On Ask and Embla – A Myth from the North

Today’s story comes from the North, it is the creation Myth from Norse mythology:

According to Norse myth, in the beginning there was fire and ice, which exsisted in two worlds: Muspelheim(Fire) and Niflheim(Ice). Between the two was a chasm known as Ginnungagap. The combination of the warm air from Muspelheim against the cold ice of Niflheim, formed the giant Ymir and the icy cow Audhumla. Ymir’s foot bred a son and a man and a woman emerged from his armpits, making Ymir the progenitor of the Jotun, or giants. While Ymir slept, the intense heat from Muspelheim made him sweat, and he sweated out Surtr, a giant of fire. Later Ymir woke and drank Audhumbla’s milk. While he drank, the cow Audhumbla licked on a salt stone. On the first day after this a man’s hair appeared on the stone, on the second day a head and on the third day an entire man emerged from the stone. His name was Búri and with an unknown giantess he fathered Bor, the father of the three gods Odin, Vili and Ve.

When Odin (Woden) killed Ymir. His blood flooded the world and drowned all of the giants, except two. But giants grew again in numbers and soon there were as many as before Ymir’s death. Then the gods created seven more worlds using Ymir’s flesh for dirt, his blood for the Oceans, rivers and lakes, his bones for stone, his brain as the clouds, his skull for the heaven. Sparks from Muspelheim flew up and became stars.

One day when the gods were walking they found two tree trunks. They transformed them into the shape of humans. Odin gave them life, Vili gave them mind and Ve gave them the ability to hear, see, and speak. The gods named them Ask and Embla and built the kingdom of Middle-earth for them and to keep the giants out the gods placed a gigantic fence made of Ymirs eye-lashes around Middle-earth.

The völva goes on to describe Yggdrasil and the three norns (female symbols of inexorable fate; their names – Urðr (Urd), Verðandandi (Verdandi), and Skuld – indicate the past, present, and future), who spin the threads of fate beneath it.

Norse Mythology is generally darker, but it impacts your life 4 out of the 7 days of the week if you live in the English speaking world.

Courtesy of Wikipedia:

  • Tuesday: The name Tuesday comes from the Old English Tiwesdæg (pronounced [ti.wes.dæg] or [ti.wes.dæj], meaning “Tyr’s day.” Tyr (in Old English, Tiw, Tew or Tiu) was a god of combat and heroic glory in Norse mythology and Germanic paganism.
  • Wednesday: The name Wednesday comes from the Old English Wōdnesdæg (pronounced [woːd.nes.dæg] or [woːd.nes.dæj) meaning the day of the Germanic god Woden (Wodan), more commonly known as Odin, who was the highest god in Norse mythology, and a prominent god of the Anglo-Saxons (and other places) in England until about the seventh century. In Old Norse myth, Odin, is associated with poetic and musical inspiration.
  • Thursday: The name Thursday comes from the Old English Þūnresdæg (pronounced [θuːn.res.dæg] or [θuːn.res.dæj]), meaning the day of Þunor, commonly known in Modern English as Thor, the god of thunder in Norse Mythology and Germanic Paganism.
  • Friday: The name Friday comes from the Old English Frigedæg (pronounced [fri.je.dæg] or [fri.je.dæj]), meaning the day of Frige, the Germanic goddess of beauty, who is a later incarnation of the Norse goddess Frigg, but also potentially connected to the Goddess Freyja.


Of note in this story is the symbols of fire and water in the creation of the world, Fates that weave our destiny, a pantheon of gods with specific roles in the creation of the world and specific roles in interacting with the human race, and a flood to cleans the world.

On this “Woden’s” Day I hope you enjoy this story.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s