Yggdrasil All About The Viking Tree Of Life | Viking Heritage


In Norse mythology, there is a very important natural element. The Yggdrasil is the tree of life on which the whole universe is based. This ash tree is therefore of great importance to the gods and to mankind. The Yggdrasil tree is indeed at the origin of the creation of Midgard, but not only.

The notion of the tree of life in other mythologies

Within many mythologies lies the concept of the world tree. It consists in the existence of a cosmic tree that would serve to connect all the parts of the universe. There are celestial, ground and underground worlds.

According to Chevalier and Gheerbrant, "the oak would be the figure par excellence of the tree, or the pinnacle of the world, both among the Celts and in Greece, at Dodona. It is still the case among the Siberian Yaguts." Many peoples therefore have an archetype of the world based on this concept.

Among the Indo-Europeans, the Persians, Slavs and Germans have a tree of life. Among the pre-Columbian peoples, and in particular the shamanists of Siberia, it symbolizes Mother Earth and would help the shaman to pass from one world to another. The tree of life is also found in the Maori culture of New Zealand, where it is called Kauri/Tane.

The concept of the Yggdrasil is particularly important in Norse mythology. It is perhaps the civilization in which the world tree takes on so much importance, both in the stories, and for the people.

The 9 worlds of the Yggdrasil

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As mentioned earlier, the design of the Yggdrasil is at the heart of a story with gods and giants.

This tree represents the world and life. It is said that if it were to die, it would cause the total destruction of the universe. The men and certain Viking deities wanted to avoid this situation at all costs. On the other hand, the dragon Moin, who flies around the tree, wishes for destruction. Its root has a fountain which shelters the well of knowledge. The ash tree is inhabited, in its foliage, by an eagle, Vidofnir. The wind that its wings produce is a threat to the tree of life in Norse mythology.

The four stags Dain, Duneyr, Durathror and Dvalin feed on the leaves of the tree. The 5th stag Eikthymir grazes on the branches. From the trunk of the Yggdrasil tree, the squirrel Ratatosk escapes and runs into the tree. He also causes a fight between the snake Nidhogg, who gnaws on the roots and the falcon Vidofnir. The tree is thus confronted with struggles between life and death because in addition to that, the goat Heidrun feeds on its leaves.

Yggdrasil All About The Viking Tree Of Life | Viking Heritage

The Yggdrasil is ultimately a representation of the world and what it contains. This can be affirmed with the presence of the animals described above and with all the worlds it contains. In spite of all the threats that weigh on it, the tree remains strong and firm, which allows everyone to live, more or less in harmony.


The first world that Yggdrasil maintains is Asgard. It is located in the upper part of the ash tree because it is the domain of the Aesir gods. After the creation of the human being, the three sons of Borr, Odin, Ve and Vili built Asgard.

The great fortifications were built by the giant and craftsman Smior. In Asgard is the Idavoll plain. It is here that there are 12 temples in honor of many Aesir gods. But this also represents the 12 signs of the zodiac according to Finn Magnussen. Asgard also contains a fortress which is the Valhalla Palace. It is here that the bravest Viking warriors will come to prepare for the final battle of Ragnarok.


This world is also called Lighalfheim. It is one of the nine worlds of Norse mythology and the home of Freyr. He is one of the most important gods of the Viking world. Freyr is associated with prosperity and commands the rain and the rays of the Sun. This makes him a god of fertility.

The Poetic Edda describes that the gods gave Freyr the gift of the world Alfheim. This took place when he pierced his first tooth, which is a custom still present in Iceland. But this version contradicts the myth of the war between the gods Vanes and Ases. This same poetic text also says that the world is the residence of the luminous Alfes. But no relation is proven between these creatures and Freyr.


Unlike the Aesir deities, the world Vanaheim represents the habitat of the Vanes gods. It is described as being far from Asgard, which does not prevent the two kingdoms from cohabiting within the Yggdrasil. Unfortunately, the two groups of gods fought each other to establish their divine supremacy.

The power of the Vanes and the Aesir could not be enough to separate them. A truce was then decided. To seal this peace, an exchange was agreed between the two groups. Freyr and Freya, Vanir gods, were exchanged with the simpleton Honir and Mimir, which provoked the anger of the Vanes gods. In response they beheaded Mimir and sent his head back to Asgard.


Þrymr is a giant king at the head of the world Jotunheim. According to mythology, this territory is the one Odin leaves to the ice giants at the Creation. Þrymr owns the fortress Utgard. The French Scandinavian scholar François-Xavier Dillmann, who studied the notes of the Edda of Snorri, places the world to the east of Midgard, in the center of the Yggdrasil.

The most recent prose texts, however, situate Jotunheim to the north. To stay on the cardinal points, within this kingdom, the Iron Forest is located in the East. It is indeed in Járnviðr that the wolf-like giants reside. Jotunheim is also the home of Hrungnir, the giant that Odin challenges to a horse race.


Midgard etymologically means "middle court". It is the name of the Earth and the dwelling place of men. It is also called Manheimr for the "house of men", a term used for the whole of humanity. This world is the only one visible to men. The other kingdoms are almost all invisible.

Midgard is surrounded by a vast ocean that is considered impassable. This body of water is inhabited by Jormungandr, the gigantic sea serpent. It is so large that it can encircle the entire world, managing to bite its own tail. This animal protects the Earth from uninvited guests.


If the Alfes of light have their world, the Black Alfes also have it with Svartalfheim. This world is sometimes confused with the world of the dwarves, called Nidavellir. The latter is sometimes represented as being alone in the representation of the Yggdrasil. Svartalfheim is like Midgard and Jotunheim located halfway up the world tree.

The distinction between light and dark elves is only made in Snorri's Edda. It is likely that it is a transposition of the opposition between angels and demons among Christians. This may also refer to two aspects of the cult of the Elves. The luminous Elves represent the cult of fertility while the dark Elves represent the cult of the dead.


In Norse mythology Muspeillheim is the world of fire. It is the kingdom of the giant Surt who constantly threatens the balance of the entire universe. He will join the Jotun at the time of the Ragnarok and will destroy the 9 worlds with his sword, whether they are gods, humans and the roots of the Yggdrasil.

Ginnungagap is the name given to a vast abyss of flames, which brings chaos. This torrent of fire represents violence and destruction. Unfortunately, few texts come to speak about this world. The sources mainly mention the creation of the world and the final battle of Ragnarok.


Together with Muspeillheim, Niflheim is one of the two worlds that created the universe. Called the world of mist or the world of darkness, it is described as icy. It is located in the North, under the 3rd root of Yggdrasil. The center of Niflheim has the Hvergelmir spring, from which the Elivagar rivers flow.

The meeting of cold and heat allowed the birth of Ymir and the creation of the other worlds that make up Yggdrasil. Niflheim, the kingdom of snow, represents death, the passage of time and oblivion, for there is no inhabitant, no light and no wind.


Finally, Helheim is another world held by the Yggdrasil. It is in a cold and misty place that the dead live. Indeed, if the best Viking warriors fallen in battle join Valhalla, it is not the case of the dead of old age or disease.

It is Hela, the goddess of death, who reigns in this world, which is described as the antechamber of Niflheim because it is even darker. During the Ragnarok, Hela will send all the dead to fight one last time. They will then be under the command of Loki, Hela's father.

The hanging of Odin

Yggdrasil All About The Viking Tree Of Life | Viking Heritage

It is one of the most important rites for the Viking community. Odin, considered the god of gods, hanged himself on the Yggdrasil. But for what reason?

Odin hanged himself from the world ash tree to gain more power. In one of the poems of the Edda, we can read the god expressing himself as follows:

« I was hanged, I know it

To the tree beaten by the wind,

Nine days and nine nights.

I was struck with a spear

And given to Odin

Sacrificed myself to myself. »

This practice is also associated with the one that can be found among the shamans of Ireland or Northern Asia.

During his hanging, of 9 days and 9 nights, Odin will deprive himself of water and food. The god undergoes in particular the spear Gungnir, which is planted in the center of his body. He undergoes a kind of ritual death, which will allow him to access the knowledge of runes:

« They gave me no alms

Neither meat nor a drop of water

I lowered my eyes,

I grabbed them and screamed,

Then I fell back. »

The vision of Odin discovering the rune stones and the symbols that will compose the Nordic alphabet is no longer made with his flesh eyes, but with his spirit eyes. Giving up physical sight has finally made him clairvoyant and the magical power of the runes appears before him. In spite of the youthfulness he has achieved during his action, Odin feels filled with a new youth. He is now not only the god of warriors, but also the god of poets and sages.

The hanging is similar to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. The theory that the sacrifice made by Odin was inspired by the passion of Jesus is no longer valid. Christ did this action to save suffering humanity. In the case of Odin, he did it to gain more individual power. And it is the Yggdrasil, symbolizing life and the world, which will be the witness and one of the actors of this access to the knowledge of the rune stones.

Yggdrasil in popular culture

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Viking mythology has a representation of the tree with large roots, emanating from the depths of the earth (for birth) and possessing a robust stem to overcome the adversities that one may encounter in life. This stem divides into multiple branches and leaves making its way to the sky, until reaching the divinity (for death).

In popular culture, the Yggdrasil is strongly represented. It is found in the American Gods series where Grimnir uses it to repair his Gungnir spear. The famous series Vikings has also represented it. At the end of season 1, Ragnar takes his son Bjorn, who is still a teenager, and his future wife Aslaug, to discover the tree.

On the video game side, the God of War saga shows it in 2 forms in the opus released in 2018. First, it is an element of the room that allows players to move between the realms. The Yggdrasil is also shown in the form of its branches in the world between realms, which allows for faster movement within a realm.

Finally, it is also the name of the server to authenticate players of the games of Mojang, a studio well known for having created Minecraft.

Jormungandr - Everything About The Midgard Serpent | Viking Heritage


Jormungandr: All About The Midgard Serpent

In the Nordic deities, we find Loki. Son of the giant Farbauti and Laufey, he is the god of malice, illusions and discord. The poem Lokasenna 9 reveals that he and Odin would have made a pact so that Loki integrates the pantheon of the Aesir. The stallion Svadilfari, who was transformed into a mare, gave birth to Sleipnir, the 8-legged horse of the most powerful god.

