|The piercing of Balder's heart|
From the Archives: Mistletoe: Mythology, Meaning, And A Representation Of The Craft
by Midnight Freemasons Contributor
Sir Knight Robert Johnson, 32°
December, the time of each year where the masses get ready to embrace a new year and rebirth. Holidays are plenty, Hanukkah, Christmas, The Solstice, Kwanza and during these time there are seasonal plants which bare special meanings. Two such plants ring aloud like a beautiful song, and when you put those notes on paper, you eyes would behold an evergreen and the mistletoe commonly brought into homes this time of year. The meaning of the Christmas tree goes back to Scandinavia, when the people would bring the still green tree into their homes as everything else died in the winter months. This was done as a good luck symbol, as a symbol of life that conquers death. We in Freemasonry call it the Acacia.
But as you have no doubt read, this article is entitled Mistletoe. The mistletoe has also an astounding significance to Freemasonry. The mistletoe was a sacred plant among the druids and symbolized immortality, again a direct correlation to our acacia. In Scandinavia they called it simply “mistle”. In Scandinavian mythology, the second son of Odin was named Balder. Balder had a dream that he would die, upon waking he held council with the Gods. His mother Frigga then cast a spell which gave him immunity from all harmful things, poisons, darts, water, earth, fire, birds, plants reptiles and beasts. After some time the Gods began to test Balder's immunity by sending danger his way. This displeased Loki, God of mischief. So he disguised himself as an old woman and secured from Balder’s mother the one thing omitted from the spell that protected her son. The shrub mistletoe. Loki fashioned a dart of mistletoe and gave it to the blind God of war who was still having fun testing his non-vulnerabilities, helped him take aim, and pierced Balder’s heart killing him.
Sorrow among the Gods was immeasurable. The tears of Balder's mother Frigga, are said to have formed the white berries on the mistletoe plant. And from then on Balder is said to to wait in Hades until the end of the world. The power of mistletoe to symbolically “pierce ones heart” by commanding a kiss from any who walk under it is what we perceive today. However mistletoe has one last interesting point that I wish to convey before the end of this short piece. It is a shrub that many cultures have deemed sacred because the leaves and berries always grow in three and come from one common stalk. Like Freemasonry, we two have three which delineate from one stalk or in our case the men who were first prepared to be a Masons in that place in which the mistletoe can pierce, the heart.
Sir Knight Robert Johnson, 32° is a Freemason out of the First North-East District of Illinois. He belongs to Waukegan Lodge No. 78. He is also a member of the York Rite bodies Royal Arch, Cryptic Council and Knights Templar, and a member of the Scottish Rite Valley of Chicago. Brother Johnson currently produces and hosts a weekly Podcast (internet radio program) Whence Came You? which focuses on topics relating to Freemasonry. In addition, he produces video shorts focusing on driving interest in the Fraternity and writes original Masonic papers from time to time. He is a husband and father of three. He works full time in the safety industry and is also a photographer on the side as well as an avid home brewer. He is also working on two books, one is of a Masonic nature.