Freud’s Theory of Norse Mythology

From March 4th, 2008.

This morning… I swear I was not drugged in any way, shape, or form. The only things in my stomach were 2 hot pocket pizza things and a 12 oz can of Coke. And maybe some aspirin. The time was about 6:30AM.

The radio in my car is broke and it’s illegal to drive while wearing headphones.

It was just me, alone, with only my thoughts along for the ride.

For some reason, I was thinking about Sigmund Freud’s “Id, Ego, and Superego.” Just before I got on the interstate, another thought popped into mind: Loki, Thor, and Odin.

Everything made sense.

Loki = Id
Thor = Ego
Odin = Superego

Think about it, Loki is the Id, the joker, the trickster, the one who wants to have all the fun in the world, full of instinct and impulse. Thor is the Ego, the one that tries to keep balance and order with Mjolnir, his magic hammer. Of course, that leaves the Superego, the “father figure,” to Odin, the father of Thor and Loki.

So then, after coming up with this, I wondered what else could there be relating Freud with Norse Mythology…

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6 Responses to “Freud’s Theory of Norse Mythology”

  1. Thank you man nice sharing

  2. Interesting theory. Though, I might point out, Loki is Odin’s cousin, not his son. And they at one point swore oaths of blood brotherhood together. Loki’s parents are Farbauti and Laufey; his brothers are Byleister and Helblindi. If you’re interested, my book, The Norse Myths, is the most complete book on Norse mythology in the English language. It includes all the legends starting with the creation and ending with Ragnarokr and then the Rebirth, a glossary, and a genealogical chart, and is available through my website (discount) or on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

    • Nave 'Torment' Says:

      Well i’m in a dire need for a comprehensive book on the Nordic myths (Edith Hamilton’s MYTHOLOGY is great for a High School introduction to the Greek pantheon, but over the years it’s grown terribly unreliable and not really anything for Norse mythology). I live in Dhaka, Bangladesh, is it possible to get the book delivered here?

      Also as a side note — isn’t EVERYONE in the Norse pantheon a son of Odin? Well, every male deity that is.

  3. Nave 'Torment' Says:

    You wrote this over 4 years ago… but this day I find myself in a similar 6:00 AM psychoanalytic journey across the bifrost… the new semester had started way too early for me and this being a weekend, I woke up around 6:00 from an ill-fated dream regarding my mother in the hospital (she has been ill of late). I had recently watched The Avengers and thoughts of the Asgardians weren’t far off, and thinking about a new appreciation of D.H. Lawrence that considered mythological allusions, Freud and Loki weren’t off my mind at best (believe what you must but I too had only a sandwich and… yes… a 12 .oz of carboniated beverage in my stomach from 3 hours back…. it was Pepsi not a coke).

    I kept thinking about whether or not Loki corresponds to the archetypal shaman among the Aesirs — the pantheon being so dominantly war-driven, it would make a “trickster” or “sorcerer” such as Loki a slighted unsung hero. Does his betrayal of Thor/Odin/Balder have a more Oedipal drive behind it? The Norse ‘trinity’ of Loki, Thor, and Odin strangely echoes the Mesopotamian ‘trinity’ of Enki (trickster-god/intelligence/god of luck), Enlil (storm-god/war/provider of justice), and Anu (sky-god/all-father), and they seem to resemble Marvel Comics’ version of the Norse family, making me wonder if the original Norse family had a similar conflict. Lawrence’s short story “The Rocking-Horse Winner” features a very Oedipal child (Paul) obsessing over “luck” and her mother’s insatiable obsession to attain luck for the family — to that end, the child finds a “companion” in his rocking horse (this being Lawrence, the implied sexuality was less than subtle) which “speaks” to him and tells him which real horse to bet on so that he may attain the money for his mother, the child eventually dies while simultaneously attaining his puberty, shocking his mother by his ‘shamanic’ journeys with the rocking-horse, and winning her/the family enough money to preserve them from a fate of poverty.

    Loki, the god of luck obsessed with luck and perhaps the mother/Frigga, was, as we all know, had an unfaithful encounter with a horse. That myth explicitly doesn’t follow a model of Oedipus Rex, but it does feature a Frost Giant asking the Asgardians to build the impenetrable walls of Valhalla in exchange for Freyja the Earth-Goddess (whom scholars argue is actually synonymous with Frigga, who is also an Earth-Goddess) and aid from a giant horse. The Asgardians later sends Loki to correct this and in that encounter, Loki — disguised as a mare — is “subdued” (read: raped) by the horse. There is a flimsy connection between Freudian psychology and Norse mythology, which kept me hooked for the rest of the morning. I believe Loki, despite not being Thor’s brother or Odin’s “son” , is an Oedipal figure when it comes to the Queen of Asgard and the “All-Father.”

    He may not be an Odinson, but he’s certainly an Asgardian, that alone should allow him to acknowledge Odin as the all-“Pater.”

    I’m wondering if Lawrence’s previous novel featuring another Oediupal “Paul” (Sons and Lovers) featured the same Nordic archetypes, I’ll have to read that book again.

    That’s how i came across this entry — and while it deals with a different side of Freudian analysis — I couldn’t agree with you more. To go back to the Mesopotamian analogy — Enki (intelligence) is the Id ? Enlil (war) the ego ? and Anu the Superego.

    Maybe it’s the carbonated beverage.

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