balderBalder, son of Odin and Frigga, the god of Love and Light, is sacrificed at Midsummer by the dart of the mistletoe, and is reborn at Jul (Yule). Supposedly his return will not occur until after the onslaught of the Ragnarok, which I see as a cleansing and enlightenment more than wanton, purposeless destruction. Balder’s blind brother Hodur was his slayer, whose hand was guided by the crafty Loki. He is married to the goddess of Joy, Nanna.

Balder’s dreams are the beginning of the end. He dreams of his own death and shows Loki the truly evil god that he is which shows the ultimate limitations and mortality of the gods. The gods capture and punish Loki but they cannot rescue Balder from Hel and the beautiful, passive god who embodies the qualities of mercy and love is lost to them. This is the beginning of the end, the first step towards Ragnarok begins.

There is nothing but good to be told of him. He is the best of them and everyone sings his praises. He is so fair of face and bright that a splendor radiates from him, and there is a flower so white that it is likened to Balder’s brow; it is the whitest of all flowers. From that you can tell how beautiful his body is, and how bright his hair. He is the wisest of gods, and the sweetest-spoken, and the most merciful, but it is a characteristic of his that once he has pronounced a judgement it can never be altered. – Snorri Sturluson