YGGDRASIL. IT IS COMPLETE.
This Painting. Took. So. Long.
So a while ago I had this really great idea to do a painting 4x larger and 1000x more detailed than any other painting I’ve ever done. Word of advice, If you’re gonna do a big thing, make sure there’s time for a big thing.
This painting is so big I had to break it into four pieces to be able to view it properly. I humbly request that you PLEASE FULL VIEW! Thank you.
For those of you who aren’t up on your Norse myths, I’ve made a list of some basic things to help you understand what the hell is going on in this picture. Keep in mind that my information is taken from multiple sources over a period of a few years and may not be 100% accurate, but I tried my best.
RIGHTO KIDS LET’S GET OUR LEARN ON
The first thing you should know is this is Yggdrasil, the tree of life. It connects the nine realms and shelters and protects all life. This giant ass ash tree is so big that it reaches all the way up to the heavens and all the way down into Niflheim. Yggdrasil is supported by three massive roots that each have a well at their base; The well of Urd, Mimir’s Well and Hvergelmir.
The well of Urd (fate) is located in Midgard. The three Norn goddesses sit by this well and weave the threads of fate. Water is also taken from this well and poured over the roots of Yggdrasil to nourish the tree.
Mimir’s well is found in Jotunheim. Named for the slain Vanir Mimir, who was said to be the wisest being of the nine realms. Mimir’s severed head guards the well and gives advice to those who seek it.
Hvergelmir, found in Niflheim is the oldest of all the wells. It is said that all cold rivers originate at Hvergelmir.
In most descriptions of the layout of Yggdrasil and surrounds, the world is usually split into three layers.
Top tier realms
Asgard- Home of the Aesir gods. Thor, Loki, Odin, Heimdall; they all live here.
Vanaheim- Home of the Vanir gods. The Vanir are similar to the Aesir, but are more associated with nature.
Alfheim- Home of the light elves.
Mid tier realms
Midgard- This is where we live! The realm inhabited by humans.
Jotunheim- Home of the giants. Jotunheim is described as having mountain peaks so high that winter never eases.
Svartalfheim- Home of the dark elves.
Nidavellir- Underground Home of the Dwarves.
Lower tier realms
Niflheim- The land of the dead/mist. Hel, Loki’s half dead daughter lives here and reigns over the dead, specifically those who did not die a noble death.
Muspellheim- The land of fire. Here Surtur sits on his throne awaiting Ragnarok.
It should be noted that the space between Niflheim and Muspellheim where the steam rises is where creation began.
The animals and creatures of Yggdrasil
Yggdrasil is literally being eaten alive by a bunch of creatures.
Starting from the bottom:
Nidhogg- A giant serpent/dragon that chews on the roots of Yggdrasil.
Ratatosk- A squirrel that runs up and down the trunk acting as a messenger, carrying insults and stories from Nidhogg and the unnamed Eagle at the top of the tree.
The Stags- Four stags strip the leaves from the tree. They are named Duraþrór , Duneyrr, Dvalinn, and Dainn. Tolkein fans will note the similarity between Norse characters and characters of Middle Earth.
Eagle and Vedfolnir- In the highest branches of Yggdrasil, an unnamed eagle perches. Between its eyes, a hawk named Vedfolnir sits.
Other lifeforms and cool things
Jormungandr- Also known as the Midgard serpent. Jormungandr is one of Lokis demon children. Jormungandr was cast into the ocean when he was small and grew to such an immense size that he encircled the whole of Midgard and devoured his own tail.
Bifrost- A rainbow bridge connecting Asgard to Midgard. At Ragnarok, the Bridge will be destroyed.
Lif and Lifthrasir- A pair of humans that hide inside Yggdrasil during Ragnarok. When the battle is over, Lif and Lifthrasir will emerge and repopulate the earth.
Dagr and Nott- Day and night personified.
Skinfaxi and Hrimfaxi- The horses of Dagr and Nott.
Ragnarok- I’ve mentioned this a few times, I should probably explain what it is. Ragnarok is the end of the world. Basically a whole bunch of stuff happens, everyone fights everyone, the world sinks into the ocean, wolves will eat the sun and moon, stars will disappear. Generally not a good time to be had by all. Everyone dies, except for Lif and Lifthrasir.
So, there you have it! A basic rundown of Yggdrasil and Norse Cosmology. Again, I can’t guarantee that all the information I gave is accurate, Norse mythology is notorious for not having solid source material. Hope somebody found this helpful :)
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