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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Winter Solstice


           

Posting a bit late in the day (Eastern Standard Time). It has been a very busy week and weekend, which has largely not related to Christmas, Yule or other seasonal normality.  And, I cannot get my formatting to behave today, so forgive the messy post!





"Yule. In ancient Scandinavia, this festival lasted 12 days (and nights). The first night of Yule (the night before the Solstice) was called the "mother's night". That night the Nordic Pagans used to sit and wait for the birth of the Sun God, Balder, born of the goddess Frigg and fathered by Odin. With the winter solstice, the goddess turned wheel of the year to give you a new point of departure." ~Toodles/Pinterest


THE STORY OF BALDER

“Once upon a time Balder dreamed heavy dreams which  seemed to forebode his death. Thereupon the gods held a council and resolved to make Balder secure against every danger. So the goddess Frigg took an oath from fire and water, iron and all metals, stones and earth, from trees, sicknesses and poisons, and from all four-footed beasts, birds and creeping things, that they would not hurt Balder. When this was done Balder was deemed invulnerable; so the gods amused themselves by setting him in their midst, while some shot at him, others hewed at him, and others threw stones at him. But whatever they did, nothing could hurt him; and at this they were all glad.”


Frigg with infant Balder
“Only Loki, the mischief maker, was displeased, and he went in the guise of an old women to Frigg, who told him that the weapons of the gods could not hurt Balder, since she had made them all swear not to hurt him. 



Then Loki asked, ‘have all things sworn to spare Balder?’ She answered, ‘East of Valhalla grows a plant called mistletoe; it seemed to me too young to swear’. 



So Loki went and pulled the mistletoe and took it to the assembly of the gods. There he found the blind god Hother standing at the outside of the circle. Loki asked him, ‘Why do you not shoot at Balder?’ Hother answered, ‘Because I do not see where he stands; besides I have no weapon.’ Then said Loki, ‘Do like the rest and show Balder honour, as they all do.I will show you where he stands, and do you shoot at him with this twig.’ 
                                          


Hother took the mistletoe and threw it at Balder, as Loki directed him. The mistletoe struck Balder and pierced him through and through, and he fell down dead. For a while the gods stood speechless, then they lifted up their voices and wept bitterly.”
-From Frazer's The Golden Bough


VARIATION of the LEGEND of BALDER

"For its supposedly mystical power mistletoe has long been at the center of many folklore. One is associated with the Goddess Frigga. The story goes that Mistletoe was the sacred plant of Frigga, goddess of love and the mother of Balder, the god of the summer sun. Balder had a dream of death which greatly alarmed his mother, for should he die, all life on earth would end. In an attempt to keep this from happening, Frigga went at once to air, fire, water, earth, and every animal and plant seeking a promise that no harm would come to her son. Balder now could not be hurt by anything on earth or under the earth. But Balder had one enemy, Loki, god of evil and he knew of one plant that Frigga had overlooked in her quest to keep her son safe. 

Balder or Baldur
It grew neither on the earth nor under the earth, but on apple and oak trees. It was lowly mistletoe. So Loki made an arrow tip of the mistletoe, gave to the blind god of winter, Hoder, who shot it , striking Balder dead. The sky paled and all things in earth and heaven wept for the sun god. For three days each element tried to bring Balder back to life. He was finally restored by Frigga, the goddess and his mother. It is said the tears she shed for her son turned into the pearly white berries on the mistletoe plant and in her joy Frigga kissed everyone who passed beneath the tree on which it grew. The story ends with a decree that who should ever stand under the humble mistletoe, no harm should befall them, only a kiss, a token of love."    Source: theholidayspot