Yggdrasil, The Mighty Ash, stands as the Axis of the Worlds, connecting the nine realms with branches so vast as to spread out over all of creation, crowned high beyond the heavens. High upon these lofty branches sits an Eagle who keeps watch over all things from his vantage. Among the branches, the deer and goats leap freely and eat of the fresh shoots continuously generated by this Tree of Life. Yggdrasil’s roots delve down into the depths of the worlds, one in each of the three levels of creation. The first root sinks into Asgard under the Well of Urd, the Well of Fate, guarded by the Norns, the weavers of Wyrd, fate and Orlog, destiny. The second root bores through Jotunheimr, the realm of the giants, under the Spring of Mimir wherein lies Mimir’s head, the font of Wisdom, and Heimdall’s horn. The third plunges deep into Niflheim under the Spring of Hvergelmir, the source of the eleven rivers, where the dragon Nidhogg gnaws at its roots. A great squirrel, Ratatosk, spends his days traveling the length of the great tree, carrying insults from Eagle to Dragon and freely moving between the worlds with ease. Yggdrasil offers balance between death and rebirth, for just as new shoots are born continuously, they are eaten continuously to nourish all beings. The World Tree caretakers, the Norns, Urd, Skuld and Verdandi sustain the tree through their healing touch, drawing waters and clay from the Well of Fate as a salve for the wounds of men upon the Tree of Life. Yggdrasil, rooted deep. Yggdrasil, crowned high. Yggdrasil, the source of strength and support, connects the realms and stands as the center of the World and of our ritual space.
Crossley-Holland, Kevin. The Norse Myths. NY: Pantheon Books, 1980:xxii.