Norse Mythology – How Odin created the world.

In most if not all (I haven’t studied all of them) religions/myths there is a world origin story. Now many of them are fairly silly… Norse Mythology is one of those silly origin stories. To be clear, I am a pagan but like most spiritual people I do not follow literally the doctrine of a religion per se more so the intent of the prose. Simply put, it’s been my experience that most practioners of faith seek the message rather than the literal. We often get caught up in historic nuances as many religions were taught literally.

This is mainly due to the masses being illiterate and a literal rendition of a concept was the simplest way to convey the message. Once the masses began to have available to them books and literacy we enter the period of enlightenment (in the west anyway) where individuals were able to discern the meaning rather than take literally the text. Here we are in 2022 and many of the old religions don’t translate well. I had a wise old man once say to me “Today’s religion is tomorrows myth” and what he meant was, faith evolves.

Thousands of years ago your ancestors were likely worshiping idols of gold or statues of some kind. They were wishing for and hoping for the same thing as you are now but the times dictated a different means to the same end. Faith is a wonderful ideal and if you can get there, regardless of the path I tip my hat to you. So what about the Norse mythos of how the world was created?

In the beginning there was Muspell.

The Vikings saw the world as created by Odin differently. When they looked up at the sky, they believed that it was the skull of Ymir (a god Odin killed) and the world they lived on must be his dead body, mutilated and stuffed into his skull. If that’s the case, then the oceans must be his blood, the mountains his bone, and the clouds his brains.

We find the tale of Ymir in many Edda’s and there are some rune stones that depict this episode. The leap of detail though (the body parts making up the physical world) is a creation of the story tellers at the time. They had no other way to discern how all these things got here. How do you explain why a mountain is where it is in 650 AD? You attribute it to the gods. “Why there though?” someone asks and your best guess is after killing the prior good Ymir they cast his body aside and it formed the world.

I mean do you believe the clouds are an old giants brains? I suppose it’s possible but we now know through science how water, dust sun light etc. plays roles in the formation of weather on the planet.

The point here was to illustrate to you faith is a hard thing to discuss because we often decide (rightly or wrongly) that our faiths are the word of god(s) and its absolute. We examine a little closer, with knowledge, and see that many of the stories we hold dear are part of our religions are in fact creative acts of fantasy. The overall message? God created the planet. That’s what the Norse pagans believed and many of us practicing today believe. Very similar to other religions, do we think it’s because he defeated the great giant Ymir and used his body parts? No, however we do concede its possible….

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