Among the many myths and legends I have learned about, the Norse creation myth is the most bold and exciting origin story I have ever come across. The ancient Norse believed in a realm larger than the cosmos scientists imagine today.
Muspelheim, the land of fire, was above and below Niflheim, the land of ice. These were the contrasting realms of the extrema that the Norse experienced. Out of the ice melted from the clash between the two realms spawned the first being in existence, the frost giant named Ymir. Ymir was a powerful being capable of reproducing other giants asexually. He was so big that he could shake other dimensions.
Later, a giant cow named Audhumbla spawned from the ice and fed Ymir from udders of eternally flowing milk. The ice slowly melted as Ymir drank the milk from Audhumbla, and Audhumbla fed from the salt licks in the ice. I find it comforting that even in interplanar existence, milkshakes and a nice steak can be found.
As more ice melted, Buri, the first of the Aesir tribe of gods, came into existence. Ymir’s and Buri’s children bore half-giant-half-gods Odin, Vili and Ve. The three brothers took it upon themselves to slay their grandfather Ymir. Ymir’s carcass was thrown down a huge crevice, but so much blood flowed out from his veins that it drowned all the giants but two of them. Even in death, Ymir was a cosmological disaster from sheer size alone. Then the trio created the cosmos with their combined strengths.
Ymir’s flesh was used to build the Earth and create space dwarves to hold it up. His blood became the ocean, his bones became the hills, his hair became the trees, and his skull comprised the heavens. Ymir’s brains turned into the clouds, and inside the cranium space is some sort of environmental control apparatus for manipulating weather and other environmental conditions. I imagine a skull flying around in low orbit with creatures fine-tuning the earth’s environments. According to the Norse, the first humans named Ask and Embla were made from tree trunks. Their home was fenced off as a realm called Midgard to keep the giants away.
The universe is held together by a giant tree named Yggdrasil that connects nine different realms of the multiverse where different races resided. It spreads its roots among three wells that go to foreign unknown lands. On the top of the tree lies Asgard, the home of the gods, connected to a rainbow bridge capable of reaching the other realms. Within Asgard, Odin rules among the Aesir tribe while they watch over neighboring territories. Faithful Nords who died in combat are sent to Valhalla within Asgard to eat and fight in preparation for Ragnarok, a battle of colossal proportions.
The ancient Norse knew that the weather was controlled remotely by a flying head. They knew that at the end of a rainbow was no gold, but only battle-hardened Aesirs ready to challenge rival gods, dwarves, elves, giants and anyone standing in their way. With these values in mind, the ancient Scandanavians explored Coastal Europe and even North America in longboats hoping to find more answers.