Balder Blot

      Balder Blot

About Balder

Balder is the  god of innocence, beauty, joy, purity, and peace, and is Odin’s second son. His wife is called Nanna and his son was Brono. Baldur had a ship, the largest ever built, named Hringham, and a hall, called Breidablik. Phol is considered to be a German name for Baldur, based on the Merseburger formulae, where Baldur is mentioned as Balder.

Baldur, nicknamed “the beautiful”, is known primarily for his death. His death and the manner of it contribute to another kennings|kenning for Baldur, “the slain god”. His death is seen as the first in the chain of events which will ultimately lead to the destruction of the gods at Ragnarok. Baldur, however, will, as foretold in the Voluspa, be reborn in the new world.

He had a dream of his own death (or his mother had the same dreams). Since the gods dreams were usually prophetic, this depressed him, and his mother Frigg made every object on earth vow never to hurt Baldur. All but one, an insignificant weed called the mistletoe, made this vow. Friggr had thought it too unimportant and nonthreatening to bother asking it to make the vow (alternatively, it seemed too young to swear). When Loki, the mischief-maker, heard of this, he made a magical spear from this plant. He hurried to the place where the gods were indulging in their new pastime of hurling objects at Baldur, which would bounce off without harming him. Loki gave the spear to Baldurs brother, the blind god Hod, who then inadvertently killed his brother with it. For this act, Odin and Rind had a child named Vali, who was born solely to punish Hod, who was slain.

Baldur was ceremonially burnt upon his ship, Hringham; the hugest of all ships. As he was carried to the ship, Odin whispered in his ear. This was to be a key riddle asked by Odin (in disguise) of the giant Vafthruthnir (and which was, of course, unanswerable) in the Vafthruthnismal. The dwarf Lit (Norse)|Lit was kicked by Thor into the funeral fire and burnt alive. Nanna, Baldurs wife also threw herself on the funeral fire to await the end of Ragnarok when she would be reunited with her husband (alternatively, she died of grief). Baldurs horse, too, with all its trappings, was burned on
the pile. The ship was set to sea by Hyrrokin, a giantess, who came riding on a wolf and gave the ship such a push that fire flashed from the rollers and all the earth shook.

In the Elder Edda the tragic tale of Balder is hinted at rather than told at length. Among the visions which the Norse Sibyl sees and describes in the weird prophecy known as the Voluspa is one of the fatal mistletoe. “I behold,” says she, “Fate looming for Balder, Wodens son, the bloody victim. There stands the Mistletoe slender and delicate, blooming high above the ground. Out of this shoot, so slender to look on, there shall grow a harmful fateful shaft. Hod shall shoot it, but Frigga in Fen-hall shall weep over the woe of Wal-hall.” Yet looking far into the future the Sibyl sees a brighter vision of a new heaven and a new earth, where the fields unsown shall yield their increase and all sorrows shall be healed; then Balder will come back to dwell in Odins mansions of bliss, in a hall brighter than the sun, shingled with gold, where the righteous shall live in joy for ever more.

Writing about the end of the 12th century, the old Danish historian Saxo Grammaticus tells the story of Balder in a form which professes to be historical. According to him, Balder and Hod were rival suitors for the hand of Nanna, daughter of Gewar, King of Norway. Now Balder was a demigod and common steel could not wound his sacred body. The two rivals encountered each other in a terrific battle, and though Odin and Thor and the rest of the gods fought for Balder, yet was he defeated and fled away, and Hod married the princess. Nevertheless Balder took heart of grace and again met Hod in a stricken field. But he fared even worse than before; for Hod dealt him a deadly wound with a magic sword, which he had received from Miming, the Satyr of the woods; and after lingering three days in pain Balder died of his hurt and was buried with royal honours in a barrow.

Modified from an article on Pagan News

 

Hammer Rite

See Hammer Rite

Invocation to Balder

Said by Gothi/Gythia

I HEARD a voice, that cried,
“Balder the Beautiful
Is dead, is dead!”
And through the misty air
Passed like the mournful cry
Of sunward sailing cranes.

I saw the pallid corpse
Of the dead sun
Borne through the Northern sky.
Blasts from Niffelheim
Lifted the sheeted mists
Around him as he passed.

And the voice forever cried,
“Balder the Beautiful
Is dead, is dead!”
And died away
Through the dreary night,
In accents of despair.

Balder the Beautiful,
God of the summer sun,
Fairest of all the Gods!
Light from his forehead beamed,
Runes were upon his tongue,
As on the warrior’s sword.

All things in earth and air
Bound were by magic spell
Never to do him harm;
Even the plants and stones;
All save the mistletoe,
The sacred mistletoe!

Hoeder, the blind old God,
Whose feet are shod with silence,
Pierced through that gentle breast
With his sharp spear, by fraud,
Made of the mistletoe!
The accursed mistletoe!

They laid him in his ship,
With horse and harness,
As on a funeral pyre.
Odin placed
A ring upon his finger,
And whispered in his ear.

They launched the burning ship!
It floated far away
Over the misty sea,
Till like the sun it seemed,
Sinking beneath the waves.
Balder returned no more!

So perish the old Gods!
But out of the sea of Time
Rises a new land of song,
Fairer than the old.
Over its meadows green
Walk the young bards and sing.

Build it again,
O ye bards,
Fairer than before;
Ye fathers of the new race,
Feed upon morning dew,
Sing the new Song of Love!

The law of force is dead!
The law of love prevails!
Thor, the thunderer,
Shall rule the earth no more,
No more, with threats,
Challenge the meek Christ.

Sing no more,
O ye bards of the North,
Of Vikings and of Jarls!
Of the days of Eld
Preserve the freedom only,
Not the deeds of blood!

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Toasts

Gothi/Gythia pass around horn, each person making their toast.

Libation

Said by Gothi/Gythia

Balder, Son of Odin and Frigg, you are wise, pure, and happy.  Your death is the harbinger of Ragnarok, and your rebirth is the sign of things yet to come,  we thank you for your presence with us today.

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