MfL, Four: Names
Loki, by three other names:
- Farmr arma Sigynjar: Sigyn’s arm-burden [lover]
I will admit that, upon first seeing this kenning years ago, I did think that this kenning for Loki referred to Sigyn’s holding of the bowl over Loki’s face (as anyone who has ever held something – however small – with their arms outstretched for longer than a few minutes has experienced that incessant twinge of muscle fatigue in their arms.) So, using that logic, perhaps one might see how I could have thought of the act of holding the bowl could have referred to the holding of a physical burden in one’s arms.
And yet, I was delighted to find out sometime later, in reading an article regarding Norse terms of endearment, that “arm-burden” is a common kenning for lover, referring to the husband/lover laying in the woman’s arms.
- Gammleið: Vulture-path(2)
I have written of this kenning before, as early on in my practice with Loki, I was inexplicably led to explore Loki’s connection to vultures. I was having almost daily interactions with vultures where I live (Florida), coupled with several rather intense interactions with Loki thereafter, also involving vultures. (You can read of one particular connective experience here.) And through that exploration, Gammleið has become one of my favorite kennings for Loki.
I’ve seen this word translated loosely as ‘Roarer’ and like the above kenning, I had trouble fathoming the connection of Hveðrungr to Loki at first.
What is something that could be associated with Loki that ‘roars’?
I thought of lions – which certainly did not fit – but it was not until I was burning some extremely flammable offerings to Loki in a fire pit in my backyard one day that I heard how loud a bonfire can be:
And I suppose is what led to a bit of my UPG that Loki as Roarer refers to Loki in an association with fire — whether as a hearthfire(1) at the center of a home, or as a bonfire full of sacrificial offerings(2) – as I’ve always gotten the impression that Loki is a roaring spirit who appreciates offerings consumed by flames.
Not to mention this entry in Rudolf Simek’s Dictionary of Northern Mythology, which defines Hveðrungr thusly:
In Vǫluspá 55, Vidarr takes revenge for the death of his father, Odin, by killing ‘Hveðrungr‘s son,’ who, according to Snorri (Gylfaginning 50), must be the Fenris wolf. As the father of the Fenris wolf is Loki, Hveðrungr would therefore be a name for Loki. The term Hveðrungr maer for Hel, who is also a daughter of Loki’s (Ynglingatal 32), would support this.
(S. Nordal, Vǫluspá, Darmstadt 1980)
Simek, Rudolf, (trans. Angela Hall), Dictionary of Northern Mythology, D.S Brewer, Cambridge, 1993; p. 166
1.) From Axel Olrik’s manuscript on Loki as a spirit of home and hearth in Norway: http://www.heimskringla.no/wiki/Loke_i_nyere_folkeoverlevering
2.) Loptson, Dagulf, Playing With Fire: An Exploration of Loki Laufeyjarson, Asphodel Press, Hubbardston, MA, 2014; p. 136