Lofn: Goddess of Games and Forbidden Loves

Posted: December 8, 2013 in Aesir & Asynjur, Alfar & Duergar, Deities & Wights, Fulla, Lofn, Online Shrines, Sjofn
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Norse Goddess
Name means “Permission”

 “The eighth is Lofn; she is so gentle and good to invoke that she has permission from All-father and Frigg to bring together men and women for whom marriage was forbidden or banned. From her name comes the word “permission”, also what is much praised by men.” UPDATED: Her name is pronounced “Loven” in Icelandic (‘fn’ is sounded ‘vn’). (1)

Take a chance. Break the rules. Find your Freedom.
Be bold. Bend your boundaries. Find your fun.

She is Goddess of forbidden loves, and little is known from lore beyond the Prose Edda quote above. She appears in many kennings for ‘woman’ in skaldic poetry (a kenning is a literary reference used to avoid repeating the same word, such as using “hammer wielder” for Thor). In modern times she is mostly prayed to for forbidden unions such as same-sex marriage and alternative relationships. She shares patronage of marriage between different ethnic groups with Frey and Gerda.

Who is Lofn?

Lofn is the most fun-loving, low-protocol, easygoing Goddess you’ll ever find in Asgard. No matter how silly the offering rite you think up, she’s cool with it. Didn’t have time to send her a formal invitation and prior offering? No problem, just let her know she’s wanted, and to show up whenever she can. No food available except delivery pizza and soft drinks? She likes those just fine. Got a silly, sexy, or irreverent card game? She loves games, invite her as a ghost player and draw cards for her. Her name means permission, and that’s what she’s all about.

Your offerings, if they’re good enough for you to eat, they’re good enough for me. We’re all friends here. What do you do for your friends? You let them know you want to see them, spend time with them, and have fun. Is your heart in the right place? Are you doing it out of love? If you are, then it is good. I am a Goddess of Love and Permission, and I’m here to tell you what you want is okay. Being who and what you are is okay. You are inherently lovable and worthy, no matter what wagging tongues may say.

Lofn is a rule breaker and risk taker willing to gamble everything on love. How else could she bless forbidden unions? What relationships she aids depends on that society’s rules. If they’re illegal or frowned upon by many, then it’s worthy of interest to her. These can include couples of different ethnic backgrounds, age groups and social classes, taboos of sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, and body shape, extra-marital sex, multiple partners, kinky and other alternative life styles. Most of these she’s tried and many she’s enjoyed. The rest are fine by her as long as they’re life affirming, loving and mutual, no matter what it looks like to an observer. There is however a thin line beyond which it becomes destructive to both that must not be crossed. She wields a bow with great accuracy, but even in her cruelest aspect she will not take a life. What secrets to keep and which to reveal is often a difficult choice — she has suffered the consequences of sharing too little and too much, yet still favors bringing truth out in the open.

Lofn’s Name

In Icelandic, lof means praise, acclaim, or tribute.
Lofgerð (enclosure of lof) and Lofræða (rede, counsel, or speech of lof) both translate to:

  • Eulogy (a speech made in praise of a person, in particular the recently dead or retired),
  • Panegyric (a public speech or writing in praise of someone), or
  • Rapshody (epic poetry suitable for recitation).

Lofsyngya and lofsöngur (sing of lof and song of lof) are the verb and noun for singing a hymn of praise, glory or triumph. Loft means sky, air, or ceiling.  Ofn means stove, oven, or furnace. That’s not a lot to go on, but I think we can safely assume she’s more prone to loud enthusiasm than to keeping her mouth shut.

Lavender

is her flower (Lofnablóm in Icelandic, English name from the Latin Lavare, “to wash”). Its tea is useful for headaches, anxiety, halitosis, nausea, dizziness and flatulence. Its essential oil is an antiseptic and anti-venom, killing most bacteria and neutralizing the poison of most insects, spiders and some snake bites. In baths or massage oil, it is a great relaxant that helps with headaches, stress, insomnia and depression. Magically it was used for purification during birthing and incorporated as a love herb into food and wreaths for weddings — the idea being that most people perform better sexually when they’re not stressed out about it.

