Yggdrasil: The World Tree Part 2 ( History And Seasons )

Before i write, we must see how Nature works, how a world/worlds are done in the natural way of things, and we all know it is from the forces of fire and frost, and all the atoms colliding with each other, we all study that in fisics, history, geology and biology, so we have to seebeyond the myths, but what is realy interesting, is that we have learned this in times not so long ago with the help of tecnology, and the ancients knew it well, better even, thousands of years before Christ has even borned, but they have turned it into myth, so we could understand everything about the natural course of life and the universe, be glad with that and have motivation to know more and be amazed.

History: In the beginning there was the Void, and the Void was called Ginnungagap. That eternal nothingness, where there is neither existence nor nonexistence, lies at the beginning of many creation myths. Then, somehow, the Tree came into existence, and around it spun the first three worlds that came into being: Niflheim, the world of ice and frost and mist, with the great well Hvergelmir, the Roaring Kettle; Muspellheim, the world of fire, and Jormungrund, or ‘Giant-Land”, the underworld that lay beneath these two. (This last world is rarely mentioned, and it is not the same as Jotunheim, which came later. It was the land of the Dead.) Surt the Black was apparently already living in Muspellheim; whether he was there alone is unknown. This would, however, make Surt the oldest living creature in the Nine Worlds, a fact about which he is silent.

 

Niflheim and Muspellheim drifted in and out of each other’s orbits. Finally, they drew close enough together that melted ice from Niflheim flowed out over the gap and formed the river Elivagar, whose every particle held a shard of ice-poison. This ice piled up into an iceberg, but it slowly melted as Muspellheim grew closer. As it melted, it revealed the body of a sleeping giant, Ymir. Ymir was an enormous mountain-sized frost-etin, without much of a brain; he mostly lay there semi-paralyzed and mewed.

 

Also thawing out of the ice was a great cow, Audumhla. Ymir suckled on her udders and found nourishment; she licked at the salty ice for her own food and uncovered yet another creature, a much smaller creature named Buri, who would be the ancestor of the Aesir. Meanwhile, as Ymir slept, his sweat gave rise to a male and female etin, and his two legs rubbed together and gave birth to yet another male giant. Meanwhile, Buri grew up in the company of various giants. (There seems to be some discrepancy about how many giants were actually created; it may be that there were already some about before Ymir, or that more than just three were created. Like all creation stories, the reality of it was lost in the mists of the previous generations.) After many generations of giant-breeding, Buri had a son named Bor by an unnamed giantess, and Bor eventually sired three sons by another giantess named Bestla. These sons were Odin, Vili, and Ve, and they began all the trouble by taking it into their heads to kill the enormous, helpless Ymir.

 

Up until this point, the two worlds of Muspellheim and Niflheim were separated; the great void that lay between them was called Ginnungagap. It was apparently possible, with difficulty, to pass from one to the other across the Gap. Some giants had already done so, living under the leadership of Surt the Black, and were busily evolving into fire-etins. The sons of Bor apparently felt that more useful land was needed, so they killed Ymir and used his corpse as a variety of magical anchors to create new worlds. Some pieces floated off and created worlds by themselves – Svartalfheim, populated by duergar who also sprang from Ymir’s body, is one example, Jotunheim is another – and some, like Asgard and Alfheim, the sons of Bor created themselves, for Bor’s people and the otherworldly Alfar.

 

The problem was that Ymir’s blood gushed out and caused a huge flood, washing away most of the unwarned denizens of the two worlds. It was so great that it actually put out the fires of Muspellheim for a time, and plunged the world into darkness. The sons of Bor worked fast to triage the damage; Ymir’s body was placed across the gap to form a world-bridge, but it fell apart. They grabbed for whatever pieces they could get, and anchored them to the Tree. Meanwhile, Bergelmir the leader of the frost-etins shoved his wife and whatever of his people he could find into a lur, a hollowed-out tree trunk that could serve either as a boat or a coffin. They washed up on the piece of Ymir’s back that would become Jotunheim.

