Discover what is Yggdrasil in Norse Mythology

11/10/2021

     Yggdrasil is known as the "Tree of the worlds" in Norse Mythology, it is where the Nine Worlds such as Alfheim and Jutunheim are located. Know its Meaning and History.

What is Yggdrasil?

     Yggdrasil, in Norse Mythology, is a central and immense sacred tree. Around him is everything else, including the Nine Worlds. Yggdrasil is attested in the Poetic Edda compiled in the 13th century from earlier traditional sources and in the Prose Edda written in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson. In both sources, Yggdrasil is a huge ash tree that is the center of the cosmos and considered very sacred. The gods go to Yggdrasil daily to gather in their traditional government assemblies.

     The branches of Yggdrasil extend to the sky, and the tree is supported by three roots that extend to other locations; one for the Urðarbrunnr well in the heavens, one for the Hvergelmir spring, and one for the Mímisbrunnr well. Creatures live in Yggdrasil, including the dragon Níðhöggr, an unnamed eagle, and the deer Dáinn, Dvalinn, Duneyrr, and Duraþrór.

     Scholars generally consider Hoddmímis holt, Mímameiðr and Læraðr as other names for the tree. The tree is an example of sacred trees and groves in paganism and Germanic mythology, and scholars in the field of Germanic philology have long discussed its implications.

Yggdrasil in the Poetic Edda:

     In the second stanza of the Edda Poética Völuspá, the völva (a shamanic seer) reciting the poem to the god Odin says that she remembers "distant times", being created by jötnar, remembers nine worlds and nine ídiðiur (translated in a variety of ways by the translators - Dronke, for example, gives "nine outbursts of the forest"), and when Yggdrasil was a seed ("glorious tree of good measure, under the earth"). In stanza 19, the volva says:

An ash tree that I know exists,

Yggdrasill is his name,

a tall, covered tree

with shiny clay.

Hence the dew

that falls in the valleys.

It remains forever green on

the well of Urðr.


The Nine Worlds of Norse Mythology

  • Muspelheim, the world of fire. It is represented by Sowilo, the rune of the sun.
  • Niflheim, the eternal ice world. It is represented by Isa, the rune of ice.
  • Jotunheim, the world of rock and ice giants (Jotuns). It is represented by Nauthiz, the rune of necessity.
  • Alfheim, the world of fair elves. It is represented by Dagaz, the rune of the day.
  • Svartalfheim, the world of dark elves. It is represented by Elhaz, the rune of the yew.
  • Helheim, the world of the dead. It is represented by Hagalaz, the hail rune.
  • Vanaheim, the world of the Vanir. It is represented by Ingwaz, the seed rune.
  • Godheim (Asgard), the world of the Æsir. It is represented by Odin, the trade rune.
  • Mannheim (Midgard), the world of men. He is represented by Jera, the rune of the annual cycle.

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