You know what’s the coolest thing ever? Getting a tidbit from personal gnosis, something you’d never think of in a million years, then when you search for it, you find a source that confirms it. Example: I was SURE that lavender and lilac were the flowers of Sjofn and Lofn. There’s two sentences in all the lore on each of them, so I’m clearly not going to find that in the sagas. Then I looked up the flower names in my Icelandic dictionary.

Lavender is Lofnarblóm. Lofnar is not a word or fragment of any other word, it’s the genitive (possessive) declension of the strong feminine noun Lofn, thus lavender is “Lofn’s Bloom” or “Lofn’s Flower” (in the same way that Loki declines to Loka in the possessive as a weak masculine noun, such as in Lokabrenna, Loki’s Torch)

Lilac is Dísarunni = “Goddess/fairy/nymph’s shrub”, since Disar is likewise the genitive declension of the strong feminine noun Dis/ir.

That blew me away. It still does. 🙂

 

What is Lofn’s Role in Asgard?

Lofn and Sjöfn are the two love Goddesses of Frigga’s court — Freya is not under Frigga’s rule as such and Frigga herself is Goddess of marital love. Sjöfn’s domain is affection (that’s what her name means). She encourages people getting together to express their feelings and work through any of their issues, in Asgard and beyond, as she promotes friendship and intimacy. She’s especially keen about helping children’s friendships and organizing games for them.

Lofn on the other hand, is the party planner that makes fun happen for adults. The men of Asgard (and some of the women) like contests of prowess, strength and skill, and so she organizes those for them, praising each participant for their exploit whether they win or not. As for trophies, Asgardians generally prefer prizes of the edible sort over medals and statues, so she makes sure someone with good cooking skills prepares special reward dishes. When Lofn cooks for herself it’s generally a quick and dirty affair so she can get back to whatever she’s planning, but for others she likes to make foods that are a work of art such that it’s almost a shame to eat them.

For the women and men who are into it, she organizes games where wit and cunning will win the prize, such as treasure hunts, as well as more cooperative games. With Gefjon she organizes dances, and with Frigga cooking and crafting competitions. Hlin helps her with games of combat skill and Sága with storytelling evenings. Gná plans out racing events with her, and Skadhi does so for hunting. Fulla assists in riddles and guessing games. When people are bored, it’s Lofn they usually call.

She’s also fond of spicing up people’s sex lives with her Alfar magic. Granting a couple the illusion of youth, they can spend a night together as teenagers, or under the seeming of being different people. Fulla’s been known to ask for the seeming (body changing illusion) of being Odin to visit Frigga’s chamber… oops, wasn’t supposed to say that, was I? My bad. Forget I ever mentioned it. Let’s just say Lofn is patron of role play, be it sexy or not. While Fulla is a secret keeper, Lofn is the one to spill the beans on truths that need to come out. It’s her nature and job to do so. If you need to “come out of the closet” about something, pray to Lofn for courage and the acceptance of those you tell.

“If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.” (from the Gospel of Thomas)

Working with Lofn – Conformity’s Foe

Is there something you secretly want… but just can’t bring yourself to do it? It may seem silly, childish or outrageously inappropriate, yet would hurt no one and give you joy. Maybe you’re worried about what people will think, or maybe it’s a little voice in your head that disapproves of doing it in private even when no one will know.

The practice of rule breaking isn’t about risking harm to others or yourself, and it’s not about disobeying the law of the land — civil disobedience to promote social justice is Sjofn’s domain. It’s about finding something that makes you uncomfortable, some conventional rule that exists only in your head or in conservative wisdom, and ignoring it.

“The opposite of courage in our society is not cowardice…it is conformity.”
~ Rollo May, Man’s Search for Himself.

Conformity is the price many of us pay for acceptance in society, but it is a heavy price when it means not being yourself, out of fear that those you love will reject you. Working with Lofn means purging the poison of shame and self-doubt, slowly giving the suppressed parts of you more love and acceptance. If you cannot give that permission to be yourself, ask Lofn to give it. She loves your darkness, that which is hidden under the polite mask you show the world. While Sjöfn loves, cares for the wounded sensitive child within and encourages him or her to come out, it is the scarier parts that she seeks out in people: The chained wolf that rages, the caged monster with unacceptable cravings, the girl trapped inside the boy and the boy inside the girl of the transgendered, these are the unloved ones she values and wants us to let out into the light of day.

