Here we are, day three of the second meme I’m doing for Baldr! And in this episode, we take a look at Baldr’s symbols and icons!
Tripleurospermum indorum, or matricaria perforata L. Also known as scentless mayweed, scentless chamomile, wild chamomile, mayweed, false chamomile, German chamomile, Baldr’s Brow, baldeyebrow, and baldursbrá.
“He is so fair of countenance and bright that he shines of himself,
there is a grass so white that it is evened with Baldr’s brows,
it is of all grasses whitest and thereby mayest thou mark his fairness in hair and body.”
– Gylfaginning, Prose Edda of Snorri Sturlson, translated by Arthur Gilchrist Brodeur 1916
Chamomile is widely used to aid in sleep, quite apt considering Baldr had prophetic dreams of His own death. This is one of my favourite herbs to sip in tea or to smell, or even just to look at, even before Baldr came along 🙂
Another herb very connected to His history. Whether you believe He was killed in the manner of Snorri’s telling, or Saxo’s, misletoe was the weapon used. In Saxo’s version, it isn’t wasn’t the actual plant, but Hodr’s sword named Mistletoe.
Baldr’s ship that He was laid upon after death, where Odin whispered words into His ears, and depending on the version, where Nanna threw Herself as the pyre was burning and pushed out into the river.
Odin gifted Baldr His self replicating gold arm ring at Baldr’s funeral. Now here’s where I’m not entirely sure what symbolism that will have for everyone reading this (as well as for They Themselves), because if you believe in Ragnarok (which I tend towards not as it seems too much of a Christian contrivance to help rid themselves of other Gods), it holds the symbolism of kingship and soverignty. Perhaps Odin was giving it to Baldr so that after Ragnarok, Baldr could claim His role as King in the fresh start afterwards? That on top of them basically making Baldr a Norse Jesus.
I like to think that perhaps Odin gifted it to Baldr because Baldr was supposed to be the next in line as the Son of Odin and Frigg, Prince of Asgard. Draupnir would have been Baldr’s, yet that future was ended when Baldr died. I feel it also tells us something by the significance of the ring, that those worthy would receive one of its rings, but Baldr was most worthy, most loyal. And here, that hints to me that Baldr agreed to His death, knew why it must occur, that He needed to be sacrificed. This makes sense if you look at the imagery upon Scandinavian braceteates.
Everyone cried over Baldr, and that’s not something to be taken lightly. If you’ve read Anatoly Liberman’s paper titled Some Controversial Aspects of the Myth of Baldr”, he posits that Baldr was seen, and is, connected to rain and fertility of the land.
This is something that makes sense to me and is part of my own doxa, as He very much enjoys when I’m out in the garden (and to insert some non-related thing in here, ’cause why not? I have two large gardens, one is currently planted, the other wasn’t, and needs to be tilled for my waiting plants, well, the second garden is overrun with daisies, as well as another bed that’s been left and been overrun by them. Daisies sure look like chamomile, don’t they?).
Along with that, I have given thought to Odin, Thor, and Baldr, as Gods of the Sky, Odin bringing the storms and wind, Thor bringing the thunder and lightning, and Baldr bringing the nourishing rains, as well as His own light. Just my thoughts though.
The sun rune. If you know anything about Baldr, you can see why this rune is connected with Him. He is His own sun, glowing, providing warmth and light. The sun provides the same, which nourishes the land, another reason why I connect Baldr to rain and the fertility of the earth.
In some iterations of Baldr’s name, some form of “day” is added on (Baeldaeg, Baldag, Beldeg). Day is another obvious association of Baldr, again with His own light that shines upon the world. I also feel it is connected to His aspect as bringing fertility to the earth, as long, warm days are important for plant growth (just take a look at lush jungles around the equator, or even the drastic change from midwinter to midsummer far beyond the equator).
That’s about it as far as symbols go, I’m sure in time, I will discover my own personal symbols and such that remind me of and represent Him.