Ask and Embla: The First Two Humans in Norse Cosmos

Posted by Ms Elly on

Ask and Embla: The First Two Humans in Norse Cosmos

In Norse mythology, the first giant to appear in the Nine Worlds was Ymir the Giant. Odin and his brothers slew Ymir and used his corpse to fashion the world. The first beings that Odin and his brothers created were the humans. The first couple to be created were Ask and Embla.

On a clear day, Odin, Vili, and Ve were walking on the shore. They found out two tree trunks and a thought of creation started looming inside their heads. They decided to turn the tree trunks to something full of energy and most importantly, alive.

Ask and Embla were created by the Gods when they accidentally came across two tree trunks on the shore

Odin, Vili, and Ve came across two tree trunks when they were on the shore. There they created two creatures from the tree trunks and breathed into them a life.

Then the brothers breathed a life into the tree trunks. They shaped them into the appearance that resembled theirs. They gave these new creatures abilities to communicate, to act, to think, and to have emotion. Two creatures were granted the ability to see, to hear, and to eat. They had complexion and started to walk on their own legs. There we go, the first generation of humanity, Ask and Embla.

Ask and Embla in Norse mythology

But the most interesting thing about this couple revolves around their name.

“Ask” means “ash tree”. In the Viking belief, ash tree was a type of holy plant. Because the tree that held up the Nine Worlds was the ash tree Yggdrasil Tree of Life.

But the meaning of “Embla” remains a mystery. However, the most awesome interpretation of the name “Embla” was “vine”. Vine is explained as the plant that had the habit of climbing. It always climbed along a larger tree which might refer to the ash tree. This somewhat represents the relationship of the man and woman in a society. 

Ask and Embla were the first humans created by Gods in Norse mythology

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