Do it in baby steps. Remove that gag and talk to your shadow self. Listen to what it says, it’s probably hurt and angry, sad and lonely. Apologize for your neglect. Let it out of the basement into your living space when you’re alone so it can play a few times. Set some ground rules, but make time for it to come out. Then let one person you trust meet that part of you, speak to it, care for it. If there’s no one you trust enough, then let it speak to a caring stranger you find. It’s okay to be scared and to keep it on a short leash for now. That’s what people do when they walk their dog. Even if yours is more of a wolf, that’s okay too. Walk the wolf.

Lofn’s Story

Have you ever felt felt there’s something not quite right in what everyone else thinks is perfectly normal? When you mention it, they look as if you’ve gone crazy. That’s what life was like for Lofn growing up in Alfheim. She had a knack for revealing what is hidden which got her into no end of trouble. People don’t like their secrets coming out in the open and she was eventually punished by Veiling, a sort of social death where everyone pretends you’re not there (see Sjofn’s entry). Unlike Sjofn however, she used that time to further her investigation into forbidden mysteries and turned the lonely hardship into an opportunity. Being an outcast among the crowd gave her freedom to do what she wanted. It’s not like she had many friends, and it did keep the bullies away, the hardest part was having her parents and siblings deny her existence.

Eventually her Veil was lifted and she escaped Alfheim with Sjöfn, but her friend’s magic was bound. Only Dark Elves could release it but to ask them was a risky gamble, one in which Lofn almost lost herself and her partner to the promises of the dark. Without magic, Sjofn was every Dark Alfar’s prey. Lofn protected her but also abused her — that she was under the influence of substances and sorcery cannot entirely absolve her. They eventually freed themselves, but not without both bearing scars from their ordeal and damaging their relationship almost beyond repair. It took a lot of effort and creative solutions for them to find a new balance in their relationship, to lay the nightmares to rest and to care for the other in the way each onr needed.

The two are very close and work together as Love Goddesses. While some see them as best of friends, others believe them to be lovers, betrothed or even married. Pray to Lofn when you need permission, from others or from yourself, to be who you need to be with the ones you love, or to be okay with wanting what you want.

Lofn appears to some with long brown straight hair, an athletic build made for running and a mischievous smile. She is curious, compassionate, enthusiastic, inquisitive, adventurous, and often honest to a fault.

Singing for Lofn

Roll of the Dice – Lofn’s chant
Roll of the dice, I found you.
Roll of the dice, I love you.
Roll of the dice, queer cravings,
Born by blood to be this way.

Take heed, take heart, and take a chance.
Ignore the voices, poison darts.
Unlock myself, permission grants:
The light, the dark, and all my parts.

Let it Go (by Luba, listen on Youtube)

Too many doubts
Too much fear
Too much danger
When society constructs
Our human nature
Live by the rules
Live by the laws
Live by commandments
Notions preconceived
Can lead to utter madnessLet it go, let it go
Let it free your body
Let it move your soul, oh no
We are made, we are not born
Let it go, let it go
Let it free your body
Let it move your soul, oh no
We are made, we are not bornLearn to convert
Learn to assert
Learn to abandon
Ideologies and
Disciplines at randomLay down the rules
Lay down the laws
Lay down commandments
Lift the sanctions
That restrict this woman’s madnessLet it go, let it go
Let it free your body
Let it move your soul, oh no
We are made, we are not born
Let it go, let it go
Let it free your body
Let it move your soul, oh no
We are made, we are not born
Uniformity
Conventionality
Is the bane of our existence
Keeps us safely at a distance
Nonconformity
Unconventionality
Is to dare to be
Let your hair down, can’t you seeLet it go, let it go
Let it free your body
Let it move your soul, oh no
We are made, we are not born
Let it go, let it go
Let it free your body
Let it move your soul, oh no
We are made, we are not born
A woman is made, she is not bornLet it go, let it go
Let it free your body
Let it move your soul, oh no
We are made, we are not born
Let it go, let it go
Let it free your body
Let it move your soul, oh no
A woman is made, she is not bornLet it go, let it free your head
Uncivilize your soul
Oh, oh, let it go
Let it free your head
Uncivilize your soul
Let it go, oh, let it go
Let it free your head
Uncivilize your soul

