PDA

View Full Version : The Meaning of the Nine Worlds



Blutwölfin
Saturday, December 3rd, 2005, 12:51 PM
http://tinypic.com/i4i82e.jpg

The vertical Axis

ASGARD

Divination: Higher influences; nature of relationship with the divinities; the veiled branches of the question; matters of honor, positive influences from the past states of existence (Řrlög); divine inspiration, idealism, altruistic impulses.
General: Realm of consciousness in and of itself complex, with many halls within, among them Valhol; Abode of the Fetch (Fylgja); house of the Spirit. Home of the Ćsir, highest form of consciousness, divine state of being; abode of the magickal personna (Wode); the synthesis of the memory of divine existence and the intellect.

LJUSÁLFHEIM

Divination: Mental influence. Family matters; messages of Huginn- Directions in which you should plan. Paths to help you realize influences from Asgard. Crystallization of ideas into clear thoughts. Intellectual process. Communications, messages. Manifestation of inspiration.
General: The realm of the Light-Elves, ruled by Freyr; angelic intermediaries; Broad expanses of light; abode of the mind: the intellect. contains manifold levels; halls or abodes; the brightness of the human intellect.

MIDGARD

Divination: Self-awareness, Ego consciousness. The manner in which people manifest themselves in life. The Outcome of the question in life. That which is of greatest concern; the area of personal activity and involvement.
General: The material manifestation: Earth. the body of man; the all-potential of the Self. In Midgard, all worlds meet. The central reality of humanity, the realm in which the mind and body are in a symbiotic state. Not a geocentric philosophy, but one which puts the here and now at the center of our and the gods attention. The result of the interaction of opposites.

SVARTALFHEIM

Divination: Creative emotional influences. Money matters. Messages from Muninn: things you should reflect upon. Paths to realize influences from Hel. How you feel about the matter. How your feelings influence the matter.
General: A subterranean world of darkness where shapes are forged; realm of the emotions. The Dwarves; the Formative aspects of being. The realm of Formation. All things in Midgard have their original shape in Svartalfheim.

HEL

Divination: Intuition. Hidden or suppressed instinctual desires. Nature of automatic functions or behavior. The hidden root of the question. Negative- passive, restrictive- influences from past states of existence- Řrlög. Pre-formative, deepest levels of the psyche.
General: Realm of the instincts. Abode of stillness and inertia; unconsciousness.
The final resting place of the soul. Abode of the dead, from where souls undergo rebirth. The dead are ever present and actually nourish the living with their presence. Once entered, it is very difficult to leave without great power, usually from outside. Realm of the goddess Hel; Not a place of punishment, more a place of rest- a state abhorred by the Teutonic mind, which from this state awaits re-awakening. The realm of Niflhel is the lowest level in Hel, a place totally lacking in being.

The Horizontal Plane

NIFLHEIM

Divination: Cosmic Ice; That which resists you; Passive or restrictive outside influences; things tending toward dormancy; pulling inward, unrealized potential, stored-up energy; preservation, centering, containment. The deep-freeze. [YIN]
General: Realm of mist becoming ice, abode of contraction and magnetism. The force of anti-matter; a force constantly pulling inward upon itself; a black hole. North: the origin of all waters (that become Ice) a zone of negative-non existence.

MUSPELHEIM

Divination: Cosmic Fire; State of vital energies, that which energizes you; active outside influences; things tending toward activity. Expansion, light, heat, utilization of resources, work done, action.
General: Realm of fiery sparks, abode of expansion and electricity; force of pure energy expanding away from itself. The origin of all forms of positive energy . The South represents the outward expanding energy drawn to the anti-matter of Niflheim, and providing the conditions that make Midgard possible between them. Existence is impossible in Muspelheim; the beings ascribed to both Niflheim and Muspelheim can only exist on the edges of these realms. Surt and the fire giants live here; origin of Loki.

VANAHEIM

Divination:The Vanir: Promotes orderly growth; erotic relationships, persons of the opposite sex; balancing influences; forces of continuity, structure and well-being. Planning, prioritizing, stable and secure but less dynamic. Forces and energies under your control.
General: Realm of organic patterning and coalescence- water. Abode of forces in a fruitful and static balance. A well-tended garden. The West; harvest. The Vanir are the gods and goddesses of productivity and organic growth. Patterning of organic existence in this realm. The world of eternal balance of a cyclical nature; the idea of constant growth; eternal well-being, peace, pleasure and comfort. The realm of organic, personal and cosmic cycles.

JÖTUNHEIM

Divination: Chaos: That which confuses you; that which may be left to chance. Things that test you; forces pressing for change; realm of crisis. Disorderly growth, taking risks, casting your fate to the winds. Forces and energies not under your control.
General: A realm in constant motion, seeking to oppose and give resistance to whatever it meets. Force of dissolution and deception. Reactive power of destruction necessary to evolutionary change. The East: the realm of the Jötir -the giants of the Air, in counter-balance to Vanaheim, Jötunheim is a place of constant change; it and its inhabitants seek to oppose and change anything they come up against. The realm itself cannot undergo its own metamorphosis; it is a catalyst for change and evolution, itself unable to change or evolve. It is a place of dissolution and deception. It is the reactive power of destruction necessary to evolutionary change.



Source: "Runelore" by Edred Thorsson

exit
Monday, October 6th, 2008, 07:34 PM
If the above really was taken from "Runelore" by Edred Thorsson then I am glad that I don't read his books. There are just so many mistakes here that I don't know where to start. First off, I don't understand why his kooky descriptions are labeled as "divinations" or why he has to try to relate everything to regular events like "relationships" or "money matters!" Perhaps one of the worst errors is his "divination" (sic) of Hel as intuition. Does this not show that he has no understanding of what intuition is? And why is hel placed in the vertical? As is typical to the occultist mentality everything tends to be reduced to magic and divination; there is no going beyond "clairvoyance" or "clairaudience" which is probably what he means by intuition. How more obvious is this when he writes for Asgard "the veiled branches of the question!" What question might that be? Here's one: how can he conceive of a veil in Asgard but then continue to call it the house of the Spirit and highest level of consciousness? Another major error, as I pointed out, is his confusion of the vertical and horizontal of which his order of the worlds is also clearly wrong. This just shows a total confusion and creates more obstacles for those who read his books. It is better not to read anything on the subject than to read something totally wrong, for it is just that much harder for the person to accept the correction.

Psychonaut
Monday, October 6th, 2008, 10:42 PM
I'm holding Thorsson's Runelore in my hands right now and I can tell you that the above post is not a direct quote from the book.

exit
Tuesday, October 7th, 2008, 02:03 PM
I'm holding Thorsson's Runelore in my hands right now and I can tell you that the above post is not a direct quote from the book.

If it's even close then that still says a lot. The order of the worlds and their placement in the vertical and horizontal planes is completely wrong. Thus anything that he would have to say about them would be flawed from the start. Besides, I wouldn't trust anyone who was a member of the Church of Satan and the Temple of Set, which is part of the counter-initiation.

Ultimately, one must ask the question, do his books promote magic and divination? The answer to this is clearly yes. But also, do his books promote knowledge and understanding? No, I don't think so. People are using the Tacitus quote to justify the practice of divination without realizing that Tacitus refers to a period of degeneration which resulted in the failure of "heathenism." Occultists who focus on divination are therefore shortsighted.

Psychonaut
Tuesday, October 7th, 2008, 07:31 PM
If it's even close then that still says a lot. The order of the worlds and their placement in the vertical and horizontal planes is completely wrong. Thus anything that he would have to say about them would be flawed from the start. Besides, I wouldn't trust anyone who was a member of the Church of Satan and the Temple of Set, which is part of the counter-initiation.

Ultimately, one must ask the question, do his books promote magic and divination? The answer to this is clearly yes. But also, do his books promote knowledge and understanding? No, I don't think so. People are using the Tacitus quote to justify the practice of divination without realizing that Tacitus refers to a period of degeneration which resulted in the failure of "heathenism." Occultists who focus on divination are therefore shortsighted.

First off, the question of whether the world tree was viewed as a horizontal schema or a verticle one is far from settled. Dr. Winterbourne enters into a lengthy discussion on this in the excellent work When the Norns have Spoken: Time and Fate in Germanic Paganism. What Thorsson and his antecedents propose is a compromise between these two disparate models.

Secondly, regarding Thorsson, you said earlier:


I don't read his books

Since you don't read his books, who are you pass judgment on them? Basing your opinion of an authors work solely on second hand accounts of his ideas and affiliations is not a good method of getting an accurate picture of the author himself. Point in case, if you had actually read Thorsson's book Runelore prior to denouncing it, you'd know that it devotes exactly ten pages to discussing historical examples of Runic divination amidst a one hundred page section on Runic history, and that's it. His books rarely deal with divination, as it is quite secondary to the other uses of the Runes.

exit
Tuesday, October 7th, 2008, 07:51 PM
First off, the question of whether the world tree was viewed as a horizontal schema or a verticle one is far from settled.

I think you misunderstand.


His books rarely deal with divination, as it is quite secondary to the other uses of the Runes

But that is purely spin since there is no way that someone could have so wrong a view of the world tree from reading the book if the book wasn't completely wrong itself. People always fall back to the argument that nothing can be known, which is the same as saying they don't know so no one else has the right to know more than them. Whether a world is in the horizontal or vertical position makes for a big difference. This has nothing to do with "views" or "beliefs" but rather truth and error.

