Norse Mythology

Norse Cosmology

Norse cosmology focuses on how the Norse people perceived the cosmos and their place in it. It includes their creation myths, the nine realms of the universe, and their perception of the inevitable end of both humanity and the gods in the form of Ragnarok.

Norse Cosmology Hero

List of Norse Cosmological Concepts

  • Yggdrasil

    The mighty ash tree that held up the Nine Realms in Norse mythology

    Yggdrasil was the mythical ash tree that supported the Nine Realms of Norse mythology, giving structure to the cosmos. It was the source of ultimate wisdom, where the god Odin sacrificed mightily to gain knowledge and power.

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  • Nine Realms

    The nine Norse worlds that rested on Yggdrasil, the world tree

    The Nine Realms, or worlds, were the geographical building blocks of Norse cosmology. Each realm was located on Yggdrasil, the world tree, and only the most intrepid gods and mortals could travel between them.

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  • Valhalla

    “Hall of the Slain,” home of the Norse gods and resting place of fallen warriors.

    Valhalla was the magnificent home of the gods, where those warriors claimed by the Valkyries were brought to drink, feast, and fight in the afterlife. When Ragnarök came, those warriors would do battle against the jötnar.

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  • Ginnungagap

    The “Yawning Void” existing between the elemental Norse realms of fire and ice.

    Ginnungagap, in Norse cosmology, was the empty space that existed between the fires of Muspelheim and the ice of Niflheim. The gods used the body of the tyrannical giant Ymir to create new realms within the massive void.

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  • Hlidskjalf

    Odin’s majestic throne, offering a complete view of the nine Norse Realms

    Hlidskjalf was the magical throne of the Norse god Odin, offering its occupant a vantage into every part of the Nine Realms. Often joined there by his wife Frigg, they could see whatever they wished from this lofty pinnacle.

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  • Bifrost

    The shimmering rainbow bridge connecting the Norse realms of Asgard and Midgard.

    Bifrost was the shimmering rainbow bridge that connected the Norse realms Asgard and Midgard. Guarded by the god Heimdall, whose eyes never closed, it was fated to fall after the jötnar’s invasion during Ragnarok.

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  • Fólkvangr

    Norse goddess Freya’s domain, where half of all who died in battle spent the afterlife.

    Folkvangr, domain of the Norse goddess Freya, was a meadow where half of all who died in battle spent the afterlife. She dwelled in Sessrumnir, a hall built in the shape of a ship, mimicking actual Norse burial customs.

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The Nine Realms

  • Alfheim

    One of the Nine Norse Realms, and the home of both light and dark elves

    Alfheim was one of Norse mythology’s Nine Realms, home to light and dark elves and overseen by the god Freyr. Its few mentions describe it as glorious, with inhabitants both fair as the sun and dark as pitch.

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  • Asgard

    One of the Nine Realms of Norse mythology, home of the Aesir gods

    Asgard was one of the Nine Realms of Norse mythology, home of the mighty Aesir gods and resting place of humans who died in battle. It was connected to Midgard, where humanity dwelled, by a rainbow bridge called Bifrost.

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  • Hel (Realm)

    The Norse underworld, ruled by the indifferent goddess of the same name.

    Hel was the lowest of the Nine Realms in Norse mythology, resting place of the vast majority of the dead. Ruled by the cold and uncaring goddess Hel, when Ragnarök came, she would unleash the dead upon the living.

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  • Jotunheim

    One of the Nine Norse Realms, home of the wild and chaotic jötunn

    Jotunheim was the Norse realm where the jötnar, non-human and non-divine creatures like giants and trolls, lived. It was a place of lawlessness and destruction, and the chaotic jötnar and order-loving gods fought constantly.

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  • Midgard

    The “middle enclosure” of the Nine Norse Realms, home of humanity

    Midgard was the middle of Norse mythology’s Nine Realms, and the home of humankind. The halfway point between the chaos of Jotunheim and the order of Asgard, it was a common battleground for gods and monsters.

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  • Muspelheim

    One of the Nine Norse Realms, whose fires helped create the world

    Muspelheim was the Norse realm of fire and heat, whose elemental blaze melted the ice of Niflheim and created Ymir, the first giant. It would play a role in Ragnarök as well, consuming all creation in its flames.

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  • Nidavellir

    One of Norse mythology’s most mysterious realms, home of the dwarves.

    Nidavellir was one of the Nine Realms and home to the greatest craftsmen in Norse mythology. Consisting of underground mines and workshops, the dwarves living there forged magnificent creations for the gods.

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  • Niflheim

    One of the Nine Norse Realms, home of elemental ice, cold, and mist

    Niflheim was the Norse realm of ice and cold that, along with fiery Muspelheim, created the giant Ymir, whose body became the world. It also housed Buri, ancestor of the gods, and Audumla, the sacred cow.

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  • Vanaheim

    One of the Nine Realms in Norse mythology, home of the Vanir gods

    Vanaheim was the homeworld of the Vanir gods of Norse mythology, whose deities were more known for their magic than their might. It was particularly notable as the home of Njord, patriarch of the Vanir pantheon.

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