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The Norse World Tree of Nine Worlds, Yggdrasil

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The Norse World Tree of Nine Worlds, Yggdrasil

The Upper Worlds

Asgard - The realm of the ruling gods, the Aesir. Gods such as Odin, Thor, and Balder belong to this tribe. In our soul cosmology, the first world represents our god consciousness, the higher self.

Alfheim - The realm of the light elves. Though not the Aesir, they are Upper World spirits of enlightenment and awareness. Some think of this realm as a world of the semi divine, of demigods and enlightened ancestor spirits who live with the elves. In our personal inner tree, Alfheim is our intellect and awareness.

The Middle Worlds

Midgard - The realm of mortals. Humanity is found in the center of the tree. Some gods are more concerned with the realm of the mortals than others. In our inner anatomy, Midgard is the middle self and the body. Here we find our day-to-day consciousness.

Niflheim - The realm of ice energy, one of the primal forces in the Norse cosmology. Ice is the power of stasis and solidity. Many would equate it with the earth elemental principle.

Jotunheim - The realm of the giants. Mythically the giants are in battle with the gods. They represent the forces of motion and change within all things. This force could be equated with the air elemental principle.

Muspellsheim - The home of the other primal polarity - fire. Paired with ice, the two forces provide the dynamic motion of Norse myth and magick. Muspellsheim has obvious associations with the elemental quality of fire.

Vanaheim - The realm of the Vanir, a tribe of gods more attuned to earthly concerns than with heavenly ones. In a war with the Aesir, the Vanir were defeated. As part of the truce, the tribes exchanged gods. The Vanir gave the Aesir custody of Freya and Frey, the two primal gods sometimes seen as embodiments of the Lady and Lord. The realm of Vanaheim is one of natural balance. Vanaheim is sometimes connected with the forces of elemental water by modern pagan practitioners.

The Underworlds

Svartalfheim - The mirror image of Alfheim, being home to the dark elves, the dwarves, and the spirits of nature that dwell below. They are considered mischievous and sometimes even malicious. Svartalfheim, in our inner world, is the realm of emotion.

Hel - The lowest of the worlds. Hel is the realm of the Underworld, the realm of the dead ruled by the goddess Hel. This is simply the realm of the dead, not of punishment or torture. In our inner tree, Hel is the unconscious realm. When you become more aware of the lower energies of Svartalfheim and Hel, you are in contact with your lower self.
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