Saturday, February 14, 2015

Introduction to Norse Mythology

v     Norse mythology isn't just from Norway. It comes from Scandinavia, including Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Denmark.


v     Norse mythology begins with fire and ice. Muspellsheimr was a world of fire, and Niflheimr was a world of ice. When these two worlds mixed, it created the first Jötunn, a giant named Ymir. Ymir created the first people, Ask and Embla, and he also made other giants.

v     Another god came from this mix of fire and ice, named Búri. He had three sons: Óðinn, Vili and Vé. These three sons killed Ymir and all the other jötnar, except Sól and Máni, the sun and moon.

v     But they didn't kill people. Instead they gave us gifts.

            Óðinn gave us souls.
            Vili gave us intelligence (more would be nice)
            Vé gave us speech, hearing, and sight.

v     These three brothers also created the Earth, from Ymir's body. From his body they made land, and from his blood they made seas and lakes. They made mountains from his bones, and used his skull to hold up the sky.

v     They also put the sun and moon in chariots to circle around the world. To keep them at top speed, Óðinn created two giant wolves to chase them: Hati and Sköll.

v     After building the Earth, Óðinn and his brothers built the palacial world of Ásgarðr. It includes these halls:

            Válaskjálf - Óðinn's hall, from which he can see everywhere.
            Gimli - a golden hall for the souls of good people.
            Valhalla - a hall for the souls of warriors killed in battle.
            Bifröst - the rainbow bridge to get in and out of Ásgarðr. It's guarded by the god Heimdall.

The Universe:

v     From fire and ice also came a cosmic "world tree" named Yggdrasil. It connects nine different worlds together, one being Earth. These nine worlds include:

            Ásgarðr - homeworld of the gods, the Æsir.
            Alfheimr - home of the light elves.
            Jötunheimr - home of the jötnar, the first gods, giants who competed with the Æsir.
            Vanaheimr - home of the vanir, another group of gods who compete with the Æsir.
            Miðgarðr - the Earth, at the center of all the other worlds.
            Muspelheimr - world of fire.
            Niflheimr - the world of mist and cold, home of the Hrímthursar, or frost giants.
            Svartálfar - world of the dökkálfar, or dark elves, and dwarves
            Helheimr - the world of the dead

v     The world tree is cared for by three goddesses called the Norn. When they water it, whatever water falls below becomes rain.

v     There's a giant eagle at the top of the tree. When it flaps its wings, that's where wind comes from.

v     At the bottom of the tree a dragon named Niðhǫggr eats at the tree.

Norse mythology includes a prophecy of a great battle in which many gods will be killed, the worlds will all burn, and then be reborn. Two people will be left to repopulate everything - like Adam and Eve in the Bible.

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