Question: How does Loki relate to other gods and to other pantheons?
In my experience, Loki relates to other gods and pantheons incredibly well, for the most part. He seems to be as adept at creating bridges to other pantheons as he is at maintaining the bridge between the gods and humans. For that reason, he is a god I would not mind inviting to pretty much any ritual, alongside almost any other deity – with a couple of exceptions.
Before I discuss those exceptions, though, I’ll discuss some of the Norse gods and how I perceive Loki’s relationship with those gods. He is very much a family-oriented god, so he seems to get along with all of the members of his family. He is also a very loving husband, and he constantly returns to Sigyn because, as far as I can tell, she is the one he loves above all others. She is home for him.
Loki and Odin are antagonistic best friends. By this, I mean they are each always riling the other up on purpose, pushing the other to greater heights and into greater and greater dangers. They have mutual respect for each other, but they both approach the world in a very different way. Odin lets his wisdom guide him; Loki sees knowledge through experience. From what I can tell, they have a love/hate relationship, and they both seem to derive great satisfaction from that relationship.
Loki and Thor, on the other hand, are like best drinking buddies. Thor always knows that Loki will come with him if he wants to go giant hunting, fishing, or just down to the pub. Thor respects Loki’s fighting skills (which often go unmentioned), and Loki enjoys the adventure Thor brings into his life. These two make for the best traveling adventures. That’s the impression I have of their relationship, anyway.
Loki and Ullr get along quite well, and both of them have mutual respect for the brand of the other’s wisdom. While it doesn’t seem to happen often for either of them, each will seek out the other’s advice when it is needed. Ullr, as a winter god, has a very different perspective than Loki, who is more of a summer god. They thus look at things in very different ways, and it makes sense that they would seek each other out for advice on occasion.
The Norse gods that Loki seems to hold a level of animosity towards are Freyja and Heimdall. The relationship with Freyja seems to be a rather difficult one, as they seem to move through stages of tolerating each other and hating each other entirely – I’m not sure I’ve ever experienced an aspect of either Loki or Freyja who were closer than toleration. They respect each other, but they don’t seem to like each other very much. That said, the aspects of the gods I experience are not going to be the same aspects other people experience – the gods have many, many faces, and it’s impossible for one person to see all of them.
Heimdall, on the other hand, seems to be the only god that Loki really, really dislikes – close to the point of hatred, if not there entirely. It is a stipulation of the work that I do for Loki that I am not allowed to honor Heimdall – that is the level of dislike that the Loki I work with holds towards Heimdall. The sheer level of the animosity that radiates from Loki makes it hard for me to perceive Heimdall in any other way. Because of that and the stipulation from Loki, I will not honor Heimdall personally (though I have no qualms with others hailing him in my presence), as I think it would be disrespectful to both Loki and Heimdall if I did.
When it comes to other pantheons, Loki seems to know everybody. In nearly every ritual I’ve ever done or been a part of, Loki seems to show up. Sometimes, the other gods get annoyed and exasperated with him, like he’s too eager to be everywhere. Other times, it’s like the gods are relieved he is around or they give him the spiritual equivalent of a high five. He seems to be almost universally liked by gods of other pantheons – from what I have been given to understand, he enjoys hanging out with Lucifer (who he always refers to as Luci) and sometimes with the hippie aspect of Jesus.
Loki also seems to get along with most of the Egyptian gods, although Set seems to find him like an annoying kid brother always causing him trouble. The Celtic gods also seem to have no problem with him – I think him and Lugh have a good laugh about how people try to conflate them, even though they are vastly different gods.
Loki also seems to know the African orishas, as he has shown up in rituals I’ve attended where the focus was on Oshun or Yemaya. He seems to be incredibly well-traveled and well-liked, and the fact that he spends a lot of time traveling makes perfect sense, as he often accompanies Odin on his journeys. Loki would, therefore, by necessity have to enjoy traveling and meeting new people. Unlike Odin, however, he has a great deal of charisma (in my experience, Odin is not very charismatic).
That said, there seems to be at least one Celtic god that doesn’t particularly care for Loki, and that is Brigid. From what I’ve been given to understand, something involving fire happened, and Loki got the credit when Brigid should have, and she can hold a vendetta. That’s the vague impression I have, but I don’t actually know the story. All I know is that something happened that made Brigid angry, and she has not (and may not ever) forgiven Loki for the part he played.
Loki, then, can serve as the intermediary between gods and humans but he can also serve as the go-between for different pantheons. He can create bridges across worlds that most gods cannot, and that allows for a much wider variety of practices and religions for those of us who follow him. He understands how to operate within each cultural system, and he adapts to the necessary conditions to move freely through the pantheons. It’s no wonder, then, that Odin often considers him his right hand. Who else could fill that role?