La Signification d’Yggdrasil

You must know the incredible Yggdrasil, also known as the tree of life or the world tree. But do you really know the different meanings of the huge ash tree?

Literally Yggdrasil means "Destrier of the Dread" or "Ygg's Horse" in Old Norse. When we speak of the formidable one, we are referring to Odin.

Yggdrasil and its three roots

The cosmic ash tree carries the nine worlds of Norse mythology and is composed of three roots with a powerful meaning.

The first root means time

The first root of the tree of life finds its end in the wells of Urds which are in Asgard, the world of the Aesir gods. Asgard is one of the worlds that Yggdrasil carries.

This root represents the past, the present and the future, because the wells of Urds are guarded by three Norns, one will find Urda, Verdandi and Skuld who see respectively all the temporal line. This very powerful power of the Norns causes a lot of fear among the gods themselves.

However, they are known for their wisdom and accuracy, which is why they are often consulted to make decisions. A little bit like the shaman in the Viking series.

bracelet jormungand

The second root means wisdom

A root for wisdom and knowledge, this second root will dive into the world of Jötunheim which is nothing but a world inhabited by ice giants. To be more precise, the root finds its source in the fountain of Mimir.

This legendary fountain is said to hold all the knowledge of the world within it, but it is guarded by a giant. It is also said to contain the head of the god Mimir, which gave the fountain its name. This is the reason why Mimir is said to be the god of knowledge.

The third root means power

Little is known about this third root, for it plunges into the world of Niflheim to find its source in Hvergelmir. It is said to be guarded by the dangerous dragon Nidhögg, who sleeps under the tree of life.

In the same way that a loot guarded by a dragon becomes corrupted, this root being at the side of a powerful dragon, it is given a role of strength and wild power.

Yggdrasil symbol of life

The tree of life as its name suggests is known to inspire peace, birth, life, the creative force of the world.

Pillar of the world

In Nordic mythology, Yggdrasil is the tree that carries the nine worlds, we almost speak of a kind of constellation. It is not uncommon for the tree of life to be represented with stars in the sky forming a giant tree.

The representation of a huge tree in the middle of a forest is an image that people like to imagine, to be able to gather near a giant tree and feel connected to the world tree.

Its role is then to be at the beginning of everything, it is the origin of energy, life, creation. This is why it comes to plant its roots in both creative and destructive worlds.

Yggdrasil strives to preserve a balance in the living worlds. Despite the fact that the dragon Nidhogg gnaws on one of its roots, or the goat Heidrun eats the leaves at the top, or the deer eat its buds.

His status allows him to be protected and respected, especially by the three Norns who ensure the vitality of the tree.

symbole yggdrasil

A meaning recovered in games and movies

This symbol is so strong, that we find trees of life in many fictions or beliefs.

You will see for example a representation of the tree of life in "Dark Crystal" or in the universe of the world of the twelve with the "Soft Oak" which carries all the vitality of the world. But also in "God of War" and many other fictions.

Beyond the legend of Yggdrasil, there is a consensus in popular culture that a giant tree represents life.

Yggdrasil in the modern world

Nowadays, Yggdrasil can be found on many objects, dream catchers for example. But also on tattoos. So we went to ask what meanings people give to the tree of life.

Here is what we find most often:

  • Vitality
  • Growth
  • Nature
  • Regeneration
  • Protection
  • Connection with the living and the Earth
  • Energy
  • Evolution
  • Infinity
  • Motherhood
  • Wisdom
  • Balance
  • Depth
  • Stability
  • Birth

There are many others, but these are the words that came up the most when asking for your interpretations.

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"Courage is nothing more than the will to fight despite fear."

- Ragnar, Vikings -

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