Cover Image: Loki and Sigyn

Loki and Sigyn

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Member Reviews

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.
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Title: Loki and Sigyn: Lessons on Chaos, Laughter, and Loyalty From the Norse Gods
Publisher: Llewellyn
Author: Lea Svendsen
Pages: 211pp
Price: $16.99 / $12.99
 
Who exactly is Loki? Trickster? Oath-bound brother and ally of Odin? Traveling companion of Thor? Husband of Sigyn? Father of Hel? Harbinger of Ragnarok? Devil in disguise? All of the above? Some? None? And why are some people devout Lokeans while others are adamant Nokeans?
 
There is no figure is Northern polytheism as controversial or as hotly debated as Loki. In him, some Heathens find an ally; a confidante who understands their pain and who pushes them to always be accountable for their actions. To other Heathens, though, he and his followers are to be avoided at all costs, lest they bring chaos and bad luck. Still others recognize his importance in the pantheon, but respectfully keep their distance.
 
In this heart-felt and deeply personal book, Svendsen delves deep into the historical texts recounting Loki’s adventures and his relationships with the other Northern Deities; her family’s ancestral devotion to him (and the rest of the Norse pantheon); her own personal devotion to Loki and his wife, Sigyn; and the evolving attitude of American Heathens towards the two Deities. The journey is a fascinating one, including discussions of linguistics, textual analysis, the political-religious landscape of northern Europe, the evolution of folklore, and the development of contemporary Heathenry in Europe and the United States.
 
Svendsen’s discussion includes some fascinating insights into the natures of both Loki and Sigyn, and how they have evolved over time (or perhaps how our understanding of them has evolved?). For example, Svendsen posits that the “image of a woman holding the bowl of offerings over the sacred flame” was misunderstood/reworked/reinterpreted into the myth we now know: of Sigyn catching the venom that drops onto a bound Loki from the snake overhead. She suggests that, originally, Loki was the fire in which sacrifices were made and Sigyn was the bowl from which they were poured. Sigyn may even have been the “Incantatio-Fetter,” the Goddess who sang the runic blessings over the flames. When devotion to the Norse Deities was pushed into the shadows, and the sacrifices grew nil, “Loki venture[d] out, searching for ‘food,’ because he was the one who always relayed it to others. He was the portal, the Bringer of Gifts, and it’s his duty to secure those gifts. So he goes into the world, looking for sustenance, tapping and poking and prodding those who will listen.”
 
I should probably pause here with a caveat. While Svenden’s love of Loki and Sigyn is obvious, and she deals with heavier subjects in an appropriately serious tone, the language of the book is often irreverent. She addresses Loki with an affectionate exasperation, calling him out on his bad behavior, and more than once addressing him as a “twerp.” Given the nature of their relationship, that works in this context. I was not at all offended, but other readers may well feel insulted (either on their own or the God’s behalf).  
 
Overall, I recommend Loki and Sigyn. It is an excellent introduction to two maligned, misunderstood, or ignored Deities. Those who are new to Heathenry and who are trying to figure out where they fit, where their devotions fit, and who they should honor and how, will likely get the most out of the text. But established Heathens who are curious and just want to know why others would choose to honor Loki and his brood should also take a look; if nothing else, you’ll come away with a better understanding of the Lokean point of view.
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This wasn’t entirely like I expected. It was well researched and interspersed autobiography within the history and pagan teachings. I loved the different perspective taken in understanding Loki, which was my favourite element of the book.
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A good resource for those working with Loki and Sigyn in any capacity. Both separated and intertwined information, a decent overview of the two is history and how they are seen today.
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Esta bueno, pero no era para mi.
Te cuenta básicamente la historia e Loki de una manera divertida con "life lessons" al final de cada historia. Pero viste cuando no es para vos? bueno, asi.
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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.
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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 .
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I was really excited to get an eArc for a subject that I have studied in university, but I don't know how well this would work for the general reader that is picking up this subject for the first time. The author interjects a lot of their perspective and life into the book, making it a cross between a text on Loki and Sigyn, and a faux-memoir style. I appreciated that Lea Svendsen explained some of the language and spelling choices as she went, that eliminates a lot of confusion for a reader that might have seen these names in other contexts. However, I do not think I would recommend this to someone that just wants the legends, but rather someone interested in a more religious view.
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This was incredibly cringey. When I first saw the title I thought it would be an exploration about Norse mythology. Nope, this wackadoodle actually believes she is a nun of Loki. yikes. 

Miss me with this one.
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(4.5)

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.
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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!
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Interesting enough read. Gives you a lot of insight on the two. Definitely worth checking out. 
I don't really know how to review this.
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*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

View the published review here: https://twinarchertarot.com/blog/review-loki-and-sigyn-by-lea-svendsen
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This book is a good for those starting off in their journey regarding Heathen-ry and related paths, however, I would not say it is the best book as the first encounter with these subjects. The subject matter starts off by suggesting that there is at least a basic understanding of Loki and Sigyn regardless of the accuracy or bias towards these deities. Other than this the material covered was interesting and well researched and explained. I liked the practical workings towards the end. I look forward to seeing the final art that will be placed within the book.
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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.
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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!
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This is a unique effort. The author refers to the book as a devotional and clearly has a close relationship with these entities. Loki is presented in a positive light and Sigyn, who is much lesser known and therefore harder to research, is brought into the light.

The research in this is very good and the authors reverence for these Norse gods comes through very clearly. While I've never been overly attracted to the Norse pantheon personally, I do have an interest in trickster figures and thus the nature of Loki has been a fascination for many years.

Loki often gets a bad rap, but this book delves into the deeper nature of this entity and brings understanding of his place in both the Norse pantheon and the catalogue of Trickster gods from all cultures.

Highly recommended for anyone with a scrap of interest in Loki or in the Norse pantheon, as the information on Sigyn is rare to come by as well.
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Loki is a god that people love to hate. Sigyn is his often misunderstood wife who stands with him, holding a bowl so that poison snake venom doesn't fall in his eyes for all eternity. Whether you're looking for more information on Loki himself, or exploring the innerworkings of Norse Paganism, the new book by Lea Svendsen is a phenomenal place to start (or honestly, end up). Svendsen's family come from a long line of Heathens known for following "the twerp" in Svendsen's words. While only in the past decade or so have major Heathen practices opened their arms to this trickster god, it wasn't always a welcome thing to follow Loki. Loki and Sigyn looks at the worship of two very different figures in Norse mythos, and how they work together as a couple that few would expect. 

Svendsen is funny, informative, and honestly someone I'd love to share a mead horn with.  I found the discussions in this book about community politics and her personal relationship to both Sigyn and Loki fascinating. Her reading is easy to follow and makes it easy to see the otherside of the oft maligned Loki.

If you're a new Heathen, or just wanting to know more about Loki or Sigyn, this is the perfect book to snag.
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This is a wonderful resource for beginners! It can be hard to find writings with a positive bias towards Loki and this is the positive resource researchers need!
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