Did Loki give birth to a monster?

  • Loki ate some of the heart, the thought-stone of a woman,roasted on a linden-woodfire, he found it half-cooked;Lopt was impregnated by a wicked woman,from whom every ogress on earth is descended.

    Source: Loki (Wikipedia)

    Loki eat the heart, on fire from linden made, found a half-burnt mindstone-wife; was Lopt sired with that wicked woman; thence in the world are all wicked one's come.

    Source: Poetic Edda/Hyndluljóð (Wikisource)

    1. A heart ate Loki,-- | in the embers it lay, And half-cooked found he | the woman's heart;-- With child from the woman | Lopt soon was, And thence among men | came the monsters all.

    Source: HYNDLULJOTH (The Poem of Hyndla)

    My questions are:

    -Why did Loki eat that heart?

    -Who or what was that woman? Was she a notable character in Norse mythology? If not,what race did she belong to?

    -Why was her heart burnt?

    -What/who exactly did Loki give birth to?

    -How did he carry and give birth to it/him/her? Did he turn into a female to carrry and give birth to it?

    Loki was a master shapeshifter and famously transformed himself into a mare to give birth to Sleipnir, thus bearing and giving birth was not beyond his capabilities.

    @DukeZhou yes, but how exactly did he do so with this monster-thingy?

    @KVickneshvara Are you asking if there's a legend about how this specific female character turned into a male to impregnate a gender-swapped Loki, or if there's a Kama Sutra Edda?

    @Lauren Ipsum "this specific female character turned into a male".Where is this stated?

    Your quotes are `Lopt was impregnated BY a wicked woman`, and males generally do the impregnating; and `With child from the woman | Lopt soon was`, also implying that the female character was the sperm donor, a traditionally male role. I'm perefectly willing to be proven wrong, but it's not a crazy inference, especially given that Loki himself has turned into a herself and carried and borne offspring before in Norse legend.

    The idea that you could become pregnant by eating something turns up in European myths and folklore frequently. (The Irish myth of Etain is a good example.) It turns up in Norse insults, as well, suggesting that some man has eaten something that made him pregnant.

  • solsdottir

    solsdottir Correct answer

    5 years ago

    The verses you're quoting come from an extremely cryptic poem called the Shorter Voluspa, which is inserted into the longer poem Hyndluljod, and has little to do with it. Like the Volupsa itself, you really need to know the stories already to get the references, as they don't give any details. No other source says anything about this, so that one reference is all we have.

    Two things stand out for me, however. First, that Loki was the father/mother of all evil women, i.e. witches and giantesses, whom we might expect to be unnatural. Second, that he is half-giant, and we know from the story of Ymir that they can reproduce in odd ways. (And that getting pregnant by swallowing something is a common trope in myths and folklore.)

    @solsditttir so there is no other text of Norse mythology that has this legend?

    No, unfortunately. Both Voluspa and the Shorter Volupsa have many mysteries like this. But I like @andejons' idea about *why* Loki would eat the heart; it makes sense in the context of Norse myth.

    Today i learnt that there is also a sort of reference of someone getting pregnant in this way in an Icelandic Saga: In Bjarnar saga Hítdœlakappa, there is an insulting poem that Bjarn writes about his rival Tord, in which he claims that Tord was born after his mother found and ate a half-rotten slimy fish.

    Yes, that's a famous one. It's a nice right-and-left, because it insults both him and his mother.

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