The mighty tree whose trunk rises at the geographical center of the Norse spiritual cosmos.
The rest of that cosmos, including the Nine Worlds, is arrayed around it and held together by its branches and roots, which connect the various parts of the cosmos to one another. Because of this, the well-being of the cosmos depends on the well-being of Yggdrasil. When the tree trembles, it signals the arrival of Ragnarok, the destruction of the universe.
In the words of the Old Norse poem Völuspá, Yggdrasil is “the friend of the clear sky,” so tall that its crown is above the clouds. Its heights are snow-capped like the tallest mountains, and “the dews that fall in the dales” slide off of its leaves. Hávamál adds that the tree is “windy,” surrounded by frequent, fierce winds at its heights. “No one knows where its roots run,” because they stretch all the way down to the underworld, which no one (except shamans) can see before he or she dies. The gods hold their daily council at the tree.
Numerous animals are said to live among Yggdrasil’s stout branches and roots. Around its base lurk the dragon Nidhogg and several snakes, who gnaw at its roots. An unnamed eagle perches in its upper branches, and a squirrel, Ratatoskr, scurries up and down the trunk conveying the dragon’s insults to the eagle and vice versa.
According to the poem Grímnismál, Yggdrasil has three main roots: one planted in Midgard, the world of mankind; one in Jotunheim, the world of the giants; and one in Hel, the underworld.
Source: norse-mythology .org
Art by: Irek Kashapov
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