Odinism: norse mythology - the first humans



The first humans
Ask and Embla are the first humans – male and female, respectively – to be created in Norse mythology.

The story of how they were created, as it has come down to us in Old Norse literature, goes like this:

Not too long after the world itself was created, Odin was walking along the coast of one of the new land masses.

With him were two other gods: in one version, these were his brothers Vili and Ve,[ and in another version, they were the obscure figures Hoenir and Lodurr.

The three deities found two tree trunks, perhaps pieces of driftwood, lying on the beach. They were shaped like a man and a woman, but they were lifeless and powerless.

So the three gods decided to give them what they lacked and make them true humans. Odin blew into them the breath of life, while his two companions imparted inspired mental activity, a healthy complexion, and the ability to speak, hear, and see.

They dressed them in suitable clothes and named the man “Ask” and the woman “Embla.” Ask and Embla were then given Midgard, the world of human civilization, for their dwelling-place.

They became the father and mother of the entire human species.

The meaning of the name Ask is very straightforward: the original Old Norse form of the word is Askr, “Ash Tree” – a fitting name, since the pair was made from tree trunks.

The meaning of Embla’s name is more elusive. Some of the main scholarly guesses so far are “Elm,“Water Pot,”[10] and “Vine.”] If “Vine” is correct, it could be a sexual metaphor.

Vines were used as kindling and the drills were made of harder wood, so the drill, which corresponds to Ask, would make a fire, which corresponds to life, by boring into the vine, which corresponds to Embla.[12]

Trees are frequently used as metaphors for humans in Old Norse poetry, which suggests a strong association between humans and trees in the Norse mind.

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