- Asgard is the reign of the Æsir, the principal race of Norse gods. Is difficult to access due to its huge walls, though after the war with the Vanir, they were destroyed, being vulnerable to attack of the giants. To rebuild the defensive wall, the Æsir hired the services of a giant who agreed to repair the walls in a very short time, and the Gods accepted, influenced by Loki. He cheated them, saying that he would give back the walls toAsgard in exchange for the Sun, the Moon, and the goddess Freyja.
Asgard is connected to Midgard (the realm of men) by Bifrost (also called Asbru), the rainbow bridge, guarded by the god Heimdall. Each god has a different home in Asgard. The best known is Valhalla, the abode of Odin. Heroes killed in action are brought to Valhalla by the Valkyries. Mythologhy says a faster way to go to Valhalla is die hanged, as Odin did. [Let’s not do that.]
- Vanaheim is the world of the Vanir, the other race of Norse dieties, who usually were the responsible of the fertility functions. The Vanes (Vanir) were faced with the Aces (Aesir), but eventually reconciled, they came to live in a relative peace. It can suppose that Vanaheim, like the Vanir themselves, is somewhat more wild or “natural,” and less “cultural,” than the world of the Vanir’s Aesir counterparts, or even than the humanity. It’s a sort of nature world, free of technology or modern influences.
*Alfheim is the world of elves, governed by the god Freyr. The elves have not an important relevance in the Norse legends, although the ancient sagas identify two types of elves that live in Alfheim: ljósálfar (or light elves) and svartálfar (or dark elves that live inside the mountains)
- Midgard ( Miðgarðr in old Norse ) is the world of men created by the gods Odin and his brothers, Vili and Ve after battle with the primeval giant Ymir .
After the battle, Odin and his brothers Vili and Ve took the body of the giant Ymir and took him to the great abyss to begin creating an habitable world. Thus, with his skin, they created the lands, with his blood and sweat, the oceans, with his bones the rocks and mountains, with his hair the vegetation and with his teeth the cliffs, where also placed the giant’s eyebrows to make the borders of the sea. To complete the work, the Gods thought to close this world with the cranial vault of the defeated, ordering to four dwarves to hold it. These were called Nordri , Sudri, Austri and Vestri and symbolized the four cardinal points. By placing the vault of heaven with the skull of the vanquished giant, his brains were scattered through the air, giving life to the clouds.
However, this new territory was still dark, so the gods decided to go Muspelheim to steal the shining sparks of a sword called Surtr . With the two largest they created the sun and the moon and the other stars.
Once the gods finished his work, they just added the winter and summer ,being ready to receive the first humans.
- Svartálfaheim ( connected with Nidavellir -dark - fields ) This underground world is placed between the lowest sphere of Midgard and the highest sphere of Helheim,. There lived the dark elves, (referring black to the hair and not the skin) called svartálfar, and the Norse dwarves or dvergar, being the counterpart of the light elves .
They’re associated with stones, the underground, death, luck, magic and technology, especially forging. The dark elves reside in the underground and are ancestral spirits that protect people, but they can also be threatening, especially when they are treated rudely . The Svartalfar try to avoid the light, though they can go outside without problems. They’re great architects , intelligent and industrious, and among other wonders, created the Mjolnir hammer of Thor, Odin ‘s spear Gungnir, the magic ring Draupnir, and the ship Skíðblaðnir, the Brisingamen necklace of Freyja and Freyr’s golden boar .
- Jotunheim is the land of the frozen giants. The giants are usually enemies of the gods, but they had also children with them. It is ruled by Thrym, the king of the frost giants. In Jotunheim, where also live rock giants, it’s placed the strength of Utgard. From there, they threaten Midgard’s humans and the gods of Asgard, of which they are separated by the river Iving.
- Niflheim is the world of the dead. I’ts a gloomy kingdom where go the men who have not had a glorious death. There inhabits the dragon Níðhöggr, constantly gnawing the roots of perennial ash Yggdrasil. After Ragnarök, the dragon will be devoted to torment the souls left in the world.
In one of the creation myths, Niflheim is the cold matter, the opposite of Muspelheim or hot matter. This world was born of the clash of these in the magical space called Ginnungagap.
One of the most dark and gloomy parts of the vast and icy Niflheim is Helheim, where lives the giant queen or goddess Hela, in company of her dog Garm. The belief that when Ragnarok comes, the doomsday battle, Loki and the giants will come in a boat built with the nails of the dead from Hel, creating with this the habit of clipping the nails of the dead to delay these events.
- Muspelheim is the world of the fire giants, enemies of the gods. It’s a kingdom full of flames located in the southern hemisphere. It’s governed by Surt, the king and the most powerful of the fire giants. In Norse mythology, the creation starts cof the contact between fire and ice in the huge initial vacuum known as Ginnungagap, creating then the water. The brightest objects in the night sky such as planets, comets and stars, emerged from Muspelheim sparks.
In Ragnarok, the heavens will open and Surt will leave Muspelheim, followed by all giants, marching to Asgard and destroying the Bifrost bridge at their passing.
- Hel or Helheim, is known as the kingdom of death and is in the deepest, dark and dreary part of Niflheim, one of the nine worlds of Yggdrasil. In the nordic mythology, it was ruled by Hela, the daughter of Loki, and the entrance was guarded by a huge dog known as Garm. Helheim and Niflheim are often associated as the same world, but this is not so: Niflheim is the realm of cold, ice and darkness mainly, and, although there it’s also common the death and destruction, Helheim is specifically the ”Capital of Death”.
In this world will end those who died by disease or old age, and once they entered there , not even gods could get out because of the endless, inexhaustible and impassable presence of the river Gjöll around this dark reign.