A Blog on Mythology and occasionally on Reality.

This is a Blog on Mythology, both Indian and World and especially the analysis of the myths.

In effect, the interpretation of the inherent Symbolism.


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Norse Mythology – Yggdrasill, the World Tree

Yggdrasill or the World Tree is a tree which supports the universe, with its roots connecting the nine Nordic worlds. Notable amongst all the worlds are Asgard, Valhalla, Midgard and Hel. Besides the worlds, there are three wells too. Before we move ahead, let us understand the worlds as per the tree.

Asgard was the home of the Gods. The only entrance to the Asgard was                        thru the “Rainbow Bridge”. The red arc in the rainbow stood for burning fire – to                               make it impassable for the Giants, since they were made of Frost and also known as the Frost Giants. Asgard was home to all gods and goddesses and each one had his or her own palace. Amongst all the halls in Asgard, the most important of all was Valhalla.

Valhalla is Odin’s hall in Asgard and is considered to be the best one in. Valhalla literally means the “Hall of Heroes”. The brave warriors who died in battle were brought here by the Valkyries (women warriors who served Odin) after death, which is considered to be an honour. In Valhalla, Odin dined with the warriors. The warriors were kept here for the final war called the Ragnarok, where only the brave would participate. (Ragnarok is a separate chapter altogether and will be discussed separately). The description of Valhalla is also very beautiful.

Valhalla had overlapping shields for a roof, held up by the spear-shafts as rafters. There were 540 doors. And from each of the door, eight hundred warriors could enter or leave the hall. Instead of torch-fires, the light in the great hall were lit by the glowing blades of swords. Mail shirts were strewn on the benches. In front of the western doors, there hanged a wolf. Hovering above Valhalla was a single eagle. There was also a tree standing in front of the doors of Valhalla; the tree had red-gold foliage.

Midgard was the dwelling of the Mankind. According to the Nordic Mythology, man was made from tree trunks and the Askr and Embla were the first man and woman, respectively. Odin had bestowed them with the gift of breath, Hoenir (another god) gave them understanding and the god Lodur gave them senses and outer appearance.

Hel or Niflhel was considered to be the land of the dead.

Besides the worlds, there were three wells. The significance of water is explained through different wells. One of them was considered to be a holy well water from which was used to water the Tree to avoid from the rotting of its roots. The other was the Well of Knowledge and as we have seen earlier, Odin had to pay with his eye to have a drink from this well. The third well was known as the Roaring Kettle, where a giant serpent which was continuously chewing at the root of the Tree, leading to its ultimate collapse during Ragnarok. This serpent was at constant war with the eagle at top of the tree. This eagle was extremely wise and fuelling the constant war was a squirrel that would keep going up and down the Tree delivering messages between the two to keep them at a constant war!

The concept of a tree at the centre of universe and the deep roots holding on to the worlds and every iota of existence is a beautiful thought. This is quite similar to the other cultures which consider a tree to be nourishing and life-giving. The details of Yggdrasill is covered in the poems is in great details, and the above is a gist of just a few of the important aspects of the same.

Tomorrow we will discuss the myth of the Construction of Wall of Asgard where we will read about the role of Loki, the trickster.


  1. How wonderfully symbolised. lot of simillarities with our mythology, except the seperate place for heros, our swarg consist of heros and gods together.

  2. This is beautiful