Loki is also the parent of several spectacular creatures. In chapter 34 of the Gylfanning of Snorri's Edda, it is said that he will be the father of several monstrous children. The giantess Angrboda is the mother. There are Hel, Jormungandr and Fenrir, all raised in the world of Jotunheim. The prophecies around their birth describe that these children will cause the misfortune of the gods. That is why they will get rid of them, Odin taking care of this mission.

First, there is Hel, whose face is half immersed in the darkness of death. The goddess of the dead is therefore sent by Odin to Niflheim (or Helheim), the realm of the unimportant dead (illness or old age). She will become the guardian and authority of this cold and dark place.

The wolf Fenrir grows so much that only Tyr has the courage to feed him. The Aesir then decide to chain him, first with the Loeding chain, as a challenge. The more solid Dromi model does not manage to contain the wolf either. It is finally the magic link Gleipnir, in the form of a silk ribbon, which will keep him imprisoned.

Jormungandr, the one we are interested in in this article, is considered too dangerous by Odin and the other gods as soon as he is born. The most powerful deity will then seize the snake to throw it into the sea of Midgard, the world of men. At this moment, Jormungandr is only a small snake but he already scares the gods. Chapter 34 of the Gylfanning describes this moment:

"He threw the snake into the deep sea all around the land, but it grew so much that, living in the middle of the sea, it now surrounds all the land and bites its own tail."

Indeed, it is not because he was thrown into a place he does not know that Jormungandr will not grow. His growth is so impressive that he will surround Midgard.

The representation of the Midgard serpent

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The son of the god Loki is also called the Midgard serpent. This comes from his gigantic size, which allows him, according to historical accounts, to surround the world, even managing to bite its tail. This name is also the consequence of his birth, where he was thrown into the sea of the human world by Odin.

The etymology of Jormungandr comes from Old Icelandic. Jormun- represents the immensity of the animal while gandr means monster. By combining these two words, we get a huge watch, which is a pretty good description of this animal. In Snorri's Edda, it is named Miðgarðsormr. Again in Old Icelandic, this means world-serpent or Midgard-serpent. The suffix "ormr" means snake, another name for the monster. It is also called Naðr because it is related to a dragon.

As the guardian of Midgard, he ultimately eliminates anyone who is not invited. This is why Jormungand is seen as a symbol of protection for men. The Viking world is therefore protected by this gigantic sea creature. The sea raids conducted by the Vikings throughout Europe were characterized by quite violent phenomena, storms and tidal waves. For men, it is the symbol of the ocean, both vast and mysterious, and of its dangers.

The scaldic poem Ragnarsdrápa names it by the kennings, metaphors of the Scandinavian language, endiseiðrallralanda, which means border-fish of all lands. The other scaldic poem Húsdrápa uses the kenningsmen storðar, for worldly necklace, and stirðþinullstorðar, for rigid worldly cord. The scalde Eysteinn Valdason refers to Jörmungand as kenningseiðrjarðar, which translates as fish of the earth. Other metaphors of this type exist, which proves the importance of the snake for the Vikings.

The characteristics of Jormungandr

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Jormungandr is a gigantic snake living in the Midgard Sea. Being described as a monster, it was apparently not very pleasant to look at. The serpent was also compared to a dragon. Its size is such that it can be said that this animal is the largest beast in Norse mythology. It is not for nothing that he was raised during his first months in Jotunheim, the kingdom of the giants.

In addition to its size surrounding the world, Jormungandr is capable of spitting deadly venom. It is the large teeth within its mouth that allow it to distill its poison. Its mouth is so large that the serpent can swallow any god or giant whole.

One can think that the large size of the snake gives it a strong personality. But there is little historical evidence of Jormungandr's character. We will explain later that he met Thor several times and that it did not go well. This monster spends much of his time in the depths of the sea, lurking in the dark and alone. When it comes to the surface, it can finally be said to express the anger of its loneliness. It is for this reason that the snake has a particularly violent and aggressive attitude when it comes to the surface.

This behavior will be visible in the relationship he has with the god of thunder Thor.

The confrontations with Thor

Jormungandr - Everything About The Midgard Serpent | Viking Heritage

Between the sea serpent and the god invoking lightning, we can even say that the two hated each other. But for what reason?

Jormungandr and Thor met three times. Chapter 46 of the Gylfaginning in Snorri's Edda tells of a visit that Thor and other divine companions made to Útgarða-Loki, the giant and master of Utgard castle in the world of Jotunheim. In order to humiliate the gods, the king offers them several seemingly easy challenges. Thor has to lift a cat, but he can't do it. Despite his efforts, he only managed to get one of the cat's paws off the ground. Other challenges included drinking a horn and defeating an old nursemaid.

The next day, the giant reveals to them that the tests were rigged by virtual illusions: the cat was Jormungandr, the drinking horn was connected to the ocean and the old nurse was old age itself. But instead of humiliating Thor, chapter 47 of the same poetic tale tells us that it was a demonstration for all the giants:

"The fact that you lifted the cat seemed to me no less remarkable. To tell you the truth, all those who saw that you managed to lift one of its legs from the ground were afraid, because this cat was not what it seemed to you: it was the Midgard snake, which is found all around the land and whose size is barely big enough for its tail and its head to touch the ground. But you lifted it up so much that you were only a short distance from the sky."

From this moment, Thor decided to defeat Jormungandr, which is the origin of the hatred between the two.

The serpent of Midgard and the god of thunder will meet a second time. Several historical poems indicate that one day, Thor took the appearance of a young man in order to carry out a fishing party in Midgard, with the giant Hymir. Sailing a little, the god uses an ox head as bait. He wants to go to the open sea but the giant refuses for fear of the snake. Thor goes anyway and it is Jormungandr himself who bites the line. The force developed by the animal is so strong that Thor almost falls into the ocean. But the god manages to pull him up to hit him with his hammer Mjollnir. Unfortunately the giant, by fear, cuts the line, releasing the snake. Furious, Thor makes the giant go overboard.

This legend will push the hatred between the two to be even stronger. Not having been far from taking a blow from the famous hammer, the snake now also feels hatred towards Thor.

The end of the world according to the Nordic mythology will arrive during the battle of Ragnarok. It is during this battle that Loki, the father of the 3 creatures, will lead the giants against the gods. The wolf of Fenrir will succeed in freeing himself from his chains in order to participate in the battle. Hel will not participate but will send an army of dead, which will be commanded by his father. Jormungrandr will cause a tidal wave on the land, because he is seized by the fury of the giants. His arrival is described in chapter 51 of Gylfaginning :

«Then the ocean will break over the land, because the Midgard Serpent, seized by its "giant fury", will reach the shore. [...] The Midgard Serpent will blow so much venom that it will spray the whole air and the sea with it. It will be absolutely frightening and it will advance at the side of the wolf.».

The text explains that Odin will fight Fenrir, who will kill him because Thor cannot help him. He will fight Jormungandr :

« At his side will ride Thor, but he will not be able to help him, because he will have much to do when he fights the Midgard Serpent. [...] Thor will kill the Midgard Serpent and will take nine more steps before he falls to the ground dead, because of the venom that the serpent will spit on him. »

Archaeological evidence

Altuna runestone in Sweden | Viking Heritage

The myth of Thor's fishing described above has been depicted on several stones that date back to the Viking Age. This shows how popular the story is.

The best preserved trace is the Altuna rune stone in Sweden. Dating from 1050, it represents Thor holding his hammer in one hand and a fishing line in the other. At the end of it is the sea serpent. We also see the feet of the god crossing the boat, which really echoes what the legend describes.

The cross of Gosforth in England dates from the 10th century. It also shows a man holding a hammer. But what is striking in this representation is that an ox head is present at the end of the line.

The Ardre VIII stone was found on Gotland, the largest island in Sweden. Of the 8 stones that have been found, 7 have runic inscriptions. The Hoerdum stone dates from the 8th to the 11th century. This time, it comes from Denmark.

These last three archaeological traces represent two people fishing an animal. If this one is not identified, we can easily suspect that it is the myth of Thor's fishing that is at stake.

Jormungandr and his confrontation with the god are so important that they have been described in Marvel comics: a first time in June-July 1978, and another in June 1987. Many video game creatures are also inspired by the Midgard serpent.

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Discover Everything you Should Know About the Valhalla

Valhalla is a legendary place in Norse mythology. It welcomes Viking warriors after their death in battle. But finally, what does it represent for the Scandinavian community? We tell you everything in this article.

Valhalla, a place linked to the gods

The first mention of Valhalla was made in 2 anonymous poems. The first honors the death of King Erik BloodAxe, who was killed in 954 at York, the English city conquered by the Great Army. The second honors the death of Hakon The Good of Norway, another great king. He also died in battle, in 961. These 2 texts described an aristocratic vision of life, since only a few privileged, carefully selected people have access to it.

The Poetic Edda describes Valhalla in this way: "Gladsheim is named the fifth, where the golden glow of this hall has become throughout the worlds, the legendary Valhalla here Odin chooses each day, the Einherjars killed in battle."

When we know the importance of the sacred texts of the Edda, we can immediately say that it is a mythical place. In the Nordic legend, there are 9 worlds including Asgard. It is in this place (built by the sons of Borr: Vili, Vé and Odin) that the Aesir lived, including Grimnir. This name is the other way to call the most important Nordic god Odin, rather classy isn't it?

These 9 worlds are built on the world tree, which happens to be the Yggdrasil. It is thus in Asgard that one found the fabulous temple of the divinities, the Val' Hall' uh. Etymologically, the word Valhalla comes from the Old Norse Valhöll. It is composed of valr, which designates the dead on the battlefield but also the animal horse, and hǫll, which means the hall. The Snori Edda can also mean the palace and this is also called the hall of the dead. The Frenchized form is Valhalle.

What does the Viking Valhalla look like? 

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Valhalla is described as a very large palace. It is so high that according to some people, you can't see the top. Its roof consists of golden shields, probably made of birch. It is not surprising to see such an object, which is closely related to the Nordic culture. War spears were also present. The scalde Þjóðólfr of the Hvínir described it thus:

"Under the throws of stone,

the wise warriors

on their backs made the birch bark

The birch bark of Sváfnir's hall".

