The Purpose of The Death of Baldr/Baldur

Well, here it goes.  The topic that divides “Lokean” from “Nokean”….despite all Loki has accomplished and that most Odinist symbolism derives from the gifts of Loki either out of cleverness or to make amends, people claim to “never forgive” this event.

So, without archaic prose and with multiple readings of sources over the years- and having the same handicaps as most of you in reading Old Norse, I will try to attempt to explain the necessity of this chain of events the best I am able, and with fairness. (Icelandic Readers, please contribute your interpretations since your language is so close to the original verse in which this tale was written!)

So, Frigg and Odin had a son- one to be groomed to be the next Leader of the Aes, beautiful in His perfection, morality, and intelligence.  Groomed since birth to lead- since Odin practices Seidr and knows all things must die, including he.

Knowing through the Norns that there would be Ragnorak/Apocalypse where the world would be ultimately “cleansed by fire” by Surtr- the leader of Musphelheim, Odin sought to secure the preservation of our people, our ways, and life itself.

The Vanir already existed- but were the Gods of plants, the flora and in some legends- even the elves.   A seed covered in ash grows with more fervor than in dead Earth- the ashes left from fire nourish new growth and new life- look at Hawaii and the aftermath of forest fires after a couple of years and see how brightly the flowers bloom.

Frigg was also aware of this- so she approached all intelligences in existence- from quiet rocks, plants, and animals- except for the mistletoe…a plant so spongy and harmless it hardly seemed worth the trouble after her exhausted efforts to ask venom of snakes to turn inert before Baldur, or the teeth of predators, steel, iron, coppers, and all metals.

This is Mistletoe- a spongy parasitic plant found on trees. A keynote species and not especially durable.

All toxins? Also inert in his presence.

However, the foretold destruction was inevitable.   The things that is often “skipped over” is the fact that Hel already prepared an ENTIRE HALL for Baldur in Helheim.  If our Gods had the ability of instantaneous creation of physical things- Sleipnir would never have been born. (I am not retyping that tale- look it up.) To build a hall suitable for the Prince of the Aes is something that would take a great deal of planning, time and forethought.

Not to mention, Helheim was known to be the only habitable realm for Gods during Ragnorak.  It is forgotten that there is no mention of estrangement between Hel and her father, Loki.  Furthermore- when in telling stories between each other as humans, we often “leave out” details we assume the other persons are already fully aware of.  Life would be insufferable if we described every detail in sharing our experiences.

To make a dart of this is quite a feat to be accomplished,  I dare you to try it.  Dry it out?  It’s brittle-  Live? It does not pierce.  You would have better luck causing injury from that old sponge everyone has under one of their sinks (I dare you to check- I bet most of you can find an old sponge under a sink that meets this description.  Try to throw it out- another sponge will end up carelessly left until the next time you need to fix a leak!)

So, the dart is crafted- that takes an incredible amount of skill to work.  This is not a dart made out of something even as strong as weeping willow.  It would be like killing someone with a weaker plant than a weak sprig of Thyme.

At this time, it had become a game among the Aes and Vaen to throw all manner of things at Baldur for the sport of it- rocks, swords…and likely even Mjollnir, because, well, why not?  If Frigg begged all the worlds and all things and creatures not to harm her son, I am certain she did not exclude magical weapons, acids, poisons, or angry animals.  She spoke to EVERYTHING- that would include Jormungandr, Surtr, Fenrir, the Jotunr, and other typical liminal figures.  Everything means everything.  Every Aes was Oathed as well.

So, you have the invention of “Come at me, Bro!” from Ye Olde Norse lore.

So, let’s look at this clearly…. Loki is mutually blood-oathed to Odin as his blood-brother and considered “the most clever”. He and His children are Oathed that Baldur shall live- there is a prophecy that indicates that most will perish in an apocalyptic series of events that are unavoidable- and possibly quite necessary for the Vanir (the children of the current leading group) to have a “clean slate” with which to create a better world.

…and the God who is in charge of the final cleansing is Surtr- who has ALSO oathed to do Baldur no harm, as is Hel.

It’s rather difficult to have an all-annihilating doom-by-fire with a man standing.  Surtr would not break his Oath.  The Vanic Gods are usually associated with agriculture; they survive because the metaphor eludes to the fact that they can exist as seeds and roots to regrow after the Cataclysm ends.  That is why the Old Aesir do not live, but the Vanir continue after.

Baldur’s reputation was too strong to not already have worship- already he was a ruling Aesir at that time with His parents and other Gods distinguished by his incredible beauty and goodness.

This is a story of a process that has occurred several times in the history of our Earth.  The Dinosaurs had their own
“Ragnarok” via meteor strike of fire and doom.  On a lesser level- we can see how well the citizens of Pompeii and Herculaneum fared after Vesuvius erupted.  The casts of their bodies lie in state in museums in almost every country- perfectly preserved by the ashes that disintegrated them creating “Ready-made molds” into which to pour concrete and rediscover.

Now- imagine the entire Earth going back to the ages of fire and lava.  All animals and plants end for that time unless they find shelter underground, somehow- and it is even indicated that they do.  A God of leadership and fair judgement cannot stretch Himself so thin to have the same advantages as one like his mother Frigg who can survive any condition by virtue of being a Goddess of harvests.

Baldr is a God of mankind, and through Baldr, our species survives.

Hodr is blind and has no stories but this one- still a God as worthy as others, but unknown except for this one story.  His immortality in Lore without this tale would be negligible.

When one blood-oaths to another person in Odinism- no secrets are kept between the Oathed or the Oath is broken- so, by what Odin knows, so too, would He disclose to Loki.

Baldur is not a God of plants- He is of the Aes, the tribe meant for total destruction of those warlike ways that served us well during a different, harsher time where we had to fight other tribes of humans to survive.   Nothing lasts forever, and looking at the ancestry of most Heathens now- overwhelmingly, it is now mostly agrarian in nature for the regions where the Norse are worshiped.

In European cultures that still orally passed on the old stories- Loki is seen as complicated, but no one is stupid enough to disrespect Him by name without consequences.  He is NOT Satan.  C’mon- in Surtr we have a horned guy the size of a mountain, made of lava, who is said to put the Coup de Grace’ on the world ending the old so the new can appear.

So- Loki guides Hodr’s hand and Baldur lay dying.  As He dies, Odin whispers into his ear and sets him off to burn to free his spirit to Helheim where there is a hall ALREADY CREATED…not a cell, not wandering aimlessly- a bright hall fit for a God in Helheim.  I don’t know of any other God or Goddess described anywhere to be given such profound treatment.
Where he and his wife Nanna (who either throws Herself on his pyre or kills Herself after the attempts to revive Him fail)- and co-rules with him in Hel.  What is Baldur ruling in Helheim?  Well, there isn’t much to rule there except for the dead…

Nanna, Baldr’s wife (or in some stories Frigg does this) makes a deal with Hel that if she can get everything in every realm to weep for Baldur and Hel will release Him… one Jotunr Giantess refuses- it is said that it may be Loki shapeshifted by some…but what does it matter for this reason:

The Giantess says: “All things die, and what use have I for Baldur?”

Well, good point random Giantess whom we never hear of ever before or from again.  It’s rather like all those pictures on social media ” ‘Like’ this so God saves my child you’ve never met from young death by [disease/injury]”-  But if all things die- including Gods, Suns, and Universes- isn’t avoiding death denying the truth of reality?

The signs of Ragnorak have nothing to do with Loki.

From : “Ragnarok sets out a series of signs that will ultimately define the end of times. The first sign is the Fimbulvetr, a long and continuous cold winter with constant snow that will last for a year. A red rooster called Fjalar will warn the Giants that the Ragnorak has begun. A second rooster will warn all the dead that Ragnorak has begun. Finally, a third red rooster called Gullinkambi, a rooster that lives in Valhalla, a majestic hall located in Asgard, will warn all the gods about the beginning of the end.”

Ragnorak is in NO WAY caused by Loki…He’s bound, and how can a fire God create winter unless Ragnorak instantaneously happened as a result of His binding from the lack of “fire” He brought to the world?

Also= where is all this retconned “Loki is the son of Ice Giants” come from other than Marvel?
Academically, He’s the son of Laufey (lightning-striking-leaves) and Farbauti (wildfire). [Wikipedia…again.]
What ice?!

What stories exist between Ragnorak and the rising of Baldur?  What happened in between those two tales in Lore?

The Lokisenna-  Loki was NOT killed like Hod/Hodr immediately upon the death of Baldur- He was free, He did not “escape”- and He could not “disappear”.  It was not until Loki was ignored an invite to a feast of the Aesir that He spoke truths no one could disprove- and even Tyr could say little more than “This will not end well for either of us, Loki.”

After he pointed out each and every flaw of the Gods- Loki is bound.

This included Loki flyting Tyr: calling a handless man handless and stating HOW it occurred by Oathbreaking bluntly?  Hardly an insult, more of a reminder of TYR’S ONLY BROKEN OATH to Fenrir, who was clearly His friend prior to the binding-Being the God of Oathing and Breaking an Oath-any Oath- is bad form.  That is why Tyr never regrew his hand despite having more than enough capability to do so as one with Jotunr blood in his veins of regeneration.

So…here is a theory presented cohesively as I am able- pieced together from writings of Mirabello, countless websites including wikipedia, discussions with others, and logic.

Odin is warned of Ragnorak, and confides it to all to prepare them in great detail of how to identify the signs of its coming, and it is also known that the elder Gods will die of the Aes (Some argue a few Goddesses survive such as Frigg an Freyja- but it depends on the sources)  The children of the Aes will survive, but the universe will perish.

