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Rated: E · Novella · Mythology · #2304696
Norse Mythology - A Tale of the World Tree and the Nine Realms
Yggdrasil and the Nine Worlds

Listen, children, and listen well
For I’ve a tale that I would tell
A tale of the worlds and of a tree,
That holds the nine worlds, even you and me!
In its branches, each world this tree does hold-
This special tree, one most ancient and old
So listen now, and listen well.

When Odin and his brothers killed the Giant Ymir and created more worlds, he didn’t just create the world we live on, called Midgard. He created seven of them, forming a giant tree called Yggdrasil, which holds these worlds in its branches and roots with the two worlds which were there before he created them. Each world is home to a different sort of being, like the Gods and the Giants and us. Now the gods can go between realms, so let’s ask them to help us and see if they’ll let us take a trip through the nine worlds and explore!

First is Niflheim: The Ice World.
Niflheim is a frozen world. Here, the air is filled with cold mists and even colder fog, the land itself covered deep in ice. If you look around, you’ll see all the colors that ice can be when old and deep: It is every shade of blue, green, gray and white imaginable. Niflheim and Muspelhiem were the first worlds, and were there before Odin created the others. Between the two worlds stretched the Ginungagap, the void. In Niflheim is the well from which all the rivers flow, called Hvergelmir, and it is so cold the river has frozen into waves. This water eventually reaches towards the Ginungagap and the fire world, Muspelheim, where it melts. As the world tree Yggdrasil grew, it stretched its roots down into this river for its water. In Niflheim, the huge frost Giants roam – huge beings of ice and snow whose heads touch the sky! Let’s go, before they find us!

Muspelhiem: The Fire Giants
Another of the original worlds, Muspelheim is a world all of fire and lava. Here the air is filled with ash and soot; be careful not to breathe any in! It’s very, very hot here, as you can imagine; it feels like the sun itself! You wouldn’t think anything could live in such heat, but here Giants dwell too: massive forms of lava and fire walk over the burning rock of the world. One of them, called Surtr, will one day attack and destroy Asgard….
Quick, let’s get to safety!

Asgard: Home of The Gods
Ah! Safe – at least, for now! Here in Asgard, we walk with the Gods themselves! Here Odin, All-Father, himself dwells with his wife Frigga; just past that wall and those gates there, you’ll see their hall, Valhalla! When a warrior dies who has fought to his last breath, exhausting all his strength and fighting harder than anyone could imagine, he is either chosen to go here to Valhalla with Odin or dwell with Freya in her hall, Folkvangr. Either is an incredible mark of honor; it is not easy to be chosen to live here among the gods!
You and I, we have had a glimpse of something reserved for the Gods and a chosen, rare few, so onward we must move!

Midgard: Our Home
Midgard was created by Odin and his brothers, Vili and Ve from the body of a Giant named Ymir, and then they created us! They created us from an ash tree and an elm tree they found. Between our world and Asgard stretches the Rainbow Bridge, the Bifrost. All around Midgard is a huge, impassable space – in this space dwells Jormungandr, the Midgard Serpent, a child of the God Loki and Giantess Angrboda. Their serpent child grew huge – so huge he terrified the Aesir, who then cast him into the space surrounding Midgard. But he grew SO huge, he ringed the whole world, biting his own tail. But we know Midgard, don’t we! Let’s move on!

Jotunheim: Home of the Giants
Giants are called Jotun by the Norse. The giants here are neither frost nor fire giants, like in Niflheim or Muspelheim, but a power unto themselves. Here the giants can be peaceful and friends of the gods, and or they can be their enemies. It depends on the Giant. The Gods have even had children with the gods, and from Jotunheim came the god Loki, who became the sworn brother of Odin himself and accepted by the Aesir. Jotunheim is a land of massive mountains and huge rivers, here as we follow the root of Yggdrasil down past Midgard through the void. In Jotunheim, we’ll find the God Mimir and the Well of Wisdom he looks over, a well whose waters of knowledge even Odin desires – but that’s a story for another day! Let’s move on!

Vanaheim: Home of the Vanir
This is the home of the Vanir tribe of gods. This is a very old, old tribe of gods, who are masters of sorcery and magick! Nobody knows exactly where Vanaheim is or how it looks; the Vanir hide it to protect it, so we’re very, very lucky to see this sight indeed! Freya must have had a good word for us today! Here we see rolling fields and forests and rivers teeming with life – beautiful purple mountains rise in the distance. The air is filled with the scent of rich, warm earth. Here, the world is ripe and gold and bountiful – their old magic keeps this land happy, and healthy and beautiful. But this land is protected – let’s move on!

Alfheim: Home of the Elves
Here is perhaps the most beautiful world of them all, and here dwell the light elves, the Alfar. Beautiful creatures, their magicks are of nature – they can help us, or they can trouble us. Here, the world is filled with light and music and beauty; gentle breezes stir the golden leaves on the trees, the air filled with the scent of the woods. This place is too perfect for us; we don’t belong here. Let’s move on!

Svartalfheim: Home of the Dwarves
This is a world of caves and rocks. The people here, the Svartalfr or as we know them Dwarves, dwell in caves and the underground. Its king is Hreidmar. Svartalfheim means “Dark Fields”, and the dwarves are master craftsmen. They make such nice things, that clever Loki himself sought their aid for special gifts for the Gods. They made many wondrous gifts indeed, including Odin’s spear, Thor’s hammer and his wife Sif’s beautiful hair – but that too is a tale for another time. Let’s move on!

Helheim: Home of the Dead
Uh-oh! We’re not dead yet, so let’s not stay here long, shall we? We’re living beings, and we will be truly lucky to come back from the land of the dead! Here, the world itself changes – sometimes it is peaceful and quiet; a place of rest and calm, healing. Sometimes, it is punishment; those who have done bad things in their life. Sometimes, however, it is a cold place of shifting mists; a place of in-between, of waiting. Hela, a daughter of Loki, is Queen of this realm, by edict of Odin All-Father himself. One side of her body is black and dead, terrible and cold, but on her other side, she is a beautiful, kind and warm woman. Which side you see, is up to you.
Most people who die end up here in Hela’s realm; but if you died honorably and well, here is a place of rest and healing. If you were a bad person, though, there is a special corner reserved for you – and it is not nice at all.

Let’s ask Lady Hela nicely if she’ll let us go back to our own world….

Well now. What is this we see? This isn’t home! Instead, it seems Hela has shown us something else! Instead of Midgard, we see the whole World Tree, Yggdrasil itself, all the worlds among its branches and its roots! But why didn’t she take us home? Well, She is a daughter of Loki, after all, and there must be more we can learn!
Ah, indeed- look there, on the trunk! Do you see that? A squirrel! That’s Ratatoskr, and he carries messages between the roots of Yggdrasil and the top of the tree, where lives an enormous Eagle, and the hawk Vethfolnir! And look! There’s a deer, called Dain, eating the leaves! But look down! Look at that! See the dragon, Nithogr? He dwells among Yggdrasil’s roots, and eats them. But as everything has a beginning, so must things end, and that’s Nithogr’s job. But hold on just a moment… I believe it’s time we went home…
Ah…Lady Hela, is there anything else?
Whew! Thank you, Hela, and thanks be to all the gods! Here we are, back safe in Midgard. And here, for now, our journey ends….
I do hope you have had fun! Thanks for coming along!

And that concludes our tale! For the children at heart – if you liked this, please follow the channel, and find Hrafnarfjall Hearthside on Facebook! Don’t forget to check out our Patreon hall, here on Midgard! https://www.patreon.com/HrafnarfjallHearthside. See you there!
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