The Grimnismal poem says that the roof of the palace is covered with pure, glittering gold. Within Valhalla, there was the Hlidskjálf. This is the place from which Odin could sit and observe all the worlds and even the human world and the activities of everyone. The most powerful Viking god is sometimes called the lord of Hlidskjálf in Scaldic poetry.

Valhalla contains 640 gates. The main one is guarded by wolves and eagles flying above. This prevents any outside attack. In front of this gate, there is also the Glasir tree, which consists of golden leaves. It is said to be a metaphor for gold.

À l'intérieur, le palais dispose d'immenses sièges en cuir représentant des dragons et des bêtes légendaires. Il y a aussi des tables et des buffets bien garnis pour accueillir comme il se doit les morts. Ces résidents du paradis viking sont logés et nourris jusqu'à la fin des temps, ce que nous verrons plus tard. Mais enfin, qui peut accéder au Valhalla ?

Several places in Valhalla

Valhalla is the place where the most deserving Viking warriors meet. On the battlefield, they are chosen by the Valkyries, girls that the god Odin would have meticulously selected. Some warriors, who wanted to survive the battles, did not raise their eyes to the sky, so as not to attract the attention of the Valkyries who could make them perish in order to take them away.

It is important to know that there was a differentiation made between the places for the dead.

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Helheim housed the dead of old age, illness and other deaths, which they felt were not worth honoring. The abode, abbreviated Hel for the house of the goddess Hel, the daughter of Loki. The various texts describe the place as dark, foggy and cold. It is populated by people like the giant Hraesvleg or Garm, who was a monstrous dog. The people who end up in the Hel carry a certain dishonor.

Fölkvangr, in homage to Freya, is the home of Vikings who fought to protect their families, clans or any other defensive mission. It is also called the "people's field" and is described as a place close to a rural paradise but also a place of rest and reward.

Valhalla is for the Vikings who perished while attacking. They dedicate their existence to war and it is therefore the most prestigious place for Scandinavian warriors.

A sacred paradise for the Vikings

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When they arrived in this great paradise, the fighters took the name of Einherjar. They are "those who make up an army" and those who had died on the battlefield with a weapon in their hands.

It is for this reason that the Vikings have a certain attraction for combat. They do not wish to disappoint their god by being welcomed into heaven and this is what gives them their great strength to win.

You should know that the life of a Viking warrior was particularly short. The many journeys and plunders were very perilous and resulted in few Vikings living past forty. The endless life of sustenance in Valhalla was especially attractive to aristocratic warriors. Since it is known that many Vikings wanted to possess power, this represents a significant population. It is said that the Valhalla hall contained hundreds of thousands of warriors, about 614,400.

The most noble warriors and rulers were indeed in adoration of Odin. Farmers in particular worshipped Thor to ensure the fertility of their land. The Bilskirnir is a palace that housed the god of thunder.

Valhalla was therefore an important motivation for the Vikings. It allowed them to eliminate their fears in battle and thus to be feared by their opponents. The Scandinavian warriors could thus defeat superior forces, whereas another civilization might have had a loss of morale because of the many deaths on the battlefield. Some were able to have incredible abilities, such as the Berserker, who would go into a holy fury, making him overpowered.

The Christian scholar Snorri Sturluson taught us that Odin was also known as Valfather, the father of the slain. The Vikings who fell valiantly in battle were like his adopted sons. It was to enjoy such an honor that they were willing to risk a bloody death.

A diet for warriors

As described above, the warriors who arrive in Valhalla are welcomed with a great feast. They are fed and housed until the end of time. The Einherjar will then feed on the flesh of the boar Sæhrímnir. This animal comes back to life every night, to be eaten the next day. It is boiled every day by the cook Andhrímnir in his cauldron named Eldhrímnir. Only Odin does not eat. He only drinks wine as a meal and gives his food to his wolves.

As for drink, the Vikings drink the milk of the goat Heidrun. It is in fact mead, a very popular drink in this region of Northern Europe. In Valhalla, the goat grazes on the leaves of the Læradr tree. It is called Hléraðr in Old Norse for "the one who gives rest". This tree also feeds the deer Eikthyrnir. It is said that it drains so much water through its antlers to the world Hvergelmir, that all the rivers of the Aesir domain come from them.

The banquet, in abundance so that each warrior can eat to his end, is served by the same Valkyries who came to recover the Vikings who died in battle.

Ragnarok and Valhalla

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Every day, the Einherjar are awakened by the rooster Gullinkambi. They dress up, put on their armor and then go to fight each other in an enclosure until they kill each other, on the Idavoll field. If they can do this, it is because they then come back to life. The warriors then return from the enclosure with horses to have the first meal of the day, around 9 o'clock in the morning. This one will last besides a major part of the day. Every evening, the huge pig Sæhrímnir is eaten.

The Vafþrúðnismál, the third poem of the Edda, describes this moment:

"All the Einherjar

in the meadow of Odin

every day slay each other.

They point to the dead,

then, from the battle, on horseback they return.

Together they then sit, reconciled."

The warriors of Valhalla await the day when the 640 doors of the palace will open so that they can fight the war of Ragnarok, alongside the Aesir gods.

Snorri Sturlusson describes this moment:

"Eight [great] hundreds of Einherjar

will come out of each gate at the same time

when they go to fight with the wolf."

This battle represents the day of the end of the world according to Norse mythology and is called Ragnarock. This final battle, between the Aesir and the giants, signs the death of man and the various gods who take part in it. The battle takes place on the plain of Vigrid.

The Einherjar will face terrible creatures. The powerful Midgard serpent (also known as Jörmungand) that emerges from the sea, will spray poison in all directions and cause huge waves on the land. He will be killed by Thor, who will succumb to his injuries. The fire giant Surtr will set Asgard on fire.

This battle will cause many deaths. The wolf Fenrir breaks free from his chains and kills Odin. The god of malice Loki, who leads the giants in this battle will kill each other with Heimdall, his opposite deity.

The presence of Valhalla in the culture

The Viking paradise is a very well known place and quite evoked within the Nordic mythology. It is therefore logical to see it represented many times in different cultural works.

Valhalla gives its name to different music in the genre of heavymetal and particularly that of Viking metal. Bands such as Amon Amarth or Bathory have made it the title of one of their songs. The rock band 30 Seconds to Mars has made a description of it.

Visual works also refer to it. In the video game sector, the popular Final Fantasy saga frequently alludes to it. In Skyrim, released in 2011, the Nordic warriors' paradise is named Sovngarde. The Assassin's Creed saga, one of the best-selling, will also offer an opus at the end of 2020, Valhalla, on the universe of the Vikings. The Vikings and The Last Kingdom series also deal with the subject very often, while in Mad Max Fury Road, the Warboys hope to go to Valhalla.

The artist Peter Madsen created his comic book named after the Viking paradise in 1979. A Danish cartoon, released in 1986, is based on it and illustrates the Edda in prose. The composer Richard Wagner created the opera Twilight of the Gods in which a 6-minute piece is conceived as the entry of the gods into Valhalla. The play Valhalla, directed by Sara Lemaire and Anna Nilsson and produced by the Belgian company Petri Dish is another example.

Everything you need to know about Viking Bersekers! | Viking Heritage


Everything you need to know about Viking Bersekers!

Want to learn more about the Viking Berserkers? Between history and legend, it's hard to know where to start! After all, many researchers have tried to trace the lives of these warriors. But it is not necessarily easy when the evidence is missing. Anyway, we are going to explain you everything about these ruthless warriors!  

The berserkers: who were they?

Before we get into the heart of the matter, it would be interesting to know what exactly a berserker is. If you are familiar with video games, but also with historical movies, you should certainly know what berserkers are. They are "warrior-falcons", who went into a rage when they went into battle.

It is important to know that these warriors, when they went into a trance, could look like real beasts. In other words, in Nordic mythology, they frightened everyone because they became uncontrollable.

But it is also important to know that in mythology, the berserkers were considered the army of the God Odin. The latter is the main god that can be found in Norse mythology, but also in Germanic mythology, mainly. The role of the latter is rather complex to understand.

Indeed, many gods of Germanic mythology are difficult to understand. Nevertheless, he is the god of death, of victory, but also of knowledge. But it is also important to realize that in mythology he is also considered the patron of magic, poetry, prophecies, war and hunting.

Berserkers dressed in bear skins or wolf skins, which was mainly used to impress the enemy. But, it is logical to wonder if these warriors really existed or if they were just a legend. This is what we will see in the following article!

A story of legend...

It should be known that it is above all a legend. Indeed, in the Nordic mythology, it should be known that there were three kinds of warriors of the same order:

  • The svinfylgingars : the warrior-boars.
  • The ulfhnednars or ulfarks : the wolf-warriors.
  • The berserkers : the bear-warriors.

The bear-warriors would therefore be the army of the God Odin. In other words, they would be the equivalent of the Einherjar. What is it about? It was simply an exceptional army that died bravely, with the weapon in their hands. In other words, the berserkers were truly sacred warriors in Viking times.

But it is also important to know that the berserkers were strong. And for good reason, they entered a state of trance, when they went into battle. Of course, their state depended on the type of animal they were: either a boar, a bear or a wolf. But what would that have to do with? Simply to the totem animal that represented the person concerned.

In the legend, it is also important to know that the berserkers are not only warriors. They also have a function of priest of the Nordic Gods, in particular for Odin. Note also that the berserkers were seen as the bodyguard of the latter, but also of the Scandinavian kings. They were, in general, by troop of 12.

It is also important to know that each warrior of Odin belonged to a brotherhood. Nevertheless, each person who wanted to join the berserkers had to follow a very precise ritual, but especially to succeed:

  • To kill a bear in a ritual way.
  • Drink the blood of the latter. Why? Simply because this is how the blood and power of the animal could spread inside the warrior concerned.

So he became a berserker. Not to mention that he obtained, at the same time, his power of transformation. Thus, the new warrior could have another perception of his environment, but also show himself in animal form.

When a Berserker warrior goes into a trance, it is no longer his mind that controls his body, but his animal side, which can sometimes do a lot of damage.

The last element we can give you is that berserkers could be confused with wolf-warriors. Indeed, the skins being rather similar, it was difficult to distinguish them from far.

... But also a true story?

