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Yggdrasil : Scandinavian tree mythology

Updated on August 13, 2014

Yggdrasil: the tree of the Universe in Scandinavian mythology

Yggdrasil is the tree of the Universe and center of the divine world in Scandinavian mythology. The roots of that big ash grow in the three underworlds: the world of the death, the world of the frost giants and the world of men. The branches spread over the world.The tree unites earth and heaven and the underworld.

If Ragnarok draws near, Yggdrasil will tremble and a man Lif and women Lifthrasir will survive the holocaust and flood. From these two people the earth will be repeopled and mankind will start a new cycle of time. Yggdrasil is the source of all new life and will always survive Ragnarok...

Yggdrasil as the source of life

The Edda describe the stars as the fruit of the Yggdrasil.

The tree was watered by the sacred fountains of Urd and Mimer, which contain the elixir of life, wisdom and poetry. Therefore the sap of Yggdrasil is live-saving.

The morning dew from Yggdrasil was very sweet and nourishing. Bees used it for making honey

The dragon Nidhogg eats the roots.

Creatures that live in Yggdrasil, are the wyrm (dragon) Níðhöggr (eating its roots), an unnamed eagle, and the stags Dáinn, Dvalinn, Duneyrr and Duraþrór.

Odin and his quest for wisdom

Odin, the major god in Scandinavian mythology, hanged himself on Yggdrasil in his quest for wisdom.

He hung in the tree for nine days in order to learn the wisdom and the power of the nine worlds (nine was a magical number in the Norse magical practice)

Ygg(r) is an alternative name of Odin. Yggdrasil could mean "the horse of Yggr".

and who is Mimir?

Mimir or Mimr is a giant whose abode is a spring flowing from the root of the worldash Yggdrasil. Drinking the waters of the spring, he knows all the past and the future. He was the water-spirit, into whose waters Odin had put his eye in pledge, in order to win wisdom. The poor man is beheaded during the Ãsir-Vanir War. Afterward, the god Odin carries around Mímir's head and it recites secret knowledge and counsel to him.

Books on Scandinavian Mythology at Amazon

ehrenberg nornen
ehrenberg nornen

Yggdrasil as a source of inspiration

Painters

Die Nornen (painting, 1888) by K. Ehrenberg

Yggdrasil (fresco, 1933) by Axel Revold, located in the University of Oslo library auditorium in Oslo, Norway

Hjortene beiter i løvet på Yggdrasil asken (wood relief carving, 1938) on the Oslo City Hall by Dagfin Werenskjold

Bronze relief on the doors of the Swedish Museum of National Antiquities (around 1950) by B. Marklund in Stockholm, Sweden.

Poets

Vårdträdet by Viktor Rydberg

Yggdrasill by J. Linke

Do you like Norse mythology?

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    • ManbeardTheHuge profile image

      ManbeardTheHuge 3 years ago

      A good introduction to Yggdrasil.

    • ericplotts profile image

      ericplotts 3 years ago

      Thank you this is great info!

    • profile image

      Colin323 3 years ago

      Very interesting and engaging; a most accessible introduction to Scandinavian mythology

    • profile image

      tonyleather 3 years ago

      Very interesting post on a subject I knew little about!

    • Cynthia Haltom profile image

      Cynthia Haltom 4 years ago from Diamondhead

      I have always been interested in myths you have a lot of excellent information that I was unaware of about Scandinavian culture.

    • tfsherman lm profile image

      tfsherman lm 4 years ago

      Beautiful lens. One of my all time favorite childrens' books (I'm a children's librarian) is Summerland by Michael Chabon. The characters can cross from one world to the next by the joints of the branches of The Tree, and the end is about preventing Coyote from poisoning the Tree. The strength of the mythology really buoys up the whole tale. Unforgettable stuff.

    • DeborahDian profile image

      Deborah Carr 4 years ago from Orange County, California

      Fascinating information about these myths. They show that ancient Scandinavians knew the importance of trees in our lives, even if they weren't quite sure why they are so important!

    • ismeedee profile image

      ismeedee 4 years ago

      Our ancestors knew the hidden truths and it remains preserved in these mythological stories. They are universal stories, but the Scandinavians seem to have made them all the more potent!

