Loptr is used to name Loki in two Eddic poems: Völuspá inn skamma (which is part of Hyndluljóð) where Loki and Loptr are used interchangeably, and Lokasenna, where Loki names himself in this way. It may also appear via association in Völuspá stanza 25, though the meaning here is hotly contested.*
Loptr also appears in the section on Loki during the enumeration of the Gods in Gylfaginning (33) and in two poems excerpted in Skáldskaparmál: Haustlöng and Þórsdrápa. Þórsdrápa even uses an air kenning to reference Loki (Gammleið), playing off the meaning of this name.
The etymology of Loptr is extremely straightforward (Proto-Germanic *luftuz, meaning air or sky, seen in Old English lyft, Old High German luft, and related to modern English words like loft, aloft, lofty, and lift), particularly when compared to the intense debate surrounding the etymology of Loki.
Some scholars argue that Loptr is actually an older name for Loki (because it appears in Haustlöng, Þórsdrápa, and other heathen age kennings) but I am not sure we have enough evidence to draw this conclusion. It has proven to be an appealing argument for some in that it suggests a primary “natural” function for Loki^ as well as, perhaps, explains the lack of evidence of Loki outside of the Eddic texts. However, again, I do not think we have enough evidence to draw this conclusion, whether or not it is appealing.
We do know, however, that both Loki and Loptr are used in various places and seemed to have been known by poets and compilers for several different texts. Although Loki/Loke is by far the most common word for him in modern usage and thus his primary name for the overwhelming majority of his devotees, both are equally valid correct and valid.
* The line translates: “Who has all the air blended with deceit” dealing with the negotiation process in rebuilding Ásgarðr’s wall. Several of the words here are ones that often surface in Eddic verses and kennings dealing with Loki: lævi (deceit), blandinn (blended, etc., Zoe Borovsky has a great article about this term called “‘En hon er blandin mjök:’ Women and Insults in Old Norse Literature”), and, of course, lopt (air). It seems that Snorri, at least, read this as a reference to Loki, as he blames Loki for the terms of the agreement in Gylfaginning 42. Nevertheless, the validity of this interpretation and the episode as Snorri interprets it have been contested.
^ In contrast to the most widely accepted (albeit still contested) etymology for Loki in modern scholarship: the past participle of lúka, which has to do with closing, locking/being locked, or ending. I know, I know, these things are natural, too, and have a constructive place in the world, but trying telling some scholars (and Nokeans) this.
Marvel and the stupid Thor movies go to hell thank you for ruining norse mythology…ugh -.-!!!!
Don’t fret, this will simply raise the bar for what it means to be into Norse mythology.
A musical recitation of William Blake’s Jerusalem.
You cut to the heart of this rune. Decrying its misuse, and invoking it’s true glory.
As many of my followers may know, I frequently reference the Eddas to substantiate my runic lore, which is considered dubious and unconventional by many of my peers. This is only made possible by a simple formula which reveals the “rune Ale” in Sigrdrífumál to be a rearrangement of the three Aetts. Because we know that certain kennings invariably refer to specific runes, several such references in Sigrdrífumál become apparent to anyone sufficiently familiar with the various runepoems. Such obvious references include the line “on the midwifes hand,” which refers to Berkano, and “On the Norn-Nail eke,” which refers to Nauthuz.
The runic references in sigrdrifumal occur within three verses, excluding the preceding rune spells, each verse containing eight kennings, making 24 kennings in all. This indicates that the author of the text is either familiar with, or is transmitting, lore concerning the Elder Futhark (a noteworthy detail, as no elder lore is thought to exist).
The reference to Berkano occurs on the second verse, Sigrdrifumal verse 16 (17 in my on hand translation), and is the seventh kenning of that verse, out of eight. This information may appear useless, mainly because berkano isn’t the seventh rune of any aett, nor is it the 15th rune of any futhark. But if you flip the order of the verse (or re-Verse it) you see that Berkano is the second rune of the reversed Poem, which corresponds with berkano’s place as the second rune of tyr’s Aett.
So upon discovery of this I decided to flip all of the verses backwards. Nauthuz, whose kenning was in the 17th (in my copy 18th) verse, and whose forward position was 7th in row, 23rd overall, became the second rune of that row. This corresponds with Nauthuz’s position as the second rune of Hagal’s Aett.
Now it became apparent that the runes were in reversed order, and that the last two Aett’s, Tyr’s and Hagal’s, were out of order. This meant that the runes of the first verse must be Freyr’s Aett.
After plugging in the runes and contemplating the correspondences the runes began to make uncanny sense, though the kennings were far removed from what we have in the rune poems. Some of the kennings remain obscure, such as Lagaz’s “on the eagle’s beak”, while others were humorous. The Kenning for Dagaz was “on Bragi’s Tongue”, a riddle for daylight, because naturally Bragi is a talker.
I looked elsewhere in the edda for runic references to see if this order of runes was applied anywhere else.
Sure enough this order was applied partially to Havamal’s Ljóðatal, but unlike in Sigrdrifumal there was no adhearance to the Aett system. Thus the poem begins with Berkano, proceeding backwards (in sigrdrifumal order) to the rune Hagalaz, then resuming from the other side of Berkano, in the regular order of Hagal’s Aett. After Sowillo the poem then skips to the end of Freyr’s Aett, Moving backwards over Wunjo and Gebo, and ommitting the runes FUÞARK.
While the order may seem confused it was arrived at much the same way as the above, there being many kennings associated with certain runes which indicate a relation between each other, informing us of their identity. What was valuable was the confirmation that certain obscure kennings had precedents elsewhere in the Edda’s while others furnish loose associations that triangulate potentially deeper understandings of the runes.
