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Genesis

- by Uilleam Mìcheal Stiùbhart

Have you ever wondered how you came here? Have you ever wondered where the sun comes from? How did you get here? How did that annoying neighbor of yours? Mankind has always wondered, and here is the Norse version of the story of Creation.

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Long ago, before the Kings of Norway and Sweden and Denmark lived, before the Althing came to session every year, before the great Vikings found V¡nland, before the Great Raids began, there were no men nor animals. There was no earth, no life, no water. Only a great and massive void, an eternal, an abyss called Ginnungagap. Out of the Ginnungagap came a terrible land shrouded in mist eternal, darkness everlasting. It was to the north, and it was known to all as Niflheim. In the midst of this dark and misty land burst forth a fountain known to the world as Hvergelmir, which was the beginning of twelve rivers which sprouted from it to travelthroughout the void. To the south was the land of fire and brimstone, a land of heat unsatiable, of death and horror, Muspellsheim. Guarding the entrance to Muspellsheim was Surtur, who had a flaming sword. From this land came rivers of fire, containing poison the little by little gathered into solid mass. The ice flowing down from Niflheim and the solid poison from Muspellsheimm met whereupon the ice froze the poison. The heat from Muspellsheim melted the ice and borne from the poison was Ymir, the Father of the Frost Giants. On the night of Ymir's creation, he settled down to sleep near the lands of Muspellsheim. He became bathed in a sweat. Under his left arm were born a man and a woman, just like him, Giants. And out of the block of ice was born a great cow, Audumla. She was the wet-nurse of giants. Ymir refreshed himself with milk from her utters every day. Audumla refreshed herself by licking the salt off the ice block from whence she came. And soon, the heat of her breath and tongue yielded the hair, then the head, and finally the whole body of a being name Buri. Buri had a son named Bor, who married Ymir's daughter Bestla. By her had the first three Gods, Odin, Vili and Ve.


The three scions of the giants launched a war against their creators and finally killed Ymir. When he fell so much blood flowed that it fill the Abyss in it's entirety. The blood annihilated all of the giants, who drowned in it's wake. All of the giants died except Bereglemir and his wife, whose scions became the new race of giants. The three Gods hauled the body of Ymir out of the gory abyss and created the Earth with it. They called Earth Midgard, for it was situated in between Muspellsheim and Niflheim. From Ymir's bones they created mountains, from his blood came the oceans, from his hair came the trees. They took the skull of Ymir and raised it 'pon four pillars, calling it the Vault of the Sky. Within the Vault they kept sparks that had escaped from Muspellsheim. These sparks became the sun and the moon and all of the stars with a plotted course that they would follow. The course they followed would regulate time, winter and spring, day and night. The sun began throwing it's golden rays down upon the earth, and out of the barren earth that was Ymir's flesh rose up blades of green, fresh grass. Soon after, other gods came out of the Abyss to join Odin, Vili(also called H rnir), and Ve. They had no mother or father; they simply appeared. Together, they built a new realm, Asgard, "the Abode of the ’sir."(or Dwelling of the Aesir. You may spell it ’sir or Aesir.) The ’sir were the Gods.

In Asgard each of the Gods had a grand dwelling. This land was created above Midgard, so the Gods could keep watch over the world they had created. To be able to get over to Midgard, they made a bridge called the Bifr”st. The bridge was a rainbow, and it was guarded by Heimdall, God of the Bifr”st. As the Gods gathered, they decided to make creatures on this earth. They saw that there were grubs, and they gave them humanoid form. They were called Dwarves. The gods decided to let them continue on their existence as they had, living away from the sun. In fact, as time went on, sunlight became deadly to them, turning them into stone at the slightest ray touching their skin. Because the dwarves had no women folk amongst them, the Gods gave them two princes who could mold dwarves out of stone. Thus the Dwarf race continued to grow endlessly. Odin, Vili, and Ve went walking amongst Midgard one day where they came upon two tree standing together. One was made of ash and one of elm. Odin shaped the trees into a man and woman and gave them breath. Vili gave them a soul and the ability to reason. Lodur gave them warmth, clothes, and names. He named the ash tree Ask and named his wife Embla. The human race were the scions of these two. The land of Niflheim became the land were humans would go once they have died. It was ruled by the goddess Hel and guarded at the gates by her faithful hound Garm. Niflheim became known as the land of sleet and frost eternal.

Springing from the chaos of the Ginnungagap came the Norns, the tripartite goddess of Fate. Their names were Urd, meaning Past; Verdandi, meaning present; and Skuld, meaning Future. Urd appeared as a shriveled old hag. Verdandi was a woman in her prime, whereas Skuld was a beautiful young maiden. Together the Norns three cared for the great life giving tree Yggdrasil until the day of Ragnar”k, when the tree is destined to die. After the creation of the different planes of existence, such as Asgard and Midgard, the great ash tree Yggdrasil began to expand it's roots to connect all of the levels. The first root went up to Niflheim, where the well Hvergelmir sprung, source of all rivers. The second root went to the land of the Jotuns, or Giants, .called Jotunheim. It was a land of cold and ice. This is where the well of Mimir sprung forth. This spring was a source of great wisdom, though this wisdom had a price, as Odin one day would learn. The third root shot all the way up to the heavens, where the Norns lived. The fountain was called Urd, and from this well the Norns sprinkled water on the roots of Yggdrasiln so it would flourish. 'Pon the highest branch sat a great golden bird whose job was to cackle out a warning message if the Jotuns were preparing to attack. Under Yggdrasil, the horn of Heimdall was kept, waiting for Heimdall to use it to call the ’sir for the Twilight, called the Ragnar”k. Amongst the branches was a place of peace eternal where the Gods met to render justice daily, and where grazed the goat Heidrun, from whose milk the warriors of Odin were fed. However beautiful all of this was, 'twas not to last. For it was foretold from the start of creation that all of it would be torn asunder, the ’sir, the Vanir, the giants of Jotunheim, all of it, during the Apocalypse, the Armageddon, the Twilight of the Gods. It would all happen through the trickery of Loki, through the death of Baldur, through the fleeing of Garm and the raising of the dead. It would destroy all of the old world, and usher in a new world. It was the cleansing of the universe. It was called the Ragnar”k.

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If you ever wondered why you are who you are, why the sun sets, why the moon rises, and how Earth became... know that you are not alone, for people always questioned creation. All mankind has done so. Throughout history mankind has tried to explain creation through Myth. And now you know one of those myths...The Norse Creation Myth.

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[Author's Note: This story comes from the religion of Asatru, still practiced today. One who practices Asatru is an Asatruar. If you would like to know more about the Asatru, go to http://www.religioustolerance.org ]