    • LouisaDembul profile image

      LouisaDembul 4 years ago

      Mythology is so interesting, especially when you consider that people actually believed in this!

    • LiteraryMind profile image

      Ellen Gregory 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      Very interesting. I was interested in mythology in the sixth grade and remember reading about the yggdasil tree --never knew how to pronounce it though.

    • M Schaut profile image

      Margaret Schaut 4 years ago from Detroit

      This was an interesting and unusual lens. Well done!

    • stephiy profile image

      stephiy 4 years ago

      Very interesting lens :) Nice job!

    • sunlightseer profile image

      sunlightseer 4 years ago

      I didn't know about this mythology, thanks for sharing. Interesting how many major beliefs/myths have some sort of Tree of Life.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Fantastic lens, Scandinavians have such rich mythology heritage. The stories are sometimes maybe a little bit dark, but still so amazing.

    • AstroGremlin profile image

      AstroGremlin 4 years ago

      The Scandinavian myths are very difficult to believe! As though the Greek ones make a whole lot more sense. Very cool lens!

    • JohanVanGeyt profile image
      Author

      Johan 5 years ago from Belgium

      @LuizAvila: Thanks Luiz

    • profile image

      LuizAvila 5 years ago

      Nice!

    • profile image

      RinchenChodron 5 years ago

      Well done. I know of Yggdrasil because of the fool in one of my tarot decks hanging upside down from the tree. Now I understand even more about it. Thanks

    • blue autumn profile image

      blue autumn 5 years ago

      i love mythology of all types and this has a good overview, great work!

    • blue autumn profile image

      blue autumn 5 years ago

      i love mythology of all types and this has a good overview, great work!

    • profile image

      Tahamtan 5 years ago

      A mix of two of my favorites: Mythology and Scandinavia. Lovely!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      great lens! i like the picture in your intro

    • JohanVanGeyt profile image
      Author

      Johan 5 years ago from Belgium

      @ZombieOne: Hey Zoon ;o)

    • profile image

      ZombieOne 5 years ago

      Hey pa! :D

    • iamraincrystal profile image

      Rosyel Sawali 5 years ago from Manila Philippines

      Very interesting topic! Great lens! ^_^

    • profile image

      kulla 5 years ago

      Highly interesting topic - completely new for me.

      Good info. Liked it.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Love the tree mythology and graphics. You may enjoy the book "Amazonia" by James Rollins.

    • alex89 lm profile image

      alex89 lm 5 years ago

      Beautiful myth, I don't know much about Norse mythology and I have never heard of this one, but I like it!

    • intermarks profile image

      intermarks 5 years ago

      This is an interesting topic. It is always curious to me if Yggdrasil the tree of live really exist.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      There is something new in this beautiful yggdrasil myth that I have never heard about.

    • profile image

      bonelessdriedsquid 5 years ago

      ohhh... yggdrasil has always been a mystery for me

    • aksem profile image

      aksem 5 years ago

      This is new for me. I'm very impressed by beauty of Scandinavian mythology,

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I'm glad I found this lens. I find that through mythology my mind seems to become more creative than ever when writing fiction.

    • profile image

      Auntie-M LM 5 years ago

      Fascinating info. Thank you for your lens.

    • profile image

      mdtanbirrahman 5 years ago

      Nice one! :)

    • profile image

      Peregrina-JK 5 years ago

      Very interesting! Fascinating read!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Interesting window you open into another world.

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 5 years ago

      What a fascinating lens!

    • profile image

      brendajoy 5 years ago

      Very interesting stuff. I remember studying a little about Scandinavian mythology in 5th grade. I remembered the tree of life. It has become very popular in recent years.Good work!

    • melissiaoliver profile image

      melissiaoliver 5 years ago

      Wow, great lens! I love Scandinavian mythology but have only just started to look into it so I don't know too much about it as yet.

    • CNelson01 profile image

      Chuck Nelson 5 years ago from California

      Interesting! A very complex mythology.

    • Cold0911 profile image

      Cold0911 5 years ago

      Nice lens here! thanks for stopping by my own lenses.

