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Yggdrasil
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Yggdrasil

In Norse Mythology, Yggdrasil was the "World Tree," a gigantic tree (often suggested to be an ash, an interpretation generally accepted in the modern Scandinavian mind), thought to hold all of the different worlds: such as Asgard, Midgard, Utgard and Hel. The name literally means the 'horse of Yggr', i.e. the horse of Odin, since Yggr (meaning Dreadful) is one of Odin's many names.

Three roots supported the trunk, with one passing through Asgard, one through Midgard and one through Hel. Beneath the Asgard root lay the sacred Well of Urd, and there dwelt the three Nornor, over whom even the gods had no power, and who, every day, watered the tree from the primeval fountain, so that its boughs remained green; and beneath the Midgard root lay the spring or well of Mimir.

The messenger in the tree (and thus between the worlds) was the squirrel, Ratatosk. In the top of the tree was perched a giant eagle (with a hawk upon its forehead) who blew the winds over the worlds with his mighty wings. The Niflheim roots of Yggdrasil were gnawed at by a dragon, Nidhogg. Heidrun, a goat, lived on top of Yggdrasil and ate its leaves. Four stags fed on the bark of Yggdrasil, including Dvalin.

Irminsul was an oak venerated by the pagan saxons and which was said to connect heaven and earth. The Old Norse form of Irmin was Jörmun and interestingly, just like Ygg, it was one of Odin's names. It appears, then, that Irminsul may have been a material anchor for Yggdrasil among the pagan Saxons.

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