From: etherman23
Message: 62353
Date: 2009-01-04

I've been thinking about Baldr lately. Where did the name come from?
What type of god was he? I've been poking around on the Internet and
it seems that there are lots of ideas out there. But hopefully people
around here can shed some light on the subject.

First, the name. Here, Chris Gwinn
derives the name from the PIE root *bHel, to blow. I don't know if
there's any well accepted etymology, but I can think of two other
possibilities that seem at least as promising. There's *bHelH (that
might be H2 but I'm not sure), meaning light or bright. There's also
*bHolH (whith H1 perhaps?) which means leaf or flower. Why are these

Baldr's main claim to fame is that he was invulnerable to everything
except mistletoe. Loki fashions a dart out of the stuff and Baldr's
blind brother throws it at him and kills him. After Ragnarok Baldr is
raised from the dead. This death-rebirth motif is pretty common among
vegetation gods, and presumably solar deities (though off-hand I can't
think of any). There doesn't seem to be much to link Baldr to either
of these types of gods. But there's not nothing. Baldr's link with
mistletoe is suggestive of vegetation. On the flip side Baldr is slain
by a blind god. This blindness could indicate night. Night could be
said to kill the day (which is later reborn as a new day).
Unfortunately, my two possible etymologies could both work! I don't
know of anything in the myth cycle that would link Baldr to blowing
(or swelling).