The old Germanic people had a notion of a tree of worlds. This is a common notion among shamanic people throughout the world. Siberian shamans believe they can climb a tree, which span from one dimension into another. In the QaBaLah, a heathen-Jewish tradition, there is the tree of life, with four divisions and worlds in each division. Ancient people in the region of Mexico also had a tree of worlds with ten worlds.
I use the phrase "heathen-Jewish tradition" because orthodox Jews can not believe in the QaBaLaH. See: Christian D. Ginsburg: The Kabbalah, its Doctrines, Development and Literature. In the QaBaLah there is an image of the creator, with a head, a beard, etc. This image is heathen. Jews are not allowed to make images of the creator. Orthodox Jews often believe, that a mental image is also forbidden.
In ancient Icelandic texts there are fragments of information about a tree of worlds. There is no complete system in these texts. Some texts contradict each other. It is more or less like the bible: you can find anything if you look hard enough.
Probably there were shamans and shamanic traditions, with a more or less complete system. Not 'complete' in the meaning that the system was finite, but in the meaning of comprehensive.
There never was an official doctrine for all tribes and all sibbes. Each sibbe had it's own version of religion. There were no heretics, because there was no church with a doctrine. From this we can conclude, that there was room for multiple complete systems about Yggdrasil or Irminsul.
Sibbe is a word in dutch, meaning family-group, living together. The English word sibbling is related to it, but I don't know a proper translation. More than one sibbe is in dutch: sibben. In English 'sibbes' sounds better. So I use 'sibbes' for family-groups.
A sibbe is a group of people living is a large house or a hall, most of the siblings are family, but slaves and cattle belonged to the sibbe as well.
In order to make sense of Yggdrasil, you have to interpret. Without interpretation you have only fragments of information. And as soon as you interpret, there is room for debate, differences of opinion, etc.
Because we grew up in a society that is programmed to think in terms of an official doctrine, the ultimate truth, etc., we are inclined to consider people with different opinions to be heretics. This is not only true for religion. In (medical) science there is no room for alternative healing, for example.
In a heathen culture there is no official doctrine and there are no heretics. There is room for your own interpretation. You have to interpret the world to make sense of it. And it is your own interpretation. You live in your own reality.
People tend to believe, that ancient writers knew what they were writing about. If we consider the writers today, one can see, that most writers write things, that differ from the beliefs and paradigms of most people. The writers today try to be opinion-makers and they have there own agenda. Do you believe that it would be different in Iceland a thousand years ago?
The Germanic people did not write. They had runes, but they were not characters of an alphabet. The Runes were magical signs and secrets and were used by shamans and sorcerers. Attempts to write with runes start with Roman influences. The Icelandic people who learned to write, learned it from Christian priests. So we should consider the fact, that they are at least influenced by Christian culture, if they were not Christian priests themselves.
In ancient Iceland around 1.200 AD. it must have been hard or even impossible to follow the shamanic path and in the same live study with Christian priests. So one should question the dept of the shamanic knowledge of writers like Snorri Sturluson e.a.
In 1988 I started in the Netherlands a correspondence course with the name 'Yggdrasil®'. It was at that time a course with 48 lessons and 24 TRANCE-FORMATION sound-cassettes, with two TRANCE-FORMATIONS on every tape. Each lesson was about a world on the tree-of-worlds Yggdrasil.
One objective of this course was to give 'searchers-for-knowledge' information to develop their own mind and soul. I combined many sources: Germanic writings, yoga from India, Persian-yoga, Persian magy (teachings of the priests of magoi from ancient Persia), alchemy and shamanism with Jungian psychology, alpha-training & mind-control and my own experiences. When you study the course Yggdrasil®, you get expert knowledge about your own mind and soul, to the deepest levels.
Another objective was to help people heal themselves and to spread Light (in the meaning of insight, clarity, consciousness, knowledge) and Love (the universal kind) throughout the world, starting in the land I was born (the Netherlands). All TRANCE-FORMATIONS of Yggdrasil® are about ancient Germanic deities and contain knowledge to transform oneself and the archetypes in our mind. With these TRANCE-FORMATIONS you can restructure your mind and soul to the deepest levels.
I come from a dysfunctional family. My father and his father were free-masons. I was abused in free-mason rituals and spiritistical seances from my birth to the age of four. Then my parents divorced. At seven I was placed in a home for children. At eleven I was placed by my psychotic mother. When I was twelve, I started with a Mazdaznan-course, which was my salvation. I became familiar with breath-exercises and Persian-yoga to heal myself and to stabilize my mind. I also became vegetarian. One of the participants of the Mazdaznan-course was member of an ancient order, that claims to be derived from the order of Melchizedek. In that order I learned magic, alchemy and several forms of yoga. I also learned old Germanic witchcraft and shamanic healing. When I was 18 I followed a course Silva Mind Control and a year later I did the Graduate Seminar and the Ultra Seminar. During my teenage-years I started to read books about the brain, endocrinology, many forms of psychology (Freud, Jung, Behaviorism, Transformational psychology). When I was 18 I gave a lecture about endocrinology in English to Mazdaznan-youth. Two of them were German medical students. They were very much impressed about my knowledge about the subject.