Suggestions for Honoring Lofn

  • Colors: Purple or lavender, silver, gold, black. Sky blue and cloud white (Frigga’s colors).
  • Symbol: A silver key with a golden glow (or golden key with silvery glow). An open doorway or archway.
  • Altar Suggestions: A set of playing dice, playing cards, keys, puzzle box, disentanglement puzzles.
  • Music: Rebellious pop like Pink’s “Raise your glass” and “Trouble,” bardic shaming like “United Breaks Guitars,” acapella music and chanted spells.
  • Herbs: Southernwood; gymnemne sylvestre; astragalus; licorice. Lavender (Lofnablóm in Icelandic) Lilac tree (for Sjofn).
  • Weapon: Bow and arrows, darts.
  • Runes: Dagaz, Gyfu, Wyn, Pertho, Chalc.
  • Affinity: April, Aries.
  • Food and drink: Think “forbidden loves” in terms of food. If it’s a guilty pleasure, she’ll probably like it. If your rule is to cook only food from fresh ingredients for the Gods, then break the rules — get her fast food with a fizzy cola. If you eat nothing but frozen meals, then make it from scratch, even if you think you’re a terrible cook. Alfar seem particularly fond of (and intoxicated by) chocolate liqueurs. You can offer strong alcohol, coffee (“moka-choca-latte” and similar indulgences) with enough sugar to choke a cow. She’s an explorer, so exotic foods unknown to northern Europe are especially appreciated, though all in all she’s fairly easygoing about what she’ll eat and drink.
  • Attunement: Playing games, preferably with other people, which involve taking a chance on some unknown, gambling, board games, card games, video games, archery, darts, tag, dodge ball, drinking games, strip poker, “adult” games and role play. As long as there’s a goal, a target, something to win, she’s good with it, whether it be by wit, chance, or cunning. Sneaking out of your room, guilty pleasures, listening to music you don’t want to admit to liking, writing an angry song to shame some idiot (rather than all the work needed in organizing a protest, which is more Sjofn’s domain); everything you love but shouldn’t, don’t think you should, or are told you shouldn’t.
  • Service offerings: Hosting a games night and invite her (some card games allow for a “ghost player,” which is ideal); taking a chance in trying to achieve your dreams in her name; breaking a social rule that seems silly to you; risking it all for love; helping someone in getting a date or preparing for a date; getting someone to go dancing and socialize; writing songs or chanted spells, she loves singing; solving a mystery; reading her some Nancy Drew, Sherlock Holmes, mystery or conspiracy stories; learn lockpicking and use the practice as meditation, being mindful that it is about unlocking what is unseen.
  • Offerings: Gambling paraphernalia (cards, dice, poker chips), cigarettes, kinky toys, same sex and other alternative love symbols. Singing to her, or at least singing along with songs. It doesn’t matter if you can’t sing.
  • Blessings: Fantastic luck… or a great “learning experience”. Her blessing can give you the luck to succeed, or take you through an abysmal failure because there is something to learn. She is a giver of luck, and like all luck deities she may appear fickle even to those she loves. She also protects and favors outcasts of any sort.
  • Contra-indicated: “Playing it safe”, not taking chances, monotonous routine, choosing comfort over your dreams and goals; intoxicants which make you feel powerful and that your needs matter more than anyone else’s (which she experienced in her darkest times; she may be prayed to for help in choosing to stop using these drugs); bigotry of any sort, discriminating against those society disapproves of. She particularly disapproves of ignoring outcasts. You don’t have to give to that beggar, but make eye contact and say no, don’t pretend they aren’t there. That will just piss her off.

External Links to Pages About Lofn: — NEWLY ADDED

  • Lofn the Counselor, by  wildwoodpath on Blogspot. She experienced Lofn as a goddess of peace, helpful in managing excessive and obsessive desires. The lesson she got was about mastering desires.

 

Suggestions for Organizations to Donate to in Her Name:

(1) from Snorri Sturluson’s Prose Edda, everything below this point is personal gnosis and conjecture. 

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Comments
  1. “Got a silly, sexy, or irreverent card game?”

