Question: What are the symbols and/or icons of Loki?
As far as I’m aware, there are no historical symbols associated with Loki, so all of the ones we associate with him today originate from modern understandings of this liminal god.
The snake symbol here is one of the most commonly associated with Loki today, though I am not entirely sure how it became his symbol. It represents his connection with snakes through his son, Jormungand, and the wisdom that has long been associated with the snake.
There are, of course, different runes associated with Loki, but the three that I find that most people tend to associate with him are Kenaz, Perthro, and Dagaz.
Kenaz is the rune whose name translates to “torch” and indicates illumination and gaining knowledge, even enlightenment. This is knowledge gained both through study and experience, as knowledge comes from both places.
This is also a rune that illustrates the power of fire, both its creative and destructive aspects. Fire holds both the power of life and death within it, and that is one of the reasons that Loki as a fire god makes so much sense – fire itself is a very liminal thing, as it both brings life and destroys it.
Perthro, whose closest translation is “dice cup” from what I remember, is a rune that represents chance – or, in a deeper sense, wyrd itself. It is a rune that essentially tells you that life is what you make of it, that opportunities present themselves always with pros and cons. Life itself is a gamble, and every decision we make can turn out well or poorly – it is our willingness to risk the odds that shines through this rune.
It is pretty clear why this rune works so well as a representation for Loki, as he is constantly risking the odds in every myth we have about him. Things go badly, he tries something that seems insane, and things turn around. Somehow, miraculously, his boldness wrought from the necessity of resolving a bad situation turns things around to make them work out. This is the quintessential gambler’s rune, and life itself is the quintessential gamble.
Dagaz, which translates to “daybreak” or “dawn” is one of the more recent ones that I have seen associated with Loki. It is a rune that represents new horizons, new perspectives.
It demonstrates change, so from that angle, it makes sense that people would associate this rune with him. Loki is, after all, a god of change and new beginnings.
These are the symbols that I would say are most associated with Loki today, and each one of them carries a world of meaning of their own. Loki is complex, so it makes sense that the symbols that represent him are complex in their own ways.