Once again, my dreams are setting me research assignments.
Last night I dreamed I was shown a series of images of Loki, the Norse trickster god. A voice-over explained his many attributes and gave a fresh version of his role in the affairs of the Aesir and their rivals, and the perennial contest between order and chaos. My tutorial seemed to be taking place in Ireland, which confused me a little when I woke until I reflected on the Viking history of that island, and started researching symbol stones.
In the dream, I was fascinated by the images. They looked nothing like the Loki portrayed in the movie Thor. They were abstract in style, only vaguely humanoid. The figures seemed composed of oblong segments that could move separately. The images were essentially two-dimensional, yet through their portals it seemed possible to see into a stir of action taking place within a larger reality, beyond 4D. I was reminded of how other 2D images - like mandalas - can also give access to multidimensional reality, sometimes more easily than 3D representations.
I did not retain much of the commentary on Loki in the dream, but I know that it presented a Loki who is much more complex and less dark than the "devil god" versions. I suspect there is also interweaving of Norse and Celtic traditions, given the Irish setting.
I am prompted now to press forward with an assignment given to me many years ago by Tolkien, no less. I was leading a group shamanic journey to a locale in the imaginal realm that I sometimes call the Magic Library. I met C.S. Lewis and Tolkien - or their semblances - and they offered me some advice on writing. Tolkien said, "You must study Scandinavian mythology."
A few years later, while I was working on The Dreamer's Book of the Dead, C.S. Lewis turned up again, in a spontaneous night vision in the liminal space between sleep and awake. I asked him, "Where's Tolkien?" He replied, "Tolkien isn't talking to you because you didn't do what he told you to do."
So: this morning I found relief carvings of a being that is believed to be Loki on symbol stones from both Ireland and Scotland. The one above is Pictish. It is from the Meigle museum of sculpted stone in eastern Scotland and shows a horned god in chains. The abstract style somewhat resembles the figures in my dream, who are less clearly humanoid. The stone below is at Carndonagh in Donegal, a guardian pillar with a monastic figure on the left and a possible Loki on the right.
I shall try to draw the series of Loki images that were shown to me in the dream. I shall continue my researches, which have already turned up an interesting possible meaning for Loki's name. In Geirr Bassi Haraldsson's The Old Norse Name, "Loki" is a "loop in a thread", in other words, a loophole. One aspect of the Trickster leaps out; he can find or make loopholes in the weave of fate.
For now, my catch phrase is: I got Loki.