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Nevertheless, we must not forget that behind each legend, there is a part of history. That's what we'll see in this part and you're not at the end of your surprises!

It is important to know that little material evidence has appeared over the centuries. Indeed, at the present time, we are not able to affirm or not if these warriors really existed. Nevertheless, if they were alive, the first ones surely made their appearance with the Hari people. The latter existed until the 1st century AD and were a nomadic proto-Germanic people. They were rather recognizable: shields painted in black, without forgetting that they attacked essentially at night. Let us also note that they appreciated the surprise effect and their means of attack was none other than to frighten their enemies. It is also important to know that the Hari people were considered as the warriors of the God Odin. In other words, the berserkers can find their origins in this people.

What we can easily find in the history of these warriors is simply the fact that they had a function of loan for the God Odin. But they also constituted the close guard of the various Scandinavian kings of the time.

Let us also note that it was rather difficult to beat a berserk. Why is that? Simply because his bestial side was far too present during the fights. When an enemy managed to kill one, he was considered a real hero.

But it should be noted that according to the story, the warriors could really do real feats: the exorbitant eyes, howling worthy of a wild beast or having the ability to crunch a shield were not within the reach of everyone. It is also worth noting that they could easily pass through fire, but also be invulnerable to their enemies' attacks.

But in history, these warriors have evolved. Indeed, according to the Icelanders, with the arrival of Christianity, the berserkers were rather seen as bandits, people who stole other people's goods, even the wife of his opponent. Little by little, he becomes the bad guy. Far from his image of hero, he takes on that of the person who killed. Berserkers are killed by heroes, in general, at that time.

As you can see, it is still difficult to know who they really represented. In Norse mythology, berserkers were either seen as bandits or as heroes. But we will never really know the end of the story!

How did the berserkers go into a trance before a fight?

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It is now interesting to know how he went into a trance during their fight. Indeed, as we have seen in the previous parts, the berserkers fought like beasts. But how could simple humans transform themselves like that? That's what we'll see now!

You may be surprised to know that it doesn't have to go very far. Although the story doesn't give us enough information to know what was really going on for these warriors, some hypotheses could still be born:

  • The first plausible explanation is simply that the warriors took a hallucinogenic mushroom before the fights. Indeed, this allowed them to have behaviors quite different from humans. This could also explain the fact that the warrior's vision was very distorted. The favorite mushroom? The fly agaric. Deadly, it could make warriors enter a second state, which could largely explain their change in behavior.
  • But it is important to know that other hypotheses can also be brought to light. Indeed, the use of the black henbane. This plant was used in antiquity as a narcotic, analgesic or medicine against insomnia. This could also bring a lot of explanations concerning the transformation of the warriors. But it should also be taken into account that the black henbane is much more widespread in Scandinavia than the fly agaric. The theory would therefore be much better.

Nevertheless, it is not possible to affirm anything. Indeed, the berserkers did not write anything down. Everything was done orally, so that researchers do not necessarily find reliable sources to learn more. It is therefore up to everyone to come up with their own theory, in general.

Berserkers in popular culture!

Nowadays and for several centuries, it is necessary to know that the berserkers are part of the popular culture. Indeed, it is perfectly possible to find these warriors in various places:

  • Books: many books have been written about these warriors. Of course, some books date back to the 13th century, while others are much more recent. Whether it is books to learn more about their history or simply to put them on stage, you can find a large choice.
  • Cinema: many films deal with the past. If you are interested in berserkers, it is perfectly possible to find them in various movies. The most recent one is "Alita: Battle Angel" from 2019. But if you want to expand your culture further, you can perfectly opt for an older movie.
  • In some TV series, it is perfectly possible to find the berserkers too. Indeed, you can see a representation of them in "Teen Wolf", "Marvel: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." or "SleepyHollow". Fans of series, it's time to watch some new ones!
  • Comic books and manga are also two books in which you can easily find the berserkers. Whether it's "Naruto", "Dragon Ball Z" or "Blood Lad", there is a wide range to choose from!
  • The music has its long work on the berserkers too. The titles are not necessarily known, but you can listen to "Berserker" by Gary Numan, "Rabiosa" by Shakira or "Berzerk" by Eminem.
  • Video games are certainly the elements where it is possible to find the maximum of things concerning berserkers. Indeed, whether it is on phone, on tablet or on console, there too, you have a wide choice. Among the most famous titles, it is possible to find "The Elder Scrolls", "Kingdom Hearts" or "Final Fantasy".

As you can see, although this is largely a legend, berserkers have inspired many people over the centuries and will continue to do so over the next few centuries through different jewelry and popular cultures.

It is rather difficult to know if the berserkers existed or not. The most convinced will certainly think that these warriors were indeed alive. But others are much less convinced. The lack of evidence is therefore difficult to interpret. Nevertheless, many researchers have tried, in vain, to learn more about these shadow warriors. Nevertheless, you can easily find them in popular culture. You can imagine yourself in their place while playing a game or watching a movie. It's up to you to believe the story or the legend!

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Everything about Asgard!

You want to know more about the city of Asgard? Do you know it from the movies you have seen? Or do you simply have a passion for Nordic mythology? No problem, you are at the right place! Indeed, we are going to speak to you about the history, the legends, but also about the presence of Asgard in the popular culture. We will also tell you about the God Odin who had a big role in the creation of this city. Ready to learn more? This is the place to do it!

The 9 kingdoms of the tree of life

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Before knowing more about the city of Asgard, it is important to take into account that there were nine distinct kingdoms:

  • The kingdom of Asgard which is the subject of this article and which we will detail below.
  • The kingdom of Alfheim: it exists in the heavens and is not far from the city of Asgard. These are the luminous elves who lived in this kingdom. Moreover, it is necessary to know that these beings were seen as luminous and creative. They would have inspired music, art and creativity in general.
  • The Hel or Helheim kingdom: it is seen as a dark kingdom that is presided over by Hel, the daughter of Loki. It is important to know that only one door could lead to this kingdom.
  • The kingdom of Jotunheim or Utgard: it is a kingdom which gathered the giants of Frost. It is located near Asgard and Misgard. It is seen as the main place of chaos, magic and wilderness.
  • The kingdom of Midgard: it is the kingdom of human beings, which was created by the Gods. It is a kingdom rather close to Asgard. It is also important to note that Midgard joined Asgard through the Bifröst. In Norse mythology, it is a bridge, in the form of a rainbow. Nevertheless, it had a particularity, this rainbow bridge had only three colors.
  • The kingdom of Muselpheim: it is covered with fire. Moreover, it is a kingdom that has strongly contributed to the creation of the world.
  • The kingdom of Nidavellir / Svartalfheim : it is a kingdom which is located under Midgard, at the bottom of the Earth. It is in this place that the dwarves lived and they also worked their forge. Only fires light up this kingdom since it is very dark.
  • The kingdom of Niflheim: it is the oldest of the nine kingdoms. Moreover, it was covered with snow and mist. In the Nordic mythology, it is from this kingdom that all life would have started.
  • The kingdom of Vanaheim: it belongs to the family of Vanir. In other words, they are the other gods present in the Nordic mythology. In addition, it should be noted that they are associated with fertility and magic.

As you can see, many kingdoms existed in the Norse mythology. Moreover, it was possible to see festival halls like Valhalla where the most honorable warriors were sent.

But it should be noted that three of them were more highlighted than others in Norse mythology. Three kingdoms could make their appearance: the kingdoms of the gods Asgard and Vanaheim, the mortal kingdom Midgard and the kingdom of the dead Niflheim.

It is also important to know that these three kingdoms were supported by a giant tree of life, named Yggdrasil. The realm of the dead was located in the roots of this tree, halfway up was the realm of humans surrounded by an impassable sea. The realm of the Gods was intertwined among the upper branches.

Asgard: a little history to learn more!

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The first things you need to know about Asgard are simply the story elements. This will give you a good idea, what exactly it is. It is important to know that Asgard is part of the Aesir domain and that it is located in the center of the world.

But before we go any further, let's give you some information about the Aesir domain. In Norse mythology, it is simply a group that formed the main Gods, associated or simply related to Odin. It should also be noted that this also includes the inhabitants of Asgard. Note also that in the domain of the Aesir, the main Gods cohabited with other groups of deities: The Vanes and the Dises.

Nevertheless, it is important to know that Asgard has a rather complex system: indeed, between the religious beliefs, the mythological beliefs or the cosmological beliefs, it was rather difficult to know on which foot to dance. It should be known that the Nordic cosmology has 3 "clans" of deities: the Aesir, the Vanir and the Jotun. It is important to know that the distinction between the Aesir and the Vanir are relative, simply because they have made peace. But the greatest differences between the different groups of deities remain in their respective areas of influence:

  • The aesir represents war and conquest.
  • The Vanir represents exploration, fertility, but also wealth.
  • The Jotun is rather considered as a race of evil giants.

It is also important to know that Asgard was located in a plain with different temples. We will detail them together so that you can easily imagine, what it could look like:

  • Ivadoll : it is simply the plain where Odin settled. He will also appoint twelve other Aesir to rule with him. It is here that the temples were built. It is also important to note that the Gods extracted minerals and created tools in this plain.
  • The temples: it is necessary to know that there were twelve of them. Indeed, there was one for each Ase. Let us also note that the latter could also correspond to the twelve signs of the zodiac. Let us also note that the division of the year, according to the Scandinavians, were in twelve distinct months, which were under the patronage of a god.

