I’m a bit amused – about two days ago, I was thinking, “Ya know, I really haven’t written much in my blog in a while. Do I really not have anything to say?”
Then I started browsing Facebook and the groups that I’m part of, especially those related to Loki, and now it’s like, “No, I definitely have plenty to say. I just didn’t realize it needed to be said.”
It’s interesting how a set of words can invoke a certain set of actions in a person. It’s words that put this post in motion, and it’s words that I want to discuss. Someone expressed concern that people in a Lokean group were offended over words and hurt by them. They essentially asked why people who work with Loki get so offended by words.
I don’t know if it’s a good question to ask, but it poses a good thought experiment, so why not?
If Lokeans do get more offended than others by the way words are used, it may actually stem from the fact that Loki himself is known as a wordsmith. He crafts words as the weapons he uses, so it would stand to reason that Lokeans would understand the power of words in a very clear way.
Words can wound like nothing else. We’ve all heard the adage “sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me” – at least, I heard it a lot growing up. The reality, though? I’d take the broken bones over the turmoil that cruel words can cause. At least if someone hits me, I know where I stand with them. But words can be twisted into so many different shapes that it can be impossible to know if someone loves or hates you. Words hurt far worse, but we live in a society that tries to claim otherwise.
I grew up in an alcoholic home. My mother was mentally, emotionally, verbally, and physically abusive (though the physical abuse was less pronounced than the other three). To this day – and my mother died sixteen years ago – I still don’t know if she loved me or hated me. That’s how mixed those messages were. I spent the first fifteen years of my life in an environment so toxic I’ve had friends from the military tell me I grew up in a war zone – but there was rarely any physical altercations.
The majority of the pain my mother inflicted on me and my sister came from words. It is the words that she said and the ones that she didn’t say that left the deepest scars. Words are powerful, terrible things. They can also be wonderful healers.
Language itself holds the power of life and death within it, of pain and healing. A single word can issue a command to a soldier to take a life or to stay a hand. A single word can leave a scar or heal a heart. Words are the most powerful weapons we wield.
So why would Lokeans be more offended than others when words are used as weapons? Because Loki is a god of language. One of his epithets is Silvertongue. He knows how to sling words better than any of the other gods. He staid the hands of the dwarves when he wagered his head by reminding them that they did not have the right to his neck.
It is Loki’s quick tongue that keeps Thor from being discovered too soon in Thrym’s hall. It is Loki’s words that draw Idunna out of Asgard and get him into trouble with the other gods. It is Loki’s insulting of the gods in the Lokasenna that serve to bring their ire down on him. It is Loki’s words to Hod that convince Hod to throw the mistletoe spear at Baldr.He convinces Odin that he can keep Freya from being won by Thiazi.
In every myth, in every iteration of Loki, the one thing constant is that Loki uses words as his weapons. He uses words to persuade and to console. He also uses words to wound. Loki is the penultimate wordsmith.
So, if Lokeans are more offended by words, I’d say it stems from the understanding that words are the sharpest weapons we hold. Words hurt. They heal. It is in their power that we all live and die – language is the quicksilver of magic and of thought. Language is the glue that binds us together. It is language, therefore, that can unhinge us.
We craft adages about language to try and take away the power it holds over us. We have idioms that tell us physical pain is worse than the pain of words. But anyone who has ever been insulted or told that their very existence is problematic knows the truth – words hurt more than anything else.
That also means words have an incredible potential to heal. They are life and death, creation and destruction, pain and healing. This is one of Loki’s rawest aspects – the force of language itself. He is a wordsmith. He can grant life and destroy it. He can craft a beautiful existence or destroy the world. He can hit the wounds at the core of even the other gods with the words he speaks, and he can heal by reminding us all of the potential we hold. Loki is as much creation as destruction, as much destruction as creation. So are words. Who else would rule language, then, if not Loki?