Uncover the Truth about Loki and His Devoted Wife Sigyn
This captivating book takes you deep into the infamous legacy of Loki and the quiet power of Sigyn, the goddess of loyalty and compassion. As a controversial figure in Heathenry, Loki is often approached with trepidation. But this book introduces you to his true self: a trickster, but also a loving husband and creative problem-solver.
Join Heathen author Lea Svendsen on a rich exploration of these two Norse deities, together and separate. Discover their adventures in parenthood, their complicated relationships with the other gods, and their entertaining exploits. Learn how to set up an altar to each of them, what offerings they like, and how to perform rituals. You'll also enjoy compelling thoughts on Loki and Sigyn from Pagan and Heathen leaders, such as Patricia Lafayllve and Erika Wren.
Includes a foreword by Mortellus, author of Do I Have to Wear Black?
***Note: I received a copy curtesy of Netgalley and Llewellyn Publications in exchange for an honest review.
Hugely disappointing. I have no interest in the Northeast Heathen Community and/or other heathen groups; neither am I interested in finding out about specific heathen rituals and devotions – that these things make up more than half of the book should be mentioned in the description. After reading this, I cannot say that I know much more about Loki than before reading it.
Author Lea Svendsen describes this book as a “devotional” to the Norse gods Loki and Sigyn. Her devotion to both is certainly evident throughout, as is her embodiment of the characteristics of this mythological husband-and-wife team. Accessible to those who know very little or nothing at all about the modern practice of heathenry (the Germanic / Nordic equivalent of paganism) or Norse mythology, this volume is an excellent introduction to Loki and Sigyn, to modern heathen practices in the US, and to how one might begin a relationship with either or both. There’s plenty of myth-busting around the popular understandings of Loki, as well as illumination of the oft-ignored Sigyn, while respectful to those who’d rather not engage with the Trickster.
Svendsen has a unique perspective as a priestess of Sigyn who also works heavily with Loki in personal practice, comes from a generational line of heathens in Norway, and has been active in US communities of modern heathens for several decades. Her personal relationship with her own practice is woven throughout the book and she contributes an important perspective to the documented history of US heathen practice, given her personal experiences educating US-based heathens about Loki and Sigyn and advocating for their inclusion.
Philosophically, I was struck by the way Svendsen characterizes her faith in contrast to the dichotomous (good vs. evil) view most US Americans are raised with, whether or not our families are actively religious or monotheistic. Her observations as an outsider highlight elements I would’ve otherwise missed of a worldview that has colored my more general understanding of “organized religion,” including the presumed supremacy of god(s) and the centrality of formal practice. By contrast, she presents heathen relationships to the Norse gods as more casual, with these figures seen as fallible and flawed.
The mythology itself is treated both respectfully and a little snarkily—appropriate for a devotee of Loki! Svendsen uses academic sources to consider different theories around the poetic and prose Eddas rooted in etymology and period history, including the possibility that one of the most famous Loki stories (which is also the one most prominently featuring Sigyn) was “adjusted” at the time it was written down to avoid early Christian censorship. Though Svendsen’s own experience of connecting with community in the US was somewhat isolating given the academic focus of many heathens at the time and her own focus on intuitive personal practice, I very much enjoyed this nerdy consideration of the texts and the possibilities therein.
In stark contrast to some of the more troubling and downright racist strains of heathenism, the scholars Svendsen consults consider more liberatory possibilities for how we might interpret the texts in context. Is it fair to portray Loki as a God of Lies? What are the generative possibilities of the kinds of chaos he evokes? How does an interpretation that places Loki as representing sacred fire and Sigyn as representing the runic songs used for offerings open up possibilities for ritual?
Of course, many modern heathens are drawn to Loki by his shapeshifting and occupying of a somewhat non-binary space, having both birthed and sired children. Svendsen includes discussion of how modern queer interest in his mythology has led to a more inclusive heathenism, and considers both his gender transgression and some of the questions around his parentage as inspiring possibilities. Sigyn, though she gets precious little treatment in the texts, also comes across as a surprisingly feminist figure whose compassion and loyalty are remarkable but not without bite.