Here are some explanations concerning the various celestial houses which were present in the city of Asgard:

  • Ydalir : corresponds to the palace of the Ase god UII. The latter was seen as an archer god. He was the god of the Sagittarians.
  • Alfheimr : corresponds to the home of Freyr. It is a gift that was given to him when he lost his first tooth as a child. It is also important to know that he was the god of the Capricorns.
  • Valaskjafl: it is a temple which belongs to Odin. It is rather impressive since its roof is made of solid silver. For the astrological sign, it is the Aquarians that they had to federate.
  • Sökkvabekkr: this is the great residence that belonged to Saga. It is important to know that Odin and Saga used to go there to drink quietly from golden cups. For the astrological sign, it is Pisces who was under the control of Saga.
  • Gladsheim: it is the very first temple which would have been built in the Ivadoll plain. It is seen as one of the largest temples, both inside and outside. Moreover, it contains the seats of the twelve Aesiras in addition to that of Odin. For the astrological sign, we note that it represented the Aries.
  • Thrymheimr : it is a temple located in the mountains. The Ase who lived there was none other than Skadi. It is the Bulls who are represented by this celestial house.
  • Breidablik: this is the residence that was given to Bader. This residence was seen as one of the most beautiful in the Ivadoll plain. It should also be noted that it is located in a place where nothing can be impure. For the astrological sign, Bader represented Gemini.
  • Himinbjorg : it is the temple where Heimdall resided. Moreover, it was ideally situated to prevent the giants of the mountains from coming to attack them. It is the Cancerians who were represented by this celestial house.
  • Folvangr: this is simply Freya's home. We don't necessarily have much information about this house. Nevertheless, the astrological sign that was represented is none other than the Lions.
  • Glitnir : it is simply the hall of Forseti. Let us also note that it was also the court of the Gods and the men. For the astrological sign, it is the Virgins that one could find in this celestial house.
  • Noatun: this is where Niord lived, in Norse mythology. Shortly before he moved in, he had an argument with his wife. But each lived separately. For the astrological sign, it is the Librans who were represented by this celestial house.
  • Landvidi: this is the place where Vidar lived. An important geographical characteristic to take into account is simply the fact that he lived in a place where the grass and trees were high. For the astrological sign, as you might expect, it is none other than Scorpio, of which Vidar was the patron.

As you can see, Asgard is a difficult city to understand. But there are still historians who want to know the history of the city.

What are the legends that exist around Asgard?

The construction of Asgard

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Although there has been some evidence that has come to light regarding Asgard, there are still many legends that have swirled around this city. It is rather important to know them, so it will be easier for you to see what is true and what is not.

You should know that the Aesir were attacked by the giants of the mountains. The latter were rather violent, the Aesir have been tested a lot. So they decided to take refuge from the attacks of the mountain giants, in a fortress. Since they had no knowledge, they simply decided to accept Hrimthurs' proposal: to build the greatest fortress that ever existed. But in exchange, he asks for the sun, the moon and Freya. That's it!

Of course, the Gods found that the march was slightly excessive. Nevertheless, Loki had an idea: if the construction site was finished in 6 months, the Gods should grant Hrimthurs' request. But they didn't expect the construction to go much faster than they had planned. So they asked Loki to go and spy on the construction site.

The more time passed and the more the construction site progressed, which did not necessarily please the Gods. They saw Loki as an evil eye. Three days before the end of the construction site, Loki turned into a mare in rut and the horse used by Hrimthurs pursued her all night long. The construction site could not be finished in time. But Hrimthurs went into a rage and it was Thor who had to cut off his head.

The final battle of Ragnarök

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In Norse mythology, the Ragnerök was none other than the end of humanity, but also the end of the gods and goddesses. It is necessary to know this battle to oppose the Aesirs against the giants and this last one took place in the plain of Vigrid.

The snake of Misgard came out of the water and simply decided to splash the different places of the earth. The latter was moreover equipped with a poison that spread quickly. Meanwhile, the fire giant set Asgard on fire, but also the bridge of Bifröst.

The wolf Fenrir, on the other hand, managed to free himself from his chains so that he could cause death and destruction everywhere around him. The sun and the moon were then swallowed by the wolves Sköll and Hati. Moreover, the giant tree Yggdrasil shook the ground in a rather violent way.

It should be noted that it is during this battle that the God Odin will die. Indeed, the wolf Fenrir and Odin will fight to the death and until there is only one survivor. Note also that Loki and the Emir will kill each other during this battle. Tyr will take care of the guard dog "Garm" and will also kill each other with him.

As for Thor, he will manage to kill the serpent of Misgard, but he will find death at the end of the fight because of the poisoned wounds.

As you have certainly understood, the master of Asgard was none other than the God Odin. And to understand the history of Asgard, we must also know a little more about the person who ruled the city.

He is one of the main gods of the Nordic and Germanic mythology. He had in his power various elements: death, victory or knowledge.It should be known that it is a God who became a grandmaster of knowledge and secrets, but they were not really satisfied with these results.

It should be noted that like many gods of Norse mythology his role is rather complex to understand. Indeed, unlike Greek mythology where each God was attached to a specialty, this one had three to his credit.

Let's also note that in Norse mythology, Odin and his brothers are the ones who created the world, but also created the human race, the dwarves, but also the elves. He is therefore an important god for the city of Asgard as well as for the people who believe in Norse mythology.

The master of Asgard: the God Odin!

Odin | Viking Heritage

As you have certainly understood, the master of Asgard was none other than the God Odin. And to understand the history of Asgard, you also need to know a little more about the person who ruled the city.

He is one of the main gods of the Nordic and Germanic mythology. He had in his power various elements: death, victory or knowledge.It should be known that it is a God who became a grandmaster of knowledge and secrets, but they were not really satisfied with these results.

It is necessary to know that like many Gods of the Nordic mythology his role is rather complex to understand. Indeed, unlike Greek mythology where each God was attached to a specialty, this one had three to his credit.

Let's also note that in Norse mythology, Odin and his brothers are those who created the world, but also created the human race, the dwarves, but also the elves. It is therefore an important god for the city of Asgard as well as for people who believe in Norse mythology.

Asgard in popular culture!

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It is important to know that Asgard has been used in many elements of popular culture. First of all, it is important to know that the Marvel movies have taken this city in order to make characters such as Thor live. Very inspired by the Nordic mythology, the Marvel movies finally retrace the history that took place there.

It should also be known that some music groups have decided to make Celtic music. It is possible to find the city of Asgard in some of the musical works that we know at the moment.

As you can see, the city of Asgard is very much exploited, at present, in popular works. But you should know that Nordic mythology is very popular, in general, in movies and in cinema. Between myth and reality, it is necessary to know how to disentangle the true from the false!

Midgard : Tout Savoir Sur Le Royaume Des Hommes | Viking Heritage


Midgard : the kingdom of men


Norse mythology is composed of many different worlds. Among them, there is Midgard, in this article you will learn more about this fascinating kingdom! Which is none other than that of men. 

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At the beginning of the universe, there were only 2 different worlds: Muspellheim, which was very hot and made of pitch, and Niflheim, which was conversely frosted and frozen in ice. Also called the world of mist, the Elivagar rivers are the ones that give some movement on Nifheim.

It is in these rivers that the frost giant Ymir was born. He then gave birth to a six-headed giant, a couple of giants and a cow named Audhumla. She had such big udders that the milk that flowed out of her was the size of 4 rivers. Audhumla gave birth to Buri, who in turn gave birth to Bor. This one will give birth to the first 3 Aesir gods: Odin, the greatest of the gods, Vé, the god of spirituality and Vili, the god of will.

One day, these three brothers wanted to assassinate Ymir, the giant of ice. He was so big that the blood that spilled from his body drowned all the other giants. Only Bergelmir and his companion survived, which makes them the ancestors of all future giants. After his murder, Odin, Ve and Vili transported Ymir's body to the center of the Niflheim world, Ginnungagap.

At that time, they created the earth with his flesh, the seas and lakes with his blood. The bones were used to create the mountains. His whole body was used to build something useful. Thus, his skull was used to make a sky vault while his brain was used for clouds. The teeth and splinters of his bones became stones and rocks. Ymir's eyebrows were used to make a wall to protect himself from giants.

It is thus thanks to the body of the giant of ice that were created the 7 other worlds which compose the Norse mythology. The universe and all these worlds are supported by the Yggdrasil, the tree of life. In the flesh of Ymir, the gods discovered beings similar to worms. The 3 brothers gave them an intelligence as well as a human form: it is from there that the dwarfs were born. Four of these dwarfs are placed at one end of the 4 corners of the celestial vault. Nordri, Sudri, Westri and Austri gave their names to the different cardinal points.

According to some Nordic texts, the dwarves had their own world: Nidavellir. It is also said that the original worlds of ice and fire, Niflheim and Muspelheim, were one. From this creation of the world was born the Midgard.

Midgard, a central place

The name Midgard has several different etymological sources. In Old Norse, it appears as Miðgarðr while in Old Saxon, the equivalent of Old German, it is Middilgard which appears in Heliand, the poem of life. These forms come from the common Germanic: midja-gardaz. It is a mixture of midja, which means middle, and gardaz, which represents the enclosure.

In Old Norse, the name Midgard means the middle enclosure. Variations exist in the form of central enclosure. The first meaning of the word is a reference to the position of human civilization within the nine worlds. The first part represents the horizontal middle while the second refers to the vertical position. Gard is also found in the name Asgard, which is the world of the gods and goddesses Aesir.

Toutes les parties du corps de Ymir ont servi à créer la terre où la civilisation humaine habite. Ce royaume est présent au sein des 9 mondes mais est le seul visible par l’Homme. Il faut savoir que les autres, susceptibles de croiser Midgard, sont tous invisibles.

Given its central place in the Yggdrasil, Midgard was the first kingdom created by the 3 gods. At the central level, there is also Jotunheim, the world dedicated to the giants. The ancient texts of the Edda of Snori situate this world in the East. Svartalfheim is the other world that occupies the middle of the tree. It is the domain of the Black Elves, the Svartálfar. Dwarves also reside here, which creates confusion with Nidavellir, the other realm for these beings.

After the creation of the center of the universe, Odin, Vili and Vé decided to create 2 other levels. Above Midgard, there is Asgard, domain of the Aesir gods and Valhalla. Vanaheim is the realm of the Vanes gods. Despite the war between the two groups of gods, Vanaheim is present in the Yggdrasil, however far from Asgard. Alfheim is the kingdom of the light elves. Below Midgard are located, on the lower level, Muspellheim and Niflheim, for fire and ice. Finally, Helheim is the last kingdom. It is the place where the dead who were not good during their life live. It also includes those who died of disease and old age.

Some sources and conceptions place the kingdoms differently. Svartalfheim is rather on the lower level while Muspellheim, the fire kingdom, is located next to Midgard.

The centrality of Midgard makes this realm a point of balance. In the Yggdrasil, it is compared to the trunk. Its destruction would therefore cause the cutting of the tree and the destruction of the whole world. The dark worlds below and those of the deities, located higher up, would be separated. The Midgard finally occupies a central place and an important meaning.

