Well its the first Monday of January so I thought I would start a series of articles I am calling Monday Myths. To begin with I am looking mainly at the Norse-Germanic Myths of Northern Europe. Since its a beginning lets start WITH a beginning.
According the legends of the Norse, Germanic Tribes and Anglo-Saxons in the beginning there were no stars, moon or earth. There was a vast icy waste called Niflheim and a land of fires called Muspelheim. Between the two was a deep void, a pit called Ginungagap. Gradually as the fire rages the ice melted and in that steam and water life sparked. It took the form of a huge Frost giant called Ymir and a ice cow. The giant drank the cows milk and the cow licked salty water from the edge of Ginungagap.
From between the toes and under the armpits of Ymir creatures emerged. These were the race of giants. Meanwhile the cow was busy licking away at the salty ice and uncovered a woman. The woman and Ymir had three children – the oldest of the Gods Odin, Vili and Ve (alternatively called Hoenir and Lodur). As often happens in these legends the children rose up and killed the father. Out of Ymir’s body the universe was created – from chest grew the great World tree Yggdrasil, his skull became the vault of the skies, his bones mountains and his blood the seas. His hair became trees, his brains became the clouds and his eye brows, Midgard or Earth.
With his blood filling the Ginungagap the race of giants – the Jotun fled to setup their own world and were for ever enemies of the Aesir gods whom Odin was the leader.
The above map is by Gillian Pearce for my new book The Catacombs of Vanaheim.