For readers who have been drawn to Loki and are looking for practical tips on where to get started, there are plenty of suggestions here for both solo and group practice. Svendsen also covers heathen practices more generally, introducing important concepts to newbies. She also discusses some of the challenges of including Loki in community ritual, given how he is still seen as a villain or dangerous presence by some, and documents how Loki’s reception has shifted over the years. But Svendsen also gives a fair voice to those who still choose not to honor Loki, and talks at length about how heathen practice is personal and varies widely from one chosen spiritual family to another.
While I’m not running off to pledge myself to Loki, I found significant resonance between my own beliefs and worldviews and how Svendsen talks about Loki & Sigyn. I also felt slightly sheepish about seeing him principally as a God of Chaos who will bring turmoil into your life, since the way Svendsen describes his approach to destruction is very similar to my own approach to necessary evolutionary change!
I suspect it’s not uncommon for readers to have a little “Loki moment” while enjoying this book. For me, it was a strange coincidence involving a particular star. The Icelandic name of the star Sirius apparently translates to “Loki’s brand” or “Loki’s torch,” and some celebrate that star’s heliacal rising as Loki’s summer festival. It so happens that at the moment of my birth, both the moon and Sirius were just eight minutes from rising together. Born under the moon of Loki’s rising torch, you might say! As a non-binary and liminal sort of creature who always appreciates the wisdom of a trickster figure, I’ll take it.
I would highly recommend this book to those who are looking for a fresh take on Loki, but also to anyone who is interesting in opening up their perspective about what it means to practice religion or be in relationship with deity. Heathens who are wary of Loki may also find Svendsen’s perspective illuminating.
Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
This is such a fun book to read. First, the writing style is absolutely lovely. It’s more conversation than schooling along with affectionate teasing of someone who’s been working with the Norse gods for a while.
There was a ton of Loki information which makes sense since the author does say that information on Sigyn is difficult to find.
The author has a background in Heathenry, then Christianity, then back to Heathenry. I haven’t seen a lot of that and it was refreshing as hell. It’s usually writers who originally came from Christianity and a lot of their views are still evident. This means there is NO WICCA!!! That was really refreshing as well.
This is definitely more of a history book more than spell book. The spells and small rituals do happen, but there are more toward the end of the book when you already have a basis in Loki and Sigyn’s history. Sometimes, beginner books throw in rituals too fast, but this one didn’t.
While I was reading, it reminded me of Courtney Weber’s “Hekate.” I love this genre of books where there’s an intense historical and present look at deity worship and focusing on one specific deity per book.
On the up side, this gives interesting etymological information on Loki and Sigyn's respective names. I actually quite enjoyed reading this part. It was informative and pointed me in directions that I hadn't considered with both Deities. The book is not a bad introduction for a beginner. Also, the cover is gorgeous and would make a lovely devotional icon in and of itself.
On the downside, the author makes a show of giving a seemingly comprehensive history of Loki and Sigyn in contemporary Heathenry. That would be fine, save that she ignores the work of those like myself, who not only wrote the first extant devotionals to Loki and Sigyn individually, and to Their family as a group, but who frankly, were the ones who, with constant harassment over the issue--including some from at least one person quoted in the book--moved the center in Heathenry so that the idea of honoring these Gods is far less controversial now than it was when we started talking about it two decades ago.
Also, and far more egregiously, while omitting any reference of the first devotionals ever published to Loki and to Sigyn (my own, published in the period between 2004-2014), the author has no problem quoting bynames for Sigyn that my own mother developed and wrote about, and that I first put into print, specifically "Lady of the Staying Power" (the name, not incidentally, of the first devotional to Sigyn ever written in 2009). It's poor scholarship and were this an academic text (the author tries so hard to sound academic in parts), it would not have been published by any peer reviewed press due to this lacuna and borderline plagiarism.
I was granted eARC access to Loki and Sigyn by Lea Svendsen via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for the eARC approval! My thoughts are my own and my review is honest.
As someone with Scandinavian heritage who grew up in a family who values that history and tries to keep traditions alive, I really can't resist books like this when they pop up. Norse mythology? Sign me up! Loi is a popular subject these days with his introduction in the MCU (don't get me started on inaccuracies in Marvel's versions of the Norse gods...) but seeing anything about Sigyn is rare, so I was intrigued.
