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Carl
Monday, October 20th, 2008, 08:29 PM
Kevin Crossley-Holland is a skilled English writer with a strong interest in the Norse Myths. His retelling of the Edda stories concerning the Gods is something of a classic. : The Norse Myths (1980).

I like his approach; he tends not to distort the original too much - and that cannot be said of all re-presentations.

His presentation of the Nine Worlds is shown below. Essentially based on the worlds we have come to know them in other threads and beyond, he actually allows for some variation within the scheme presented. I like the fact that Hel's Hel and Niflheim are separated worlds although his identification of Niflheim with the dead is not really accurate. (IMO) . It is rather , simply the land of darkness and frozen ice - traditionally in the north, possibly in winter!


http://img356.imageshack.us/img356/2247/treeofyggoc1.jpg


Omitted from the plan is Muspelheim. This he admits; he sees it as separated from the three planes as shown. In order to include Surt's own domain , I consider that the dwarfs and the dark elves should co-exist within one. Thus, as I would prefer ;) , Muspelheim can again take its place on an orthogonal North-South axis.

The fact that the Three roots and their respective Wells are shown is another useful feature of this representation. The three planes exist about the central axis of the Tree itself , an axis which some will identify with Irminsul.

:irminsul:

Sigurd
Monday, October 20th, 2008, 08:47 PM
Chances are that the Nine Worlds are indeed in layers of 3 x 3. Much of the numerological importance of the number three and its completeness have already been stated by me in this (http://forums.skadi.net/showthread.php?t=92810) post/thread, and as such it is not necessary to dwell upon them any further. i will quote the crux of what I said re: the number 3, again, however for convenience's sake.


[...] here are just a few concepts how the number three is a sign of completeness, taken from a thread at the Odinic Rite forum (and some more of personal observation):

- Life, Death, Rebirth
- Odin, Vili, Ve
- Odin, Hoenir, Lodur,
- Urd's Well, Mimir's Well, Hvergelmere,
- Sky, earth, sea
- Past, present future,
- Mother, father, child
- Faith, Folk, Family
- Three Aettir of the Futhark
- Youth, Adulthood, Age
- Earl, Jarl, Thrall
- Sword-death, sea-death, straw-death

And the list could go on...and seriously, how incomplete would any of these be with just one of them missing? Probably quite so...

Then of course you have that number nine, which is of course 3x3, showing an even higher level of completeness (thanks to Hengest OR for first coming up with that idea on other board!): Nine worlds grouped into 3x3 on Yggdrasil; The Valknut (three triangles interwoven - again, 3x3 = 9); Nine noble virtues, nine charges; nine aspects to the soul...and of course the idea that three and nine are the only numbers where all multiples of the number have a sum-across of 3, 9 or multiples thereof.

[...]
Fact is - nine has been known to be the highest level of completeness, since it is the "square" of the completeness already achieved in the umber three.

As such, it would only make sense that the nine worlds are indeed grouped in groups of three:

Asgard - Alfheim - Vanaheim

Midgard - Jotunheim - Svartalfheim

Hel - Niflheim - Muspelheim

Or , of course (courtesy of Hengest OR for pointing out)

X X X
X X X
X X X


See what I mean? ;)

Carl
Monday, October 20th, 2008, 08:55 PM
Of course - thanks for your post. Nine is sacred to Odin who endured nine long and lonely nights upon the Tree , falling to ground again only after attaining the Runes.....

Not for nothing is it known as Yggs drasil --- Odin's other horse.

Psychonaut
Tuesday, October 21st, 2008, 12:07 AM
Very interesting post Carl. I've encountered that diagram on the web before but was completely ignorant of its source. Be sure I'll be adding another book to my Amazon.com queue.

However, I'm a bit concerned about the omission from the diagram of Muspellsheim. After all, as Gyfaginning says:


That part of Gunnunga gap, which faced north, was filled with a load of heaviness of ice, and in from there drizzle and a gust of wind; and the southern part of Ginnunga gap turned toward those sparks and embers, which flew out of Muspellsheim.

The diametric opposition of Muspellsheim and Nifelheim is so important to the cosmogonic process. Also, since Ymir is born from the interplay of Fire and Ice at the Universe's center, it follows that Midgard, assembled from Ymir's corpse, would lie between these two worlds, where the Ginnungagap once was.

Carl
Tuesday, October 21st, 2008, 02:04 PM
However, I'm a bit concerned about the omission from the diagram of Muspellsheim............

The diametric opposition of Muspellsheim and Nifelheim is so important to the cosmogonic process. Also, since Ymir is born from the interplay of Fire and Ice at the Universe's center, it follows that Midgard, assembled from Ymir's corpse, would lie between these two worlds, where the Ginnungagap once was.