Grouping by pair

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The particularity of the worlds within Norse mythology is that they can be grouped in pairs. This grouping is done by using the opposite meaning of the different kingdoms. We then obtain :

  • Muspellheim and Niflheim for the opposition fire/heat and ice/cold.
  • Vanaheim and Jotunheim for the opposition creation and destruction.
  • Alfheim and Svartalfheim for the opposition of light and darkness.
  • Asgard and Helheim for the opposition warrior death and profane death.

Being the symbol of balance, Midgard cannot be crossed with any other Viking kingdom.

The serpent of Midgard: Jormungandr

The land and the world of Midgard are made up of a vast expanse of water. In the ocean, though described as impenetrable, is Jormungandr, the gigantic sea serpent. He is so large that he can surround the world with his body, even biting his own tail. Egir and Ran live in the depths of the sea and kill unfortunate sailors.

According to the Edda of Snori, Jormungandr is the son of the God of Mischief Loki and the giantess Angrboda. It was shortly after his birth that Odin threw him into the waters of Midgard. It is because of his growth that the snake reached a gigantic size and managed to cover the whole world of men. The creature is therefore also called the Midgard serpent.

Chapter 34 of Gylfaginning describes this moment:

"He threw the serpent into the deep sea lying all around the lands, but it grew so large that, living in the middle of the sea, it now surrounded all the lands and bit its own tail."

By surrounding Midgard with his gigantic size, Jormungandr protects the human world from other individuals wanting to enter it without permission. The Midgard serpent is also the cause of all the marine phenomena that the Vikings experienced during their sea raids in Europe: storms and tidal waves.

If Odin threw him into the oceans of Midgard when he was born, it is because he knew that he possessed great power. Because of his size, he was feared by everyone and no one dared to confront him until the Ragnarök. Only Thor dared during a fishing trip with the ice giant Hymir. He used a bull's head to attract Jormungandr. When the monster came out of the water, Thor raised his hammer to hit him. But Hymir, afraid of the place and the snake, cut the line. The snake went away and Thor, furious, pushed his colleague overboard to make him disappear forever. The next battle between the two will take place during the Ragnarök.

A connection with Asgard

Before we discuss Midgard during the final battle of Ragnarök, we need to talk about the connection between the human world and the world of the gods.

Did you know that Midgard is called Mannheim (for "house of men")? This is due to an old name where all kingdoms had a suffix in -heim. This means kingdom or world in Viking Norse, while the suffix -gardr means enclosure.

The Midgard is thus the place where the Vikings live. They indulged in their occupations of plundering, conquering territories, especially those in England. The Vikings fought valiantly with their axes and shields. The most warlike and deserving of them were sent to Valhalla, the Vikings' paradise, within Asgard, the domain of the gods. The Valkyries selected the men who were to become Einherjar.

Bifrost, which means glittering path, is the name of the bridge that connects Asgard to Midgard. It is a rainbow in 3 colors. Among them, the red color is a burning fire. The reason the Bifrost is constantly burning is to prevent the giants from crossing it. It is described as being stronger than any structure. However, Heimdall, the Ase god, is the guardian of this bridge. The structure will collapse when the sons of Muspellheim arrive at the final battle of Ragnarök and cross it. But what happens to Midgard during Ragnarök?

The Midgard during Ragnarok

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The Einherjar Viking warriors have been preparing for days in Valhalla for the battle of Ragnarök. There they will face the giants and other monsters that symbolize the forces of destruction.

The Eddas scrolls describe the destruction of the world and thus of Midgard during the final battle between different deities. Indeed, during the battle, it is Odin, Thor or Freyr who will oppose Loki, Fenrir or the Midgard serpent.

It is indeed Jormungandr who rose from the oceans to spread his venom in the lands and seas when his brother, the wolf Fenir, delivered himself. We note then the rise of the waters and the submergence of the lands. The Poetic Edda describes this moment:

"The threat will come from the Austri, its shield raised,

The worm of Midgard shall writhe with rage,

The Great Serpent shall then whip the waves seized by that fury."

The Vigrid battlefield, 100 leagues long, will be the place of the ultimate confrontation. It is here that Midgard will be destroyed and all life will end. Men will perish, Fenrir will kill Odin, Heimdall and Loki will kill each other. Freyr will fight the giant Surt but will be killed because he does not have his magic sword. Almost all the participants will die.

As for Jormungandr, he will make important damages, both on men and on deities. Indeed, he will die in front of Thor, but will succeed in taking the god of thunder thanks to his venom. After 9 steps, the important god and his hammer fall. The waters will submerge the land, which will carry away Midgard.

In chapter 52 of the Vafþrúðnismál, the third part of the Poetic Edda, the stories describe what happens to the dead humans in the Ragnarök. The abodes are numerous and can be good or bad. Chapter 53 will explain the fate of the gods and the earth. The dwelling place of humanity will then rise from the sea, marking the return of the beautiful and green Midgard. The human couple Lif and Lifthrasir, who hid in the woods during the fire of Surt, will be the only survivors of the prophetic end of the world. The couple will then repopulate Midgard.

The Nidhogg Dragon | The Symbol of Viking Chaos!


The dragon Nidhogg | Nordic monster of desolation !

The ultimate incarnation of evil in Norse mythology, the mere mention of the dragon Nidhogg made the most valiant Viking warriors tremble!

Indeed, it is a terrible creature, next to which the dragon Fafnir or Jörmungand look like harmless beasts. The balance of power is clear, and the scales are tipped in his favor.

What is the history of the abominable dragon Nidhogg? Why do the Vikings fear him so much? Get ready to go to the dark side of Viking mythology, and discover the story of the origin and essence of the evil dragon Nidhogg.

The story of the dragon Nidhogg: the incarnation of evil!

Although this dragon is the emblem of the Nordic civilization, Nidhogg joins the camp of evil creatures. He is against the values and morals of their culture, the absolute antagonist of Viking heroes. 

Have you ever heard of the drakkars, the Viking ships decorated with a dragon's head? Well, they take their inspiration from this mythical creature. This is where the legend of the barbarian Vikings was born: where they go, there is nothing but ashes and desolation.

Although the dragon is the ultimate symbol of strength and grace, the Scandinavians feared one serpent dragon in particular, the fearsome Nidhogg. Both fierce and destructive, he patiently waits for the right moment to destroy the Viking world, plunging it into chaos.

Where does the dragon Nidhogg come from? Why is he so little mentioned in Scandinavian mythology? What is his role in the balance of the cosmos?

Hold on tight, we're about to reveal the legend of the sinister Nidhogg snake!

What does the Nidhogg dragon look like?

The Nidhogg Dragon | The Symbol of Viking Chaos!


According to historical sources, Nidhogg is described as a half-dragon, half-serpent creature. His body is entirely covered with glowing scales, and he has sharp horns protruding from his head.

Don't be fooled by its majestic appearance, because behind its shell, it hides an unequalled ferocity. Nothing and nobody can resist the huge claws hidden under its front legs, not even the Nordic gods.

The rest of the Nidhogg dragon's body is just titanic. It is similar to that of a snake, with the only difference being that it spans several kingdoms.

To give you a better idea of its immensity, you should know that Nidhogg is located under one of the roots of the tree of worlds Yggdrasil. This tree carries the whole cosmos in its bosom, and gathers the 9 worlds of the Viking mythology.

Although he never moves from his lair, Nidhogg can fly. He has dark, bat-like wings that would be reserved for this purpose. Fortunately, he will only do this once in all of Viking history, and as you might expect, it is an exceptional occurrence that has really left its mark on Norse mythology.

What is the origin and meaning of this dragon of darkness?

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The origin of the dragon Nidhogg is uncertain. All that the historical sources report is that it exists since the dawn of time. He was born at the same time as the Viking universe, long before the avenue of the Nordic gods and men.

This explains why even the god Odin does not dare to approach it! With his giant body, he twists himself around one of the roots of the Yggdrasil tree, which he bites and shreds with his claws continuously.

Nidhogg has a name that does him full honor, since it means "the smiter of plague and misfortune" or "the one who brings desolation". Under his wings, he imprisons the souls and corpses of all criminals who have committed the ultimate sins:

  • Every Scandinavian who has killed another Viking ;
  • Those who have succumbed to the temptation of adultery ;
  • And anyone who has broken a sacred oath.

Rooted in Helheim, it is said to be one of the symbols of death.

The legend of the dragon of destruction Nidhogg

Balance is a fundamental element within Norse mythology. In a sense, the dark dragon Nidhogg would be complementary to the light and goodness of the main Nordic characters. Although he is endowed with terrible and immeasurable strength, his existence is fundamental to the balance of Yggdrasil.

Nidhogg and Yggdrasil : a poisoned union

The Nidhogg Dragon | The Symbol of Viking Chaos! 

The tree of the worlds Yggdrasil has three branches that connect the various entities of the Nordic cosmos. Through the Grímnismál and the Prose Edda, we learn that the dragon Nidhogg gnaws at the third root of this tree.

It originates in a hot spring called "Hvergelmir" although it is located in the ice world "Niflheimr". It is in this realm that the dragon Nidhogg lives, from where he fiercely guards Hvergelmir.

It is not really clear why he keeps biting one of the roots of Yggdrasil. Some sources claim that Nidhogg's plan is to destroy it.

Indeed, the destruction of the Tree of Worlds would inevitably mark the end of the Gods. If the mythical tree falls, it is the whole Scandinavian universe which will fall in its turn in chaos.

There is also a hypothesis that this root of Yggdrasil keeps the dragon imprisoned in Niflheimr until the end of time, Ragnarok.

This theory is less plausible, since it is quoted that the dragon Nidhogg visits the goddess Hel, sometimes described as his mistress. But given his colossal size, it would not be very difficult for him to move as he pleases between worlds!

However, according to prophecy, the dragon Nidhogg will take flight at Ragnarok. Whether he is free again, or just to bring desolation, he is destined to assist the giants in their assault on the Aesir gods.

The master of eternal punishment!

The Nidhogg Dragon | The Symbol of Viking Chaos!

Although there is no such thing as hell or the devil in the Nordic beliefs, the dragon Nidhogg is undeniably the closest thing to it. At least, this is what the Prose Edda claims.