As a teenager I was quite different from my peers. My study of psychology made it clear to me, that something had gone wrong in my upbringing. I had some talks with a psychiatrist specialized in the treatments of juveniles, but he could not help me. Once he said: 'You have read much more about any subject than me'. Then I went to the psycho-analytical institute and asked for analysis. They studied the papers of child-care about me, had a talk with me and concluded: 'We can not treat you. Your traumas are to severe, you lack a firm psychological foundation, but you can cope with the world. Analysis can bring up the old trauma's and destabilize you.'
Of course I did not accept this. Yes, I could cope with society. But I was not happy. Thus I decided to analyze myself, using meditation, alpha-training, yoga, shamanism, Jungian psychology, etc. I created a brain-machine: a flip-flop circuit with LEDS in diving goggles, combined with electric-stimulation (TENS) in the same rhythm. I also created cassettes with guided meditations for myself. Step by step I went deeper in my mind, my knowledge increased.
My experiences with alpha-training, guided meditations, etc. helped me to create the course Yggdrasil®.
As I described above, I was able to develop Yggdrasil® after diving again and again into the deep unconscious with the aid of LSD. That is why Yggdrasil® goes much deeper than most courses and teachings. But for the record: You don't need LSD to walk the path of Yggdrasil®. I broke the trail an paved the way.
A very important part of Yggdrasil® is slaying yourself. In the first part you first kill Ýmir, the giant-of-old, which is a symbol of your father, patriarchal society and god. From its corpse you create heaven and earth. Then you meet Yggr, a symbol of your primitive self. You slay Yggr and you eat his heart. Then you are ready to climb Yggdrasil®. Then at every level you slay yourself and you cast yourself into the fires of Jötunheimar.
Yggdrasil® is a very violent path, not intended for sissies. By climbing the tree-of-worlds you challenge your most primitive and basic fears and you simply devours them. If you have a living soul, you should realize, that you are the devouring fire. There is nothing that can stop you.
When I was about 15 years old, I read books about the QaBaLaH. One book was really disgusting. A christian evangelistic writer, who claimed to be an expert on the QaBaLaH re-interpreted the QaBaLaH in a really christian way. Jews and Christians have a complicated relationship, to say the least. This christian writer wrote a purely christian interpretation, that I found appalling. Many other writers about the subject claimed all kind of things about their knowledge, but they were not more than average. The complete body of QaBaListic writings is confusing, to say the least. Everyone can write anything and claim that it is QaBaLaH.
Ancient writings about Yggdrasil leave much more room for interpretation. Without a trademark, everyone can write anything about the ancient teachings. If a christian writer claims that the god Baldr is in reality Jesus Christ, there is nothing to stop him from doing so. And of course he has every right to do so. But to prevent distortion of what I have to say, I registered Yggdrasil® as a trademark. So Yggdrasil® is a more protected version of Yggdrasil.
I have studied ancient Germanic resources as good as I could. I have tried to avoid contradictions with ancient texts. Yggdrasil® is a pure heathen system of knowledge. But in order to make a complete system, I had to fill the gaps of knowledge. Other people can fill the gaps in another way, interpret the heathen cosmology in an other way. And that is the heathen way.
Yggdrasil® is not 'the ultimate truth', 'the final system of Germanic teaching', or something like that. Every Germanic tribe had it's own interpretation of the Germanic cosmology. Each sibbe had it's own deities. And don't forget this: The Germanic tribal knowledge goes back thousands of years. Do you believe that a Germanic shaman or his ancestor at 5.000 BC had the same ideas as a Germanic shaman at 100 BC? If so, you deny progress, evolution of ideas, evolution of cosmology.
I do NOT want to go back to the old Germanic cosmology. Yggdrasil® is a modern interpretation of the old cosmology. And it has meaning in modern society.
When I created the course Yggdrasil®, I also used my knowledge of the Parsis and of yoga from India. Sometimes I made a big leap from ancient Germanic mythology, filling in large gaps in our knowledge. It was not my intention to write about the beliefs of our ancestors or to be scientifically correct. Yggdrasil® is based upon ancient mythology, but it is also based upon Jungian psychology. It is not a study of the past, but a path towards the future.
There are people, who want to live like the Germanic tribes. I don't. I like a hot shower, my computer, central heating, modern medicine (when alternative medicine fails), internet, human rights, etc. When you don't like your society, it is easy to flee into fantasies about ancient cultures. But living in those days was hard. Each winter there was hunger, even starvation. Before the winter, there were bands from other tribes who could steal your food. Many men died by violence, many women died while giving birth. I do not want to go back to such circumstances.
A shaman is not only a psychic healer. Foremost it is someone who travels to other worlds. Some people believe that these other worlds exist only in our mind. Other people believe in an objective astral world or objective other worlds. I don't have enough hard evidence to choose for one of those possibilities. And it really doesn't matter. When you close your eyes and you visualize yourself in another world, you start a transformation process. You change.