I agree . Its seems a strange omission. He should perhaps have left his own diagram at just 8 worlds. But he does immediately draw attention to this omission - so I am not too sure of the sequence of his thinking!!

I think the two axes are central - vertical and North-South. The precise arrangement is clearly not fixed - and may be subject to private perceptions, as we've said already ;) . We are nodoubt dealing with a multiverse conception with the tree standing amid the worlds without necessarily being exactly of them. I doesnt much matter if the dwellers can actually move between them all when it is called for. But the model clarifies into a three dimensional ( at least!) "assembly" - with Niflheim and Muspelheim along what is, I guess, the Z axis of a 3D graph.:D

Psychonaut
Tuesday, October 21st, 2008, 02:28 PM
We are no doubt dealing with a multiverse conception with the tree standing amid the worlds without necessarily being exactly of them.

Definitely. I think, also, that some people tend to get hung up on the minutiae of a particular model and end up loosing sight of the fact that it is just that, a model. What we are, of course, dealing with is a symbolic representation of a structure that is likely super-rational, and while it can certainly be tempting to engage in speculations of its nature based on rationalistic extrapolations of the model, we must be cautious of hanging too much on one or two words that the Vlva uttered and end up mistaking the map for the territory. I can only hope that this new generation of Heathens will produce at least one or two Seikonar to match those of old.

exit
Tuesday, October 21st, 2008, 03:13 PM
What are the three planes referred to as? And are these worlds in the same plane actually intended to be equal?

Carl
Tuesday, October 21st, 2008, 05:39 PM
What are the three planes referred to as? And are these worlds in the same plane actually intended to be equal?

....not identified as such - that would be pushing things too far. Clearly we cant think of the overall size of such "planes" either... how would we know ?? Nor indeed how big each domain might be -- like Hel, I havent been there! :| :oanieyes

They represent, I imagine, no more than an attempt to show the various levels of the nine worlds. At least here the Vanir are in the upper level! And the dwarves are beneath Midgard rather than in Niflheim. Yes, it just a model - no more. If people find such things help in their overall conceptualization, thats good. If not , change the model..... But we are told, there are nine worlds! She never lies! :thumbup - study and be wise.

exit
Tuesday, October 21st, 2008, 06:42 PM
So in other words the 3 planes are just divisions on the model and serve no actual purpose? That would be the problem with this model. And the worlds, in my opinion, should be arranged in an hierarchy, as are the sephiroth, loki, chakras, etc., and we must remember these are not spatial, we may explain it as extended universally yet relatively, for the veil (which is the manifesting power that conceals the absolute) is only illusory and resultant from a union of the active and passive or object and subject. But this distinction is not irreducible, since all that is required is to retrace the radiations to their source.

Psychonaut
Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008, 12:36 AM
And the worlds, in my opinion, should be arranged in an hierarchy, as are the sephiroth...

In my opinion, looking to Hebrews for advice on how to diagram our mythos is the last thing we should be doing. We've done a pretty good job so far in keeping the Kabbalah out of our system, and I certainly think that we should stay the course in that regard.

Carl
Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008, 02:38 PM
Exit - I have already told you that this is a Germanic thread/section... and whilst it might be reasonable to bring in really ancient material about the Indo-Aryan myth background, especially with respect to distant general aspects of the Tree and its place in cosmology, it is not really relevant when we have already arrived at the level of these late Norse conceptions.... they have move on far too far. Its as much as we might dare to do in bringing in the earlier Saxon Irminsul! Lets face it, it is (surely) all very different to the earlier world of even the German pagans. ( The English one's had, for the most part, long since been CRUSHED! :( ).

We really do have the late flowering of North Germanic mythic-faith conceptions. Treasure it... dont contaminate it! Those others lie far to the south and are well removed!

exit
Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008, 05:02 PM
I knew you guys would freak out if I mentioned anything Jewish or Hindu, but that does not take away from what I said, since I could just as easily left those references out -and I was also going to say the zodiacal and planetary spheres- but the point is that there is a hierarchy. Do you want to discuss the world tree or scold me for using comparisons to aid the English language? If the latter then I could just as well go somewhere else; there doesn't seem to be any intellectuals interested in learning anything besides assimilating fragmented information into their own personal systems; such individualism has nothing to do with any tradition whatsoever.

Sigurd
Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008, 05:11 PM
exit - Yet apples and pears do not need to be compared. Sure, they are both seed fruit, but it does not follow that there is thus any formal connection between the two. ;)

exit
Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008, 05:15 PM
Firstly, I never said they were the same, but they are similar from a doctrinal standpoint. If this is not so then maybe someone can start a thread explaining their position. But as I said, whether or not there is an hierarchy of realms or planes is independant of other traditions. And quite frankly, I'm getting sick of all this fear of "contamination" whenever someone mentions something that isn't "Germanic"; this has been one of the biggest problems in the nationalist movement, and it makes us all look like raving lunatics.

