Saturday, October 12, 2013



Niflheim or Niflheimr (the "Abode of Mist") is one of the Nine Worlds and is a location in Norse mythology which overlaps with the notions of Niflhel and Hel.  Niflheim was primarily a realm of primordial ice and cold, with nine frozen rivers. According to Gylfaginning, it was one of the two primordial realms, the other one being Muspelheim, the realm of fire. Between these two realms of cold and heat, creation began when its waters mixed with the heat of Muspelheim to form a mist or steam.  From the whirling mist and fire came the first being, Ymir.

Ymir is not truly a deity, more of a primal frost giant.  He is said to have spawned the entire race that became known as the Jotuns or giants, without a mate.  He came to an end by Odin, Vili and Ve in the early days of creation.  With his death, the land became a realm for the dishonored dead.

In Ancient times, ice was a constant factor in the day to day lives of the Norse. It threatened their crops, their ships and their livelihoods, almost throughout the entire year. To the people though, it also served as a symbol of creation from which all life eventually springs forth.

Niflheim is the far northern region of icy fogs and mists, darkness and cold. It is situated on the lowest level of the universe. The realm of death, Helheim, shares this part of the vast, cold region.  Also situated on this level is Nastrand, the Shore of Corpses and where the serpent Nidhogg eats corpses and gnaws on the roots of Yggdrasil.

Nidhogg is a powerful dragon or serpent who dwells in Niflheim and continually gnaws at the roots of the World Tree Yggrassil, which will eventually cause the tree to collapse.  When he is not chewing on roots or corpses, he trades insults with an eagle that lives at the top of the tree; the messages are carried up and down the tree by a squirrel.

After Ragnarok, there will be a hall here for the punishment of murderers, oath breakers and philanderers.


Hail to the Land of Mists, from whence the Giants came,
One of the Two from which all the Worlds


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