" Until three of the Aesir assembled there, strong and benevolent, came to the sea. They found on the shore two feeble trees. Ask and Embla with no fixed fate. " The Gods gave them life and mankind was born.
In Voluspa it also says." There is an ash tree, its name is Yggdrasil. A tall tree watered from a cloudy well. Dew falls from its boughs down into the valleys. Ever green it stands beside the Norn's Spring." The importance to the Gods of Yggdrasil is shown in Gylfaginning, when Gangleri asks, " Where is the chief place or sanctuary of the Gods?" High one replies, " It is by the ash tree Yggdrasil. There every day the Gods have to hold court. Just as High then goes on to give the best description of Yggdrasil. " The Ash is the best and greatest of all trees, its branches spread out over the whole world and reach up over heaven. The tree is held in place by three roots that spread far out. One is among the Aesir; the second among the Frost Ogres, where once was Ginnungagap, and the third extends over Niflheim, and under that root is the well Hvergelmir. But Nidhogg gnaws at the root from below. Under the root that turns in the direction of the Frost Ogres lies the Spring of Mimir, in which is hidden wisdom and understanding. The third root of the Ash tree is in the sky, and under that root is the very sacred spring called Urd. There the Gods hold Their court of justice." High one adds later on, " There is a great deal to tell about it. In the branches of the Ash sits an eagle, and it is very knowledgeable. Between its eyes sits a hawk called Vedrfolnir. A squirrel called Ratatosk springs up and down the Ash and conveys words of abuse between the eagle and Nidhogg. Four harts leap about the branches of the Ash and eat the shoots. And along with Nidhogg in Hvergelmir there are so many serpents that no tongue can count them."
The great Ash does suffer,( along with just about everything else in the nine worlds), when Ragnarok begins . It says in Voluspa." Lofty Yggdrasil, the Ash tree trembles, ancient wood groaning, the giant goes free." I believe that the great Ash tree will be consumed by the fire of Surt's great sword. I also believe that Yggdrasil will drop seeds that will one day grow into a bigger and even stronger tree to secure eternity for the nine worlds. In Voluspa it says," The Sun turns black, the Earth sinks below the sea, no bright star now shines from the heavens, flames leap the length of the World Tree. The Seeress goes on to say, " She sees the Earth rising again out of the waters green once more." And, " Barren fields will bear again."
I see Yggdrasil Day, ( Arbor Day ), as a time to re - seed the Earth by planting trees and shrubs in honor of our Great Ash Tree Yggdrasil. Last year I planted a Rhododendron, ( I have no room for more trees), and if you want you can even go on - line and donate money and they will plant one for you. No matter how large ar how small the bush, or tree, is that you plant, it will not only honor great Yggdrasil but also benefit all of mankind for decades, maybe centuries, to come. Just look outside your apartment or house, some of those trees and shrubs are probably older than you ! They were a gift from our ancestors to us, lets do the same for our descendants !
P. S. It looks like my 6 ft. artificial ash tree I bought will not come in time for Yggdrasil Day. I guess I will just have to have two rituals !
Go with Odin's wisdom, Freyja's love, and Thor's protection !