Is there such thing as evil in Norse Paganism?
depends on the Norse pagan you’re asking, I think. A lot of people point at Loki and go “evil” which is abject nonsense and in that sense I’m inclined to say no – there’s no such clear dichotomy as “good VS evil” in terms of the gods. But our faith doesn’t just apply to the supernatural it applies to us and the world around us; our society, the ideologies we encounter, the people that exist and have existed… and in that I see evil .
How else can you describe the privatisation of water?
How else can you describe families being torn apart by government agents?
How else can you describe a sniper laughing about firing upon unarmed civilians?
How else can you describe the repeated and institutional brutalisation of people – and disproportionately POC – by police who face minimal if any consequences even when it occurs outside of their legal powers?
In these things and so, so many others I see evil. And don’t misunderstand me, I don’t mean to say “oh they did this because they’re evil – mystery solved”. I know there are thought processes behind these things, I know it’s a lot more complex than just “they’re evil”. But all of these rationalisations, justifications… they are what’s evil. Evil is the reasoning that tells you it’s okay for injustice to exist for some reason or other; as retaliation, as prevention, as “law and order”, because it’s committed against an “other”, because it will help “your” people, because “they” deserved it, whatever. Evil is the excuse you tell yourself that “it could be worse” or “it has to be this way”. Evil can be the act itself but more often I see it in the reasoning, excuses, and apologism of others for the act and it is characterised most vividly in apathy and appeals to the status quo.
So I don’t think it’s a question of whether evil is a concept in Norse paganism (although yes, I do think it is in the terms I’ve gone over), to me that’s like asking if guitars are a thing in Norse paganism. Evil exists. It’s a real thing. Whether the faith’s framework includes the concept already or not is irrelevant because if it does then fine but if it doesn’t then it would be our responsibility to incorporate it anyway.