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Thread: The Nine Worlds (Acc. to Crossley-Holland)

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    Senior Member Carl's Avatar
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    The Nine Worlds (Acc. to Crossley-Holland)

    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!





    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.


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    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 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?
    -In kalte Schatten versunken... /Germaniens Volk erstarrt / Gefroren von Lügen / In denen die Welt verharrt-
    -Die alte Seele trauernd und verlassen / Verblassend in einer erklärbaren Welt / Schwebend in einem Dunst der Wehmut / Ein Schrei der nur unmerklich gellt-
    -Auch ich verspüre Demut / Vor dem alten Geiste der Ahnen / Wird es mir vergönnt sein / Gen Walhalla aufzufahren?-

    (Heimdalls Wacht, In kalte Schatten versunken, stanzas 4-6)

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    Senior Member Carl's Avatar
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    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.

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    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.
    "Ocean is more ancient than the mountains, and freighted with the memories and the dreams of Time."
    -H.P. Lovecraft

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    Senior Member Carl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Psychonaut View Post
    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Carl View Post
    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 Völva 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 Seiðkonar to match those of old.
    "Ocean is more ancient than the mountains, and freighted with the memories and the dreams of Time."
    -H.P. Lovecraft

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    What are the three planes referred to as? And are these worlds in the same plane actually intended to be equal?

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    Senior Member Carl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by exit View Post
    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!

    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! - study and be wise.

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    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by exit View Post
    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.
    "Ocean is more ancient than the mountains, and freighted with the memories and the dreams of Time."
    -H.P. Lovecraft

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