Before this announcement, Odin had already chosen his successor for Leadership among the Gods-  Odin was not the first leader- and in according to many traditions, nothing dies forever for these Gods.

Via my research of Tyr, for instance- Tyr’s worship has been predated to mention of Odin/Woten by at least several thousands of years- earliest records of Tyr go to 6000 BC (Wikipedia/J*Stor) and Odin-CE…. In Lore, Odin was born to Bor- All Gods have parents, most have progeny…Odin also has many sons by Frigg, one of which is named Vali’

There are two by that name in Asgard- the other is the son of Loki and Sigyn who dies for the binding of Loki-
Odin’s “Vali'” kills Hod/Hodr after “growing up in a day” in apparent “revenge” for Baldur’s death and is not mentioned again except as “surviving Ragnorak”.

Why has no one an answer as to why Odin named his newborn son to Frigg the EXACT same name as the son of Sigyn and Loki?

Then, the Aesir gather their forces to prepare for this event.  Baldur, Nanna, and Hod/Hodr are in Helheim with Hel in Baldurs-hall-in-Helheim, likely preparing our dead ancestors who died “farmer’s deaths” for the new world.

Why?  Because Helheim is where the non-warriors (aka farmers) go after death if they are without a specific patron or called into Asgard for some reason like Bragi.

Loki is tortured for this- given no chance to explain with his lips sewn (by some accounts that this was on account of the Flyting of the Lokisenna- other accounts state his lips were sewn after a disagreement with dwarves…the problem with Lore is that different people=different sources of significant features).  Some say he is bound by Odin, some say Skadi- but regardless, Loki is bound, his child Fenrir is bound, his two sons accepted by the Aes are killed, Jormungandr is not bothering anyone in the sea [yet], Baldur has a hall in Hel’s domain- (where Sleipnir may or may not also be- since SOME lore states Odin gave Baldur Sleipnir to cross into Helheim unmolested- but that contradicts Odin Leading Battle upon HIs back).

And- well, after that- after there is a man who is standing there saying “Come at me, bro!” to every, single, God and Goddess in Asgard- gets harmed for asking people to “Throw anything they like at him”- Loki is bound.

If this was a modern event with humans and one human was seemingly invincible and said he could “withstand all”- and then perished from that, we would not blame the one who cast the killing blow.  In fact,  it has happened in the last hundred years several times under similar circumstances where even PLAYING an “impervious” character in fiction brings extraordinary misfortune and usually death. Pity George Reeves!

So, Loki is bound and tortured, his children are bound, banished, or killed (except Hel), Hod is killed within a day- and Loki is demonized for being the “bad guy” here for a prediction HE did not make, an action that HE did not suggest, nor was it technically HE who cast the dart.  Since it was secret only Mistletoe was the only flora unasked by Frigg to Oath, Hod would have NO IDEA why His single throw killed Baldr- but still is punished regardless…simply for participating in the EXACT SAME ACTIONS as the rest of the Aesir…and punished by a man born that day, grown that day, specifically to do so, who has the same name as one of Loki’s own children.

So, we have an angry, grieving man tied to a rock, literally, by the intestines of his dead child- as the other child’s skull is used to relieve his suffering by his wife who DID NOT LEAVE HIM.  If Sigyn is Aes, why did she not shun Loki?  Because she honored fidelity.  It should also be noted that Loki’s marriages were NOT concurrent- He was part of “Many husbands” to Angrboda, and given to Angrboda as a gift from His first wife Glut (which is sometimes confused who was first- but the story remains unchanged- Loki’s first wife saw another woman wished to give Him more than She- and consented out of love.)

Sexuality and fidelity of Northern Europe were vastly different than our current time period- where romantic fidelity was an Oath to share a life-as-one with one’s spouse- “True love” existed (Baldur/Nanna and arguably, Frey/Gerd)  Sharing sexual intercourse with non-spouses is common in the Lore as it is from writings from that period of history as a “it doesn’t count unless you shortchange your actual spouse”- and the main key point was the spouse was the primary confidant, supporter, and companion to one another.  Polyamory was indeed common in sexual practices of non-monotheistic cultures, but not necessarily in everyone.  It appears we are coming out of an age of Monotheistic prudishness.

The way I kiss- greet my French friends would make a Southern Christian woman blanch in horror. To the French..?  That’s called “Hello!  Glad to see you again!”

Some Gods insisted on modern fidelity (Tyr, some say), some, like Freyja and Skadi, clearly did not.  The best advice I can give on this matter is to read, read, read….and then read some more- and do so without existing bias or prejudice with a scholarly approach.

So, Ragnorak comes, Loki is then able to break his fetters and goes back to his blood-family to avenge the deaths of HIS family along with everything else just exploding into a mess of Chaos.

