Creation Myths of Scandinavia

Odin is the oldest of the gods, and the most powerful. Known as the All-Father, he created the heavens and the earth, and has dominion over all things. He made the first man, and gave him a soul. Yet this most-powerful being was not the very first.

In the beginning was a great void, known as Ginnungagap. Over time, a land of mist and ice was formed in the North, and was called Niflheim. In the South, a land of fire, Muspellsheim, was formed.

Yggdrasil, the Great Ash Tree, extended through all realms of time and space. This mighty tree was under attack from the evil serpent Nidhogg. Under a root lay the fountain of Mimir, source of all hidden wisdom.

Fire and ice met as Niflheim and Muspellsheim met. From this meeting came the frost-giant Ymir. A race of Giants sprang up from beads of Ymir’s sweat, and a massive cow was brought forth to feed them all.

Audhumla, the cow, licked the ice, and from the ice, Buri emerged. In time, Buri begot Bur, who had three sons – Odin, Vili, and Ve. This was a new race of gods who banded together against the Giants, killing Ymir.

Ymir’s blood flowed freely, drowning the other Giants and creating a great sea. The gods used Ymir’s body to create solid land; the heavens were made of his skull. Maggots fed upon his flesh, and were turned into a race of dwarves. Odin then fashioned the first man from the ash tree, and used a vine to create the first woman.