The Norse mythological tale concerning Ragnarök (“Demise of the Powers”) is a particularly interesting one. Whereas other eschatological (i.e. “end-time”) myths (especially the Christian and Islamic eschatological myths) prophesy the ultimate victory of Good over Evil (or of Right over Wrong, which I personally prefer), the eschatological myth of Ragnarök predicts the mutual annihilation of both sides.

Without going into details, there is to be a great war between the Norse Gods (the Æsir – Odin, Thor, etc.) and their foes (the wolf Fenrir, the world-serpent Jormungandr, Surtr, etc.). During this battle, the Gods and their foes succeed in destroying each other. This mutual destruction of the Powers signals the end of this world. But after this, the God Balder rises from the dead in order to preside over a new world.

It seems to me that the Norse Gods in this myth can be equated with the élite rulers of this world. Although they are now completely corrupted and morally degenerate, the ruling élites were once mostly good and righteous. It should not be a shock to anyone to suggest that the Norse Gods may be regarded as having undergone corruption and degeneracy, particularly considering the accusations wielded against them by Loki in Lokasenna – accusations which the Gods seem reluctant to answer to.

As for the foes of the Gods, these are primal beings who represent a constant potential threat to the order of the Gods. These may as a group be interpreted as being the sometimes unruly and potentially dangerous masses who are so often ready and willing to challenge the rule of the élite powers (consider all of the “democratic” protest movements in recent years in so many parts of the world).

I for one believe that Ragnarök may be a veritable representation of the great conflict that may someday break out openly between the élite rulers of this world and the democratic masses (“the people”) who oppose them. And it makes sense to me that this great conflict could result not only in the near-extermination of the ruling élites, but also the decimation of the masses.

Long before such an end-time, apocalyptic war between the rulers and the people occurs, a small number of the truly Good will have escaped to their refuges to await the inevitable. This is represented in Norse myth by the death of Balder and his stay in Hel (which literally means “Concealment” or “Hiding”). Following the conclusion of the catastrophic mutually-destructive war between the élites and the masses, this truly Good remnant may finally step in from the sidelines in order to start building a truly good and truly right world under the leadership of their Lord, Balder.

Advertisements