Oswiu
Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008, 05:33 PM
Sure, but wouldn't it make more sense to bring up parallels with Siberian cosmographies? They're probably more likely to be genetically related to ours than the Semitic. Why do I never see them brought up in discussion? Is it simply that much of the ethnography hasn't been translated into English?

I believe the technical aspects of how their multiworld systems were experienced and interpreted probably have more in common with how our Germanic ancestors did things than with most other peoples. I know little about North American shamanism, but I hear it also is allied to the Siberian in many of its essentials.

exit
Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008, 05:53 PM
However close one is related to the other may be a matter of opinion, and I don't know much about shamanism; however, Christianity and the kabala has been a part of the Western mystery tradition for centuries as has the planetary and zodiacal systems, and its study is almost unavoidable. Thus, I see no problem in referring to it because I suppose that everyone is familiar with Christianity in some form or another. But all of this is beside the point since I only meant to say that there exists a hierarchy in every single orthodox tradition; no one can honestly deny this.

Psychonaut
Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008, 11:34 PM
I only meant to say that there exists a hierarchy in every single orthodox tradition; no one can honestly deny this.

I understand the point that you're trying to make here, but it doesn't ring true with most of the Germanic sources. A root system doesn't easily lend itself to a hierarchical interpretation. Placing Midgard at the 'bottom' of a diagram as if it were Malkuth or the Mūlādhāra Cakra would be contrary to all written sources.

Athalwulf
Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008, 11:35 PM
Sure, but wouldn't it make more sense to bring up parallels with Siberian cosmographies? They're probably more likely to be genetically related to ours than the Semitic. Why do I never see them brought up in discussion? Is it simply that much of the ethnography hasn't been translated into English?

I believe the technical aspects of how their multiworld systems were experienced and interpreted probably have more in common with how our Germanic ancestors did things than with most other peoples. I know little about North American shamanism, but I hear it also is allied to the Siberian in many of its essentials.

Here you go:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c0/Shamans_Drum.jpg

Much like Crossley-Holland's model, but I don't see any pattern in the placement of the worlds in his model.



EDIT: For comparison, here are some other models:

Finnic:
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/fc/Suomalaisten_maailma.jpg

Magyar:
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/6/62/Vilagfa.jpg

Psychonaut
Thursday, October 23rd, 2008, 12:40 AM
VinlandViking, thanks for bringing up the celestial dome. This is one cosmological feature that is wholly absent from indigenous Germanic sources. Spengler makes some interesting observations regarding the differences between Middle Eastern (Magian) and European (Faustian) cosmologies as they manifest themselves in sacred architecture. He describes the Magian 'world-feeling' as:


There is something in the basilicas of Christianity, Hellenistic, Hebrew and Baal cults, and in the Mithraeum, the Mazdaist fire-temple and the Mosque, that tells of a like spirituality: it is the Cavern-feeling.

Which is in contrast to:


...the wooden beams of the Cathedral roof locked themselves into rib-vaulting and an interior was made to actualize and fulfill the idea of infinite space.


The word "God" has a different sound under the vaulting of Gothic cathedrals...The character of the Faustian cathedral is that of the forest. It is the architectural actualizing of a world-feeling that had found the first of all its symbols in the high forest of the Northern plains, the deciduous forest with its mysterious tracery, its whispering of ever-restless foliage high over the watcher's head, its treetops struggling to escape from earth.

It is very interesting to note the differences between the finite, domed conception of divinity, which lends itself uniquely to monotheism, and the forest spirit stretching up to the heavens which even Christianity could not erase from the soul of Europe.

exit
Thursday, October 23rd, 2008, 12:55 AM
I understand the point that you're trying to make here, but it doesn't ring true with most of the Germanic sources. A root system doesn't easily lend itself to a hierarchical interpretation. Placing Midgard at the 'bottom' of a diagram as if it were Malkuth or the Mūlādhāra Cakra would be contrary to all written sources.

The position of Midgard is relative to the individual and to the cosmic cycle. It would have to be at the "bottom" since it must encompass total being, and this includes the corporeal human/manifestation, but as was written elsewhere, the world tree must be cut up and reassembled and I'm sure there is a Shamanic tale of this as well. Midgard cannot simply be thought of as stationary at the center because all men aren't at that position, and as it were, the temple was destroyed which implies a fall. The rebuilding of the temple is therefore the spiritual work that must be undergone, which is the sacrifice, the slaying of the dragon, and the cutting of the tree and reassembling it, which would put Midgard, the fortress at its proper position. As for three roots, these do not need to be in the same "ground." The confusion only seems to arise out of spatial symbolism, but only if we forget that geometry is only a symbol. As for the dome, it is seen in the mountain and the mountain cave, so it is not absent in Germanic myth but very much a part of it.