    I do know of one good one: http://furoticon.com/index.php
    I particularly like the Triskelion decks.

    “Fulla’s been known to ask for the seeming (body changing illusion) of being Odin to visit Frigga’s chamber… oops, wasn’t supposed to say that, was I? My bad. Forget I ever mentioned it.”

    I’d say it’s a pretty good bet He knows… and probably is just too entertained to want to do anything about it.

    Pondering now a few amusing things… I set out a bunch of dice for Odin because one of the heti I have for Him is Game Master. I wonder if He and Lofn sometimes gamble together in much the same way He and Saga share drinks and stories… and who wins most of the time.

    Also pondering similarities between Lofn’s causes, and the story about St. Valentine marrying Roman soldiers in secret when emperor Claudius the Second banned soldiers from marrying because he felt it distracted them from being soldiers. Just interesting to think about how the two of them have that in common when it comes to forbidden relationships.

    Like

    • lofnbard says:

      The most offensive card game I know is Cards Against Humanity. That Furoticon… is really disturbing.

      Hmm! I can’t even begin to guess who would most often win games between Odin and Lofn! However, I’d venture Odin makes sure that he’ll enjoy the results whether he wins or loses, or arranges to lose so he’ll be “forced” to do exactly as he wished. And yeah, Odin knows about Fulla and appreciates how well she keeps other men away from his wife. 🙂

      For Lofn’s spirit supper, I didn’t assign someone to be her horse, we just left her chair open for anyone to sit in who felt called to play for her, and we started a game of Go Fish. Someone did sit. It was very interesting… in part because the person knew the rules and Lofn didn’t. The normally aggressive player found herself playing like a total newbie as she tried to figure out the rules again.

      Like

      • Heh… I need to remember that my tastes are a bit… different.

        Kinda funny to think about the Goddess of games having trouble with Go Fish because She’s never played it before. But I suppose that goes back to what Loki said that one time (you probably remember when), about “If you people don’t tell Me about these things than I’ll never know!”

        Like

  2. […] children (such as Marshmallow, Licorice, Sweet Cicely).  Hawthorne tree. Lavender (for Lofn, see Lofn’s shrine page for evidence about their […]

    Like

  3. lofnbard says:

    By Magpie (private message, posted with permission):
    “Hey there! I was wondering if i could run a thought by you about Lofn.

    I was thinking earlier about a conversation i had with a friend about gamer and fandom culture, and it made me think that Lofn’s association with “permission” might also have to do with people giving themselves permission to love and be passionate about “silly” things—games, TV shows, books, characters, whatever. She might be the Goddess who tells people it’s okay to have fandom be a big part of your identity—or any hobby that gets derided as “childish” or “silly,” for that matter.

    I would think She might also be a Patroness of those who find themselves unwelcome (or at least at odds) in the fandom they’re drawn to—i’m thinking, for example, of the current kerfuffle in the gaming world of the small contingent of angry white cis-hetero males who are getting peeved at the not-white-cis-hetero-male people who are calling out gamer culture for its biases.

    It also occurred to me that Lofn might be a suitable Patroness for people who practice “pop culture paganism,” although maybe that’s a stretch.”

    Like

  4. […] Fulla (most recently written and mostly edited, but I only have a few chapters in a longer story), Lofn (a LOT of chapters, a full story arc similar to Gna’s,  but older and requiring a lot of […]

    Like

  5. sonyjalerulv says:

    Ooh what you added about plant names confirming your UPG, that’s just awesome! 🙂 As for Fulla using an illusion to enter Frigga’s chambers… What you wrote on Fulla make me think she might not need an excuse for that. 😉

    Like

    • lofnbard says:

      Well… not needing to doesn’t mean it can’t be fun to play at being Odin for a night. 😉

      As for the plants, I’m slowly getting plants for the other ladies, and Raven K. believes Lovage to be one of Lofn’s plants. I’ll have to add that one.

      In other notes, I’ve recently learned that FN is voiced as Vn in Icelandic. So her name would be pronounced LOVen, and Sjöfn would be SYÖVen. It’s a barely pronounced ‘n’, and the letter ö sounds like the ‘er’ part of ‘lover’. Not that the Ladies seem to care much how I call them… as long as I call them. 🙂

      Like

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