Psychonaut
Tuesday, October 7th, 2008, 08:07 PM
Whether a world is in the horizontal or vertical position makes for a big difference.

Perhaps, but it could just be a matter of perspective. For instance, if the World Tree were an object floating in space, up and down would have the same value as left and right, depending on what perspective you approach the object from. Also, just to make sure, you are aware that both models are presented in the lore, right? Völuspá presents a vertical model, while Gylfaginning presents a horizontal model. I wasn't starting up any kind of epistemological argument that "nothing can be known," I was merely commenting on your apparent ignorance of what Thorsson has actually written about.

exit
Tuesday, October 7th, 2008, 08:34 PM
Perhaps, but it could just be a matter of perspective.

No, it can't be.


For instance, if the World Tree were an object floating in space

Which it can't be.


Also, just to make sure, you are aware that both models are presented in the lore, right? Völuspá presents a vertical model, while Gylfaginning presents a horizontal model.

Wrong again. The world tree is both horizontal and vertical depending on which half you are referring to. See the thread "Philosophy and the Intellect."


I wasn't starting up any kind of epistemological argument that "nothing can be known,"

But you were by implying that something else could be which amounts to science fiction. See the thread "Multiverse."


I was merely commenting on your apparent ignorance of what Thorsson has actually written about

But he does seem to reduce things to magic and divination, for in Runelore he suggests the possibility of a connection of the word rune with the Indic Varuna which he claims gives it the meaning of “magical binding.” These are his own words. Now even if it were connected to Varuna which there is only a spelling similarity this still would in no wise imply a magical binding. Varuna is connected with the law, rta and dharma, which has nothing to do with magic whatsoever. A magical binding is rather a psychic exchange given for a magical operation, nothing more nothing less. Thus this is not an attribute of Odin as it was no mere magical operation that he performed. Magic only pertains to phenomena.

There seems to be as well a direct connection of Flowers' views to Jung, and most likely to the TOS, which have corrupted his thinking.

Carl
Tuesday, October 7th, 2008, 08:58 PM
People are using the Tacitus quote to justify the practice of divination without realizing that Tacitus refers to a period of degeneration which resulted in the failure of "heathenism."

what an amazing statement!! Heathenism was scarcely about to fail in the time of Tacitus.... the entire runic lore was carried forward across Europe with the old faith enduring for another 1000 years and more. Runes were still in use as script until almost into the modern era. It was necessary for some Scandinavian priests to understand them in order to read certain burial records I have learnt!

My guess is that Thorsson knew more about the whole subject than you will ever realize.:thumbup

Psychonaut
Tuesday, October 7th, 2008, 09:03 PM
No, it can't be.

Which it can't be.

Wrong again. The world tree is both horizontal and vertical depending on which half you are referring to. See the thread "Philosophy and the Intellect."

I'm seriously not interested in debating metaphysics with you in this thread. I was merely pointing out that there is a very large discrepancy in the descriptions of the World Tree given in the two texts. Here is the description from Gylfaginning:


XV. Then said Gangleri: "Where is the chief abode or holy place of the gods?" Hárr answered: 'That is at the Ash of Yggdrasill; there the gods must give judgment everyday." Then Gangleri asked: "What is to be said concerning that place?" Then said Jafnhárr: "The Ash is greatest of all trees and best: its limbs spread out over all the world and stand above heaven. Three roots of the tree uphold it and stand exceeding broad: one is among the Ćsir; another among the Rime-Giants, in that place where aforetime was the Yawning Void; the third stands over Niflheim, and under that root is Hvergelmir, and Nídhöggr gnaws the root from below. But under that root which turns toward the Rime-Giants is Mímir's Well, wherein wisdom and understanding are stored; and he is called Mímir, who keeps the well. He is full of ancient lore, since he drinks of the well from the Gjallar-Horn. Thither came Allfather and craved one drink of the well; but he got it not until he had laid his eye in pledge. So says Völuspá:

All know I, Odin, | where the eye thou hiddest,
In the wide-renowned | well of Mímir;
Mímir drinks mead | every morning
From Valfather's wage. | Wit ye yet, or what?

The third root of the Ash stands in heaven; and under that root is the well which is very holy, that is called the Well of Urdr; there the gods hold their tribunal.

and here is what Völuspá has to say:



An ash I know, hight Yggdrasil,
the mighty tree moist with white dews;
thence come the floods that fal adown;
evergreen o'ertops Urth's well this tree

Further, in his Norse Mythology Dr. Lindow says:


The tree functions on both the vertical axis (trunk) and the horizontal axis (roots), and structural readings of the mythology, such as those of Eleazar Meletinskij, have suggested that these have varying functions: wisdom on the vertical axis and history on the horizontal axis. And the tree brings not just spatial unity to the mythology; Gro Steinsland showed elegantly through an analysis of Völuspá how it also brought chronological unity.

So, we're dealing with a myriad of scholarly disputes over the reconciliation of these disparate models. And, before you're too quick to characterize Thorsson (aka Dr. Stephen Flowers) as someone who simply reduces "things to magic and divination," be advised that he has made significant scholarly contributions to the study of the Runes, was a student of the great Dr. Polome, and taught at UT Austin for several years prior to the forming of the Runegild.

However, all of this is beside the point. Your critiques of the man and his work are based on your complete ignorance of his writings. Seriously, before you continue to denigrate his ideas, pickup one of his books and read it. Making strawman arguments based on seriously incomplete knowledge of someone's ideas is just bad form.

exit
Wednesday, October 8th, 2008, 04:57 AM
I'm seriously not interested in debating metaphysics with you in this thread. I was merely pointing out that there is a very large discrepancy in the descriptions of the World Tree given in the two texts.

There is no discrepancy there.


Further, in his Norse Mythology Dr. Lindow says:

A bunch of pointless nonsense which I doubt he understands... We're talking about the worlds and he's referring to completely physical direction of the roots and trunk, of which his ideas are clearly wrong. I have no idea what he means by spatial unity to the myth or chronological unity. These scholars don't know the first thing about metaphysics, as usual. There's another book I'd stay far away from!


And, before you're too quick to characterize Thorsson (aka Dr. Stephen Flowers) as someone who simply reduces "things to magic and divination,"

I already gave proof of some of his very SERIOUS errors! And I'm sure I can come up with more, but I see that it would be pointless as nothing I say will make a difference to his fans.


be advised that he has made significant scholarly contributions to the study of the Runes

your opinion, not mine.


Your critiques of the man and his work are based on your complete ignorance of his writings.

Wrong. I even quoted him directly.


Seriously, before you continue to denigrate his ideas, pickup one of his books and read it. Making strawman arguments based on seriously incomplete knowledge of someone's ideas is just bad form


Stop making excuses for him.

exit
Wednesday, October 8th, 2008, 05:03 AM
what an amazing statement!! Heathenism was scarcely about to fail in the time of Tacitus....

Traditions can be carried on without the people knowing the true meanings behind them, hence superstition and degeneration. Heathenism didn't just fail overnight.



My guess is that Thorsson knew more about the whole subject than you will ever realize

Psychonaut
Wednesday, October 8th, 2008, 05:22 AM
There is no discrepancy there.

A bunch of pointless nonsense which I doubt he understands...


So it's your unsourced opinions against the words of experts in the fields of Germanic mythology; I wonder whose word I'm to trust?



I already gave proof of some of his very SERIOUS errors! And I'm sure I can come up with more, but I see that it would be pointless as nothing I say will make a difference to his fans.

Your 'proof' seems to be a critique of one line from his book, which is you disputing, without sourcing your point, the etymology of someone who has a PhD in Germanic philology. Again, who seems more reliable here?

exit
Wednesday, October 8th, 2008, 05:26 AM
Wow he's got a phd so everyone worship him.

Psychonaut
Wednesday, October 8th, 2008, 06:01 AM
Wow he's got a phd so everyone worship him.

Or you could, for a moment, consider that his philological knowledge might be greater than your own. :-O

Carl
Wednesday, October 8th, 2008, 11:15 AM
Can I suggest 'exit' that you make yourself a formal introduction to this board in the proper place. Then we can see if you likely to prove a useful member. It is an expectation , after all.

re-inforcement!

exit
Wednesday, October 8th, 2008, 02:42 PM
Or you could, for a moment, consider that his philological knowledge might be greater than your own.

One replaces metaphysics with "magic" and the other with "history." Yeah, I've seen his "knowledge" and it doesn't stand up.

Carl
Wednesday, October 8th, 2008, 03:40 PM
Blutwolfin placed this thread here a long time ago. As a well respected member and the leader of NoFo she had her reasons which in my opinion were good ones. Thinking about this, I do recall reading the passage from the book - which I possess. It is a very interesting concept - lateral in various directions and vertical also. It reminds me of the problems of 3 dimensional geometry. Perhaps it is a metaphor ... perhaps the author intended a great deal more. Whatever the truth, he was a man worthy of some regard - and a sincerely Germanics scholar. People need to keep this in mind.

exit
Wednesday, October 8th, 2008, 04:37 PM
Blutwolfin placed this thread here a long time ago. As a well respected member and the leader of NoFo she had her reasons which in my opinion were good ones. Thinking about this, I do recall reading the passage from the book - which I possess. It is a very interesting concept - lateral in various directions and vertical also. It reminds me of the problems of 3 dimensional geometry. Perhaps it is a metaphor ... perhaps the author intended a great deal more. Whatever the truth, he was a man worthy of some regard - and a sincerely Germanics scholar. People need to keep this in mind.