Oswiu
Thursday, October 23rd, 2008, 01:14 AM
I wonder, and it may be old hat for many here, but are you familiar with the supposed cosmographic scenes on neolithic painted pottery of the Cucuteni-Tripolye culture?

I've seen fascinating diagrams of the Upper and Lower Waters around our 'Midgard', fitting a lot of what linguists and comparative mythologists have constructed from various IE traditions. And there are huge titan-like beings, one torso on top of another, who seem to transcend the levels involved.

I can't find the pictures I have in mind, but here's something at least.
http://www.artukraine.com/trypillian/images/30_2.jpg
http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.archweb.cimec.ro/Arheologie/cucuteni/9.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.archweb.cimec.ro/Arheologie/cucuteni/100.htm&h=161&w=144&sz=3&hl=en&start=38&um=1&usg=__tQYQbhPxHJSasoqHeFhsHEtT_14=&tbnid=K203UWLMxNa7JM:&tbnh=98&tbnw=88&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dcucuteni%2Btripolye%2Bceram ic%26start%3D20%26ndsp%3D20%26um%3D1%26h l%3Den%26safe%3Doff%26rls%3Dcom.microsof t:en-us:IE-SearchBox%26rlz%3D1I7GGLG%26sa%3DN

Is this familiar to English speakers? I know it from Russian books. I'll have to do some scans some times if it's of any use to anyone.

Ah, Gods, I see the Ukrainianisers have been at it again; we're to call it 'Trypillye' now... :doh


Here you go:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c0/Shamans_Drum.jpg

Much like Crossley-Holland's model, but I don't see any pattern in the placement of the worlds in his model.

Thanks for that, but it's the written accounts of how they actually describe it that are most interesting, and far more complex than what they sketch, or feel able to sketch two-dimensionally, on their drums...

Athalwulf
Thursday, October 23rd, 2008, 01:25 AM
Thanks for that, but it's the written accounts of how they actually describe it that are most interesting, and far more complex than what they sketch, or feel able to sketch two-dimensionally, on their drums...

Do you know where any of these written accounts can be found? And if so, can you post them?

Psychonaut
Thursday, October 23rd, 2008, 01:31 AM
The position of Midgard is relative to the individual and to the cosmic cycle. It would have to be at the "bottom" since it must encompass total being, and this includes the corporeal human/manifestation, but as was written elsewhere, the world tree must be cut up and reassembled and I'm sure there is a Shamanic tale of this as well. Midgard cannot simply be thought of as stationary at the center because all men aren't at that position, and as it were, the temple was destroyed which implies a fall.

Treating the Nine Worlds as if they are identical to the levels of spiritual evolution described in the Cakra system of Kuṇḍalinī Yoga or the or the Kabbalistic Sephiroth is quite a leap from the way they are described in the Eddas. Furthermore we already have a Germanic example of that type of evolution you're talking about, and at no point in inn's experience does he travel trough the worlds in some sort of successive order. He hangs upon the tree and receives the Runic wisdom from below.

Oswiu
Thursday, October 23rd, 2008, 01:47 AM
Do you know where any of these written accounts can be found? And if so, can you post them?

I was in Durham University library some ten years ago when I found a nice book on Shamanism, especially among the Turkics of the Altai, but with some Samoyed and Sakha stuff in too. Amazing stuff. It was in English, but by a Russophone author, with a name like a Soviet poet... Was it a Marshak? Mandelshtam? Summat like that, anyroad. Sorry I can't remember much more!

I have a series of Russian ethnographic encyclopaediae in storage, and ONE day, I may be able to translate some interesting stuff. But I don't have access, time or space at the moment, I'm afraid. :~(

exit
Thursday, October 23rd, 2008, 12:07 PM
Treating the Nine Worlds as if they are identical to the levels of spiritual evolution described in the Cakra system of Kuṇḍalinī Yoga or the or the Kabbalistic Sephiroth is quite a leap from the way they are described in the Eddas. Furthermore we already have a Germanic example of that type of evolution you're talking about, and at no point in inn's experience does he travel trough the worlds in some sort of successive order. He hangs upon the tree and receives the Runic wisdom from below.

