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Non-venomous Pink Headed Reed Snake

The head of the Hesperide Medusa on the shield of Athena. One of Medusa's severed heads became Pegasus but the other became the monster Chrysaor.

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Norse cosmology

See also:

At-a-glance/Greek mythology

In the beginning, there were two regions: Muspelheim (heaven) in the south, full of fire, light and heat; and Niflheim (cf. "unfallen" nephilim and unfalling clouds) in the north, full of arctic waters, mists, and cold. Between them stretched the yawning emptiness of Ginnungagap. Rivers of fire, called hellwaves, flowed outward away from the burning hot firmament in Muspelheim and cooled as they got further from their source, eventually solidifying and forming layer after layer of ice in Niflheim. Between these two extremes, in the center of Ginnungagap, the river was mild and hospitable and here life arose. Eventually, there evolved a race of fire giants, called the sons of Muspell (cf. Mazda), that lived in Muspelheim. (cf. Ra hatching from the world egg).

The fire giants then began melting the layers of ice in Niflheim and freeing people that had become frozen in it. One of these prehistoric icemen was called Ymir (cf. Yam and Yama).

Over the course of three days the hermaphroditic cow Audhumbla (cf. Gavaevodata or the 100-breasted Artemis) managed, by licking the ice, to release Buri who had somehow become "buried" in the ice.

Buri's son Borr had three sons, the Æsir gods Óðinn, Vili and Vé. The three "slew" Ymir, and all of the icemen except Bergelmir were drowned (baptised as it were) in the deluge of blood that flowed from Ymir's wounds. This may or may not be the war known as the Æsir–Vanir War.

From Ymir's body, they made the world.

Then asked Ganglere: What is the path from earth to heaven?

Har answered, laughing: Foolishly do you now ask. Have you not been told that the gods made a bridge from earth to heaven, which is called Bifrost? You must have seen it. It may be that you call it the rainbow. It has three colors, is very strong, and is made with more craft and skill than other structures. Still, however strong it is, it will break when the sons of Muspel come to ride over it
How was the earth fashioned?
Made answer Har: The earth is round, and without it round about lies the deep ocean,
and along the outer strand of that sea they gave lands for the giant races to dwell in;
and against the attack of restless giants they built a burg within the sea and around the earth.
For this purpose they used the giant Ymer's eyebrows, and they called the burg Midgard.

...the sons of Bor made for themselves in the middle of the world a burg, which is called Asgard, and which we call Troy.
There dwelt the gods and their race, and thence were wrought many tidings and adventures, both on earth and in the sky.
In Asgard is a place called Hlidskjalf, and when Odin seated himself there in the high-seat,
he saw over the whole world, and what every man was doing, and he knew all things that he saw.

In the beginning, when the town of the gods was building, when the gods had set out Midgard and made Valhal,
there came a certain builder (Bergelmir) and offered to make them a burg (Asgard), in three half years,
so excellent that it should be perfectly safe against the mountain giants and frost-giants, even though they should get within Midgard.
But he demanded as his reward, that he should have Freyja, and he wanted the sun and moon besides.
Then the asas came together and held counsel, and the bargain was made with the builder
that he should get what he demanded if he could get the burg done in one winter;
but if on the first day of summer any part of the burg was unfinished, then the contract would be void

...When the asas thus became sure that it was really a mountain-giant that had come among them,
they did not heed their oaths, but called on Thor.
He came straightaway, swung his hammer, Mjolner, and paid the workman his wages.
---not with the sun and moon, but rather by preventing him from dwelling in Jotunheim;
and this was easily done with the first blow of the hammer, which broke his skull into small pieces and sent him down to Niflhel.

Bergelmir and his wife escaped the sanguinary flood by climbing onto a lúðr and subsequently became the progenitors of a new race of frost giants.
R. D. Fulk notes that Snorri's Prose Edda account "conflicts with the poetic version, as the [Prose Edda] presents a Noah-like figure, while the latter has Bergelmir laid (lagiðr) in the lúðr, implying he is an infant, as in the Scyld story. But Snorri does add the crucial element not made in the explicit verses, that the lúðr is to serve as a floating vessel."
Fulk continues that "the key word here is lúðr, which ought to refer to a flour-bin. To be precise, the object is a box or wooden trough, perhaps on legs, in which the stones of a hand-mill sit

..he made man, and gave him the spirit, which shall live and never perish, though the flesh-frame rot to mould, or burn to ashes;
and all men shall live, such as are just in action, and be with himself in the place called Gimlé.
But evil men go to Hel and thence down to the Niflhel; and that is down in the ninth world.


Each stripe in the table below is 30 years.

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The island of Atlantis floating like an ark upon the waters of Khaos.
And the Erythraean Sea (the Lake of fire) where the ancient Vanir reside beyond the Pillars of Heracles[8]
And beyond that is the island of Vindblain (Wind-blown)
beyond the perpetual-wind of Andlang (Long-Wind).
The square worlds are called "Burgs" or "Gards". (cf. Bergelmir and Gibborim/Gadarene

The worlds of Norse cosmology


Prose Edda:


  1. also called Hymdallr
  2. Daughter of Hersir (lord)
  3. Married Dana daughter of Danp
  4. (Elf) youngest of the elder children of Ivaldi
  5. Married Freyr
  6. Thief of Þrúðr
  7. Married Drott sister of Dan
  8. Revelation 10 (KJV)
    And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire:
    And he had in his hand a little book open: and he set his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot on the earth,
    And cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roareth: and when he had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices.