A. Sutherland - AncientPages.com - The concept of fate dominates Norse mythology, and to the Norse people, fate was a fact of life that could not be avoided or changed.
So, it had to be met without fear; even death, the ultimate end, must be encountered with braveness.
Carl Emil Doepler - Public Domain
This immutable concept culminates in Ragnarok (Ragnarök) – “the darkness of the gods,” the coming destruction of the world, whose inevitability is impossible to fight with. It is a prophecy that holds profound implications for humanity’s future.
Ragnarok ragna means organizing powers (like gods), rok means fate or destiny, and the whole term refers to the gods. The gods – the protectors of humankind – knew of Ragnarok and prepared for it daily. The onset of Ragnarok could not be stopped.
It was preordained so precisely that the details of what would happen were already known to them.
Brothers will fight and kill each other, and sisters’ children will defile kinship. It is harsh in the world, whoredom rife-an ax age, a sword age-shields are riven- a wind age, a wolf age-before the world goes headlong. No man will have mercy on another…” (the “Elder Edda”)
The Eddas (1250) described Ragnarok as a collection of Old Norse poems. The world was to be destroyed by fire and water, with steam and flames reaching high heavens.
During Ragnarok, a colossal earthquake will cause devastation, mountains will be shaken, and the sun will disappear due to the clouds and smoke. Melting ice will cause floods of water to run alongside rivers of burning lava. Was this terrifying vision only inspired by volcanic eruptions or much more?
Ragnarok, a phenomenon from Norse mythology. Colour lithograh on paper, glued on cardboard. Signed lower left: L. M. Moe, 92. Text: Danmarks Historie i Billeder VII. Ragnarok. Alfred Jacobsens litogr. Etablissement, København K. Image credit: AU Library, Campus Emdrup-
All trees will be uprooted, though the Yggdrasill “(World Tree”) will remain standing. The ash Yggdrasill is the tree of life; the tree of the ancient tree worship; the tree which stands on the top of the pyramid in the island-birth place of the Aztec race; the tree referred to in the Hindoo legends.
It clearly is the vision of the Apocalypse as described by Snorri Sturluson in his famous Prose Edda (1222-23), who said that fierce battles would take place throughout the world for three terrible years.
A terrible winter will prevail, and three such winters will follow, with no summers.
Is the Ragnarok that originates in the legends of the Scandinavians a record of the coming of the Comet? It is what Ignatius Donnelly suggests in his famous work “Atlantis: The Antediluvian World.”
“But even in this early morn; Faintly foreshadowed was the dawn Of that fierce struggle, deadly shock; Which yet should end in Ragnarok; When Good and Evil, Death and Life; Beginning now, end then their strife.” Valhalla (J. C. Jones).
This great apocalyptic event that concerns humanity is mentioned in many myths and legends of different cultures worldwide. Ragnarok is an important event in the Scandinavian world of myths and legends. It has also been repeated generation after generation; translated into all languages; commented on, criticized, and debated repeatedly.
But even if Ragnarok (or Armageddon) was about universal disorder, destruction would not be total.
Afterward, the world will resurface as new and fertile. The surviving and returning gods will meet, and the world will be repopulated by two human survivors (in the myths of Scandinavia, by Lif and Lifthrasir, who will have remained hidden in the ash of the mighty tree Yggdrasill, through Ragnarok’s terrible time.
Thus the end will contain a new beginning, and the cycle will start again, as it always does. The world is once more saved, and Ragnarok is nothing but – the past!
Written by – A. Sutherland AncientPages.com Staff Writer
Updated on December 10, 2022
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