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 Creation of Norse Mythology

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Number of posts : 1300
Registration date : 2008-09-26
Age : 27
Location : Behind you

PostSubject: Creation of Norse Mythology   Tue Jun 15, 2010 1:12 pm

When Ymir lived long ago
Was no sand or sea, no surging waves.
Nowhere was there earth nor heaven above.
Bur a grinning gap and grass nowhere.

- Völuspá-The Song of the Sybil

Creation of the World
In Norse mythology there are 9 worlds that are divided among three levels:

Upper level

  • Asgard (Aesir, the land of the gods),
  • Alfheim (elves),
  • Vanaheim (Vanir),

Middle Level

  • Midgard (men),
  • Jotunheim (giants),
  • Svartalfaheim (dark-elves),
  • Nithavellir (dwarves),

Lower Level

  • Muspelheim (fire, a bright, flaming, hot world in the southern region), and
  • Niflheim (the dead, the lowest level)

all held together by the world tree, Ygdrasil. But the nine worlds and Ygdrasil were not there in the beginning.

World of Fire and Ice
Originally there was a chasm, Ginnungagap, bounded on either side by
fire (from the world known as Muspelheim) and ice (from the world known
as Niflheim). When fire and ice met, they combined to form a giant,
named Ymir, and a cow, named Audhumbla (Auðhumla), who nourished Ymir.
She survived by licking the salty ice blocks. From her licking emerged
Bur (Búri), the grandfather of the Aesir. Ymir, father of the frost
giants, employed equally unusual procreative techniques. He sweated a
male and a female from under his left arm.

Odin Kills Ymir
Odin, the son of Bur's son Borr, killed Ymir. The blood pouring out
of the giant's body killed all the frost giants Ymir had created,
except Bergelmir. From Ymir's dead body, Odin created the world. Ymir's
blood was the sea; his flesh, the earth; his skull, the sky; his bones,
the mountains; his hair, the trees. The new Ymir-based world was
Midgard. Ymir's eyebrow was used to fence in the area where mankind
would live. Around Midgard was an ocean where a serpent named
Jormungand lived. He was big enough to form a ring around Midgard by
putting his tail in his mouth.

From Ymir's body grew an ash tree named Yggdrasil (the world tree in Norse mythology. Odin hung on Yggdrasil for nine days to gain wisdom.)<blockquote> whose branches covered the known world and supported the
universe. Ygdrasil had three roots going to each of the 3 levels of the
world. Three springs supplied it with water. One root went into Asgard,
the home of the gods, another went into the land of the giants,
Jotunheim, and a third went to that primeval world of ice, darkness,
and the dead, known as Niflheim. In Jotunheim's spring, Mimir, lay
wisdom. In Niflheim, the spring nourished the adder Nidhogge (darkness)
who gnawed at the roots of Ygdrasil.

The Three Norns
The spring by the Asgard root was cared for by the 3 Norns, goddesses of fate:

  • Urdur (the past)
  • Verdandi (the present), and
  • Skuld (the future).

Types of Gods
The Norse gods are divided into two major groups, the Aesir and Vanir,
in addition to the giants who came first. Some believe the Vanir gods
represent an older pantheon of the indigenous people whom the invading
Indo-Europeans encountered. In the end, the Aesir, the newcomers,
overcame and assimilated the Vanir. Georges Dumezil (1898-1986) thought
the pantheon reflected the typical pattern of Indo-European gods where
different divine factions hold different societal functions:

  1. military,
  2. religious, and
  3. economic.
Odin and Thor divide the functions of the religious and secular leaders; Tyr is the warrior god, and the Vanir, the producers.<blockquote class="yes">
Norse Gods and Goddesses - Vanir

or Hermo

Norse Gods and Goddesses - Aesir


The Gods' Home
</blockquote>Norse gods don't live on Mt. Olympus,
but their abode is separate from that of humans. The world is a
circular disk, in the center of which is a concentric circle surrounded
by sea. This central portion is Midgard (Miðgarðr), the home of
mankind. Across the sea is the home of the giants, Jotunheim, also
known as Utgard. The gods' home lies above Midgard in Asgard (Ásgarðr).
Hel lies below Midgard in Niflheim. Snorri Sturluson said Asgard was in
the middle of Midgard because, in his Christianization of the myths, he
believed the gods were only ancient kings worshiped after the fact as
gods. Other accounts place Asgard across a rainbow bridge from Midgard.

The Gods' Death

The Norse gods are not immortal in the normal sense. In the end, they
and the world will be destroyed because of the actions of the evil or
mischievous god Loki who, for now, endures Promethean
chains. Loki is the son or brother of Odin, but only through adoption.
In reality he is a giant (Jotnar), one of the sworn enemies of the
Aesir. It is the Jotnar who will find the gods at Ragnarok and bring
about the end of the world.

Nine Worlds of Norse Mythology

The Nine Worlds in Norse mythology were:

Ragnarok was the end of the world in Norse mythology. It meant the end
of most of the Norse gods and goddesses. Beginning with a three-year
winter, Ragnarok ended with a battle among the gods, giants, and the
dead heroes from Valhalla. Two humans hiding in the world tree
Yggdrasil, came down after the battle to repopulate the world.

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