Yggdrasil: The world tree
In Norse mythology, the cosmos is supported by a giant tree that connects different independent spaces together with its gray branches. This mighty tree is Yggdrasil (Old Norse Yggdrasill or Askr Yggdrasils) which is the core of the Norse mythology as all the stories happen around the tree. The nine worlds are connected by Yggdrasil’s branches and roots, which interact and depend on each other. In the legend, there is a giant dragon at the bottom of the World Tree, named Nidhogg, who gnaws at the roots of the World Tree day and night in an attempt to knock it down. But the growth rate of the big tree is exactly the same as the gnawing speed of the dragon, and the universe has reached a wonderful balance. If this balance is disturbed, the universe will be destroyed.
Yggdrasil doesn't seem to have an origin. In the Prose Edda, a compendium of Norse myth, we get to know that a variety of beings that live in and around the tree, and how its three roots extend across the universe, but nothing about how it came to be. It’s reasonable to assume that the tree has already existed since the cosmos is created and survived after the Ragnarök（the battle between the giants and the gods).
The Yggdrasil consists of 9 realms and is divided into 3 parts. The upper part includes Asgard, Alfheim and Muspellheim. The middle part includes Midgard, Vanaheim and Nidavellir. The lower part includes Jothuheim, Heim Underworld and Niflheim.
The Nine Realms
- Asgard: Home of the Aesir and the Kingdom of God, such as Odin and Thor. It is also the location of the Valhalla where the dead souls stayed. Among those, the largest palace is the Odin’s Gladsheim. Unlike Earth, Asgard floats within space and has no identified season.
- Alfheim: Country of the elves that are ruled by the Vanir god Freyr. The elves were born especially beautiful and possessed great mana. They take care of flowers and plants. However, the creatures in Alfeim are also differentiated into two races: the light elves and the dark elves.
- Muspelheim: Home of Fire Giants. The army was led by Surtr, who attack and fight against the gods in the Ragnarok and burn the planet in the end.
- Midgard: The Earth where human lives. It is below the Asgard and connected to Asgard by Bifrost, the Rainbow Bridge which is composed of ice, fire, and air.
- Vanaheim: The home of the Vanir. It’s the place where a set of gods are know for their knowledge and ability of prediction. They are masters of magic and sorcery and knows many mysterious spells that even Odin doesn’t know for they are the old branch of Gods.
- Nidavellir: Realm of the Dwarves. Gnomes are great craftsmen, who possess all sorts of mystical powers and profound knowledge to forge many weapons and treasures.
- Jothuheim: Country of the giants. They are the sworn enemies of the Aesir. Jotunheim consists mostly of rocks, wilderness, and dense forests, and it lies in the snowy regions on the outermost shores of the ocean. They are isolated and unable to cross the realm due to the ocean that divided their lands from Midgard and Asgard. In the end, they also take part in the battle and destroy the world.
- Heim: Realm of the disreputable dead or who die of illness. The kingdom with the same name as Hel, which was the space for the dead, was especially for all the disreputable dead, thieves, murderers, and those who are not brave enough to go to Valhalla. It was a cold and foggy place, and a place of eternal night, only accessible to the dead.
- Niflheim: Realm of ice and mist. It is the place where located in the northernmost part of the whole universe making it the coldest and darkest place. Hel, the daughter of Loki, is the goddess of death who made Niflheim her home. Her subjects were the rotting wraiths who had been sinners and criminals when they were alive.
In conclusion, Yggdrasil, the world tree in the Norse Mythology, represents the cycle of life, death, and rebirth. When the world is destroyed in the Ragnarok, a man and a woman keep their lives by hiding in the tree hole. And their show up means the beginning of the new world. Yggdrasil can be recognized as the tree of knowledge and represents wisdom. Odin got the runes to create words, by hanging himself under the Yggdrasil. And Odin sacrificed his right eye to drink the spring water of Yggdrasil to get the wisdom. Therefore, the world tree has also become a symbol of "knowledge", representing the wisdom to make the right choices in the future.
The Yggdrasil is a highly spiritual symbol from Norse culture, which represents not only how everything in the universe is connected but also how to get wisdom with hard work. Today many people get a tattoo or wear the jewelry of Yggdrasil to enhance their inner faith.
If you are also interested in Yggdrasil jewelry, check below exclusive promo code only available at Wethrift: