Tuesday, September 11, 2012

God Balder

God Balder Image
Balder is Odin’s and Frigga’s son and is very wise. Known for his eloquence, friendliness, and handsomeness, he is also renowned as a great victor on the battlefield. For all these great attributes, the story of Balder is a sad one for his death shocks the Gods and he is greatly grieved by all creatures.

Baldur's name means "warrior" and he seems to have epitomized the best aspects of the warrior class. He is the most fair of aspect, the most beautiful god. He is one of the wisest and most eloquent, and none are able to pervert his judgements. He is friendly in nature, and no impure thing is able to enter his realm of Breidhablik. He is married to Nanna. He was killed by a plot of Loki's (as part of a deeper plot of Odin's to ensure the continuity of the world past Ragnarok) who guided the hand of a blind god to hurl at him the one weapon that could kill him. He was then forced to remain in Hel by another trick of Loki's. It is notable that Baldur goes to Hel and is then forced to remain there, for it is the one place that will be safe from the ravages of Ragnarok. Indeed, because of this the Voluspa tells us that after Ragnarok Baldur will return and take the dead Odin's place. Every treachery of Loki's ends up ultimately to the benefit of men and gods both, for this is Loki's nature. Because of this, and because Baldur goes to Hel rather than to his father's own realm of Valhalla, which would seem much more natural, most Asatruar see it as part of Odin's eternal struggle to stave off Ragnarok, and to preserve something through it, by sacrificing his own son for the benefit of all the worlds. (Some scholars thus try to see Baldur in a very Christ-like light, but this is error. The sacrifice is coincidental and has more to do with reincarnation doctrine than redemption.) And note: BALDUR IS NOT A SOLAR DEITY. There is a lot of misinformation floating around out there about this point, perpetrated mostly by scholars overly influenced by Frazer and his like who got "solar deity happy" and tried to see every male deity as a sun god. But Baldur's death and eventual return is clearly spoken of as part of a world-cycle, not a year-cycle.

Balder, attaining his full growth with marvelous rapidity, was admitted to the council of the Gods, and married Nanna (blossom), the daughter of Nip (bud), a beautiful and charming young goddess, with whom he lived in perfect unity and peace. He took up his abode in the palace of Breidablik, whose silver roof rested upon golden pillars, and whose purity was such that nothing common or unclean was ever allowed within its precincts.

The God of light was well versed in the science of runes which were carved on his tongue; he knew the various virtues of the simples, one of which, the camomile, was always called “Balder’s brow,” because its flower was just as immaculately pure as his forehead. The only thing hidden from Balder’s radiant eyes, at first, was the perception of his own ultimate fate.

“His own house
Breidablik, on whose columns Balder graved
The enchantments that recall the dead to life.
For wise he was, and many curious arts,
Postures of runes, and healing herbs he knew;
Unhappy! but that art he did not know,
To keep his own life safe, and see the sun.” - BALDER DEAD (Matthew Arnold)

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