“Nine worlds I knew, the nine in the tree, With mighty roots, beneath the mold” – The Poetic Edda Vol. 1

In Ancient Norse cosmology, Yggdrasill was born from a seed – fyr mold neðan that grew into the living World Tree with a supernatural invisible root system that connects to the Axis Mundi or the world cosmos creating the Order of the World of which the Gods, heroes, men, and women are not only literally born from it, their fates and destinies are also entwined. We learn about Yggdrasill introduced by Vǫluspá (“Sibyl’s Prophecy”), through the Poetic Eddas which were written by an anonymous source in approximately the 11th-12th centuries.

Poems like Vǫluspá (“Sibyl’s Prophecy”) tell us the Norse cosmogonic history of nature, mold, the gods, men, and dwarfs, from the metaphysical birth of the world through a seed found in mold, which grew into the World Tree creating life, order, death, and ultimately, the world’s destruction. We are introduced to the Norse All-Father who is a divine magician and master of war, Odin and his sons Thor, the god of thunder, and Loki representing the forces of chaos and destruction. Other prominent characters include Balder (Baldr) and Frey (Freyr) and Freya (Freyja).

We are told, at the beginning of time, Yggdrasill had lain as a seed fyr mold neðan (Völuspá 2). The Tree has three roots, which shoot down in three directions (Grímnismál 31). Its middlemost root stands over Mimir’s well which is located “where Ginnungagap once was” (þar er forðum var Ginnungagap, Gylfaginning 15), that is to say, in the middle of the primeval space, with Niflheim on one side and the warm region on the other.

Within Yggdrasill are three special world wells or reservoirs containing special fluids called; Hvergelmir, the northerly; Mimir’s well, the middlemost; and Urd’s well, the southerly. The roots of the world tree extend up out of these waters. The most middle part, Mimir’s well contained special properties such as the most prized of the Gods – mead which contained a special creative force, wisdom, and ecstasy.

The Poetic Eddas tell us of the Nine Worlds and that the Holy Races of humanity come deep within Yggdrasill – “beneath the mold.”

These references to Yggdrasill ain as a seed fyr mold neðan with its roots “beneath the mold” and its most special substance of mead can help us identify the true meaning of the Norse concept of Yggdrasill. Something that has never been detailed by historians, scholars, and or researchers who seem to miss or gloss over the fact that “mold and decay” are the key factors that I believe can help us identify the Norse concept of Yggdrasill, which I have found is a latter more developed version of the Ancient Greek concepts of Tartarus.

I believe that as the Greek concept of Tartarus, the Norse Yggdrasill is a metaphysical World Tree that is what we would call today mold or fungus whose filaments and mycelium permeate all living beings and nature as they work in concert with the earth’s magnetic biosphere.

According to the story of Yggdrasill, it acts as a supernatural connection device or invisible roots system that is said to unite everything in the universe or multiple worlds of the Ásgard (the realm of the Aesir) within its various realms of gods, giants, and humans. The tree’s enormous branches connect the multiple worlds of the Ásgard (the realm of the Aesir) and the trunk of the tree represents the world-axis, which pierces through the center of Midgard (the human realm).

The identity of the Tree and Cosmos are attested to in the Poetic Eddas like the Völuspa.

Hearing I ask | from the holy races,
From Heimdall’s sons, | both high and low;
Thou wilt, Valfather, | that well I relate
Old tales I remember | of men long ago.

I remember yet | the giants of yore,
Who gave me bread | in the days gone by;
Nine worlds I knew, | the nine in the tree
With mighty roots | beneath the mold.

In Grímnismál, The Speech of Grimnir (“The Masked One” i.e. Odin), we learn Mead gives sacred knowledge and a character names Learad whose horns drip into the Boiling-cauldron [Tartarus], whence come all the rivers on earth and at its roots side is rotting, which the serpent feeds.

At its roots lies the source of Mìmir where Odin left one of his eyes as a pledge to drink the sacred mead of knowledge. The dragon Níðhöggr (Níðhǫggr, Nidhogg) is a dragon/serpent who gnaws at a root of Yggdrasil. Nidhögg dwells in the most northern parts of the underworld residing near Loki’s place of imprisonment and the river Slid whose eddies whirl with weapons. Nearby, is the Náströnds, “Corpse-shores” whose doors of the hall open north, onto a dark sea, “far from the sun”. Within the hall constructed of woven serpents, the worst sinners showered with venom as Nidhögg sucks the bodies of the náir (“Corpses”).

Heathrun is the name of the goat that stands on the hall of the Father of Hosts and bites at the boughs of Learad (a tree). Oakthorn is the name of the hart that stands on the hall of the Father of Hosts and bites at the boughs of Learad: his horns drip into the Boiling-cauldron [Tartarus], whence come all the rivers on earth. . . .

In the Eddas, Völuspá 19, the Norns are said to saturate the tree with ausinn hvíta auri, “water blended with white mud.” Gylfaginning tells us: “the Norns, who dwell by Urd’s well, take water from the well each day, and with it the mud that lies around the well, and pour it over the tree, so that its branches may not rot or decay. This water is so holy that all things which come into contact with it turn as white as the membrane called skjall that covers the inside of an eggshell.”

As Yggdrasil relates to the Ancient Greek Tartarus, Hesiod tells us it is the unfruitful sea (pontos) where there are shining gates and an immoveable threshold of bronze having unending roots, and it is grown of itself. And beyond, away from all the gods, live the Titans, beyond gloomy Khaos.” He says that the edge of the cosmos is where the flat disc of the earth meets the descending dome of the sky and the ascending walls of the pit of Tartaros. He said, “The sky-dome and Tartarean pit surround the cosmos in an egg-shaped shell with Tartaros descending as far beneath the earth as the sky rises up above it.”

Hesiod, Theogony, 116 ff.: ―Verily at the first Chaos came to be, but next wide-bosomed Earth, the ever-sure foundations of all the deathless ones who hold the peaks of snowy Olympus, and dim Tartarus in the depth of the wide-pathed Earth, and Eros, fairest among the deathless gods, who unnerves the limbs and overcomes the mind and wise counsels of all gods and all men within them.

From Chaos came forth Erebus and black Night; but of Night were born Aether and Day, whom she conceived and bare from union in love with Erebus. And Earth first bare starry Heaven, equal to herself, to cover her on every side, and to be an ever-sure abiding-place for the blessed gods.‖ [Translated by Hugh G. Evelyn-White, 1914.]

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