chapter
Death or Departure of the Gods
Motif A192, and Return, Motif A193
ByPeter L. De Rose, Jane Garry
Pages 7

The death or departure of Balder leads directly to what the poetic Edda calls ragna rok, the "fate or doom of the gods," which is a central incident in the larger Teutonic myth of the destruction of the world. In the Aztec mythology of Central America, Quetzalcoatl is the god of the spirit of life, "teacher of the arts, originator of the calendar, and the giver of maize". Some gods who die return to life, and this motif is often associated with rituals celebrating the life cycle of vegetation. Persephone, daughter of Demeter, Greek goddess of the earth and crops, is picking flowers one day when the god of the underworld arises, grabs her, and takes her down to Hades as the earth closes in behind them. Dionysus, god of wine, son of Zeus and the Theban princess Semele, was also not among the deathless Olympian gods.