I’ve talked a bit about how America’s life cycle has worked out, now I’m going to shift gears to some things found in mythology. One of the events that leads to the coming of Ragnarök is the death of Balder. Balder was the son of Wotan and Frigg. Handsome, gentle, and wise, Balder can in many ways be compared to a Christ-like figure. I believe he represents art, high culture, and the civilizing force within Man. After Balder is plagued by nightmares, Wotan goes to the female seer, the Völva, to interpret his son’s dreams. The Völva tells Wotan that Balder is soon going to die. This news distresses all the Aesir, because Balder’s good nature and intelligence had made him a friend to all things. His mother, Frigg, is determined to save his life, and so she travels to world, “Midgard,” or “Middle Earth” (which is where Tolkien got the name of his fictional world) and pleads for all people, animals, and things to swear not to harm Balder. Frigg convinces every bear, every sword, and every rock to oblige her wish, but she fails to ask the little mistletoe, which she deems too little and weak to pose any threat to Balder.
Back in Asgard, the Aesir are having a grand old time throwing spears and shooting arrows at Balder, as the things just bounce off of him. Everyone but Hod, the blind son of Wotan and Frigg. Poor Hod sat at the back of the crowd while the rest of the gods played with Balder. Then came along Loki, the manipulator. Loki lived only to bring chaos and destruction to the order of the Aesir, and he had set out to find a way to kill Balder. Disguised as an old woman, he met with Frigg while she was travelling across Midgard getting oaths from all things to spare Balder, where Frigg had mentioned that she wasn’t afraid of the mistletoe. Immediately after hearing this, Loki ran off to find a sprig of mistletoe to sharpen and fashion the end of an arrow from. He then went and found Hod sitting alone in Asgard.
Loki sat with Hod and pretended to sympathize with him, and as Hod got sadder and sadder about his blindness and inability to participate in the games of the Aesir, Loki suggested that he could guide Hod. He told him he had his own bow and set of arrows Hod could use, and that he would guide Hod’s hands so he could shoot at Balder too. Hod excitedly jumped up and followed Loki to the front of the crowd, where Loki lined up the shot that killed Balder. Hod was then rather unjustly killed by his half-brother Vali, while Loki was chained to a rock in a deep cave, with a serpent above him dripping burning venom onto his face.
Here is what I take from that myth: Balder is Traditional society. He is the godly force that fills the world and draws man up from the animal to the Divine. Blind Hod is the modernist population. Well-meaning, but ultimately ignorant and destructive, they are guided by Loki, the social manipulators who are out to destroy Tradition out of conscious malice, to do their dirty work. The mistletoe represents those things that don’t seem like a big deal in society but by failing to stamp them out, they become worse and worse until they kill us. “Live and let live, who cares if queers want to marry?” “It’s her body, let her decide what she does with it.” “What’s wrong with having a bit of diversity? Your ancestors were immigrants.”
I think it is also interesting to note that after Ragnarök, when the world is rebuilt and repurified, it is Balder and Hod who are the two Aesir who coexist as its gods. To me this symbolizes a reconciliation between Traditional Man and the masses, who are not evil in and of themselves.
And so my brothers and sisters, my Einherjar and Valkyries, don’t fear Ragnarök, don’t fear the Wolf. If you’re already aware and already braving the storm, then you’re already in the midst of battle, and it can’t get any worse than it is now. Right now, it’s like we’re at the battle of Helm’s Deep. We’re the Rohirrim, who have fled to the last outpost we have, the outpost of our minds, and our stand here is all that’s keeping the forces of Mordor and a thousand years of darkness from overtaking our world and the societies it took our various peoples millennia to build. Keep your faith in Tradition, and in Providence, and ride the tiger.