2010-01-01

What is Yggdrasil?

An introduction to the tree of worlds of the old Germanic people.

 

The origin of Yggdrasil

Wikipedia about Yggdrasil

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.

 

Why an interpretation?

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.

If you want to read more on this subject go to Truth about the Germanic people.

 

Was there ever a complete system of teachings about Yggdrasil?

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 system of philosophical, mythological and spiritual ideas. 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.

Wikipedia about 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.

The Ulfhedhnar

Ulf means wolf, hedh means skin. Nar is often translated as 'corpse'. But this is not the right translation. A nar was someone who was dead to the family and the tribe. To become a nar, you had to die symbolically and to be reborn as a new being. A nar was considered to be living partly in the common world and partly in the spirit world.

Translated to English a member of the Ulfhedhnar is a werewolf. But not as this word is abused by Hollywood. See: Shamanism: Werewolves and Werebears

Through all my studies on the subject, I came to believe, that the Germanic people were kept together by sacred societies of shamans. Members of these societies were all nars. They were dead to the biological family and to the tribe. And because they did not belong to a specific family group, they could travel between the tribes.

There were several societies of shamans. The Ulfhedhnar were the teachers and were devoted to Odinn. The Bersekrs were the healers and were devoted to Baldr. The Haliurunas were devoted to Hal, the deity of death and they took care of the death. The Volvas were devoted to Freya.

 

The Shawnee had five divisions. According to some sources, two of these five divisions 'came from over the Great Water' (the Atlantic Ocean). According to some oral sources, there was a secret society among the Shawnee and other Algonquin tribes: The society of dogs. When a war was started, they killed a horse, dipped arrows in the blood and send messengers with an arrow to the allied tribes. It seems, that this was exactly how Germanic tribes called for war.

The previous paragraph is based on hearsay. It would be nice if someone would do some research on this and perhaps write a wikipedia article about it.

 

The Ulfhedhnar were the teachers of the mythological and spiritual ideas of the old Germanic people. They had three degrees, just like the druids of France. The lowest degree was the Skald. It was their job to scald the old knowledge. The second degree was the Thulr. It was his job to oversee the rituals and to make sure that everything was done properly. The third degree was the Kennari. A Kennari was considered to be a master of all Kenningr. A kenning is a word that reveals the nature of something. 'Devourer of wood' is a kenning of fire. The Kennari was allowed to accept apprentices and to prepare them for a live a an Ulfhedhnar.

The Ulfhedhnar taught about Yggdrasil and how to travel through this tree of worlds in a shamanic way. They also taught about the Runes and how to use them. But these teachings were only given at Utiseta's. Uti-seta literally means out-sitting. But it really means 'sitting at a crossroad'. This is often interpreted literally. But it should be interpreted as 'a moment in time and space were to people really connect'. Or when the path of the Kennari really crosses the path of the apprentice. That is the moment were a Kenningr can be taught.

The Utisetas are similar to the Upanishads. The Brahmins and the Germanic tribes have the same origin. See Truth about the Germanic people.

The Ulfhedhnar did not write. So there are no written sources of their knowledge. And we do not know about the ideas about Yggdrasil among the Ulfhedhnar.

The most valuable teachings about Yggdrasil are the writings of Snorri Sturluson. We can ask the question: Was Snorri Sturluson an Ulfhedhnar? On the wikipedia page about Snorri it is said:

 

As Sturla was trying to settle a lawsuit with the priest and chieftain (Goðorðsmaðr), Páll Sölvason, Páll's wife (Þorbjörg Bjarnardóttir) lunged suddenly at him with a knife—intending, she said, to make him like his one-eyed hero Odin.

 

If Snorri was devoted to Odinn, it seems possible that he was an Ulfhedhnar. But this statement is speculative.

 

Interpretation of Yggdrasil

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.

 

I have attended workshops of Native American shamans. One of them stated: "Only half of the knowledge of an apprentice comes from his teachers. The other half has to come from himself."

The only way to learn about Yggdrasil is by traveling it yourself. By reading of travelers books, you can prepare yourself for a travel. But whatever you read, it doesn't come close to the real experience of traveling.

 

Who wrote the ancient texts? Are ancient texts reliable?

Christian writers

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 and others. And you should not believe everything you read on this website. I try to describe Yggdrasil as truthful as possible. But a written description is vastly different from the real thing. At best, the written description is in structure identical of the real thing. It do not believe it is possible to make a description of Yggdrasil that is in structure exactly identical to the real tree.

