Skip to main content Skip to Search Box

Definition: Yggdrasil or Ygdrasil or Igdrasil from Collins English Dictionary


1 Norse myth the ash tree that was thought to overshadow the whole world, binding together earth, heaven, and hell with its roots and branches

[Old Norse (probably meaning: Uggr's horse), from Uggr a name of Odin, from yggr, uggr frightful + drasill horse, of obscure origin]

Summary Article: Yggdrasil from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

In Norse mythology, the world tree, a sacred ash which spanned heaven and hell. It was evergreen and tended by the Norns, goddesses of past, present, and future.

Yggdrasil had three roots with a spring under each one: one root descended to the well Hvergelmir in Nifelheim or Hel, the realm of the dead; another ran to the well of Mimir, the source of all wisdom, under Jotunheim, land of the giants; and the third reached Urd's well under Asgard, home of the gods. Urd's well was a regular meeting place of the gods and was guarded by the Norns, who sprinkled the tree with its waters every day to avert decay.

Various creatures inhabited Yggdrasil, including an eagle and a hawk in the branches; four sacred harts who fed on the foliage; and Ratatosk, the strife-making squirrel, who travelled continuously up and down the trunk to maintain the hostility between the eagle above and Nidhogg, a dragon which gnawed ceaselessly at the root connecting to Nifelheim.

© RM, 2016. All rights reserved.

Related Credo Articles

Full text Article YGGDRASIL (YGG’S-STEED)
World Mythology: Handbook of Norse Mythology

The world tree, located at the center of the universe and uniting it. The seeress who is the speaker in Völuspá devotes a stanza to the...

Full text Article Mimirsbrunnr Well
Encyclopedia of Imaginary and Mythical Places

Variations: Mimir, Mimir's Well In Norse mythology Mimirsbrunnr Well, the font of all wisdom and wit; it is located in MIDGARD at Mimir's Grove at th

Full text Article Urdarbrunnr Well
Encyclopedia of Imaginary and Mythical Places

Variations: Urard Fountain, Urdbrunner (“Urd Fountain”), Urdar Well, Urd's Well, Uroarbrunnr, Well of the Weird In Norse mythology, Urdarbrunnr Well

See more from Credo