What impressed me: The author very clearly knows a great deal about this topic, and I learned a lot despite growing up in a family who preserves our Norwegian heritage. Lea has effectively woven all of this information into creative stories that are interesting and fun to read and don't feel like a dry textbook on the topic.
What disappointed me: This book is billed as a non-fiction informative text on Loki and Sigyn so I expected something a little more neutral than what I found here. There's a lot of the author's lived experience in here, which isn't a bad thing, but it isn't what I think most people are going to expect of this book. I think a not-insignificant portion of the potential audience for this book views this sort of lore as mythology but it's very clear that the author is a practitioner of this religion and to an extent, some of it feels more like a sermon than an academic reference.
While this book provides lots of interesting information about Loki and Sigyn, it did so in the context of the authors own personal relationship with these gods. This book was advertised as one that would help the reader “uncover the truth about Loki and his devoted wife Sigyn”, but I found myself learning more about the authors personal life and the growth of American heathens throughout the years. I wish the novel included more stories about Loki and Sigyn, with citations from academic sources instead of quotes from personal ones. I would’ve loved to learn more about Loki’s upbringing, children, and documented stories regarding him and other gods. Same with Sigyn- I was reading to learn more about how she’s been viewed throughout history. Regardless, this was a good read and I can respect it (even if it wasn’t what I thought I signed up for based on the description).
I would recommended this book to someone looking to learn about the authors personal experience with Loki and Sigyn- especially someone who follows similar practices. If you want to learn how to build an altar to worship these gods or what offerings to leave for them, then this is the book for you. Overall, I would’ve liked to see the author focus on stories about Loki and Sigyn backed by academic sources instead of citing her personal ones.
(Side note: this cover is absolutely stunning & you should gift it to a heathen friend)
Once I got over my slight disappointment that this book would not be a scholarly look into Loki/Sigyn mythology, I went along for the ride and very much enjoyed it. Academia has its place, but so does gnosis. Author Lea Svensen's insights gained through her absolute love for Loki and Sigyn transformed dusty mythological characters into flesh-and-blood personages. I was inspired and touched by many of her insights, both from these deities and her own life.
*Thank you to NetGalley and Llewellyn Publications for providing me with this Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) in exchange for an honest review!*
Sum it Up: Loki and Sigyn by Lea Svendsen explores the historical, cultural, and devotional aspects of Norse god Loki and his lesser-known wife Sigyn. While Svendsen shares personal anecdotes along the way she does an excellent job of presenting thorough, detailed, and diligent research to paint a well-rounded picture of myth and modern practice. Svendsen is a charming and entertaining writer, effortlessly weaving her passion and knowledge together in a way that makes you feel like you’re sitting with her by the fire, soaking up the magic and mystery of Norse heathenry. I rated this read 5 stars for quality of research, storytelling, and entertainment as well as overall enjoyment!
Why It Stands Out: A common pitfall in modern spiritual, new age, and witchcraft books is the tendency for authors to wax poetic on personal anecdotes rather than supporting their work through academic research or historical references. While this style can work well for some topics, it can also degrade the value of the information as a resource for learning and personal or professional development. Svendsen incorporates her professional knowledge of funerary arts and her experiences with heathenry and learned family traditions while creating a solid foundation of historical and cultural research about heathenry, Loki and the lesser-known Sigyn. She also provides a glossary, a guide for further reading and a bibliography to cite her various sources. Overall, this felt like an extremely comprehensive collection of stories, knowledge, and history, woven together with care and consideration for both author and reader.
Things I Liked: Svendsen creates a beautiful introduction where she shares her call and response with The Clever One that inspired the creation of this book. I would definitely recommend reading the whole book cover to cover, just so you don’t miss beautiful moments like this! Svendsen does a wonderful job of exploring and explaining entomology and it’s importance in understanding myths, relationships, and modern interpretations. As a fan of dissecting rhetoric, this really appealed to me and strengthened my respect for her overall knowledge! She does a great job of breaking down words, traditions, and comparing the aspects of Abrahamic stories and traditions we see in the Bible vs those found in Norse Heathenry.