It's not their original idea. Just because you call them scholars does not mean they're beyond reproach. Even scholars make mistakes.

Ulf
Wednesday, October 8th, 2008, 07:53 PM
For a second I read this thread and mistook it for another.

Exit, those scholars are not beyond reproach, what of yourself? You seem to think you are.

How many mushrooms does one require to get to your level of understanding?

Also, an introduction thread would be nice, then we could at least get to know you a little. It's quit rude to come to someones hall without introduction and start these argumentative threads.

Athalwulf
Wednesday, October 8th, 2008, 08:51 PM
Also, an introduction thread would be nice, then we could at least get to know you a little. It's quit rude to come to someones hall without introduction and start these argumentative threads.

Well to be fair, I never posted an introduction.

Carl
Friday, October 10th, 2008, 02:44 PM
.I noticed that BlutWolfin's orginal image on post #1 is no longer present - so I have placed here the relevant plate in order to graphically show Thorsson's own representation of the nine world's of the Norse cosmology.


http://img235.imageshack.us/img235/2997/9worldsfxz5.jpg


Interesting to read that Thorsson realized that between each of 'the nine worlds' there were precisely 24 single pathways. For students of the Elder Futhark like himself , this mathematical outcome must have been a highly meaningful co-incidence, to use Jung's term.

=====

From the Voluspa ( trans. Bellows )

1. Hearing I ask from the holy races,
From Heimdall's sons, both high and low;
Thou wilt, Valfather, that well I relate
Old tales I remember of men long ago.

2. 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.


his own note at the time :


2. Nine worlds: the worlds of the gods (Asgarth), of the Wanes (Vanaheim), of the elves (Alfheim), of men (Mithgarth), of the giants (Jotunheim), of fire (Muspellsheim), of the dark elves (Svartalfaheim), of the dead (Niflheim), and presumably of the dwarfs (perhaps - Nithavellir, cf. stanza 37 and note, but the ninth world is uncertain).


The Tree: the world-ash Yggdrasil, symbolizing the universe..........

=====

exit
Friday, October 10th, 2008, 04:05 PM
His model is wrong. Niflheim cannot be above the center which would place it in the vertical. Niflheim is in the lower waters. If you are going by the north south directions then you have to account for the fact that after the fall of the Golden Age the ruling god became a giant. But also water is a descending tendency (which is seen also in its freezing state) whereas fire is ascending.

And there are other placements which I disagree with. Either Blutwolfin is reading the model wrong or it is drawn up wrong. Horizontal plane means everything below the center whereas the vertical is above it. In other words this is not a spatial symbolism, vertical means simultaneity, whereas horizontal is temporality.

Lyfing
Friday, October 10th, 2008, 05:16 PM
Something maybe interesting from Rydberg's Teutonic Mythology (http://www.vaidilute.com/books/norroena/rydberg-contents.html)


It has already been pointed out that Bifrost is the only connecting link between Asgard and the lower regions of the universe. The air was regarded as an ether sea which the bridge spanned, and although the horses of mythology were able to swim in this sea, the solid connection was of the greatest importance. The gods used the bridge every day (Grimnismal, Gylfaginning). Frost-giants and mountain-giants are anxious to get possession of it, for it is the key to Asgard. It therefore has its special watchman in the keen-eyed and vigilant Heimdal. When in Ragnarok the gods ride to the last conflict they pass over Bifrost (Fafnersmal). The bridge does not lead to Midgard. Its lower ends were not conceived as situated among mortal men. It stood outside and below the edge of the earth’s crust both in the north and in the south. In the south it descended to Urd’s fountain and to the thingstead of the gods in the lower world (see the accompanying drawing, intended to make these facts intelligible). From this mythological topographical arrangement it follows of necessity that the valkyries at the head of the chosen slain must take their course through the lower world, by the way of Urd’s fountain and the thingstead of the gods, if they are to ride on Bifrost bridge to Asgard, and not be obliged to betake themselves thither on swimming horses.

http://www.vaidilute.com/books/norroena/diagram-p467.jpg

Later,
-Lyfing

Carl
Friday, October 10th, 2008, 06:40 PM
His model is wrong. Niflheim cannot be above the center which would place it in the vertical. Niflheim is in the lower waters.....

:(
You do have a point which Thorsson has indeed sought to clarify.... the central axis is tilted to allow for the lowering of those lower regions. But the representation as it stands is anyway a three dimensional schema and Nifelheim is thus to be seen as on the same plane (in the diagram - #22 ) and certainly not above Midgard! . An understanding of spatial geometry would help. But in anycase, there are many other issues which can be picked up with his interesting model ..... having declared their truce in a war which the Vanir appeared to win - at least in the first round , I am not sure that it is even that reasonable for Asgard to be above Vanaheim. But I imagine others might well disagree; not a serious matter -since the Gods of the north united in any case.


I think it is true that Bifrost connects to certain other regions - but surely not all. The "24 paths" would have to be considered in another light .... if they are to be seen as useful. The "24 from 9" mathematics just intrigued me! :D

exit
Friday, October 10th, 2008, 07:12 PM
Alright, but still, Niflheim cannot be on or near the same plane as the center. Niflheim should be at the lowest or almost lowest position of the fall. And also, Hel should not be considered as one of the worlds, because it really pertains to all of the subtle state. As for Vanaheim, I would place that just below Asgard and above Lysalfheim.

I would add to this my reasoning for the placement being that Alfheim represents the angelic realm starting from the center, but not the archangels which is represented by Vanaheim. Freya is Maya in her superior position which is Substance united with Essence. This is seen in her spinning the clouds which meaning is synonymous with the face of the Absolute.

Psychonaut
Friday, October 10th, 2008, 10:47 PM
Thanks for posting the diagram Carl. There's another way of interpreting it, albeit a very modern one, that I'm quite fond of. Imagine, for a moment, that the diagram is a representation of a structure of a higher dimensional order. The three-dimensional spheres would then translate into four-dimensional hyperspheres, which jives with the theory that our universe is the three-dimesional 'surface' of a hypersphere. This way all movement between the nine worlds would necessarily take place by stepping out of three-dimensional space into hyperspace. I find that a very interesting proposition since people have been suggesting since the turn of the century that astral projection was just that and that our 'souls' were really four-dimensional. Another interesting feature of a muti-dimensional model would be that Asgard and Hel, as polar opposites, could be placed on an axis that is neither up/down, left/right, or front back, but something of another order altogether. While this is all just speculation on my part, partially influenced by the works of the mathematician Rudolph von Rucker and my own esoteric practices, it's an interesting model to consider.

exit
Saturday, October 11th, 2008, 09:52 AM
The four corners around the center can be displayed as follows: Midgard as the soul, earth; Svartalfheim, as water or the lesser powers of the soul; Vindheim, air; Muspelheim, fire; and in the center Alfheim, the spirit or intellect. For some who enter the center deliverance is immediate, however most people have to pass through successive stages or degrees. This is why there are vices at the lower portion of the tree where there exists duality. And really virtues only exist because of their opposites; for equilibrium is a union of contrary forces. We find a similar situation in Greek myths from the rivers of Hades which have names signifying vices. Yet it is through fire and rage that one passes to the other shore, which is most likely the sacrificial rite and the pressure exerted on the mind of one who is passing over, which is the soul being sheared away from the spirit. It is said however that knowledge only occurs when goodness is dominant and not merely from equilibrium; now I take fire as representative of the supreme good because of its ascending nature. And therefore Surt is the sacrificer like Agni of whose hymn it is written:


Worthy is Agni to be praised by living as by ancient seers.
He shall bring hitherward the Gods.
Through Agni man obtaineth wealth, yea, plenty waxing day by day,
Most rich in heroes, glorious.
Agni, the perfect sacrifice which thou encompassest about
Verily goeth to the Gods.

http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/rigveda/rv01001.htm

Carl
Sunday, October 12th, 2008, 07:56 PM
I am really not too sure what to say about these speculations of the spirit-geographic kind. It seems to me that it is so easy to be carried away with ideas that leave the mythological base far behind.

This may well be an interesting - even rewarding - spiritual or 'religious' undertaking, but it will very quickly become entirely subjective ... and sharable only with members of the particular cultic persuasion. I am aware there there are even published elaborate Theosophical interpretations ... which may well have merit for some, but not for others.
Adherents of the various Odinic movements are generally fairly low level in their 'demands' on cult believers! ---- perhaps its a wise policy.

Where I am, is difficult enough!! Looking at the web material, it is clear to me that there isnt even agreement about what the Nine Worlds of Voluspa exactly are! ( Indeed - is Hel part of Niflheim?) Is there anyway of really knowing when the original texts are often in conflict to some degree.... and I am referring even to within the Elder Edda , long before ever Snorri gets his Christian imagination to work in his frequently elaborated retelling of the story as it was originally given in the ??still pagan 10th century. He may have had new material available to him - but the source of this are not supplied. I tend to agree with Moody that relying of Snorri's later work is opening the whole thing up to post Christian distortion. In many areas this is so obviously the case!


