Fenris Lokison; Creator God?
Fenris, Fenrir, Fenriswulf, whatever you wanna call him, I call him Fenris, is one of if not the most controversial Deities today, in any pantheon. The only Being more demonized than Fenris is Lucifer. As much hate as his father, Loki, gets, Fenris is far more feared, far more hated and has a much stronger taboo against his worship in modern Heathen practices. While Loki is slowly becoming acceptable, it’ll be a lot longer before all Deities veneration lacks a taboo.
I present a thought on Fenris that, to my knowledge, no one has yet to address…. That he is a creator God. To get to how and why, it’s a long winding road around many topics, but it’s an interesting take on our future moving forward, at least in my opinion or else I’d not be sharing it.
Let’s start by looking at the creation tale within the Norse Cosmos. It comes in two parts; the first being the collision of fire and ice with the heat from the fires of Muspellheim melting the ice of Nefilheim. Between the two was the void, the great Ginnungagap in which the melted ice and the fires together made a steam rise, a poison river flowed and “life was created”. However, life was already there. Nefilheim and Muspelheim existed prior to this event. Saying that was the creation of life is a whole lot like saying Christopher Columbus discovered America. The second part of the creation tale is that the great giant Ymir was the source of all Beings, as they grew out of his pits and thighs. He was later slain by Odin, Vili and Ve which flooded the known worlds and they used Ymirs body parts to create the new world.
Those two creation stories share a key component: destruction. I say that these are not part of one creation story, but two separate creation events. A world was in existence, a world of vastly different binaries beyond our comprehension. A clash occurred, a conflict, a war. Ice fighting with fire for their very existence, which in of itself could be an entire essay. This clash, this war, much like the war later on between the Aesir and the Vanir, is a war neither side can truly win. Fire will always melt ice but in turn the melted ice will always extinguish the fire. Either side can guarantee a battle victory but only at the cost of its own life. Through that destruction, a new life was created and at some point, a cease fire or truce of sorts was established. Then, a second cycle occurs with the slaying of Ymir. Ymir’s body is ripped to pieces, his blood floods the known worlds, many lives are lost but his body is used to make new worlds where the survivors of that flood repopulate. This is seemingly much less of a war but there is conflict and undeniably there is destruction.
Destruction is creation, creation is destruction. There is nothing anyone, God, spirit or human, can create without destruction. We take wheat and cut it down, beat it upon the floor, grind up the wheatberries into flour, mix it with water and other ingredients. We knead it, let it rise, bake it, chew it up and digest it in a pool of stomach acid. The only parts that aren’t destruction, from our point of view, are the waiting periods, the rest periods. Waiting while the wheat grows, waiting for the bread to rise. Destruction is not the cost of creation, it IS creation. Everything ever created is also an act of destruction. Even growing a seed involves destruction of the husk and within weeks, the plant is something entirely different with none of the original seed being there.
Right now, our world is in a rest period, at least from the view of our small pinpoint as humans. While there is undeniable destruction to our environment, it is not the movie level apocalypse we tend to think of, not right now. Through that knowledge, we can begin to pull at straws though. The global climate is changing, there is no denying that (at least not sanely). I write this in a week that had the three hottest days of global average temperature ever recorded. Corporate greed is out of control. Homelessness and food insecurity are running rampant even in the richest countries on the planet. Entire nations are protesting, but subdued from what we’ve come to expect of an “end of days” event. Well, days don’t end. Not in real life. As long as there is light, and there will be light even after our sun dies, there will be days to measure. On a larger scale, one much larger than our human minds can see, we are in destruction — because we’re also in creation. The universe is expanding, but also stars are dying. Something, somewhere, is creating and destroying on a larger scale than we could ever try to comprehend let alone measure. Just like the wheat cannot envision the sandwich it will someday become, its outside of its world view.
Fenris is a destroyer. He is the next round of destruction according to the Norse cycle, and I argue he is the third in a chain of endless destruction creation cycles. The first known one being the clash between Muspelheim and Nefilheim, the second being the slaying of Ymir and the third being Ragnarok with the breaking of Fenris’s chain where he will then make a beeline for Odin, his jaws reaching from heaven to earth and him destroying everything in his path. Through that destruction though, we know another existence flourishes and according to the lore, we know that Baldr is part of that rebuilding.
Much like the most fertile grounds on earth being volcanic. Long after the violent eruption, those lands are the best, most fertile growing grounds for new and fresh life. The eruption of the volcano is not even the start of the destruction, magma has to already exist and that rock had to melt first. We don’t typically get to witness that; we focus on the event that impacts us the most — the eruption. Fenris is THE pivotal component of the next cycles creation. He is akin to the eruption. Without his destruction, the means to build will not exist. Much like without Ymir’s slaying, the means to build this world would not exist. Will Fenris be honored as a creator God in that cycle? Who knows, we won’t be there. Not in any cognitive capacity at least. But we can look at the cycle of existence and know that his destruction IS the act of creation. It is not the cost of creation but the act itself. Without him, the prettier part of creation, the part that typically gets honored, will not happen. To appreciate the flower, we have to appreciate the compost that nourished it; Fenris is that compost. That is worthy of honor.
Existence is not linear, at least not in my tradition, it’s cyclical. Never ending, constantly going round and around. Creatively destroying itself, really self-consumption – which is a symbolism also acknowledged in Norse lore with one of Loki’s other children: Jormungandr. He (I bounce between He/They pronouns for this God) is an ouroboros which is seen in many cultures around the world. A snake forming a circle with his tail in his mouth. Never ending, completion or destruction and beginning or creation being the same thing. We have those cycles as part of the core Norse cosmological existence.
If we acknowledge that cyclicals existence, to me it is clear that, to steal a term from my Hebrew heritage, the world to come… is created at least part by Fenris. He is the consummative, transformative aspect of the next cycle of creation. Similar to the fires of Muspelheim melting the Ices of Nefilheim or Odin, Vili and Ve slaying and ripping Ymir limb from limb. That destruction will cost him his very life, in a somewhat similar fashion to a fire being extinguished by water that it melted from the ice.
We do not have lore, nor do I have UPG for what happens beyond that, but to me it is very clear that Fenris is the key, pivotal player in the next cycle of creation. I choose to acknowledge he is a destroyer but I choose to honor his destruction as an act of creation.