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile image

      William Leverne Smith 5 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Fascinating... another world, for sure! ;-)

    • profile image

      tadd_hoover 5 years ago

      thanks for the variety! its always good to see things from a different perspective. also thanks for liking my lens. what would you want me to write about next? i aim to please :) what sun sign are you? :) have a great day! thanks again!

    • profile image

      Edutopia 5 years ago

      Yggdrasil has always been a fascinating thing for me. Thanks for making the lens, I enjoyed reading it.

    • ninakreativa profile image

      ninakreativa 5 years ago

      Wonderful lens! It is interesting how almost all cultures have some things in common, and it is the same with trees. Each culture has its own tree which symbolises something very imortant in that culture.

    • profile image

      sherioz 5 years ago

      Wow! This is beautiful. The tree is a fascinating symbol in so many cultures.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      The game Tales of Symphonia for Gamecube is about this very story pretty much. Yggdrasil is the main antagonist.

    • thesuccess2 profile image

      thesuccess2 5 years ago

      Just saying hi on Woden's day

    • Aquavel profile image

      Aquavel 5 years ago

      Very cool lens! Thanks for sharing!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Liked the Yggdrasil, tree of the Universe, the analogy and concept in Scandinavian mythology.

    • jadehorseshoe profile image

      jadehorseshoe 5 years ago

      VERY interesting lens!

    • goo2eyes lm profile image

      goo2eyes lm 5 years ago

      i was not aware of this norse tree mythology but i know about odin (highest god like zeus), freya and thor. friday comes from freya (goddess of love and marriage). in german, it is called freitag (pronounced freytag). thursday comes from thor (god of thunder). in german, it is called donnerstag. thank you for sharing this beautiful lens.

    • profile image

      sherioz 5 years ago

      The tree in your second module looks amazingly like the spheres in Kabbalah. Interesting, no?

    • TLRaghavan profile image

      TLRaghavan 5 years ago

      Very interesting read!

    • profile image

      aquarian_insight 5 years ago

      Lovely lens which was great for me to read as I know very little about Scandinavian mythology. Thank you.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Interesting lens!

    • cdevries profile image

      cdevries 5 years ago

      Very interesting! There are a couple great modern novels that tell versions of the story of Yggdrasil: Neil Gaiman's "American Gods" and also Michael Chabon's "Summerland."

    • WoodlandBard profile image

      WoodlandBard 5 years ago

      Great stuff, very topical. I'm sure some of the Yule Tree mythology cources back to this. Lovely presentation here

    • juditpaton profile image

      Iudit Gherghiteanu 5 years ago from Ozun

      Mythology is magic, and the Yggdrasil is the most misterious.

    • LisaMarieGabriel profile image

      Lisa Marie Gabriel 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      Magic! :) I love those yggdrasil illustrations!

    • LongIslandMMA1 profile image

      LongIslandMMA1 5 years ago

      AWESOME i love mythology!

    • ukimpro profile image

      ukimpro 5 years ago

      Yggdrasil - I always thought it was a Welsh word. Looks Welsh anyway. And unpronounceable!

    • tvyps profile image

      Teri Villars 6 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Interesting, like the illustrations!

    • DreamingBoomer profile image

      Karen Kay 6 years ago from Jackson, MS

      Very cool! Had no idea!

    • HeartBroken62 profile image

      HeartBroken62 6 years ago

      I have read lots of mythology through the years, but somehow have never been acquainted with Scandinavian...found something new to explore. Thanks for the great lens and for visiting mine.

    • orange3 lm profile image

      orange3 lm 6 years ago

      Love this! Scandinavian mythology is my favorite!

    • Candlemakingsup profile image

      Candlemakingsup 6 years ago

      Thank you for liking my lens! Going through and liking yours now!! Smiles!!

    • LeopoldBlatt profile image

      LeopoldBlatt 6 years ago

      Very interesting read, so unusual but a lovely topic!

    • profile image

      30DaysToSuccess 6 years ago

      What an amazing niche you have here...very impressive!

    • ellagis profile image

      ellagis 6 years ago

      What an interesting lens! I´ve just been in Odense blomsterfestival, and this year the theme was Scandinavian mythology... there was a big tree, with a lot of orchids, supposed to symbolize Yggdrasil :)

    • LiteraryMind profile image

      Ellen Gregory 6 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      In 6th grade I was into Greek, Roman and Scandinavian mythology. I always loved the stories about the Yggdrasil tree. Thanks for a great article.

