Norse Mythology

In the beginning

In the beginning

From the very beginning there was nothing, just a seemingly almost endless chasm called Ginnungagap. Below Ginnungagap was Nifelheim, cold and dark world covered with ice and snow. On the other side of Ginnungagap were Muspellheim, a place of fire. When the ice from the north and sparks of fire from the south met and mingled in Ginnungagap, the ice began to thaw.

Ymir (First primeval giant) and Buri (First primeval god)

Ymir and Buri

Out of drop of water Ymir, a primeval giant was born. The frost-giants called him Aurgelmir, but everyone else called him Ymir. Ymir became father of a race of frost-giants. Ymir was the father of six-headed son that was nourished by a cosmic cow called Audumla. Audumla fed herself by licking the salty rime-stone, until that stone was licked into a shape of man. This stone-man was named Buri and he was the first primeval god. Buri was the father of Borr.

Odin, Vili and Ve (First Aesir gods)

Borr married the giantess Bestla, the daughter of the frost-giant Boltha. And they became the parents of the first Aesir gods Odin, Vili and Ve. Odin and his brothers then used Ymir’s body to create the universe. This universe comprises of nine worlds. They placed the body over Ginnungagap. They used his flesh for creating the earth and his blood for the sea. His skull, held up by four dwarves (Nordri, Sudri, Austri, and Vestri), was used to create the heaven. Then using sparks from Muspelheim, the gods created the sun, moon and stars. While Ymir’s eyebrows were used to create a place where the human race could live in, a place called Midgard.

Ask and Embla (The first humans)

The three bothers Odin, Vili and Ve were strolling together on a beach. As they were walking they found two nice looking logs. One seemed to be from the Ash tree and the other seemed to come from an Elm tree. Odin blew the gift of life and spirit into the logs. From Vili they received movement, mind and intelligence. Ve gave them shape, speech, feelings and the five senses. The first two humans had been created, Ask and Embla.

Yggdrasil and the Nine Worlds

Yggdrasil

The Vikings believed that the cosmos was held together by a giant tree, Yggdrasil. It was said to be the world tree around which the nine worlds existed. Its name is generally considered to mean “Ygg’s (Odin’s) horse”. There are nine worlds that are divided among three levels.

⇒ In the upper level was Asgard (home of the Aesir), Alfheim (Light-elves) and Vanaheim (home of the Vanir).

⇒ In the middle Level was Midgard (The Earth), Jotunheim (Giants), Svartalfaheim (Dark-elves) and Nidavellir (Dwarves).

⇒ In the lower Level was Muspelheim (world of fire) and Niflheim (world of cold).

At the very top of Yggdrasil there lived an giant eagle named Hraesvelg. And down by the roots of the tree lived a dragon named Nidhug. The eagle and the dragon were bitter enemies. A squirrel named Ratatosk, was spending a lot of time each day, running up and down the tree. Ratatosk did whatever he could, to keep the hatred between the eagle and the dragon alive.

There was tree Norns who lived at the well of Urd. Their names were Urd (past), Verdani (present) and Skuld (future). The three Norns was the goddesses of fate. They spent most of their time spinning the threads of life, deciding the fate of every human, animal and god.

The Sun and Moon

A man from Midgard, named Mundilfari, had two beautiful children. His son called Máni (the Moon) and his daughter Sol (the Sun). Sol and Máni rode across the sky in chariots. Sol was pulled over the sky by two horses Arvakr (Very strong) and Alsvin (Very quick). A shield “Svalin”, in Sol’s chariot protected Sol from the sun. Máni was pulled by one horse Aldsvider. Máni stole two children from Midgard, to help him drive his chariot, their names were Bil and Yuki.

Day and Night

A Jotun/Giant named Norve had a daughter named Nótt (Night). She was swarthy and dark, the goddess of the night. Nótt married three times. Her third husband was Delling. Delling was one of the Aesir and he was often considered the personified dawn.

Nótt and Delling had a son. His name was Dagr (Day). He was extremely handsome. Dagr was as light as his mother was dark.

Odin put Nótt and Dagr in the sky. They each received a horse and chariot. They travelled continuously around the world. Nótt rode first and was followed by her son Dagr. Nótt was driving ahead with her horse Hrimfaxi. And behind her was Dagr driving his horse Skinfaxi.

Ragnarok

Ragnarok was the doom of the gods and the humans. It would be the final battle between the Aesir and Giants.