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Yggdrasil is one of many variations of the Cosmic Axis or Universal World Tree known to all human cultures. These animals can be viewed as metaphors for the human body.
According to Norse legend, Yggdrasil is where the god Odin hung upside-down for nine nights in order to obtain the Rune Alphabet. Beneath the roots of the World Ash lies the spring, Mimir, to which Odin sacrificed an eye to gain wisdom.
Is the yggdrasil symbol of scandinavian origin? Looking to get a tattoo that represents my culture. Log in to Reply. Here the root is gnawed upon by the dragon Nidhogg.
A second root extends among the frost giants "where Ginnungagap once was" at the Well of Mimir, a source of knowledge and wisdom.
The third reaches into Asgard among the gods in the Poetic Edda this root instead extends into Midgard among mortals , and here is located the Well of Urd , a holy place where the gods hold their court.
They mix the water with the mud that lies around the well forming a curative poultice and pour it over the tree so that its branches may not decay or rot, and to regenerate it from the wounds caused by the various animals and monsters that feed from it.
There are also two swans that drink from the well, and this water is so pure that all things that touch it are turned white, including this first pair of swans and all those descended from them, as well as the "white mud" or "shining loam" used by the Norns.
Yggdrasil is also said to be the source of honeydew that falls to the earth and from which bees feed. Niflheim In the east: Jotunheim In the south: Musspelheim In the west: Vanaheim In the center: Alfheim and Asgard Below: Yggdrasil apparently had smaller counterparts as the Sacred tree at Uppsala, the enormous evergreen of unknown species that stood at the Temple at Uppsala and Irminsul , which was an oak venerated by the pagan Saxons and which was said to connect heaven and earth.
Irminsul may have been representing a world tree corresponding to Yggdrasil among the pagan Saxons. This illustration from a 17th century Icelandic manuscript shows Yggdrasill with the assorted animals that live in it.
In stanza 31, Odin says that the ash Yggdrasil has three roots that grow in three directions. Within the list, Odin mentions Yggdrasil first, and states that it is the "noblest of trees".
In Gylfaginning , Yggdrasil is introduced in chapter In chapter 15, Gangleri described as king Gylfi in disguise asks where is the chief or holiest place of the gods.
High replies "It is the ash Yggdrasil. There the gods must hold their courts each day". Gangleri asks what there is to tell about Yggdrasil.
Just-As-High says that Yggdrasil is the biggest and best of all trees, that its branches extend out over all of the world and reach out over the sky.
Three of the roots of the tree support it, and these three roots also extend extremely far: In chapter 16, Gangleri asks "what other particularly notable things are there to tell about the ash?
High continues that an eagle sits on the branches of Yggdrasil and that it has much knowledge. In chapter 64, names for kings and dukes are given.
Hilda Ellis Davidson comments that the existence of nine worlds around Yggdrasil is mentioned more than once in Old Norse sources, but the identity of the worlds is never stated outright, though it can be deduced from various sources.
Davidson comments that "no doubt the identity of the nine varied from time to time as the emphasis changed or new imagery arrived".
Davidson opines that "those who have tried to produce a convincing diagram of the Scandinavian cosmos from what we are told in the sources have only added to the confusion".
Davidson notes parallels between Yggdrasil and shamanic lore in northern Eurasia:. The conception of the tree rising through a number of worlds is found in northern Eurasia and forms part of the shamanic lore shared by many peoples of this region.
This seems to be a very ancient conception, perhaps based on the Pole Star , the centre of the heavens, and the image of the central tree in Scandinavia may have been influenced by it Among Siberian shamans, a central tree may be used as a ladder to ascend the heavens.
Davidson says that the notion of an eagle atop a tree and the world serpent coiled around the roots of the tree has parallels in other cosmologies from Asia.
She goes on to say that Norse cosmology may have been influenced by these Asiatic cosmologies from a northern location.