Divine Numbers in Norse myth (Part 1 of 2)

Posted by Ms Elly on

Divine Numbers in Norse myth (Part 1 of 2)

Someone said that numbers were the highest level of intelligence. Indeed, numbers had souls and even more mysteries than words. To know what that number presented, we have to try hard to think deeply and imagine because numbers will give us fewer clear meanings than words.

Numbers played a very important role in Norse mythology. They were not as clear as words telling the stories. They were not so vague as the Norse symbols. They remained in the status of both clarity and obscurity. The most mysterious numbers in Norse myth were number Three and number Nine. In this blog post, we are to discuss the Number Three in the myth. Three was the number of perfection and completeness. 

Image of Ymir the first giant

Ymir the first giant, one of three primeval creatures 

Number Three in Norse myth

  • There were three original creatures: Audhumla the ancient cow, Ymir the first giant, and Buri the first god (also the grandfather of Odin)
  • Three brothers Odin, Vili, and Ve used Ymir's corpse to fashion the world
  • There were three Norns who created the fates of all beings in the Norse cosmos
  • Odin was the ruler of the third generation in Aesir god tribe (Buri the first then came Borr father of Odin)
  • Yggdrasil the Great Tree of Life had three roots. Under the roots of Yggdrasil were three sacred wells.
  • Odin suffered three hardships before getting the ability to read runes: hanging himself in Yggdrasil, stabbed by his Gungnir spear, and endured the hunger and thirst.
  • Loki had three notorious children with giantess Angrboda: Fenrir the monstrous wolf, Jormungand the Midgard Serpent, Hel the Queen of Helheim. 
  • There were three winters coming in a row, known as the Fimbulwinter, before Ragnarok took place. 
  • There were three main signals for the beginning of Ragnarok: the birth of Loki's children, the death of Baldur, and the Fimbulwinter.
  • Norse gods tried three times to bind wolf Fenrir with three chains: Loeding, Drómi, and Gleipnir, and the last one managed to bind the wolf. 
  • The god tried to burn Gullveig three times and three times she was reborn. This event was believed to be the cause of War of Norse Gods
  • Three cockerels would crow at the beginning of Ragnarok to call the gods, the giant, and the dead to get ready.
  • As the Asgard watchman, Heimdall had three main powers: less sleep than birds, could see at nights, and able to hear grass grow. 
  • Odin had three famous possessions: Gungnir spear, Sleipnir eight-legged horse, and Draupnir the magical ring.
  • Thor had three weapons: Mjolnir hammer, the belt doubling his strength, and a pair of gloves.
  • God Frey possessed three important things: his ship Skidbladnir, his boar Gullinbursti, and a magical sword which he gave to his father-in-law in order to marry his lover.
  • The giant builder of Asgard wall was supposed to finish the wall within three seasons and in return, his payment would be the sun, the moon, and goddess Freya
  • Odin stayed with giantess Gunnlod for three days before he was given the chance to try three drinks
  • Three sons of Odin survived Ragnarok: Baldur, Hodr, and Vidar. 
If you are interested in sacred Norse number, continue reading Part 2 about Number Nine on BaviPower.

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