Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wikipedia.
Enlarge picture
Yggdrasil, 1824. Courtesy Fortean Picture Library.


(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

In Scandinavian mythology, Yggdrasil or Igdrasil, is the world tree, an evergreen that overshadows the whole world. The name may come from Yggr, which was one of the many names by which Odin was known. Yggdrasil is the guardian tree of the gods. Heaven and hell are bound together by its roots and branches, and the gods meet daily beneath its branches to sit in judgement. It is said to actually link together nine worlds, including those of the giants, the gods, and the dead.

Yggdrasil is fed by three main roots: one in Asgard which is watered daily from Urd's fountain by the three Norns who decide the destiny of men; one in Niflheim, watered by the spring Hvergelmir; and one in Midgard which is watered by the underworld giant, Mimir's well of knowledge. Odin's spear, Gungnir, was made from a branch of the tree.

Odin was the god of death and battle. He was the Wodan of the Germans and the Woden of the Anglo-Saxons. He was believed to welcome into his halls those warriors who died a heroic death on the battlefield. Mythology says that Odin hung from the World Tree for nine days and nights while pierced with a spear. He fasted as he hung there as a sacrifice. Afterwards he was able to bend down and lift up the magical runes which brought secret knowledge to men.

Vithofnir, a golden rooster, sits on top of the tree, and an eagle sits on the highest branch with a falcon perched on its head. That branch shades Valhalla. The eagle and the falcon report all that they see to the gods who meet below. Gnawing at the roots of the tree is the serpent, Nidhoggr, the World Serpent. A squirrel named Ratatosk runs back and forth between the serpent and the eagle, trying to stir up discord between the two.

Four stags, Dain, Duneyr, Durathor, and Dvalin, feed on the upper twigs of the tree while their antlers drop dew on the world below. Odin's goat, Heidrun, the supplier of milk for the heavenly mead, browses on the tree branch known as Lerad.

References in periodicals archive ?
Looming large over his interpretations and binding them together is the image of Yggdrasil as protector at the world's end, the refuge in which Lif and Lifthrasir hide in the great tree, only to emerge as the first man and woman in the new world after Ragnarok.
On the parallels between Odin and Yggdrasil and Jesus Christ
Because of the high level of technology risk inherent in building the first DVD9, Yggdrasil chose to begin with a very simple product.
Other sources explain that Yggdrasil is the sacred ash of Norse mythology with roots anchored in the underworld, "watered by steams of wisdom and destiny.
The Christian language of salvation in the north seems to have been aware of the Germanic story of ultimate salvation, one not based on a story tradition of the protective power of law and authority, but based on a story tradition long known and familiar in Norse and Germanic society: that the protection and salvation of the last boy and girl, Lif and Lifthrasir, at the end of time was accomplished by the Tree of Universal Life, Yggdrasil, by hiding and protecting them throughout the calamity and by feeding them with the tree's dew.
The Sea of Trolls confirms the existence of Yggdrasil, Mimir's Well, Norns, trolls and their enchanted realm Jotunheim.
There are resonances here of the Tree of Life of Judeo-Christian tradition and the world-tree of Norse myth, Yggdrasil.
VIDAR Systems Corporation, a privately held technology company owned by Yggdrasil (Lund, Sweden), is the leading manufacturer of large format x-ray film digitizers and advanced software solutions for medical markets.
Yggdrasil Institute's Eastern Old-Growth Clearing-house has released an updated edition of Old-Growth in the East: A Survey by Mary Byrd Davis.
VIDAR Systems Corporation, a privately held technology company owned by Yggdrasil (Malmo, Sweden), is the leading manufacturer of x-ray film digitizers for medical markets.
org Yggdrasil Institute Mary Byrd Davis PO Box 131 Georgetown, KY 40324 (502) 868-9074 marybdavis@earthlink.
In 1994, Mary Byrd Davis founded Yggdrasil Institute to consolidate, continue, and expand her work centering on nuclear issues.