Yggdrasil or the Tree of Life in Norse mythology was the symbol of the interconnectedness of the whole things in cosmos. This oak tree held nine realms, which were Asgard, Midgard, Vanaheim, Alfheim, Nidavellir, Jotunheim, Niflheim, Muspelheim, and Hel, within its branches and roots. Nine worlds in Norse myth were the homelands of many different and mysterious beings.
Among nine realms, only Midgard the home of humanity was the visible world to the normal eyes. This blog post will offer the overview of the five Worlds in Norse myth: Asgard, Midgard Vanaheim, Alfheim, and Nidavellir.
Asgard – the land of Aesir Gods
Midgard – the land of humans
Vanaheim – the land of Vanir Gods
There were two main tribes of gods in Norse mythology – the Aesir and the Vanir. While the Aesir gods dwelled in Asgard, the Vanir gods lived in the land of Vanaheim. The Vanir gods were the ancient gods of fertility and their chief gods were twin deities, god Freyr and Freya. Furthermore, they were also able to predict the future.
There was no surviving material that presented the exact position of this homeland of the Vanir gods. But in one of the poems in Poetic Edda, it stated that Vanir god Njord went eastward to travel to Asgard as a symbol of the peace treaty after the clash of the two god tribes. Vanaheim, thereby, was presumed to lie somewhere to the west of Asgard.
Alfheim – the land of Elves
Alfheim was the homeland of the Elves. In some illustrations, Alfheim was located right next to Asgard up in the heaven or in the top branches of Yggdrasil. People said Freyr presided over Alfheim and the elves were their minor deities of fertility and nature.
The elves were one of the most beautiful and shining beings in the cosmos. They possessed some certain abilities and magical powers.
They might cause human disasters and diseases but they also helped human to heal and fertilize. Sometimes, elves and humans gave birth to the demi-human, demi-elf children who looked like the human but possessed some power like elves.
Nidavellir – the land of Dwarves
Another place of the Nine Worlds in Norse myth was the Nidavellir. The Norse dwarves lived in the land of Nidavellir, also called Svartalfheim. The word “Nidavellir” meant “Low Fields” or “Dark Fields”. Nidavellir located underground deep in the roots of Yggdrasil. The dwarves, or actually the black and dark elves, lived there under rocks and in caves. The dwarves were famous for their outstanding craft skills. They were the producers of some treasures like Thor’s hammer the Mjolnir, Gleipner the chain binding Wolf Fenrir, and Gungnir Odin’s spear to name but a few.
The king of Nidavellir land was Hreiðmarr. This dwarf king was in possession of a glittering house made of gold and gems. However, under a curse, there was a royal family conflict over the Hreiðmarr’s treasure, leading to the death of this dwarf king and the onslaught among his children.
To discover four Norse realms left, view The Nine Worlds of the cosmos (Part 2) here