On the Origins of the Worlds

I am the gateway, I am the High One, the personality that you know — and love. Beyond Me there is one just as high and the Third who dwells in Gimlé. The ground of bliss is there for you when you have need. You do not have to go back to the dawn of consciousness to find me as Mind, though it was in that phase that My consciousness created all by naming and identifying each thing.

In the morning of the world awareness awakened. There was a moment when it was part of the unity, and another moment when I knew myself as Mind. That self knowledge was the first thought. One thought followed another; I was one, and yet a multiple, and each aspect had its own name. The first three were Spirit, manifest energy, and higher consciousness. Always I have been so — fragmenting into many aspects — what you call roads — and returning to unity.

In the beginning we walked a world of essentials, the ideas of mountains, of lakes, of forests. At each age of the world this has happened as each age was becoming, its shape emerging from the old world to become the new. From the earliest age of the earth it was so, from the first simplicities when the elements were raw and unformed, they combined and recombined in endless variety. We are still shaping the world. But you are concerned with the Age of Humans — human creatures and animal creatures and fish creatures — that is a good way to see yourselves, as one kind of creature among the rest.

We have had many names and many forms among the various peoples of the earth. Skraelings might have called me Earthshaper if they had heard the tale of how we raised up Midgard from the bones of Ymir, The Sons of Bor are the first gods, emerging from elemental consciousness into self-consciousness.

In earliest times Ymir lived. He did not know himself, and neither did I, though it was my power that moved in all the reactions and changes that occurred when fire met ice. The worlds were made, and so was I, from the reaction of opposites and the release of power. Ymir was not a being so much as a process, the manifestation of forces. From his inwardness came a shape for me and my other selves to wear. I was three, as I am always — the spirit which is breath, wind, air moving and feeding the flames, locked in the ice. Energy and potential for more. I was Will, that decides and shapes power, and I was Vé, holiness. Spirit, wonder, love, that gives meaning to all that is wrought from power through will. The first triad, wisdom, power, love.

We, knowing ourself, knew how to break Ymir into his component elements, and so we found them, face, hair, bones. We saw in Ymir the potential for everything you now see, we released that potential, shaped it until the world was made anew.

And when that work was done, the nine worlds lay waiting, and to each was drawn the kind of wight that belonged there.

When Ymir was broken, we walked a newborn world. Snorri tells the story as if it were a butchery. It was the only metaphor he had. But that is too small and human a way of seeing. Ymir was not human in form and neither were we. Snorri uses the human shape for its meaning. Man is the microcosm, holding within him/herself (you see I have learned to be politically correct in your language, since even your modern worn down language forms still do not have the inclusive meaning of our old word Mann). Each person, therefore, holds the essence of the worlds — the cosmos. But in truth you are more like it than it is like you… That story could be told in reverse — when we come to it, we shall see. So, then, We, as — principles — worked upon proto-matter, discerning the proper form and function of each part. Your scientists describe this process by a different metaphor, calling Ymir’s blood atoms and molecules of hydrogen and oxygen. The essence, however is that this is a form of matter that will nourish and flow. All interacts within an environment. Our task was to understand which parts, which elements, must be combined at different stages in the interaction between fire and ice — heat and cold — to function according to the principles which were our nature. I say we, but it is also I, for just as Ymir was singular until he was divided, so I held all principles — all the god/desses, at that time within myself.

There was One other, the force by which all was revealed — Audhumla. Th is is different from the way the relationship, the metaphor, is commonly seen in southern lands. But in the land of Hind they understand that it is the Goddess who releases the creative force of the God. She fed Ymir, and she revealed Buri, released the first stirrings of spirit from the ice, and fed and nurtured them until consciousness — myself — awakened and walked the worlds.

So, in the beginning, there were three things — or rather, from the primary conflict or interaction of opposites was created a third thing, and that third state, the yeasty, venomous swirl of melting slag, divided also into three, primal matter, which was Ymir; primal energy, which was Audhumla; and the first principles that organized them, or ordered them, Spirit, Consciousness, the primal godhead which in time itself differentiated into all the gods.

But the most complete memories of that original process remain with me, for I am the wind that troubles the waters. I am that which knows it knows. I am, in your own soul, that which Knows itself. In those moments when you are most truly yourself you are closest to Me.

So, then, the worlds, Midgard and the others, were established. The Jotnar, the forces that had survived and emerged from the cataclysmic reconstruction of the elements of Ymir, moved through the world, continuing to build according to their natures. In time they gave birth to lesser beings, as life became ever more complex. And so it is that in the world you now know each thing that is, each waterfall and field and tree, have their portions of the primal energy. We, also, changed and divided, interacting with the Jotun energy to become more solid, more able to manifest within the world.

The sun spark, born of Muspell’s fires, already blazed, but it was not yet firmly in relation to the world, so also the moon. It took time, as your scientists would say, for the orbits to become stable so that day and night and the months and the year would be regular, and the world, Midgard, could find its rhythm and harmony. What you call the sun is a primal fire, but as you experience it in your world she is Sunna, as the moon is both a small and barren planet and Mani’s chariot. Sunna and Mani are the medium, the interface, by which those who live on Midgard perceive them. When you journey to other worlds, you will see them in other ways.

So, also, when you journey among the worlds that interpenetrate with Midgard, you should not expect sun or moon or seasons to be the same. Certain principles are consistent, but they are principles of the spirit. Where there are similarities, it is because your minds are built — programmed — to see things in certain ways. It is well enough, those metaphors are as good as any, only do not assume that they are real in the same way as they are in Midgard.

We were walking on the seashore, in the morning of the world. Hoenir and Loðurr and I, another triad.

In all these triads I remain the same, and that is why it is I who speak to you now. Always there are the two extremes, the opposition, and the one between that mediates, that catalyzes, that enables them to interact to make something new.

In that time there were already the alfar and the duergar, lesser wights to carry out the will of the gods and bear the energy of the jotnar. To each place, each thing, came spirit, in its proper degree, the kind of consciousness appropriate to each kind. But there was, as yet, no being that would think and feel, love and create and grieve for loss, nothing in this manifest world that could link it to the gods.

We walked by the water, and saw two logs that had been washed up on the shore. Ash and Elm they were, strong and sound, their limbs already suggesting a shape, as later the folk shaped tree limbs into the images of gods. A fine reciprocity, though it was not intended.

Three minds that were one spoke together and a thought was born, and each of us gifted the new being according to his nature.

It fell to Loðurr, of us all the most bound to the earth and its creatures, to finish the shaping, and transform the wood to living flesh and bone. He worked well, and when he was done, the beings that lay before us were fair. But they were handsome as an image is, lifeless and inert.

Hœnir wished to bestow the gift of spirit, the part that comes from the gods, silent Hœnir, who is all beauty, of a kind beyond mortal understanding. What he would give had no common ground with the thing that Loðurr had made. No commonality without me.

My gift was önd, the breath of life, the animating soul. And with the breath, all the myriad processes of the body began to function, and the living flesh became a fit home for the spirit that Hœnir gave. I, was the medium, the mediator, the catalytic process in which spirit and matter were united.

Ask and Embla we named them, male and female. As the Worldtree is the center and core of all the worlds, so in each human spine lies the memory of those strong and straight trees from which your ancestors were made. All human tribes show reverence for trees — it is a very ancient memory. You, also, must do what you can to save the forest, for more than most beings, the trees are your relatives. And each tree gives my gift of önd back to the air again.