In many cultures since the first steps of humankind towards spiritual paths, there has been always tales of a cosmic serpent, a being that moves in the seas of the world or around the world itself. For exemple, i’ve been reading about African myths, and in the West of Africa in the regions of Guinea all the way to Congo and Angola, there has always been the myth of the creation of the world by a goddess named Mawu and her husband a great serpentsurrounding the world. We know about this myths all over the world and this serpent has many names, but today what i will talk about, is about this serpent in the Northern Mythology and paganism, and by the help of some shamans who work with this serpent, i’m able to write about it and how its influences our lifes and the world.
The Northern serpent is called Jormundgand, most people are afraid of it or make the mistake tocompare it with an evil being of the seas who is ready to destroy the world. This is because of the coming of Christianity. The serpent has always been a symbol of great power, magic and wisdom, a strong symbol in the shamanic communities all over the world and of course a symbol to the pagan peoples. Once again, the christians had to twist this figure and turn it into a terrifying image of fear to make people forget their old ways, the ways of the their ancestors, to scorn ancient knowledge and embrace the new religious faith. In truth, the world serpent, or in this case, Jormundgand, wraps and protects the world we live in, the boundary of magic between out world and the other world of spirits.
Who is Jormundgand?
The god Loki had three children with Angreboda the chieftess of the Iron Wood. The first of their children was Hela, the goddess of death. The secound was Fenrir, god of destruction. The third was a magical serpent who couldn’t speak any words, it wasn’t male nor female, or maybe it was both. The serpent grew fast into a size that could no longer dwell in the lakes of Iron Wood. Odin tried to stop and take away the powers of Angreboda’s children, he saw in them great peril, he threw the serpent into the oceans of Midgard and laid a spell on it. The serpent circles Midgard forever, giving protection to the world and all its inhabitants, and the serpent was known by the name of World Serpent or Midgard Serpent, that is where its name comes from, it is the translation of its title, Jormundgand.
Some people claim that this serpent is an enemy of our world, but those who work with it, haven’t seen any evidance of this. The serpent is a symbol of boundaries, and each person needs to have some, we are free, but with our freedom, we must take care if it isn’t harming anyone, there must be boundaries for everything, we have to know when to stop, or when our deeds are enough in some occasions, for exemple, parents may help their children, taking care of them, loving them, but they can’t always do everything for their children, there must be boundaries, and parents need to let their children live a little and learn with their mistakes, children have to grow by learning how to do things themselves, in the future they will need that independence, or they won’t be able to survive if they are used to have other’s resolving their problems for them. An other exemple is when helping someone, we may help in anyway that is needed, but there must be boundaries in both sides, we must know when to stop helping, when the person asks more than you can give, or when the help becomes an obsession for both, or a regular thing and the other person no longer knowns how to live without help and becomes attached to the help of others.
Jormundgand also teaches us about protection, the protection of a space or a person, what we must take care of, keeping the places, our home, our working place, away from chaos, keeping those we love, away from any harm, holding them tight in our loving arms.
Also, if you want to keep this big snake happy, you might want to donate or make volunteer work to help the reptiles of our world, safe and sound, at any institution or local zoo near you, protecting them against the hazards and the problems they face nowdays with the destruction of their habbitat, keeping things in order away from chaos, establish boundaries between the natural world and the world of humans.