Norse Creation Story

Niflheim – Ginnungagap – Muspelheim

Before the dawn of time and before the world was created there was a place called Niflheim…

Niflheim was the mist world. It consisted of ice, frost and fog.

Far from Niflheim there was a place that was as hot as Niflheim was cold.

It was the land of fire and was called Muspelheim. A giant named Surt was in charge of Muspelheim. He owned a flaming sword. This was the home of the fire demons.

Between Niflheim and Muspelheim there was a great void. This vast emptiness was called Ginnungagap.

Ymir – the first giant troll/Jotun

In the center of Ginnungagap the climate was quite pleasant. In this mighty void between the hot and the cold, the first giant troll was formed.

He was the first Jotun and his name was Ymir.

Audhumla – the primeval cow

Right about where the ice started to melt on the outskirts of Niflheim, another creature was formed.

It was the huge cow called Audhumla. Four rivers of milk flowed from the teats of Audhumla.

Ymir was lazy. He spent most of his time drinking milk from the teats of Audhumla and sleeping.

Something very strange happened when Ymir slept. He started to reproduce in his sleep. From the sweat under his left armpit male and female Jotuns were conceived.

Later his feet coupled and started to give birth to six-headed monsters. It never seemed to end. His body produced new and sinister creatures every time he fell asleep. It did not last long before the place was crowded with Jotuns.

Buri – The first god

Audhumla loved salt. By the borders of Niflheim the cow found a very salty stone. The three days the cow licked the stone something bizarre occurred.

On the first day human hair emerged from the rock.

The second day Audhumla licked the salt; a head grew from the stone.

Finally on the third day the rest of the body popped out.

The man who had grown out of the salty rock was Buri, the very first of the gods.

Buri was to become the grandfather of the great god named Odin. Buri eventually died of old age because the apples which kept the gods young had not yet been made.

Buri, the first of all the Aesir, had a son named Bor. Surprisingly enough, not all Jotuns were ugly. Some of the Jotuns were actually amazingly good-looking.

Odin – Vili – Ve: Three brothers and grandchildren of Buri

Bor fell in love with a female Jotun named Bestla. She was the sister of the wisest living being named Mimir.

Bor and Bestla had three sons. Their names were Odin, Vili and Ve.

Odin and his two brothers were troubled by the fact that the Jotuns outnumbered the Aesir. The giant troll was constantly conceiving new Jotuns. The only solution they could see was to kill Ymir.

Ymir is murdered

The three brothers waited until Ymir was asleep before they attacked him. A frightful battle emerged. Using all their strength they managed to kill Ymir. The blood gushed out with fierce force in every direction.

Most of the Jotuns drowned in the deluge of blood. Only two Jotuns survived, Bergelmir and his wife. The couple found refuge in the land of mist, thus saving their lives. All future Jotuns descended from this couple.

The World is Created from the Corpse of Ymir

The three brothers hauled the dead body of Ymir towards the center of Ginnungagap. This is the place where they created the world from the corpse of Ymir.

  • The blood was transformed into oceans and water.
  • The flesh turned into land.
  • The bones formed the mountains.
  • The teeth made into rocks.
  • The hair became the grass and trees.
  • They threw the brain up in the air and it turned into clouds.
  • The skull became the sky. It was the lid that covered the new world.

The brothers caught some of the sparks shooting out from Muspelheim, the land of fire. They threw the sparks up towards the inside of the skull. These sparks shone at night and were to become the stars.

The Dwarfs are created

While the brothers were preoccupied creating a new world from the body parts of Ymir, worms kept crawling out of the corpse.

The worms transformed into dwarfs. The brothers ordered four of the dwarfs to support the sky. They did not want to risk the sky falling down. The four dwarfs were named East, West, South and North.

The other dwarfs established their homes in rocks, caves and grottos under the ground. The dwarfs became experts in craftsmanship.

This completes the creation of the world by the three brothers: Odin, Vili and Ve.

Night and Day in Norse Mythology

The Vikings believed the night came first and was followed by the day. When they spoke of time, they always referred to the number of nights. Equally years were measured in the number of winters that had passed.

A Jotun named Norve had a daughter named Nótt. She was the personified night. She was swarthy and dark, the goddess of the night. Nótt married three times.

In her second marriage she had a daughter named Fjorgyn. The meaning of Fjorgyn is earth. Fjorgyn was later to become the mother of Thor.

Her third husband was Delling. Delling was one of the Aesir. He was often considered the personified dawn.

Delling also guarded the home of Balder. Balder was the son of Odin and Frigg. The house belonging to Balder was named Breidablik. It was told nothing evil was to be found in Breidablik.

Nótt and Delling had a son. His name was Dagr. He was extremely handsome. Dagr was as light as his mother was dark. Dagr became the personified day.

Odin put Nótt and Dagr in the sky. They each received a horse and carriage. They travelled continuously around the world. Nótt rode first and was followed by her son Dagr.

The Sun and Moon

In the sky were also the Sol (the Sun) and Máni (the Moon). Sol and Máni rode across the sky in chariots. Sol was female and Máni was male.

A gruesome female Jotun lived in the East woods. She conceived many children.

All her children were born as wolves. One of her children was named Skoll. The wolf Skoll spent all his time pursuing Sol (the sun). Skoll only had one goal and that was to swallow Sol.

Another of her children was named Hati. The wolf Hati spent all his time hunting Máni, the moon. Sol and Máni are terrified of Skoll and Hati. That is one reason why Sol and Máni travel quickly across the sky.

The first humans

The three bothers Odin, Vili and Ve were strolling together on a beach. As they were walking they found two nice looking logs. One seemed to be from the Ash tree and the other seemed to come from an Elm tree.

Odin blew the gift of life and spirit into the logs.

From Vili they received movement, mind and intelligence.

Ve gave them shape, speech, feelings and the five senses.

The first two humans had been created.

The man was given the name Ask. He had been made out of wood from an Ash tree.

The woman was given the name Embla. She had been made from the wood of an Elm tree.

The Aesir decided the humans was to reside in a place they named Midgard. The Aesir named their own territory Asgard. It was to be just about impossible for humans to wander through to Asgard, the home of the gods.

The Aesir made a colorful bridge connecting the two worlds. They named this bridge Bifrost. The humans often referred to Bifrost as the rainbow.