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Ragnarok and World Tree by HRD

Ragnarok and World Tree by HRD

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Published by Odinsvin

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Published by: Odinsvin on Mar 18, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Gods and Myths of the Viking Age
By: H.R. Ellis Davidson
...Ragnarok, the time of the destruction of the gods. This fearful
time willbe ushered in by many portents. First there will be great
 wars throughthe world, and a time of strife and hatred between men.
 The bonds of kinship will hold them no longer, and they will commit
appalling deeds of murder and incest. There will also be a period of 
bittercold, when a terrible pursuing wolf catches the sun and
devours her; themoon too is to be swallowed up, and the stars
 will fall from the sky. Themountains will crash into fragments as
the whole earth shakes andtrembles, and the World Tree quivers in
the tumult. Now all fetteredmonsters break loose. The wolf Fenrir
advances, his great gaping jawsfilling the gap between earth
and sky, while the serpent emerges from thesea, blowing out poison.
 The sea rises to engulf the land, and on the floodthe ship Naglfar
Is launched, a vessel made from the nails of dead men. Itcarries a
crew of giants, with Loki as their steersman. From the fieryrealm
of Muspell, Surt and his following ride out with shining swords,
and the bridge Bifrost is shattered beneath their weight. His forces
 jointhe frost-giants on the plain of Vigrid, and there the last
battle will befought between this mighty host and the gods.
 The note of Heimdall'shorn arouses the Aesir to their danger,
and Odin rides to the springbeneath the World Tree, to take counsel
of Mimir's head. Then with hischosen champions from Valhalla he
goes out on to the plain, toencounter at last his ancient enemy, the
 wolf. Thor meets the WorldSerpent, and Freyr fights against
Surt; Tyr must encounter the houndGarm, broken loose from the
underworld, while Heimdall does battle withLoki. All the gods must
fall, and the monsters be destroyed with them. Thor kills the serpent,
and then falls dead, overcome by its venom. Odinis devoured by Fenrir,
but his young son Vidar slays the wolf in turn,setting one foot
upon its jaw and tearing it asunder. Tyr and Heimdallboth conquer
their opponents, but they do not survive the struggle. OnlySurt
remains to the last, to fling fire over the whole world, so that
therace of men perishes with the gods, and all are finally engulfed
in theoverwhelming sea:
 The sun becomes dark. Earth sinks in the sea. The shining stars slip out of the sky.Vapour and fire rage fiercely
together, till the leaping flame licks heaven itself. Yet this is not
the end.Earth will arise again from the waves, fertile, green, and
fair as neverbefore, cleansed of all its sufferings and evil. The sons
of the great godsstill remain alive, and Balder will return from the
dead to reign withthem. They will rule a new universe, cleansed and
regenerated, while twoliving creatures who have sheltered from
destruction in the World Tree will come out to repeople the world with
men and women. A new sun,outshining her mother in beauty, will journey
across the heavens. Suchis the picture of the beginning and end of the
 world of gods and men,drawn for Gangleri by the Three Powers.
The World Tree
By: H.R. Ellis Davidson
 This world had for its centre a great tree, a mighty ash called
Yggdrasill.So huge was this tree that its branches stretched out over
heaven andearth alike. Three roots supported the great trunk, and one
passed intothe realm of the Aesir, a second into that of the frostgiants,
and a thirdinto the realm of the dead. Beneath the root in
giant-land was the springof Mimir, whose waters contained wisdom and
understanding. Odin hadgiven one of his eyes for the right to drink a
single draught of thatprecious water. Below the tree in the kingdom of 
the Aesir was the sacredspring of fate, the Well of Urd. Here every
day the gods assembled fortheir court of law, to settle disputes and
discuss common problems. Allcame on horseback except Thor, who
preferred to wade through therivers that lay in his path, and they
 were led by Odin on the finest of allsteeds, the eight- legged horse
Sleipnir. The gods galloped over the bridgeBifrost, a rainbow bridge
that glowed with fire. They alone might cross it,and the giants, who
longed to do so, were held back. Near the spring of fate dwelt three
maidens called the Norns, who ruled the destinies of men, and were
called Fate (Urdr), Being (Verdandi), and Necessity(Skuld). They
 watered the tree each day with pure water and whitened it with clay
from the spring, and in this way preserved its life, while the water
fell down to earth as dew. The tree was continually threatened,even as
it grew and flourished, by the living creatures that preyed uponit. On
the topmost bough sat an eagle, with a hawk perched on itsforehead:
the same eagle, perhaps, of whom it is said that the flapping of its
 wings caused the winds in the world of men. At the root of the tree lay
a great serpent, with many scores of lesser snakes, and these gnawed
continually at Yggdrasill. The serpent was at war with the eagle, and a
nimble squirrel ran up and down the tree, carrying insults from one to
the other. Horned creatures, harts and goats, devoured the branches and
tender shoots of the tree, leaping at it from every side.
Creation - The tree formed a link between the different worlds. We are
never told of its beginning, but of the creation of the worlds of which
itformed a centre there is much to tell. In the beginning there were
tworegions: Muspell in the south, full of brightness and fire; and a
 world of snow and ice in the north. Between them stretched the great
emptinessof Ginnungagap. As the heat and cold met in the midst of the
expanse, aliving creature appeared in the melting ice, called Ymir. He
 was a great

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