The plains of Ida:
Valhalla and Yggdrasil
In Asgard the Æsir built an immense fortress, in the midst of
lay the Plains of Ida. Here they erected two splendid halls:
which contained high seats for Odin and the twelve peers among the
and Vingolf, which had high seats for Frigg and the goddesses.
about Lidskjalf, whence Odin surveys the universe, rose the hall
roofed with a silver roof. The chief of the halls of Asgard,
Valhalla, the banquet hall of the Æsir. Here Odin held high
festival not only
for the Æsir, but for all the translated heroes (einherjar), brave
after death came into his presence. In Valhalla there were 640
through each of which, 960 warriors might march in abreast.
Between heaven and earth the Æsir constructed a bridge called
Bifrost, or the Rainbow. The ruddy hue of the bridge is the light
of a fire that
burns without ceasing to prevent the Giants from crossing over it.
of all bridges the most splendid and the strongest, and yet at
last it will fall
asunder, when the end of all things shall have come.
Besides Odin, there were twelve of the Æsir who were held to be
chief deities of the universe; among themselves they had
over all things, and each day they held counsel about what events
come to pass. Odin was their lord; he was supreme, mightiest of
the preserver of all things, and therefore he was called
All-Father. In Gladsheim, where stood
the high seats of the gods, they took counsel together. As rulers
universe the gods bore the titles regin or rogn, governors; bond
binding or uniting powers; and year, the holy ones. Their high
also called judgment seats (rokstólar). The gods or Æsir were
as white, bright, shining, holy, mighty; as war-gods (sigtívar) or
(valtívar). They loved the race of men, protected men against
Dwarfs, and Dark-Elves, and upheld righteousness and justice.
When the gods held their solemn assemblies, to which came all the
Æsir, they resorted to the ash Yggdrasil, the tree of the
universe. Here was
their principal sanctuary. The ash Yggdrasil spread its branches
over the whole world. It had three roots: one among the Æsir,
among the Rime-Thursar, a third in the depths of Niflheim. Beside
in Niflheim there was a fearsome well, Vergelmir; there lay a
serpent, Nidhogg, which, together with a great number of other
gnawed without respite at the root of the tree, threatening to
Beside the root that rested with the Rime-Thursar there was also a
which belonged to a Giant, the wise Mimir; in it lay hidden the
wisdom, and from it Mimir drank each day. Beside the third root,
stretched out to the Æsir, there was also a well, called Urd’s
Well. It was
here that the gods held their assembly. Among the branches of the
many animals had their resort; there were a sagacious eagle, a
stags, and the little squirrel Ratatosk, which continually ran up
bearing evil communications between the eagle and Nidhogg.
Andreas Munch: Norse Mythology: Legends of Gods
and Heroes. The American-Scandinavian Foundation, New
York. 1926, pp. 5-7.
Rasmus B. Anderson (Ed.): The Elder Eddas of Saemund
Sigfusson and the Younger Eddas of Snorre Sturleson.
Norræna Society, London-New York. 1906.
Back to the main page