Norse Cosmology of Yggdrasil

Norse Cosmology– The Worlds of Yggdrasil
Yggdrasil the world tree, Iceland

This is a very poor drawing that I worked very hard on, my map of Yggdrasil and the Norse cosmology: Muspell, world of fire giants, Alfheim, world of light elves, Asgard, world of the gods, Utgard, world of the giants, Midgard, world of man, Dvergard, world of dark elves, and Niflheim, world of ice and darkness, land of the dead.

Yggdrasil is the tree of life in a constant state death and rebirth– the linchpin that holds all the worlds together.

Three roots from the Cosmic Ash tree drink out of three magical wells: Urdr in Heaven, Mimir in the Midworld, and Hvergelmir in the Underworld.

Bifrost is a burning, rainbow bridge stretching between the upper world, the mid world, and the underworld.

 Jörmungandr “huge monster” is a serpent so large that its body encircles the earth, growing deep beneath the sea.

Norse mythology Jörmungandr
Thor baits the Midgard Serpent with a goat’s head, 17th century Icelandic manuscript

Hræsvelg “corpse-eater” is a giant eagle that perches upon Yggdrasil’s top-most branches. This eagle causes the winds to blow when he beats his wings in flight.

Norse mythology Hræsvelg
Hræsvelg and the hawk, Vedrfolnir, 17th century Icelandic manuscript

Níðhöggr “malice striker” is a great wyrm squirming in the underworld, hatefully gnawing at Yggdrasil’s roots that prevent his escape into the upper worlds.

Norse mythology Nidhogg
Nidhogg gnaws at the roots of Yggdrasil, 17th century

Four stags, Dáinn, Dvalinn, Duneyrr and Duraþrór, chew away at Yggdrasil’s green leaves while Ratatosk “drill-tooth” scurries up and down the trunk delivering insults between Nidhoggr and Hraesvelgr.

Norse mythology, Dáinn, Dvalinn, Duneyrr and Duraþrór
Dáinn, Dvalinn, Duneyrr and Duraþrór, the four stags of Yggdrasil, 17th century
Norse mythology Ratatoskr
Ratatoskr delivers messages from Nidhogg to Hraesvelgr, 17th century

Such were the ideas and beliefs of the ancient Norse people, gleamed from various sagas written long ago during that dark age. Strange as they are, the ideas of an upper world, mid world, and an underworld ring with a familiarity that can be found within many other religions.


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