This week: The Nine Worlds in Norse MythologyEdited by: ~Minja~
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Yggdrasil is a mythical tree that plays a central role in Norse cosmology, where it connects the Nine Worlds. The Nine Worlds are arrayed around it and held together by its branches and roots, which connect the various parts of the cosmos to one another. Because of this, the well-being of the cosmos depends on the well-being of Yggdrasil. When the tree trembles, it signals the arrival of , the destruction of the universe.
estern civilization is somewhat familiar with Norse mythology if only through the famous Marvel's interpretations of Norse Gods such as Thor, Loki, and Odin, and their homeland Asgard but, of course, their stories and duties go beyond those we saw in Marvel movies or read in comic books. My interest in the most famous Norse Gods started when I saw the TV show "Vikings" on the History Channel and, since then, I've been reading about them around the internet. A few weeks ago, someone in our book recommendations Facebook group posted about how great Neil Gaiman's Norse Mythology book is so I added it to my shelf in a reading app. I finished it a few nights ago and would recommend it to anyone who is interested to find out more, whether you are familiar with Norse mythology or a total newbie to it.
In one of my previous newsletters, I mentioned that I live in a Slavic country therefore I've always had tendencies toward mythology since I grew up listening and reading about our own. Since I can't cover all topics and myths in only one newsletter, today I am only going to bring you an insight into the Nine Worlds which are, trust me, a great source of inspiration for a lot of authors out there.
Asgard (Old Norse:Ásgarðr)
Whether you are familiar with Norse mythology or not, I'm sure you've heard of Asgard. Asgard is the home of the Gods and Goddesses and is ruled by Odin and his wife Frigg. The male Gods in Asgard are called Aesir, and the female Gods are called Asynjur. Some of the most popular features of Asgard are the rainbow bridge that connects Asgard with Midgard (home of humans) and Valhalla which is the place where most of the Vikings who died in the battle will go for the afterlife.
Midgard (Old Norse:Miðgarðr)
Midgard, or middle earth, is located in the middle of the Yggdrasil and is inhabited by humans. The world is surrounded by the impassable ocean where the sea serpent (Midgard Serpent) lives. According to the "Prose Edda", Odin took Loki's three children by Angrboða—the wolf Fenrir, Hel, and Jörmungandr—and tossed Jörmungandr into the great ocean that encircles Midgard. The serpent grew so large that it was able to surround the Earth and grasp its own tail. The myth says that when the monster releases its tail, Ragnarök will begin.
Vanaheim (Old Norse:Vanaheimr)
Vanaheim is the home of the old Gods known as Vanir Gods and nobody knows where exactly it's located nor how it looks like. The Vanir are masters of sorcery and magic. They are also widely acknowledged for their talent to predict the future. When the war between Vanir and Aesir ended, three of the Vanir came to live in Asgard: Freya, Freyr, and Njord.
Jotunheim (Old Norse:Jötunheimr)
Jotunheim is the world of giants who are sworn enemies of the Aesir. They are constantly going back and forth with fights but sometimes love interest occurs between both worlds. For instance, Loki—one of the most famous Gods in Norse Mythology—is born from the love affair between Odin and a giant but he was accepted to live on Asgard. Jotunheim is separated from Asgard by the river Iving, which never freezes over. It lies in the snowy regions on the outermost shores of the ocean and mostly consists of rocks, wilderness, and dense forests.
Niflheim (Old Norse:Niðavellir)
Niflheim is the oldest of the nine worlds and means Mist World. It is the darkest and coldest region in the world according to Norse mythology. The eldest of the three wells are located in Niflheim which is called Hvergelmir who is protected by the huge dragon called Nidhug. The well Hvergelmir is the origin of all living and the place where every living being will go back.
Muspelheim (Old Norse:Múspellsheimr)
Opposite of Nifleheim is Muspelheim. It is a burning hot place, filled with lava, flames, sparks, and soot. Muspelheim is the home of fire giants, fire demons, and is ruled by the giant Surtr who is a sworn enemy to Aesir. During Ragnarök, Surtr will ride out with a flaming sword in his hand, attack Asgard, and turn it into a flaming world.
Alfheim (Old Norse:Álfheimr)
Alfheim is a world very similar to heaven. There live beautiful light elves who are considered to be guardian angels. They are minor Gods of fertility and nature who often deliver inspiration to art or music. Their ruler is Freyr.
Svartalfheim (Old Norse:Svartálfaheimr)
Svartalfheim is the world of dwarves who live under a rock and in caves. The dwarves are masters of craftsmanship. They offered many powerful gifts to the Gods of Asgard. Probably, one of the most famous gifts is Thor's hammer, known as Mjölnir.
Helheim (Old Norse: Helheim)
Helheim is the place similar to hell where all the dishonorable dead, thieves, murderers go. It is said to be a very cold and grim place and everyone who enters there will never experience joy and happiness again. Helheim is ruled by the evil Godesses Hel who will use her dead army to attack Gods and Goddesses on Asgard during Ragnarök.
Until next time, skål!
Excerpt: As Óðin lifted his own, his flesh and blood, his son,
and set him on the bed of fire,
he bent down and whispered to the departing soul -
"go in peace, my son, but for Loki have no ire".
Excerpt: "Yes, it's my responsibility to destroy those who would dishonour the members of house Klaus!" Shouted Ryner as he drew his kafar from his waist. "Release, Fang orge!" Cast Ryner as a tornado of white magical energy swirled around the kafar and a long black blade emerged. The black blade got wider as you moved from its hilt to its tip and it was serrated with seven silver fangs across its length.
Excerpt: Crashing against the Rocky Mountains
charcoal clouds promise hope
against rising temperatures
and the expanding drought.
Excerpt: Val sat at the ship’s bow upon several large piles of stores. There were sacks of grain, fruit, and vegetables; barrels of mead and various weapons and tools. In minutes, the ship was in open sea and a strong wind popped and pulled the sails tautly. The chilling ocean breeze invaded Val’s cloak and bit at her reddened cheeks. She felt she needed three sets of hands to keep the flaps of her cape from revealing her inner most beauty. The sky hung low on the horizon, black as a cauldron and brewing up an ocean storm.
They sailed straight for it.
Excerpt: Konrad almost missed Knut’s swift movements. The man on the left gripped his sword and his throat bloomed bright red. He went down, gurgling, sword still in its scabbard and Knut whirled to face his companion. Steel glimmered as the second man’s sword tried to bite Knut’s head off. Knut stepped under it and his dagger found the thug’s lung through his exposed armpit. He also went down, blood bubbling from his mouth.
Konrad finally found a loose fence post and hefted it like a club, but Mogens had backed away.
“You will pay for this, bastard!” he roared, and hurried off.
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