    • sousababy profile image

      sousababy 6 years ago

      All new to me and very interesting. Trees are so essential for our planet and everything living in it. Thanks for the education. Sincerely, Rose

    • WhiteOak50 profile image

      WhiteOak50 6 years ago

      After finally catching up with the Angel School Bus, I am fluttering around Myth-ville to

      drop off some Blessings. Just wanted you to know I am here because your page caught my attention. Leaving you with a *Blessing* for doing such a great job on this page.

    • anticloud profile image

      anticloud 6 years ago

      Very cool lens!

    • dahlia369 profile image

      dahlia369 6 years ago

      I enjoy the mythology - especially the stories with a positive message (like the tree that always survives to start a new cycle of life)- an never heard of this Scandinavian yggdrasil tree. Nice lens!! :)

    • David Stone1 profile image

      David Stone 6 years ago from New York City

      You're off to one heck of a good start on Squidoo. Keep up the good work!

    • profile image

      M_Leigh_Hood 6 years ago

      This is a fascinating topic! You've done a great job integrating different aspects of both the topic and Squidoo! It was both informative AND interesting!

    • profile image

      VoodooRULEs 6 years ago

      This is an interesting well written topic. Thank you!

    • OccultPriestess1 profile image

      OccultPriestess1 6 years ago

      Wonderful topic- well written- Thank you!

    • RealMonstrosity profile image

      RealMonstrosity 6 years ago

      Great lens, thanks a lot!

    • bames24 lm profile image

      bames24 lm 6 years ago

      that is truly interesting... thanks for sharing .. I learned something new and thank you for making that happen :)

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I have not heard of this before. It is really interesting.

    • firstcookbooklady profile image

      Char Milbrett 6 years ago from Minnesota

      Your lens is quite interesting! Also, thank you for liking my lens!

    • Harshitha LM profile image

      Harshitha LM 6 years ago

      very interesting... I'l be back soon to read other lenses too.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I did not know this mythology. I should read more - my last name means "half danish" and the myth of our family is that we descend from Haelfedane, the Norse King.

    • dogface lm profile image

      dogface lm 6 years ago

      Interesting, thanks for sharing. I think the name Yggdrasil is beautiful. I like consonant heavy names.

    • profile image

      BuildMyBrand 6 years ago

      Fascinating!!!

    • lollyj lm profile image

      Laurel Johnson 6 years ago from Washington KS

      I saw a TV movie recently that featured this tree, but your lens provided much more information.

      Norse mythology provides lots of options for Squidoo lenses.

    • Appollonia profile image

      Appollonia 6 years ago

      Quite informative. Thanks for creating the lens.

    • rasisonia lm profile image

      rasisonia lm 6 years ago

      thanks for sharing about tree mythology... really informative..

    • Psycho-Gamer profile image

      MasterPsycho 6 years ago from Earth

      i love the concept of this lens...and i would prefer some moooore content...instead of having to buy books.....

      add some content and a few images...and this lens will be even better

    • jlshernandez profile image

      jlshernandez 6 years ago

      I learned something new today. Thanks for sharing about these legends.

    • Poison kitty profile image

      Poison kitty 6 years ago

      I love reading about other culture's mythology and legends. Nice little lens!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Fascinating read. Nice to learn a little about Scandinavian mythology. Thank you. :)

    • profile image

      JessicaMcCarty 6 years ago

      Very interesting!

    • profile image

      livingfrontiers 6 years ago

      not too far from the truth...have you heard about the chinese stealing our water from lake superior?

    • Chris-H LM profile image

      Chris-H LM 6 years ago

      Fascinating! Thank you very much for sharing this lens. I had never heard this story. I learned something from you today :)

    • JohanVanGeyt profile image
      Author

      Johan 6 years ago from Belgium

      @anonymous: Thank you very much for the nice compliment, Tipi.I indeed got a lot of positive response on the subject. OK then, i'll go for another mythological tree,...but... which one to choose ;o)

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I love your writing style, very concise and with fabulous information. Yes, more mythology please!