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Norse cosmology

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Norse cosmology consists of Nine Worlds, all interconnected by the branches and roots of a cosmic tree-formation known as the Yggdrasil. Midgard, which is in fact Earth, is the realm located on the middle of this cosmic distribution of worlds.


Yggdrasil in painting

The Yggdrasil connecting the nine realms

The ash tree known as Yggdrasil was the axis of the universe, connecting all the Nine Worlds via its branches. Nothing was recorded of its origins. It was populated by specific creatures: an omniscient eagle that was perched atop the tree, flapping its wings constantly to provide wind to the Worlds; a hawk, Veðrfölnir, was positioned between the eagle's eyes. A vile dragon, Niðhǫggr, along with a multitude of unnamed serpents, gnawed continuously at Yggdrasil's roots. A giant squirrel, Ratatoskr, ran up and down the tree ferrying insults between the eagle and the dragon. Four stags—Dáinn, Dvalinn, Duneyrr and Duraþrór—also lived in the branches.

Description and distributionEdit

Three roots drink the waters of the homeworlds, one in the homeworld of the gods (Asgard), the Æsir, one in the homeworld of the giants (Jotunheimr), the Jǫtnar, and one in the homeworld of the dead (Helheimr).

  • The root in the Æsir homeworld taps the sacred wellspring of fate, the Well of Urðr. The tree is protected and tended by the Norns, who live near it. Each day, they water it with pure water and whiten it with clay from the spring to preserve it. The water falls down to the earth as dew. As the Yggdrasil is a cosmic formation rather than a physical tree, it is unknown if the fact the Norns water the tree is metaphorical or literal.
  • Beneath the root in the world of the frost giants (Jotunns) is the spring of Mimir, whose waters contain wisdom and understanding.

According to the Norse religion Asatru, the worlds are distributed in the following order:

The three worlds above the earth, in heaven:

1. Múspellsheimr (Muspelheim or Muspell)
2. Álfheimr (Alfheim)
3. Ásgarðr (Asgard)

The three worlds on earth:

4. Vanaheimr (Vanaheim)
5. Miðgarðr (Midgard)
6. Jötunheimr (Jotunheim)

The three worlds below the earth, in underworld:

7. Svartálfaheimr (Svartalfheim)
8. Niflhel (Hel)
9. Niflheimr (Niflheim)

The Nine WorldsEdit


The rainbow-like formation known as Bifröst which originates in Asgard, allows the Asgardians (Aesir) to travel to Midgard and is possible that it allows them to travel to the other seven worlds as well.


Muspelheim is the homeworld of the fire giants and demons.


Alfheimr is the home of the Light Elves.


Vanaheim is the homeworld of the Vanir.


Home of the humans also known as mortals. Midgard is located in the center of the nine worlds. It is connected to Asgard through the Bifrost (The Rainbow Bridge).


Jotunheim is the homeworld of the frost giants (Jotunns).


Svartalfheim is the homeworld of the Dark Elves.


Nidavellir is the homeworld of the dwarves.


Nilfheim is the land located on the North.


Located beneath Nilfheim, Hel or Helheim is the land of the dead.

Norse mythology articles
Major Deities Odin | Thor | Freyr | Freya | Frigg | Loki | Balder | Tyr | Njord
Races Æsir | Vanir | Jotnar | Elves | Dwarves | Valkyries | Einherjar | Norns
Worlds Asgard | Álfheimr | Midgard | Jötunheimr | Vanaheimr | Muspelheim | Niflheim | Svartálfaheim | Helheim
Locations Bifröst | Utgard | Valhalla | Fólkvangr
Topics Yggdrasil | Ginnungagap | Ragnarök | Poetic Edda | Prose Edda | The Sagas

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