Baldr



Baldr, god of the sunlight, was the second son of Odin and Frigga. His name means �brilliant�; he was a brilliant god, as gentle and tender as also handsome. Balder was extremely beloved and popular although, differing from other gods, he was neither too strong nor holder of any great power. His faithful wife was Nanna, goddess of moonlight.
Balder once dreamt a dream with some bad omens and danger announced to him, and Frigga made all things and all creatures, everything living and everything dead, except for the mistletoe, swear solemnly never to hurt him in any way. The mistletoe was not taken into consideration as generally taken for young and harmless. Jealous of Balder's great popularity, Loki came to know somehow that the mistletoe had not sworn, and devising his infernal plan he hurried to break off one of her branches. As there was nothing that could hurt the handsome Balder, the gods used to have a nice time throwing their spears on him, which did no harm to him at all. Knowing of that kind off passtime and amusement, Loki talked Hod, the blind god of winter months, into joing his friends, gods, in their play. Led by Loki, innocent Hod shot an arrow made of the mistletoe branch, which killed Balder(see baldr's death). The gods' surprise grew into an infinite sor�row that was shared also by mortal creatures, as it was both gods and humans that loved the god of sunlight. Balder's funeral stake was made on his ship - Ringhorn. Balder's horse, his weapon and his treasure were put on his funeral stake. When they approached the stake with a torch Nanna died of sorrow, and thus her body was burnt together with her husband's, the ship pushed off toward the open sea.
Balder's soul went to Niflheim. Odin and Frigga sent their heralds to the goddess of the underground world � Hel, asking her to send balder back to life. Hel�s answer was that she would have balder returned to upper world if all forms of Nature, both living and dead, would be shedding tears mourning him. As all Earthly creatures had loved him, they shed bitter tears after him, except for an odious old witch, who kept shouting revengefully: �Let Hel keep for herself what belongs to her!� That disgusting witch was in fact Loki, in one of many forms of appearance he was capable of taking. This was how balder was condemned to stay in the underworld for ever.
Poor Hod was killed by Vili, Odin's son. Loki turned into a salmon in order to evade the gods' wrath, but they managed to catch him in a net and they kept him tied all the time until Ragnarok.
It was believed that after the Ragnarok, during the course of renewal of the Universe, Balder would come to life again.
The myth of Balder is one of the best known variants of the myth of murder of a god or a holy king, the myth telling us about death and revitalization of the Nature, the myth appearing worldwide. In almost all pre-Christian religious systems, especially those featuring as the supreme deity a goddess mother, creator, and protector of fertility, tradition exists of making a sacrifice of the holy king, her mate, who ritually dies in the end of each annual cycle only to come to life again - in his own or in some other body, the way the whole Nature is revived in Spring again after the long period of hibernation that resembles death.

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What Odin whispered In Baldr's ear,
Not god nor man Was nigh to hear.
What Odin whispered, Bending low,
No one knowth Or e're shall know.
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