I love it when people ignore what I wrote and then tell me what I think. I already said they aren't the same or identical, but similar. And yes one does travel through the worlds for how else might one slay the dragon? "Nine worlds I knew, the nine in the tree" since to know means to be; to know from without is false knowledge, which is another reason why a simple bookish study will not lead to understanding of sacred texts. But enough of this, I'm not going to keep telling you that the symbol is not the thing symbolized, and the hatred of "monotheism" is no reason to be a heathen, but merely shows a bias which only leads to falsehood.

Psychonaut
Thursday, October 23rd, 2008, 04:15 PM
And yes one does travel through the worlds for how else might one slay the dragon?

Since when did inn become a dragon slayer. rr is credited with the slaying of Jrmungandr.


"Nine worlds I knew, the nine in the tree" since to know means to be; to know from without is false knowledge, which is another reason why a simple bookish study will not lead to understanding of sacred texts.

If this is the case then why would the myths mask this in obtuse language. There are many instances where the Gods are depicted traveling to the different worlds, but this is noticeably absent from inn's ordeal on the tree. Rather than brushing this apparent difference with the Hindus aside and twisting the text to make it mean what you want it, why not consider the possibility that the Germanic experience is in fact different from that of the Easterners?

Morning Angel
Thursday, October 23rd, 2008, 07:34 PM
There is no doubt that a "Tree of Life" is a widespread mythological element. As a concrete object, simple to visualize, a tree is likely to be maintained in myth throughout time and migrations. However, people change. Ideas change, especially those more subtle, less easily transmitted from generation to generation. Even if the tree was planted in the East, the scion of that tree growing in the North is potentially a different variety.

While the underlying truths may remain universal, the paths we take to find them may vary significantly. The truth remains, and the simple tree image remains, but human understanding, this is not always the same. "Salvation" is a perfect example of this. Heathens and Christians both intuit an afterlife, but Heathens get there by their own virtue. Christians, on the other hand, believe they require an intermediate--Christ.

This thread seems to have stalled out at the point of argument over the existence of a hierarchy. My opinion is that a hierarchy is not an essential element of a Tree of Life, although suitable to that image.

The seeress of the Voluspa certainly does give a description of the Germanic World "Scape," but is it enough to assume a spiritual hierarchy? Comparing three translations (my only access to the ancient text), I'm not sure I know what shape the seeress suggests for the nine worlds, nor what "the nine" are. Nine, giant women, nine trees, nine in the tree?

2. trans. Larrington
I, born of giants, remember very early
those who nurtured me then;
I remember nine worlds, I remember nine giant women,
the mighty Measuring Tree down below the earth.

2. trans. Bellows
I remember yet | the giants of yore,
Who gave me bread | in the days gone by;
Nine worlds I knew, | the nine in the Tree
With mighty roots | beneath the mold.

2. trans. Titchenell
I remember giants born in the foretime,
They who long ago nurtured me;
Nine worlds I remember, nine trees of life,
Before this world tree grew from the ground.

Snorri's description of Yggdrasil, relatively elaborate, is interesting in that the locations of the tree roots are "egalitarian." One root is imagined down below, as we think of a tree's roots in the earth, but a third root is in "heaven." In Grimnir's Sayings, there's a similar, egalitarian image of the tree's roots. Larrington's translation is:

Three roots there grow in three directions
under the ash of Yggdrasill;
Hel lives under one, under the second, the frost-giants,
the third, humankind.

It's interesting, too, that Snorri quotes "High" and "Just-as-High." Titchenell translates a portion of the Gylfaginning as,

"He saw three high seats, one above the other, with three figures seated, one on each. He asked what names these chieftains had and his conductor replied that he who sat in the lowest high seat was a king named The High One; the one above him was named As High, and the uppermost was named Third."

The seating arrangement inplies hierarchy, yet the names of the personages suggest they are equal in wisdom and status. My "feeling" is that hierarchical stages are not inherent in the Northern spiritual experience, neither as a concept in the Eddas, nor in modern quests.

By no means did I do a thorough search of literature (nor do I hold the key to spiritual experience), so if someone has some other "bookish" quotes, I'd be very interested to see them. This topic is fascinating, yes?

exit
Thursday, October 23rd, 2008, 08:48 PM
at no point in inn's experience does he travel trough the worlds in some sort of successive order.

He wouldn't have to traverse them in succession since as one of the sons of Borr he was one of the sacrificers of Ymir who produced the world cycle. Being in possession of the higher states naturally assumes the lower states. And when he sacrificed himself on the tree he could have taken any state as his starting point, and moreover, as he beheld the runes that signifies in my opinion the origin of the Germanic tradition, for the runes are a sacred language which conceal the mysteries. So it is not a law that everyone must go through the worlds in successive order which would also go against the theory of the four ages and different natures of the castes, and once at a certain point does not mean that one can't go back, it just means that one won't be caught up in its illusions. Anyway, Odin has many names, has slain many dragons, much more than you could ever dream of. This much is obvious.



