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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 ?
On the parallels between Odin and Yggdrasil and Jesus Christ
Yggdrasil is set in two realms: the real world, in which Koki is a typical high school student; and Yggdrasil, where he has two avatars.
8) Elements of Old Norse cosmology make up its iconographic field: The world tree Yggdrasil forms the centre of the tapestry.
40) The Yggdrasil Linux distribution system was developed by Andy Richter of Yggdrasil Computing and was last released in 1995.
The heavens would wobble as Yggdrasil, the world-axis ash tree, shuddered.
Puntualicemos aqui que las runas (el alfabeto) surgieron luego de la meditacion de Odin sobre las ramas de Yggdrasil, la cual demoro nueve dias.
Vaiven enunciativo de personajes y lugares colocados en lo enigmatico pero con la connivencia de lo que es habito en el espacio ensonado de la escritura, en la entrelinea difusa del signo oculto: el Gran Mar, el Rio Misterioso, el Valhalla, el Ulster, el Ansard (a quienes los mortales llaman Troya, enuncia Borges [Las Kenningar]), la Ciudad bajo el agua, la Ciudad Liquida, entidades de la literatura que transitan enmarcados por lo subrreal pero como acto cotidiano: Tristan, (6) el Propagador de Poemas, la prodigalidad de simbolos que entreverados nos aguijonean con su secreto en el espacio enjaulado del personaje: la rosa en la rosa oculta, el ruisenor en el jardin, la soledad en el valhalla, la cierva, el oso, (7) el unicornio, el fresno Yggdrasil.
In the Norse poem Havamal, the High Song of Odin, the god recounts how he acquired knowledge of the runes while hanging upside down from Yggdrasil, the world tree:
Yggdrasil, the Rockefeller Center tree, you adore the
Nature offers not only solidity but also connection with larger forces, like the tree Yggdrasil (211).
It more likely also recalls Yggdrasil, one of the principal avatars of the arbor mundi of the pagan Germanic tribes.
The value of every product we have ever shipped is convenience," said Adam Richter, president of Yggdrasil Computing.