Thursday, February 16, 2012

Blushing before Baldur

Everyone blushes a bit at mention of Baldr, because even in the presence of his name, which alone carries the reputation (let alone his strong and bold and shining presence itself), living in an age of shame, one's best deeds themselves seem to shrink from what suddenly and obviously seems possible, what to say of those times one acquiesced to the worst ... It is not that Baldur holds us to an impossible ideal, for then he would be cruel to an incapable being, no, it is far worse than that. It is that in the presence even of his name we remember, at first dimly, and then ever more clearly, how sold down the river our own sense of possibility has become, and how much more we could be, not only for ourselves, but for the world, if we would dare to believe in the good inside of us and all things, and defend that for the treasure it is. Baldur defends that gold, the true gold, that treasure-ore that held up to the warmth of the sun, in truth and light, may slowly, gradually, beautifully shed its slag and come into its own ; and in his time here, held his sword high against any who would tarnish this process. Instead he escorted the gradual, steady, forward-looking and daring untarnishing of world, its progressive unfolding and blossoming into its treasure-nature. In his presence we feel, my God (O Bright and Boldest God!), how cravenly I have been before the world's cynicism, how far I have bowed before the idols of moral cowardice, because all that is commonly declared impossible in the human soul is, gasp and weep and pull oneself up to see, normal. It at least once was in the presence of such bravery, which boldened one, encouraging and coaxing one to dare the deep goodness within self and world, and raise the sword to match that high bar. So naturally, in the face of such uncommon confidence, such realized goodness never doubting, one feels some chagrin, even for whatever good one has eked.

But that feeling does not last long, because there is a gusto, not unlike his brother Thor's, but with a milder, even more grounded nature, that manifests as deep friendliness, a kindness that is anything but weak, that dispels shame as something untoward which prevents the will from better tending the good. Baldur is a friend for whom our excuses and hidings from our full potential, even in shame, mean little, for suddenly in that friendly glow, that knightly and powerful presence, all of the doubts and incriminations begin to melt before the inner sun glowing in everything, and one realizes, the sun in the sky (beloved Sol) is there to awaken that light within, and all one's power given up to fear is power wasted. How good it feels to rise up like a man (or woman), on one's feet, no longer craven, and come to one's full height, rather than negotiate the bogs with fools and cowards. Set the standard high, and dare it, and see how the common denominator may raise, however slowly, however asking for chivalrous sacrifice, in time. An embarrassment that is no more than the light reaching the shadows and dispelling cobwebs, he gently patiences, with a beautiful strength of benevolence in the face of newer resolve against the fallen lies of the world. Restored to that vision of could-be which is actually our original mandate, forgiveness follows the intent to set it right. For all ill is grounded ultimately in fear, which in a dangerous world of peril and opportunity may be understandable, but cowardice is the will bowing itself before fear as an idol, and that is beneath us, and to turn oneself into something less than one can be out of secret pledging to cowardice is a sin, a sin of senseless nonsense whose strength fades in the presence of Baldur. Such sin is simply unimportant before the light. Tend the light instead, Baldur says.

Cowards whisper slanders against Baldur, having betrayed their own inner grandeur, and caved to the petty and ugly aroused in this world, projecting their own weakness, hiding beneath a thin veil of grizzled bravado, onto him. But it must be remembered that in his day, a glance of his eyes was enough to ward off wolves, for in those mirrors, their own cowardice was unbearable before such light. And he was beloved, however begrudgingly, even amongst giants, for however grudging, even they could not deny that he never abused his power, always gave due what due was owed, his judgements fair and wise beyond reckoning, reminding the soul of more in that moment of judgement, which was itself spur and forgiveness all in one. His clemency was strong, a trait even the lowly were forced to admire. Not a hint of weakness. All things asked willingly gave themselves over to his protection, as they knew, from long memory, he had protected them.

Shed that cynicism like a snakeskin (ah, the coiling surface of Laufeysson's kin!), and simply let the self-scourge drop : there is more important work to do. There is light to be fostered in the world. Are you man enough? Are you strong enough? Are you brave enough? Take Baldur to heart, and you will be. You will be.


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