The realms & world of Yggdrasil

In Midgard, a man had a son, Mani, and a daughter, Sol, both extremely beautiful. Jealous, the gods took the children and put them in a chariot each, in the skies, pulling the moon and sun. To ensure the siblings would always be moving, two wolves were also set to chase them at all times.

They too offered two giants, Nott and her son Dagr, chariots for them to ride in the sky and create night and day (Natt och Dag in Swedish).

Muspelheim, guarded by the fire giant Sutr, and Niflheim remain the two “primordial worlds”, consisting of fire and ice. Midgard ends up in the center of Yggdrasil, with Asgard at the top and Hel at the bottom of the tree. Hel is the underworld, ruled by a goddess of the same name, where the sick live. Hel is not a symbol of sorrow or suffering, but rather of peace and contemplation. This is quite different from, for example, Christianity, where those who have done evil end up in Hell, which is a terrible place. When we designed Freja’s Tears, it was also with “reflection” in mind, a quiet tear of joy, or a tear of loss, are beautiful symbols.

On a similar level to Hel is Jötunheimr and Niðavellir. Then between Asgard and Midgard is Alfheim—land of the Light Elves—and Vanaheimr—home of the Vanir, a tribe of gods rival to the Aesir. The Dark Elves, Dökkálfar, are more complex and have a strong connection to earth and the earth’s interior. A bit like the difference between our dark oxidised vs. bright polished Silver-ARCH bracelets.

Odin, the all-father of the Aesir, is often associated with war and death but also sapience and poetry. He is a knowledge-seeking God. Odin had an enormous quest for knowledge and insight, the tale tells, for example, how he sacrificed one of his eyes to gain the wisdom of Mimer, a wise Aser’s advisor. He speaks in riddles, his words having the power to control nature, and is known to be a shapeshifter—just like the god Loki, who is sometimes said to be Odin’s blood brother.

From his home, Valaskialf, Odin watches over all the other realms. He is married to the goddess Frigg, with whom he has two sons—Balder and Hod. Odin however often recurs to love affairs, including with giantess Jörð, personification of earth and Thor’s mother.