Nothing was there when time began,
Neither sands, nor seas, nor cooling waves,
Earth was not yet, nor the high heavens,
Only a gaping emptiness, no where green.
In Gylfaginning " Just as High" tells Gangleri that : " It was many aeons before the Earth was created that Niflheim was made." In the middle of Niflheim was a well called Hvergelmir, and from it flowed the rivers Svol, Gunnthra, Fjorm, Fimbulthal, Slid, Hrid, Sylg, Ylg, Vid, Leipt, and Gjoll. The river Gjoll runs right along Hel' s gate. This world of Niflheim was not, however, the first world to come into existence. That great honor went to Muspellheim in the southern hemisphere. It is a world of light and is hot, and it is said that this place flames and burns . Those who do not belong to this place cannot stay there for very long. This land of heat and fire is guarded by a Jotun named Surtr, who wields a flaming sword to guard its borders.
Then these rivers known as Elivagar flowed far from there source, they became yeasty, and hardened like slag into a thin ice. When the ice formed, and became solid, a drizzling rain began to fall, pouring over it, and cooled into a rime. This rime began to layer itself one on top of the other throughout Ginnungagap. The northern part of Ginnungagap which faced Niflheim became thick with ice, and great hoar frosts. Drizzling rains and great gusts of were common and the land was without light. The southern half of Ginnungagap, that which faced Muspellheim, became light as the sparks and embers from Muspell floated over this part of the land.
( This is one of my favorite lines from the Eddas ) Then as cold and all harsh things emanated from Niflheim, everything from the vicinity of Muspell was warm and bright. Ginnungagap was as mild as windless air. When the soft air of the heat met the frost warming and thawing the rime, it dripped, and by the might of that heat, life appeared in the drops of running fluid. Over time it grew into the likeness of a man. We call him Ymir, but the Frost Giants call him Aurgelmir, and from this proto - being come all the generations of Frost Giants.
Next : Ymir is used to make the earth and the skies.
Go with Odin' s wisdom, Freyja's love, and Thor's protection !