Tenker på Yggdrasill

I’ve been completely geeking out on Vincent Ongkowidjojo’s runes book again, and the further into the book, the more deeply esoteric he gets about ways to access, utilize, interpret and learn about the deep mysteries of these symbols. I’m serendipitously at the part where he is talking about integration of aspects of the soul, the masculine and feminine, the results (offspring) of these unions, and the ways in which the myths and runes can help a person on these journeys. He breaks the ætts down into different journeys; the Path of Evolution/the stage of theory (Frey/ja’s ætt), the Path of Discipleship/the stage of practice (Hagal’s ætt), and the Path of Initiation/the stage of spiritual (Tyr’s ætt). He presents each ætt with different ways to interpret each rune and each ætt as its own journey: psychologically, esoterically, mundanely, spiritually. I don’t agree with all of his assignments, but I definitely appreciate his stance and I feel there are no “wrong” ways to utilize or conceptualize these mysteries, only the ways that work best for ourselves. For instance, he assigns Frey/ja’s ætt to the feminine and Hagal’s ætt to the masculine, and from my perspective these energies are reversed: the first ætt is all about the physical realm, the fertility of earth, (and remember: men provide and fertilize the seed, women receive and grow the seed), and material concerns. Hagal’s ætt, which Vincent says is sometimes attributed to Hel, Heindall or Óðinn, is all about delving into the darkness, exploring the storms and suffering within, the painful and hidden metamorphosis that often occurs in the sphere of the feminine (easily likened to menses, childbirth, death, etc.)

As I was reading through it yesterday, I started trying to draw a picture of the worlds and their relationship to each other as he describes them. I have a theory that the numerological significance in Scandinavian fairy tales are, or could be interpreted as, a reflection of the mysteries of the divisions of the cosmos in the Norse myths, and also different levels of spiritual or soul evolution. When I read the tales (what few I’ve read), little fingers of ideas creep into my mind about the process: usually there is a setting out of the hero/heroine in the known sphere of their home, then they leave the safety of that protected, understood place and travel into darkness, mystery and travel, finally they get to the end of all of these challenges and have become wise and united with their opposing aspect. This would be representative of Tyr’s ætt, and with the uniting and blending of forces within the individual. I will try to write out my thoughts about the worlds in relation to these forces:

The first three divisions of the cosmos (before the reaction called the Big Bang):

Niflheim: NORTH, a “world” of mist and ice, “Ring Chaos”, a place of contraction, thought/memory, concrete form.
Hvergelmir lies here, from which 12 rivers (Elivagar) emanate, Nidhogg resides here
Ginnunga Gap: The Gaping Void, “Ring Pass Not”, nothingness, absolute potential, a place of convergence
Muspelheim: SOUTH, a “world” of fire, “Ring Cosmos”, a place of expansion, intention, the monad or spiritual spark or “sun” in every being, Surtr resides here (interesting to note that the spark of divine flame thought to be the soul of the individual is sometimes called (and seen as) “the black sun” that makes me think of Surtr)

From these three “worlds”, 12 currents of energy emanated, that Vincent likens to the Æsir. The movement (or waves) of these 12 powers creates a segmentation that divides Ginnunga Gap into 7 planes:

Helheim: 9 worlds exist within this realm, deathly/transformational/oblivion realms that correspond to each “world” of life/existence/form, a place to be unmade, recycled, “the cosmic soup” of souls and DNA

Svartalfheim: the dark realm, dark elves, dead souls, the ancestors, the place where the dwarves who are said to be gods, but smaller, mine and “turn” the earth from deep within, which I likened to be a symbol of the metamorphosis of the dead as they recede into the earth and transform

Jötunheim: EAST, Ymir, giants, primal energies, space junk that bombards earth, the “demons” that humans fight to master within themselves, the reptilian brain, accessed near the base of the skull and the place easiest to contact or “let in” the ancestors, the dark gateway or precipice that could also correspond to the throat chakra

Midgard/Ljodheim: Middle Earth, human home, earth, the mortal realm, experience in diminished yet solid forms and manifestation

Åsgard/Åsaheim: the Æsir reside here, the race of war gods, forces in conflict or chaos, the propensity of a state of chaos

Vanaheim: the Vanir reside here, the race of farming and fertility gods, forces in peace or stasis, diligent labor, cultivation

Alfheim/Ljosalfheim: ABOVE AND SOUTH of ASGARD, the light elves, the realm of the higher beings, ascended souls/consciousness, angels, Solar Angels, immortality

Utgard (Niflheim/Helheim/Svartalfheim)
Midgard (Jötunheim/Midgard)
Åsgard (Åsaheim/Vanheim/Alfheim/Muspelheim)
Since Ginnunga Gap is considered a void and not a “world”, this is not represented as one of the 9 realms. So there are two left outside of the segmentations, giving the seven listed above. It seems that often in myths and tales they refer to things in the quantity of hundreds; heads, eyes, halls, whathaveyou. Maybe these numerological amounts or energies represented by the combination of these are given specifically to correlate to the worlds or the attributes within all worlds as part of the whole world tree, the living cosmos. The whole 700 years thing in the tales…referring to the 7 realms of existence, perhaps. 100 years…maybe one particular realm dealing with the ancestral realm? Or to Heimdallr being the Great World, referring to the idea of the whole of the cosmos? Just something I have been pondering. As usual, I am over-analyzing everything 🙂

Numerology is a curious study, and I have only studied a teensy bit of it so I can claim no real knowledge in the matter, but I do find it interesting. Astrology has always intrigued me, also, but I have never quite gotten the hang of it. When I started to study it in earnest some years ago and came to the part where the whole thing becomes seriously mathematical, that’s when I had to drop it. My mind finds math to be mind-bending in a not-so-fun way. It is interesting, though, when you really dig into astrology, and especially if you are looking into Hindu astrology, how interesting it becomes. I have heard tell of some people who have to stop the study because the map of fate it creates is just too creepy and that thought doesn’t sit well with people for whom the concept of fate and free will is lightly understood or contemplated.


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