Yggdrasil

Yggdrasil is also known as ‘the world tree’ and is a crucial part of Norse mythology. This is the thing that connects the nine different worlds.

The tree has three roots, one goes to Asgard where the Gods gather, the second goes to the land of the giants (Jotunheim) and the third goes to Niflheim.

By the first root there’s a well (Urd’s well) where the three Norns live. The Norns are the Goddesses of fate and spend their time spinning the threads of fate and dictating the future. They pour the water from the well over the roots of Yggdrasil and help to keep the tree alive. They also have the duty of placing a rooster at the top of the tree to ensure that the Gods are woken up each morning.

At the roots of the tree there is a dragon (Nidhug) who is enemies with the eagle who flies above the tree. Their feud is kept alive by the squirrel (Ratatosk) who spends his time rushing up and down the tree to inform each of the other’s hatred for them.

I’m not a Norse Pagan, but I have studied it a lot for a series of books that I’m planning. (Well, I wrote them many years ago and now plan to rewrite them some time in the future.) My interest for those books was in ‘Ragnarok’ which was an event in Norse mythology that could be described as the end of the world. Technically it was supposed to be ‘the end of the world as we know it.’

The Viking were a really interesting group of people. They came mainly from Scandinavia and were incredible at boat building and navigation. The word ‘Viking’ means ‘raiding’ and this was certainly something they were (and still are) famous for. They were a tough group of people who were used to living in harsh conditions and this is reflected in their mythology which often shows both the warrior culture and the harsh climate that they faced.

Generally most Vikings were skilled farmers and anglers and only resorted to raiding and violence when ordered to by their leader. Like the Celts they had a deep respect for warriors and had ‘Valhalla’ a place in Asgard where half of those who died in battle would go. The other half would go to join the Goddess Freyja.

Blessings,

Wren x

 

 

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7 thoughts on “Yggdrasil

  1. I really enjoy the concept of Yggdrasil. I often consider that the nine worlds actually exist in the same space, but not at the same time … basically the frequency of the matter comprising each world vibrates at a different frequency. Therefore, if you imagine what that might look like, and then imagine what it would take to keep these different worlds connected to each other, I tend to think it might look quite a lot like a tree.

    The other aspect of Yggdrasil I greatly enjoy is in it’s name and relationship to shamanism. The name means, “Ygg’s Horse,” which I consider a reference to Odin having hanged himself from it (keeping in mind that among the Norse, ‘riding the gallows’ was an expression for being hanged), as a sacrifice to obtain the power of the Runes. I see this story a little differently from the mainstream, in that I see it as a shamanic description of Odin’s pursuit of wisdom.

    Aside from your including Yggdrasil in a book you are working on, what other interests do you have in it?

    • I studied philosophy for a number of years when I was at school and I had a wonderful teacher. I’ve always been fascinated by concepts of ‘reality’ and planes of existence ever since. That’s really interesting, I’d never thought of it that way before. I know shamefully little about Shamanism but I’m always keen to learn more.
      Apart from Yggdrasil/Ragnarok I don’t know much about Norse mythology, my passion has always been for the Celts. I did a mythology class quite a few years ago where we looked at Norse mythology quite closely, but sadly all of that information has faded away with time.

      • What you might find interesting, if your passion is with the Celts (Gaels in particular, or mainland tribes also?), is delving into Germanic Heathenry for the purpose of comparative study. With the older beliefs, it seems there are a number of parallels. This isn’t surprising, as there was quite a lot of exchange between the cultures; and as the Germanic tribes pushed the Celtic tribes westward, it makes sense that the Germanic people would have infused some of the native Celtic beliefs into their own. Since I live in a place that was definitely occupied by both Celts and Germans, and have plenty of each peoples numbering as my ancestors, I’ve found this comparative approach to be quite illuminating (but also, at rare times, quite confusing!).

      • My passion really lies with the Gaels; that does sound very interesting. I can imagine there was a lot of exchange between the two groups. I find that the study of ancient religions/tribes manages to be very fascinating and very confusing at the same time!

  2. thanks for sharing!
    I really like the image of Nidhug, the eagle and Ratatosk. The Norse mythology just seems to live off that fascinating rich imagery full of little stories and unique characters.

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