My opinion is that a hierarchy is not an essential element of a Tree of Life, although suitable to that image.


But there is a hierarchy of states, just as there are a hierarchy of gods and giants, which is what the order out of chaos through the sacrifice implies. Moreover, every god and giant is merely an aspect of the High One, for the universe can only have one set of plans. Three roots, yes, as this may merely symbolize three planes of existence. But this might be too simple an explanation. As for just as high, and high one, etc., I fear that the words don't translate well, which is a problem that you have pointed out yourself.

You've also said that you don't think spiritual realization is the key, but at the same time those who wrote these texts were Seers, in other words Adepts or Prophets. It should be understood that they write about their art and doctrine. Thus these aren't just "myths" or "legendary tales."

exit
Friday, October 24th, 2008, 02:45 AM
'Neath the first lives Hel, | 'neath the second the frost-giants,
'Neath the last are the lands of men.

Living beneath is slightly different from connecting to a world. Nevertheless, I still think hel, niflhel, and nifheim are the same, and the frost-giants most likely refer to Jotunheim, and the last could be taken to mean man in Gimle which would be the heavens. For it is written that to man was given an immortal spirit, but evil men live in Hel. And as Midgard is below the clouds it is set between two chaoses, and thus the world of man must go to one or the other methinks.

Psychonaut
Friday, October 24th, 2008, 03:08 AM
Living beneath is slightly different from connecting to a world. Nevertheless, I still think hel, niflhel, and nifheim are the same, and the frost-giants most likely refer to Jotunheim, and the last could be taken to mean man in Gimle which would be the heavens. For it is written that to man was given an immortal spirit, but evil men live in Hel. And as Midgard is below the clouds it is set between two chaoses, and thus the world of man must go to one or the other methinks.

I think it would be a stretch to interpret the last root as being Giml, since the Vlva is clearly talking about the worlds in their pre-Ragnark state in those particular lines. As to the other two roots, the second is certainly Jtunheimr (which is probably identical with tgarar), but there's still a good bit of debate as to the relationship betweel Hel, Niflhel and Niflheimr. Snorri's statement in Gylfaginning that "evil men go to Hel and thence down to the Nifelhel," could very likely be a Christian identification between Hel and Hell. After all Baldr is hardly an "evil" man, yet ends up in Hel himself. It seems likely, judging from the account of Hermr's ride to Hel that it exists within Niflheimr just as Valhll exists within sgarr.

exit
Saturday, October 25th, 2008, 09:26 AM
The bottom line whether one believes in paradises like valhalla or not is that the three roots imply three conditions of existence: hel as formal manifestation, frost giants as formless manifestation, and man as gross manifestation, with the reservation that all three have their source in the supreme or fourth state, and that the potential of returning to this source lies in the human soul. One might also say that living beneath a root implies the inability to go beyond it without a death and rebirth and by eating of the root one is nourished or controlled by it. Now heaven can manifest on earth as it was in the axe age and one who is qualified can realize this in oneself even in the age of the wolf. But if a tradition is not preserved through the end of one age it will not exist in the next age. So however much we like to believe in myths (or that this or that god will survive Ragnarok) it won't make a bit of difference without actual human participation. Those who would fight against divine principles are therefore not doing the Nordic tradition any favors, but are acting on behalf of the wolf in attacking the gods. Loki is a trickster and he plays at our weaknesses, doubts, and individualistic tendencies. That the Edda deals with spiritual realization is self-evident upon reading, I say self-evident for if one does not find this to be the case then the fault lies entirely within oneself, and so there must be a hierarchy of states of being just as truth and bliss prevails over falsehood and misery.

Carl
Monday, October 27th, 2008, 07:40 PM
I was in Durham University library some ten years ago when I found a nice book on Shamanism, especially among the Turkics of the Altai, but with some Samoyed and Sakha stuff in too. Amazing stuff. It was in English, but by a Russophone author, with a name like a Soviet poet... Was it a Marshak? Mandelshtam? ........


....... I assume he wasnt one of Brown's ministers? ;)

If one wants to look across to the (northern) east for ancient influence then, as has been mentioned in another thread, Ellis-Davidson* earlier work is a good start - especially the section on the World Tree in Gods & Myths. She makes the point that the Guardian tree is a widespead religious idea and specifically, that the northern Shaman would 'use' this tree, 'spreading over the worlds', as a means of communication and 'travel', treating it like a ladder " stretching up to heaven and downward to the underworld".

