Norse Mythology

THE CREATION


In the great void Ginnugagab, the cold from the plane Niflheim met the flames from the plane Muspelheim.

Drops from fire and ice combined, and from these living drops, the great jætte Ymer was created.

The drip continiued, and created the cow Audhumla (Yes, the cow is apparently the first animal ever created, and existed before the gods and humans).


Ymer drank from the cows milk. And while he slept, he began to sweat. His armpit sweated, transformed into creatures. And his right foot mated with left foot, and created even more creatures.

(Hard to visualize how it is done, but nevertheless, that is what happened).

These creatures was jætter (simplified translation would be Giant, but since some Jætte are on equal level with the gods, Divine Giants would be a more accurate translation. These representing chaos).


Then suddenly, a great salt stone appeared (no ones knows where it came from). The cow Audhumla

began to lick on the salt stone, and within three days someone came out of the stone - he was called Buri. He had a son, Borr, who with the female Jætte Bestla had three sons Odin, Vile and Ve, who were the first three Aser (Aser and Vanir is the names of the types of divine beings revired as gods by humans).


As the gods grew and became aware of their powers, they decided to kill Ymer. All his lineage except Bergelmer and his wife drowned in the bloodstream that stood from him for many days, and it is from them that all present jætte lineage originates.

The gods then took Ymer's body and threw it into the great void Ginnungagap - and from it they shaped the earth. The blood became the oceans of the world, the flesh the earth and dust, the bones became the mountains, the hair became the forests, the teeth became the sand and the skull they raised up like the firmament. Then they threw up embers from Muspelheim and these turned into stars. The most glowing pieces from Muspelheim were given special tasks - it was the sun and the moon.


At the far end of this world they made room for the jætter and called it Jotunheim, but in the middle they sanctified an area and surrounded it with Ymer's eyelashes and called it Middle-earth (Midgaard).

One day when Odin, Vile and Ve were walking on the beach, they spotted two tree trunks and decided to see which of them was the best at rune magic. Odin shaped them as human beings and brought them to life, Vile gave them their mobility and Ve gave them their senses. The first man was called Ash and the woman was called Embla, and it is from them that the lineage of humans descends. The humans lives in Midgard. 


And the gods planted the world tree Yggdrasil to hold the nine worlds together.


FOUR INTERESTING ASPECTS


THE CREATION

In contrast to many other religions, the gods were not the first beings. Places like Muspelheim and Nifleheim, and beings like Surtur and Nidhog all existed long before the gods. The Gods created the world and organized it as we know it.  

MORAL CODE

The gods didn’t give humans any instructions on how they should or shouldn’t live their life, though they stated that the valiant fighters who died in battle would go to Valhalla or Sessrumnir. But that was more a practical arrangement, since the Gods need the best warriors to stand with them when Ragnarok comes. It makes little sense to take cowards to the halls of the Gods, if the purpose is to assemble an army for the ultimate battle.

This is why the Gods often incite wars between humans, in order for the Valkyries to collect the souls of the best fighters.

GOOD VS. EVIL

In Norse mythology, the aspect of inherent good vs. evil as such doesn’t exist. It is more a struggle between chaos vs. order: untamed nature vs. civilization. Too much chaos results in nothingness, but too much order results in stagnation; locked in an eternal struggle until Ragnarok, where the world will end and be reborn.

GENDER EQUALITY

They also were ahead of time when it comes to gender equality. It is noted in the scripts, that that Odin and his wife Frigg had an equal say in the fate of the world, indicating that women and men had equal status. They also had female warriors. 

INSPIRATION TO FANTASY PRODUCTIONS

Many writers and movie producers has drawn on norse myths.

Two of the most famous being Marvel Studios, who  directly potrays draws upon the norse gods and concepts in some of their movies. 


And Lord of the Rings that also draws on Norse Myths. Tolkiens idea of the Elves and Dwarves comes from Norse Myths, and he even named the continent where it all takes place for Middle-Earth, which is the English word for Midgard, the realm where the humans live in norse mythology. Even places like Mirkwood are from Norse Myths. The word "Elf" comes from the old norse word "álfr".