For me, shamanism is not particular for healing others, but for healing and transforming yourself. In many countries shamanic healing of others is discouraged or even illegal.
If you claim that you can heal someone and that person dies, the priests of modern medicine will blame you. In the Netherlands we had a psychic healer (Jomanda) who claimed that she could heal. A cancer-patient died, refusing regular cancer-therapy. She was prosecuted and had to emigrate. But what had the priests of modern medicine to offer to this patient, named Silvia. If they had been honest to her, they should have said: 'Silvia, we will cut off both your breasts, will poison you with "medicine" so that you will be sick and loose all your hair, and than you have a 50% chance that you will survive!' Put it like that, modern medicine is not very appealing.
I do not claim that Yggdrasil® will heal your physical ailments or that you get the power to cure physical ailments of other people. Maybe it does, maybe it does not. Yggdrasil® is for healing your mind and soul, and for development of your own consciousness. It is a system to bring light and love in your innermost being. And if you desire to do so, you can form a Circle of Light and Love and share your light and love with other psychic explorers, shamans and other misfits.
According to the Prose Edda Yggdrasil has three roots. And of course it has a trunk. Three roots plus one trunk makes four parts of the tree Yggdrasil. Together they form the four elements.
When you think about four elements, you can be inclined to think about the Greek four elements: Earth, Water, Air and Fire. More abstract you could say: solid matter, liquid matter, gas and plasma. In the Germanic cosmology you find the same abstract elements. But more concrete: The universe was created from Fire and Ice, the first two elements. The Fire melted the Ice and the Sea was formed. Then the Fire vaporized the Sea and Wind came into existence.
Yggdrasil® has three roots. The first root is the root of Ice, solid matter, Earth in Greek philosophy. The second root is the root of Fire, plasma. The third root is the root of Sea, liquid matter, Water in Greek philosophy. And the trunk is in the Wind, gaseous matter, Air in Greek Philosophy.
These four elements have cardinal directions.
In the north we find Ice, the north-pole.
In the south we find Fire, the sun.
In the west we find the Sea.
In the east we find the Wind.
The elements are physically linked to the environment of the ancient Germanic people. But these elements have a spiritual meaning as well.
Jötun means devourer. 'Devourer-of-branches' is a kenning (a word containing knowledge) for fire. When the deity Thór travels to Útgardr, he meets the Jötun Logr (Flame). (In the Prose-Edda this Logr is called Utgarða Loka. I believe that Loka should be interpreted as Logr and that the concept is related to the Greek Logos.)
The Jötun or Fire-giants live in Jötunheimr or Jötunheimar. This is the root of fire in Yggdrasil®. They are blacksmiths, they forge magical swords in the fire.
Hrim means ripe or ice. The Hrim-thursar are the Ice-giants. In Yggdrasil® they are very different from the Jötun. They live in Nifl-heimar, the root of Ice in Yggdrasil®. The Hrim-thursar would melt in Jötunheimar and can not live there.
Not all writers about Germanic mythology see a difference between the two. Snorri Sturluson did not differentiate between the Jötun and Hrim-thursar. I do not know if this difference was not made in Icelandic shamanism, or that Snorri was not aware of the difference. When Snorri wrote his Prose-Edda, the heathen days were already a thing of the past, Christian ideas had already undermined the ancient Germanic cosmology.
I am not sure if ancient Germanic tribal people made a sharp distinction between Fire-giants and Ice-giants. But if we look at the creation myth, starting in Ginnunga-gap (the primordial void, the misleading gap, maya, the universe before the Big-Bang, the womb before conception), there is a battle between Ice and Fire, between Darkness and Light. This battle is the heart of Germanic cosmology.
According to the Völuspá, a song from the Poetic Edda, Yggdrasil has nine worlds. But in the Gylfaginning, a part of the Prose Edda it is stated in paragraph 34: 'Hel kastaði hann í Niflheim ok gaf henni vald yfir níu heimum, ...' (Hal (the deity of Death) he (Óðinn) cast into Niflheim and he gave her dominion over nine worlds, ...). So one should conclude that the root Niflheim has nine worlds. Does that mean that ancient Germanic people thought of four times nine worlds? Nine worlds in each root and nine worlds on the trunk? According to the Grímnismál, another song from the poetic Edda, there are at least eleven worlds on Yggdrasil. In the Gylfaginning more worlds are mentioned in paragraph 17: Alfheímr, Gimle, Andlang, Viðblainn. So the old Germanic cosmology could have many more worlds.
I believe that the yoga of India with its chakras connected to the spinal column tell us the same thing as the trunk of Yggdrasil with nine worlds.
What is a chakra? It is a layer of consciousness in our mind.
I make a sharp distinction between perception (changes in the physical senses), sentiments and sensations (processing in the sensoric and motoric nervous system), emotions (processing in the limbic system) and feelings (processing in the right hemisphere). In common language feelings, sensations and emotions are often confused.
With Light and Love, Andreas Firewolf