Yggdrasil  and the 9 Worlds of Ancient Norse Mythology

Niflheim, Muspelheim, Asgard, Midgard, Jotunheim, Vanaheim, Alfheim, Svartalfheim, Helheim; the nine worlds of Norse Mythology.

In the beginning, only emptiness existed; there was only darkness spread across the cosmos.

Then, ‘miraculously,’ and of nothing, from that primordial void, two strange worlds came into existence.

One of these worlds was made of fire, and another one was made of ice.

These worlds represented the first opposite elements.

Eventually, they began expanding slowly but forcefully.

"The Ash Yggdrasil" (1886) by Friedrich Wilhelm Heine. Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
“The Ash Yggdrasil” (1886) by Friedrich Wilhelm Heine. Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Once both worlds expanded sufficiently, they came into contact with one another, and a massive cosmic cataclysm took place.

Blocks of massive frost and dense fog formed from the ice had been liquefied by the immense power of the event.

From that liquified water, Ymir, the colossal father of the ice giants, was created.

He was so massive that no man could ever conceive it.

However, even bigger than Ymir was the Auðumbla cow, which also came into existence from the same water.

After Auðumbla fed Ymir, the giant being was satiated, falling asleep until he began to sweat.

According to Norse Mythology, from Ymir’s left arm, a man and a woman of the same species were forged. These two beings propagated the lineage of the ice giants.

While this was happening, Auðumbla, the giant cow, licked the salty frost rocks, until little by little, Auðumbla unearthed a human figure.

Auðumbla had discovered Buri, the ancestor of the ancient gods, who would have a son named Bor, who in turn would father Odin, Vili, and Ve.

Odin, Vili, and Ve waged war with the ice giants. They defeated them, killing Ymir.

Using Ymir’s corpse, Odin, Vili, and Ve created the seas, the earth, and the sky.

Eventually, the universe was formed by nine words which we know today as Niflheim, Muspelheim, Asgard, Midgard, Jotunheim, Vanaheim, Alfheim, Svartalfheim, Helheim. 

All nine worlds are contained within the branches and roots of the world tree Yggdrasil. 

Yggdrasil is the immense tree that connects the nine worlds in Norse cosmology.

The first of nine worlds, according to Norse Mythology, is Muspelheim, a world where the air is so hot it is lit on fire. It is known for its massive flame, whose heat is unbearable even for the gods. This world is where the fire giants live.

Niflheim is the second world, according to Norse Mythology. This is a world of eternal ice. It is home to the fountain that feeds all the springs of the universe.

Midgard, aka Middle Earth, is the third world. It is the home of men but is also where the dwarves live. It is also the only world that is completely visible to mankind.

Asgard, the home of the gods, is ruled by the mighty Odin.

Asgard is adorned with immense and beautiful buildings, of which we need to mention Bliskirnir, the castle of Thor; the halls of Valhalla, where honored warriors who die in combat go; and Vingolf, the meeting place for the goddesses. It is also home to the Bifröst, which connects Asgard with the land of men.

Jötunheim is a prison world where the ice giants and stone giants live in total isolation.

Vanaheimr is where the gods associated with fertility, wisdom, and the ability to see the future life.

Alfheim is home to the elves of light.

Svartalfheim is the forbidden underground world in which the evil elves of darkness live.

Helheim is a world home to the dishonorable dead, thieves, and murderers. It is also a place where all of those who the Gods and Goddesses feel is not brave enough to go to Valhalla or Folkvangr send to. This world is ruled by ‘Hel.’

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