Thursday, March 20, 2014

Baldur – The God of Truth and Light

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Balder, one of the most handsome of gods was born to Frigg and Odin who was considered to be the god of joy, purity, innocence, beauty, reconciliation and a god of truth and light. He was loved by all gods and men alike and was the best among all gods. Being of good character, he was friendly, eloquent and wise and was also very knowledgeable in healing herbs which made him favorite among the people of Midgard.

He lived in a palace called Breidabik along with his wife Nanna the daughter of Nep and their son Forseti, the god of justice. According to some belief, it was said that no lie could pass through the walls of his palace, which was the home of the god of truth. Most of the stories of Baldur are related to his death and he would often dream about his death so much so that Frigg extracted an oath from every force of nature, object and creature, everything in the nine worlds, that they would never harm Baldur her son, with all agreeing that they would not cause any kind of harm to him since he was loved by everyone.

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Thereafter the gods decided to test his vulnerability by throwing pebbles at him which would bounce back without hurting him in honor of its oath taken. Huge weapons were also used which included Thor’s axes which all returned without causing any harm to Baldur and thinking him to be invincible, the gods entertained themselves by targeting him for knife throwing and archery.

Loki who seemed to be jealous of Baldur tried tricking him by changing his appearance as a witch and asked Frigg if there was anything that could harm the god of light. Frigg unaware of the disguise informed that there was one thing, a small tree in the west called the mistletoe. According to her, at the time of extracting the oath, she thought that it was too small to harm her son. Loki immediately headed for the west to get hold of the mistletoe and tricked Baldur’s blind brother, Hod in throwing the mistletoe dart at Baldur. Hod guided by Loki and unaware of his plan aimed the dart at Baldur which pierced through his heart and Baldur fell down dead.

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While all the gods mourned the death of Baldur, Odin sent along his other son Hermod to Hel, the goddess of death in order to plead for the return of Baldur who agreed to do so on condition that everything in the world, whether dead or alive should weep for him. All wept except for Loki who refused to do so and Baldur had to remain in the underworld. The gods after dressing him in crimson shade placed him on the funeral pyre aboard his ship, `Ringhorn’, which was the largest in the world. They also laid the body of his wife Nanna who being heartbroken also died after him. His horse and his treasures were also placed on the ship and the pyre was set on fire with the ship sent to sea by the giantess Hyrrokin.

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