With the Norse tree, perhaps one might even consider the squirrel Ratatosk as the appropriate "fetch" - since it spends all its time doing something like this - although ,I imagine, for very unsafe reasons! However the tree stands as a link - and can certainly be considered as itself being in a quite separate dimension of 'space' -- here the language groaning again!! This kind of thing exists across the whole of northern Asia --- and presumably therefore into ancient N America too (formerly). Northern Shaman are, of course, increasingly few; they are interesting -whereas soviet materialist are not :|

She* actually mentions also the Shaman climbing a birch tree "to indicate his ascent". Now how much this kind of thing relevantly pre-dates the Odin event (Havamal) and his own peering down from on high into the darkness of other worlds below, is impossible so say. Further the direct influence of Saami shamanism in the north of Scandinavia proper, which has often been discussed on other boards, is also a difficult topic. We have what we have ; the nine worlds presented are mysterious enough - thats clear from the confusion which still can exist about what they actually are! One thing is for sure, whilst some of them may appear within Voluspa, they do not all. Study of other texts from the old Edda will assist. Venturing beyond the authentic texts almost certainly won't. I have come to believe that the old faith necessitates an understanding of the sources from within it - rather than wildly beyond it!

The same is surely true of our folkways!

Psychonaut
Tuesday, October 28th, 2008, 12:01 AM
With the Norse tree, perhaps one might even consider the squirrel Ratatosk as the appropriate "fetch" - since it spends all its time doing something like this - although ,I imagine, for very unsafe reasons!

I'm actually surprised that the tree's inhabitants haven't been brought up before this.

We have Nhggr, who is clearly one of the entropic Jtunn-like beings whose sole purpose seems to be that of gnawing on the roots of Yggdrasil and, finally, heralding Ragnark:



From below the dragon
dark comes forth,
Nhggr flying
from Niafjll;
The bodies of men
on his wings he bears,
The serpent bright:
but now must I sink.


We also have the four stags: Dinn, Dvalinn, Duneyrr and Durarr. Their purpose as well is to gnaw on the World Tree. It is very interesting that all four of their names are Dwarf-names.

Then there is Verflnir, the hawk who sits between the eyes of an unnamed eagle atop the tree. Finally, Ratatoskr is the one who spreads gossip between the hawk above and the dragon below.

Carl
Thursday, October 30th, 2008, 07:43 PM
We have Nhggr, who is clearly one of the entropic Jtunn-like beings whose sole purpose seems to be that of gnawing on the roots of Yggdrasil and, finally, heralding Ragnark.

We also have the four stags: Dinn, Dvalinn, Duneyrr and Durarr. Their purpose as well is to gnaw on the World Tree. It is very interesting that all four of their names are Dwarf-names.

Finally, Ratatoskr is the one who spreads gossip between the hawk above and the dragon below.

Well yes, Nhggr gnaws away at the root - but the Norns above apply their white paste from the well in order to heal it...... The balance is maintain. The Tree of existence survives even Ragnarok. Thats what she says.

(--- your quote is anyway from the disputed end of Voluspa - after Ragnarok (?surely) . Does this mean that Nhggr also survives ?... or are these verses at the end really interpolations?)

The Dwarf names are interesting ; I've seen it said that they are dwarves during daylight! Perhaps they get eaten by wolves!! -- trees grow well enough.

And Ratatosk is classically shamanic its said -- travelling to all the worlds (almost).... except that the messages mightnt be too helpful. Who knows?

Psychonaut
Friday, October 31st, 2008, 01:57 AM
your quote is anyway from the disputed end of Voluspa - after Ragnarok (?surely) . Does this mean that Nhggr also survives ?... or are these verses at the end really interpolations?)

Yes, it is the final section from Vlusp, Hollander says of it:


The interpretation of this stanza has been much debated. If the reading of the main manuscripts: "now she will sink" be retained, with some editors, the meaning must be that the seeres is about to disappear again, having completed her prophecy. See the situation in "Baldrs draumar," "Hyndluljod," and "Grogaldr." But adopting the reading above, the evil dragon must be meant who is seen on his unusual flight, carrying corpses, but who will sink out of sight in the new order of things.

Carl
Tuesday, November 4th, 2008, 03:08 PM
Yes well, I know what Hollander says...its been with me a long time! but what do you think about those final 2 verses which he includes? What does 64 refer to - some think it is the return of Odinn ( ??Hoenir's brother ?? - must start a new thread on that! ;) ). Or is it Xian?

..... and what of 65? The old dragon from below - men do still die! ; but " now HE will sink" (H). He, the dragon, will be no more ....??