 

Sources of Yggdrasil

Shamanic and heathen interpretation of Yggdrasil

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.

 

My own experiences

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 shamanism 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.

 

 

 

Yggdrasil helps you to slay yourself !!!

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 travel through Yggdrasil. I broke the trail an paved the way. The TRANCE-FORMATIONS can guide you without Entheogen drugs.

A very important part of Yggdrasil is slaying yourself. In the first part you first kill Ymir, 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 Jötunheimr.

 

Yggr is often used as an alias for Odinn. I disagree with this interpretation.

Your lower self is Yggr. Yggr means 'the terrible one'. Yggdrasil comes from Yggrs Drasil: the horse of Yggr. This is a Kenning. It is the gallows of Yggr. See: Yggdrasil.

You have to hang yourself (symbolically), you have to die on the tree of worlds. And when you come back, your are no longer Yggr, but the manifestation of Odinn. You come back as a Nar. You will be death for your family, your tribe or nation. And you will be a member of the Einherjar, the one and only army of Odinn At-rider Sigtyr (Odinn the lord of victory who rides to battle).

 

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 devour them. If you have a living soul, you should realize, that you are the devouring fire. There is nothing that can stop you.

 

Yggdrasil is an interpretation

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.

I have studied ancient Germanic resources as good as I could. I have tried to avoid contradictions with ancient texts. This course of 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.

 

Yggdrasil is something new, it is not historically correct

A new form of shamanism and yoga

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.

 

Shamans are travelers

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 Millecam? 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.

Generally speaking, the priests of modern medicine are unreasonable. But they are in power. So I suggest you avoid confrontation with them and claim only to heal yourself.

 

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.

 

Yggdrasil has three roots and a trunk

these four divisions represent the four elements

 

Ice and Fire, Sea and Wind

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.

 

Hrimþursa are not related to Jötun.

Some writers do not make this difference !

Ice-giants are different from Fire-giants

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.

 

Nine or four times nine worlds?

How many worlds has Yggdrasil

 

Contradictions

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, ...). See GYLFAGINNING 34.

So we can 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. GYLFAGINNING 17.

 

yggdrasil/yggdrasil.gif

Yggdrasil. Tree roots with nine worlds at each root. And a trunk with nine worlds. In the middle, we have Midgardr or Middle Earth. That is what I consider to be the physical world, were the spirit worlds come together.

 

Nine levels, nine layers of consciousness, nine chakras

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.

  • The first layer is the physical layer, linked with physical changes in our senses. This chakra is called the root-chakra and is located at the base of the spine. In Yggdrasil it is the center of the tree, where the three roots and the trunk come together. This world is called Midgarðr or Middle Earth, the world in the center.

  • The second layer is the sentimental layer, linked with data in the sensoric and motoric nervous system. This chakra is called the sex-chakra and is located at the height of the pubic bone. In Yggdrasil there are four worlds at this layer, one for each of the four elements.

  • The third layer is the emotional layer, linked with data in the limbic system. This chakra is called the umbilical-chakra and is located an inch beneath the navel. The Japanese call this the hara. In the system of seven chakras this chakra is not mentioned.

  • The fourth layer is the mental layer, linked with data in the left and right hemisphere. This chakra is called the stomach-chakra and is located at and connected with the solar plexus. In Yggdrasil there are two times four worlds at this layer, two for each element. The right one is the thinking side, the left one is the feeling side.

  • The other layers are the spiritual-layer (heart-chakra, located at the heart), the causal layer (throat-chakra, located at the throat), evolutionary-layer (medulla-chakra, located at the medulla), monadic-layer (third eye, located between the eyebrows) and the cosmic layer (crown-chakra, located at the top of the head).

 

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.

 

Yggdrasil in 48 lessons

In this system of Yggdrasil, there are nine chakras or levels of consciousness. Three of these levels have a left side and a right side. That makes nine plus three is twelve areas.

Each area has manifestation in each of the four elements. That makes four times twelve lessons.

With Light and Love, Andreas Firewolf

 

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Werewolves and Werebears

There is no truth

Germanic tribes lived from about 3500 BC to 100 AD. Each tribe had its own myths and customs. And they changed over time.

So we can not say things like: "The Germanic people were like this and they believed that".

Who and what is Firewolf

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Andreas Firewolf is a shamanic healer. But he does NOT heal your physical body. For physical diseases you should consult a medical professional.

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