Svendsen has several wonderful quotes throughout the text, and these are some of my favorites:
“The best way to approach the myths is to recognize them as a product of their time and their people.”
“Sigyn is the quiet comfort and compassionate heart taking care of those impacted by the forces of change.”
“Loki is a force for change. He is the fire that burns away stagnation so that we can grow.”
What Could Be Stronger: The only recommendation I could make to improve the flow of this book is adjusting the order and incorporation of Chapter 4: Lessons on the Syllabus. When reading, this chapter stood out in a way that felt like it interrupted the flow between Chapters Three: Living Heathen and Five: Attributes for Devotional Practice. Since the information in Chapter Four is still relevant and supportive, I would suggest moving it after Chapter Six: Rituals and Celebrations or combining it with Chapter Seven: Final Thoughts to strengthen the overall flow of the text!
Who Should Read This: Fans of Loki or those curious to learn more about him, People who enjoyed Norse Mythology or American Gods by Neil Gaiman, folks interested in the practice or history of Heathenry
This book is intended for currently practicing Norse heathens who are sorting through an internal community conversation about Loki. As I am not invested in this conversation & not a person who believes in any gods, much of the book was more like anthropology for me - a peek into another culture’s mores & feuds. My favorite part was the first chapter which explores the Prose & Poetic Eddas from Iceland & retells stories of Loki & Sigyn. It seems that the historical record is pretty thin in regards to Sigyn as most of the discussion is on Loki.
I was given a limited ebook ARC of Loki and Sigyn by Lea Svendsen in exchange for my honest review. Excited to read a book of devotion, I snapped it up and read it through with enthusiasm. I am so grateful for this experience because, spoiler, I LOVED IT.
There is so much to share about what I loved about this book. The sweet intro and forward from another favorite author, Mortellus, the inclusion of “thoughts and feelings of those who dislike and avoid Loki�� as valid as those who embrace Him, and the heavy dose of salt given to lore as it is written by Christians with a very different view of the world than Polytheists, and so so much more.
Lea Svendsen shares her beautiful devotion with a heavy dose of humor, which I would expect from a Loki devotee, to be fair. I wrote down several quotes that I loved including: “reading the lore is best done without our own perceptions of what constitutes ‘good behavior'” and “All Hail the Scarder of Other People’s Food!” Then there are the sections after each lore-based story asking “Did we Learn Our Lesson?” It made me smile each time I got to that section. I just loved it.
Then there are the basics that are needed and so well written (along with fantastic footnotes and bibliography – my poor book budget). The 3rd part of the book is a great Heathenry 101 lesson grounded in devotion (as Heathenry should be) and later some rituals for solo and groups that are fantastic whether new or well versed. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in Heathenry and wanting to know what this path is all about as it is so well rounded.
I also learned a lot about Loki and Sigyn despite thinking that this book would rehash things I already knew. The etymology of the names was wonderful and the connection of Loki to the figure of the Ash Lad was eye-opening for me. Svendsen may have also made me change my mind about the Marvel movies (which to this point I disdained)…maybe…
This book is gorgeous and I cannot wait to add a physical copy to my library. Hail Loki! Hail Sigyn! May Your names ever be praised!
It was a great book that came to me when I needed it as Loki has begun reaching out to me recently! Hopefully, I can use it to deepen my relationship with Loki and perhaps even start a connection with Sigyn if she comes calling as well.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
(Caveat: I wrote the foreword) It is always a challenge, as an author, to speak to a topic you love and about which you are passionate—while navigating sticky topics with kindness. What are we to do when the scholarship of something we love, contains things we find problematic? There is often seemingly no right answer when asked to call out something we find troublesome, while giving the reader a picture of thorough research. Lea has navigated these issues with deftness by simple omission, a sideways glance, a comment about bad actors. But some simply refuse to see that their omission was one of kindness, of lips firmly sewn shut; and in those instances (thankfully), they seem happy to name themselves.
That said, this book is beautiful, filled with laughter, and written by someone with one of the truest hearts I've ever encountered. If Loki, Sigyn, Norse Heathenry, or even just a good laugh are things you revere—it's worth adding to your library.
