The Home of the Norse Pantheon
Despite living in 9 distinct realms, characters in Norse legends are often connected with each other through natural kinship or via their adventures. There are actually a lot of species or creatures and types of people involved in the Norse tales
31/F, 30 Queen's Road, Central, Hong Kong (I-Newswire) February 25, 2013 - Discover the meaning and etymology behind the names of the Norse pantheon, places and items. Additional details are also provided on their modern usage, overall popularity and cognate words.
Odin - also Odinn ("rage" or "inspiration"). The leader of the Aesir gods who is associated with war, wisdom and art.
Thor - the god of thunder. He's the son of Odin and usually carried his hammer Mjolnir
Freya - also Freyja ("lady"). The goddess of beauty and death who brings the worthy dead to Valhalla.
Freyr - also Frey ("lord"). The god associated with rain, sunlight and fertility.
Loki - Aesir god known for being a trickster and can manipulate fire and magic. He was eventually confined to a stone by his fellow gods for being evil.
Baldr - also Balder ("prince"). The son of Odin and Frigg who was killed because Loki tricked Hoder into it.
Heimdall - the white god who presided over light and dawn. He is considered the guardian of Asgard
The 9 Worlds - cosmology
The "nine homeworlds" which composed the Norse cosmology and where various types of living creatures inhabit. Their common connection being a supposedly huge world tree called Yggdrasil, the cosmic ash tree in the middle of the cosmos. Under its root is the spring of Mimir, the waters of which are said to contain understanding and wisdom. Both Eddas did not specify exact details so little can be gleaned from the stories presented in them.
Asgard ("enclosure of the Aesir") is the country of the Norse gods ruled by Odin and Frigg. This realm, where the Valhalla is located, is said to be surrounded by an incomplete wall.
According to the Prose Edda, Asgard is in reality, Troy, the earth's center surrounded by 12 kingdoms. In a different interpretation of the tales, Asgard could indeed refer to Asia, "a land more blessed and fertile than others where its residents excelled in talent, stength and beauty from all other people".
Muspell is a usual reference of end times in Germany but when it first appeared in the Prose Edda, its meaning is ambiguous. In Norse tales, Muspell is just an element of the apocalypse (because the end of the world itself pertains to Ragnarok). This is in contrast with the Saxons and Germans who held the belief that Muspell is the end of times itself.
Muspelheim or Muspellsheimr ("home of Muspell") is the fire world as opposed to the ice world Niflheim. According to the account of Ragnarok, it was the fire giants (sons of Muspell) who will mark the beginning of the war by breaking the Bifrost bridge.
Alfheimr ("elf home") is home to the Light Elves and also mentioned in the Anglo-Scottish ballads in various forms (i.e. Elfhame, Elfland, Elfinland, Elvenland or more recently, Fairyland).
"Home of the Vanir", Vanaheimr is the abode to the group of gods who were once at war with the Aesir, the Vanir which is associated with wisdom and vision. In both the Poetic and Prose Edda, Vanaheimr is referred to as the early home of Vanir god Njordr.
Actually, the mention of "9 worlds" in the Elder Edda is the only basis for such outline of the Norse cosmology although nowhere in the Elder or Younger Edda can be found a list of those worlds.
Literally, "middle enclosure" or Middle Earth, Midgard is the world inhabited by human mortals.
A realm estimated to be in the middle of the great tree Yggdrasil and connected to Asgard through the Bifrost bridge, which is guarded by Heimdall. Midgard is surrounded by an impassable body of ocean which is home to the big sea serpent Jormungandr (Midgardsormr). The creature is said to be so huge it completely encircles the Midgard and can even grasp its own tail. Jormungandr was created from the blood and flesh of Ymir, a giant predecessor of Odin. Midgard also has a protective wall formed from Ymir's eyebrows to keep the Jotunns away from the "home of men".
It is believed that Midgard, being the main battleground during Ragnarok, will be utterly destroyed and all life on it will end. The world itself will be submerged in water but it will resurface again -- a new world.
The home of the Jotunns, frost and rock giants, who are generally seen as a menace to humans (Midgard) and Aesir (Asgard) alike. Ilfing comes between the world of the gods and Jotunheimr while Utgard is the fortress around this realm. Gastropnir and Prymheimr are in this realm, ruled by Thrym.
Nidavellir ("dark fields") is the home of the dwarves, led by Hreidmar, and is believed to be the same with Svertalfheim described in the Younger Edda
Meanwhile, Svartalfar (black elves) refers to the inhabitants of the Svartalfaheimr and could pertain to the same thing as the Dokkalfar (dark elves) and Dvergar (dwarves), according to two books of Prose Edda: Skaldskaparmal and Gylfaginning.
According to the Gylfaginning, Niflheim ("mist world") is a realm overlapping with Hel and Niflhel ("misty hell"). A world mainly of ice, with 9 frozen rivers, it is believed that Niflheimr and Muspelheim (world of fire) are the first two realms where creation of others began.
Hel, meaning "conceal", can also be noted as a cognate of the Engish word "hell" -- the world where the unworthy dead (those who did not die a heroic dead) go to. Loki's daughter who has the same name was the ruler of this realm.
Prose Edda's description of this realm is widely believed to be influenced by the Christian theology's teaching about the afterlife.
About Southwood NorseMytho Group
The Home of the Norse PantheonLess..
Southwood NorseMytho Group
31/F, 30 Queen's Road, Central, Hong Kong
Phone : +852 3103 1000
Published in:Art & Entertainment
Published On:February 25, 2013
Print Release:Print Release
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