Balder

Norse Mythology: One of the Aesir, his name means "The Glorious". He was also called the "god of tears" and the "white as". Balder, the son of Odin and Frigg, was described as a very handsome and wise god. Some consider him to be a god of light since he was so bright, light shined from him.

Balder's wife was Nanna and they had a son named Forseti. Balder and Nanna lived in Breidablik [The Broad-Gleaming], where nothing unclean could be and there were "fewest baneful runes". Breidablik had a silver roof on golden pillars.

At one point Balder had a foreboding dream. Odin rode to Hel's realm to wake a volva from the dead to find out the meaning of Balder's dream. She foretold Balder's death by Hod (Hodur), his fraternal twin. Frigg asked all things to swear not to hurt Balder but didn't ask the mistletoe because it was so young. Loki, diguised as an old woman, visited Frigg and found out Balder was invunerable to everything but mistletoe. Loki made a dart out of mistletoe and tricked the blind god Hod into throwing it at Balder -- all the other gods were playing games by throwing various items at Balder --, thus killing him. Hermod rode to Hel's realm and got her to agree to let Balder return to the living if all things would weep for him. One giantess named Thokk, Loki in disguise, refused to weep for Balder, so he remained dead and was cremated on his funeral boat, hringhorni. He is supposed to come back to life after the Ragnarok. A more complete retelling of Snorri's account of Balder's death is available online.
Snorri and Saxo Grammaticus give very different views of Balder and his death. In Saxo's version of this story, Hod (Hother) is alone responsible for Balder's death. Balder's name rarely occurs in place names, therefore, it is thought that not many people worshipped him. It has been suggested that Balder was an ancient hero who was elevated to divinity. The poets used his name to mean warrior.

Balder is also mentioned in the Merseburg charm.


(Nicole Cherry, A list of Norse Beings, http://www.ugcs.caltech.edu/~cherryne)