The World of Deep Ice
Once upon a time…
Not so long ago…
A priest of a stolen religion hearing the stories of the Norsemen and simply shifted a pronoun from ‘she’ to ‘he’.
A storyteller, talking to his Christian audience, decided to emphasize that a “god” was serviced by a “cow” with overflowing teats and that, by licking “his” salty blocks, the first Aesir was born.
A Christian, writing to preserve what little of his people’s history was left, took the bawdy chuckle-around-the-fire and made it canon. He would insist that this was the way the story was always told.
And none of them paid attention to the people of the south, the maggots who would one day feed on the blood and bones of the originator of the world and become elves.
There was a world before the world.
No one talks about that.
They don’t because what they remember is the yawning gap into which the world fell.
They remember that the first thing to emerge from the gap was the world-ender, Muspell.
Then came the Dark, the beginning of the new. Nifl.
They took their places on opposite ends of the gap.
From Muspellheim grew Surtr, the world-breaker to come. His fate was to end the world with his embrace.
The Dark had different plans. She was of the ocean. She was of the Deep Ice. Those who live near the deep ice know that it’s a passionate thing. In time, it groans and it cracks and it moves. It will moisten at your touch, and if you let her embrace you, she will devour you and love you forever.
The tiny sparks that escaped Muspel excited her beyond reason and she reached out, reflecting her desire. She created Ymir and she/he was full of need.
It was an unrequited love. Surtr had only one function-to end the world-and that time was yet to come. However, Ymir was not about to let her needs go unmet. Creating Ymir in Surtr’s reflection allowed her to better define herself and from that realization came Auðumla, full-breasted and loving.
From their joyous and mutual coupled came the surprise that was Buri. Knowing then how life could be accomplished, Ymir, a full intersexed being, gave birth to its own children as well, the jotnar or “devourers” whose appetites were as giant as her/his own.
(Those people who believe that Ymir gave birth from her hairy armpit don’t understand that this was a visual joke, told in front of a group that included children. It doesn’t do the joke justice to explain it in writing.)
They had generations of passion, through Buri and through Buri’s son, Bor, but when Bor’s children were born, it came time to start the new world. Vili and Ve, names that meant will and strength, took after their fathers.
Single-minded, they tried their best but their own ordinary talents could not take the next step and redefine creation. It took Odin, the one who bent the rules, the male who took after his mother/father Ymir and was a poet instead of just a warrior, who was inspired by the divine and could do the deed.
Ymir was destroyed and re-storied into a universe that all could inhabit. The Aesir, children of Auðumla’s line would maintain the order and Ymir’s line would form its foundation. They would be respected when they kept their place but fought when their appetites ran out of control.
As a sign of this respect, Odin adopted Loki, who unlike the other jotnar or gods, fully embraced being a he/she. Later, Loki went so far as to get pregnant to protect his adopted kin and though his passions later led him to start up Ragnarok, the end of this cycle, it was his connection to the primal Mother/Father that kept him a respected part of the Asgardian pantheon.
The Aesir would find the Vanir, new gods from the east, that they’d fight and ultimately ally with. However, this isn’t their story. This is the story of the maggots to the south, beings who devoured the blood and bones of Ymir to emerge as luminous beings, the Alfar or elves of the Nine Worlds.
They were not recognized as divine by the Aesir but they were of vital importance to the world. They were master crafters and created many of the treasures the gods used. Finally, Odin put a Vanir in charge of making sure they were unmolested by any other forces.
Their leader, a very holy and wise person, had two families, one which went on the craft the great treasures and the other, half-jotnar, went on to be allies of the gods.
Two of them killed a god and make a drink from which all poetry emerged.
One could turn, like Alba’s husband, into a salmon. It makes a person wonder who taught Loki that trick and at what price.
The stories of elves, dwarves and dark elves merge and combine and shift until you realize that they are talking about the same people, a people from the south, that were feared and respected but never allowed to be considered divine.
There is a story, a murder story, where one of the elves tried to woe Thor’s daughter. Thor’s anger at his success led to Thor tricking the dwarf into his death, allegedly at the hands of the sun, which turned the dark elf into stone.
Nowhere else is this peculiar handicap mentioned. It’s not mentioned that the word for “sun” also sounds like the word “son” which was the name of a vessel that contained the mead of poetry. And the name ‘Bragi’, Odin’s son who shared his father’s love for poetry, was never mentioned either, except by Loki, claiming that Bragi killed Idunn’s brother.
Idunn was one of the Alfar, married into Odin’s house because of a debt Odin owed her. That debt is never mentioned, though it’s known that accidental killings did result in marriages. Especially between the Vanir and the Aesir.
There is a fairy tale many people are familiar with. About a queen’s daughter with skin as white as snow and lips as red as roses. She is almost killed by an apple that can stop life, prepared by her stepmother.
Idunn’s father, Ivadlr, had two families, one elven and the other with a jotunn.
With her elder brother slain and the attention of the Aesir focused on her other, talented crafting brothers, it would certainly be no stretch of the imagination for her to be moved to the court of her father’s second family.
There she was hunted by a jealous stepmother. She temporarily received sanctuary with her dwarven kin. And was then found by Bragi, after her near-death at the hands of her stepmother. Her stepmother’s prodigious knowledge of apples and life and death became the property of her daughter in law. Who became the crafter and maintainer of the golden apples of immortality.
There are two things to be mentioned here. There are no genealogies of the elves and the only one mentioned as female is Idunn. Idunn was married to a god known for his lack of manly attributes. And later ‘rescued’ by her father’s jotnar in-laws, only for Loki to pull her back to the Aesir. Then, the Aesir had to make recompense for killing her kidnapper.
There were those that asked what would become of the elves when Ragnarok came. They were assured that they had other worlds to go to, removed from the end of the world.
And when the time came, for whatever reason, most of the alfar vanished. To the south, where they had come from.