What do you think? -- its an important question. "Scripture" :oanieyes ;) for me has to be sufficient early to virtually pre-date the advent of Christian distortion. This is so even if the overall story is somewhat depleted!! Is this overdoing it??:oanieyes

==

Consider from Grimnismal ( 4th in the Elder Edda) :


31. Three roots there are - that three ways run
'Neath the ash-tree Yggdrasil;
'Neath the first lives Hel, - 'neath the second the frost-giants,
'Neath the last are the lands of men.

32. Ratatosk is the squirrel - who there shall run
On the ash-tree Yggdrasil;
From above, the words of the eagle he bears,
And tells them to Nithhogg beneath.


[31. The first of these roots is the one referred to in stanza 26; the second in stanza 29 (cf. notes). Of the third root there is nothing noteworthy recorded......"]

(trans. H.Bellows)

-----This certainly differs from the later story; yet this is probably an early 10th century poem.

Does it even really matter ?

exit
Monday, October 13th, 2008, 11:55 AM
This may well be an interesting - even rewarding - spiritual or 'religious' undertaking, but it will very quickly become entirely subjective ... and sharable only with members of the particular cultic persuasion.


Surely you cannot deny that every tradition must have three things: a doctrine, a moral law, and a path to spiritual realization. These are all entwined. It all becomes clearer and much less "subjective" when you learn firsthand other traditions from the monks who mastered them. Taoism, Hinduism, Freemasonry, Buddhism, Sufism, Hermetic Alchemy, Gnosticism, Kabbalism, even to a lesser or exoteric extent, Christianity (the sacraments), etc. All of these traditions can't be wrong. They all have their own world trees.

It takes a lot of courage to defend tradition in the ultraprogressive modern world, and I'll be the first to readily admit that courage is what modern man most lacks.


Looking at the web material, it is clear to me that there isnt even agreement about what the Nine Worlds of Voluspa exactly are! ( Indeed - is Hel part of Niflheim?) Is there anyway of really knowing when the original texts are often in conflict to some degree....


Most of the time it is a simple misunderstanding, rather than a textual contradiction. And as regards Christian corruptions, I am not too swayed by this argument, because Christianity is based on the Greco-Roman tradition. If there was any corruption it would be anthropomorphism, historicism, or sentimentalism, which is easily overcome by an understanding of symbols. Indeed, the "science of religions" method proceeds from the Christian degeneration. The "geography" of myth cannot be reduced to natural geography, and all the sages, philosophers, etc, warned against this. But just like alchemy, where symbols were used to describe internal rites, people still disregarded all the countless warnings and took it as literal or psychological.

As for the worlds.... Most people don't realize this but the Greek Oceanus actually refers to the upper waters (lower heaven) whereas hades refers to the lower (hel). In the Nordic sense, this means that the mountain giants reside in the lower heaven and are described as terrible because they are guardians. (Thus the "creation" myths are more causal than material, occuring in the "void.") Now when we view the world tree in terms of manifestation everything is inverted, whereas if we view it in returning to the origins then it will be the other way. Thus there is no real contradiction once we take into account different points of view. But actually, to name a real Christian corruption, is the idea of creation which only belongs to Semitic religions. The gentile traditions all referred to a universal manifestation or production. Consequently, the Christian salvation is only virtual and does not include supra-individual states, for Chrisitian theology states that the being must physically die before being granted admission into heaven at the day of judgement. I truly think that Christianity has corrupted or severely damaged the thinking of Europeans, as one can see how this view quickly turns into a denial of the supra-natural, from which materialism results. But I think this hold has weakened, and the pre-Christian view has prevailed. We see it everywhere, just some are more knowledgeable than others.

As for spiritual states having only a cultish appeal, I don't know. Everyone nowadays either meditates or prays, and if they don't do that they probably drink. Spirituality is the best part about being human, and if we don't work to attain it then we might as well be animals.

exit
Tuesday, October 14th, 2008, 03:10 PM
I forgot to mention that the Brahmasutras clarify universal manifestation by stating that the universe proceeded from Brahma through intellection and not from a non-intelligent substance, by which they do not mean figuratively speaking. This puts to rest the claim that ancient cosmology taught material evolution, and so therefore these spheres or regions found in all traditions are not physical places. Since, you mentioned the neospiritist pseudo-hindu Theosophical Society which teaches evolutionism I just thought that you should know that their views are heretical as can easily be checked against Brahmanical writings. All of these conflicting views must be reduced to true or false by metaphysical proofs and can be quite easily.

Psychonaut
Tuesday, October 14th, 2008, 08:39 PM
I am really not too sure what to say about these speculations of the spirit-geographic kind. It seems to me that it is so easy to be carried away with ideas that leave the mythological base far behind.

This may well be an interesting - even rewarding - spiritual or 'religious' undertaking, but it will very quickly become entirely subjective ... and sharable only with members of the particular cultic persuasion. I am aware there there are even published elaborate Theosophical interpretations ... which may well have merit for some, but not for others.
Adherents of the various Odinic movements are generally fairly low level in their 'demands' on cult believers! ---- perhaps its a wise policy.


How true Carl. It is exactly for these reasons that within the Heathen community here in the States, I'm not sure how you fellows in England term things, we tend to make a clear distinction between information that is textual and that which is super-textual. Super-textual information is usually termed UPG (Unverified Personal Gnosis) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unverified_personal_gnosis), and is generally taken with a rather large grain of salt. This distinction is absolutely essential when it comes to our goal of approximating the polytheism of our ancestors. Communities that do not have cultural injunctions against the acceptance of UPG have quickly degenerated into metaphysical nonsense, quickly leaving behind any sense of their folkish nature. This is especially evident with Wicca, which Gardner had originally envisioned as a distinctly British blend of paganisms (Celto-Germanic if you will). However, since everyone and anyone was free to interpret and add to the corpus of what was considered canon, within one generation Wicca became a horrifying mish mash of nearly everything that is not Judeo-Christian.

exit
Wednesday, October 15th, 2008, 04:13 PM
Super-textual information is usually termed UPG (Unverified Personal Gnosis) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unverified_personal_gnosis), and is generally taken with a rather large grain of salt.

As Schuon writes, "Metaphysical knowledge is one thing and its actualization in the mind quite another." (Spiritual Perspectives and Human Facts)

One cannot verify the supra-rational by reason or by an academic study of texts.

Schuon goes on to say that


A proof is not convincing because it is absolute--for this it could never be--but because it actualizes something self-evident in the mind.

Proof is only possible on the basis of prior knowledge. Only the complete artificiality of a way of thinking cut off from its transcendent Principle could seek to graft a proof onto a void; it is as if one wished to search in time for the origin of eternity.

It is wrong to reject a "proof of God" just because one is ignorant of its implicit premises, which are clear to the author of the proof.

To prove the Absolute is either the easiest or the most difficult of things, depending upon the intellectual conditions of the environment.

Such words are golden. In other words, enlightenment (or gnosis) cannot be proved to one who for whatever reason failed to attain enlightenment (in meditation). In this day and age, those who have attained are always going to be a select few. Thus we must have two groups divided into "those who know" and "those who believe" and a third of "those who don't believe." To place "those who don't believe" at the top to sit in judgment of "those who know" is pure folly and could only be a Luciferianism (rejection of all authority) or Satanism (active inversion of everything).

Carl
Wednesday, October 15th, 2008, 05:21 PM
How true Carl. It is exactly for these reasons that within the Heathen community here in the States, I'm not sure how you fellows in England term things, we tend to make a clear distinction between information that is textual and that which is super-textual. Super-textual information is usually termed
UPG (Unverified Personal Gnosis) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unverified_personal_gnosis),
-- and is generally taken with a rather large grain of salt.
.

Yes, I have to agree. It seems to me a useful distinction to make when one is trying to understand a particular aspect of the old beliefs presented. It is very hard to pin down precise meanings to inner psychic or 'phenomenolgical' events.... no end of talking will clarify unless one has first established ground rules for such discussions. Members of the same organization might well develop an appropriate meta-language for dealing with these things in a tolerant and appropriate way, but outside this , it can rapidly degenerate into a meaningless nonsense. We know there are different groups at work ... the more the merrier in my view, so long as they are broadly working from the same or related textual base.



This is especially evident with Wicca, which Gardner had originally envisioned as a distinctly British blend of paganisms (Celto-Germanic if you will). However, since everyone and anyone was free to interpret and add to the corpus of what was considered canon, within one generation Wicca became a horrifying mish mash of nearly everything that is not Judeo-Christian.

Indeed it has! Gardner was more nearly of the Celtic wing, he was living in the N.W.; Britain has always these deep confusions, in a sense we live with it! But there is also the double root of the AngloSaxon base with the Danish and northern Viking overlay - both in people and place names ... and Gods! Asatru and Odinism have now won the argument overall, in the sense that they are seen as an essentially united Germanic presence within (and outside!) the wider 'Pagan Federation' here. But there are different factions.


so - Looking at them now, there seems a fairly wide agreement on the early ideas of Thorsson ( -- before the darker episode appeared , exit!!). The Nine Worlds are mostly seen along the lines he presented.... 'above and below and (variously) around Midgard'. I am content with this outline - its no more than that!. Hel has a 'realm identity' since that is where she was sent by Odin - as ruler of that realm. Essentially, suitably 'darkish' - but nevertheless 'bright and joyful' when Balder is expected!!