 

The sons of Bor continued their world-building, creating skies and solid ground, anchoring worlds to the Tree, and making stars out of sparks from half-drowned but still-sputtering Muspellheim. Ymir’s broken bones made mountains, his teeth rocks and boulders, and when the final flood of his blood went down, the remaining fluid made the rivers, lakes, and oceans of the various worlds. Ymir’s brains were flung into the sky, where they became clouds. The sons of Bor then called into the world by some arcane process the Four Guardians of the directions, whom they charged to guard the four corners of the World Tree.

 

There are conflicting stories about the creation of humans. One says that after having finished their world-building, the sons of Bor were walking along the beach and came upon two washed-up logs. These they breathed life into – Odin giving them breath, Vili giving them movement, and Ve giving them identity – and the race of humans was born from these first two human, Ask and Embla (Ash and Elm). On the other hand, there is a conflicting account that states that Ask and Embla were actually called into this world before the great flood, and that they were saved by the giant Bergelmir, who stuck them high in a dead tree that he hoped would survive the flood. With this other account, there is no knowledge of who actually called them into the world; both the sons of Bor and the giants take credit for it. At any rate, Midgard was created as a place for them to live.

 

Time And Seasons: Yggdrasil itself is suspended in space, in the black nothingness of Ginnungagap. It has no seasons per se; the Sun and Moon-chariots pass from world to world around its trunk, but outside them, there is no discernable seasonal change. As the worlds rotate around Yggdrasil, however, each of them comes close to our world and then draws apart. Midgard is always close, for some reason, which is why it is referred to as our “sister world”.  It is possible to visit any of the worlds at the time of (our) year that they are furthest away, but it is simply easiest to do it when they are close. Sometimes, during that period, they come so close that things “leak” over. For example, “interference” from the Elves on Beltane has a long and legendary history.

Yggdrasil itself is a source of light, as is the land of Muspellheim, and these were originally the only source of light. However, when the last worlds were built, the Aesir decided that there needed to be a more regularized and brighter light source, and they recruited (some tales imply a nonconsensual draft) certain etins to eternally ride the skies, bringing greater and lesser light to all things in turn. The Sky-Etins are not a specific variety of jotun; rather, they have created their own tribe and culture out of necessity. They are a close-knit clan, and while they are interested in the problems of those below – and who wouldn’t be, with all that perspective and vision during every day? – they will not brook interference with their schedules, because they know that granting it to one would mean granting it to all.

he Sky-Etins

Before the Aesir set up their day-and-night technology, the three ancient worlds were lit by the pale greenish light of the tree, and the glowing fires of Muspellheim. This gave a permanent twilight to Niflheim and the underworld. After the flood, Jotunheim was formed, and as it was closer to Muspellheim it got more light, a dull orange glow seeping through the world-barrier. When the Aesir set up Asgard, they put together a system whereby the Sun and Moon roll through the sky of each world on a set path.

 

The gods of the Sun and Moon are Sunna and Mani, respectively. They were originally the children of a giant named Mundilfari, who was known as the Turner of Time. They were snatched up by the Aesir to forever ride the sky in turn. Their track takes them through all the Nine Worlds; while Mani is over one world, Sunna will be over another one. This strange schedule reminds us that these are actually separate worlds and not just regions of a single world; although they may share an artificial sun and moon, they do not exist in the same space together. Sunna can be over Midgard for fourteen hours, and then pass through eight other worlds with varying day-lengths spent in each one, and then be back in Midgard ten hours later. This is due to the time dilation that occurs as she passes through the world-barriers. One circuit for her may be several days’ worth of ride, yet each world is only in darkness for the length of its night. It’s one of those things that make your head hurt if you think about it too closely.

