The Nine Realms of Norse Cosmology

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Kelly Macquire
published on 31 May 2022

The Norse people in their mythology divided their universe into nine realms with the world tree, Yggdrasil, in the centre. From Yggdrasil the nine realms of their cosmology either spread out from it or they stretched from the roots below. Much of the earlier Norse literary works known as Eddic and Skaldic poetry assume an awareness or prior knowledge of the cosmology and so they don’t often have descriptions of locations and specific details on some of the realms is lacking so our understanding of some realms is far less clear than others.

The nine realms of Norse cosmology all coexisted and operated together until the twilight of the gods, Ragnarok, the end of the Norse world. The realms weren’t the only things in the roots of the Yggdrasil, for the Norns, the fates, also lived within the roots. The Norns were three supernatural women who could weave destinies of both human beings and the gods; very similar to ancient Greek beliefs. The Nine Realms of Norse Mythology, after the works of Snorri Sturluson are Asgard, Alfheim, Hel, Jotunheim, Midgard, Nidavellir/Svartalfheim, Niflheim, and Vanaheim.

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0:00​ Introduction
1:11 Yggdrasil and the Norse Religion
3:41 The Nine Realms of Norse Cosmology
5:44 Asgard
6:29 Alfheim
7:29 Hel
8:20 Jotunheim
9:00 Midgard
9:27 Muspelheim
10:05 Nidavellir / Svartalfheim
10:40 Niflheim
11:23 Vanaheim
12:58 Outro

The Nine Realms of Norse Cosmology
Norse Mythology
Ten Norse Mythology Facts You Need to Know
Norse Ghosts & the Afterlife–the-afterlife/
Norse-Viking Symbols and Meanings–meanings/
Magic Rings in Norse Mythology

Norse Mythology: an Introduction to the Norse Gods, Goddesses, Myths and Legends
Thor the God of Thunder in Norse Mythology
History of the Vikings: Norse Culture, Religion, Seafaring and Famous Warriors
The Norse Origins of Christmas Traditions
Bjorn Ironside: the Legendary Viking Warrior From the Historical Sagas

You can find all attribution and credits for images, animations, graphics and music here -

The music used in this recording is the intellectual copyright of Michael Levy, a prolific composer for the recreated lyres of antiquity, and used with the creator's permission. Michael Levy's music is available to stream at all the major digital music platforms. Find out more on:

Hermann Burghart
Public Domain US / faithful reproductions of two-dimensional public domain works of art are public domain -
From Northern Antiquities, Oluf Bagge
Public Domain US -

World History Encyclopedia

#norsecosmology #norsemythology #norsehistory

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About the Author

Kelly Macquire
Kelly is a graduate from Monash University who has completed her BA (Honours) in Ancient History and Archaeology, focussing on iconography and status in Pylos burials. She has a passion for mythology and the Aegean Bronze Age.

Cite This Work

APA Style

Macquire, K. (2022, May 31). The Nine Realms of Norse Cosmology. World History Encyclopedia. Retrieved from

Chicago Style

Macquire, Kelly. "The Nine Realms of Norse Cosmology." World History Encyclopedia. Last modified May 31, 2022.

MLA Style

Macquire, Kelly. "The Nine Realms of Norse Cosmology." World History Encyclopedia. World History Encyclopedia, 31 May 2022. Web. 18 Jul 2024.