I am not unduely troubled by the parallelism of the 'north-south' ice & fire axis - since it seems to be a logical NW European conclusion. Even Giants to the east makes sense! - no need to push that.

Exit. This section is Germanic Heathenry. We know what it means and the thread topic is actually quite specific. Hindu material , whilst interesting , is clearly off topic and will be more away. The issue here is not one of comparing or crossing over. Hindus prove that polytheisms can work in the modern world and that is useful. But it is not Germanic; we have countless thousands here... it is not helpful to us!!

exit
Wednesday, October 15th, 2008, 06:56 PM
It is very hard to pin down precise meanings to inner psychic or 'phenomenolgical' events.... no end of talking will clarify unless one has first established ground rules for such discussions.

But these are not psychic or phenomenological events, which is what I've been trying to get across to people who subscribe to naturalist views! I have tried in the past to conform doctrinal principles which are (non-material) cosmic laws to a folkist perspective if only to prove to myself that it cannot be done, and I must admit that I couldn't do so without sounding ridiculous because it meant having to distort everything in order for spiritual principles to revolve around nature, which are two entirely different domains. A cosmic law like mathematics is not human, but is described using anthropomorphism as forms to aid understanding. These cosmic laws are not scientific laws but rather metaphysical. Furthermore, these principles are not to be confused with moral laws which are obviously racial.

As for the rest of what you wrote, I'm not going to go over it point by point, because I see that I will not be understood. But this is why I said that defense of tradition requires courage.

Psychonaut
Thursday, October 16th, 2008, 06:52 AM
I just thought of another interesting point that relates to this thread. Works like Gylfaginning and Grímnismál both relate that the nine worlds exist in relation to the roots of the World Tree. While this may at first make it appear as it all of the nine worlds are equilateral and exist at the tree's bottom, this may not be the case. In Eliade's Shamanism, p. 169, he speaks of "trees planted with their roots up in the air...are among the most archaic symbols of the World Tree." So, according to this model, worlds which lie under the roots could exist at any level of the tree due to its equal rooting in the Heavens and the Earth. This would be an interesting method of reconciling the lateral and vertical models.

Carl
Monday, October 20th, 2008, 05:13 PM
I just thought of another interesting point that relates to this thread. Works like Gylfaginning and Grímnismál both relate that the nine worlds exist in relation to the roots of the World Tree. While this may at first make it appear as it all of the nine worlds are equilateral and exist at the tree's bottom, this may not be the case. In Eliade's Shamanism, p. 169, he speaks of "trees planted with their roots up in the air...are among the most archaic symbols of the World Tree." So, according to this model, worlds which lie under the roots could exist at any level of the tree due to its equal rooting in the Heavens and the Earth. This would be an interesting method of reconciling the lateral and vertical models.

interesting - you are right to bring in the roots of Yggdrasil. In a way it represents the next step in the discussion. I presented earlier a discrepancy in the ultimate understanding concerning one of the roots:


http://forums.skadi.net/showpost.php?p=862512&postcount=29


The roots extend to various locations in the vertical alignment.... to Nifheim and the seething well of Hvergelmir, to Jotunheim and the Well of the wise giant Mimir (who seems to be , for some, Odin's giant mother's brother !) .... and the upper root (?) which extends to Asgard - and the Well of Wyrd... or is this incorrect ? (The Grimnismal quote on the link seems to suggest that it ends in the land of men. Who knows , the story gathers pace. Perhaps in truth it really must extend to Asgard ?? --- passing through the upper air indeed!


But I will post a new representation of these worlds shortly.

Lyfing
Tuesday, October 21st, 2008, 02:31 AM
It is interesting to think of just where Yggdrasil’s roots end up/come from. I read this in The Masks of Odin ..


This metaphor of a tree, used in so many myths and scriptures to depict a cosmos, is remarkably exact. We know how on the earth with every spring the flow of forces infuses their growing power into each limb and leaf, giving beauty and perfection to blossoms, which in the course of time ripen into fruit which bears the seeds of future trees; and how, when the year draws to its close, the sap returns into the root system, nourishes it and provides firmer foundation for the next year's growth. We see an analogy to this in every human life as well: a baby's flesh is soft and delicate but increases in bulk and weight until middle life; thereafter the process reverses itself, culminating in the transparent fragility of the very old. So in the imbodiment of worlds do divine powers imbue latent, unformed matter with character, structure, and shape, increasing substance and solidity. The layered cosmos expands from within, branching through all grades of matter until the limit is reached for that phase of its evolution, whereupon the life forces retreat back into the spiritual realms as the divine root receives into itself the essence or aroma of the experience. So it is that consciousnesses imbody through multilevel worlds, earning the gods' mead of experience.

Yggdrasil nourishes all beings with a life-giving honeydew. The worlds pendent from its branches on all its shelves of existence receive from the divine roots what is needful for growth: predisposition from the well of Urd, material substance from the well of Mimer, and appropriate means of expression from Hvergalmer's rivers of lives. At death, when spirit withdraws as does the nutrient sap into the roots, the seeds of future imbodiments remain as an imperishable record while the empty shell of matter is recycled for future use, much as the leaves falling from a tree in winter become mulch to enrich the soil.
Yggdrasil is not immortal. Its lifetime is coeval with the hierarchy the tree is used to represent. Destructive forces are always at work and lead to its eventual decline and death: its leaves are eaten by four stags, its bark is nibbled by two goats, its roots are undermined by the serpent Nidhogg (gnawer from beneath). When it has lived its span, the mighty Ash is overthrown. Thus is taught the temporal nature of existence and the impermanence of matter.

Throughout the Ash Tree's life a squirrel makes its home in the tree and runs up and down the trunk maintaining communication between the eagle, or sacred cock, high in its crown, and the serpent at its base. The little rodent suggests life or consciousness, which spans the height and depth of existence. It is also pictured as a drill which can bore through the densest matter. In Havamal, which relates how Odin sought the bardic mead concealed in the depths of a mountain, he enlisted the aid of the squirrel (or drill) to penetrate the rock and, in the guise of a serpent, entered through the bore hole. Once inside, he persuaded the daughter of the giant Suttung, who had the mead hidden in his underground domain, to give him drink of it, and thus he gained wisdom. This is an oft-recurring theme: the divine seeking the mead in matter, gaining and learning from it before returning to supernal worlds.

http://www.theosociety.org/pasadena/odin/odin-2.htm


..That all brings to mind this...



Óđinn's force is explosion, Ţórr's force is gravity and Freyr's force is standstill. That is, respectively: expansion, implosion and the harmonic state of balance, that always come in-between the transition from the one force's dominance over the other forces - that is, balance between the two original proto-forces. Óđinn's force is that which throws the ball up into the air, Ţórr's is the one which pulls it back down; and Freyr's the moment when the ball's velocity equals zero.



The universe is the lung of Tuisto, which rhythmically breathes, in and out. His brain is the thought that becomes frozen at the collapse of the universe. This thought becomes active again, when Tuisto breathes out, and lets Óđinn's explosion heat it up. Tuisto's thought then forms and creates a new and living universe.

Tuisto's thought directs his two round palms. The force of the explosion is in one of them, gravity in the other. One of them is the white hole of the universe, the other the black hole of the universe. With these, Tuisto can move around the celestial bodies, irradiate and increase or decrease them.

At each black hole, there exist so-called naked singularities. Besides these, there exist invisible holes in the universe, which we call wormholes. Here, objects may enter in order to exit at a completely different place in the universe; independent of both time and space. The exits of these holes are what we call white holes. The mass that was dragged towards the black hole (by gravity) hit a wormhole instead; where it bursts out the egress of the white hole with an enormous force.

Black holes will only get more massive, and will only gravitate more and more matter in the universe, until a hole becomes so big that it is capable of absorbing all other mass in the universe. This is where Irminsűl's role enters, because it is actually Tuisto, the god-pillar in the centre - the high-seat, that is supposed to balance the two other proto-forces. Tuisto's brain, the thought, can place wormholes inside the black holes, so that they empty in mass faster than they are filled up. Thus the one hand negates the other hand's actions, which results in balance.

Irminsul (http://www.burzum.org/eng/library/irminsul.shtml)


I’m not the biggest fan of the Theosophy, but I can find with it “elementary ideas.”


And since we’re citing Gylfaginning and Grímnismál in relation to their references to where the roots are, I thought I’d post this of Rydberg’s…




56.

THE COSMOGRAPHY. CRITICISM ON GYLFAGINNING'S COSMOGRAPHY.
In regard to the position of Yggdrasil and its roots in the universe, there are statements both in Gylfaginning and in the ancient heathen records. To get a clear idea, freed from conjectures and based in all respects on evidence, of how the mythology conceived the world-tree and its roots, is of interest not only in regard to the cosmography of the mythology, to which Yggdrasil supplies the trunk and the main outlines, but especially in regard to the mythic conception of the lower world and the whole eschatology; for it appears that each one of the Yggdrasil roots stands not alone above its particular fountain in the lower world but also over its peculiar lower-world domain, which again has its peculiar cosmological character and its peculiar eschatological end.

