Yggdrasil up close: The Spring Hvergelmir
Yggdrasil has 3 roots, a stem and a crown. The roots keep the tree standing, so the roots form the basics for the becoming of human or “the carrier of I”- the vessel of the self. That’s why it’s important to take a closer look at these roots. Each root leads to it’s own spring.
The spring Hvergelmir
The first root leads to the spring Hvergelmir (bubbling or boiling spring) – but according to Dutch translations also ”sounding or rushing kettle” which is situated in Niflheim. It is an image of our brain where thoughts can boil up and pick up the echo’s of cosmic wisdom. This spring is fed by the water which drips off the antlers of the deer Eikthyrnir (OakHorn or thorn), which is the reason the spring never dies out.
The oak is the sacred tree of the Northern Germanic people and is connected to mysteries and honoring. The antlers of a deer grow each year from it’s head covered in skin and blood reaching towards the heavens. The blood reaching towards the heavens, stands symbolically for lifting itself up towards the spiritual world. Simply put, the antlers are like antennas, that symbolise the spiritual connection between earth and the cosmos.
Whilst this deer is standing on top of Valhalla whilst knibbling on the leaves of the cosmic world tree of life force, the water of life and cosmic knowledge drips into our brain, known as the vessel Hvergelmir. I also keep preferring the word Well instead of Spring to describe the sources… It are wells that you can tap into… But since I have to adapt a little bit so people can find the articles they are looking for… I have to use the terms most people commonly choose… Google says Springs instead of wells haha…
It is more the feeling and images of language that are important when describing a mythology and a cosmic process. It are not cold facts, it are images and emotions, a mental concept resonating within which finds expression. So to read someone else it’s vision always will cause friction, because you already established a vision, which includes vivid imagery and emotions, there is a personal bond between the mythology and how it resonates to yourself. That’s why it’s Polytheism: Diversity is natural and common – Different people, different perceptions, different outcomes.
Images of people wearing antlers to show their connection to the spirit-world or the cosmos are found in rock art, the Gundestrup Cauldron, and in images of Pan, Cernunnos, and many other cultures and traditional customs. But once again, this is the author’s association.
To me the stag or deer is about fertility, and indeed the link to the cosmos and the spiritual world, the astral travelling. The deer also used to be a starsign in many cultures, just like the swan which we will see in the description of the well of Urd later on.
What I miss in the authors writing, is a shamanic or natural awareness. She writes, and has a lot of good points, strong images and insights, but then falls back to making it smaller instead of richer. She cannot help it, as she openly agrees to be of a different tradition: anthroposophy is still christian in it’s root, and therefor keeps looking down on – or think lesser of the things that preceded the coming of monotheism.
My view is the opposite: The coming of monotheism has made us spiritually poorer, it has destroyed many aspects that connected us much deeper to life and the cosmos itself. So this deer Eikthyrnir gives us not only entrance to the other worlds – it is also the symbol of the priest: Feet firmly on the ground, antennas up to the stars, strong, graceful and honorable and completely in balance.
But let’s move on to Nidhöggr (Envious Chucker) and the many other serpents that nibble at the roots. Well the book says it simply wants to undermine the thinking processes, to cut people off from this cosmic source.
Once again it’s correct, but again I tend to feel a missing part. The snake is also the symbol for transmutation, fire energy. It transforms and changes things by force. The venom has always effect, wether we like it or not, when bitten by a snake, something changes. Since the book is talking constantly about the process to make people a “vessel of the self” – the “carrier of I”, or more nicely put a manifestation of the cosmic tree within oneself, I think that the symbolism of the snake should get a bit more attention then just simply say “it’s a cut off tool from the christ connection”…
There is no good or bad in polytheïsm, there simply are different forces with purpose that do their thing. And indeed, snakes are connected to Loki – and Loki’s task is to give people their individuality. Of course many people would say that Loki is not nice – well if it wasn’tfor him, we wouldn’t be individuals, we would still be groupsouls.
So if we are indeed Yggdrasils on paws – little cosmic trees doing our thing, and we have a deer eating of hour leaves, and a snake biting in our toes, then we have a full cycle. Why would we not mind someone nibbling on our head and exchanging something in return, but DO mind someone nibbling at our toes? That does not make sense, because in both cases we sacrifice in order to gain.
And again there is no reference made to the stars, as above, so below, as within so without… These concepts are completely left out. Because of course, the big Serpent is also an old star sign that did not make it into our current zodiac.
Also the snake in the tree of good and evil of course – from the bible, where I really know extremely little about… But the link between trees and snakes and cosmos seems to be willingly forgotten. I haven’t read the bible, but I do know a bit about astro-theology which basically means: The bible story is a story about the planet and the stars, the sun, the moon, the year, and the big years. In short, it’s about astronomy.
Well when I’m reading about kettles, and vessels, and very archetypical strong energies with very specific functions and stories, it starts to look like hermetism doesn’t it? If we are allowed to apply mythology to ourselves, to make logical reflections to within… Then it would be very strange that they aren’t found above and outside of us.
So I think this snake, these deers, even those 9 worlds and the wells, the giants – everything can be found in the stars as well. I’m even pretty sure that in every indigenous mythology you will find the same characters.
I think this is enough for now… Next time we will look at Mimir’s Well…