At the center of the Viking cosmos was Yggdrasil, the world Tree, a giant ash that held up the sky and sustained the world. The tree had three roots – one in Jotunheim, home of the giants; one in Asgard, home of the Aesir gods; and one in Niflheim, the realm of ice where Hel, land of the dead lay. Beneath each of these roots was a spring – Mimir’s well of wisdom in Jotunheim; Urd’s well of fate in Asgard; and Hvergelmir, the source of the poison that filled the chasm at the time of creation, in Niflheim.
Urd’s well was guarded by the three Norns – Fate, Being, and Necessity. These three shaped the lives of men and women from birth to death. They also watered the tree every day to keep it alive; drops of this water fell to the Earth as refreshing dew. Yggdrasil needed such guardians, because it was constantly under attack. An evil dragon, Nidhogg, gnawed at its roots, along with other serpents. A giant eagle, Hraesvelg, sat at its tip, flapping its wings to create the wind. The squirrel Ratatoskr scampered up and down between the two, delivering insulting messages.
Myths in Minutes – Neil Philip
Shirley Jackson: What nightmares are waiting
Oscar Wilde: Actors are so fortunate
Actors are so fortunate…
The Seven Against Thebes: Maidens’ Opening Chorus
The Seven Against Thebes is a short play written by the classical Greek tragic poet Aeschylus…
Alternative Lyrics: Wuthering Heights
“Heathcliff, it’s me, Cathy I’ve come home, sprink-oah-hahoahl! Let me in a your ice-cream cone.” I like to imagine she’s just so excited for ice cream as she’s spinning around that field… Song: Wuthering Heights – Kate Bush
Tao Te Ching: 11
We join spokes together in a wheel, but it is the center hole that makes the wagon move…
Myths in Minutes: Perseus and Andromeda
On his way home from slaying the Gorgon Medusa, Perseus came to Ethiopia where he saw a beautiful maiden chained to a rock on the shoreline…