The first condition, however, for a fruitful investigation is that we consider the heathen or heathen-appearing records by themselves without mixing their statements with those of Gylfaginning.
We must bear in mind that the author of Gylfaginning lived and wrote in the 13th century, more than 200 years after the introduction of Christianity in Iceland, and that his statements accordingly are to be made a link in that chain of documents which exist for the scholar, who tries to follow the fate of the myths during a Christian period and to study their gradual corruption and confusion.
This caution is the more important for the reason that an examination of Gylfaginning very soon shows that the whole cosmographical and eschatological structure which it has built out of fragmentary mythic traditions is based on a conception wholly foreign to Teutonic mythology, that is, on the conception framed by the scholars in Frankish cloisters, and then handed down from chronicle to chronicle, that the Teutons were descended from the Trojans, and that their gods were originally Trojan chiefs and magicians. This "learned" conception found its way to the North, and finally developed its most luxurious and abundant blossoms in the Younger Edda preface and in certain other parts of that work.

Permit me to present in brief a sketch of how the cosmography and eschatology of Gylfaginning developed themselves out of this assumption: - The Asas were originally men, and dwelt in the Troy which was situated on the centre of the earth, and which was identical with Asgard (Ţar nćst gjörđu ţeir sér borg i miđjum heimi, er kallađ er Ásgarđur; ţađ köllum vér Trója. Ţar byggđu guđin og ćttir ţeirra og gjörđust ţađan af mörg tíđindi og greinir bćđi á jörđu og á lofti - Gylfaginning 9).

The first mythic tradition which supplies material for the structure which Gylfaginning builds on this foundation is the bridge Bifrost. The myth had said that this bridge united the celestial abodes with a part of the universe situated somewhere below. Gylfaginning, which makes the Asas dwell in Troy, therefore makes the gods undertake an enterprise of the greatest boldness, that of building a bridge from Troy to the heavens. But they are extraordinary architects and succeed (guđin gjörđu brú til himins af jörđu - Gylfaginning 13).

The second mythic tradition employed is Urd's fountain. The myth had stated that the gods daily rode from their celestial abodes on the bridge Bifrost to Urd's (subterranean) fountain. Thence Gylfaginning draws the correct conclusion that Asgard was supposed to be situated at one end of the bridge and Urd's fountain near the other. But from Gylfaginning's premises it follows that if Asgard-Troy is situated on the surface of the earth, Urd's fountain must be situated in the heavens, and that the Asas accordingly when they ride to Urd's fountain must ride upward, not downward. The conclusion is drawn with absolute consistency (Hvern dag ríđa ćsir ţangađ upp um Bifröst - Gylfaginning 15).

The third mythic tradition used as material is the world-tree, which went (down in the lower world) to Urd's fountain. According to Völuspá 19, this fountain is situated beneath the ash Yggdrasil. The conclusion drawn by Gylfaginning by the aid of its Trojan premises is that since Urd's fountain is situated in the heavens, and still under one of Yggdrasil's roots, this root must be located still further up in the heavens. The placing of the root is also done with consistency, so that we get the following series of wrong localisations: - Down on the earth, Asgard-Troy; thence up to the heavens the bridge Bifrost; above Bifrost, Urd's fountain; high above Urd's fountain, one of Yggdrasil's three roots (which in the mythology are all in the lower world).

Since one of Yggdrasil's roots thus had received its place far up in the heavens, it became necessary to place a second root on a level with the earth and the third one was allowed to retain its position in the lower world. Thus was produced a just distribution of the roots among the three regions which in the conception of the middle ages constituted the universe, namely, the heavens, the earth, and hell.

In this manner two myths were made to do service in regard to one of the remaining Yggdrasil roots. The one myth was taken from Völuspá, where it was learned that Mimir's fountain is situated below the sacred world-tree; the other was Grímnismál 31, where we are told that frost-giants dwell under one of the three roots. At the time when Gylfaginning was written, and still later, popular traditions told that Gudmund-Mimir was of giant descent (see the middle-age sagas narrated above). From this Gylfaginning draws the conclusion that Mimir was a frost-giant, and it identifies the root which extends to the frost-giants with the root that extends to Mimir's fountain. Thus this fountain of creative power, of world-preservation, of wisdom, and of poetry receives from Gylfaginning its place in the abode of the powers of frost, hostile to gods and to men, in the land of the frost-giants, which Gylfaginning regards as being Jotunheim, bordering on the earth.
In this way Gylfaginning, with the Trojan hypothesis as its starting-point, has gotten so far that it has separated from the lower world with its three realms and three fountains Urd's realm and fountain, they being transferred to the heavens, and Mimir's realm and fountain, they being transferred to Jotunheim. In the mythology these two realms were the subterranean regions of bliss, and the third, Niflhel, with the regions subject to it, was the abode of the damned. After these separations were made, Gylfaginning, to be logical, had to assume that the lower world of the heathens was exclusively a realm of misery and torture, a sort of counterpart of the hell of the Church. This conclusion is also drawn with due consistency, and Yggdrasil's third root, which in the mythology descended to the well Hvergelmir and to the lower world of the frost-giants, Niflhel, Niflheim, extends over the whole lower world, the latter being regarded as identical with Niflheim and the places of punishment therewith connected.
This result carries with it another. The goddess of the lower world, and particularly of its domain of bliss, was in the mythology, as shall be shown below, the goddess of fate and death, Urd, also called Hel, when named after the country over which she ruled. In a local sense, the name Hel could be applied partly to the whole lower world, which rarely happened, partly to Urd's and Mimir's realms of bliss, which was more common, and Hel was then the opposite of Niflhel, which was solely the home of misery and torture. Proofs of this shall be given below. But when the lower world had been changed to a sort of hell, the name Hel, both in its local and in its personal sense, must undergo a similar change, and since Urd (the real Hel) was transferred to the heavens, there was nothing to hinder Gylfaginning from substituting for the queen of the lower world Loki's daughter cast down into Niflhel and giving her the name Hel and the sceptre over the whole lower world.

This method is also pursued by Gylfaginning's author without hesitation, although he had the best of reasons for suspecting its correctness. A certain hesitancy might here have been in order. According to the mythology, the pure and pious Asa-god Baldur comes to Hel, that is to say, to the lower world, and to one of its realms of bliss. But after the transformation to which the lower world had been subjected in Gylfaginning's system, the descent of Baldur to Hel must have meant a descent to and a remaining in the world of misery and torture, and a relation of subject to the daughter of Loki. This should have awakened doubts in the mind of the author of Gylfaginning. But even here he had the courage to be true to his premises, and without even thinking of the absurdity in which he involves himself, he goes on and endows the sister of the Midgard-serpent and of the Fenris-wolf with that perfect power which before belonged to Destiny personified, so that the same gods who before had cast the horrible child of Loki down into the ninth region of Niflhel are now compelled to send a minister-plenipotentiary to her majesty to treat with her and pray for Baldur's liberation.

But finally, there comes a point where the courage of consistency fails Gylfaginning. The manner in which it has placed the roots of the world-tree makes us first of all conceive Yggdrasil as lying horizontal in space. An attempt to make this matter intelligible can produce no other picture of Yggdrasil, in accord with the statements of Gylfaginning, than the following:
http://www.northvegr.org/lore/rydberg/imgs/roots.gif

But Gylfaginning is not disposed to draw this conclusion. On the contrary, it insists that Yggdrasil stands erect on its three roots. How we, then, are to conceive its roots as united one with the other and with the trunk of this it very prudently leaves us in ignorance, for this is beyond the range of human imagination.

The contrast between the mythological doctrine in regard to the three Yggdrasil roots, and Gylfaginning's view of the subject may easily be demonstrated by the following parallels:

=====================================

The (Old) Mythology. ( versus) Gylfaginning.
==================================

1. Yggdrasil has three roots.

1. Yggdrasil has three roots.


2. All three roots are subterranean.

2. One is in the lower world; a second stands over Jotunheim on a level with the earth; a third stands over the heavens.


3. To each root corresponds a fountain and a realm in the lower world. The lower world consists of three realms, each with its fountain and each with its root.

3. To each root corresponds a fountain and a realm; the realms are the heavens, Jotunheim, and the lower world, which are located each under its root.


4. Under one of the subterranean roots dwells the goddess of death and fate, Urd, who is also called Hel, and in her realm is Urd's fountain.

4. Under one of the roots, that is the one which stands over heaven, dwells Urd the goddess of fate, and there is Urd's fountain.


5. Under the second (subterranean) root dwells Mimir. In his realm is Mimir's fountain and Mimir's grove, where a subterranean race of men are preserved for the future world. This root may, therefore, be said to stand over mennskir menn (Grímnismál).


It is said that one of the roots stands over mennskir menn (Grímnismál). By this is meant, according to Gylfaginning, not the root over Mimir's well, but the root over Urd's fountain, near which the Asas hold their assemblies, for the Asas are in reality men who dwelt on earth in the city of Troy.


6. Under the third (subterranean) root dwell frost-giants. Under this root is the well Hvergelmir, and the realm of the frost-giants is Niflhel (Niflheim). Under Niflhel are nine regions of torture.]

6. Under the third (and only subterranean) root dwell the souls of sinners and those who have died from sickness and age. Under this root is the well Hvergelmir and the whole lower world. The lower world is called Niflhel or Niflheim, and contains nine places of torture.


7. The sister of the Midgard-serpent and of the Fenris-wolf was cast by the gods into the regions of torture under Niflhel, and received the rule over the places where the damned are punished.