Indeed, the dragon Nidhogg reigns over a dark domain called "Nadastrond". It is a terrifying room whose walls are formed by snakes, claimed to be the children of Nidhogg. The ceiling is dripping with venom that is used to burn the flesh of criminals.

Inside this room is Nidhogg, who eagerly awaits the arrival of fresh flesh to feast on. He and his children have been devouring criminals and sucking their blood since the beginning of time.

According to this same prophecy, when Ragnarok will sound, the dragon will take flight by taking under his wings all the bodies of these damned souls. He releases them only to fight the Nordic gods.

The perfect balance of the Nordic universe: Nidhogg and the eagle

Yggdrasil, the tree of life, is in fact an ecosystem in its own right. Many creatures live together in it, each responsible for carrying out specific tasks.

It goes without saying that Nidhogg did not get along with his neighbors. In the highest branches of Yggdrasil, an eagle nestles, symbol of wisdom and goodness. Just the opposite of the creature of darkness that maintained chaos in the Nordic universe.

Communication between the inhabitants of the deepest roots and branches of the trees was through a squirrel, Ratatoskr. He relayed insults between the two enemies all day long, thus participating in the analog of the renewal cycle of the center of the universe.

After the damage caused by the disputes between the eagle and the dragon, the Yggdrasil tree had to be restored by the magical powers of the water from the wells of Urd. These healthy tensions contributed to the renewal of the wood layers and the natural evolution of the Viking worlds.

However, the benevolence of the squirrel is not attested to in all historical journals. According to Snorri's Edda, he himself was the cause of the tension between the eagle and the dragon Nidhogg. He deliberately spread lies in order to sharpen the hatred of one against the other.

The outcome of these underhanded tricks will have serious consequences for the balance of the universe. It is said that the serpent dragon succumbs to anger, and ends up shaking the tree of the nine worlds so hard that every corner of it shakes.

This is how he escapes from the roots of Yggdrasil, announcing the imminent arrival of Ragnarok!

The death of the dragon Nidhogg: the fall of the Old World!

As the ultimate representation of darkness and gloom, one can imagine that the dragon Nidhogg had a role to play in the prophetic end of the Viking world. The last confrontation between the forces of good and evil, Ragnarok is the long-awaited confrontation between the main actors of Norse mythology.

The intervention of the dragon is described in a well-known poem translated from Old Norse, the Völuspa. It is said that he was seen on the horizon, flying away from Yggdrasil to join the giants. He joined forces with the rest of the evil figures of the Nordic world to end the reign of the Viking gods, Odin in the lead.

The legend says that the death of the dragon Nidhogg implies the fall of the Old World. It also signals the birth of the New World, under the rule of new gods, in an atmosphere of peace and harmony, without the fear of an impending cataclysm.

Fafnir The Legendary Dragon of Norse Mythology | Viking Heritage


Dragon Fafnir | The story of an incredible transformation

Nordic mythology is full of fables and fantasies, mostly intertwined with each other. Sometimes moralistic, sometimes heroic, the link that unites them is their fantastic and unusual side. The story of the dragon Fafnir is a perfect example.

Her unbelievable character only makes her more interesting! Where does the dragon Fafnir come from? What is the story behind this strange creature? We tell you everything in this article.

Origin and History of the Dragon Fafnir

Fafnir The Legendary Dragon of Norse Mythology | Viking Heritage

Although he is most often depicted as a dragon, Fafnir did not always exist in this form. His story is rich in morals and describes the circumstances of his transformation. Let's discover together where this legend comes from, and analyze the series of events that led to this curious metamorphosis.

Fafnir in the cycle of Sigurd

The story of the dragon Fafnir is well known to the Scandinavian people. Told by word of mouth over generations, it is found on the vast majority of historical reference resources. The first time we hear about this myth is in the poems of the Sigurd cycle.

A multitude of books are devoted to this mischievous Viking hero, following his evolution and recounting his wonderful adventures over time. On the Poetic Edda, there is a poem entirely dedicated to Fafnir: the Reginsmál.

This is the first reference we find in this story. Here, Sigurd's adoptive father tells him about the curse of Fafnir and the misfortune that befell him because of his father's treasure.

It also appears in two other historical sources: the Volsunga saga and Snorri's Edda, where the Skáldskaparmál section is entirely devoted to it.

The cursed treasure of Fafnir's father

Fafnir The Legendary Dragon of Norse Mythology | Viking Heritage


Initially, Fafnir was just an ordinary dwarf living with his two brothers Òtr and Regin, and his father Hreidmar. It is said that he had a good heart and an arm of superhuman strength, for which he was named protector of their house. Regin was the blacksmith who built the house of gold and precious stones, while Òtr was a skilled hunter who supplied them with food.

One day, three Viking gods were walking unsuspectingly around their home. It is none other than Odin, Loki and Hœnir, three emblematic figures of the Pantheon of Nordic deities.

Near a waterfall, Loki, god of mischief, hunts an otter. Taking refuge in the dwarves' family, the fear quickly falls on the assembly when they discover that it is in fact the inanimate body of Otr. Having taken the habit of hunting fish, disguised as an otter, he succumbs to his passion in a tragic way.

Furious to learn the death of his son, Hreidmar binds the three Viking gods, and asks them for a ransom to free them. He appoints Loki, the culprit, to bring him a quantity of gold or else he will keep Odin and Hoenir as hostages.

The god of mischief seizes the fortune of another dwarf, named Andvari. Among the precious objects stolen, a ring to which the dwarf was strongly attached, but which the deceitful god refused to return. Stripped of his fortune, Andvari casts a spell on the lost treasure. He puts a curse on it so that anyone in possession of it will die.

Warned of the fate that awaited him, Hreidmar accepted anyway and released the gods. The curse will indeed affect Fafnir and his family, and the repercussions of this choice will be felt like a domino effect.

The Curse of the Gold of the Andvari Dwarf

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Once in possession of the gold, Hreidmar, father of the dwarves, refuses to share it with his sons. Outraged by his behavior, they arrange to kill him, making him the first victim of the curse.

But the story continues, when Fafnir, blinded by the wealth he had just acquired, objects when his brother, Regin, claims his share. He threatens to kill him, and sends him away from their home.

It is here that the destiny of the two brothers bifurcates:

  • Fafnir, for his part, goes to Gnitaheid. He transforms himself into a snake, or a fire-breathing dragon, according to the legends, and devotes himself entirely to guarding his treasure.
  • As for Regin, he becomes the Danish king's blacksmith, but he does not forget the gold that has slipped through his fingers. He prepares a plan in the shadows to return it, and fully enjoy these riches.

The fall of Fafnir

Fafnir The Legendary Dragon of Norse Mythology | Viking Heritage

In the royal palace, Regin has the task of taking care of Sigurd, the legendary Vikig hero. He is therefore the adoptive father we meet at the beginning of the story. For years, he has been telling him the legend of Fafnir, and urging him to return the gold he has taken.

Once he is old enough, he commits himself to kill Fafnir, and to accomplish the mission that his father will have given him. On this occasion, the blacksmith makes him a special sword that will help him to accomplish this quest, the sword Gram. When he arrives at the entrance of the cave, he digs several pits in the ground:

  • Sigurd would use one of them to hide, as Regin had ordered.
  • The others will be used to collect the creature's blood, an advice he received from Odin himself, who showed himself to him in the form of an old sage.

Thus, he triumphs, and puts an end to Fafnir's days. This is how he earns the nickname of Sigurd Fafnisbani.

Before succumbing to his wounds, the dragon tells him of the terrible curse that ended his life, and warns him of the gold and the ring that were now in his possession. All these facts are detailed in the Völsunga saga, as well as in one of the poems of the Edda of Snorri, Fafismal.

A cycle of infinite unhappiness

Back at his adoptive father's house, he asks Sigurd to prepare the monster's heart for him to devour. By tasting a few drops of its blood, the latter gains extraordinary powers. Among other things, he is able to decipher the language of birds. Thus, they warn him against Regin, who wanted him dead to keep the treasure to himself.

Enraged, he kills Fafnir's brother, and eats the dragon's heart alone. He seizes the treasure of the dwarf Andvari, and finally thinks he is in a strong position. Unfortunately, the Viking hero is not spared by the curse of Fafnir's treasure.

It changes owner when Högni and Gunnar, two warriors, kill Sigurd. There is mention of this story in the last poems of the Sigurd Cycle. However, the evil spell does not end here, and it is said that the effect of the curse persists until the end of time.

Analysis of the Viking myth Fafnir

Fafnir The Legendary Dragon of Norse Mythology | Viking Heritage


The legend and story of Fafnir was never simply a Norse tale.In truth, it is a warning to the Vikings about the destructive power of greed.

This myth serves as a moral, and remains a perfect example of the teachings contained in Viking folklore. It teaches generations of Scandinavian children the dangers of letting this uncontrollable feeling get the better of them. It is a final reminder of the chaotic power of greed, which can rot several generations from father to son and spread like a plague.

The legend of Fafnir also serves as a reminder to Viking kings and nobles. Known to be conquerors and treasure raiders, the wealth amassed was not just to be harvested. Rather, it was to serve, above all, the prosperity of the Nordic community and that of the Viking civilization.

Fafnir and the Lord of the Rings

If the story and legend of Fafnir seem so familiar, it is not without reason. In fact, it is the inspiration for one of the greatest works of literature. Yes, you guessed it, it is the masterpiece The Lord of the Rings, written by J. R. R. Tolkien.

The great fans of this saga, both literary and cinematographic interpretation, already know this surprising fact. But for the less seasoned among you, we reveal the surprising hidden similarities:

  • Bilbo or Turin, two main characters of the saga, are directly inspired by the legendary Viking hero Sigurd ;
  • The story of the dragon Smaug is mostly taken from the story of Fafnir ;
  • The dialogue between Bilbo and Smaug is largely taken from the exchange between Sigurd and Fafnir;
  • Even Smaug's death takes place in the same way as Fafnir's, having his stomach pierced by the hero.

As you can see, one of the greatest epics and literary works of our era draws its inspiration directly from Viking mythology. Even more fascinating, it is the legend Fafnir that inspired the main events of this story!

