Working With The Gods: Surt

We have all heard about Muspellheim, one of the nine realms in the Norse cosmology but it isn’t a famous place as much as Asgard is for exemple, people tend to stick with the knowledge most appealing to them, we know better about the beautiful landscapes and beings of Asgard or Vanaheim or even Álfheim because those are places of light and beauty, of magic and wondrous powers, but all the other realms are equally important. What ever you might know of Muspellheim, the first thing you need to know is about the deity who rules over that realm.
Muspellheim is the eternal land of Fire where the fire-etins live, their king is Surt / Surtur the Black , whose sword gave the first sparks to create all the other realms, and it is said that he is the oldest living being in all the nine realms, few have seen him and even fewer had the opportunity to meet him, but for those who have, they have shared their knowledge with us and i am here today to talk about Surt as a contribution to the vast lore of the Norse/Germanic pagan traditions.

Surt is the king of fire, the supreme deity who has turned all his powers to the fire element in the Norse Mythology, he is also the king of all the fire-giants/etins and his realm is Muspellheim. We know about Ginnungagap, the great vast blackness of the universe and the only existing thing in the beginning and Surt appeared out of that blackness with his flaming sword eventually creating the land of Fire called Muspellheim which in some time got close enough with the realm of ice Niflheim and as such, the frozen earth melted revealing Ymir the primal frost-giant and Audhumla the great cow. Thus life was created in such matter, the meeting of fire with ice in the Norse mythology. Surt’s children had connections with Ymir’s children and they mixed their bloodlines. Surt was the only living thing in the beginning, lighting all that blackness with his great sword Laevateinn, and he is the oldest living being also, unfortunately, no one knows where he came from or how, or what brought him, but it is interesting to know that the element of fire and of ice is indeed the first things to appear in the creation of any planet, and so he is the very symbol of creation.
Most people don’t know, but Surt is the godfather of Loki and raised him as his own son, as it is told in Loki’s birth tale, when his mother Laufey came to Muspellheim to give birth to him when running away from the most powerful clans of Jotunheim after defeating Farbauti, Loki’s father.
Surt is a powerful being, having the knowledge about all kind of fires, even the primal fires from which stars and worls are made of, he knows about the energy of such fires and the power of heat.
In the lore, it is said if Ragnarök comes to pass, Surt will rise up with the legions of Hela’s dead beings and attack Asgard, and if that happens, Surt will kill Freyr who gave up his sword for love, after that, much of the world will be consumed by flames and Surt will rebirth it again. This is the very symbol of the power that fire has over nature, Freyr the god of fertility and light with his powers over the land, giving life to it, as we see all the landscapes around us filled with life, and when a great fire comes, in this case Surt, bringing death with him ( Hella ) burning all the land, and as Freyr will do, giving up his sword, refusing to fight the inevitable chaotic power that is too powerful to face, such as nature does, it has no powers to face the fires and it stands there, waiting to die and be consumed by it, just to rebirth after that in great beauty and stronger.

For those who want to call upon Surt and ask for his aid, Surt gives energy and courage, and the fire within all of us is lit, he is the very force that kindles the fire in all of us, that little spark that might spead into a great power which gives us the capacity to face all the hazards of life when we feel saddened and unmotivated. He can also be called upon for inspiration, for those who are musicians and those who are dancers, for all fire-etin love to dance and love to hear music.

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2 responses to “Working With The Gods: Surt

  1. Interesting piece. Are you familiar with the Greek concept of Thumos? “Thumos” translates roughly into “Fire in the belly”. If Surt is lord of the Flames, then Surt is responsible for a mans Thumos.

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