Q. Anthony: Loki is given as one of the key pieces of Odin’s Inner Eye, as is Balder…yet, in the myth, Loki is said to have been chained after playing a role in the death of Balder. How do you ‘read’ those events in terms of the philosophy being laid out?
A. Andrew: It is best to think of these things in a back and forth way to keep it clear, jumping from myth (symbolic truth) to common language (or abstract truth) and back to the myth. Just in case you are not familiar with the differences between “concrete” images used by myth and “abstract” words used in common language, I will provide you with some illustrations. I apologize if you already know. I just had to learn these things in order to understand, so I calculate others might have to learn them too.
With that said, Myth uses concrete symbols for its truth. The Rational Mind uses abstract symbols for its truth. Take the word “Mind” for instance. That is abstract. Try to “picture” a “mind.” You can’t because it is abstract. However, you could “picture” a “brain.” That is concrete. So you could use a concrete “brain” to symbolize an abstract “mind.” Another example is “love.” Can you picture “love”? No, because “love” is abstract, just like many feelings like “peace” and so on. So instead of using the abstract idea of “love” to help people “picture” it concretely, we use the concrete image of a “heart.” Thus, the concrete “heart” represents the abstract “love.” A “dove with an olive branch in its mouth” is a concrete symbol of abstract “peace,” and so forth. This is the basis for myth, using concrete symbols to represent and discuss abstract realities, like Wisdom, Truth, Imagination, Good, etc.
Okay, now that I am sure we are on the same page, let me break it down a little to set up my answer to your question.
God is good. Odin is wisdom. Loki is wild imagination or let’s just say, imagination, and Balder is truth. The reason why Loki is located on the Eye as a “force” and not a “path” is because “forces” can be good “or” bad. Like the force of a gun can be used for good (e.g. by police officers, military, self-defense) or it can be used for bad (e.g. by criminals, idiots, and the careless). “Paths” are always good in their area. Wisdom is always good in your public life. Balder is the “path” of truth. Truth is always good in your spiritual life (not so much in public! lol). However, sometimes, imagination is needed in a person’s personal life. “Imagination” is not “true” but it is potentially true. So it can be helpful in your spiritual life, (singing): “Imagine all the people…living life in peace…You-hoo may say-ay I’m a dreamer… but I’m not the only one…”. (Are you familiar with John Lennon?) Anyways, imagining a better way to live spiritually can be a “good” thing. So Loki “can” help Balder…IF (the biggest little word in the English language) IF Loki remains blood brother to Odin and the companion of Thor (which are what the Lore most often describe as Loki’s partners when he is doing “good”). The fact however, that imagination is not “true”, that is, as a current fact (not “real” in the sense that it is not attached to reality = the landscape of the body, and it is not “true” in the sense that it is not necessarily attached to truth = the landscape of the soul) means that it is also a potential threat to Balder, or the good of truth (god of truth). So it can help the path of truth, by becoming true, or it can actually overthrow the truth by coming up with something totally not true, which is what the Lore is trying to describe when Loki got Balder killed.
In the Prose Edda version of the story, Loki did not kill Balder directly. He led blind Hoder, whose name means “battle,” so “wild imagination” led “blind battle” to kill the “good of truth”. How many times in life have we seen blind rage destroy something good and true, just because the blind rage imagined something false? So, since Loki was not behaving with “good” intentions in that act, not with “god” intentions, he was rejected from among the “gods.” But the fact that he is one of the twelve “gods” who sit in judgment of the dead, his “force” when used in unity with the “gods” is “good.”
So, they used the myths to show the “good” of Loki and the bad of Loki, the good of imagination, which dreams good things, and the bad of imagination, which is destructive like a giant and must be bound, like Fenris his werewolf son is also bound. The “good” of Loki walks with the gods and helps them solve difficult puzzles by thinking (or imagining) outside of the box. On the other hand, Loki is the SOURCE of many of those puzzling difficulties, so when he comes up with ideas that get the “good” life “killed”, then the Loki of destructive imagination must be bound.
Sincerely, Gothi Andrew Webb