Representations of the dragon Fafnir in modern culture

A symbol of greed and cruelty, Fafnir has terrorized many protagonists in various literary and cinematic works. In addition to the Lords of the Rings, Fafnir happens to be a symbol that is widely used in popular culture.

He can be found, for example, as the main protagonist in the opera "Der Ring des Nibelungen" by Melvin Burgess, in the Marvel comics, or even in the Smurfs comic strip.



The wolf Fenrir | The giant wolf of desolation and the end of time!

The Viking civilization has one of the richest mythologies of humanity. This Scandinavian folklore is full of stories and legends, each more surprising than the last. From the story of the creation of the Viking world, to its destruction during the Ragnarök. There is a fantastic creature whose mere mention arouses fear and concern among men and Nordic gods: the famous wolf Fenrir.

According to the legends, the wolf Fenrir is described as a giant monster, whose ferocity would have of equal only size. Once a pet of the Aesir gods, he became a prophet of the apocalypse and the trigger of Ragnarök. According to this same prophecy, he will ultimately kill the god Odin and lead the nine worlds to their doom.

In this article, we tell you the whole legend of the wolf Fenrir. Find out why this mythical Nordic creature is both a source of terror and respect for men and Viking gods.

The story of the Fenrir Wolf: the Viking creature of desolation!

The wolf Fenrir is one of the three sons of the god Loki, god of mischief and deviousness. Although his legend is not as long as that of some gods, Fenrir occupies a major role in Norse mythology. From his birth, it is predicted that he will trigger the Ragnarök, the end of time!

The Norse sagas describe Fenrir as a wolf of immeasurable size and power. He is a creature of incomparable destructive strength, often likened to that of a titan. All the Viking gods, including the god Odin, feared him, so much so that he was nicknamed the titan of the apocalypse.

In reality, Fenrir is not an evil being, despite the fact that he is portrayed as such in popular culture. This subtle nuance comes from the fact that there is no such thing as the power of evil or good in Norse civilization. There is only a delicate balance between the forces of creation and destruction, which inevitably lead to cycles of renewal.

To fully understand the singular history of the wolf Fenrir, we trace the evolution of this Viking symbol according to ancient historical sources. This article will take you on a journey through the story of this mythical creature that marks the end and the renewal of the Viking world.

The origin and birth of the wolf Fenrir

Fenrir is the last child of the god Loki with the ice giant "Angrboda or Angrboða". Loki, a polymorph with immense powers, was not initially an Aesir god. He was only elevated to this rank after having proven his worth to Odin.

The god Loki had the blood of giants running through his veins. This explains in part his deviousness and his incessant quest for power. This will lead him to give birth to the three most frightening creatures of Viking folklore, together with his mistress Angrboda, the giant bearer of misery and misfortune.

The wolf Fenrir, along with his siblings, posed too big danger to Asgard and the entire Viking world. The Aesir had to meet to decide what to do with Loki's three children :

  • Jörmungandr, the giant serpent: designated as an abomination by the gods, it was thrown by Odin into the oceans of Midgard, the land of men. Only, this snake survived and became so big that it encircles the whole earth. It is, along with Fenrir, one of the most feared creatures in Viking mythology;
  • Hel, the goddess of the dead: sovereign of "Helheim", the world of the damned where she was exiled. Hel welcomes in her kingdom all the Viking souls who did not die gloriously in battle. During the Ragnarök, they will reinforce Loki's army of giants against that of the Aesir gods;
  • Fenrir, the wolf of desolation: He posed the greatest danger. While Hel and Jörmungandr were banished, Fenrir grew too fast to be controlled. He soon became a giant wolf, or "jötunn", with indomitable strength.

This is how the legend of the terrible son of Loki, the wolf Fenrir, one of the messengers of Ragnarök, begins. We will dive deeper into the rest of his story to understand the title that has been given to him. This controversial Viking creature predicted glory for some gods, and desolation for others.

The meaning of Fenrir and his many names

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The wolf is an omnipresent symbol in Viking culture. According to the Poetic Edda and Snorri's Edda, the majority of wolves mentioned in Norse literature are different versions and facets of Fenrir. 

He is mainly mentioned under the name of Fenrir, or Fenris, which both mean in Old Norse "the wolf of the marshes". However, other names refer to him:

  • Hróðvitnir, which means "the glorious wolf". It is one of Fenrir's victory names. According to some hypotheses, it is attributed to him because he will defeat the god Odin alone during the Ragnarok;
  • Vánagandr or Vanargand is a name that was given to him after he was captured and imprisoned. Its open mouth lets saliva flow out, which will create a river called Van over the ages. That is why this name means "the monster of the river Ván" in Old Norse;
  • Garm or Garmr is a wolfhound associated with the forces of destruction. Little is known about him, except that he breaks free during Ragnarök, just like Fenrir. This analogy leads one to believe that this is one of his many epithets. In addition to this, it is written in the Grímnismál; a poem from the Poetic Edda, that Garm is to the canines what Odin is to the gods, that is to say the most powerful being of the people.

The children of Fenrir, prophets of destruction

Hati and Skoll children of Fenrir | Viking Heritage

In Norse mythology, both the sun and the moon are personified as goddesses. The sun goddess is called Sól, while the moon goddess is called Máni. According to Snorri's Edda and the Poetic Edda, the two stars are tirelessly pursued day and night by two giant wolves:

  • Sköll : from Old Norse " Treachery " or " Mocker ". This wolf hunts the goddess Sól, personification of the sun;
  • Hati Hróðvitnisson hunts the goddess Máni, personification of the moon. His name means "the hater" or "the enemy".

In Snorri's Edda, it is said that these two wolves are in fact the children of Fenrir, mentioned here under his epithet Vánagandr, and of a giantess with an unknown name. Sköll and Hati will continue this hunt without respite until Ragnarök, where they will end up devouring these two celestial bodies, as well as all the stars of the world.

Some sources say that Sköll and Hati are actually other names of Fenrir, who would devour a large part of the universe during Ragnarök.

The wolf, a sacred symbol for the Vikings

The Viking civilization is very much linked to its mystical symbols. The wolf in particular has a special place in Nordic folklore. It embodies strength, wildness, duty and bravery. According to Viking legends, female warriors wearing Viking wolf necklaces and bracelets could invoke its divine power.

Although Fenrir is seen as a destructive being, he has many qualities that make him a respected symbol:

  • His loyalty to his clan and family: raised by the Aesir gods, he is betrayed and imprisoned until the end of time. His father Loki, his brother and his sister are all exiled one by one, in turn. It is this devotion and thirst for justice that gives him the strength to defeat Odin in the final battle;
  • His savage and destructive power: even if he never used it against the gods, all feared him. It is the fear that he would rebel against Asgard, which pushes the Aesir to lure him and to imprison him;
  • The desire for freedom and independence: Fenrir resists and escapes numerous attempts to bind him. Ultimately, he gives in to vanity and is imprisoned by a magical bond that no one can undo. Since then, he desperately tries to regain his freedom and becomes a Viking symbol of resistance and perseverance.

The wolf is also one of the symbols of Odin and the Scandinavian gods. The god Odin is protected by two wolves, Freki and Geri, who accompany him in all his battles. There is also a troop among Odin's army that gathers the most feared warriors of Asgard, the ulfhednar: warriors who are dressed in wolf skins.

In addition, some Viking warriors can summon the power of the wolf spirit. They are known as Berserkers. When they summon their animal spirit, their strength and bravery are increased tenfold on the battlefield.

The imprisonment of the wolf Fenrir by the gods

Fenrir | The Legend Of The Famous Wolf Of The Apocalypse!

Of all the children of Loki, Fenrir is the only one who surpasses the Viking gods in power. A being with such power could only be a bad omen. The fears and doubts of the Aesir gods are confirmed by the prophecy of the Völuspá, a witch with clairvoyant powers.

According to this prophecy, Fenrir would be the greatest enemy of the gods and of humanity. During the Ragnarök, he will start by devouring the skies and all the celestial stars, and end up killing the god Odin himself. This was enough to convince the Aesir to imprison Fenrir.

Chaining the terrible wolf Fenrir was no easy task, even for the gods. For this reason, they devised a subterfuge to convince Fenrir that it was all a simple test of strength. Fenrir, wanting to gain the respect of the gods, agrees to participate:

  • To begin with, the best Aesir blacksmiths have made super-powerful chains, which they call Loeding. Fenrir manages to destroy them with a simple stroke;
  • The second time, they make chains a hundred times stronger than the first time, the Dromi. For the greatest misfortune of the gods, Fenrir manages to break them without any effort. After this second attempt, the Aesir understand that they will not be able to imprison him alone;
  • The god Odin, king of the Aesir, asks the dwarves of Svartalfaheimr to make magic chains, the Gleipnir. Only, Fenrir is wary of this link which had the aspect of a fine silk ribbon. He agreed to submit to this test, on the sole condition that a god put his hand in his mouth as a token to free himself. The only god who had the courage to do it was the god Týr, who paid with his arm the price of Fenrir's imprisonment.

The Gleipnir chains finally manage to imprison Fenrir. They are tied to a rock on the island of Thviti, followed at the end of the world. To punish him for having torn off Týr's arm, the Aesir gods thrust a sword into his mouth.

The wolf Fenrir and the Ragnarök

The wolf Fenrir and the Ragnarök | Viking Heritage

At the time of the Ragnarök, the end of the worlds, all chains will break. The god Loki and his children will finally be free. At the head of his army of giants, Loki will lead a bloody war against the Aesir gods. The most terrible creature of Ragnarök is unequivocally the wolf Fenrir.

According to Snorri's Edda, Fenrir will single-handedly devastate a large part of the world. Just by opening his mouth, he will raze the earth using his lower jaw and with his upper jaw he will swallow the sky.

When the battle between gods and giants is in full swing, Fenrir will swallow the god Odin. Vidar, Odin's son, will avenge his father's death by killing Fenrir. The story of Fenrir's death differs according to the sources:

  • In the Poetic Edda, Vidar pierces Fenrir's heart with a sword;
  • While Snorri's Edda states that it is the mouth of the wolf that will be torn in two by Vidar.

At the end of Ragnarök, a large part of the universe will be destroyed. However, very soon afterwards, the land and oceans will regenerate and regain their full splendor. A new world will be born for the survivors of Ragnarök!