The obstacle to the elucidation of the runes is partially academic. Investigation into this interpretation of Sigrdrífumál is retarded by popular values of runology which emphasize phonetics, and alliteration, in this case at the expense of Kenning. Sadly the Poetic Edda may never be recognized for it’s record of original Lore concerning the Elder Futhark, as academics often question the value of a the Elder Edda as a primary mystical/religious source.
Stay tuned for future essays on highly contestable Edda Runes; featuring Tiwaz, Laguz, and many another by request.
Illustration by http://draconicnosferatu.deviantart.com
One must take seven little wafers, such as one uses in worship, and write these names on each wafer: Maximianus, Malchus, Johannes, Martimianus, Dionisius, Constantinus, Serafion. Then one must sing the charm that is mentioned hereafter, first into the left ear, then into the right ear, then…
Odin the Wanderer
By Jeff Breeden
The whole thing can be found, courtesy of the University of Copenhagen, here: http://e-pages.dk/ku/579/
The first two and a half pages also have transliterations into Latin letters, which might be useful for someone who wants some help reading it.
The red territories above indicate the distribution of Native American Tribes with Algonquin Languages.
Here follows a selection of The Algonquin Legends of New England, by Charles G. Leland, . The purposes of posting these myths, using these interpretations, and mythic variations, is to assert that the various Algonquin Speaking tribes were in fact descendants of the Norse colony of Vinland, and heirs of norse heathenism in the new world. I felt compelled to share this new-world mythology to combat the folkish belief that only caucasians, or even scandinavians, have any claim to norse religion.
Though this antiquated text on Native American Religious Legends holds it’s own biases, I have further selected only those portions which emphasize the points which are most indicative of norse Influence. However the original page can be read here, http://www.sacred-texts.com/nam/ne/al/al07.htm.
"How Glooskap made the Elves and Fairies, and then Man of an Ash Tree, and last of all, Beasts, and of his Coming at the Last Day.
Glooskap came first of all into this country, into Nova Scotia, Maine, Canada, into the land of the Wabanaki, next to sunrise. There were no Indians here then (only wild Indians very far to the west).
First born were the Mikumwess, the Oonahgemessuk, the small Elves, little men, dwellers in rocks.
And in this way he made Man: He took his bow and arrows and shot at trees, the basket-trees, the Ash. Then Indians came out of the bark of the Ash-trees. …..
…So he questioned all the beasts, changing their size or allotting their lives according to their answers.
He took the Loon (a bird) for his dog; but the Loon absented himself so much that he chose for this service two wolves,—one black and one white. 4 But the Loons are always his tale-bearers.
Many years ago a man very far to the North wished to cross a bay, a great distance, from one point to another. As he was stepping into his canoe he saw a man with two dogs,—one black and one white,—who asked to be set across. The Indian said, “You may go, but what will become of your dogs?” Then the stranger replied, “Let them go round by land.” “Nay,” replied the Indian, “that is much too far.” But the stranger saying nothing, he put him across. And as they reached the landing place there stood the dogs. But when he turned his head to address the man, he was gone. So he said to himself, “I have seen Glooskap.”
Yet again,—but this was not so many years ago, far in the North there were at a certain place many Indians assembled. And there was a frightful commotion, caused by the ground heaving and rumbling; the rocks shook and fell, they were greatly alarmed, and lo! Glooskap stood before them, and said, “I go away now, but I shall return again; when you feel the ground tremble, then know it is I.” So they will know when the last great war is to be, for then Glooskap will make the ground shake with an awful noise. ….
..This very interesting tradition was taken down by Mrs. W. Wallace Brown from a very old Passamaquoddy Indian woman named Molly Sepsis, who could not speak a word of English, with the aid of another younger woman named Sarah.
It will be observed that it is said in the beginning that Glooskap produced the first human beings from the ash-tree. Ash and Elm in the Edda were the Adam and Eve of the human race. There were no intelligent men on earth—
"Until there came three
mighty and benevolent
Aesir to the world
from their assembly
Ash and Embla (Ash and Elm),
void of destiny.
"Spirit they possessed not,
sense they had not,
blood nor motive powers,
nor goodly color.
Spirit gave Odin,
sense gave Hoenir,
blood gave Lodur
and good color. ” 1
The wolf, as a beast for the deity to ride, is strongly Eddaic.
"Magic songs they sung,
rode on Wolves,
the god (Odin) and gods. 1
We have here within a few lines, accordingly, the ash as the parent of mankind, and wolves as the beasts of transport for the supreme deity, both in the Indian legend and in the Edda.
As Glooskap is directly declared in one tradition to keep by him as an attendant a being who is the course of the sun and of the seasons, it may be assumed that the black and white wolf represent day and night.
Again, great stress is laid in the Glooskap legend upon the fact that the last great day of battle with Malsum. the Wolf, and the frost-giants, stone-giants, and other powers of evil, shall be announced by an earthquake.
Ash yet standing,
groans that aged tree …
and the Wolf runs …
The monster’s kin goes
all with the Wolf… .
Tile stony hills are dashed together,
The giantesses totter.
Then arises Hlin’s second grief
When Odin goes
with the wolf to fight.”
Word for word, ash-tree, giantesses, the supreme god fighting with a wolf, and falling hills, are given in the Indian myth. This is not the Christian Day of Judgment, but the Norse.
In this myth Glooskap has two wolves, one black and the other white. This is an indication of day and night, since he is distinctly stated to have as an attendant Kulpejotei, who typifies the course of the seasons. In the Eddas (Ragnarok) we are told that one wolf now follows the, sun, another the moon; one Fenris, the other Moongarm:—
"The moon’s devourer
In a troll’s disguise.”