Yuletide Playlet

Moonpath Chapter of CUUPS

December 21, 2003

Written by Valan, The  Druid

 

Retelling of folktale of the death of Baldur.

Excerpts from “The Return of the Light” by Carolyn McVickar Edwards

 

 

Players:

Nanna:  wife of Baldur (Starwind)

Baldur:  Sun King  (Mikal?)

Frigg:  Baldur’s sister  (Becky)

Hemrod:  Baldur’s brother  (Spel)

Blind Hod:  who kills Baldur  (Mr. Y)

Hel:  Guardian of the gates of Hel  (Kami)

Thor: Himself (Tim)

Loki:  trickster god  (The apprentice witch, Ken)

 

Sanctuary totally dark, no music, celebrants in place.  All is dark and quiet.

 

Altar is RED. With 12 red candles, and one center gold candle.

Additional props are:
Bell

Sprig of Mistletoe (later to be shaped into a dart which kills Baldur.

Things to toss at Baldur in the opening “game”.

Thor’s hammer.

 

Participants/observers file in and are seated in darkness.

 

Valan, the Druid lights the lone gold candle and reads:

 

"In every death is the seed of birth, and in the darkness of the longest night we await the dawn of the waxing year."

 

“Tis the feast of the Winter Solstice

The shortest day of the entire year.

The beginning of the Long Night.

 

For 6 days in the Northern Hemisphere, the sun ceases its southernly crawl and appears to stand still in the heavens. The ancients watched this quiet drama with drawn breath.

 

We await the return of the Light, outside ourselves and within. Cold and darkness color and shiver the psyche. The sky turns gray. Fatally beautiful frost laces the remaining green. Rain pours. Snow drifts. We gaze at the mystery of the great cycle, full of our own deaths and births and lives. Where is the wisdom for this gateway?

 

Would the sun begin to move again?  Would the light grow anew on the great Wheel of Life?  Would life itself continue?

 

It does, and we rejoice! The ancients held a great festival for the next 11 days after the Winter solstice to celebrate the return of the Sun. The Romans called it Saturnalia, the Followers of Mithra called Brumalia.  Christians call it the 12 days of Christmas. Other cultures call it different names,  Kwanza, Ramadan, Chanukkah: it matters not. The festival is one of rebirth, renewal and affirmation.

 

Since time out of mind our ancestors have marked this crossing from Dark to Light with parables, legends and tales.

All, in some way reflect on the return of the Sun.

The return of the Sun King.

The return of the Light. 

 

The story which follows reflects this idea as well. It is the story of the Norse god Loki, and the Death of Light.

 

(Opening scene:  Several gods milling about throwing stuff at Baldur. They are laughing and are being good natured.  Except Loki, who  is skulking at the side)

 

Nanna: I am  Nanna, wife of fair Baldur. My husband is called the “Shining One”, the “Fairest” and most benevolent of the gods of the Aesir. We all live in Aasgard, beyond the shimmering  Rainbow Bridge, in great harmony and joy.  – until last week.  Oh, Let my husband tell it.

(she beckone Baldur who says…

 

Baldur:  I had dreams, over and over, nightly, for weeks on end:  Dreams that I would die. So plagued was I, that I asked all the gods and goddesses to come to my aid. I asked Hemrod, Odin’s son, and Frigg, Odin’s wife (Looks like a fertility mother goddess). I asked Thor and Hod.  (Thor has a hammer, Hod is a blind god. Give him a blindfold.)  I asked everyone. No one had a plan. Everyone lamented:

Everyone: What can be done to save Baldur, the son of light?  He simply MUST NOT DIE!

 

Frigg:  I have a plan to save Fair Baldur!  I will ask all creatures and elements to not harm my son. They will agree and he will be safe!

 

(Frigg goes around pretending to ask permission of invisible entities… she makes a point of NOT asking a garland of mistletoe)

 

(Everyone goes back to pelting stuff at Baldur)

 

Loki:  “Everyone loves Baldur!  Everyone except me!  I think that pretty boy should die.  He is such a goody-goody god. I would love to ruin his day!  And I know exactly how!  I saw that Frigg didn’t ask the lowly Mistletoe not to hurt Baldur.  Probably because it is so weak and limp.   But I  have a cunning plot! I will fashion a dart out of this mistletoe and  ask blind Hod to hurl it at Baldur. Maybe it will harm him!

 

(Loki grabs the mistletoe and turns his back to the audience. He turns back with a dart fashioned out of mistletoe.  He goes to Hod .)

 

Loki:  Here Hod, throw this at Baldur:  I will  help you aim!

 

Hod:  Here goes! (And  they throw the “dart” at Baldur.)

 

Baldur  dies.  As dramatically as possible.

 

(Everyone screams and is horrified.  Loki scampers off and is seen  gloating!)

 

Nanna:  We all mourned  him.  All the inhabitants of the 9 worlds. The dwarves, the elves, the  giants, and  the  Valkeries. All the gods;  Aesir and Vanir alike mourned the death  of the Sun King.  Nothing was to be done. Baldur was dead.

 

(Everyone stands sadly)

 

Hemrod:  I will go to the gates of Hel and beg for the  return of Fair Baldur.

 

(Off he goes. To the edge where a screen is set up and Hel awaits)

 

Hemrod:  “What  must we do to win back  gentle Baldur?  The  whole world mourns. Nothing grows, There is neither warmth nor light. The hearts of humans and gods are dim with tears.”

 

Hel:  “If everyone and everything on earth will weep for Baldur, he may return.”

 

(Hemrod returns and asks each of the gods  if they weep for Baldur.)

 

Frigg say “I weep for gentle Baldur”

Thor says”I weep for the little guy”

Hod says “I especially weep for Baldur”

 

Loki says “I do  not weep. He never wept  for me and I do not weep for him.”

 

(Everyone goes boo-hiss)

 

Nanna:  So my gentle Baldur lay banished to Hel until he rose again at Ragnarok. 

Ragnarok. 

The great battle.  The final struggle. The pitting of god against god, fire against ice. 

The end of one era and the birth anew.  And so it goes. What is destroyed will live again. Everything in its own season, and the Great Wheel Turns.

 

As it is written, so mote it be.

 

 At this point, the bell rings 3 times, and we go immediately into the ritual mode.

 

An announcement is made for ALL to take a sprig of the Holly from the altar on their way to process to the outside circle.

 

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