrate his regret. I think this is how most people choose to view Loki today, not as a perfect god, but as someone who makes mistakes, someone relatable.
Puck- Also known as Robin Goodfellow or Hobgoblin, Puck is a mischievous woodland spirit that can sometimes be bartered into doing small household tasks. He is a good ally, until you try to hoodwink him; in which case, watch your back! Brian Froud seems to also favor tricksters, and Puck is prominent in his work. Pictured are examples of his Puck concepts (to the right of the initial Puck artwork).
....To be continued. My monotonous day has suddenly become burdened by unforseen events. I shall return to this card to finish it, as soon as possible.
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@shannonl5 I'm really glad everyone likes it so far! @GinTenma Yep, go gingers! LOL There are indeed multiple variations. I try to stick to the Prose Edda, the oldest written version. However, I have read quite a number of versions, from scholarly to fiction, so I do know how easy it is to get mixed up. I think, though, that the Sif story is an anchor story that demonstrates interesting aspects of Thor and Loki's relationship. In Snorri's Prose Edda, it says: Why is gold called Sif's hair? Loki Laufeyiarson had done this for love of mischief: he had cut off all Sif's hair. And when Thor found out, he caught Loki and was going to break every one of his bones until he swore that he would get black-elves to make Sif a head of hair out of gold that would grow like any other hair. What's interesting is the phrase "for love and mischief". Sif was known for her absolute faithfulness to Thor, but she had a child whose father is unnamed/unknown. (I have a nonfiction book around here somewhere that explores these aspects and suggests possible meanings; I'll try to find it to reference the source.) It is suggested that Loki seduced Sif to disprove her fidelity and cut off her hair as she slept to prove his conquest and to further humiliate her...that Loki expected Thor to be furious with Sif, not the loss of Sif's hair. Now, if Thor and Loki were brothers, they would essentially be on equal terms. Thor could be angry at Loki for his intrusion. But if Loki holds a higher status, like Odin's blood brother, he could not dispute a consensual joining (the odd, yet somewhat feminist, Viking way). He could, however, be angry that Loki had brought Sif dishonor by cutting her luscious mane (for which she was renowned, and even Thor took great pride in...so, his own honor was tarnished). Oh gosh, I rambled on a bit. Well, maybe it makes sense. (I think I'm currently running on adrenaline and an ADD brain fart.)
@BeannachtOraibh I love it! Thank you for sharing all this ^_^ it's a lot to consider
馃槷馃槷馃槷馃槪馃槪 wow can't wait for the next. I've read mythology but this my first time hearing of puck I'll check him out