For Those Who are Yet to Know: Yggdrasil

Yggdrasil aka Nordic World Tree.

Hoddmimir (Tree of Mimir) or Lærad. It’s also the name of Odin’s horse. Odin rides his horse to the top of the tree, hanging there for nine days and nights and study the runes.

This amazing world tree grows from the Giant Ymir’s body and is the source of the universe with its branches reaching out to all lands.

Yggdrasil has three immense roots, one of which is in Asgard, the land of gods, the other in Jotunheim, home of giants, and the last in Niffleheim, the land of dark and cold. According to Poetic Edda, these roots are at Jotunheim, Hel (land of the dead) and Midgard. Another source indicate that they thrusts through Midgard. Every root has a source nearby that it feeds upon.

Three Norns take care of the root that reaches out to Asgard. Norns are goddesses that control the destiny of humans. They are called Urdur (past), Verdandi (present) and Skuld (future). The source in Jotunheim is Ymir’s Well in which wisdom and reason is hidden. The source in Niffleheim feeds Nidhodge, a horned viper whose name means “dark” and it constantly nibbles Yggdrasil.

Four deers run around among the branches of Yggdrasil, representing four winds. Beneath the tree lies the Giant Ymir that tries to shake all the weight on him away, thus shaking the tree and earthquakes happen. Squirrel Ratatosk that runs under and over the tree allows for the communication between the snake Nidhodge and the eagle on top of the tree.

This tree is depicted as an ash tree and gives resin and fruits that improve fertility among men and women. Yggdrasil is a nourishing and life giving source. Considering that first humans Askr and Embla are created from the tree, it’s not surprising at all, since Askr is also created from an ash tree. When it’s the time for Ragnarok, these two humans Lif and Leifthrasir hide inside the tree and get out when it’s all over to start humanity all again.