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; only darkness spread across the cosmos. Then, ‘miraculously,’ and of nothing, two strange worlds came into existence from that primordial void. One of these worlds was made of fire, and another was made of ice. These worlds represented the first opposite elements. Eventually, they began expanding slowly but forcefully. Once both worlds expanded sufficiently, they came into contact with one another, and a massive cosmic cataclysm took place. The event’s immense power had liquefied blocks of massive frost and dense fog formed from the ice.


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 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, a man and a woman of the same species were forged from Ymir’s left arm. 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.


Father of Odin

Auðumbla had discovered Buri, the ancestor of the ancient gods, who would have a son named Bor, who 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.


The nine worlds of Norse Mythology

Eventually, the universe was formed by nine words we know today: Niflheim, Muspelheim, Asgard, Midgard, Jotunheim, Vanaheim, Alfheim, Svartalfheim, and 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. According to Norse Mythology, the first of nine worlds 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.

Midgard, our home

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 humankind. Asgard, the home of the gods, is ruled by the mighty Odin. Asgard is adorned with immense and beautiful buildings. Furthermore, we need to mention Bliskirnir, Thor’s castle; the halls of Valhalla, where honored warriors who die in combat go; and Vingolf, the meeting place for the goddesses. Also, it is 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 are 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 where the evil elves of darkness live. Helheim is home to the dishonorable dead, thieves, and murderers. It is also a place where all of those who the Gods and Goddesses feel are not brave enough to go to Valhalla or Folkvangr send to. This world is ruled by ‘Hel.’


PLEASE READ: Have something to add? Visit Curiosmos on Facebook. Join the discussion in our mobile Telegram group. Also, follow us on Google News. Interesting in history, mysteries, and more? Visit Ancient Library’s Telegram group and become part of an exclusive group.

Written by Ivan Petricevic

I've been writing passionately about ancient civilizations, history, alien life, and various other subjects for more than eight years. You may have seen me appear on Discovery Channel's What On Earth series, History Channel's Ancient Aliens, and Gaia's Ancient Civilizations among others.

Write for us

We’re always looking for new guest authors and we welcome individual bloggers to contribute high-quality guest posts.

Get In Touch