 

Sunna is tall, golden, and beautiful, and has been called All-Bright, Everglow, and Fair Wheel. Her personality is impulsive and fiery, almost childlike in her innocence and enthusiasm. She is married to a fire-giant, one of the sons of Surt, whose name is Glow. Since her job never stops, he generally visits her in the chariot. (One assumes that she gets the day off occasionally.) He cares for their young daughter, who is being groomed to take over Sunna’s dangerous job should something happen to her (such as Ragnarok).
Sunna charges across the sky every day with wild abandon, never swerving from her path in the sheer love of chariot-driving. Her Sun Chariot is drawn by two golden horses, Allsvinn (All-Swift), and Arvaker (Early-Waker), who pull the sun behind them. Its heat would be too much for them, except that Odin created a talisman called the Isarnkol, which hangs above their shoulders on the double yoke and constantly spreads cool mists, protecting them from heatstroke. Ahead of Sunna, as a herald, travels Daeg, or Day, a sky-etin who rides the red-bay horse Skinfaxi. The horse’s mane sheds light as it goes.

 

Mani is calmer and more thoughtful than his sister. He has a compassionate heart, and is struck by seeing those in need, especially children who are being abused, and he is often prayed to in order to protect specific children. He is known to have rescued two children, Bil and Hjuki, snatching them up from the earth and sending them to live in Asgard. He is also a god of calendars, mathematics, and other rational thought that requires counting and numbers. He plays a flute as he walks, and is especially revered by the Dark Alfar and the Duergar. Those who work with Mani say that his moon-cart is pulled not by horses, but by large dogs, and sometimes he simply walks, being a patron of travelers and walkers in general.
Mani is preceded and heralded by Nott, a Jotun goddess who rides a black horse named Hrimfaxi. The dew drips off of Hrimfaxi’s bit as he passes over the worlds. Nott’s father Norfe was the first architect of Jotunheim, and designed many of the great halls, including the halls of Thrym and Utgard-Loki. Nott herself is a very old giantess, one of the oldest from before the flood, which she survived by being in the realm of the Dead at the time. She has been married three times (that we know of) and had numerous affairs. Her first husband was named Nagifari and to him she bore a son named Aud; her second was a cliff-giant named Annarr who sired on her the earthy etin-bride Jord, eventual mistress of Odin and mother of Thor and Meile. Her third and current husband, Delling (“Dawn”) gave her a son who later become Dag, the god of Day and Sunna’s herald. She also had an affair with the old Vanir-god Frodi, and bore him Njord the sailor-god before leaving him with the infant boy. Nott is not known for being maternal; she tends to be a wanderer, leaving her various children to be raised by their fathers.

 

To make sure that the Sun and Moon chariots ran on time, the Aesir made a deal with two fierce Jotun werewolves, Skoll and Hati, sons of Fenris by an Iron Wood giantess. They gave them the power of flight, which they can use only to chase the sun-chariot or the moon-chariot. The truth is that neither of them spend their entire time chasing chariots; they are simply on call if something goes wrong and the moon or sun are not on time. Sunna is almost always on time; if anything, she tends to be early in her enthusiasm. She treats Skoll, the wolf who is in charge of chasing her, like a fun, competitive game, and enjoys racing him. Mani, on the other hand, is much more interested in what is going on down below, and as such has a regrettable tendency to stop and watch, or even interfere. Hati, the greater of the two wolf-brothers (also referred to as Managarm), will eventually show up and chase him back onto his scheduled path. Mani despises the wolf, and hates being shepherded in this way. He is also well aware that should Ragnarok start, the two wolves will attack and kill them. (Sunna seems to have a “let ’em try to catch me!” attitude about that.)

 

The amount of time that Sunna and Mani spend in each world varies wildly from world to world. Asgard gets the most light, with some days as long as summer-solstice days at our Arctic Circle, without the accompanying long nights during the rest of the year. This is one reason why it is the “Shining Realm”. Ljossalfheim also gets a great deal of light, and Vanaheim somewhat less but still more than Midgard.
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