It's nice to see a book written about Loki (and Sigyn of course) that depicts him in better light than most texts. He often is one of the misunderstood ones, which I think makes him even more interesting to learn about. Lea goes through many aspects of his story, background, etymology, family etc. There is also many things you can learn about Sigyn, a goddess that I definitely wanted to get more familiar with. Leas style of writing is easily approachable, so this book makes a lovely introduction to the subject.
Thank you to NetGalley and the Author for providing this ARC!
Loki, the God of Mischief, and his wife Sigyn have been long ignored by the heathen community. In this book, Lea Svendsen details their roles in the lore, their reception in the community and how it has developed over the years, and talks about her relationship with these two gods in her personal practice.
I really enjoyed just how much time and attention the author dedicates to Loki and Sigyn, giving each of them their time to shine but also emphasizing just how loving and important Loki and Sigyn’s marriage is.
This book is a good starting point for everyone who is intrigued by the Trickster and wants to get to know him more, both on a mythical level and in day-to-day practice.
Loki and Sigyn by Lea Svendsen is a wonderful offering of insight in to the god and goddess for who the book is named shared with the reader by a modern day devotee.
The author has managed to strike a wonderful balance between historical and modern myth while sprinkling in stories from their own experience.
This book is sure to become a valuable resource both of academics looking to bridge their historical and modern knowledge as well as for practitioners considering beginning work with this portion of the Nordic pantheon .
I loved this book from start to finish. I first encountered Sigyn in 2019 and felt immediately called to build a deeper relationship with Her, and there is so little out there about Her. I also loved learning more about Loki. The writing is fabulous - so engaging, honest, and real I had a hard time putting it down. Bravo!!!
What a joy this book was. I love Loki to no end, but only recently discovered and gave attention to Sigyn. This book is a beautiful tribute to what they both stand for - complete with tips on how to weave them into your own existence
m đến với quyển sách này với kỳ vọng sẽ có một cái hình sâu hơn về Loki và Sigyn. Ừ thì quyển sách này đúng là cho em biết thêm một vài thông tin khá thú vị và sâu hơn về cặp vợ chồng này.
Nhưng chắc nó chỉ được gần một nửa thôi, chứ một nửa còn lại là tác giả giới thiệu, truyền bá cách thờ Loki với Sygn, và vì bản thân tác giả là người ngoại đạo và theo lối sống thờ các vị thần cũ, mà cụ thể là Loki (và Sigyn) nên không ít lần em ngửi được phản phất sự bias của người viết, và kể về những trải nghiệm trong nhóm thờ thần và những lần nhận được tính hiệu từ dũ trụ của Loki và Sygn. Nửa sau cuốn sách có thể không cần thiết và lan man với nhiều người, nhưng nó có tính tham khảo cao nếu bạn một ngày nọ muốn cúng ly cà phê đen cho Loki để ổng độ bạn với những bất ngờ hú hồn chym én trong cuộc sống 😃
Túm lại đây là một quyển sách cho những người yêu thích Loki (trong thần thoại gốc, không phải trong Marvel, nhưng nếu bạn thích Loki của Marvel và có ý định muốn tìm hiểu về Loki trong thần thoại thì quyển sách này cũng sẽ khá hợp với bạn) và muốn đọc những info khá thú vị từ ổng cùng người vợ chung thủy của ổng - Sigyn, người vợ kín tiếng, người mẹ mất con và niềm vui của Loki.
Excellent book on Loki and Sigyn for practicing Heathens
Smart, informative, personal and funny, this guide gives an excellent overview of Loki and Sigyn. It covers attestation in the lore, qualities , modern practice, symbols, kernings, and suggested rituals. It's well written, practical and straightforward.
I love this book. The author is very down to earth. I found the information on Sigyn invaluable as well as Loki's association with fire. I also really like that Loki presents differently to different people.
Svendsen gives you a personal look into her spiritual journey with Loki and Sigyn as well as brief history of Loki and the heathen community in America. It's very insightful and reminds me lot of my own journey with Loki.
The best metaphysical book I've possibly ever read. I didn't want to finish it because I didn't want it to be over. It's full of research as well as personal anecdotes, and provides an illuminating perspective on Loki and Sigyn. It's so good.