.... or , from Bellows, " SHE must sink" ie. (quote)

" but now must I sink " -

- meaning the dead (?) Volva in question, called up by Odinn to give her prophecy, - now she must sink again, back down into the land of the dead once more . I gather the text is somewhat ambiguous. I must check the two original Norse sources. Difficult finale this - if we are to retain it!?

Psychonaut
Wednesday, November 5th, 2008, 12:18 AM
Yes well, I know what Hollander says...its been with me a long time! but what do you think about those final 2 verses which he includes?

I always saw the last stanzas as a premonition of Nhggr acting as Ragnark's herald, not so much as a description of the Vlva's departure. However, It's been a while since I really gave these lines much thought, so I think I'll do so now!

Sigurd
Wednesday, November 5th, 2008, 09:11 AM
( ??Hoenir's brother ?? - must start a new thread on that! ;) ).

Hoenir-Ve's brother could either be Odin or Lur-Vili. The former is mentioned more, but let's not forget the importance of the latter.

I can't see where it says "Hoenir's brother" alone, I only see "Tveggi's brothers' sons" . Whereas Tveggi (used in Bellows' translation) is another name for Odin (Hollander uses Ygg in the stead of Tveggi).

Hoenir's only two sons (amongst would appear to be Mani and Njrd - both Vanir. All of Lur's sons are Elves. Odin's sons are sir - so far so good. Vindheim is "heaven".

Hoenir evidently survives - he has the gift to forsee the future ("wins the prophetic wand") in this new age.

Nothing is known of Lur's sons - genealogywise it would seem likely that Rig/Heimdall came from his line, but where's the missing link in between? Lur's direct sons aren't mentioned anywhere ...

Maybe it could all be a metaphor in that Heimdall is the "link between all that is godly and that which is human" by being the culture-bringer and all? --- and refer to Heimdall's "children" instead, id est the new age be the one for humans?

Unless Lur and Loki are seen as one and the same: a proposition for which the only relevant link would be that both feature "exceedingly often" alongside Odin and Hoenir. In that case, the reference to his sons would become even more nebulous.

Connecting all these tidbits of information together - sheer impossible. We aren't given enough information, I fear to concoct anything coherent out of it.

If it referred to Odin's sons rather than those of his brothers, in the text, then it'd be self-evident as to the meaning of that stanza, but that way I am all topo puzzled myself.

Might need to re-read Vluspa in detail and in a "spiritual atmosphere" and then ponder upon it at some later point today.

Bill Noble
Sunday, November 9th, 2008, 02:39 AM
Sword-death, sea-death, straw-deathWhat is the fate for each death? The only one I am familiar with is Valhalla by Sword-death.

Psychonaut
Sunday, November 9th, 2008, 02:42 AM
What is the fate for each death? The only one I am familiar with is Valhalla by Sword-death.

Those who die at sea belong to Rn. The straw dead were those who died of old age.

Bill Noble
Sunday, November 9th, 2008, 02:51 AM
The straw dead were those who died of old age.Is there a place they go, or does their consciousnesses simply discontinue?

Psychonaut
Sunday, November 9th, 2008, 02:58 AM
Is there a place they go, or do their consciousnesses simply discontinue?

Hel was thought of as kind of the default place for the dead. Only those who died under exceptional circumstances went elsewhere.

Carl
Sunday, November 9th, 2008, 12:48 PM
I see it very much akin to the old Greek Hades... a place of shades. But the accounts do suggest that Hel herself wasn't/isn't exactly a very nice creature ... and the venue itself doesn't sound very promising. But then, its not supposed to be ,is it. And maybe that's the best that ought to be expected.

Dont forget that the Valkyries may also help Freyja sometimes; Odin gave to her partial rights over the battle dead as well - or so it is written.

[ Folkvang -- ref. Grimnismal 14 ;) ]

Bill Noble
Sunday, March 27th, 2011, 02:03 AM
Can those who go to Valhalla visit those who go to Rn or Hel?

davidk
Monday, June 27th, 2011, 01:41 AM
As a reconstructionist, this is my reply.

The 9 worlds is a borrowing from the classical cultures, ie, Greece and Rome and, perhaps, Egypt.

Midgar is Midgar That's where we all live: jtun, alf, dwerg, man, gods, etc. There were giants who lived outside of Midgar, to be sure, but the rest were inside, inclusive of the living and the dead.

'Hel' simply means 'hidden' or 'under the dirt,' ie 'not breathing.' Giants, dwarves, elves, and whatever lived in Midgar the same as us. Give me source material as to otherwise.

Pretty much, there was little more than 'outside' or 'inside' and the rest is poetic BS.

The Asians, Muslims, Jvaros all live in different worlds than ours, but they're still in Midgar. 9 worlds is little more than Snorri crap.

lewwe woohl un faahr mit de Gedder,
bil