18 April 2023

What is Yggdrasil? – Learn the meaning of Yggdrasil

By Donald

The presence of this term has been increased over the years, appearing in literary works, video games, television series, and movies. Because of this, it has become an interesting topic to learn about, if you want to know more about what it is, you will find it in this article.

What does Yggdrasil mean?

It is a term that originated in Norse mythology and refers to the world tree, or also known as the Tree of Life. The word is made up of two roots: ‘Ygg’ which means terrible or earthquake, and ‘drasil’ which means trestle or pillar.

Some scholars of Norse mythology say that ‘Ygg’ could be a reference to the god Odin, since he was often associated with death and wisdom.

It is described as an evergreen ash tree, whose branches spread above the skiesand its roots kept the different worlds unified.

This tree represents the idea of ​​connection between all living things, including those who belonged to other worlds. In addition, they symbolized the importance of balance and harmony in the universe.

It was believed that each year its leaves fell and grew again in spring, referring to the renewal and life cycle. It was also said that its function was to protect the gods and men.

Who created the Yggdrasil?

In Norse mythology it is not specifically mentioned who originated Yggdrasil, however, there are various theories about its origin. The most common is that which suggests which is a natural creationsince it is a representation of the connection between the worlds and life.

Its genesis dates back to a time before time itself existed, that is, when there was only nothing, in which the tree and the void met. No reference is made to who or what originated it, it is mentioned only that the 9 kingdoms arose from its roots.

Some stories settle born from the void Ginnungagapma vast space where nothing existed, which was surrounded on one side by Muspelheim and on the other side by Niflheim.

From here is born the myth of creation, where in the beginning there was only cold and heat, the first being Niflheim, a dark world filled with mist, and Muspelheim where only heat existed. When these two ends met in Ginnungagapm the immense void, the first of the ogres ‘Ymer’ was born, and then the giant cow Audumbla.

Ymer lived by drinking Audumbla’s milk, from his sweat was born the couple of giants and their son, thus creating the frost giants known as Yotes. As the cow continued to lick the frost, the first man named ‘Bure’ was formed and from him the gods ‘Asas’ were born.

Bure’s son named ‘Bor’, married Yote’s daughter named ‘Bestla’ and from their union the gods were born: Odin, Ve and Vile. These, in turn, killed Ymer and from his remains generated the world called Midgard. But so that men would not feel abandoned, they originated ‘Asgard’ in the center of this new world, where the Æsir, the main Nordic gods, reside, and in the middle of this the great tree Yggdrasil was growing.

It is believed that the gods, and specifically Odin, received knowledge and visions of the world when it was hung from the tree for 9 days and 9 nights. In popular culture, Yggdrasil has gained popularity and has been used in many areas of human life, but it is important to know that the story of it comes from Norse mythology.

What species of tree is the Yggdrasil?

It is described as an evergreen tree, which could be an ash or a yew. In Norse mythology, this is characterized in a different way depending on its source. Additionally, the ash and yew were considered sacred trees in Norse culture.

the evergreen ash It is a tree that keeps its leaves throughout the year., unlike other species that lose them in autumn. The Nordics considered that its branches rose to the sky and its roots reached the underworld.

Its branches can reach 40 meters, it is native to Europe and western Asia, it has a gray and smooth bark, and its leaves are oval and toothed on the edges.

Yew is an evergreen tree found in Europe and some parts of Asia, and also extends into North Africa. It can measure up to 20 meters in height, with a smooth and soft bark, with branches that grow in a horizontal pattern. Its leaves are dark green, needle-shaped and contain toxic compounds.

In Norse mythology it was thought that the yew had magical and healing propertiesconsidering it as the tree of life and death, capable of healing those who drank its sap.

Where is the Yggdrasil tree?

The tree is in the center of the cosmosin the realm of ‘Midgard’, which is the world inhabited by human beings, although this extends through all the universes and connects them.

From the root of Yggdrasil emanates the fountain of the well of knowledgewatched over by Mímir, at his feet is the god Heimdall, who was entrusted with the task of protecting him from the attacks of Níðhöggr and from the worms that try to eat his roots.

Yggdrasil had a bridge that linked the place where the gods were, with that of men, this was a rainbow called Bifröst.

What are the nine worlds of Yggdrasil?

In Norse mythology the world of humans it was just a branch of Yggdrasil. This tree was divided into 3 parts: its root called Niflheim, the trunk or Midgard, and its crown known as Asgard.

Hvergelmir, a source of icy waters, emerges from its roots. In the second root is Mímir, Odin’s grandfather and a deity considered guardian of the fountain of wisdomand its last root that leads to the House of the Norns, who handled destiny.

The worlds that housed this great tree were:

  1. Helheim: It is a gloomy and dark world, where reigned Hel, the daughter of Loki and sister to the Midgard Serpent and Fenrir the Wolf. She was transferred to that world by Odin to prevent her from causing trouble, she surrounded the kingdom with a wall, a river of weapons and had only one entrance.
  2. Niflheim: It is one of the oldest, it was the land of ice, snow and mist. No being lives in this world.
  3. Svartalfaheim: dark elves and dwarves lived here.
  4. muspelheim: is a kingdom of fire, which I also participated in the creation of the world. Here resides a giant that will rise again in Ragnarok to destroy Asgard and everything around it.
  5. Jotunheim: he was also known as Utgard, here lived the ice giants and others. From this came the god Loki.
  6. Midgard: It was the kingdom of humans its first inhabitants were Ask and Emblacreated by Odin, Vili and Ve, who through an ash tree gave rise to the first man and from an elm to the first woman.
  7. Alfheim: in this world lived the elves of light.
  8. Vanaheim: in it resided the Vanir, who they were another family of godsThey were associated with magic and fertility.
  9. Asgard: in this world reside the Æsir, and it is represented as a city of very high towers and of a heavenly atmosphere. In it was Valhalla, the palace of Odin, from which the whole world can be seen.