Welcome to Midgard. If you have been reading my blog for a while then you will probably remember that after introducing shamanism and Andean Shamanism I started a journey through Norse cosmology. We have been through the upper world so now its time to visit Midgard. Actually we don’t need to visit it because that’s where you and I reside.
You might think of Midgard (Old Norse Miðgarðr) as its near English equivalent, Midyard. I hope that helps you envision a large and spacious field encompassed by a fence, a fenced in yard. The name “Midgard”, which may be better translated as Middle Enclosure has two meanings.
The first meaning of the word refers to civilization’s position, our position, in the middle of an otherwise pretty hostile world. This view is primarily a horizontal view. We are in Midgard, in the center, surrounded by nasty. Cosmologically Midgard surrounded by the uninhabited wilderness of Jotunheim, the world of the often-hostile giants. Midgard is surrounded much in the same way as the continents are surrounded by the ocean, which was, in the ancient Germanic perspective, also teeming with giants. The serpent Jormungand lives in the sea and encircles the terrestrial Midgard and the wilderness at its borders, and Aegir and Ran dwell in the same watery depths and claim the lives of unfortunate seafarers.
The second view is vertical and places Midgard’s below Asgard, the world of the Aesir gods and goddesses, and above the underworld. This vertical axis is represented by the world-tree Yggdrasil, which holds Asgard in its upper branches, Midgard at the base of its trunk, and the underworld down among its roots. We often travel up or down the world tree when we undertake shamanic journeys.
When the gods slew the giant Ymir to form the world they used his different body parts to build the various part of the world. They used his eyebrows to build a fence around Midgard to protect it and us from the giants, Building fences around farms and yards repeats this paradigmatic act. Our fences separate that which is within the fences as innangard and that which is outside the fences as utangard.
During Ragnarok, the destruction of the world at the end of the Germanic mythical cycle, Midgard will sink into the sea, only to rise again, as green and fertile as ever, when the cycle begins again and the creation is repeated.
We are the inhabitants and keepers of Midgard, let us keep it well.
Peace my friends,
I'm Dr. Dave, a modern druid. I lived and worked in Bolivia and Peru for over six years, where I and was trained by Andean Shamans, and today practice Druidcraft, eclectic shamanism and Ayurveda.