Trees and Creation

In the Norse Tradition, Yggdrassil, the world tree supported the nine realms of existence. At the top was Asgard, the home of the Aesir, the principle deities, led by Odin and his consort Frigg. This level also contained Vanaheim, the kingdom of the wind, fertility and sea gods, with whom the Aesir fashioned an uneasy peace, and Alfheim, home of the light elves. On the middle level was Midgard, the land of the humans. They shared this level with Jotunheim, the land of the frost giants and Nidavellir, the realm of the dwarves, who guarded their treasures and made artifacts for the deities. The lowest realm was divided between Niflheim and Hel, realms of the dead and Svartalafheim, home of the dark elves.

In Eastern Europe as well as in Asia the mythological world tree was considered the axis of the world with the pole star at the top. Shamans, the magickal priests or healers of indigenous peoples worldwide, climb this tree in a trance to reach other realms. Look up through the branches of a very tall tree on a starry night and you will see how this belief came into being.

The tree appears in numerous creation myths. In one Maori legend, the tree was the first thing to appear at creation and on it grew countless buds that contained all created life. A number of Native North American creation myths tell how the first humans climbed pine or fir trees from the underworld and broke through on to the Earth. In Viking myth the first man was fashioned by Odin and his brothers from an Ash (Aesc) and the first woman from an Elm tree (Embla). The gods found the trees while walking on the seashore.

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Categories: Working With Nature's Gifts | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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