Nine Worlds

Yggdrasil- The Tree of Life, which contains (from crown to roots) The Nine Worlds:
Muspelheim (in the roots) – the world of Fire, from the first 2 kingdoms in Creation; the fiery giants;
– the world of the elves of darkness;
Nifelheim – the world of Ice, from the first 2 kingdoms in Creation; Hel / Hell, the bloody dog ​​Hel;
Vanaheim – the world of the gods (Vanir);
Jotunheim – the world of ice giants; the lands beyond the Midgard wall;
Midgard – the world of people and the first man and woman Ask and Embla;
– the world of dwarves (mountain caves);
Alfheim (in the crown) – the first kingdom; the kingdom of the light elves;
Asgard (in the crown) – the kingdom of the gods (Aesir).

The Myth of the Nine Worlds

The world of the Norse consisted of separate kingdoms divided into three layers. Many creatures lived in the middle class. Mankind inhabited Midgard. The ice giants lived in Jotunheim.

The gods also needed a home. At that time, there was only one kingdom in the uppermost layer of the world: Alfheim. There lived the happy elves of light. So the sons of Bohr decided to build a kingdom for the gods up next to Alfheim. They called him Asgard. It had lush green meadows and magnificent spacious palaces.

The deities had already multiplied, and many other creatures had joined their ranks: well-meaning giants and elves. Everyone looked at Odin as a god father; they called him the All-Father. The deities of the great family called themselves “Aesir.” They built a fiery arched bridge called Bifrost, which connected Midgard with Asgard. The flames of Bifrost and the high stone wall that surrounded the world defended Asgard from invaders. Bifrost’s flames, however, let through the Aesir deities: as they entered their new abode, they shrank to harmless gleaming tricolor flames under the hooves of their galloping horses.

The Aesir built a palace from a single piece of gold and named it Gladsheim: it played the role of a royal court. They also created a palace just for the goddesses; he was called Wingolf. They also built a house with a kiln, made hammers, curling irons, all kinds of tools and loaded it well with raw materials: stone, wood and metal. They ate from golden plates.

Odin also built a palace for himself – Valaskjalf, which had a roof of pure silver. He sat inside his high throne Hlidskjalf, from which he saw all the kingdoms of the world.

Another kingdom was added to the other kingdoms: Vanaheim. The gods were divided into two groups: the Aesir who lived in Asgard and the Vanir who lived in Vanaheim. The Aesir considered themselves the true rulers of the world. As might be expected, such an attitude greatly cooled the feelings between the Aesir and the Vanir. So Odin watched Vanaheim very closely.

The Father of the gods ruled, sitting on his high throne, with a helmet on his head and a raven on each shoulder. At his feet were two wolves, Geri and Freki, insatiable beasts that devoured everything he threw at them. And he threw them a lot of food because he didn’t need it: he lived only on wine. However, according to rumors, the two wolves ate a lot of sinister things, maybe even human corpses.

And there were plenty of them, because men were sicker than the gods. In the third and lowest layer of the world was the realm of the dead. It was reached after nine days of racing north and down from Midgard. Here was the deep, ice-frozen land of Nifelheim, subject to the power of a hated, monstrous creature pink to the waist, and down to the toes, greenish-black and half-decomposed; Garm wandered relentlessly beside her: a huge dog with a bloody snout. The monstrous creature was called Hel, and many called her entire kingdom by the same name. To die in those days was to go to Hell.

In addition to these six kingdoms, there were three others that were in dark places resembling Vanaheim. The fiery giants inhabited the smoky borders of Muspelheim. The dwarves ruled the mountain caves in the land of Nidavelir. Near them was Svartalfheim, the land of the elves of darkness. They were sullen, mysterious creatures, the complete opposite of the elves of light, just as the moon is the opposite of the sun.

In the middle of it all rose an imposing ash tree called Yggdrasil. Its branches cast a shadow over the Nine Kingdoms, and from them dripped sugar dew, from which the bees made honey – the first manna honey. The tree rested on three huge roots: one clung to Nifelheim in the lower layer, the second passed through Jotunheim in the middle layer, and the third rested on the highest ground, Asgard. The dragon Nidhogg gnawed the cold root in Nifelheim. Up and down Yggdrasil ran the Ratatoskr squirrel, which carried the insults and envious words exchanged between the dragon below and the eagle that clawed at the branches of the tree. Four deer jumped on the highest branches and pinched the leaves. The Heidrun goat grazed the tender shoots. Yggdrasil groaned painfully, but still rose with dignity. He was the most worthy of the trees. He rose above all and was imbued with knowledge of the kingdoms.

The Norns

The Norns, (1889) Johannes Gehrts.

All these hardships would undoubtedly lead to the drying of the tree, but the three Norns made every effort to prevent this. They were giants who ruled the destiny of the people. They were many in number, some malicious, others benevolent. It was up to them whose son would die of a disease, whose would survive the same disease, which woman would die at the birth of her first child, and which would continue to plow and sow in flourishing health after the birth of her twentieth child. . The Norns were present at the birth of each child, and no one could escape the fate they assigned to him. People were convinced that every strange and unusual event was their doing. Three of the Norns – and three beautiful virgins – took care of Yggdrasil, the first being Urd – Fate. The second, Verdandi – Existence. The third, Skuld – The Future. Every day, the three watered Yggdrasil with the purest water from the sacred spring of destiny and bleached its bark with clay from the same spring to shine like brand new, like an eggshell, and to protect it from decay and disease.

Yggdrasil played an important role for the creatures in all the kingdoms of the world. It was he who kept the world whole and for this reason was considered the most sacred place. It was known that the inevitable shaking of Yggdrasil would one day be a sinister event, a harbinger of the approaching end of all we know. In fact, maybe that’s why the nasty dragon Nidhogg was harassing the tree – to put an end to something that would otherwise have lasted forever. At the same time, however, the sight of the stretched up trunk Yggdrasil was able to calm even the most anxious soul.