Yggdrasill World Tree, Nine Realms, Norse Gods

The sacred tree, Yggdrasil lives forever as it is fed from the water of the Well of Urdr, which has healing powers. The dew that falls from its leaves is, according to the myth, the honeydew which feeds bees. Two birds sit under the tree, the original parents of all swans.


It stands in the middle of the world, with branches that stretch out over all of the nine realms. Each realm hangs on its own branch, but if the tree should shake or fall, so will all the realms. Unfortunately, archeologists have failed to uncover any visual images from old Norse ruins or Viking artifacts that could be connected to the world tree. This is not surprising as very few stories from Norse mythology were then turned into images that would survive over time. However, there are signs that the giant ash tree was important to nordic worship. For example, many burial mounds and sites of sacred festivals would have a large, singular ash tree planted in the center for protection and luck.

  • Scholars generally consider Hoddmímis holt, Mímameiðr, and Læraðr to be other names for the tree.
  • In both sources, Yggdrasil is an immense ash tree that is central to the cosmos and considered very holy.
  • Yggr, which is one of Odin’s names and means “the terrifier, the one who strikes all”.
  • It is from this well the swans originate from in Norse mythology.

Naturally, these martyrs hang themselves on the tree, as Odin did in Norse lore. Odin’s sufferings for the sake of humanity—as well as his tormented hanging from the tree—closely resembled Christ’s suffering on the cross in Christian thought and iconography. This resemblance may explain why the Germanic peoples (including the Norse) took to Christianity so readily. Odin sought the knowledge Yggdrasil possessed, and would go to incredible lengths to claim it.

Academics today believe that Mimameior is simply another name for Yggdrasil. The poem refers to the rooster, Vidofnir, which other texts say lives in Yggdrasil, and “Mimir’s Well” is generally thought to rest under the cosmic tree and provide it with healing water. Harr tells him that an eagle sits in the tree, as well as the hawk Vedrfolnir. A squirrel called Ratatoskr also abides, passing messages between the eagle and the dragon, Nidhoggr.

The World Tree, Yggdrasil, was a great ash tree that was a central figure in Norse cosmology. The site where gods would make councils and where the first human laws were created, later played a central role in the story of Odin and even appears at Ragnarok. Yggdrasil is sometimes also known as “the tree of life,” “the center of the nine worlds,” and “the pole of the earth.” Other names were given to Yggdrasil in Norse mythology, including Hoddmimis holt, Mimamidr, and Laeraor. According to the Poem Voluspo (or “Wise Woman’s Prophesy”), the first humans were “Ask and Embla,” the Norse words for ash and elm.

Drasill basically means “horse”, but in a majestic and ceremonial way. Looking for more great information on Norse mythology and religion? While this site provides the ultimate online introduction to the topic, my book The Viking Spirit provides the ultimate introduction to Norse mythology and religion period. I’ve also written a popular list of The 10 Best Norse Mythology Books, which you’ll probably find helpful in your pursuit. Yggdrasil (from Old Norse Yggdrasill) is an immense and central sacred tree in Norse cosmology.

The tree connects all of existence, with its branches reaching up to the heavens and down to the underworld. The tree is mentioned in various Old Norse texts, including the Poetic Edda and the Prose Edda. There was a great tree in Uppsala, Sweden, it had branches that were always stretched around it.

This place is called a “tinget”, and based on how the Nordic society functioned during the Viking Age, this could be compared to a parliament. For instance, in Denmark, the parliament is called “folketinget”, the people’s parliament. Mimir’s well is probably the only great thing in Jotunheim, the rest of it is just a grim place, not much grows here besides trees and grass. But the many rivers are filled with fresh water that seeps down to nourish the roots of the many trees.

(also spelled https://www.gclub.co/vault-of-fortune/l), in Norse mythology, an ash tree, also called the World Tree. Yggdrasil apparently means “the horse of Yggr,” Yggr (Terrible One) being one of the names of the god Odin. This immense, nurturing tree was the central feature and one of the most original creations of Norse cosmology. It supported all the nine realms of the Norse universe, branching out over the entire world and up into heaven. The Prose (or Younger) Edda describes Yggdrasil as the holy place of the gods, where they held court each day as silver drops of dew trickled over the trees leaves.

From under the tree came Norns (maidens) “mighty in wisdom” who gave the people law and order. Under the tree also dwelled the dragon, Nithhogg (“the dread biter”), who would gnaw at the tree’s roots, bringing the destructive elements of the universe to the nine worlds. A mythical and mighty ash tree, Yggdrasil gave structure and definition to the cosmos.

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