yggdrasil tree

Yggdrasil Tree Worlds. Part 2

Jotunheim. The World of Memory

The world of ancient giants—wise and powerful, beautiful and terrifying, much like human memory. Here, all information from the past is accumulated and preserved without division into good and evil, right and wrong. This is one of the oldest worlds at the dawn of time.

JotunheimrThe inhabitants of this world are the Jotnar, giants, long-lived bearers of “long memory.” Despite the apparent enmity between the Aesir and the Jotnar, the latter are kin to the Aesir—as all Ancients descended from the primordial ancestor Ymir and the frost giants. Therefore, the significance of this ancient world should not be underestimated, as their presence plays an important role in the narratives of the northern tradition.

In essence, the world of Jotunheimr is a vast memory. Everything that has happened is accumulated and stored here, and the Jotnar themselves are genetic carriers of such a comprehensive memory. They are unaware of good and evil, not distinguishing past information as necessary or unnecessary.

Intellect and wisdom are the main qualities of the world of ancient Jotnar. But they do not share their knowledge with everyone. The sagas tell us about the trials that the bearers of memory put to all who ask questions. And it doesn’t matter to the Ancients who stands before them—a powerful god or a weak human.

Vanaheimr. The World of Nature

The world of spirits and gods of nature, forces of life, and prosperity. It wasn’t created by the gods but was somehow “woven,” integrated into the overall system of Yggdrasil, as a reaction to the emergence of the Tree itself. The strength and power of the Vanir differs from the might of the Aesir—they are different. The legends tell of long wars between the Aesir and the Vanir for the right to rule and manage the entire system of the Tree. These same legends say that there was no clear winner in these wars and that the warring sides were forced to come to an agreement:Vanaheimr

The beginning of this was, that the gods had a war with the people that are called vans. They agreed to hold a meeting for the purpose of making peace, and settled their dispute in this wise, that they both went to a jar and spit into it.

(The Prose Edda)

The Aesir faced the task of conquering the world of fertility, and this was evidently a struggle for resources—any world-building requires energy.

Originally, Vanaheim was an independent and self-sufficient world of nature, harmonious within itself. Integrating it into the Yggdrasil Tree required a global rearrangement of all systems and rules of this world, and such changes are always associated with a global restructuring and war in one form or another. Nature always resists changes that it does not generate or that occur according to external, alien algorithms. This is what the myth refers to under the image of “war.”

Alfheimr (Ljósálfheimr). The World of Good

The world of Light Elves (álfar). This world was created simultaneously with its counterpart—Svartalfheimr—from the body of the giant Ymir.Alfheimr

The gods rely on the world of Light Elves when there is a need to influence other worlds and manage them from there. In sagas and legends, the Light Elves are mentioned as “servants of the gods,” and after the war, the world was given to Freyr, indicating that the world of Light Elves is the domain of the Vanir, the world of nature.

Here is what the Prose Edda says about Alfheimr:

Then said Ganglere:

Great tidings you are able to tell of the heavens. Are there other remarkable places than the one by Urd’s fountain? Answered Har : There are many magnificent dwellings. One is there called Alfheim. There dwell the folk that are called light-elves; but the dark-elves dwell down in the earth, and they are unlike the light-elves in appearance, but much more so in deeds. The light-elves are fairer than the sun to look upon , but the dark-elves are blacker than pitch.

Textbook to the 2nd course (Runes and Gods) of the Runes Department.

Additional information:

Runes Department

Forum “Magic United”

Runes and Gods Course

The Yggdrasil Tree Worlds. Part 1

The Yggdrasil Tree Worlds. Part 3