Lofn: Less-Known Norse God of Forbidden Love
Lofn was not a common name in Norse Pantheon. Hardly do we come across her name while reading Norse Mythology which was dominated by gods like Odin, Thor, or Freyr. So, in Norse myth, Lofn was known as the goddess of forbidden love.
Lofn Goddess of Forbidden Love
Lofn goddess appeared once in chapter 35 of Prose Edda Gylfaginning which the described 16 goddesses in the Pantheon. Lofn was listed as the eighth goddess:
"She is so gentle and so good to invoke that she has permission from All-Father or Frigg to arrange unions between men and women, even if earlier offers have been received and unions have been banned. From her name comes the word lof, meaning permission as well as high praise"
Lofn appeared as a kenning in Skaldic poem for "woman" as well. A kenning was known as a way of calling a trait of something without calling out directly its name. For example, instead of calling "God Thor", the ancient Norse writer would call "Hammer wielder".
According to the scholars, Lofn would appear to give her blessings to the couple who wished to be together. She helped the couple to come together without the wrath or disapproval of the family. She might not change the disapproval of others. Instead, she helped others to be more open to accepting this forbidden love affair.
There were other goddesses of Love in Norse mythology as well. Frigg Queen of Asgard was the goddess of Official Love, Marriage, and Beauty. Freya Princess of Vanaheim was the goddess of unofficial love and war. And now, Lofn was the goddess of forbidden love. Lofn somewhat made us believe that she was a risk taker, a rule breaker, and a goddess who took gambling on others' relationship and desire.
The Vikings believed and wanted Love to transcend social barriers?
In Norse mythology, there was a couple that went back against what the Norse gods held value: Freyr and Gerd. This love affair was not accepted because Freyr came from Vanir god tribe while Gerd was from the giant tribe. Two tribes were enemies from the beginning.
Yet, the pair finally found their way to be together. Freyr gave up his magical sword to win the hand of Gerd.
And now, in the Pantheon, we learn of Lofn the goddess who gave blessings to the forbidden love. Personally, I think, back to the Viking age, people had their wish for being together regardless of what people said or even banned them to be together. As their desire for their partner was so great that they found a god to empower them. And there we have Lofn the Norse goddess of forbidden love.