There is much wisdom to be gained from The Prose Edda, The Poetic Edda, and the sagas of Northern Europe. These stories and prose are rich in meaning and so often this meaning runs deeper then just the words on the pages. Balder's story is one of these.
Balder is the son the High One, Odin, and his wife, the Goddess Frigga. Often, Balder is referred to as "beautiful, the shining one." Balder is a good God. But, Balder had a bad dream, a nightmare; he will die. He tells mother Frigga and as all good mothers would do, she does everything in her power to prevent her beautiful son's death. Frigga exacts a promise from all creation that it/they will not harm her son. Well, almost all creation. She passed over the lowly mistletoe, thinking that it was too puny and insignificant to harm her big strong Balder. That was a mistake.
Negative, chaotic forces, embodied in the character known as Loki, discover the error. In grand devious fashion, Loki makes a dart from a mistletoe sprig and cons the blind God Hodr to throw the dart at Balder. Loki goes as far as guiding Hodr's hand. The dart strikes Balder, and he falls dead. Now, Balder journeys to the underworld, ruled over by one of Loki's bastard kids, Hel. Throughout the rest of the Multiverse, hysteria reigns.
Finally, the Gods see clearly enough through their collective grief and come up with a plan to bring Balder back to life. Hermondr, another son of Odin and Frigga, takes Odin's eight legged horse Sleipnir, and rides to Hel's domain to try and work out a deal with Hel. If all of creation would weep for Balder, Hel said, she would release him. Hermondr returns and the plan is put into motion. All of creation wept, except for one being, Loki in the guise of a giantess. Since the deal could not be completed, Balder must remain, dead.
Death never is a pleasant topic; no one wants to die. But, this story illustrates some important points.
There is nothing that you can do to escape death and there is nothing that can be done to bring you back to life. We and all that grows, dies. Before you hit the delete button, read on. There is a positive side to all of this.
Life is a gift. It is meant to be lived well and celebrated daily. Also, life is good and honest prosperity is good. Living an honorable life and being successful and generous is a hallmark of a good life. Consider this: if a person could accurately predict other people's date of death, this guy would make a fortune - all of us would want to know. Out of this, two kinds of people would emerge. One kind would run out and live the rest of his life to the fullest, not wanting to die with a list of "woulda shoulda's" in his pocket. The other kind would do nothing but crawl into a corner and wait; he would stop living. Living in fear of death is sad.
So is accepting that life is nothing but trial and tribulation, with the expectation of reward for suffering in some kind of after-life. What a waste of a life. Life is meant to be enjoyed, suffering is not forever. Life gives us the opportunities for prosperity and love. A good, noble life in the present, one filled with love, happiness, success, and generosity lays the planks on which the next one is built. Sitting in a corner, scared of your own shadow and doing nothing, does not.
Copyright @2014/2017 Terry Unger