Monday, December 3, 2012

Norse God of Winter?

Hod, Hoder, or Hodur was a strong god, but blind, the brother of Balder the Beautiful in Norse mythology. Balder's mother Frigga had made everything in creation swear not to harm Balder, everything except the mistletoe, which was thought to be too small, young, and weak to swear. Loki, the god of mischief, in his cunning found out about this exception, and took the mistletoe to where the gods were throwing every sort of deadly thing at Balder in sport, watching them fall harmlessly away. Loki came up to blind Hoder, who stood sadly apart, unable to take part in the fun. Loki said that he would guide his hand, and giving him the mistletoe branch aimed directly at Balder. The missile flew, pierced the young god, and he fell down dead.

Because of the strict code of vengeance, Hoder had to suffer death for the slaying of Balder. Odin lay with the giantess Rindr, and they gave birth to the god Vali, who was conceived, born, grew up, and killed Hoder all in one day. Although it was considered unlucky and ill-omened to mention Hoder, he and Balder dwelt amicably in Hel's domain, and it was said that after Ragnarok Hoder, Baldur, and Vali would all live in peace on the reborn earth.

Those who subscribe to the fertility theory of mythology say that Hoder is clearly a god of winter, slaying the warmth of summer, personified by Balder, although it is never clearly stated in any surviving Norse myth what Hoder is a god "of." The above picture is by Willy Pogany from Padraic Colum's "The Children of Odin."
Willy Pogany

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