Balder: God of Light, Joy, Purity, Beauty, Innocence, and Reconciliation


The god of light, joy, purity, beauty, innocence, and reconciliation. Son of
Odin and Frigg. He was loved by both gods and man and was considered to be the
best of the gods. He had a good character, was friendly, wise and eloquent,
although he had little power. His wife is Nanna, daughter of Nep, and their son
is Forseti, the god of justice. Balder\'s hall is Breidablik ("broad splendor").

Most of the stories about Balder concern his death. He was dreaming about his
death 1, so Frigg extracted an oath from every creature, object and force in
nature (snakes, metals, diseases, poisons, fire, etc.) that they would never
harm Balder. They agreed that none of their kind would ever hurt or assist in
hurting Balder. Thinking him invincible, the gods enjoyed themselves thereafter
by using Balder as a target for knife-throwing and archery.

The malicious trickster Loki, who was jealous of Balder, changed his appearance
and asked Frigg if there was absolutely nothing that could harm Balder. Frigg,
suspecting nothing, answered that there was just one thing: a small tree in the
west that was called mistletoe, but she thought it was too small to ask for an
oath. Loki immediately left for the west and returned with the mistletoe. He
tricked Balder\'s blind twin brother Hod to shoot with a mistletoe fig. Not
knowing what he did, Hod threw the fig, guided by Loki\'s aim, and Balder fell
dead, pierced through the heart.

While the gods were lamenting over Balder\'s death, Odin sent his other son
Hermod to Hel, the goddess of death, to plead for Balder\'s return. Hel agreed to
send Balder back to the land of the living on one condition: everything in the
world, dead or alive, must weep for him. And everything wept, except for Loki
(who had disguised himself as the witch Thokk) so Balder had to remain in the
underworld.

The others took the dead god, dressed him in crimson cloth, and placed him on a
funeral pile aboard his ship Ringhorn, which passed for the largest in the world.
Beside him they lay the body of his wife Nanna, who had died of a broken heart.
Also Balder\'s horse and his treasures were placed on the ship. The pile was set
to fire and the ship was sent to sea by the giantess Hyrrokin.

Loki didnot escape punishment for his crime and Hod was put to death by Vali,
son of Odin and Rind, who was born for just this purpose. After the final
conflict, when a new world arises from its ashes, both Balder and Hod will be
reborn.

Category: English