Norse Mythology 3
The Creation of Midgard
Some sources say that the first man and woman were born from Ymir's armpit.
Others, however, say that the gods created the first man, Ask, from an ash tree,
and the first woman, Embla from an alder. The world of man, Midgard, was made out of
Ymir's body. His blood became the seas and lakes, his flesh the soil, his brains the clouds,
his bones the mountains, his toes and teeth the rocks and boulders, and his hair the vegetation.
The gods made the sky from the dome of Ymir's skull which was held up by four dwarfs, Nordi
(North), Sudri (South), Austri (East), and Westri (West). The dwarfs were created from
maggots, bred inside Ymir's carcass, and given human form and intelligence. The gods
then threw the glowing embers of Muspell into the sky to create the constellations.
They then gave horse-drawn chariots to the giantess Nott (Night) and her son,
Day who rose to the heavens and began circling the earth once every twenty-four hours.
Alvis - He, like many of the dwarfs had a vast store of knowledge
and poetically listed the various names for the thirteen most important words in medieval
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Andvari - The dwarf who was tricked by Loki into giving up
his hoard of gold, upon which he then placed a curse.
Brock and Sindri - They made a wide variety of gifts for the gods.
Dvalin - One of the dwarfs who made the Brising's Necklace that
was coveted by the goddess Freya. After making the necklace he was turned to stone at sunrise.
Fjalar - One of the wicked dwarfs who killed the wise man, Kvasir.
Lit - The dwarf who accidentally got cremated on Balder's funeral pyre.
Loddfafnir - A mortal man form Middle Earth (Midgard) known for spreading wisdom.
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Mundilfari (turner) - The Midgard man who fathered a son named Mani (moon)
and a daughter named Sol (sun).
Menglad (necklace and happy) - A beautiful maiden.
Saemund - A medieval Icelandic bishop.
Siegfried - The hero of Germanic legend.
Svipdag (Swift Day) - The human son of the seeress Groa.
Trouble in the Universe...
At the center of the universe stood Yggdrasil, a mighty ash know as the World Tree, which
sprang from Ymir's corpse. Yggdrasil had three massive roots. One extended into Asgard, the
land of the gods; another went to the home of the giants, Jotunheim; and the third reachedinto the
Niflheim which had become the icy realm of death. At the roots of the World Tree lay a fount of wisdom
that was tended to by a giant named Mimir. Mimir was said to be so wise that even Odin,
the Alfadur (All-Father), would ask him for advice.
The land of the gods was strongly protected from the frost and mountain giants, the
only access to Asgard was via the bridge Bifrost, the rainbow. Heimdall, the white god, lived by and kept
watch over this rainbow bridge. The gods were so anxious to protect their realm from attack by the
giants that they went so far as to promise a mountain giant the sun and moon - as well as the
goddess Freya as a wife - if he could rebuild a massive wall completely around Asgard within
eighteen months. The gods, on Loki's advice, gave him 6 months and gods agreed to this rash
proposal because they thought that it was an impossible task. They were happy with the
thought that they would be getting extra protection without any effort on their part.
However, unbeknownst to the gods, the giant owned a magickal horse named Svadilfari who
helped him to nearly complete constructing the edifice. The gods became infuriated and treacherously
lured the horse away, with a mare (Loki in disguise), thus preventing the giant from completing the wall.
Thor, sworn enemy of the giant race, then killed the unfortunate builder with his magic hammer, Mjollnir.
All of the gods in Asgard built their palaces of gold and silver, but the most spectacular of all was Valholl
(aka Valhalla), the hall of the dead. It was here that Odin royally honored and entertained those who had died
on the battle field. When they weren't feasting, these heroes would entertaining themselves by combativley
backing each other to pieces. Yet as the sun began to set the dead would come back to life to feast once
again. Odin gathered these warriors in his grand hall in preparation for Ragnorak, the day of reckoning,
when they would be used to battle their sworn foes, the giants, one last time, on the plain of Vigrid.
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Odin's warrior maidens who select the fallen heroes
and carry them to Valhalla, Odin's hall.
Brunhilda - The daughter of Odin. In the Vosunga Saga she's
the leader of the Valkyrie, and the only notable Valkyrie
I have found in Norse Mythology (see "the Low Down on Odin").
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The gods, like the giants, and most of the same faults as man - envy, greed and malic -
made even more dangerous by their supernatural powers. One semi-deity, Loki, was particularly
notorious for his treachery and trickery. Even though he was the son of a giant and had given
fathered three horrific monsters with his giantess wife Angrboda (Distress-Bringer), he managed to
get in good with the gods. Loki took pleasure in creating dangerous situations which threatened the
land of the gods, so that he could then come to their rescue at the last possible moment. Loki's
specialized in spreading false rumors and was infamous for his malicious character. For unknown
reasons the gods tolerated him until he caused the death of Baldur, Odin's favorite son. Loki tried
to run from his fate but the gods soon caught him and bound him with chains. After chaining him to a
boulder, a serpent was suspended over Loki's head so that it would drop venom onto his face, drop by
drop. Although Sigyn, Loki's ever faithful wife was by his side to watch the drops in a cup, she
occaissionally had to empty it. Then the venom would fall on Loki, making him writhe and scream with
horror and this, in turn, would cause the whole earth to quake.
Loki's treachery knew no bounds and ion one occaission it was nearly the cause of Thor's demise.
While Loki was flying about disguised as Freya he was captured by the giant Geirrod who had recognized
him by his eyes. Geirrod then proceded to lock Loki up and starve him for three months until he promised
to trick Thor into coming to Geirrod's home without his mighty hammer or belt of strength. Loki did this but
Thor was warned of the trap by a friendly giantess who loaned him her magick staff, iron gloves and another belt.
One of Geirrod's daughters tried to drown Thor by blocking a stream to make it swell but Thor
managed to squash her with a huge boulder. Then Thor went into Geirrod's massive hall to sit and
rest when he suddenly felt himself being lifted into the air by Geirrod's other two daughters. Thor
forced the seat down with the magick staff, breaking the giantesses' backs, in time to stop them from
crushing him against the chamber's ceiling. In a desperate final attempt to kill the god, Geirrod
flung a ball of hot iron at him. But Thor was able to catch the ball with his iron gloves and
threw it back so hard that it smashed the pillar that Geirrod was hiding behind,
killing the giant in the process.
He was the trickster god, the mischief-maker, the father of lies and deceit, and the shape-changer.
He was the personification of both aspects of fire: the merciful but potentially dangerous hearth
fire and the destructive fire of forests and volcanoes. He was quick-witted and malevolent.
The gods would often regret taking his advice. He was also the cause of earthquakes.
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And, Just How Hokey is Loki?
Loki's offspring, lovers, and disguises
Fenris (aka Fenrir) - The wolf created by Loki and the ogress Angerboda.
Fenris was the brother of Hel and of
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Jormungand, the Midgard serpent. He was so huge that when he opened his mouth his jaws stretched from Earth
Jormungand - The giant serpent child of Loki and his ogress wife Angerboda.
He was also the brother of Hel and Fenris.
Laufey (Tree Island) - The giantess mother of Loki.
Narvi - One of Loki's sons who was killed by his brother.
The brother was then turned into a wolf.
Sigyn (aka Sigunn, Sigryn, Siguna) - One of Loki's wives,
her name means victory giver.
Skrymir (Big Fellow) - Loki in disguise
[see Jotun (M through Z)].
Thokk (coal) - One of Loki's disguises and the personification of
the darkness underground that will not weep for the light of the sun.
The Land of Fae
Celtic Gods & Goddesses
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