7. The sister of the Midgard-serpent and of the Fenris-wolf was cast by the gods into the regions of torture under Niflhel, and received the rule over the whole lower world, which consists of Niflhel with the nine regions of torture.


8. The name Hel can be applied to the whole lower world, but means particularly that region of bliss where Urd's fountain is situated, for Urd is the personal Hel. The Loki-daughter in Niflhel is her slave and must obey her commands.

8. As Hel means the lower world, and as the sister of the Midgard-serpent governs the whole lower world, she is meant by the personal Hel.


=====================================

Gylfaginning does not stop with the above results. It continues the chain of its conclusions. After Hvergelmir has been selected by Gylfaginning as the only fountain in the lower world, it should, since the lower world has been made into a sort of hell, be a fountain of hell, and in this respect easily recognised by the Christian conception of the middle ages. In this new character Hvergelmir becomes the centre and the worst place in Gylfaginning's description of the heathen Gehenna. No doubt because the old dragon, which is hurled down into the abyss (Revelation, chap. 20), is to be found in the hell-fountain of the middle ages, Gylfaginning throws Nidhogg down into Hvergelmir, which it also fills with serpents and dead bodies found in Grímnismál (34, 35), where they have no connection with Hvergelmir. According to Völuspá it is in Nastrond that Nidhogg sucks and the wolf tears the dead bodies (náir). Gylfaginning follows Völuspá in speaking of the other terrors in Nastrond, but rejects Völuspá's statements about Nidhogg and the wolf, and casts both these beasts down into the Hvergelmir fountain. As shall be shown below, the Hvergelmir of the mythology is the mother-fountain of all waters, and is situated on a high plain in the lower world. Thence its waters flow partly northward to Niflheim, partly south to the elysian fields of heathendom, and the waves sent in the latter direction are shining, clear, and holy.

It was an old custom, at least in Iceland, that booths for the accommodation of the visitors were built around a remote thing-stead, or place for holding the parliament. Gylfaginning makes its Trojan Asas follow the example of the Icelanders, and put up houses around the thing-stead, which they selected near Urd's fountain, after they had succeeded in securing by Bifrost a connection between Troy and heaven. This done, Gylfaginning distributes as best it can the divine halls and abodes of bliss mentioned in the mythology between Troy on the earth and the thing-stead in heaven.

This may be sufficient to show that Gylfaginning's pretended account of the old mythological cosmography is, on account of its making Troy the starting-point, and doubtless also to some extent as a result of the Christian methods of thought, with which the author interpreted the heathen myths accessible to him, is simply a monstrous caricature of the mythology, a caricature which is continued, not with complacency and assurance, but in a confused and contradictory manner, in the eschatology of Gylfaginning.
My chief task will now be to review and examine all the passages in the Elder Edda's mythological songs, wherein the words Hel and Niflhel occur, in order to find out in this manner in which sense or senses these words are there employed, and to note at the same time all the passages which may come in my way and which are of importance to the myth concerning the lower world.

http://www.northvegr.org/lore/rydberg/056.php


…and further.....


When the gods have ridden through the southern Hel-gate, there lie before them magnificent regions over which Urd in particular rules, and which together with Mimir's domain constitute the realms of bliss in the lower world with abodes for departed children and women, and for men who were not chosen on the field of battle. Rivers flowing from Hvergelmir flow through Urd's domain after they have traversed Mimir's realm. The way leads the gods to the fountain of the norns, which waters the southern root of the world-tree, and over which Yggdrasil's lower branches spread their ever-green leaves, shading the gold-clad fountain, where swans swim and whose waters give the whitest colour to everything that comes in contact therewith. In the vicinity of this fountain are the thingstead with judgment-seats, a tribunal, and benches for the hosts of people who daily arrive to be blessed or damned.

These hosts enter through the Hel-gate of the east. They traverse deep and dark valleys, and come to a thorn-grown plain against whose pricks Hel-shoes protect those who were merciful in their life on earth, and thence to the river mixed with blood, which in its eddies whirls weapons and must be waded over by the wicked, but can be crossed by the good on the drift-wood which floats on the river. When this river is crossed the way of the dead leads southward to the thingstead of the gods.
Further up there is a golden bridge across the river to the glorious realm where Mimir's holt and the glittering halls are situated, in which Baldur and the ásmegir await the regeneration. Many streams come from Hvergelmir, among them Leiptur, on whose waters holy oaths are taken, and cast their coils around these protected places, whence sorrow, aging, and death are banished. The halls are situated in the eastern part of Mimir's realm in the domain of the elf of the rosy dawn, for he is their watchman.
Further down in Mimir's land and under the middle root of the world-tree is the well of creative force and of inspiration, and near it are Mimir's own golden halls.

Through this middle part of the lower world goes from west to east the road which Nott, Dag, Sol, and Mani travel from Billing's domain to Delling's. When the mother Nott whose car is drawn by Hrímfaxi makes her entrance through the western Hel-gate, darkness is diffused along her course over the regions of bliss and accompanies her chariot to the north, where the hall of Sindri, the great artist, is located, and toward the Nida mountains, at whose southern foot Nott takes her rest in her own home. Then those who dwell in the northern regions of Jormungrund retire to rest (Forspjallsljóđ 25); but on the outer rim of Midgard there is life and activity, for there Dag's and Sol's cars then diffuse light and splendour on land and sea. The hall of Sindri's race has a special peculiarity. It is, as shall be shown below, the prototype of "the sleeping castle" mentioned in the sagas of the middle ages.
Over the Nida mountains and the lands beyond them we find Yggdrasil's third root, watered by the Hvergelmir fountain, the mother of all waters. The Nida mountains constitute Jormungrund's great watershed, from which rivers rush down to the south and to the north. In Hvergelmir's fountain and above it the world-mill is built through whose mill-stone eye water rushes up and down, causing the maelstrom and ebb and flood tide, and scattering the meal of the mill over the bottom of the sea. Nine giantesses march along the outer edge of the world pushing the mill-handle before them, while the mill and the starry heavens at the same time are revolved.
Where the Elivagar rivers rise out of Hvergelmir, and on the southern strand of the mythic Gandvik, is found a region which, after one of its inhabitants, is called Iđi's pasture (setur - Ţórsdrápa 2). Here dwell warriors of mixed elf and giant blood (see the treatise on the Ivaldi race), who received from the gods the task of being a guard of protection against the neighbouring giant-world.

Farther toward the north rise the Nida mountains and form the steep wall which constitutes Niflhel's southern boundary. In this wall are the Na-gates, through which the damned when they have died their second death are brought into the realm of torture, whose ruler is Leikin. Niflheim is inhabited by the spirits of the primeval giants, by the spirits of disease, and by giants who have fallen in conflict with the gods. Under Niflhel extend the enormous caves in which the various kinds of criminals are tortured. In one of these caves is the torture hall of the Nastrands. Outside of its northern door is a grotto guarded by swarthy elves. The door opens to Amsvartnir's sea, over which eternal darkness broods. In this sea lies the Lyngvi-holm, within whose jurisdiction Loki, Fenrir, and "Muspel's sons" are fettered. Somewhere in the same region Bifrost descends to its well fortified northern bridge-head. The citadel is called Himinbjorg, "the defence or rampart of heaven". Its chieftain is Heimdall.

While Bifrost's arch stands in a direction from north to south, the way on which Mani and Sol travel across the heavens goes from east to west. Mani's way is below Asgard.

The movable starry heaven is not the only, nor is it the highest, canopy stretched over all that has been mentioned above. One can go so far to the north that even the horizon of the starry heavens is left in the rear. Outside, the heavens Andlangur and Víđbláinn support their edges against Jormungrund (Gylfaginning 17). All this creation is supported by the world-tree, on whose topmost bough the cock Vidofnir glitters.

http://www.northvegr.org/lore/rydberg/093.php

Later
-Lyfing

Carl
Tuesday, October 21st, 2008, 06:23 PM
Well Lyfing --

thats quite a mountain of quotes; are we asked to climb it ? :D I do have Brita Titchenell's strange book and , as you 'say', her Swedish-American Theosophy is a heady brew. The Edda translations are seriously private gnosis!! Chapter 2 concerns the "Tree of Life" (sic) - and its interesting enough; "one root (which) rises in Asgard... where it is watered by the spring of Urd".

Perhaps, when the Grimnismal quote says :

"Three roots do spread.....in threefold ways,
......

'neath the third ..... Midgard's men"

Gr. 31

--we might simply conclude that the root rises in Asgard --- and Midgard lies 'literally' beneath it. :) {resolved?}

Which aspect of your copy&paste would you wish to highlight?

Concerning the Rydberg, another vast collection of ideas, well I am pleased that he found the same problem of the root - discrepancies between the Elder and Snorri Eddas. We cant avoid it - which is why I try to stay with the Old Poetic Edda. But Snorri can't be set aside (!!); he advances far too much material which is valuable... and may well itself have pagan roots, quite apart from all the known ones quoted from the Elder poems. I would want to try to discount anything which looks like an alien intrusion or interpolation !! ;) Most translators do anyway add their own warnings.

The great Oxford acedemic E Turville-Petre ( Prof. Anc. Icelandic) came to the conclusion that Rydberg was often too extreme in his conclusions and affirmations ... and there are some areas where I would strongly agree with him! ( More oneday...)

Again, Which aspect of the Rydberg quotes - apart from the above maybe , would you wish to highlight?

