Musings on the Story of Balder

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Years ago one of my teachers worked with me on a lesson of being more open minded to new interpretations of conventional myths and stories.  During this lesson, he asked me to consider a retelling of the story of Lucifer’s fall from heaven.  “What if,” he asked, “God had went to his angels and asked them which one loved him enough to be parted from him forever?  And what if Lucifer, the Light Bearer, told God that he loved him enough to be parted from him, and thus he was cast down from Heaven?”

The concept of a different interpretation of something was mind blowing to me at the time.  Growing up Roman Catholic I was expected to believe the interpretation of a story as it was taught to me even though there could be logical or scientific explanations of why the story was not fully true.   The thought that other interpretations even existed was something I had never considered until the moment of that lesson.   The repercussions of that lesson were something that took a significant amount of time to settle into my soul.

The story about God and Lucifer and the entire lesson from more than 20 years ago is one that surprisingly came back to me this past weekend in a very different way.  This weekend I was opened to the fact that this retelling that my teacher discussed so many years ago also spoke to balance.  God and Lucifer understood that in order for people on earth to understand light, they had to know darkness.  So even though Lucifer would come to be known to be hated and despised, he chose the path as it was absolutely necessary to create the balance that was needed in the world.

This balance is played out in every facet of life as we know it; you must destroy to create, give to receive, and most importantly for me right now, you must accept darkness and earth in order to receive and understand the light.  It is understandable at the time of the story’s creation that war was included because war was common back then.  In that day and age, you had to fight to survive and it was the victor that wrote the history of the day.

After remembering this lesson from my old teacher, I found my attention going to the story of Balder.  According to the written versions of the story we have today, Balder was the God of purity and light, and was loved by all Gods with the exception of one.  Loki was jealous of the God.  So even though the Goddess Frigg went to great lengths to ensure Balder’s safety, Loki figured out how to kill Balder and did so.  He also thwarted the plans of the gods to bring him back from the dead.

The current interpretation speaks to Loki’s jealousy.  However, thinking instead about the required balance that is so very vital in this world, perhaps there is a different reason Loki had to kill Balder.  Perhaps Loki realized that Balder’s light was too pure and too innocent.  Perhaps he realized that because he was so loved and revered by the other Gods and Goddesses that Balder would only grow stronger and skew the balance of darkness and light; destruction and creation.  So for that reason, perhaps Loki knew he had to kill Balder in order to assure that balance was kept.

On realizing his required task and understanding its immensity, along with the fact that he knew he would be punished for it, I could see him going to his wife, Sigyn, and discussing the matter with her. I envision the relationship Sigyn and Loki had as something they both treasured; they fit each other completely and formed a perfect union, but yet each of them were also strong enough to stand on their own.

So perhaps Loki came to Sigyn to speak of this horrible task he knew that he alone could do.  Perhaps in her wisdom, she could see through to her husband’s heart, and knew without understanding all of the nuances of the situation, she knew that what he said was truth.  And perhaps that is why she does everything she can to soothe his suffering during his punishment.

I am not ashamed to admit that this reinterpretation has been something that has been in the forefront of my mind ever since the idea started to form that morning.  It speaks to the belief of  necessary destruction and struggle as well as acceptance of destruction.  More importantly, it allows me to look at Loki with fresher eyes, and allows me to understand how he (and the power of coyote/trickster medicine in Native American Traditions) is something that is needed as a part of keeping the balance of life.

I fully understand that someone could interpret this as Unverified Personal Gnosis (UPG).  And that is fine.  I am of the opinion that different interpretations of the myths and lore are acceptable, and necessary.  In fact, most of the myth and lore that we have left seems to be a written interpretation, written by those who either wanted to put it in a positive or negative light for reasons unknown to us.

What I do know is that this new interpretation is huge for me.  I guess you could consider it the rabbit hole that I have voluntarily fallen into.  So now I am focusing on learning about this strange new world where up is down and big is small. And while I am still a little unnerved about my new surroundings, overall I like what it is I see, and am looking forward to learning and re-remembering the world around me.

 

 

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Author: Karlesha

I am a martial artist, historical fencer, yogi, runner, intuitive / empath and pagan. My passion is learning about myself, where I fit in the world and where I can do the most good. I am dedicated to Loki and Odin.

2 thoughts on “Musings on the Story of Balder”

  1. I just came across this blog, so forgive me for coming late to it. Interpretations do vary, and hidden in the stories can be culturally codified significance and subtleties lost to others today. The story if Baldr’s demise even, varies widely. There’s sources far older such as the Gesta Danorum, where Loki isn’t even in the story at all. What we know of as the Eddas were intentionally ordered and put together from different manuscript sources too, which can also force certain interpretations that may not have been intended by the originating culture to those readers who come across the tale today. One has to also ask the question, what politics may be at play here? What were the motivations behind this presentation of the story? Did the translator, writer, historian have an agenda or their own preconceived notions and/or biases?

    Fundamental human truth is that we each can have unique experiences and interpretations too. That to me is the beauty of a personal religious/spiritual journey. 🙂

    Like

    1. I absolutely agree that there were politics involved here. My husband, during his time in college courses, came across a professor of his that likened Balder’s story to a reincarnation story. But of course, during the time of writing things down for prosperity’s sake, the Christians didn’t want any competition, and thus changed the story.

      I LOVE your comment about Fundamental human truth, and fully agree. Thanks so much for stopping by, reading and sharing.

      Liked by 1 person

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