Ice and Fire

The following is an excerpt from the upcoming book Evergreen Trees: The Cosmology and Myth of Draug by Geirulf Odinsson:

Before time, there was a seed that longed to be a tree.

Before Midgard came into existence, space and time existed as a mere idea. Everything; every colour, sound, or taste; every joke, tale, or song; everything that could ever be real existed within the seed of void as pure and infinite potential. The seed was imbued with all the ingredients necessary to give rise to the entirety of existence. It was everywhere, and yet there was no where in which to be every. As such, it was nowhere. It was nothing. It was void, yet void was imbued with infinity.

The void-seed refers to Önd in its simplest form, the Otherworld before it was Other, before time and space came to be. It was infinite potential, imbued with every possibility. We symbolise the void as a nut or seed, as it is from this seed that the Tree of Life would grow.

The void stirred, and infinite potential found bold expression in the form of stark opposition. And so it was that the primal forces of Ice and Fire manifested within the void.

The Ice Domain: the ancients called it Niflhel, the home of elemental Ice; shrouded in mist and shadow; deathly cold, and silent as the grave.  

The Fire Domain: the ancients called it Muspelheim, the home of elemental Fire; the inferno; roaring, billowing, relentless flame. 

The empty space between these domains was named Ginnungagap. It is described as being like a wide open mouth from which Önd flows like breath. All things are derived from that breath. 

Niflhel and Muspelheim existed within the void in spite of the other. How could the frozen ice accommodate relentless flame? How could searing heat suffer unbearable cold? How could light find common ground with darkness? And so it was that the Void perceived the principle of opposition.

But what was the point in it? Is this what it would be to exist, ceaseless conflict between Ice and Fire? Surely there was more to become. Could these forces be reconciled? What would it take? What would happen? The Void was maddened with curiosity.

It is said that ‘ancient waves’ move outward from the fire domain towards the ice domain, great powerful waves of light and warmth. And so at last there occurred the conflict of Ice and Fire. The glaciers hissed and the flames roared, and a fierce steam rose from the edge of Niflhel, shrouding the ice domain in a dense mist, and great clouds formed in the great yawning gap between Ice and Fire. The clouds rained forth small droplets of water which fell far, far below. Over time, the rains formed a well so deep that its bottom lies beyond all knowing.

And so through these conflicting elements of ice and fire, life, growth and change was possible.

The conditions were now ripe for the Tree to grow. A shoot sprung from the seed. 

The conflict of Ice and Fire is not a genesis event. This is mythos, and its placement at the beginning of all things in the mythic cosmology is a coded symbol. It is not a historic genesis, but an eternal genesis, giving rise to all growth, all becoming, at all times, in all places, for the worlds of ice and fire give rise to the Tree of Life, a ceaseless process of becoming. The eternity of this process is due to its placement in the Otherworld beyond space and time.