Sunday, 14 September 2014

Lodurr, a Hypostasis for Loki?

I have already explored in previous articles the links between Loki and Lugos/Lugh/Lleu and how He is a hypostasis for Woden, and further links to the entity known as Lucifer. There is a further connection to Woden via the God Lodurr who is mentioned in Voluspa 18 with Odin and Hoenir as being responsible for giving life to man who incidentally already existed:

"Until there came three mighty and benevolent Aesir to the world from their assembly. They found on earth, nearly powerless, Ask and Embla, void of destiny.
"Spirit they possessed not, sense they had not, blood nor motive powers, nor goodly colour. Spirit gave Odin, sense gave Hoenir, blood gave Lodur, and goodly colour." (Voluspa 17-18, Elder Edda, translated by Benjamin Thorpe).

"Until three gods, strong and loving, came from that company to the world; they found on land Ash and Embla, capable of little, lacking in fate.
"Breath they had not, spirit they had not, character nor vital spark nor fresh complexions; breath gave Odin, spirit gave Hoenir, vital spark gave Lodur, and fresh complexions." (translated by Carolyne Larrington)

Each of these three Gods gave something different to man but together they raised man that already existed into a higher state of being. I am reminded of the Lay of Rig where Rig (variously interpreted as being either Heimdall or Odin) also helped to improve man's condition but did so in the creation of three separate castes, the highest caste being the Jarl or noble caste that was clearly biologically superior to the other two castes, especially higher than the Thrall caste who are distinctly different in appearance and aptitude from the Jarls and Karls.

The only other reference to Lodurr occurs in the 12th century Islendigadrapa. Rudolf Simek in his Dictionary of Northern Mythology indicates that as Lodurr appears in the same company of Gods as Loki, ie Odin and Hoenir then scholars have speculated that Lodurr may in fact be Loki. It is certainly strange that such an important God should be barely mnetioned in the Eddas. Simek does not appear to be convinced by the argument that these two are one and the same deity. However I disagree with him. Loki as I have pointed out in earlier articles is a development of Loge or Logi, clearly a fire deity and this is emphasised in Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen in the character of Loge who is both the God of Fire and a trackster.

 "The name Loki, like that of the Latin Vulcanus, denotes the light or blaze of fire, and in such phrases as Locke dricker vand, Loki drinks water, described the phenomena of the sun drinking when its light streams in shafts from the cloud rifts to the earth or the waters beneath. The word thus carries us to the old verb liuhan, the Latin lucere, to shine, and to Logi as its earlier form, the modern German lohe, glow; but as the Greek tradition referred the name Oidipous......., to know and to swell, so a supposed connexion with the verb lukan, to shut or lock, substituted the name Loki for Logi, and modified his character accordingly." (The Mythology of the Aryan Nations, Volume II, George William Cox)

In a much earlier text, Vellekla (Einar Skalaglamm, 9th century) there is an Odinsheiti or kenning-Lopts vinr (Lopt's friend). Simek accepts that Loptr is an alternative name for Loki. There is a similar Odinsheiti in Eyvind's 10th century Haleygjatal-Lodurs vinr (Lodurr's friend). John Lindow in his Handbook of Northern Mythology makes the same comparison.

Snorri Sturluson in his Younger Edda replaces the triad of Odin-Hoenir-Lodurr with Odin-Vili-Ve, the sons of Bor and Bestla. Indeed Lodurr is entirely absent from the Younger Edda.

"'One day.` replied Har, 'as the sons of Bor were walking along the sea-beach they found two stems of wood, out of which they shaped a man and a woman. The first (Odin) infused into them life and spirit; the second (Vili) endowed them with reason and the power of motion; the third (Ve) gave them speech and features, hearing and vision. The man they called Ask, and the woman, Embla."(Gylfaginning, translated by I.A. Blackwell)

"Then High replied: 'As Bor's sons walked along the sea shore, they came across two logs and created people out of them. The first gave breath and life, the second consciousness and movement, the third a face, speech and hearing and sight; they gave them clothes and names. The man was called Ask, the woman Embla,..."(translated by Anthony Faulkes)

Why two of the original triad from the older work, the Elder Edda , ie Hoenir and Lodurr should be replaced in Snorri's account by Vili and Ve is intriguing but merits a separate discussion!

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