Loki fucking dies.  So does Odin, So does Thor, Freyr, Tyr, Bragi, Heimdallr….even Surtr self-immolates as He destroys the universe.  Idunna is said to be “defiled” or killed, or she entirely survives depending on the scholar.

“Not many gods survived Ragnarok. The known survivors are: Aegir, Vidar, Vali, Hoenir, Vili, Magni, Modi, Hermóðr, Forseti and Ull. Though most of the goddesses survive, (Frigg, Freya, Sif, Thrud, Idun, Saga, Eir, Gefjun, Fulla, Sjofn, Lofn, Var, Vor, Syn and Hlin)Snotra, Gna, and Nanna die.”

Nanna, Frigg and Freyja’s lives remain controversial if they survive or not, However, it is interesting that among the original Aesir men, Ullr, a bowsman and hunter is not mentioned in any role I’ve seen in this process (but Please post if you have a source regarding Ullr’s role).

Some say Nanna returns with Bragi… Some say Baldr Co-Rules with Hod/Hodr.

For those who attest Frigg and Freyja live, it goes back to the theory perpetuated in Academia that this is a metaphor for the life that survives after global cataclysmic events.

According to the book “The Odin Brotherhood” by Mark Mirabello, Nanna said the following prophecy upon Her Death:

“When the world is pregnant with lies, a secret long-hidden will be revealed” (Mirabello, p.92)

That secret can easily be that Baldur returns after Ragnarok.

Further, Mirabello indicated Odin’s visit to Mimir to be told that “Asgard is destined for Annihilation.” (Mirabello p.98)

Further, that Ragnorak would only occur AFTER: “daughters and sons incestuously mix [as Loki indicated of Freyja and Frey] and “man is a playingthing of mighty whoredoms before the world ends” and further indicates that humanity will enter a period of Decadence and Weakness and go against nature. (Mirabello p 94-95)

Without Baldur’s sanctuary/asylum in Helheim, there would be no hope for renewal.  There would be no “new world”

There is a National Leader who is of Baldr but allows people to think he is an Odinsvolk-

A great deal would be cleared up to show that this age- the one where I CAN WRITE THIS BLOG WITHOUT BEING CRIMINALLY PERSECUTED AS A HERETIC AND MURDERED FOR NOT BEING CHRISTIAN, would be a “new age” for us Heathens and Odinists…How am I wrong in this perception?  Even the century prior to this one still had laws against “ALL Witchcraft” as a “Threat to Christianity”.

Furthermore, being one who has a published thesis on the topic of time theory, a little bit of study on Theoretical Physics could aid anyone in the art of knowing “time” as a concept is an a-priori sense of the human mind to make sense of a universe vaster than our understanding.

Realize this:  A tiny butterfly can see clearly more of the proven color spectrum than any man or woman that will ever live, and a wolf the same with the sense of smell.

For humanity to believe our perceptions of “time” are clear and unbiased by our own limitations is absurd and foolish.

So, in conclusion- you may ask: “If Ragnorak keeps happening, why is Odin still our God among many?”  Easy= Time is nothing more than an elaborate mobius strip but on a higher level- there is no “time”.  It is an illusion, Death, as we know it, is not as we can comprehend, and things die, they return.

For those in the Northern hemisphere- if you are going to cut down the maple tree in your yard this time of year for losing leaves, you would be foolish.   So, goes the ways of life in this universe….

The man who sits upon the top of the mountain can see for miles,  the man at the bottom can only see for yards.  Does the man at the bottom of the mountain have the “truth” or does the man at the top own “Truth”?  The man at the bottom of the mountain can see details that elude the man who can see distant cities, but the man who can see distant cities may be met with skepticism by the man observing the rocks at the bottom of the mountain.

If you do not like my own, created analogy- Here, I’ll give you some Plato to chew on: 

The Gods live outside the Cave….including Loki, and Death is just yet another shadow and allegory.

*Important to note- if you can come to me with a correction and sources, this post will change on account of those corrections of details I failed to capture accurately.


9 Responses to “The Purpose of The Death of Baldr/Baldur”

  1. […] THIS! THIS RIGHT HERE! I’ve never understood why Loki was the one to take all the blame when it was apparent that he truly had no reason to kill Baldr. In fact, that story always felt off to me when I read it as a kid, almost as if we were missing half of the story. THIS EXPLAINS IT REALLY WELL! ♥♥♥♥ Source: The Purpose of The Death of Baldr/Baldur […]

  2. Fascinating, heady important stuff.

    Thank you for writing and explaining this so succinctly.

  3. I’ve wondered about this. Thank you for your work in clarifying.

  4. ladyimbrium Says:

    Thank you for this, even though it sounds like you just turned the phrase “it’s complicated” into an eloquent, well researched essay. 😉

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