I’ve always found the concept of Yggdrasil fascinating. It just seems so organized and neat. No other mythologies or religions define where heaven and hell are as well. Yggdrasil just makes sense. The roots feed on 3 wells of water – that of death, wisdom and life – pretty much the 3 governing ideas on earth. Hel is located under Midgard (our real world) and Asgard (heaven) above. It feels natural that Hel would be below – sort of as a soil to nourish the tree – we see this as the dead plants and animals in a forest eventually become soil for new plants. The heavens are among the leaves, and is connected to us by a rainbow – a magical sight to most people. The animals tormenting Yggdrasil are also in logical places and have logical jobs. It just makes sense.
Baldr’s death is very strange to me. For the life of me I can’t figure out why they would kill off the most beloved of their gods. And with mistletoe? Just strikes me as very weird. The image above is of Baldr’s funeral. I thought it was very neat. I wonder who’s bending over him – Odinn maybe? Or Hodr? And the four women in the background could be Frigga, Freyja, Sif and Jord perhaps? Got any ideas?
This website gives a brief description of each – I thought it was very helpful. 🙂
I thought this picture was really cool. You can see Odinn battling Fenrir and Thor against Jormungand and all of the other battles as well – so neat!
Charity brought up the idea that our seats in mythology class may not like us. In the spirit of that, I came up with how the chair would react if, a, it liked me and, b, if it did not:
A: (from the chair’s perspective)
Yay! It’s almost 11 – she’ll be here soon to cover my cold back with her coat before she sets that smooth notebook on the desk – I wonder what color of pen she’ll use today. It’s so nice when she settles in to listen and learn – I feel like my job is accomplished. I hope she isn’t tired though – she tends to be less active then. And I’ve got this awful itch on the side of the desk – hopefully she’ll scratch it absent-mindedly or something…
B: (again from the chair)
Oh no, here it comes again. Her and her coat and hair smothering me in this hot classroom. I mean really – she can’t put her hair up further or set her coat on the floor? Or her bony seat sitting on me – so uncomfortable. Maybe if I just pull the chair next to me closer she’ll feel crammed and sit somewhere else… Or maybe I’ll position myself at an awkward angle or something. She thinks she can just walk – well, sit and write – all over me. And I’m though with it!
There are names for literally everything in the Edda. EVERYTHING. It took me awhile to get used to it before I realized that I name most everything too. Maybe it’s just Norwegian genes, but my computer, calculator, phone, iPod, desk chair, alarm clock, guitar, tiger lily plant, amp, favorite guitar pick, tuner, printer, art set, microwave, TV, PS2, refrigerator, stool, suitcase, camera and even my hair… Yes, I know, a bit strange. I probably got it from my mom – who consistently sings songs she makes up about our pets, the computer, cooking, or just really anything. I seem to have inherited this tendency. Perhaps a bit strange, but honestly, most of the inanimate objects I’ve named I’m around much more often and are much more useful than most of the people I know… Sorry. But it is kind of true…
The text states that the goddesses are no less important than the gods. There’s also a lot of evidence of the Earth Mother – Thor was born of earth and Odinn is married to it. This places Odinn (the “all-father”) as a suitor to the goddess. Freyr is a fertility god and has a boar – a symbol of the goddess. Snakes are also very prominent – the Midgard serpent and also the one dangling over Loki and dripping poison onto him for punishment. There’s also a world tree – Yggdrasil – which is a connection with the earth. Freyja is a goddess of fertility and beauty who rides in a chariot pulled by cats – she can symbolize the young girl or waxing moon. Frigg is the goddess of spinning and motherhood and is the wife of Odinn – she’s the mother form of the goddess. Hel is half corpse and rules over the underworld – she has power over life and death and is the crone form of the goddess. The Valkyries also fill this role, as does Freyja to some extent because of their involvement with dead warriors. Mani is a god of the moon who is male, while the sun, Sol, is a goddess. Both are circular. The Midgard Serpent, Jormungand, is very obviously a goddess symbol – circular, a snake, associated with the ocean. A cow is also what shapes the first god – a goddess of creation. Her milk feeds all of creation. The food and drink in Valhalla is also representative of the goddess – there’s an endless boar eaten and mead that flows from the udders of a goat.