Lyfing
Friday, October 24th, 2008, 10:25 PM
Hey Carl,

I really like The Masks of Odin. It is awefully Theosophical, of course. But, with my liking of Joseph Campbell, it is easy, for me, to appreciate such a complexity of connections. As, I like to see the archetypes or elementary ideas behind things.

I’m not really fond of the duality notion. Even though it is as obvious as day and night. To me emphasis could be in being ,of you know, the present with it’s Will to Power. Rydberg figured the mind and matter came with Christianity, and that beforehand nothing could be conceived “which was not bound to matter, or expressed itself in matter, or was matter.”

So umm..

There is this tree called Yggdrasil, or Odin’s Stead. Odin hung himself on it as sacrifice to himself, and in so doing, from it’s roots he grasped the runes. At Ragnarok the Einherjar, who are Odin’s Chosen, as he Chose Himself, are to go to war with the Wolf. From this, one can take Yggdrasil from perspectives both solely ( this could be Jung’s Individuation ) and worldly ( this could be Campbell‘s “bringing back the boon“ ).

But, let me talk of those roots from which the runes are grasped, from what wells they drink, and how it’s all a web of cause and effect, growth and decline, creation and destruction.

In the Masks of Odin it is said..


Any Tree of Life -- human or cosmic -- draws its nourishment from three roots that reach into three regions:

For the root watered by the Well of Urd..



one rises in Asgard, home of the Aesir, where it is watered by the spring of Urd, commonly translated as the past. However, the real meaning of the name is Origin, primal cause, the connotation being that of antecedent causes from which flow all subsequent effects. Urd is one of the three "maidens who know much" the Norns, or Fates, whose farseeing gaze scans past, present, and future, as they spin the threads of destiny for worlds and men. "One was named Origin, the second Becoming; these two fashioned the third, named Debt. Fortune's lots, life and death, the fates of heroes, all comes from them." (5) Urd, the past, personifies all that has gone before and is the cause of both present and future. Verdande is the present, but it is not a static condition; on the contrary it means Becoming -- the dynamic, everchanging, mathematical point between past and future; a point of vital importance for it is the eternal moment of choice for man, when conscious willing decision is made, directed by desire, either for progress or retrogression on the evolutionary path. It is noteworthy that these two Norns create the third, Skuld, meaning Debt: something owed, out of balance, to be brought into equilibrium in the future -- the inevitable result of all the past and of the present.

http://www.theosociety.org/pasadena/odin/odin-2.htm

Urd is Wyrd. There are two constellations of word origins at work here, one worldly and one “solely with the community”. In short they are wyrd/ word/ ward/ world and Wer/waer/war/warn/wearr/wir.

The rest can be read in this post (http://forums.skadi.net/showthread.php?t=93166)..



The wer must be true (waer) to the community, and must warn and go to war to protect the community. The wer are the wearr, or callused protective coating, defending the community. So amalgamated are the wer into the community that they are expressed as a sub-root or the higher world constellation wyrd/ word/ ward/ world.



The individual is totally integrated into this process as the waer wer -- true man who warns and goes to war protecting the group. In his deeds and actions he experiences the wyrd as events come to completion and either prove his work true or false. Those bound for glory experience a unity of their words and actions with the stamp of completion of destiny.

http://forums.skadi.net/showthread.php?t=93166

Here is a quick go through of them all..


The intricate life system of Yggdrasil contains both facts of natural history and cosmological information which may be gleaned from the texts. For instance, the first root, springing from Asgard, the realm of the Aesir, watered by the well of the past, maps the "fates of heroes" from cause to effect for all hierarchies of existence, and the gods are no more exempt from this inexorable law than any other form of life. Yet every moment changes the course of destiny as each being acts freely within the limits of its own self-created condition.

The second root, watered by Mimer's well, draws its nourishment from the experience in matter earned by the divine eye of spirit, as Odin daily confers with Mimer's head.

The third root is watered by the many rivers of lives: all the different expressions needed to fill the requirements of all kinds of consciousnesses.

http://www.theosociety.org/pasadena/odin/odin-2.htm

They correspond to the following..


In competition with these, Dvalin with the aid of Loki creates for Odin the magic spear which never falls its mark when wielded by the pure in heart. This is the evolutionary will, often symbolized by a spear, sometimes by a sword. It is the inborn urge in every living being to grow and progress toward a more advanced condition. There is in this a mystic implication of sacrifice as Odin, transfixed on the Tree of Life, is also pierced by a spear. The spear thrust has been inflicted on other crucified saviors as well.

For Thor, Dvalin and Loki restore the golden hair of Sif, his wife (the harvest), which had been stolen by Loki -- human misuse of earth's bounty? -- possibly having reference to more than the physical grains of earth. The gift of reseeding and the infinite potential of evolutionary growth on every level of matter and consciousness brings great promise for the world about to be formed.

Frey receives as his gift the ship Skidbladnir, which contains all seeds of every kind of life, yet can be "folded together like a kerchief" when its own life is ended.

http://www.theosociety.org/pasadena/odin/odin-5.htm

These three roots with their wells are what keeps us and our world alive. Nidhogg is knawing at our roots and the Ragnarok is around the corner. The creation of these powerful pieces came about by a trick of Loki, Odin’s blood brother, the creation is what causes the destruction..and it‘s all a trick..?

The trick of a poem..??

Odin's Ale..??

Later,
-Lyfing

..

Jonathan Eells
Saturday, October 25th, 2008, 07:31 AM
As an undergrad I did a fairly big project on Plotinus, that hoary old philosopher from days of yore. One little blurb from all of his writings still sticks in my mind, that "The closer one gets to enlightenment, the less able one is to articulate its meaning to others" - roughly translated, anyway.

I still feel more or less the same. The more I come to understand the meaning of my Heathenry, the less able I am to articulate its deeper meanings to others. Sure, I can handle a fairly superficial conversation, but try to talk about Odin's auto-sacrifice and the Runes, and I get all kludge-mouthed. My internal monologue feels rich and multi-textured, but getting it out into words for other people is a big fat waste of time. Can't do it.

On the other hand, my California license plate is "9WORLDS". I get lots of questions about it, and enjoy talking with people about what the 9 Worlds are and what they mean. Maybe there's more Heathens out there because of a license plate...

Carl
Saturday, October 25th, 2008, 03:46 PM
:algiz:

Without doubt , more heathens there are! Why should the mysticism of the church command respect and priority when the mysticism of the shamanic north is denied? I cant see that anymore - and once even I held a minor lay function within the local church. Even there, people kept saying things which pointed away from it --- " I feel very close to God when I walk in the woodlands... etc etc...." .But some vicars even want to banish the greenery! :(


In the predicament of the rising multicult, we are increasingly faced with questions about the very identity of our being....and I guess I have decided that I would rather be something that ancestry caused me to be than to pander to the forced conversion that was imposed upon the ancestors for political and financial reasons. What marks here for ancestral loyalty?:oanieyes


But it doesnt resolve mystical questions. Our being in the world can be understood at so many differing levels. Most people in the past turned to Thor - perhaps they still do. It was the easiest option perhaps, he was down to earth, he knocked out malignant giants, he blessed their marriages. Even at the great (final?) Hof-Temple at Uppsala, Thor appeared to be central. Odinn was mysterious and something of a much higher 'caste'; the mercurial root almost guarantees it so! Not even just the mysteries of death - but even that which gets called magic.... and falls upon the resonance of runes... and even on one's own Wyrd.


Consider the destiny of the tree. So many strange ideas appear! People can end up saying anything. I've even read that after Ragnarok, Yggdrasil dies! - a faulty misreading of basic texts leads to absurdity.... which is why "scripture" ranks so high.... Voluspa and Havamal (parts anyway) primarily. Without the ground, anything is possible - but it may not really belong to the source. Does it really matter?


Gods? Nine worlds? A Tree of existence? 'Hey'! J Eells, which Greek said: "Why, there are even Gods here, in the kitchen!" ? Those gods once set a standard; thinking and philosophy grew from them too. Take the matter away -and there is still the mystery of being. Clarify the matter , yes - but the mystery remains for souls who are aware that that is not everything. Are we marxists? :D

Religions ask their own questions, they each climb their own tree - as ancient shamans did in the north. Who knows how many gods there are ( - trying asking a Hindu!) --cant see why we should simplify the totality to suit ourselves. Only that, what we should at last seek to be is that into which we ourselves were really thrown. Whatever else could be our own ultimate authentic individuation?

exit
Saturday, October 25th, 2008, 04:54 PM
As an undergrad I did a fairly big project on Plotinus, that hoary old philosopher from days of yore. One little blurb from all of his writings still sticks in my mind, that "The closer one gets to enlightenment, the less able one is to articulate its meaning to others" - roughly translated, anyway.


Indeed, hence the mysteries are inexpressible but not unknowable; which is why we must use symbolism.

Jonathan Eells
Sunday, October 26th, 2008, 05:03 AM
And my SECOND big undergrad paper was about Hestia, goddess of the Hearth (and by extension, the home, and hospitality, and all good things like the chicken soup I made this week). But I don't remember who said that line... I could look it up, and pretend I did, but I don't. Now You've got me looking through boxes to find old papers. Like I don't have NEW STUFF TO READ!!!

Thanks, Carl, for your response. As you know, I'm a wee bit new here, and I'm enjoying my novitiate period very much.