Monday, September 10, 2012

The Tree of Life

My short story Secrets of the Ash Tree is from the book I am writing which is based on Norse Mythology and Norwegian Fairy Tales. It is about a young woman who discovers her true nature through the unraveling of buried secrets. Her story starts when she digs up a chest that was buried by her father under the ash tree in her garden. In Norse mythology the ash tree is very sacred. It is known as the tree of life, so today I thought I would tell you a little about the mythology that surrounds it.

Yggdrasil is the name for the tree of life. It is an eternal green ash tree with branches that stretch out over the nine worlds, extending up and above the heavens. Yggdrasil is supported by three enormous roots.

The first root from Yggdrasil goes to Asgard, the home of the gods. This is where the gods hold daily meetings. The second root from Yggdrasil goes to Jotunheim, the land of the giants. The third root from Yggdrasil goes to Niflheim, close to the well Hvergelmir. It is here the dragon Nidhug lives sucking on the blood of dead bodies and gnawing on one of Yggdrasils roots. 

At the very top of Yggdrasil lives an eagle. The eagle and the dragon Nidhug are bitter enemies. They truly despised each other. A squirrel named Ratatosk, spends a lot of time each day, running up and down the tree. Ratatosk enjoys keeping the hatred between the eagle and the dragon Nidhug alive. Every time Nidhug says a curse or an insult about the eagle, Ratatosk hastens up to the top of the tree, and informs the eagle what Nidhug had said. The eagle was equally rude in his comments about Nidhug. It is because of Ratatosk’s love for gossip that the eagle and the dragon remain constant foes.

The roots from the tree of life connect everything together, even the most bitter of enemies. As long as there is a squirrel that loves gossip there will always be a dragon gnawing on its own foot and an eagle without a nest.

Hope you enjoyed this bit of wisdom. Come back later today to hear what I have to say about chocolate! Have a great week and try to avoid squirrels that cause trouble.


Elaine Smith said...

Hidden secrets are a source of mystery in themselves. I love the sound of your story.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Someone needs to shoot the squirrel - he's a trouble-maker.

Andrea Franco-Cook said...

Sounds interesting. Though I'm with Alex, just shoot the squirrel and be done with it.(:

Shelly said...

Yes. I love the sound of your story and can hardly wait to get to it.

Hugs and chocolate,

Susan Roebuck said...

i know someone just like that sneaky little squirrel. Love your mythological stories and facts even if I sometimes miss them. I didn't today. I think the ash is also a special tree in black magic, isn't it?

Karen Walker said...

I love the concept of the tree of life - it exists in Judaism as well and we got a silk rug in Turkey with a tree of life on it.

Roland D. Yeomans said...

I've woven Yggdrasil in several of my novels:

In THE BEAR WITH 2 SHADOWS, Hibbs gains his 2nd shadow on his quest to rescue Ratatosk from the maw of Nidhug (the gleeful squirrel having related one insult too many) -- how does Hibbs free Ratatosk from the impervious jaws of Nidhug? He tells the dragon a joke that has the creature convulsing in laughter.

Naruda, the cursed, sentient dagger made from one of Nidhug's fangs, turns up in END OF DAYS, LOVE LIKE DEATH, BEAR and many other of my novels.

I have fun with Norse mythology, interweaving it with Native American and Celtic myths.

I never myth one of your Norse posts. :-) Have a great week, Roland

Roland D. Yeomans said...

I can't wait to read your whole novel. It sounds intriguing and mysterious! Roland

Ciara said...

I got here too early. I'll come back later to read your chocolate post. :)
Your story sounds great. Why are squirrels always a problem?

Lynn Proctor said...

this is going to be a great book--might become a classic :)

Suzanne Furness said...

I love a bit of mythology. What a pesky squirrel!

Tim Jet said...

we hiked the woods with Maxine Stone in search of all things natural, and hopefully a few things fungal. Tree Nursery Co