" In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said let there be light; and there was light etc..... - Genesis: The First Book of Moses. I have always wondered who their God was talking to when he said " Let there be light", he was the only one there right ? He also is said to have created every living thing that creepeth upon the earth and of course man , and woman. It is no wonder that he had to rest on the seventh day. Their God is seen as the great creator of everything, that we see, feel, touch, or hear.... everything !
In the Asatru religion however, the creation story is a lot different ! It does say in Gylfagginning that Odin created the heavens and the earth, and the sky, and all that in them is. But he did not create everything as you will soon see. Long before heaven and earth were created by Odin, Niflheim was formed, " and in the midst of it is a well called Hvergelmir whence flow the rivers....."( I will not name them all here ). Even prior to that there existed the burning region known as Muspellheim. It was located in the "Southern Hemisphere", and it is so light, and hot that those who do not belong to it can not exist there.
The third land that developed was formed where, " Those rivers which are called Elivagar came so far from their source that the yeasty venom accompanying them hardened like slag." This then turned into ice, and over time layer upon layer of this ice formed in the cold region known as Ginnungagap. Ginnungagap had two regions : The one furthest from Muspell was " full of ice", while the region closest to Muspell was " light and warm from the embers and sparks that flew out of Muspellheim. It is in this place, in what I feel is one of the most beautiful passages in the Eddas, we are told how life was created. " Just as cold and all harsh things emanated from Niflheim, so everything in the neighborhood of Muspell was warm and bright. Ginnungagap was as mild as windless air, and where the soft air of the heat met the frost, so that it thawed and dripped by the might of that which sent the heat, life appeared in the drops of running fluid, and grew into the likeness of a man.
Now wait a minute ! Life began in drops of running fluid, where light and heat met the cold frost. Gee that sounds familiar. Oh thats right, that sounds a little like scientific theory. And this was written when ? About the 13th century or sooner I believe ! And ( over time ) this " life " ( simple life )grew into the likeness of a man ! That sounds a little like evolution, not magic . And our All - Father, Odin, was not even born yet, as you will see in further passages from Gylfaggining.
Our Gods did not exist at the time when this primordial soup was rendering forth the first signs of life. The first " man", who was mentioned earlier, was actually a Giant named Ymir, or Aurgelmir. Ymir was fed from a " frost cow" named Audhumla, who it is said had four rivers of milk that flowed from her teats. This same cow licked the first God in our pantheon out of a block ice, and he was called Buri, ( A God who deserves much more attention), and he had a son named Bor ( Another early God rarely mentioned ), who married a giantess named Bestla. From this union came the sons Odin, Vili, and Ve. All of this happened long after the formation of the early worlds, and much of the life was created. Our Gods were created by life, whereas their God created life, some of it in his image, which is where we will be going in part 2.
Before I leave you here in part 1, I want to share the creation story of the Hindu's that comes down to us from the Rig Veda, (1200- 1500 B.C.E. ).
No thing existed, nor did nothing exist;
there was no air - filled space, no sky beyond.
What held it all ? And where ? And who secured it ?
Was water all there was, deep beyond measure ?
There was no death, nor anything immortal -
no sign with which to mark off night and day.
Self - moved where no wind blew, one Being breathed:
other than it no thing had being then.
All was obscure at first, darkness in darkness,
an endless ocean - featureless, unlit :
there, at the heart of nothingness, the One
took on its being, born of an austere heat.
- The Rig Veda
There is a lot more but I think you can make the comparisons quite easily to our religion. " The one took on its being, born of an austere heat ", sounds a lot like how our Gylfagginning tells us that heat was one of the main ingredients in the formation of life. And life, the forming of mankind is our subject in Part 2. See you then !
Go with Odin's wisdom, Freyja's love, and Thor's protection !