Primordial Battle of Fire and Ice - Nordic Creation Myths
The Norse Creation Myth
Nordic mythology begins with similar themes to Greek cosmology in that the universe is born from chaos. Instead of chaos applied to a sexual theme of womb and reproduction, the Norse use forces of fire and ice. These competing forces appear in the void and at their intersection is where chaos happens, is where life is born, and is where the battle will begin which will form our earth.
Now, I am interested in Nordic myths mostly because it was the Nazis who co-opted them and turned them into their own backstory/cosmology. They too used this imagery of a battle between fire and ice, of primordial giants, and of evolution from chaos. The Swastika was to them a symbol of the fires which conquer and bring about order in the universe. That being said, as with all my research into Nazism, please remember that I am not endorsing it, simply trying to understand how the 20th century happened.
The Cosmic Chaos of Fire and Ice Births a World
Norse mythology begins with the universe as an empty void, "...a deep and frozen silence." In that emptiness a land sprung up which took up half of the space of the void. This was a land of fog, or "Filheim." At its edge came to be another type of land, a land of fire and air, called "Muspell." At the place in which the two lands connected was a void in which a river flowed off into the greater void of the universe. The river was called "Ginnungagap," and as it flowed into the void it froze upon itself forming a type of foundation. Also at the intersection of these two lands was the interaction of fire and ice. "And it was here the heat from Muspell licked at the cold of Filheim until the energy they created spawned the great frost-giant Ymir. Ymir was the greatest and the first of all frost-giants, and his part in the creation of the universe led the frost-giants to believe that they should reign supreme on what he had made."
In the middle of Filheim there existed two fountains, one good and one bad. The good one, "Vergelmir," was that from which all the rivers of the universe originated. The evil one, "Elviagar," bubbled up poison and turned into black frozen ice. Muspell, on the other hand, the land of fire, burned a "eternal light," which needed to be guarded by a fire giant. "Surtr" was this fire giant and had a huge sabre which he could swing. There a home was founded for them in Muspell, fittingly translated "home of the destroyers of the world."
In the void between the lands Ymir grew as a child of the chaos which the two lands generated. He was the "the personification of the frozen ocean." It was also in this chaos of the meeting of the lands of fire and ice that life originated. For example, Surtr's sabre caused sparks of fire to melt ice into the middle void where it refroze and became "Audhumla" who was a cow. From her utters there formed four rives in which rich, nourishing milk flowed. Ymir was able to drink his fill. Audhumla was so big that she filled the whole middle void between the lands, with her legs becoming pillars. Audnumla, "the Nourisher" needed sustenance herself and began to lick the rocks in the void from which she could draw salt. In doing this she brought forth another god, "Buri" - known as "the Producer." Buri drew benefits from both the fire and the ice and both manifested themselves in his beautiful being. 1
Ymir slept when he was satisfied by Audhumla's milk, and while sleeping another creature was born from the perspiration of his armpits, "Thrudgemir." He was an evil ice giant who had six heads and bore another giant, "Bergelmir," thus creating the first race of frost-giants. Buri too bore a son, "Bor," and as they became aware of the ice giants they fought them in battle wherever they encountered them. "For giants represent evil in its many forms, and gods represent all that is good, and on that fateful day the fundamental conflict between them began - a cosmic battle which would create the world as we know it." This battle always ended in a stalemate in which no one could emerge victorious ... until Bor decided to marry a giantess named "Bestla." It seems this union was something of a mixture of "good" and "evil" or fire and ice. From this union three sons were born, "Odin," "Vili," and "Ve." This family then decided to gang up on Ymir, slaying him. From his body came a huge flood of blood which covered the earth and its inhabitants.
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